Writing… about crime fiction, the Adirondacks, the publishing business and whatever else catches my fancy

I get asked to contribute to magazines and journals and web sites. This is where those pieces wind up. You can find writing about crime fiction, the Adirondacks, the publishing business and whatever else catches my fancy—or an assignment editor’s interest.

An excerpt from Collect For A Noonday Service

Wednesday lunch at the Kreemie Kakes diner. The special will be meatloaf and twice-baked potatoes. Free refills on coffee. The first doughnuts of the morning will be boxed up and waiting to go for half-price on the counter next to the cash register. Pie, according to season; rhubarb, strawberry, apple, pumpkin. The pie’s homemade but the whipped cream comes out of a tub.

And the rector of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church will be sitting in one of the window booths with the Millers Kill Chief of Police.

Not each and every Wednesday; once in a while, like the pie, they’re missing from the menu. But those Wednesdays she doesn’t see them, waitress Earla Davis always worries, because she knows it means something’s gone wrong: an accident, maybe, keeping the chief, or someone in the hospital needing the reverend.

She doesn’t pay any mind to the talk about them. Well, she doesn’t need to, she sees them most every week, sees how they talk and laugh and how they look at one another when they forget to be talking and laughing. But Chief Van Alstyne, he’s a good tipper, and Reverend Fergusson looks her straight in the eye and says please and thank you for every water refill and napkin, and to Earla, that tells a lot about folks.

So when Reverend Fergusson enters through the foyer with a puff of cold air and a red maple leaf hanging off her hair, Earla doesn’t say what she would’of to her own grown daughter: You’re too pretty and too smart to be settling for once-a-week lunch with a man who won’t never leave his wife, dear.

Instead, she waves the reverend to her usual station on the wide crimson banquette running the length of the diner. “I’ll bring you a coffee while you wait,” she says. More »

Julia Spencer-Fleming

photo: Lisa Bowe