The First Two Pages: Last Puffs by Harley Mazuk

In April 2015, B.K. Stevens debuted the blog series “The First Two Pages,” hosting craft essays by short story writers and novelists analyzing the openings of their own work. The series continued until just after her death in August 2017, and the full archive of those essays can be found at Bonnie’s website. In November 2017, the blog series relocated to my website, and the archive of this second stage of the series can be found here.

Harley Mazuk and I first met—and bonded quickly—at the series of monthly dinners hosted by the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Harley’s a charming conversationalist in person and a great storyteller on the page too, of course; his stories for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine are great fun, including a series featuring private eye Frank Swiver, and Swiver was the hero of Harley’s debut novel, White with Fish, Red with Murder.

In today’s First Two Pages, Harley offers reflections on the first section of his most recent novel, Last Puffs, charting its evolution over time as he crafted the full book, which I hope you’ll check out here.

Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay here to read off-line.

Mazuk Last Puffs