Posts in "Publication News" Category

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.

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!

Cover RE-REVEAL: One Night Gone

Surprise! Just when you thought I had a cover….I have a new cover.

The smart, lovely team at Graydon House/Harlequin decided that my original cover didn’t quite speak enough to the suspense/thriller genre that my book really fits in. So they gave it a facelift! And a beautiful one at that.

For those of you who were fans of the creepy house in the original–good news! It’s still there. But we’ve shifted focus slightly to the stormy night sky instead of the sandy beach, giving the overall look one with more menace and intrigue. Check it out!

Same house, added creepiness!

My debut novel ONE NIGHT GONE to be released in Fall 2019!

I’m thrilled to announce that my debut novel, a suspense/thriller titled One Night Gone, will be published in Fall 2019 by Graydon House Books.

Here’s a little bit about it:

One sultry summer in the 1980s, a teenage girl arrived in the wealthy vacation town of Opal Beach to start her life anewto achieve her destiny. But before the summer was up, she vanished.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach, it seems like the perfect chance to regroup and start fresh after a messy divorce. It’s the off-season, after all, which means peace and quiet, and more importantly for Allison, safety.

But when Allison becomes drawn into the story of a girl who disappeared from town thirty years before, she begins to realize that Opal Beach isn’t as idyllic as it seems. Beyond the walls of the gorgeous homes hide dark secrets. And as Allison digs deeper into the mystery, she uncovers not only the shocking truth, but finds herself caught in the middle of a twisted plot.

Part electric coming-of-age story and part breathtaking mystery, One Night Gone is an atmospheric, suspenseful novel about power, privilege, and ultimately, sisterhood.

I’m excited to be working with the editorial team at Harlequin/HarperCollins on this book, especially my excellent editor Melanie Fried. Thanks most of all to my wonderful agent Michelle Richter and the team at FUSE Literary for believing in this book and finding what I believe is the best home for it!

Stay tuned for more details as the year progresses, and consider signing up for my (very, very occasional) newsletter for any giveaways, readings and other events, as well as random ramblings.

Ok, now for the freak-out: EEEEEEEEEEKKKKK!!!

(Photo by Jason Leung on Unsplash)

When your ghost story haunts you in the coffee shop

My story “Coal Girl” was published at Jellyfish Review as part of the Stories for the Dead special issue. It’s about ghosts and teenagers and coal banks. At its heart, it’s a love story, despite it’s weird creepiness.

I was thinking about all this yesterday when my husband and I were at our favorite coffee shop in the area, De Clieu, where I ordered one of their specials–a delightful drink called Honey Charcoal Latte. When it arrived, the first thing I thought of was, well, my story:

Honey Charcoal Latte–Yum!!

The digestive charcoal bits look like coal, and the white foam and mug reminded me of ghosts. And, of course, when I tasted it, it had an underlying sweetness like the love story that emerges out of the darkness. It was dark and delicious and a tad sweet, just like I hope my story is.

I love the idea of pairing drinks with stories, such as Deborah Lacy does with her Drinks with Reads column at Mystery Playground. When Bystanders came out, we invented a drink to go with it (The Bystander, which is basically a whiskey sour with a little bit of red wine drizzled on top.) But a pairing has never come so easily or naturally as this one, and I’m still a little spooked by it, to be honest. Seems like a little magic on what was a dreary rainy day. I’ll take it!

Bystanders named a ‘best book of the year’ in The Guardian

What a lovely post-Thanksgiving story to wake up to! This morning, The Guardian released part 1 of their Best Books of 2017 story–asking authors to discuss their top favorite reads of the year. I’m honored–and oh so thankful–to discover that Jennifer Egan named Bystanders as one of her three recommendations.

You can read the selections here and shop for all the book lovers on your list.

Happy book birthday to Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons

Once upon a time I thought of a title for a story: “The Etiquette of Adultery.” I liked that title so much that I wrote it down on a piece of paper and carried it around in my wallet with me for about a year. One day I decided to write the story, wondering what an etiquette guide for adultery would really look like. I sent it off to Necessary Fiction, and editor Steve Himmer wrote a nice note back saying he loved the concept but thought I should expand the story a bit more.

That note made sense to me and sparked something inside me that became the catalyst for this book. An editor’s job is mostly thankless–I know, having edited SmokeLong for almost seven years now–but I also don’t think that editors often realize how much impact a kind, encouraging, honest rejection letter can have on a writer. Sometimes a sentence or two or a quick suggestion can help solidify an idea or start someone off on another path with a story. In this case, Steve’s note didn’t just help make “Adultery” a better story, but it also started me on the trail of a series of etiquette stories, which eventually created a book.

The thing is, the stories were so very fun to write. Most of them teeter on the edge of flash-fiction-length–the longest story tips just over 2,000 words, I believe–and the form allowed me to play around with all sorts of fun experiments, creating an unofficial guide to our darker selves.

The first edition of Modern Manners For Your Inner Demons was published by Matter Press in 2012. It sold out of its print run and was only available as an ebook for the last few years, but now–now!–my friends, it’s back. And cuter than ever.

The newly revised Modern Manners, published by Santa Fe Writers Project, includes two new etiquette stories (“The Etiquette of Voyeurism” and “The Etiquette of Gossip”) and comes in paperback in an adorable, stuff-it-in-your-pocket size.

Here are some kind things folks have said about it:

“Sly, clever, original take on the sad, bewildering, dead-on truths of being human.”

— Kathy Fish, author of Wild Life and Together We Can Bury It

 

“The anxiety-ridden instructees of Laskowski’s stories tap dance their way through various awkward situations ranging from adultery to dementia. It’s fun to laugh at them, but by the end of each story, you can’t quite remember why you thought they were so dumb in the first place; these characters have problems and deal with their problems with dignity. Each of these stories start out in a sarcastic vein, yet the problems they address are heartbreaking, and each and every one of them realizes a protagonist, fully formed, with a past, a present, and a future.”

— L.W. Compton The Collagist

I’ll also be celebrating Modern Manners‘ birthday at the AWP conference Feb. 9-11 in Washington, D.C. Check out my events page for more information about readings and panels and things. Hope to see you and your inner demons soon!

The Rumpus Saturday Interview and a great reading at Politics and Prose

This weekend was a writer’s dream! My chat with the wonderful Tyrese Coleman was published in The Rumpus on Saturday. Q&As seem pretty easy to conduct, and we see a lot of them around. But conducting a really good interview is an art. It’s one thing to send some generic basic questions to an author and let them ramble on. It’s another to do research, read their works, and craft really interesting questions that would be of interest to someone who has read the book as equally as someone who hasn’t read the book. And I thought Ty did an excellent job with it. I so appreciate her efforts here, and I hope you’ll also go check out her writing as well. She’s a force.

Speaking of a force, Politics and Prose is one of the best independent bookstores in the country. I had an event there on Saturday afternoon with novelist Michael Landweber, and it was fantastic. Kudos to the professional and kind event staff at P&P who make you feel very welcome and who know how to draw in a crowd. It was a pleasure to hear Mike read from his new novel Thursday, 1:17 PM, about what happens to a teenage boy when time suddenly stops and everything is frozen except him. Thanks so much to everyone who came out to hear us read. It was truly a pleasure.

Author Elizabeth Hazen and publisher Andrew Gifford at the Grubb Road Book Festival.
Author Elizabeth Hazen and publisher Andrew Gifford at the Grubb Road Book Festival.

On Sunday, Santa Fe Writers Project hosted the first annual Grubb Road Book Festival in Silver Spring, Maryland. Local book publishers including Paycock Press and Possibilities Publishing were on hand to chat with readers and sell some books. It was a beautiful summer afternoon.

So…a whirlwind book weekend! I continue to feel fortunate in so many ways.

How to Write Killer Flash Fiction

Crime flash fiction is hard to write! But when it’s good, it’s oh so good. I talk about this in a blog post “How to Write Killer Flash Fiction” over at Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Here’s a sample:

“Stay away from surprise or punch-line endings. Your story’s only purpose should not be a surprise reveal at the end. That leaves the reader feeling cheated.”

Check it out in its entirety here–and thanks much to editor Janet Hutchings for asking me to participate. Also remember to check out the May 2016 All Nations issue of EQMM for my story “States of Matter.”