Every Event short story anthology has been a unique journey ... and that is the absolute truth. It is both a frustrating truth and a glorious truth. The Event: Gold Rush was like pulling teeth or herding cats ... or whatever annoying analogy you'd like to make. Iron Bay, ultimately, was the smoothest total experience ... my own personal experience as an author left something to be desired. That said, Congo Square sort of happened with nary a hitch.
As always, I was working on another project when this premise got announced, so I forced myself to finish "Temple of the Spider God" before writing word one for "The Healer's Curse." Having said that, though, I finished Spider with such a flourish that I sat down and immediately had the energy and writer's brain to blast through this story in only a couple weeks.
Bob Miller, as always, finished early and left himself all sorts of time to tinker, edit and revise. Alicia Copeland, the only one of us to actually own property in New Orleans, had the benefit of walking the streets and adding a layer of reality to her story that we could all only aspire to. J.C. Skala, though, is J.C. Skala.
With a couple outstanding plots right out of the gate, J.C. began researching and planning something of a mystery tale. He had written the full outline and roughly the first 4k words before ultimately running out of time. Since I had finished my story early, I offered to look at what he had written and possibly finish the first draft. Everything fell into place as I was able to write about 10k in just over a week and spend some time smoothing over the entire story. It was a fun experience in collaboration!
The Event: Congo Square.
She died 180 years ago - to the day. Mired in rumor and half-truths, the story of Etienne Hebert is punctuated by mystery and serves as fodder for nursery rhymes told by children. Local legend has it that she was a voodoo healer who learned at the knee of both Dr. John and Marie Laveau - true masters of the dark arts. When Etienne's tomb, just outside Congo Square in the heart of New Orleans, is found open and empty residents knew a sign of trouble when they saw it. Even more disturbing, and not released by the media, is that the tomb was empty save for a lump of solid gold, fashioned into a crudely carved skull.
Total Volume: 273 pages, 74,011 words
Steve Metcalf - The Healer's Curse (23,123)
Robert S. Miller - Calamity Along Superior's North Shore (21,880)
Alicia Copeland - Graveyard Gris-Gris (11,084)
J.C. Skala & Steve Metcalf - Miraculous Medals, Inc. (14,762)