Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Society Celebrates 20 Years: Michael Bracken

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 Michael Bracken:

Records indicate that I joined the Short Mystery Fiction Society (SMFS) February 16, 2001, and I dove right in. The following year I was elected vice president, serving 2002-2004 while Earl Staggs served as president. Then I was elected president 2004-2006, and served with Carol Kilgore as vice president.

We were a contentious lot when I joined, and it took several years—beginning before I served in office and continuing long after—to figure out how to turn a discussion list with minimal membership requirements and no dues into an organization that promotes and supports short mystery fiction and those who write it.

While I've been a member, I've learned and shared several writing tips, tricks, and techniques from and with others. I've placed short mystery fiction in publications I first learned about from other members and I've edited five crime fiction anthologies that include the work of many current and former members.

During my vice presidency, we established the position of Derringer Awards Coordinator, and the first coordinator, Diane Grace, served during the first year of my presidency. Also while I was serving in office, my ex-wife's second cousin's ex-husband, John Moody, created the logo we still use today: the blue derringer with the society's name in a circle around it.

We're still finding ways to disagree with one another, but time has eroded most of the mountains we once created out of molehills, and we continue working together in many formal and informal ways to achieve the organization's goals.

Though all of our official business is conducted through the discussion list because members are located throughout the world, there's no greater joy (other than being published!) than meeting fellow members at various conferences, conventions, and other events.

So, here's a toast to the SMFS, and may it continue to thrive for many more years.

2016 Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award recipient Michael Bracken served as SMFS vice president 2002-2004 and president 2004-2006. His short mystery fiction has been nominated for three Derringer Awards, winning two of them. Although he has written a handful of books, including the private eye novel All White Girls, he is better known as the author of more than 1,100 short stories, including crime fiction published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Espionage Magazine, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, and many other anthologies and periodicals. Learn more at

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