Recently, UntreedReads.com published my short story, Hanukkah Gelt, as part of their Fingerprints line. In the story, former military intelligence operative turned artist and photographer, Joshua Katzen and his sometimes girlfriend, Roz Eliahu’s plans for a cozy holiday together get sidelined by a fake antiquities scheme gone horribly wrong.
Whenever I write about an ancient artifact, I usually have a specific piece in mind. It’s a little bit of a writer’s cheat. Having a real object to work from helps me bypass one part of the creation process: deciding what the McGuffin is and what it looks like. Okay, that’s more like two things, but who’s counting?
This is helpful to me especially with the Josh Katzen stories since he’s an archaeological artist and photographer. When I start planning a story for Josh, first thing I do is spend some time on the Internet looking for an object or objects that spark a plot idea. In the case of Hanukkah Gelt, I knew I was looking for something gold — yes, yes, I know gelt means money not gold. Do I sound like I care? Good. Now, as I was saying . . . when I saw this little dingus in an auction catalog, I knew I’d found what I was looking for. It has it all, gold, pre-Columbian origins and a pair of cats, to boot. Can’t get much better than that.