Invasive Species:

Stories by Northern California Crime Writers

edited by Josh Pachter

This was the first time I was ever hired to edit an anthology that wasn't my own idea, and the first time I edited a book of short stories I didn't commission or select myself.

When Sisters in Crime was originally established around 1986, I tried to join in order to show my support for female crime writers but was turned down because I wasn't one. Thirty years later, I found out that SinC had begun accepting "Misters in Crime" for membership and joined the Chesapeake Chapter in Northern Virginia. When Laurie and I moved to Richmond in 2020, I also joined the Central VA chapter.

Some SinC chapters publish anthologies, and I've had stories appear in a couple of the Chessie Chapter's books ("The Supreme Art of War" in Fur, Feathers, and Felonies and "Muggins" in Invitation to Murder).

When the Northern California SinC chapter decided to do an anthology in 2023, they approached Barb Goffman about editing the stories, but she didn't have time to take on the project and recommended me.

Editing stories I hadn't chosen myself was an interesting challenge, and it was nice to actually make some money off an anthology project for a change.

My own contribution, "Peace on Tenth Street," was originally written with the 2020 Sacramento Bouchercon's anthology in mind. They passed on it, and a year later I rewrote it, changing the setting to New Orleans and the title to "The Devil's Front Porch," and submitted it to the 2021 New Orleans B'con's anthology ... which also turned it down. I've always really liked the story, though, and when I was asked to contribute something of my own to Invasive Species I went back to the original set-in-Sacramento version and title.

Actually, my first draft of this story was titled "Everything I Own," which was the name of a 1972 song by the group Bread. You can still see a hint of that original inspiration in the name of the main character, Gates Royer, which is a shoutout to David Gates and Robb Royer, two of Bread's founding members....

The book was published on April 6, 2024, and launched at the Left Coast Crime conference in Seattle.

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