Our next event is BYOB!

(You’ll see why in a moment.)

Hi, everyone! Did you enjoy our first winter blast? Ready for the next one? The good thing about all that snow is, it’s a great time to stay at home and get some writing done.

And if you happen to be writing a murder mystery, and someone happens to get, ahem, poisoned, then our next event is right up your alley.

Dan Baker is the Chief Toxicologist at the Franklin County Coroner’s Office. Mr. Baker earned a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science from Youngstown State University, a Master of Science in Pharmacology & Toxicology and a Graduate Certificate in Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear Defense from Wright State University, Boonshoft School of Medicine. Mr. Baker is a Board Certified Fellow in Forensic Toxicology by the American Board of Forensic Toxicology. Mr. Baker has co-authored publications in The Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Case Reports in Medicine, and the journal Clinical Toxicology on subjects such as opioid related deaths, novel psychoactive substances, carbamazepine metabolism, and fentanyl intoxication.  Mr. Baker has 18 years’ experience in various toxicology specialties including postmortem toxicology, human performance toxicology, pre-employment drug screening, probation/parole compliance drug testing, and professional sports doping control.

This event will be held Feb. 16 at the Bexley Library. So please, join us, and… BYOB! 😉 (But seriously, folks – this is a public library, so make sure it’s non-alcoholic. Just in case!)

On March 30, we have Katharine Weber, the Richard Thomas Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Kenyon College. She’ll be with us on March 30 in the meeting room of the Gahanna Library. And April 20, Linda Kass, founder and owner of Gramercy Books, is coming to visit.

As always, our meetings are from 12:30 to 3 p.m., with a lunch afterward in which we ask our guests all the questions we were afraid to ask them in front of people, but are perfectly fine with discussing over, say, food. Mark your calendars!

Flash fiction winners: December 2018

Congratulations to this year’s winners of our flash fiction contest! The writers had 200 words to incorporate five words – icicle, sleigh, batter, regift and pine, or variations thereof – into a delightful little murder mystery. Our esteemed panel then narrowed down the field, and the winners were Alicia Anthony (first prize) and Eileen Curley Hammond. Congratulations! Here are their stories:

The Elf’s Revenge, by Alicia Anthony

The scent of pine assaulted my nose. Why these idiots kept moving me around, forcing me into embarrassing positions – sometimes involving a Barbie doll – I’ll never understand. Tonight I sat immobile in the center of the wreath, a prickly spike of evergreen stabbing me in the ass. Humans were ridiculously brutal, battering my arms and legs this way and that, turning and twisting them into whatever position they deemed worthy of Facebook.

Mr. C couldn’t have had this in mind when he assigned this mission. The Elf Workers Union had filed complaints, but so far, the big guy just, “Ho, ho, hoed,” his way out of the conversation. The world would regret ignoring us, manipulating us, regifting us when kids got too old. Tonight, I’d end the abuse.

I swung from the wreath and onto the mantle, sliding in my red onesie down the fancy woodwork to the floor below. The thump of sleigh runners against the roof launched me into a sprint. I yanked an ornament from the Christmas tree before tucking myself among the logs in the darkened fireplace. I braced the ornament between my hands. Exhilaration mounted. The metallic icicle speared straight up, waiting for its target.

(Untitled), by Eileen Curley Hammond

The twelve-inch icicle glistened in the sun. Fat water droplets slid down its length, falling to the bluestone patio far below. I shivered as I shut the window. There was so much left to be done. Michael was in the living room, feet up, watching a rerun of the World Series win. I squinted at the TV. Derek Jeter was the batter.

I picked up the wooden sleigh and some ribbon. With a quick bow, hot glue gun, and several pine cones, a passable centerpiece stood complete. The punch bowl landed on the table, surrounded by small cut crystal glasses. I glared at Michael. “Some help would be nice.”

He grunted, “Where’s my sister?”

“Probably puffing away outside. Would you please find her? It’s not like you don’t know the ending.” He hit pause and ran down the stairs.

I lifted the bright yellow scarf from Aunt Margaret. Definitely not my color. I slid it back into the box and wrapped it. Nothing wrong with a quick regift. Sort of like the thirty second rule.

Michael yelled from downstairs. “Come quick. It’s my sister. She’s outside. I’m not sure what happened, but she’s dead.”

I smiled.


2018 BCW Holiday Writing Contest!

Hear ye, hear ye:  in addition to the 2018 BCW holiday party, which will include all the events in the aforementioned post (see for additional details), there will be a WRITING CONTEST for those interested.  For any who may have followed the infamous Janet Reid site, the rules are surprisingly similar:

  • 200 words maximum.
  • Must involve the following 5 words: 1) regift, 2) batter, 3) pine, 4) sleigh and 5) icicle.  All 5 words must be included in the story, although plurals and transmogrifications are accepted (e.g., ‘batters’ and ‘regifted’).  Words may also have more than one meaning or may be used to substitute for similar-sounding words of different spellings.
  • Participants can be BCW members or interested non-members, but you should plan on attending the holiday party (12/8).  Significant others, relatives and/or friends who also attend may also participate.
  • Keep in mind:  we’re mystery writers, not pastry chefs.  So the more murdery (murderier?  murderiest?), the better.
  • Submit entries to buckeyecrimewriters@gmail.com no later than 11:59 p.m., Thursday, 12/6 (please include the name of the author).  One entry per attendee, please.  Top finishers will be presented at the holiday party Saturday, 12/8, with awards of indeterminate value (i.e., cheap) presented at the holiday party to the top finishers.  And the winner will be published on the BCW website (yeah, baby!).

So on the count of three . . . one.  Two.  Wait for it:  three . . . start scribbling.  See y’all 12/8.

Holiday Party 2018!

That’s right – it’s time to take a break from the wrapping of presents. Or, if you haven’t bought them yet, a break from shopping.

Or, if you aren’t THERE yet, a break from bugging your relatives about what they want for Christmas. You get the idea.

That break comes on Saturday, Dec. 8, from 12:30-3 p.m.! We’ll be at the Rusty Bucket, 180 Market St., New Albany, to commiserate on the sad state of our shopping swap tales of our writing successes and generally have a good time! We have a party room reserved, but you’ll still be responsible for your own lunch.

And, at the risk of giving you one more present to think about, here’s one more! It should be easy, though, and you know going in that you’ll get one in return. Please bring a book to exchange! We have a highly-complicated, ritualized, patent-pending method prepared that will ensure you don’t get the book you brought. Ok, it’s not that complicated, we don’t believe in rituals, and patents are overrated. Other than that, it’s exactly as described. Anyway, bring a book that has some meaning for you – a new author, a great story, whatever works for you. It doesn’t have to be new, as long as it’s in good shape.

And that’s it! Hope to see you there!

Everything you wanted to know about publishing…

. . . and were afraid to ask?  Well, ask away, compadre!  Cuz that is exactly what’s happening at our next monthly meeting.  I know we say this a lot, but this time our next event will be extra, extra special.  An event of biblical proportions and spectacular bandwidth, as it were.  Because, ladies and gents, children and small house pets, for the first time ever Buckeye Crime Writers will be combining with another central OH writing group, the Ohio Writers’ Association (formerly Columbus Creative Cooperative), to form a DUAL MEETING as our speaker will be none other than OWA founder Brad Pauquette, who will be expounding on, wait for it:  publishing.  Among the items he will be discussing:

  • The three primary paths to publishing (self-publishing, small presses and traditional/big 5).
  • The advantages, expectations, costs and compensation of each of the above.
  • Scams, red flags and false promises to avoid.

So where are you going to be Saturday 10/27/18?  Sprawled on your couch watching OSU football?  NO (it’s a bye week anyway).  You’re going to be at the Grandview Library (1685 W. 1st Avenue) from 12:30 – 3:00, learning the process of turning your written words into filthy lucre.  Because if anybody knows a thing or two about publishing, it’s Brad.  Not only has he written a book about self-publishing (The Self-Publishing Handbook), he’s consulted with clients from professional athletes to New York Times bestselling authors, and he’s also the founder of the Columbus Publishing Lab and the Columbus Press.  In addition, Brad has edited several anthologies, authored a book on the water crisis in India (Sejal:  The Walk for Water), and when he’s not doing any of the above he spends his time thinking up stuff to do on a farm in Zanesville with a wife, four children, and several adorable critters.  So block out the aforementioned Saturday and come loaded with questions for an event you don’t want to miss.  Per usual, we will try to corral the speaker at a local restaurant after the meeting for some extra input, so feel free to join if you are able.  And since this is a combined event, two groups will be occupying one space, and the space holds up to 60 people.  Do the math.  In the meantime, keep writing.

So, Tell Us About Your Book.

How do you summarize your 90,000-word novel in two sentences or less? Or even in just a page? Can you summarize what your book is about quickly, before the listener begins to glaze over or lose track of what you’re saying? If any of these questions vex you, you need to come to our next event. We’re holding a workshop to help you write your log lines, elevator pitches, query paragraphs, and short synopses. Writing a book is hard enough; writing something succinct is an altogether different challenge. Our own Connie Berry, fresh off her own new book deal (yay, Connie!), will lead our session from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Bexley Public Library, 2411 E. Main St., Bexley. Be prepared to learn to promote your work-in-progress, or if you’re between projects, use one of your favorite books as an example. This is an interactive session, so be ready to participate! See you then!

The lawyers are coming! (And that’s a good thing!)

Hi, everybody! We had a great visit last month with Michelle Pretorius; she did a great job of talking us through some writing tips and sharing some of her process. Here’s more about Michelle.

And now we’re looking ahead to our next event! For our next Buckeye Crime Writers meeting, we’re going from writing tips to practical tips on how the criminal justice system works, and we’re hearing from the experts.

Our visitors will be Melanie Tobias, Director of the Criminal Appeals Unit, and Annie Murray, Domestic Violence Director of the Domestic Violence and Stalking Unit, both in the office of Columbus City Attorney Zach Klein. They’ll talk about what they do, share information about interesting cases they’ve handled, and share their perspective on the things that authors get wrong and right about attorneys and legal issues. (We personally can’t imagine anyone would mischaracterize lawyers or the justice system – would they?)

So if you’re involving prosecutors in any way in your next story – and even if you aren’t – you won’t want to miss this! Join us at 12:30 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Old Worthington Library, 820 High St., Worthington. See you there!

Just sommer . . .

No, that’s not a misspelling for ‘just summer.’  ‘Just sommer’ is a South African phrase meaning ‘just because.’  As in, why should you attend the next SICCO meeting on Saturday, 7/28/18, at the Worthington Library (2280 Hard Road, Worthington) from 12:30 – 3:00?  Just sommer, my china (‘just because, my friend’).  Just because, as in South African writer Michelle Pretorius will be our guest speaker.  Eish,* how do we find these people?  Because we’re kief**, duh.   Michelle is not only a doctoral student at Ohio University, but she’s also the author of The Monster’s Daughter (Melville House; novel of dystopian crime fiction in South Africa) and a winner of the Friends of American Writers award (previous winners including Toni Morrison, Celeste Ng and Gillian Flynn).  She’s also a winner of Ohio University’s John Cady Graduate Fellowship, and is currently working on a 2nd novel titled Where the Devil Turns (also taking place in South Africa).  Michelle, an up-and-coming author you DON’T WANT TO MISS, will be talking about fiction writing, apartheid, South Africa and a whole lot of other stuff.  And per usual, we will be gathering at a local restaurant/watering hole afterwards for additional discussion, questions and camaraderie (location to be decided).  So waste some time with us on Saturday and revel in our leker indaba ***.  Oh, and keep writing.

*exclamation of surprise

** wicked cool

*** great discussion

 

You can also find us on our SiCCO Facebook Page!

It’s all about the scurvy

Captain Kidd.  Blackbeard.  Pirates of the Caribbean.  The Pittsburgh Pirates.  You like pirates?  Of course you do . . . who doesn’t like pirates?  Probably some Yankees fan, like Rudy Giuliani, because his name starts with an ‘aarrrrrrr’ (shut up, that was hilarious).  Anyway, since everybody likes pirates, you have no reason to not attend the Old Worthington Library on Saturday, May 26, from 12:30 – 2:00 and converse with our monthly speaker, Steve Goble.  Steve is the home-grown Ohio author of THE BLOODY BLACK FLAG, and THE DEVIL’S WIND (coming out in September, 2018).  Both books feature a reluctant pirate protagonist who solves murder mysteries in the early 1700’s off colonial America . . . a plot device so cool it’s got antifreeze in its veins.  Steve is a debut author who’s also a local journalist for USA Today, a former speaker at the recent Murder and Mayhem Conference in Chicago (with Gillian Flynn and Jeffrey Deaver), and just for fun he has Godzilla as his spirit animal.  In short, he has tons of experiential advice to pass on to new authors which you don’t want to miss.  So bone up on your pirate lingo and fancy sword skills and spend some quality time with a few of your faves (and join us for lunch afterwards, per usual).  Oh, and keep writing.

OUR ANNUAL 9/23/17 EVENT!

Saturday, September 23, 2017!

Our annual BIG EVENT!

Be there!

 

OK, if you missed this on the home page then you shan’t be blamed (we’ve been experiencing some website thingies since switching over to the new format and our site became . . . ah . . . infected).  Nothing you need worry about, but a big pain in the butt for us.  So we’ve been letting things sit and cool out until we were sure the fire was extinguished, and now we’re testing out the new wheels (baby steps) with the most pressing update to REMIND YOU OF OUR BIG EVENT ON 9/23/17!

Our speakers for the all-day extravaganza are as follows:

Andrew Welsh Huggins (Keynote Speaker):  AP reporter, local author of the Andy Hayes mystery series, and all-around terrific person (not to mention a popular past speaker for SICCO), Andrew will discuss his research methods for how he nails the details on his now 4-book series with Ohio University Press.

Peter Tobin (U.S. Marshal for the Ohio Southern District):  holy cow, is this someone not to miss.  Former Chief of Police for Powell and London (Ohio), SWAT commander, Narcotics Division Chief for BCI, and now Superintendent of BCI/US Marshal.  If you’re looking for info on how to catch bad guys or just a lot of wicked, big-time anecdotal stories, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Gary Wilgus (Supervisor for the Ohio BCI Forensic Underwater Dive Team):  we’re still scratching our heads how we were able to get this guy.  If you’ve ever wondered how they find the people with ice water in their veins to strap on SCUBA gear in the middle of a freezing January night to search for a drowning victim, this is your chance.  A definite must-see.

Mitchell Seckman (Detective with Columbus PD/member of the FBI Columbus Violent Criminal Task Force):  there’s not enough room to include this officer’s bona fides.  Part of the Columbus Police gang unit and a popular SICCO past speaker, Mitchell is the quintessential cop’s cop.  With a wealth of experience for anyone interested in police procedurals, cozies, mysteries, thrillers or anything in between.

So for anyone interested in reading or writing about criminal activities, this is for you.  Whether an author looking for technical details or a reader simply wondering ‘how the hell do they do that?’, this is a perfect way to spend a central-Ohio autumn day.  The time is 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. at the Blacklick Woods Metro Park/Beech-Maple Lodge.  Cost is $60 for SICCO members, $70 for non-members (lunch and breakfast goodies included).  Visit the SICCO Facebook page and click on the EVENTBRITE.COM link to sign up (parking is available, but space may be limited).  And please contact us at our Facebook site with any questions!