Guest Post: Barb Goffman

Holidays Can Be Murder

Autumn is upon us, and I’ve seen a lot of social media posts about it. People love autumn. The falling leaves. The pumpkin lattés. The cooler nights. Not only are these things wonderful in their own right, but they’re reminders to spend more time at home, jumping in leaves with your kids, sipping warm drinks with your friends, and spending cool nights snuggled with your honey. People love autumn because it’s one big holiday after another. Halloween. Then Thanksgiving. Then Hanukkah. Or Christmas. Or Kwanzaa. These holidays remind us of good childhood memories. Of coming together with family and friends. Of laughter and presents and smiles.

Yes, autumn is a sign that the holidays will soon be upon us. And that makes people warm and happy. … Well, that’s the theory anyway.

When I began discussing putting together volume six of the Chesapeake Crimes short-story series with my fellow editors Donna Andrews and Marcia Talley, we decided that this anthology should have stories set on holidays throughout the year, because holidays mean togetherness. And togetherness, we knew, often sounds better in theory than in practice.

No one knows that better than the authors with stories in Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays, which was published earlier this week by Wildside Press. Think Halloween is all candy and costumes? We have five stories that will change your mind, making you think twice about Homicidal Holidays cover-v2opening your door—or perhaps even looking out your window. And Christmas. A time of family and presents? Well, not for everyone. Sometimes Christmas dinner can be deadly. And the holidays don’t stop there. What better day to exact revenge on your cheating spouse than Valentine’s Day? What better day to investigate the murder of a pirate than Talk Like A Pirate Day? We also have stories set on Presidents’ Day and St. Patrick’s Day and—the holiday I chose to use—Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day sounds fun, doesn’t it? A cute groundhog emerges from hibernation, wiggles his nose, and pronounces if spring will come early or not. It’s good, clean fun. Well, not in Missisquoi, Vermont, where poor beleaguered Gus lives. You see, Gus knows that his town’s official groundhog has special powers. What Missisquoi Moe predicts actually comes true. It’s been that way for as long as Gus can remember. And he’s tired of it. Really tired. So this year, Gus decides to finally do something about it. He’s going to get rid of that groundhog. But as Gus learns in “The Shadow Knows,” that’s easier said than done.

I hope you’ll check out our new anthology. We have stories that will scare you, surprise you, make you laugh, and maybe even make you cry. And on top of all that, we have a Meg Langslow Christmas story for you Donna Andrews fans. Stories in prior volumes in the Chesapeake Crimes series have won the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Derringer awards. We hope the stories in this volume, Homicidal Holidays, will appeal to readers just as much.

Happy reading. And happy holidays!


Barb Goffman likes her crime short and sweet. Well, maybe not that sweet. She’s the author of DON’T GET MAD, GET EVEN, a short-story collection published last year by Wildside Press that recently won the Silver Falchion Award for best single-author mystery collection published in 2013. Barb also won the Macavity Award last fall for best short story of 2012, and she’s been nominated multiple times for the Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity awards for her short fiction. Her next story to be published, “It’s A Trap!,” will appear in an anthology of funny Thanksgiving crime stories, THE KILLER WORE CRANBERRY: A FOURTH MEAL OF MAYHEM, due for release around October 15th by Untreed Reads Publishing. To support her short-story habit, Barb runs a freelance editing service, specializing in crime fiction. She also serves as secretary of the Mid-Atlantic chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Learn more at and You can also find her on Facebook. Send a message that you read this blog along with a friend request.


12 thoughts on “Guest Post: Barb Goffman”

  1. Thanks for visiting us, Barb! Very cool concept. (I didn’t even know that Talk Like A Pirate Day was a holiday…already learned something new!) Congratulations on the book!


  2. Thanks for visiting, Barb. The anthology sounds great. A murder on Groundhog’s Day? Wouldn’t have thought of it. But I do have a line stashed away for the day I write a story set around the holidays. Because yes, all that together time sometimes sounds better than it really is. 🙂


  3. Thanks to all of you for hosting me. Isn’t Talk Like A Pirate Day the coolest holiday? Arrrr. I wish I had thought to set a story then. Cathy Wiley did a nice job with her pirate tale.


  4. The book sounds like fun. My novels tend to be based around holidays. Groundhog day in the old Druid calendar is Imbolc, a day of opening. Very important to them, so maybe that’s why it’s survived in some form.

    For Halloween, I have to say that pumpkin beer qualifies as a crime.


  5. I’ve never tasted pumpkin beer, Theresa, and I think I’m glad. (Then again, I’m not a big fan of regular beer.)

    Sue and Susan, I hope you enjoy the book! And Susan, I’ll see you tomorrow!


  6. Wonderful guest post! I love anthologies–one of my favorite ways to find new authors to read. The holidays? Yes, double-edged sword indeed. (I’m with you Theresa, on the pumpkin beer!) I will definitely be grabbing a copy of Homicidal Holidays.


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