by Guest Blogger Barb Goffman
Please welcome my friend, short story writer extraordinaire, Barb Goffman to the blog. She’s been a finalist for national crime-writing awards nineteen times: ten times for the Agatha Award, four times for the Macavity Award, three times for the Anthony Award, and once each for the Derringer and Silver Falchion awards. Today, she’s taking us on a trip or two (or six).
Thanks to folks at Criminal Minds, especially my friend Alan Orloff, for inviting me to blog here today. I hope you all enjoy this virtual vacation.
A wonderful thing about books is they take you to places you love—or would like to see for the first time—without getting calluses on your feet or getting dragged off an airplane. Here a few of my own preferred destinations:
St. John. The Caribbean island has been described as peaceful and gorgeous. But you have to fly to another nearby island, then take a boat in order to get there. The part of me that carries Dramamine wherever I go isn’t so keen on that part. That’s why I’m happy that C. Michele Dorsey takes me to St. John in her mystery series. The first book, No Virgin Island, came out in 2015, followed by Permanent Sunset last year.
Maine. The autumn photos alone make me go hubba hubba. The snow, not so much. But in books I don’t have to shovel. There are many options for Maine mysteries. I’m a particular fan of Barbara Ross’s Maine Clambake Mysteries. That series started in 2013 with award-nominated Clammed Up. The seventh one in the series, Fogged In, is currently a finalist for the Agatha Award for best contemporary novel of last year.
The Adirondacks. There are so many books to choose from to get my mountains fix. One favorite series is S.W. Hubbard’s Frank Bennett Adirondack Mysteries. The police procedural books (and short stories!) started with 2003’s Take the Bait, which was nominated for the Agatha Award for best first novel, an honor it well deserved.
The South. I’ve always had a fondness for southern things. The accents. The lush atmosphere. The double meanings built into their sayings—bless their hearts. One author who helps me get my southern fix is Susan M. Boyer, whose Liz Talbot P.I. series is set on a coastal island off Charleston, South Carolina. The fun began with 2012’s Lowcountry Boil, which won the Agatha Award for best first novel. Lowcountry Book Club, the fifth in the series, came out last year.
San Francisco and beyond. Just so you don’t think I only travel vicariously on the East Coast, I love reading Gigi Pandian’s award-winning books, especially her Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series, which began with Artifact. Through these books I’ve traveled to California (Jaya’s base), as well as Scotland, India, France, and Italy, where Jaya has tracked down lost treasures—and a few bad guys too. The fourth in the series, Michelangelo’s Ghost, came out last year.
Mystery conventions. As a mystery reader and author, I love going to mystery cons. I get to go all fan girl over my favorite authors, catch up with old friends, and meet new ones who love mysteries as much as I do. So of course I enjoy reading books and stories set at mystery cons—and writing them too. Last year my short story “The Best-Laid Plans,” set at the slightly fictional Malice International convention, was published in the anthology Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional. In it, readers get to attend Malice on the shoulder of the lifetime achievement honoree, who plans to get revenge against her frenemy, the guest of honor, during the convention. It won’t be anything fatal. Just painful. She writes cozies after all. This story is a finalist for this year’s Agatha Award for best short story. If you like mystery conventions, too, but can’t attend as many as you’d like, you can always go to Malice through my story. It’s available on my website: http://www.barbgoffman.com/The_Best_Laid_Plans.html. Happy travels and happy reading!
Thanks for taking us on a grand tour, Barb! Good luck at the Agathas!!
I should also mention that Barb has a story in the just-released anthology 50 SHADES OF CABERNET (as do I).