Author Note on But Once A Year

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First published in Crossroads #13, October 1995

I was driving through upstate New York one fall, not far from the town of Black River where, Ken Abner, the editor of Terminal Fright magazine lived. At one point we passed a convenience store/gas bar across the street from a graveyard, and my mind started to take me to a fun place. I'd sent a few stories to Ken and he'd liked most of them, but my stories hadn't sufficiently raised his shackles. My original goal with this location-based inspiration was to write a tale that Ken might find a little familiar and close to home.

By the time I was finished writing the tale, I didn't think it really fit the type of story that Ken actually put into Terminal Fright so I never ended up sending it to him. But I did think that Pat Nielson, the editor of Crossroads would like it, given her soft spot for dark humour, Halloween and tales involving legends about crossroads.

I liked toying with the evil nature of cigarettes and how they played a part in a blatant betrayal of friendship. If there's any question about whether or not I was trying to make a statement about cigarettes and the tobacco industry, let me resolve it now - I certainly was.

I also enjoyed the ironic title for this story, as, at that point, it had been a year since I'd had my fiction in print, and, for two years in a row, they had been Halloween stories in Pat's magazine.


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