Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction

by Paula Gail Benson

While I’ll remember the 2019 Dallas Bouchercon for many reasons (particularly for having the chance to see a number of my Writers Who Kill partners up close and in person!), I’ll be especially grateful to Kendel Lynn and Carol Puckett, two of the local organizers for asking me to serve as the contest coordinator for the Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction. I’ve learned so much from the experience and had such a great opportunity to work with and meet some wonderful short mystery fiction authors.

In the beginning, no one knew what to expect. The contest honored the memory of revered Texas writer and reviewer Bill Crider. Open to any writer in the world, stories had to be between 3,500 and 5,000 words and deal with the theme “Deep in the Heart.”

Jim Jackson, who was experienced working on anthologies, agreed to be the submissions coordinator, without knowing what that task might entail. Sixty-three stories were blindly submitted. Thirty-seven advanced to the second round and eleven were selected as finalists for the following prizes:

·         First Place:      $1000
·         Second Place:  $750
·         Third Place:     $500
·         Bill Crider Memorial Scholarship:      Registration to Bouchercon 2020

We were so fortunate to have excellent short story writers and editors to agree to judge the preliminary rounds. They were: Carla Coupe, Kaye George, Barb Goffman, Debra H. Goldstein, Tara Laskowski, Robert Mangeot, Karen McCullough, Warren Moore, Terrie Moran, and Beth Terrell. I cannot thank these folks enough for taking on the difficult task of determining which stories would go forward.

Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Linda Landrigan, editor of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, graciously agreed to serve as judges for the final round.

The eleven finalists were:

“Long Overdue” by Jaap Boekestein
“Trust Me” by Douglas Dorow
“Mi Corazón, Sin Cartero, Sin Timbre de las Puerta (My Heart, Sans Postman, Sans Doorbell)” by Dixon Hill
“Resuscitation” by Ann Kellett
“Cahoots” by C.C. Guthrie
“The Texas Justice Project” by James L’Etoile
“Lambs and Wolves” by Robert Lopresti
“Death and Texas” by Lissa Marie Redmond
“Dead Armadillos Don’t Dance” by Kari Wainwright
“The Last Man in Lafarge” by Joseph S. Walker
“Armadillo by Morning” by Stacy Woodson

And, the top four prizes were awarded to:

·         First Place:      Joseph S. Walker
·         Second Place:  Jaap Boekestein
·         Third Place:     Douglas Dorow
·         Bill Crider Memorial Scholarship:      Dixon Hill

Crider Judges, Winners, and Entrants with Hank Phillippi Ryan
We were delighted to have three of the four prize winners (Joseph S. Walker, Douglas Dorow, and Dixon Hill) at the ceremony hosted by Hank Phillippi Ryan. In addition, a number of the participants and judges attended and we took a “class” photo.

Although publication was not part of the prize for this contest, I firmly believe you’ll be seeing these stories and their authors’ names in print. So, be watching for them.

Following Bouchercon, Joseph S. Walker attended New England Crime Bake, where he was honored with the Al Blanchard award. Way to go, Joe!

Many thanks to all who participated as entrants, judges, and planners of this contest. I hope it might be a tradition that continues to other Bouchercons.
Another group from the Crider Presentation: Kaye George, C.C. Guthrie,
Alan Orloff (Derringer Award Winner), Warren Moore, and Amy Denton
Do you write or read short stories? (I hope you might!)


  1. good summary of the process! Of course I write short stories. Just had one accepted as a KRL podcast (2020)!

  2. You know I like my short stories...just finished a new one and wish it had been in time for WWK. Thank you for putting together the presentation and now introducing us to so many talented writers.

  3. SMFS list member Joseph S. Walker has been on quite a roll.

    Kevin R. Tipple

  4. I haven't written a short story in years. Must write another one of these days.

  5. Shari, I always love your short stories and am looking forward to "The Queen of Christmas."

    Kevin, thanks so much for making the Derringer presentations at B'con.

    Please do, Marilyn! I'd love to read it!

  6. I was happy to judge. Thanks to you and Jim for all your work organizing the contest, Paula. And congratulations again to everyone who made it to the final round, as well as to everyone who worked on a story and submitted it. Sometimes the real win is getting to write The End and being proud of what you've done.

  7. I love short stories, both reading them and writing them. I usually read one short story at bedtime every night.

  8. Barb, we were delighted to have so many distinguished, award winners among the judges. Thank you for giving your time and expertise.

    K.M., I love them, too. Looking forward to our WWK holiday stories!

  9. "This blog has a unique way of addressing real-life challenges and offering practical solutions. It's evident that the author genuinely cares about their readers and strives to provide helpful content. It's an absolute pleasure to follow their journey."

  10. "I can't recommend this blog enough! The articles are not only informative but also inspire critical thinking and meaningful discussions. It's refreshing to find a platform that encourages intellectual growth. Well done, and keep up the excellent work!"


  11. Too bad the spammer scum found this post. They tried at my place as well, but I have comment moderation enabled so the fools were stopped and could not make this same crap comment there.

  12. "The practicality of the advice shared in this blog sets it apart. The author understands the importance of actionable steps and provides readers with tangible solutions they can implement in their lives. It's empowering to have a blog that offers not just knowledge but also practical guidance."

  13. I really enjoyed reading about "The Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction" on your blog. It's great to see the recognition and support for talented writers. On another note, I wanted to share an exciting coupon offer with you. Express currently has a coupon code available for $25 off a purchase of $75 or more. It's a fantastic opportunity to get stylish and affordable clothing. Thank you for sharing information about the prize and keeping us informed about great deals like the one at Express. Happy shopping and writing!

  14. I stumbled upon your fascinating blog post discussing "The Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction" and was immediately drawn into the world of literary exploration. Melrose Discount Furniture is a renowned retailer known for offering a wide range of stylish and affordable furniture with benefit of Coupon Code. Their commitment to quality and affordability has made them a go-to destination for individuals seeking to furnish their homes with both comfort and style.

  15. I appreciate the introduction to "The Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction." It's a wonderful initiative to support and showcase talented writers. Speaking of support, sharing an "instacart promo code $35 off" could help writers and readers alike enjoy some well-deserved snacks and convenience while diving into these engaging stories. Great work in promoting literary talent!