I love short fiction. A blog friend of mine, Mae Clair, has been participating in a flash fiction internet prompt, and she’s killing it with pithy stories with big emotional punches. Here’s her latest: https://maeclair.net/
I’ve played with flash fiction before but I’ve grown fonder of Amazon’s short reads. A 15-minute read can be 1-11 pages. 30 minute is 12-21, etc. But I especially like the 90 minute reads (44-64 pages). I like them so much, I’ve been using them for my latest Muddy River stories.
My good writer friend, M.L.Rigdon aka Julia Donner, and I have talked about doing a project together for a long time but could never figure out how to do it. I write cozies. She writes historical fiction and Regency romances. And believe me, our styles are really different. But then I thought of anthologies. And I thought it would be fun to write mysteries in our own styles, so that every story comes at a mystery from a different angle. To that end, I asked some of the author friends I admire to join us. And boy, did we come up with some fun stuff! I’m putting the stories together now, and Mae Clair designed the cover. I’m so proud of this collection, I’m making myself not hurry. I want to take my time and do everything well. But I can’t wait until I push “publish” and people can read it.
This is what we ended up with him: (in alphabetical order):
C.S. Boyack sent me a romp of a mystery, featuring Jason Fogg. He’s featured Fogg before in some of his stories, and he makes a great detective. He can dissolve into fog to roll through open windows or under door cracks to break into houses and snoop through things. Craig has a certain kind of humor that I can’t get enough of. And this story is permeated with it. A joy to read.
Mae Clair’s writing is layered and evocative. She often uses paranormal elements in her stories. In the mystery she’s including in the anthology, she went with a Medieval time setting–a castle, lots of guests, and a dead body. Shades of Agatha Christie…in the past. And a protagonist with lots of flaws but even more heart. Nice!
Julia Donner writes Regencies, and I buy every single one of them, devour them, and can’t wait for the next. Her wry humor colors every bit of her delightful Regency mystery. Her main characters, Lord Peregrine and his Elizabeth, earned my love and devotion the first time I read them in her novel, The Heiress and the Spy. I mean, who wouldn’t love a wealthy woman in that time period who controls the purse strings and marries a husband who always carries a stiletto in his boot? A match made in heaven.
Judi Lynn–me–wrote a cozy mystery featuring Jazzi, Ansel, and Jerod. The three fixer-uppers have volunteered their time and expertise to renovate a kitchen, dining room, and half-bath of an old, wonderful house that other decorators are restoring, too. When it’s finished, any profits from the sale will go to the local arts. And of course, a dead body’s found in the hall closet.
Kathleen Palm writes YA and horror. When I asked her for a mystery, she said, “Huh?” Her brain didn’t work that way…until she thought of the perfect ghost story. Add an old house and an attic with a secret room…and wow! Lots of immediacy and emotion. That’s how I think of her writing. And boy, did it work!
D.P. Reisig loves historical fiction and nonfiction, so when I asked her to write a mystery for me, she balked. Okay, to be honest, everyone did. How to take what they write and make it a mystery? But I had faith in them. And boy, did they come through. D.P. has studied Abraham Lincoln for a book she’s going to writing, so she sent me a true case that she fictionalized when Lincoln defends a friend’s son in a murder case. It’s a legal/courtroom mystery with Lincoln as a lawyer. So much fun!
And last, but never least, Rachel Roberts wrote a literary mystery for the anthology. Her writing is beautiful and subtle. I always calm myself to appreciate it properly. It’s full of nuances that I have to let bloom. When I asked her to send me a mystery, she asked, “But what could possibly make someone commit murder? What would the motivation be?” Because she’s character driven, not plot driven. But she thought of something. And I’m so happy she did!
Well, there you have it. 7 stories that would work as Amazon short reads. Most came in at 10,000 to 15,000 words. I have to say, I think an author can say a lot and develop a strong story in 50 pages. It’s a length I especially like. When it comes out, some time in September, and if you choose to read it, I hope you enjoy the variety of styles as much I did.