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.
The Mesdames of Mayhem‘s latest anthology—In the Spirit of 13, celebrating the group’s 10th anniversary—is the latest in a distinguished series of collections including Thirteen (2013),13 O’Clock (2015),13 Claws (2017), and In the Key of 13 (2019). The theme of the new collection is “spirits”—but what that word means is up to interpretation. As the marketing materials ask, “Does ‘spirit’ mean ghost or demon—or debunking of same? Or simply the evil in twisted human hearts? Or could it be alcohol?” Tackling the topic are members of this Canadian crime writers collective, including Catherine Astolfo, Rosemary Aubert, J.E. Barnard, Jane Petersen Burfield, M.H. Callway, Melodie Campbell, Donna Carrick, Lisa de Nikolits, Cheryl Freedman, Therese Greenwood, Marilyn Kay, Blair Keetch, Rosemary McCracken, Cat Mills, Lynne Murphy, Ed Piwowarczyk, Rosalind Place, Madona Skaff, Caro Soles, Kevin P. Thornton, Sylvia Maultash Warsh, and Melissa Yi.
Last week at the First Two Pages, de Nikolits discussed her story “In a Land of Fear and Denial,” and this week, Rosemary McCracken returns to the blog with an essay on her story “The Fur Coat Conundrum.” McCracken contributed a First Two Pages essay on her story in the previous anthology as well, “Farewell to the King,” and as with that story, McCracken’s new story was also inspired by her newspaper days, as you’ll see below.
Rosemary has earned accolades for both her short fiction and her novels. Her story for the first Mesdames of Mayhem’s anthology was a Derringer finalist: “The Sweetheart Scamster” in Thirteen, was a Derringer Award finalist in 2014. And her first Pat Tierney mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was a finalist for Britain’s Debut Dagger. To find out more about her books and her career, visit her website here.
We’ll also be hosting M.H. Callway next week to wrap up this series of essays—and if you’re interested in celebrating with more of these authors, do mark your calendars for the Zoom launch party on Sunday, November 13, at 2 p.m. EST. For a free invitation please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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-McCracken-2022