Today’s author is Eleanor Cawood Jones of “A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Tales of Murder & More,” and she has graced us with an engaging post as well as a chance to win a signed paperback copy of her book at the bottom of this post. Thanks Eleanor!
Tales of Murder and More… But I Digress
When I first started telling people I’d written a book called “A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Tales of Murder and More,” I thought the first thing they’d want to know is what’s in the book, which is a hodge-podge of stories, mostly with an Ellery-Queen-style twist or unexpected ending. But (perhaps because the title is self-explanatory) what most people want to know initially is how I became a fiction writer and why I chose short stories in particular.
The truth is, I didn’t choose short stories; they chose me.
You see, I was doomed from a young age. My parents took me to the library every Saturday and let me check out what books I wanted, as many as I wanted, without hovering. Add to that the copies of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine that arrived in the mailbox without fail each month to be read by everyone in the family regardless of age, and a mom who became a court reporter and would disappear on assignments lugging her tape recorder and return home to type short, mysterious things that she called “depositions.” All fodder for the inquisitive, young, reading mind.
So, I think it was fate that ever since I picked up a #2 pencil in elementary school and began crafting the tale of how Betty Bunny had gone missing and Allie Alligator was in a blessed big heap of trouble over the whole thing in the courtroom of one Judge Tatinka Donkey, my mind has created and told itself encapsulated tales that beg to be written down.
And, from pencil to pen to typewriter to keyboard, I’ve done just that ever since, and chose what I think are the best of the best from the last 30 years or so to put in A Baker’s Dozen.
I wrote the first story, the chilling “Dog’s Best Friend,” when I was 19 and was a new kid reporter on the block at my local newspaper in Kingsport, Tennessee. I wrote the last story just a few months before publication while in my current job as a marketing director/copywriter at a nonfiction publishing company. That tale, “Jake’s Tornado,” is the without a doubt the darkest story in the book. Interestingly, these two tales, the oldest and the newest, have generated the most comments and correspondence from readers.
Also, for better or worse, I’ve evolved over time from using my stuffed animals as cast members, although I haven’t deserted animal characters in general. In “Dog’s Best Friend” you’ll find a loyal hound named Percy, a furry murder witness and master of nonverbal communication in “What Do I Know,” and a beloved childhood pet who serves as the focal point for the most literary tale of the bunch, “Burying Toby.”
I’ve also gotten a lot of comments about my affectionate Nancy Drew satire, “The Mystery of the Missing Tab” (starring, with apologies, Fanny Drubadlee). You don’t have to be a Carolyn Keene fan to enjoy the mystery, but there are lots of things here that are just for Nancy Drew fans.
A Baker’s Dozen really is a mixed bag of stories (conveniently covered by the “and More” in the title) although the majority are for the mystery minded who love twisted tales. You’ll find a lover scorned in a whole new way in “Exit 36,” a friend’s ultimate and subtle revenge outlined in “Typewriters and their Many Uses,” and a radical spin on a locked room mystery in “Mrs. Gallagher.”
A few stories aren’t mysteries at all. “The Great Milk Quest” is a full-fledged fantasy revolving around an imaginative young boy’s trip to a convenience store. “Girls Gone Cookin’ ” is a lighthearted lark that came from a writing exercise in a class taught by my writing mentor and friend, author Elaine Raco Chase. And my mother’s story “Contestants Must Walk” is a slice-of-life tale of a senior citizen’s beauty pageant as seen through the eyes of a contestant’s horrified granddaughter.
Did I mention my mother has two stories in my book? She won a regional mystery writing contest with her twisted tale, “The Sampler.” It would have been a shame to leave it out of A Baker’s Dozen, and it’s a darn good story. So you’ll see Dorothy Cawood Jones listed on the book cover as a contributing author.
I’ve been writing a novel, too, the first of a series, but I keep deserting it for more short stories to the point where I think I need to find a meeting where I stand and declare, “My name is Eleanor Cawood Jones and I can’t quit writing short stories” and maybe get some help.
Or not. Because, really, writing short stories is just a whole lot of fun. In December I pushed the novel aside yet again and published a holiday special based loosely on the song, “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.” It’s called (wait for it) “Death is Coming to Town: Four Murderous Holiday Tales.” It’s darkly funny, I’ve been told.
Now—and I really mean it—I’m back to writing my novel. And while I’m doing that I hope you’ve become interested enough to check out A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Tales of Murder and More. It was fun writing it over all those years. I hope you’ll be entertained reading it.
Oh, and in case anyone is worried, Allie Alligator did in fact escape the death sentence, although the courtroom broke out in utter pandemonium when the charges were dismissed. “Tatinka brayed for silence” is definitely the best sentence in that particular penciled tale. (No, it’s not in A Baker’s Dozen, but perhaps it should have been.)
Thanks, Angela, for the chance to tell everyone about A Baker’s Dozen—and digress a bit. Sincere congratulations as Dandilyon Fluff.com turns 4 years and your radio talk show Journal Jabber turns 3 years.
Find A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Tales of Murder and More at:
Amazon (print and ebook): http://amzn.to/18PUqWu
And on iBooks and other ebook venues everywhere
Find me at:
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/eleanorcawoodjones
Author Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eleanor.jones.7549
Facebook Fan page: https://www.facebook.com/author.eleanor.cawood.jones
Enter to win a signed paperback copy of A Baker’s Dozen: 13 Tales of Murder and More… Entering is easy, just visit the Rafflecopter below… and while you’re here, check out my June giveaway.
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