I was in the middle of writing the seventh book in my Merry March cozy mystery series, and to be honest, I was struggling. Then, editor Cass Kim sent a Twitter request for the annual charity short story anthology, Autumn Nights: Nine Stories to Nibble at your Nape.
Even though I love writing daily micro-stories on Twitter, my total experience with slightly longer shorts was holiday ones for our local Sisters in Crime chapter (Buckeye Crime Writers). Luckily, Cass had been following my writing, so I was accepted into the Anthology.
The required elements were to include a bat(s), autumn themes, and be spooky. I’m a pantser and cozy mystery writer, so it should come as no shock that what emerged on the page was a cozy mystery that happens to have a bat as one of the main characters.
You would think that short stories would be easier to write. After all, the word count for the project was less than 8,000, and cozy mystery novels are usually 60,000 plus. But remember, you still need a beginning, a middle, and an end that make sense. Plus, it’s confusing to the reader to have too many characters in a short space, so your potential for red herrings is limited.
I love a challenge, and this was a fun one. It was also good to know that profits from this book will benefit The Trevor Project, which is dedicated to providing crisis support and safe spaces for young LBTQ+ individuals.
The Autumn Nights Anthology is available as both an e-book and paperback. Here is a teaser about my story in the Anthology:
An Unexpected Talent: Miranda had a bad day that she thought couldn’t get a lot worse. And that was before she stumbled over the dead body. Now she’s in the middle of a Halloween murderer hunt, and failing to uncover the perpetrator will mean the end of the world.
I’m pleased with where the story ended up and was very happy with the beta readers and editor, who made it even sharper. Writing the short story also allowed me to experiment more with humor, which I’m actively trying to incorporate into my novels as a break in the suspense. And the even better news is that a hiatus reenergized me, and I am now close to finishing my seventh book, which should be released in November. You can find all of my Merry March cozy mysteries here.
Eileen Curley Hammond retired from a successful marketing career in the insurance industry and now writes the Merry March cozy mystery series. When not pondering all that bats contribute to this world, she is hard at work on book seven of the series. To learn more about her and to sign up for her newsletter, check out her website: