Monday, May 01, 2017

2017 Derringer Awards

BEST FLASH STORY (1 - 1,000 words)
The 2017 Derringer for Best Flash Story is presented to
Herschel Cozine
“The Phone Call” 
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Summer 2016)
“Aftermath” by Craig Faustus Buck
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Spring 2016)
“A Just Reward” by O'Neil De Noux
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Winter 2016)
“The Orphan” by Billy Kring
(Shotgun Honey, March 18, 2016)
“An Ill Wind” by R.T. Lawton
(Flash Bang Mysteries, Spring 2016)
Best Short Story (1,001 - 4,000 words)
The 2017 Derringer for Best Short Story is presented to
Linda Barnes
“The Way They Do It in Boston”
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)
“Beks and the Second Note” by Bruce Arthurs  
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, December 2016)
“YOLO” by Libby Cudmore
(BEAT to a PULP, May 2016)
“The Woman in the Briefcase” by Joseph D'Agnese
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016)
“The Lighthouse” by Hilde Vandermeeren
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016)
Best Long Story (4,001- 8,000 words)
The 2017 Derringer for Best Long Story is presented to
Victoria Weisfeld
(Betty Fedora: Kickass Women In Crime Fiction, Issue 3, September 2016)
“Swan Song” by Hilary Davidson
(Unloaded: Crime Writers Writing Without Guns, ed. By Eric Beetner, Down & Out Books, April 2016)
“Effect on Men” by O'Neil De Noux
(The Strand magazine, Issue XLVIII, Feb-May 2016)
“The Cumberland Package” by Robert Mangeot
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2016)
“Murder Under the Baobab” by Meg Opperman (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2016)
Best Novelette (8,000 to 20,000 words)
The 2017 Derringer for Best Novelette is presented to
Terrie Farley Moran
“Inquiry and Assistance”
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January/February 2016)
“Coup de Grace” by Doug Allyn
(Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2016)
“The Chemistry of Heroes” by Catherine Dilts
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, May 2016)
“The Educator” by Travis Richardson
(44 Caliber Funk: Tales of Crime, Soul, and Payback, ed. by Gary Phillips and Robert J. Randisi, Moonstone, December 2016)
“The Last Blue Glass” by B.K. Stevens
(Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 2016)
Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer
For more information about this award, see its complete description here:
The 2017
Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer
is presented to
Robert Randisi

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Apocalyse was a Bust, Now What?

Yes, Donald Trump is headed to the White House and the four horsemen haven't put in an appearance. Now what?

Perhaps it is time to get back to our real lives. Say a prayer for the safety of our country, accept the results of our messy system of electing leaders, and get on with the day to day business of living.

If, by chance, you see evidence of the four horsemen in your neighborhood...there is nothing we can do about the end of the world.

On this Thanksgiving I am still thankful to live in a place where I can disagree with my neighbor and still respect him. I am thankful for a system of government that allows for a peaceful transition of power and the right to protest the changes. I am thankful that the Apocalypse was a bust.

We are still here. 

I suggest being thankful for the blessings we have is better than being bitter over the desires thwarted. Enjoy our day of binge eating, parades, and football.

I am doubly blessed today because I get to celebrate the coming of age of my first grandchild. It is hard to believe that the little guy I held in my arms twenty-one years ago is all grown up. I am blessed to have kept all the promises I made to him the day he was born. I am happy that in this imperfect world we muddle through, there are young people of courage who haven't stopped dreaming of a better world.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

The Derringers...How do we Choose?

There is a huge debate going on in the Short Mystery Fiction Society about self-published stories and how they should be included in the Derringer Awards. I've remained silent on the subject because I have a foot on both sides of the argument. There is a lot of crap being put out by writers who would not be considered in a professional market. There are also a lot of great stories being published by authors who want to have control of their work.

In my opinion, this is the same argument that rages in the publishing world over the flood of books released each year, often given away free, on Amazon. Anyone can throw a book together, post it to Amazon, and presto...a new published author. Some of those books are so bad, they can't be given away. Some of them give independent authors a bad name. Should judges for important awards be subjected to reading all those stories? If so, nobody would be willing to judge those stories.

In past years, I have both judged Derringer submissions and been the coordinator of the judging. The number of short stories sent to the competition grows each year. How do we balance the number of stories with the ability of judges to give a fair evaluation? I hope the Short Mystery group figures out a way to keep the door open to self published stories. There are some great ones out there.

Personal short stories I've written have been published by traditional publishers, e-publishers, small presses, and self-published. Sarah and I run a small press. We occasionally include one of our own stories in an anthology. We are writers who believe in the craft of writing, and the need have venues where new and different voices are published. When we select a story to go to the Derringers, it is a story that should be considered.

The crisis at the Derringers is the crisis fueled by Amazon. Before Amazon, publishers were the gatekeepers of the industry. Crap was still cranked out, but it was mostly crap that fed the pop culture of "celebrity." Before Amazon, the industry blocked a lot of unique, marginalized, and minority or controversial voices from being heard.

Among the pile of stories not ready for publication, there are gems that should and sometimes do get the accolades they deserve.I am not sure how the argument about Derringers will play out. I hope that whatever method gets used keeps the gate for independent stories open.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016


Killer Crafts & Crafty Killers: GUEST AUTHOR AND HISTORY JUNKIE GWEN MAYO: Civil War Army Field Surgery Kit Gwen Mayo is passionate about blending the colorful history of her native Kentucky with her love fo...

Monday, July 18, 2016

Republican Platform One Hundred Years Ago

The 1916 Republican Platform was written by conservatives.

The statement above is fact not wishful thinking. The party's liberals had been lost in the previous presidential election cycle when Teddy Roosevelt split the party. These conservatives emerged from their convention with the following plank in the party platform.

Right of Expatriation

We reiterate the unqualified approval of the action taken in December, 1911, by the President and Congress to secure with Russia, as with other countries, a treaty that will recognize the absolute right of expatriation and prevent all discrimination of whatever kind between American citizens whether native-born or alien, and regardless of race, religion or previous political allegiance. We renew the pledge to observe this principle and to maintain the right of asylum, which is neither to be surrendered nor restricted, and we unite in the cherished hope that the war which is now desolating the world may speedily end, with a complete and lasting restoration of brotherhood among the nations of the earth and the assurance of full equal rights, civil and religious, to all men in every land.
How much brotherhood among the nations of the earth will the current party build?

Can we look at today's convention and think about "assuring full equal rights, civil and religious, to all men of every land?"

It is foolish for us to think we can make "America Great Again" by building walls instead of bridges. Greatness cannot be achieved through bullying, belittling, and bashing our neighbors.

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Amazon Kindle Policies: Are They Injuring Writers?

Amazon's seven day return policy on ebooks is getting a lot of negative press, with good reason. It is very easy to finish a novel and return it after you've read the book. Avid readers can finish a book or more a day. So why is Amazon being so generous with readers, at the expense of writers?

I could easily make a case that Amazon's return policy is designed to force writers to give them exclusive access to their books. The policy works very well to make Kindle Unlimited a necessity for writers and small publishing houses. Being paid for pages read is far better than having readers download your book, read it, and return it to Amazon. No matter what price point a book has, Amazon's policy makes it free to anyone who wants to game the system.

Let's face it. Lots of people want to take advantage of any loophole they find. So, for honest readers and writers out there, the online petition to end Amazon's seven day return policy seems like a no-brainer. The policy allows for legal piracy of an author's intellectual property. Nearly seven thousand people signed a petition against it.

Amazon considered the number insignificant. They have no plans to change their policy. So what else can be done?

So, what do we do? As a writer and publisher, it is impossible for me to ignore Amazon. Selling ebooks without having them available on Amazon is akin to living without oxygen in your blood. Sure there are other gasses out there, but your body won't survive without oxygen. Kindle sales are the oxygen supply that keeps independent presses and self-published authors alive.

I personally think that Amazon tried to cover the piracy in Part B of their policy. This is the part I don't think most writers are familiar with. Amazon monitors the number of returns by individual readers and if they exceed 30 returns, they are prevented from returning any more books.

I still don't like the policy. I don't believe readers should be able to return ebooks.


Amazon allows readers to sample the book before making a purchase. This is more than sufficient to let a reader decide if they like the writer enough to buy their book. If a book doesn't live up to the sample, they can write a review and let others know what they didn't like.

Also, 30 returns is too many. A reader who returns that many books isn't much of a reader. The high number of returns allowed means that book pirates could simply team up and each keep the number of returns below the cut off point. Maybe, instead of asking them to end the policy, we should try to get that number reduced or limited by frequency. I don't know if that would work. Perhaps what we really need is for Amazon to be broken up. As things stand, they have a virtual monopoly in the ebook market.