Stephen is the author of SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor.
For more information, you can visit his website, http://www.stephendrogers.com/, where he tries to pull it all together.
"Are you sure this is all right?"
- LAST CALL
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH. Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.
"Are you sure this is all right?" In other words, the person speaking is fairly certain that "this" is not all right, but is willing to ignore instinct in favor of reassurance.
Whatever "this" is, I suspect that the story will prove that "this" is anything but all right. In fact, that arc seems so apparent that I have no interest in writing the story.
But I've already invested seven words and three pieces of punctuation. How can I just throw them away? Think about children all over the world who have no words of their own.
Shamed into continuing the story, I decide to work that first line. The person who asks the question is a private investigator who not only knows the difference between right and wrong but is working undercover to test the employees. That scenario adds a little dimension to the question.
So. A PI is hired to investigate employee theft. Next question. Under what circumstances would employees actually discuss the acceptability of the theft? A new hire isn't going to ask whether it's okay to steal a ream of paper or corporate trade secrets. The circumstances have to encompass a gray area.
In my experience, the grayest area I've ever seen is food and drink for restaurant employees. The rules are all over the place. A new employee may very well have to ask whether it's all right to pour a free coffee or grab a free hunk of bread or freely eat a take-out meal that was never picked up. Whatever the rules, almost all restaurants draw the line at drinking alcohol on the job, although I did work at one that didn't. Or at least sort of didn't.
All that remains is the writing.
For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to http://www.stephendrogers.com/Win.htm and submit your completed entry.
Then visit the schedule at http://www.stephendrogers.com/Howto.htm
to see how you can march along.
And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.
"Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting."
- Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series
"Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal--real writer, real story teller, real tour guide to the dark side."
- Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated FINDING AMY and the Thea Kozak mysteries
"SHOT TO DEATH provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There's something in this assemblage of New England noir to suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!"
- Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine
Thank you, Stephen, for visiting Under the Tiki Hut today. As we say in Texas, "Don't be a stranger."