In the first week of April 1996, the members of Margo Power's shortmystery-l digest voted to become the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Though not a change of official standing, it spoke to our goals of better representing mystery & crime short stories in the public eye.

By Shortmystery's technical Yahoo! Groups settings, requests to join require moderator approval, but by Society policy, all requests are approved except during Derringer Awards voting (usually April 1–29). Members take part in any SMFS activity they wish, to the extent they wish. Membership is free of charge and only lapses if one unsubscribes or is banned from Shortmystery.

Each January, members or mystery/crime publishers submit their favorite traditionally-published stories of the past year for our Derringer Awards. February–April, members judge and vote to honor one story up to 1,000 words; one 1,001–4,000; one 4,001–8,000; and one 8,001–20,000. May 1, these winners are announced along with a living writer chosen by five-member executive panel to receive our Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement.

During opening ceremonies of Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention (typically in the fall), the five honorees are presented with Derringer medals. If you'd like to donate toward future medals, please contact Vice President Larry W. Chavis.

On an irregular basis, an executive panel also convenes to consider deceased writers of importance to the form for induction to the Short Mystery Fiction Hall of Fame.

In 2014, we formed the SMFS Anthology Plans subgroup, which so far has yielded Flash and Bang, published by Untreed Reads October 8, 2015, featuring nineteen new flash and short mystery, suspense, and thriller stories by Shortmystery members.

The Short Mystery Fiction Society Blog is the official public record of our activities and policy. It also features a monthly roundup of members' publication news, links to writers' resources and articles about short mystery, and is open to members' original guest posts.

Continue reading this page for bios of our current leadership, descriptions of how our awards are decided, and photos and video from previous award ceremonies. You can also search the blog using the box in the right sidebar.


Elected to serve two-year terms, the SMFS president and vice president are the main representatives of the Society and the genre to the public. They moderate Shortmystery and are part of the selection committee for the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer and Short Mystery Fiction Hall of Fame.

Interested in running for office? Here's more information.

The 2018–20 Officers are:

Kevin R. Tipple, President

When not offending someone in person or online due to his strange sense of humor, Kevin reviews books, watches way too much television, and offers unsolicited opinions on anything.  His short fiction has appeared in magazines such as "Lynx Eye," "Starblade," "Show and Tell," and "The Writer's Post Journal" among others and online at such places as "Mouth Full Of Bullets," "Crime And Suspense," "Mysterical-e" and others. The fact that most of those publications and sites no longer exist is not his fault. An anthology featuring his story “By The Light of the Moon…” appears in the Carpathian Shadows: Volume 2 book. Also published is a collection of his stories, Mind Slices. Fully trained before marriage, Kevin can work all major appliances and, despite a love of nearly all sports, is able to clean up after himself.

Larry W. Chavis, Vice President

Deciding at the advanced age of 44 to earn a physics degree to complement his theological degree, Larry enrolled in the University of Southern Mississippi, where he spent three exciting, if exacting, years, accomplishing his goal with honors. Upon graduation, he entered the public education system, teaching physics, trigonometry, and calculus. Semi-retired now (although still teaching two classes), he has a bit more time to work on writing. Larry has had stories published in "Crime and Suspense Ezine," "Kings River Life Magazine," and the anthology, Ten for Ten, edited by Tony Burton. Larry lives in south-central Mississippi with his wife of 38 years and a severely spoiled Shih-tsu named Sammie.



Anthony Rudzki, 2019 Derringer Awards Coordinator

Tony is a short story writer from SW Pennsylvania. Although he enjoys reading and writing short mystery, his published creds are in the fantasy genre, including Medallion of the Undead.

Erin F. Slattery, 2019 Assistant Derringer Awards Coordinator

Erin is a freelance editor living in New York. She is a member of the Editorial Freelancers Association, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America's Kiss of Death chapter.

Overseen by an annually-elected coordinator independent of the Officers, the Derringer Awards process runs January 1–April 30, open to any writer's stories with first-English language publication in the previous year.

In January, SMFS members and/or any editors of venues that publish short mystery fiction submit said stories to the Awards Coordinator.

February–March, SMFS member volunteer judges narrow the submissions to five finalists in four length categories, ranging from flash fiction (up to 1,000 words) to novelette (8,001–20,000 words).

Through April, the membership at large votes to determine the winner in each category.

Winners are announced May 1, followed by a public medal presentation at Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention.

To be eligible to submit, judge, and vote for the 2018 Derringers, join Shortmystery by December 31, 2017.

Interested in running for Awards Coordinator, volunteering as a Derringer Judge, or voting on the Derringers? Here's more information.


Presented by electronic certificate at their 1998 inception, the Derringers have taken physical form since Bouchercon 2009 (Indianapolis, IN), when then-VP Jim Doherty created and presented plaques:

L to R: 2009 Golden Derringer recipient Clark Howard, 2009 Derringer winner for Best Flash Story Ruth McCarty, editors Linda Landrigan and Janet Hutchings, Jim Doherty (Photo courtesy of Ruth McCarty)

At Bouchercon 2010 (San Francisco, CA) Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine editor Janet Hutchings (L) accepted on behalf of 2010 Best Long Story Derringer winner Doug Allyn (Photo by Robert S. Levinson)

Photo by Art Taylor

In January 2015, Society members donated toward medals to make up for plaques undelivered 2009–14 and to become the physical Derringers from Bouchercon 2015 (Raleigh, NC) forward:

2012 Golden Derringer recipient Bill Pronzini

Photo by 2015 Derringer presenter Art Taylor

The medals' centerpiece art is a brightening of John Moody's 2003 member t-shirt art, re-lettered in 2014's League Spartan Bold.

2015 Best Long Story Derringer winner Hilary Davidson
(Photo by Travis Richardson)

Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine editor Janet Hutchings
on behalf of 2015 Golden Derringer recipient James Powell
(Photo by Travis Richardson)

2016 Derringer presentation at Bouchercon (New Orleans, LA)
L to R: Best Flash winner Vy Kava, Best Short Story winner Meg Opperman, Best Long Story and Best Novelette winner John M. Floyd, presenter O'Neil De Noux, Golden Derringer recipient Michael Bracken
(Photo by Aidan Russell)

Temple Walker's video of Michael Bracken's acceptance speech