Saturday, October 05, 2013

A Triple Dose of Revenge

There are so many great sayings about revenge—that it is sweet, that it is a dish best served cold. And who among us hasn't fantasized about taking revenge on someone who did us wrong? Most of us confine our revenge to fantasies but one of the great things about being a writer is you can exact revenge in the most delicious ways possible. Sometimes you even get get paid for it!

Last January I published a novella, The Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild and it has done pretty well. My ladies are feisty and when a ruthless lothario starts to jeopardize their guild, Miss Cece McGill will have none of that!

Years ago I wrote some short stories for an annual anthology of crime fiction. Two of them, The Crazy Old Lady in the Attic, and Ghosts of a Lighthouse in Autumn, grew to be far longer than the allowed word count so eventually I published them as Kindle shorts and they ha done very well. However, I had two short stories accepted for the anthology and they were published. For awhile I made them available as a single volume Kindle book but they were really short and even at .99 I thought they weren't a very good value. So, I got the idea to bundle them in along with my Monday Night ladies. The price is the same—$2.99.

The stories added are Homemade Pie & Sausage about an angry young woman's revenge on the lawman who failed to protect her, and Killing Julie Morris, about a homely woman's revenge on the privileged woman who stole her man. I love both of these stories because, though they are short, they pack a wallop.

So if you're feeling like you need some revenge, with a heap of sly, dark humor, check out The Monday Night Needlework & MurderGuild, available for $2.99 and it comes with 2 pretty nifty shorts, too. Here is an excerpt.

The Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild

Sometimes things happen in a person's life that make it downright impossible to sit back and do nothing. I'm well-over sixty now and have been retired from teaching biology at Pitts Crossing High School for a few years. I am unmarried, which has always been just fine with me, and am an accomplished needleworker. I own a lovely seventeenth-century house which I am proud of, have many friends, am an excellent cook, and consider myself an asset to my community. I think most people would agree with that. I'm a proud and happy member of Miss Serena Pitts' Monday Night Needlework and Murder Guild. I am also a murderer.
Truthfully, I thought being a murderer would be somewhat more thrilling than it has proven to be. Planning and executing the event was interesting enough but, once everything was tidied up, it was just a matter of sitting around and waiting to see what happened next. Nothing much has. Of course, there is a part of me that longs to say, “You know Larry Anderson didn't really move to California to write screenplays for television. He's buried under my cellar floor.” But that really wouldn't be prudent, would it?

I – Miss Serena
It was over fifty years ago when Miss Serena Pitts conceived the notion of holding a weekly needlework party in her home. In towns like Pitts Crossing, Massachusetts, ladies of Miss Serena's pedigree—she is a direct descendent of the town's founder, Captain Ezekiel Pitts—take their responsibility toward the harmony and culture of their fellow residents quite seriously. Miss Serena was the great-great-great (however many greats) granddaughter of Captain Pitts, a prosperous whaleman back in the great days of whaling. Like other successful sea captains, he built his house on a hill overlooking the harbor. It featured tall windows, a deep piazza, and a cupola on the top of the house where his beloved wife could spend time over her stitchery while watching for him to return from the sea.
There are other such houses lining Overlook Street here. Even now, some three hundred years later, many of them still stand and have been lovingly restored. You can judge the degree of affluence of the original owners by appointments such as Miss Serena's cupola. Only the most successful sea captains could afford to build one of those. Less well-off sea-faring men added widows' walks like the one on top of my house. But whether it was a fanciful, glass-enclosed room where ladies could sit, stitch, and dream of the day her man would return, or a simple walk where women huddled, wrapped in shawls, unprotected from the elements, the houses here in Pitts Crossing bear testimony to the lives of the women who waited and kept watch.
Women are the backbone of coastal towns such as ours and always have been. Whether it was the wives, mothers, daughters, and beloveds of the men who were gone for years on whaling ships then, or the women who struggle to keep their families together now, Pitts Crossing has been kept alive by women for over three centuries.
“Miss McGill, can you come down here a second?”
The voice belonged to Tyler Olson and was coming from my cellar. When I taught biology at the local high school, Tyler was one of my students. As adults he and his brother, Dylan, operate a cement and masonry business. He was, at that particular moment, preparing the dirt floor downstairs to be finished. After three hundred years I thought it was time.
“Coming, Tyler.”
I'd been retired from Pitts Crossing High School for a few years when I decided to refinish my cellar. I retired after forty years, even though I didn't really have to, because I felt the time had come. I bought my house shortly after I started teaching and, let me tell you, maintaining a three hundred and forty year old house is a chore. Gradually I've made improvements thanks to the willingness of former students to give their poor, old teacher a break on cost. Finishing the floor was the first step toward turning my cellar into a perfect parlor for needleworkers—but more about that later.
“Watch your step, Miss McGill,” Tyler said, holding out his hands to take mine. I'm perfectly capable of climbing over piles of dirt but I allowed him to help me anyway. No sense in letting him think his gallantry was unappreciated.
“Take a look at this,” he said indicating a surprisingly deep hole in the middle of my cellar. It was lined with stones and one of his men stood in it leaning on a shovel. “Lucky thing we found this before we poured the cement or you could have had a cave-in.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“A cistern. This isn't the first one we've come across in the cellars of these old houses. The old-timers built them for water storage. I just wanted you to see it.”
Tyler was a nice young man. Throughout my years of teaching I found that the majority of my students were nice, well-bred children who grew into pleasant, responsible adults. There were exceptions, of course, but on the whole, this town has done a good job with its children.
“Do you have to dig it out?” I asked.
“Naw, we'll just break it up and fill the whole thing in. It's actually a good thing because, as we level off the floor, we can put extra dirt in here instead of having to haul it away.”
“Oh,” I said. “Well, then it's lucky you found it, isn't it?”
He chuckled. “It's a lot better than if we didn't find it and you and your lady friends wound up in it while you were sitting down here stitching some night.” He winked at me. “We'll get to work. Just wanted you to see what it looks like.”
“Thank you, Tyler,” I said. “I'll leave you alone now.” Little did either Tyler or I know how fortuitous his discovery would prove to be.

Get the rest of the story here.... thanks for reading!

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