Malice Domestic, the world’s leading cozy mystery conference, has published 17 anthologies. My friend, author Rosemary McCracken, whose story appeared in Mystery Most Edible, persuaded me to send in my story, “Wisteria Cottage”, to Mystery Most Traditional. But COVID intervened and the anthology was delayed. I’d forgotten about my story. until I received their happy acceptance email.
I only occasionally write cozies and “Wisteria Cottage” proved to be hard work. My inspiration came from my friend, TO Poet, an avid gardener, who warned me about the wisteria vine’s toxicity.
Alison is house-sharing Wisteria Cottage with her sister-in-law, Verna, while she gets over her husband’s death. Verna has an annoying habit of spying on her neighbour, a middle-aged cyclist with an eye for young women. This leads to trouble and hidden secrets…
Gone, An Anthology of Crime Stories, (Red Dog Press), Stephen J. Golds, ed. November, 2022
Thirty stories appear in this first-rate UK noir anthology – including my first British publication, my dark comedy, “Must Love Dogs – or You’re Gone”. I’m super-honored that my story made the cut out of the hundreds submitted!. It was inspired my dog-lover friend’s tale about a dog who would eat anything.
Frieda’s ex-husband, Rudy, is walking their dog, Flea, one frigid January morning when a hit-and-run driver knocks him off Leaside Bridge. Viktor, a mysterious Russian, visits Frieda for ‘a little chat’. Turns out that Rudy lost $1 million of Viktor’s money in bad Bitcoin trades. To pay off Rudy’s debt, Frieda goes to work for Viktor’s niece’s at her dog grooming service. But where is Flea? He’s the key to this life-threatening mess!
Mystery Magazine, November 2022 Issue
This is my first short story featuring Danny Bluestone, the protagonist of my novel, Windigo Fire. And it was a personal first, too. I was thrilled that Mystery Magazine accepted it and even better, it was the cover story on the November issue! The artist, Robin Grenville Evans, captured Danny’s brutal winter battle beautifully.
Danny’s friend, Corazon, runs the Arctic Ranger battalion in Red Dog Lake. She and Danny are down in Fort Francis overseeing a pilot Ranger project when their sponsor asks them to check out the damage to his ice fishing hut. To keep him happy, Danny heads out into the winter cold with an eager Ranger wannabe. but she proves to be a deceitful liar…
This is the Mesdames of Mayhem’s fifth anthology, published in October, 2022. A collection of 23 fantastical crime stories by 22 authors: they are tales for dark times about spirits of all kinds: ghosts, debunking of same, demons, demon rum – even rum running! I’m happy that it includes “Amdur’s Ghost”, my second story featuring , Dr. Ben Amdur, the dedicated civil servant struggling to best his newly elected, right wing political masters.
When Dr. Ben Amdur takes over the Dunlop Health Unit, the most obscure and poorly funded health department in Ontario, his new boss, the Minister of Health, pressures him to find her missing ex-husband. Along the trail, he consults an eccentric medium in an abandoned trailer park – and fights off a rabid coyote.
Moonlight and Misadventure (Superior Shores Press), Judy P. Sheluk, ed., June 2021
Delighted to have my story, “The Moon God of Broadmoor”, included in this collection of 22 stories. It’s based on a news story I read many years ago about an unusual man in NYC. He dressed and acted like a superhero long before The Avengers series of movies, fan expos and coz play became popular.
Liz, a junior health inspector, is thrown no-win job by her scheming boss. Someone has turned the courtyard of the Broadmoor Apartments into an outdoor toilet. There she encounters Stanley aka Thoth, the self-proclaimed moon god of Broadmoor.
A Grave Diagnosis: 35 Stories of Murder and Malaise (Carrick Publishing), Fall 2020.
Murder with a medical theme, featuring 35 scary tales by crime fiction authors from around the world. My story, “The Eternal Bakery of the Fractal Mind” is a speculative fiction crossover crime story.
Francis, a grieving widower, returns to Vancouver for his 50th university reunion. Lonely and guilt-ridden, he finds his favorite bakery exactly as it was during his undergraduate days. Its mysterious new owner, a retired physicist, ushers him into another world.
The Mesdames of Mayhem’s fourth anthology, published October, 2019, has the theme of music, mayhem and murder. The book contains 18 stories and one satirical poem by established Canadian crime writers and one talented newcomer.
My story, “Brainworm”, explores the dark side of families. The tune, “Le Pont d’Avignon”, is the earworm slowly driving the protagonist mad.
Fiona has been forced to look after her elderly stepmother, a retired French teacher who despised her. A fight looms between her and her half-brother over the Singer – is it the worthless sewing machine in her late father’s study or something more valuable?
I based this story on a story my running buddy told me. Her father was hiking through Sunnybrook Park in North Toronto when he heard a cry of terror. He tried to find the person in trouble, but he never did. The experience haunted him.
“The Cry” takes place in the large memorial park in Hiroshima, which we visited in 2012.
An elderly assassin, on the cusp of dementia, hears a scream of terror. At the risk of his own life, he tries to save the victim to atone for his life’s business.
The second story, “The Seeker”, is part of The Dame was Trouble, an exciting anthology of noir fiction published by up and coming Coffinhop Press. The book features noir tales with female protagonists – all by leading Canadian women crime writers.
“The Seeker” is one of my personal favorites. The hero, Terry Snow, is a tough, 62 year old professional woman driver.
On a lonely highway in New Mexico, a young man runs out in front of Terry’s car. He’s on the run and wounded. They hole up in a lonely gas station on the outskirts of Espanola with Moe, the Afghan manager. Only Terry’s gun and Moe’s shotgun stand between them and certain death at the hands of four murderous gangsters.
The Mesdames’ third anthology contains 17 twisted tales (ha!ha!) of crime starring our animal friends. Angels or demons? Includes stories by 12 established crime writers as well as three newcomers to the genre.
I indulged my love of noir to create my thriller novelette, “Snake Oil“. Strangely, many readers get freaked by the snakes in this story, even tough noir male authors who don’t bat an eye writing about splatter murders and disembowelments. Go figure. “Snake Oil” is based on an actual experience a friend of a friend (yes, really) when she was a young real estate agent. Unbeknownst to her, the house she was viewing was inhabited by serious reptile fanciers. Definitely an odd subculture, aspects of which appear in the story.
“Snake Oil”, too, a finalist for the Arthur Ellis Best Novella award.
Bella Bates is in desperate financial straights. Making it as a real estate agent is her only way back to her preferred lifestyle. Her son-in-law warned her about weirdos hidden behind closed doors, but so what? She’s tough, she’s got what it takes. Or does she?
Warped tales of time and crime! Fourteen authors contributed to 13 O’clock, the second anthology by the Mesdames of Mayhem (Carrick Publishing).
The book contains my dark suspense novelette, “Glow Grass”, inspired by an unofficial memorial garden we stumbled upon while hiking in the woods. “Glow Grass” was a finalist for the 2016 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novella!
A young woman returns to her derelict family cottage abandoned since her father died in a mysterious accident. Is the secret cemetery in the woods meant for her?
World Enough and Crime (Carrick Publishing)
A collection of stories by some of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors, including the runner-up for the 2015 Arthur Ellis Award.
My cross-over tale, “The Ultimate Mystery“, was a finalist for the prestigious 2015 Derringer Award.
Maria questions why her world forces her and her mother into slavery. At the same time Lucy, who lives alone with her mother on an isolated prairie farm, also begins to question the rigid rules governing her life.
Thirteen by The Mesdames of Mayhem (Carrick Publishing)
Dastardly tales by thirteen of Canada’s leading crime fiction authors. Two stories were nominated for the 2014 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story and one for the 2014 Derringer prize.
My comedy thriller story, “Amdur’s Cat” introduces the hero from my learner novel. I liked Benjamin Amdur too much to leave him in the filing cabinet.
Dr. Amdur, a hard-working civil servant, sees a real lion on his way home from a boozy Christmas party. Or does he? Life isn’t easy. His new boss-from-hell resembles a former Toronto mayor…
It also won the Bony Pete Award in 2012 for Best Short Story.
A desperate mother tries to save her drug-addicted daughter using the death of Mr. Kim, their beloved family cat, as leverage, but she’s way out of her depth in the criminal underworld.
- Incompetence Kills. Published in EFDI: Starship Goodwords, Carrick Publishing, 2012; Reprinted in the 2021 BOULD Anthology.
- The Dog on Balmy Beach. Published in Going Out With a Bang, anthology by the Ladies Killing Circle, Dundern Press, 2008.
- The Widows and Orphans Fund. Published in Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine, March, 2007.
- Christmas in Alice. Published in Blood on the Holly, Caro Soles editor, Baskerville Books, 2007.
- Kill the Boss, Winner of the CWC Golden Horseshoe Award, 2005. Published in Silver Moon Magazine, January 2006. Reprinted in Mouth Full of Bullets, September 2007.