Edith/Maddie here, who can’t believe Memorial Day is upon us!
Join me in welcoming Jackie Ross Flaum to the blog. She’s one of the contributors to a new anthology, edited by Mysti Berry, supporting the right to vote, a cornerstone of any democracy.
Low Down Dirty Vote III: The Color of My Vote includes stories of crime and suspense by 22 authors—many award-winners, some publishing for the first time —in a short story anthology on politics and voting issues.
Take it away, Jackie!
The general skullduggery of a voting crime appeals to me since I’m from Kentucky where we take our bourbon neat and our politics anything but.
Crimes like voter suppression or election fraud use fear and illusion—essential tools in a mystery writer’s art. Stir in a healthy dose of eavesdropping as a kid, and the stories beg to be told.
My family wasn’t very politically active, but a certain amount of it was necessary for survival in my neck of the woods. My lead-footed mother had to call the local political boss regularly to have her speeding tickets dismissed. My father joined a particular political party so he could do business with the state. His decision created some tension—my grandmother allowed as how she’d waste no Christian blessing on his new political party until they stopped their thievin’ ways.
While the issue I wrote about Low Down Dirty Vote VIII:The Color of My Vote is rooted in what I overheard as a child, I did a little modern-day research. This 2015 quote from a former Kentucky magistrate candidate stopped me cold.
“When it comes to vote buying, it’s an everyday thing. . . It’s pretty much like jaywalking,” he said, mystified that he was in jail.
People whispered those things when I was a child. Nobody said it out loud.
Right then I knew the color of my vote for Low Down Dirty Vote was green, what character would drive the action, and how it would end. “Threats and Bribes” is set in the 1960s, which I am still horrified to find is considered historical fiction.
Like my story’s heroine, my family griped about politics but turned up every Election Day at a polling place. They taught me the only way to make a change is through voting.
It’s a crime more people don’t feel as my family did.
Maybe America would be better off letting an artificial intelligence robot be our president as Low Down Dirty Vote author Ember Randall’s hero suggests.
This third charitable voting anthology launched last week at a time when our free and fair elections have been undermined in ways nobody would believe if the most skilled crime author wrote them.
Perhaps the fragile state of our electoral system is another reason to support Low Down Dirty Vote VIII. The sales benefit Democracy Docket, which provides information, opinion, and analysis about voting rights, elections, redistricting, and democracy.
Readers: how do you see mystery writers using their art to promote voting and other forms of democracy?
Historical suspense writer and Malice in Memphis officer Jackie Ross Flaum has written for such anthologies as Mystery, Crime and Mayhem, Now There was a Story, and Elmwood Stories to Die For. In addition to short stories, she has written a novella, The Yellow Fever Revenge, and a novel, Justice Tomorrow, first in the Sterling Brothers Ltd series. Join her on Twitter @jrflaum, Facebook at WriterJackieRossFlaum, and her website, http://www.jrflaum.com