I started the new year off right this week by writing and submitting a short story. The short story is called “Maccabees” and it is a crime story set during Hanukkah. If it isn’t accepted I have a few more ideas on where to send it. One of my friends who read it pronounced it “chilling, but hopeful” which is exactly what I was going for.

This week I will be writing a romance, which will be a relief after the last story. Writing dark stories is hard for me. It means spending so much time in the midst of sadness. It usually means knowing where I am going and forcing myself to go through the pain to get to the end. But it is good practice and a skill I need to improve.

I want to share with you a mystery short story I just read that is top notch. I found it in Nice Girl Does Noir by Libby Fischer Hellman. The story is “The Day Miriam Hirsch Disappeared.” It’s set in the Jewish areas of Chicago in 1938 and does an excellent job of recreating that place and time period. It received a well-deserved Bouchercon award for Best Short Story in 1999. It’s a good read.

A few of my friends are once again trying to write a million words this year and I am once again admiring this from afar. I wish I could trust myself with a goal like that, but I know how it would go. I would flit from project to project achieving goal words but not completing anything. So my goals are project completion and submission goals instead. It’s where I am as a writer. Perhaps in the future I will be good enough to try a word count goal.

I hope the beginning of your year has started with exciting goals and projects. Be well, friends.

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