Sunday, April 21, 2019

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 49

As posted by list member Peter DiChellis…

This week’s blog serves up the hot stuff with links to reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes: the new issue of The Strand Magazine has hit the street with an exclusive Walter Mosley short. Plus: all the latest free flash fiction from Mystery Tribune.
And for those who missed Short walk #2 (way back in May): AHMM editor Linda Landrigan mulls twists, turns, and two essential elements for short mysteries.
A short walk down a dark street (#49): celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,
Peter


SMFS Members Published In Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: May/June 2019


Several SMFS members are published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: May/June 2019 issue. The magazine is available at the publisher website, Amazon, and other vendors. The published SMFS members in this issue are:

Martin Edwards with “The Girl on the Bandwagon.

William Burton McCormick with “Murder With a Flick of the Wrist.”

Carlos Orsi with “Hatred In The House of Prayer.”

Josh Pachter with “A Study in Scarlett!!” (First of a five part series.)

Mark Stevens with “A Bitter Thing.”

Art Taylor with “Better Days.”

Dave Zeltserman  with “Brother’s Keeper” in the “Black Mask” section.


Table of Contents as published on the Website:
May/June 2019
FICTION

Hurricane Jonah BY T.J. MACGREGOR
The Duelist BY DAVID DEAN
A Bitter Thing BY MARK STEVENS
The Girl on the Bandwagon BY MARTIN EDWARDS
A Study in Scarlett! BY JOSH PACHTER
The First Day of the School Holidays BY PAT BLACK
The Shrew BY BILL PRONZINI
The Smoking Bandit of Lakeside Terrace BY CHAD BAKER
Hatred in the House of Prayer BY CARLOS ORSI
My Companion BY JANICE LAW
Better Days BY ART TAYLOR
Murder With a Flick of the Wrist BY WILLIAM BURTON MCCORMICK
From Deep Within the Earth, She Smiled BY ANNA SCOTTI
From Hell BY ADRIAN MCKINTY
The Workout BY BRENDAN DUBOIS
The Darling BY SHEILA KOHLER
Boys Will Be Boys BY MARILYN TODD
BLACK MASK
Brother’s Keeper BY DAVE ZELTSERMAN
DEPARTMENT OF FIRST STORIES
A Question of Rabbits BY J.L. ORCHARD
POETRY
Dear Interrogator BY JAMES SALLIS
PASSPORT TO CRIME
The Queen and the Concubine BY JYOTIRMOYEE DEVI SEN
SPECIAL FEATURE
2018 EQMM Readers Award
REVIEWS
Blog Bytes BY KRISTOPHER ZGORSKI
The Jury Box BY STEVE STEINBOCK
Stranger Than Fiction BY DEAN JOBB: PREVIEW

Saturday, April 20, 2019

SleuthSayers: Please Consider the Attached Story . . . by John M. Floyd

SleuthSayers: Please Consider the Attached Story . . .: by John M. Floyd A lot has changed, in the 25 years I've been submitting short fiction for publcation. The best thing, I suppose...

SMFS Short Story Saturdays: Dara Carr


Back in May SMFS celebrated, as we do each year, International Short Story Month. The celebration led to the creation of the weekly short story segment SMFS Short Story Saturdays. Each Saturday we feature a SMFS list member whose work can be read online for free. These short stories are at least a year old and were not previously linked to during the May 2018 Short Story Month event.


For SMFS Short Story Saturdays today, list member Dara Carr shares the short story, “When I’m Famous” archived at her website.  The story originally appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine: June 2014.  



If you would like to be included and are a member of the SMFS list at yahoo groups, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple at Verizon dot net. If you are not a member, this would be a good time to check us out at Yahoo Groups.




Friday, April 19, 2019

SMFS Members Published In Switchblade: Issue Nine


Two SMFS members have short stories in the just published Switchblade: Issue Nine. Currently, the full color issue is only available in eBook format at Amazon. The two SMFS members in this issue are:


Jack Bates with “Lucky Fuck.”

Paul D. Marks with “House of the Rising Sun.”

Amazon Synopsis:
Switchblade number Nine is all about gaslighting, the outfit, racketeering, prostitution, and the priesthood. Issue nine takes a stab at insanity, revenge, and new beginnings. Unlike the bulky heavyweight issues of the past, this issue is lean and mean, like Tommy Hearns. Featuring Paul D. Marks, Glenn A. Bruce, John Kojak, J. Rohr, Willie Smith, Richard Risemberg, A.F. Knott, Stefen Styrsky, Fred Rock, Mark Slade, and Jack Bates. And just like The Motor City Cobra, this issue packs a punch, leaving you with legs of jelly, grasping for consciousness.

SMFS Member Publication News: Dave H. Hendrickson


SMFS member Dave H. Hendrickson’s short story collection, Death in the Serengeti and Other Stories: Ten Tales of Crime has been released. Published by Pentucket Publishing, the read is available in both print and eBook formats at Amazon and other vendors.


Amazon Synopsis:

From the mean streets of “Lynn, Lynn, City of Sin” to the sleepy suburbs…


From the grime of the Boston subways to a tavern in the afterlife…

From sandy ancient Israel to the plains of the Serengeti…

Award-winning master of mystery and suspense David H. Hendrickson finds crime and punishment wherever he looks… and these ten thrilling tales prove it.

Criminal Minds: The Road to Writing Riches – HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa! by Paul D. Marks

Criminal Minds: The Road to Writing Riches – HaHaHaHaHaHaHaHa!: How often do you step back and take stock of where you are in your writing life and where you want to go? Is this a New Year’s only thing, o...

Thursday, April 18, 2019

SMFS Members Published In Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology


Two SMFS members are published in the recently released, Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology. Edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley, published by Wildside Press, the book is currently available in print format only. The two SMFS members included in the anthology are:

Barb Goffman with “The Power Behind The Throne.”

Kristin Kisska with “Unbridled.”

Thank you to Barb Goffman who alerted me to her presence in the book.

Amazon Synopsis:

“Deliciously devious and absolutely delightful, these marvelous stories will keep you captivated! Sweeter than sweet tea on the surface, but with smartly sinister secrets only a true southern writer can provide. What a joy to read!” —Hank Phillippi Ryan best-selling Agatha and Mary Higgins Clark Award winner

This volume collects original tales by Frances Aylor, Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Judy Chalkey, Stacie Giles, Barb Goffman, Libby Hall, Bradley Harper, Sherry Harris, Maggie King, Kristin Kisska, Samatha McGraw, K.L. Murphy, Genille Swope Parente, Deb Rolfe, Rod Sterling, S.A. Warwick, and Heather Weidner.

SMFS Member Publication News: Dawn Lyons

SMFS member Dawn Lyon’s (writing as Julie Leo) short story, “Eat My Dust” appears online as “Rural Crime Flash Fiction” at the Mystery Tribune. The story is free to read online and can be read here.

Her story, "MRS. TICKTOCK"  also appears online and free to read at Every Day Fiction.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Janice Law

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Janice Law

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 48

As posted by Peter DiChellis to our list…
This week’s blog pours it on again: links to reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes a link to the April 2019 issue of Noir Nation. Use Amazon’s Look Inside feature to learn editor Eddie Vega’s views on hardboiled vs. noir vs. crime fiction and other subgenres. Plus, reviews of the best mystery stories Rob Lopresti read during the past couple of months.
A short walk down a dark street (#48): celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.

Best wishes,
Peter

Saturday, April 13, 2019

SMFS Short Story Saturdays: William Burton McCormick


Back in May SMFS celebrated, as we do each year, International Short Story Month. The celebration led to the creation of the weekly short story segment SMFS Short Story Saturdays. Each Saturday we feature a SMFS list member whose work can be read online for free. These short stories are at least a year old and were not previously linked to during the May 2018 Short Story Month event.


For SMFS Short Story Saturdays today, list member William Burton McCormick shares the short story, “Deadly Signals” archived at The Saturday Evening Post. The tale first appeared in October 2015 and is set on a legendary Halloween night when Orson Welles terrorized a nation. 


If you would like to be included and are a member of the SMFS list at yahoo groups, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple at Verizon dot net. If you are not a member, this would be a good time to check us out at Yahoo Groups.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

SMFS Members Published In FISHY BUSINESS: THE FIFTH GUPPY ANTHOLOGY


A number of SMFS members are published in the recently released anthology, Fishy Business: The Fifth Guppy Anthology. Published by Wildside Press, the book was edited by Linda Rodriguez.  The anthology is currently available in print from the publisher and Amazon only with the eBook version coming soon. The SMFS members in this book are:

Susan Bickford with “Payout Payback.”

Susan Daly with “My Night with the Duke of Edinburgh.”

T. Y. Euliano with “For Want of a Grade.”

Kate Fellowes with “Who Stole My Lunch?”

Debra H. Goldstein with “Nova, Capers, and a Schmear of Cream Cheese” as well as the introduction to the book.

Joan Leotta with “It Tastes Like Cardboard.”

James M. Jackson with "Power of Attorney."

Andrew MacRae with “The Hollerith Affect.”

MaryAlice Meli with “The Funeral Home Heist.”

KM Rockwood with “Scrabble-Rousers.”

Steve Shrott with “The Dark Underground.”

My thanks to SMFS list member Steve Shrott, aka Mark Stevens, who alerted me to the book on behalf of himself and other members.


Synopsis:

Killer hooks and fishy characters will lure you into this fifth anthology from the Guppies Chapter of Sisters in Crime. This volume nets you twenty-two crafty capers featuring slippery eels, wily sharks, and hard-boiled crabs. From ultra-modern computer crimes to old-fashioned confidence tricks, these tales are sure to satisfy your appetite for great short mystery fiction.

Introduction, by Debra H. Goldstein
The Wannabe, by Lida Bushloper
Nova, Capers, and a Schmear of Cream Cheese, by Debra H. Goldstein
Windfall, by Rita A. Popp
Who Stole My Lunch?, by Kate Fellowes
Nine Lives of Husbands and Wives, by Chelle Martin
The Lost Mine of Don Fernando, by Anna Castle
Scrabble-Rousers, by K.M. Rockwood
The Retirement Plan, by Mary Fern Ross
Room and Board, by Vinnie Hansen
Payout Payback, by Susan Bickford
My Night with the Duke of Edinburgh, by Susan Daly
The A-List, by C.C. Guthrie
The Great Negotiator, by Raegan Teller
For Want of a Grade, by T.Y. Euliano
Exit Interview, by Beth Green
The Dark Underground, by Steve Shrott
The Trouble with Trouble, by Lesley Mang
It Tastes Like Cardboard, by Joan Leotta
The Hollerith Effect, by Andrew MacRae
The Fork, the Spoon, and the Knife, by T.G. Wolff
The Funeral Home Heist, by MaryAlice Meli
Power of Attorney, by James M. Jackson

2019 Thriller Award Finalist: Alan Orloff


SMFS Member Alan Orloff is a 2019 Thriller Award Finalist. His book, Pray for the  Innocent, is a finalist nominee in the “Best E-Book Original Novel Category.” Winners will be announced at ThrillerFest XIV on July 13, 2019 in New York City. For more information, including the full list of all the finalists this year, go to the International Thriller Writers website.

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Jim Doherty

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Jim Doherty

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Nick Kolakowski

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Nick Kolakowski

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Gigi Pandian

Gerald So Interviews 2019 Derringer Finalist Gigi Pandian

Sunday, April 7, 2019

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 47

As posted by Peter DiChellis to our list…
This week’s blog struts its stuff with links to reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes two reviews of Teresa Solana’s zany collection The First Prehistoric Serial Killer and Other Stories. Plus, a screenwriter identifies seven big storytelling mistakes.
And as a special bonus for your friends who aren’t SMFS voting members: Links to all five Derringer Finalists in the flash fiction category, free to read.
A short walk down a dark street (#47): celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,
Peter

SleuthSayers: Dreyer's English

SleuthSayers: Dreyer's English: by John M. Floyd The other day I discovered, while piddling around on Amazon, a book called Dreyer's English--An Utterly Correct Gu...

SMFS Member Publication News: Gary Phillips


SMFS member Gary Phillips’ novella titled, The Movie Makers has been released by Down & Out Books. This is the fourth installment of the five book series, A Grifter’s Song. At this time, the read is available in eBook format only from the publisher, Amazon, and other vendors.  An excerpt from the book was published online last February at Retreats From Oblivion: The Journal of Noircon.


Synopsis:

Sam and Rachel are working a con in La La Land where the gold is for the asking as long as you can spin a captivating fable. Rachel’s character is an indie producer with Silicone Valley roots and Sam a life coach as they work their magic on the mark. 

All is going according to plan until the smiling gangster shows up and suddenly the scenario they created from fairy dust starts to evaporate as things go sideways…and they just might get out by the skin of their teeth.

SMFS Member Publication News: CJ Verburg


SMFS member CJ Verburg’s short story, “Birdbrain” appears in the just released anthology, Fault Lines: Stories by Northern California Crime Writers. Published by the Sisters in Crime Northern California Chapter, the read is available in print and digital formats at Amazon. Edited by Margaret Lucke.

CJ Verburg is the third SMFS member to announce a presence in the book. As reported last month here, Deborah Lacy’s short story, “Please See Me” is included. As reported yesterday here, C. M. West’s short story, “True Culprit” also appears in the book.

Synopsis:
Fault lines in the earth can shake our world. Fault lines within people give rise to wrongs that must be righted. Sisters in Crime/Northern California’s first short story anthology invites you to take a journey into mystery and intrigue, with 19 short stories that explore crime, guilt, and justice in our earthquake-prone region and beyond. Contributing authors: Ana Brazil, Jenny Carless, Diana Chambers, David Hagerty, Vinnie Hansen, Katherine Bolger Hyde, Judith Janeway, Mariah Klein, Mariella Krause, Susan Kuchinskas, Deborah Lacy, Bette Golden Lamb, J.J. Lamb, Margaret Lucke, Susan C. Shea, Robin C. Stuart, Nancy Tingley, CJ Verburg, and C.M. West. Foreword by Terry Shames and Diana Chambers.


Saturday, April 6, 2019

SMFS Member Publication News: Jeff Esterholm


SMFS list member Jeff Esterholm’s short story, “Mile Marker” is now online at Beat To A Pulp.  You can read the story here.

SMFS Member Publication News: C. M. West


SMFS member C. M. West (in collaboration with Mark Butler) short story, “True Culprit” appears in the just released anthology, Fault Lines: Stories by Northern California Crime Writers. Published by the Sisters in Crime Northern California Chapter, the read is available in print and digital formats at Amazon. Edited by Margaret Lucke.

C. M. West is the second SMFS member to announce a presence in the book. As reported last month here, Deborah Lacy’s short story “Please See Me” is included.

Synopsis:
Fault lines in the earth can shake our world. Fault lines within people give rise to wrongs that must be righted. Sisters in Crime/Northern California’s first short story anthology invites you to take a journey into mystery and intrigue, with 19 short stories that explore crime, guilt, and justice in our earthquake-prone region and beyond. Contributing authors: Ana Brazil, Jenny Carless, Diana Chambers, David Hagerty, Vinnie Hansen, Katherine Bolger Hyde, Judith Janeway, Mariah Klein, Mariella Krause, Susan Kuchinskas, Deborah Lacy, Bette Golden Lamb, J.J. Lamb, Margaret Lucke, Susan C. Shea, Robin C. Stuart, Nancy Tingley, CJ Verburg, and C.M. West. Foreword by Terry Shames and Diana Chambers.



SMFS Member Publication News: Donna Albrecht


SMFS member Donna Albrecht’s short story, “No Regrets: A Crime Short Story” appears today at Kings River Life Magazine. The story is free to read online.

SMFS Short Story Saturdays: Travis Richardson


Back in May SMFS celebrated, as we do each year, International Short Story Month. The celebration led to the creation of the weekly short story segment SMFS Short Story Saturdays. Each Saturday we feature a SMFS list member whose work can be read online for free. These short stories are at least a year old and were not previously linked to during the May 2018 Short Story Month event.


For SMFS Short Story Saturdays today, list member Travis Richardson shares the short story, “Here's To Bad Decisions: Red's Longneck Hooch” archived at Shotgun Honey. The tale first appeared in May 2015.



If you would like to be included and are a member of the SMFS list at yahoo groups, email the link to your story to KevinRTipple at Verizon dot net. If you are not a member, this would be a good time to check us out at Yahoo Groups.




Thursday, April 4, 2019

SMFS Official Announcement: 2019 Derringer Award Finalists


Since 1998, the Short Mystery Fiction Society has awarded the annual Derringers—after the popular pocket pistol—to outstanding published stories. The awards recognize outstanding stories published during 2018. Results of membership voting are scheduled to be posted on May 1, 2019.

As posted by 2019 Derringer Awards Coordinator Tony Rudzki to Shortmystery earlier this week, these are the official 2019 Derringer Award Finalists:

For Best Flash Story (ranges up to 1,000 words)
  • "The Bicycle Thief" by James Blakey, The Norwegian American, Sept. 21, 2018
  • "Listen Up" by Peter DiChellis, Flash Bang Mysteries, (Winter 2018)
  • "Sonny the Wonder Beast" by Nick Kolakowski, The Flash Fiction Offensive, Sept. 16, 2018
  • "Don't Text and Drive" by Robert Petyo, Flash Bang Mysteries, (Spring 2018)
  • "A Misunderstanding" by Travis Richardson, The Flash Fiction Offensive, May 27, 2018

For Best Short Story (ranges from 1,001 to 4,000 words)
  • "The Belle Hope" by Peter DiChellis, Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical, Wildside Press, April 2018
  • "The Crucial Game" by Janice Law, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine (January-February 2018)
  • "Dying in Dokesville" by Alan Orloff, Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical, Wildside Press, April 2018
  • "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Murder" by Josh Pachter, Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical, Wildside Press, April 2018
  • "The Cabin in the Woods" by Sylvia Maultash Warsh, Malice Domestic 13: Mystery Most Geographical, Wildside Press, April 2018

For Best Long Story (ranges from 4,001 to 8,000 words)
  • "With My Eyes" by Leslie Budewitz, Suspense Magazine, January/February 2018
  • "Mercy Find Me" by Diana Deverell, Fiction River: Justice ed. Kristine Kathryn Rusch, WMG Publishing Inc., January 2018
  • "The Case of the Missing Pot Roast" by Barb Goffman, Florida Happens ed. Greg Herren, Three Rooms Press, September 2018
  • "Till Murder Do Us Part" by Barb Goffman, Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies ed. Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley, Wildside Press, March 2018
  • "The Vanishing Volume" by Janet Raye Stevens, Shhhh...Murder! Cozy Crimes in Libraries, ed. Andrew MacRae, Darkhouse Books, September 2018

For Best Novelette (ranges from 8,001 to 20,000 words)
  • "The Adventure of the Manhunting Marshal" by Peter Basile (pseud. of Jim Doherty), Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective, Volume 11, Airship 27, March 2018
  • "Three-Star Sushi" by Barry Lancet, Down & Out The Magazine, Vol. 3, Issue 3, Down & Out Books, March 2018
  • "The Cambodian Curse" by Gigi Pandian, Henery Press, October 2018
  • "Oil Down" by Brian Silverman, Mystery Tribune (Winter 2018)
  • "I’ve Got to Get Me a Gun" by Vincent Zandri, The Black Car Business: Vol. 1 ed. Lawrence Kelter, Down & Out Books, January 2018


A vote of the SMFS membership will determine the winner in each category. Results will be announced in May 2019.

For more on the Derringers and the rules, please see the Derringer Awards Policy post.

4/5/19--- A big thank you to Gerald So who added the publishing info on each finalist.

SMFS Members Published In Cooked to Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files


Several SMFS are published in the recently released anthology, Cooked to Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files. Published by Obscura Productions, the read is available on Amazon in print and digital formats. The SMFS members included in the book are:


Margi Desmond with “I’ll Have Summa Dat!”

Debra H. Goldstein with “Thanksgiving I Do, I Don’t.”

Margaret S. Hamilton with ‘Double Crust Corpse.”


Amazon Synopsis:

Tales of crime and cookery.


SMFS Members Published In Mysterical-E Winter Spring 2019


The Mysterical-E Winter Spring 2019 issue has been released and is now available to download and read for free at Mysterical-E. While the issue does not feature any fiction stories by SMFS members, it does feature columns from them.

Kaye George has a new feature titled, “What’s Your Process” where she interviews authors on their writing process. Fellow member William Burton McCormick is one of four authors interviewed for this debut column.

Gerald So is back in this issue with his long running feature, “Mysterical-Eye.” Along with a brief overview of various television shows and news snippets, Gerald provides a recommendation for a new television based on family personal experience.

SMFS Members Published In Fiction River: Spies


Several SMFS members are published in the new anthology, Fiction River: Spies. Published by WGM Publishing, the read is available from the publisher in print and digital formats, Amazon, and other vendors. The members in this issue are:

Ron Collins with “The Spy Who Walked into the Cold.”

Dayle A. Dermatis with “The Florentine Exchange.”

Dave Hendrickson with “End of the Line.”

Tonya D. Price with “Spy in the Sky.”

C. A. Rowland with “The Message.”

Synopsis:
In this third Fiction River Special Edition, award-winning editor Kristine Kathryn Rusch proves a master of intrigue with a wide variety of spy stories. Ranging in tone from satire to serious, from touching to brutal, from light to oh-so-very-dark, these fifteen stories illuminate the secret world of espionage. Despite their different tones, different cultures, even different time periods, these diverse stories form a powerful anthology that reveals the world in all its messiness.

Includes
“Spy in the Sky” by Tonya D. Price
“Meeting at the Rise and Shine” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch
“Highpoint” by Michael Kingswood
“Through the Eyes of a Dog” by Angela Penrose
“Cat and Mice” by Jamie McNabb
“Our Man in Basingstoke” by Sabrina Chase
“Night Flight” by Jonathan Kort
“End of the Line” by David H. Hendrickson
“The Florentine Exchange” by Dayle A. Dermatis
“The Message” by C.A. Rowland
“Not What You’d Expect” by Leah Cutter
“Turkish Coffee” by Johanna Rothman
“The Path” by David Stier
“Trafficking Stops” by Lisa Silverthorne
“The Spy Who Walked into the Cold” by Ron Collins



SMFS Members Published In Black Mask 2019 Yearbook


Several SMFS members are published in the new Black Mask 2019 Yearbook. Published by Altus Press, the read is currently available in print from Amazon. The members published in the book are:

Michael Bracken with “The Maltese Terrier.”

Jim Doherty with “Twelve Good Men And True.”

William Burton McCormick with “Lady Death.”


Synopsis:

Black Mask, the greatest American detective magazine of all time, is back with another issue. This time around, it includes nine new stories in the Black Mask vein by Brian Townsley, Jane Jakeman, Brian Stanley, Hannah Honeybun, William Burton McCormick, Frank Megna, Jonathan Sheppard, Michael Bracken, Jim Doherty, as well as a new article on Raymond Chandler’s The Little Sister by Katrina Younes. And, as with previous issues, Black Mask collects some of the best hard-boiled detective fiction from the Popular Publications vaults, as written by some of the genre’s best: Dashiell Hammett, D.L. Champion, Carroll John Daly, Frederick Nebel, T.T. Flynn, and Frederick C. Davis.

Back Cover

Guest Post: From Short Story to Continuing Series by Edith Maxwell

Please welcome member Edith Maxwell to our blog today… 


From Short Story to Continuing Series


I don’t know how common it is to turn a short story into a long-running series. Let me share the tale of how I did it. And I’ll give away a signed copy of Charity’s Burden to one commenter here.


I’ve lived north of Boston in the northeast corner of Massachusetts for thirty years. For all that time I’ve been a member of Amesbury Friends Meeting (Quaker) but lived in other towns and drove to church on Sunday mornings.


In the summer of 2012 we downsized and bought a house in Amesbury. I already had friends here and loved the historic town full of brick mill buildings and a river that runs right through downtown. And now I could walk to Meeting. I was interested in antique houses, since renovating them (including the ones we live in – while we’re living in them…) is what my beau does for work. But I didn’t know much about Amesbury’s history before moving to town.

The next spring I read a newspaper article about the Great Fire of 1888 in Amesbury. The town was world-famous for its graceful well-built carriages, and the fire on the night before Good Friday burned down most of the factories on Carriage Hill. It was a huge disaster and was only saved from being worse by rain that fell during the night.



After I read that article, I was strolling to the lovely simple Meetinghouse built in 1851 one First Day morning when a short story popped into my head about the Quaker mill girl who solves the mystery of the arson. Historically the Great Fire wasn’t arson, but hey, I dream up fiction for a living. I wrote that story, and “Breaking the Silence” was published in Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold (Level Best Books, November 2013).

As happens with writers, the setting and characters refused to go away, so I invented the girl’s midwife aunt Rose Carroll, wrote Delivering the Truth, and sold the series to Midnight Ink. The first three books have been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel, including Turning the Tide this year.


I’ve also written several subsequent short stories featuring Rose, her quirky postmistress friend Bertie Winslow, and other mysteries in 1880s Amesbury, two of which were nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story. (All my short fiction is listed on my web site.)

I love delving into all aspects of life in the late nineteenth century, learning about historic figures in town, and studying maps from the era. It’s a fascinating time to write about, being on the cusp of so much cultural change.

The new book, Charity’s Burden, treats the topic of birth control, which was hugely controversial at the time. Midwife Rose Carroll’s clients come to her with pregnancies, but they also seek her help when they don’t want to have another baby – whether before or after they have conceived yet again.


The highly restrictive Comstock Laws were passed in the 1870s, which made even speaking about preventing pregnancy a crime. Herbalists and others turned to evasive wording in the advertisements for their products, calling them products to regularize women’s cycles and improve their health. Certain practitioners also offered abortions, which of course were life-threatening at the time. I wanted to explore these issues – in the context of a murder mystery, of course. 


Here’s the book blurb:

The winter of 1889 is harsh in Amesbury, Massachusetts, but it doesn’t stop Quaker midwife Rose Carroll from making her rounds of her pregnant and postpartum mothers. But when Charity Skells dies from an apparent early miscarriage, Rose wonders about the copious amount of blood. She learns that Charity’s husband appears to be up to no good with a young woman. The woman’s mother, who goes by the mysterious name of Madame Restante, appears to offer illegal abortions and herbal birth control. A disgraced physician in town does the same. Charity’s cousin mistakenly thinks he will take control of his father’s estate, part of which was to go to Charity. Rose, who suspects Charity’s death was from an abortion either incompetently or maliciously performed, once again works with police detective Kevin Donovan to solve the case before another life is taken.


I’m excited Quaker Midwife Mystery #4 is out, and I am happy to announce the series is moving over to Beyond the Page Publishing with book five. Look for Judge Thee Not to release this fall! There will be at least two more in the series after that. My next short story, “Sushi Lessons,” releases in Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible, and my next Country Store mystery, Strangled Eggs and Ham (written as Maddie Day) comes out in June.


Readers: Do you know of other short stories that have led to series? Writers, do you ever cross over? I’m happy to answer questions, too, and I’ll give away a signed copy of Charity’s Burden to one lucky reader.



Edith Maxwell © 2019


Edith Maxwell writes the Quaker Midwife Mysteries, the Local Foods Mysteries, and award-winning short crime fiction. As Maddie Day she writes the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. Maxwell, with seventeen novels in print and four more completed, has been nominated for an Agatha Award six times. She lives north of Boston with her beau and two elderly cats, and gardens and cooks when she isn’t killing people on the page or wasting time on Facebook. Please find her at edithmaxwell.com, on Instagram, and at the Wicked Authors blog.