The Story Behind My Derringer Finalist Story

I've been tied up with family stuff or I would have announced this sooner. We were at lunch yesterday when I got the word that one of my short stories had been chosen as a finalist for  the Derringer Award for Best Flash Fiction. The Derringers, you’ll recall, are one of the top prizes for short mystery fiction. This is the second year in a row that one of my pieces was singled out for this honor. The full announcement is here. Members of the Derringer group will read all finalist stories this month, and the winners will be announced March 31, 2015. 

Regular readers will probably remember the story, How Lil’ Jimmie Beat the Big C, which first appeared on the Shotgun Honey noir ‘zine back in May 2014. It’s the story of an incarcerated man’s visit to an oncology center for a chemotherapy session. It’s short, fewer than 700 words, violent, and chock full of profanity. That warning aside, the story’s free to read online, so please do check it out if you’d like.

And yes, the story was inspired by what I saw on several of my visits with Denise’s mom to her chemo sessions or doctor’s appointments last year. Every time I went, and I mean every time, I’d spot heavily armed corrections officers marching shackled prisoners to their appointments. If you stop to think about it, it makes sense. Prisoners are human. They get cancer like everyone else. It’s just that their doctor’s visits necessitate traveling in chains and being accompanied by guards.

I could go on about how everything you experience in life, good or bad, becomes fodder for your fiction—but I figure I’ve said enough.

I’m proud to be a Derringer finalist again, and equally proud to be part of what looks like a trio of successes this year for Shotgun Honey. They’re a great site; if you enjoy reading or writing short noir pieces, you really out to check them out.