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.
This week continues a series hosting contributors to the new anthology The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, edited by Josh Pachter. Last week, the First Two Pages featured an essay by Greg Herren on his story “The Silky Veils of Ardor,” and the full collection features a wide array of stellar writers, including Donna Andrews, Abby Bardi, Michael Bracken, Carol Anne Davis, David Dean, Brendan DuBois, John Floyd, Barb Goffman, Sherry Harris, Greg Herren, Matthew Iden, Edith Maxwell, Alison McMahan, Adam Meyer, Kathryn O’Sullivan, Alan Orloff, Josh Pachter, Christine Poulson, Mindy Quigley, Amber Sparks, Ricki Thomas, Marilyn Todd, Elaine Viets, Stacy Woodson. I’m pleased to have co-written a story for the anthology—my first literary collaboration with my wife, Tara Laskowski—and the collection feature another jointly written story, by Emily Hockaday and Jackie Sherbow.
This week’s contributor at the First Two Pages is Abby Bardi, who based here story on Mitchell’s song “Help Me” from the 1974 album Court and Spark.
Abby’s work includes three novels—The Book of Fred, The Secret Letters, and most recently Double Take—and her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies, including High Infidelity, Grace and Gravity, and New Stories from the Midwest 2018, as well as in Quarterly West, Rosebud, Monkeybicycle, and The Bellingham Review. For more about Abby and her work, visit her website here.
And watch this space next week for another essay by contributors to The Beat of Black Wings—and yes, you read that correctly: contributors plural! (It’s not by Tara and me.)
Please use the arrows and controls at the bottom of the embedded PDF to navigate through the essay. You can also download the essay to read off-line.Bardi-Help-Me