2018 ANTHONY AWARDS – SHORT STORY – PART TWO by Debra H. Goldstein
The Anthony Awards, given for excellence in different aspects of mystery, have been presented at the Bouchercon World Mystery Conference since 1986. The purpose of this two-part blog, which began on Friday, August 19 (http://www.debrahgoldstein.com/2018-anthony-awards-short-stories-part-one-click-comments/) is to provide you with an opportunity to learn more about this year’s Anthony Short Story finalists – Jen Conley, Susanna C. Calkins, Hilary Davidson, Barb Goffman, Art Taylor, and me and our writings. Bouchercon has made the nominated stories available to be read at https://www.bouchercon2018.com/anthony-awards/short-story-anthony-award-nominees/. Today’s blog gives more insight into each writer while the first part told a little about each story.
Do you tend to write short stories or novel? Was this story, in any way, a first for you, part of a series, or did it have any special meaning?
Barb Goffman – “Whose Wine Is It Anyway?” – 50 Shades of Cabernet – http://www.barbgoffman.com/whose-wine-is-it-anyway-.html
Other than my one novel that’s long been a drawer, I only write short stories. “Whose Wine Is It Anyway?” is a stand-alone. It stemmed from something that happened to me nearly fifteen years ago, when I was working as an attorney at a law firm. It was a brief conversation that stuck with me, and I knew I wanted to use it one day in my fiction if I could figure out the right plot. So I was delighted when I finally got to type this: “I’m supposed to plan my own goodbye party?” That real-life sentence made for great dialogue and became the final straw that incited the rest of the plot in this story.
Debra H. Goldstein – “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” – Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine – http://www.alfredhitchcockmysterymagazine.com/assets/4/6/Goldstein_Night-Goldstein.pdf Podcast: https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/ahmm/episodes/2018-06-22T06_54_58-07_00
I write novels and short stories, but “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” has a special meaning to me. It was my first submission to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and AHMM
not only published it, but featured my name on its cover. Neither of these exciting events almost happened. Even though several of my short stories had been accepted by other publications, I lacked the confidence to send my work to AHMM or Ellery Queen. Several friends, including Art, Barb, Bob Mangeot and Terrie Moran encouraged me to submit my work to these Dell magazines, but the one who made me believe in myself was B.K. (Bonnie) Stevens.
A few years ago, when I read her story, “Thea’s First Husband,” I was so blown away by it that I wrote her a fan email asking if she taught online classes. She didn’t, but she sent me suggested readings and we subsequently became friends. She encouraged me to reach beyond my fears. Last year, every Malice Domestic recipient received the AHMM which contained “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” in their book bags. A few weeks after Malice, I received a package and note from Bonnie. She wrote she believed it was an award-winning story and knew, because it was my first Alfred Hitchcock submission and acceptance, I would want extra copies of the issue. Sadly, Bonnie passed away just before winning the Anthony for Best Novella last year. I wish she had lived to see the wonderful ride, including being an Anthony and an Agatha finalist, that “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place” has taken me on.
Art Taylor – “A Necessary Ingredient” – Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea –
Short stories have always been my first love, and I tend to write short fiction primarily—partly because it’s just the length at which my own imagination and my storytelling seem to work best. Even my first book, On the Road with Del & Louise, was a novel in stories, with six stories serving as the building blocks for the longer narrative about that title couple. While “A Necessary Ingredient” was a challenge in some ways because of the private eye angle, I very much enjoyed the challenge of writing that kind of story in the unexpected setting of semi-rural North Carolina—exploring how two different traditions can be joined and potentially enhance one another: the hard-boiled detective story on the one hand, those Hammett and Chandler and Macdonald stories that Ambrose likes to read, and on the other hand, the regional mystery as epitomized by writers like Margaret Maron, a fellow North Carolinian and one of my own inspirations. In fact, there are a couple of nods in the story to Maron’s Deborah Knott series, and it was fun playing homage to her mysteries in my own work.
Hilary Davidson – “My Side of the Matter” – Killing Malmon – https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/malmon-killing-malmon/
I write both short stories and novels. “My Side of the Matter” was special because Dan and Kate Malmon are dear friends, and it was exciting to be involved in a project to support a great cause. My first short story, “Anniversary,” was published by Thuglit in 2007, and it was selected for a best-of-the-year anthology. Since then, I’ve published dozens of short stories in Ellery Queen, Beat to a Pulp, the Bouchercon anthologies, and many other places. My debut novel, THE DAMAGE DONE, won the 2011 Anthony Award for Best First Novel. It’s the first book in the Lily Moore series, which also includes THE NEXT ONE TO FALL and EVIL IN ALL ITS DISGUISES. I’m also the author of a hardboiled thriller called BLOOD ALWAYS TELLS and a short-story collection called THE BLACK WIDOW CLUB. Tess Gerritsen once called me “the master of plot twists,” which is the greatest compliment I can imagine!
Susanna C. Calkins – “The Trial of Madame Pelletier” – Malice Domestic 21: Mystery Most Historical – http://www.susannacalkins.com/short-stories.html
I’m delighted, honored, and a bit embarrassed to say that “The Trial of Madame Pelletier” was my first published short story. For the last few years I’ve been writing the Lucy Campion historical mysteries (St. Martin’s/Minotaur) but when I saw the call for short stories for the Malice Domestic Anthology, I thought I’d try my hand at a short story. When I was in graduate school, working on my doctorate in European History, I had written a paper on the original trial, at the time focusing on the sensationalized newspaper accounts. I always had it in the back of my head I might return to the case someday. I went back through several medical journals that had described the poisoning (and the trial) at length, and suddenly I thought about a different way to tell the story. And, as a side note, it was a great feeling to put all that research to good use, after all these years!
Jen Conley – “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” – Just To Watch Them Die: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Johnny Cash – https://www.jenconley.net/
I tend to write short stories, which I find easier for me, although I do have a novel coming out with Down & Out books next year which I am excited about. Still, I’ve always loved the short story format–reading them and writing them. Overall I would say–and so would anyone who knows me–I am impatient person by nature and I like to get to the heart of story within a sentence or two.
The story I wrote for this anthology had some meaning to me. When I was a teen, there was a local murder of a thirteen-year-old girl. Her fifteen-year-old neighbor attacked and beat her unconscious. He left her at the side of a creek bed, near one of the marshy inlets of the Barnegat Bay. When the tide came in, she drowned. Recently he was released from prison and returned to his old neighborhood to live with his mom. One account had him riding around in a car, waving to his old neighbors–as if they would be happy to see him. As a teen when this happened, I always assumed this guy was a sadistic monster. However as an adult, reading the updated details about him when he was released, I concluded that he was probably not only full of rage but also of low-intelligence. This aspect bothered me deeply. Maybe it added such a sad pathos to an already terrible story.
What are you working on now?
I’m excited that the first in my new series—MURDER KNOCKS TWICE (also with St. Martin’s Minotaur)—will be released in Spring 2019. Set in Prohibition-Era Chicago, these novels feature Gina Ricci, a cigarette girl who must confront some dark doings that underlie the sparkling glamour of the speakeasy where she works.
I’m in the middle of revising four stories, though by the time this blog runs, I hope at least one of them will be submitted. I’m also working on a blog post about my new story coming out in early September, “The Case of the Missing Pot Roast,” which will appear in this year’s Bouchercon anthology, Florida Happens.
My next novel is called One Small Sacrifice, and it will be published by Thomas & Mercer in May 2019. It’s about a doctor who vanishes, and the police realize that her boyfriend was involved in another woman’s death a year earlier. I just finished the edits, which feels great, but I’m also working on my next book, as well as a collaborative novel with a group of friends from ITW, and stories for a couple of other anthologies. It’s great to be busy when you love what you do.
Because I have a few stories that have recently come out or are coming out over the next year (or two!), I’m taking some time to concentrate on a novel I’ve been tinkering with for a while, a dark tale set primarily in a small all-boys boarding school in the mountains of North Carolina. I hesitate to say much about it beyond that—I work slowly and messily, and there’s no telling when or whether the book will ever get done. But for now, for better or worse, that’s where I’m spending much of my time.
I’m actually finishing up the revisions/edits of a novel–a missing guy story. One of the big secondary characters is Andrea Vogel, a police officer who has been the main character in several of my short stories. This time she’s the lead detective in the missing person case. I’ve always written Andrea from first-person but this time she’s seen from the perspective of my new main character, Kayla Misto’s viewpoint. Kayla isn’t a fan of Andrea. And Andrea isn’t a fan of Kayla. That’s been fun to do.
One Taste Too Many, the first book in my new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, officially debuts from Kensington in January, but it already is available for pre-order. In it, Sarah knew starting over after her divorce would be messy, but things fall apart completely when her ex drops dead, seemingly poisoned by her sister’s award-winning rhubarb crisp. Now, with Sarah’s cat, RahRah, wanted by the woman who broke up her marriage and her twin wanted by the police for murder, Sarah needs to figure out the right recipe to crack the case before time runs out. Unfortunately, for a gal whose idea of good china is floral paper plates, catching the real killer and living to tell about it could mean facing a fate worse than death—being in the kitchen!