The Ohioana Book Festival is returning to the Columbus Metropolitan Main Library ( 96 S. Grant Ave. Columbus, OH 43215) on Saturday, April 22. There will be book signings from 10:30-5:00 PM as well as author panels and readings from 10:45-4:30. Our own Eileen Curley Hammond and Kandy Williams (moderator) will be part of the Cozy Mystery Panel from 2:30-3:15 PM in the Auditorium, and Andrew Welsh-Huggins will be giving a reading at 2:00 PM in room 2A. We’ll have a table there, so stop by and catch-up. For more information, click here. http://www.ohioana.org/programs/ohioana-book-festival/schedule/
Coming Soon: BCW Writing Critique
Working on that mystery novel? If your fingers are now bloody nubs after the last couple of years in solitude, you’ve probably got a good start on a rough draft or a manuscript of something promising. So now’s the perfect time for a critique/review by your peers. For those unfamiliar, it works like this: submit your first chapter / first few pages / opening scene (up to 10 or so pages) by Monday, 3/13 (even sooner is better) to firstname.lastname@example.org. And note: this is a communal event so as ye submit, ye must also critique.
- Meeting date: 3/18/23 (Saturday), Noon – 2 p.m., Upper Arlington Main Library, 2800 Tremont Road, Meeting Room B.
- Due date: 3/13/20 (Monday), midnight.
- Send manuscripts to email@example.com. Note: if you submit, you’ll also need to participate as a reviewer.
- What to send: manuscripts should be 10 pages, maximum (if not starting at the beginning, try to provide a few sentences for context). Manuscripts can be from a budding novel, novella, short story, etc.. Since these are partials, please do not send your entire work.
- Manuscripts: double-spaced, 1” margins, 12 pt. font (no fancy/cursive fonts please). For simplicity, all submissions should be in the form of Word documents (no PDFs . . . otherwise we can’t return manuscripts with comments). Also, please include your name and email address (necessary for reviewers to email back comments).
- All reviews will be sent back to the authors so please make any changes/comments using the ‘Track Changes’ and ‘Comments’ feature in Word.
- If you don’t want to send anything but are happy to be a reviewer, please contact us for copies of submissions.
- After the meeting, please email your comments of each manuscript back to the author.
- Please give constructive feedback and remember to be kind.
How do you squeeze in a short story or 12?
Thank you to Andrew for another great presentation. To view the recording, click here. The passcode is V5z2hi#n.
Also, Andrew has several links in the recorded chat but for ease of use, and some additional ones, here they are:
Short Mystery Fiction Society: https://shortmystery.blogspot.com/
Short story tracking websites: Duotrope (https://duotrope.com/) and Submission Grinder (https://thegrinder.diabolicalplots.com/).
The William Shunn format, frequently required by magazine and anthology editors:
And two blogs I didn’t mention but should have:
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine’s Trace Evidence blog: https://trace-evidence.net/
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine’s Something Is Going to Happen blog: https://somethingisgoingtohappen.net/category/ellery-queen-2/
Contributors to both the AHMM and the EQMM blogs provide interesting insights into their writing process, often focusing on short fiction. Once on the site, each page provides a sign-up option via a box that pops up in the bottom right-hand corner.
A New Year means new goals! If you’ve ever thought about writing short stories but didn’t know where to start, have we got a session for you. Andrew Welsh-Huggins, author of the Andy Hayes mystery series, also flexes his creative muscles by crafting short stories. A growing list of his works have appeared in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, Mystery Weekly Magazine, and Mystery Tribune.
But how does he do it? When is there time and head space for smaller, though still-challenging, projects? Or is writing short pieces just what you need to kickstart your year and get you into a steady habit of writing? Andrew will share tips on how to pen an ideal balance between plot and characterization in a limited space. And writing for an anthology? He’s got you covered there too. If that wasn’t enough, he’ll also dive into how and where to submit your stories–including paying markets.
Andrew’s latest short story, “The Delivery,” is featured in the newest Mickey Finn volume with the tagline: When a routine drop-off in an Illinois college town goes awry, it’s up to freelance mailman Mercury Carter to set things straight.
Mark your calendars and join us, via Zoom, Saturday, Jan. 21, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. when Andrew shares his insights.
2022 BCW Holiday Event is Dec. 3 (Part Deux)
For the second year in a row since (the plague whose name shall not be spoken), it’s on again: the BCW Holiday Event! At the same place (the Rusty Bucket at 180 Market Street, New Albany, OH)! At the same time (noon – 2:00 p.m., or thereabouts)! Saturday, Dec. 3! With the same people (us)! And since we’re slaves to tradition, we’ll be doing the same stuff, including the short story contest and book swap. Check out the itinerary below:
Vote for Board Members: It’s that time again. Note: You do not need to attend the holiday event to vote, but you must contact us prior to the event to count (feel free to reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org). And we’re always looking for volunteers so don’t be shy. If you have skills or just want to help out, we’re not as scary as we look.
Upcoming Events for 2023: We had 10 presentations in 2022, including a couple of actual in-person events. The others were Zoom presentations that included participating SIC chapters from around the country and abroad. It’s been crazy busy lately and we’re still working on 2023, but come find out what we’re looking into.
Story Contest: It’s on again, with prizes of dubious value awarded to the wieners. And in BCW, everybody’s a wiener. So you’re virtually guaranteed to win something . . . unless we get like a hundred people, in which case some prizes may be a hearty handshake accompanied with a resounding ‘attagurl/attaboy.’ But if interested, see details below.
Book Swap: Yeah, baby (said in a culturally stale Austin Powers voice). You know the drill by now; each person brings a wrapped book to be swapped with someone else. Note: This applies to all attendees (BCW members, friends, spouses, dates, children, people who wandered into the dining space looking for the bathroom, and those giving us a look-see for the first time). Once the books are distributed the ‘receivers’ will unwrap them, and the ‘givers’ will provide their reason for choosing that particular book (terrific characters, plot with a surprise twist, inspired writing, etc.). And the book swap will be accompanied, per usual, by the hilarious and confusing Right/Left story recitation, in memoriam to our own Carolyn Melvin, a.k.a. ‘Sweet Mama,’ who passed away this summer (and always handled the Right/Left storytelling at past BCW events). So be prepared to give a short summation of your gift, and to receive one in return.
Story Contest rules:
- 100 words maximum.
- Must involve the following 5 words: 1) mint, 2) pine, 3) wrap, 4) flake and 5) mug. All 5 words must be included in the story, although plurals and transmogrifications are accepted (e.g., ‘flakes’ and ‘snowflake’). Words may also be used as proper nouns, have more than one meaning, etc. (Be creative)!
- Participants can be BCW members or anyone attending the holiday party. But you must attend the party to win a prize!
- Extra points for holiday themes, but keep in mind what we write (mysteries, thrillers, suspense, etc.). Don’t be afraid to let out your inner Kay Scarpetta . . . bwahahaha!
- Submit entries to email@example.com no later than midnight, Thursday, Dec. 1. Please include the name of the author. One entry per attendee, please. Top finishers will be presented at the holiday party Saturday, Dec. 3, with awards to be determined.
And there you go. Mark your calendars and start scribbling . . . the 2022 BCW Holiday Event is now official. Like they say on the monster truck commercials, ‘If you’re not there, you better be dead or in jail, and if you’re in jail, BREAK OUT.’ See you there!
Story Architecture: Strategies for Planning Before Writing
What a great session! Thanks to Tracee for a wonderful presentation. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here. The passcode is Lr@LB0%V
Join us via Zoom from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Eastern on Nov. 12 as we learn from SinC National Board Member Tracee de Hahn.
Whether you are a plotter, pantser, or somewhere in between, your book deserves a strategy. What is your springboard, and where do you want to end? We’ll talk strategy, without sending everyone into a plotter or pantser camp.
Tracee writes the Agnes Lüthi mystery series set in Switzerland. Born in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, she grew up in Kentucky. She currently lives in Virginia. Prior to writing fiction, Tracee began her career in the practice of architecture, using the need to see great buildings as an excuse to travel. After several years in Switzerland and receiving an advanced degree in European history, she turned her hand to the non-profit world, eventually running alumni relations for a west coast university.
Coming in October: The Business of Writing
You’ve written a book and gotten it published (traditionally or independent). Now what?
Join Ray Wenck as he talks about his journey and how he views the business of writing.
Writers should understand their reason for writing. If your goal is to profit from your writing, learn how to optimize your business to attain those goals using all of the tools available.
This will be our first in-person meeting in quite some time, and it’s going to be a good one. Please join us from 12:30 to 1:45 p.m. Oct. 22 at the Old Worthington Library, 820 High Street, Worthington. There will also be a late lunch afterward to continue the conversation, should you so desire.
The cover of Ray’s latest release, Amazon Best Seller, “Fractured World,” is below.
On your mark, get Setting…
What a great program! In case you missed it, here’s the recording. The passcode is Y2bUyG#6
And here are some other helpful links that Connie shared:
Every novel has a setting, but it’s often relegated to a minor role in favor of the real stars of the show — character and plot. But can an author make setting work harder and accomplish more?
Mystery writer Connie Berry would like you to think of setting in a new way. Join her for Buckeye Crime Writers’ presentation on The Power of Setting. We’re meeting virtually on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 11-12:30 p.m. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP!
Who you gonna call? Our next guest speaker, Dr. Nancy Tatarek!
UPDATE: What a great meeting! Here’s the link, in case you missed it or want to see it again. Passcode: 1XWQu0#E
UPDATE 2: Nancy talked about a documentary on the Battle of Towton, and some folks were interested in links. Here they are!
A body is found at a wooded site, in a shallow grave by the river. Skeletal remains, no clothing. A hole is in the parietal part of the skull, and the bones could be anywhere from a couple years old to a couple hundred years old. Who are you going to call? The police? The property owner? Your mom? Ghostbusters?
One person you will definitely want to contact is a forensic anthropologist. Maybe that hole was from a bullet or a pickax. Maybe it happened after the person died. Or maybe it was the result of trepanning, a procedure practiced by past societies to remove evil spirits or pooled blood from a head wound. A forensic anthropologist is somebody who studies such things, and we have just the person: Nancy Tatarek, Associate Professor of Anthropology at Ohio University.
We had her as a guest speaker back in March of 2018, and she was such a hit that we’d made plans to have her back again. But then . . . COVID. However, we’re pleased to now announce her return appearance via Zoom. After all, teaching classes with names like ‘Bones, Blood & Violence,’ Nancy is our kind of people. Dr. Tatarek has assisted central Ohio law enforcement for several years, including a stint as the Consulting Forensic Anthropologist for the Franklin County Coroner’s Office. And on Saturday, 6/25/22, from 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (EST), you’ll be able to listen to her advice on what you may be doing wrong or what you could be doing better. A Zoom invitation will be sent to BCW members, and any Sisters in Crime chapter is invited to attend. We look forward to seeing you!
Coming in May: A noir panel!
Update: What a fantastic panel! Thanks to Andrew, Dan and Jacob for sharing their insights. If you missed it, you can watch the recording here. Passcode: v^0z0CQ&
Mark your calendar for Saturday, May 21, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. EST for a virtual meeting via Zoom. RSVP to email@example.com.
Join panelists Jacob Klop and Buckeye Crime Writers’ members Dan Stout and Andrew Welsh-Huggins as they talk about their spin on noir, moderated by Eileen Curley Hammond.
Noir as a genre often eludes definition. For some, it conjures up flawed characters with a mysterious back story (and a questionable dame in the background), ranging from Humphrey Bogart as a hard-bitten detective in 1941’s “The Maltese Falcon” (based on Dashiell Hammet’s 1930 novel) all the way to the humorous “Guy Noir” of Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion radio show. For others, it encompasses any dark or violent book or movie, such as the Mel Gibson film Payback based on the Donald Westlake Parker books. For still others, noir is what happens when characters make questionable decisions in misguided attempts to better themselves — think James Cain’s The Postman Always Rings Twice. A crime novelist Laura Lippman puts it, noir is ”When dreamers become schemers.”
Tackling the definition of noir old and new are three mystery writers who juggle their own versions of the genre. Andrew, author of the Andy Hayes private eye series featuring a former football star with the weight of the world on his shoulders, also shepherded several noir stories as editor of the Columbus Noir anthology. Dan writes a noir/fantasy mash-up in The Carter Archives series set in the fictional city of Titanshade, which follows a homicide detective (Detective Carter) and his non-human Mollenkampi partner. And Jacob Klop writes noir/science fiction with his book Rusted Lies, in which the detective is a genetically modified human with an estranged family.
Among other topics up for discussion:
- What is the definition of noir? Is it simply dark and violent, or do a character’s motivations come into play?
- Which tenets of the noir genre do our panelists adhere to and how have they stretched the boundaries to fit their stories/worlds?
- How did they decide on their protagonists’ backstories?
- Their philosophies on the women in their stories.
- How they keep their dialog true to noir.
- And more.
If you’re a fan of noir no matter how it’s defined, or are considering writing in that style, you won’t want to miss this informative session.
Jacob Klop lives just outside Toronto, Canada, with his wife, two kids, and a friendly cat. An accountant by trade, Jacob has been writing in some form or other throughout most of his life. Jacob has three published novels: two stand-alones, and his latest, Rusted Lies, is the first in a planned series. Jacob has also released a horror anthology, Crooked Souls, and his work has appeared in several other anthologies. Jacob’s website: https://jacobklop.wixsite.com/home.
Dan Stout writes noir with a twist of magic and a disco chaser. His prize-winning fiction draws on his travels throughout Europe, Asia, and the Pacific Rim, as well as an employment history spanning everything from subpoena server to assistant well driller. Dan’s stories have appeared in publications such as “The Saturday Evening Post,” “Nature,” and “Mad Scientist Journal.” His most recent novel, Titan Song, is the third volume in The Carter Archives from DAW Books. Dan’s website: https://www.danstout.com/.
Andrew Welsh-Huggins, a reporter for the Associated Press, is the author of the Andy Hayes private eye series, featuring a former Ohio State and Cleveland Browns quarterback turned investigator, and the editor of Columbus Noir. Andrew’s short fiction has appeared in “Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine,” “Mystery Magazine,” “Mystery Tribune,” the anthology Next Time For Sure, and elsewhere. His nonfiction book, No Winners Here Tonight, is the definitive history of the death penalty in Ohio. Andrew’s standalone suspense thriller, The End Of The Road, arrives in 2023 from Mysterious Press. Andrew’s website: https://www.andrewwelshhuggins.com/.
Our next guest: Jodi Andes
If you missed it, never fear: Here’s the recording, for a limited time only!
(Use the passcode h1ZC$&a9 to access it.)
There are times when truth is stranger than fiction . . . and then there are times when truth makes what crime fiction writers do look like an IRS audit of a Girl Scout troop’s cookie-selling profits in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is one of those times; meet John Donald Cody (a.k.a., Bobby Thompson), a globetrotting conman with a Harvard law degree who spoke three languages, once worked with military intelligence and eventually defrauded $100 million from U.S. veterans and others, via hundreds of fake I.D.s, disguises and political donations that got him influence and photos with several national political figures, including one U.S. president.
With addresses in several states, Mexico and the Philippines, he was eventually caught, tried and convicted in Ohio in 2013, where he was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment in Ohio’s Mansfield Correctional Institute. The prosecuting Attorney General Richard Cordray once referred to him as the ‘Bernie Madoff of charity scams.’
And someone who wrote a book on this ordeal will be BCW’s special guest in April: Jodi Andes. Jodi was a newspaper reporter for the Columbus Dispatch, became a licensed private investigator, worked on an investigative team for Columbus WBNS-10TV news, and was also a senior investigator for the Ohio Attorney General’s office on the John Donald Cody case.
Her true-crime book “Master of Deceit” covers the background and investigation of the case, and Jodi has graciously offered to be our speaker for April 23, 2022, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. (EST). So if you’ve got a character who lies, cheats and steals, and you’re looking for more insight and details to really make them memorable (or you just need a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon), this meeting is for you. Looking forward to seeing you in April!