“The Odds Are Against Us” and “Premonition” Named Agatha Award Finalists!

January 31, 2015

I’m stunned and thrilled that two of my short stories have been named as finalists for the upcoming Agatha Awards! My stories “The Odds Are Against Us” from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and “Premonition” from Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder are both in contention for Best Short Story of 2014, along with Barb Goffman’s “The Shadow Knows,” Edith Maxwell’s “Just Desserts for Johnny,” and Kathy Lynn Emerson’s “The Blessing Witch.” The full slate of finalists in all categories is below. Look forward to seeing everyone at Malice Domestic in May!

Best Contemporary Novel

The Good, The Bad and The Emus by Donna Andrews (Minotaur Books)
A Demon Summer by G.M. Malliet (Minotaur Books)
Truth Be Told by Hank Phillippi Ryan (Forge Books)
The Long Way Home by Louise Penny (Minotaur Books)
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron (Grand Central Publishing)

Best Historical Novel

Hunting Shadows by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
An Unwilling Accomplice by Charles Todd (William Morrow)
Wouldn’t it Be Deadly by D.E. Ireland (Minotaur Books)
Queen of Hearts by Rhys Bowen (Berkley)
Murder in Murray Hill by Victoria Thompson (Berkley)

Best First Novel

Circle of Influence by Annette Dashofy (Henery Press)
Tagged for Death by Sherry Harris (Kensington Publishing)
Finding Sky by Susan O’Brien (Henery Press)
Well Read, Then Dead by Terrie Farley Moran (Berkley Prime Crime)
Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber (Midnight Ink)

Best Nonfiction

400 Things Cops Know: Street Smart Lessons from a Veteran Patrolman by Adam Plantinga (Quill Driver Books)
Writes of Passage: Adventures on the Writer’s Journey by Hank Phillippi Ryan (ed) (Henery Press)
Death Dealer: How Cops and Cadaver Dogs Brought a Killer to Justice by Kate Flora (New Horizon Press)
The Art of the English Murder by Lucy Worsley (Pegasus Books)
The Poisoner: The Life and Crimes of Victorian England’s Most Notorious Doctor by Stephen Bates (Overlook Hardcover)

Best Short Story

“The Odds are Against Us” by Art Taylor (EQMM)
“Premonition” (Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays) by Art Taylor (Wildside Press)
“The Shadow Knows” (Chesapeake Crimes Homicidal Holidays) by Barb Goffman (Wildside Press)
“Just Desserts for Johnny” by Edith Maxwell (Kings River Life Magazine)
“The Blessing Witch” (Best New England Crime Stories 2015: Rogue Wave) by Kathy Lynn Emerson (Level Best Books)

Best Children’s/Young Adult

Andi Under Pressure by Amanda Flower (ZonderKidz)
Greenglass House by Kate Milford (Clarion Books)
Uncertain Glory by Lea Wait (Islandport Press)
The Code Buster’s Club, Case #4, The Mummy’s Curse by Penny Warner (Egmont USA)
Found by Harlen Coben (Putnam Juvenile)


Call for Submissions: Murder Under the Oaks, the Bouchercon 2015 Anthology

December 8, 2014

Attention, fellow short story writers! I’ve been invited to edit the short fiction anthology Murder Under the Oaks for Bouchercon 2015 in Raleigh, NC—and I’d love to see lots and lots of good submissions for it! The full call for submissions can be found here—and details are pasted below. Please feel free to share widely with your own writing friends and community! — Art Taylor

Call for Submissions

Bouchercon 2015 invites you to submit a short story for an anthology, Murder Under the Oaks, to be published by Down & Out Books for Bouchercon 2015, October 8-11, 2015, in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The theme is: Murder Under the Oaks.

Bouchercon 2015 Chair Stacey Cochran is proud to announce that Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer Award-winning short story writer Art Taylor will be the editor for Murder Under the Oaks. Art is generously contributing his time and talents, and we are very grateful for his participation in this exciting project. Please do not submit stories to Art Taylor directly.

Authors will be notified when the final selections have been made. Also, an announcement will be made on the Bouchercon 2015 website in early June 2015.

Anthology authors will receive one contributor’s copy, and be invited to participate in a signing at the convention.

Profits from the anthology will go to Wake County, NC libraries.


  • Anyone can submit a story; you needn’t register for the convention.
  • Deadline for submission is midnight March 1, 2015.
  • Submit your story as an email attachment, in Word doc or docx, to: bcon15anthology@gmail.com
  • The email subject line should read:
    [your last name goes here], Anthology Submission, [title of story goes here].  For example: Smith, Anthology Submission, Deadly Acorns
  • All author contact information must be in the cover email only. Include:
    • your real name,
    • your pen name (if you want the story to be published under a different name),
    • your address,
    • phone number,
    • preferred e-mail address,
    • and word count for the story.
  • There should be no identifying information anywhere on the story.
  • Stories must be original, not previously published anywhere else.
  • One story submission per person.

 Manuscript Guidelines:

  • Stories should be between 3,500 and 5,500 words.
  • Use a standard font such as Courier or Times New Roman at 12 pt size; no fancy fonts or formatting, please. Italicize (don’t underline) words that are to be italicized.
  • Indent the first line of new paragraphs by one-half inch, using paragraph setup for the first line, not the space key. Do not use the tab key anywhere in the document.
  • Denote scene breaks with five asterisks: *****
  • Double-space with one-inch margins on all sides.

Questions? Contact bcon15anthology@gmail.com


Sisters in Crime Mystery Author Extravaganza—Saturday, December 6, Reston, VA

December 4, 2014

This Saturday, December 6, I’ll be joining 20 other authors from the Sisters in Crime Chessie Chapter for a Mystery Author Extravaganza—starting at 1 p.m. at the Reston Regional Library. The latest Chesapeake Crimes anthology will be on sale, and I’ll be handing out a few extra copies of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine featuring my latest story, “The Odds Are Against Us.”

Other participating authors include: Donna Andrews, E.A. Aymar, Mary Ann Corrigan, Meriah Crawford, Maddi Davidson, Christina Freeburn, Barb Goffman, Sherry Novinger Harris, Jacqui Lane, Clyde T Linsley Jr., Sujata Massey, Eileen McIntire, Susan O’Brien, Kathryn O’Sullivan, Josh Pachter, Sandra Parshall, Shari Randall, KM Rockwood, Marianne Wilski Strong, and Cathy Wiley.

A great chance to meet some fine authors—and get in some holiday book buying too!


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


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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