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The editors at Crime Spell Books, Susan Oleksiw, Ang Pompano, and Leslie Wheeler, are pleased to present the following stories by these amazing authors in


Bloodroot: Best New England Crime Stories Anthology #19.

Christine Bagley “Valhalla”

Brenda Buchanan “Means, Motive and Opportunity”

Bruce Coffin “Murphy’s Law”

Hans Copek “The Visa”

A.L. Dawson “The Crossing”

Kat Fast “Only You”

Kate Flora “Best Served Cold”

Judith Green “Virtue Is Its Own Reward”

Jane Haertel “Where the Wild Pigs Are”

Vaughn Hardacker “Just Like Jesse James”

Zakariah Johnson “Egg on Her Face”

Frederic T. Jones “Bounty”

Chris Knopf “Rescue”

Lisa Lieberman “The Virgin’s Necklace”

Edith Maxwell “Dark Corners”

Susan Oleksiw “Chuck Zanger Exceeds His Skill Set”

Eugenia Parrish “A Death at the Crossroads”

Ang Pompano“Directions to Justice"

Stephen D. Rogers “The Baby Screamed Murder”

Clea Simon “No Cities to Love”

Sarah Smith “Jane Austen’s House”

Janet Raye Stevens “Dirty Water”

Leslie Wheeler “Watchers”

Plus Joseph S. Walker's "Herb Ecks Goes Underground" Winner of the New England Crime Bakes's Al Blanchard Award for 2021

Meet the Bloodroot Authors

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Christine Bagley has published stories in five previous Best New England Crime Stories anthologies. In addition, her work has appeared in Bryant Literary Review, Untoward Magazine, and Briar Cliff Review. She won Honorable Mention in the Al Blanchard Short Crime Fiction Contest for 2012. 

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Brenda Buchanan brings years of experience as a journalist and a lawyer to her crime fiction. The three books in her Joe Gale mystery series—Quick Pivot, Cover Story and Truth Beat—feature a Maine newspaper reporter on the crime and courts beat.  Brenda serves on the organizing committee of the New England Crime Bake and is a longtime contributor to the Maine Crime Writers blog. She is currently hard at work on new projects. You can find Brenda on the web at

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Bruce Robert Coffin is the bestselling author of the Detective Byron Mysteries from HarperCollins. Winner of Killer Nashville’s Silver Falchion Awards for Best Procedural and Best Investigator, and the Maine Literary Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel, Bruce was also a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Contemporary Novel. His short fiction appears in several anthologies, including Best American Mystery Stories 2016.

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Hans Copek writes short stories based on his experiences—or those of his family and friends—during and after World War II. “The Visa” really happened as told. Years later, the main character, with a different name, was responsible for Hans coming to this country. When Hans helped his wife, Judy, with her work on the New England Crime Bake committee, Hallie Ephron invited him to join that group. As a team, Hans and Judy contributed in many capacities over the years. In 2017 Hans and Judy were honored with the first Crime Bake Lifetime Achievement Award.

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a.l. Dawson, while new to fiction writing, a.l. Dawson honed their fiction writing skills at Grub Street Writers’ workshops. Dawson’s short stories, "Sacred Ground" and "The Keeper," were published in 2020 in Aphelion. Dawson received a BA in Political Science from Duke University, a Post Graduate Diploma in African Studies from the University of Edinburgh, and a doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts, Boston. Dawson has written numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and the textbook, Race and Membership in American History: The Eugenics Movement (Under the name of A. Stoskopf).

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Katherine Fast (aka Kat) enjoys writing, watercolor, handwriting analysis, and polymer clay. Her short stories have received awards in multiple venues. She’s a former contributing editor and compositor of anthologies for Level Best Books. She and her husband live in Massachusetts with their dog Magnolia (Maggie Mae) and three tuxedo cats.

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Kate Flora is the author of twenty-two books and many short stories; she has been a finalist for the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, and Derringer awards. She won the Public Safety Writers Association award for nonfiction and twice won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction. Her most recent Thea Kozak mystery is Death Comes Knocking; her most recent Joe Burgess is A Child Shall Lead Them. Her crime story collection is Careful What You Wish For: Stories of Revenge, Retribution, and the World Made Right. Her latest publications include a romantic suspense, Wedding Bell Ruse, a story in The Faking of the President, and one in Heartbreaks and Half-Truths. The next Joe Burgess police procedural, A World of Deceit, will be published in 2021.

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Judith Green has published is stories in thirteen Level Best Books anthologies, one of which was nominated for an Edgar, in a Malice Domestic anthology, and in the New Hampshire anthology called Live Free or Die, Die, Die.

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Jane Haertel writing as Sadie Hartwell is the traditionally published author of six cozy mysteries with Berkley, Kensington, and Annie's Publishing, written under several pen names; she has three more under contract. She also works as a freelance developmental and line editor for both a traditional publisher and indie authors. 


Vaughn Hardacker has published five novels with Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. His novels were finalists for the Maine Literary Award in Crime Fiction in 2014, 2015, and 2018. His most recent publication is The Exchange, from Encircle Publications, 2020. His short story “Bagging the Trophy” appeared in Deadfall; Crime Stories by New England Writers, 2008.


Zakariah Johnson writes thrillers, crime fiction, and horror stories, which have been published in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Beat to a Pulp, Thriller Magazine, Shotgun Honey, and other print and online zines.

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Thomas Fredric Jones is a professional singer/songwriter as well as an essayist, a fiction writer, and a poet. His articles have appeared (as Thomas F. Jones) in the San Francisco Examiner, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Los Angeles Times. He has written numerous short stories, one-act plays, screenplays, and a four-act play titled Rabbits. Two of his poems were featured in the spring 2009 issue of Tangent Literary Arts Magazine. He is the editor of an online poetry journal called The American Aesthetic. (


Chris Knopf has published seventeen mystery/thrillers. His short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock, Ellery Queen, two Best New England Crime Stories anthologies, the Akashic Noir series, and other national publications. His work has been shortlisted for the Dagger Award. His fiction was listed as a Distinguished Mystery Story of 2019 in the 2020 edition of America's Best Mystery Stories. 

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Lisa Lieberman writes the Cara Walden series of historical mysteries based on old movies and featuring blacklisted Hollywood people on the lam in dangerous international locales. Her books hit the sweet spot between Casablanca and John le Carré. She has published essays, translations, and short stories in Gettysburg Review, Raritan, Michigan Quarterly, Noir City, Bright Room/Dark Wall, Mystery Scene, and elsewhere. Media experience includes interviews on National Public Radio’s “To The Best of Our Knowledge” and Australian National Radio’s “All in the Mind,” and a panel discussion on KQED’s public affairs call-in program, “Forum.” She is Past President of the New England chapter of Sisters in Crime and a member of Mystery Writers of America.


Edith Maxwell has published over twenty short stories. Three have been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story. Her historic Quaker Midwife Mysteries have won the Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. As Maddie Day she writes two cozy mystery series.

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Susan Oleksiw writes two series. The Anita Ray series, set in South India with an Indian-American photographer, and the Mellingham series set in a New England town features Chief of Police Joe Silva. A stand-alone, Below the Tree Line, follows Felicity O'Brien, farmer and healer. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in AHMM and numerous anthologies. She published A Reader's Guide to the Classic British Mystery (1988) and co-edited The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing(1999). She was a co-founder of Level Best Books and is a co-founder and editor of Crime Spell Books. 

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Eugenia Parrish is the author of the mystery series The Del Sueno Files. Her newest novel is The Last Party in Eden about the world of the baby boomers. She has published short stories in several local magazines as well as an essay in the Journal of the Romance Writers of America. This is her first inclusion in an anthology, and she is beyond thrilled! Originally from Canton, Ohio, she has traveled extensively and now lives in Vermont.


Ang Pompano is co-founder and co-editor of Crime Spell Books. His short stories have appeared in many anthologies, including the Anthony Award-winning Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Edible. His novel, When It’s Time for Leaving, was nominated for an Agatha Award. His second novel, Diet of Death, was highly acclaimed. He received a Helen McCloy/MWA Scholarship for a novel in progress. He served on the SinCNE board as well as the New England Crime Bake Committee. 


Stephen D. Rogers is the author of the story collection Shot to Death and more than 800 shorter works. His website,, includes a list of new and upcoming titles as well as other timely information.

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Clea Simon is the author of nearly thirty mysteries, most recently A Cat on the Case (Polis Books). She is also a member-at-large of the MWA-NE board.

Sarah Smith has published six novels, all but one traditionally published and one of which won an Agatha. Her short stories have appeared in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, Aboriginal, and numerous anthologies. 

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Janet Raye Stevens has published ten short stories, six of them New England-set crime stories in Level Best Books anthologies. Her 2018 story “The Vanishing Volume” was set during WWII and published in Darkhouse Books Shhh...Murder! It was nominated for a Derringer Award.

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Joseph S. Walker lives in Indiana and teaches college literature and composition courses. His short fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly, Tough, and a number of other magazines and anthologies. He has been a finalist for the Edgar Award and the Derringer Award, and in 2019 won both the Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction and the Al Blanchard Award. Follow him on Twitter @JSWalkerAuthor and visit his website at 

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Leslie Wheeler is the award-winning author of the Berkshire Hilltown Mysteries (Rattlesnake Hill and Shuntoll Road), from Encircle) and the Miranda Lewis Living History Mysteries (Murder at Plimoth Plantation, Murder at Gettysburg, and Murder at Spouters Point). Her mystery short stories have appeared in numerous anthologies including The Best New England Crime Stories anthologies published by Level Best Books, where she was a co-editor for six years. She is delighted to return as a co-editor at Crime Spell Books, which now publishes these anthologies. Leslie is a member of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime, and a founding member of the New England Crime Bake. She divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts, and the Berkshires, where she writes in a house overlooking a pond.

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