The Next Big Thing

Floating around the blogosphere is a great project designed to introduce readers to writers that may have so far escaped their notice. Let me introduce Barb Goffman and she can explain why she is here. Barb, take it away.

Barb Goffman: You may have heard about The Next Big Thing blog hop. It’s a chance for authors to let the world know about their newest writing project—something already published or coming soon to a bookseller near you. I’m delighted to have been invited to participate by author B.K. Stevens and that the Women of Mystery are allowing me to answer the questionnaire on their blog. Thank you, ladies, and here we go.

What is your working title of your story?

My most-recently published short story is “Murder a la Mode.” It appears in the e-anthology THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A SECOND HELPING, which was published last month by Untreed Reads Publishing.

Where did the idea come from for the story?

A couple miles from my home stands a large Catholic church. It’s pretty. Blends in well with the suburban community. I’d never given it much thought until the day an author friend told me that about sixty years ago, a large swath of land around here, including the land on which the church stands, used to be a nudist colony. And what’s more, there was a double murder there. Holy cow! That brought up all kinds of ideas. Where would a nudist hide a murder weapon? Imagine being the cop who has to pat down potential suspects. I had these ideas swirling in the back of my brain when the call for stories for THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A SECOND HELPING came out. The publisher wanted funny Thanksgiving mystery stories. What could be funnier than forcing a proper southern woman to spend Thanksgiving at a nudist colony? And then I threw in a murder to keep things interesting.

What genre does your story fall under?


What actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

My main character, Felicity, is a southern woman in her early twenties. She’s sharp but very concerned with doing the proper thing, which often leads her to get flustered (at least in this story) in a funny way. I’d need an actress who can play all those qualities well. I’m going to go with an unconventional pick—an actress who hasn’t been in any major motion pictures but who could do Felicity justice: Kirsten Storms. She’s best known as Maxie Jones on the TV show General Hospital. I could definitely see her in this part. As for the other characters, I’m not sure. I’ll wait forHollywood to come knocking, and then we can work out the details.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your story?

When a proper southern woman is forced to spend Thanksgiving at a nudist colony, can murder be far behind?

Will your story be self-published or represented by an agency?

“Murder a la Mode” was published in October 2012 by Untreed Reads Publishing in its e-anthology THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A SECOND HELPING.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

One day. I had jotted down the idea for the story when I first got it, but had been busy with another writing project at the time so I set my notes aside. Several weeks later, the anthology’s deadline loomed. My reporter’s training for writing on deadline kicked in. I found those notes, sat down at the computer, and several hours later, the story was written.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

It’s a cliché, but I have to go with Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. Stephanie Plum has great dialogue and interior monologue, and the books have unusual situations and broad humor, too. I like to think that “Murder a la Mode” has those things, as well. I’ll also mention John Floyd’s Angela Potts short-story series. He portrays common folks in odd situations, and his humor is always spot on. I hope I channel some of his style, too.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

When I learned that a murder had occurred at a nudist colony that once stood near my home, my imagination was off and running.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

Thanksgiving can be a hard holiday, what with having to cook the perfect meal and deal with less-than-perfect relatives. When you need a short time out, you can pick up my story, read it in one sitting, and laugh and laugh—both at the story and at knowing that your day certainly will fare better than Felicity’s.

So there you have it. You can pick up THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A SECOND HELPING at all the usual online outlets. If you go to the publisher’s website, you can get a 30 percent discount through the end of November by using the coupon code THANKSGIVING at checkout.

I’d like to once again thank author B.K. Stevens for inviting to participate in this blog hop. You can read B.K.’s blog hop post, which appeared last week at Untreed Reads.

And now I’d like to introduce you to five more mystery authors. They’ll all be blogging next week about their next big thing:

Karen Cantwell will be talking about A SPIRITED SEASON, a recently published e-anthology of six short stories with a paranormal flair, written by Karen and two other authors. Karen’s blog will appear on Tuesday, November 27th on her website.

David Dean will be blogging about his recently published book, THE THIRTEEN CHILD, over at Sleuthsayers  on Tuesday, November 27th.

Toni L.P. Kelner will be talking about AN APPLE FOR THE CREATURE, an anthology that she co-edited that was published this fall. It includes her short story “Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost.” Toni will be blogging on Thursday, November 29th. You can find her post here.

Joanna Campbell Slan will be blogging about DEATH OF A DOWAGER, the second book in her Jane Eyre Chronicles series, which is scheduled for release on April 2, 2013. Joanna will be blogging here on Monday, November 26th and also here on Wednesday, November 28th.

Keith Snyder will be talking about RIDE 2, an anthology with short fiction about bicycles that he edited. The anthology is scheduled to be released later this month. It includes Keith’s short story “The Rambler, Part I.” Keith will be blogging  here on Friday, November 30th.

Thanks again to the Women of Mystery for hosting. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanks to you, Barb for all this great information. I would remiss if I didn’t mention that, along with Barb,  our great friend, Gail Farrelly has a story in The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping.


18 thoughts on “The Next Big Thing

  1. I just realized I didn’t provide any of my background info. Here’s my bio:

    Barb Goffman’s published fiction has all been in the crime short-story realm. Her stories mostly focus on families, because the people you know best are the ones you’ll most likely want to kill. Barb has been nominated for the Agatha Award four times and for the Anthony and the Macavity awards once each. In her spare time, Barb serves as a co-coordinating editor of the Chesapeake Crimes series (Wildside Press) and as program chair of the Malice Domestic mystery convention. She’s an avid reader and a doting mom of a very cute dog. You can learn more about her at and you can friend her on Facebook.

  2. Hi, Bonnie. Thank you. Yes, in this case, the story behind the story is particularly fascinating, especially for anyone who thinks the suburbs are ho hum.

  3. Barb, the anthology sounds like fun. Best of luck to all. Also, “Where would a nudist hide a murder weapon?” is a truly intriguing question.

  4. Thanks, Anita! And yes, it’s a question I address in the story, much to my character’s dismay.

  5. Good post, Barb. I loved reading your story in THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY HELPING: A SECOND HELPING. It made me laugh out loud several times.

    Terrie, thanks for mentioning my story in TKWC2. It’s called “They eDone Him Wrong,” and it’s about ereaders gone wild. And yes, I’m a fan of both new technologies and old movies.

    If you’d like to know more about my story, check out the blog post I published at my local PATCH: The Next Big Thing Blog Hop — The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Second Helping

    I had heard about “The Next Big Thing” from author Chris Verstraete. You can read her entry here (scroll down a bit):

    Any authors out there who want to join “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop,” feel free to step right onto the dance floor. Consider yourself invited by me.

    By the way, I highly recommend blogging at your local PATCH. Terrific for publicity.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Gail Farrelly

  6. The story sounds very intriguing and original!


    Jacqueline Seewald

  7. Hi, Gail. I’m so glad you enjoyed my story. Thank you. I was happy to share anthology pages with you once again this year.

    Jacqueline, thank you, too. I hope you have time to pick up the anthology.

    Lesley, I’m pleased to hear from you. Your story in A Second Helping was no slouch either. If I were the other Barb, come Thanksgiving 1965, I’d shore up other dinner plans early.

    And Gigi, you’ve made my day. Thank you! Happy reading!

    And gobble gobble to everyone! Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Great interview, Barb. I look forward to reading the story. And thanks for your kind plug!–I’m honored that you’re comparing your stories to mine. — John

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