My short story "Skinny's Beach" is in this month's Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. This one is special to me because it's set on the white sand of Constance Bay—the beach I grew up on. That's probably what led Janet Hutchings, EQMM's editor to say, "What impresses me most about Rob’s work is his keen sense of place; his settings play almost as important a role in his fiction as his characters do."
This particular place—the best swim spot on a beach that stretches about 7 kilometres around a bay on the Ottawa River—is fixed in my mind like no other. The memories are many and they are deep. So it's kinda like cheating when I describe it. I don't have to make anything up. Just copy and paste what's in my mind.
Of course, the lesson in that is to learn how to deeply observe, capture, and translate other places—ones I don't know so well—as completely and with as much care. Given the feedback I've had from readers of this particular piece, it's certainly worth working on.