The First Two Pages

Art Taylor took over the blog series “The First Two Pages” from B.K. Stevens after her death in 2017. This popular series features essays that analyze the openings of short stories and novels – hence the name “first two pages.”

When it came time for me to analyze the first two pages of “Riviera Red,” I had a difficult time initially. Mostly because I had so many stops and starts when writing this story that I had forgotten why I decided to open the story the way that I did. After going through my very early drafts and copious notes and research, I was able to recall “oh yeah, that’s how I thought the story would go but Janice [my eventual main character] refused to stay silent.” Thankfully, I didn’t delete all those early drafts or throw away my notes!

To read my essay on my writing process for this story, click here: The First Two Pages

Low Down Dirty Vote, Volume 3 release day!

Tomorrow, Sunday, May 15, 2022 is launch day for Low Down Dirty Vote, Volume 3! Esteemed editor Mysti Berry has once again put together an anthology that addresses the attacks on our democracy and voting rights. This volume’s theme is “the color of my vote” and based on early reviews, it sounds like there’s a common thread among the stories: rage.

My story “Riviera Red” features a beach community torn apart by a secession campaign where the wealthy southern part of the city wants to break away from the northern. The wife of the secessionist committee president learns the hard way that remaining on the sidelines isn’t an option.

To purchase the book, go here: Low Down Dirty Vote, Volume III

Sunday, May 15 is our virtual launch party! At noon PDT, I’ll be reading an excerpt from my story and / or I’ll talk about what inspired me to write about secession and the growing power of the AAPI vote. Here’s the link to register: https://www.crowdcast.io/e/global-launch-1-for-low/register

Hope to see you there!

Author Spotlight with Three Rooms Press

Peter Carlaftes, the publisher of Three Rooms Press, features an author every month on their website and for the month of May, it’s yours truly! I had fun chatting with Peter who I’ve worked with on several projects, including The Faking of the President anthology and Maintenant 15: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Writing and Art. Hopefully we will work together on another project sometime soon!

To read the interview, click here: The Threads Underlying Crime Fiction.

Black Cat Weekly

My short story “Grateful Touring” is getting another life with an appearance in the latest issue of Black Cat Weekly e-magazine. Barb Goffman selected it as part of her Barb Goffman Presents short story series. Thank you, Barb!

“Grateful Touring” was originally published in Windward: New England Crime Stories 2016 by Level Best Books. I was so excited because I’d been wanting to be in the New England Crime series for a while. Every year I submitted to the anthology as well as the Al Blanchard Award but was never selected. The anthology launches at the Crime Bake Conference which was one of the very first mystery conferences I went to. It remains one of my favorite conferences. I went to Crime Bake in 2016 even though I wasn’t registered so I could meet the other contributors of the anthology and participate in the signing. I had so much fun and I even crashed a panel featuring Hank Phillippi Ryan (don’t tell anyone).

“Grateful Touring” was inspired by a good friend of mine who is a tour director and does the foliage tours every fall. He’s a big Deadhead like my protagonist Jack. My friend doesn’t smuggle cigarettes on the side, although he agreed that it would be pretty easy to do while on tour so who knows, maybe I gave him something to think about.

Here’s a brief description of my story:

As the director for New England foliage tours, Jack has an easy side hustle smuggling cigarettes while entertaining a motor coach of leaf peepers—as long as he’s teamed up with his driver, Chris. Things get complicated, though, when Bob announces he’s the new driver and Chris is MIA. Fearing the worst and with the trip still on schedule, Jack braces himself for a bumpy ride.

If you’re not a subscriber to Black Cat Weekly (and why aren’t you?), you can pick up the issue here: Black Cat Weekly, #34.

A Bag of Dick’s (a 509 Crime Anthology)

Today is release day for A Bag of Dick’s: a 509 Crime Anthology, edited by Colin Conway. Yes, that’s the title and no, it’s not what you think. Apparently, there’s an old school burger joint in Spokane, WA that’s called Dick’s Hamburgers where you can buy burgers by the bag. Hence the title. So when I was asked to contribute a short story to this, I had to say yes. I mean who wouldn’t, right?

The stories all feature the desperate, the criminal, and the opportunists as they scramble to find a Dick’s bag to earn a Get out of Jail Free card. My story is called “Her Father’s Daughter” and it’s a dual POV with a young woman whose boyfriend isn’t the brightest criminal. She should know because her father used to be one too, but he’s left all that behind him. Or so he tells her.

Link to buy is here: A Bag of Dick’s and here’s the anthology description:

With scorching tales from Jonathan Brown, Sarah M. Chen, Bill Fitzhugh, Scott Kikkawa, Nick Kolakowski, Debbi Mack, Kat Richardson, Brian Thornton, Sam Wiebe, Jim Winter, and Frank Zafiro.

Detective Jim Morgan just gave Roy Utt the opportunity of a lifetime. What happens next is the stuff of legend.

In an instant, Roy Utt’s life changed, and it happened at Dick’s Hamburgers.

A guy ran from the parking lot with a bag of burgers clutched to his chest. To Roy, it was life on the street—weird things happen, and wondering why is wasted time.

But today is no ordinary day because Detective James Morgan was also there. Unlike Roy, Morgan isn’t in the habit of dismissing bizarre events. Instead, he wants to know what was in the bag, and he’s giving Roy the incentive to find it—a Get Out of Jail Free card.

If Roy knows one thing, it’s that Morgan’s word is better than the dry sandwiches and mushy apples in lock-up.

With the clock ticking on the deal, Roy is already sharing too much information. The allure of a Get Out of Jail Free card attracts the smart, the cunning, and the stupid. An all-out scavenger hunt is underway in the criminal underworld.

Will Roy earn his Get Out of Jail Free card, or will he become a footnote in the legacy of the streets?

A Bag of Dick’s is a collection of twelve short stories from crime fiction’s liveliest voices.  Get your copy today and experience the 509 in a way you never expected.

La Di Dada Event

Today is the Maintenant 15: Humanity Reboot Dada event in DTLA!

It’s in Grand Park from 4pm to 6pm on Wednesday, October 13. I’ll be attending virtually through Zoom, but if you’re in the area and would like to see the performers live, you should check it out!

Otherwise, you can view the livestream on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/threeroomspress

I’ll be reading from my story “Safe Mode” about Words going on strike.

Hope to “see” you there!

Maintenant 15: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Art & Writing

Out now from Three Rooms Press and edited by Peter Carlaftes and Kat Georges is Maintenant 15: A Journal of Contemporary Dada Art & Writing.

I have my first dada piece of writing included in this journal which is really exciting. The theme was “Humanity: The Reboot.” My piece is called “Safe Mode” and it imagines a world in which words go on strike due to human abuse.

Here’s the description of the journal from the Three Rooms Press website:

“A smorgasbord for those who are sick and tired of it.” —Seattle Book Review

The 2021 edition of the world’s premiere journal of contemporary dada writing and art considers humankind past and present with a collection of contemporary dada art and writing driven by the theme “HUMANITY: THE REBOOT.” More than 250 creators from 33 countries establish that social protest can be creatively acheived via risk-taking art. The premier journal gathering the work of internationally-renowned contemporary Dada artists and writers, Maintenant 15 offers compelling proof that Dada continue to serve as a catalyst to creators more than a century later.

The annual MAINTENANT series, established in 2008, gathers work of contemporary Dada artists and writers from around the world. The new issue features cover art by renowned Cuban American artist Edel Rodriguez, whose work has been featured on the covers of TIME, The New Yorker, Der Spiegel, and more.

Learn more here: Maintenant 15

Stay tuned for info on an upcoming Dada event! And in person too! (outdoors and also available on Zoom)

1455 Literary Summer Festival

I’ll be speaking on a short story panel this Saturday, July 17 at 10:00am PST for an awesome literary festival celebrating storytelling. It’s my first event for 2021 and it’s free to register!

I’ll be on with Steph Cha and Nikki Dolson with Ed Aymar moderating.

This discussion will focus on the state of short stories in crime fiction, its past and how social changes are affecting the form. Steph Cha was recently the new editor of the celebrated series, the Best American Mystery Stories, and her stewardship promises to bring forth an exciting new era in crime fiction. And Sarah M. Chen and Nikki Dolson are both celebrated practitioners of short fiction who can discuss the history of the form and what the future promises.

Register for free here! 1455 Literary Summer Festival

Release Day for Avenging Angelenos

Today is the publication day for the digital version of the Sisters in Crime / Los Angeles anthology Avenging Angelenos! The print version will be available in the coming days.

I was lucky enough to be co-editor of this short story collection and couldn’t be prouder of the eleven writers we chose to be included in this anthology. The theme if you haven’t guessed is revenge and the stories we selected vary widely from historical to otherworldly. The introduction is by Frankie Y. Bailey, a prolific mystery writer and criminal justice professor.

Editing these stories was very rewarding and I thoroughly enjoyed working with these talented writers. I also owe a lot to my fantastic co-editors, Wrona Gall and Pamela Samuels Young, and of course to Sisters in Crime / Los Angeles for giving me this opportunity.

And what a gorgeous cool cover!

Hope you enjoy!

With an introduction by Frankie Y. Bailey and eleven original stories by: Avril Adams, Paula Bernstein, Hal Bodner, Jenny Carless, LH Dillman, Gay Totl Kinman, Melinda Loomis, Kathy Norris, Peggy Rothschild, Meredith Taylor, and Laurel Wetzork.

Published by Down & Out Books

To purchase, click here: Avenging Angelenos: A Sisters in Crime / Los Angeles anthology

#LiftAAPIVoices campaign is live

Join our #LiftAAPIVoices campaign and enter the book giveaway by showing your support on social media!

What is the #LiftAAPIVoices campaign?

We, me and about 20 other Asian women crime writers, are standing together in solidarity with the AAPI community for Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage month. We wanted to raise awareness about violence against AAPI and to stop anti-Asian hate. As writers we hope to change the narrative and shatter harmful Asian stereotpyes through our stories and our voices. Thus, the #LiftAAPIVoices campaign was born.

You can join our campaign and be automatically entered to win all these amazing books!

Plus a BONUS: a free 1-year membership to Sisters in Crime! I’m ecstatic they wanted to partner with us on our campaign!

How do I enter the giveaway?

To enter, show your support of AAPI by:

  • Taking a selfie with a book by an Asian author
  • Posting a message of solidarity
  • Donating to an AAPI organization like #StopAAPIHate.
  • Supporting an Asian-owned business

Be sure to include the hashtag #LiftAAPIVoices.

Email LiftAAPIVoices@gmail.com with a link to your post / tweet.

We’ll email confirmation that you’re entered in the book giveaway!

Giveaway begins 9am PST Fri 5/21 and ends 11:59pm PST Sun 5/23.

US residents only and one entry per person.

One winner will be chosen at random and emailed on May 24.

Good luck, everyone, and I’m excited to see what you come up with!