Who was Jo Ford before Jo Ford was Jo Ford?
If you're into mystery, old time radio, and curious about who was stirring up mysterious trouble on Makah Island before Jo arrived on the scene, you have an odd combination of interests - but so do I - and I've written a radio play that ticks all these boxes and more. I'm excited to announce that this summer my original play, Penny Tahlequah and the Ms. Olsen Incident, will be performed live on the radio and on stage. For info on the broadcast, show tickets, and more, check out Take A Stand Theatre!
THE SCOOP ON PENNY TAHLEQUAH
Born and raised on Makah Island and born with a nose for news and trouble, Penny Tahlequah finds both when she returns home after an adventure in Los Angeles that goes any which way but right. We join Penny one chilly Makah morning in 1986, live on-air calling the infamous July 4th hydroplane races.
The fireworks start even before the boats put in, and the big one goes off only minutes after the race starts - when the renowned Ms. Olsen goes up in a ball of smoke and flame. The real action heats up when Penny’s cousin is accused of sabotaging the boat and murdering the driver.
Now, it’s a race against time as Penny scours Makah for clues to prove he’s innocent and catch the real killer. It won’t be easy, but that wouldn’t be any fun. Listen live as Penny wades through colorful local characters on her hunt for the truth. She’ll get her man – but will she get her woman, too?
Revelation is now available on Audible! Narrator Helen Gordon brings Jo and Makah Island all the vibrant charm you'll find on the page. Use your credits or buy any time of the day or night that's right for a great story well-told. Also available for download on iTunes.
It's a book!! I'm happy to announce the debut of "Schrödinger's Mouse," my latest short story, now available in RMFW's 2020 anthology, "WILD." Softbound available on Amazon but also your indie bookstore - ereader only on Kindle for now.
Staring out at a totally white sky choked with smoke, the birds quiet and rare, I could use a good tale - and this book has short stories that will take you away for a minute, and hour, maybe a while as you wonder... what if?
Thrilled that I'll be in San Diego this March as an attendee AND a panelist on Celebrating the Short Story at Left Coast Crime.
I'm not all novel, and when I'm not long form I'm short form, so I can't wait to discuss one of my absolute favorite genres with my fellow authors, MH Callway, Dale Berry, Rob Pierce, and Kate Thornton.
What's the history of shorts? What makes the short story so magical? Is Gusev, by Anton Chekhov, arguably the best short story ever written? What about Recitatif by Toni Morrison? Yeah, this is going to be good.
It took 42 years to get these stories to the page; the Makah Island mysteries will officially launch in spring 2020.
Oddly enough, the Makah books didn't start with murder. They started with Joanna Ford and Vi Mitchell, two women who needed to realize what they had to lose on Makah Island and what they had to gain in finding each other. Revelation is first and foremost a love letter to the place I grew up and the quirky, independent, lovely people who live there. Telling it straight (pun intended) would have felt heavy-handed contrasted with the complexity of the community I love; enter death and dishonor.
Speaking of telling it straight, I'm proud to independently publish my work featuring a middle-age, middleweight, married lesbian and her grumpy new mentor. After a few wearying bouts querying with agents and publishers who loved the book, the characters, and the writing, but just couldn't see where it fit on their lists, I took a break. Then I asked myself why I was waiting for approval from the man for a story that had nothing to do with him. You won't find dead lesbians in my books and you won't find performative girl on girl action. You will find a world unapologetically centered around women who stare unflinchingly back at the male gaze.
I do want to thank everyone who made these stories possible. Where I start that list reminds me of Vi's opening gambit in Revelation. Perhaps my mom and my aunt, who between them always had a Christie, Marsh, Jackson-Braun, or Francis tented open somewhere on a coffee table? Definitely my aunt's Siamese cat... How about my elementary school teachers who chaperoned small busses of rowdy kids over ferry and forest to the Young Authors Conference? I'll stick with my Revelation acknowledgements for the time being.
Thank you to all the beta readers of this book and the A-for-effort training-wheel works that came before it: Susan Denaro, Amy Kolquist, Katie Wire, Cindy Powell, Bill Henderson, Shana Kelly, and Craig Sanders. Thanks to Jan Dorn for enthusiastically reading everything early and being kind when it wasn’t warranted, and Julie Jaffee who taught me to love journalism.
Thank you to Conor Plunkett and Patsy Atwell for donating your time and talent.
Thank you to Bill Henderson at Lighthouse Writers Workshop and my amazing, inspiring cohort for your loving support and insightful critique: Britnie Kane, Jenn Green, Laurel Kallenbach, the Phillips Huffeldt and Van Hoevenberg, and Sue Gelber.
A huge thank you Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Sisters in Crime, two fantastic, volunteer-run writer’s organizations that light the fires and provide the spirit and the know-how to so many. Thanks particularly to Shawn, Joe, Michael, and Craig in south Denver who read my stuff… and were kind when it wasn’t warranted.
Thank you to all my Scripps sisters for instilling me with the confidence, courage, and hope to undertake and follow-through on such an audacious endeavor.
This moon shot's for anyone who has ever been knocked down but not out.