Guest Blogger: Stephen D. Rogers -SHOT TO DEATH


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,, where he tries to pull it all together.


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



Wishbone Lane was a dead-end road, the last property a restored
farmhouse used to rehabilitate kennel dogs.’ – A DOG NAMED MULE

So begins one of the 31 stories contained in SHOT TO DEATH
(ISBN 978-0982589908). 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.

The composition of that opening sentence intrigues me. The phrase “dead-end” is buried in the middle rather than appearing in the power position at the end, but the awkward structure of the second half of the sentence seems to keep urging the phrase forward.

“Last property” echoes “dead-end.” Restored farmhouse? Nope, a dead end.

Rehabilitated? Nope, a dead end.

Even the word “used” (employed for a purpose) is tinged with shades of “secondhand.”

The idea of rehabilitating kennel dogs (whatever that means) sounds so noble and selfless. How can there be any money in it? But all that “dead-end” negativity. Either all is not as it seems or things are going to end badly. Or both.

“Rehabilitate.” That’s a fun word. It bounces out of the mouth. Prisons supposedly rehabilitate. People recovering from a physical trauma go to rehab, which I’ve never heard called “rehabilitation,” which is interesting. More negativity? “Rehabilitate” echoes “restored,” which echoes … “Wishbone Lane”? No other possibility seems to make sense. “Wishbone Lane.” “Lane” sounds nicer than the typical “road” or “street.”

Two people each take an end of a wishbone and pull; the one who ends up holding the longer piece gets their wish. A wishbone thus promises both hope and conflict fueled by scarcity. For there to be a wishbone, a creature must die. (Not the dog, however, since I just lost one.)

So we have a setting and two characters competing for a final result, loads of negativity balanced by a sprig of hope. All that remains is the writing.

For a chance to win a signed copy of SHOT TO DEATH, click on over to and submit your completed entry.

Then visit the schedule at to see how you can march along.

And then come back here to post your comments. Phew.