If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!


Friday, April 3, 2020

The Drifter by Nick Petrie: A Review by Warren Bull

The Drifter by Nick Petrie: A Review by Warren Bull

Image by David Izquiero on UpSplash

It is always a pleasure to discover a new talented author and Nick Petrie is truly a find.

Having seen this was a first novel, I was surprised by the quality of his work so I interrupted my reading long enough to read his bio (which I almost never do) and discovered he earned an MFA from the University of Washington and his short fiction has won awards.

Petrie has clearly done his apprenticeship as a wordsmith. His writing is colorful, but not intrusive enough to interfere with the plot. Peter Ash, is a former Marine lieutenant who was sent on several combat missions. Upon his return to the US. Ash discovers that he has suddenly developed symptoms of PTSD. Uncomfortable in enclosed spaces, he goes on a lengthy journey through the wild, avoiding people and civilization. 

When he learns a Sergeant who served under him committed suicide, he feels guilty that he did nothing to see how the man was getting along back “in the world.” [in the US] Ash goes to see if he can help the man’s family. He pretends there is a program to help families of vets refurbish their homes, and offers to help rebuild a sagging porch. This simple act sets off a chain of events that challenges Ash to use his combat skills and threatens the way of life he designed to cope with his PTSD.

Petrie does an excellent job describing the PTSD. His hero is more than Superman light. I enjoyed the humor the author snuck in. There were unexpected twists like [NO SPOILER HERE] and when [NOT HERE EITHER] turned out to be [READ THE BOOK IF YOU WANT TO FIND OUT.] The author seems to genuinely care about the plight of returning service people.

I highly recommend you read the book. I am looking forward to the next book in what sounds like a new series.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

The Lila Maclean Mysteries: Hilarious, with a Body or Two by Susan Van Kirk

When I read Semester of Our Discontent by Cynthia Kuhn, I knew her series was for me. While I
taught as a lowly adjunct at a liberal arts college, Cynthia was in the university tenure track wars
as a professor several states away. I could stay safely on the sidelines and watch the drama of the
faculty while she was in the middle of it all. In short, I identified with her amateur sleuth and
cozy series featuring English professor Lila Maclean.

I interviewed Cynthia for an upcoming newsletter, but I had planned to meet her at Left Coast Crime to seal the deal and discover my typos. Alas, that didn’t happen. I thought the least I could do was reach out to our audience and tell them about Cynthia’s award-winning books.

Let me tell you a bit about the series overall, and then briefly describe her four books and her almost-here fifth. The tone of her stories is light and humorous. I found myself laughing a lot.

The Lila Maclean series is anchored at prestigious Stonedale University, a place close enough to the ski ranges that students won’t be bored on the weekends. While Stonedale has the usual noble goals and Latin inscriptions chiseled over the entrances of its huge stone buildings, it also has the rigid rules, turf wars, cutthroat camaraderie, an understood pecking order, and the big faculty egos and self-important staff members. If you’ve gone to a college or taught in one, you’ll recognize these juicy conflicts.

You’ll be able to cheer Lila on because she is a lover of good books, especially mysteries, and has a penchant for finding dead bodies and hidden secrets. Several characters appear throughout her series, but these two are important. She has a humorous on-again-off-again romance with Detective Lex Archer, who first suspects she is a killer, and a complex relationship with her wild artist mother, Violet, who would feel at home leading a vortex tour of Sedona, Arizona. Other characters come in and out, some permanently out.

Here are her light, but murderous, Lila Maclean books:

The Semester of Our Discontent (2016) introduces the series. Lila Maclean is joyous when she gets a job at Stonedale University, a prestigious school in the mountains of Colorado. But when she finds the murdered body of one of her colleagues, she must use her brain and instincts to avoid becoming the next victim. The local detective has her on his radar, and her fellow colleagues begin to wonder when another body is found—again by Lila. Is she a murder victim magnet? A strange symbol and a nemesis in the shadows will be dangers that threaten her life. This book won an Agatha for Best First Novel.
You an read Elaine's interview on WWK with Cynthia about this book here.

The Art of Vanishing (2017) When author and serious womanizer, Damon Von Tussel, is selected to head Arts Week at Stonedale, Lila is asked to interview him. Strangely, he vanishes right before her eyes. That’s when the sinister events begin. Where did he go? What will the English Department do since Von Tussel is their headliner? Strange messages, thefts, and unexpected events draw Lila into the middle of it all. Then, her mother, Violet, who is Von Tussel’s ex-, shows up to create even more chaos. Can Lila keep her own mother safe with people vanishing all around them? Nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery. You can read Elaine's interview with Cynthia about this book here.

The Spirit in Question (2018) Lila agrees to be a consultant on the Stonedale Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist, Mystery
play to be produced in the crumbling campus theatre. It is called “Puzzled: The Musical,” and that is exactly what it is: an incomprehensible muddle that will be a disaster. On top of that, the theatre appears to be haunted. Of course, like all crumbling theatre mysteries, there’s a dark history behind the theatre building. Murder, as might be predicted in a Kuhn mystery, happens center stage. Plenty of antagonists appear in this plot: the local historical society that wants to save the theatre, a psychic, the ghost, and a paranormal search squad (shades of “Ghostbusters” without ectoplasmic splatter?) Lefty Award Nominee for Best Humorous Mystery and Foreword Indies Book of the Year Awards Finalist, Mystery  You can read Elaine's interview with Cynthia about this book here.

The Subject of Malice (2019) Lila is attending Malice in the Mountains, a book conference at Tattered Star Ranch. Because of her tenure requirements, Lila has a huge job to do at this conference. She must find a publisher who’ll agree to publish her book, speak impressively on her academic panel, and manage to avoid a nemesis. Detective Lex Archer asks for her help, so now she has an added job which involves keeping her other colleagues alive when an influential scholar is murdered. Nominated for a Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery. You can read Elaine's interview with Cynthia about this book here.

The Study of Secrets (May 2020) This one I haven’t yet read. Here is the description from the advertising: There could be nowhere more fitting for English professor Lila Maclean to spend her sabbatical than in a proper Victorian mansion. The whimsical Callahan House
seems to have materialized from the pages of the mystery novels she is researching, with its enchanting towers, cozy nooks, and charming library. Unfortunately, it also features a body in the study.

Residents of Larkston have long believed that the Callahan family is cursed—the murder on the estate sets the town buzzing. Wild rumors are fueled by a gossipy blogger who delights in speculation, and further crimes only intensify the whispers and suspicions. A newly discovered manuscript, however, appears to expose startling facts beneath the fictions. When Lila steps in to sort the truth from the lies, it may cost her everything, as someone wants to make dead certain that their secrets stay hidden.

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

An Interview with Jennifer J. Chow by E. B. Davis

Did I really want to be the one to destroy her naïve dream?
And who knew—maybe her ploy could work.
After all, I’d gotten a big break after I’d rescued Gelato.
This was Hollywood, where happy endings were crafted.
Jennifer J. Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue, Kindle Loc. 3196

Mimi Lee is in over her head. There's her new Los Angeles pet grooming shop to run, her matchmaking mother to thwart, her talking cat Marshmallow to tend to—oh, and the murder of a local breeder to solve...now if only Mimi hadn't landed herself on top of the suspect list. 

Mimi Lee hoped to give Los Angeles animal lovers something to talk about with her pet grooming shop, Hollywoof. She never imagined that the first cat she said hello to would talk back or be quite so, well, catty—especially about those disastrous dates Mimi's mother keeps setting up.

When Marshmallow exposes local breeder Russ Nolan for mistreating Chihuahuas, Mimi steals some of her cat's attitude to tell Russ off. The next day the police show up at Hollywoof. Russ has been found dead, and Mimi's shouting match with him has secured her top billing as the main suspect.

Hoping to clear her name and save the pups Russ left behind, Mimi enlists help from her dreamy lawyer neighbor Josh. But even with Josh on board, it'll take Mimi and Marshmallow a lot of sleuthing and more than a little sass to get back to the pet-grooming life—and off the murder scene.

Jennifer J. Chow is a fresh voice on the mystery scene. As an Asian American, her culture seeps through in language, family relationships, and cooking styles. Having lived in Hawaii for a few months, the Asian influence wasn’t new to me, but the main character’s talking cat was a surprise. Marshmallow, the cat, isn’t just some pretty, fluffy face. Owner, Mimi Lee, and Marshmallow investigate murder. Mimi talks to the suspects while Marshmallow talks with the suspects’ pets.

Mimi Lee Gets A Clue is a fun read. It was released by Berkley Prime Crime on March 10th and is the first of the Sassy Cat mystery series. But this isn’t Jennifer’s first series. She writes the Winston Wong cozy mystery series under the name J.J. Chow, and also writes Young Adult fantasy.

Please welcome Jennifer J. Chow to WWK.                   E. B. Davis

In what area of L.A. is Hollywoof located?
It’s an unnamed beach area, but the nearby pier and palm tree-lined plaza outside the shop are definitely inspired by Hermosa Beach.

Mimi grew up in Lawndale. Where in L.A. is that?
Lawndale is a city in L.A. County. It’s located in the South Bay area of the larger Los Angeles region, east of Manhattan Beach.

How did twenty-something Mimi get the capital to open Hollywoof?
Through sheer good fortune. As an animal lover, Mimi couldn’t help but rescue a floundering shih tzu from the choppy waters off Catalina Island. In return, the grateful (and wealthy) dog owner, Pixie St. James, provided the capital to fulfill Mimi’s dream of owning a pet grooming salon. 

Mimi’s parents are retired. Did they have their children, both in their twenties, later in life?
Yes, Mimi’s parents met later in life, so now they’re living a happy empty-nester life.

What do Mimi’s parents do now that they are retired?
Mimi’s dad, Greg, spends his time on the golf course while Mimi’s mom, Winnie, hatches match-making plans for her two single daughters.  

What native language did Mimi’s Malaysian-born mother speak?
Mimi’s mom likes to speak Manglish, a mixture of linguistic influences found in her country, including Hakka, English, Malay, Hokkien, Mandarin, Cantonese, and Tamil. Of course, she has her own spin on it now, given her decades of living in America.

Alice, Mimi’s younger Kindergarten-teaching sister, gives her a cat from a shelter. Mimi names the cat Marshmallow. Does the name suit the cat?
Haha! Mimi thinks so because he’s a white Persian cat and very, um, puffy. Marshmallow, of course, hates the name.

Mimi, a graduate and psychology major of UCLA, thinks she’s having a psychotic experience or hallucinations when Marshmallow talks to her. Mimi’s mother isn’t the only one who has trouble with acronyms. What does DSM mean?
DSM stands for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. It’s a handbook that describes different mental illnesses, and professionals use it to diagnose clients.

What is a moto jacket?
A motorcycle jacket, often leather, worn by bikers.

Does L.A. still have a lot of air pollution?
Yes, but I feel like it’s gotten better over the years. And the smog results in gorgeous sunsets. 

Pixie, Mimi’s benefactor, sends her friends to Hollywoof to help launch the business. Are the women competitive or are they all infatuated with teacup Chihuahuas?
The women mostly just love their Chis—all for different reasons. However, they are prone to puppy envy, like when one of the women styles her pooch in a glitzy rhinestone collar and sweet pink headband.

Their dad calls Mimi and Alice, Princess One and Two. But they don’t seem spoiled, especially considering some of the gross dog grooming tasks Mimi must perform. Why is Mimi required to solve Alice’s job problem?
The “princess” moniker is a term of endearment from their dad, who’s all about hugs and encouragements. Mimi’s not required to help Alice with her job situation, but as the big sister, it’s assumed that she’ll take on the problem-solver role. Her mom definitely expects a strong drive and “can do” attitude from Mimi to help out her sister just by being part of the Lee family. 

Are exotic pets regulated by state?
Yes. For example, ferrets are legal in most other states but not in California (unless you obtain a special permit). The state department of Fish and Wildlife has information on the reasons for restricting certain species for public health and safety.

When Mimi meets young lawyer Josh in the apartment complex’s laundry room, she gets a bad case of foot-in-mouth disease. What is the big competition between USC and UCLA?
The USC-UCLA rivalry comes from the competition between their sports teams, particularly in football. There’s also a bit of ribbing because USC is a private institution while UCLA is a public university. 

Does Josh like fortune cookies because of the taste or the fortune?
Josh likes fortune cookies because the sayings cheer him up and help him during stressful times. The yummy vanilla flavor doesn’t hurt, though.

What is a jade burial shroud?
A jade burial shroud is a basically a suit made of jade. The precious stone was commonly cut into rectangular shapes and pieced together to provide a valuable covering for ancient Chinese royalty.

Does doggie SUPPing, yoga, acupuncture, and pool parties really exist? Do the dogs wear diapers in the pools?
These are all real things! Owners do go stand up paddle boarding with their pets and participate in yoga with their dogs. There also are pet acupuncturists. And doggie pool parties (sans diapers) exist—Los Angeles County even opens up some of their pools to canines at the end of the summer for their annual Pooches in the Pool event. 

What is poke and spam musubi, and is it really popular in Hawaii?
Poke is a dish made from diced raw fish and garnished with savory toppings. Spam musubi is a type of sushi made with seaweed, rice, and cooked spam. I know these dishes are offered in Hawaii, but I’m not sure how popular they are there. There are definitely quite a few places serving poke bowls and musubi around Los Angeles. 

Mimi’s family’s snacks for game night are unusual to most of us. What are durian candies and furikake snack mix? What else do they snack on?
Durian candies are made from a tropical fruit found in Southeast Asia. Unlike fresh durian, they usually don’t have a strong odor, but they do retain the distinctive musky taste (sorry, I don’t have an exact flavor I can compare it to!) Furikake snack mix is an enhanced version of Chex mix, but with added butter, sugar, and furikake (a rice seasoning, often seaweed-based).  

Can someone else access your electrical panel via their phone? Don’t they need a code?
Ah, there’s a part of the story where an electrician gives instructions over the phone to one of the characters. That person is then able to access the electrical panel based on those tips. 

What’s next for Mimi and Marshmallow?
Mimi and Marshmallow will be embarking on their next adventure…which involves getting Mimi’s sister, Alice, off of the suspect list. Like sister, like sister, I suppose.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Writing During a Disaster by Warren Bull

Writing During a Disaster by Warren Bull

Image from Dark Labs on Upsplash

Everyone experiences disasters — deaths of loved ones, failed love affairs, firings, financial blowouts, health issues, robbery, assaults and more. I have been through most of the above. There are, of course also natural disasters — fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, volcano eruptions, floods and other dangerous events that are completely out of control. By luck, I have avoided most of those.

Most people who survive disasters talk about them to friends and family. Others talk to therapists as part of the recovery process.

We writers are no less prone to having catastrophes in our lives, but we have an additional coping tool with our writing.

When the universe reminds me that I am a tiny speck in the overall picture, there is a neural connection in my brain that fires the “I can use this in my writing” synapse. It does not fire until after the events, sometimes years after the events.

Anger about my divorce fueled my first lengthy writing project that I thought at the time qualified as a novel. Of course, it was entirely fiction.  Any Similarity to Persons Living or Dead is Purely Coincidental. If the vixen in the pages sounds and acts like my ex, it is strictly intentional.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I could pour out my helplessness and despair in writing. While clueless people talked to me about my bravery, I was able to write about my total cowardice. I was not willing to say out loud that I did not volunteer for the disease. I could write that I did not get cancer to save anyone else from the disease. I wrote that cancer had nothing to do with deserving, integrity, worthiness or morality.  Writing helped me gain some degree of perspective. As one man put it, “All God’s children catch cancer.” 

I would not have been able to cope as well if I were not a writer.

Monday, March 30, 2020

An Interview with the 2020 Agatha Short Story Nominated Authors!

by Paula Gail Benson

Even though we mourn the cancellation of this year’s Malice Domestic, that’s no reason not to celebrate with the Agatha nominated authors! This year’s nominated short stories offer intriguing characters facing unique situations and are written by masters of the craft. While we all have a little extra reading time, why not check out each of these delightful tales (listed in alphabetical order) at the following links:

"Alex’s Choice" by Barb Goffman in Crime Travel (Wildside Press)
"Better Days" by Art Taylor in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
"Grist for the Mill" by Kaye George in A Murder of Crows (Darkhouse Books)
"The Blue Ribbon" by Cynthia Kuhn in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)
"The Last Word" by Shawn Reilly Simmons, Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press)

Welcome Barb, Art, Kaye, Cynthia, and Shawn to Writers Who Kill!

How important is a plot twist in a short story?

Barb Goffman
Barb Goffman:
A plot twist can be a great way to make a short story work. You want your story to linger in the reader’s mind, and a plot twist can certainly help make that happen. That said, a plot twist isn’t essential. A great short story can have another type of ending, as I address in the next question.

Art Taylor:
Honestly, I think it can be a mistake to focus too much attention on crafting a last-minute plot twist—writers aiming for something O’Henryesque maybe but instead delivering a punchline. And to stick with that metaphor, once the punchline is delivered, the joke is over. I’ve suggested before the idea of a character twist instead: some revelation at the end of a story that helps readers to see not just a character in a new way—some submerged desire or fear, some twist of motivation—but also the entire story with a renewed perspective, letting a story linger a little longer in the mind.

Kaye George
Kaye George:
Very, very, very important. I don’t ever like to write a short story without one. Or a novel, either, for that matter. If I can do a double or triple twist, that makes me a very happy writer. To me, this is how you keep the reader interested. I never want them to be bored.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Stories without twists can be fulfilling if we admire the voice, structure, style, theme, etc. But I do adore a good twist—love being surprised. If I can guess everything that is going to happen, it often leaves me wanting more, somehow.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
I love a good plot twist and it’s a goal of mine to always try to come up with ways to surprise the reader—I’ve always been a fan of stories where I think things are going a certain way and then they end up heading in an all new direction—that’s the most fun, I think.

What makes a satisfying conclusion to a short story?

Barb Goffman:
All of these can make a satisfying ending to a short story: A plot twist that makes the reader’s mouth drop open; a revelation that allows the reader to see the story from a different light; character growth; justice; and, simply, a conclusion that makes the reader feel something.

Art Taylor
Art Taylor:
It’s a cliche, but I think that the best endings are ones that seem both surprising and inevitable at the same time. Some of my favorite stories are ones where, when you reread them, you see the groundwork for the endings laid right there in the first lines of the story. Poe championed the idea of the single-effect story, where every aspect—every word—of a story offers service to a single effect on the reader. A satisfying ending—whether happy or sad, inspiring or tragic—is one where it’s connected to everything else in the story, all the elements working in some kind of harmony.

Kaye George:
What I strive for is a last minute twist that makes them jerk up their head and open their mouth. (Yes, I’ve embraced the singular “they” pronoun—see how useful it is? I can’t assume my reader is a male or a female, an alien, or anything else.)

Cynthia Kuhn
Cynthia Kuhn:
There’s a sense of completion—not necessarily in the protagonist’s situation but in the rightness of that final moment, image, or phrase.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
I’m satisfied if I’ve answered at least one question the character is asking. It might not be the answer they were looking for when they got things underway, but it’s an answer that makes sense.

If a movie were made of your nominated short story, do you have an actor/actress in mind to play one of the characters?

Barb Goffman:
When I think of Maxwell, the dog in my story, I picture my late dog Scout, who was a lab/shepherd mix. But I can’t think of any famous lab/shepherd dogs. That said, if Buddy the dog from the movie Air Bud were still alive, I think he could do justice to Maxwell’s part, which requires being both athletic and cute as a button.

Art Taylor:
Oh, I’m so bad at this kind of question! But in an attempt to play along: Paul Rudd as my journalist narrator (or some slightly younger Paul Rudd? I don’t know who that would be) and Emma Stone as the bar owner who’s his love interest.

Kaye George:
My movie knowledge is rather dated, so you’ll have to reach back for these. Oscar Madison/Walter Matthau of the Odd Couple should be my MC, Kevin Grady. His neighbor could be Ellen Burstyn if she could stoop to being a cranky old woman. Okay, any two cranky old actors, one male, one female.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Allison Janney could transform into either one of the main characters. Not that she resembles them but because she’s incredibly talented!

Shawn Reilly Simmons
Shawn Reilly Simmons:
If it could be anyone (alive or dead), I’d want it to be John C. Reilly and Phillip Seymour Hoffman as the two friends from culinary school who are meeting over a special dinner to discuss the various events that have happened to them over the years. When I was living in New York many years ago, they starred together on Broadway in True West and they would switch roles from time to time throughout the production. “The Last Word” has a similar dynamic to it, where there are two characters who know each other very well, mostly talking—I think those two actors would really be great in the roles, if they could be together again.

What is the most intriguing crime you have heard of, written about, or thought of writing about?

Barb Goffman:
My story “Christmas Surprise” from my collection Don’t Get Mad, Get Even involves someone trying to break into a house by climbing down a chimney, which was partly inspired by news stories of similar attempted crimes with similar outcomes. Hint: Don’t try this yourself!

Art Taylor:
I have two here that I’ve thought before about writing. The first is the 1994 murder of Beth-Ellen Vinson  an aspiring dancer who became an escort/private dancer to help pay her way from North Carolina to New York, dreams of Broadway on her mind; her murder remains unsolved. The second is darker: the 2014 murder of a British woman by two young teens, who took Snapchat selfies and posted pictures on social media while they tortured her for several hours; coincidentally, there’s a recent film based on that murder that looks at some of the issues which drew me to this case—the social media angles specifically.

Kaye George:
I watch a lot of Dateline (love Keith Morrison’s voice!) and 48 Hours, so probably every other one. A few of my short stories were written in response to particular events. “Twelve Drummers Drumming” is supposed to be an exposure of and protest against big game hunting. “The Bathroom” was inspired by Kait Carson’s experience of getting shocked by the faucet and thrown across the bathroom, just before I took a nasty fall in the tub (using new, very slippery gel junk) and tore my rotator cuff. A lot of my stories are written for the theme for an anthology, but most of them have an origin in my own experiences…somewhere.

Cynthia Kuhn:
The 1843 double murder upon which Margaret Atwood’s amazing book Alias Grace is based. It was sensationalized in the news of the day and involved multiple love triangles, a case of amnesia (perhaps), and even a potentially supernatural explanation. I wrote about her fictionalization of the real events in my dissertation—it is an unforgettable story.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
This is a tough one because I’ve been fascinated by crime, both true and fictional, for as long as I can remember. I listen to True Crime podcasts and have seen every episode of Forensic Files…and my bookshelves are 98% crime fiction… I’d have to say the case that I’ve read the most about, and still wonder about on a frequent basis is Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia. I continue to hold out hope that someday her killer will be revealed.

Thank you all for taking the time to be with us, answering questions, and all the wonderful stories you have written! And, thank you for letting us celebrate with you digitally until we can be together in person!


Barb Goffman:
Barb Goffman edits mysteries by day and writes them by night. She’s won the Agatha, Macavity, and Silver Falchion awards for her short stories, and she’s been a finalist for national crime-writing awards twenty-eight times, including thirteen times for the Agatha (a category record). Her work has appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery MagazineBlack Cat Mystery Magazine, and the 2019 anthology Crime Travel, which Barb also edited. To support her writing habit, Barb runs a freelance editing service, specializing in crime fiction. She lives with her dog in Virginia.

Art Taylor:
Art Taylor is the author of the story collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense and of the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise, winner of the Agatha Award for Best First NovelHe won the 2019 Edgar Award for Best Short Story for "English 398: Fiction Workshop," originally published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and his other awards have included the Agatha, the Anthony, the Derringer, and the Macavity.  He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University. 

Kaye George:
Kaye George is a national-bestselling, multiple-award-winning author of pre-history, traditional, and cozy mysteries (latest is Revenge Is Sweet from Lyrical Press). Her short stories have appeared online, in anthologies, magazines, her own collection, her own anthology, DAY OF THE DARK, and in A MURDER OF CROWS. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Smoking Guns chapter, Guppies chapter, Authors Guild of TN, Knoxville Writers Group, Austin Mystery Writers, and lives in Knoxville, TN.

Cynthia Kuhn:
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean Academic Mysteries: The Semester of Our Discontent, The Art of Vanishing, The Spirit in Question, The Subject of Malice, and The Study of Secrets. Her work has also appeared in Mystery Most Edible, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD, and other publications. Honors include an Agatha Award (best first novel), William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, and Lefty Award nominations (best humorous mystery). Originally from upstate New York, she lives in Colorado with her family. For more information, please visit cynthiakuhn.net.

Shawn Reilly Simmons:
Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of The Red Carpet Catering Mysteries featuring Penelope Sutherland, an on-set movie caterer, and of several short stories appearing in a variety of anthologies including the Malice Domestic, Best New England Crime Stories, Bouchercon, and Crime Writers' Association series.

Shawn was born in Indiana, grew up in Florida, and began her professional career in New York City as a sales executive after graduating from the University of Maryland with a BA in English. Since then she has worked as a book store manager, fiction editor, mystery convention organizer, wine rep, and caterer. She serves on the Board of Malice Domestic and is co-editor at Level Best Books.

Shawn is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, the International Thriller Writers, and the Crime Writers’ Association in the U.K.