Friday, July 15, 2016

SMFS Member Publication News: July 2016

The members below reported their publishing successes for July 2016:

Sarah M. Chen, "Pig Boy" in Hardboiled: Dames and Sin by Dead Guns Press (July 5, 2016).

Trina Corey, "Flight" in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (July).

Diana Deverell, "Dirty Bop to Blighty" in The Norwegian American (July 29, 2016).

Peter DiChellis, “Murder in Malibu” in Woman's World #27, (July 4, 2016). 

James Dorr, "The Re-Possessed" in Cemetery Riots by Elysium Press as well as the story “Gold”  in The Beauty Of Death by  Independent Legions Press. 
John M. Floyd, “Bunker Hill” in Woman’s World, (July 25,2016)  as well as the story “A Million Volts” in The Strand Magazine summer issue (June-Sept 2016).

Kaye George, "Murder with Crow" in Cooked To Death (Nodin Press, July 2016). Includes a “top secret zucchini bread recipe.” 

Jacqueline Seewald, "Everything Old" in Hypnos: Spring 2016 (Volume 5, Issue 1).

Email news for next month's post to SMFS president Kevin R. Tipple (KEVINRTIPPLE at VERIZON dot NET).

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Guest Post: Kaye George on "“Why Should a Novelist Write Short Stories?”

Today Kaye George offers a few thoughts on why novelists also frequently write short stories.

Kaye George: “Why Should a Novelist Write Short Stories?”

Not all novelists should, of course. But many do. Ever wonder why?

I know that some big name authors have been asked by their publishers to put out short stories in between the novels, to keep their names before the public, and to remind the readers that they’re out there. Another book is coming! Here’s this little story in the meantime to hold you over.

Sometimes a novelist will want to explore a minor character further. A short story featuring that character is an excellent way to do this. You can give that character center stage and, in writing his or her own story, discover things about them that can be used in a later novel.

Another thing a novelist can explore in a short story is background. Prequels are a good way to let the reader in on the backstory in detail. You can indulge yourself and expand on the life of the main character, and others, by delving into what exactly makes them tick.

It’s fun to put your characters into another setting and see what happens. This is another fun indulgence. They will be out of their element and can show different sides of their personalities to the readers.

It’s also very fun to go together with another writer or writers and put your characters into adventures together. This is a way to promote your own work to a wider audience since the readers will consist of the fans of all the writers.

You can even age your character and look into the future. You can use a time period that you don’t expect your series to get into, to see what the main character will be like in their twilight years.

There are quite a few what-ifs that can be explored this way. These are just a few. I’ll bet you can think of more.

Kaye George ©2016

Kaye George, national-bestselling and multiple-award-winning author, writes several mystery series: Imogene Duckworthy, Cressa Carraway (Barking Rain Press), People of the Wind (Untreed Reads), and, as Janet Cantrell, the Fat Cat cozy mysteries. (Berkley Prime Crime). Her short stories appear in anthologies such as Murder On Wheels, magazines, and her own collection, A Patchwork of Stories. She reviews for Suspense Magazine. She lives in Knoxville, TN.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Society Members' News

The following members sent in publication news this month:
  • John M. Floyd, “North by Northeast”, Woman's World #22 (May 30, 2016)
  • Barb Goffman, "Stepmonster", Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning (Wildside Press, April 2016)
    • "The Best-Laid Plans", Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional (Wildside Press, April 2016)
  • Vy Kava, "Mama", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (July/August 2016)
  • Deborah Lacy, "A Christmas Miracle", Mystery Weekly Magazine (July 1, 2016)
  • B.V. Lawson, "And Down We Go", Blood on the Bayou Bouchercon 2016 Anthology (Down & Out Books, September 2016)
  • Terrie Farley Moran, Read to Death (Berkley, July 2016)
  • Alan Orloff, "The Last Loose End", Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (July/August 2016)
  • Josh Pachter, Discover a New Author ebook collecting four EQMM stories (Wildside Press)
  • Jacqueline Seewald, "The White Stag", New Legends: Castle, Caster, Creature (Visual Adjectives, May 2016)
  • Mary Sutton, "Three Rivers Voodoo", Blood on the Bayou: Bouchercon 2016 Anthology (Down & Out Books, September 2016)
    • "The Far End of Nowhere", Fish Out of Water: The Fourth Guppy Anthology (Wildside Press)

Email news for next month's post to incoming SMFS president Kevin R. Tipple (KEVINRTIPPLE at VERIZON dot NET).

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Society Celebrates 20 Years: Jim Doherty

In the first week of April 1996, the members of shortmystery-l-digest voted to become the Short Mystery Fiction Society, with goals of better representing mystery & crime short stories in the public eye.

In honor of the Society's establishment and our twenty years increasing publication and regard for the form, President Jan Christensen has invited members' reflections on joining the Society and why they've remained members and fans of the form.

From Jim Doherty:


This genre we all love, crime fiction, comes in many forms, but the most important, historically, and, arguably, the most perfect artistically, is the form this organization celebrates, the short story.

Historically, the importance of short mystery fiction is beyond dispute. It was, after all, introduced in "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" by the literary figure who was, perhaps, the staunchest advocate of short fiction in the history of prose, Edgar Allan Poe.
And in that story, and in two sequels featuring the same lead character, C. Auguste Dupin, "The Mystery of Marie Roget" and "The Purloined Letter," and in two non-series tales, "Thou Art the Man" and "The Gold Bug." Poe worked in almost every variation on crime fiction possible.

The series detective, the narrating sidekick, the gifted amateur sleuth outdoing the official police, the Macguffin/quest object, the master criminal who’s the hero’s arch-foe, the fictionalization of a real-life case, the least suspected person turning out to be the villain, the courtroom thriller, the use of codes, all of these and more in just five stories, all of them short, all of them readable in a single sitting. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would later note that Poe, in those five stories had, "...covered [detective fiction's] limits so completely that I fail to see how his followers can find any fresh ground which they can confidently call their own."

And of those who came after, look how many, even if they wrote novels, seemed to specialize in short fiction. So many of the great fictional detectives who came after Dupin, Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot (particularly in his early years), Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op, Michael Gilbert's Patrick Petrella, Lawrence G. Blochman’s Dr. Daniel Coffee (fiction's first forensic pathologist), Jacques Futrelle's the Thinking Machine, and every series character created by Edward D. Hoch, all appeared, primarily or exclusively, in short fiction.

And even those detectives best known for their appearances in full-length novels, Raymond Chandler's Phil Marlow, Ed McBain's 87th Precinct, Dorothy L. Sayers's Lord Peter, Ian Fleming's James Bond, or Ngaio Marsh's Roderick Alleyn, all made short story appearances.

As for the perfection of the form, that's clear just from the concision that makes the modifier "short" necessary. The brevity, unity, and clarity possible in the short form give it the potential for an impact that is simply not possible in a novel.

Don't get me wrong. I love novels. But even a shortish novel, something between 40,000 and 70,000 words long, will be discursive, and perfection of style can never be achieved, total satisfaction with the finished product never be reached. As someone else (I don’t recall who, at the moment) once said, short stories can be finished, but novels are abandoned.

And given his arguments in favor of short stories over novels, one wonders how Poe would feel about the most famous award given in the genre he created, the award that's actually named for him, has no less than six categories for novels, but only one for short stories (two if one counts the Bob Fish Award, which really isn't an Edgar).

And since short mysteries are important, it follows that SMFS is important. It keeps the short story at the forefront of attention in the mystery world. It awards writers of short stories in several different lengths because we know that it takes a different set of muscles to write a short-short or a flash, than it does to write a novelette.

It also uses current communications technology to form an organization that anyone with an email address can join without paying costly dues. That's the kind of ingenuity we expect from short story writers.

And all of these are just a few of the reasons I'm proud to have served as an SMFS officer. I've been in "lurk mode" for some time (major drama at my day job, and even more in my private life, not the place to go into details), but I'm still getting the digest every day, and still seeing what;s going on with you all. I imagine I will for as long as SMFS and I both continue to exist.

Career law enforcement officer Jim Doherty served as SMFS vice president 2008–10. Also a member of Mystery Writers of America, Jim has published several short stories and articles on the mystery genre.

To join our twentieth year celebration, email your reflection to Gerald So (G_SO at YAHOO dot COM).

SMFS Members among 2016 Macavity Award Nominees

The Macavity Awards are nominated and voted on by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends and supporters of MRI. Awards will be presented at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in New Orleans, LA at the opening ceremonies September 15.

Nominated for Best Short Story are SMFS members Megan Abbott (“The Little Men”, Road); Barb Goffman (“A Year Without Santa Claus”, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, January/February 2015); Travis Richardson (“Quack and Dwight”, Jewish Noir, PM Press), B.K. Stevens (“A Joy Forever”, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, March 2015); and Loren D. Estleman, 2013 recipient of the SMFS's Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer (“Sob Sister”, Detroit Is Our Beat: Tales of the Four Horsemen, Tyrus).

In addition, nominated for Best First Mystery are the SMFS's Chris Holm (The Killing Kind) and Art Taylor (On the Road with Del & Louise).

Congratulations and good luck to all.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

SMFS Members among 2016 Shamus Award Nominees

Via Janet Rudolph's Mystery Fanfare, the Private Eye Writers of America's 2016 Shamus Award nominees include the SMFS's Robert S. Levinson for Best Private Eye Short Story ("The Dead Detective") and O'Neil De Noux for Best Private Eye Paperback Original (The Long Cold).

The winners will be announced at the Shamus Banquet during Bouchercon 2016 (September 15–18). Congratulations and good luck to all.