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Homicidal Holidays Launch—Rounding Out Three New Stories

October 6, 2014

HomicidalHolidaysThis Saturday, October 11, the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime hosts a launch party for the new anthology Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. The fun begins at noon in the party room just next door to the bookstore, and it’ll be a true party with snacks and treats provided for all to enjoy. I’m very pleased to be among that last group with a new story, “Premonition,” set on Halloween night—and pleased too with the great advance review of the anthology by Lynn Farris in the Examiner, who wrote, “The anthology offers a mystery for everyone, there are stories that are funny, sad, terrifying and thought provoking…. This is a great book to give for any holiday.” (The review called my own tale “a master class in how to create tension.” Thanks much, Lynn!) Other contributors include Donna Andrews, Tim Bentler-Jungr, Shaun Taylor Bevins, Carla Kaessinger Coupe, Elaine Davis, Barb Goffman, Clyde T Linsley Jr., Linda Lombardi, Debbi Mack, Rosemary and Larry Mild, Meg Opperman, Shari Randall, and Cathy Wiley, who’s promised to dress like a pirate in honor of the holiday at the heart of her story. Arrr! The stories were selected by Christina Freeburn, John Gilstrap, and Alan Orloff; the anthology was edited by Donna Andrews, Barb Goffman, and Marcia Talley; and Rhys Bowen provided an introduction.

I’ve also had two more stories appear just recently—both available now:

  • Gargoyle 61 features “Precision,” about a safecracker who has tried to put his criminal ways behind him but gets pulled into one more job—possibly his last one. Told from two perspectives, the story delves into the troubled past, tense present, and uncertain futures of two characters with radically different plans for themselves.
  • Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine has published “The Odds Are Against Us” in its November 2014 issue. In this story, an easy chat about old times feeds into fresh conflicts at neighborhood bar. This is one of the shortest stories I’ve contributed to Ellery Queen, but I hope it still packs a punch.

Happy reading—and look forward to seeing folks on Saturday! — Art Taylor

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Short Story Month: Class, Anthonys, Wigleaf & More

May 30, 2014

I haven’t been posting about short stories this month, but I have been reading them, and as Short Story Month draws to a close, here’s a quick run-down of some of my May reading.

Right after winning the Agatha Award (!!!) for my own story, “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants,” I jumped back into the classroom, teaching a quartet of tales to my “Classic and Contemporary Mystery Stories” class—and welcoming three of the authors into the classroom for quick chats via Skype!

  • “Harvest” by Steve Weddle, from his novel-in-stories Country Hardball
  • “Night Stand” by Daniel Woodrell, from his collection The Outlaw Album
  • “Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park” by Toni L.P. Kelner, from the anthology Death’s Excellent Vacation
  • “The Adakian Eagle” by Bradley Denton, from the anthology Down These Strange Streets

Thanks to Steve, Toni, and Brad for talking with my students for a few minutes. A great end to the semester.

After that, I jumped into nearly 40 stories by the students themselves. As a final assignment in the class, each student was tasked with writing his or her own short story, modeled after or inspired in some way by one of the stories from our semester (and the tricky part was having to write a short essay explaining the connections to the model/inspiration). I’ve offered a similar assignment in other classes, and I’m always astounded by the quality of some of the fiction that these students turn in—especially since many of them have never done any creative writing at all. The best of the stories—including one about a female PI (responding to Sue Grafton and Sara Paretsky) and another that set a Sherlock/Watson duo in the Gulf War—would easily be publishable with a little editing. It was just a thrill to see what the students did.

From there, I caught up with a couple of pieces by David Dean (one of my favorite short story writers); his stories “Murder Town” and “The Assumption of Seamus Tyrrell” were in the February and March/April issues of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. And while I was in the March/April issue, I checked our Lori Rader-Day’s “Over Her Body” too—suspensful and chilling work from a new friend I met at Malice Domestic (and looking forward to her debut novel, The Black Hour, which is getting stellar advance praise).

After starting catch-up on recent EQMM‘s, I was caught unaware myself by getting an Anthony nomination for “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”—yowsa! And then read each of other stories on the finalist slate, which featured a wide range of different styles, approaches and lengths:

  • Craig Faustus Buck, “Dead Ends” (Untreed Reads)
  • John Connolly, “The Caxton Private Lending Library & Book Depository” (Bibliomysteries, Mysterious Press)
  • Denise Dietz, “Annie and the Grateful Dead” (The Sound and the Furry, Amazon Digital Services)
  • Travis Richardson, “Incident on the 405” (Criminal Element, The Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble)

And today comes good word on a great story by Laura Ellen Scott, a good friend and an amazing writer. Her story “A Picture of a Man in a Top Hat,” originally published in The Collagist, was named to this year’s Wigleaf 50, featuring the top stories of the year. And plenty of other good reading there too, which will help me begin rounding out Short Story Month in style.

And, of course, I’d encourage others to check out these as well.

 

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Short Story Month: Agatha Award Finalists

May 1, 2014

shortstorymonth320x320Today kicks off Story Story Month, and to celebrate, I’m going to try once more (as I did last year) to post about a short a day. But since the beginning of the month here falls smack in the middle of the end of the semester and the start of Malice Domestic, I’m having to stockpile a little on my posts here. To that end, let me recommend four-plus short stories to cover today and the long weekend at Malice ahead—and fittingly, the stories I’ll recommend are those of my fellow finalists for this year’s Agatha Award for Best Short Story!

The range here is impressive. Barb Goffman‘s two nominated stories look at revenge and retribution—both in the moment and in retrospect (chilling each of them and diabolically clever). Gigi Pandian takes us behind the scenes of a magic show, where seeing isn’t entirely believing, as the title magician proves when he turns sleuth to solve a murder. And Barbara Ross takes us behind the scenes as well and into the life and history of a fantastically famous TV and lifestyle celebrity—courtesy of an executive assistant who knows how both how to keep a secret and how to find out the truth behind one.

Each of the stories is linked here—and if you want the plus I mentioned, you’ve got my own story linked too:

Look forward to seeing friends old and new at Malice this weekend! — Art Taylor

 

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Joining a New Blog: 7 Criminal Minds

February 7, 2014

In the years since I started this blog, I’ve unfortunately failed to keep momentum on many of the elements I’d hoped to include more regularly—short reviews, author interviews, bits of literary news, etc.—and it’s devolved lately into more personal news. And even that has been irregularly posted at best.

But in January, I joined the good folks at Criminal Minds: A Virtual Panel, a nice compilation of writers who takes turns every other week responding to a shared question, and I’m hopeful that this panel format will get me back on track with some regular posts.

So far, I’ve answered the questions “What’s wrong with asking the question ‘Where do you get your ideas?'” and “How do you know where one chapter ends and another begins?”, and I’ll be chiming in on new questions every other Friday in the future. Hope folks will check in over there now and again!

And in the meantime, I’ll continue posts here on that very irregular basis. — Art Taylor

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Agatha Award Nomination: “The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”

January 31, 2014

“The Care and Feeding of Houseplants”—which originally appeared in the March/April 2013 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and is available online here—has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Short Story of 2013. The other finalists include Barb Goffman (two stories nominated!), Gigi Pandian, and Barbara Ross, and the winner will be announced at Malice Domestic on Saturday, May 3.

Here’s the full slate of this year’s nominees, with all the other nominated stories linked as well:

Best Contemporary Novel:
Through the Evil Days by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books)
Pagan Spring by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
How the Light Gets In by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Clammed Up by Barbara Ross (Kensington Books)
The Wrong Girl by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)

Best Historical Novel:
Heirs and Graces by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Death in the Time of Ice by Kaye George (Untreed Reads Publishing)
A Friendly Game of Murder by JJ Murphy (Signet)
Murder in Chelsea by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)
A Question of Honor by Charles Todd (William Morrow)

Best First Novel:
Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz (Berkley)
You Cannoli Die Once by Shelley Costa (Pocket Books)
Board Stiff by Kendel Lynn (Henery Press)
Kneading to Die by Liz Mugavero (Kensington)
Front Page Fatality by LynDee Walker (Henery Press)

Best Short Story:
“Evil Little Girl” by Barb Goffman, Don’t Get Mad, Get Even (Wildside Press)
“Nightmare” by Barb Goffman, Don’t Get Mad, Get Even (Wildside Press)
“The Hindi Houdini” (PDF) by Gigi Pandian, Fish Nets (Wildside Press)
“Bread Baby” (PDF) by Barbara Ross, Best New England Crime Stories 2014: Stone Cold (Level Best Books)
“The Care and Feeding of House Plants” (PDF) by Art Taylor, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, March/April 2013

Best Nonfiction:
Georgette Heyer by Jennifer Kloester (Source Books Inc.)
Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova (Viking Penguin)
Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea: An Interesting & Entertaining History of Malice Domestic’s First 25 Years by Verena Rose and Rita Owen, Editors (Wildside Press)
The Hour of Peril: The Secret Plot to Murder Lincoln Before the Civil War by Daniel Stashower (Minotaur Books)

Best Children’s/Young Adult Novel:
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau (HMH Books for Young Readers)
Traitor in the Shipyard: A Caroline Mystery by Kathleen Ernst (American Girl Mysteries)
Andi Unexpected by Amanda Flower (Zonderkidz)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein (Random House Books)
Code Busters Club: Mystery of the Pirate’s Treasure by Penny Warner (Edgmont USA)

Art Taylor

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Interview: Chatting about Short Stories with Diana Belchase

December 10, 2013

The terrific Diana Belchase interviewed me at Malice Domestic back in May, and she’s just posted the video on her website here and at the blog Kiss and Thrill as well. I’m always self-conscious seeing myself on film, but I hope others might look past the stutters and hesitations and enjoy some of our chat about the short story, teaching, and more. As a bonus, folks who post comments are entered for one of two giveaways, including a copy of the anthology Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder. — Art Taylor

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Event: Sisters in Crime Holiday Gathering, Saturday, Dec. 7

December 3, 2013

EQMMar-April 2012CoverOn Saturday, December 7, ten mystery writers from the Chesapeake Chapter of Sisters in Crime will be appearing at the party room next to One More Page Books in Arlington, Virginia—talking about their recently published and upcoming crime fiction. Participating authors include Donna Andrews, E.A. Aymar, Meriah Crawford, Barb Goffman, Peggy Hanson, Eleanor Cawood Jones, Sujata Massey, Eileen McIntire, Lane Stone, and me! And just in time for the holidays, you can get autographed books by each participating author to help round out your gift-giving list. I don’t have a book of my own, of course, but I’ll be giving away—yes, for free—some recent issues of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine featuring my stories.

The program officially begins at 12:30, but come out by noon for informal talk with the authors. You can also bring a brown bag lunch or pick up something from one of the restaurants just across the street: Le Marché at La Cote D’or or Little City Gourmet. In addition, cookies, fruit, and light refreshments will be provided. The event is free—though a $5 donation by other SinC members certainly wouldn’t be turned away (to help cover the cost of the room).

One More Page Books is located at 2200 N. Westmoreland St., Arlington; the party room is just next door. Limited free parking is provided in the lot behind store. Otherwise, meter parking on street is available.

Hope to see a good turn-out! — Art Taylor

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