Aspinwall, O'Hara authors contribute crime stories for book

| Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Two local authors looked to the sunshine state for inspiration for their latest works.

Martha Reed of Aspinwall and Susan Thibadeau of O'Hara are featured in “Lucky Charms: 12 Crime Tales,” an anthology of stories from the Mary Roberts Rinehart Pittsburgh chapter of Sisters In Crime Inc.

The writers group will sponsor a book launch at 5 p.m. on Dec. 8 at Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont.

Reed's story, “Strangler Fig,” came about after she read about a series of home invasions while on vacation in Florida.

“That's not a crime that everyone writes about,” Reed said.

Her story is about a group of World War II veterans who find themselves targeted by a young criminal. Reed said she wanted to incorporate veterans' experiences into a story to honor her grandfather.

With that generation fading away, she wanted to tell a suspenseful story, while also relating the kinds of experiences that generation had.

“I also wanted to give a little flavor for the 20-year-olds who read the story, just how intense this was,” Reed said.

Thibadeau's story, “Lucky on the Charm” is about what she calls an “almost murder” on a boat. She also was inspired while vacationing in Florida.

“It's more of a noir piece than anything else,” she said.

Both writers said the Sisters in Crime organization has been beneficial. The group aims to help women writers perfect their craft in crime stories. Reed said the group has expanded to include a “Misters in Crime” branch.

The Pittsburgh chapter of the group meets at Mystery Lovers Bookshop.

Reed, who serves as the chapter liaison, said group members promote the continued development of writers and offer online workshops and other ways to help each other.

“We're inclusive, we're diverse, we deliberately try to keep things loose and fresh,” Reed said.

The anthology by the Pittsburgh chapter is one of many the organization has released. Thibadeau said she returned to writing after studying computer science in college. She said the group has been helpful as she grows as a writer.

“I'm a short story writer, but am now trying to write longer pieces,” she said.

Besides Sisters in Crime, Reed also praised Pennwriters, a statewide organization that focuses on the craft of writing. She said both can help local authors.

“We're lucky in Western Pennsylvania, for the area to have both,” Reed said of the organizations.

Tom McGee is an associate editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 1513, or

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