Recent Short Stories
NEW! My short story “The Penitent” was one of 18 stories (of 116 submissions) selected in a blind judging process for the Bouchercon Anthology, 2017 . The theme is Passport to Murder, and the collection will be available for pre-order this summer. The annual Bouchercon, held since 1970, is the world’s premiere event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community.
NEW! Out in early April, Murder Among Friends, an anthology of mystery stories making some allusion to noted 19th c. American author John Greenleaf Whittier, will include a new version of my short story “The Flock.” This is a fundraiser for the JGW Birthplace Museum. Order it through the link above!
“Breadcrumbs” – lead story in the fall 2016 issue of Betty Fedora–eight stories about “kick-ass women in crime fiction.” Get your copy here. UPDATE April 2017: This short story is one of five finalists for a Short Mystery Fiction Society Derringer Award!
The story begins . . .
Why would a city girl like Becky Tailor—that was what she called herself when I met her—give up a life in Washington, D.C., for one here in the sticks? No movies, no museums, and a library the size of a mini-mart? In D.C., she was a teacher at an exclusive private academy. Why would she move to a community whose schools can barely afford textbooks? And take a typing-and-filing job in a three-lawyer office specializing in matrimonial fiascos?
Easy answer: her husband.
How sweet. She gave up everything to be with her man.
Nope. She gave up everything to get away from him. . . .
Reader Comment: “I read your story from Betty Fedora to my residents at St. Mary’s. They loved it. A man in his 80’s said to tell you it was a real page turner. I love the twist at the end.”
“The Flock” – Published in Big Muddy, A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley – Southeast Missouri State University Press, Vol 14:2, Spring 2015. – A stranger comes to town.
Reader comments: “‘Mrs. Parker, whose few ideas were doled out by a parsimonious husband, couldn’t for the life of her figure out what Mary could be writing, day after day.’ You deserve a prize for this sentence alone.”; “It’s a great story, beautifully written. It reminded me of cross between Shirley Jackson’s ‘The Lottery’ and Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome, but with a positive twist.
US 1 Summer Fiction Issue (available online)
“What Would Jimmy Stewart Do?” – US 1 Summer Fiction Issue 2016 – A movie star lookalike (and Princeton alum) embraces his alter ego.
Reader Comments: “Loved the theme………….cool idea!” “Got a big chuckle out of your story. Felt like I was watching a short film, not reading a short story. Fun details and dovetails with dialogue.”
“What Saved Them” – US 1 Summer Fiction Issue 2015 – A self-effacing clergyman finds hidden strengths when he vows to save a woman in peril. But who saved whom?
“War of the Worlds” – US 1 Summer Fiction Issue 2014; illustrated version reprinted on the AntiquityNOW website, 10/31/14; reprinted in an October 2016 issue of the online magazine, Kings River Life – The fiery maples outside a reclusive woman’s home burn like the ghosts of her past.
Reader comments: “Great Story, Vicki….had me on the edge of my seat!”; “Truly a frightening tale. It caused me to check our fire extinguisher. Found it to be bad and went right out to buy another”; “I could literally picture it all!”
“Never Here When I Need Him” – US 1 Summer Fiction Issue 2012 – a woman prepares dinner while waiting for her husband. He’s late. Very.
Reader comments: “This topic/subject/idea will disrupt – and matter to – many other readers.” “Very powerful. Beautiful, moving writing.”
“Windjammer” – US 1 Summer Fiction Issue, 2011 – A Manhattan sophisticate purchases his dream vacation cottage in Cape May, N.J., and finds it haunted by the vengeful 19th century sea captain who built it.
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine
“A Slaying Song Tonight” – lead story in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, holiday (January/February 2017) edition. This is a big deal for me, as EQMM has a 75-year history, is billed as “the world’s leading mystery magazine,” and has almost 40,000 print and online subscribers! Get it in the magazine section of your big box book store or on line! The story begins . . .
To Martin Benet, the blinking red-blue emergency lights looked rather festive. Still, he would bet they didn’t bring glad tidings.
Reader Comments: “I read your wonderful story last night. I think you are a fine writer and your character development is very sophisticated. Keep up the great work.” “The sleight of hand (not sure a better term) about what the story is about: trying to solve the mystery (alongside the characters and increasingly suspicious ourselves!) while what’s really at stake is [something else]….. Really just an enjoyable read, and surprising in its resolution and its effect. Congratulations!”
“Premeditation” – A Eugenia Clarke Mystery – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, February 2012 – Eugenia is haunted by the grizzly death of a solo hiker in Gates of the Arctic National Park, only to uncover a much more sinister double murder plot.
“Evidence” – A Eugenia Clarke Mystery – Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, August 2007 Eugenia sees the young women in her tour group about to be snared in a smuggler’s trap, or does she?
Book & Theater Reviews
My reviews of crime and fiction novels appear on the UK website, Crime Fiction Lover, as well as this site.
Theater reviews appear on The Front Row Center website, as well as here (a bit sooner there).
Semi-annually, members of the writing group I belong to read excerpts of our works aloud, generally at the Lawrenceville (Main) Branch of the Mercer County Library. Watch for announcements, and hope to see you there!