Thankful for Our Readers

Dearest Readers,

Once again this year, the Wicked Cozy Authors are thankful for the readers of our books and our blog.

Starting tomorrow, and every blog day until the end of November, the Wickeds, the Accomplices, or one of our wonderful guests will be giving a prize to a lucky commenter.

We love our readers, and we know we couldn’t be publishing or blogging without you. Thanks so much for all you do–and good luck!

And, as an extra bonus, Edgar Allan Cozy, the ebook of short stories and poems based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe and written by Sheila Connolly, Sherry Harris, Sadie Hartwell, Edith Maxwell and Barbara Ross. For this giveaway, there’s no need to comment. Simply follow this link.

Enjoy and good luck with the rest of the giveaways.

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It’s the Great Cozy Pumpkin, Wicked Friends

Susannah/Sadie/Jane here, studiously avoiding the piles of New England leaves that await raking…

It’s October, Wicked Friends, and who doesn’t love this time of year? Costumes. Scary Movies. Candy. And of course, the Great Pumpkin.

EdgarLast January, on Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday, Wickeds Barb Ross, Sherry Harris, and Edith Maxwell, and Accomplices Sheila Connolly and Yours Truly released a collection of short stories based on some of Poe’s work: Edgar Allan Cozy. We had such fun coming up with our own twists on the classics.

Now, of course the Wicked Cozy Authors have the Most Sincere Blog around. And because you’ve all been extra good (not wicked at all), the Great Cozy Pumpkin has a gift for you, but only for a few days.

From today through October 31, just like trick-or-treat candy, Edgar Allan Cozy is free. So please, download your copy from Amazon, tell all your friends, read and enjoy. And if you’re inclined to leave a review, we’d appreciate it.

Let us know what you think, and thanks for reading!

Readers: What’s your favorite Poe story or poem? How old were you when you first read him?

 

Edgar Allan Cozy — Wicked Short Stories

EdAllanCozyCoverWe are celebrating Edgar Allan Poe’s birthday with a new short story anthology! Last year Jane Haertel, aka Sadie Hartwell (aka Susannah Hardy), asked the Wickeds if we’d be interested in doing a short story anthology based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short stories — only these stories would have a twist — a cozy take on his original stories. The result is the ebook Edgar Allan Cozy. Here’s how we chose our stories:

Edith: At a young age I was haunted – haunted, I tell you! – by the “The Tell-Tale Heart.”

By Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849) and W.W.Story [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

From Wikimedia Commons

And by young I mean nine or ten. When the light went out in my room at night, I knew I could hear that heart beating under the floor. I didn’t know anything about sanity or insanity. I didn’t know what a rheumy eye was. But I could feel that story. I’m not sure my mother was entirely sane letting her third daughter read Poe and the tales of Sherlock Holmes in the fourth grade. Read them I did, though, over and over, and that reading started me on the path to where I have ended up: writing mystery, heart-stopping suspense, and even a bit of horror now and then. I tried to craft “An Intolerable Intrusion” after the manner of “The Tell-Tale Heart” — only with a modern twist.

Poe_Botas_Amontillado

Photo by Jljimenez via Wikimedia Commons

Sadie/Susannah/Jane: My story, “Within These Walls,” about a Shriner clown’s wife who inherits a brooding mansion set high on a bluff in Raven Harbor, Maine, is based on Poe’s “Cask of Amontillado.” While I love all the Poe stories and poems, this is the one that sticks with me. Our narrator gets his friend Fortunato drunk on Amontillado, a rare wine, then proceeds to wall him up–alive!–in his ancient house. I’m not in the least claustrophobic, but whenever I think of poor Fortunato dying, alone and desperate, in his dank, dark, sealed-up prison, I feel a little short of breath. A little palpitate-y. And it’s always driven me a bit mad that we never find out exactly what Fortunato did to his frenemy Montresor that motivated Montresor to get his revenge in this dreadful way. We’ll never know. But not to worry.. I gave the characters in my tribute story some specific motivations, so you won’t have to spend a lot of years wondering.

Sherry: A strange thing happened on the way to picking a Poe story for the anthology — I stopped to read the poem Annabel Lee because I hadn’t read it in years. And as soon as I finished reading it the story of Anna, Belle, and Lee popped into my head. It was one of those glorious moments in writing when something really flows. But because the poem is short, I needed to write a story too. I kept sorting through them and good heavens a lot of those stories are grim!

IMG_1125Then I came across the partially finished story of The Lighthouse which is a diary with only three entries. It in itself is a mystery. Why isn’t it finished? Or is it finished? No one really knows and I liked that. In my story I write about a relative who tries to find out what happened to her missing great-great-great grandfather using his diary entries. But she has some problems of her own.

Barb: We’ve all been transported by the rhythms, internal rhymes, and relentless story-telling of “The Raven.” But I’ve always wondered–what if the poem was moved to modern times? And what if the narrator was driven mad, not by a bird, but by the haranguing of a telemarketer? To answer these questions, I offer my updated version.

Sheila: While I had read most of Poe’s short stories years ago, I wanted to find something MsinBottleI wasn’t familiar with, and discovered the 1883 story “MS. Found in a Bottle.” The narrator is a sailor who encounters some rather extreme circumstances during a voyage on a cargo ship at sea. Or does he? Some early readers have asked if Poe meant this as a satire, or a parody of some contemporary sea stories—although they never quite agreed on which author Poe was poking fun at. Still, the editor who published the story called it “distinguished by a wild, vigorous and poetical imagination.” I thought it might be interesting to see what would happen if I recast the story with the sailor telling his story to a modern audience, and whether he would be believed under different conditions.

Readers: Do you have a favorite Poe story?

Just One Thing or How I Finally Managed To Write A Short Story

By Sherry in Northern Virginia where winter seems to be setting in.

IMG_7356Short stories have been the bane of my existence — hmm that’s a little dramatic, so the bane of my writing existence. It seems like everyone I know writes them. I like to read them, but when it comes to me writing one, well, I fall short. When I lived in Massachusetts I always planned to write a short story to submit to the Level Best Books anthology. When I moved back to Northern Virginia I planned to write one to submit to the anthology for the Al Blanchard contest. I even had an idea for a story and wrote bits of it here and there but could never get it to gel.

On the other hand, I have a short story contest to thank for starting me on my adult novel writing journey. I may have told you this story before so feel free to skip to the next paragraph. We were living in Dayton, Ohio when I saw a blurb in the newspaper for a short story contest. I’ll write one, I thought. My protagonist was a gemologist, the setting was Seattle, and there was a dead homeless woman. I sat down to write but just kept going, subplots, romances, and characters appeared. The short story contest was abandoned but my novel writing journey was born.

So along comes our very own Wicked accomplice Sadie/Susannah/Jane suggesting we do a short story anthology taking a well known author’s stories and giving them a cozy twist. “Sure,” I say, “I can do that.” (I’m starting to worry that I’m one of those people who  if someone came along and said we should all go skydiving I’d say yes. Writing a short story seems almost as risky to me.) The group decided to write riffs on Edgar Allan Poe stories and I was soon wondering what I’d gotten myself in to.

I spent some time going through Poe stories. I’d forgotten how dark they were. I finally settled on a story called “The Lighthouse.” But I didn’t start writing.

My first attempt -- at least I had a title.

My first attempt — at least I had a title.

Second attempt -- title and who wrote it -- this is progress.

Second attempt – title and who wrote it — this is progress.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The deadline came closer and I made many attempts but tossed them. I finally called story story writer and independent editor Barb Goffman and explained my problem: every time I started writing characters and subplots kept crowding my head. Barb said, “A short story is about just one thing.”

“But what about –”
“Just one thing.”
“But a romance –”
“Just one thing.”
“I thought of a character –”
“JUST ONE THING.”

IMG_7353Okay, I got it. A short story is about just one thing. That’s what I chanted to myself as I wrote. I batted away those pesky subplots and characters that weren’t meant to be there. I finished the story. The anthology, Edgar Allan Cozy, comes out tomorrow.

Readers: Have you ever tried to write a short story? Do you read them?