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.
We’re still a couple of weeks from Memorial Day weekend and nearly five weeks from the official start of summer—but for folks like me on a university schedule, “summer break” is already on the mind if not actively underway, and with brighter days in view on the pandemic front, many of us are looking forward to some potential travel opportunities ahead, including very possibly a beach getaway. So this week seemed the time to get a head start on the season through the forthcoming anthology Murder on the Beach, featuring stories by Ritter Ames, Karen Cantwell, Lucy Carol, Barb Goffman, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Shari Randall, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Cathy Wiley. And though the book’s release comes Friday, May 28, just at the start of Memorial Day weekend, I also wanted to help celebrate it early with an eye toward giving readers a bargain: the pre-order price is 99 cents, but once it’s published, that jumps up to $3.99! (Order now.)
Cathy Wiley and I first met one another as members of the same chapter of Sisters in Crime, the Chesapeake Chapter serving Northern Virginia, DC, and Maryland—and, in fact, my first story for the Chesapeake Crimes series appeared in This Job Is Murder alongside Cathy’s own fine story “Miked for Murder,” and one of Cathy’s later stories for the series, “Dead Men Tell No Tales” in Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, was a 2015 Derringer finalist. Cathy continues to work closely with the Chessie Chapter, scheduling events with libraries throughout the area, but fortunately she still finds time for her writing too. She’s the author of two books in the Cassandra Ellis mystery series—Dead to Writes and Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Write—and her new novel this fall, Claws of Death, will kick off a series featuring former celebrity chef Jackie Norwood. And there’s her short fiction too—including the story from Murder on the Beach she’s discussing today: “The Frog Legs of Summer.”
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.The-First-Two-pages-Cathy-Wiley