Tag Archive for: May

Short Story Month and a Diabolical Treat

by Paula Gail Benson

In World News ERA, Ashleigh
Durden wrote an article
is May Short Story Month?”
that delves into the history and practices to
celebrate short fiction. She traces declaring May short story month to Dan
Wickett, the founder and editor of the Emerging Writers Network (EWN), who on
April 7, 2007, posted an article suggesting a short story month, just as April
had been designated National Poetry Month. That following May, Wickett read and
reviewed a short story a day. Due to reader enthusiasm, the next year it
increased to two stories a day and in the third year to three stories a day.

Meanwhile, writers were urged
to set a goal of the number of stories they would write during the month.
StoryADay.org continues
this tradition with suggestions for short stories to read and prompts and advice
about writing short stories.

Earlier this month, on May 9,
Malice Domestic released its latest anthology,
Mystery Most Diabolical, published by Wildside Press and edited by
Verna Rose, Rita Simmons and Shawn Reilly Simmons.

Art Taylor featured three of
the stories in his The First Two Pages:
in the Planning”
by Marco Carocari, “There
Comes a Time”
by Cynthia Kuhn, and “Fly
Me to the Moon”
by Lisa Q. Mathews.

In addition, Barb Goffman, winner of the Agatha Award twice as well as the Macavity,
Silver Falchion, and 2020 Readers Award given by 
Ellery Queen’s Mystery
, described her story, “Go Big or Go Home,” in her Sleuthsayers post “Everything
is Fodder”
, where she explains how almost any irritation can lead to a
mystery short story.

Contributors to the anthology
include editor, Edgar nominee, and Derringer award winner Michael Bracken; Agatha
and Thriller award winner Alan Orloff; Agatha nominees Alexia Gordon, Cynthia Kuhn, and Keenan
Powell; Al Blanchard award winner Mary Dutta; and Margaret Lucke who wrote an
excellent craft book,
Schaum’s Quick Guide to
Writing Great Short Stories

I’m proud and humbled to have
my story included with those of many accomplished and distinguished writers.
Here’s a complete list:

Leah Bailey · “A Killer in the Family

Paula Gail Benson · “Reputation or Soul”

M. A. Blum · “Little White Lies”

Michael Bracken · “Locked Mesa

Susan Breen · “The Demon Valentine”

Marco Carocari · “All in the Planning

Mary Dutta · “Devil’s Advocate”

Christine Eskilson · “The Reunion

Nancy Gardner · “Death’s Door”

Barb Goffman · “Go Big or Go Home

Alexia Gordon · “Happy Birthday”

B. J. Graf · “Servant of the Place of Truth

Maurissa Guibord · “Into the Devil’s Den”

Victoria Hamilton · “Reunion with the Devil”

Kerry Hammond · “Strangers at a Table”

Peter W. J. Hayes · “The Ice House”

Smita Harish Jain · “Keeping Up with the Jainses”

Cynthia Kuhn · “There Comes a Time”

Margaret Lucke · “The Devil’s-Work Ball”

Sharon Lynn · “The Professor’s Lesson”

Tim Maleeny · “A Cure For Madness”

Lisa Q. Mathews · “Fly Me to the Morgue”

Adam Meyer · “Crime Rate”

Alan Orloff · “There Once Was a Man Named Larue”

Keenan Powell · “Miss Millie Munz”

Graham Powell · “A Rough Idea”

Lori Robbins · “Accidents Happen”

Cynthia Sabelhaus · “Exegesis”

Nancy Cole Silverman · “The Case of the Sourdough

Shawn Reilly Simmons · “The Devil’s in the Details”

C. J. Verburg · “A Terrible Tragedy”

Andrea Wells · “Taking Umbrage

Here’s a little about the
background for my story, “Reputation or Soul.” When I saw the call for
Mystery Most Diabolical, I looked up “diabolical”
in the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary. It had a note about the origins of
the term, from the Greek “diabolos” that means “slanderer.” Usually,
“diabolical” is associated with the devil. I began thinking about a trade off:
if given a choice, which might a person be willing to live with–losing a soul
or having a maligned reputation?

I started with an image
of a jilted bride, sitting in a turret room in the church, knowing with certainty
that her groom had skipped the ceremony as well as stealing a substantial sum
of money. I was certain the bride remained calm about this occurrence and
equally certain that her younger brother, the narrator of the story, was
completely puzzled about her response.

Together, they went to
visit their abusive father, now confined in a nursing home. The father berated
them, but the sister spoke kindly to him without telling him about the runaway
groom. Then, the sister asked her brother to go with her on her honeymoon trip,
to a location where she expected the groom might resurface.

Whose action will hurt
most? In a scenario where almost everyone has a reason to seek revenge, will it
occur and what will be the consequence?

There are still a few more days left in the
short story month of May 2022. Why not check out the stories in
Mystery Most Diabolical? 

Sources of the Mystery Short Story

by Paula Gail Benson
the celebration of May as Short Story Month (see http://shortstorymonth.com/ and http://storyaday.org/), here are a few sources
where you can find excellent short stories and receive encouragement or ideas
for marketing short stories.
Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine (https://www.themysteryplace.com/ahmm/),
Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (https://www.themysteryplace.com/eqmm/),
and The Strand (https://strandmag.com/) are perhaps the best
known monthly publications that feature stories, interviews, and reviews. Woman’s World (http://www.womansworld.com/) is a weekly
periodical that features a short solve-it-yourself mystery, often written by well-known
mystery writers such as John Floyd and B.K. Stevens.
Press (http://wildsidepress.com/) offers
the monthly Sherlock Holmes Mystery
as well as anthologies produced for the Malice Domestic Mystery
Conference (Malice Domestic 11: Murder
Most Conventional
and Malice Domestic
12: Mystery Most Historical
) and the Guppy and Chesapeake Chapters of Sisters
in Crime. Wildside has also published single author short story collections,
like Barb Goffman’s Don’t Get Mad, Get
and B.K. Stevens’ Her Infinite
Best Books (https://levelbestbooks.com/)
is well known for publishing the Best New England Crime Stories series and is
currently seeking submissions (which close May 31, 2017) for the 15th
anthology, to be titled, Snowbound. Now
under new editors, Level Best has branched out with a law enforcement
anthology, Busted! Arresting Stories from
the Beat
, and an upcoming culinary collection, Noir at the Salad Bar.
excellent online magazines are Mysterical
published quarterly, and Kings River Life
(http://kingsriverlife.com/), issued
weekly. If you look at the Mystery Rats Maze portion of Kings River Life (http://kingsriverlife.com/category/kings-river-reviewers/mysteryrats-maze/),
you’ll find interviews with mystery authors, book reviews, and short stories.
Sometimes there’s even a give-away offer!
both for its list of online resources and its continuous updates of contests
and calls for submissions, Sandra Seamans’ blog (http://sandraseamans.blogspot.com/)
can’t be beat. In addition, the Short Mystery Fiction Society (https://shortmystery.blogspot.com/)
has been commemorating the short story month with selected stories from its
member authors, including our own Debra Goldstein.
you love short stories, particularly mystery ones, please be sure to check out
these great sites!  

May is Short Story Month!

by Paula Gail Benson

to my friend, phenomenal author Art Taylor (Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, and
Macavity award winner for short fiction and winner of
the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for On the Road with Del &
Louise: A Novel in Stories
—check out his website at:
http://www.arttaylorwriter.com/), I learned that
May is Short Story Month. It’s a tradition that started in 2013. You can read
about it at
http://shortstorymonth.com/ and participate
with your own contributions at
http://storyaday.org/, which encourages
people to complete a story each day during the months of May and September and
provides writing prompts and featured guests (like Neil Gaiman) as inspiration.

has been celebrating this year by featuring a different story each day on his
Facebook page, including one by his very talented wife Tara Laskowski (read
about her terrific short story collection Bystanders
http://taralaskowski.com/). Tara is the editor
http://www.smokelong.com/, the online
literary magazine devoted to flash fiction.

began thinking about the mystery short story writers who have inspired me. I
credit Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Alan Poe for luring me into the genre, but
a number of current authors keep me reading and teach me the true artistry of
the short story craft. Here’s a list (beginning with Art and Tara and in
alphabetical order below) of a few that you may want to add to your TBR stack,
if you haven’t already discovered them.

Floyd (
http://www.johnmfloyd.com/), a former Air
Force captain and IBM engineer, has written more than 1,000 stories that have
appeared in the
Strand MagazineAlfred Hitchcock’s Mystery MagazineEllery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Woman’s World, The Saturday Evening Post, Mississippi Noir, and The Best American Mystery Stories 2015. In addition to
receiving three Derringer awards, he has been
nominated for an Edgar and three times nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He
http://www.sleuthsayers.org/. His books are: Rainbow’s End (2006), Midnight
(2008), Clockwork (2010), Deception (2013), Fifty
(2014), and Dreamland (2016).

Kaye George (http://kayegeorge.wixsite.com/kaye-george), while writing
four series of mystery novels, continues to produce quality short fiction.
Recently, she took on the job as editor for Day
of the Dark
an anthology to be
published by Wildside Press on July 21 that contains 24 stories about eclipse,
to commemorate the one that will take place in August.
I met Kaye as a
member of the Guppy Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She served as treasurer, then
President of the online chapter, and throughout her membership has been a
consistent contributor and commenter to the short story critique group. Her
insightful advice has helped many of us to improve our work.

Goffman (
http://barbgoffman.com/) has been
nominated numerous times for the Agatha, Anthony, Derriger, and Macavity
awards. She has won the Agatha and Macavity and her Don’t
Get Mad, Get Even
won the Silver Falchion
for best single-author mystery-short-story collection published in 2013. She
blogs at
http://www.sleuthsayers.org/ and
is an accomplished editor.

Debra Goldstein (http://www.debrahgoldstein.com/), my
blogging partner here at The Stiletto Gang, is an active member of the Guppy
Chapter short story critique group. Recently, her “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place”
appeared in the
May/June 2017 edition of Alfred Hitchcock
Mystery Magazine
. Check out her mention on the cover at:

Robert Mangeot (http://robertmangeot.com/)
calls himself a  “Turner of Phrase, Counter of Beans, Crafter of Sandwiches” on
his website.  His fine stories have been
published in the MWA anthology Ice Cold and
the Bouchercon anthology Murder Under the
. He is a frequent contributor to
Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Edith Maxwell (https://edithmaxwell.com/) has
the distinction of having her short story and novel both featuring her Quaker
midwife protagonist nominated for the best short story and best historical
novel at this year’s Malice Domestic Agatha awards. In addition to writing four
mystery series and blogging with the Wicked Cozy Authors, she continues to
produce quality short fiction.

Terrie Farley Moran (http://terriefarleymoran.com/) won the Agatha
Award Best First Novel winner, Well Read, Then Dead, the debut of
her Read ‘Em and Eat series. Currently, her “Inquiry and Assistance,” a
Depression era story published in Alfred
Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
, is a nominee for a Derringer award as best
novelette. A copy of the nominated story may be accessed at: http://terriefarleymoran.com/short-stories/.

“Bonnie” Stevens (
http://www.bkstevensmysteries.com/) has
become a beloved friend and confidant. I first met her when I contacted her to
tell her how much I loved reading “Thea’s First Husband” (now included in
Wildside Press’ Her Infinite Variety: Tales of Women and Crime). In
addition to her novel, Interpretation of Murder, a traditional whodunit,
and her YA martial arts mystery Fighting Chance, Bonnie has written over
fifty short stories, most published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine.
She won a Derringer and has been nominated for Agatha, Anthony, and Macavity
awards. In addition to blogging at
http://www.sleuthsayers.org/, her
own blog features authors describing the first two pages of their work, both
novels and short stories.
Check it out at:


indulge and celebrate May as Short Story month by taking time to enjoy these
wonderful authors’ stories. Then, why not write one or two of your own?