Posts in "News and Events" Category

“The Long-Term Tenant” Wins Thriller Award for Best Short Story

I was so pleased to hear that my short story “The Long-Term Tenant,” originally published in the July/August 2019 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, won the 2020 Thriller Award for Best Short Story. Thanks so much to the judges, to International Thriller Writers, and to my fellow nominees.

Congratulations to all the winners! Check out the full list of winners here.

You can also hear me read the story on the Ellery Queen podcast!

Anthology news, devilish book bundles, and other stuff

Hello!

Strange times. Strange times, indeed. A few months ago, I posted a blog here discussing all the spring events I was looking forward to. A few weeks later, I had to delete it because every single one of those events was canceled.

We are all sad, I know. All mourning the loss of something and struggling to adjust to this new (hopefully temporary) way of living. For me, I’m very sad that my son won’t go back to 2nd grade to finish out the year with his friends and teacher, all of whom he loves. I’m sad that the writing conventions, readings, and festivals I was going to attend are all vanished—poof!—some of which, like the Edgar Awards, I was so very much looking forward to. I miss my colleagues at work, I miss my favorite restaurants. I miss having lunch dates with friends. I miss the luxury of wandering around a store for an hour or so and just browsing for random things that I don’t need.

But in this moment of profound anxiety and loss, I know I need to find things to be grateful for and things to look forward to. So I thought I’d share with you a few cool things that I’m part of, since I can’t go to events and shout about them.

First, on March 16, an anthology launched that I’m very excited about. It’s called The Swamp Killers, and it is a novel-in-stories by a great group of crime fiction writers and edited by Sarah M. Chen and E.A. Aymar. I’ve got the first story in the novel, called “Birthday,” about a depressed hit man who has to attend a child’s birthday party at, basically, a Chuck E Cheese kind of place.

Contributors include: E.A. Aymar, Sarah M. Chen, Hilary Davidson, Alex Dolan, Rebecca Drake, Gwen Florio, Elizabeth Heiter, J.J. Hensley, Susi Holliday, Shannon Kirk, Tara Laskowski, Jenny Milchman, Alan Orloff, Tom Sweterlitsch, Art Taylor, and Wendy Tyson.

You can find more out about the book and order yourself a copy here.

Another anthology I’m a contributor for hit the (virtual, I guess) shelves on April 7. The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, edited by Josh Pachter, features 26 stories inspired by Joni Mitchell songs. My husband Art Taylor and I wrote a story together for this book, based on Joni’s song “Both Sides Now.” The story we wrote is a series of letters back and forth by a husband and wife while he’s in prison. We included secret codes in the story, so we make you do a little work while you read.

If you purchase a copy of the book, one-thirds of the author royalties will be donated to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in Joni Mitchell’s name, so snatch it up now!

Speaking of Art and me, we also did a podcast together recently at the popular Dark and Stormy Podcast, where we each talked about our Agatha-nominated works (Art’s up for Best Short Story for “Better Days” and I’m up for Best Debut Novel for One Night Gone.) You can hear us chat about our work right here, and check out the other podcast interviews they’ve done for other Agatha nominees.

I also am excited to have published my first creative nonfiction flash piece over at The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts. It’s called “Stochastic,” and it’s about my mom and grief and the randomness of life. It takes about 45 seconds to read, so I hope you’ll give it a go.

Finally, I want to give a shout-out to my favorite small press publisher, Santa Fe Writers Project. Publisher Andrew Gifford is tireless in shouting about his authors and getting their works out to as wide an audience as possible. SFWP has been around for more than 20 years now, and you can find a title in most any genre you love. You can find my two short story collections there, Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons and Bystanders.

Browse the shelves at SFWP! And for a limited time, you can buy “The Devil Made Me Do It” bundle, which includes both of my story collections and A.A. Balaskovits’ Magic for Unlucky Girls.

E-book sale for One Night Gone!

Happy Valentine’s Day early!

One Night Gone is on sale for $2.99 in any e-book format from now until Feb. 9. That’s less than a cup of coffee at Starbucks!

Check it out on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, or Google, and buy yourself (or a friend!) a little winter treat.

About the book:

A Finalist for the Mary Higgins Clark Award, Agatha Award, and Lefty Award

“A subtly but relentlessly unsettling novel.” —TANA FRENCH, author of The Witch Elm

It was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

One Night Gone is a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel

How exciting to announce that One Night Gone is a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel! I’m thrilled to be in the company of these fine debut novelists: Connie Berry, S.C. Perkins, Ang Pompano, and Grace Topping.

Also, massive congratulations to all the other finalists, many of whom I call friends. One special shout-out: My husband, Art Taylor, is a finalist in the Best Short Story category for his story “Better Days,” which appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine last year. Yay!

You can see the full list of finalists right here! The winners will be announced in early May at the Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland.

Where I’ll be at Bouchercon

The Bouchercon World Mystery Convention is almost upon us. This year the conference is in Dallas. It will be my first time in Texas, but unfortunately due to the whirlwind of activities, I’ll barely be able to enjoy it! No worries, though. I’m sure I’ll get at least one good Tex-Mex meal in.

Here’s where I’ll be at the conference:

Friday, November 1

3:30 to 4 p.m. —Signing at the Mystery Writers of America booth with Matthew Farrell, Meg Gardiner, Susan C. Shea, Art Taylor, and Wendy Walker

Saturday, November 2

Speed Dating with Art Taylor. Saturday, November 2, 7 a.m.

Panel: “The Postman Always Rings Twice: Desire as a Motive” with Claire Booth, Jane Cleland, Christa Faust, Christina Freeburn, and Anne Laughlin. 9:30 a.m.

I’ll also be attending other panels and programs and looking forward to seeing friends and meeting other writers.

Best book launch week ever.

One Night Gone launched last Tuesday, October 1, and what a wonderful week it’s been. I’ve been so overwhelmed with all the enthusiasm and excitement from friends and readers–you all are the best! Thank you!

I kicked off my first month of events with a book launch party at One More Page Books and More in Arlington, Virginia. I love OMP–they hosted my very first launch party for Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons so many years ago, and I’m still grateful to them for taking a chance on my little chapbook. Eileen and crew are so supportive of local authors. We are blessed to have them here in the D.C. area.

I also had a bunch of other writings, interviews, and reviews published around the Internets. My essay about my mom’s death, ghosts, grief, and Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark was published in CrimeReads. The best part of this was hearing all the amazing stories from people who have also lost a loved one. I feel very seen.

I also had a Very Important Scientific Study over at Criminal Element. Meaning, my son and I watched A LOT of Scooby Doo episodes and ranked our top 10 monsters. Read it. Then fight us.

The Beast of Bottomless Lake

Bookish featured my essay about the three things that creep me out the most (hint: KRAKEN) and why I chose to write about them.

I chatted with Elena Hartwell on her web site, and also with Leslie Pietrzyk over at Work in Progress. Marni Graff allowed me to blab on about the challenges of switching from writing novels to writing short stories and back again. My husband Art Taylor invited me to discuss the beginning of One Night Gone on his popular blog series The First Two Pages. And I had a really wonderful chat with Meredith Cole and Kristin Swenson on the podcast The Writer’s Story.

The cocktails I paired with my characters were featured in “Drinks with Reads” at Mystery Playground.

And Washington Independent Review of Books featured a really great review of the book, in which I finally unlocked the ultimate level of achievement: a book that’s dubbed “unputdownable.”

WHEW! What a whirlwind. And the fun continues tonight when I get to chat with the always amazing Bethanne Patrick at another favorite D.C. bookstore: Politics and Prose at the Wharf. Hope to see you there–or at another event soon.

Main photo credit by David McDonald

Happy book birthday to One Night Gone!

A little over three years ago, I opened a Word document on my computer and started working on this little idea I had.

And now she’s here, this beautiful book. She’s here! She’s finally here!

Today is launch day for my debut novel of suspense, One Night Gone!

Come on over here and read more about One Night Gone. You can also order it at your favorite bookstore.

Or, better yet, check out my tour dates and stop by and say hello!

Happiest of Octobers to you!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go unearth all of my most favorite Halloween decorations to make my house boo-tiful.

Enjoy this, the Season of the Witch!

What scares you?

My husband and son and I recently invited another couple and their daughter over to watch the Ghostbusters: Answer the Call (2016) movie. We discussed with them all of the scariest moments of the film—when the ghosts pop out unexpectedly, some serious treatments of death, even the more vulgar gestures that might be too adult. We thought we’d done a great job of preparing them.

And then we got to the mannequin scene.

“Oh no,” our friend groaned. “Ainsley is terrified of mannequins.”

None of us had any particular fear of mannequins. It didn’t even occur to us to warn them about that. We got through the scene unharmed, and enjoyed the rest of the movie, but it got me thinking about how personal and ingrained our terrors are. Like our fingerprints, our fears are truly unique. And they can define us.

Because fear, like humor, is a very distinct and unique emotion, I wanted to discover more about the different ways it affects us. I guess I just find it really interesting to know what scares people.

For that reason, I’ve decided to start a blog series exploring this very thing. Horror. Anxiety. Night terrors. Monsters. You get the idea.

Twice a month—on the 13th (because…well, you know) and on the last day of the month—I’ll interview someone about their greatest fears. Most of the time, these will be writers (because I have a lot of writer friends), but you don’t have to be a writer to participate. If you’re really into exploring what’s spooky, then shoot me an email on my contact form for consideration.

Look for the first in the series — featuring Paul Tremblay!—starting October 13, 2019!

Win a debut mystery/thriller book bundle!

Friends of mine who love a good book bundle giveaway: I’m partnering with several kick-ass 2019 debut authors to give away copies of our new books to one lucky entrant.

The books included are:

SOPHIE LAST SEEN by Marlene Adelstein

PAST PRESENCE by Nicole Bross

LITTLE LOVELY THINGS by Maureen Joyce Connolly

ONE NIGHT GONE by Tara Laskowski (That’s me!)

COME AND GET ME: A Caitlin Bergman Novel by August Norman

HER DAUGHTER’S MOTHER by Daniela Petrova

The contest runs from May 25 through June 15, 2019. To enter, just fill out the form here at this link. Entering gives you a chance to win all six titles, plus you’ll be subscribed to our author mailing lists*, which will give you more scoop on our books and other giveaways and news.

Enter to win all these lovely books!

*You can unsubscribe at any time. Please see the full contest rules for more details.

My first Malice—A recap.

This past weekend I attended my first Malice Domestic convention in Bethesda, Maryland. I’d been to the Agatha Award banquet dinners in the past — cheering on my husband Art Taylor as a nominee (and four-time winner!) of the Agatha, but this was my first time attending the full conference.

I’ve heard often from regular attendees that Malice is a family, but I never truly understood what they meant by that until this weekend. So many wonderful people have been so kind to me in small and big ways, and that generosity is so amazing. Like all families, there are, of course, some moments of disagreements or bickering, but overall, Malice has always felt very warm and welcoming, and as a debut writer, I’ve never appreciated that more.

Art and I brought our son Dash with us, and while he wasn’t the only child there, he was certainly in the minority, and yet everyone eagerly accepted him into the fold. We had a babysitter (THANK YOU, AVERY!) watching over him, but at times it felt as though we had hundreds of people watching over him. And us, too! During one panel, Art got a text message from someone saying, “I have your name badge!” Turns out Art had lost the name tag in his badge without even realizing it, but he had it back, safe and sound, before the panel was even over.

That’s family.

This year was also my first Agatha nomination — for Best Short Story — so both that was both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking, I’ll admit. And yet, once I got into the swing of things and started to feel that warmth, I realized that no matter what, everything was going to be just fine.

The weekend was a whirlwind, as all good conferences are, but here are some highlights:

  • My first Malice panel on short stories, with fellow nominees Leslie Budewitz, Susanna Calkins, Barb Goffman and my husband Art Taylor, moderated by the wonderful Michael Bracken. I got to talk a bit about Dash entering his first writing contest (which embarrassed and excited him, apparently).
Short story panel!
  • Lunch with my Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine editor Linda Landrigan. It was so great to catch up with her. Later in the weekend, I also got to record an audio reading of my very first AHMM publication, “The Monitor,” which I’ll link to here when it goes live!
  • Talking with new friends and old. I’m sure I’ll forget someone, so I don’t want to even attempt to name names, but I love love love you all!
  • Author signing on Saturday morning, where I got to sign the very first copies of the advance readers of One Night Gone!!
So happy to be signing my first novel!
  • The Agatha banquet! Although I spent the majority of it super nervous, it was truly an honor and a delight to find out I was tied with Leslie Budewitz as a winner of the Agatha for Best Short Story! What an amazing experience! I have my own teapot now! Also, massive congratulations to all the winners this year: Ellen Byron, Sujata Massey, Dianne Freeman, Shari Randall, Cindy Callaghan, and Jane Cleland!

Now it’s back to (boring) reality again. But, can’t wait for next year!