Once Upon a Crime: A Collaborative Story in Need of a Title
By Crime HQNovember 5, 2019
This past week, we ventured to surprisingly chilly Lonestar locale of Dallas, TX, to celebrate Bouchercon 2019, and while we were there, we teamed up with our pals over at Minotaur Books to help sponsor a collaborative short story penned by a huge collection of their all-star authors. With a combination of nearly 20 authors and avians, the words soared from their minds, and the results were fantastic. But there’s one problem: we don’t have a title. That’s where YOU come in!
What we need is for you to read the short story below and come up with a title. Leave your suggestions in the comments, and in a couple of weeks, we’ll choose our favorite title and design a cover.
The winner will not only have the honor of naming these star authors’ work, but they’ll also receive a mega-bundle of books from all of the participating authors! So get your reading glasses out, put your thinking caps on, and have at it! (A full list of participating authors can be found underneath the story.)
The Story Begins…
When I opened the door, I was expecting a sausage and pepperoni pizza, not a thug with a gun. He stared at me… I stared at him… I wasn’t sure what I would do without that pizza…
“Where’s the falcon?” he growled, gesturing with the gun. “I know you’ve got it.”
I furthered into the room, unsure of what was happening. Really, where was that falcon?!
The fox. Oh, God, I can’t believe he got inside. He must have … never mind… where’s the pizza.
I looked at the thug with the gun and the pizza and wondered if I could distract him by offering him the canary? Except the canary had already sang. And been killed. Dang it.
“No,” cried the thug, who looked astonishingly like my Aunt Sadie. “I want the falcon. The stuff that dreams are made of!”
“For God’s sake,” I said. “It’s Halloween. Everyone was supposed to show up dressed as a bird. What’s up with the gun? And where’s the damn pizza? We’re all hungry!”
* * *
Meanwhile, Roy sat behind the wheel of the car and wondered how long does it take for a woman to give a guy the bird. If the falcon didn’t get out here soon, heads were definitely going to roll. The people who hired Roy and the thug were not known for their patience. Sure enough, just seconds later, Joey Hawk—the biggest, baddest thug of them all—showed up with a gold plated machete.
“If I don’t get the falcon within the next two minutes,” he said, “The Hawk is going to take this machete to the nearest person dressed like a bird!”
Just then, my grandpa Vinnie shuffled in, clutching a bag of Reese’s leftover from the trick-or-treaters. He was still wearing the featherhead. “There he is!” hollered the thug. “That’s the falcon!”
Tiring of the Dashiell Hammett homage, and worrying about Vinnie, I threw a left hook that laid the thug flat. The hawk howled, in a very high pitched voice that sounded weirdly like a bird, and charged forward, brandishing the machete. I parried the machete with the falcon, and hit him twice over the head.
“This is a blooming ex-parrot!”
Suddenly, out of the bushes jumped a man. A large man. With a distinctive profile.
“CUT!” He cried. “This is NOT what I envisioned for The Birds!”
So now that you’ve read what the authors came up with, it’s time for you to help us out by coming up with a title.
Participating Authors: Donna Andrews, Susanna Calkins, Kelli Stanley, Vivien Chien, Jane Cleland, Hannah Dennison, Mariah Fredericks, Ellen Crosby, David Housewright, Kristen Lepionka, Jess Montgomery, S. C. Perkins, Joanna Schaffhausen, Paula Munier, Will Thomas, Ryan Wick.
Comment below for a chance to win a mega-bundle of all the story’s participating authors!
To enter, make sure you’re a registered member of the site and simply leave a comment below.
Once Upon a Crime Comment Sweepstakes: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. A purchase does not improve your chances of winning. Sweepstakes open to legal residents of 50 United States, D.C., and Canada (excluding Quebec), who are 18 years or older as of the date of entry. To enter, complete the “Post a Comment” entry at http://criminalelement.com/once-upon-a-crime-a-collaborative-story-in-need-of-a-title beginning at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time (ET) November 4, 2019. Sweepstakes ends 3:59 p.m. ET November 30, 2016. Void outside the United States and Canada and where prohibited by law. Please see full details and official rules here. Sponsor: Macmillan, 120 Broadway, New York, NY 10271.