Saturday, April 4, 2020

#145 Inside the Emotion of Fiction THE FORGETTING FLOWER by Karen Hugg

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****Karen Hugg’s The Forgetting Flower  is #145 in the never-ending series called INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION where the Chris Rice Cooper Blog (CRC) focuses on one specific excerpt from a fiction genre and how that fiction writer wrote that specific excerpt.  All INSIDE THE EMOTION OF FICTION links are at the end of this piece

Name of fiction work? And were there other names you considered that you would like to share with us? The Forgetting Flower. Honestly, I didn’t have any other names. Somehow it came to me as I started journaling about the story. When I got feedback from beta readers and writer friends saying they loved the title, I knew it was the right one.

Has this been published? And it is totally fine if the answer is no.   If yes, what publisher and what publication date? Yes! It debuted last year via a small press that later closed. But I’m happy to say that on April 1st, 2020, it’s being re-released by Woodhall Press.

What is the date you began writing this piece of fiction and the date when you completely finished the piece of fiction? I started the outline in October, 2016. I wrote the first draft that winter, spent a lot of time revising it with feedback from a book editor and beta readers in 2017. It was accepted for publication in autumn, 2018.

Where did you do most of your writing for this fiction work?  And please describe in detail.  And can you please include a photo? Sure! I always write in my favorite green chair, which is beside two big bookcases with fiction, travel, history, and gardening books. The room has several windows which face our backyard and lets in a lot of light. It’s nice because even during winter when it’s raining outside, I can still enjoy a view of the plants and birds.

What were your writing habits while writing this work- did you drink something as you wrote, listen to music, write in pen and paper, directly on laptop; specific time of day? I don’t drink or eat while writing, no music even though music is vital to me and my family. I work best in silence so I can hear the words in my imagination. I write on a laptop as my handwriting is so messy. And basically, I write whenever my kids are at school or I have a chunk of quiet time.
I do have one habit, I suppose. If I’m blessed to work all day, I often do a kind of directed meditation right after lunch so I can get back into the world of the story. It helps tremendously. It also helps in terms of working out story problems I might have. I wrote about the technique if readers would like to try it here:

What is the summary of this specific fiction work? Renia Baranczka is living the life she always hoped for in Paris. She manages a chic plant shop though her rarest plant is locked away and not for sale. Its flowers emit a special fragrance that can erase a person’s memory. She can’t just destroy it, she promised her estranged sister she wouldn’t. But one day when Renia’s favorite client turns up dead, she realizes the plant may be more dangerous than she thought and without her client’s business, the shop can no longer stay afloat. So, when a shady character from her past appears with a nefarious proposal, Renia does what she’d pledged she’d never do: sell the flowers for cash. As Renia navigates the underworld of blackmarket mobsters, she must fend off unwanted advances, physical abuse, and intimidating threats until finally, she must fight not only to save the plant, but her sister, and ultimately, herself. 

Can you give the reader just enough information for them to understand what is going on in the excerpt? This is the opening of the book: After running some errands, Renia returns to her plant shop and discovers a terrible event that will change her life.

Please include just one excerpt and include page numbers as reference.  This one excerpt can be as short or as long as you prefer. An excerpt from Chapter 1, pages 1 – 11.

Chapter 1

Renia doubted her sister would answer, but every week she called anyway. That Friday, as the clerk packed up the plants, she stood at the wholesale counter waiting through the rings: one . . . two . . . three. By four, she knew chances were slim. When the voicemail clicked on, she knew nothing had changed in eight months. At the tone, she said warmly in Polish, “Steri, the fall perennials are in. New cultivars you’d find interesting. And the city, it’s still hot, but beautiful. The flowers in the squares have such bold colors, there’s even a palm tree. So . . . if you’d like to visit, please visit. Come. Let’s talk things out, okay?” She ended the call and headed to the métro, carrying her heavy crate of mums.
       She went down the stairs into the dim subway, smelling the stale air, ripe with dried urine and rotting food, telling herself Estera hadn’t meant what she’d said. “Never” was a long time. Still, Renia couldn’t escape the ache in her chest, so as she sat on the train, she focused on the little perennials she’d purchased: ten ‘Misty Secrets,’ four ‘Javelins,’ six ‘Ruby Gems.’ They were lovely chrysanthemums in fresh bloom without dry leaves or disease. They had been arranged in neat rows with newspaper in between to prevent tipping and keep the soil secure. Their tidy cheeriness gave her relief from the untidy aspects of her own life.
       As she came out of the Saint-Germain-des-Prés station, she vowed to leave her longing behind and enjoy the summer day: the ornate buildings, cobbled sidewalks, welcoming shade of a tree. At the café, a young couple read a shared book as they ate lunch. Three businessmen climbed into a taxi, laughing about a missed flight. A grocer helped an elderly woman untangle her dog from a post. The scenes lightened her spirit though she couldn’t fully relax, couldn’t fully exhale, not yet. But at least she lived in Paris.
       She was about to cross the street and go in her plant shop when she noticed a dark spill on a building wall. Paint had rolled down the limestone in streaks, tarnishing the façade. Such a strange color. Not bright like the Polish flag or carmine like military coats, but scarlet like the Kordia cherries she ate as a girl in Kraków. She paused, shifted her crate, and touched the liquid, rolling it between her fingers. It was thin with a weak metallic scent. Looking up, she saw it had spilled from a deuxième étage apartment. The balcony door was open and a Rachmaninoff concerto stormed in the air. Through an iron railing, orange petunias jittered in the wind.
       That was Alain’s apartment.
Odd. He never opened his balcony door.
       She called his name, set a hand on her forehead to block the sun, waiting for him to come outside and apologize for knocking over a can of paint. Laugh off some clumsy thing he’d done. But he didn’t. Instead, the trumpets blared, the piano banged. The violins swooned over rolling tympani. It was as if the music answered in a language she couldn’t understand.
       “Alain! It’s Renia!”
       No response.
       A rising panic swelled inside. Last month he’d had that relapse. And he’d switched medications. He’d wanted a natural cure. He’d tried St. John’s Wort and saffron and who-knew-what, but Renia knew there was no magic cure. Sometimes one simply had to change their attitude. She had, more or less. He’d wanted what was hidden in the atrium and she’d helped him with it before. But she wasn’t a doctor, and his condition was too serious for amateurs and—oh lord, was it still there?
       Come to the door. Please.
       The blue sky sat like a giant shroud. The concerto roared, the No. 2, his favorite. The liquid streaks, so scarlet red. He couldn’t have done it, he couldn’t . . . but he might have. With her hand, she shielded the sun from her eyes and strained to see through the balcony railing. There seemed to be a hand with fingers, an arm stretched out on the brief cement floor. Difficult to . . . was that an arm? Yes, it was an arm.
Oh Hell. She turned and darted to the street, paused for a scooter to whiz by, and hurried to the door of Le Sanctuaire.
       She fumbled in her bag for the keys and after a moment dropped the crate to better search. With dirt at her feet, she found it and stuck the antique trinket in the hole, jiggling while pulling the door in a stiff hold. Finally, the lock opened and she raced around the counter to her phone by the computer. Dialed 112 and waited. The fountain at the room’s center, a cement bowl with a goddess and her urn, trickled water like a pep talk. When the dispatcher answered, she explained that her neighbor, who lived at 35 Rue Sereine, was bleeding and needed emergency care.
       The dispatcher asked questions about location and her name, but when the dispatcher asked how the man had been injured, Renia went mute, staring at the phone unable to speak. How had he been injured? Renia knew how, at least she thought she did, but how to explain it? And did she want to?
The goddess of the fountain stared with graceful ease as she poured her steady water. Better not. Better not be sure, because after all, she didn’t know how or what had happened exactly, whether he’d gone mad or fallen asleep or done the one thing he’d agreed not to do. No, she didn’t know how he’d injured himself but she had an idea.
       “Please come,” she said. “There’s blood.”

Minutes later, a siren whirred, its brassy cry growing louder. Swirling red lights saturated the shop like a ghoulish theatre. A medic truck and police car arrived, blocking one side of two-way traffic. She was about to go outside, intending to cross the street and show them where Alain’s apartment was but stopped. The paramedics marched straight in as if they knew. Maybe someone else had called too. Maybe Alain had called, just before he’d used . . . it.
       She knew the proper thing to do—the innocent thing—would be to appear at his apartment. Check on him. Talk to the police. But that was a risk. Instead, she went to the back of the shop. There, the answer to a more pressing question waited.
       At the shop’s rear, a door in the back wall opened to an atrium. It was a long narrow lean-to built of wood and windows. A potting counter lined the windows with a sink, tools, clay pots, twine. On the upper shelf attached to the store’s outer wall, Renia felt blindly along until she found the crow bar. Thank God, it’s there. Under the counter she pushed aside a clump of hose and a handful of signs she used for pricing, shuffled through newspapers, knick knacks, boots, bags of soil. Finally, behind a stack of metal buckets, she found it: the gas mask.
       It smelled rubbery in the heat. She put it on and tightened the belt and made sure the mouthpiece covered her jaw. Feeling like a hosed creature from an old horror movie, she dragged the stool to the false wall she’d built. In January, she’d cut a piece of paneling to fit from the shop’s outer wall all the way across to the windows, and all the way from floor to ceiling. Anyone who came in the atrium thought the room was six feet smaller than it was. Only two other people in the world knew what was hidden there.
       She climbed on the stool, remembered the bar, and came down to grab it from the counter. When she was up again, she set the short curve of it into the thin seam between the shop wall and panel and pried back the board. It creaked and heaved. More gentle yanking and it shifted.
       The entry bell jingled.
       She froze. Listened. Relax, it could be a customer.
       The door clicked shut. The glass hummingbirds tinkled against the windows.
       “Allô?” a man said.
       Not a customer. They didn’t call out. She scrambled down and whipped off the mask.
       In a flurry, she searched for a box or tub, then spotted a wicker basket filled with dead flowers and stems. She dropped the mask in and with a foot slid it beneath the counter.
       “Police,” the voice said.
       She held the bar behind her back, straightened up, and smoothed her hair with her free hand as an officer came in view.
       “Oui?” she said.
       In French, he said, “Ah. Excuse me, Mademoiselle, my name is Officer Kateb. I was wondering if I could ask you a few questions.”
       He looked to be an Algerian-Frenchman, with wavy black hair and black eyes. In his late 20s, he was skinny with a sparse goatee, as if he’d been a teenager a few years ago. His blue short-sleeve shirt made him look like a traffic controller but his patch denoted Brigadier. So did his stern expression.
       She slid the crowbar into the back of her dress pants, inhaled a calming breath.
       “Yes?” she said.
       “Are you the owner of this shop?”
       “No, I just . . . I’m the manager.”
       “Did you make an emergency call?”
       Relax. “Yes.”
       He opened a notepad. “And your name.”
Slowly, casually, she spelled the words “Renia” and “Baranczka.”
He scribbled it, omitting the z. “So, were you here about an hour ago?”
       “No, I was out running errands.”
       He looked up. She held his surprised stare, worried he’d see her heart pounding. “I went to lunch. And I went to the plant market.” Then, so as to squash any suspicion, she added, “Le Chasseur and Petit Rungis.”
       “I see,” he said and wrote on his pad.
       The iron bar felt heavy and cold against her back. She imagined it sliding through her pant leg and clanging on the floor. She pictured his alarmed expression, her muddled explanation.
       “Okay, so . . .” he flipped a page to check his notes, “do you know any of the people who live across the street?”
       “Do you mind giving me a list?”
       “Eh . . . I know João, the owner of the bistro.”
       “Which bistro?”
       “There’s only one. Across the street.”
       He waited.
       “Vida Nova.”
       He wrote that on his pad.
       “And there’s a couple, young, who live in the building beside the bistro. They live on the second floor. I don’t know their names. Alain Tolbert lives across the hall from them. He’s my neighbor.”
       “Your neighbor?”
       She blinked, swallowed her fear. “Well, I mean, no, their neighbor. But yes, my neighbor as well. He’s a friend, a client. I noticed his balcony door open.”
       Kateb wrote “friend and client.”
She yearned for him to say “thank you” and leave, but he didn’t.
       “So, I hear a slight accent,” he said. “Were you born in France?”
       She held her breath. “No. Does it matter?”
       He didn’t answer, only wrote on his notepad.
       She didn’t want to be a suspect. She couldn’t be.
       “Is he dead?” Renia said.
       Kateb looked up. “Who?”
       “Alain. Tolbert.”
       She nodded.
       She lowered her head, cringed. That meant yes.
       He watched her.
       “When’s the last time you spoke to him?” he said.
       Alain, dead. She expected it and yet didn’t.
       She gave a slight shrug. “I don’t know. Last Tuesday, I think.”
       “How did he seem?”
       She closed her eyes to remember. He’d sat on the very stool she stood beside. He’d come from a luncheon he’d organized. His suit coat was off, tie loose. Alain had a narrow, clever face. He wore his hair gelled back, showing a widow’s peak, though the hair was soft and fresh. His long nose pointed to a wily grin and his deep-set eyes were both melancholy and bright at the same time. He twirled the stem of a fading aster. “He was happy.”
       “What was the purpose of his visit here?”
       “He put in an order for flower arrangements.” Who would deliver them now? And Madame Palomer was still working on them. Who would tell her? She felt agony at thinking she might have to. “I, we, sell him flowers. He’s a, eh . . . he coordinates events.” Her face warmed. Her hands shook. Alain, lost. Not him. Why him? This happened too quickly. We texted yesterday.
       The bar slipped down and she straightened up. The hook caught on her waist band.
       “Are you okay?” he said.
       “Yes,” she put a hand to her back and held it. “I’m . . . upset.”
       Kateb nodded, took a card from his pocket. “If you remember anything unusual, anything suspicious, or that he did anything out of the ordinary, talked to someone he normally doesn’t talk to, please call me and let me know.”
       She took the card. “Yes, okay.”
       He held out his hand. “Thank you very much.”
       She moved her left hand to her back so her right could shake his. She didn’t want to ask Kateb and yet she wanted to know. She needed to know. “Was his death a suicide?”
       He studied her.
       Her heart raced. She forced her face to remain placid but concerned. She would not allow herself to cry in front of this man, this stranger, no matter how much her heart was breaking.
       “We don’t know the details of the situation,” he said. “That’s what we’re hoping to find out.”

After Kateb returned to Alain’s building, Renia locked the shop door. She considered pulling the shade but decided that looked suspicious, so she backed away from the window far into the shadow of the room and unhooked the bar from her waist. This time, once she was in the atrium, she closed the door. She wanted to collapse on the floor and cry. Alain, gone. Forever. Oh God. She wanted to scream at him, berate him for doing what he’d done. For the hole he’d now left. She dropped her head in her hands and as the heat of tears came, allowing herself to grieve for a minute, then inhaled a huge breath and told herself to get it together. What was done was done. He’d done it. Not her. Right? Maybe. Sniffling and shivering, she dug out the mask from the trimmings basket. With it on, she pried out the panel far enough to slip past and yanked on the metal handle to scoot it behind.
There, in a six-by-six-foot space was a potting table made of old whitewashed wood. Atop the table was a small antique greenhouse without a floor, a Wardian Case from the Victorian era, about as big as a large cardboard box. It had a steel framework with little glass windows, dotted at the roof with sweat. She lifted the house to reveal the plant at the heart of her and Alain’s dispute.
       It was a small shrub in a large pot that could be mistaken for a bonsai, two feet tall with twisting branches and round, dark leaves whose surface sported a light fuzz. One trunk gave way to three woody branches that divided into thinner papery branches. Amidst the leaves were clusters of pinkish transparent stems with blooms. They resembled African violet flowers but larger with a color between purple and magenta. Estera had nicknamed the plant ‘Violet Smoke.’
       A gangly awkward sight. Stupid plant. She leaned over the foliage, careful not to brush the blossoms and release more scent, and counted. Three days ago, eight blooms. Now . . . five. Five. Alain did do it. She put a hand to her head but hit the mask. What had he thought? If one did the trick, not two but three must be better?
Last Tuesday, he’d stopped by to chat. She had to make a deposit at the bank before Palomer overdrew the account. But the store had a wealthy customer, a regular, browsing. She didn’t want to lose a sale. He offered to watch the shop. He said it was no trouble, he’d done it once before for Madame. With a long line at the bank, an excursion that usually took five minutes took twenty. But Renia had only told him about the secret nook, never shown him where it was. Apparently, he’d figured it out.
       She slumped onto the stool, her face turning hot. Her only friend in Paris, dead. A friend who could make her smile. No one could make her smile; she never allowed it. Never let anyone control you—a lesson she’d learned long ago. Her teachers had been schoolyard bullies, a boyfriend who’d conned her out of money, and even her own father. But with Alain she could forget caution. Now she sat, a chunk of clay, fighting tears that clouded her mask and the view of what might be her future.

Why is this excerpt so emotional for you as a writer to write?  And can you describe your own emotional experience of writing this specific excerpt? It’s emotional for me to write because the scene moves from a time where the main character is feeling okay about her life to the moment where she realizes her friend may be dead. It has double impact for her because her friend was also a client whose orders helped keep her business afloat. So, his death would be a disaster to her well-being, both personally and financially. Not only that, it also raises the question of whether her flower, that he probably used days before, killed him.

I think most people can relate to a time when they felt like their world was okay enough and then something unexpectedly tragic or sad happened and it turned their world upside down. Nothing was quite the same again. Also, Renia feels several emotions in these scenes, creating more of a chaotic awfulness. She’s feeling pointed loss at the idea of losing her friend. Then she feels fear because it may have been her flower that killed him, then the guilt associated with that. She also feels regret and anger at even having the flowering plant because it’s technically not hers. She’s just caring for it for someone. She never even wanted it.

My experience writing this passage was one of heartbreak because I hate putting my characters through pain. But, of course, we know pain and loss lead to growth. And in a fictional sense, it’s pain and loss and conflict that tells a good story.

Were there any deletions from this excerpt that you can share with us? And can you please include a photo of your marked up rough drafts of this excerpt. I’m more of someone who writes a skeleton and then adds more detail later. I think I added more in that scene where she’s outside of Alain’s apartment. At first, the scene went more quickly but after feedback, I think readers wanted to go through her psychology more closely. So, I slowed it down a bit. It’s dawning on her that there’s an arm up there on the balcony and that may be his arm and he may be dead. That means when he was in her shop days before, he may have swiped some of her flowers, which means they could have played a part and that she should immediately go and see if the flowers are still in her secret nook.

Other works you have published? My novel, Song of the Tree Hollow is a literary mystery. It was inspired by my cat dying at the vet and being revived. It’s a free ebook via my website. Here’s the description:
       Vero Leclaire has moved back home to care for her sick cat Sophie while her mom is in rehab. But after Sophie dies from a heart attack and is revived by a vet, she leads Vero to a tree hollow where a strange humming emanates. Unsure whether the tree is haunted or she’s imagining things, Vero goes on a quest to solve the puzzle, finding an exotic fern, a Native medallion, and an old cassette tape, which together unravel the truth about her dark family history. In the end, Vero must battle not only her penchant for living in the past but save her mom before she dies at the hands of the person who knows what’s buried beneath the tree.

Anything you would like to add? Just that I’m happy to talk about emotion in fiction. It’s key for great fiction. As readers we look to stories to help us make sense of our emotions and related experiences. So, if I as a writer can convey emotions on the page, then I feel like I’ve been true to my characters and have maybe helped people get through the day.

Karen Hugg writes literary mysteries and thrillers inspired by plants. Her stories are set in worlds where plants, real or imagined, affect people in strange new ways. 
Born and raised in Chicago, she moved to Seattle and worked as an editor before becoming an ornamental horticulturalist and master pruner. She earned her MFA from Goddard College and is the author of The Forgetting Flower (Woodhall Press) and Song of the Tree Hollow (Red Madrona Press). 
She has also been published in Crime Reads, Thrive Global, the Rooted anthology, Minerva Rising, Garden Rant, and other publications. She has appeared on the New Books and Urban Farm U podcasts, along with the TV show New Day Northwest. For more information, visit


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083  10 05 2019 Emma Khoury’s
The Sword And Shield

#084 10 07 2019 Steve McManus’s

#085 10 08 2019 Sheila Lowe’s
Mystery/Psychological/Suspense with Scientific Bent

#086 10 10 2019 Jess Neal Woods’s
Historical Fiction

#087 10 11 2019 Karen Odden’s
Historical Suspense

#88 10 14 2019 Kate Maruyama’s
Love, Loss & Supernatural

#89 10 17 2019 Sherry Harris’s

#90 10 18 2019 Linda Mooney’s
Science Fiction Apocalyptic/ Post Apocalyptic

#91 10 19 2019 Jayne Martin’s
Flash Fiction Short Story Collection

#92 10 22 2019 Janice Cole Hopkins’s
Inspirational Romance

#93 10 29 2019 Kristi Petersen Schoonover’s
Short Story Collection

#94 11 01 2019 David Henry Sterry’s
Fiction: Sexual Violence

#95 11 03 2019 Jay Requard’s
Dark Fantasy/Horror

#96 11 04 2019 Caroline Leavitt’s

#97 11 06 2019 Kelsey Clifton’s
Science Fiction

#098 11 13 2019 John F Allen’s
Urban Fantasy Tale

#99 11 16 2019 Damian McNicholl’s
Historical Novel
“The Moment of Truth”

#100 11 19 2019 Stacia Levy’s
Mystery/Suspense Novel
“Girl Crush”

#101 11 24 2019 Charlotte Morgan’s
Fiction Novel
“Protecting Elvis”

#102 11 26 2019 T. L. Moore’s
Children’s Christian Fiction
“Ed On My Shoulder:  Maria & The Candy Trail”

#103 11 27 2019 Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg’s
Coming of Age Literary Novel
The Nine

#104 11 29 2019 Charlotte Blackwell’s
Adult Paranormal

#105 12 07 2019 Mike Burrell’s
Satire Novel

#106 12 09 2019 Phil McCarron’s

#107 12 11 2019 Wendy H. Jones’s
Crime Fiction/Police Procedural Novel

#108 12 13 2019 Sandra Arnold’s
Historical Literary Fiction
“The Ash, the Well and the Blue Bell”

#109 12 16 2019 Amalia Carosella’s
Historical/Contemporary/Duel Timeline/ Women’s

#110 12 19 2019 Laura Bickle’s
Weird Western/Contemporary Fantasy

#111 12 27 2019 Brian Pinkerton’s
Science Fiction Thriller

#112  12 28 2019 Sandra de Helen’s
Lesbian Thriller

#113 12 29 2019 Jo Wilde’s
Vampire Thriller

#114 12 30 2019 Sam Richard’s
Short Story Collection of Weird and Transgressive
“To Wallow In Ash and Sorrows”

#115 12 31 2019 Duncan B Barlow’s
Literary Fiction Novel

#116 01 02 2020 Allison Landa’s
Young Adult Novel

#117 01 03 2020 Pablo Medina’s
Literary Satire Novel

#118 01 06 2020 William Trent Pancoast’s
Historical/Literary Novel

#119 01 07 2020 Jane Bernstein’s
Contemporary Novel
“The Face Tells the Secret”

#120 01 09 2020 Terry Kroenung’s
Young Adult, Historical and Fantasy
“Brimstone And Lily”

#121 01 12 2020 Melissa Yi’s
Fiction Thriller

#122 01 15 2020 Marcie R. Rendon’s
Crime Thriller

#123 01 16 2020 Tori Eldridge’s
Multi Genre Novel

#124 01 17 2020 Kristen Joy Wilks’s
Christian Romantic Comedy

#125 01 20 2020 Susan C. Shea’s
Cozy Mystery

#126  01 22 2020 Phong Nguyen’s
Improvisational Fiction

#127 01 23 2020 Kate Thornton’s
Mystery Short Story In Its Entirety
“Ai Witness”

#128 01 24 2020 Phil McCarron’s
Semi Fictional Essays
“The Great Facepalm: The Farce of 21st Century

#129  01 27 2020 Kenneth Weene’s
Historicized Literary Fiction
“Red And White”

#130 01 28 2020 Graham Storrs’s
Science Fiction Thriller

#131 02 08 2020 Angela Slatter’s
Short Story “Terrible As An Army With Banners”

#132 02 11 2020 Joan Joachim’s
Just One Kiss

#133 02 16 2020 Kelsey Clifton’s
Science Fiction

#134 02 17 2020 Soraya M Lane’s
Women Historical Fiction

#135 03 07 2020
Linked Fiction
BLEACHERS Fifty-Four Linked Fictions
By Joseph Mills

#136 03 15 2020
Science Fiction Romance
By Marie Lavender

#137 03 17 2020
Crime Fiction
12 Bullets
by O’Neil De Noux

#138 03 18 2020
Flash Fiction Piece
by Kelle Grace Gaddis

#139 03 20 2020
By Jamie Sheffield

#140 03 21 2020
Character Driven Novel
By Jamie Lisa Forbes

#141 03 23 2020
Literary Murder Mystery
By Russell Rowland

#142 04 01 2020
By Kim Cormack

#143 04 02 2020
Western Noir Short Story
“Night Rounds”
by James Reasoner
#144 04 03 2020
Southern Fiction
By Claire Fullerton

#145 04 04 2020
Mainstream novel with elements of crime, mystery, and magic
by Karen Hugg

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