When I first thought about bringing Bitter End, Oscar Chump and Bermuda Short together, I wasn’t sure what connected them. The differences were easy to pick out; each story is unique to its setting, both in time and place, and their central characters are as idiosyncratic as you and me.
But what they did have in common was the desire for revenge. They might go about it in different ways, and for different reasons, but at the end of the day, it’s about getting your own back even if it is only on the page!
Which led me to my title: Revenge With A Twist, three mystery shorts varying in length from 2,999 words to 5,200.
The longest in the collection is Bermuda Short, my first adult fiction.
I had just returned from a family holiday in Bermuda with the sights and sounds of the island still fresh in my mind, when there was a call for submissions to Cold Blood IV, part of a long-running anthology edited by Peter Sellers, and published by Mosaic Press. They were looking for original stories and dangling a huge carrot…the book would be launched at Bouchercon, the international convention for mystery writers, to be held in Toronto the following autumn.
Talk about motivation! I confess it took me several months to “get it right,” but by then I’d made the leap from writing exclusively for nine-to-12 year olds.
And then there’s Oscar Chump, a small-town mystery with a fifties’ feel. For years, all I had was the title and the lyrics from a 1956 rock-and-roll song by Jim Lowe. He kept asking “Green Door, what’s that secret you’re keeping?” I had no idea, so I asked Oscar Chump. I’m pretty sure the secret I came up with wasn’t exactly the answer Jim Lowe had in mind, but I had my story.
We’ll file that one under writer’s revenge; I had way too much fun with my cast of characters!
And while divorce does turn deadly in Bitter End, I swear this one’s total fiction. Except for maybe the odd bit about sailing (I had a part interest in a twenty-one-foot Shark at the time), and an article I had recently read about forensic accountants searching for the hidden assets of a deposed dictator. In my short story, the assets are, shall we say, far more personal…and it definitely ends with a twist!
Bitter End first appeared in the May, 2016, edition of Mystery Weekly Magazine which publishes original short stories in print and digital form. Once they no longer hold exclusive rights, authors are free to publish elsewhere which is exactly what I did.
I had my title ready and waiting, and a few ideas for the cover which I sent to Heather McIntyre at Cover&Layout in the U.K. And voilà, in March, 2017, Revenge With A Twist appeared “in print” as an eBook with an eye-catching cover and a brand new audience.