I love to hear from readers. Email me at barb at barbgoffman.com.

I blog every third Tuesday at SleuthSayers: 
http://www.sleuthsayers.org/. There's new content every day, often focused on writing, especially short stories.

I'm a mystery short-story writer. I've won the Agatha Award three times, the Macavity Award twice, and the Anthony, Silver Falchion, and Ellery Queen  Readers Award once each. I've been a finalist for national crime-writing awards forty times: seventeen times for the Agatha, nine times for the Macavity, eight times for the Anthony, four times for the Derringer, and once each for the Thriller and the Silver Falchion. (The Silver Falchion was for Don't Get Mad,
Get Even,
which won best single-author mystery-short-story collection published in 2013.)

I live in Winchester, Virginia. 

November 2023


I'm thrilled that my story"Real Courage" has been published in issue 14 of Black Cat Mystery Magazine, which is now available for easy purchase from Amazon in paper form. (The ebook will be coming soon. I'll post an update when that happens.)


“Real Courage” is a story about the ramifications of a seemingly insignificant incident and how it winds up affecting many lives over many years. It’s told linearly from four points of view, starting with teen Elise in 1983, who accidentally breaks the violin of the most popular girl in school, losing all her friends in the process. We fast-forward to a scene more than thirty years later, in which Elise is trying to impress upon her eleven-year-old son, Connor, the importance of loyalty and compassion. She asks him to promise to always help Zoe, the socially awkward girl who lives next door. He makes that promise. We then fast-forward four years. Connor and Zoe are at an unsupervised party. A crime is committed. Mistakes are made. The rest of the story is told from Connor’s dads perspective and then from Zoe’s. This is a story about good intentions, moral quandaries, questionable judgment, unintended consequences, and courage. I hope you’ll give it a read.


Note: There are two links to this issue on Amazon, one allowing purchase from a bookshop in England and one allowing purchase from Amazon itself. If you live in the US and accidentally end up on the page where the seller is listed as a British bookshop, click on See All Formats and Editions. The first option that will come up will have Amazon as the seller, enabling much faster delivery (and free delivery if you have Prime). Or you could just  click
here, and it will take you to the link with Amazon as the seller.

October 2023


It brings me great pleasure to share that my crime/coming-of-age story "Beauty and the Beyotch" won the Macavity Award for Best Mystery Short Story published in 2022. The story also took home the Agatha and Anthony Awards earlier this year. It was published in issue 29 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, and for a few more days, I'll leave it up here on the website for folks to read. Just click on the "Beauty and the Beyotch" tab or look for the title in the drop-down box. I last won the Macavity in 2013, so it looks like years ending in 3 are good for me.


I wish congratulations to the other authors nominated for Best Mystery Short Story, Brendan DuBois, Donna Moore, Anna Scotti, Catherine Steadman, Jess Walter, and Melissa Yi, as well as the winners in the four other categories.


September 2023


I'm overjoyed that my story "Beauty and the Beyotch" won the Anthony Award for Best Short Story published in 2022 at this year's Bouchercon convention, which just ended in San Diego. It was an honor to be nominated for the Anthony along with fellow finalists E. A. Aymar, Bruce Coffin, Curtis Ippolito, and Gabriel Valjan.


"Beauty and the Beyotch" also won the Agatha Award in April, and it's a finalist for the Macavity Award. Those winners will be announced later this month. "Beauty and the Beyotch" was published in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, issue 29. For a limited time, you also can read it here on my website. Just click here or click on the Beauty and the Beyotch tab.


July 2023


My short story "Beauty and the Beyotch" has been named a finalist for this year's Macavity Award! It appeared in issue 29 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. It's a tale about three high school girls told from two perspectives about one thing: the struggle to make their deepest desires come true. What happens when those dreams collide?


This is the third award nomination for this story. It's also a current Anthony Award finalist, and in the spring it won the Agatha Award. The Macavity Award winners will be announced at the opening ceremonies at Bouchercon in August.


You can read the story here on my website. Just click on the Beauty and the Beyotch tab. Or, if you'd prefer an e-copy or a paper one, you can buy the issue from many online bookstores.


I wish congratulations to the other authors nominated in my category: Brendan DuBois, Donna Moore, Anna Scotti, Catherine Steadman, Jess Walter, and Melissa Yi.



May 2023


I'm so happy to share that I've been named a finalist for this year's Anthony Award for my short story "Beauty and the Beyotch," which appeared in issue 29 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. It's a tale about three high school girls told from two perspectives about one thing: the struggle to make their deepest desires come true. What happens when those dreams collide? You can read the story here on my website. Just click on the Beauty and the Beyotch tab. Or, if you'd prefer an e-copy or a paper one, you can buy the issue from many online bookstores. I wish congratulations to the other authors nominated in my category: E.A. Aymar, Bruce Robert Coffin, Curtis Ippolito, and Gabriel Valjan.


I'm also pleased that I had stories appear in two anthologies published last year that have been nominated for the Anthony: Low Down Dirty Vote Volume 3: The Color of My Vote, edited by Mysti Berry (in which my story "For Bailey"  appears) and Land of 10,000 Thrills: Bouchercon Anthology 2022, edited by Greg Herren (in which my Thriller-nominated story "The Gift" appears).


The Anthony Award winners will be announced at the Bouchecon world mystery convention on September 2nd. I hope to see you there.


April 2023


I won this year's Agatha Award for Best Short Story for "Beauty and the Beyotch,"  which appeared in issue 29 of  Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. As my dad would have said, "Hurray!" Thanks to everyone who enjoyed and voted for the story. It was my honor to be nominated in this category along with Cynthia Kuhn, Lisa Q. Mathews, Richie Narvaez, and Art Taylor.


March 2023


I'm thrilled (pun intended) to share that my short story "The Gift" has been nominated for a Thriller Award given by International Thriller Writers. "The Gift" appeared in the 2022 Bouchercon anthology, Land of 10,000 Thrills, edited by Greg Herren. In the story, Debbie has always believed in setting a good example for her grandson and the kids at her high school, where she toils as the principal. But sometimes the line between right and wrong blurs—especially when family is involved. The anthology was published by Down & Out Books in trade paperback and ebook, and if you haven't picked up a copy yet, I hope you will.


This is the first time I've been named a finalist for an ITW Thriller Award, and I couldn't be more pleased. The other finalists in the short story category are Dominique Bibeau, Smita Harish Jain, Joyce Carol Oates, Anna Scotti, and Catherine Steadman. The winners in all the Thriller Award categories will be announced at Thrillerfest in June. Fingers crossed!


February 2023


The new issue of  Black Cat Mystery Magazine  (#13) is out in trade paperback (ebook to come) and it includes my story  "The Joys of Owning a Dog."  A delighted new labrador owner comes up against a nasty anti-dog new neighbor in this story of suburban warfare. The tale, which opens with "Fifty things I never anticipated doing before I owned a dog," is told in a fun listicle format.


You can pick up the trade paperback of the issue from Amazon by clicking here. It should appear on other online outlets soon.


January 2023


I'm happy to share that my story "Beauty and the Beyotch" has been named a finalist for the Agatha Award. The story was published in issue 29 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, which came out in February of last year.  It's a tale about three high school girls told from two perspectives about one thing: the struggle to make their deepest desires come true. What happens when those dreams collide? You can read the story here on my website. Just click on the Beauty and the Beyotch tab. Or, if you'd prefer an e-copy or a paper one, you can buy the issue from many online bookstores.


I'm delighted to be nominated along fellow authors Cynthia Kuhn, Lisa Q. Mathews, Richie Narvaez, and Art Taylor. Voting will occur at the Malice Domestic mystery convention in April.


September 2022


Here is a gift for you: my newest story, "The Gift," has been published in the 2022 Bouchercon anthology, Land of 10,000 Thrills.  In this story, Debbie has always believed in setting a good example for her grandson and the kids at her high school, where she toils as the principal. But sometimes the line between right and wrong blurs—especially when family is involved.


This anthology is available in ebook and trade paperback from the usual sources, as well as directly from the publisher (Down & Out Books) by clicking here.  All the stories in the anthology are set in Minnesota (the location of this year's Bouchercon convention), states adjacent to Minnesota, or Canadian provinces that are Minnesota adjacent. The editor is Greg Herren.


May 2022


I have two new stories to share with you!


The first is "Go Big or Go Home." It's the lead story in this year's Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Diabolical. The story is about a low-earning spendthrift without any morals who's the only living relative of a rich, elderly woman. He decides to friend her on Facebook, aiming to drive her crazy with unsolicited advice so she'll have a heart attack and die and he can inherit all her money. Does he succeed? Read it and find out. If you like my funny stories, I think you'll enjoy this one.


You can buy the book in ebook, trade paperback, and hardcover. The paper versions are available directly from the publisher, as well as other online bookstores. The ebook is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other online sites. If you'd like to read about the inspiration for this story, check out my blog post about it on SleuthSayers by clicking here.


Next is "For Bailey" in Low Down Dirty Vote Volume 3: The Color of My Vote. In this story, sixteen-year-old Jocelyn's city council is scheduled to vote on barring residents from setting off fireworks. Tired of seeing how they scare her dog, Jocelyn is all for it. When it looks like the ban might not pass, she and her friends try to change the mind of one of the councilmembers through an unconventional approach. You can order a paper copy of the book through many indie bookstores. Click here to find some near you. If you prefer Amazon (paper or ebook), click here. Paper copies are also available through Barnes and Noble. Click here for them.


April 2022


I'm delighted to have been chosen to be the 2023 toastmaster for the Malice Domestic mystery convention. The con will be held April 28 - 30th 2023 in North Bethesda, Maryland. Hank Phillippi Ryan will be our guest of honor. Ann Cleeves will recieve our lifetime achievement award. Our international guests of honor will be Vaseem Khan and Abir Mukherjee.  The Amelia Award will be presented to Poison Lady Luci Zahray. Tanya Spratt-Williams will be our fan guest of honor. And our Malice Remembers honoree will be Elizabeth Peters. I hope to see you there! You can register here: https://www.malicedomestic.org/registration.html


Also in April ...


I'm honored that my story "A Tale of Two Sisters" has been nominated for a Derringer Award in the novelette category! The story was published last year in the anthology Murder on the Beach! My fellow novelette-category finalists are Jim Benn, Michael Bracken, Annie Reed, and Stacy Woodson.


"A Tale of Two Sisters" is also currently nominated for the Agatha Award.


Winners will be announced on May 1.


March 2022


I'm delighted reader Anne van Doorn picked "Beauty and the Beyotch" as his favorite read of the week on March 19th. The story was published in issue 29 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. He said in part:


"Barb Goffman proved she could write an excellent story when Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine published 'Dear Emily Etiquette,' the story that would earn her the Reader’s Award in 2021. 'Beauty and the Beyotch' is another triumph; it’s a captivating story, beautifully written, with characters that come to life. Once I had googled the word beyotch, I realized the title was superbly chosen too. What are you looking at on the screen—make sure you read this story!"

He also noted that I blogged about "Beauty and the Beyotch" at SleuthSayers. You can read that column here: https://www.sleuthsayers.org/2022/03/the-importance-of-emotional-motivation.html


You can read Anne's full post by clicking here. Thank you, Anne!


Also in March ...


I appeared on Frank Zafiro's podcast, Wrong Place, Write Crime, and he called me ... "a goddess"! You have to hear our fun conversation: http://wrongplacewritecrime.com/2022/03/23/barb-goffman/



February 2022


I'm delighted to have two new stories published this month. The newest is "Beauty and the Beyotch," and last week's was "Five Days to Fitness." I'll talk about "Beauty..." and then "Five Days..." below. I'm also happy to share that my story "A Family Matter" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine Jan/Feb 2021 issue) was named one of Robert Lopresti's favorite stories of 2021 on his Little Big Crimes blog.


"Beauty and the Beyotch"


The newest issue of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine (issue 29) has been released, and it includes my story  "Beauty and the Beyotch." It's a tale about three high school girls told from two perspectives about one thing: the struggle to make their deepest desires come true. What happens when those dreams collide?


If you'd like to pick up this issue of the magazine, you can get it in ebook and paper forms from Amazon (just click here) and ebook (only) from Barnes and Noble (click here). It might also appear at your other favorite online bookstore.


"Five Days to Fitness"


I'm happy to share with you my newest story, published on February 1st: "Five Days to Fitness." It's a novelette (which means it's a really long short story). It appears in the anthology Murder in the Mountains, the second book in the Destination Murders series, following last year's Murder on the Beach, in which my story "A Tale of Two Sisters" appeared.

Murder in the Mountains has nine cozy short stories (some novelettes, like mine). In addition to my tale, there are stories by authors Gretchen Archer, Leslie Budewitz, Karen Cantwell, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Tina Kashian, Shari Randall, Shawn Reilly Simmons, and Cathy Wiley.


In "Five Days to Fitness," Bree heads off to a fitness retreat, where she expects to work hard. But she doesn't anticipate a classmate who sings off-key, another with anxiety off the Richter scale, and an instructor who despises her students. The whodunit takes place at a famous Virginia resort in the New River Valley of the Appalachian Mountains.


You can buy Murder in the Mountains in ebook and trade paperback formats. Click here for ebook and here for print. (The print version is currently only available at Amazon (as of 2/1/22), but it should appear in other bookstores soon. It will also be available through Ingram, so you will be able to ask your local indie bookshop to order it for you.)


January 2022


I'm beyond thrilled to share that I've received two Agatha Award nominations. "A Family Matter" from the January/February 2021 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine  and "A Tale of Two Sisters" from the anthology Murder on the Beach were both recognized. Any nomination is special, but getting two in one year is, as I've said elsewhere, a heady feeling. Thank you to all my fans who read and loved my stories and listed them on your nomination ballots. 


If you haven't read either of these stories yet, I've made it easy for you. Just click here for "A Family Matter" and here for "A Tale of Two Sisters."  The Agatha winners will be announced at the Malice Domestic convention in April, where I look forward to seeing my fellow nominees in the short story category: Richie Narvaez, Gigi Pandian, and Shawn Reilly Simmons. I hope to see you there too.


In other January news:

I'm delighted my short story "Wishful Thinking," published in October 2021 in Black Cat Weekly, as well as individually that month by Wildside Press, has been chosen as Best Short Story of the Week by mystery reader Anne van Doorn.



November 2021


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.


October 2021


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.


September 2021


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.


August 2021


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.


You can buy this issue at all the usual places that sell magazines. It's also available in digital form from Amazon (click here). Subscriptions (digital and paper) are available by clicking  here.


July 2021


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 ofEllery 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!


June 2021


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 Magazineand 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.


May 2021


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.



April 2021


I have a 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 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.


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.


March 2021


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 ofEllery 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.



February 2021


So happy my story "A Family Matter," published in the January/February 2021 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, was named Best Mystery Story of the week on Robert Lopresti's Little Big Crimes blog. You can read about it here.



January 2021


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.


2020 and earlier


For information about my short stories published before 2021, 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.

Barb Goffman
Mystery Writer