The Story Behind The Story – JACKED UP

So once upon a time, I decided I really, really, really wanted to write a story and have it published in either Alfred Hitchcock Mysery Magazine or Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.  For those that aren’t aware, those are probably the two foremost print publications of mystery short fiction on the market and have been for a long, long time.

They can also be notoriously difficult to break into.

But I decided that I had a couple of novels under my belt and maybe, just maybe I could convince them to take a look at a piece of short crime fiction with my name on it.

So I set about creating a story about a cop in San Diego on the verge of retirement who just completely snaps and screws up his retirement in the blink of an eye.

I really liked the story when it was done and I felt pretty good when I sent it off to the magazines.

Alas, they did not feel the same way.  I got a polite little rejection notice informing me that it was not to be.

So it sat on my computer without a home.  For several years.  Until I decided to publish OUT OF TIME.

And here’s why I decided to include it with the other four stories:  I always thought it was a good story.  I liked the way things spiral out of control for the guy.  The way it just gets worse by the moment.  The way a life can change in an instant.  I thought all of those things came across pretty well in the story and it was different from anything that I’d ever written before.  It felt like I’d taken on a challenge…and passed it.

So even though the magazines didn’t think it was right for them, I always felt it had life.

And now it does.


The Story Behind The Story – SPARRING PARTNER

So, today, if everything goes according to plan, when you read this…my short story collection, OUT OF TIME, should be free for you to download.  I give, you take.  I’m that kind of guy.

Short stories have always been a difficult animal for me.  I find it tough to tell a complete story in such a condensed format.  But over the years, I’ve either attempted them on my own or been asked to write one.  The five in OUT OF TIME are a combination of my own inspiration and ones that I was asked to contribute.  And because I just love to talk about myself, I thought I’d give you a little insight into each story in the collection.

I really learned how to write from the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers.  When I lived in Colorado, I joined RMFW and then joined an amazing critique group that truly taught me how to write.  When I was finally published for the first time, I tried to give back as much as I could – volunteering, mentoring, etc.  When the organization decided to put together an anthology and I was asked to write a story to be included, I agreed, despite being terrified of the medium.

I decided to write from a female POV because I’d never done that.  And I wanted there to be some conflict, some mystery because that’s what I was most comfortable writing.  No idea where the name Lucy Montoya came from – I just saw her at this cabin.  In the snow.  With her boyfriend.  That she couldn’t stand.

I knew it would be different than the others in the anthology and I liked that.

So that’s how Sparring Partner was born.

You can read it now – for free – if you go to Amazon and download OUT OF TIME.