Saturday, March 20, 2010

Guest Post: Stephen D. Rogers

Today, Stephen D. Rogers is treating us to a post about one his stories in his SHOT TO DEATH anthology! I feel like I've entered the big time, having an author like him here... but enough from me

Stephen's Post:
Perini closed the folders on his desk as soon as he saw the shadow on the pebbled glass.
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-0982589908). Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning
and the end. Or at least it seems that way to me.

The first action in the story is to close folders, to hide things. What prompts Perini to do so? A shadow, not an image or a silhouette, but a shadow. Pebbled glass? Things are not as they appear.

Pebbled glass in a door makes me think of small offices located on public hallways. I can't stop recalling Richard S.
Prather's Shell Scott who makes a wry comment about legends, or the scene from CHINATOWN where Jake interrupts the man repainting the name on the door.

So Perini is a private investigator, surrounded by secrets and shadows. He's a man of action.

I know he's a man of action because of how that opening sentence is structured. He responds to the stimulus before before we even become aware of the stimulus.

We would see the shadow and close the folder but Perini is that much quicker on the draw. Is he fast enough?
The opening doesn't really answer that question. Most of the words are neutral, the darker "shadow" balanced by the lighter "glass." Perini's office is located off the hallway, which tells me he's a one-person shop, which could be good and could be bad.

The lack of direction is itself a directive. The story should swing back and forth between negative and positive poles, keeping in mind that Perini at least starts ahead of
the game.

All that remains is the writing.

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH
(ISBN 978-0982589908) and more than six hundred stories and poems. He's the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor. For more information, you can visit his website,, where he tries to pull it all together.

SHOT TO DEATH contains thirty-one stories of murder and mayhem.

"Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting." - Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series

"Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal--real writer, real story teller, real tour guide to the dark side." - Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated FINDING AMY and the Thea Kozak mysteries

"SHOT TO DEATH provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There's something in this assemblage of New England noir to
suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!" - Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine

For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to and submit your completed entry. Then visit the schedule at to see how you can march along. And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.


Paul D. Brazill said...

When I read the opening, without reading the info about the rest of the story, I thought it was going to be a spy story. Have you ever written a spy story?

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Paul,

I think I wrote a spy story. That sounds familiar. I seem to remember thinking, "Hey, I just wrote a spy story."

I'll have to check on that.