My EQMM Story's a Finalist for the Derringer Award!

Wow! It happened again. One of my stories got picked for a Derringer Award.

I was screwing around on my phone last night when I got an email listing this year's finalists. One of them was "The Woman in the Briefcase," the story that ran in the March/April 2016 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

The official announcement is here. The Derringers are the only award in the mystery fiction world that are given solely to short stories. Twenty finalists are chosen—five in four different categories, according to the length of the story. "The Woman in the Briefcase" is up for the "Best Short Story" category, which denotes a story that is 1,001 to 4,000 words long.

For me, it's a cool honor on two levels. It's the first story I ever landed in EQMM. And it's the third time in four years that one of my stories has been picked as a Derringer finalist. (I won for Best Flash Story in 2015.) I'm hugely honored, especially since I haven't really done a lot of short fiction this past two years. I've been tied up with ghostwriting and trying to finish a pair of novels.

What's "The Woman in the Briefcase" about? It's strange, since most of the action takes place 30,000 years ago. A crazy caveman mystery is what it is.

I'm pretty sure the editor will make it available during the month-long judging period. But you can use Bookfunnel right now to download a copy of a quick-and-dirty e-book I just put together. I'll post EQMM's link if and when I have it. Either way, enjoy.

The 2016 Derringer Awards Finalists: Looking at the Stats

Prior to presentation, the 2015 Derringers were contained in this handsome box!

Prior to presentation, the 2015 Derringers were contained in this handsome box!

The Derringer Awards are the only award in the mystery fiction community that focus exclusively on short stories. I'm listing all the finalists, which were announced earlier today. Since I'm still not very good at figuring out where I should submit my stories,  awards like this are always a good opportunity to study the markets.

To that end, I'll note the following stats:

  • Nine finalist stories appeared in print magazines

  • Seven finalist stories first appeared in anthologies

  • Two finalist stories appeared in online magazines

  • One finalist story appeared in a digital-only magazine

  • One finalist story first appeared in a Kindle Worlds e-book.

  • EQMM is the top publication, with six finalist stories.

  • Writer John M. Floyd—who is a heck of guy, by the way—appears twice, in two different categories.

The winners will be announced March 31.

My warm congratulations to the following finalists:

For Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 words)

  • Jack Bates, "The Hard Screw" (Near to the Knuckle, August 6, 2015)

  • Craig Faustus Buck, "Heavy Debt" (Mondays are Murder: Akashic Books, August 10, 2015)

  • Barb Goffman, "The Wrong Girl" (Flash and Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology: Untreed Reads, October 2015)

  • Vy Kava, "Hero" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)

  • John Weagly, "Trash Pick-Up" (Near to the Knuckle, September 24, 2015)

For Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words)

  • Shelly Dickson Carr, "Words Can Kill" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)

  • Nikki Dolson, "Joe Park's Little Girl" (Mystery Weekly, September 7, 2015)

  • Chris Knopf, "Kill Switch" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)

  • William Burton McCormick, "Pompo's Disguise" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2015)

  • Meg Opperman, "Twilight Ladies" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2015)

For Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words)

  • Ron Collins, "The White Game" (Fiction River: Hidden in Crime: WMG Publishing, November 2015)

  • John M. Floyd, "Dentonville" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2015)

  • Katia Lief, "The Orchid Grower" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2015)

  • Robert Lopresti, "Shooting at Firemen" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July/August 2015)

  • Elizabeth Zelvin, "The Man in the Dick Tracy Hat" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, June 2015)

For Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words)

  • John M. Floyd, "Driver" (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2015)

  • Jane Haddam, "Crazy Cat Ladies" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, February 2015)

  • Richard Helms, "Shooting Stars" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2015)

  • Gordon Hopkins, "Jack Daniels and Associates: The Whiplash Brokers" (Kindle Worlds, March 2015)

  • Travis Richardson, "Quack and Dwight" (Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds: PM Press, November 2015)

Yes, I am trying to post here more often. Thank you for noticing. If you want to sign up for my newsletter and claim your free ebook, go here.

Look for my first-ever story in EQMM!

My short story, “The Woman in the Briefcase” appears in the March/April 2016 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (EQMM). The hard-copy issue hit newsstands earlier this week, but you can also grab digital issues as well.

I'm pretty excited because it's the first story of mine to appear in EQMM. I'd describe it as a forensic anthropology mystery with a twist.

You can download a single digital issue via Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple iTunes, Magzter, Kobo, and Google Play. Just make sure you are downloading the March/April issue shown above.

Submissions stats: I finished this story sometime in August 2014. I submitted it to EQMM that same month, and didn’t hear from them until they bought it in February 2015,  six months later. So it’s appearing about a year after acceptance, eighteen months since writing and submission. Payment was $200, plus an additional $50 prepayment against a future EQMM anthology. That came to a total of $250, or about 7 cents a word.

Yes, I will eventually release an e-book version of “The Woman in the Briefcase," which I’ll offer free to readers on my list. If you’d rather wait for the free copy, please join my e-newsletter.

I have a post appearing today on EQMM's blog

Today I'm up on Something Is Going to Happen, the official blog of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, talking about a childhood obsession of mine that led to my fascination with mystery and crime fiction. You can check out the article here.

In other news:

* I actually have a story appearing in the March/April issue of EQMM, out on newsstands next week, February 23. I haven't seen a copy yet, but I'm definitely excited. It's my first for that magazine.

* My children's book, Blockhead: The Life of Fibonacci, is finally appearing in stores with a cover medallion announcing its selection as an Honor Book in the Mathical Prize for math-themed children's literature. Yay! Cool to have one of those award thingies on your book cover.

* My local bookstore, Malaprop's, is now officially carrying copies of my self-pubbed fiction and nonfiction.

* If you're reading this via my Tumblr blog, please take a moment to reroute your reader to my official blog at: http://www.josephdagnese.com/blog. I will most likely discontinue the Tumblr feed in the near future. It would be smart to make the move now.



Good News for a Change

Last week I got the nicest note from a reader. This practically never happens, and with all the bad news here lately, it was nice to get this in my inbox:

At the gym today I picked up an Alfred Hitchcock Magazine that somebody had left and I began reading ... I couldn't believe how good the writing was ... one of the best, most enjoyable piece of short fiction that's engaged me since the last blue moon. You were right there with the reader. "Of course it was him." Thanks. President Street, wow.

This reader is referring to "Button Man," my first story for AHMM, which appeared in March 2013. I talked about the story here and here. President Street refers to my protag’s home address in Brooklyn, New York, of the 1950s. I’ve since published the story on its own.

The day after I got this note, I received a contract via email, informing me that Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine had accepted one of my short stories. I don’t usually take the time to announce here when I’ve sold a story, but EQMM is special. Cracking that market has been a goal of mine for nearly, oh, forty years. I first started reading EQMM as a kid, when I got hooked on the old Ellery Queen TV series, starring Jim Hutton. The Queen novels were among the first adult books I ever read. And the first rejections I ever got as a kid writer were from EQMM. So it means a lot to me to finally appear in their pages. I don't want to talk about the story they bought just yet, but I'll definitely let you know when it runs.

Two great pieces of news in the middle of a bleak winter. Not bad.