The First Two Pages: “The Yellow Crown” by Carol Gyzander

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.

Way back in the “before times”—in August 2018, in fact—I attended the Deadly Ink Mystery Conference for the first time, and it was a pleasure to spend much of the weekend with writers who’ve developed into fine friends, including Teel James Glenn, Carol Gyzander, James McCrone, and Christopher Ryan. Since that weekend, all of them have appeared at the First Two Pages (each linked here: Teel’s, Carol’s, Jamie’s (and a second!), and Chris’s), and I chose—from blind submission—Chris’s wild story “Hellhounds: Hollywood Demons” for California Schemin’, the 2020 Bouchercon anthology I edited. In more recent news, Teel has been named a finalist for this year’s Derringer Award for Best Long Story for “A Study in Death” in Mystery Weekly Magazine, Jamie has a story forthcoming in the volume three of the Low Down Dirty Vote anthology series (he’ll be back here for that too!), and Carol has been named a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award® for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction for her story “The Yellow Crown”—which is what brings her here today!

“The Yellow Crown” was published in the anthology Under Twin Suns: Alternate Histories of the Yellow Sign, edited by James Chambers and published by Hippocampus Press—and the anthology is also a finalist for the same award in the category Superior Achievement in an Anthology. The awards are presented by the Horror Writers Association. Congratulations to all!

The last time Carol appeared here, she wrote about her story “Stars the Color of Hope,” inspired by the work of H.P. Lovecraft, and this time, she’s writing about a story inspired by the work of Robert W. Chambers, who was himself an influence on Lovecraft! Connections, influences, inspirations—great to see all those levels and layers being explored here, both in the fiction itself and in the essays.

Enjoy this fresh look into Carol’s work, and be sure to check out more about her and her work at her website.

Congratulations and good luck again to Carol and everyone associated with Under Twin Suns. The awards will be officially presented May 14 in Denver, Colorado—keeping fingers crossed for you all!

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.


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