Thursday, March 31, 2011

More Snoopy Dancing!!!

The Spinetingler Award Nominees will be posting throughout the day today, be sure to stop by and check them out. Voting begins on Friday and is open to the public.

2011 Derringer Award Winners

A big round of Snoopy Dances for all the winners of the 2011 SMFS Derringer Awards. Congratulations!!!! both to the winners and the nominees!

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Derringer Awards for short mystery fiction

Best Flash Fiction Story (under 1,000 words) - (TIE)

"The Book Signing," by Kathy Chencharik, *Thin Ice: Crime Stories by New England Writers*, Leslie Wheeler, Mark Ammons, Barbara Ross, Kat Fast, Eds., Level Best Books, November, 2010


"The Unknown Substance" by Jane Hammons, *A Twist of Noir*, December 27, 2010

Best Short Story (1,001-4,000 words)

"Pewter Badge," by Michael J. Solender, *Yellow Mama*, August, 2010

Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words) (TIE)

"Care of the Circumcised Penis" by Sean Doolittle, *Thuglit Presents: Blood, Guts & Whiskey*, Todd Robinson, Ed., Kensington Publishing Corp., May, 2010


"Interpretation of Murder" by B. K. Stevens, *Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine*, December, 2010

Best Novelette (8,001-17,500 words)

"Rearview Mirror" by Art Taylor, *Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine*, March, 2010

Presentation of the Awards will take place in conjunction with the short story panel at Bouchercon 2011, held in St. Louis, MO in September.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Anthology Call

I ran across this anthology call, "Fantastic Stories of the Imagination" over at The pay is excellent at 10cents a word with a $250 cap and 2cents a word with a $100 cap for reprints. The word count is mentioned in the comments and the editor prefers stories to be more than 1000 words with probably a 10,000 word top count. You can find the details here

And for the but...I'd never heard of Wilder Publications but in checking it out, I found that the editor, Warren Lapine, while having a fairly good track record as a publisher has been in some difficulties the last two or three years. You can read about it here or do a search for both Wilder and Lapine. There's also a boycott page on Facebook for both of them.

I have no clue if any of this will affect the anthology but thought you ought to know and be able to check things out for yourself before submitting.


I also received a great link from Brian Lindenmuth yesterday which I almost forgot to post.

Market Notes

From friend of the blog, Albert Tucher, comes word that New Word City has opened to fiction submissions. There are no submission guidelines on the site, if you're interested in submitting you have to query first. Al has a story up there and I asked him if they were a paying market and he said yes, they pay royalties on the net.

The D F Underground has closed to submissions. Not sure if this is a permanent thing or just temporary.

And if you're being a good writer and doing the write/submit on a regular basis, Michael Bracken has sent a link to an essay by Alison Janssen with tips on how to keep your writing consistent.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Drowned Man by Joe R. Lansdale

I'm a regular reader over at the Mulholland site, but I especially love the days when Joe R. Lansdale posts. His posts remind of my childhood and young adult life even though I didn't grow up in Texas as he did. His essays are a thing of beauty, today's especially. I learn so much reading his words. Thanks for sharing your writing journey, Mr. Lansdale!

A Question

For all you romance writers out there and anyone who wants to chime in. I just had a story rejected, and, no, I'm not upset, that's a common occurrence in this genre. But I keep trying. What I don't understand is this comment by the editor:

"there's too much "real people, with real problems"" The quotation marks around the real parts are his.

Ummm, aren't we supposed to write about real people who have real problems? This was a married couple and the wife had quit her job and opened a shop which her husband wasn't happy about. The editor did add that there wasn't enough conflict but unless they're beating each other up or shooting one another, how do you insert conflict into romance aside from arguments, slamming doors and stretches of silence as they work through their problem?

Now, in all fairness, I did add a touch of paranormal to the story and the resolution comes through the paranormal occurrence. So, I'm wondering if in mixing the two, maybe the reality got in the way of whoo-whoo?

I'm beginning to think that I'm never going to crack the romance market because I just don't "get" the type of reality they're looking for. For the most part when I read contemporary romance shorts I have this overwhelming urge to give the women a Gibbs smack to the head.

Monday, March 28, 2011


Wendy Wagner has an excellent post about embracing your inner writer over at Ink Punks For those of you thinking about going the self-publishing ebook route, you should read this post by Robert Gray over at Hell Notes. For the first time since I've started reading about all this ebook hoopla someone has finally sat down and punched a few calculator buttons. Quite the eye-opener.

Demolition is Back

For those who might not have heard, "Demolition" is back. Bryon Quartermous was the old editor and I expect, though it's not said on the site, that he's the one in charge. This is a non-paying crime short story market. And they're open for subs. You'll find the details at Take a stroll through the archives also. I can't remember the title, but Todd Robinson had a bruiser of a story in one of the issues. Demolition published some great stories back in the day. Okay, so it was just a few years ago, but hey, go read!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


Okay, I'm writing an Apocalypse story. I know the ending and I'm almost there, but the bad guys aren't taking shape in my head. I really don't want zombies, vampires, cannibals, evil government soldiers or aliens. What's left? Or is this a situation where it has all been done so just pick one?

This is my first Apocalypse story which makes me wonder if readers have certain expectations that need to be filled in this genre.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Lost Stories

One day about two weeks ago our electric was flickering on and off, so I shut down the computer. Not wanting to entirely waste my writing time, I went through my old file folders from five or six years ago and found some stories that I'd never submitted. Ahem, to be truthful, they weren't fit to be subbed.

I picked three of the stories that looked the most promising and started working. One flash piece just need a bit more focus, another story had bits of dialogue and a very vague outline, and another just needed some description added and a bit of spit and polish. All three have been kicked out the door and into the world of slush piles.

And yes, I still have a stack of stories sitting beside the computer to work on along with working my way through the computer files to see what needs work and what needs to be kicked out the door. I did a lot of writing last year, but didn't sub as much as I should have. Hope to do better this year.

How about you, what do you do when the computers are down and that writing bug is gnawing away at you? And how many stories do you have lurking in folders, on and off the computer, that just need a bit of polish?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 Spinetingler Award Nominees

Let's have a big round of Snoopy Dances for the 2011 Spinetingler Award Nominees for best short story on the web:

Times Past by Matthew C. Funk from All Due Respect

Hold You by Steve Weddle from A Twist of Noir

Pillow Talk by Jodi MacArthur from Beat to a Pulp

The Girl with a Clock for a Heart by Peter Swanson from Mysterical-E

Secretario by Catherynne M. Valente from Weird Tales

Ghostman on Third by Chad Eagleton from The Drowning Machine

Carpaccio By Lily Childs from Thrillers, Killers ‘N’ Chillers

How to Jail by Dennis Tafoya from Crime Factory

Home Invasion by Jen Conley from Thuglit

Beat on the Brat by Nigel Bird from The Drowning Machine

A HUGE congratulations to all the nominees!!! You can find more information and links to the stories here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Brian's Story Cupboard

Brian Lindenmuth sent this link so we could all take a peek into this amazing story cupboard.

If you can read through this thread and not come up with at least one story idea - it's time to hang up your keyboard!

Thanks, Brian!!

Anger Burns by Gary Carter

I just love when I come across a great piece of flash fiction. Some writers don't think you can say everything that needs to be said in less than 2000 words. "Anger Burns" by Gary Carter is proof that you can.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Best Fiction

I love finding zines that celebrate not just the short story but authors who write in the form. Welcome to the web "Best Fiction: A Journal of Short Stories". The site has just opened and is looking for subs that blur the lines between literary and crime.

Stories should be 1500 to 7500 words and the pay is $25 per story minimum. Established authors can negotiate their fees.

On the site you'll find video talks featuring Tennessee Williams, Charles Bukowski, and Ernest Hemingway. Click on Classic of the Day and you'll find the Raold Dahl short story, "Man From the South".

A lot of care has gone into setting up this site, so drop over and give them your support. Zines don't exist in a vacuum - they need writers and readers to keep them going, just the same as print zines.

Little Big Crimes

It's always great to find a new site that reviews short stories. Rob Lopresti, from the Criminal Brief blog has started a new short review site called "Little Big Crimes"

Once a week Rob posts a review of his favorite short read of the week. He's also looking for guest reviewers. Rob's reviews so far have been from print sources so you'd have to query him if you're interested in reviewing online shorts to make sure he's open to this type of review.

And be sure to drop by and read his reviews, you're sure to find some good reading material and a few anthologies you might have missed.

Over at they've posted the newest call for submissions list On the list I spotted a zine called "Dragnet" and thought, great, a new crime zine. Nope. it's a lit zine looking for flash fiction up to 1000 words. This is a non-paying market. You can find submission details here

There's also a copy-paying anthology call for "Call of the Wild". They're looking for shorts up to 2000 words for the theme "nature's world". This is a query first call with a September 1 deadline. You can find the call here

NewPages also has a new section call LitPak Fliers. This page contains pdf fliers from magazines with contest and submission call announcements.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Odds and Ends

I found an interesting discussion about strong female characters in fiction at this link While the discussion pertains to the sci-fi/fantasy genre, those of us writing in the mystery genre tend to have the same problem with our female characters.

Russel D. Mclean talks about writing genre here

From Jedidiah Ayres is this link to an interview with Daniel Woodrell which I enjoyed. and later today Jed will be hosting an interview with Woodrell at his Barnes and Noble blog, Ransom Notes.

My horoscope today said, "Your day today will come extremely close to perfection-". Love it when they actually come close to what happens. Yes, I'm buffing my fingernails on my shirt. First, I was reading Sandra Ruttan's blog post over at Do Some Damage and found myself being quoted. Very cool! Then David Cranmer sent me this link What a great review for Needle Magazine! I am so pleased that my story was included in this wonderful new zine!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


From Brian Lindenmuth we have word that "Rotten Leaves" has reopened to subs for their third issue. They're looking for dark fiction up to 3000 words in all the genres except fan-fic, high fantasy, and erotica. Their submission guidelines are here This is a non-paying market.

And we have anthologies!

Innsmouth Free Press will open to subs on May 1 for "Future Lovecraft". Yep, Lovecraft type stories of 1000 to 10,000 words. The pay is 1cent a word with $70CAD max. You can find the details here

Blue Berry Lane Books has three anthologies open with March 31, April 16, and April 30 deadlines. Token payment of 1/2cent per word. Details at

Misanthrope Press has two anthologies opening on April 1. One looking for werewolf stories, the second looking for dark stories set in the forest. Pay is $5. They also have a quarterly print zine that will open for shorts on May 1. Payment here varies from 1cent a word for flash to $5 for shorts, and $7.50 for one chosen story each issue. Details and links to the zine at

Charity Anthologies

Paul Brazill emailed this link Money raised will go to the Japanese Red Cross.

As will this one. "New Sun Rising"

And Writers Abroad is accepting submissions to their 2011 charity anthology "Foreign Flavors". Subs close on September 9. This one is for expat writers with food as the theme.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Inside or Outside the Lines?

Genre writing tends to have a "sameness" to it, a familiarity that after a while breeds contempt in some readers. And yes, I'm one of those readers. I spent years reading mostly romance novels until one day I said, "God, can't they write something different?"

Each genre has a pattern the writer must follow, but within that pattern some writers have their own patterns. I noticed it first with the romance novels by Paula Fairman whose heroine always had three lovers. The first one rapes her, but by the end of the rape she's a willing participant, the second was usually a rich man, and the third was a bastard. In the end, she always wound up with the first man because a woman always falls for the man who takes her virginity by rape. (and yes, that was a sarcastic comment.) After the second or third book there's no point reading books by this author because you know how it's going to end. There's no surprise or excitement that engages the reader's imagination. And yes, I know, many readers like this familiarity and that's why the market publishes the same old, same old.

The same thing can happen with short stories. A writer can find a formula that works for them and that's all they write. That successful formula, in a way, becomes a crutch. I don't blame writers for using the crutch because that's what the market is looking for and they have to make a living.

That pattern of sameness thrives in the marketplace. Pick up a copy of EQ or AHMM and you can almost always tell how every story is going to end. It's like reading an episode of "Murder She Wrote". I think that's one reason I enjoy anthologies. Yes, there is that genre sameness, but a good editor will find stories that step beyond that sameness into new territory.

I adore writers who can surprise me with each new story. Stephen King collections are a good example. His stories, while wrapped in the cloak of horror, step into the crime and sci-fi genres. His endings vary from the twist, to the gotcha, to the yeah, it needed to end that way. You never know how one of his shorts is going to end so you're never bored.

By now you're probably wondering what brought this on. It was an essay by Guy Hasson called "How to be Truly Original". He makes some great points and tosses out some good ideas on how to make your story different from the guy writing next to you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Short Tips

I love reading writing tips or articles about a writer's process. There's always a small nugget here or there that makes me go, "Of Course! How come I didn't realize that?". When I first started writing I absorbed everything like a sponge. Nowadays I need to let the sponge dry out a bit before I take in something new, because not every tip works for me. You need to take what works for your process and discard the rest. And finding a process that works for you is something that comes from just sitting down and writing and writing and writing. You'll find your perfect process if you keep at it.

And here's your writing tip essays for today:

With a hat tip to Michael Bracken we have "10 Tips for Writing Short Stories" by Amanda Lohrey

"Personal Writing Checklist" by Mark Charen Newton While Mr. Newton is talking about novel writing in this post, many of his checklist items also work great for short story writers.

"How Long is Your Story?" by Deborah J. Ross Finding the right length is always difficult for me. I've started out to write a flash piece of about 500 words and wound up with a 3000 word short story. A story just has to run its course. If you cut it off too soon to fit into a word length, it just doesn't feel finished and if you're padding to fit a word count it feels bloated. And I know, finding markets for longer stories is difficult.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

A Few New Markets

Over at Duotrope I found a few markets that might be of interest.

First up is "Eric's Hysterics". This is a new market looking for subs for its first issue. What they're looking for is humor pieces in all the genres. 100 to 3000 words for shorts and the pay is $5. They're also looking for poetry and artwork. Humor markets are hard to find so hopefully this one will take off and stay in business for a while.

This next one is a flash market called "Life With Objects" The top word count is 500. There's a list of 14 objects to choose from for your story. This is a non-paying market. They're taking submissions but there will be no response until May so you might want to wait until close to May to submit if you're the impatient sort. :)

I thought Graveside Tales was a zine, but it appears to be a small press who is looking for novellas of 20,000 to 35,000 words along with short novels and standard length novels. Their submission period closes May 30 for dark supernatural stories, especially those set in the Lycanthrope universe. According to the site they've been in business since 2007. I didn't find any mention of payment so you might want to query first before submitting. They are also looking for authors with an available back list.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Story Cupboard

Stuck for an idea? Have you tried pictures? With the Internet, finding picture inspirations is really easy. I have used Yahoo search to find pictures of all kinds of things from fairies to steampunk to hobble skirts. Here's a few I clicked on today.

old buildings There's all types of buildings here, strong buildings and falling down buildings and even the titles under the pictures can provide some great ideas to get you started.

depression era images If you're doing historical fiction this is great place to get a feel for that time period in history. Some of the faces will haunt you, but use those faces to step into a world that has fallen apart.

street people homeless I love looking at faces to get a feel for a character. You can see fear, contempt, loss, greed, need, nearly every emotion in the world, then you see their setting and all kinds of stories pop into your head.

Quotable Thoughts

I was watching Robert Downey, Jr. on the Actor's Studio this morning and he left the students with a quote he attributed to Joseph Campell. "If you're trodding on the beaten path, it's not your path."

Curious, I looked up the quote to make sure my "memory" got it right. What Downey did was paraphase Campbell's quote which is. "If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it's not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That's why it's your path."

Great words to write by! Follow your instincts, write what you need to write, and don't worry because it's not the same as that rich and famous writer over there. Your voice is unique and your writing path belongs to you. Be brave!

For more great Campbell quotes to start your day go here

Friday, March 11, 2011

And the Winner is...

I'm always amazed at how passionate some people are about awards. Yes, it's wonderful to be nominated. The feeling is beyond great! And the nomination says that you're good at what you do and people admire your work.

What really puzzles me is the way some people actually seem to sit down and calculate how many awards they are eligible for. At which point I begin to wonder, do they actually enjoy writing and working at their craft or are they just about grabbing nomination spots so they can get their name out there and buff their nails on their shirt?

What is it about awards that turn people so crazy? I've seen them on various sites begging people to vote for them. I've seen tag lines and bios stating that the author has been nominated for or won umpteen thousand awards. Can anyone sit down with a calculator and prove that "winner of ______" actually sells more books, gets the author submission invitations to better markets, or gets more money thrown in their bank account?

I suppose it could, or it could be that you're just good at your craft and people have finally noticed. And the award, well, it's something for you to hang on your wall or set on a shelf and know that you've accomplished something you're proud of. And there's no calculating the pleasure in that.

I know I've talked about this before but there's something about awards season that sets my head to spinning.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Writing Essays

"Sometimes it Sucks" by Jason Aaron Great essay that makes you realize that when the writing sucks, it's not just you.

Allan Guthrie's Infamous Writing Tips Just plain good advice.

Those two links are courtesy of Brian Lindenmuth.

This next essay is called "Would You Please Fucking Stop" by Ursula K. LeGuin If you're easy offended by cuss words, by all means skip this, but there's a great history of swearing here that makes you wonder what all the fuss is about.

Twitter Peeking

Yes, so I was snooping around Twitter and discovered that Brian Lindenmuth has set up a new twitter account called @crimeshorts where you can find links to all kinds of crime stories. Very cool!

And Crimefactory's first anthology, "Kung Fu Factory" has been released on kindle That's the link to the Amazon page, when I find a post that lists the ToC, I'll put up the link so you can find out who's "inside?". Hmmm, can you be inside a kindle?

Also available on kindle is Beat to a Pulp: Round One. Details and a ToC are here

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bigfoot Anyone?

I've been coming up pretty empty of late with new markets. Over at Duotrope they have about 8 or 10 anthology calls listed but they're non-paying markets. You can find the listings here

If you've got a Bigfoot story hiding in your files or sneaking around in your brain pan this anthology, "Bigfoot Among Us" might be of interest. The pay here is a penny a word and the call closes when filled. You can find the details and links over at There's an interview with the editors of this call over at DL Snells's blog You'll also find other interviews and calls at this site.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

More Linkage

Over at Hell Notes there's a great interview with Tom Piccirilli. Go check it out!

And this month's story over at All Due Respect is "Let's Make a Deal" by Scotch Rutherford

And a second piece of new fiction over at Spinetinger, "Less than Living" by Jason Duke

Monday, March 7, 2011

Assorted Links

Sometimes the links I find don't fit together very well, but still, they're great articles that should be passed along.

Via Lee Goldberg's blog is this piece about self-publishing by Amanda Hocking. Finally, someone who's not afraid to splash a little cold water on the flames of self-publishing giddiness that's running rampant.

Over at Book Life Now, Scott Nicholson has an interesting piece on freelancing.

From Brian Lindenmuth we have a great article about writing from a most unusual source.

And finally if you're a Richard Matheson fan and have an mp3 player or can get your computer to play podcasts better than mine, there's an interview with Mr. Matheson here

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Just Curious

I hear a lot of writers talk about how supporting their spouses or significant others are about their writing time, but I'm sure there are quite a few who don't have that kind of support system. How do you deal with trying to find the time to write vs making your family happy?

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Old Proverbs Story Cupboard

We haven't done a story cupboard post in a while and in remembering an old sign I read from many years ago, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get", I thought why not use old sayings for an idea starter? I was thinking that noir would be a suitable genre for that particular quote. Kind of like digging your own grave in a way. Ah...there's another one.

So where do you find all these old sayings, you ask? Well right here And here are a few to get you started.

"Evil is sooner believed than good." You know how that works, the evil guy is always so smooth and charming and the good guy comes off as a fool.

"Feather by feather the goose can be plucked." A neat way to seek revenge, don't you think? Think along the lines of one small razor slash or pinprick at a time. Painful in such a way that the person being plucked will be begging you to hurry up and be done.

"Anger without power is folly." Make sure you can take the bad guy before you try to match wits with him. Rich vs poor, old vs young, father vs son, there's any number of combinations of characters that fit into this one.

"An enemy will agree but a friend will argue." of course, "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer." would be a nice fit in this scenario. Three characters trapped in a room or a building, maybe the cops or a madman outside. How did they get in this situation and who do they trust?

"Every ass loves to hear himself bray." Now that one is a dandy base for great humorous character.

Yes, the sayings are old, but if you think of them in terms of our world today, they can spark an idea to get you started.

Dark Valentine

News from editor, Katherine Tomlinson, the spring issue of Dark Valentine has hit the virtual streets. DV is also open for submissions for their summer/anniversary issue. May 6 is the deadline, but they close early if all the slots are full.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Derringer Award Finalists

Okay, I'm cheating here tonight because blogger is being a pain in my butt. The complete list of Derringer finalists can be found here

It's great to see online stories from Dark Valentine, Powder Burn Flash, Beat to a Pulp, Yellow Mama, and A Twist of Noir on the list along with so many friends of the Corner. Congratulations to all the nominees and good luck!! We're doing a giant sized Snoopy Dance for all of you tonight!

Black Heart Magazine

Black Heart Magazine has a call out for stories for a special noir issue which wil be guest edited by Jimmy Callaway. The deadline is April 30 and they're looking for flash pieces up to 800 words along with poetry and artwork. Submissions are via submishmash. This is a non-paying market.

A big tip of the hat to Brian Lindenmuth who supplied the link!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Market Day!

It's the first of the month again and there's a whole bunch of markets open for your submitting pleasure. You can find the long list here at Duotrope Of interest to most of the writers who stop by the Corner are

Shroud which is only open for two months each year, March 1 to April 30

Bete Noire will be open from March 1 to the 31

Big Pulp is also open for one month. This online zine has switched over to print

CrimeSpree is one month also

ChiZine is open for the month also. They're looking for dark stories up to 4000 words with pro payment of 7cents a word. They're also revamping their site.

For our flash writers we have FlashQuake and Wigleaf open for the month also.

Happy write/submit days to everyone!