Monday, April 16, 2018

Gerald So Interviews 2018 Derringer Finalist Alison McMahan

Gerald So Interviews 2018 Derringer Finalist Alison McMahan

Gerald So Interviews 2018 Derringer Finalist Rusty Barnes

Gerald So Interviews 2018 Derringer Finalist Rusty Barnes

2018 Derringer Awards Voting April 16–May 15

Due to the late announcement of the 2018 Derringer finalists, Awards Coordinator Jay Hartman has made the following modifications for this year's vote to determine the winners:

A) Allow all present SMFS members to vote
B) Suspend new Shortmystery memberships until the vote is over
C) Extend the voting period from April 15 to May 15
D) Conduct the voting through polls within the main SMFS site
E) Make the winners announcement as soon a possible after the polls close

The finalist stories have been uploaded for reading here.

All Shortmystery members as of April 16, 1:15 p.m. EDT may vote here.

The polls will close automatically or manually by Noon EDT May 15 so the official winners announcement can appear here on the SMFS Blog and be shared with the public from that afternoon onward.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

2018 Derringer Award Finalists

As posted to Shortmystery by Derringer Awards Coordinator Jay Hartman:

For Best Flash (Up to 1,000 words)
  • "Cold Turkey" by Patricia Dusenbury, Flash Bang Mysteries ed. Brandon Bourg (Summer 2017)
  • "Happy Birthday" by Alan Orloff, Shotgun Honey ed. Jen Conley, Angel Luis Colón, and Nick Kolakowski (June 15, 2017)
  • "Final Testimony" by Travis Richardson, Flash Fiction Offensive ed, Hector Duarte Jr. and Rob Pierce (July 10, 2017)
  • "Fishing for an Alibi" by Earl Staggs, Flash Bang Mysteries ed. Brandon Bourg (Fall 2017)
  • "Flash Point" by Elizabeth Zelvin, A Twist of Noir ed. Christopher Grant (March 20, 2017)

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

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

For Best Novelette (8,001-20,000 words)

Congratulations and good luck to the 2018 Derringer Award finalists. A vote of eligible SMFS members will determine the winners, to be announced in May 15, 2018.

Little Big Crimes Review: Kindness by Tom Hallman, Jr.

Little Big Crimes: Kindness, by Tom Hallman, Jr.: "Kindness," by Tom Hallman, Jr., in Mystery Weekly Magazine, April 2018. I like surprises.  Not in real life, I hasten to add...

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

SMFS Member Publication News: M. H. Callway

SMFS Member M. H. Callway’s short story, “The Cry” appears in Mystery Weekly Magazine: April 2018. The magazine is available from the publisher, at Amazon, and elsewhere.

SleuthSayers: Options and Preferences

SleuthSayers: Options and Preferences: by John M. Floyd Some quick background, here: Two weeks ago today, my wife and I drove down to Gulfport, Mississippi, where I'd bee...

SMFS Member Guest Post: Writing Short and Long by Edith Maxwell

Please welcome SMFS member Edith Maxwell to our blog today as she discusses writing in both short and long form. 

Writing Short and Long by Edith Maxwell

I am primarily a book author. I have three series under contract, so I write three books every year. But I also love writing short stories.

Sometimes it’s fun to branch out and write a short story about a new place, with new characters. I did that for my submission to Mystery Most Geographical, this year’s Malice Domestic anthology. I lived in West Africa for two separate years, and the second time (already twenty years ago) I wrote a book of essays about my experiences. I figured no one else would be submitting a story set in rural Burkina Faso to the Malice anthology, so I dusted off one of my essays and turned it into a piece of crime fiction. I’m delighted to say “A Divination of Death” was accepted and the anthology will be out in April.

Most commonly over the last few years I’ve written shorts using the late 1880s characters and setting of my historical series, the Quaker Midwife Mysteries. I can get my midwife Rose Carroll and her sidekick, postmistress Bertie Winslow, into all kinds of new trouble when it’s short form. One crime, one solution, bam. In one of my stories, “Adam and Eva,” (Kings River Life Magazine, 2016) I tell the tale through Bertie’s voice and not Rose’s, although they work together to solve the mystery.

Writing a 300-page book is so much harder in a way than creating a short story. I invariably trudge through the muddle in the middle, even now as I write my 19th novel. I have to keep my arms around everything I’ve written up to that point and still keep the story moving forward until we get to the exciting climax. By now I know I can do it, so I no longer lose hope (well, I do just a little). And I’ve more than once had to kill off a new victim so I can keep the suspense up. I guess I’m doing something right – for two years in a row one of my Quaker Midwife mysteries has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel, with Called to Justice nominated this year. Delivering the Truth was also nominated in the historical category for a Macavity Award last year.

On the other hand, writing a great short story, with nothing superfluous and a twist at the end? That’s a challenge, too. I’ve had several stories nominated for an Agatha Award, “The Mayor and the Midwife” being the most recent, and yes, it features midwife Rose Carroll. But I’ve never won the award, so clearly I have more work to do. Until then, I’m happy to lose to my talented fellow Short Mystery Fiction Society friends.

Edith Maxwell ©2018

Agatha- and Macavity-nominated author Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. Called to Justice, Maxwell’s second Quaker Midwife mystery, is nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel. As Maddie Day she writes the popular Country Store Mysteries and the new Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. As Tace Baker she wrote two books in the Lauren Rousseau Mysteries. 

Maxwell is president of Sisters in Crime New England and lives north of Boston with her beau, two elderly cats, and an impressive array of garden statuary. She blogs at,, and Under the Cover of Midnight ( Read about all her personalities and her work at