Monday, January 26, 2015

2015 Derringer Submissions Update

From Awards Coordinator Anthony Rudzki, the following stories have been received for Derringer consideration as of January 26.

Stories are listed from shortest to longest. If your submission is not listed, email TONY dot RUDZKI at GMAIL dot COM.

Submissions open until January 31, 11:59 P.M. Eastern:

FLASH (Up to 1,000 words):

Exit Plan
They Die in Eight Minutes
Final Thoughts
Torch Song for Two Voices
Sweet Smells
There Is No We
In Your Easter Bonnet
My Blues-Eyed Girl
Agoraphobic Alibi
John's Spot
Six Bullets
Living the Dream
Mansion on the Hill
Front Deck

SHORT (1,001–4,000 words):

A Job's A Job
A Thousand Kinds of Fur
Didja Think of That?
Hook, Line and Sinker
Home for the Holidays
Ted Williams' Dreams
Tourist Town
Stroke of Genius
Just Desserts for Johnny
King of the Sea
Plan D
Who Dat? Dat the Indian Chief!
Murder and Money
The Man Who Sold Nothing
The End of the World
The Blessing Witch
It's a Wonderful Rat Race
No Honour Among Thieves
Wish I May, Wish I Might
God's Country
Tote the Note
The Lady in the Lake
The Accessory
Thanksgiving on the Throgs Neck Bridge
Murder in a Family
The Kaluki Kings of Queens
There Goes the Neighbourhood
Dust to Dust
Live Free or Die
The Least of These
An Inexpensive Piece
Jumping the Bags
Everything in Its Place
Sawbill Checkpoint
So Long Farewell
The Odds Are Against Us
Union Man
Killing Sam Clemens
Thanksgiving in Moderation
The Black Cat
Here, Kitty, Kitty
A Friend in Brown
Missing Person
The Dead of Winter
Pea Soup
Male Leary Comes Home
Remember Me?
Contents Known
Special Delivery
Christmas in Paradise
Worry a Line
Witch Hunt
Monster Party
The Game
Christmas Concerto
You Always Hurt the One You Love
Francetta Repays Her Debt to Society
A Cold Place to Die
Murder (Redux) in Paradise
The Fourth Girl
Heart Surgery
The Bad Son
Death Will Fire Your Therapist
Their Little Secret
Um Peixe Grande

LONG (4,001–8,000 words):

Do I Know You?
Gibet de Montfaucon
More Good Times
Annual Marriage Test
Separation Anxiety
The Ultimate Mystery
Easter Aches
On Pacific Beach
Lamplighter by the Sea
The Great Houdini! Murder Case
200 Feet
The Shadow Knows
Last Rites
When Stars Collide
Devil Chased The Wolf Away
We Take Care of Our Own
The Angels Wait
Who Murdered Maura Thompson
Dead Dames Don't Wear Diamonds
The Jewel Box
Mrs. Featherpatch Cooks Up a Murder
It's a Trap!
Dead Men Tell No Tales
Howling at the Moon
Kity Cop
Disco Donna
A Visit with the One-Eyed Man
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere
Honeymoon Sweet
The Roseville Way
The Monitor
A Haven of Learning...and Death
Family to the Bone
Blank Slate
The Real Santa Claus
Gorilla of the Gasbags
Not Sure Which Way I'm Headin'
Calculated Risk
The Photograph
Playing for Keeps

NOVELETTE (8,001–20,000 words):

The Bank Robber
Bell, Book, and Candlepin
The Assumption Of Seamus Tyrrell
Murder Town
The Snow Angel
Gone Fishing
True Enough: Bolt's Last Case
Juba Good
The Artful Goddaughter

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Subgroup to maintain physical Derringer Awards

Since 2009, the SMFS's electronic Derringer certificates have been supplemented by physical award plaques. Paid for and constructed by then-VP Jim Doherty and presented at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, the plaques have raised the SMFS's profile and with it the profile of short mystery fiction.

To sustain physical Derringer Bouchercon presentations without mandatory cost to SMFS members, we've established the subgroup SMFS Award Plans. Please join to volunteer your time, talent, or treasure.

At Bouchercon 2009 (Indianapolis, IN), L to R: Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer recipient Clark Howard, Best Flash Derringer winner Ruth McCarty, AHMM's Linda Landrigan, EQMM's Janet Hutchings, SMFS VP Jim Doherty (Photo courtesy of Ruth McCarty)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Private Eye Writers of America 2015 Shamus Awards Submission Guidelines

Forwarded to the SMFS by Gay Toltl Kinman, following are the categories for the Private Eye Writers of America 2015 Shamus Awards for private eye novels and short stories first published in the United States in 2014. The awards will be presented during Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, North Carolina.

DEADLINE: For publishers submissions must be postmarked by March 31, 2015. No extensions can be given.

Shamus Committees will forward their final list to the Shamus Awards Chair by May 31, 2015.

ELIGIBILITY: Eligible works must feature as a main character a person PAID for investigative work but NOT employed for that work by a unit of government. These include traditionally licensed private investigators; lawyers and reporters who do their own investigations; and others who function as hired private agents. These do NOT include law enforcement officers, other government employees or amateur, uncompensated sleuths.

SUBMISSIONS: Please send one copy of each eligible work to ALL members of the appropriate committee, and send a copy to the Shamus Awards Chair, Gay Toltl Kinman. Do NOT submit a book to more than one committee.

There is no application fee and no submission form, as a simple cover letter will suffice. Email Gay Toltl Kinman (GAYKINMAN at GAYKINMAN dot COM) for the Chair and committee members' mailing addresses or if you have any questions.

BEST HARDCOVER PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction published in hardcover in 2014 that is NOT the author’s first published P.I. novel.

BEST FIRST PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover or paperback, first published in 2014 that is the author’s first published novel featuring a private investigator as a main character.

BEST ORIGINAL PAPERBACK PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction first published as a paperback original in 2014 that is NOT the author’s first P.I. novel; and paperback reprints of previously published novels are NOT eligible.

BEST PI SHORT STORY: A work of fiction of 20,000 words or fewer. Stories first published in an earlier year and reprinted in a magazine, anthology or collection in 2014, are NOT eligible.

BEST INDIE PI NOVEL: A book-length work of fiction, in hardcover, paperback or e-book, first published in 2014 featuring a private investigator as a main character and published independently by the author.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Members' Publication News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Peter DiChellis, "The Owl Clock Murder", Over My Dead Body! (December 20, 2014)
  • Michael Haynes, "Lakeside Memories", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (February 2015)
  • Robert Lopresti started a new blog, Today in Mystery History
  • Edith Maxwell, "A Questionable Death", History and Mystery, Oh My! (January 2015, Mystery and Horror, LLC)
  • Melissa Yuan-Innes, "Om", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (January 2015)

Email news for next month's post to Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Derringer Awards Procedure

Our annual writers' awards for outstanding published fiction since 1998, the Derringers take their name from the short-barreled derringer pocket pistol, our chosen metaphor for a short mystery story.

As of 2004, the Derringer process is administered by an annually-elected Awards Coordinator independent of the SMFS Officers. The process runs January 1–March 31.

2015 Awards Coordinator Anthony Rudzki


  • January 1–31 - Submissions accepted by the Awards Coordinator

  • February 1–28 - Reserved Judging Period to determine Finalists, though the Coordinator may begin distributing stories to the judges in January.

  • March 1 - The Coordinator announces the Finalists.

  • March 1–30 - Shortmystery members who joined by December 31, 2014 read the Finalists and vote for the winner in each category via the 2015 Derringers Voting group.

  • March 31 - The Coordinator announces the Derringer winners, making the voting results official.



Who may submit for the 2015 Derringer Awards?:

The story author may or may not be a Shortmystery member, but the story submitter must be:

a Shortmystery member who joined by December 31, 2014,


the editor of a venue featuring short mystery or crime stories.

Exceptions: The SMFS President and Vice President have no Derringer eligibility or authority over the Derringer process. The Awards Coordinator has authority over the process, but no Derringer eligibility.


Story eligibility:

To be considered for the awards presented in 2015, a submission must be:

a) a mystery or crime story up to 20,000 words,

b) in a paying or non-paying venue,

c) which may be an irregular/single publication, periodical, collection, or anthology,

d) in print or electronic form,

e) originating from any country or location,

f) published in English for the first time in 2014 as determined by the the venue's cover/front page date or story's timestamp ending in 2014 (e.g. Dec. 2013-Jan. 2014, March 2014, etc.),

g) with the story's appearance decided by the venue's editor(s), not the author (i.e. neither self-published nor submitted to a non-edited venue).


Submission limits:

Shortmystery members who joined by December 31, 2014 are allowed to submit up to 2 eligible stories.


3 editorial submissions are allowed from venues featuring up to 25 eligible stories;

4 editorial submissions are allowed from venues featuring 26–50 eligible stories;

5 editorial submissions are allowed from venues featuring 51–75 eligible stories;

6 editorial submissions are allowed from venues featuring more than 75 stories.

For multi-editor venues, the editors split the number of submissions determined above.

(e.g. 4 editorial submissions are allowed from a four-editor venue featuring 26 eligible stories. If one editor makes 4, the other three editors cannot make any.)

Editors of multiple venues:

3 editorial submissions are allowed if they edited a total up to 25 eligible stories;

4 editorial submissions are allowed if they edited a total of 26–50 eligible stories

5 editorial submissions are allowed if they edited a total of 51–75 eligible stories;

6 editorial submissions are allowed if they edited a total of more than 75 stories.

The number of submissions allowed from any one venue remains bound by the venue's total eligible stories.

(e.g. An editor who worked on 100 stories across 5 venues would be allowed 6 total submissions. If one of the venues featured only ten stories, the editor could submit 3 from it, but then would have only 3 submissions left to split among 90 stories and 4 venues.)

Editors who are also Shortmystery members, in addition to their editorial submissions, may submit two eligible stories from venues other than their own.

An editor may decide not to submit his/her venue's stories. S/he cannot prevent other Shortmystery members from submitting them UNLESS s/he acquired such controlling rights over the stories.


Formatting and sending submissions:

The following identifying information should be included in the body of submission emails:

- Story title
- Author
- Publication date
- Title of publication
- Your (submitter's) name and position with the publication, if any
- Word count

Submission formatting instructions from 2015 Awards Coordinator Tony Rudzki:

Email each story to TONY dot RUDZKI at GMAIL dot COM as an attachment in Rich Text Format (.RTF), as the majority of word processing programs can read and save documents in this format. The filename should be the title of the story. For a story titled "Murder for Hire", the filename would be "Murder for Hire.rtf".

In the Subject line of the email, please use the format "[Derringer Submission]", followed by the title of the story. For "Murder for Hire", the subject line would be "[Derringer Submission] Murder for Hire".

Please ensure that the manuscript title page, header, and footer do not show the author's name.

The Coordinator posts updates of the stories received throughout the January submission period. This avoids duplicate submissions and serves to check that stories submitted are received. If any story submitted does not appear in an update and you have met the listed eligibility requirements, follow up with the Coordinator.



The Coordinator divides the submissions into four length categories:

Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 words)

Best Short Story (1,001 to 4,000 words)

Best Long Story (4,001 to 8,000 words)

Best Novelette (8,001 to 20,000 words)

Four Shortmystery member-volunteers per category narrow each category to five finalists. Members volunteer with the Coordinator directly to protect their identities and the privacy of the judging process.

Policy, in the person of the Coordinator, prohibits volunteers from judging categories including stories they wrote or published as editor of a venue. Volunteers should specify the category they wish to judge. If their first choice is unavailable, they can choose another or withdraw entirely.

In terms of the following four headings, judges score stories 0 to 10, 10 being best. Under each heading are considerations that may help you arrive at a score.


- Does the beginning catch your attention?
- Is there too little action? Too much? (10=just right)
- Is it too wordy? Too terse? (10=just right)
- Is there a good balance between dialogue and narration?
- Is the dialogue realistic and believable?
- Is there enough description of the setting? Too much?


- Are they well-developed and convincing?
- Is there good interaction between characters?
- Is it clear in whose POV the story is told?
- Is there at least one character interesting enough for you to care what happens to him or her?


- Is it fresh and imaginative?
- Is it believable?
- Does one thing lead to another as it develops?
- Are there plot gaps you wish had been filled?
- Is the ending acceptable and satisfying to you?


- Was it a 'Good Story'? (10=Great)
- How Memorable was the Story? (10=Extremely)

So the highest combined score a judge can give a story is 40.

The Coordinator totals three judges' scores and divides by three to get each story's average. The fourth judge's scores are used if one of the others is unable to score for whatever reason.

To encourage open-minded judging, the Coordinator removes identifying information from manuscripts, leaving only story title, word count, and story text before sending them to the judges. Volunteers should be prepared to read all the stories in their category. Judges cannot be assigned particular stories by taste; however, they can rate stories by personal taste within the above headings.

Ideally, volunteers should not be judging categories including stories they wrote or edited, but if encountered, the Coordinator must be told, and the fourth judge's scores used for those stories.

A judge cannot abstain from scoring if s/he simply recognizes stories written and published by other parties.

For each category, the five stories with the highest averages become the Finalists.



The Coordinator announces the Finalists and uploads those twenty manuscripts, with identifying information restored, to the Files section of the 2015 Derringers Voting group.

Shortmystery members who joined by December 31, 2014 subscribe to the voting group to read the stories and determine the winner in each category. Once voting ends, the Coordinator deletes the manuscripts from the Files section.


Monday, December 15, 2014

Members' Publication News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Barbara Eliasson, "Neighbors", Kings River Life (December 29, 2014)
  • Robert Lopresti, "The Center of the Universe", audiobook of Seattle Noir (Akashic Books, 2009; Audible Inc., 2014)
  • Edith Maxwell's previously published short crime stories are now available as standalone ebooks.

Email news for next month's post to Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).