Month: March 2019

An Interview With FATALLY HAUNTED Anthology Author Tony Chiarchiaro

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


STORY TITLE: “The End Justifies the Means” 

An abused employee seeks vengeance against his tyrannical employer, only to be faced with the ultimate question: is sweet revenge worth the ultimate toll?

Q: What intrigued you about the theme of fatally haunted that led to the story you wrote?

The word, “haunted,” inspired me to develop my main character’s extreme and ongoing frustration with his boss, the latter, who had hounded him unceasingly. The ultimate act upon his employer was indeed a fatal solution. Hence, the phrase, fatally haunted, amply describes my character’s state of mind just prior to his unspeakable crime.


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

My story is a how-dunit. It’s complete fantasy, but demonstrates the length an individual may go to resolve an untenable situation. There certainly were other alternatives to his problem, but not for him.  He believed there was no choice other than to go forward with the act committed.


Q: What is different about writing a short story?  What did you learn from this experience?

With a short story, one can produce a complete tale in a scant number of words. Yet, there’s still plenty of time to set a mood and create something that may touch the reader in a way that can be powerful. I learned there may be a significant amount of “reading between the lines,” or speculation on the part of the reader, but that in fact may add to the overall value of the genre.

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

My editor, Sheila Lowe, provided an experienced set of eyes and the generosity to assist me in the honing of my story into a more concise work. Her able suggestions showed how I had missed some salient points with police procedures, among other things. This enabled me to complete a better story.  I am grateful for her insights and appreciative of her valuable suggestions.


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

I’m currently working on a sequel to my first novel which is yet unpublished. My initial novel entitled, “The Most Likely Suspect,” is about a young man who is wrongly accused of murder. He and his two friends work hard toward solving the crime and establishing his innocence.

The sequel, presently entitled, “Murder on P Street,” follows the same characters as in the first novel who have now established their own detective agency.  Numerous crimes, including a murder, are scrutinized by the trio of youthful investigators whose lack of experience is made up for by their tenacity and unorthodox methods.

Finally, I have approximately a dozen more short stories that I am hopeful of having published.


Q: What does your writing space look like?

My writing space is the den of my home in east Pasadena. I have a lovely view of a wide street lined with ancient Jacaranda trees which are always gorgeous but especially so when in bloom. The oak desk in my den is surrounded by three tall bookcases filled with a wide variety of books.  There are several French doors and windows in the room, leading to the side and back of my home where the blue sky above is in plain view. It’s a comfortable setting which helps foster many enjoyable hours of writing.





An Interview With FATALLY HAUNTED Anthology Author B.J. Graf

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

STORY TITLE: “Blood Shadows”

Haunted by his slip-up at a crime scene, a serial killer learns he has no idea of the real mistakes he’s made.


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

As Detective Eddie Piedmont, the hero of what I hope will be a mystery series would say, crime, especially homicide, rips a hole in the fabric of society. The gaping hole is obviously most apparent in the family of the victim, but murder and crime also affect the family of the perpetrator. I thought it would be a great writing challenge to start with the notion of a sociopath who knows he’s made a mistake at his latest crime scene, and take it from there. “Blood Shadows” was the result. Eddie’s not in this story, but his former partner is.


Q: Is your story a who-dunit, why-dunit or how-dunit?

“Blood Shadows” is 75% why-dunit, and 25% how-dunit because of the recent updates and changes in genetic data that figure into the narrative.


Q: What is different about writing a short story? What did you learn from the experience?

I think all stories tell you what they want to be and where they want to go as you’re writing. “Blood Shadows” wanted to be a short story. The compressed structure, with the twist, and brevity demanded it. There’s a relentless quality to a short story whereas a novel has to vary the pace unless you want to either bore or tire the reader. A short story is a snap shot. A novel is a feature film.


I learned a lot about recent changes in how DNA can be used to solve cold cases, and also something about what it’s like to inhabit the psyche of a sociopath from the experience. Every time I write I also learn how much I have to learn about writing.


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

Laurie Stevens was invaluable in pointing to a couple of places in the interior monologue where my killer needed to show more savvy than he did in the first draft. She also pointed out a couple of spots that I thought were clear to the reader, when in fact they needed a bit more clarification.


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

My background is in Classics and Film, and I’ve written a futuristic mystery novel titled GENESYS RX which I hope will be the first in a series that takes on some themes familiar from Greek mythology. This story is set in the L.A. of 2041 where teens are falling prey to Alzheimer’s. Against this background my detective Eddie Piedmont catches a homicide that takes him into dangerous waters with drug cartels and the fertility business that are tied into the Alzheimer’s crisis, and eventually leads Eddie back to very personal family issues. I hope to get the book published this year, and just signed with a terrific literary agent, Sandy Lu of the L. Perkins Agency. Sandy is sending out the book as we speak.


Q: What does your writing space look like?

I have a little office in my home crammed with mysteries and other books, but generally, I bring the books out and write at the dining room table because it has a view of the garden and more room for the cats to come and disturb me.

Check out Sisters in Crime/Los Angeles on Pinterest!

Did you know that our local chapter is on Pinterest? Check it out and follow the page at  for book covers by members and other items of interest to spark the creative inspiration!

SISTERS IN CRIME/LA February 2019 Meeting Recap

Nancy Cole Silverman read from her book REASON TO DOUBT, the fifth of the Carol Childs Mysteries. The introduction focuses on Carol, Carol’s daughter, and her photographer boyfriend, and launched us straight into the exciting story line. She also talked a little about how her own professional background inspired the Carol Childs Mysteries.


Fifteen Ways to Add Humor to Your Writing

by Shannon Muir Broden

Ellen Byron, with a diverse background in television and theater as well as prose, talked about tips and tricks for discovering the humor in writing. Additionally, she reminded attendees of types of humor that are tired and contrived and ways to consider going in new, yet still funny, directions. Ellen led the audience through fifteen points to think about (plus a couple bonus ones as well), accompanied by take-away exercises to apply at home for authors to try adding “funny” to their toolkits.  She even threw in some extra pointers based on feedback by those in attendance.

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