Thursday, March 25, 2010

Guest Blogger: Stephen D. Rogers, author of Shot to Death (short story collection)

Today, I have the honor of welcoming author Stephen D. Rogers to the pages of Somebody Dies. His latest collection is Shot to Death, which features "31 Stories of Nefarious New England."

I asked Stephen about the origin of "Packy Run," one of the stories contained in Shot to Death.

"Before Neil met me, he didn't know what a packy was."

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.

(In this part of New England, a liquor store is also called a package store, or packy. A "packy run" is thus a trip to the liquor store.)

That first sentence tells me that Neil and the narrator are new acquaintances, and that Neil is an outsider. Given the number of college students that migrate to New England, Neil and the narrator could easily be roommates.

The sentence sets up the narrator as a teacher, instructing Neil in the ways of the packy. That in turn sets up a future situation where Neil will teach the narrator something.

Since the story starts with the two getting liquored up, I tend to doubt that Neil intends to show the narrator a really neat card trick. I can't help thinking, "Before I met Neil, I didn't know the meaning of trouble."

As the first word is "before," I imagine the story will resonate with "after." As the emphasis is placed on the two meeting, I imagine the story will end with them parted.

Noted also is that the sentence doesn't read, "When I met Neil, I had to teach him what a packy was." The story will not be about becoming wiser, but about what "he didn't know."

I'm thinking that this story is not going to find a home at A Cup of Comfort for Roommates. Chicken Soup? Maybe broth is the only thing that stays down the next day.

I can see where this packy run leads. All that remains is the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of Shot to Death, click on over and submit your completed entry. Then visit the schedule to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of Shot to Death 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, where he tries to pull it all together.

Shot to Death contains thirty-one stories of murder and mayhem.

"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 storyteller, 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


Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Craig,

I get the word of the day mailed to me, and strangely enough, today the word was "nefarious."


Craig Clarke said...

Wow! How did they know? ;)

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