A Short Story of Love, Loss, and Murder(?)

IMG_3219She walked up the steps of her apartment one last time, and felt in her pocket for her key. She thought of kissing the key goodbye—a silly gesture to be sure—and felt self-conscious even though the cabbie wasn’t paying the least bit of attention and no one else was around. So she kissed it, and the moment her lips touched the key, she felt her wedding ring brush against her cheek.

Her husband’s prognosis had been terminal from the start, yet he’d lingered almost two years after the accident, and during those two years, Lydia gave everything away, sold the house, and rented an apartment near the hospital, furnishing it sparely. She told herself she was in limbo during Terrance’s long and slow decline, and this was why she hadn’t bothered decorating the place. But after he died and was buried, she’d immediately bought herself the open train ticket, planning to depart within the week.

She dropped the key into her landlord’s mailbox, and on impulse, she removed her wedding ring, dropping it in her own mailbox with little thought, no regret. The post office was holding her mail, so the ring would lie entombed until she returned. When that would be, she didn’t know.

Excerpt from “Open Ended”, now appearing in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Find it in bookstores everywhere.

Ellery Queen Story Out on Newsstands Now

EQMDEC2015Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has published my story in their December 2015 issue. In “Open-Ended,” a recent widow sets off on a cross-country train voyage. The issue includes a reader’s ballot, so you can cast a vote for my story as a reader’s favorite – if you so choose! You can find it on newsstands (at Barnes and Noble and other bookstores), or order it online from Ellery Queen, buy it at online at various book retailers, or order it at your favorite independent bookstore! Also available in Kindle, Nook, and other e-reader versions.
My  first  Ellery Queen story appeared in the December issue two years ago. December appears to be my lucky month for short mystery stories. Guess I better get cracking on a new story for a future December issue.


Newly Signed Author for Curiosity Quills Press

10538628_704776566242280_14451890461764092_nI am thrilled to announce that I have signed with Curiosity Quills Press, as announced in Publisher’s Marketplace on Monday, September 21.

Susan Koefod’s NAMING THE STARS, in which a teen girl comes home from swimming lessons one day to find she is absent from family photographs, her bedroom has turned into a linen closet, and all of her possessions have disappeared; more troubling, her family goes on as if she never existed; the only person in town who can actually see her is a teen boy with a troubled past and secrets he’s determined to keep, to Kathleen Kubasiak at Curiosity Quills Press for publication in Summer 2016 (world).

This was the book I began writing in San Francisco during my McKnight Artists Fellowship year. The idea came to me on the flight there—I’d originally planned to write another novel, and during my first days there, wrote parts of both, but NAMING THE STARS took over my imagination and my speedy fingers.

To now see it on its path to publication is amazing! This next year will be filled with much activity around my debut young adult novel. The team at Curiosity Quills is already proving to be phenomenal, so it’s going to be a great ride!

Let There Be FREE Cake (and music and fun and author readings)!

Meteorological fall (weather-geeks rejoice!) is shaping up as a mouth-watering literary-eventful time. Oh yes, and FREE cake, served by this author at the first of these events. I hope to see you at any or all of these upcoming events.

September 10, 7 PM


Black Dog and AZ Gallery
Corner of 4th & Broadway
Lowertown, St Paul, MN

Food, fun, and readings from the Saint Paul Almanac: A Ten-Year Retrospective. The book includes my story of a geeky Cray Research employee love affair-punctuated by elephant jokes. I’ll be serving cake so stop by and get a piece or two. Books available for purchase!

September 30, 7 PM


Lucy Coffee Cafe

540 Fairview Ave N,
St Paul, MN 55104

Hear me read my story from the Saint Paul Almanac: A Ten-Year Retrospective. Love and elephant jokes – what a great combo. Other writers will also be reading their pieces.  Books available for purchase!

NOVEMBER 14, 1 PM – 4 PM


Galaxie Library (Apple Valley)
14955 Galaxie Ave.
Apple Valley, MN 55124

Come see me at the Dakota County Library Local Author Fair, where you can mingle with  the book-loving public, buy books, hang out with  authors, and attend optional literary workshops. All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt OutBroken Down, and Washed Up  will be available for purchase.

Forthcoming! Lots and Lots!

I2016-SPA-Cover-315x485t’s a thrill to have my story selected by Saint Paul Almanac’s community editors to be published in the 10th anniversary issue, so I thought I’d share this cover reveal and invite Minneapolis and St. Paul area readers and writers to join in the fun at the 10th anniversary bash (coming September 10th).

The editors culled through 10 years of Saint Paul Almanacs and I am so honored and pleased to have had my story of a geeky Cray Research employee love affair-punctuated by elephant jokes-appearing in the book this year.

This week also brought good news in the form of tiny final edits to my latest Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine story-Open Ended-which will appear in the December issue (out on the newsstands in October). It’s a huge thrill for a mystery writer’s stories to appear in the world’s leading crime and mystery fiction magazine. This will be my second story to appear in Ellery Queen! Beyond excitement!

If you haven’t checked it out yet, look at my Perpetua series on Revolver. Free! Quirky, bizarre, and experimental.

Forthcoming appearances include the Minnesota State Fair, a private book club event (YES – I DO BOOK CLUBS!!), and the Almanac party. I hope to see fans, fellow authors, and fellow readers at all of these!

A Fair to Remember – err, two actually

Lusting for a lip-smacking satisfying treat with no calories? I have just the thing! Upcoming not-to-be missed fairs, including “the big one,” feature local mystery authors (including me). Details below:

>Albert Park - In His Own Words

Albert Park – at Dodd and Smith

July 25, 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM


Art on the Avenue 2015

At Smith and Dodd Avenue

Smith Avenue comes alive again this summer with art, live music, food, crafts, children and adult entertainment and more! Come see me and other artists and vendors on July 25th from 4 to 8PM. Fun will happen at Albert Park, Doddway Shopping Center, Dodd Park and Smith Avenue. More details of my exact location coming, but the area is very walkable. Park and come find me! All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt Out, Broken Down, and Washed Up - will be available for purchase.


Fun, food, and mystery at the great Minnesota get-together.

September 2, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM*


Minnesota State Fair

Carousel Park

Stop by the MELSA tent during Read and Ride day at the Fair to visit me along with other Twin Cities Sister in Crime authors. Sign up for giveaways! All three Arvo Thorson mysteries - Burnt Out, Broken Down, and Washed Up - will be available for purchase.

*I’ll post my shift time (a two-hour slot) soon!

Wanted: More Writing Prompts

The strange tale of a euphonium-playing animal-loving character named Tiffanie Brump captured the attention of Revolver‘s editors, who named me “Winner of WANTED 25.” Revolver called WANTED 25  “its most ambitious WANTED contest to date”.

My prize is three-month prompt-based SERIAL PROJECT on Revolver. I love writing prompts. They provide fresh inspiration, take my writer’s mind into new places I wouldn’t have thought of, and fresh, unexpected plots and characters always arise.

I think it’s going to be a fun assignment and have already received my first prompt. Watch for bi-weekly musings at Revolver, and while you’re waiting to see my  new serial, check out their other stories, poems, and projects. And watch for the next WANTED prompt. Always fun, whether you win or not!