If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com.

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

When Thoughts Turn to Short Stories

by Paula Gail Benson

With so many activities as summer approaches, sometimes it’s easier to commit to reading or writing short stories rather than longer works. July offers the opportunity for a Camp NaNo experience and wouldn’t it be fun to try something new and different, experiment with a genre you haven’t written before?

I’ve been thinking a lot about short stories lately. At the end of May, we received word that short story writer and longtime supporter of the short mystery fiction community, Sandra Seamans, had passed away. I wrote a tribute to her yesterday on The Stiletto Gang. Many of us credit Sandra’s blog “My Little Corner,” which listed story calls, as giving us the information we needed to make our first submissions.
Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting, a founding member and author for the blog “The Write Practice,” has published some excellent books on writing short stories. These are all available on Amazon:

Tara Laskowski
Art Taylor
I found two of Joe’s online articles in “The Write Practice” to be particularly helpful. “Five Steps to Write a Short Story” has the following process: (1) be a reader of short stories, (2) start out by summarizing the story you want to write, (3) then, write the story, (4) revise and edit the story you’ve written, and (5) submit it for publication. In “How to Write a Short Story from Start to Finish,” Joe outlines seven steps: (1) write the story in one sitting as if you were telling it to someone, (2) determine who the protagonist is, (3) list out all the scenes in the story, (4) conduct any research you need, (5) write the story, then rewrite and edit it, and (7) get the story published.

Barb Goffman
Some of the best advice I’ve heard about writing short stories has been at the Malice panels featuring the Agatha nominees for best short story. From this year’s authors, Leslie Budewitz, Susanna Calkins, Barb Goffman, Tara Laskowski, and Art Taylor, I learned a great deal, both from hearing their perspectives and reading their stories. One thing in particular resonated with me: Barb Goffman suggested a year of reading a short story a day. What a great idea for becoming familiar with style, craft, and the types of stories being accepted for publication.

Susanna Calkins
Where do you find 365 stories? One good place to start is with the magazines and anthologies where the Agatha nominees were published. Leslie and Tara’s stories (that tied for the Agatha) appeared in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, while Barb and Art’s were in issues of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Susanna’s was in last year’s Bouchercon Anthology, Florida Happens. (Also, if you haven’t read them yet, there are still active links on the Malice Domestic’s Agatha page.)

Leslie Budewitz
On Malice Domestic’s anthology page, not only is there a story call for it’s upcoming anthology, Mystery Most Theatrical, but also a list of the Malice Anthology Collection. By Googling “Bouchercon anthologies,” you can retrieve a sizeable list, including the Anthony award winning Murder Under the Oaks, edited by Art Taylor. Speaking of this year’s Agatha short story nominees, how about checking out Leslie Budewitz’ and Susanna Calkins’ websites, which list out their short stories; Barb Goffman’s collection Don’t Get Mad, Get Even that won the Silver Falchion Award; Tara Laskowski’s Bystanders, winner of the Balcones Fiction Prize; and  Art Taylor’s Agatha award winning novel in short stories, On the Road with Del and Louise?

Sisters in Crime’s online Guppy Chapter has a series of anthologies, many of which gave members a first publication. (BSP: my The Train is on the Tracks is in Fish or Cut Bait.) Other chapters of Sisters in Crime also have short story anthologies.

Gigi Pandian
Gigi Pandian’s The Cambodian Curse and Other Stories features nine locked room mysteries (including the Agatha award winning The Library Ghost of Tanglewood Inn). The Mystery Tribune called Reed Farrel Coleman’s recent collection Short Stack “a master class in short stories.”

John Floyd

How can I not mention collections by B.K. Stevens (Her Infinite Variety), John M. Floyd (Dreamland) (in addition, John recently wrote a post for SleuthsayersAnthology Psychology,” listing the themed anthologies where his stories appear), and Earl Staggs (Short Stories of Earl Staggs)? As a matter of fact, maybe that’s what I should continue to do this summer, fill my messages with lists of short story anthologies.

If nothing else, please consider reading my tribute to Sandra Seamans on The Stiletto Gang. Although her story collection is out of print, I was able to find links to a number of her short stories available online. Reading those, you can see the skill of a true craftsman who loved the short story form.

How about you? Have you read or written any good short stories lately?


Art Taylor said...

Thanks for the great post--and the kind shout-outs too!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Good round-up! Thanks for assembling everything in one post.

E. B. Davis said...

Love shorts, too, Paula. I may have to bookmark this blog for reference. Thanks for the information,

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Paula, for this wonderful coverage about short stories. I always find your blogs so helpful and so supportive of mystery writers. I wrote my first short story and submitted it to an anthology for consideration. I have to wait until this fall to find out if it was accepted. Fingers crossed.

Kait said...

What a hugely talented group! Short stories are wonderful, like finding sea salt in dark chocolate. Looking forward to some excellent reads.

Barb Goffman said...

A great column, Paula. Thanks for supporting short stories! I wish I had more time to read and write them.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Thank you, Art and Barb, for your many contributions to mystery short story writing. Margaret and E.B., I've read your stories and know they are first rate. Grace, I'm so glad you've submitted and hope you'll receive an acceptance. Kait, I love the way you put it, "like finding sea salt in dark chocolate." If that's not a reason to read short stories, I don't know what is! Many thanks to you all!

KM Rockwood said...

I love short stories! The authors you mention are an inspiration.

In fact, my first publication was a book of short stories, Dealing with the Demon and Other Stories (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B008DV8WJE)

Whenever I see a call for an anthology, I seriously consider writing a story for it.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Kathleen, I'm going to check out your collection! Thanks!

buzzcnnbook@gmail.com said...

Thanks for this amazing post keep going on .. I'm big fan of your blog!

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