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.
Last year, many of us had Sacramento on our minds—with the 2020 Bouchercon there having been transitioned to a virtual conference in mid-October—and I’d been steeping myself in California generally, and Sacramento as a specific setting in many cases, as the editor for the Bouchercon anthology California Schemin’. That collection featured a terrific line-up of writers, including guests of honor Scott Turow, Walter Mosley, Anne Perry, Anthony Horowitz, Cara Black, and Catriona McPherson as well as many authors new to me—and new to the mystery world too!
This October, a year later, I’m pleased to see Cemetery Plots of Northern California coming out—a new anthology by Capitol Crimes, the Sacramento Chapter of Sisters in Crime—not only because of the setting but also because of the reunion of several folks from California Schemin’: Catriona McPherson wrote the introduction to Cemetery Plots, and Chris Dreith and Kim Keeline have new stories here too—writers I was thrilled to “discover” among the anonymous submissions to the Bouchercon anthology. The full list of contributors also includes Donna Benedict, Melissa H. Blaine, Jenny Carless, Eve Elliot, Elaine Faber, Kenneth Gwin, Virginia Kidd, Nan Mahon, Jennifer Morita, Karen Phillips, Richard Schneider, Terry Shepherd, and Joseph S. Walker. And the chapter will be hosting a virtual launch party on Sunday, October 24—more info here!
Chris Dreith contributed a First Two Pages essay last year about her story “Old Soles” for California Schemin’, and today Kim Keeline writes about “Nameless” from Cemetery Plots—with a focus on cutting down longer drafts into shorter ones, something Kim and I have actually discussed in the past, so I much appreciate her focusing on that topic here.
Though this is only Kim’s third published story, I want to stress she’s already earned fine acclaim for her work: her first story, “The Crossing” from the anthology Crossing Borders, was named a finalist for the Derringer Award for Best Short Story earlier this year. You can find out more about Kim and her work at her website here. And circling back to Bouchercon: Kim is organizing Bouchercon 2023 for San Diego too.
Stay tuned next week too for an essay by Eve Elliot on her story for Cemetery Plots!
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.First-Two-Pages-Keeline-Nameless