Writing . . .

Short Story News & “Coming Soon”

Fall 2017: “The Penitent” was one of 18 stories (of 116 submissions) selected for the Bouchercon Anthology, 2017, entitled Passport to Murder, and the collection has received a coveted starred review from Publisher’s Weekly! The annual Bouchercon, held since 1970, is the world’s premiere event bringing together all parts of the mystery and crime fiction community. Order your copy here!

“Above Suspicion” is now scheduled for fall publication (Issue #24) in the Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. It’s my alternative exploration of Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist–still unsolved and still the largest art theft and, in fact, the largest property theft in history. The FBI sticks to its low-level mobster theory. I suggest a totally different brand of thieves.

July 2017: “John Abbott’s Kitchen Boy” was published in the U.S. 1 Summer Fiction issue. That’s six stories in the last seven years! A boy becomes a Revolutionary War hero in this fictional account of a real-life incident. Read it here.

July 2017: “Burning Bright” has won an Honorable Mention from the Public Safety Writers Association. It was the only published short story to receive an award.

May 2017: “Breadcrumbs” has won a Short Mystery Fiction Society Derringer Award! You can read it here. “Breadcrumbs” was the lead story in the fall 2016 issue of the magazine Betty Fedora–“kick-ass women in crime fiction.” 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.”

In Print

April 2017:  “Burning Bright” appears in this collection of crime fiction stories: Busted: Arresting Stories from the Beat. It’s a sentimental favorite for me, about a Wisconsin deputy sheriff determined to save a tiger. I hope you enjoy it!

April 2017: Murder Among Friends, an anthology of mystery stories making some allusion to noted 19th c. American author John Greenleaf Whittier, includes my short story “The Flock.” This is a fundraiser for the JGW Birthplace Museum. Good stories and a good cause! “The Flock” was originally published in Big Muddy, A Journal of the Mississippi River Valley – Southeast Missouri State University Press, Vol 14:2, Spring 2015. – 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.

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 believes the young women in her tour group are about to be snared in a smuggler’s trap, or are they?

US 1 Summer Fiction Issue (available online)

“John Abbott’s Kitchen Boy” – 2017 – Based on historical events, a young boy saves New Jersey’s War of Independence-era treasure.
Reader Comment: “Channeling your inner twelve-year-old!”

“What Would Jimmy Stewart Do?” – 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” – 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” – 2014; illustrated version reprinted on the AntiquityNOW website, 10/31/14; reprinted in an October 2016 issue of the online magazine, Kings River LifeThe 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” – 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” – 2011 – A Manhattan sophisticate purchases his dream vacation cottage in Cape May, N.J., and finds it haunted by a vengeful 19th century sea captain.

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 Room At The Table writing group, which 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!


3 thoughts on “Writing . . .

  1. I too loved The Cowboy and the Cossack. It may be the best westerns ever written, even though it takes place in Russia.

    Congratulations on your latest publication. Loved the story. I am ordering it right now.

  2. I am half way through reading The Cowboy and the Cossack per your recommendation. I love this book. The writer’s descriptions are so vivid. Thanks for your review. It may be the best book that I have ever read.

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