Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday's Forgotten Books

When Patti Abbott suggested that this week's Friday's Forgotten Books be story collections or anthologies, I thought great, I can do this one. Then I looked at my shelf of anthologies and thought, Oh my God, how do I choose just one?

Yeah, I've been collecting short stories for the past several years. Every time I go to the summer book sales I find at least one collection or anthology of shorts in various genres. There's "Great Stories of Suspense" edited by Ross Macdonald, "Crime Classics" edited by Rex Burns and Mary Rose Sullivan, and "Luke Short's Best of the West" collection. With so many, how do I choose just one?

So, I thought about the stories themselves, which ones stuck with me the most? And I chose "Alfred Hitchcock Presents:Slay Ride". One confession, I didn't read the novel included in the book which is "Out of the Deeps" by John Wyndham, but the shorts - I read them all. And you won't find a more chilling collection of shorts anywhere, in any genre.

"Slay Ride" was published in 1967 but most of the stories inside were first published in the Fifties with a couple of exceptions. What amazed me the most reading these stories was how the writers could terrify you without resorting to the blood and gore and obscenities that pepper short stories today. Each story takes you on an incredible "ride" that scares the bejesus out of you. And every story blurs the genre lines, slipping from horror to crime to sci-fi without missing a beat.

My two favorite stories in the collection are "Men Without Bones" by Gerald Kersh and "The Cage" by Ray Russell. The stories are as different as night and day but it was the endings of both that turned the stories on their heads. If you ever want to learn how to end your short stories with a shiver and a bang find these stories and just read.

Kersh's story had me believing I was reading the story of a man who was confessing to murder until I read that very last sentence which spun the story on its ear. And Russell's story of lust and betrayal ended with an image that I still can't shake from my head and I shiver every time I think about it, a year after first reading it.

Here's a list of the shorts:

Men Without Bones by Gerald Kersh
Not With a Bang by Damon Knight
Party Games by John Burke
X Marks the Pedwalk by Fritz Leiber
Two Spinsters by E. Phillips Oppenheim
The Cage by Ray Russell

If you can find them, read them, you won't be sorry. You may not be able to sleep after you do, but they're well worth the read.

Almost forgot! You can find the entire list of folks participating this week at Patti's blog Loads of great books to start hunting for.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Clicking Around the Net

Hi! My name is Sandra and I'm a clicker. Yeah, pass me a link and off I go clicking from site to site. That's what happened to me yesterday when Barb Goffman passed along this link There's a flash contest in progress here at the moment. 400 words using crimson - sincere - rickshaw in the story. Very short notice as the contest deadline is tomorrow. And please note that this site is for our G-rated writers. Lots of nice blog posts and stories posted here for your reading pleasure.

Now, from this site I clicked to another one which happens to also be running a contest. This one is for stories up to 2000 words based on the photograph that's posted. I must tell you that my mind went straight to dark when I saw the photo and while it might inspire a story, it won't be suitable for this site. The deadline here is August 31. Neither of these sites charge a fee and I can't see where there's any prizes except to have your stories published on these sites.

***Just a quick note here - L B Gschwandtner from site has stopped by and noted in the comments that there are prizes for her contest.

Also from the first link, I clicked onto Alas, no contest here just lots of good writing articles and a slew of short stories on the site. Like I said, these are all G rated sites for general fiction. But then, not everyone who stops by here writes mysteries or noir.

And speaking of clicking and writing articles - I was checking out the guidelines for Sword and Sorceress #25 and found a couple more articles. First the anthology guidelines They're looking for sword and sorcery shorts with strong female protagonists up to 9000 words but they prefer shorter, and the deadline is May 14. There's a press all lined up and the pay is 5cents a word (if I remember correctly).

The writing links?

"Why Did My Story Get Rejected?" by Marion Zimmer Bradley

"What is a Short Story?" also by Bradley.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Odds and Ends

Thrillers, Killers "n" Chillers has closed to submissions. They still have stories that will be posted and the editors say that they'll reopen to subs in the future. You can find all the details at

The Back Alley has just published their newest issue.

With a hat tip to Michael Bracken we have an online class taught by editor, Michael Knost on "How to Bulletproof Your Manuscript". The class is tomorrow, Thursday, April 29 at 9pm Eastern US time. The cost is $30 You can find all the details at

And voters have three days left to vote for both the Derringers and the Spinetingler awards. The Derringer voting is for SMFS members only and the Spinetinglers are open to the public Your vote counts and the more people who participate, the better. Short stories don't get the attention they deserve and by participating in the voting process you're showing that they do matter. The winners will be announced on May 1 for both awards.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Market News

We've got a couple of links that came via SMFS this morning.

The first is a contest for unpublished authors sponsored by the Love is Murder writers conference. They're looking for stories up to 5000 words postmarked by July 16. The winner will be published in CrimeSpree magazine. You can find out about the conference and the contest here

And BV Lawson posted a link to an article about short story writer Deborah Eisenberg which was quite interesting. I do wish though, that crime fiction short story writers could garner the attention that the literary short writers do. But at least the shorts are getting their due.

Shroud Magazine will be opening for submissions on May 1. They have a short window for submissions this year as they will only be open until July 31, so you'll only have three months to get a story submitted. They accept stories up to 5000 words in the genres of dark mystery, horror, dark fantasy, and suspense. They're also having a special Fall/Halloween Issue with a different submission email so pay close attention to that portion of the call if you want to submit a Halloween story. This is a paying market with a $10 flat fee for flash stories and a $25 flat fee for shorts. You can find all the details at And if it matters to anyone, they've recently been put on the approved list for the Horror Writers of America.

And I found a new crime magazine over at Duotrope this morning. Criminal Class Press already has three issues of their Review under their belts. This is a print publication that claims "The writing in our journal is so crass and honest it would be hard to find anywhere else." I'm assuming they haven't read Crime Factory or Needle yet. Their home page is and you can find their submission guidelines here This is a non-paying market (there was no mention of pay in the guidelines at all, so I'm assuming non-paying) accepting stories of 12 to 20 pages.

Monday, April 26, 2010

More Anthologies

Cutting Block Press has opened submissions to their Tattered Soul 2 anthology. They're looking for dark horror stories of 6000 to 25000 words. the deadline is October 31 and the pay is 1.5 cents a word. Rates for established authors is negotiable. You can find the details at

While checking out the site I found another anthology call. This one for Horror Library vol. 5 which opens for subs on June 1. This one is looking for dark fiction of 1000 to 6000 words. The pay rate is the same as the Tattered Soul anthology. You can find the details at

Also on the site I found a link to a zine called Dark Recesses Magazine which is also looking for submissions of dark horror. They want stories of 500 to 5000 words. The pay is 1.5 cents a word with a $25 cap. You can find the details at

For our Filipino writers there's an anthology call for spec-fiction stories that revolve around the myths, legends and folklore of the Philippines. They want stories of 3000 to 7000 words. The pay is PHP600.00 You can find the details here

Courtesy of Earl Staggs over on SMFS we have a YA anthology call. They're looking for short stories that blend supernatural and paranormal with modern communication technology in any genre. 3750 to 5000 words with a June 30 deadline. I didn't happen to notice if this was a paying market. You can find all the details at The anthology is called RUSKRDYET? (Are you scared yet?)

In zine news Crime and Suspense has closed down its website but there is a new issue of Yellow Mama up. You'll find the url to the left.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Driveway Visitors

I'm always amazed at what I see out my windows. Over the years there have been stray horses, whitetail deer, wild turkeys ( the real thing, not whiskey!). Once there was even a black rabbit which narrowly escaped the jaws of one of the cats. Mostly because the cat wasn't quite sure what was hopping around in the driveway.

This morning I had the rare good fortune of seeing a pair of common flickers doing a mating dance in the driveway. I'll admit, I had to dig out the bird book to find out that these beautiful birds were actually woodpeckers. So beautiful and amazing to watch. Here's a link to a picture I found online

I hope your Sunday is filled with the same kind of beauty as mine.

Friday, April 23, 2010


This has got to be one of the best posts about how not to promote yourself and your book that I've read in a long time. "Please Cease and Desist" by Dana Kaye

I know that when CrimeSpace first went live, I used to stop by there quite frequently, until everyone started hawking their wares instead of talking about writing and books. I've quit visiting blogs where every post became "buy my book" or "look, I'm a published author, buy my book". I've also been in groups where an author won't post unless they've got a book to sell. I've also had my email address swiped and then been bombarded with emails about someone's new book. I totally understand that you're under pressure to be the billboard for your book, but after a while those commercials just get annoying.

Please, tell me about your newest book, just don't beat me over the head with it! I'll bet you can just tell that this is one of the reasons I haven't written a novel. The fear that I'll become one of those desperate writers. I know there must be some middle ground a writer can travel that promotes their book but doesn't turn them into the Fuller Brush Man every time they open their mouth.

Good Idea?

Over at Jason Sanford's blog I stumbled across a new to me spec-fiction zine called Zahir. They've just switched from a print magazine to online with all the stories being published in a yearly anthology. Guidelines here

Checking out the submission guidelines I discovered that they charge a $2.50 fee to submit your story via their online form. But, you can submit via snail mail for free. The fee is used to help pay the authors. The pay here being $10 per story plus a copy of the yearly anthology your story appears in.

At first I was taken aback by the thoughts of paying a fee to submit. You know, the money flows to the author deal. But when you think about it, by the time you pay for the paper and ink to print your story, postage, the envelope to mail it plus your SASE, you're going to be paying close to that $2.50 fee just to submit for free.

So, I was wondering what you all think? Does it sound like a cost effective alternative or does paying that fee to submit on line rankle just a bit? I'm curious because I can't make up my mind if this is a good idea or not.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Zombie Walking

D.P. Lyle has an interesting post on his blog about how to create a zombie. Since there's several anthologies out there looking for zombie stories and zines that cater to the genre I thought you might enjoy the post and pick up a few tips that would even work for a mystery story. Like maybe a scam for a life insurance policy or getting out of a messy divorce? There's some pretty cool stuff there.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


The past week or so I've been finding quite a few essays around about writing fears. The truth is, I'm not afraid of the writing itself - I'm afraid of what comes after. Having to find a market, wondering if anyone is going to publish my story or even read it.

I love writing stories, the characters float around in my head like a song and the loudest and most off-tune singer usually finds the spotlight on my page. What I've found most intriguing about my writing process is that the stories I think are my best never find homes (over-confidence, perhaps?). But the ones I send out fully expecting a rejection or wanting to totally rewrite after I hit send are taken by the first or second market I submit to. Go figure.

So what are your writing fears? Are you afraid of the blank page, afraid of fumbling the words so that you sound like an idiot instead of a writer or are you afraid of submitting?

And of course there's a link. The essay is "How Writers Build Courage" by Alan Rinzler. The suggestion about skydiving made me laugh but he has some good suggestions for what scares you as a writer.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Anthology Calls

For those of you who write stories set in the Appalachian region, I found a pair of anthology calls on editor, Michael Knost's blog. Both anthologies will be published by Woodland Press.

First is "Specters in Coal Dust". This one is looking for coal mine ghost stories of up to 3000 words with an August 1 deadline. The pay is 5 cents a word.

And the second one is "Appalachian Folklore: Dark Tales of Superstition and Old Wives' Tales". This one is looking for stories up to 2500 words with a September 1 deadline. The pay is 3 cents a word.

Naked Snake Press is resurrecting their online zine "Poe Little Things" as a twice yearly print and ebook anthology. The theme for the first issue is "In space no one can hear you scream". they're looking for poetry up to 50 lines and flash up to 1000 words. The pay is 25cents per line for the poetry and 5 cents a word for the flash fiction subs. The reading period is April 19 to September 20 with a fall publication. You can find the details at

The May 1 deadline is fast approaching for the Comet Press extreme creature anthology. DL Snell has an interview up on his blog with Comet Press editor, Cheryl Mullenax, if you're looking for some insight into what she's looking for in a story. Their second anthology call for Zombie stories will be open until July 1 if you miss the first anthology. This is a paying market you can find out all the details at

The ezine SubLit seems to have bit the dust as their website has disappeared and Duotrope has declared them dead.

And if you're considering entering Jason Duke's writing contest, the story links have started rolling in so you can check out your competition over at Paul Brazill's blog

Monday, April 19, 2010

For Our Western Writers

Over on SMFS, Sunny Fraiser, acquisitions editor for Oak Tree Press, posted the following call for Western novel submissions. And there's also some interest in new Romance writers. You can check out Oak Tree Press at the link at the bottom and if you'd like to submit, you can reach Sunny at sunny69(at) or OakTreePub (at)

Here's the call:

I pitched an idea to Billie Johnson, publisher at Oak Tree Press. Seems to me there is a readership for Westerns (I just watched "3:10 To Yuma") that has been ignored in recent times. "Deadwood," "Justified," is it just me or are we all looking for a little Zane Grey and early Elmore Leonard in our lives?

Anyway, since I'm doing acquisitions for the house, she's given me the green light to look for Westerns in all genres. That would include mystery, historical, romance, Y/A, even fantasy/sci-fi (think West World). We hope to start the line in 2011 and we'll be picking authors for it starting in Sept. She's also indicated that she'd like to strengthen the romance line.

For those of you who have read my past posts here, you already know I'm going to check marketing skills and Internet presence. I'm looking for good writing, great stories and strong marketing skills. Thought I'd start the search on this site.

Sunny Frazier
Oak Tree Press Acquisitions

A Needle of a Contest

Needle Magazine is having a contest! All you have to do to enter is take a picture of someone reading the first issue of Needle and post it on your blog, twitter, Facebook, CrimeSpace, or anywhere people can see it and post the link in the comments at the link above.

Why? Well, it will make you feel really, really good about supporting a great new print magazine and you could be one of three winners who gets a free copy of the second issue of Needle. Either way, you're a winner in our book!

Monday Linkage

With a hat tip to Sarah Weinman we have "Why Crime Novelists Don't Get Women" by Christopher Rice. and over at Ed Gorman's blog he makes the point that it's not just women who are stereotyped.

It does seem to be a problem within the fiction writing community, doesn't it? Writers tend to believe that they must have certain "types" of characters in order for their stories to get published. We see them in stories and on TV all the time, the wise-cracking buddy, the tough woman with the gay friend, the hero who keeps falling into fights and never gets a scratch. We get so into the "what sells" mindset, that we overlook the fact that life is filled with more than the stereotypes that live in fiction.

If you're looking for a few tips on finding your elusive "voice", be sure to check out Toni McGee Causey's Murderati post from this weekend.

And if you're in the mood for something to read drop on over to A Twist of Noir. There's lots of new stories over there including "The Missing Husband of Mildred Malloy" by David Cranmer that is quite excellent and one from yours truly

Saturday, April 17, 2010

A Few Contests

For those of you who haven't heard yet, Jason Duke is sponsoring a writing contest with money for the prize! You have one month to write a 2000 to 3500 word crime story and post it on your blog or one of the many zines that are willing to post for you. The stories will be judged by some stellar people in the business. First prize is $100 and second is $50. You can find all the details here

You have until Monday, the 17 to sign up for Chad Rohrbacher flash contest. Prizes are a copy of The Deputy by Victor Gischler or copies of his comic book series. To enter you have to write a crime or superhero story of 1500 words or less and post it by April 26. There will be a poll set up for voting and the winner will be announced on May 3. You can find all the details at

And from Paul Brazill we have a contest for residents of the UK or Ireland who are over 16 and have never been professionally published. Its the Perfectly Formed Short Story Competition They're looking for short stories of 2000 words or less in any genre and the prizes are books and a creative writing class. You can check out the details at I couldn't find any mention of an entry fee so I'm assuming this is a free to enter contest.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Everything's Connected

Scattered about the web you'll always find a bit of discussion going on about heroines. Should they be kick-ass, do they need to display their feminine side, and lastly, should men be writing female protags? In his essay, "Heroines Who Don't Kick Ass", SC Butler shares his thoughts and points out a few heroines who don't kick ass in the usual way. I had to laugh when I was reading through the comments about the male writer who forgot his female protag had breasts. One drawback of men writing women. :-) While Mr. Butler's essay revolves around the fantasy world, mystery writers can pick up a few pointers from this thoughtful essay.

Another topic which raises its head quite often is how to find story ideas. Juliette Wade tells us in her essay that "Getting Ideas is a Skill". I hadn't thought of finding story ideas as a skill, but if you're a writer, it's a good skill to have and hone.

And, of course, the thing that most writers have to face down on a daily basis, "The Fear". Russel D. McLean has a great post over at Do Some Damage today about fear.

I've found that when the universe sends you connected links that's it's always a good idea to post them. Above were all writing links that came my way this morning and next up is a pair of links to mystery author, James Crumley.

Over at Rara-Avis this link was posted to a discussion about Crumley's influence on mystery writers. and then I happened onto Crumley's Montana over at Chris La Tray's blog.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Talking Shorts

I found this nice little piece about shorts and songs over at the Little Blog of Murder. I'm not sure who wrote it but I know just how the author feels.

Over at Patti Abbott's blog there's a great discussion about flash fiction and don't forget that the deadline for Patti's flash challenge is May 3.

And this press release from Orbit Books has spawned more discussion about short stories here and here I love when people are talking shorts!

Yesterday's Links

Ah, the sweet buzz of the Internet! I lost my server yesterday for some reason, so after climbing down off the walls, here's your linkage that I had prepared for yesterday.

BTaP opened for submissions this week.

Editor, Anthony Neil Smith has put out a call for a special October issue of Plots with Guns. He's looking Horror stories, to be more exact, slashers with guns. Stories under 5000 words with an early September deadline. You can find all the details here

If you're interested in ebook publishing you might want to check out Eternal Press. No, they're not a Christian based press, they're looking for erotica among other things. The list is long and includes mystery and young adult. The submission call went out for stories of 20,000 to 140,000 words. They're paying 40% royalties on net profits for ebooks and 25% on net for print books. You can find more details and check out the press here

And Needle Magazine has opened for submissions. You can find their guidelines at Be sure to check out the site because there's been a great deal of discussion taking place about publishing and how to pay authors on the site.

And with a hat tip to Michael Bracken, we have a couple of links to some editor's thoughts about professionalism in submitting.

Now, I'm off to see what I missed yesterday.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Sunshine Break

Taking a break from filling out my tax forms, I discover that I've been nominated not once, but three times for the Sunshine Award! Many thanks to BV Lawson, Patti Abbott and Mr. Paul Brazill

The rules read as follows:
1. Put the logo on the blog within your post.
2. Pass the award on to 12 bloggers.
3. Link to the nominees within your post.
4. Let the nominees know they have received the award by commenting on their blogs.
5. Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Since we're all about the links here at the Corner, I'll play along. If you click on any of the links above you'll find links to most of the blogs that I read (and a picture to grab if you want to play along) daily, so how not to repeat? By picking some of the links I visit that you might not have heard about. They're always fun places to stop and spend a bit a time - some may be familiar to you, others, not so much. So, here we go! Have a clicking good time!

Bev Vincent I stop by here almost daily, its rather like visiting with a friend who enjoys the same things I do.

Michael Bracken Michael's blog gives me the courage to keep writing the good write.

Mysterious Matters I just discovered this one recently and have learned quite a lot from the posts here.

Noir Con Blog Everything you ever wanted to know about noir and then some!

Charles Tan The Bibliophile Stalker is a wonderful place to find markets, interviews, and advice about writing. While Charles is more of a sci-fi/fantasy blogger there's still much a short story writer can glean from his linkage.

John Fox Mr. Fox is a lover of shorts, need I say more?

Daniel O'Shea I found Daniel's blog through a link at David Cranmer's great blog. There's always something interesting posted here.

CrimeSpot If you're ever in need of a blog fix - this is your new home. I'm there daily checking through the blogs.

Flash Fiction Chronicles There's a new writing post here every day, mostly about writing flash fiction, which I love.

Kieran Shea Kieran's blog is a daily stop because you never know what he'll post. From cooking, to sailing, to fabulous writing quotes, it's always an interesting stop.

Hardboiled Wonderland is always a cool spot to sit and read for a spell. From books to music, Jedidiah Ayres has you covered.

Women of Mystery Always a daily stop because you never know what these beautiful ladies will post about, but it's sure to be entertaining.

And, of course, there's plenty more links to the left that I visit on a regular basis. So many blogs, too little time.

And for those of you keeping count - today's post is number 500. Who would have thought?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mavis Gallant

I love finding posts about short story writers. Over at Simone Ogilvie's blog there's a post about Mavis Gallant, a writer who has made a career of writing short stories. Lots of interesting thoughts and quotes from Ms Gallant.

Reading Habits

Patti Abbott's blog post this past week about how we choose what we read and what influenced us set me to thinking, but Scott Parker's post at Do Some Damage this morning really brought my thoughts about reading and writing full circle.

I've been a reader for as long as I can remember, but until I was an adult my choice of reading material was limited to whatever I found, wherever I was because the nearest library was twenty five miles away and there was no extra money for the luxury of books. At home, the bookcase was full of old books that belonged to my mother. I read "Lust for Life", "Gone With the Wind", and "Jane Eyre" and dozens of other books who's titles escape me, but the subject matter, I remember. One book was about training the first seeing-eye dogs and another was about the persecution of the Jews in this country after the war. The only children's book I remember reading was a big volume that contained all the "Grimms Fairy Tales", "Black Beauty" and "Peter Pan".

Visiting relatives was always a great place to find reading material. My grandmother kept old school books at her house with stories about Indian legends and there was always the comic books that Aunt Bev left there for us to read. Yeah, there was Superman, Batman, The Crypt Keeper, GI Joe and even some romance comics. My Aunt Sally had all boys, so I was introduced to the Hardy Boys when I visited her home. My cousin, Vivian had a whole closet of full of paperbacks and I remember spending one weekend with "Gidget". At my Aunt Bev's house there was a whole bookcase of Reader's Digest's Condensed. I remember reading "Up the Down Staircase" there and marveling at how the story unfolded in such an odd manner.

I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when I entered the high school library the first time! So many books to choose from. From Walter Farley's Black Stallion series to a biography of Carrie Nation, I tried to read them all. One of the books I remember most fondly was "Here, Keller, Train This!". All these years and the memory of that book still makes me smile.

As I let my mind wander over all the books I've read and the places where I found them, it suddenly struck me why I can't stick to one genre when I'm writing. My reading has been so diverse that everything creeps into my stories. And truth be told, I love that! I love that both my reading and my family have shaped not only my reading habits but how I think and write stories.

Friday, April 9, 2010

A Bit of Here and There

I always worry when I write that I'm not educated enough to be putting words down on paper. That my thoughts and stories aren't as important as the writer who has an MFA degree decorating their wall. This link made me feel so much better.

Kathleen Ryan has a bunch of links to flash and poetry contests over at the Women of Mystery blog.

Dogzplot is no longer accepting poetry or long short stories. The flash portion of their zine is the only one accepting submissions for flash of 200 words or less which you can find here

And finally this link because I couldn't not share this one!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Early Evening Links

Brian Lindenmuth has posted an interesting topic for discussion over at Spinetingler Magazine. Is it feasible or even possible to collect online stories in a year's best anthology and would readers be willing to purchase such a collection? Join the discussion at It would be an awesome feat if it could be done. And Brian's right that we do need some way to keep a record of the stories that have been published online so they're not lost forever.

While you're over at Spinetingler, they've posted several more Conversations with the Bookless that are worth a read plus a new short story. And don't forget to vote for the Spinetingler Awards if you haven't already. Voting is open to the public so take a moment and support the writers who give you so much reading pleasure.

A with a hat tip to Terry Farley Moran we have this year's Wolfmont's Charity anthology. Tony Burton has decided to use the profits for "Homes for our Troops" instead of Toys for Tots this year. He's looking for short stories of 2000 to 4000 words with a military theme. There's no pay except the knowledge that you've donated to a worthy charity. The deadline is June 15. You can find all the details and an overview of the new charity at

Needle Has Arrived!

Back in March, Steve Weddle dropped me an email asking if I'd like to contribute a story to his newest brain child - a print magazine called Needle. I did, and he accepted my story and included it in the first issue, which is out as of today. The cover price is $7 and you can order if at

You can find out more about Needle at The list of authors is amazing with short stories from Patti Abbott, Dave Zeltserman, Hilary Davidson, Cormac Brown, Paul Brazill and so many more. I am so honored to be included with such a brilliant group of writers! Long live Needle!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Market Day

Just a reminder that April 30 is the deadline for submissions to the next issue of Pear Noir It's also the deadline for their Black Pear Award contest which has four categories and excellent prizes (cash).

Dunesteef Audio has reopened to subs The pay for stories up to 6000 words is 1/4 cent a word with a $5 max. Not a big payday but they do accept reprints.

Crossed Genre has a list of their 2010 themes. Crossed Genre is a sci-fi/fantasy print mag. The pay is $10 per story.

Over at Cindi Myers' Market blog I found a contest sponsored by Family Circle. They looking for family friendly short stories up to 2500 words with a Sept 8 deadline. Top prize is $750. Please read the rules very carefully as once you've entered you agree to a background check (for those who might not want their background checked!) You can find the rules here And if you haven't checked out Cindi's blog you should. The past few weeks she's been posting short story markets.

Blood Bound Books has posted several new anthologies. One that might be of interest to some of you is Rock and Roll is Dead: Dark Tales Inspired by Music. There's a July 13 deadline for short stories of 750 to 5000 words. Most of their anthologies only pay $5 per story. Full details are listed on their new forum board

And for those of you who aren't members of SMFS, Michael Bracken posted this link This anthology is called Girls with Guns and they're looking for short stories of 1000 to 7500 words with a May 31 deadline. They're accepting stories in any genre so long as the story has, yep, girls with guns. There's no pay here as the anthology will be available as a free download through Smashwords.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Advice and Rules and Thoughts

Have you ever run across bits of advice that make perfect sense when you read them but the essay is more about the person giving the advice and how they used it? I loved the advice in this piece. but I do wish the author would have expanded on it more. The first part is especially good.

I was thinking about Clair Dickson when I clicked on this link The essay is "Breaking Rules and Making Babies" by Marie Rutkoski. Having children does change your writing habits but it doesn't have to kill your writing. Parenting writers need to adopt the Marines' slogan of adapting to the circumstances you find yourself in.

John Scalzi has a post about the Hugo nominations and I found his thoughts on the short story category very interesting. You'll find them a few paragaraphs down in his post. The shorts world is changing and people are starting to notice.

And today is the Do Some Damage flash challenge day. You'll find stories posted all about the mystery community for your reading pleasure. You'll find links to all the stories posted sometime today at I was going to write a piece for this but didn't think I could do better than the one I wrote for Patti's "Shifting Gears" challenge back in 2008 which pretty much deals with the same recession topic. If you care to read "Rabbit in a Trap" you'll find it at this link

Monday, April 5, 2010

Audience Appeal

There are always complaints floating about the Internet about what hits the best seller lists and why. Over at Mysterious Matters there's an essay "Make No Demands On Me" that perfectly describes this phenomenon.

I believe the same thoughts are true for the short story. There's nothing more escapist than the stories in EQ and AHMM. I sometimes think writers tend to forget who their reading audience is or will be when they're submitting their work. I know I'm guilty of doing that.

Market News

Over at the Crime Scene Writers group, Lee Lofland posted a contest sponsored by the Writers Police Academy that I thought was worth passing along. This is a novel writing contest with a June 1 deadline and the entry fee is $10. The winner receives free registration to one of their conferences plus your manuscript will be submitted to one of the publishers who is judging the contest. You submit the first twelve pages of your completed manuscript in any genre except erotica. You'll find the details at the link above.

Flash zine Burst is closing its doors after the Spring issue is published.

Print magazine, Withersin, is open to short fiction of 500 to 3000 words from April 1 to May 15. They're no longer a paying market except in copies. You can find the details at

Permuted Press has an anthology call for its "Times of Trouble" anthology. Open from April 4 to July 4 for time traveling stories of 3000 to 7500 words. The pay is a penny a word. You can find all the details at

Print magazine Necrotic Tissue is open to submissions for the entire month of April. Payment is a penny a word. You can find the details at

And a new zine called The Dark Fiction Spotlight is open to short stories of 2000 to 4000 words. They have one issue up, so you can check out what they're partial to in shorts. There is payment for the top three spotlighted stories. You can find all the details at

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Mostly Interview Links

Since I probably won't be around much tomorrow, I thought I'd post a few links for those who won't be busy cooking dinner and hosting their family get-together Sunday.

For those who haven't heard yet, there's a new issue of ThugLit out. You can check it out at Lots of good reading from familiar authors.

Over at Criminal Brief, John Floyd talks about Donald Westlake

The April issue of New Mystery Reader is online with an interview with Charlie Stella and a review of his new book "Johnny Porno" by Dana King.

And over at Spinetingler there's an interview with Robert Crais and if you haven't been keeping up, there's several new "Conversations with the Bookless" posted.

Enjoy your holiday!

A Quote for Some Saturday Musing

"...I am a firm believer that in order for a writer to do his or her best, he must incorporate originality, a prime ingredient for success. If the theme is old, the twist or payoff should be new. The story should be written in the length that is most effective. When the primary consideration is to tailor it for the market, all too often one ends up with the sorry realization that the emperor has no clothes." --Robert Bloch

Friday, April 2, 2010

More Short Story Nominees

Yes, I'm back again. Lots of good stuff for the blog today. Sometimes my links overflow, but I had to mention that the storySouth Million Writers long list has been posted.

The top ten will be announced on May 1st. Very cool to see two crime zines hit the list with multiple stories. Congrats to: Greg Bardsley and Kyle Minor. Their stories are in Plots With Guns. And congrats to ThugLit authors, Eric Beetner, Schuyler Dickson, Mike MacLean, and Matthew Quinn Martin.

Good luck in the final round, gentlemen!! And congrats to all the nominees - its a long list and the variety of stories is just amazing.

I skimmed through the list way too fast this morning as The Thrilling Detective and Thieves Jargon both got a nod. Congrats to Kieran Shea and Andrew S. Taylor.

Super cool to see all the crime genre shorts getting the nod!!

New Issues

And we have another batch of new zine issues out there for your reading pleasure. Gumshoe Review's April issue is up with a short story from Rekha Ambadar along with their usual reviews.

The df-Underground is off to a great start with plenty of content and short stories. You'll find them at

Thieves Jargon has a great new look with their current issue. 10Flash is celebrating its first anniversary with a great new issue. Don't forget that the new theme will be posted on the 15th.

Dead Mule claims that their April issue is the biggest fiction issue they've ever published and boy, is it chock-full of goodies.

And if you're still reading, there's a new issue of Frontier Tales out with a new story from me, that's an extension of the flash I wrote for the last Clarity of Night contest.


With a hat tip to BV Lawson over at In Reference to Murder we have "Short Sharp Shock" which publishes novella length short stories of 20,000 to 35,000 words. The pay is $20CAN and 1 copy of the POD your story is published in. You have to query first before submitting to this market. You can find all the details at And if you haven't dropped by BV's blog, you really should. The place is packed with all kinds of mystery related links and articles.

And Paul Brazill was busy filling my inbox with markets yesterday. Thanks, Paul!!

Pill Hill Press has listed several more anthologies to their growing list and there are a few deadlines looming for those with stories about ready to go. You can check out all the details at There is a mix of both paying and non-paying calls here.

A while back I told you about the Ransom anthology that I spotted over at I'd only found a link to a forum board so I cautioned you to check them out. Well, they now have a site with more details This is a non-paying anthology.

And last is a flash contest with a fast approaching deadline of April 16. They're looking for terrifying fiction that reflects 21st century life in 500 words or less. The ten winning stories will be published in "Black Static" and also done in podcasts. You can find all the details at

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Got Stories?

If you're in need of a bit of inspiration to set your fingers tap-tap-tapping on the keyboard, I have a couple.

First up, the crew over at Crimefactory is putting out a special issue called "Kung Fu Factory". They're seeking stories up to 4000 words by August 15 that revolve around martial arts or other fight (boxing, wrestling, fight club?) venues. Unless you're invited, the regular submission rules of sending off a query apply to this call. You can find all the details here

And the lovely Patti Abbot has issued her Spring flash fiction challenge called "Sweet Dreams". She's posted a setting and a set-up for you, all you have to do is run with the story while the music plays in your head. 1000 words tops with a May 1st challenge day. You can find all the details at

The Derringer Nominees

The Short Mystery Fiction Society has announced the finalists for their annual Derringer Awards. A huge congratulations to all the nominees and the zines they were published in. Hooray for short stories!!

We've put our dancing slippers on once again. So wonderful to see Anita Page's story from the Toys for Tots Christmas anthology make the list!! And BTAP with two more stories nominated for awards!! Let the Snoopy Dancing commence!


"And Here's To You, Mrs. Edwardson," by Hamilton Waymire
Published in the webzine *Big Pulp*

"Awake" by David Dean
Published in EQMM

"Gutterball" by Stephen D. Rogers
Published in Woman's World Magazine

"The Right Track" by R.T. Lawton
Published in Woman's World Magazine

"Unplanned" by Libby Cudmore
Published in Thrillers, Killers 'n' Chillers


"Identity Theft" by Robert Weibezahl
Published in Beat to a Pulp

"The Biography of Stoop the Thief" by Steven Torres
Published in Uncage Me!

"The Hard Sell" by Jay Stringer
Published in Beat to a Pulp

"The Right to Remain Silent" by Debbi Mack
Published in Back Alley Webzine

"Twas the Night" by Anita Page
Published in The Gift of Murder


"A Stab in the Heart" by Twist Phelan
Published in EQMM

"Famous Last Words" by Doug Allyn
Published in EQMM

"Regarding Certain Occurrences in a Cottage at the Garden of Allah" by Robert S. Levinsos
Published in AHMM

"Snow of Bloedkoppie" by Berhard Jaumann (translated from the German by Mary Tannert)Published in EQMM

"The Shipbreaker" by Mike Wiecek
Published in EQMM


"Adjuncts Anonymous" by B.K. Stevens
Published in EQMM

"Julius Katz" by Dave Zeltserman
Published in EQMM

"The Last Drop" by R.W. Kerrigan
Published in EQMM

"The Pirate's Debt" by Toni L.P. Kelner
Published in EQMM

"Uncle Brick and Jimmy Kills" by Allan Leverone
Published in Mysterical-E