Saturday, November 30, 2019

SMFS Member Publishing News: Jan Christensen

SMFS list member Jan Christensen’s latest mystery, Haunting Dreams: Paula Mitchell, P. I., is now out. The book is the fourth book in her Paula Mitchell, P. I. series. It is available at Amazon in both print and digital formats.


Private Eye Paula Mitchell’s latest case is so bizarre, she’s not sure it will ever be solved.
Why would anyone shoot a chef in the leg? Was his cooking that bad? Rhode Island PI, Paula Mitchell, is hired to find out, but before she starts, another cook is shot in the opposite leg. The plot is now as thick as New England clam chowder.

Paula’s list of suspects climbs as she interviews witnesses and other folks who are connected to the cooks. Is an old crime becoming hot again? Are the victims and the other case connected? It all takes an ugly turn when Paula herself is threatened. As the stakes get higher and higher, Paula races to find out the secrets that will solve everything.

SleuthSayers: A Story in Reverse by John M. Floyd

SleuthSayers: A Story in Reverse: I have always admired writers who are willing to take risks and try new techniques and venture out of their comfort zones. That's hard...

SMFS Short Story Saturdays: Robert Mangeot

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.  

For SMFS Short Story Saturdays today, list member Robert Mangeot shares the April 2015  short story, “First Rodeo: Mystery Short Story” archived at Kings River Life Magazine.

If you would like to be included and are a member of the SMFS list at, 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

Friday, November 29, 2019

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

SMFS Member Publication News: Cathi Stoler

SMFS list member Cathi Stoler’s new book, OUT OF TIME: A Nick Donahue Adventure, has been released by Black Opal Books. Published in digital format only, the read is available at Amazon.

A Nick Donahue Adventure

It was supposed to be a simple and quick assignment for Marina DiPietro and Nick Donahue. Help Marina’s client, Adnan bin Haddad, protect his fabulous racehorse, Devil Wind, from human predators who threaten the stallion with death if millions aren’t paid in “protection money.” Just guard the horse and catch the predators before they strike. If you’re lucky.

Turns out, the threat against the horse is just the opening move to get into bin Haddad’s science lab and steal his latest invention. Now Nick must stop the perpetrators, ISIS, from getting their hands on the ultimate weapon of war—a tool of unimaginable terror, a cloaking device, that could tear the world apart.

Then events spiral out of control. The daughter of bin Haddad’s closest friend and employee, is kidnapped, Marina is kidnapped, and Nick becomes enmeshed in a web of betrayal and deceit. ISIS is determined to have the cloaking device, and Nick has to use all the cunning, skill, and subterfuge he’s acquired as a gambler to discover the “tell” that will help him turn the predators into prey.

And, there’s no time to lose.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Little Big Crimes Review: Sad Onions by Joe R. Lansdale

Little Big Crimes: Sad Onions, by Joe R. Lansdale: "Sad Onions," by Joe R. Lansdale, in Odd Partners, edited by Anne Perry, Random House, 2019. This is the second time Lansda...

Criminal Minds: Guess I'm Lucky That Way by Frank Zafiro

Criminal Minds: Guess I'm Lucky That Way: Does your writing ever interfere with your family life? Do the demands of your fiction ever create friction with those closest to you? ...

SMFS Member Publishing News: Mary Stojak

SMFS list member Mary Stojak’s short story, “The Door” appears online at The Raven Review as part of the November 2019 Special Issue. The entire issue can be found here and Mary Stojak’s story can be found here.

SleuthSayers: P.I. Nocturne by Paul D. Marks

SleuthSayers: P.I. Nocturne: by Paul D. Marks Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa In a couple of recent SleuthSayers posts O’Neil and Leigh talked about pre-rock music. I...

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 80

As posted by Peter DiChellis to our SMFS list…

Need a quick buzz? This week’s blog brings it on, with links to a dangerous dose of reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes: free-to-read, the classic crime story "Lamb to the Slaughter" by Roald Dahl (which later became an Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV episode).
Plus: A short walk encore presentation—two Michael Bracken essays on selling stories.
A short walk down a dark street (#80). Celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,

SMFS Members Published in Dark Yonder: Tales & Tabs

Several SMFS list members are published in the anthology, Dark Yonder: Tales & Tabs. Published by Joyride Press, the anthology edited by SMFS list member Liam Sweeny is available in both print and digital formats from Amazon and other vendors. The SMFS list members published in the anthology are:

Bruce Robert Coffin with “Old Fashioned.”

Terri Lynn Coop with “Yonder Off-Label.”

Nick Kolakowski with “Huey and the Burrito of Doom.”

David Nemeth with “Retribution.”

Rob Pierce with “Not Enough To Drink.”

Travis Richardson with “Them’s Fighting Words.”

Liam Sweeny with “Legs Diamond.”

Gabrial Valjan with “Popcorn.”

Frank Zafiro with “Run Its Course.”

Picture Supplied by Gariel Valjan


Twenty of the country's top crime writers walk into a bar... Yonder: Southern Cocktails & Brew, specifically. They each leave a tale spun in a way that only they can. Over twenty endearing stories of degenerates, criminals and regulars just itching for something to happen.

SMFS Members Published in Down & Out: The Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1

SMFS list members are published in Down & Out: The Magazine, Volume 2, Issue 1, published earlier this month by Down & Out Books. The read is available in digital and print formats at Amazon. The SMFS list members with short stories in this issue are:

Richard Prosch  with “Capitol Offense.”

Sylvia Maultash Warsh with “The Veiled Heart.”


In this issue, pioneering TV writer and producer April Kelly opens with a wicked story that may remind you to pay attention to what you eat.
Brendan DuBois appears with the story of an assassination and its aftermath—from the killer’s point of view.
Ray Daniel & Kellye Garrett team up with a story that brings together characters from their own series.
Our feature is by Walter Satterthwait, who comes at us with his first new story in a while. The lead character, Fallon, helps—in his own way—solve a murder at a monastery.
Edgar Award-winning author Sylvia Maultash Warsh brings us a piece about deception in the world of art, and we welcome Benjamin Boulden back with his second story for us.
Robb T. White returns following his Best Mystery Stories of 2019 entry in our pages, and Dane F. Baylis, Richard Prosch and Richard Risemberg debut in our magazine with some of the most entertaining crime fiction you’ll find.

SMFS Member Publishing News: Michael Bracken

SMFS list member Michael Bracken shares the publishing news that subscribers to the Guns + Tacos series received today the sixth and final installment of the series along with his bonus short story, “Plantanos con Lechera and a Snub-Nosed .38.” You can find out more at the Down & Out Books website.

SMFS Members Published in Black Cat Mystery Magazine #5

Several SMFS list members are published in Black Cat Mystery Magazine #5. Published by Wildside Press, the read is available in print and digital formats at Amazon as well as at the publisher.   This issue also marks the first one with SMFS list member Michael Bracken’s involvement as co-editor. The SMFS list members published in this issue are:

Michael Bracken with “The Show Must Go On.”
Dara Carr with “Emily and Elodie.”
Tracy Falenwolfe with “Partners in Crime.”
John M. Floyd with “Rhonda and Cylde.”
Elizabeth Zelvin with “A Unicorn In The Harem.”


Black Cat Mystery Magazine is a new journal devoted to the best in mystery short fiction. Crime? Noir? Cozy? Private eye? You'll find all genres present and accounted for--with new tales by the best writers of today! The fifth issue features the following lineup:

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, by Michael Bracken


PARTNERS IN CRIME, by Tracy Falenwolfe

RHONDA AND CLYDE, by John M. Floyd

THE IDEA, by Charlie Hughes

THE BODYGUARD, by Janice Law

TRIGGER WARNING, by Dennis Palumbo

BLUE SKIES, by Keith Snyder

A UNICORN IN THE HAREM, by Elizabeth Zelvin

DON'T DO THAT, by Gil Brewer

Saturday, November 23, 2019

SMFS Member Publishing News: Jack Bates

SMFS list member Jack Bates’ short story, “In the Megalodon” appears in the new anthology, Death in the Age of Steam. Published by Elm Books, the anthology is available in print from Amazon as well as in digital format and from the publisher.

Print Synopsis:

Steampunk writing combines imaginative technological tinkering with a 19th century aesthetic. Cheaply done, that means slap some gears on it, call your protagonist 'Lord Crankshaft' or 'Lady Windlass, ' and get it out the door.
But we at Elm Books wanted to dig deeper.
The 19th century was a time of exciting scientific developments: steam power, electricity, refrigeration, and so much more that we take for granted today, but that seemed like witchcraft at the time. But it was also a time of great social inequality and ruthless colonial expansion. It was not the best time, for example, to be female, or poor. And it was a terrible time to be an original inhabitant of a colonized land. And the steampunk genre, like every genre, could do better in representing these stories.
This anthology brings you some of the stories that go beyond the traditional tropes.
Within these pages, you will find lady sharpshooters and dominatrix detectives. You'll encounter vampire forensics, sleuthing Rabbis, and ancient East Asian vendettas exploding onto the streets of East London. And in one spectacular story, one man uncovers a corporate conspiracy to steal the very power of the sun. Perhaps we should have called this anthology Death in the Age of Steam and Sun.

Digital Synopsis:

If you thought steampunk was just glued-on gears and fake British accents, you will never be so happy to be proven wrong. In these pages, we’re bringing you the untold stories of steampunk, the Weird West, and beyond. You’ll find clockwork governesses with subversive attitudes, dominatrix detectives and vampire sleuths. You’ll encounter heroic Rabbis, dentists who take a bite out of crime, a ruthless corporations out to steal the sun — and the one man standing in its way. But most of all, you’ll find a fist full of stories and unique, exciting heroes waiting to tell them. Welcome.
A lady sharpshooter solves an impossible murder in the Old, Weird West, in A Frame Most Fearful by Emily Baird
In The Megalodon by Jack Bates, unlikely heroes foil the attempted sabotage of a magnificent new submersible.
In far-off Jerusalem, a determined Rabbi uses logic and Kabbalah to solve a spate of mysterious murders in Beneath the Holy City by Edward Stasheff
Mrs. MacAdams’s Establishments by Yvette Franklin has a women respectable by day and dominating by night who investigates a murder with the help of a Lovelace analytical engine.
Political intrigue, romantic misunderstandings, and…vampires? In Blood in Peking by JL Boekstein
In Honor, Love and Photographs by Christalea McMullin, ancient East Asian rivalries spring to life on the streets of East London.
And in Borderman H49 by Darren Todd, a peacekeeper uncovers a twisted plot to cause havoc between competing solar farms and steal the power of the sun.
So sit back, strap on your goggles, and get ready for adventure!
Jess Faraday is an award-winning author and editor of historical and steampunk fiction. She lives in Scotland. You can check out more her work at

SMFS Short Story Saturdays: J. L. Delozier

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.  

For SMFS Short Story Saturdays today, list member J. L. Delozier shares the September 2018  short story, “XXX Marks the Spot” archived at Retreats From Oblivion: The Journal Of Noircon.

If you would like to be included and are a member of the SMFS list at, 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

Friday, November 22, 2019

Thursday, November 21, 2019

SMFS Member Podcasting News: Elizabeth Zelvin

SMFS list member Elizabeth Zelvin’s short story, “A Work In Progress” from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine: May/June 2019 is the current selection for the AHMM Podcast. Per their tweet at @ahitchcockmm announcing this news, “Afterward, she talks about the writing of the story and about the new anthology Me Too Short Stories.” You can listen to the podcast here. You can learn more about the Me Too Short Stories: An Anthology here and here and here.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

SMFS Members Published in the BOULD* Awards 2019 Short Story Anthology (*Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring)

Numerous SMFS list members are published in the Bould* Awards 2019 Short Story Anthology: (*Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring). Edited and published by SMFS list member Jake Devlin, the book is available in print and digital formats at Amazon and other vendors. The SMFS list members in the book are:

Tom Barlow with “Chemo Queen” and, writing as Jimmy Summers, “The Sadist.”

John  Clark with “In A Town Mostly Forgotten” and “Pinning Ceremony” and “Take Nothing For Granite.”

Herschel Cozine with “The Purloined Pickled Peppers.”

Maddi Davidson with “Cold Snap” and “Bitch and Chips.”

Lesley A. Diehl with “Drip-Dry and Wrinkle-Free.”

Jake Devlin with “An Apocalyptic Micro Short Story” and “Confession of a Serial Killer” as well as “Teagan’s Special Sand Castle.”

James Dorr with “In The Octopus’s Garden” and “Mr. Happy Head.”

Karen Duxbury with “Euthanasia.”

Will A. Emerson with “Oh, Henry” and “Honor Amongst The Rigid.”

Eve Fisher with “Preincarnation” and “Bait.”

Kaye George with “Meeting on the Funicular.”

Robert Petyo with “The Cat” and “The Suicide Bureau.”

KM Rockwood with “The Society” and “To Die a Free Man: The Story of Joseph Bowers.”

Cheri Vause with “Zero-Sum.”

Elizabeth Zelvin with “A Shifting Plan” and “The Silkie.”

Additionally, three of the top four prize winners are SMFS list members. The full list of prize winners as posted by Jake Devlin to our SMFS list are:

1st Place ($50):   The Mystery of the Missing Albino - Steve Shrott

2nd Place ($30):  The Society—KM Rockwood

3rd Place ($20):   Bitch and Chips - Maddi Davidson

4th Place ($10):   Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury

Synopsis With TOC To Follow:

Are you an adventurous, daring reader? Like to explore new frontiers? If so, this one's for you.

In this second annual edition, you'll find nearly 40 of the weirdest, most outrageous, wackiest, scariest, puzzlingest (is that really a word?) short stories submitted for this anthology in 2019. That's nearly twice the number of stories in the 2018 edition, our first.

You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll be shocked, scared, and maybe even perflutzed by some of the stories you'll find inside, in many different genres and styles. But with nearly every story, we know you'll be surprised.

These stories have all been anonymously selected by a panel of independent judges.

We expect the 2020 edition to be BOULDer (no relation to the city in Colorado), and that'll raise the bar even higher for the 2021 edition. We might wind up changing “Limitless” to “Loopy” if writers can really let their inhibitions go and let their haywire creativity loose.

But now it's time for you to quit reading these promo bits, brace yourself and dig in. Have fun!


Bitch and Chips - Maddi Davidson – 1060 words
A Walk In The Park - Francis Hicks - 490
Honor Amongst the Rigid – Wil A. Emerson - 2980
Clarity - Francis Hicks - 720
In the Octopus's Garden – James Dorr - 2400
Take Nothing For Granite - John Clark - 1170
When I Think About - Gary R. Hoffman - 450
Teacher’s Pets - Kat Fast - 1990
Teagan's Special Sand Castle - Jake Devlin – 1300
Note Found Near Scattered Human Skeletal Remains - Jack Ewing - 1840
Oh Henry – Wil A. Emerson – 2990
Bait – Eve Fisher – 2700
Zero-Sum - Cheri Vause - 1500
Chemo Queen – Tom Barlow - 2970
The Sadist - Jimmy Summers – 750
In A Town Mostly Forgotten – John Clark – 2060
The Purloined Pickled Peppers - Herschel Cozine - 2400
The Price You Pay - William A. Rush IV – 1850
Henry The Butler - Francis Hicks - 500
The Mystery of the Missing Albino - Steve Shrott - 2800
A Shifting Plan - Elizabeth Zelvin – 2500
Input From A Serial Killer - John Furutani – 2570
Confession of a Serial Killer – Jake Devlin - 500
The Cat - Robert Petyo – 2100
Deer Juj - David Hagerty – 850
The Society - KM Rockwood – 2200
Something Wacky This Way Comes - Karen Phillips – 2000
Pinning Ceremony – John Clark – 2670
Drip-Dry and Wrinkle-Free – Lesley A. Diehl – 2440
Mr. Happy Head – James Dorr – 2700
Preincarnation – Eve Fisher – 1000
To Die a Free Man: The Story of Joseph Bowers – KM Rockwood – 2790
The Suicide Bureau – Robert Petyo – 1700
The Silkie – Elizabeth Zelvin – 2900
Meeting on the Funicular – Kaye George – 735
Cold Snap – Maddi Davidson – 640
Euthanasia – Karen Duxbury – 260
An Apocalyptic Micro Short Story – Jake Devlin – 20

SMFS Members Published in Knucklehead Noir

Several SMFS members are published in the new anthology, Knuckhead Noir. Published by Coffin Hop Press, the read is only available in print format at Amazon. The SMFS members published in the book are:

Tom Barlow with “HIC.”
Michael Bracken with “Sex Toys.”
Craig Faustus Buck with “Honeymoon Sweet.”
Axel Howerton with “The Aluminum Eagle.”
Brent Nichols with “Go Fish.”

Amazon Synopsis:

Tales of dimwitted criminals and unlucky twits on the wrong side of the law. Nimrods, numbskulls and rejects. Bumbling sidekicks and idiots-gone-wrong. Elmore Leonard and Charles Willeford ain’t got nothin’ on these dipshits. Darkly humorous crime and hardboiled hijinx.
Featuring new and slightly used fiction from:
Jaclyn Adomeit
Tom Barlow (Smothered and Covered)
Michael Bracken (Noir at the Salad Bar)
Steve Brewer (Lonely Street)
Craig Faustus Buck (Go Down Hard)
Axel Howerton (Hot Sinatra)
Pamela Kenney (Diamonds are a Girl's Best Motive)
Brent Nichols (Stars Like Cold Fire)
Steve Passey (Forty-Five Minutes of Unstoppable Rock)
Jason Pearce
Scott S. Phillips (Pete, Drinker of Blood)
Will Viharo (Love Stories Are Too Violent For Me)
Chris R. Young (The Old Mice Killer)
Laurie Zottmann (Dark Little Critter)

Little Big Crimes Review: The Kindly Dark by J.B. Toner

Little Big Crimes: The Kindly Dark, by J.B. Toner: "The Kindly Dark," by J.B. Toner, in A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy, Darkhouse Books, 2019. Each story in this b...

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Monday, November 18, 2019

SMFS Member Publication News: John M. Floyd

SMFS list member John M. Floyd has another mystery short story appearing in the Woman’s World Magazine. His latest mystery short story, “A Thanksgiving Lesson” is in the current issue (November 25, 2019) of  Woman’s World Magazine. The publication is available on some newsstands and by subscription.

Mr. Floyd reports that this is now his 109th mystery short story at this market and they have taken 111 short stories overall. Members are reminded that Mr. Floyd shared in his piece at SleuthSayers Blog how he goes about writing short stories for this market. Well worth reading, especially if you are looking to break into this market.

SMFS Member Publication News: Steve Liskow

SMFS list member Steve Liskow’s short story “Two Good Hands” appears online at TOUGH. You can read it for free here.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 79

As posted by Peter DiChellis to our list….

This week’s blog fires it up, with links to smokin’ hot reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes: another free Jack Reacher story by Lee Child.
Plus, for the Research Folder—almost everything you ever wanted to know about guns and bullets.
And a new issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine is hot off the presses.
A short walk down a dark street (#79). Celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,

SMFS Members Recognized in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019

Several SMFS list members have had their works recognized in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019. Published by Mariner Books, the read is available in both print and digital formats at Amazon and other vendors. The SMFS list members recognized in the book are;

Tonya D. Price with “Payback” originally published in Fiction River: Hard Choices

Other Distinguished Mystery Stories List:

Michael Bracken with “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”

Diana Deverell with “Payback is a Bitch.”

Brian Silverman with “Scotch Bonnet.”

Andrew Welsh-Huggins with “Long Drive Home.”

New York Times best-selling author of ten genre-bending novels Jonathan Lethem helms this collection of the year’s best mystery short fiction. 

For Jonathan Lethem, “crime stories are deep species gossip.” He writes in his introduction that “they’re fundamentally stories of power, of its exercise, both spontaneous and conspiratorial; stories of impulse and desire, and of the turning of tables.” The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 has its full share of salacious intrigue, guilt, and retribution. The twists and bad decisions pile up when a thief picks the wrong target or a simple scavenger hunt takes a terrible turn. What happens when you befriend a death row inmate, or just how does writing Internet clickbait became a decidedly dangerous occupation? “How can we not hang on their outcomes?” asks Lethem. “Are we innocent ourselves, or complicit?” Read on to find out.
The Best American Mystery Stories 2019 includes Sharon Hunt, Harley Jane Kozak, Mark Mayer, Jennifer McMahon, Joyce Carol Oates, Brian Panowich, Tonya D. Price, Ron Rash, Robb T. White, and others.

SMFS Members Published in Denim, Diamonds and Death: Bouchercon Anthology 2019

Several SMFS list members are published in the new book, Denim, Diamonds and Death: Bouchercon Anthology 2019. Published by Down & Out Books, the read is available in both print and digital formats from the publisher, Amazon, and other vendors. The SMFS list members in this anthology are:

John M. Floyd with “The Midnight Child.”

Michael Allan Mallory with “The Man Who Wasn’t There.”

Josh Pachter with “When You Sue, You begin With Do, Ray, Me.”

Julie Tollefson with “In the Rough.”


Denim, Diamonds and Death offers a fine collection from authors supporting the 50th Anniversary of the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention in Dallas, Texas.

Here are fifteen stories that run the gamut from heists to revenge, intricate plots to secrets uncovered, and more than a few tales that defy easy classification.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the 2019 Bouchercon’s official charity, Literary Instruction for Texas (LIFT).

Edited by Rick Ollerman with stories by Carole Nelson Douglas, John M. Floyd, Dana Haynes, Thomas Luka, Michael Allan Mallory, Angela Crider Neary, Laura Oles, Josh Pachter, John Shepphird, Debra Luttanzi Shutika, Julie Tollefson, Tim P. Walker, Robb White, Kenneth Wishnia, and Mark Wisniewski.