Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Busy month.  The Guppy chapter of Sisters in Crime is about to release their 4th fishy anthology, Fish Out of Water.

All of the talented writers in this collection have started with the title theme, focussing on a character who is swimming outside their comfort zone and getting in deeper.

I’m so pleased my own story “Gossip” is part of this collection.

Amy, a successful artist, returns to the small town she left behind her nearly twenty years ago, having heard a surprising revelation about her reputation.

She’s back to set the story straight, but soon finds it’s not easy to root out what really happened.

Especially when the Church Bazaar Ladies get down and dirty with the gossip.

Amy Hartmann parked on the main street near the Co-op and lit a cigarette and waited. How stupid was it to come back? What could she achieve? Although no one had said anything to her face, she knew half the town—the half over forty—remembered her as the girl who stole Louise Mathieson’s husband.

She’d felt like a fish out of water in this hole since the moment she was born. Too smart, too ambitious, too full of ideas. Eighteen years ago, she’d vowed never to return. Carpathia wasn’t Vancouver. Hell, it wasn’t even Vernon. It was the dreariest dump in Canada, and she’d seen a lot of dreary dumps in her hungry years.

Damn the luck anyway, running into Leon Briggs last month. If only she’d looked through him, instead of letting herself wonder where she knew him from. Leon, in no way memorable except for how he would hang around outside the high school, eyeing the girls. They’d all made fun of him. Creepy old Leon.

Though no creepier than a lot of the men in the town. Her father included.

Leon had remembered her, all right. Along with the unknown history she’d left behind. That had been the shocker.

There she was. Louise Mathieson hadn’t changed in all these years, except to look even more dowdy and plain. Jesus, was that the same coat she’d worn eighteen years ago? Amy stubbed out her cigarette and got out of the car.

Louise knew her immediately. She didn’t appear surprised. Just angry.

Fish Out of Water, edited by Ramona Defilice Long, is published by Wildside Press, and is available there in paperback.

Other on-line locations and E-book coming soon.

Another exciting publication date is coming up for me at the end of April. My short mystery “The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” will be part of Malice Domestic’s latest anthology, Mystery Most Historical.

The 29th annual Malice Domestic Conference is being held April 28-30 in Maryland. This year’s theme is historical mystery, and I’m in good company with 29 other mystery writers, including Catriona McPherson, Marcia Talley and Martin Edwards.

“The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” takes place in 1931, when Lady Byng, wife of the former Governor General of Canada, and her entourage are staying at a rustic lodge in the Rockies. Her maid, Vaughan, goes for a walk in the woods, and vanishes.

The story was inspired by an incident I read in the memoirs of Evelyn, Lady Byng, Up The Stream of Time. In real life, Vaughan was found safe, though terrified, long after nightfall.

Evelyn Byng, Viscountess Byng of Vimy

My story, however, takes quite a different turn.

The collection is published by Wildside Press and will be available at the conference (at the end of April) and afterwards at their website.

I suppose my youthful enthusiasm is showing…. January 14’s Toronto Star had a great review for The Whole She-Bang 3. And somehow, Jack Batten put little glitter lights all over my story.

The antholowsb3-jack-battens-review-dategy is a huge collaborative effort by a lot of Sisters in Crime, expecially Helen Nelson, co-ordinator in chief, and editor Janet Costello. We had volunteers dealing with receiving and juggling all the submissions and judges and proof-readers and a crackerjack cover artist.  And 17 other terrific writers.

And the column was picked up by the Waterloo Region Record too, so my cousin John emailed me to tell me I’m famous. (Well, in a few households anyway.)

I have to say I’m feeling pretty chuffed over Jack’s singling me out.

Where to buy a copy

 

 

 

 

 

Flashback:

Read about my earlier story in The Whole She-Bang 2

where Jack Batten also gave me a mention: “Susan Daly presents a juicy story of confrontations between characters based on Rob Ford and Margaret Atwood.”

It’s here. Now.  The Whole She-Bang 3

shebang3We’ve had our Toronto Sisters in Crime  launch, with amazing author readings and masses of chocolate.  After listening to enticing samples read by some of the 18 authors I’m keen to sit down with my own copy and find out where all these intriguing set-ups are headed.

The public launch is Sunday, November 27th at 2:00 pm, at the fantastic Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore at 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto

More readings, more authors, more chocolate.  And wine.

And of course, you can buy the hard copy there.

You can buy your e-copy right now, at an attractive introductory price. Click here to learn where. (Hard copies will be available online soon).

I hope you enjoy my two crime stories, “A Death at the Parsonage” and “Family Traditions“.

Find out more at Sisters in Crime – Toronto

The Whole She-Bang 3

It’s coming soon….The Whole She-Bang 3

shebang3

Love this cover art by Chris Lang

November 2016 will see two of my stories appearing, along with those of 17 other Canadian crime writers, in the new anthology from Canadian Sisters in Crime.

A Death at the Parsonage

1823 England: When a not-very-well-liked clergyman dies a suspicious death while preparing his Sunday sermon, a quick-witted lady turns detective to come to the aid of her friend.

Family Traditions

Stuck in the kitchen on the biggest turkey-and-football day of the year, a long-suffering housewife takes a new look at sacred family traditions.

 

The launch….

Our big launch is on Sunday, November 27th at 2:00PM, at the fantastic Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore at 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto

Wine, readings, author signings and nibblies will all be happening. And of course, you can buy the hard copy there.

Find out more at Sisters in Crime – Toronto

I’ll be letting you know the moment e-copies and hard copies are available on line.

After a busy and exciting spring, having three new short stories accepted for crime anthologies, I got word in September that a FOURTH story has been added to the mix.

Historically Speaking: I’m thrilled to learn my story “The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” has been accepted for inclusion in the anthology, Mystery Most Historical , to be published in time for the 2017 Malice Domestic mystery conference.

More She-Bang: November 2016 will see two of my stories appearing, along with those of 17 other Canadian crime writers, in the new anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3

Swimming with the Guppies: My short story “Gossip” will be included in the next Guppy crime anthology, Fish Out of Water.

The Guppies are a Sisters in Crime group of writers whose first three anthologies all have a distinctly fishy flavour.


 The Lady’s Maid Vanishes

1931 in the Canadian Rockies. When her maid goes missing from the viceregal entourage while travelling through the Rockies, Lady Byng, wife of the Governor General, is determined to find out the truth.

 A Death at the Parsonage

1823 England: When a not-very-well-liked clergyman dies a suspicious death while preparing his Sunday sermon, a quick-witted lady turns detective to come to the aid of her friend.

Family Traditions

Stuck in the kitchen on the biggest turkey-and-football day of the year, a long-suffering housewife takes a new look at sacred family traditions.

Gossip

A successful artist returns to the small town she left behind nearly twenty years ago, and discovers her reputation is not what she thought it was.

pandora-in-blue-jeans-adj

Pandora in Blue Jeans

I love this picture. Grace Metalious posing for Larry Smith, photographer at the Lanconia Citizen. It appears on the back cover of her 1956 debut novel, Peyton Place, along with the blurb:

Grace Metalious is the most surprising new novelist of the year.  In  PEYTON PLACE  this Pandora  in  blue  jeans  lifts the lid off a small New England village, in the most explosive novel since KINGS ROW.

I suppose those are the proofs in the picture.  I wonder if she actually wrote at that tiny table in such an uncomfortable position.  But I strongly suspect the ashtray and cigarette are real.

So this (dare I say iconic?) picture of the small town girl turned best-selling author has floated through time in various incarnations.  First and most valid is this image of Allison MacKenzie, played by Diane Varsi, in the 1957 movie.

diane varsi as alison mackenzie

Diane Varsi as Allison MacKenzie, 1957

Clearly Allison lives in a higher rent district than her prototype, and she writes in the living room instead of the kitchen, the table is fancier but smaller and there’s no ashtray in sight. She looks just as uncomfortable.

The movie, by the way, scrubbed up a lot of the events and characters as they were portrayed in the book. Worst job was on the Harringtons, father and son team of slimeballs. Leslie Harrington goes from controlling, conniving town boss to benevolent mill owner, and his complete-waste-of-skin son Rodney, instead of being every mother’s worst nightmare, who dies with his girlfriend in a drunken driving crash, is a decent guy who is killed in WWII and lauded as a war hero. Go figure.

girl on the bestseller list

 

Our next Pandora incarnation is The Girl on the Bestseller List, 1960, by Vin Packer.  The ashtray is back, the table is even smaller and she looks just as uncomfortable as her predecessors in her Room of One’s Own.

From what I found at Goodreads, it’s a crime story centred around Gloria Wealdon, who writes a novel based on the people in her small town.  Hmmm.

Vin Packer is actually Marijane Meaker, who has written a ton of books under a variety of pseudonyms. Vin Packer was her crime novel persona.

 

 

 

Laura Rider's Masterpiece

Decades pass

In 2009, Jane Hamilton, who should know better, writes Laura Rider’s Masterpiece, a fairly silly tale about a woman who engineers her husband’s affair with another woman. Yawn.

But wait, look at the cover….

Yes, it’s Grace alias Allison alias Gloria. Now she’s become Laura Rider. Yet another Pandora in Blue Jeans.

But….what about her friends? Where did they come from?

I’ll tell you.  They came from Louisiana.

 

sugardoll-smaller

 

 

 

In 1956, the year Grace Metalious hit the big time with Peyton Place, Jack Woodford and John B. Thompson wrote Sugar Doll.

They look like nice people, though, don’t they?

 

 

 

 

Pandora in Blue Jeans bobble head doll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pandora in Blue Jeans just lives on and on.  How about  a bobblehead doll from the New Hampshire Historican Society.

No manuscript, but there’s the ashtray.  Only one cigarette.  I guess she’s trying to cut down.

me, strangely like Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years ago, a friend snapped a picture of me at the cottage, working at my laptop.

I know, I know.  But I swear the plaid shirt and jeans and pose are just me. I didn’t notice the resemblance until just recently.

There’s no ashtray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now this brings us to Pandora’s final incarnation.  As I said, I love the Pandora in Blue Jeans image. So much so, that I recreated it in miniature.  (Why yes, I am a miniaturist, but that’s another persona.) Here is Grace in 1 inch scale.

Pandora in Blue Jeans_06-a_1

Pandora in Blue Jeans_04-adj_1

Hope you enjoy the many incarnations of Pandora.

For more about this guilty pleasure, take a look at mystery writer Susan Van Kirk’s blog posting.

Or just pick up a copy and lose yourself in the world of Peyton Place.

 

%d bloggers like this: