She 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.
Ellery 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.
It’s a good day when you get a story accepted, and a GREAT DAY when you are a mystery writer and your mystery story is accepted by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (EQMM). And today was a GREAT DAY for me.
The story will appear in a future EQMM issue and potentially online. When I get details of the publication date, I’ll share it here.
Stephen King calls EQMM the “world’s best mystery magazine” and the magazine and its stories have won many, many prizes. I am so honored and awed to have a story of mine picked up by EQMM. And yes bragging but I’ve EARNED it today.
My accepted short story concerns a very bad day for Arvo Thorson, the detective in my mystery series. He’s riled up (with good reason) and needs to act. But will he? If you know Arvo, you know he has issues that get in the way of his doing what he needs to do. If you don’t know him, well then check him out!
The story is set in his mother’s hometown of Tofte, Minnesota, a Lake Superior burg northeast of Duluth. Who knows, I may yet write the rest of that one-off story (titled “Boys will be Boys”) into a novel.
Check out EQMM and think of subscribing (available in print and for reading devices) or picking up a single issue (available at bookstores), especially if you love mysteries in bite-sized pieces – you might find a new mystery writer you want to check out. OR just be lined up to read my story when it appears in the magazine.