Thrilled to have a story in A Hint of Hitchcock

I couldn’t resist answering the call to write a story inspired by one of Alfred Hitchcock’s movies. Being a long-time fan of Daphne du Maurier’s novel, Rebecca, and having enjoyed the film he made of the book, this seemed the perfect choice. But how to write a story that referenced the film, and yet still stood independently – that was the challenge. The solution came to me when I remembered that there had also been a play of Rebecca. I had seen a production of the play when Vagabond Players produced it some years ago and had found it disappointing, for the constrictions of live theatre prevented the playscript from having the dramatic impact that Hitchcock recreated so effectively on film. However, the existence of the play gave me my independent plot. My characters were actors who had starred in the play, and although Rebecca played a strong influence in their lives, their story led in a totally different direction. All the same, I think I managed a Hitchcockian twist at the end. “Rebecca Redux” was great fun to write. I hope readers of the anthology will have as much fun reading it.

A Hint of Hitchcock pre-order just $1.99 AUD instead of $3.99 until this weekend. Take advantage of the deal by pre-ordering today. amazon.com.au/Hint-Hitchcock #ahintofhitchcock #blackbeaconbooks #hitchcockian

Join me for our book launch: Sisters in Crime – Crime Wave 2

Please join me on Wednesday, October 19, at 5:30 p.m. Pacific time for the official launch of Crime Wave: Women of a Certain Age.

My story, titled “The Fair Rosamund and the Summer of Love, is one of 16 mysteries and crime stories in this, our second Anthology, so I hope you can make it!

The event is free, online via Zoom, and open to all, but you do have to register here:

https://sinc-cw.ca/upcoming-events/

I think you’ll love the Anthology, but if you’re not sure, here are SIX good reasons to grab your copy of the Anthology. Oh, and you can even win a free copy, just by showing up!

You’ll hear a handful of our contributors read from, or talk about, their short stories, and get some insights from Anthology Committee Members on some of the processes that go into creating an anthology from the ground up. Many of the anthology authors will be there, and I hope you will be, too!  Here’s a link to our video: https://youtu.be/UrCd8UBjA1Q

Again, it’s free and you don’t even have to dress up to join in! Hope to see you there in a couple of weeks!

My First Podcast, courtesy of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

I spent many years recording soundtracks for Elwoodettes Marionettes when I lived in town, but since moving to the coast and having the pandemic put an end to performing, my recording equipment has remained idle. Therefore, I was delighted to receive an invitation to record one of my stories for EQMM’s mystery podcast. This was a wonderful opportunity to re-set up my studio for a new and different challenge. The story, which tells how a light on a lagoon provides the clue that a murder has been committed, can be read in the September/October 2022 issue of EQMM. Alternately, you can listen to it at: EPISODE 156: “The Light on the Lagoon” by Elizabeth Elwood (podomatic.com)

“Number 10 Marlborough Place” wins Best Short Story in the CWC Awards of Excellence

I am so thrilled to see that my latest story for EQMM, set in Post-War England, has won Best Short Story for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence. I was inspired to write the story after watching an episode of The Crown that featured the 1952 Great Smog of London. A child at the time, I remembered the fog, and that memory triggered recollections of two other events that seemed somehow connected in my mind. One of these was the terrible three-train collision at the Harrow Wealdstone station that is still listed as the worst peacetime rail crash in the United Kingdom. The other was the gruesome string of murders that came to light when bodies were discovered in the house of murderer, John Reginald Christie.

When I researched these events, I saw that the train crash had occurred in October of 1952, only two months before the Great London Smog, and the discoveries at 10 Rillington Place had burst onto the news in March of 1953. Having realized that there had been three dramatic incidents, all through one winter, lurking in the background of my family’s everyday life, I decided to weave a mystery combining those events with my other childhood memories.

The result was “Number 10 Marlborough Place” which was published in the November/December 2021 issue of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and has now won Best Short Story in the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence. I was very honoured to make the short list among so many fine writers, and feel even more so, now that my story has been selected as the winner. Congratulations to all the other winners and nominees, and thank you Crime Writers of Canada!

 

Thrilled to be featured on the cover of Black Cat Weekly!

A man is shot dead inside a locked room. He’s found seconds later. No one else was there. Suicide seems the obvious answer, yet Detective Constable Annie Blake thinks it was murder. Can she prove it? Find out in my locked-room mystery, “The Chess Room.” Lots of other fascinating reads within the magazine, too. A treat for mystery lovers. The issue can be purchased here: https://bcmystery.com/black-cat-weekly-28-1/

 

Writing for the Short Story Market

With the pandemic decimating live theatrical productions, not to mention live book events, marketing novels and plays has become more of a challenge than usual.  Therefore, I’ve been delighted to discover the enjoyment of writing for the short-story market. Until I started to explore the opportunities, I never realized how many magazines and anthologies put out calls for mystery stories. Having done so, I was delighted to have four stories in print during 2021, all fun to write, and all with a personal twist lurking behind the mystery plots. “Ill Met by Moonlight, Proud Miss Dolmas” in Moonlight and Misadventure used my experiences as a high-school drama teacher; “The River of My Return” in This Time for Sure used a past trip to Louisiana for a setting; “The Three Lives of Thomasina Bug” in Pets on the Prowl unashamedly related details of how we acquired our cat; and “Number 10 Marlborough Place” in EQMM was built around memories from my childhood in post-war England. Now, with 5 new stories already scheduled to be published in 2022, I’m definitely inspired to keep writing. More details soon on those to come in the future. In the meantime, it’s time to get to the laptop and produce a few more!

 

Bouchercon may be cancelled but the wonderful anthology is still available. Don’t miss out on the great mystery stories in THIS TIME FOR SURE!!

So sad that the conference had to be cancelled but it’s time to show some Bouchercon love! We’ll all miss being in New Orleans together–but maybe a book will help? And buying the terrific Bouchercon Anthology THIS TIME FOR SURE will make a huge difference. This gorgeous limited-edition hardcover will include bookplates from some of the authors–and when the books are gone, they’re gone! It will definitely be a collector’s item–the anthology from the conference that didn’t happen!

With brand new short stories from Craig Johnson, Charles Todd, Kristen Leopionka, David Heska Wanbli Weiden, Alexia Gordon and Elizabeth Elwood, and edited By Hank Phillippi Ryan.

Click here to snag your copy before they are all gone!   https://downandoutbooks.com/bookstore/bouchercon-2021/

Moonlight, Misadventure and Memories of a Drama Teacher

When I saw the title, Moonlight and Misadventure, the first thing that came to mind was a quote from William Shakespeare: “Ill met by moonlight, proud Titania.” After all, A Midsummer Night’s Dream is the epitome of moonlight and misadventure—and having thought of the play, I immediately thought back to the time I spent as a high-school drama teacher. What better subject for a mystery story to fit the theme!

I had many great memories to inspire the plot. One was slipped in early in the story. I really did have a Principal who had my studio theatre dismantled because a maintenance supervisor complained that it had not been built with union labour. It was so satisfying to sneak that tidbit in: how, with the help of the Math teacher who taught on the floor below my English room, I filed a grievance and got the theatre restored. However, the main conflict in the story arose from differences in philosophy of education. When I began teaching in the seventies, I was hired as an English teacher, but, because of my stage experience, was assigned drama classes. Traditionally, these had been held in an ancient portable unit where the noise level was least likely to intrude on academic classes. Drama classes in recent years had been improv sessions where students were encouraged to let it all out as exuberantly as possible.

I resolved to change that. If I had to teach drama, students were going to study stagecraft and voice projection, and what’s more, they were going to learn lines. The students rose to the challenge, and before the year was out, my enthusiastic troupe was itching to attempt a full-length production. Rather than use the stage in the gym, with its poor acoustics and lack of ambience, I asked the principal if we could convert our portable into a studio theatre where I could double-cast plays, mount longer runs and provide more opportunities for students to showcase their talents. Having got the okay, we scrounged the necessary equipment, and with help from janitors and shop teachers, converted the portable into a fifty-seat studio theatre. An exciting two years followed and the program was a great success.

However, when a new Principal arrived the following year, he, like Miss Dolmas, was all for free-expression and questioned my structured classes. Also, like Miss Dolmas, he was gone within the year, but not in the drastic fashion depicted in my story. And, to be fair, before he left, he changed his tune and admitted that he was impressed with our program. Still, the memory of that initial confrontation gave me the stimulus for the “misadventure” in my plot. So thank you, Moonlight and Misadventure. It was great fun being able to relive those experiences in my story. Fiction is always full of truths, and it’s deliciously satisfying to use those moments to drive a plot.

Oh, and one point that didn’t make it into the story, though I relished the memory all the same: The Math teacher who advised me to file a grievance—he and I will be celebrating our 45th wedding anniversary this December.

 

Whether it’s vintage Hollywood, the Florida everglades, the Atlantic City boardwalk, or a farmhouse in Western Canada, the twenty authors represented in this collection of mystery and suspense interpret the overarching theme of “moonlight and misadventure” in their own inimitable style where only one thing is assured: Waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is always there, illuminating things better left in the dark.

Featuring stories by K.L. Abrahamson, Sharon Hart Addy, C.W. Blackwell, Clark Boyd, M.H. Callway, Michael A. Clark, Susan Daly, Buzz Dixon, Jeanne DuBois, Elizabeth Elwood, Tracy Falenwolfe, Kate Fellowes, John M. Floyd, Billy Houston, Bethany Maines, Judy Penz Sheluk, KM Rockwood, Joseph S. Walker, Robert Weibezahl, and Susan Jane Wright.

Click here to find it at your favorite retailer.