Wednesday, March 17, 2010
My author guest: Stephen D. Rogers
Here are some blurbs for Stephen D. Rogers' recently released anthology, Shot to Death, which contains thirty-one satisfying stories of murder and mayhem.
"Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting."
- Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series
"Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal--real writer, real story teller, real tour guide to the dark side."
- Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated Finding Amy and the Thea Kozak mysteries
"Shot to Death provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There's something in this assemblage of New England noir to suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!"
- Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine
Now, here's Stephen D. Rogers' guest post:
"Makeda entered the lobby, stamped the snow off her sneakers, and blew into her cupped hands, wincing when she saw how her honey-colored skin had cracked from the cold."
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in Shot to Death (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.
Makeda isn't prepared for the weather. Her skin actually cracked, which means the cold and snow are foreign. She's in unfamiliar territory, not even taking the time to buy gloves to protect her hands, which tells me she's on the run.
The structure of the sentence doesn't emphasize the lobby, a possible haven of safety and warmth. Instead, the sentence emphasizes "the cold."
She arrives and she doesn't. Whatever the hotel (no, motel) could represent, it doesn't represent a chance to let down her guard. This is not about rest and relaxation, not about respite. Instead, Makeda is going to be running in place.
We don't see the lobby in that opening sentence. More than that, we don't see other people. Makeda is alone. She is cold, alone, and wounded (if that's not too strong a word to describe her hands).
She cups her hands. She doesn't blow on her fists. A cup is hopeful, helpful. You offer a drink to someone with cupped hands. You nourish yourself with cupped hands. Cupped hands nurture life.
Makeda is on the run but she's a positive figure. She's strong enough to go on the run. She's strong enough to stamp her feet.
Whatever Makeda has done, she has my sympathy. Whatever she does, she's going to be left in the cold.
All that remains is the writing.
Wow! Beth here again. That reminds me of a software project manager I had once, who jokingly said after the design was complete and before the coding began, "All that remains is implementation details." And it's in those details that good writing--and reading--is born.
For a chance to win a signed copy of Shot to Death, go to Stephen's website, click on "WIN" and submit your completed entry. Then visit his blog tour schedule here to see how you can march along on his tour and catch up on the stops that preceded my blog.
And then come back here to post your comments. Phew! Remember that Stephen D. Rogers is a writing instructor, so if there's something you're stuck on or some fine point about writing that you've always wanted to know, now's the time to ask.