Sunday, May 28, 2017

Little Big Crimes Review: Tattersby and the Silence of the Lumbs by Neil Schofield

Little Big Crimes: Tattersby and the Silence of the Lumbs, by Neil Sc...: "Tattersby and the Silence of the Lumbs," by Neil Schofield, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May/June, 2017. Yes, ...

Short Story Month: Kevin R. Tipple

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Kevin R. Tipple shares “The Tell: Mystery Flash Fiction” archived at Kings River Life Magazine.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Short Story Month: Martin Roy Hill

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Martin Roy Hill shares “The Touch of Time” archived at Crimson Streets.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Catherine Dilts Reviews: The Tattooed Corpse by Jude Roy

Catherine Dilts Reviews: The Tattooed Corpse by Jude Roy



Short Story Month: Mary Reed and Eric Mayer

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, co-authors Mary Reed and Eric Mayer share “Waiting: A Halloween Short Story” archived at Kings River Life Magazine.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Short Story Month: Karen Pullen

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Karen Pullen shares “Lady Tremaine’s Rebuttal” as well as “Brown Jersey Cow” and “Snow Day” all archived at Every Day Fiction.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Short Story Month: Jacqueline Seewald

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day. 


Today, Jacqueline Seewald shares “Genesis” archived at Over My Dead Body! 

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Short Story Month: B. K. Stevens

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, B.K. Stevens shares “A Joy Forever” archived at her site.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Short Story Month: Martha Reed

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Martha Reed shares “The Haunting Of Dalton Primble” archived at Spinetingler Magazine

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Short Story Month: KM Rockwood

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.


Today, KM Rockwood shares “Liquor Store Holdup” archived on at KMRockwood.Com after appearing in Jack Hardway's Crime Magazine - Vol. 2, No. 2, March-April 2015

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Guest Post: DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SHORT STORY AND A NOVEL by Jan Christensen

Monday means Jan Christensen is back today with another informative post. Apparently, the difference is more complicated than novels have a lot more words.


DIFFERENCES BETWEEN A SHORT STORY AND A NOVEL


An easy way to visualize the difference between writing short or long is to think of pencil sketches for the short story scene--everything is there, but the details are scanty.  Each scene is fully developed, with dialog, a bit of description/setting, and what the characters are feeling and how they're acting.  Usually the time frame is short and the viewpoint is all one character's.

For example, a sketch of a kitchen with the sun shinning in the window (time of day, maybe season), one person facing the viewer (VP character), the background sketchy (pun intended), people black and white, but dressed (or maybe not, if it's that kind of story), but the clothes are probably not that important.  If they are, there's more detail--more lines drawn to indicate type of clothing.  Each character wears a certain expression--the viewer can pretty much tell what each one is thinking. 

A novel is more of a series of oil paintings.  Each one has a colorful background (description/setting), the characters are vivid, and each succeeding painting can be shown with different viewpoint characters and over a longer span of time.  The sun is shining in the first picture, but the moon is hanging high in the sky later on.  The tree outside can have leaves one time, and none later on.  Different characters are the focus of each painting, indicating a change of VP.  Clothing is interesting, and sometimes important to the story.

Each kind of story, whether short or long, has its own special pull.  The quick sketches of a short story where the reader gets to add her own details to fill out the story, but where the story is over quickly.  The oil paintings of the novel where the artist puts in everything for the reader, so the reader can go along with the writer more, and where the story is much longer with more characters, more settings/descriptions, more dialog, even subplots. 

If you are a visual person when writing and reading, as I am, this metaphor for the differences between writing long and short can help you, I believe, with each scene.  While writing a short story, see the scenes as pencil sketches and "report" what you see.  While writing a novel, see each scene as an oil painting with all its rich detail, and get it all down. 

I was writing a short story a while ago, and about halfway through realized I'd put in nothing about setting or the weather.  It came to me then that a short story is more like a pencil sketch than a novel, and so I stopped what I was doing to write this essay.  After I finished the essay, I fleshed out the setting and weather details in the story with only a few sentences.

Then, when I wrote “the end” to the story, I felt as if I did a complete job of it. Anyone else tend to forget mentioning settings enough, and the weather? Sometimes they really don’t matter that much, in my opinion. But I bet some readers disagree with that.


Jan Christensen ©2017

Jan Christensen lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has had nine novels and over seventy short stories published. www.janchristensen.com

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Little Big Crimes Review: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl! by Jeff Cohen

Little Big Crimes: It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl! by Jeff Cohen: "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Girl!" by Jeff Cohen, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017. Years ago Akas...

In Reference To Murder Blog: The 'Zine Scene

A roundup of short mystery fiction currently available to read both in print and online. Includes mention of several SMFS members.

In Reference To Murder Blog: The 'Zine Scene

Short Story Month: Craig Faustus Buck

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Craig Faustus Buck shares via PDF link the short story “Blank Shot” published in the Black Coffee anthology (2016) edited by Andrew Macrae.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

SMFS Member 2017 Anthony Award Nominations

SMFS congratulates B.K. Stevens and Art Taylor for their 2017 Anthony Award Nominations.

B. K. Stevens was nominated in the "Best Novella" category for her story, "The Last Blue Glass" published in the April 2016 issue of  Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Art Taylor's Agatha award winning story "Parallel Play" published in the anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning is a nominee in the "Best Short Story" category.

Also nominated in the "Best Anthology" category is Blood On The Bayou: Bourchercon Anthology 2016 featuring the short stories of a number of SMFS members.

The full list of nominees can be found at the Bouchercon 2017 website. Winners to be announced on October 15, 2017 at Bouchercon 2017.


Short Story Month: Jan Christensen

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Jan Christensen shares “Grave Matters: A 4rth of July Mystery Short Story” archived at Kings River Life Magazine and "Just A Man" at Mysterical-E.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Short Story Month: John M. Floyd

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, John M. Floyd shares “Saving Grace” archived at The Saturday Evening Post as well as “Doctor in the House” in the Spring 2017 issue of Flash Bang Mysteries.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Catherine Dilts Reviews: nothing ordinary

Catherine Dilts Reviews: nothing ordinary

Short Story Month: Liz Milliron

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Liz Milliron shares “Decision Points” archived at Mysterical-E.
 
If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Short Story Month: Debra H. Goldstein

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Debra H. Goldstein shares “A Garden for Adonis” archived at Texas Gardener’s SEEDS

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Short Story Month: Peter DiChellis

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Peter DiChellis shares “They Die in Eight Minutes” archived at Shotgun Honey

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Little Big Crimes Review: The Montclair Dead-Star Comedy Revue by Michael Mallory

Little Big Crimes: The Montclair Dead-Star Comedy Revue, by Michael M...: "The Montclair Dead-Star Comedy Revue," by Michael Mallory, in The Mystery Weekly Magazine,  May, 2017. First of all, congratu...

Short Story Month: J. H. Bográn

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, J. H. Bográn shares “The Little Wig Factory” archived at Short-Story.Me.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Guest Post: THE 10% SOLUTION by Jan Christensen

Another Monday and that means Jan Christensen is back today with another informative post…


THE 10% SOLUTION
 
Rule of thumb--after you've finished what you deem is your last draft, get rid of 10%.  I saw this idea someplace a while ago, but it wasn't brought home to me until I needed to make a story, which was over 5,000 words, no more than 4,000 words to meet a particular publisher’s guideline. It was polished and ready to go, I thought. 

Then I followed the 10% “rule” to edit, and guess what--I rather easily eliminated 500 words.  One tenth.  And yes, I think it's a better story now.  Some non-essential stuff is gone.  The story itself hasn't changed.  I've trimmed several descriptions, and I've found I need to look at the end of each sentence for trailing prepositional phrases and other stray words.  I don't use a lot of adverbs or adjectives, but I found several that could go, often replacing two words with one, stronger word. 

I've written several flash pieces which were almost twice as long as they had to be to place them.  I've whittled them down to the required word count.  Sometimes this is a bit too much, but usually it makes for a more interesting, sharper story.  And it's a good exercise.  Try it, you might be surprised.

However, I decided I couldn’t eliminate another 500 words in that piece without making parts of it unclear. So, I’m looking for other places to send it.

(This post edited for wordiness--have fun finding any extras!)

 
Jan Cristensen ©2017

Jan Christensen lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has had nine novels and over seventy short stories published. http://www.janchristensen.com

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Short Story Month: Maddi Davidson

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Maddi Davidson shares “Gold Rush To Judgement” archived at The Copperfield Review.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Short Story Month: BV Lawson

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, BV Lawson shares three stories archived at various sites. “Gun Love” from Plots With Guns and “Wrong Side of the Bed” at The Cynic Online Magazine as well as “But for the Grace of God” at Powder Burn Flash.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Short Story Month: Robert Lopresti

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day.

Today, Robert Lopresti shares “Shanks Holds The Line” archived at Trace Evidence, the blog of AHMM

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Short Story Month: James Dorr

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year. The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members’ online stories per day. 

 
Today, James Dorr shares his “paranormal detective story” archived at Daily Science Fiction  titled “Dead Lines.” James adds that the tale is also “…intended as a tip of the hat to Edgar Allan Poe as a father of the detective genre.” While at the site, James has another story, "Casket Girls" in the archives for your reading pleasure.


If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Short Story Month: Gail Farrelly

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.

The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Gail Farrelly shares her three-part story, “Keys to the Kingdom” archived at the Yonkers Tribune.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

The First Two Pages: “Most Evil” by Peter Di Chellis

The First Two Pages:  “Most Evil” by Peter Di Chellis

Short Story Month: Victoria Weisfeld

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.

The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Victoria Weisfeld shares her 2017 Derringer winning story “Breadcrumbs” archived at her website.

If you’d like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Short Story Month: O'Neil De Noux

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, O'Neil De Noux shares his story “Friscoville: A Lucien Caye Story” archived at Thrilling Detective and “The Forever Choice” archived at The Saturday Evening Post.


If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Guest Post: WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? by Jan Christensen

Another week begins with an inspirational post by Jan Christensen.....



WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM? by Jan Christensen


Every published author will eventually be asked, “Where do you get your ideas?”

Stephen King has his “boys in the basement.” Riffing off of that, I have my aunts in the attic. And sometimes the Mad Hatter. (And probably bells in my belfry, as well.)

Victor Banis has his muse Snotty. Other writers and artists have had muses throughout the ages.

A muse is defined as: a spirit or source that inspires an artist. Some famous writers, such as Hemingway, used real women as their muses, then married them. Unfortunately, the muses often divorced the writers. I don’t know what that did for the writing of the writers, but it couldn’t have been very good in the short term. In the long run, it may have inspired a lot of writing, especially about what women are like. Or what they thought women were like.

Do those who write both short stories and novels have different muses for each length? Would there be any upside in doing that? I think there might be. The short muse (of course short in stature) is direct, to the point, pithy, impatient. The long muse (tall, of course) is wordy, slower to react, and patient. Or perhaps one muse has a split personality.

For me, besides joking about the aunts in the attic and the Mad Hatter, I don’t really have any muses that I call on regularly. When muses are mentioned, I think of the aunts and the Hatter, but otherwise, not very much.

If you dig deeper into the idea of a muse as inspiration, you realize it is really only a trigger. Or something to get angry with when the inspiration isn’t there.

In order to really get ideas, I suggest more concrete tactics. To start, just pick something, anything. Animal, mineral, vegetable. Rock, paper, scissors. Then pick another and another. It would help if they are not usually associated with each other. An animal with scissors, for example. Next write whatever comes to mind for as long as you can. Eventually you most likely will get stuck and not know what to write next. Ask yourself, what if, and list all the things that could possibly happen next. Pick one, or combine some, and off you go again. It can be weird, strange, unlikely, odd, whatever. Quirky is good.

Other ways are to visit places you’ve never been before, people watch at the mall, look at pictures of strangers or even of people you know—one or two of their traits might spark something.

The trick is to absolutely believe that you will come up with something. If you write steadily every day for about a month, this confidence will come more easily. I’ve written so much that I never have any doubt that I can come up with something, that really, I’ll never have enough time to write everything I can think of into publishable form.

So, if you think having a muse will help, make one up or use a real person for inspiration. If you just want to go right to the writing, pick a few fun things to write about and Go.


Jan Christensen ©2017

Jan Christensen lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has had nine novels and over seventy short stories published. www.janchristensen.com

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Little Big Crimes Review: Money Maker by Jas. R. Petrin

Little Big Crimes: Money Maker, by Jas. R. Petrin: "Money Maker," by Jas. R. Petrin, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May/June 2017. I admit to being a major fan of L...

Short Story Month: Earl Staggs

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Earl Staggs, shares his 2004 Derringer Finalist short story, “Silky’s Getaway” archived at Kings River Life Magazine.


If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Short Story Month: Jude Roy

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Jude Roy shares “Murder on Bayou des Sauvages” found in the current issue of Mysterical-E

If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop: The Long Road to Short Fiction, by Catherine Dilts...

Write Like a Pro! A Free Online Writing Workshop: The Long Road to Short Fiction, by Catherine Dilts...: Welcome guest author Catherine Dilts! A mystery novelist, Catherine offered to share her experience writing short fiction. (If you would...

Short Story Month: Terrie Farley Moran

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.



The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Terrie Farley Moran shares her 2017 Derringer for Best Novelette winning story, “Inquiry and Assistance” archived on her website. 

If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

CriminalElement Blog: 2017 Derringer Award Winners

CriminalElement Blog: 2017 Derringer Award Winners

Catherine Dilts Reviews: Different Eras Share a Style

Catherine Dilts Reviews: Different Eras Share a Style

Short Story Month: Diana Deverell

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Diana Deverell shares “Dirty Bop to Blighty” originally published in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine: September 2010. It was then serialized in three parts at The Norwegian American last summer. Part One is followed by Part Two and Part Three.

If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Mystery Playground: Edgars, Agathas and Derringers

Mystery Playground: Edgars, Agathas and Derringers: It's award season and we have plenty of winners this week with the   Mystery Writers of America  Edgar® Awards, The Malice Domestic...

Mystery Fanfare: 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll and Paul Marks

Mystery Fanfare: 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll: Congratulations, Paul D. Marks . His short story, “Ghosts of Bunker Hill,” was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll . If you’d ...

2016 Agatha Award Winner and SMFS Member Art Taylor Recaps His Agatha Win

As posted here last Sunday Art Taylor won the 2016 Agaatha Award for his story, "Parallel Play." In his blog posting, Art recaps a very special event. You can, and should, read it here.


Short Story Month: Michael Bracken

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, 2016 Golden Derringer winner Michael Bracken offers up two reads. “My Client’s Wife" archived at Thrilling Detective and "Let Dead Dogs Lie" archived at The Molotov Cocktail.  


If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple at Verizon dot net.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Short Story Month: Barb Goffman

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the celebration each year.


The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Today, Barb Goffman shares “The Best-Laid Plans” from Malice Domestic 11: Murder Most Conventional archived at her website.


If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple  at Verizon dot net.

Guest Post: CRITIQUE GROUPS by Jan Christensen

As promised, Jan Christensen is back today with another guest post. Jan considers critique groups and what makes up an ideal group. After you read her post today, make sure you go back and read her first guest piece, (SOME) OF MY WRITING SECRETS.
  

CRITIQUE GROUPS by Jan Christensen


Great critique groups can be wonderful. Bad ones can be painful. I've been in both kinds.
Good ones are perfect for short story writers because the critiquers see the whole story (usually) from beginning to end unlike a novel where they might think something isn’t needed, for example, but the author knows it will be important later. I’ve been in so many groups, I’ve lost count, and they all had their pluses and minuses. Here is my idea of an ideal group: 

  • For me, the best ones are genre-specific.
  • There are about eight members.
  • Each submission is passed out at the meeting, or is sent via email in time for some good critiquing. If you send it the day before the meeting, some will not have time to critique it, so you've lost an opportunity for more input. Many groups have members bring in something and read it out loud. This is inefficient and less effective because:
v  The author doesn’t get any help with typos and grammar this way.
v  Usually, they only read five pages, where with printed material handed out at the last meeting, twenty or more pages can be critiqued.
v  It’s hard for the listeners to remember all the points they want to make when it’s their turn to critique, and they can’t go back and re-read anything to see if they have more comments.
v  And anyone who has trouble hearing will not do well with this type of group.
  • At least four people submit, on average, every single time.
  • It meets every other week.
  • Submissions are only one chapter or a short story, unless either is extremely short.
  • People mark on the page any typos, spelling errors, and grammar mistakes, but only talk about the story itself when critiquing.
  • The person being critiqued doesn't talk during the critique but has time at the end for questions she needs to ask the group or a particular critiquer.
  • The writer being critiqued does not spend twenty minutes explaining what they meant to say. Fix it, bring it again, if you want, but if it isn't on the page, we can't critique it.

There are distinctive styles of critiquing, and some are better than others. Listed are a few that can cause problems for the group:

  • The timid. Usually a female, but I've seen men, particularly if it's their first group, act tentative. They think, suppose, guess and are afraid of hurting anyone's feelings. Lots of times they have at least one insightful comment about each manuscript. Encourage them to stick around, and eventually most of them will be great at it.
  • The picky. They want to discuss every comma, point out every typo. Sometimes this is because they don't have much else to say. Again, they need encouraging. The person being critiqued should pounce on the one or two remarks about the story and tell them how happy they are it was brought up. This will give them confidence. Also, if they stick around long enough, they will probably begin to figure out how to do better.
  • The long-winded. They have a lot to say. They often say one thing three different ways. Everyone else's eyes glaze over. Do a few timed sessions where everyone only gets to critique each story for ten minutes at the most. This will teach the long-winded to keep moving. They may fall back into their old ways, though, so you have to decide whether they're worth keeping around, or do some more timed sessions.
  • The pontificator. This person only knows one subgenre and beats everyone else over the head about how things should be written. If a cozy writer, she cringes at "bad" language and violence. If a hardboiled writer, he insists that there's not enough tension or action. They cannot take into account the differences in genres and don't even try to read outside of their own. If too obnoxious, might have to ask him or her to leave the group.
  • The blunt. Now, here's a problem. I like blunt. I want to know what someone really thinks when she critiques my stuff. And I don't mind if the style of delivery is not sweetened up with soft words. However, many writers are sensitive souls, and this type of critique will really hurt some feelings. Some members may even leave (I've seen it happen) because of Mr. or Ms. Blunt. Your group will have to decide if Blunt is so valuable that you want to keep him or her, or whether s/he's scaring too many people away, and you need more members. It might help to talk to this misguided soul, but probably not. It's a tough call.

Have the core group be sure to praise what they like about every submission, both at the beginning of their critique and at the end. Have time to socialize before and after a bit, and some refreshments available.

Did I miss anything?


Jan Chrstensen©2017

Jan Christensen lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, and has had nine novels and over seventy short stories published. www.janchristensen.com

Monday, May 1, 2017

Little Big Crimes Review: A Clown at Midnight by Marc Bilgrey

 Little Big Crimes: A Clown at Midnight, by Marc Bilgrey: "A Clown at Midnight," by Marc Bilgrey, in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, #22. I have talked before about the characterist...

May is International Short Story Month

StoryADay.org proclaimed May International Short Story Month back in 2013. As the short story, in the mystery genre, is the reason why the Short Mystery Fiction Society exists, we join in the  celebration each year.

The SMFS spin on festivities is to highlight one or more members' online stories per day. Our first participant for 2017 is Cynthia St-Pierre who offers “Dear Reader” from the archives of  Flash Bang Mysteries: Issue 4:July 2016.


If you'd like to be included, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple at Verizon dot net.



2017 Derringer Award Results


THE 2017 DERRINGERS RESULTS

It is my privilege to announce the recipients of the Short Mystery Fiction Society’s Derringer awards. In each of the four categories below, the winning author and story are listed first, followed by the other four finalists in no particular order.

   
BEST FLASH STORY (1 - 1,000 words)

The 2017 Derringer for Best Flash Story is presented to
Herschel Cozine
for
“The Phone Call” 
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Summer 2016)

FINALISTS
“Aftermath” by Craig Faustus Buck
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Spring 2016)

“A Just Reward” by O'Neil De Noux
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Winter 2016)

“The Orphan” by Billy Kring
(Shotgun Honey, March 18, 2016)

“An Ill Wind” by R.T. Lawton
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Spring 2016)


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

The 2017 Derringer for Best Short Story is presented to
Linda Barnes
for
“The Way They Do It in Boston”
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)

FINALISTS
“Beks and the Second Note” by Bruce Arthurs  
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, December 2016)

“YOLO” by Libby Cudmore
(BEAT to a PULP, May 2016)

“The Woman in the Briefcase” by Joseph D'Agnese
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016)

“The Lighthouse” by Hilde Vandermeeren
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016)


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

The 2017 Derringer for Best Long Story is presented to
Victoria Weisfeld
for
“Breadcrumbs”
(Betty Fedora: Kickass Women In Crime Fiction, Issue 3, September 2016)

FINALISTS
“Swan Song” by Hilary Davidson
(Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns, ed. By Eric Beetner, Down & Out Books, April 2016)

“Effect on Men” by O'Neil De Noux
(The Strand magazine, Issue XLVIII, Feb-May 2016)

“The Cumberland Package” by Robert Mangeot
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2016)

“Murder Under the Baobab” by Meg Opperman (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2016)


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

The 2017 Derringer for Best Novelette is presented to
Terrie Farley Moran
for
“Inquiry and Assistance”
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January/February 2016)

FINALISTS
“Coup de Grace” by Doug Allyn
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)

“The Chemistry of Heroes” by Catherine Dilts
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2016)

“The Educator” by Travis Richardson
(44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul, and Payback, ed. by Gary Phillips and Robert J. Randisi, Moonstone, December 2016)

“The Last Blue Glass” by B.K. Stevens
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 2016)


Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer

For more information about this award, see its complete description here:

The 2017
Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer
is presented to
Robert Randisi