Partners in Crime Interview

I recently had a conversation with author and editor Mitzi Szereto about her latest anthology, THE BEST NEW TRUE CRIME STORIES: PARTNERS IN CRIME. I am delighted to have my story, THE WAGES OF SIN: THE BALLAD OF MARGIE AND DALE included in the book.

Mitiz and I covered a lot of ground in our chat. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks!

I am grateful to Dwight Haverkorn for sharing his extensive knowledge of Dale and Margie’s lives and misdeeds with me. He knows more about the case than anyone I’ve ever met.

Online Event: Women’s National Book Association

Join Mitzi Szereto, Cathy Pickens, and me for a free online event on April 15th at noon. We will chat about writing and researching true crime. I can’t wait! Register HERE

April 15th – Women Writing True Crime

By Brianna Cool

Friday, April 15th, 2022

Women Writing True Crime with Mitzi Szereto, Joan Renner, and Cathy Pickens

12 pm / PT

FREE Virtual Event

A panel discussion featuring Mitzi Szereto, editor of The Best New True Crime Stories series, and her contributors Joan Renner and Cathy Pickens from her new book release, The Best New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime

Topics to be discussed include:

  1. True crime and how writing it is different from other genres.
  2. True crime and its appeal to women writers and readers.
  3. Individual approaches to true crime.
  4. Writing responsibly and ethically.
  5. How to catch the editor’s eye.
  6. Researching and getting the facts right.

***

Mitzi Szereto (mitziszereto.com) is an author and anthology editor whose books encompass multiple genres, including those in her popular true crime franchise The Best New True Crime Stories, to date the volumes Partners in Crime; Crimes of Passion, Obsession & Revenge; Well-Mannered Crooks, Rogues & Criminals; Small Towns; and Serial Killers. She has the added distinction of being the editor of the first anthology of erotic fiction to include a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She’s appeared internationally on radio and television and at literature festivals, and has taught creative writing around the world. In addition to having produced and presented the London-based web TV channel Mitzi TV, she portrays herself in the pseudo-documentary British film, Lint: The Movie. The sixth volume in her true crime series, The Best New True Crime Stories: Unsolved Crimes & Mysteries, will be published in September 2022. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @MitziSzereto.

Joan Renner, writer, social historian, and true crime expert, is the author of The First with the latest: Aggie Underwood, the Los Angeles Herald, and the Sordid Crimes of a City. She contributed to the Los Angeles Times bestseller LAPD ’53, written by James Ellroy and Glynn Martin. She has appeared in a previous volume of The Best New True Crime Stories. Joan lectures on historic Los Angeles crime and appears on true crime TV shows and podcasts. She is currently writing a book for University Press of Kentucky about Los Angeles during the Prohibition era.

Cathy Pickens (cathypickens.com) has written crime fiction, starting with the award-winning Southern Fried (St. Martin’s), and a regional historic true crime series, starting with Charlotte True Crime Stories (History Press). The latest is Upstate South Carolina True Crime Stories. She’s served as national president of Sisters in Crime, on Mystery Writers of America’s national board, and as true crime columnist for Mystery Readers Journal. A lawyer and former college professor, she also wrote CREATE! Developing Your Creative Process (create-update.com), works with prison inmates, and coaches writers and others in creativity workshops. Her work has appeared in a previous volume of The Best New True Crime Stories.

The Best New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime–Live Facebook Event

Please join me at Mitzi Szereto’s Facebook page on Saturday, February 12 at 2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern, 10pm UK, 11pm CEST, and Sunday 9am AEDT, for a special livestream event for “The Best New True Crime Stories: Partners in Crime.” I’ll be chatting with editor Mitzi Szereto about my story, THE WAGES OF SIN: THE BALLAD OF MARGIE AND DALE.


Find out more about the book at: https://mitziszereto.com/the-best-new-true-crime-stories…/

Ellroypalooza

On June 22, 2021, Writer’s Bloc and Chevalier’s Books hosted a virtual event celebrating the publication of James Ellroy’s new novel, WIDESPREAD PANIC.

I was thrilled to participate on a panel with James Ellroy, John Anderson, Grant Nebel and Zoe Dean.

John Anderson and Grant Nebel are Ellroy scholars and enthusiasts who created the Ellroycast, and have written extensively about pop culture, film, and television. Zoe Dean is an award winning short story writer of crime fiction.

I’ve known James for years, and was one of several people who worked with him on the book, LAPD ’53.

If you missed Ellroypalooza, or would like to see it again, here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Reading Together

I recently created the Deranged True Crime Book Club on Facebook . Currently there are over two hundred members and we’ve selected our first book, Ann Rule’s THE STRANGER BESIDE ME.

We will meet (virtually) once per month. The tentative date of our first meeting is Saturday, May 24, 2020 at 11:00 am Pacific Time. Further details to follow.

If you are interested, stop by the Facebook page and join.

Ellroycast — Black Dahlia

I was interviewed by Grant Nebel and John Anderson for Ellroycast, their podcast which examines all things James Ellroy.

Grant and John are big fans of Ellroy’s work. His novels, screenplays, articles and LAPD ’53, the photo essay book I was fortunate to work on with James and his co-author Glynn Martin.

Grant, John, and I talked about Ellroy’s novel, The Black Dahlia, vis a vis the 1947 murder of Elizabeth Short. There is an astonishing number of misconceptions about Beth Short. Over the decades the myth has not just obscured reality, it has devoured it.

As a historian, I have an obligation to uncover and tell the truth. It isn’t easy with a case as infamous as the Black Dahlia.

Each time I read an article that begins with Beth arriving in Hollywood to pursue dreams of stardom I want to hurl the offending document across the room, or set fire to it.

Did Beth write to her mother and tell her she was seeking an acting career? Sure. Was it the truth? Emphatically no! There is no evidence that she went on a single cattle call, appeared as an extra, or did anything other than have the occasional Hollywood address.

Why, then, do the myths persist? Maybe because to some people they seem sexier than the truth. As far as I’m concerned Beth’s real life is more fascinating than the myth.

Her death reveals the dark side of the Greatest Generation. Beth’s story is not the trope for a wanna be Hollywood glamour girl. If you’re seeking a Hollywood tragedy metaphor, then read about Peg Entwistle who jumped 50 feet to her death from the “H” in the Hollywood sign on September 16, 1932.

Beth, and many other young, single women, coped with the chaos of Post-War Los Angeles by drifting from man-to-man, room-to-room and bar-to-bar. Los Angeles was a place where a fixed address was a luxury few could afford (even if they could locate a vacant apartment), and violent crimes committed by troubled vets frequently made headlines.

I’m glad that Ellroycast is visiting his world. His novels capture the zeitgeist of Post-War Los Angeles: the darkness and danger, the violence and the victims.

“I never knew her in life. She exists for me through others, in evidence of the ways her death drove them”
― James Ellroy, The Black Dahlia

Thanks again to Grant and John for inviting me to Ellroycast.

SACRAMENTO LIBRARY TO HOST TRUE CRIME MINI-CON!

I’m thrilled to be one of the speakers at the Sacramento Public Library’s True Crime Mini-Con on Saturday, November 16, 2019. So far there are over 250 people planning to attend. It is a wonderful opportunity to meet and mingle with others who love the true crime genre.

You will find information and sign-up instructions HERE.

My presentation will focus on historic Los Angeles crimes such as the 1927 kidnapping and murder of twelve-year-old Marion Parker and the infamous Black Dahlia case from 1947.

I hope to see you there!