Wicked Wednesday: STONE COLD

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Breaking News! Before we get to today’s post about Stone Cold, we have some breaking news.

Barbara Ross’s book, Clammed Up has been nominated for an RT Book Reviews, Reviewer’s Choice Best Book Award. Barb’s in the Amateur Sleuth category along with four other great authors. You can check out all the nominees here. http://www.rtbookreviews.com/rt-awards/nominees-and-winners

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Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.

We’re celebrating the release of the latest Level Best books anthology, StoneColdFrontCoverBest New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold. Barb is one of the editors and has a story in this year’s collection. Edith does, as well, and she and Julie have appeared in several past anthologies, too. Wickeds with stories in the collection, tell us a bit about yours.

Edith: In 1888 a fire destroyed much of the world-renowned carriage industry in the northeastern Massachusetts town of Amesbury. In my Stone Cold story, “Breaking the Silence,” Isaiah Weed is killed in the blaze, a young man from the Quaker meeting that seventeen year old Faith Bailey and (the actual) John Greenleaf Whittier attend. After some sleuthing, Faith uncovers the arsonist and prevents him from doing further damage.

Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse (photo by Ed Mair)
Amesbury Friends Meetinghouse (photo by Ed Mair)

Writing short is hard, and I love it. Every word has to count. Superfluous characters have no place. This story came to me last winter after I read a news clip about the Great Fire of 1888 in the small city where I live. I thought of a young Quaker woman walking to Friends Meeting on Sundays on the same streets as I do. As I walked, I created Faith’s family, her motivations, and her aspirations. And I added John Greenleaf Whittier as a mentor and a familiar soul.

Let me say right now how much I loved Barb’s story in Stone Cold, “Bread Baby.” It’s a really well told story, with beautiful details and several twists. And congratulations on the RT nomination! Awesome.

tanta-wawa-4Barb: Thanks Edith. And right back atcha. “Breaking the Silence” is a terrific tale–which won an Honorable Mention for the Al Blanchard Award, btw. I’m very proud of “Bread Baby,” which combines an Oprah-like figure, a cartel of powerful Manhattan executive assistants, clues found in a bakery and a knitting shop, and tantawawa, bread figures made by the Andean Indians to honor their ancestors on the Day of the Dead.

Jessie: I love short stories and admire the people who write them so much. I don’t write short stories. I find them intimidating. Crafting one seems to me to be like packing everything you need for a three month voyage in a carry-on bag. Every word, every character has to work so hard to earn their keep. Bravo to everyone who can pull that off!

Liz: First, kudos to all the authors in Stone Cold! I love short stories too, and have had a couple non-mystery ones published. I have started a few that I intend every year to finish and submit to Level Best, but so far I have not accomplished that. Maybe in 2014! Wickeds – keep me honest here!

Barb: Laughing, Jessie! And since you know me, you know that packing for a three month journey in a carry-on bag is exactly the type of challenge I love–ergo, short stories. I have a lot of favorite mystery short story authors–Ruth Rendell, Robert Barnard, but my favorite of all is literary short story author Alice Munro. When she won the Nobel Prize this year, I was jumping up and down in my study.

Sherry: Last time I tried to write a short story I wrote a novel. But because of the Level Best Books I started reading short stories again several years ago. I admire the creativity of short story writers. I have a new appreciation of the different voices and plots a short story author has to come up with. After I finish my manuscript I look forward to diving into Stone Cold!

Julie: Level Best anthologies were my first publication credits, and I am still thrilled by the honor. I find writing short stories to be challenging, and either write really short (1000 words) or novels. Can’t wait to dive into Stone Cold–I bought two copies and downloaded it as well.

Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold is available from Amazon in trade paperback and for Kindle, and can be ordered from Level Best Books or from your favorite bookstore.

Everybody: Do you have a favorite short story? Do you find writing short easier or harder than writing a book? Which short story author do you love to read?

7 Thoughts

  1. Congrats, Barb!

    I agree–short stories are not easy! And the Level Best editors do a terrific job of not only finding and encouraging talented writers, but of creating a balanced collection.

    If I have a favorite, it has to be contemporary Irish writer William Trevor, who I happened to stumble on in an issue of The New Yorker years ago. I never forgot that first story of his I read, and every one of his I’ve read since conveys such a strong sense of culture, without stating anything obvious.

  2. Congratulations to Bara – Good luck in the final judging.

    I can’t wait to dive into Stone Cold. I bought it and last year’s Level Best anthology, Blood Moon, at Crime Bake. Short story writing is truly a challenge, so to find so many authors who are good at it is inspirational. They’re just the type of thing to read at the end of the day when i want somthing good that I can finish in one reading.

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