Tag Archives: Charlaine Harris

Delta Blues Sings

I’m in Vegas, baby!  And it’s a crazy time in Vegas, full of dentists, business and revelry of one kind or another.  I’m also trying to finish an edit of my first Paula book in time to get it in for the Malice Domestic competition (publication and cash money from St. Martin’s Press to the winner).  But I still found time to finish an anthology, Delta Blues, edited by Carolyn Haines.

The book has 19 stories by authors you know and love, including Charlaine Harris, John Grisham, and James Lee Burke.  What they have in common is the feeling of the deep south, the riff of R&B, a pinch of evil, and the bone-deep awareness that what is gonna be, is gonna be.

There’s a lot to like in the book, and my two favorite stories are the last two.  John Grisham’s story, Fetching Raymond,  is an affecting and realistic look at the last hours of a man awaiting execution, as seen by his family.  He’s an empty shell of a braggadocio.  And they love him.

Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly team up with What His Hands Have Been Waiting For, a nice story of redemption.  Three souls bound for ruin come together – and save each other. 

I got Delta Blues for free by going to Bouchercon – part of my Bouchercon booty, but I’ve got to say, I love short stories and this is an anthology I’m happy to own and would cheerfully paid for.

Contest for cash, conference admission

What a great idea!  The New England Crime Bake, the 9th Annual Mystery Conference for Writers and Readers (November 12-14, 2010 at the Hilton Hotel in Dedham, MA) has an associated short story contest.  Called the Al Blanchard Award (after the early conference co-chair), the winner receives $100, publication of the short story in an anthology, and free admission to the New England Crime Bake.

Contest rules are simple:

  • Story must be a crime story by a New England author or with a New England setting.
  • Story must be previously unpublished (in print or electronically).
  • Story must not be more than 5,000 words in length.
  • Story may include the following genres: mystery, thriller, suspense, caper, and horror. (No torture/killing of children or animals.)

Fortunately, my stories rarely include torture or killing of children or animals; I restrict my mayhem to adults. The hard part will be the New England setting. But I love constraints (thus my high school foray into sonnets) and the deadline isn’t until April 30th.  And, since I am behind in my plotting for book #2 in the series featuring actress/sleuth Paula Berger, I definitely need another distraction.  Plus, no fee to enter the contest.

The conference itself looks like fun.  Charlaine Harris is the guest of honor, which means that many contest entries will probably feature vampires, werewolves and the like.  (Note to self: Vampire who came over on the Mayflower?)  But more exciting to me is Dennis Lehane‘s participation.  His Mystic River is simply one of the best books ever.  And Shutter Island, which I found mesmerising and confusing, is now out as a mesmerising and confusing movie (until the light dawns at the end, of course).

Other conference details aren’t up and registration isn’t open yet… but I’m all over that contest.