I'm a mystery short-story writer. I've won the Agatha Award twice, as well as the Macavity, Silver Falchion, and Ellery Queen Readers Award. I've been a finalist for national crime-writing awards thirty-three times: fourteen times for the Agatha, eight times for the Macavity, seven times for the Anthony, three times for the Derringer, and once for the Silver Falchion. (The Silver Falchion was for my book Don't Get Mad, Get Even, which won best single-author mystery-short-story collection published in 2013.) I live in Winchester, Virginia.
My newest story, "Out of a Fog," has been published in issue 10 of Black Cat Mystery Magazine (Wildside Press). The story is about a college senior whose boyfriend dumps her shortly before Thanksgiving. When she later learns he cheated on her, she doesn't take it well.
With Thanksgiving about two weeks away, this publication is quite timely. You can buy a paper copy of this issue here and an electronic version here, as well as from the publisher and your usual online bookstores.
Do you like ghost stories? I hope so because I have one for you. My newest story, "Wishful Thinking," has been published by Wildside Press. In the story, four tweens creep into an abandoned, supposedly haunted house in search of a million dollars in stolen money that's rumored to be hidden there. They don’t believe in ghosts when they go inside. But maybe they should....
The story was published in issue 6 of Black Cat Weekly e-magazine. That issue can be purchased directly from the publisher here. It's also available from other online bookstores. "Wishful Thinking" also was individually published by Wildside. You can pick it up for 99 cents directly from Amazon. Just click here. And to answer a question I've received, I would call the story psychologically spooky, not gory.
If you like funny crime stories and you like the Marx Brothers, boy are you in for a good time. My newest story, "Humor Risk," is out in the anthology Monkey Business: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Films of the Marx Brothers. In the story, a bookie's henchmen are on Dominic's trail. So, when he learns that a long-lost Marx Brothers movie might be hidden in a hoarder's house in his New Jersey town, he turns from gambler to thief, vowing he'll burrow into the uninhabited house to find the missing movie and claim a big reward. It seems an easy bet until Dominic enters the house. ...
The anthology is published by Untreed Reads Publishing. The book, edited by Josh Pachter, has one story inspired by each of the Marx Brothers' movies. In addition to my tale, the book has stories by: Donna Andrews, Frankie Y. Bailey, Jeff Cohen, Lesley A. Diehl, Brendan DuBois, Terence Faherty, Joseph Goodrich, Robert Lopresti, Sandra Murphy, Josh Pachter, Robert J. Randisi, Marilyn Todd, and Joseph S. Walker.
You can buy the book in trade paperback and ebook format from all the usual sources, as well as the publisher for a discount. Click here to go to the publisher for the paperback version.
I'm delighted that my story "Ice Ice Baby" has been published in the September/October issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. In the story, teacher and single-mom Melissa is driving an ice cream truck in the summer to make ends meet. It's hard work--made all the harder because she's being sexually harassed by her married landlord. With limited options, Melissa searches for a sweet solution to her sticky situation.
My story "Dear Emily Etiquette" was honored tonight (July 17th), winning the Agatha Award for best short story published last year! The story came out in the September/October 2020 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. Earlier this year it won the Ellery Queen Readers Award, given to the magazine's readers' favorite story published in EQMM in the prior year. The story is currently a finalist for the Anthony and Macavity awards, both of which will be given out at this year's Bouchercon world mystery convention, which will be held in New Orleans at the end of August.
I'm thrilled to have been nominated for the Agatha for Best Short Story alongside four excellent writers: Shawn Reilly Simmons, Art Taylor, Gabriel Valjan, and James Ziskin. To everyone who read and enjoyed the story, thank you!
I'm delighted that my short story "Dear Emily Etiquette" is a finalist for the Macavity Award for best short story published in 2020. The story was originally published in the Sept. /Oct. issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and went on to win the magazine's annual Readers Award, given to the magazine's readers' favorite story of the year. The story is also a current finalist for the Agatha and Anthony Awards.
The Macavity Awards are given out by Mystery Readers International, and voted on by members and friends of MRI and subscribers to Mystery Readers Journal. I am honored to be a fellow finalist in the short-story category with Art Taylor, Gabriel Valjan, Elaine Viets, and James W. Ziskin. The winners of all categories will be announced during the Boucheron convention in August.
If you like my funny stories, then I hope you'll love "A Tale of Two Sisters," which was just published in the anthology Murder on the Beach. This anthology has eight long short stories all set, as you can imagine, at the beach. The stories will let you travel to beaches throughout North America, seven in the U.S. and one in Mexico. My story is set in Wisconsin on Lake Michigan.
"A Tale of Two Sisters" is my longest story ever published. At more than 11,000 words (41 typewritten pages) it's considered a novelette by Short Mystery Fiction Society standards. In this story, you meet Robin Weiss. As maid of honor at her anxious big sister's wedding, Robin is determined to make sure everything goes just right, but things go off the rails quickly once the reception begins and the crime--and humor--ensue. Reader Vida Antolin-Jenkins said of the story: "OMG! Just finished your story!! Bravo, brilliant, and hilarious! ... That was the perfect start to my day!!!"
The anthology is available in ebook form from all the usual suspects (for the Amazon version, since I know a lot of you shop there, click here). A trade paperback version should be published by mid-June. In addition to my story, the book has stories from Ritter Ames, Lucy Carol, Karen Cantwell, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Shari Randall, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Cathy Wiley. Happy reading!
Also in May ...
I'm delighted that my story "Dear Emily Etiquette" has been nominated for the Anthony Award for best short story published in 2020. You can read the story, originally published in the Sept./Oct. issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, by clicking here or on the "Dear Emily Etiquette" tab. There's also a link on that page to listen to me read it on the EQMM podcast. Last month the story won the Readers Award given out by Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and it's also a current nominee for the Agatha Award.
My fellow finalists for the Anthony Award are Alex Segura, Art Taylor, Gabriel Valjan, and James W. Ziskin. I raise a glass to all of them. The award will be given out in August, voted on by attendees of the Bouchercon mystery convention.
I'm also pleased to have a story, "Man to Man," in one of the anthologies nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection of 2020. That book, The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell, was edited by Josh Pachter and published by Untreed Reads Publishing.
I have a brand-new story, "James," in Only the Good Die Young: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Billy Joel. Here's a little bit about the story: Reconnecting with old friends seems like a no-brainer when you’re home for a family funeral and feeling nostalgic. But when you’re also a rock star and your old best friend married your ex-girlfriend, things can get a little more complicated.
Sandra Murphy said in her Kings River Life Magazine review of the book: "James is Barb Goffman’s contribution. She tells how achieving one dream can kill all the rest—and your happiness and hopes, too. In the end, you can only rely on the ones who truly love you." For the full review, click here.
I hope you're feeling enticed to buy the anthology, which was edited by Josh Pachter and just published by Untreed Reads Publishing. It has twelve short stories, each one inspired by one of Billy Joel's twelve studio albums. The book is available in trade paperback and ebook form from all the usual sources. For the best price, please consider buying it directly from the publisher by clicking here.
And more April news! ...
A dream come true: my story "Dear Emily Etiquette" has won the 2020 Readers Award given out by Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine! Each year, readers of the magazine can vote for their favorite stories published in EQMM that year, and my funny epistolary story about a woman whose invitation to her cousin's wedding requires that she bring a date took first place. EQMM called it an "irrepressible satirical tale about the modern wedding." I'm more grateful to the voters than I can say.
I'm thrilled to share that my short story "Dear Emily Etiquette" has been nominated for the Agatha Award for best mystery short story published in 2020. This is a story written in letters between an etiquette columnist and a woman invited to her cousin's wedding--but only if she brings a date! The story was published in the September/October 2020 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. You can read the story by clicking here or you can hear me read it on the EQMM podcast by clicking here. The podcast runs for 32 minutes.
The Agatha Award winners will be announced in July during More Than Malice--this year's virtual Malice Domestic convention. I'm up against stiff competition: Shawn Reilly Simmons, Art Taylor, Gabriel Valjan, and James Ziskin. And while I secretly hope I win, I wish them all the very best.
I'm happy to share that I have a new short story published! "An Inconvenient Sleuth" appears in Black Cat Mystery Magazine issue 8. This is the longest short story I've ever written, coming in at nearly 10,000 words. It's my homage to cozy whodunits. In the story, Kendra Silver, Dogwood Valley's celebrated amateur sleuth, is murdered. Who saw that coming? Certainly not anyone who thinks amateur sleuths are invincible because they star in cozies. But Kendra's best friend, Whitney, had long feared one of Kendra's enemies would seek revenge. Now that one has, Whitney feels compelled to help the police unmask the culprit.
You can buy issue 8 of Black Cat Mystery Magazine in trade paperback and Kindle from Amazon and directly from the publisher, Wildside Press. I'm attaching the Kindle link here and the publisher's link here. The issue should show up on other venues soon.
I have three new stories coming out this month. Yay!
"A Family Matter" appears in the January/February issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. This story is set in 1962 suburbia, where Doris and her neighbors are determined to move up the ladder of success together. When a new family moves in next door that's unaware of the unwritten social code, Doris makes it her business to help them conform. You can buy the issue in paper or digital formats from the usual sources. Subscriptions are also available from the publisher.
"That Poor Woman" appears in the January/February issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. This is a flash story about a shooter's sole survivor. As with AHMM, you can buy this issue of EQMM in electronic and paper formats, and subscriptions are available too.
"Second Chance" appears in the anthology Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir (volume one). This is a story about twin brothers who are separated when they enter foster care at age ten. At age eighteen, their reunion is not the stuff of Hallmark movies. This anthology is available directly from the publisher, Down and Out Books, as well as from brick-and-mortar and online bookstores. Click here to go the publisher's webpage for the book.
My story "Eat, Drink, and Be Murdered" has been published in the November/December issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. This is a whodunit involving a newspaper that starts printing edgy restaurant reviews, resulting in bomb threats, death threats, and ... of course, murder! You can buy the issue in paper or digital formats from the usual sources. Subscriptions are also available from the publisher.
My story "Dear Emily Etiquette" is this month's new story on Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine's podcast. It appeared in the September/October issue of the magazine. The story runs for thirty-two minutes, and you can listen to me reading it by clicking here. (As of January 2021, I've posted the story here on the website for a limited time. You can read it by clicking on the "Dear Emily Etiquette" tab.)
My epistolary caper story "Dear Emily Etiquette" has been published in the September/October 2020 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. This story is told in a series of letters between a woman invited to her cousin's wedding--but only if she brings a date--and Emily Etiquette. An excerpt from the story was available on the EQMM website, along with some lovely artwork the magazine commissioned to go with my story.
I'm thrilled that my story "Alex's Choice," published in the time-travel/crime anthology Crime Travel, has been nominated for the Macavity Award for best mystery/crime short story of 2019, along with stories by Michael Chandros, Terence Faherty, G.M. Malliet, Art Taylor, and Dave Zeltserman. The Macavity Awards are given out by Mystery Readers International.
Crime Travel, the time travel/crime anthology I edited, has been nominated for the Anthony Award for Best Anthology or Collection of 2019! The book was published in December by Wildside Press.
The Anthonys are voted on and awarded each year at Bouchercon, the largest convention in the world for crime/mystery authors and fans. This year's voting and award ceremony will be held online because of the pandemic, with the winners announced October 17th. I offer congratulations to all of the authors with stories in the book: Melissa H. Blaine, James Blakey, Michael Bracken, Anna Castle, Brendan DuBois, David Dean, John M. Floyd, Heidi Hunter, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Adam Meyer, Barbara Monajem, Korina Moss, Art Taylor, and Cathy Wiley. The book also includes a story by me, "Alex's Choice."
Crime Travel authors also have had some other wonderful honors: my story "Alex's Choice" was nominated for an Agatha Award; "Love, or Something Like it" by Michael Bracken was nominated for a Derringer Award; "The Fourteenth Floor" by Adam Meyer is nominated for a Shamus Award; and "Hard Return" by Art Taylor is nominated for an Anthony Award. I'm so happy for them all!
My short story "Man to Man" has been published in the anthology The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell. In "Man to Man," after a financial downturn forces an extroverted trophy wife into social isolation, she plans to remedy matters, no matter the cost. (I had no idea when I wrote the story how timely it would end up being.)
This anthology has twenty-six short stories, each representing a song from one of Joni Mitchell's seventeen studio albums. A third of the royalties will be donated to the Brain Aneurysm Foundation in Joni Mitchell's name. The anthology is edited by Josh Pachter and published by Untreed Reads. It's available in hardcover, trade paperback, and ebook.
My story "Alex's Choice" from the anthology Crime Travel has been nominated for the Agatha Award for best mystery/crime short story published in 2019. The award winner will be voted on in May by attendees of the Malice Domestic mystery convention. Fingers crossed!
Here's a description of the story: After twelve-year-old Alex’s uncle/guardian dies, Alex and furry sidekick Maxwell move into Grandfather’s mansion on the Maine shore. Soon a talisman appears—a time-traveling bicycle that allows people to return to the past to correct mistakes, including wrongful deaths. So off Alex goes, riding the bicycle into the past. The mission sounds simple until Alex is unexpectedly forced to make a choice that no person, let alone a child, should have to make.
Today, December 8th, is Pretend To Be A Time Traveler Day, and not so coincidentally, today is also the launch day for Crime Travel, the mystery/time-travel anthology I coordinated and edited. The book has 15 short stories in it, and they all are wonderful reads, if I do say so myself. The book has stories by: Melissa H. Blaine, James Blakey, Michael Bracken, Anna Castle, David Dean, Brendan DuBois, John M. Floyd, Heidi Hunter, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Adam Meyer, Barbara Monajem, Korina Moss, Art Taylor, Cathy Wiley, and me. It's available in paperback and ebook from Amazon, and it should show up on Barnes and Noble and Apple anytime now. The book is also being carried by wonderful indie bookstore Mystery Loves Company bookstore in Oxford, Maryland. Hardback, paperback, and ebook copies also can be purchased directly from the publisher, Wildside Press.
This book contains a new story of mine, "Alex's Choice." Here's the description: After twelve-year-old Alex’s uncle/guardian dies, Alex and furry sidekick Maxwell move into Grandfather’s mansion on the Maine shore. Soon a talisman appears—a time-traveling bicycle that allows people to return to the past to correct mistakes, including wrongful deaths. So off Alex goes, riding the bicycle into the past. The mission sounds simple until Alex is unexpectedly forced to make a choice that no person, let alone a child, should have to make.
We've already received a five-star review on Mark Baker's blog Carstair Considers. He called the book a "wonderful collection" with "15 great short stories." I hope you'll click through to read more.
All royalties from this book are being donated to 826DC, a charity that helps children with their creative and expository writing skills as well as helps teachers teach writing. I'm delighted we all are able to help this excellent organization.
I'm delighted that my story "Bug Appétit" has received another award nomination. This time it's a finalist for this year's Macavity Award given out by Mystery Readers International. The story was published in the November/December 2018 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and you can read it here or listen to me reading it here. The Macavity Awards will be given out during Opening Ceremonies at the Bouchercon world mystery convention in Dallas on October 31st. Fingers crossed!
My story "Bug Appétit" has been nominated for the Anthony Award for best mystery short story of 2018! It was published in the November/December 2018 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It's about a con man who flatters his way into Thanksgiving dinner at a rich girl's home, planning on getting away with his stomach full of good food and his pockets full of expensive jewelry. But he's not the only one with secrets--as he'll learn the hard way. You can read the story for free by clicking here or on the Bug Appétit tab at the top of the page. You also can listen to me read the story, funny voices and all, thanks to the fine folks at Ellery Queen. Click on this link for episode 114: https://www.elleryqueenmysterymagazine.com/the-crime-scene/podcasts/
This story was a finalist for the Agatha Award earlier this year, and tied for eighth place in the Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine readers' poll of favorite stories that the magazine published last year. Fingers crossed for the Anthony. I'm up against stiff competition from S.A. Cosby, Greg Herren, Art Taylor, and Holly West. The award winners will be voted on and announced at the Bouchercon world mystery convention in Dallas on October 31st.
My story "The Power Behind the Throne" has been published in the anthology Deadly Southern Charm: A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology. This book has been published in trade paperback and ebook form by Wildside Press. The book, edited by Mary Burton and Mary Miley, has eighteen mystery/crime short stories about strong southern women by members of the Central Virginia chapter of Sisters in Crime.
In "The Power Behind the Throne," a woman who spent all her married life doing everything she could to help her husband succeed now stands accused of his murder. Will she prevail? And what really happened that fateful night at the beach?
Bestselling author Hank Phillippi Ryan called Deadly Southern Charm "deliciolusly devious and absolutely delightful." And bestseller Ellery Adams described the anthology as a "keep-you-up-all-night collection...perfect plotting by some of today's best mystery writers. Brava!"
Also in April ... my story "Bug Appétit" has tied for eighth place in the Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine readers' poll of favorite stories that EQMM published last year. I'm so honored that the readers of EQMM enjoyed my story so much that they listed it on their polling forms. Earlier this month EQMM added "Bug Appétit" to their online selection of podcasts read by the author of each story. So you now can listen to me read the story, funny voices and all, here (episode 114): https://www.elleryqueenmysterymagazine.com/the-crime-scene/podcasts/
Also in April ... I'm utterly honored that two of my short stories published in 2018 have been nominated for the Derringer Award, both in the Long Story category: "The Case of the Missing Pot Roast" from Florida Happens, the Bouchercon anthology (Three Rooms Press), and "Till Murder Do Us Part" from Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies (Wildside Press). I'm delighted to share category honors with Leslie Budewitz, Diana Deverell, and Janet Raye Stevens.
The Derringer Awards are given out for the best mystery/crime short stories of the prior year in four categories (flash, short, long, and novelette), based on length, by the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
My story "Bug Appétit" has been nominated for the Agatha Award for best mystery short story of 2018! It was published in the November/December issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. It's about a con man who flatters his way into Thanksgiving dinner at a rich girl's home, planning on getting away with his stomach full of good food and his pockets full of expensive jewelry. But he's not the only one with secrets--as he'll learn the hard way.
I'm delighted to be nominated among fellow finalists Leslie Budewitz, Susanna Calkins, Tara Laskowski, and Art Taylor. The winner will be announced during the Malice Domestic mystery convention in May.
Also in January, my story "Punching Bag" was published in the Winter 2019 issue of Flash Bang Mysteries, which is an online flash-fiction e-zine. The story is both the cover story and the editor's choice for favorite story in the issue!
"Punching Bag" is a story about the darkest day of an emotionally abused teenage girl. You can read the story (and the other stories in the issue) for free by clicking here.
For information about my short stories published before 2018, please click on the My Published Stories tab, where you can find a chronological list of my stories and information about which ones won or were nominated for awards.