Murder in the Wind

Murder in the Wind is an anthology of crime/mystery short stories contributed by the authors of Second Wind Publishing. Murder, mayhem and the unexpected are rife in each riveting story.

I’m a bit biased, but my favorite story is “The Stygian Night” by . . . drum roll . . . me! As a reviewer said, “In this delicious little story by the master of misdirection, Pat Bertram so draws us into the fantasy life of would-be author Silas Slovatksy that we scarcely recognize a “real” story unfolding in the background.” Poor Silas, he wants so much to be an author, but he just doesn’t get it.

 

***

Excerpt from “The Stygian Night”:

It was a dark and stormy night.

Silas Slovotsky leaned back in his chair and studied the words he’d typed into his computer.

He grinned. Perfect. The very words he needed to set the scene. And they had the added benefit of being true. It was a dark and stormy night. Except for his porch light, of course. And the thunder and lightning—

He leaned forward and peered at the computer screen. Did the sentence seem a bit trite? Maybe he needed to spiffy it up. He opened his thesaurus to the word “dark” and ran a finger down the page. “Stygian”. That might work.

He cleared his computer screen and typed: It was a stygian night.

Nope. Didn’t have the euphoniousness of the original sentence. Perhaps if he reread what he’d already written he could figure out how to proceed.

He printed out the manuscript he’d been working on for the past four months and read the single page. Dark as Night by Jack Kemp.

A thrill ran up his spine. He could see it on the shelf in the bookstore. Kemp, King, Koontz. He’d chosen his pseudonym specifically so the reviewers could call them the unhallowed trinity. And he deserved the accolade.

A knock on the door startled him out of his dream.

Who could that be? His friends—all two of them—knew he didn’t like to be disturbed when he was writing.

***

A few of the other stories included in the anthology are:

 “A Whiff of Murder” by Lazarus Barnhill: Barnhill reintroduces a pivotal character from The Medicine People. Old, wiser, sober and cynical, Bob Vessey hasn’t lost his touch in examining crime scene evidence.

“Hanging Around” by J J Dare: This marvelous tale begins playfully with squirrels sporting around a human body, hung seventy feet off the ground and quickly suspends the reader.

“This Time” by Claire Collins: A swiftly moving, smoothly written love story that turns into serial murder and mayhem. Well, all’s fair in love and revenge.

“The Strange Disappearance of Comrade Wang” by Mickey Hoffman: Becka, an innocent and vulnerable girl, finds herself at the mercy of the authorities in a strange and hostile place.

“Murder at the Manor” by Juliet Waldron: To read Waldron’s work is to be not transported but immersed in different, distant times and places. We genuinely regret it when her story ends.

“The Spot” by Deborah J Ledford: The Spot is just what Ledford hits in this awesome little tale of revenge, remorse and restoration.

Introducing Sheila Deeth, Author of Flower Child

Sheila Deeth grew up in the UK and has a Bachelors and Masters in mathematics from Cambridge University, England. Now living in the States with her husband and son, she enjoys reading,writing, drawing, telling stories, running a local writers’ group, and meeting her neighbors’ dogs on the green.

I first encountered Sheila Deeth during a writing contest on gather.com four years ago. I was impressed by the wonderfully encouraging and insightful remarks she made on the various entries, and during these ensuing years, we’ve continued our connection via our blogs, facebook, twitter, gather, and now google+. She is a staunch supporter of small press writers — her reviews are as encouraging and insightful as the comments she leaves on our blogs. I treasure the reviews she did of my books (reviews I did not ask for but were so generously given), and she’s introduced me to many wonderful new novels and novelists.

Today, it’s my turn to introduce a wonderful new novelist: Sheila Deeth. Sheila has mastered various story forms (including the shortest of forms, the 100-word and 50-word drabble), and today she is celebrating the release of her short novel, Flower Child with a blog tour, of which I am pleased to have a small part.

Her stories, book reviews and articles can be found in VoiceCatcher 4, Murder in the Wind (a mystery anthology published by Second Wind Publishing, which includes Sheila’s prize-winning story “Jack”), Poetic Monthly, Nights and Weekends, the Shine Journal and Joyful Online. Besides her Gypsy Shadow ebooks, Sheila has several self-published works available from Amazon and Lulu, and a full-length novel under contract to come out next year.

Today I am interviewing Sheila on my “Pat Bertram Introduces . . .” blog. Please stop by to say hi. If you have not yet met Sheila, please introduce yourself. You’ll be glad you did.

Wishing Sheila all the best — she deserves it.

Click here to find the interview of: Sheila Deeth, Author of “Flower Child”

Click here to read an excerpt of: Flower Child

Writer Am I

I did not come up with that great title for this bloggery, my host today, L.V. Gaudet, did. (Since you are all familiar with the title of my new book, Daughter Am I, I know you get the gist.) I’m hoping everyone goes to pay L.V. a visit. She says such wonderful things about me, that I want everyone to know! And, oh, yes — she’s also posted an article of mine in which I say that it does not matter how long it takes you to write a novel or how many words you write each day. All that matters is . . .

Hmmm. Do I tell you, or do I have you go read the article to find out for yourself? I have an idea — let’s play a game. You tell me here what you think matters, then go to L.V.’s blog and find out what I think: (What Kind of) Writer Am I

I am also still live at JaxPop in the Haunted City. We are talking about hooks, so stop by and post your first sentence or paragraph. We will be kind, I promise. No criticism. I’d just like to see how you start your book. You can find me and my hook at: That’s What Hooks a Reader.

The haunted house is still haunted at the Second Wind Publishing Blog. Not only is the clue game fun, but you might also win the prize: a print copy of Second Wind’s Murder in the Wind Short Story Anthology. I even wrote a story for the book!! That alone should make competing worthwhile. So, meet me here: Trick or Treat! Let the Game Begin!

Tomorrow I will be in Australia. How cool is that! (Weather-wise, I bet it’s cooler here — lots and lots of snow! — so I’m looking forward to the virtual change of climate.) And, as if this weren’t enough excitement, tomorrow night at 9:00pm ET, I will be having a live chat at my No Whine, Just Champagne group on Gather.com.

For those of you who are just tuning into my Daughter Am I blog tour, you can find the entire schedule here: Blog Tour 2009. The most incredible thing about the internet is that , in an cyber/quantum sort of way, the past is always the present. So, while I am here, I am also at every stop on my tour waiting to welcome you. So please join me on my journey. We’ll have fun, you and I.

DAIClick here to buy Daughter Am I from Second Wind Publishing, LLC. 

Click here to buy Daughter Am I from Amazon.

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A Whiff of a Treat and a Bit of a Cheat

One benefit of being published by a new, small independent press, is that you get to wear many hats. Second Wind Publishing is preparing an anthology of mystery/crime short stories to be released in September, and as a pinch-hitting copy editor, I get first look. I enjoyed Lazarus Barnhill’s novels, The Medicine People and Lacey Took a Holiday, so last night I printed out Barnhill’s story, “A Whiff of Murder” for a treat.

It’s been a very long time since I considered reading a treat. I still read prodigiously — it’s more than a habit with me, it’s akin to breathing — but I don’t necessarily enjoy it. (It’s like breathing polluted air, you need it, but it isn’t something you look forward too.) But I was right  –- “A Whiff of Murder” was a treat. It’s a fun story, with great detecting,  a touch of irony, and good characters (Barnhill brought back Robert Vessey from The Medicine People). All in less than 5,000 words.

Now I have to figure out how to write my own story. I have a beginning, though it’s a bit of a cheat. I wrote it for an online writing challenge –  to hook readers with the first 650 words of a novel. Since I had no intention of ever writing the novel, I just tossed out the most preposterous scenario I could think of. It wouldn’t really make a good novel — the humor would wear thin — but it would make a good short story. So now all I need is a middle and an end. And a touch of mystery. Or a crime. And some suspense. Hmmmm. Should be fun.

You’re welcome to join the fun. Second WindPublishing is sponsoring a short story contest, and the winner will be published in the anthology. You can find the information here: Murder in the Wind.

Let me know how you do. Maybe together we can figure out how to write a short mystery worthy of publication.

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