Short story evolution

My police procedural which eventually became FORTY & OUT started in a short story titled (not very creatively!) “Happy Birthday to You” in 1990. It was printed in a now-defunct regional magazine called Ohio-Michigan Line published in Toledo.


Toledo Homicide Detective Sergeant Veronica Jadzinski (Jadz) was originally Det. Sgt. Joanne DuRoche. The central crime is the same, but the cause – and the murderer! – have changed. Here’s one quick scene that stayed fairly close to the first effort:

Theo flopped into the chair next to the desk and brought Jadz out of her studies. “Guess this makes three. So much for copycats.” He dropped a manila folder in front of her. “Why would anyone want to kill harmless middle-aged women on their birthday?”

“Forty is hardly middle aged,” she said. “It’s the new thirty, haven’t you heard?” Jadz scanned his report for details. “A better question is how did that someone know it was her birthday?”

“I dunno. Picked a name out of WSPD’s morning birthday parade?”

“Possible, but think about it. How do you celebrate a friend’s birthday? Did a florist deliver the rose that was on the nightstand? Co-workers sometimes throw a party. What about the free birthday dinner at some restaurant? Maybe they stiffed the server and he followed them home.”

What do you think? How would a murderer be able to target victims so specifically? You’ll have to read FORTY& OUT to get the whole story! Leave your guess in the comments for a chance to win an ARC so you don’t have to wait until the September 1st release date to find out. I’ll be posting #TBT teasers for the next few weeks, and on July 30th, I’ll pick one lucky comment at random for the win.

Pre-order your copy of FORTY & OUT at Deadly Writes Publishing today!

2 responses to “Short story evolution”

  1. Cyndi, sounds great. My guess is social networks, like Facebook. Facebook is always giving out birthdays and ages! Or maybe they are part of a book club (well, any club) that has a newsletter that gives out up coming birthday information. Though I do like the idea of the restaurant and the waiter. I always try to get my birthday desserts!


  2. Good guess! All will be revealed September 1st – or sooner, if you’re the lucky winner of an ARC!

    If you’ll note the dates of the story’s first appearance, Facebook wasn’t in the mix yet in 2006. 😉

    Thanks for visiting!


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