Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Members' Publication News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • John M. Floyd, "The Train to Graceland", Woman's World (June 30, 2014)
  • Georgia Ruth, "Pickin' Banjo", Bethlehem Writers Roundtable
  • Jacqueline Seewald, Three poems, Eldritch Press

To send news for next month's post, email Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Members' Publication News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • M.G. Allen, Things, Kraken Press (July 6, 2014)
  • Larry Chavis, "Consider It Expedient", Kings River Life (June 28, 2014)
  • Jan Christensen, "Grave Matters", Kings River Life (June 28, 2014)
  • Peter DiChellis, "With Cunning Wickedness", The Shamus Sampler II (June 2014)
  • Catherine Dilts, "The Last Real Cowboy", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (September 2014)
  • Susan Furlong-Bolliger, "A Recipe for Crime", Woman's World #27 (June 26, 2014)
  • Susan Furlong-Bolliger, "Half-Baked in Fairview", Over My Dead Body!(June 2014)
  • Susan Furlong-Bolliger, "Far from Farview", Over My Dead Body (June 2014)
  • Sybil A. Johnson, "Annual Marriage Test", Mysterical-E (April 2014)
  • Terrie Farley Moran, "Dust to Dust", The Lizard's Ardent Uniform and Other Stories, (June 9, 2014)
  • Gerald So, "King of the Sea", Pulp Modern #7 (June 2014)
  • Ben Solomon, "The Hard-Boiled Detective Statement No. 3: Simeon Von Runck", The Shamus Sampler II (June 2014)
  • Serita Stevens, The Ultimate Writer's Workbook (Motivational Press, June 2014)
  • Mark Troy, "IFHC", an Ava Rome Mystery, The Shamus Sampler II (June 2014)

To send news for next month's post, email Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

Monday, June 2, 2014

Announcing Our 2014—16 Officials

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is pleased to announce Jan Christensen, John R. Lindermuth, and Tony Rudzki, who ran unopposed for the offices of SMFS President, Vice President, and Derringer Awards Coordinator respectively, and were elected by acclamation. The President and Vice President serve two-year terms, the Derringer Awards Coordinator a one-year term, all beginning July 1.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Guest Post: Susan Oleksiw

SMFS member Susan Oleksiw's novel, For the Love of Parvati, third in her series featuring Indian American photographer Anita Ray, is due out May 21. As part of a blog tour to promote the novel, Susan contributed the following guest post:

When I asked about writing a post for the SMFS blog, Gerald So suggested a discussion of character development in short stories versus novels. Are series characters different in the two forms? Is anything missing? That’s a lot for a short post, but a short post is long enough to make a point.

My first reaction was yes, of course, lots of things are missing, echoing a general opinion I’d heard for years, since I first started reading crime fiction. People love Agatha Christie’s novels, but not her short stories as much. The late critic Robin Winks believed crime fiction needed a full-length novel to reach its potential. The short story didn't offer enough room for both character and plot, and was overall an unsatisfying medium for crime fiction. I was ready to write something along these lines when I thought about my own experience.

I tried writing a female amateur sleuth living in India almost twenty years ago—and got nowhere. I think I wrote four novels featuring various versions of Anita Ray. The novels were terrible. I got advice from an agent, and other readers, but I could not find the character who would make the story come alive. Nothing worked. I continued writing the Mellingham series with Chief Joe Silva and the occasional story along with reviews and articles while I stumbled along wasting paper and time on India stories that went nowhere.

I was about to give up in frustration when I decided I'd write a short story with Anita Ray and focus on a murder that grew out of Indian culture. Anita's role was to investigate, nothing more. Out of that restriction came the surprise of Anita’s personality.

Short fiction forces the writer, me, to find the essential nature or core of the protagonist. The novel allows time for exploration and explanation, but the short story crystallizes what is necessary. By doing so, the character takes on a vividness and sharpness in the short story that can be slow to appear in the novel. (And in my case didn't appear at all.)

I'll give as an example Robert Lopresti's story featuring the barely-making-it writer Leopold Longshanks in "Shanks Goes Hollywood" (AHMM, April 2005). In the first page we know who he is, how he feels about his career and that of his friends, and how smart his wife, Cora, is. It’s a good mystery and it’s fun, and we know the characters well. Every detail of the plot works, and there are no loose ends. I could cite other stories that remain more vivid than novels, such as "Goodbye, Pops” by Joe Gores (The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century, ed. Tony Hillerman), in which a man escapes from prison in order to see his father before he dies. The obvious examples are Sherlock Holmes stories or any story by Edgar Allan Poe.

So, is there a difference that matters between short crime fiction and the crime novel? In a novel we get to spend more time with the characters, the plot may be more convoluted, but it's easier to mask failings in a novel than in a short story. In short crime fiction the character has to arrive fully developed, clear and sharp, in a plot that works. There can be no loose ends, no details that don't quite work, and no bait-and-switch in the plot. This is not easy.

Anita Ray has gone on to appear in twelve stories, with another in the AHMM pipeline, and three novels, the third out this month. In some ways the stories are harder because every detail has to be right. But there's also a great sense of satisfaction in creating a perfect little gem. —Susan Oleksiw

Monday, April 21, 2014

Members' Publication News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Jack Bates, "Didja Think of That?", Heater, Vol. 2, No. 3 (April 2014)
  • Peter DiChellis, "Murderous Lies", Plan B Magazine (March 14, 2014)
  • Gail Farrelly, "In Your Easter Bonnet", Kings River Life (April 16, 2014)
  • John M. Floyd, "Hildy's Fortune," Woman's World (April 7, 2014)
  • John M. Floyd, "Hunters", Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (May 2014)
  • Toni Goodyear, "Melting Pot", Kings River Life (March 15, 2014).
  • Toni Goodyear, "Heart Surgery", Carolina Crimes: Nineteen Tales of Lust, Love, And Longing, (March 2014)
  • Toni L.P. Kelner, “Bell, Book, and Candlepin”, Games Creatures Play (April 2014)
  • BV Lawson, "The Least of These", Plan B Volume III (March 2014)
  • BV Lawson, "The Obsession", The Saturday Evening Post, (April 11, 2014)
  • R.T. Lawton, "Gibet de Montfaucon", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (June 2014)
  • Rob Lopresti, "A Bad Day for Bargain Hunters", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (May 2014)
  • Rob Lopresti, "The Accessory", Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (June 2014)
  • R.Marquez, "Granny Mine", Crimespree Magazine, Issue 55 (March 2014)
  • R.Marquez, "The Obligation", KZINE, Issue 9 (May 2014)
  • R.Marquez, "The Courting", Shotgun Honey (May 28, 2014)
  • Ruth McCarty, "Do I Know You?", Over My Dead Body (April 2014)
  • William Burton McCormick, "Agoraphobic Alibi", Over My Dead Body (April 2014)
  • James O'Keefe, "The Adventure of the Deadly Interlude", The Plated Spoon and Other Tales of Sherlock Holmes (October 2014)
  • Leigh Perry, “The Real Santa Claus”, Dead But Not Forgotten (May 2014)
  • Jacqueline Seewald, The Bad Wife (Perfect Crime Books. March 2014)
  • Jacqueline Seewald, "Murder and Money", Over My Dead Body (April 2014)
  • Ben Solomon, "The Hard-Boiled Detective, Statement No. 18: Pandereos Ajax", Kings River Life (April 12, 2014)

To send news for next month's post, email Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

2014 Derringer Award Winners

The Short Mystery Fiction Society announces the recipients of its 2014 Derringer Awards as determined by a vote of the SMFS membership. Winners bolded:

For Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words)
  • "Final Statement" by Robert Bailey (The Flash Fiction Offensive, July 18, 2013)
  • "Not My Day" by Stephen Buehler (Last Exit to Murder, Down & Out Books, June 2013)
  • "The Needle and the Spoon" by Allan Leverone (Shotgun Honey, November 15, 2013)
  • "Luck is What You Make" by Stephen D. Rogers (Crime Factory, May 2013)
  • "Terry Tenderloin and the Pig Thief" by John Weagly (Shotgun Honey, June 21, 2013)

For Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words)
  • "Pretty Little Things" by Chris F. Holm (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 2013)
  • "The Present" by Robert Lopresti (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2013)
  • "The Sweetheart Scamster" by Rosemary McCracken (Thirteen by the Mesdames of Mayhem, August 2013)
  • "The Little Outlaw" by Mike Miner (Plan B Magazine, August 9, 2013)
  • "The Cemetery Man" by Bill Pronzini (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, July 2013)

For Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words)
  • "Myrna!" by John Bubar (Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold, Level Best Books, September 2013)
  • "Bloody Signorina" by Joseph D'Agnese (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September 2013)
  • "GIVE ME A DOLLAR" by Ray Daniel (Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold, Level Best Books, September 2013)
  • "Dance Man" by Andrew Jetarski (Last Exit to Murder, Down & Out Books, June 2013)
  • "A Dangerous Life" by Adam Purple (Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold, Level Best Books, September 2013)

For Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words)
  • "The Serpent Beneath the Flower" by Jack Bates (Mind Wings Audio, April 2013)
  • "The Goddaughter's Revenge" by Melodie Campbell (Orca Rapid Reads, October 2013)
  • "For Love's Sake" by O'Neil De Noux (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July/August 2013)
  • "The Antiquary's Wife" by William Burton McCormick (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, March 2013)
  • "Last Night in Cannes" by James L. Ross (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, November 2013)

  • Ed Gorman

Recipients may obtain award certificates by emailing SMFS Vice President Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM). Recipients will be publicly recognized at the opening ceremonies of Bouchercon 2014, Thursday, November 13, in Long Beach, CA.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

SMFS Anthology Plans

Interested members are exploring how SMFS-themed anthologies might be published. If you would like to participate or just hear the plans as they develop, please join the dedicated SMFS Anthology Plans Yahoo! Group.