Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Redneck Story Cupboard

For the last two days we've been splitting our firewood for the winter. While my husband and son do all the heavy lifting, I work the lever on the splitter, which leaves a lot of room for my mind to wander down "what if" paths. With visions of Horror movies and politicians dancing through my head, my mind drifted towards "redneck" ideas. What? You don't think politicians qualify? The politicians in our area have been talking trash and getting caught with their pants down around their ankles forever, sounds like a redneck to me :)'s a few ideas from the redneck horror/crime/noir story cupboard.

First off, all those long splinters of wood and no safety glasses - yeah, I was seeing sticks in the eyeballs and hearing my mother yelling, "You're going to poke somebody's eye out."

And I wondered how far the blood and brains would fly if a guy got his head caught in the splitter.

Which led to wondering which is the better place to hide a body, in the wood pile or in the stone quarry rubble?

Of course, I'm also wondering which would sound more like a squealing pig? The hydraulic plunger that can't go any farther or Uncle Joe with his finger caught between the plunger and a block of wood?

Drifting further down the redneck path, I imagined a keg of beer tossed into the mix. Now, I've got snot blowing contests, I can piss farther than you contests. Then this voice says, "You ain't got the brains God gave a rabbit, boy. Makes me wonder if my brother, Ralston, was diddling in your Ma's ditches."

The answer? "You got so much brains, prove it. Stick your head in the splitter and we'll crack your skull open and have a look-see"

A few minutes later. "Yep, the old man was right. He's got a helluva lot more brains than me, ain't no point in checking my skull."

Getting bored with the wood splitter scenario I drifted into the woods. And hey, there's two guys in a pickup truck with a mauled body in the bed. And I hear, "Man, I thought Brother Jacob was nuts chaining that bear out back of the meth house. Hell, he makes a better watch dog than poor old Rufus ever did. I reckon the sheriff was hard pressed to get a shot off before that old bear grabbed him. "

"Yeah, I'd say that bear put an end to his snooping, and with him being bear mauled, ain't none of us can be blamed for him dying."

Happy Halloween, everyone! Feel free to drop a redneck horror story idea in the comments if you'd like. And bewere the trick or treaters, especially if you're traveling through hill country tonight.

Friday, October 29, 2010

The Measure of Success

This past week on the SMFS board I asked the question, "Is anyone having much success selling their short story ebooks?" Not anthologies, but their own personal collections that they've put together and self-published via the electronic highway. All I wanted to know was if there was a readership for this type of publishing. Simple question, right? But no one answered.

One gentleman made mention that no one likes to discuss their success as they don't care to mention how much money they're making. Which made me wonder, is a healthy bank account the only way that people measure their success?

I've seen people do BSP posts when they're published online, but they're totally ignored. But let a writer mention that they're published in EQ or AHMM and everyone goes ballistic with their congrats. Which made me wonder, is the top-drawer market the second measure of success for a writer?

The Back Alley just published a new issue and every author bio included an award nomination or win. I've found the same type of bio attached to nearly every story in EQ and AHMM. And again I wonder, do writers only consider themselves a success if they've won an award?

I may be an antiquated fuddy-duddy, but I measure my success as a writer by the number of people who actually read my work. I have a story over at Sniplits and a total of 8 people have laid down their money to read that story. Yes, it's a good market, but if no one is reading, what's the point? A few bucks in my pocket and a chance at an Edgar award? Even the publisher isn't making any money with that story. Now, I have a story up over at A Twist of Noir that has been read by close to a hundred people - still not Stephen King or Michael Connelly numbers but hey, the story has an audience. For me that's success.

The point of writing a story is to have it read. And while the money isn't there, the online community is great at supporting writers. I've watched so many writers just keeping at it, getting published, being encouraged, and getting better and better. If someone drops off the grid for a while, it isn't long before someone is checking in to find out if they're okay, and asking how the writing is going and before long, they're back at it.

To me, that's the success story. People hanging together, supporting one another, and cheering every writer's success as if it were their own.

So let me toss this question out into the ether. How do you measure your success as a writer? Is it that publishing contract tucked safely in your pocket, the jingle of cash in your pocket, and an award on your mantel? Yes, those are the dreams that fill every writer's head, including mine, but if you never achieve that mountain top will you still consider yourself a success?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Anthology Trailers

Patti Abbott has a pair of videos on her blog for "Discount Noir" Drop on over and have a look-see.

I nearly missed this review for "Discount Noir" edited by Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle and reviewed by Chris Rhatigan

And there's a trailer for "Specters in Coal Dust" over at Michael Knost's blog. This one gave me a case of the creepy-crawlies. The music they chose to showcase the black and while photos really gives you that ghostly feeling.

I'm loving these book trailers for anthologies - don't know if they'll sell any, but here's hoping!

Also at Michael Knost's is the news that he's extended the deadline for the anthology "Appalachian Folklores: Dark Tales of Superstition and Old Wives Tales". 2500 words at 3cents a word.

Just Shaking My Head

There are days when tracking down markets can be downright depressing. Oh, I found four new anthology calls but...judge for yourself.

Bristol Banner Books - author must buy either 5 copies for $100 or 10 copies for $150 on signing the contract if your story is selected.

A Christian anthology wants $15 plus a $3 shipping fee to purchase the anthology included with your submission.

New Asian Writing charges a $10 reading fee.

And Goose River's 9th annual anthology is charging a $1 per page fee for reading your submission. Poetry is limited to one per page.

You'll notice that I haven't included the links. These were all non-paying markets. Money, no matter how little, flows to the author, folks.

In all my clicking and looking I did find one new anthology call from The Dead Robot's Society. They're looking for shorts up to 5000 in the sci-fi/fantasy genre. The title of the antho is Explorers: Beyond the Horizon and the deadline is December 31, 2010. There is an upfront payment(not listed) and semi-annual royalty payments. You can find all the details at

Watch your backs out there, my friends!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

La Ronde

In Part 3 of Patti Abbott's, LaRonde series, "Provocateur" by KA Laity, we were left with a man making love to a purple bra. It also left me wondering where do we go from here?

by Sandra Seamans

Jeanette sat on the edge of her rumpled bed clicking through the photos of James Preston that she'd capture in her cell phone. She could hear muffled moans coming from the connecting room and wondered if James was crying about getting caught in a compromising situation or jerking himself off with that tacky purple bra. Jeanette shivered. She had actually believed that he still wanted her, loved her. It was pretty depressing to realize that he'd been lusting after her underwear for the past two years and not her. Well, she'd find a way to make him pay.

The photos gave her a number of options. The first would be to sell them to the scandal sheets for a nice little nest egg, but then she'd be out of a job and no one would ever hire a PA who splattered her boss' secret life all over the front page. The truth was, she rather enjoyed the perks that came with being Preston's personal assistant. Which reminded her, she had the UNM party to attend and important people to schmooze. She might even find a chance to console that poor poet with a peek at her pictures. Grady Disch was an attractive man and just maybe...she let the thought trail off as she changed into her sexiest party dress.

Walking off the elevator into the hotel lobby Jeanette found herself facing the paparazzo's darling, India Hamilton. The fact that the woman was James' wife would forever leave a bitter taste in Jeanette's mouth. Barely a month ago India had financed her way onto the set of Tarantino's new movie and slept her way into James' life. After a staggering total of three dates with her uber-thin, yoga-flexible body, India managed to talk James down the aisle of a Vegas wedding chapel. She was rich, useless, and the world's poster girl for accessorized malnutrition. Everything Jeanette yearned to be.

"Fashionably late as usual, I see," whispered Jeanette as she leaned in for India's standard double kissy-cheek greeting for the paparazzi.

"I may be late, but people are still thrilled to see me, which is more than I can say for a fat bitch like you. I can't fathom why James keeps you around, you're not that talented. I'd have fired your ass ages ago."

Jeanette smirked as she pulled away from the imitation greeting. "After what I saw tonight, I doubt if he'll ever fire me."

"I wouldn't count on that, if I want you gone, you'll be gone."

Jeanette took her phone out of the evening bag she was carrying and flashed India a look at her husband in all his purple lace glory. "Now, that's what I call job security. I guess you're stuck with the fat bitch forever, you anorexic whore."

The surprised look on India's face as she flounced onto the elevator was just the beginning of a fairytale evening for Jeanette. She managed to convince Rav Noonan that James would be perfect in the supporting role of her next project and an audition was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon that would cinch the deal. Jeanette also discovered that Disch was not only attractive, but a most appreciative and experienced lover. Life was beautiful she thought as the cab pulled up in front of her hotel.

She was so wrapped up in the bliss of her evening that she barely noticed the police cars blocking the street, their lights strobbing a caution warning to passersby. Getting caught in a barrage of paparazzi camera flashes as she exited the taxi brought her thumping back to reality. Whatever happened inside must be big to bring out the trash collectors and the police.

As Jeanette pushed through the lobby doors, the crushing sound of voices went quiet and faces turned to stare at her. Was it James? Had something happened to him? Why was everyone so quiet?

"That's her! Jeanette Campbell. She murdered my husband."

Before the word murder could infiltrate Jeanette's brain, India launched her emaciated body in a poor imitation of a bottle rocket, bouncing off Jeanette's solid body and falling to the floor in a heap of tears. The sound of cameras clicking and whirring filled the air.

Police officers pushed Jeanette to the floor beside India, pulling her arms behind her back and cuffing her. As one of them read to her from a printed Miranda card, India inched closer.

"James was strangled tonight with a lovely purple silk bra," whispered India. "I'm willing to bet that the pretty pink box it came in will be found in your room."

"But I didn't kill him."

"Too bad the evidence says otherwise," said India.

As the cops pulled Jeanette to her feet, India stood, Jeanette's purse clutched firmly in her hands. She leaned in for a final whisper, "Funny, it sounds like the anorexic whore is singing the fat bitch right off the stage."

New Issues

The fall issue of Mysterical E is out

And the newest issue of The Back Alley

A late addition, but worthy of note, is the 5th issue of Crimefactory and they also have a new blog to keep all you readers and writers updated on what's going on at the factory

Monday, October 25, 2010

And a Contest

Chris Holm is sponsoring a contest over on his blog. The prize is a copy of Beat to a Pulp: Round One. All you have to do to win is write a six word pulp story and drop it in the comments. You have ten days to enter. Hey, who doesn't like the challenge of writing a story in 6 words?

Reading Material

Yes, I'm back again. Tomorrow is my turn for Patti Abbott's LaRonde series, so I'll have a story up instead of links. Unless, of course, something spectacular pops up on the radar!

There's plenty of new reading material posted out there today. A Twist of Noir has the next six stories in their 600 - 700 flash series. and don't forget The Fall Flash Frenzy is in its last week over at Dark Valentine

You'll also find new fiction up at Pulp Metal and over at TKnC

Horror Bound has issue #13 up and will be announcing the winners of their Carnivale contest soon. What I was surprised to find on their front page was a picture of David Boyer with a helluva bio. He has a short story up on the site called "The Longing" For those who have been plagiarized by this man, you might want to check out the story to make sure it's not one of yours. Charges are in the process of being brought against this man for his theft of stories.

A Pair of Anthology Reviews

"The Best Horror Short Stories 1800 - 1849" edited by Andrew Barger and reviewed by Rod Lott.

"8 Pounds" is a single author digital collection by Chris F. Holm and reviewed by Small Town Girl

Around the Web

Barebones has posted part 5 in their Matheson series called the Gauntlet Chapbooks. I hadn't realized it, but Matheson wrote some of the scripts for Kolchak: The Night Stalker, one of my favorite TV shows.

Hall Brothers Entertainment has a call for a "Villainy" anthology. 1000 to 15,000 words in any genre so long as you keep to the theme. The deadline is January 16, 2011, the pay is $5 plus a digital copy of the anthology and two authors selected by the editors will receive an extra $10 for their stories. You can find the details at

And you can now preorder Out of the Gutter 7. The new issue will be available December 7.

With a hat tip to Charles Tan, I found the Speculative Fiction Data Base

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Anthology Reviews - sort of

There is a review up for the charity anthology Murder to Mil-Spec edited by Tony Burton and reviewed by Kevin Tipple.

And this is probably the coolest form of advertisement for an anthology that I've ever had the pleasure of seeing. Beat to a Pulp: Round One is edited by David Cranmer and Elaine Ash with a book trailer by Frank Bill. You can watch it here

Friday, October 22, 2010

Some Grumpy Musing

Do you ever feel like your writing is taking second place to your salesmanship? I'm being serious here. More and more I see writers standing on the Internet corners hawking their wares and personally, it makes me sad. I know we all have to let readers know what's out there, but when does it hit the point of too much? When will it become more about the actual story and less about the person who wrote it? Are we writers so entangled in our words that there is no separation of story and writer? Do we all need to walk around with some sort of brand on our ass and a price tag on our forehead just to get people to read our work?

Yeah, I'm a little grumpy today. The reason? No one wants to discuss writing or markets or that amazing story they found. They remind me of the hucksters at the sale barn when I was a child. "Buy my peaches, buy my apples, buy my book."

And I wonder, is that what I'll become if I write a novel or manage to sell a collection of shorts? And the bigger question, is that what I really want?

This and That

For fans of pulp fiction, the mags, not the movie, there's an excerpt of a roundtable discussion between Robert Silverberg, Richard A. Lupoff, and Frank M. Robinson where they discuss how the pulps evolved.

Speaking of pulps, there's a brand new pulp zine getting set to launch in November called Pulp Carnivale. The link was posted to the SMFS this morning so I thought I'd pass it along. this is a non-paying market looking for flash up to 1000 words, short up to 10,000, and serials of 10,000 words for weekly installments. And every genre is open. They even listed a gangster genre which I didn't know existed!

And as one opens, another one closes. Bloody Bridge Review has closed to subs and from the looks it might be permanent. The archives are still open for your reading pleasure though.

Fellow link junky, Brian Lindenmuth, sent me a link to 60 of the best blogs for aspiring screenwriters

And speaking of Brian, he's got a new gig for you flash writers out there - stack a few books together spinning their titles into a short story, then snap a picture and send it to Brian over at Spinetingler for his Book Title Stories. He's already got a few posted and they're quite fun to read.

And, as you've probably already heard, there's a new ebook anthology out there, and on sale today, called "Discount Noir" And yes, I have a story in there along with an amazing group of short stories writers that I admire. A big thank you to both Patti Abbott and Steve Weddle for putting this all together.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rules and Characters

Rachelle Gardner has a great post up about "Writing Rules are Just Tools" I remember a writer on SMFS once saying that you had to know the rules before you could break them. And this doesn't just apply to the grammar rules but to genre rules as well. You need to know what came before so you can intelligently change things.

Chris Rhatigen has a post up on his blog about the rules for "Writing Violence" I think as writers we all struggle with one. How much is too much? But I have these great details of her brains splattering all over the purple rose wallpaper to create a Jackson Pollack effect, why can't I use it? The questions are endless and it all boils down to the market you're submitting to and how much you think your readers can accept.

Another thing writers have to deal with is creating characters. Who are they? What's in a name? And yes, another series of endless questions to answer before you put pen to paper.

Over at Declan Burke's blog, Tony Black has an essay detailing how he created his series character, Gus Dury.

And Dave White looks at changing the past of a character he's already created in a short story in his post at Do Some Damage. Can he or can't he? What say you?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Murder to Mil-Spec

Every year Wolfmont Press publishes an anthology to raise money for charity at Christmas time. In years past, this charity has been Toys for Tots, but this year the proceeds will be donated to Homes for Our Troops. Over at Women of Mystery, Terrie Farley Moran is having a drawing for one copy of "Murder to Mil-Spec". Stop on over and read her post to find out about the project and drop a comment to enter her give-away contest.

Hey, it's short stories and it's for charity what you waiting for? Click on over!

Lizard Brain

Over at Charles Tan's blog I clicked on a link that took me to this new website/blog called Lizard Brain. The title of the essay that drew my attention was 100 Aspects of Genre: Learning From the Dead and Dying by Daniel Abraham. The man has some interesting points about genre and what readers are looking for that makes a genre die off or take off.

Mr. Abraham writes novels under three different pen names and each persona takes their turn writing essays about the genre they're writing in. I hope that makes sense! Anyhow, it's quite an interesting blog, so if you have a few moments, stop on by Lizard Brain and have a read.

Anthology Calls

The lovely Michael Bracken emailed me links to a pair of low-paying anthology calls and a new horror zine.

From Misanthrope Press we have "Etched Offerings: Voices From the Cauldron of Story". They're looking for pagan stories of 1500 to 7500 words with a November 30 deadline. The pay is $5.

Soft Copy Publishing publishes short stories for the ipad and kindle. The theme for this collection of stories is "Strange Love". They're looking for stories up to 3000 words in any genre. The pay is a $10 advance. They open for subs on October 30 and close January 5, 2011. You can find the details at

The new zine is called Trembles and it is set to debut in January. They are looking for flash up to 1000 words, shorts to 6000 and poetry up to 50 lines. The pay is $5 for shorts and $2 for flash.

And Library of the Living Dead Press has 9 open anthology calls. They're paying a penny a word and a copy of the antho for accepted stories. You can find the calls here

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If It's Tuesday

It must be time for part 3 of Patti Abbott's round robin story challenge "La Ronde". You'll find this weeks episode, "Provocateur" by KA Laity here

We Have Linkage

I've got a mess of links for you this morning. They're scattered across the genres and range from market news to interviews and a few things in between. It always amazes me how much good information is out there for writers.

Over at Book Life Now they're running a series of essays on gaming and writing that many will find quite interesting. But scrolling down the page I also found two essays by Larry D. Sweazy about writing the West that will be helpful to our Western writers.

Over at Razored Zen, Charles Gramlich has an interview with Elaine Ash, one of the editors of the Beat to a Pulp anthology.

For those of you who couldn't make it to Bouchercon, James Lincoln Warren has posted a recording of the short story panel over at Criminal Brief.

Here's another update in the Iron Dave plagiarist saga

BareBones has posted two more installments in their Richard Matheson series

Part 3 The Mystery Digests I think the best reason for using a pen name is included in this essay!

Part 4 Fantasy/Sci-fi

With a hat tip to Brian Lindenmuth we have news that Realms of Fantasy is closing its doors unless someone is willing to purchase the zine for the awesome price of $1. Yep, that's one dollar, but if you read closely the zine is in debt and I expect the buyer will be responsible for any unpaid bills.

And finally, Issue #2 of Basement Stories has hit the virtual streets. They're also open for subs for issue #3 until November 1 for shorts under 6000 words. The pay is 3cents a word. They're also looking for poetry, non-fiction, and artwork which they also pay for at varying rates. This is a sci-fi/fantasy zine but they're willing to look at other work that is well written. Be sure to read an issue to see what they're looking for.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Market Notes

If you're looking for a contest, Creative Writing Contests has listed close to 20, both paying and non-paying since the beginning of October.

Duotrope has declared "Tweet the Meat" a dead market. There's been no postings since June at the site. Also at Duotrope there are 175 theme deadlines listed for those staring at a blank page wondering what to write.

The Lorelei Signal has opened for fantasy subs until November 15 for their June issue. They need fantasy stories that feature a strong female as one of the main characters. Flash under 1000 words and shorts to 10,000. Pay is $5 for shorts $2 for flash and poetry.

And issue 5 of Light Speed Magazine has gone live. They have an author spotlight and short story by Joe Lansdale up with a short by Stephen King coming on October 26. They update the zine weekly. They're also open for sci-fi subs of 1000 to 7500 words with a payment of 5cents a word. There is an online form at the site.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

And a Final Snoopy Dance

For Hank Phillippi Ryan whose short story, "On the House", not only won a Macavity Award, but has now taken home the Anthony Award. A big congrats to Hank!!!

For the full roster of Anthony award winners and nominees, stop by the Rap Sheet.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Anthology Reviews

If you were undecided about Paul Trembly's collection, "In Mean Time" you will find another review of this book by Naomi Johnson over at The Drowning Machine

"Stories: All New Tales" edited by Neil Gaiman and Al Sarrantonio and reviewed by Bev Vincent This is a multiple author anthology.

And we have "Specters in Coal Dust" edited by Michael Knost There's no review for this one yet, but friend of the Corner, Michael Bracken, has a story in this anthology so I thought I'd give it a plug. Besides, there's a very cool lineup of authors joining Michael in this antho.

Dreaming Up Panels

As most of you know, Bouchercon is in full swing out in San Francisco and I was wondering about the panels that are presented at both conventions and writing conferences (Yep, there is a difference). Which got me thinking about short story panels. Most cons list at least one short story panel where how to write a short story is generally the topic.

But wait...there's more to short stories than learning how to write them. There's marketing, anthologies, print vs. ezine, e-publishing, series characters in shorts, crime vs mystery, the reviewing of shorts, the list is almost endless. So here's my question. What kind of short story panel would you most likely attend at a con? Who would you like to see on that panel? Give us your vision of a dream short story panel. And it doesn't have to be limited to the mystery genre. Hey, if we come up with some great ideas, maybe we'll actually see one of our dream panels pulled together for a future con. You never know!

A Shamus Snoopy Dance

For Dave Zeltserman whose short story, "Julius Katz", won the Shamus Award for best short story. Congrats, Dave!! For the entire list of Shamus winners head on over to the Rap Sheet.

Friday, October 15, 2010

More Short News

There's an interesting essay about short stories over at the Bookview Cafe by Nancy Jane Moore. She made an interesting observation that, for her, short mystery stories don't work as well as sci-fi and horror in the short form because they need too much detail in order to play fair with readers.

John Scalzi has posted his opinion and observations about the new Amazon "Kindle Singles" program.

Sometime today the next five stories in A Twist of Noir's 600 - 700 stories series will be posted. There's some pretty great crime flash going up on the site this month, so be sure to drop on over and have a read.

The Fall issue of Pine Tree Mysteries has hit the virtual streets.

The DF-Underground zine has revamped their site and wow! does it look great.

And yesterday was the second anniversary of My Little Corner. This blog has gone way beyond anything I ever anticipated when I first started. There are over 700 posts and in an average day over 100 page views (yes, I just discovered that I have stats!). When I started this blog, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that anyone would even know it existed. So, thank you, to all my followers and readers, you've made this blogger very happy!

The Thrilling Detective

Below is a note from Kevin Burton Smith, editor of The Thrilling Detective, that was posted to the Thrilling Detective group blog:

Okay, so the site is tentatively back.

To those of you who've followed The Thrilling Detective Web Site through the years, and to those of you who just wandered in off a Google search, head on over to view this special transitional issue.

Unfortunately, due to severe time constraints, part of our previous concept (or was it conceit?) of semi-regular "issues" featuring a handful of original stories and selected excerpts, has -- after a lot of personal soul-searching and hand-wringing -- been abandoned. Temporarily or forever, I'm not sure, but currently I just don't have the dime or the time to devote to the fiction side of this site. Or at least in any sort of way that will ensure the quality you've come to expect.

I will, however, continue to try to keep -- with renewed energy, I hope -- the reference portion of the site going. That, in fact, was the original idea for the site: a big P.I. reference site. And actually, it's always been the less glamorous but major portion of this site -- and plenty time-consuming in its own right. But I intend to keep it going for as long as I can. Or until the wheels inevitably fall off.

To keep this site current and moving along -- and to make sure I don't slack off -- I intend to maintain a short list (see below) called THIS JUST IN... detailing happenings in the P.I. world. They'll be short, mostly snappy blasts (I hope), with appropriate links, that will direct you to -- or give you my take on -- some of the things that have caught my eye lately and that may be of interest to you.

For those of you who despair that you'll never read fiction in these pages again, please note that, like Sean Connery, I never said "never". At this point, I'd like once again to thank current fiction editor Gerald So and my original co-editor Victoria Shea-Esposito for all their hard work over the years. My decision to ditch fiction in no way reflects upon Gerald's tireless work for so many years.In fact, all this is off the top of my head. Tomorrow, who knows? Your opinions matter, so let me know. Publicly on this list, privately, whatever. I'll be weighing my options in the next few weeks. And if I see any of you at Bouchercon this weekend, please let me know what you think... And yes, bribery is an option.

This Just In...What's new in the P.I. World

Bouchercon 2010 in San Francisco I'll be there this Friday for the PWA Awards dinner and just possibly at a bar or two afterward. Buy me a drink, be my friend.

Terriers on Fox Is it truly a dog, or an wildly erratic show that's slowly improving?

Nekropolis by Tim Waggoner A zombie P.I.? Sigh...

The 2010 Shamus Award Winners Watch this space..

Disciple of the Dog by R. Scott Baker A new P.I. novel with an unforgettable premise.

Once I have a routine going, I'll be posting the items on this list as well, and probably expanding on them occasionally on my blog.

Kevin Burton Smith
Editor/Founder of The Thrilling Detective Web Site

For me, I'm sad that there will be no more fiction on the site but I'm very happy that the site will remain intact as it is a great source of information for the mystery community and PI writers in particular.

A Round of Snoopy Dances

Congratulations to Brendan DuBois for winning the Barry Award for best short story with his story, "The High House Writer" and to Hank Phillippi Ryan who won the Macavity Award for best short with her story "On the House".

You can find the entire list of Barry and Macavity winners over at The Rap Sheet

Thursday, October 14, 2010

John M. Floyd - A Review

I've "known" John for several years now via several online groups and a bit of email correspondence and I'm a big fan of his short stories. Like me, he prefers the short form for storytelling and it shows in his work. His newest collection of short stories is now out from Dogwood Press. "Clockwork" is reviewed here by Deborah Elliott-Upton. I read his first collection "Rainbow's End", and knowing John's writing, this new one will be just as wonderful.

An excellent sample of his work is "The Wading Pool" which you can find here


With the start of Bouchercon 2010 today in San Francisco things will be a bit quiet around the mystery regions of the web. No, I'm not going. Attending cons isn't an option for me, but that's okay because I still get to interact with all those fine folks here in the blog world. So those of you attending Bcon, have a great time, those not going, hey, stop feeling sorry for yourself and take a look around at what you do have.

There's a new issue of Yellow Mama out there on the streets.

There's a great story called "Shootout" by William Hart in the September issue of Thieves Jargon.

Editor, Christopher Grant, has kicked off his 600 - 700 flash series over at a Twist of Noir with the first five stories already gone live.

Today is the last day to get your submissions in to Beat to a Pulp. Hey, it's a great zine to hang your stories in, so what are you waiting for?!?

And Brian Lindenmuth has an essay over at Spinetingler about the loss of short stories that have been published on the Internet. He's got a good case for collecting these stories into anthologies. Don't think so? Drop on by and click on the dead link. There are 857 dead markets listed and that's by no means all of the markets that have come and gone over the years. In the Mystery/Crime field alone we have lost Flashing in the Gutters, Muzzle Flash, PulpPusher, Mouth Full of Bullets, Crime and Suspense (the last two do have anthologies available so not all of the stories are lost), Scalped, Grim Graffiti, and Demolition. All sites that are completely gone. There are many others out there like Crooked, Flash Pan Alley, and Black Mask where you can read the archived stories, but, what's to keep them from disappearing forever?

While we lose track of print magazines and anthologies, there are still copies available at flea markets, yard sales, book sales and in libraries so finding copies can be difficult, but it's not impossible. Once the stories are lost in the ether, they're gone forever.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Anthology Reviews

I've been trying to figure out how to make readers aware of the anthologies that are available out there without being a pushy salesman and I think I've hit on something. I'm going to start posting links to reviews of anthologies. So, if you're reviewing an anthology, drop me line and I'll link to your post. As for today, well, I found three that might interest the folks that drop around the Corner.

"In the Mean Time" by Paul Tremblay reviewed by Charles Tan. This is a single author collection.

"Los Angeles Noir 2: The Classics" edited by Denise Hamilton and reviewed by Alan Cranis

This last isn't quite a review, but the Rap Sheet gives a great overview of "Beat to a Pulp: Round 1" edited by David Cranmer and Elaine Ash and they're giving away three copies, so be sure to drop on over and toss your name in the hat.

And a late addition, but well worth a look. "Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop" edited by Otto Penzler and reviewed by Naomi Johnson.

Market News

It's been slim pickings for finding new markets, but Moon Milk Review has posted it's October issue and they've posted the picture for October's prosetry contest All you need to do is write a story or poem in 500 words or less for the October 31st deadline. The winner will be published in the November issue.

If you're writing a story for The Zombie Feed anthology you might want to check out the interview with editor, Jason Sizemore over at Market Scoops. The deadline for the anthology is October 31, the pay is a penny a word.

La Ronde

Patti Abbott's round robin, La Ronde, continues today with the second installment by Dana King If you missed the first part you can find it here

Monday, October 11, 2010


I'm about to embark on a major rewrite for a story I'm working on. The story is the longest I've ever written at this point and I have the ending in my head, but I have to go back and revise the beginning so the ending will unfold naturally from the story itself. I've printed out the pages and filled them with suggestions, crossed out parts that don't belong now that the basic story has changed but...

I really like some of what I've written and now I need to kill it. Yes, the horrible "kill your darlings" part of writing. I hate it and I fear it, but I know that it's necessary. So, in order to get myself in the mood, I took an old flash story and rewrote it. Cutting and adding, and changing the gist of the original story, "Perfection", and taking it from a 300 word flash to a 500 word flash with a new title and a slightly different angle:

Shattered Illusions

Jane hurried down the old log road, skirting the fallen tree branches and puddles of water that littered the road in the wake of the fast moving thunderstorm that had passed through the area. The storm had brought with it a smothering humidity but Pip knew exactly where she could cool off.

Worry chased her, making her feet move faster. Her husband was sleeping off a weekend drunk, if he woke up and found her gone there’d be hell to pay. But the thought of the cooling waters in Sylvia’s pool, well, a beating would be a small price to pay for a bit of relief from the heat.

Breaking out of the woods, Jane smothered a soft curse. The house lights were on and a fancy sports car was parked in the driveway. Sylvia’s husband must have returned from his business trip. She knelt down in the darkness waiting for the lights to go off so she could slip into the pool that filled the white-picket-fenced backyard.

Jane envied the woman who lived in the house that had once graced the covers of “House Beautiful”. And Sylvia, with her unblemished skin, silky blond hair that shimmered gold in the sunlight, and her perfectly toned body, had once been a cover girl herself. Jane felt like a fat frump whenever she saw Sylvia, hating the drab olive color of her skin and the frizzy curls in her black hair. Sylvia was everything Jane wanted to be and never could never be. The closest she came, was cleaning the woman’s house and sneaking into her pool at night.

Shouting and the sound of smashing china shook Jane out of her daydreams. A loud thud and a slammed door chased shivers up her spine. Those were familiar sounds in Jane’s world, but surely not in Sylvia’s.

Sylvia’s husband was a hard working man who appeared to be on more intimate terms with his frequent flier miles than his wife. His time away was spent checking out exotic locations for his travel agency, returning home to his wife after weeks in the perfumed sunshine of far away islands. Places he never took Sylvia. Jane always found it odd that Sylvia only cried when he came home. Now she began to understand the reason for the tears. They weren’t so different after all.

Jane breathed a sigh of relief when Sylvia slipped out of the house, her bare feet padding quietly across the flagstone patio toward the edge of the pool. She watched as Sylvia stripped the designer clothes from her body, her naked perfection drenched in moonlight. Jane’s breath caught in her throat at the sight of such celestial beauty, but the tears running down Sylvia’s cheeks belied the perfection. Jane rose from her hiding place, she wanted to tell Sylvia that she wasn’t alone. Instead, her screams filled the air, as Sylvia put a gun to her head and splattered blood and brain matter across the moonlit pool.


Using that exercise has helped me prepare to move into the longer story and hopefully as I work, the fears will subside and I'll get the story whipped into shape.

How do you approach the rewriting and editing portion of your stories? Do you freeze up a bit or do you slash away like a ninja on speed?

David Bryon/Boyer - Leo Wolfe Update

The Internet makes it easier for plagiarists to steal a writer's work, but I'm also finding that it also makes it easier to find out the dirt on these thieves and start the process of shutting them down. Here's the latest update

Saturday, October 9, 2010

How Many?

Characters. They're what make a story move and a reader care, but how many characters are too many?

When I was learning how to write flash, the rule of thumb was no more than two characters, though you can sometimes manage a third if you're heading towards the thousand word mark. For me, anything under 600 words is just too crowded and too confusing, especially with dialogue, if you try to slip in a cast of three or four.

Once I started writing longer stories, I knew I could add more characters, but the story still felt too crowded. Walk on characters are fine, they're there and gone when their usefulness is fulfilled. But for main characters, especially in shorts I prefer only two or three characters. Why? Because it's easier for me to keep track of who is who and who's doing what to who. And that applies to both reading and writing.

So, you're probably wondering what brought this line of thought about. Well, I'll tell you, I'm up to chapter five in the current novel I'm reading and have already been introduced to no fewer than thirty characters, along with all of the details of how they're related and who is sleeping with who, not to mention the twenty years of back story the author feels obliged to fill in for me. Even more confusing is the fact that he keeps dropping me into the heads of different characters. I've reached the point where I don't really care about any one of them. It's rather like that screwing in a light bulb joke. But here, it's how many characters does it take to tell a story?

What about you? How many characters are too many?

Friday, October 8, 2010

If You're...

If you're looking forward to November and Nanowrimo you might want to drop on over to the Dark Salon where Alexandra Sokoloff has her yearly advice on how to prepare for Nano and links on how to write a novel. Alexandra's blog is an amazing source for writers so be sure to spend some time scrolling and clicking through her blog.

If you've been missing Clair Dickson's Bo Fexler stories, stop on over to Bo's blog where you'll find a new adventure with your favorite PI.

If you're a David Goodis fan you might want to stop on by Allan Guthrie's Noir Zine for an interview with Larry Winters about his Goodis documentary, "David Goodis...To A Pulp".

If you're looking for some new reading material the October issue of 10Flash has hit the virtual streets. 10Flash is also open for submissions for their January issue. The theme this time around is "Santa Claus Ain't Coming to Town".

Thursday, October 7, 2010


The annual MicroHorror Halloween contest has been launched!!
This year's theme is Space, no, not outer space, but those cramped spaces that scare the living crap out of you. The word count for this one is up to 500 words only with an October 31 deadline. And there will be prizes. May the spooky flash writing commence!

Market Day

Erotica seems to be the place for anthologies these days as that seems to be most of what I've found in my web searching this morning.

This first is from Paul Brazill. This call is for "Gothic Tales of Erotica Romance". 3000 to 5000 words with a January 1 deadline. The pay is $50 to $70 plus two copies.

At this site You'll find three calls with the first deadline being November 1. All three calls pay $50 plus 2 copies.

Shadow Fire Press has listed their Holiday Themes for 2011, just scroll down the page. The first deadline is in November then into 2011. This, too, is an erotica market. I couldn't find the payment listings here.

And in the opposite end of the spectrum we have a YA press, Wyvern Publications is looking for vampire tales of 2000 to 5000 words for a teen anthology called "Fangtales". 2000 to 5000 words, pays in copies and an annual royalty. You can find details at They also have an ezine listed on the site.

AskWendy has a bunch of new calls listed including one YA market. You can check out Wendy at has posted two pages of calls in their October issue.

And has listed their October calls for submissions And a special note for Charles Gramlich, there's a call here for papers about Robert E. Howard.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Around the Web

There's more on the infamous plagiarist here Be sure to read through the comments as there's more information there. I had to laugh the other day because after I mentioned he used the same pictures at Darkened Doorways under the name Leo Wolf - he changed the pictures! The man has no shame.

A big Snoopy Dance for the winners of Spinetingler's "Pay the Bitch Back" contest. First prize went to Patti Abbott, 2nd to Karen Pullen and third to Stephen Rogers. The runners up were Copper Smith, SM Harding and Patricia Morin. Be sure to drop on over and read these great stories!

Patti Abbott's flash fiction challenge, La Ronde, is underway. The first story went up yesterday and there will be one every Tuesday until December 21. Lots of good reading ahead! Check out Patti's story at

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Shorts - Markets - And Some Artwork

I have a little bit of everything for you today. It's rather nice to have a mixture of links once in a while. You never know what will catch someone's eye.

Over at the Blackgate site there is a double interview with James Enge and Howard Andrew Jones where they discuss their serial characters which were created through short stories and how they moved on to writing these characters into novel form.

I found this link at Charles Tan's blog. I knew Frank Frazetta as the artist of the Conan paintings, so I was rather suprised to find these wonderful black and white drawings that could have graced the covers of those fifties paperbacks. I'm sure you gentlemen will especially enjoy these

A new issue of The Gumshoe Review is up Don't forget that this market also posts shorts stories up to 1000 words with a pro payment of 5cents a word. They're also looking for non-fiction articles at the same pay and they could use a few more reviewers.

Raven Electrick has posted a call for a new Halloween anthology with a spec fiction slant. They will open for submissions on October 11, not before. They're looking for flash, poetry, and shorts to 2500 words and reprints to 3500 words. Pay for new work is 3cents a word, reprints 1cent a word and poetry a flat rate of $5. A deadline will be set when they're nearly filled. You can find all the details at

Monday, October 4, 2010

Short Story News

For Richard Matheson fans, and if you're not, why not?, editor, John Scoleri, is running a series of posts about Matheson's short story work over at bare.bones ezine. The first part studies his Playboy published stories and the second post studies his sci-fi stories While you're there be sure to check out the site. This zine is rich with a look into the pulpy past of short stories.

Over at Booklife Now there's a combined interview with short story authors Mary Robinette Kowal and Jay Lake about speculative short fiction. And be sure to click on the links to Clarkes World for longer interviews with both authors.

Spinetingler will be posting the honorable mentions from their Pay the Bitch Back contest during the day today with the winners to be posted tomorrow. You can check them out at

Dark Valentine has a special treat for readers during the month of October. There will be 31 stories in 31 days, fully illustrated, in their Fall Frenzy series. There's already four stories up for your reading pleasure.

And the October issue of Frontier Tales has gone live Stop on by and have a read, then vote for your favorites!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Plagiarism Update

Just a word of caution for you about David Byron from the previous post about plagiarism. Mr. Byron also goes by the name Iron Dave and was publisher of the short lived Ligature Marks zine. At the moment he is using the name Leo Wolfe to publish the online zine "Darkened Doorways" He also owns the NVF Magazine site You can find out more about him at You'll notice that he's changed his bio a bit at the DD site but uses the same pictures on all the sites. If you've published any stories in his zines be sure to check his site to make sure he's not claiming your stories as his own. Better to err on the side of caution than to be blindsided.

One thing I do remember is that when Ligature Marks closed down after only two issues he claimed it was due to illness. Seems his illness hasn't stopped him from opening another zine.

Another update: I was looking over Darkened Doorways and discovered that they're also a press soliciting novels and short stories for an anthology called "Sweet Jayne". Mr. Wolfe also has an anthology of his stories due out from Living Dead press in November. There's no table of contents listed for the book yet.

Thoughts for Sunday

Over on the Somebody Dies blog there's a great quote from Michael Frayn on being a "successful" writer.

And Toni McGee Causy has a wonderful post about never giving up no matter how bad things get in the course of your writing life.

Saturday, October 2, 2010


It was just a year ago that writer, Angel Zapata, discovered that he was being plagiarized by a person named Richard Ridyard. Through the course of his investigation he discovered that the man was using various other names and was even plagiarizing Stephen King and Lovecraft. You can read about that here

What made me think about this? Because another writer has discovered his work is being plagiarized by a David Byron, who is selling the work through and Amazon. Rick Moore is asking for your help in discovering more about this "David Byron". If you have any information please drop it in the comments of his blog post

It's hard enough being a writer without someone stealing your work.

Saturday Linkage

The weather has calmed down and I had a chance to bounce around the Internet this morning where I managed to pick up a few interesting tid-bits to pass along.

The Flash Fiction Offensive has picked up a new editor. Byron Quertermous will be helming the operation now. Bryon was editor of the late, great, Demolition magazine. He also created Flash Pan Alley, a great flash site where you'll still find plenty of stories archived for your reading pleasure (including a few of my early stories)

Anthologies and collections are difficult to review but Brian Lindunmuth has come up with an interesting concept. He asked both reviewers and writers to each review a story from "Requiems for the Departed" and he's published the reviews over at Spinetingler. Very cool concept and every story is reviewed so readers can get a pretty fair idea of what the anthology is like. No depending on one reviewer's likes or dislikes. You can check it out here

Fred Zackel dropped me an email the other day about a new flash market, at least to me, called 971menu This is a non-paying market but they have a great presentation for your stories. Oh yeah, and Fred has a story in the current issue that just went live. Congrats to Fred!!

And just for fun, how would you reboot Star Wars? You can find out how others would do "Star Wars: The Complete Remake" here And you're invited to add your remake/recast to the mix. Hmmm Viggo Mortensen as Han Solo?

Friday, October 1, 2010

A Quickie

Just a quick reminder this morning that it's the first of the month and there are 48 markets listed over at Duotrope that have opened for submissions today. For those who write in the darker genres of crime and horror we have:

Dark Discoveries

The Dark Fiction Spotlight

Necrotic Tissue

Sorry to be so abrupt today but we're in a heavy storm system that's been knocking the electric out over the past 24 hours and doesn't look to be stopping anytime soon. I'll probably be unplugged for most of the day again today.