Tag Archive for: Dallas

My First Bouchercon Panel

by Paula Gail Benson

Carol Puckett with her husband Jim

While there are many special things I’ll remember about this year’s 50th anniversary Bouchercon, celebrated in Dallas, Texas, one in particular will be that this year marked my first to moderate and serve on a panel at the world mystery conference. I’d already felt privileged to get to know and work with the organizers on the Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction (more on that in my post tomorrow on Writers Who Kill). Thank you to Carol Puckett, local committee organizer, for not only collecting historical memorabilia from the past 50 Bouchercons as well as honoring Bill Crider, a beloved Texas writer and reviewer, but also for recognizing the interest in different lengths of mystery stories, novellas, and novels. Carol told me that some people asked about the number of panels devoted to short mystery fiction, but that she and the organizers had heard attendees ask about different story formats and responded to it.

I moderated a panel called “Does Length Matter?” While the subject may sound titillating (I warned audience members if they came to hear a discussion about measuring body parts, they might be disappointed to learn we would be talking about word count), it’s actually one about which I often hear writers speculate. For example, some of the questions we considered were: (1) have readers’ attention spans narrowed? (2) is it better to write two short novels in a year rather than one lengthy one? (3) can writing short stories between novels keep a reader interested in a series or characters? and (4) how do you know if an idea is better suited for a novel or short story?

Sandy Steen, Mary Stojak, Becki Willis, Bess Carnan, Mad Hildebrandt, Angela Zeman, me, and Rhonda Gilliland
(Photo by Rhonda’s husband Fr. Basil Gilliland)

We had a terrific group of panelists, some novelists, some short story authors, and some who had written both. Now that I’ve met them in person, I know I have many titles to add to my reading list (and I would encourage you all to check out their work).

Our two Texans were Sandy Steen and Becki Willis, both novelists. They each have written in several genres. Becki has independently published several series.

Mad Hildebrandt has written cozy mysteries, humorous romantic suspense, and dark gritty mysteries. She told us that she often writes a novel straight through in seventy-two hours, a rigorous stretch to produce the draft, but one that she found to work best for her. Angela Zeman also has written in diverse genres and has one character, Mrs. Risk, who started out in short stories before appearing in a novel. Mary Stojak has a solid reputation for writing short stories and is working on a novel.

Bess Carnan, this year’s winner of the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grants Program for Unpublished Writers, said that her first drafts are short, then she lengthens them through rewrites. Rhonda Gilliland, who I’d served with on a panel before at Killer Nashville, has written stories as well as served as an editor for a successful series of mystery culinary anthologies.

Many thanks to Carol Puckett and the 2019 Bouchercon organizers for the opportunity to talk about story formats and to get to know these fine writers better.

(Photo by Rhonda’s husband Fr. Basil Gilliland)

Do you prefer short stories or novels? 

Calling All Short Story Writers: Check Out Bouchercon’s New Bill Crider Prize!

by Paula Gail Benson
I’m incredibly proud that Carol Puckett and Kendel
Lynn of the Bouchercon Dallas committee asked me to help with the inaugural Bill
Crider Prize for Short Fiction that will be awarded by Hank Phillippi Ryan at
Bouchercon in Dallas this October. This contest will recognize excellence for
short story writing with significant monetary and scholarship prizes. And, the
final round will be judged by Janet Hutchings (editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine) and Linda Landrigan (editor of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)!
Please see the information below and consider
entering. It’s a great way to remember a respected member of the mystery
community while giving a marvelous opportunity to talented short story writers.
Bill Crider Prize for Short
Debuting at the 50th Anniversary of Bouchercon, Carol Puckett and
the 2019 Bouchercon Dallas committee launched the Bill Crider Prize for Short
Fiction to celebrate this treasured literary form, both the short story and the
widely-admired mystery author and reviewer, Bill Crider. Designed to encourage
writers from all over the world, these distinguished prizes award stories with
fascinating characters and twisty plots, all in the mystery genre.
  • First Prize:
  • Second Prize:
  • Third Prize:
  • Bill Crider
    Memorial Scholarship: Registration to Bouchercon 2020
  • Longlist
    • An
      anonymous judging panel of published authors will select an initial round
      of finalists (no public announcements will be made).
  • Shortlist
    • A
      second anonymous judging panel of published authors will select the
      shortlist finalists (no public announcements will be made).
  • Winners
    • Janet
      Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, and Linda
      Landrigan, editor of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, will
      choose the winners from the shortlisted writers.
    • Please
      note that no automatic publication in either EQMM or AHMM is attached to
      winning or being a finalist in this contest. All contestants (whether
      they make judges cuts or not) are welcome to submit to either
      magazine—but not both at the same time.
    • Once
      the final four writers have been chosen, all shortlisted authors will be
      notified on or near October 1.
    • Bouchercon
      Dallas Guest of Honor, Hank Phillippi Ryan,
      will recognize the shortlisted authors and award the top prizes during
      Bouchercon 2019 in Dallas, Texas.
All decisions are final and
may not be contested.
  • Deadline: Mar 1,
  • Open to all
    writers regardless of Bouchercon registration or residency
  • Stories must be
    an original work, not previously published, submitted anonymously (as
    provided in these rules), and without identifiable series characters
  • Theme: Deep in
    the Heart (relating to Texas, whether locale, characters, history, etc.)
    with an element of mystery or crime
  • One submission
    per person
  • Manuscript
    • Word
      count: 3,500 – 5000 words
    • Format:
      Standard font Times New Roman at 12 pt size; no fancy fonts
    • Denote
      scene breaks with asterisks: ***
    • Double-space
      with one-inch margins on all sides
  • Email as an
    attached Word doc to: subs.deepintheheart@gmail.com
    • Subject
    • Contact
      info (body of email only, not in Word doc):
      • Name:
      • Pen
        Name: If applicable
      • Mailing
      • Phone
      • Email
      • Story
      • Word
  • No identifying
    information anywhere in the story or document
  • Entrants retain
    full copyright of her/his work with the stipulation it cannot be published
    until Bouchercon Dallas ends on Nov 3, 2019.
  • No automatic
    publication in either EQMM or AHMM is attached to winning or being a
    finalist in this contest. All contestants (whether they make judges cuts
    or not) are welcome to submit to either magazine—but not both at the same
  • There is no
    entry fee, nor will any monies be paid for stories other than the four
    prizes stated.
  • Bouchercon
    Dallas LOC Chair: Carol Puckett
  • Contest
    Coordinator: Paula Gail Benson
  • Submissions
    Coordinator: James M. Jackson
  • Prize
    Ceremony Host: Hank Phillippi Ryan

My Summer TV!

By Evelyn David

Remember when summer
television was a vast wasteland of reruns! Not so much anymore.

With all the cable
stations available, the competition for viewers is tough and in order to compete
many networks now offer shows that air new material in the summer months.

Some of my favorites
have returned this month, more next month.

Rizzoli and Isles is airing new episodes. Often it’s just too cute
for words with the junior high “girl buddy” theme, but out of loyalty
to the brilliant novels by Tess Gerritsen, I watch. Lorraine Bracco is
excellent as “Jane’s” mother. She’s probably my favorite character on the tv series.

Falling Skies is returning for its second season. Aliens have taken
over the world and Dr. John Carter from ER fame, okay Noah Wyle is famous for other
roles now, but he’ll always be Dr. Carter to me – anyway he’s leading a group
of survivors who are fighting back. Special effects are well done and the
plot’s interesting. Last season ended with Dr. Carter about to be sucked up
into an alien spacecraft.

For light fun, I enjoy
USA Network’s Royal Pains. Nothing
like spending the summer in The Hamptons seeing how the other half vacations. Great
scenery and likeable characters.

If the temperatures get
too hot, there’s always Ice Road Truckers.
I lived in Alaska for a couple of years and I enjoy the show for the scenery. I
also liked watching trucker “Lisa” compete with the guys, but for
some reason she’s not back this season. The series probably won’t have the same
appeal for me.

My favorite, The Closer, is back in July with its
final six episodes. The star, Kyra Sedgwick, has decided she’d “closed”
enough cases and is headed back to New York and husband Kevin Bacon. Not sure
how the writers are going to end “Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson’s” employment
with the LAPD. My bets are either with a pregnancy or a long overdue return to
visit her parents in Atlanta. The rest of “Chief Johnson’s” squad
will immediately, as in the hour following the final Closer episode, become the ensemble cast of the new spinoff series,
Major Crimes. The incomparable
actress, Mary McDonnell, “Stands With a Fist” from Dancing with Wolves and more recently of
Battlestar Galactica fame, headlines
the new show. I think it should be a great addition to TNT’s network, if Mary’s
character, “Captain Sharon Raydor,” can manage to get out from under
the shadow of “Chief Johnson.” Only time will tell.

Anyone planning to watch
the new Dallas? I will if only for
the nostalgia factor. When I was in high school the marching band played the
theme from Dallas at all our football games. “Who shot J.R.?” was the
first cliffhanger I remember my generation talking about for an entire summer.

I’d write more but I
this is shark week on the Syfy channel. Jersey Shore just got attacked by
red-eyed albino sharks and I’ve got to see how the movie ends.

What are you watching this

aka The Southern Half of Evelyn David

Zoned for Murder – Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)

Brianna Sullivan Mysteries – e-book series
I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries- KindleNookSmashwords
The Dog Days of Summer in Lottawatah- Kindle (Exclusive at Amazon this month)
The Holiday Spirit(s) of Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
Undying Love in Lottawatah- KindleNookSmashwords
A Haunting in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Lottawatah Twister – KindleNookSmashwords
Missing in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords
Good Grief in Lottawatah – KindleNookSmashwords

The Ghosts of Lottawatah – trade paperback collection of the Brianna e-books
Book 1 – I Try Not to Drive Past Cemeteries (includes the first four Brianna e-books)
Book 2 – A Haunting in Lottawatah (includes the 5th, 6th, and 7th Brianna e-books)

Sullivan Investigations Mystery
Murder Off the Books KindleNookSmashwordsTrade Paperback
Murder Takes the Cake KindleNookSmashwordsTrade Paperback
Riley Come Home (short story)- KindleNookSmashwords
Moonlighting at the Mall (short story) – KindleNookSmashwords

Love Lessons – KindleNookSmashwords