Writing News . . .

BEST NEWS: My murder mystery/thriller Architect of Courage is available on Amazon at this link! Or here at Barnes & Noble!!

“Among the Long Shadows,” fourth in the series about young Sweetwater, Texas, newspaper report Brianna Yamato and her fight against crime and old-boyism, appears in the July/August issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, excerpted online here. And another Sherlock Holmes pastiche is one its way to publication, so the editor says.

Also recently: “Here’s Looking at You,” about a private eye and a sexy client. My story turns this trope on its head with a gender switch. See the Valentine’s Day 2024 issue of Yellow Mama!

In Print

“A Brick Through the Window” appears in the new Sherlock Holmes anthology, Sherlock Holmes, a Year of Mystery -1885. In this story, Holmes and Watson work with crusading journalist William T. Stead who, in real life, exposed the Victorian era’s sex trade.

“A Pearl of a Girl” appears in in the 2023 Bouchercon anthology, Killin’ Time in San Diego, alongside the work of some fantastic short story writers! So pleased. Order it here.

In November 2022, my story “The Queen’s Line” appeared in Sherlock Holmes: A Year of Mystery – 1884. The Queen’s Line is not a new tube route, it refers to the controversial hemophilia death of Queen Victoria’s son, Leopold. A family tragedy and a threat to the crown, which Mr. Holmes is called upon to prevent.

Recently, the inaugural issue of JOURN-E, the journal of imaginative literature, published “The Old Man of the Mountain,” a story about a cave excursion gone very wrong. I tapped into memories of some scary encounters with the dark for this one!

You can read my story “Duplex” for free, as one of the September 2021 stories on The Green Shoe Sanctuary website. In the 1960s, a young Virginia war widow finds an unexpected way forward.

Also in that month, First Page, a German publication featuring just the first pages of stories, distributed free in Berlin bookstores (and New York, post-covid, which will come . . . someday) included my story, “The A in Spaghetti” about a refugee family in Princeton in 1940. Hard copies are difficult to come by, alas.

Kings River Life (online) has posted my Halloween story, “A Question of Identity,” about a pair of nine-year-old girls whose mysterious costumes are possibly much scarier than at first they seem. Read it here for free!

The winter holidays are a perfect time for crime, as people’s thoughts are preoccupied with peppermint martinis and shiny gift wrap, the smell of fir trees and songs of the season. The 2021 holiday issue of Mystery Magazine includes a Santa’s bag of such stories, including mine. In “A Hungarian Christmas,” a young man splurges at Tiffany’s to give his fiancee a present for Hungarian Christmas. A generous and loving impulse that goes very, very wrong. (No little aqua gift-boxes were injured in the creation of this story.) Order it here!

The November 2021 issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine (#10) includes my short story, “Saving the Indiana Dae.” A young Wall Street professional fits up a beached sailing ship as a vacation house. The problem: someone else wants it–is it the ship’s crusty captain, dead for almost a century or his unscrupulous realtors? Order it here!

“The Unbroken Circle” appears in the Summer 2020 issue of Pulp Modern, Vol 2:5. In 1890’s Indiana, and the annual reunion of the Bywater family is in full swing. As they start their traditional recounting of the family’s proud history, a stranger appears. He’s carrying their family Bible that went missing a few years earlier. He gives it to the family patriarch and hastens away. Everyone in the family is thrilled the Bible has been returned to them–that is, until they learn the dark messages that it hides. The next morning, the stranger lies dead in William Bywater’s front yard, the sheriff has a long list of questions, and everyone’s a suspect. Order it here!

“The West Texas Rookie”– featuring young, tiny, and fearless Japanese American reporter Brianna Yamato making her mark in the macho newsroom of the Sweetwater, Texas, Register. Told to write a wrap-up about a four-victim homicide that no one wants to investigate, not even the authorities, Brianna proves there’s always more to find out! She gets the story and you can too, in the December 2019 issue of Mystery Weekly. Order it here!

The August 2022 issue of Mystery Magazine includes “The Ring of Truth,” third story in the series about young Sweetwater, Texas, newspaper reporter Brianna Yamato. Love that gal! Order it here and get a selection of great stories!

The January 15, 2023, issue of Black Cat Weekly (#72) reprints my story “New Energy,” about intrepid small town reporter Brianna Yamato confronting deadly shenanigans in the wind energy industry.

In “The Ghost Who Read the Newspaper,” a blinding snowstorm leads a pair of 1920s adventurers to a Connecticut inn, where they encounter its mysterious night visitor. Who was this well-dressed ghost, called The Old Gentleman, and why has he haunted this place for sixty years? Their investigation takes them into the tragedy and heroism of the Civil War. A tale of violence and grief. Level Best Books includes this story in Seascape: Best New England Crime Stories, available here. Barb Goffman selected it to be reprinted in Black Cat Weekly, Issue #18, January 2022.

“The Adventure at Sparremere Hall” appears in the new anthology, Sherlock Holmes: Adventures in the Realms of Edgar Allan Poe, a mashup of Poe’s dark imagination and Holmes’s investigative prowess. In my story, a young man pleads with Holmes and Watson to investigate the bizarre behavior of a long-time friend, whose obsession with his wife’s teeth has taken on strange overtones. You may recognize this as the impetus for Poe’s haunting story, “Berenice.” Writing a story in the voice of Dr. Watson was a rather large dose of fun. Available here from Amazon.

Summer 2019: The Best Laid Plans, an anthology of short stories edited by Canadian mystery writer Judy Penz Sheluk, contains 21 short stories by some of today’s best-known short crime fiction authors. In my story, “Who They Are Now,” a legendary sportscaster is murdered under cover of a disastrous Florida hurricane. Does an aging Hollywood star hold the key to finding the killer? The story won an award from Public Safety Writers’ Association. Available here.

Winter 2018: My short story “Above Suspicion” appears in Issue #26 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine. Boston’s 1990 Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum heist–still the largest art theft and the largest property theft in history–remains unsolved. The art hasn’t been recovered, and no arrests have been made. The FBI has stuck to its low-level mobster theory for nearly 30 years. I suggest a totally different brand of thieves.

Fall 2018: “Tooth and Nail” appears in an award-winning anthology inspired by the groundbreaking writing of Edgar Allan Poe, titled Quoth the Raven. The challenge was to retain Poe’s eerie sensibility in a story set in the modern day. Available through Kobo, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks. Or here through Amazon.

Fall 2017: “The Penitent” was one of 18 stories (of 116 submissions) selected for the Bouchercon Anthology entitled Passport to Murder, a collection nominated for a 2018 Anthony Award. Order your copy here!

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 from local ne’er-do-wells. Honorable Mention from the Public Safety Writers Association, the only published short story to receive an award in 2017.

April 2017: Murder Among Friends, includes a reprint of my short story “The Flock,” first published in the literary magazine, Big Muddy. This is a fundraiser for the John Greenleaf Whittier Birthplace Museum.

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

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine has a 75+-year history, is billed as “the world’s leading mystery magazine,” and has almost 40,000 print and online subscribers. It’s one of the most important paying markets for short mystery writers and a real honor for me to be published there–four times now!

One night young reporter Brianna Yamato’s date stands her up. But he has an awfully good excuse. He’s been murdered. The bizarre circumstances stump the authorities until Brianna does what she does best. She digs. This story–titled “New Energy”–leads off the July-August 2019 issue. The January 15, 2023, issue of Black Cat Weekly (#72) reprints “New Energy.”

“A Slaying Song Tonight” – lead story in EQMM’s holiday edition (January/February 2017). 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.

“Premeditation” (February 2012) – Eugenia Clarke 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. Yes, I know how to spell grisly; I was making a pun. However, I’ve since noticed the word is frequently misspelled. I take no responsibility.

“Evidence” (August 2007) Eugenia believes the young women in her tour group are about to be snared in a smuggler’s trap, or are they? Reprinted in Black Cat Weekly 26 June 2022.

Spoken Word

Before covid, members of my writing group read from our work at the main branch of Mercer County Public Library in March and October. I’ve also read excerpts from my stories at the KGB Bar in Manhattan, sponsored by Mystery Writers of America – New York chapter and for the New Jersey chapter of Sisters in Crime.

For thoughts about short-story writing, here’s a podcast. My interview starts a little after 12:30.

7 thoughts on “Writing News . . .

  1. Pingback: PSWA Newsletter February 2020

  2. Victoria,
    Above Suspicion was a very fine story. I had a story in Sherlock Holmes Mag, too, I belong to MWA and SinC. I send to Sherlock Holmes as a last resort since the Mag is not carried by newsstands (only subscribers get to read it).
    I must remind myself to be grateful to be published, period!
    Robert Knightly

  3. 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.

  4. 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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