And Faith Dincolo, who wrote “Persephone’s Progeny” in this collection, passes the baton to me.
One of the joys about working with a group of writers is how differently we are inspired by the same foundation.
“The diamond necklace dangled from the dead woman’s hand.”
What I find exciting about this anthology is in how many different directions this prompt took each of us, yet still had that single sentence as a fulcrum. Contemporary, mystery, gothic, horror, science fiction — this collection has it all.
I admit, the first few drafts of this story were very different. They had to do with a small town beach community and a woman murdered less for the diamond than for other reasons.
The story didn’t work.
In the middle of the night, the character of Fiona Steele plopped down on the edge of the bed, woke me up, and said, “Yo, writer girl! Wake up. Got something to say to you.”
And there it was.
The first draft poured out quickly. It needed serious rewriting, smoothing out, getting rid of qualifiers, tightening — all the stuff you’ve got to do to make something submission-ready. The terrific writer, KT Wagner, was kind enough to be my Trusted Reader on it, and pointed out a few more flaws that got smoothed out. For a short story experience, it was terrifically satisfying.
Fiona, I promise, will be back. She’s definitely got more to say!
And so we circle back to Kelly Whitley, who started us on this journey of DEATH SPARKLES.
Excerpt from “Sea Diamond” in DEATH SPARKLES:
I felt the presence rather than the dramatic “a shadow fell across the bar.” Although dim inside The Wicky Cog, the lighting was uniform and didn’t create shadows with only me and my erstwhile companion as patrons. Even the bartender was virtual, until the next transport landed, or until the clock chimed Happy Hour. Time measurement differed from system to system, but Happy Hour was universal.
“What’re you doing on Sandegarde?”
“Drinking.” I didn’t even look up. I recognized the voice, I recognized the vibe.
“There are a hundred and forty bars just in this station, Steele,” he retorted.
“And why did I walk into yours?” I shot back. I looked at him now. For a cop, Rowan Wilde wasn’t bad. Not bad-looking, with the dark hair and blue eyes, strong physique, a brain to match, and wasn’t so bound by the rules he couldn’t see reason. On occasion. “Between jobs.”
“Good. I need your help, Fiona.” He sat on the stool next to me and tapped the screen on the bar surface, ordering his drink. An instant later, a panel opened, and a glass of beer rose up to meet his hand. I wasn’t sure what time it was, heck, I’d been traveling so long, I wasn’t even sure what time management segment it was, but the sight of Rowan Wilde drinking in a nearly empty bar, and the fact he’d used my given name rather than just my surname told me he was worried.
“Am I gonna need another drink for this?”
“Rather you didn’t. I need you on your game.”
“I’m always on my game, dickhead.”
He grinned. “Nice to know you’re still so fond of me.”
I let that pass. Not going down that road right now. Water under the bed, and all that.
DEATH SPARKLES is one of the top 100 sellers on Amazon.com, and is available here.
Devon Ellington publishes under a half a dozen names in fiction and non-fiction, including the Jain Lazarus Adventures (http://hexbreaker.devonellingtonwork.com) and romantic suspense as Annabel Aidan. Visit her sites www.devonellingtonwork.com and her blog on the writing life, Ink in My Coffee, http://devonellington.wordpress.com.