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.