Worlds of Fiction . . .
The Doctors Marley
Cal and Plato Marley -- recently-married doctors fresh out of residency -- solved their first murder in the debut novelette M Is for Mayo. The cautionary tale revealed the hazards of mixing seafood, mayonnaise, sunshine . . . and arsenic.
Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine also published the sequel, B is for Bee: the couple's long-delayed honeymoon starts with a splash -- literally -- when a dead body plunges twelve stories into their hotel swimming pool, soaking the couple and immersing them in another mystery.
A third short story soon followed: A Plain and Honest Death landed nominations for the Edgar Allen Poe Award as well as the Shamus Award -- along with a three-book deal that started with Murder By Prescription. Five novels later, the Marleys took an extended vacation following Mind Over Murder, as their creator shifted gears to focus on game design, simulation, and animation.
Angels Fallen and Rising
Most of my published stories are mysteries, but I've written several short stories for writing competitions and anthologies. Writers' conferences offer great opportunities for building our storytelling skills and networking with potential agents. Most also feature writing competitions, providing a powerful lure and motivation for new authors to actually finish a story in time to enter the contests. Though the prizes may be small, their greatest appeal is the opportunity for feedback from contest judges -- authors and agents whose advice and encouragement can be far more valuable than financial awards or trophies.
My favorite event was the Midwest Writers' Conference, where I had the privilege to learn from Kurt Vonnegut, Joyce Carol Oates, Edward Albee, and Tom Wolfe. I was also lucky enough to win a few competitions with stories that later found a home in short-story anthologies.