Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Pane and Suffering (A Webb's Glass Shop Mystery, #1)Pane and Suffering by Cheryl Hollon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Pane and Suffering is a fun mystery with a smattering of romance. A perfect read for a lazy summer day.

Savannah Webb comes home to St. Petersburg, Florida to bury her father and put his affairs in order after his unexpected death. Her plan to sell her father's stained glass business to his best friend and long-time business partner is shattered when he suffers a sudden “heart attack” that mirrors her father’s. The last thing she expected was to be caught up in a murder, but two unexpected heart attacks are too much to ignore. Soon she is struggling with threats to her safety, and dealing with a pair of oily businessmen who each want to buy and close her father’s business.

When she finds a cryptic note from her father warning her that she is in danger, she must break the codes to catch the killer. Savannah convinces the police to take a closer look.

Reality sets in when the cops confirm that both men were murdered. She knows she can't leave until she finds out who killed them. With the help of one of her students and the handsome pub owner next door, Savannah races against time to catch the killer before an innocent young man goes to jail.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Back in the Saddle Again

Okay, I'm not literally back in the saddle. Injuries from my ill-spent youth prevent me from being able to ride a horse, but I am working on several writing projects that I'm excited about. In later posts I'll tell readers about other projects. Today I wanted to let you know what's going on with Nessa Donnelly and her pals this summer.

Nessa is making use of that private railcar to do a bit of traveling. She, Doc Haydon, and two of the McGuire sisters are off to Chicago. The ladies are being properly chaperoned by Campbell Academy's housemother. Mrs. Ruffin doesn't think much of Ness, but with classes out for the summer, she is delighted to pick up some extra money and travel to the big city.

Not all of Nessa's friends are coming along. Sgt. Hamm is still recovering from a near fatal beating. Tad is busy getting a new house built and hard at work on his own investigation. And Beulah is putting the old Slaton farm in order with the help of her newly discovered grandson. Where Jake goes Professor Pettyjohn is not far behind. Who knows what Nessa will come home to with that crazy professor and his "helpful" improvements added to the remodeling efforts. I suspect she will have at least one clock in every room.

You and I know that Nessa isn't going to escape trouble by leaving town. The Black Hand has made its way up the Mississippi from New Orleans and discovered Chicago. When Sicilian assassins start encroach upon turf long controlled by Irish gamblers there is bound to be trouble. The question is: "How much trouble will our travelers stumble into?"

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...