Sunday, May 31, 2009

Our Links Runneth Over

We've got a nice mix of links today.

First up, The First Line is looking for subs for their fall issue with an Aug 1st deadline. Here's your first line to work with "My life is a sham." You'll find their url in the print section to the left to check out their guidelines.

Crossed Genres is having a flash contest with a June 14 deadline. 100 to 500 words pasted into their online form. The flash must be sci-fi or fantasy. 1st place receives a years subscription to the magazine, 8 bucks and their story published. 2nd to 4th place receive a years subscription also. You can find the details here In June they'll also be accepting stories for their next issue with the theme Alternate History. url in the print section to the left.

If your short stories tends to go way long, say in the 25,000 to 50,000 word range Withersin will be open to novella subs from Sept 1 to Oct 1. They consider most genres but prefer dark, different, and disturbing. They pay 10% royalties to the author. Be sure and check out the guidelines as they are different from subbing a short story. While you're there you might also want to check out their contest page. No money just getting your story published if it wins.

Any fishermen out there? Fly fishing, that is. Fly Rod and Reel is sponsoring the annual Robert Traver Fly-Fishing Writing Award for an essay or short story that embraces fly fishing and the outdoors. You can find the details here First prize is $2000, 2nd is $750 and 3rd $250

I ran across this new zine called Callused Hands. They publish poetry and flash fiction. They're looking for ordinary literature for ordinary people. They just opened their doors in May and all that's published so far is poetry and there's no pay for this one.

Book Spot Central is holding a contest for three copies of Terminator Salvation a novelization by Alan Dean Foster. They still have several other contest for books in progress so I'm linking to the contest category for you Just click on the title of the one you're interested in.

And over at Horror Bound there's an interview with horror writer Ramsey Campbell I especially liked this line from the interview, "Be true to your experience. Hone your craft by writing short fiction before you set out on the long haul of a novel."

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some Friday Tidbits

I seem to keep running into flash fiction posts these days but then most of the hints for writing better flash pieces also applies to writing longer stories or novels. Jordan Lapp, the editor of Every Day Fiction has an interesting post about using dialogue up at the Flash Fiction Chronicles blog.

For those of you who would like to extend you flash fiction reading beyond the crime fiction boundaries and into the more literary side of flash, Wig Leaf has posted their pick of the top 50 flash pieces on the net.

One of the stories I clicked on was The Last Stop by Jenny Halper Now this story made me realize just how important a title is to a story. When I finished reading, I glanced again at the title and it really brought the ending of the story home. It's a great story, by the way, and at its roots, a crime story. Check it out, it won't take long, but the story will roll over and over in your mind as you realize all the layers this writer packed into those 500 words.

If you feel like you're running on empty with your writing, head on over to James Reasoner's blog and check out the essay on Orrie Hitt by Brian Ritt called "The Sleazy Side of the Street" Between 1953 and 1964, Mr. Hitt wrote 145 books. Yep, that's books, not short stories. This is well worth the time just to read the quotes from Mr. Hitt's books. The man could really sling the words.

One final thing, a friend of The Corner passed along this link to a contest that ends July 1 There's no pay if you win, only copies of the anthology the winning stories will appear in. I'm not familiar with this publisher and I couldn't find what rights they purchase on the site, nor submission guidelines for the anthology itself. This could be fun, but please proceed with caution as usual.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


For those of you who aren't electronically challenged Weird Tales Magazine has opened up what they call One Minute Weird Tales. Micro-stories of 20 to 150 words presented in one-screen chunks. They explain it much better here and with a video sample of what they're looking for They're paying $25 for video/online publication rights. They're also open to regular submissions as of Memorial Day

There's a month left to get a submission into Shroud Magazine. June 30 is the deadline and the next open submission period isn't until next February. Url to the left in the print column.

Are you into fantasy? Black Gate Magazine is open for submissions until June 30. They're looking for epic fantasy fiction of all lengths with pay 3 to 6 cents a word and 3 cents for non-fiction. Pay close attention to their guidelines as they've taken the time to set down a list of what exactly they're looking for and what gets a submission rejected.

I'm a big fan of country music and there's a song I've heard recently called "People Are Crazy" by Billy Currington that always makes me smile and think what a great story you could get from these lyrics - "God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy." That line just begs to be part of a story.

So when I clicked over to The Dead Mule and found that their May issue was up I was pleased to find this story by Douglas Campbell called "A Big Ole Train" with lyrics from another country song singing through the story. It's not a crime story, but it warmed this country girl's heart this morning.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Crap Factor

I wonder, does a writer ever lose the "crap factor" when they're writing? You know what I mean, believing that everything you write is just crap. Wishing that you could unsend that submission you just emailed to an editor, then being totally amazed when they actually like what you sent them?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Monday Links

One of the hardest things about writing is digging so deep into your memory banks that you're almost bleeding the darkest secrets of your soul on the page. As writers we seek truth, not the truth as the world views it, but the truth as we see it.

And no, not every writer does this every time they put pen to paper. Sometimes it's too painful to dig that deep and we just write a story to entertain. Is one better than the other? No, some stories are written just for their entertainment value but the ones that usually stick with the reader both entertain and touch some part of them so they'll remember the story long after they've closed the book.

What put these thoughts in my head? A couple of essays I read this morning. the first was "The Brutality of Truth" by Christopher G. Moore From there I clicked onto this essay in the LA Times, "Will Facebook Kill Literature's 'leave the past behind' themes?",0,3349310.story

If you click on the Editors Unleashed link in the Links column to the left you'll find an interview with Dave Clapper, the editor and founder of Smokelong Quarterly, where he explains what he's looking for in the flash stories he publishes and why he doesn't like twist endings. Great stuff! And the Flash Fiction 40 contest at Editors Unleashed has already launched if you're of a mind to enter. The guidelines are on the site.

Over at Book Spot Central they're giving away two signed copies of Claude Lalumiere's short story anthology "Objects of Worship". You may remember Mr. Lalumiere from his interview that was included in the "Interview with the Bookless" series that was featured at BSC recently. You will find the information on how to enter the contest here While you're there you might want to check out some of the other book giveaway contest that are going on. They're giving away copies of "The Wolverine Files" and "The Strain" just to name two.

And for the sci-fi writers in our midst, Shine Anthology is open for submissions until July 1. They're looking for near future sci-fi stories up to 10,000 words with a 5 cents a word payday. I wish I were a better sci-fi writer, sigh. Here's the url to the guidelines They have a pretty interesting site there if you care to take the time to give it a look.

Monday, May 25, 2009

I Remember

It seems like the memories of war have surrounded me all my life. My uncles served in WWII and as a child, sitting in the quiet of my grandfather's porch on warm summer nights, I would hear them whisper their memories. Memories of war were always whispered, never shouted or laughed about because they were hard memories, cruel in their remembrance of fallen friends and neighbors.

As a just graduated senior in 1968 I watched my classmates go off to Viet Nam. I used to sit in front of the TV watching the evening news for a glimpse of their faces and praying that it wasn't one of them being scraped off the ground in that bloody jungle.

I waitressed in the local diner for several years after high school and saw the older boys who'd made it back. They weren't whole. They were shattered inside, riding motorcycles too fast, drinking and smoking pot to help them forget and listening to The Doors on the jukebox to drown out those remembered screams of pain and fear that beat against their eardrums. I said goodbye to those going over for a first or second or third tour. I listened to their whispered stories and held their hands, gave them hair ribbons to take with them for good luck.

Memories of war aren't pretty, aren't soothing, aren't to be taken out and treasured. The memories are there to remind us of the horrors of war and what they did to our friends, our families, our neighbors, and the strangers we pass on the street. We remember, so we never forget those who gave up their lives and their innocence for those of us who remained behind.

Today is for honoring those who fought and fell but its also a time to remember those who returned, beaten down by the horror that is war. I wish that politicians who champion wars were the ones who had to face the guns, maybe then there would be peace in this world.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Not Much Going On

Big Pulp dropped a status update into my ebox this morning (because I signed up for their newsletter) , so I'll pass along the information:

Big Pulp has been on a brief hiatus, due to some unexpected personal issues, and we've gotten behind on posting new work and responding to some e-mail.If you are waiting any editorial communication regarding a submission, publication agreement, or payment, please be assured that we will get through our to-do list as quickly as possible. We hope to be caught up on most areas within the next week or so.

Thanks in advance for your patience and understanding,
Bill OlverEditor

Pine Tree Mysteries has posted it's third issue and Plots with Guns has hit the street with a special sci-fi issue. Urls to the left.

Friend of The Corner, David Cranmer, who publishes the excellent Beat to a Pulp, has one of his own stories up this week. And it's a good one! url to the left.

And a couple of essays for you.

Over at BSC they've pulled up an excellent essay by Gail Simone, who writes the DC comics Wonder Woman. Now you know you have to read this one.

On the Criminal Brief blog, Leigh Lundin has posted George Orwell's writing tips.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

This and That

Is it just me or are the markets for short stories in a holding pattern?

The flash zine Literary Bitch published its first issue in January and is now on hiatus.

Necrography just published its first issue and has switched from quarterly to bi-annual but they are open to subs. Urls to the left. Necrography also has a blog with updated info

And can anyone tell me what's going on with Bad Things? I've had several people ask me about this market. The second issue was to go live on April 1. I've written to editor, Chris Pimental, asking for an update on the zine but haven't heard back.

It's time to vote in the Story South Million Writers poll.

There's an excellent essay over at the Kill Zone blog today. "Start at the End" by Joe Moore expands on Kurt Vonnegut's rule #5

Over at Book Spot Central they're diving into the archives and posted this link to a piece by Brian Lindermuth entitled Black Crime Fiction: An Introduction. This is a very long and detailed history so you'll be back several times to read this through if your eyes give out as easily as mine, but it's well worth the time from what I've read so far.

And if you're thinking of starting a zine you might want to check out the Electric Velocipede Blog and editor, John Klima's, series "So You Want to Start a Zine". The link will take you to the first post, you can find the rest of the links on the right at the blog. He has 10 posts so far and it looks like he's planning four more. From what I've skimmed through this is a very thorough look at every aspect of producing not just an online zine but a print mag as well.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Catching Opportunites

I've been writing this week. Yeah, I write every day but the stories I've been working on this week take a different track than usual for me.

The first is a mother/daughter piece that's dark and humorous at the same time. I love dark humor but find that many of the markets out there don't know what to do with the so called "black humor" pieces. I'm lucky with this one because it's for Patti's flash challenge so I don't have to hunt down a market for it. Its also a stretch for me, because its not something I'd normally write.

The second is also a flash piece. I was invited by an editor to submit a piece for the inaugural issue of her flash zine. Someone had dropped out and she'd read some of my stories via the links over there on the left. This story has to fit a theme, also, and while there's a very small crime in it, there's no murder and no foul language, but it does have a bit of a noir edge to it. And, of course, there's no guarantee that it will suit the editor's needs. It's very hard to judge what exactly an editor is looking for when there's no published stories to study so you can get a handle on what exactly an editor is looking for.

So, why am I telling you all this? First, never turn down an opportunity, you never know where it will lead, either in publishing opportunities or just a chance to write something different. I've met a lot of great writers through Patti's challenge and the Clarity of Night contests. And you and your stories both get exposure. Kind of like a free advertisement for your work.

For those of you with blogs, people really do click on the links and read your stories. Link to your best online stuff, give them a variety of stories so they can see your range as a writer. I'm one of those writers who feels embarrassed to "brag" when I've had a story published. I know I shouldn't feel that way but that old "Pride goeth before a fall" thing was drummed into my head while I was growing up and its hard to shake. But with the links, I don't feel that embarrassment and my words are there for anyone who wants to read them without my beating them over the head with the stories.

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Saturday Book Hunt

Yippee!!! The local historical society's book sales started this past Saturday and we have one a month until October. I love these sales. I get to walk through two huge rooms full of books, scanning covers for titles and authors I've heard of, but never read.

I felt like a kid set free in a toy store as I strolled around the rooms full of old hardcovers and paperbacks. I scored 15 books for my $3.00 and I've been skim-reading from book to book trying to pick just one to settle in with. I think Jasper Fforde's "The Eyre Affair" is going to win the battle. It's part mystery, part sci-fi and the first chapter has already sucked me in.

Some of my classic finds are Ross Thomas' "The Fourth Durango", Dashiell Hammett's "The Dain Curse", Ross McDonald's "Black Money" and James Crumley's "Bordersnakes". I've read short stories by these gentlemen but never stumbled across any of their novels in my book hunting.

At last year's sale I discovered authors Laurie R. King and Minette Walters so I was happy to find books by both of these writers. And "The Black Dahlia" by James Ellroy! You can probably see why I can't make up my mind where to start.

And, of course, my beloved short stories are represented by three anthologies that I found.

First find was a hardback copy of "The Best of William Irish". Now, I'd heard this name over at Rara Avis but I wasn't familiar with the author, imagine my surprise when I did a google search and discovered that William Irish is the pen name of Cornell Woolrich! An author who's books I haven't been able to find.

Since I dabble in different genres when I write, I picked up a western anthology entitled "Luke Short's Best of the West" I've never heard of Luke Short but his short stories are amazing. And the last is a sci-fi anthology, "The Best of Jack Vance", another writer I've never heard of. Considering all the books I've read over the years, I seem to be a very ignorant reader. Do we ever catch up on all the authors we should read?

I haven't dipped into Vance's book except to read his preface and Barry N. Malzberg's introduction to the book. I was impressed by something that Vance said about his approach to the business of writing and I'd like to leave you with this quote, because for me, it makes perfect sense.

"In the first place, I am firmly convinced that the writer who publicizes himself distracts his readers from what should be his single concern: his work. For this reason, after a few early vacillations, I refuse to disseminate photographs, self-analysis, biographical data, critiques and confessions: not from innate reserve, but to focus attention where I think it belongs."

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Assorted Links

As a continuation of the critique discussion below you might want to check out this excellent essay by Brandon Bell on writing a well written story and how to critique your own and other's stories.

The newest Toys for Tots anthology, put out yearly by Wolfmont Publishing, is open to submissions. This year John Floyd is the editor. There is no pay for this one, as all the profits go to Toys for Tots, but it's always a good seller and great exposure for the writers. You can find the guidelines here This publisher tends toward the cozy end of the mystery genre so keep it clean if you're submitting.

Dan Wells, the publisher at Biblioasis is sponsoring a flash contest to advertise a new book that coming out. The word count is 250 and you get to kill off a reviewer. First prize is $100, the deadline is June 15. All the details are here

I found another excellent flash essay on KC Ball's blog yesterday. Here's the url

And finally for all you Diana Andrews fans, Albert Tucher has another story up at A Twist of Noir. url to the left. It's a great story, go enjoy!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Essays and a Contest

I slipped onto this site called Editors Unleashed this morning to read an essay about flash fiction and discovered that they're sponsoring a flash contest. Stories up to 1000 words and posted to their forum for reading and voting. Grand prize is $500 and the top forty stories will be published in an anthology. You can find the rules and submission dates here

I love essays that drop the light bulb effect into my mind. Over at Criminal Brief today is an essay, "In the Old Days", by Louis Willis. Basically its a review of a book he read, "Pulp Fictioneers: Adventures in The Storytelling Business". My light bulb moment? The reason so many women used a male pen name back then.

The Floor is Open

Last Friday, Keith Rawson asked about critique groups on his blog. I didn't leave a comment but I've been thinking about this one and decided I'd toss out a few of the things I've learned by participating in online critique groups then open the floor for anyone who'd like to throw in their two cents about critique groups, both pro and con.

First off, is actually finding a group that does the work. I went through about six groups before I found one that worked for me. Three groups put up prompts but no one wrote anything but me and only the person putting up the prompt offered a crit on occasion. Great for getting a story written but not for improving my writing. Another group thought every story should be a novel, the critiques were good, but being told shorts weren't worth writing tends to drive a short story writer crazy. You get the idea. You need to find a group that actually does the work, both posting stories and doing crits.

I was overjoyed when I finally found the FlashXer group. In this group the moderator posted three prompts a week. You had to write a story for at least one of the prompts a month and provide three crits a month. In other words, to participate, you had to do the work. And that's the key for any good crit group. You have to get involved and do the work.

Now, not all crits are created equal and you have to learn to sift through what you get to find what will work for your story. Some critters want everyone to write the same way they do and consider people who write differently stupid. Some will pick at every grammar and punctuation error, while others will just say, 'hey, that's great' or 'hey, that's awful' without telling you why.

Of course, there's the other side of this, too. Some writers can't take any kind of criticism of their work, which makes you wonder why they're in the group to begin with. Most of these writers will get in a snit, make a few nasty comments that make everyone feel uncomfortable and finally leave the group. Bottom line, you have put up with some crap to get the good out of a group.

So, how do you make the crits work for you? If everyone picks at one particular part of your story, it needs fixing. Grammar and punctuation help is always useful, unless they're trying to put perfect grammar in the mouth of a character who just wouldn't talk that way. You have to use your own instincts to know what will work and what won't in your story because it is your story, not theirs. The longer you write, the more you know what works and what doesn't. It's just a matter of trusting that nagging voice that tells you 'hey, that's not working.'

Where I live there are no real life crit groups close by. The closest one I came across was thirty miles away and had an essayist, a children's author, and literary novelist as members. I couldn't see how that would work for me. So, if anyone has experience within this type of group, please tell us about them and how they work or don't.

The floor is open.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Free Stuff!

We're doing all kinds of free stuff today. First up, over at the Women of Mystery blog there's a link to a free horror novella by Jack Kilbourn ( aka JA Konrath ) and Blake Crouch. While you're there check out the blog, the ladies host a lovely informative site.

Over at Book Spot Central you'll find links for two free downloads. The first is a copy of Jason Starr's new novel, Panic Attack The second is a free novella, Deeds of Men by Marie Brennan

If you enjoy podcasts there's an interview with Chuck Palahniuk conducted by Duane Swierczynski

And Seth Harwood narrates his novel Jack Wakes Up at

For you fans of sci-fi I found this link today The blog is called Bibliophile Stalker and has all kinds of links, reviews, and essays.

And a big round of Snoopy Dances for Clair Dickson who has a new Bo Fexler story up at Darkest Before the Dawn. Congratulations, Clair!!! url to the left, folks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

No Fee Contests in the Big Time Arena

With a hat tip to BV Lawson's In Reference to Murder blog is the Black Orchid Novella Contest sponsored by the Wolfe Pack and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. The deadline, closing in fast, is May 31. The prize is publication and a standard AHMM contract for your story. You can find all the details here

And Esquire Magazine is publishing fiction online but it looks like invitation only but they're sponsoring a fiction contest with a $2500 prize for the winner. You have a 4000 word limit and three titles to choose from for your story. "Twenty-Ten" - "An Insurrection" - "Never, Ever Bring This Up Again" All the details are here The deadline for this one is August 1.

If you're wondering how their taste in fiction runs they've posted lots of short stories from some great writers here This one is courtesy of the Poets and Writers newsletter.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Market News

For those of you looking to submit to Out of the Gutter's next issue, you'd better hurry. Subs for their sexploitation issues close on May 15, only four days away.

Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens has opened for submissions to their next issue. They're looking for absurd and surreal fiction and keep the word count below 2000.

And a couple of fairly new markets.

Blood Oranges Zine appears to be a once a year print mag. Their first issue is out and they're currently looking for subs for the next. They pay three copies and the deadline is 9/1/09. They say they're a genre market but prefer dark fantasy. They accept poetry, flash with a 150 word limit, and shorts under 3000. You can check them out here

Ugly Cousin is a literary flash zine looking for stories that max out at 1000. They say they publish the stories that no one else wants but they reserve to the right to reject too.

And last is an eBook publisher called Rymfire eBooks. Their tastes run to the horror and heavy metal genres. They have several short story anthologies listed that pay $3.00 per story and they publish one author novellas that pay $25 for those of you shopping longer stories.

As always read the guidelines and check out the types of stories they publish to see if your work is a fit.

Monday Linkage

I took the weekend off but the links continued to pile up with all sorts of goodies.

Claude Lalumiere is the featured writer in the latest Conversations With the (not) Bookless.

And another one featuring Kyle Minor has gone live.

All sorts of good news about the newest The Lineup: Poems on Crime2 which you can find here The Lineup2 has gone on sale at and if you're so inclined there's still copies of the first issue available. And if you'd like to have a listen to some of the great poetry before purchasing, you can click on over to CrimeWav

Courtesy of Jack Hardway we're directed to the free noir ebook Black Wings has My Angel by Elliott Chaze The Scribd site looks to be full of old novels that have been put into the public domain.

The Private Eye Writers of America are open for submissions of nominations for the Shamus Awards. You can find out more at

If you haven't read Alan Griffiths' My Father's Son over at a Twist of Noir you should. This is one of those quiet, unexpected stories that sneaks up on you and breaks your heart with the ending.

For fans of Ken Bruen, he's blogging this week at Moments in Crime. Since I'm not an online shopper I've never read any of Mr. Bruen's books. When I asked at the library if they had any, they said, "Ken, who? Are you sure you don't mean Sara Gruen? She wrote "Water for Elephants"." Apparently, not everyone has heard of our beloved Mr. Bruen and his writings. I've only read his blog posts, first at Murderati and then at Moments in Crime and the man wields a keyboard with such magic, that we mere mortal writers can only hope to come close too. You can read his posts all week at Treat yourself.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Heeding Good Advice

Brian Lindenmuth is winding down his Conversations With the Bookless series. The last three entries are conversations with the (not) bookless, writers who have books out there but haven't attracted the notice of a wider audience. Up today is John Weagly

On a personal note, I submitted a flash story to an anthology that Mr. Weagly was putting together many years ago now. I can't remember the title but it had to do with bones, and me, being the weird person that I am, created a character named Angel Bones, an imp who was rescued from hell by an Angel who refused to ascend into heaven named Ginger Blue.

Patient man that he was, he coped with my inability to get a file to come through without a lot of gibberish by allowing me to cut and paste the story into an email. Now, he rejected the story because it wasn't what he was looking for, but he told me to work with the characters and make the story a whole lot longer than the 700 words I'd given him, because he thought I really had something with these characters. Bless the man for his encouraging words!

When an editor tells you that you have something but it needs work, pay attention! These folks don't have time to play around with amateurs and if an editor takes the time to give you advice, please pay attention. I did, and the story "The Guilty" was born and published in Crime and Suspense. Mr. Weagly probably doesn't remember me, but I'll always remember him and his kindness to a newbie crime writer who still has trouble sending files.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

A Caution and a Link

In the post below I put up a link for the Emerging Writers blog. At that site there are links to a great number of zines and magazines for writers to check out and reviews of books and short stories. Also on the site is a link to join their network and I'd like to add a caution here. I was advised by someone who'd dealt with them in the past, that they'd had some difficulties in their dealings with them, so if you join their network please proceed with a bit of caution and your eyes wide open.

I do try to steer you towards sites and articles and zines that are of use to you as a writer, but when something like this comes up I like to post a warning. As always, proceed with caution when you join any online group, check things out for yourself before you jump in, it's the smart thing to do.

And there's another Conversations with the Bookless up at BSC featuring Fred Snyder.

And the Links Just Keep Coming

I've been finding myself spending a lot of time over at Book Spot Central because there's so much good stuff available there. Besides talking about books, they post about TV, movies, comic books, mystery, sci-fi, and fantasy. It's just an unbelievable site, no matter what your tastes are. And here's a sample of what they're serving up today.

Doc Savage fans will love this post with pictures of Doc from the DC comics and links to everything Doc Savage.

For lovers of sci-fi/fantasy there's free fiction today. There's a link in this post to a free copy of the e-book, "The Stealer of Souls" by Michael Moorcock.

And another Conversations with the Bookless featuring Andy Henion.

Courtesy of BV Lawson, a link she posted to the SMFS list about making May short story month. I'll go along with that one!

From that link I found this one which goes to a blog called The Story Prize with contains information about short story anthologies, awards, issues, and writing tips.
and this informative site called Emerging Writers Network

And of course, from there my fingers clicked their way to Five Star Literary Stories. Now this is where you ezine editors need to sit up and take notice. Editors are asked to submit a story from their zine along with a plug for the zine, the story is passed off to a reviewer who reviews the story and gets some attention for their review work. This is a win-win situation for everyone and a big Snoopy Dance goes out to TJ Forrester who put the whole thing together about a year ago. I wish I'd found it sooner. And for you writer folks there's links to all the zines that have submitted stories for review.

So, what are you waiting for? Point and click!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Spinetinger Award Winners

Snoopy Dances for all the winners and nominees!!! Congratulations to everyone!!!

New Voice

!!!!! Toby Barlow - SHARP TEETH - WINNER !!!!!

Declan Hughes - THE PRICE OF BLOOD
Brian McGilloway - BORDERLANDS
Castle Freeman JR - GO WITH ME
Cornelia Read - THE CRAZY SCHOOL
Kevin Wignall - WHO IS CONRAD HIRST?
Austin Williams - CRIMSON ORGY

Rising Star


!!!!! Christa Faust - MONEY SHOT - WINNER !!!!!

Jeffrey Ford - THE SHADOW YEAR
Allan Guthrie - SAVAGE NIGHT
Andrew Klavan - EMPIRE OF LIES
Olen Steinhauer - VICTORY SQUARE


!!!!! Lawrence Block - HIT AND RUN - WINNER!!!!!

Dennis Lehane - THE GIVEN DAY
James Sallis - SALT RIVER

Graphic Novel

100 Bullets by Brian Azzarello and Eduardo RissoCriminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

!!!!! Femme Noir by Christopher Mills and Joe Staton - WINNER !!!!!

Hawaiian Dick by B. Clay Moore and Steven Griffin
Incognegro by Mat Johnson and Warren Pleece
Scalped by Jason Aaron and R.M. Guera

Best Editor

Ben LeRoy - Bleak House

!!!!! Charles Ardai - Hard Case Crime - WINNER!!!!!

Neil Nyren - Putnam
John Schoenfelder - Thomas Dunne

Best Reviewer

Ali Karim
Larry Gandle

!!!!! Lesa Holstine - WINNER !!!!!

Karen Chisholm
Glenn Harper

Best Publisher

Bleak House

!!!!!Hard Case Crime - WINNER !!!!!


Special Services to the Industry

Declan Burke: Crime Always Pays
Barbara Franchi: Reviewing The Evidence

!!!!! J. Kingston Pierce: The Rap Sheet - WINNER !!!!!

John & Ruth Jordan: Crimespree

!!!!! Peter Rozovsky: Detectives Beyond Borders - WINNER !!!!!!

Ruth Jordan & Judy Bobalik: Bouchercon 2008

Best Cover

AT THE CITY’S EDGE by Marcus Sakey - Cover design by The DesignWorks Group
DEATH WAS THE OTHER WOMAN by Linda L Richards - Cover design by David Baldeosignh Rotstein
EMPTY AFTER AFTER by Reed Farrel Coleman - Cover design by 2Faced Designs
FIFTY TO ONE by Charles Ardai - Cover design by Cooley Design Lab
MAD DOGS by Brian Hodge - Cover design by Jill Bauman

!!!!! SHARP TEETH by Toby Barlow - Cover design by Christine Van Bree illustrated by Natasha Michaels - WINNER !!!!!

Best Short Story on the Web

Cold Rifts by Sandra Seamans (Originally published at Crooked)
Fruits by Steve Mosby (Originally published ay Spinetingler)

!!!!! Hard Bite by Anonymous-9 (Originally published at Beat to a Pulp) - WINNER !!!!!

Lenny and Earl Go Shooting Off Their Mouths by Ray Morrison (originally published at Word Riot)
Random Acts of Fatherhood by Robert Pesa (Originally published at Darkest Before the Dawn)Red Hair and Black Leather by Jordan Harper (Originally published at Thuglit)
She Watches Him Swim by Claude Lalumiere (Originally published at Back Alley)
Sisters Under the Skin by Naomi Johnson (Originally published at A Twist of Noir)
They Take You by Kyle Minor (Originally published at Plots With Guns)
Wishing on Whores by John Weagly (Originally published at Thieves Jargon)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Women and Noir

I just finished reading "The Liar's Diary" by Patry Francis and WOW! Now, I've been wondering for a long while if men and women look at noir differently. This book was noir from beginning to end with every character clearly screwed no matter what they did. But I wonder if men would read this book and feel the same way. One look at the cover and they'd probably think this was just another woman's book, like I did when I first picked the book up.

And on one level, this is a woman's book because it deals with friendship and marriage, but the murder and the mystery surrounding it brings this story down to its noir roots and rocks your world as you read. And as you read, you suddenly realize that this book is the liar's diary and that you're in the hands of a very unreliable narrator. A very gripping and chilling read.

So, what about you? Do you think men and women see noir differently? Can women who write dark stories without swear words and explicit violence and sex still be considered noir writers by those who read noir? Or do you women out there who write noir feel the need to push the envelope and make your stories even darker than your male counterparts? And how about you guys, do you think women's noir is too different for your noir taste buds?

And a couple of links:

Clair Dickson is the newest interviewee up at Book Spot Central's Conversations with the Bookless series. There's even an except from Clair's Bo Fexler novel included. Enjoy!

Sandra Ruttan has announced a new Spinetingler blog which will feature information about the ezine, awards, new issues and writing tips.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Blogs and Stories

As I was checking through the CrimeSpot blog links today, I discovered that Anne Frasier has started blogging again. Anne is the author of "Pale Immortal" a terrific book that I read this past summer. She also does some great blog posts, the two that are up are wonderful slices of her life. Her new blog is called Monkey with a Pen Drop on by and pay her a visit. She always has the welcome mat out.

The newest Conversations with the Bookless is up featuring Gabe Durham, a new writer to me, you can read his interview here If you'd like to acquaint yourself with his writing first, he has a story up at Thieves Jargon

Patti Abbott's calling for writers to join in the latest flash challenge. Drop by her blog and check it out. They're always a fun way to spend a blog day.

And one of the nice things about being a part of the Internet is you get to "meet" new writers. I met Jeff Brown through SMFS. He's a new writer and was looking for markets. so of course, I directed him here. He dropped me an email to say that he just had his first story published. And it's a great little flash piece! So, here's a big Snoopy Dance for first time published, Jeff. You can read his story "The Rock Star" at Powder Burn Flash

While we're passing out the Snoopy Dances, friend of The Corner, Cormac Brown, has a new story up at A Twist of Noir along with Kieran Shea. Url to the left. Lots of great reading, folks!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Links

Just a few links today.

With a hat tip to Sarah Weinman there's an essay in the Denver Post. "Life in Noir Time" by David Milofsky is about those lovely pulp writers during the depression.

And finally there are two Conversatons With the Bookless.

Jake Hinkson

Keiran Shea

One last note. There was some confusion about the winner of the Derringer Award in the Flash category and today it was announced that there will be two winners. The second is Ruth McCarty for her story "No Flowers for Stacy" published in the anthology, Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers. I'll post this below in the Derringer's winners list along with a link to Ruth's website.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Idol Thoughts

No, this isn't about that TV show. Truth is, I've never watched American Idol, I can't stand the new reality shows. This is about being compared to someone else. What brought this topic to mind was a headline I read, "Is Megan Fox the next Angelina Jolie?" New movie stars are always being compared to the old ones, though I don't suppose Angelina considers herself an old star.

And it's not just actors, writers are being mixed and matched, too. These days, many of the newer crime writers are being called the next Elmore Leonard. Now, I can understand how being compared to a famous author might attract readers to your book but can't that also work against you? I mean, if they're expecting Elmore Leonard and they're reading Joe Smoe's take on Leonard they might never pick up another of Joe's books. So being "the next" could come back to bite the writer in the butt.

The truth is, people like being compared to someone they admire, and readers enjoy finding books that are similar to author's they love, so this trend of comparison shopping will probably never go away. In that spirit, let's have a little fun today. Tell us which author you'd like to have your writing compared to and why. And it doesn't have to be a writer who's been around forever, it can be someone new and exciting to you. Give us your idol.

Don't be shy, I'll go first. As a short story writer I think it would be fun to be compared to Stanley Ellin, especially his short story "The Payoff". In this story he writes a straight through story that completely throws you with the ending.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Places to Go - Things to Read

The newest Conversations with the Bookless went up yesterday. Stop by and visit with Albert Tucher today and read his reasons for sticking with his Diana series. Good stuff!

With a hat tip to Kieren Shea, who blogs here , we're directed to the website of Randy Wayne White to partake of some excellent writing exercises.

A Snoopy Dance is in order for Mr. T. Jefferson Parker who's short story, "Skinhead Central" won an Edgar award last night. For the rest of the winners head on over to The Rap Sheet

And Cormac Brown has announced that the newest issue of Astonishing Adventures Magazine is up. You can catch a link for the zine from his blog

GW Thomas has given up the FlashShot blog and gone back to emailing our beloved FlashShots. Some things are better left unchanged.

And if you're looking for new reading material, Twist of Noir has six new stories up, PulpPusher has a new issue, and there's several new stories at The Flash Fiction Offensive. Urls to the left. Happy reading everyone.

And The SMFS Derringer Winners Are:

BEST FLASH STORY, 0 to 1000 WORDS: "No Place Like Home" by Dee Stuart
Published in: MYSTERICAL- E


"No Flowers for Stacy" by Ruth McCarty Published in Deadfall: Crime Stories for New England Writers

BEST SHORT STORY, 1001 to 4000 WORDS: "The Cost of Doing Business" by Mike Penncavage Published in: THUGLIT

BEST LONG STORY, 4001 to 8000 WORDS: "The Quick Brown Fox" by Robert S. Levinson Published in: ALFRED HITCHCOCK MYSTERY MAGAZINE
Robert's web site is

BEST NOVELETTE, 8001 to 17500 WORDS: "Too Wise" by O'Neil De Noux
O'Neil has a blog here
and a web site where you can find links to his short story collections

And the 2009 Edward D Hock Memorial Derringer Recipient: Clark Howard

With a hat tip to SMFS President, Gerald So, here are some links for Clark Howard

At this url you can find an essay that Howard wrote about David Goodis

A collection of his short stories published by Crippen and Landru can be found here

A rousing round of Snoopy Dances for all the winners!!!