Chutes and Ladder: A Silicon Valley Mystery by Marc Jedel


Author Guest Post by Marc Jedel

My book, Chutes and Ladder: A Silicon Valley Mystery, is a humorous murder mystery. Silicon Valley is not your typical cozy mystery locale and Marty Golden doesn’t fit the normal profile of a mystery protagonist.

Despite finding himself thrust into challenging situations, Marty isn’t exactly hero material.

He has a wonderful combination of wit, irreverent humor and sarcasm mixed in with nerdy insecurities, absent-mindedness, and fumbling but effective amateur sleuthing skills. With an active inner voice and not a lot of advanced planning, he throws himself into solving problems.

To get a better understanding of Marty and the Silicon Valley that he enjoys, I wanted to share 

Marty Golden’s Fun Yet Wacky Things to Do in the Bay Area / Silicon Valley:

  1. San Francisco Tiled Mosaic Staircases – Locals refer to these beautiful works of art as the secret tiled staircases. For Marty, the phrase “secret” or “do not enter” has always attracted him. There are several decorated staircases, but check out the one on 16th Avenue first as it’s the nicest, with amazing mosaics on the steps all the way up the hill.
  1. Eat Clam Chowder in a Sourdough Bread Bowl, then watch the sea lions at Pier 39. You’re going to be hungry after climbing all those steps so grab some clam chowder in a bread bowl at Boudin’s. Then walk over to the sea lions next door at Pier 39. No, this isn’t a big secret but it’s still pretty wacky. After the 1989 earthquake, the sea lions took over a pier for their own use. Marty believes the earthquake was just the last straw for them. Not only was the ocean too cold, but they objected to the A’s beating the Giants in the World Series that year. They’re fun to watch and you can pretend it’s educational because you’ll learn the difference between a seal and sea lion. Try to remember the definition at least long enough to do item #4 on this list.
  1. Santa Cruz Mystery Spot — How could Marty not be attracted to a place that describes itself as a “gravitational anomaly located in the redwood forests near Santa Cruz”? Marty’s been several times — no kids required, although a child-like sense of wonder helps — and the hysterical guides and strange demonstrations are well worth it.
  1. Kayaking at the Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay — It’s not far from the Mystery Spot and it’s beautiful. You can rent kayaks or go on a Hydro Bike. Yes, ride a bike on the water. And, you won’t fall in. Marty prefers to kayak but gets a kick out of passing bikers on the water. You’ll see tons of sea otters, sea lions, and seals, not to mention birds. If you paid attention at Pier 39, you’ll even know the difference between them.
  1. Circus Trees in Gilroy Gardens amusement park. If you have little children and want a day at an unusual amusement park, this is the place. Marty stumbled across the wild “circus trees” displayed there. Their bizarreness was right up his alley. Look up the pictures even if you don’t visit.
  1. Computer History Museum or the Apple Visitor Center. You’ve spent all this effort to get to Silicon Valley so you’ve got to stop by at least one techie place. Marty would suggest the Computer History Museum if you like museums and history, or drop by the free Apple Visitor Center to look into their new spaceship campus. You could go to NASA’s Ames Visitor Center to see space stuff but Marty thinks the Apple building looks more like a real spaceship to him.
  1. San Jose options. Since none of the above sites were in the city where Marty lives, I wanted to share a few San Jose selections. You can also visit the Winchester Mystery House (a must), attend a Mystery Dinner Theater, or visit one of the many Mystery Rooms. Yes, Marty loves a fun, little mystery — as long as they’re not too scary … and there’s food nearby.

Chutes and Ladder and Uncle and Ants are both available free to Kindle Unlimited readers and will only stay at their promotional prices on Amazon during the Great Escapes tour so be sure to pick them up today. For more about the books or author, please visit


For most of my life, I’ve been inventing stories. Some, especially when I was young, involved my sister as the villain. As my sister’s brother for her entire life, I’m highly qualified to tell the tale of this evolving, quirky sibling relationship.

My writing skills were honed in years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley. While my high tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, we called these marketing collateral, emails and ads.

The publication of my first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave me permission to claim “author” as my job. This leads to way more interesting discussions than answering “marketing.”

My family would tell you that Marty’s character isn’t much of a stretch of the imagination for me, but I proudly resemble that remark.

Like Marty, I live in Silicon Valley and can’t believe that otherwise normal people would image005 (1)willingly jump out of an airplane and call it fun. Unlike Marty, I have a wonderful wife and a neurotic but sweet, small dog, who is often the first to weigh in on the humor in my writing.

Author Links

Purchase Link: Amazon 


 Chutes and Ladder:
A Silicon Valley Mystery
by Marc Jedel

Marc Jedel is hilarious! . . . I can’t stop laughing at protagonist Marty Golden, perennial and proverbial Feckless Hero. If there were ever a perfect illustration of The Fool card in Tarot, Marty is it!
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

. . . an original take on an amateur investigation that kept making me giggle all the way to the surprising end. Great for fans of cozies looking for something different.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

The book is fast paced and full of humor. The author keeps us guessing as to what has really transpired, and it’s not until the very end that the details are revealed.
~Carla Loves To Read

OMG!!! This book is hysterical…yes, it’s a mystery, but I can’t tell you how many times I laughed out loud at Marty Golden!
~Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

Chutes and Ladder is an entertaining story with quirky characters, zany incidents, witty dialogue, and guaranteed giggles.
~The Avid Reader

Think Sheldon Cooper, Clark Griswold, and Columbo all rolled into one. This nerdy, intelligent, goofy, silly man, will have you laughing your butt off.
~Lisa Ks Book Reviews

Chutes and Ladder by Marc Jedel is a riveting new cozy mystery. It isn’t like any cozy that I have read, but it is entertaining.
~Baroness’ Book Trove

I love Marc Jedel’s storytelling skills . . . If you are looking for a quirky cozy mystery with oodles of laughter and a super funny sleuth, look no further, for Chutes and Ladder is here!
~The Book Decoder

The book is fast paced and full of humor. In many ways, I could see this book being played out as a movie, with Jerry Lewis starring as Marty.
~Literary Gold

The book was a quick and enjoyable read that pulls you in to see what Marty is going to do next!
~Community Bookstop

I enjoy Marty’s quirkiness because it adds that little something that every story needs to make it stand out.
~Storeybook Reviews


Serendipity Happens by Deborah A. Morrison

SERENDIPITY HAPPENS takes you on an intense, unique epic journey of psychological suspense, deep insights and extraordinary romance beyond your wildest imaginings!  This is an edgy, highly experiential tale with memorable characters fired by soul-stirringly deep and sacred awakenings

1) Was there a KEY moment in your life that influenced New Age/Spirituality ? 
     Yes, for me there was definitely a KEY moment in my life when I was influenced toward
New Age/Spirituality.  I was about 13 years of age at the time.  I had waited until everyone was out
of the house and the coast was clear.  I wanted absolutely no distractions since I was about to try
meditation for the very first time in my life.  You see I had heard about meditation and yoga from my
childhood friend Beverley who lived across the street from me.  But, this particular year Beverley and her
family had moved to S. California which was well known for being a place particularly ahead of its time …
especially compared to my home town of Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.
     I had received a handwritten letter in the mail from Beverley which explained all about this trendy thing
everyone was doing in California which was called Yoga and Meditation.  She said she tried it and had never
experienced anything like it!  She wrote about her fabulous experiences with yoga postures, deep breathing,
relaxation, and meditation.  “If you ever get a chance to try yoga or meditation, do it!” she wrote.  Her words
were etched deep in my mind and I decided right then and there to keep an eye open for any opportunity to
practice yoga and meditation.  I had not found any yoga classes yet, and my plan was to look for some books
on yoga soon.
     However, this particular day my family home was empty and quiet since everyone was out and about.  So I
figured now was my chance.  I sat down cross legged on the kitchen floor.  I chose the kitchen since it was painted
a lovely soft yellow colour which always made me feel cheerful. I figured a cheerful mood was a good starting point for
my experiment with meditation practice.  With legs crossed, I rested my upturned palms upon my knees and joined
my thumb and forefinger.  I made sure to sit very straight and become very relaxed as breathed deeply focusing my
attention on each exhalation and inhalation.  It was easy for my mind to become calm.
     Spontaneously I was uplifted into a wondrous meditative state of consciousness!  I had never felt such a deep
feeling of peace ever in my entire life.  This amazing peaceful feeling was the most uplifted, profound state of being
I had ever experienced!  I enjoyed this meditative experience for awhile before slowly bringing my attention back to
my breath and finally to an awareness of the room around me.  I slowly opened my eyes and sat in wonder for awhile.
     I decided right then and there about my interest in New Age/Spirituality.  I knew I was highly interested in exploring
my own direct experiences of meditation, peace, and enlightened consciousness.  I would honestly this was it!  My
KEY moment that influenced my interest in New Age/Spirituality was in my early teens when I surprisingly enjoyed
a wondrous meditation experience.
2) How did you incorporate those philosophies to your story line? 
     I incorporated Visionary, New Age, and Spiritual themes into my story easily.  Firstly, I set the intent to do so.
I knew I must have an interesting story line and envisioned my story to be like a tapestry in which I would
weave deeper insights throughout.  I would do this either by including conversations in the story between various
characters in which the conversation topic would be mainly Visionary, New Age and/or Spiritual.  Secondly,
I decided to include a stream of consciousness approach to writing my story.  So I would write about
the main character’s inner thoughts and feelings.  And, in terms of the story line, I would integrate these conversations,
and inner thoughts and feelings strategically so there would be a progression is self development in the story.
     To make it real for the reader I decided to use a writer’s tool … to incorporate the 5 senses in my descriptions of
various Visionary, New Age, and Spiritual experiences of the characters in the book.  This made it real … to bring in
the 5 senses in relation to an uplifted state of consciousness, or a new and expanded awareness, or perhaps an
experience beyond the everyday, ordinary mundane.  These extraordinary experiences became grounded into something
real which the reader would easily understand and relate to.
     So, ultimately I would take an ordinary, everyday type of story and weave it with the extraordinary in various ways.  This
is how I incorporated the Visionary, New Age, and Spiritual themes into my story.
3) Do you have a writing process that involves outlines? 
     For my previous fiction novel which I co-authored, yes we did rely extensively on a written plot outline, and written character
profiles.  However, Serendipity Happens is my very first solo authored fiction novel.  This particular book was experimental. I wanted
to see if I could write without any written plot outline, or character profiles.  This was my intent and I envisioned it would be a joyful
experience if I could manage to do it.  At first I wasn’t really certain if I would be able to write without such writer’s tools as a plot
outline and character profile.
     I was quickly surprised by how readily my story flowed.  No plot outline.  No character profile. Just flow!  While writing the
manuscript I imagined I was watching a movie … the story was a movie I was watching on an envisioned movie screen in my
mind.  I felt relaxed and open … and let it flow.  Indeed, it felt like I was writing a story, watching a movie, and reading a book
all at the same time.  However, this really worked for me.  Perhaps the openness of being.  And, together with this openness,
perhaps my receptive state of being.  It felt somewhat similar to my meditative experiences, in the sense I felt uplifted and
inspired when writing this story.  And, I had decided only to write when I wanted to.  There was no schedule or deadline I
had to meet.  For me this worked best.  Open and creative flow.
     When I was finished writing one chapter I would always stop writing. I somehow had no idea of where the next chapter
would take me, what the characters were going to do next, which characters would appear or disappear along the way,
and what the main message or theme of the story was all about.  I had no idea.  But, I trusted I would receive the story
and that it would make sense.  I always liked each chapter as I wrote it.  And, liked to give myself space in between
writing chapters just to be relaxed.
     As the chapters were flowing in theme one after the next I developed a deeper confidence that the story would
be alright and make sense. It really was a step into the unknown with the writing of each and every chapter.  I
found this type of creative experience to be very fulfilling.  And, by the time I got to the writing of the final chapters
I was just as amazed with the story of Serendipity Happens as every reader will be.
4) Any favorite music while writing? Does it vary depending on the scenes? 
Music is most certainly an influence upon my writing.  For the more sultry, passionate chapters sometimes
I would dance to some light rock favourites from back in my teens, music from the 60’s.  I would take breaks
between writing some paragraphs and just dance.  It really made me feel more free, energized and into the mood
of romantic, passionate aspects to the story.
     When I was writing about more deeply philosophical, insightful, and spiritual themes in the story I would be most
inspired with some of my favourite Classical music such as Mozart, Chopin, and Tchaikovsky.  For me somehow there
is an interplay between music and my writing.  Music can be an excellent muse!
     And, often I would like to listen to the silence, gaze at a wondrous sunset, or the bright stars at night.  The silence in
its own special way must somehow contain the music of the universe and if one listens with spiritual ears one may be well
inspired to write about Visionary, New Age, and Spiritual stories.  The silence certainly does inspire me to do so.
5) Anything else you want us to know? 
     For me my writing is truly my Art of Love.
It’s about the energy, vibration, frequency, consciousness, & message shared.  Yes, the fulfillment and self development is
wonderful.  For me writing and especially Visionary, New Age, Spiritual writing feels like living in alignment with Divine purpose.