Second up in my promise to read a story a day in the month in the month of May is Sheila Connolly’s “Kept in the Dark.” A nominee for this year’s Agatha Award for Best Short Story, the story—set against the backdrop of a mushroom growing operation in Southeastern Pennsylvania—offers a dead body, a couple of investigators (including a tall, dark, and handsome forensics expert), and a surprise solution to the crime, but the tale makes a couple of nicely twisty departures from the expected trajectory of the whodunit. Juliette Adamson, owner of the mushroom farm (actually caves, as she points out), is both charming and clever—and a nice match for “Mr. CSI-GQ,” as she calls him early on. Plus, the background info on mushrooms that Connolly weaves into the story is fascinating in its own right. I’m not a fan of fungi myself (yuck!), but the story itself proves simply delicious. — Art Taylor
Archive for the ‘D.C. Events’ Category
May 1 kicks off the “first organized international Short Story Month,” inspired by the StoryADay in May writing challenge. There’s simply no way for me to write a story a day myself (though I’m planning to have my current story-in-progress finished by the end of the month). But I do plan to try to read a story a day this month and post about them here—and having said that, I’m committed now, I guess.
First up today and tomorrow are a couple of stories I should’ve read long before now, given the circumstances. On Saturday, I’ll be among the finalists for this year’s Agatha Award for Best Short Story, and while I’ve already read and enjoyed Barb Goffman’s “The Lord is My Shamus” and B.K. Steven’s “Thea’s First Husband”—terrific tales each—the other two finalists have been waiting far too long on my TBR pile.
I’ve always admired Dana Cameron’s stories, and her Agatha-nominated tale “Mischief in Mesopotamia” proves a delight as well. Archeologist and part-time sleuth Emma Fielding is desperately trying to escape all her work duties while on vacation in southeast Turkey but quickly finds her time taxed by the thoughtless members of her tour group (those tacky Americans!)—and then finds her investigative skills challenged too, when at least one of them seems to be behind the theft of ancient artifacts. Suspects abound, false clues are liberally planted, and the real clue that solves the mystery is both subtly folded into the storyline and, ultimately, completely satisfying.
I’ll be part of several events at this year’s Malice Domestic Convention, May 3-5 at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland—thanks in part to my story “When Duty Calls” being an Agatha Award finalist for Best Short Story!
- On Friday, May 3, at 10 a.m., I’ll take part in my first “Malice-Go-Round”—billed as “like speed dating, with authors.” (I’ll start practicing my pitch soon.)
- On Saturday, May 4, at 10 a.m., the panel discussion “Make It Snappy” will feature this year’s nominees for the Agatha Award for Best Short Story: Dana Cameron, Sheila Connolly, Barb Goffman, B.K. Stevens, and me (!!!). Steven Steinbock, a good friend and gifted critic, will moderate.
- Saturday night at 7 p.m. is the Agatha Awards Banquet—wish me luck! (Last I heard, I’ll be hosting a table, too. Folks signing up for my table should expect bourbon of some sort as party favors… and free-flowing wine, of course.)
- On Sunday, May 5, at 11:15 a.m., I’ll be taking the moderator role at the panel “Murder With A Little Education on the Side: Mysteries That Tackle Social Issues,” with John Billheimer, Joan Boswell, Donis Casey, and Edith McClintock.
Looking forward to the whole program—and to seeing so many fellow writers, readers, and friends throughout the weekend! —Art Taylor
I’m so pleased to have been invited to participate in the 10th annual CityLit Festival up in Baltimore—and on such a very cool panel! “Mysterious Adaptations: Noir from Novels to the Movies” will feature a chat on film adaptations of some killer (literally killer!) books. Joining me on the panel are Ariel S. Winter, author of the recent novel The Twenty-Year Death; Brian Lindenmuth, nonfiction editor at Spinetingler Magazine and one of the fiction editors for Snubnose Press; and moderator Nik Korpon, a terrific writer whose books include Old Ghosts, By the Nails of the Warpriest, Stay God, and Bar Scars: Stories. We’ll be talking on Saturday, April 13, at noon, at the Enoch Pratt Free Library. — Art Taylor
I’m very pleased to have been invited to participate in a short story panel, “The Long and Short of the Short Story,” hosted by the Central Virginia Chapter of Sisters in Crime on Saturday, March 30, at 11 a.m. The panel features Leone Ciporin, Meredith Cole, and me, and takes places at the Henrico County Public Library, Glen Allen Branch, 10501 Staples Mill Road, Glen Allen, VA.
Here’s some quick info on the other two panelists:
In July 2012, Leone Ciporin’s story, “Invisible Women,” was published in The Hook, a Charlottesville weekly, after being selected by John Grisham for third place in The Hook‘s fiction contest. Her story, “A Grain of Truth,” is included in the mystery anthology, Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder, published by Wildside Press in May 2012. She has also had four mini-mysteries in Woman’s World magazine. Leone is a member of both Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. She lives in Charlottesville and is active with WriterHouse there.
Meredith Cole won the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic Best Traditional First Mystery competition with her book Posed for Murder. The book was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her second book, Dead in the Water, continued the adventures of Lydia McKenzie in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Her short stories have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and the anthology Murder New York Style. She is one of the featured authors in Making Story: Twenty-One Writers and How They Plot, which offers writing advice to aspiring authors. She is a member of both Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and she teaches writing at the University of Virginia.
Folks interested in attending should RSVP to Heather Weidner at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, March 29th for room set-up purposes. And attendees are welcome to bring their own lunch and beverage. — Art Taylor