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.
Josh Pachter is on a roll—with two new collections in recent news. Crippen & Landru has recently published The Adventures of the Puzzle Club, gathering the original puzzle club stories by Ellery Queen alongside Pachter’s continuation of the series as well as his stories featuring E.Q. Griffen. And this week Down & Out Books releases Paranoia Blues: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Paul Simon, the fifth “inspired by” anthology that Pachter has edited (after anthologies drawing from the songs of Joni Mitchell, Jimmy Buffet, and Billy Joel, and the films of the Marx Brothers).
For Paranoia Blues, Pachter invited nineteen crime writers—including E.A. Aymar, Martin Edwards, Cheryl A. Head, Edwin Hill, Tom Mead, Racquel V. Reyes, and Gabriel Valjan—to write stories inspired by Simon’s music, both from his partnership with Art Garfunkel and as a solo artist. Only song from each album is represented, except in the case of Bridge Over Troubled Water, an album which inspired two stories.
We’ll be hosting four of these contributors with First Two Pages essays, beginning today with Frank Zafiro talking about “Hazy Shade of Winter.” (Wait, wasn’t that a Bangles song? and where’s that anthology, huh? Pachter probably has it in the works… And if so, sign me up!)
Frank writes (I love this tagline) “gritty crime fiction from both sides of the badge.” A former police officer himself (a twenty-year career, retiring as a captain), he has written police procedurals, PI novels, and hardboiled tales too. He also hosted the crime fiction podcast Wrong Place, Write Crime. You can find out more about him and his work at his website here.
Enjoy Frank’s essay below, and stay tuned for essays by three more contributors ahead!
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-Frank-Zafiro-A-Hazy-Shade-Of-Winter