Friday, July 31, 2020

SMFS Member News: Edith Maxwell/Maddie Day

SMFS list member Edith Maxwell, has participated as part of a panel on food cozies for “Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club.”  Produced by WGBH Boston (NPR) and hosted by Callie Crossley, Edith Maxwell as Maddie Day was one of three authors participating in a discussion on food cozies. Under her Maddie Day persona, Edith read an excerpt from her latest book, Nacho Average Murder: A Country Store Mystery. The discussion can be listened to here.


It’s our special August edition of “Bookmarked: The Under the Radar Book Club” and we’re talking with authors who leave the spicy and sweet on the page in a mystery sub-genre known as food cozies. On the plate — author Joanne Fluke’s Coconut Layer Cake Murders, Maddie Day’s Nacho Average Murder, and V.M. Burns’ “Motherless Child.” These mavens of full-stomach fiction join us for an hour-long conversation about this popular genre, perfect for a summer read.

·         Joanne Fluke is the author of “Coconut Layer Cake Murder: a Hannah Swensen Mystery,” the 26th novel in a series.
·         Maddie Day is the author of “Nacho Average Murder: a Country Store Mystery,” the seventh in a series.
·         V.M. Burns is the author of “Motherless Child: an RJ Franklin Mystery, “ the second in a series.

Jacqueline Seewald: What Themes Attract Readers?

Jacqueline Seewald: What Themes Attract Readers?: Whether authors of fiction write short stories, plays or novels, theme is an essential component, just like characterization, plot and se...

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

SMFS Member Publishing News: Nupur Tustin

Today is publication day for SMFS list member Nupur Tustin’s new book, Master of Illusion: A Celine Sky Psychic Mystery. Published by Foiled Plots Press, the read is available in print and eBook formats from Amazon and other vendors.


When death arrives in Paso Robles, so do clues to an infamous art heist in Boston. . .
For seven years, psychic Celine Skye has led a life free of visions in quiet Paso Robles. But now the visions are back. Along with a dubious customer from Boston.

Celine has always been able to sense death. But not even she can foresee her employer Dirck's murder. Finding his corpse in the wine bar he owns is bad enough.

Grappling with the suspicion that Dirck's death could be connected with the Gardner Museum heist is even worse.

As Celine struggles to make sense of the psychic clues she receives, there's just one question in her mind: What exactly did Dirck know about the Gardner Museum heist to get himself killed?

SleuthSayers: Writing Squirrels by Michael Bracken

SleuthSayers: Writing Squirrels: “Squirrel!” In the movie Up, Dug is often distracted by squirrels while in the midst of conversations with Carl and Russell in much the s...

SMFS Member Publishing News: Cathi Stoler

Today is publication day for Bar None: A Murder On The Rocks Mystery by Cathi Stoler.  Now published by Level Best Books, the read is available in print at the publisher and at Amazon.


Bar None, set in the heart of New York City, is an edge-of-your-seat mystery that features Jude Dillane, owner of The Corner Lounge on 10th Street and Avenue B. When Jude finds her friend and landlord Thomas "Sully" Sullivan's work pal, Ed Molina, dead in a pool of blood in Sully's apartment, she's sure it wasn't suicide as the police suspect. Jude investigates and adds murder to her plate as she delves into a case of major at the Big City Food Bank.

Monday, July 27, 2020

THE STILETTO GANG: Short Story Update by Paula Gail Benson

THE STILETTO GANG: Short Story Update: by Paula Gail Benson The Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime and the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America were delighted with ...

Killer Nashville’s 2020 Silver Falchion Award SMFS Member Finalists

The SMFS is proud to announce that again this year members of the SMFS have been nominated for the 2020 Silver Falchion Awards. As stated on their homepage, winners will be announced later this year as the 2020 conference has been canceled due to the pandemic.  The complete list of nominees is on the 2020 Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Finalists site. The nominated SMFS list members are:

Cozy Category:

Debra H. Goldstein for Two Bites Too Many (Kensington Books)

Procedural or P.I. Catgory:

Peter W. J. Hayes for The Things That Are Different (Level Best Books).

Richard Helms for Paid In Spades (Clay Stafford Books).

SleuthSayers: Adverbs: A Legitimate Aspect of Voice by Elizabeth Zelvin

SleuthSayers: Adverbs: A Legitimate Aspect of Voice: A couple of months ago, I participated in a lively discussion over at the Short Mystery Fiction Society e-list on the role of adverbs in...

SMFS Members Published in Flash Bang Mysteries Summer 2020, Issue 20

SMFS list members have short stories in the new issue of Flash Bang Mysteries Summer 2020, Issue 20. Published online by BJ Bourg, the issue is free to read here. The SMFS members in this issue are:

Herschel Cozine with “Dress Rehearsal. The story is also the Editor’s Choice story for the issue.

Bruce Harris with “Prophetic Words” The story is also the Cover Story for the issue.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 114

News of the new issue as posted by Peter DiChellis to our SMFS list…
This week’s blog cheers short mystery & crime fiction with links to a concoction of crime-infested reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes five free-to-read stories from the new (July) issue of The Dark City Crime & Mystery Magazine.
Plus—Tricks of the Trade: Hank Phillip Ryan asks a Zoom-meeting expert to reveal the secrets of successful virtual events for authors.
And reviews of Dashiell Hammett Continental Op stories, along with previously-linked Continental Op free reads.
A short walk down a dark street (#114). Celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,

Little Big Crimes Review: Colibrí by Nicolás Obregón

Little Big Crimes: Colibrí, by Nicolás Obregón: "Colibrí," by Nicolás Obregón, in Both Sides: Stories From The Border, edited by Gabino Iglesias, Polis Books, 2020. Milagros Pos...

SMFS Published in Rock and a Hard Place: Issue 3, Spring/Summer 2020

Several SMFS members are published in the Rock and a Hard Place: Issue 3, Spring/Summer 2020 edition. Published by Rock and a hard Place Press, the read is available in print and ebook formats at Amazon. The SMFS list members in this issue are:

C. W. Blackwell with “Dig Deep The Midnight Furrows.”

Jen Conley with “He Will Kill You.”

Robb T. White with “Barn Find.”


The poor pay more, even when nature calls. A vintage car is a cruel mistress. Hookers don't get vacations - not the kind you come back from. What won't a mother do when her son needs a heart?

Call this issue a hat trick of desperation. Rock and a Hard Place 3 continues the chronicles of people who might make one good decision if they could catch a single break.

Fiction, essays, and art by:
C.W. Blackwell
LR Casazza
Jen Conley
Tammy Euliano
Alison Garsha
Stephen J. Golds
Jeremiah Kniola
Mark Krajnak
Diane Krauthamer
Claude Lalumiere
Gabrielle Nelson
Andrew Novak
Alexandros Plasatis
David Rachels
Richard Risemberg
Todd Robinson
Donald D. Shore
Rob Tucher
Robb T. White

In Rock and a Hard Place the struggle never ends, and our attention never flags.

SMFS Member Guest Post: Why Does That Happen? by Mysti Berry

Editor and publisher Mysti Berry’s latest project, Low Down Dirty Vote Volume 2: Every Stolen Vote Is A Crime is out now and features numerous members of the SMFS as well as other authors. Today in her guest post, Mysti compares what often happens with fiction to her world of technical writing. 

Why Does That Happen? by Mysti Berry

When I was a baby crime writer, literally following writers like Gigi Pandian, Juliet Blackwell, and Sophie Littlefield around, absorbing everything I could from them and from conferences and SinC or MWA meetings, I would often wonder “why does that even happen?” Things like:

  •       A manuscript turned in on time doesn’t launch for 12 or 18 months. What takes so long?
  •      Typos introduced into a manuscript, even at places in the text not ever touched by editors or copyeditors. In my day job of software technical writing, content is written once and published many places without alteration. So how do these typos happen?
  •      Changes from an author that get missed by the publisher.
  •       Errors in the title for heaven’s sake!
  •      Editors changing dialog for grammatical correctness.

Now that I’ve published two short story collections, one containing 12 writers’ stories and another containing 22, I can tell you—it’s a miracle any book makes print at all. It’s an ugly, manual, error-prone process with poor quality controls at every stage, despite everyone’s best attempts to be perfect and avoid error.

In other words, book production is still more art than commerce, even at the big publishing houses. And when the book is a collection of short stories, the opportunities for error increase with every story added. I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve learned after two charity anthologies about why things happen that really shouldn’t.

Ancient and Unintegrated Tools

As a technical writer, I refused to take any job that used Word as the authoring tool. It’s self-corrupting. Inconsistent. It’s based on a proprietary language, which means it’s not really plain text, it’s garbage in there and it doesn’t play well with others.

I’m used to tools like a developer’s IDE and text that can travel from place to place completely unaltered. Also, the look of the text is completely separated from the content. You can be sure that if you push the button that says “make all straight quotes and apostrophes into curly ones,” it’ll make that happen. Without error. Not so with Word in my experience.

For example, you may well email a perfect Word file to your editor or publisher, but there is no guarantee what they open is exactly what you sent. There’s no source control, just track changes—but if the underlying software occasionally just randomly changes content, track changes won’t help you. If the author accidentally makes changes with it turned off, there’s no way to discover that. Track changes is the weak sister of source control tools that will tell you about every single change: when it changed and who changed it. Track changes just pretends to do that.

A publisher receives your file, sends it through multiple rounds of reviews and revisions between you, an editor, a copyeditor, and who-all else knows who. At every transfer the likelihood of a small or large error is high. Without plain text and real source control, you’ll never catch the little things that happen every time a file is opened or closed. The only way to know how different your initial manuscript is from the printed book is to compare it, by hand, letter by letter. Nobody does that.

Now, I could have used my technical writing tools to write my own manuscripts, but then they would have been in formats no one else could read:

(WendyCodesStuff, thank you for this example.) This system (git, markdown) is far more error-proof than Word and its track changes.

Imagine a world where, instead of everyone emailing easily corruptible files to each other, you just sent a link: “Hey, world famous author, your galley is ready!” or “Hey, fabulous editor of Big Five Publishing House, here are my edits,” and the whole record of every single change is visible to all.

We should have that world now, but we don’t. Instead, we have authors writing in Scrivener or Vellum, exporting to Word (ubiquitous as it is untrustworthy), maybe re-importing if you really have that kind of time, or giving up and continuing on in Word, leaving directories of unfinished content, and, if you are lucky, the final version in a hard-to-find email somewhere.

Almost nobody uses a modern tool. (Some do! Ask Ray Daniel about “markdown” at the next writer’s conference.) Nobody separates content from format sufficiently, and nobody does adequate source control. I suspect that the learning curve for these tools is so steep that you couldn’t both underpay people AND ask them to learn this kind of stuff.

Here is a list of problems that I found in my latest book, and fixed just in time:

  •          A quotation mark disappeared from the beginning of a dialog line. The line was a bit complicated, so the missing quote would have confused every reader at first. I still don’t know how it got deleted, so I can’t fix my process to prevent that error in future.
  •          Formats were not applied to a single title page of 22 story title pages. The story was shorter than the rest, and the software I was using required me to apply a special font by hand to every title page (long story). I only noticed it because that error produced another error farther down the production line.
  •          When I saw a last-minute error (my own typo), I tried to fix it in the PDF before sending out an ARC. Clicking into the block of text changed the font in the whole paragraph, and there was no putting it back. (Yeah, I like Acrobat just two chinchilla whiskers more than Word.)
  •          Because there is no intelligent reuse in fiction publishing, I had one ISBN number on the cover, and a different one in the copyright page. In technical writing, you can create variables, place them wherever you want, and the right value shows up in each place. Handy when you do something to offend the Amazon gods and you have “republish” your book with a new ISBN before it was every really published in the first place.

It’s nerve-wracking to send a book out into the world with absolutely no way to verify 100% that everything is right. It kills me. And there are definitely things I could do to improve my process. But I’m a human being. I cannot be perfect, I can only perfect my quality controls. And without proper tools, I can’t even do that.

Not Following the Process

There is a process for going from manuscript to published paperback:

  1.       Writer sends in manuscript.
  2.       Editor reads, marks up, send manuscript back for writer edits/acceptance.
  3.       Writer sends in that same file, with changes accepted, new changes highlighted with change tracking.
  4.       Editor accepts all changes, hands the file off to the book production folks (which, in my case, is just me with an extra cup of coffee and a swear jar).

If, as often happens with the best and most creative writers, a brainstorm/sudden urge occurs to review the work out of this cycle, errors can occur. The writer might email a whole file with the new changes highlighted—but then the publisher has to remember that the email exists, reconcile it with all other inflight-changes, and not make a mistake doing so. I am fairly certain I let down two of my very most favorite writers with mistakes like these—changes that they emailed me about, but which I failed to implement. That kind of error keeps me up at night.

The writer wants their best work published. The editor and publisher do, too! But it is very easy to miss any change that happens outside the regular cycle. When you are working with a dozen or two authors, it might be a week between the time a writer alerts the editor to a desired change and the time the editor or production person sits down to work on the story—a week filled with so many fires to put out or catastrophes to avoid that the editor straight up forgets.

Again, if the editor is a more organized person than me, with more time, he or she could double-check every email from every writer and never miss a thing, including reconciling multiple copies of the same story with different changes in it (and an email with “one more thing.”) However, this is still a hard thing to get perfectly right every single time.

No, Seriously. How Could You Mess Up the Title?

This one is something I learned in technical writing, where there are lots of titles: topic titles, heading titles, side-heads, all manner of special, short phrases that help the reader orient to what they are about to read. Here’s the thing: we glaze over titles first. We’ve seen them so many times, and we think we know what they say, so we miss big mistakes sometimes. I learned somewhere that people actually read in phrase-sized hunks, and we just see the whole hunk we expect to see instead of the one that’s actually there.

My story in AHMM last year was meant to be called “My Yorkshire Ripper.” Somewhere along the line, and probably by my own hand, the “My” was dropped. I looked at that title at least a dozen times from first submission to final approval. I never noticed the “My” was gone. So now, that story is simply “Yorkshire Ripper.”  

Change blindness like this can be fought with a robust checklist. Check the titles, the author name, proper names, anything that should be capitalized, after every round of changes. Or read your story backwards to find errors that are otherwise hidden by your over-familiarity with the content. But know that the editors and production folks have the same problem you have, and give them all a little compassion. Being perfect in your day job is impossible, but these folks try to be exactly that, perfect.

Why Does It Take So Long?

As a technical writer, I could write and publish about three pages of content a day. Most of that time was spent writing, very little of it was lost to the mechanics of publishing. So how can it take 18 months for a book to get to print? Basically, it’s a many-step process and every step needs lead time. Unless you are publishing a hot tell-all, you need to have a book close to complete a good six months before the launch date. Reviewers need months to get a review into their queue. Marketing events have long lead times. Authors need time to consider edits and complete them. Most of this stuff can’t be done at the same time.

The first publisher who uses modern writing tools and source control can cut this time in half. Until then, just know that when your editor or publisher doesn’t speak to you for months, they have not gone to Hawaii. They are scheduling like mad, executing like crazy—and they really do care about you and your story. They just have a lot of other people’s schedules to coordinate with.

Weird Things with Dialog

This is the one issue I do not have a fancy explanation for. I was horrified the first time I heard about a copyeditor changing all the dialog of a character to make it grammatically complete.

People don’t talk the way they write. They do not always (or even often) speak in complete sentences. Spoken language changes faster than written language because the latter is weighed down by dictionaries and prescriptive grammarians. Spoken language, on the other hand, lets its freak-flag fly. Great, character-specific dialog is a gift to the reader in any story, and why any editor would touch it is beyond me. If you have any insight into this mystery, please drop me a clue!

Summing Up

Bad things happen for good reasons, and it’s a shame. I recently bought a new writer’s first story collection, excited to take the trip her wonderful voice was guaranteed to send me on. But the editor had produced an error-ridden first chapter—word substitutions that were clearly copy-edit foul ups, not the writer’s word choice. It put me off the whole collection, despite my being a fan of this writer. While it is tempting to assume someone along the way is not good at their job, I strongly suspect this is simply one manifestation of people working hard and fast with inadequate tools and change management. Easy to describe, wicked difficult to fix.

I really hope the publishing industry finds the incentives it needs to get a wee bit more tech savvy, and change-control conscious. Every author deserves to be heard with the story they wrote.

Mysti Berry ©2020

An active member of MWA, Sisters in Crime, ITW, and the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA), Mysti has served on the board of her local MWA and Sisters in Crime chapters (NorCal!) and on the board of the PSWA. She is once again polishing her financial fraud murder mystery to keep up with real life changes in how people steal millions of dollars without getting caught. She speaks at writers conferences, teaches workshops, and tweets far too often for her own mental health.

With an MFA in Writing from University of San Francisco and a BA in Linguistics from UC Santa Cruz, Mysti loves to talk with people about story structure, language, film noir, and the resistance, not always in that order. She was really fond of Dalwhinnie scotch until a Scotsman told her it is a “lady’s whiskey.”

If you see her at a writer’s conference or book festival, please do say hello.

Friday, July 24, 2020

SMFS Member Publishing News: Pamala Ebel

SMFS list member Pamala Ebel’s short story, “Love and Death at the Red Onion” appears today online at Shotgun Honey. The story is free to read here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Ally Shields Blog: Author Nupur Tustin Blends Psychic Ability with Mystery

Ally Shields Blog: Author Nupur Tustin Blends Psychic Ability with Mystery

SMFS Member Publishing News: Art Taylor

SMFS list member Art Taylor reports that his short story, “Restoration” is currently a free read for “Wildside Press’ Black Cat Mystery and Science Fiction Ebook Club” as selected by SMFS list member Barb Goffman. Originally published in the first issue of Crime Syndicate Magazine, the currently free read is available in Mobi (Kindle) and ePub formats. You can pick it up here.


Art Taylor is the author of The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense and the novel in stories On the Road with Del & Louise. His work has earned the Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, and Macavity Awards. He is an associate professor of English at George Mason University.
"Restoration" by Art Taylor was originally published in Issue One of Crime Syndicate Magazine.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

SMFS Member Publication News: Leslie Budewitz

Today is publication day for SMFS list member Leslie Budewitz’s new book, The Solace of Bay Leaves: A Spice Shop Mystery. This is the fifth book in the series that originally started with Assault and Pepper in 2015. Published by Seventh Street Books, the book is out today in eBook and audio formats by way of Simon and Schuster, Amazon, and other vendors, with the print paperback scheduled for release on October 20th.


Pepper Reece never expected to find solace in bay leaves.

But when her life fell apart at forty and she bought the venerable-but-rundown Spice Shop in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, her days took a tasty turn. Now she’s savoring the prospect of a flavorful fall and a busy holiday cooking season, until danger bubbles to the surface . . .

Between managing her shop, worrying about her staff, and navigating a delicious new relationship, Pepper’s firing on all burners. But when her childhood friend Maddie is shot and gravely wounded, the incident is quickly tied to an unsolved murder that left another close friend a widow.

Convinced that the secret to both crimes lies in the history of a once-beloved building, Pepper uses her local-girl contacts and her talent for asking questions to unearth startling links between the past and present—links that suggest her childhood friend may not have been the Golden Girl she appeared to be. Pepper is forced to face her own regrets and unsavory emotions, if she wants to save Maddie’s life—and her own.

SleuthSayers: The Problem with Writing about Mean Girls by Barb Goffman

SleuthSayers: The Problem with Writing about Mean Girls: Funny how you can write a story, revise it, edit it down to a certain length, read it again before submitting it, proofread it before it&#...

The First Two Pages: “Crow’s Nest” by John M. Floyd

The First Two Pages: “Crow’s Nest” by John M. Floyd

Monday, July 20, 2020

Gerald So's Blog So Much To Talk About: Time Tripping Back to the 1940s by Paul D. Marks

Gerald So's Blog So Much To Talk About: Time Tripping Back to the 1940s by Paul D. Marks

Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast: Crime of Passion by Guy Belleranti

The latest KRL Podcast features the mystery short story, “Crime of Passion” by Guy Belleranti. Originally published by Woma’s World in January 2007, the story is read by Kelly Ventura.  You can hear the KRL Podcast here.

From the site:

This episode features the mystery short story, Crime of Passion written by mystery author Guy Belleranti, read by local actor Kelly Ventura. You can learn more about Guy Belleranti on his website  This story was originally published by Woman's World in their January 23, 2007 issue.  In each episode, we share with you mystery short stories and mystery novel first chapters read by actors from the San Joaquin Valley. Kelly Ventura has read many past podcast stories for us and they too are available here and on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and others. If you enjoyed this episode please review or rate it as that helps more people be able to find us! Also, consider subscribing so you never miss an episode-both to this podcast and to the podcast newsletter. You can find more mystery fun on our websites Kings River Life Magazine and KRL News and Reviews.

SleuthSayers: Plot versus Character by Steve Liskow

SleuthSayers: Plot versus Character: by Steve Liskow When I conduct a writing workshop, one of the questions people frequent ask is about the importance of plot versus charact...

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Reader's Choice Award Nominee: John R. Lindermuth

SMFS list member John R. Lindermuth has been nominated for a Reader’s Choice Award sponsored by TCK Publishing. His book, The Bartered Body, is up as a “Favorite Mystery Book.” All the details of the various categories and procedure to vote cane be found here on the website. More about the book can be found here.

A Short Walk Down A Dark Street: Issue 113

As posted by Peter DiChellis to our SMFS list…

This week’s blog root, root, roots for the home team—and for short mystery & crime fiction, with links to grand-slam reviews, releases, free reads, and more.
Includes links to all five Anthony Award finalists for Best Short Story, free-to-read.
Plus—Tricks of the Trade: The scoop on four free (or free trial) software programs for writers: Jarte, LibreOffice, Scapple, and Scrivener.
And a review of a new collection of all the Edward D. Hoch stories featuring his three women detective characters.
Also, links to a new Sara Paretsky collection and a Spillane-Collins Mike Hammer collection.
A short walk down a dark street (#113). Celebrating short mystery and crime fiction.
Best wishes,

Little Big Crimes Review: The Cask of Los Alamos by Cornelia Read

Little Big Crimes: The Cask of Los Alamos, by Cornelia Read: "The Cask of Los Alamos," by Cornelia Read, in Santa Fe Noir, edited by Ariel Gore, Akashic Press, 2020. The publisher sent m...

Saturday, July 18, 2020

SMFS Member Publishing News: Bern Sy Moss

SMFS list member Bern Sy Moss’ short story, “Count Me Out” is now up at the Mystery Tribune. The flash fiction piece is free to read here.

2020 Macavity Awards SMFS Member Nominees

Earlier this week, the 2020 Macavity Awards nominees were announced and include several members of the SMFS. The Macavity Award is named for the “mystery cat” of T.S. Eliot (Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats). Each year The Macavity Awards are nominated and voted on by members of Mystery Readers International, subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal, and friends and supporters of MRI who all nominate and vote for their favorite mysteries in five categories.  The winners will be announced during the opening ceremonies at the virtual Bouchercon in Sacramento later this year.

The nominated SMFS members are:

Best Mystery Short Story:

Michael Chandos with "West Texas Barbecue" in the anthology, The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes From The Panhandle To The Piney Woods, published by Down & Out Books, and edited by Michael Bracken.

Barb Goffman with “Alex’s Choice in the anthology, Crime Travel, published by Wildside Press and edited by Barb Goffman.  

G. M. Malliet with “Whiteout” in the Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine: January/February 2019 issue. This tale also finished third in the most recent EQMM Readers Award balloting.

Art Taylor with “Better Days” in the Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine: May/June 2019 issue. This tale also finished tied for sixth place in the most recent EQMM Readers Award balloting.

Best First Mystery:

Tara Laskowski with One Night Gone, published by Graydon House. This book won an Agatha Award earlier this year and is also up for an Anthony Award.

Sue Feder Memorial Award for Best Historical Mystery:

Edith Maxwell with Charity’s Burden: A Quaker Midwife Mystery, published by Midnight Ink. This book won an Agatha Award earlier this year.

SleuthSayers: Stranded During the Pandemic by John Floyd

SleuthSayers: Stranded During the Pandemic: It's been 22 years since editor Andrew Gulli launched the rebirth of The Strand Magazin e, which was originally published in London ...

2020 Bethlehem Writers Roundtable Short Story Award Winners: Paula Benson and Debra H. Goldstein

The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable has announced their 2020 Short Story Award Winners and two SMFS list members are award winners. They are:

Paula Benson took Second Place for her story, “Cosway’s Confidence.”

Debra H. Goldstein took a Honorable Mention for “Wabbit’s Carat.”

For more information on the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and their awards, please go to their website here.

Friday, July 17, 2020

SMFS Member Publishing News: Marilyn Holt

SMFS list member Marilyn Holt’s latest short story, “Benito Guzman Carried A Gun” is online at Short-Story.Me. It can be read for free here. Make sure to scroll down the page about halfway to find the tale.

Author Groupie Interview with Kaye George

Author Groupie Interview with Kaye George

SMFS Member Publishing News: Cheri Vause

SMFS list member, Cheri Vause’s new novel, Shadows, is out now. Published by Penmore Press, the read is available in print and digital formats at Amazon.


There is insanity in keeping secrets. So Aiden "Mac" McManus, a young Navy Underwater Demolition Team leader, believes when he is sent by World War II's Supreme Commander, General Eisenhower, to protect two French Résistance spies carrying microfilm of Hitler's Secret Notebook. It contains all the formulas and processes for advanced weaponry created by Nazi scientists. But the mission goes horribly wrong.
Twenty-two years later, in a time of social unrest and homegrown terrorism, history repeats itself. Mac is tasked to take on the same evil he faced during the war, leaving his wife Esther and their child behind. But when Esther herself is targeted, their enemies just might find out the hard way that the female of the species can be more deadly than the male.

Jacqueline Seewald: Interview with Author Cathi Stoler

Jacqueline Seewald: Interview with Author Cathi Stoler: I have the pleasure of interviewing a fellow mystery writer this week. Cathi is a three-time finalist and winner of the Derringer for Best ...

Criminal Minds: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours by Frank Zafiro

Criminal Minds: I’ll Show You Mine If You Show Me Yours: Lately, some authors on social media are saying that it’s time authors shared details about their book contracts and income to break open th...

Thursday, July 16, 2020

2020 SMFS Anthony Award Nominees: Short Stories Availability

Bouchercon has updated their 2020 Anthony Award Nominees page to include the links to read online for free the nominated short stories in the “Best Short Story” category. There are five available short stories to read which includes three short stories by two SMFS list members. As previously announced, The SMFS nominees in this category are:   

Hilary Davidson’s “Unforgiven” from the anthology, Murder a-Go-Go’s: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Music of the Go-Go’s, published by Down & Out Books. The anthology is also nominated in the Best Anthology or Collection category.

Art Taylor’s “Hard Return” from the anthology, Crime Travel, published by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by SMFS list member Barb Goffman. The anthology is also nominated in the Best Anthology or Collection category.

Art Taylor’s “Better Days” from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine: May/June 2019Mr. Taylor wrote about his story at The First Two Pages: “Better Days” by Art Taylor.

All of the nominated short stories can be read by going to the Bouchercon 2020 Anthony Award Nominees page.

2020 Public Safety Writers Association Winners: Vinnie Hansen and Ellen Kirschman

In addition to the previously announced award news regarding Victoria Weisfeld, the SMFS would like to announce and congratulate our members Vinnie Hansen and Ellen Kirschman who also won  2020 Public Safety Writers Association Awards.

Vinnie Hansen’s short story, “The Last Word” from the 2019 anthology, Fault Lines: Stories by Northern California Crime Writers took second place in the “Short Story, Published” category.

Vinnie Hansen also took third place in the same category with “Room and Board” from the 2019 anthology, Fishy Business: The Fifth Guppy Anthology.

In the “Fiction Book, Unpublished” category, Ellen Kirschman reports that she took second place for The Answer To His Prayers (the fourth book of the Dr. Dot Mystery Series).

Ellen Kirschman also received a Honorable Mention in the “Short Story, Unpublished” category for “Don’t I Know You.”  

The full list of the Public Safety Writers Association Award winners can be found here