"Last Call at the Bar of Invariable Length"

In December 2018, Laurie and I spent a lovely week at a beach house on Edisto Island, SC. On December 28, we took a long walk on two nature trails at Edisto State Park, one of them dotted with information boards about a scientist named Alexander Bauche and an invention he called "the Bar of Invariable Length." My stories usually begin with a title, and that phrase just jumped out at me as an obvious title for a new piece of fiction. By the time we got back to the car, I had it mostly plotted out. I wrote a first draft that evening, revised and polished it the next morning, and sent it off to Mystery Weekly, which a year earlier had bought and published a story I wrote based on our December 2017 trip to London ("Bill Posters Will Be Prosecuted").

By the time we ate breakfast the next morning, December 30, Mystery Weekly editor Kerry Carter had accepted what I had ultimately decided to title "Last Call at the Bar of Invariable Length," sent me a contract, and paid me. And exactly one month later -- on January 30, 2019 -- the story was published in the magazine's February 2019 issue, which you can buy here, if you'd like to read the story.

This is by far the least amount of time that's ever elapsed between my getting an idea for a story and getting an acceptance, and also the least amount of time that's ever elapsed between my selling a story and its appearance in print. It's also the second year in a row that a Laurie-and-Josh December vacation has led to a new story appearing in Mystery Weekly. I'm already starting to think about where we should go in December 2019....

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