Writing short stories for the Dead Bird started my career. Nearly every one of the stories I've written have gone on to publication in a variety of magazines, ezines and anthologies. However, I have kept several in my coffers waiting for the right opportunity to send them out to the public.
This last month an anthology called “Justice Shall Be Served,” came out in both Kindle version and paperback. This is a collection on stories from law enforcement and military writers. The proceeds go to families of fallen members of both groups.
I submitted a story called “Baby Blue.” It's based on a real case out of Hanford, CA, close to where I live. I'd heard about the Booker T. Hillary case when I was 10. He murdered a young woman in the country who was making her prom dress while her family was at the movies. Her body was found in an irrigation ditch.
Years later, at a San Joaquin Sisters-in-Crime meeting, a detective gave a speech telling how, years later, the case came up for review and what forensic knowledge kept the man behind bars. The case has also been on Forensic Files.
I decided to use that case for the basis of a short story. I made the viewpoint character a woman, based on my friend in the police department, Kate Anderson. While I stuck to the facts (changing the name of the killer), my subtext was age and gender discrimination still rampant in law enforcement.
Another big surprise this month was the Kindle publication of “Valley Fever: Where Murder Is Contagious.” This was an anthology that came out a dozen years ago. Cora Ramos, JoAnne Lucas and I, all members of the San Joaquin Chapter of Sisters-in-Crimes, decided to take our Dead Bird stories and compile them into a book. Now Cora has put the stories on Kindle and given them a new life.