Tag Archives: Alfred Hitchcock

Best American Series Out for 2010!

Every year, I look forward to the appearance in bookstores of Mariner Book’s The Best American Series – an annual compilation of the best short fiction and nonfiction.  First purchase is always The Best American Mystery Stories. This year’s editor is Lee Child, and the series editor is Otto Penzler author and owner of The Mysterious Bookshop, now located in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan.

Penzler selected 50 stories from among the who-knows-how-many submitted by authors, publishers, fans, as well as through the ever-so-vigilant scouring of potential publications by Penzler himself.  Lee Child then chose 20 of the 50.  Child is the author of Jack Reacher series, so it will be interesting to see if he chooses stories similar to the type he tends to write, or if he is more wide-ranging in his tastes.

I always turn first to the front of the book to scope out A) what authors I know have made the book and B) the original publication for the selected stories.   Dennis Lehane (known for Mystic River and Shutter Island, among others) has a story, as does Phillip Margolin, the criminal-defense-attorney-turned-bestselling-legal-thriller-author.

This year Ellery Queen is the source for three stories and the sister publication, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, has one.  Noir is in store with Boston Noir getting two nods and Black Noir with one.

I plan to read all the stories and rank them, with a special “call out” if there are any that I think I could have written myself.  (Don’t hold your breath on that one – typically 18 out of the 20 stories blow me away and two out of 20 are great, just not my kind of thing.)  So watch this space, or better yet, go buy the book and read the stories!

Resolution: Keep living the literary life

Friends and readers know that I had resolved to get an agent in 2009.   Sadly, missed that one, but I did get lots of extremely nice feedback from agents who blamed the economy and the tightening publishing market for not picking up Character-Driven, my first-in-series mystery featuring former actress Paula Berger.  Kind of took the wind out of my sails for the second book in the series, In Scene.

But, by working with Addy, Michele, and Claire to found a new writing group, I gave myself a kick-start and things are humming nicely, with about 80 pages complete that I’m pretty happy with and the next few chapters all outlined.  It’s fun and you’ve got to have faith, right?  If you’d like to read the first chapter of this book, here it is:  InSceneChapterOne.

And I’ve been dragging my feet on sending short stories out.  I’ve got some literary shorts and then some mysteries/crime stories, many of which feature a Chicago detective named Kathy Martinez.  It’s tough to decide where to send them after Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen reject them.  But then, out of the blue, I got an email from author Robert Friedman, thanking me for my reviews of his short stories on the audio shorts web page, Sniplits.  (Go there!  It’s awesome!  You can fill up your iPod and enjoy your treadmill time much more.)

He suggested I might enjoy his story, The Actor in the Family, published in Story Quarterly Online.  (I did.  He’s a great storyteller and there’s always a little something extra by way of character development.)  We emailed back and forth a couple of times, and wow!  He turned me on to a new resource.   Authors in search of publishing options, check out Duotrope’s Digest.

Duotrope is more than just a listing of publications, it’s interactive with a snazzy search feature.  Pick your genre, pick your theme, pick the length of your fiction, pick your payscale… and you end up with a list of publications that might want to buy/publish your work.  Searching for mystery short stories, any theme, token payment or up netted me 30 publications (including Hitchcock and Queen, of course).  There’s a separate search function for poetry.  Fabulous!

It seems like the fates are conspiring to keeping me living the literary life in 2010… and that’s just fine with me.  Unlike resolving to eat healthfully, exercise faithfully, and become fluent in French, resolving to live literarily is like resolving to hug my pugs…easy to do, and rewarding, too.