I’d like to welcome our guest blogger, Stephen D. Rogers. Here’s a short bio:

Stephen D. Rogers is the author of SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-0982589908) and more  than six hundred stories and poems.  He’s the head writer at Crime Scene (where viewers solve interactive mysteries) and a popular writing instructor.  For more information, you can visit his website, www.stephendrogers.com, where he tries to pull it all together.
SHOT TO DEATH contains thirty-one stories of murder and mayhem.
“Terse tales of cops and robbers, private eyes and bad guys, with an authentic New England setting.” – Linda Barnes, Anthony Award winner and author of the Carlotta Carlyle series.
“Put yourself in the hands of a master as you travel this world of the dishonest, dysfunctional, and disappeared. Rogers is the real deal–real writer, real story teller, real tour guide to the dark side.” – Kate Flora, author of the Edgar-nominated FINDING AMY and the Thea Kozak mysteries.
“SHOT TO DEATH provides a riveting reminder that the short story form is the foundation of the mystery/thriller genre. There’s something in this assemblage of New England noir to suit every aficionado. Highly recommended!” – Richard Helms, editor and publisher, The Back Alley Webzine.
“Deal already.”
So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH (ISBN 978-982589908).  Within that beginning lurks the ending to the story and everything that happens between the beginning and the end.  Or at least it seems that way to me.
Only two words, and already there’s conflict.  I see a bunch of guys sitting around a poker table.  The dealer is dragging things out, and one of the players just wants to get things moving, to get this over with. 

They’re playing cards in a basement on a rickety table.  The situation is none too steady.
The impatient guy?  He’s going to wish he hadn’t rushed things, that he’d folded and gone home.  The dealer, meanwhile, is relishing the moment, the power of freezing the game, the anticipation of a revenge that is best served cold.
“Deal already.”  The delay is due to conversation, or perhaps what has not been said.  What will be said before the chips are cashed in.
Stop talking and deal.  Don’t just talk, take action because actions speak louder than words and it’s time to show your cards.
Poker is a cat-and-mouse game of feints and bluffs.  We’re not going to read the climax in a neat and orderly fashion.
Five sit around the table but only two appear in that first sentence, the speaker and the person addressed.  How do the others respond to the nudge?  How will they respond to events as they unfold?
Twenty-something years ago, I wrote THE SUICIDE KING about a different card game where the climax is foretold by the cards drawn.  I want to make sure I don’t rip myself off.
All that remains is the writing.
For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to http://www.stephendrogers.com/Win.htm and submit your completed entry.
Then visit the schedule at http://www.stephendrogers.com/Howto.htm to see how you can march along.
And then come back here to post your comments.  Phew.