|Level Best Books, November 2013). The story features Quakers Faith Bailey, John Greenleaf Whittier, and the fictional story of who set a very real fire in 1888 in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The story won an Honorable Mention in the 2013 Al Blanchard contest. A great review, too!|
|A Tine to Live, a Tine to Die, the first in the cozy Local Foods Mystery series featuring farmer Cam Flaherty, is published by Kensington Publishing (May, 2013). Isn't that a gorgeous cover?|
|"The Stonecutter" is a romantic murder story in Fish Nets, an anthology of crime stories (Wildside Press, April, 2013). All stories are by Guppies, the wonderful Sisters in Crime online group. Guppy stands for the Great Unpublished, although many Gups have gone on to be published. The anthology has been edited by Ramona DeFelice Long.
|Speaking of Murder, the first runner-up in the Linda Howard Award for Excellence contest, was published under the name Tace Baker by Barking Rain Press in September, 2012. New York Times Bestselling Author Julia Spencer-Fleming says this about it: "Entertaining, innovative and suspenseful, this charming traditional mystery debut is just the ticket for those relishing a contemporary puzzler."|
|My story, "The Importance of Blood," appears in Burning Bridges: A Renegade Fiction Anthology, compiled by Heath Lowrance. My alter ego, Tace Baker, also has a story in the collection: "An Idea for Murder."|
|My story "Reduction in Force" describes revenge after corporate layoff. It is available on Smashwords and Amazon and was originally published in Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books, 2010). The anthology is available for purchase from Level Best here. You can also get the ebook version from Amazon.
|"Yatsuhashi for Lance" is a short story about a murderous revenge available on Smashwords and Amazon. It was originally published as "Obake for Lance" in Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books, 2004). The anthology is still available for purchase from Level Best here: http://levelbestbooks.com/the-level-best-series/ or from Amazon.|
"The Taste of Winter," a story of love and loss in later life, was published in the Larcom Review, Fall/Winter 2001.
"The Odakyu Line" won the Holiday Flash Fiction contest in the North Shore Weekly, 1994.
The Odakyu Line
Edith M. Maxwell
Riding the subway was like surfing. Ruth liked to bend her knees and go with the movement of the brightly-lit car. She rode the up and down movement. She swayed from right to left, mastered the sudden slowing, steered into the gradual stops. She only let herself grab an overhead handle in case of emergency unbalance.
Ruth pushed her wire-rimmed glasses back up on her nose. Her long hair was never thoroughly brushed, but she held her shoulders straight back and kept her stomach muscles in tight. A year of karate with a local master had taught her that. Ruth felt good in her body. She thought about how she never would have taken the class without Paul, or have developed such a firm midriff. “Do as many sit-ups as you can, and I’ll do twice as many,” he used to say. This was the nature of their romance.
Paul left. She knew he would, when he started talking about traveling around the world and used the first person singular. Ruth stayed on, continuing to teach conversational English to Japanese engineers. She didn’t much mind Paul’s departure. She had the drafty little house to herself, and while she missed sitting on his lap to keep warm in winter and watching his long strong body move through karate forms, she valued her new solitude. She went to her English-teaching jobs, tried to glean ever more knowledge about making sushi from the local fish woman, and kept up with her Japanese lessons with Kenji.
Kenji. Ruth thought about his smooth skin, his wild black hair, and the crack in his delicious laugh. The way he fed her sushi, morsel by morsel off purple chopsticks, in his tiny 11th-floor apartment outside of Shinjuku. Ruth smiled, then looked around. All of her subway compatriots were studiously avoiding making any eye contact, as per their custom. Ruth knew people managed to look at her: she was gaijin, a foreigner, even though she was the right height and had dark hair. Other women didn’t walk around with their heads up and their shoulders squared. Ruth got a lot of attention, yet among all these people she still felt isolated.
She and Kenji became lovers after Paul left. Now, on Christmas day, they had eaten, slept, and talked together for hours. They ate the strange Japanese Christmas cake decorated with Disney characters sold in Tokyo only on this day, and drank port wine. Ruth sat on the heavy woven tatami. Her legs were crossed under the low table, her chin on her hand, her back warmed by a quilted robe, a present from her beau. Since she couldn’t be with family, this was a happy substitute. Kenji fed her another bite of sushi and murmured at her to stay. But when she refused, and it was time for her to go, Kenji smiled a smile that went with his hair as she trekked shivering off for the station.
Ruth changed for the suburban Odakyu-sen. It was the midnight run, the last train out. She grasped a free pole, wondering if she was too tired to surf this last leg of her trip, and then noticed something unheard of. People were talking to each other. Complete strangers were looking at each other, cracking jokes, and chatting. Unacquainted Japanese people chatting – if that doesn’t take the cake, Ruth thought. The man next to her, red-faced and happy, attempted a few words in her language: “Mari kurisimasu!”
“Doomo, doomo,” Ruth thanked him, smiling and holding her ground as the train swung around a bend. “Merry Christmas to you, too.”
Copyright Edith M. Maxwell