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.
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One, Two, Three – On The Way

 

Click the elephant. I dare you.

Now that life has settled down a bit from the whirlwind that was college selection, graduation, open house, and extremely overwhelming work days (nights, weekends, dreams, etc.), I wanted to tell you about a few, exciting, upcoming bookish things.

Not zero, not one, not even two, but YES, THREE  stories are being published this September:

(1) “Everlasting Light,” Talking Stick 23 (Jackpine Writers Bloc, 2014) – September 2014
(2) “Gift Wrapped,” 2015 Saint Paul Almanac – September 2014
(3) “Iced,” Festival of Crime Anthology, Nodin Press – September 2014

Unknown-1Here’s the cool cover for #3.  This well-crafted anthology has great advance praise.  The collection will be launched at our famous local bookstore, Once Upon a Crime, on Thursday, September 11 at 7 P.M. It will be available where fine mysteries are sold, but I hope local folks can make it over to OUAC where I’ll be signing along with the other story authors. Foreword by the ever fabulous, Erin Hart.

#2 events are yet to be scheduled, but I will totally be there for the launch party late summer, and plan on reading at one or more of their events.

#1 will be launched in Northern Minnesota. Not sure yet whether I will make that party, but the Jackpine Writers are known for throwing a great event and crafting a wonderful collection of writing by Minnesota writers.

While you are all eagerly anticipating these stories, go ahead and click on the elephant above, and read my story that appeared in a previous Saint Paul Almanac. Another appearance in the works for the Minnesota State Fair. I’ll get my events page updated soon!

 

Get Your Rowdy Reading here – Includes Past 3MF Entry

 

Playing House

by SUSAN KOEFOD
Absolutely fantastic. I didn’t know where it was going at first, but came together during a second read. Hysterical.
– Meredith Greenwood

She threw herself onto the rosewood settee, the one where Janey had laid her lime-green lollypop. The lollypop stuck to Millicent’s best–and–only dress, its gloppy syrup instantly gluing her to the settee. She was stuck, and that was the last thing she wanted Reginald to know.

– – – More here.

 

Haunted Past, Haunted House

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“Arvo Thorson sat on his dead mother’s chintz armchair one windless July night. For hours, he kept watch out her bedroom window, seeming to take in nothing more than the brooding mirror of Lake Superior.

His handgun rested on his knee.”

So opens my short story — “Boys will be Boys” — which will appear in the February 2013 Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.  The magazine is found pretty much everywhere books are sold (check the newstands) and is also available online and in ebook form.

My contributor copies arrived in the mail today, so I snapped this photo. The story appears on the last pages of the magazine, a nice spot!  I hope you read it and like it!! It isn’t connected with any of the Arvo Thorson mysteries, but who  knows, maybe it’s the start of Book #4! Check out the other books in the series, if you haven’t already.

Open Ended

At the last minute, Marne took off her wedding ring and left it behind. She couldn’t bear the thought of people noticing the ring, noticing that a husband wasn’t along with her on the trip and asking about him, or not asking and just looking at her with pity or accusations or both.

Of course she’d arrived at the justification for removing her ring much later. The moment she removed the ring her mind had been completely blank, the idea spontaneous.

The taxi had been waiting for her at the curb, and she’d remembered she’d wanted to leave her apartment key with her landlord.

“One moment,” she had said to the cabbie as he put her suitcase into the trunk. “I forgot something.”

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, and during those two years, Marne gave everything away, sold the house, and rented an apartment near the University of Minnesota hospital, furnishing it sparely. She told herself she was in limbo during Terrance’s illness, 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. Any thought of decorating the apartment was on hold for the foreseeable future.

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 inside her mailbox until she returned. When that would be, she didn’t know.

—————————————————————————————————-

The start of a new story. Always fun.

“World’s Best Mystery Magazine” Accepts My Story

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.

Fun times!!