Monday, February 1, 2016

2016 Derringer Submissions Update

From 2016 Derringer Awards Coordinator Tony Rudzki, this is the final tally of submissions received for consideration. Judging takes place February 1–29. Finalists will be announced March 1.

Flash Story (Up to 1,000 Words)

A High Ridge Homecoming
A Park in California
A Spontaneous Decision
A Woman's Touch
Airplane Mode
And in the End
Bacon Bits
Baker Street, Boston
Beautiful Killer
Breaking Point
Brianna's Way
Clutching at Paws
Flexing Her Bitch Muscle
Heavy Debt
Here's To Bad Decisions: Red's Longneck Hooch
How I Got Into The Navy
Molly Nights
No More
Noche de Milagros
Party Princess
Payment to the Universe
Perfect Timing
Revenge of the Cellphone
Rock Off
Seven Odd Bullets
The Day After Memorial Day
The Family Business
The Hard Screw
The Interview
The Plan
The Wheelman
The Wrong Girl
This Was Now
Trash Pick-Up
Turn That Frown Upside Down
Violet Eyes
Ways to Make Money In Prison
Wicked Wanda
Wood Man


Short Story (1,001–4,000 Words)

A Day Like No Other
A Good Beginning
A Shifting Plan
Acceptance Speech
Bargaining Chip
Blood Diamonds
Boston Banshee
Caveat Emptor
Coffee Date
Dead Man on a School Bus
Deadly Signals
Death in the Library
Devil's Due
Don't Let the Cop into the House
Down Home
Down the Rickety Stairs
Fireworks (From Judge Lu's Ming Dynasty Case Files)
First Rodeo
Fix Me
Fractured Memories
Gracie's Bucket List
Hell Hath No Fury
Here's What Happened
It Bothers Me
Joe Park's Little Girl
Kill Switch
Last Mango in Paradise
Lawyers, Drugs and Money
Life Lesson
Lucky Man
Maybelle’s Last Stand
Murder for The B Team
Murder on Elm Street
Nick of Time
On Record
Pearls of Wisdom
Plastic Paddies
Police Navidad
Pompo's Disguise
Sewing on Sunday
Silent Measures
Sleeping In
Soliciting Misery
Stranger at the Door
String Theory
Tell Me Where He Lies
Tempest in a Teapot
Ten Things I Hate About My Wife
The Bag Lady
The Bucket List
The Case of the Dead Lady Blues
The Conflagration at the Nameless Cotton Gin
The Cunning Woman
The Demise of My Wives
The Discovery
The Donut Dealer
The Eyes Have It
The First Wife
The Headless Horseman
The Heir Hunt
The Hunt
The Interview
The Mountain Top
The Muse
The Nearly Ruined Thanksgiving
The Truth of What You've Become
The Wheels on the Bus
The Wrinkle Curse
Thor's Breath
Twilight Ladies
Vehicular Homicide
Wait, What?
We on the Train!
What If?
Words Can Kill


Long Story (4,001–8,000 Words)

A Game of Love
A Killing at the Beausoleil
A Pocketful Of Sand
A Questionable Death
A Year Without Santa Claus?
A Harrowing Death
Beneath Still Waters
Big and Shady
Broad Daylight
Bump in the Night
Childhood's Hour
Crack-Up at Waycross
Dark Chamber
Death of the Turban
Devious Doings in Dallas
Elder Brother
Goodnight Irene
Ground Hog Day
Just a Old Lady
Kill Me Again Slowly
Lake People
Last Rights
Life is a Big Headache
Lupe's Lemon Elixir
Marry in May and Rue the Day
Mr. Kill-Me
My Enemies Have Sweet Voices
Old Doc Sloan
Old Friends
On Target
On The Ramblas
One of Them
Our Man Julian
Out of Balance
Pill Bug
Play the Man
Puppy Love and Zombies
Shooting at Firemen
Sparrow's Flight
Street of the Dead House
Sudden Death
Tell the Others
The Color of Guilt
The Decoy
The Fibonacci Sequence
The Immortality Mushroom, From Judge Lu's Ming Dynasty Case Files
The Jackpot
The Letter B
The Man in the Dick Tracy Hat
The Man Who Loved Pie
The Monkey's Ghost
The Orchid Grower
The Seagull and the Skull
The Sutton Project
The Trouble with Virgins
The War of the Janitors
The White Game
Thrice the Brinded Cat
Walking the Dog
Where the Buffalo Roam


Novelette (8,001–20,000 words)

Crazy Cat Ladies
Glow Grass
Industrial Gray
La Rouge Jolie
Little Miss Somebody
Living Underwater
Quack and Dwight
Quarryville, Texas
Shooting Stars
The Comeback
The Curse of Cloud Castle
The Whiplash Brokers


If you submitted a story before January 31, 11:59 P.M. Eastern deadline and it is not listed, email TONY dot RUDZKI at GMAIL dot COM.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Society Members' News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Gail Farrelly, "What are You Doing New Year's Eve?", Kings River Life (December 30, 2015)
  • John M. Floyd, "Up Perscope", Flash Bang Mysteries #2 (Winter-January 2016)
    • "Night Moves", Woman's World (January 25, 2015)
  • Kaye George, "This Isn't the Way" Flash Bang Mysteries #2 (Winter-January 2016)
  • Paul Lees-Haley, "The Therapist", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (January-February 2016)
  • Robert Lopresti's Greenfellas was picked as one of Kings River Life's Best Books of 2015
  • Patricia L. Morin, Deadly Illusions, ten-story collection (December 2015)
  • Mary Reed and Eric Mayer writing as Eric Reed, The Guardian Stones (Poisoned Pen Press, January 2016)
  • Jacqueline Seewald, The Killing Land, a romantic Western thriller (Five Star/Cengage, January 20, 2016)
  • B.K. Stevens, "Still Life in South Dakota", Mystery Weekly Magazine (January 2016)
  • Elizabeth Zelvin, Breaches & Betrayals: Collected Stories (January 2016)

Email news for next month's post to G_SO at YAHOO dot COM.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Derringer Awards Procedure

2016 Derringer Awards Coordinator - Anthony Rudzki


Instituted in 1998, named for the storied derringer pocket pistols, the Short Mystery Fiction Society's annual awards honor outstanding published mystery & crime stories up to 20,000 words and people who've greatly advanced or supported the form.

As of 2004, an annually-elected Derringer Awards Coordinator administers the regular Derringer process. Detailed below, the process runs January 1–March 31, recognizing stories published the previous year.

As of 2009, a committee of the sitting SMFS Officers and Derringer Awards Coordinator, a permanent member, and an annual volunteer selects a living writer whose outstanding body of short fiction merits the Society's lifetime achievement award, the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer.

Derringer finalists and winners can obtain personalized Web graphics and printable certificates of achievement by emailing Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

As of 2009, winners are also presented with medals at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. To donate toward the medals, email President Jan Christensen (WILLWRITEFORFOOD at MINDSPRING dot COM).

Just as derringer is now the representative name for any pocket pistol, our Derringers aim to be the representative mystery & crime short story awards.


SUBMISSIONS (January 1–31)

Who can submit?:

With the exceptions of the Society President and Vice President, who have no Derringer eligibility or authority over the Derringer process, and the Derringer Awards Coordinator, who has authority over the process but no Derringer eligibility,

Shortmystery members who joined by December 31, 2015 can submit eligible stories written by anyone, including themselves


Editors of venues featuring mystery or crime short stories can submit eligible stories published in those venues.


Story eligibility:

To be considered for the awards presented in 2016, 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 2015 as determined by the the venue's cover/front page date or story's timestamp ending in 2015 (e.g. Dec. 2014-Jan. 2015, March 2015, 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, 2015 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.


JUDGING (February 1–29)

The Coordinator divides the submissions into four length categories:

Flash Story (Up to 1,000 words)

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

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

Novelette (8,001 to 20,000 words)

Four Shortmystery member-volunteers per category judge each category down to five finalists. To protect their identities and the privacy of the judging process, judges sign up by emailing the Coordinator directly by January 31.

Volunteers can specify which category they wish to judge, subject to availability, but they cannot judge categories including stories they wrote or published as editor. The Coordinator keeps this in mind when assigning judges, but any erroneously-assigned judges should inform the Coordinator, who decides how to rectify the error.

Before sending the Derringer submissions to the judges, the Coordinator ensures the manuscripts show neither the author's name nor the details of publication. This is not to mandate blind judging, but to encourage open-minded judging. Judges may recognize authors and publication details and are expected to score all stories in their rightfully-assigned categories regardless.

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 any of the others becomes unavailable during the judging period or if any other scores must be invalidated.

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



On March 1, the Coordinator announces the Finalists on Shortmystery and announces them publicly here on the blog. Finalists can obtain personalized Finalist Web graphics and printable certificates by emailing Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).


VOTING (March 1–30)

On March 1, the Coordinator uploads the twenty finalist manuscripts to the Files section of the 2016 Derringers Voting group and opens voting in its Polls section.

Shortmystery members who joined by December 31, 2015 subscribe to the voting group to read the stories and vote for the winner in each category. Voting ends March 30, and the Coordinator deletes the manuscripts from the Files section.



On March 31, the Coordinator announces the Winners on Shortmystery and announces them publicly here on the blog. Winners can obtain personalized Derringer Award Web graphics and printable certificates by emailing Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).


PRESENTATION (September 15)

On September 15, Winners will be presented with Derringer medals during Bouchercon 2016 opening ceremonies in New Orleans, Louisiana. Any unable to attend will receive their medals by mail.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Society Members' News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Gail Farrelly, "The Ghost Who Came to Dinner", Kings River Life (November 23, 2015)
  • Terrie Farley Moran, "Inquiry and Assistance", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (January-February 2016)
  • Robert Petyo, "The Principal's Kids", Mystery Weekly Magazine (December 2015)
  • Richard Posner writing as Miles Archer, Never Kill a Cat and Other Stories (Untreed Reads, November 17, 2015)
  • Kathleen A. Ryan, "A Spontaneous Decision", Crooked Holster: Ritual ed. Jo Young and Sandra Kohls (December 13, 2015)
  • John Weagly, "Knife Fight on Christmas Avenue", Shotgun Honey (December 21, 2015)
    • "The Woman Who Waltzed with Ulysses S. Grant", Spelk (December 23, 2015)
    • "Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose", a play at Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark, Chicago, IL (December 9, 2015 thru January 3, 2016)
    • "Raccoon Pants", part of THE FIVE MINUTE MILE: THEATRE ON THE RUN, Cone Man Running Productions at Queensbury Theatre, 12777 Queensbury Lane, Houston, TX (December 9 thru December 19, 2015)
    • "A Pigman Walks Among Us", part of POP UP THEATER 2015: FREAK SHOW, Panglossian Productions at the Williamsburg Library, 515 Scotland Street, Williamsburg, VA (December 11, 2015)
    • "Syphilis Steve and the Christmas Miracle" and "Azzmetta Abbington's Mistletoe Meatballs" are both part of A VERY SPECIAL THEATREGASM CHRISTMAS SPECIAL Theatre ‘d Art at Cottonwood Center for the Arts, 427 E. Colorado Avenue, Colorado Springs, CO (December 11 thru December 13, 2015)
    • "Azzmetta Abbington's Mistletoe Meatballs", part of HOBO ROBO 8: HOBOS WITH THEIR EYES ALL A-GLOW, Hobo Junction Productions at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Chicago, IL (December 14 thru December 16, 2015)

Email news for next month's post to G_SO at YAHOO dot COM.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Flash and Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology

Cover ©2015 Untreed Reads Publishing
Cover design by Ginny Glass
OCTOBER 8, 2015 - Untreed Reads has published Flash and Bang, the first Short Mystery Fiction Society member anthology, in paperback (ISBN 9781611878295), large-print paperback (ISBN 9781611878998), and ebook.

Member and Untreed Reads editor-in-chief Jay Hartman called for unpublished mystery, suspense, or thriller stories containing either a "flash" or a "bang".

Limiting submissions to one flash (300–1,000 words) and one short (1,500–3,000 words) per member, Jay received more than 300.

His selection of 19 stories ranges from historical to contemporary, cozy to hardboiled, amateur and animal sleuth to police and private detective:

  • "The Conflagration at the Nameless Cotton Gin" by Bobbi A. Chukran
  • "The Perfect Crime" by Herschel Cozine
  • "Don't Let the Cop into the House" by O'Neil De Noux
  • "Fireworks" by P.A. De Voe
  • "Rosie's Choice" by John M. Floyd
  • "The Wrong Girl" by Barb Goffman
  • "Murder on Elm Street" by Su Kopil
  • "Silent Measures" by B.V. Lawson
  • "Don't Be Cruel" by JoAnne Lucas
  • "A Simple Job" by Andrew MacRae
  • "Arthur" by Sandra Murphy
  • "Thor's Breath" by Suzanne Berube Rorhus
  • "Beautiful Killer" by Judy Penz Sheluk
  • "A Day Like No Other" by Walter A.P. Soethoudt (translated by Willem Verhulst)
  • "The Raymond Chandler Con" by Earl Staggs
  • "The Bag Lady" by Laurie Stevens
  • "Fractured Memories" by Julie Tollefson
  • "The Fruit of Thy Loins" by Albert Tucher
  • "Sierra Noir" by Tim Wohlforth

Individuals: If you purchase the paperback ($16.00) and ebook ($4.99) at the same time from the Untreed Reads Store, the ebook cost will be subtracted from your total.

Retailers and Libraries: All Untreed Reads print editions are available to be ordered through Ingram or printed through Espresso Book Machine. Ebook editions may be purchased at over 200+ retailers and library distributors. If you are unable to obtain an ebook edition through your preferred retailer, please contact Jay Hartman (JHARTMAN at UNTREEDREADS dot COM).

To order directly from Untreed Reads:
  • By purchase order: Complete the Winter 2015 catalog order form (Pages 49–51) and email to Jay Hartman or fax to (866) 946-5364. You will receive a complete quote before order is finalized.
  • By credit card or PayPal: Email JHARTMAN at UNTREEDREADS dot COM or phone (510) 861-0663.

Reviewers: Email Jay Hartman for ebook review copies.

Independent bookstores carrying copies:

Also available through these resellers:
  • Apple iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Inktera
  • Kobo
  • Smashwords

Library vendors:
  • Baker and Taylor Blio
  • Baker and Taylor 360
  • Freading

Subscription services:
  • Oyster
  • Scribd
  • Storytel

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Society Members' News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • Peter DiChellis, "Soliciting Misery", Over My Dead Body! (October 2015)
  • John M. Floyd, "Business Class", Saturday Evening Post (November-December 2015 print edition)
    • "Three Strangers, Woman's World (November 26, 2015)
  • Kaye George, "Heartbreak at Graceland", Memphis Noir (Akashic Books, November 2015)
  • William Burton McCormick, "Deadly Signals", The Saturday Evening Post (October 30, 2015)
  • A.J. Pompano, "The Bucket List", Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Red Dawn (November 2015)
  • Jacqueline Seewald, Stacy's Song reprinted in ebook form (Clean Reads Press, November 2015)
  • C.A. Verstraete, "The Nearly Ruined Thanksgiving", Mystery Weekly Magazine (November 26, 2015)
    • "Puppy Love and Zombies", Young Adventurers: Heroes, Explorers, and Swashbucklers ed. Austin S. Camacho, Intrigue Press (December 1, 2015)

Email news for next month's post to G_SO at YAHOO dot COM.