Thursday, March 31, 2011

2011 Derringer Awards for short mystery fiction

The Short Mystery Fiction Society is pleased to announce the winners of
the 2011 Derringer Awards for short mystery fiction:

Best Flash Fiction Story (under 1,000 words) - (TIE)

"The Book Signing," by Kathy Chencharik, _/*Thin Ice: Crime Stories by
New England Writers*/_, Leslie Wheeler, Mark Ammons, Barbara Ross, Kat
Fast, Eds., Level Best Books, November, 2010


"The Unknown Substance" by Jane Hammons, *A Twist of Noir*, December 27,

Best Short Story (1,001-4,000 words)

"Pewter Badge," by Michael J. Solender, *Yellow Mama*, August, 2010

Best Long Story (4,001-8,000 words) - (TIE)

"Care of the Circumcised Penis" by Sean Doolittle, _/*Thuglit Presents: Blood, Guts & Whiskey*/_, Todd Robinson, Ed., Kensington Publishing Corp., May, 2010


"Interpretation of Murder" by B. K. Stevens, *Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine*, December, 2010

Best Novelette (8,001-17,500 words)

"Rearview Mirror" by Art Taylor, *Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine*, March, 2010

We offer hearty congratulations to these authors for their demonstrated
excellence in short fiction, and our sincere thanks to all who submitted

Presentation of the Awards will take place in conjunction with the short
story panel at Bouchercon 2011, held in St. Louis, MO in September.

Larry W. Chavis
Derringer Coordinator, 2011

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


June 3-5, 2011 Victoria, BC

We’re excited about the way the Bloody Words program is taking shape. From a Canadian Mystery Trivia game to a session on The Future of Publishing, a three-hour CSI Victoria workshop, and Michael Slade’s Heart-Stopping Shock Theatre and Ghost Walk around the olde city, there’s something for everyone. Take a look at the tentative schedule at the end of this report and tell your friends. You’ll want to stay an extra day or two or five to greet our returning whales, visit a winery, or stroll world-famous Butchart Gardens. Did we mention the special Emily Carr exhibit?


Registration is fast approaching our limit of 200 attendees. If you know people who intend to come but haven’t registered yet, encourage them to sign up at! Banquet includes your choice of delectable BC wild salmon, meat, or vegetarian entree.


You still have time to have a short story or chapters of a novel critiqued by a published author. Print the form from the website. Submissions must be postmarked by April 15.
Agent interview slots are filled, and so is the waiting list. If you missed out, you can still sign up for a manuscript evaluation.


Luxuriate in the facilities offered by the 5-Star Hotel Grand Pacific. Guests have full access to the Athletic Club with its weight room, yoga/dance studio, and several pools. Or pamper yourself at the Spa. Rooms are still available at the conference rate of $179 plus tax per night. If you need a roommate, contact our Roommate Coordinator through the website.


It isn’t too late to order T-shirts! Get our surfing skeleton logo on a black shirt for $20. Email your request with size and quantity to and pay by cheque or PayPal.


Local volunteers are working hard to get ready for the conference. If you are coming early and would like to help with last-minute preparations or conference tasks, Volunteer Coordinator Judy Hudson would love to hear from you. See the sign-up sheet on the website.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meeting Marty Chan

Alberta author Marty Chan has mysteries, plays, radio and television tales to his credit. Since 2004, when Thistledown Press launched his first YA novel, The Mystery of the Frozen Brains, he has learned a lot about the promotional side of the publishing industry. In this interview, he shares his perspective on Selling your Novel, not your Soul (taken from his recent AWCS workshop of the same title):

Welcome, Marty!

The title of your AWCS presentation was 'Sell your book, not your soul'. What of your own experiences and observations inspired it, and what were you hoping attendees would take away from the day?

My experiences as a playwright producing my own work at the Edmonton Fringe Festival inspired the workshop title, Sell Your Book, Not Your Soul. I'm an introvert who despises having to go on the street to hawk flyers. At my first festival, I quickly realized that if I didn't promote my own show I wouldn't be able to cover my expenses, so out of sheer desperation I hit the streets. On site, I noticed other producers getting in people's faces and acting like desperate used cars salesmen. I didn't want to sell myself out to sell my show, so I approached people the way I wanted to be approached. I was low-key, respectful and positive. My style worked!

From then on I approached promotion with the same diplomatic and generous style that I used the first time out.
You can promote without being pushy and you can sell your book without selling your soul. The key is to find a style that is true to who you are. I hoped that's the lesson the participants came away with.

There are a great many options for publicizing one's book nowadays. How can authors figure out where best to focus their time and dollars?

The best way to figure out how to focus your efforts is to take a step back and do some goal setting. If you set realistic goals for yourself, then you can better plan what resources you need. If you want a national bestseller, but you don't have any money or time to make this happen, you're bound to be frustrated with the results. Often times writers have more time than money to put into promotion, so I always advise writers to make the best use of their time by finding people who are willing to help spread the word. The key is figuring out what's in it for those people who help. If they're your friends and family, you know you owe them a favour. If they are strangers, find an offer that gives them an incentive to see you succeed.

For True Story, my picture book about my two cats, I set the launch at the Edmonton Humane Society and promised them 30 percent of my book sales for the day. This gave them incentive to include me in their publicity and marketing plans.

Do you have a personal favourite publicity tactic and why - or why not - should other writers use it?

My favourite publicity tactic is to research the media outlet and figure out what they need, then brainstorm a segment that fills that need. You can't go wrong if you provide a TV producer, a visual segment (ie. actors performing an excerpt from your novel) with a funny and/or engaging talk. Think about what the media outlet needs and how you can plug into their needs, and your chances of getting some air time or ink greatly increase.

Mystery Writers Ink thanks Marty for sharing his expertise with us.

Marty's newest YA novel is

The Mystery of the Cyber Bully
(Thistledown Press Sept 2010).

How do you find a bully who lurks on the internet and lashes out at helpless victims? Intrepid kid detectives Marty, Remi and Trina must answer that question if they're to stop a cyber bully targeting their classmates.

We'll be drawing for this book at Ink's April meeting.

Jayne Barnard

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

March Meeting 10th

At the meeting on Thursday, March 10, we'll be discussing book contracts, led by Anne Jayne. This will be a more informal discussion than many of our meetings--more like a workshop than a presentation.

Even if you haven't finished a manuscript that's ready to send to publishers, it isn't too early to become acquainted with what you'll see in a book contract when the time comes.

We'll look at topics such as:

- What are the terms that you'll usually see in a book contract, and why are there?
- What are some terms that you'll want to have in the contract for your own protection?
- What about negotiating better terms?
- What are the clues hidden in the contract that can warn you that this might be a sleazy "publisher" who's trying to exploit you, or an inexperienced publisher who may fail you?

We hope that this workshop will help to prevent a tragic case of eyes-glazing-over when you receive your first book contract from a publisher who is offering to publish your book.

Remember the example of Agatha Christie, who was so delighted to have her first novel accepted that she signed the book contract on the spot. It was a five-book deal, and even after the remarkable success of her mysteries the publisher refused to budge from terms that were very unfavourable to the author.

She served out her time on that contract. She submitted the manuscripts required of her, but held back her better work until she was set free from that publisher. She stayed with her second publisher for the rest of her life.

There's a moral in this for greedy publishers, and a moral for writers.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Blog Workshop Followup Questions

This is the place to add questions for Kevin when you've gone away and are trying to figure out things afterward.

Just add a comment to this post and Kevin will answer it. Ask freely; others may be wondering the same thing.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011