Month: February 2019

An Interview With FATALLY HAUNTED Anthology Author Lisa Ciarfella

Lisa Ciarfella is one of the authors that will appear in Fatally Haunted, Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles’ upcoming 2019 anthology.

STORY TITLE: “Tick-Tock”
Lulu joins Sammy in one last heist, only to find she can’t escape her demons in the City of Angels.

Q: What intrigued you about the theme of FATALLY HAUNTED that led to the story you wrote?

Well, all of my writing stems from innately dark places. I like to joke that writers don’t chose to write Noir, but Noir instead, chooses it’s victims! We really don’t have much of a choice. Our brains naturally goes to the dark side!

Q: Is your story a who-dunit, a why-dunit, or a how-dunit?  Why did you make this choice?

Tick-Tock is a combination of all three really. There’s a definite twist on the Who-dunit angle with double crossing dealings throughout, and the characters absolutely have their own shady way of pulling off their agenda in the how-dunit category. And then there’s Lulu’s past that helps out with the why-dunit part.
Q: What is different about writing a short story?  What did you learn from this experience?

I still have my first crime fiction novel in the works, so as of yet I’ve only written short stories. What I’m finding as I finish my novel is that threading plot holes together so they make sense throughout from A-Z is a definite challenge. In a short story, you have less pages to work with so it’s easier to pull of a coherent tale. But, I’m making it happen!

Q: How did your editor help you improve your story? What insights did you gain from  working with her?

Oh my gosh! Laurie was amazing. My first experience working hands on with a professional editor for a story that’s gonna be published in a big way, and it was great! She worked with me by phone many times over the course of like, a couple weeks. And she had great insight in how to improve and sharpen my tale! I’m super happy with the way it turned out! And can’t wait to do it again with my next story!

Didn’t realize what a diff professional editing would make, but wow!

Q: What’s next for you?  What are you working on? 

I have a few more short stories brewing, but my main goal is to get my crime fiction novel finished and published in 2019. It’s a bit scary. I have the same fears probably most other writers have. I want my first book to be great enough that people will come back to read more of my stuff later. So, it’s hard not to be real self-critical. But now that I know how much professional editing helps, that’s a big plus!

Having it provided through Sisters in Crime was great!

Now, If i can just figure out a way to afford it on my own for my book…

Q: What does your writing space look like?

Oh, have laptop, will travel!  I’m typing on it now. I’ve typed every story I’ve ever written on it.
It’s a 2014 Mac air, and got me through grad school and more…it’s gonna need replacing soon, but I can’t bear to part with it. Don’t know what I’d do without it!

I just take it everywhere, and wherever the inspiration and time strikes, I write on it! School, the library, the park, wherever. Don’t really have a space at home, roommates and all don’t lend much privacy or quiet time!

An Interview With FATALLY HAUNTED Anthology Author Alison McMahan

Alison McMahan is one of the authors that will appear in Fatally Haunted, Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles’ upcoming 2019 anthology.

 

STORY TITLE: “King Hanuman” by Alison McMahan 

The first Khmer-American police officer on the LBPD has plenty to contend with, but she never expects the simple arrest of a child car thief to lead to a gang war.

Q: What intrigued you about the theme of FATALLY HAUNTED that led to the story you wrote?
The challenge is what intrigued me. As a writer, how does one convey “haunted” without extensive use of flashback or interior monologue? Both are techniques I prefer to avoid. So my challenge was to convey my protagonist’s hauntedness with a judicious use of flashback and interior monologue, to make myself use techniques that I was hesitant to use normally.

Q: Is your story a who-dunit, a why-dunit, or a how-dunit?  Why did you make this choice?
Both who and why. The protagonist is a female Khmer-American police officer in Long Beach, CA, in 1990, a time when vicious gang wars were being fought by the established Mexican and Chicano gangs in Long Beach and the newly arrived Cambodian gangs. The battles lasted all through the nineties.

Q: What is different about writing a short story?  What did you learn from this experience?
This is my fourth short story to be published in an anthology. I like them because the challenge is limited. It’s like fighting one round of a boxing match instead of the nine rounds of a novel. Also, I’m considering a novel series about this character and wanted to see how readers felt about her before I went another eight rounds.

Q: How did your editor help you improve your story? What insights did you gain from  working with her?
Rachel Howzell Hall was fantastic. When I first sent in the story she was about to go on vacation, didn’t have time for a full edit, so she gave me two general comments: to “kill some darlings,” and put in more references to the protagonist’s past as a Khmer Rouge survivor. I made those changes and sent her the new story when she returned. She had a great insight into the last, climactic moment which really makes the story work. She’s a fantastic editor!

Q: What’s next for you?  What are you working on? 
I’m writing a historical novel (not a mystery) about the first woman filmmaker, Alice Guy Blaché (I previously published an academic study of her work).  Once that is in my agent’s hands, I’ll return to a mystery novel about Thavary Keo, the protagonist of this story.

I have two more short mystery stories on completely different subjects coming out with other anthologies this year and next.

Q: What does your writing space look like?
I have two teenagers, so no room for a real writing desk. I write sitting on my sofa with my feet on an ottoman and my laptop on my lap. I get up at 4 am to write, and I watch the sky change colors as the sun comes up. Then I wake the kids and get on with the day, sneaking in more writing time whenever possible.

 

Sisters in Crime LA Members Eligible to Submit to San Diego Chapter Anthology

 

THE DEADLINE HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO MARCH 15, 2019 for members of Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles who are also in good standing with National to submit to the anthology for Partners in Crime (San Diego Chapter of Sisters in Crime) called CROSSING BORDERS.

Stories will be chosen and edited by Lisa Brackmann, NYT best-selling author of Black Swan Rising and more, and Matt Coyle, best-selling author of the Rick Cahill crime novels, in a blind read process.

Find out more at the Partners in Crime chapter website.

Festival of Books Signing Booth Sign Ups

Greetings, everyone.

Here is the form to sign up for your opportunity to sign your titles at the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Saturday and Sunday, April 13 to 14.  Slots will be assigned on a first come, first served basis, and we will probably have a waiting list – but don’t despair. We often get cancellations.

Signups are now closed. We look forward to seeing you at the Festival.

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