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Patricia Flaherty Pagan

dark Fiction & Poetry 

In Character – A Blog Hop



Meet Anna Sterling. Anna is a hardworking, loyal, unmarried woman doing what it takes to help provide for her working class family in 1919. My ideas about Anna, her time, and a stranger-than-fiction historical rarity grew into my story “Bitter Sweets.” I will be discussing Anna today in my section of a character-centered blog hop.

A blog hop is a way for writers to come together, celebrate their work, and share their writing with new people! I was tagged in this fun endeavor by Violet Carr Moore, a multifaceted writer known for her talent in both devotional writing and hard-hitting crime stories. Violet Carr Moore’s current project is the suspenseful novel Next of Kin, featuring Detective Taylor Madrid. Look for Carr Twins & Co. to publish her novel in the summer of 2015. Furthermore, Violet Carr Moore is the author of two inspirational books, In the Right Place and Moments of Meditation. She is a featured contributor to More to Life Today. “Heritage Paradox,” a personal essay, and fiction stories short stories “Mosaic” and “Search and Rescue” were published in Voices of the Valley: First Press (December 2011). “A Real Mother” was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul Devotional Stories for Mothers (Simon & Schuster, 2010). “Little White Lies” (2008), “The Search” (2009) and “Angels Unaware” (2010) were published in Las Positas College anthologies. “Miracle on a Train,” an inspirational short story, was published in Christmas Miracles by Cecil Murphey and Marley Gibson (St. Martin’s Press, 2010). Several of Violet’s haiku have also been published .

Learn more about wordsmith Violet Carr Moore at

Now, back to the story of our new friend, the protagonist of “Bitter Sweets,” Miss Anna Sterling. The blog hop questions will reveal a little more about her.

Q. What is the name of your character? Is s/he fictional/historical?

A. Anna is fictional but springs from the pages of history. She embodies some of my ideas about what it must have been like to be smart, diligent, very loyal, but without means, in the early 1900s.

Q. When and where is the story set?

A. My short story is set in January, 1919, in the bustling city of Boston, Massachusetts, USA. The Boston of that time period was full of tradition and discovery, but also rife with discrimination against women and minorities. So it’s an intriguing place and time for me. The particular calendar days and city streets that I chose as the setting for the story were selected to intersect with a surreal event in my native city’s history.

Q. What should we know about your character?

A. Anna Sterling would do anything to protect her family. As a working class spinster, she is underestimated. Yet she’s a clever, resourceful woman who’s capacity to love did not die with the suitor whom she lost to war. When it comes to her family, she’s a lioness protecting her pride.

Q. What is your character’s goal?

A. Her goal is to make the most of the meager opportunities available to single women, so that she can find a way to make her family safe and happy. In particular, it is important to her to help shield her younger, more sensitive sister, Mrs. Lillian Duggan, from harm.

Q. What is screwing up your character’s life (or is the main conflict in writerly speak)?

A. As she tries to protect her family from violence and poverty, Anna runs smack into her sister’s selfish, xenophobic, gluttonous, rage-filled husband Amos Duggan. Amos is a problem that needs to be solved.

Q. What is the title of your piece and when can we expect the story and book to be published?

My story, “Bitter Sweets” is included in Eve’s Requiem, a new collection of 13 mystery and horror tales featuring active female characters. It will be published by Spider Road Press on 10/10/14. I am honored to have it published with work by talented writers such as Rebecca Troy and Lani Longshore. Readers can pre-order it today from Spider Road Press’ website bookstore at

Let’s keep hopping blogs. I tag gifted short fiction writer Kathryn Kulpa.

I got to know Kathryn when I accepted her work into my first editing project, Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers. Her piercing flash story about Zelda Fitzgerald, “Lights Out: Zelda at Highland Hospital,” left me teary. The time will come when Kathryn Kulpa is included in The Best American Short Stories series; wait and see.

Kathrynheadshot More About Kathryn Kulpa: Kathryn is a fiction writer and editor who has published short stories, flash fiction, and prose poetry in Seventeen, Asimov’s Science Fiction, Florida Review, Literary Orphans, Monkeybicycle, Metazen, Camroc Press Review, Superstition Review, NANO Fiction, and other magazines and online journals. She received the Mid-List Press First Series Award for her short story collection Pleasant Drugs, and her work has been featured in the Six-Word Memoir series, the anthology Up, Do: Flash Fiction by Women Writers, and the forthcoming Great Gatsby Anthology. She was the editor of the online journal Newport Review and is currently flash fiction editor at Cleaver magazine. She enjoys leading writing workshops for teens and adults and has taught at the University of Rhode Island, Stonecoast Writers Conference in Maine, and in public libraries throughout Rhode Island.
Check out the next leg of the blog hop and explore her stories at