Spicing it up with a short story!

We all love a party, right? Join me for a party taking place over the next few weeks on my FB Author page, with fun posts, spice trivia, prizes — and you, I hope! It’s all in celebration of the upcoming launch of Between a Wok and a Dead Place, the 7th Spice Shop mystery. Each week until mid July, I’ll be talking about the origins of one book in the series, starting this week with my contribution to the newly-launched Murder at Sea: A Destination Murders anthology. In “Seafood Rub,” Pepper and Nate take a long weekend getaway, only to find that trouble boarded the same ferry, and that killer whales are not the only mammals who circle their prey.

Although I’ve written seven Spice Shop mysteries, this is Pepper’s first appearance in a short story. I enjoyed writing short — about 12K, compared to the novels at 75-80K — for several reasons. It’s always risky to take a series character with a strong tie to a particular place away from it, without losing part of what readers love. In a short story, I could take Pepper away from her shop, Pike Place Market, and Seattle, making references to it, but because of the compressed time and word count, readers know we’ll be back. I had an idea I wanted to explore — the not-uncommon experience of seeing a stranger repeatedly while traveling and wondering if there’s a reason — that I didn’t think would support a full novel. Only one recurring character, Pepper’s boyfriend Nate, is along for the weekend, so I was able to focus on a new cast — a tour group visiting the same island and making some of the same excursions as Pepper and Nate — without having to work in the usual cast of recurring characters.

I’m one of eight contributors, and of course, we’re all hoping that readers who pick up the book because they know and enjoy one author’s work will discover new-to-them authors and pick up our books.

Earlier Destination Murders volumes are Murder at the Beach (I’m not in it) and Murder in the Mountains, which includes my story “The Picture of Guilt,” featuring characters from my Food Lovers’ Village mysteries.

I hope you’ll take a little vacation on the page — and join me on Facebook as we celebrate the Spice Shop mysteries!