A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas: A Mystery With A Twist!

Sylvia Wilcox takes a much-needed vacation for the holidays. While she’s relaxing and enjoy time away from the office, a mysterious note shows up accusing her of fraud. Disturbed by this accusation, Sylvia begins to investigate. Save 50% on this page-turner by preordering now! https://books2read.com/u/31qL0l


How Stories Remind Us That We’re All The Same

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One of the major themes in my life has been this constant questioning of whether I want to do something out of desire, or because others’ expectations. Identity-who we are and why we become the people we ultimate end up being, is a thread throughout most of my stories. In Who She Was, a woman’s secrets cause her murder investigation to go off the rails. In Displacement, Sylvia has to grapple with the idea that being a cop is a noble and just endeavor, while acknowledging that it does not fit her personality. Fracture deals with a woman who becomes completely consumed with faith and allows it to define the person she thinks she has to be. These are stories, but I think all of us have had experience with questioning identity-our own and others.

Someone told me they couldn’t read Who She Was because there is a Muslim character mentioned in the prologue. I didn’t ask questions. We’re free to choose what we read or don’t read, but in my mind I wondered why that mattered. One of the most wonderful things about books is that they show us we are all the same. I remember reading The Diary Of Anne Frank in fifth grade and thinking…We would have been friends. We’re so much alike. After leaving a rather tumultuous relationship and experiencing the growing pains of early adulthood, I read Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much Is True, and I felt comforted and assured that this-the family strife, the inability to find my place, and the sadness, were all par for the course. Much like Dominick Birdsey, I healed, moved forward, and found happiness. The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison helped me recognize why certain things were and weren’t happening in my life. I took that information and pondered it, searching for a way to reconcile the lack. After a friendship dissolved, I found solace and advice in Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner. It reminded me that amends could be made and eventually; I was reunited with the friend I thought I’d lost forever. This is why I love stories and why I write. The world is much smaller than we think it is, and we are more alike than different.

Some characters in Fracture are from various threads of the Latter-day Saint faith. To me, Latter-day Saints are just people. So much so, that I married one. I don’t see whole groups of people as foreign entities that are so obscure that I can’t make a connection. I think stories are a great way to build bridges. You learn that labels and categories don’t change the DNA or species of a person. It becomes clear in stories that we have the same desires, wants and needs, and we make the same mistakes. Having characters from a particular faith, doesn’t necessarily make the story “a book about Latter-day Saints.” Just as a book written by an African-American writer doesn’t make the book a-and I heard this all throughout high school, “a black book.” I don’t pigeon-hold books because of a character’s race, religion, sexual preference, gender, or any other category we think they belong in. Instead, I always try to read books with an open mind. Fiction is a great way to be introduced to people who are different from you. Yes, it’s a fictional story, but it can open a door to real dialogue and education.

One reason I regret going to graduate school is because there was this push for books to be categorized based on the author’s background. For example, if an author was from a First Nations, they would be expected to write about colonialism or life on reservations. If the writer was African-American, their work would need to focus on racism or slavery. This is a terrible way to look at stories, and at the end of my program of study, I was thoroughly against this idea. The professor I worked with for my final project kept trying to steer me into what I saw as a corner. There was a point where I didn’t think I’d get my degree, which has, so far, has not been useful. The professor and I battled it out over cups of tea in a little cafe in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She was convinced that literature was more of a socio-cultural structure instead of a place where the universalities of humanity blended. I was all for the universality of literature and I continued to force the issue. It turns out that no one wants to fail a student who has completed all coursework in a timely and efficient manner, and paid tens of thousands of dollar in tuition, so I was awarded the degree. Ironically, I didn’t pick it up for two years. The campus was less than five minutes from my apartment, but I felt like that piece of paper stood for everything I was against. So, two years later, I went and got the darn thing and shoved it in a closet.

I write to tell stories, and I think stories are the salve we need to bring us all together. Once you’ve heard a story from a person you think is so different from you, they become recognizable behind all the label and categories you thought made them different. Don’t get caught in the idea that there is one story for many people.


Writing Update


Hi there. This is Braylee Parkinson, and I want to give you a quick update on how the writing is going. A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas is coming along swimmingly! I am very excited about this book and can’t wait to put it out. I literally can’t sleep at night because I just want to be in the story. I’m having an absolute blast writing it!

Currently, I’m editing the manuscript and have made it to chapter four. My goal is to be done with my edits by September 30th and send it off to the professional editor on October 5th. After that, I’ll be moving on to book number five.

Road to Nowhere, the fifth book in the Sylvia Wilcox series, is also in the works. Last year my husband and I took a cross country road trip, and we did a little exploring in Wyoming. I am intrigued by empty, desolate places, so I loved every minute of it. I remember thinking, “There’s a story here…” Well, the story has shown up. It’s supposed to be cooking on the backburner right now, but I already have a few chapters down.

The story will involve a ghost town in Wyoming. I hope to get an interview with a descendent of one of the founders of the town. My husband grew up with this gentleman, and he loves history, so I’m hoping he will be open to an interview. I would also like to get permission to tour the townsite next spring. So lots of exciting stuff going right now.

Speaking of ghost towns, my husband and I have been watching a Youtube channel about a town in California named Cerro Gordo. I love ghost towns, so I’m always looking for videos on Youtube about ghost town history and exploration. So, this guy named Brent, one of the town owners has been in Cerra Gordo since March of this year. The Youtube channel is chronicling his ups and downs, victories, and losses. It’s really great stuff, and I totally admire this guy. Watching him pursue his dream for this town is fascinating, and it gives me hope for the world. I’m including a link to his latest video below. Head over to his channel and subscribe if you like what you see. If you’re like, “who cares about a ghost town?”. Please note that cute goats and kittens are included in the video.

Stay safe and healthy!




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*(Posts on this website contain affiliate links. Affiliate links do not cost you anything to use, and I receive a small commission if you use them. This helps pay for the website and editing of the serial story.)


Fall Colors and “Research” For The Next Book

Hello Readers,

Autumn is upon us! This is my favorite season and since Utah has such an abbreviated version of it, we headed to thee mountains yesterday to check out the beautiful trees. This year has been incredibly dry, so there’s more red than usual. We drove up to Snowbasin Ski Resort to get a good look. We were not disappointed.

Have you read the first chapter of The Girl In Blue? If not, sign up below for the newsletter to gain access.

The next book in the series is actually a holiday novella, A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas that brings Sylvia back to the Ogden River Valley for vacation. I’m having so much fun writing this book! It’s going to be a short, action packed, fun read. I wanted to head to the area where part of the story takes place. This was also a great way to see the autumn colors.

Ogden Canyon The picture was taken near Snowbasin Ski Resort in Ogden Canyon. It’s so beautiful at this time of the year!

Pineview Reservoir has especially vibrant colors this year. As I mentioned earlier, it’s be very dry this summer. There was some haze in the air from the fires in Oregon and California, but it was clearer the closer we got to the valley floor.

So, I had to close my eyes to imagine that there was snow everywhere, but it wasn’t too hard to do. I guess you could call this a bit of research for the book. It really helped me envision some of the scenes from the book, and get a nuanced view of the places I describe in the book. Snow is still a ways off, but you could feel an undercurrent of cool air, masked by the warm temperatures and brilliant sunshine.

A Sylvia Wilcox Christmas will answer the number one question readers email me about. Don’t know what that is? All the better! The book will be even more of a mystery for you!

Okay, okay. I have to give you something, right? Here’s the description and cover. Let your imagination run wild with speculation!

Sylvia Wilcox closes her private detective agency for the holidays and heads to Utah for a long, relaxing vacation in the Ogden River Valley’s snow-covered mountains. After enjoying a few days on the slopes her assistant, Martin, calls and tells her about a mysterious note delivered to the office that accuses Sylvia of fraud. Disturbed and curious about this note, Sylvia finds it hard to concentrate on vacation and ends up chasing down leads that take her on a painful trip down memory lane. Will Sylvia’s determination to always seek the truth backfire? Or will she end up having a surprisingly pleasant holiday season?

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*(Posts on this website contain affiliate links. Affiliate links do not cost you anything to use, and I receive a small commission if you use them. This helps pay for the website and editing of the serial story.)