Monday, March 01, 2010

Shot to Death Blog March

Today the blog is playing host to a Blog March. Shot to Death is the book, and Stephen D. Rogers is the author. He'll be hanging around to respond to your comments, so make some. That way he won't think I don't have any readers.

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 Blog March

"You know I don't like working on custody cases." - "Custody Battle at Red Creek"

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.

This opening felt ripe. It wasn't just that the private investigator didn't like working on custody cases. It wasn't even that the client knew the PI didn't like working on custody cases but still asked. What really got me was the understanding that the PI was going to accept the case anyway.

What made the PI ignore his better judgment? (And is that ever a good thing?) What card did the client play?

While "custody" usually refers to questions of childcare after parents split, how else could the word be used? The custodian of records is someone who safeguards the official version of events. A custodian can also be the person who cleans up messes. Both of those seem to be good descriptions of what a PI does.

That's when the title popped into my head.

My first reaction to the title was that it sounded to me like a western, and since so many have linked PI fiction to westerns,this created an interesting vibe.

If the PI was the retired gunslinger, he was going to need an all-powerful rancher to test his mettle.

Since I really didn't want to write another story about a PI going up against big business or police bureaucracy, how about the PI has to fight a large and more successful PI agency? While this storyline may have been mined by others, it was fresh territory for me.

So there I was. All that was left was the writing.
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.


George said...

Do you find the short story form confining? Would a P.I. novel be a better way to go?

Anonymous said...

Too much trouble. Cam't we just comment willy nilly the way we usually do?


Just kidding.

Will try and get back soon.


Gerard said...

What exactly am I supposed to be commenting about? I do not understand.

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey George,

I find confining good because it allows me to focus on a subset of "the PI experience" rather than getting sidetracked into connecting all the dots of expectation that a novel brings to the table.


Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Jeff,

Of course you can comment willy nilly.

That's why -- having just returned from the dentist -- I'm going to share this important thought: it's too late for me, but you still have time to floss.


Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Gerard,

If you have any questions about the story or the process, you can ask them. Or say whatever you wish, if anything.


Richard Robinson said...

Are all the stories legal mysteries?

Ruth McCarty said...

Great cover. What I got from the first line was, maybe the children were taken by the non-custodial parent and the PI knew it was going to be a tough job. Maybe even take him to a foreign country.

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Richard,

Do you mean courtroom mysteries or do you mean mysteries versus crime stories?

If the first, I've written only a story or two that focuses on the legal side of the house.

If the second, some of them are capers and crime stories that focus on the bad guys.


Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Ruth,

It's funny how many ways you can slice a line. I've considered a collection where all the stories come out of a single opening ... and that's about as far as that went. :)


Gerard said...

I agree with an earlier comment that the cover is well done.

What are your favorite beers?

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Gerard and Ruth,

Yes, I was very happy with the cover that the people of Mainly Murder Press developed. While I had some input, I really had no idea how they were going to approach the collection.


As to beers, I'll plug the locals: Sam Adams.


pattinase (abbott) said...

And so it begins. I'll be waiting for you.

Richard Robinson said...

I meant "legal mystery" as in lawyer-courtroom, of a type with Turrow, Gardner, etc. Thanks fro the answer.

Stephen D. Rogers said...

Hey Patti,

And Texas leads the way.


Stephen D. Rogers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.