I have the opportunity to write a noir story for this anthology set in Philadelphia and am having trouble knowing exactly what's expected. Seems like it must have murder, intrigue, and a sort of fatalism; also, the occasional leggy blond and criminals getting away with murder. There's also this hard, dark edge and somewhat of a lack of humor. I guess? But I'm a little confused, I think, about the differences between this genre and the hard-boiled detective piece. I've read a few of the other anthologies published by the same press, and they range from first-person narratives told from the guilty party's perspective to third person tales of revenge. I had an idea that I could write a story where the first line is something like, "It all started with the cats..." And then it would be something about a girl who is trying to fend off the growing number of feral cats that keep appearing on the cement wall behind her house in the dead of winter. Somehow, she discovers that they're gathering from all over because there's a bunch of dead bodies in the house next door and it has attracted rats and, consequently, the nearly-starved cats. But that sounds more like a Stephen King horror story than a noir piece. So I started writing one about a bartender from Ray's Happy Birthday Bar (a real dive bar in South Philly) who gets abducted by a neighbor because he thinks she knows where the key is to some storage space. At first, she has no idea what he's talking about, but then it dawns on her that she does have an idea. There's also a fat Pekingese named Princess Butterball involved. Only problem is that I can't figure out how she would escape. My secret dream is that I would somehow discover this rough and tumble female character who I could write novel after novel about and make tons of money and get to meet Colin Firth.