16 June 2020

News From the Dark Side

A year before I joined SleuthSayers, I wrote “Tales From the Dark Side,” a guest post about editing that included some information about my editing background and several tips on how to please editors.

I’ve touched on editing in some of my subsequent posts, but this time I’m sharing news.


Those of you who have read the recently released Black Cat Mystery Magazine #6—or have used Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to read the issue’s editorial—will already know this, but I am now the editor of BCMM.

I joined the BCMM staff at last year’s Malice Domestic, replacing Carla Coupe as co-editor upon her retirement. Earlier this year, after working together on the forthcoming special issue Black Cat Mystery Magazine Presents Private Eyes and reading through all the submissions from last fall’s open call, Wildside Press Publisher John Betancourt asked me to step into the editor’s role while he concentrated on his duties as publisher.

So, I did.

Our goal is to publish quarterly, with three numbered issues and one special issue each year, and John has charged me with ensuring that BCMM is home to the full range of subgenres within our field.

BCMM #6—filled will new stories by Michael Bracken, Trey R. Barker, Patricia Dusenbury, Robert Guffey, John Hegenberger, Laird Long, and Robert Lopresti, and a classic reprint by Bryce Walton—is the last issue in which all the stories were selected by John and Carla. John and I selected the stories for the private eye issue, and subsequent issues 7–10 contain a mixture of stories selected by John and Carla, John and me, and me.

As you likely gathered from the previous paragraph, we have filled the next four regular issues, so it could be as much as a year before we again open for general submissions. Even so, our next special issue—Black Cat Mystery Magazine Presents Cozies—will open for submissions later this year. Keep a close watch at https://bcmystery.com/Guidelines/ for guidelines and information about the short submission window.


A few years ago I began work on my first anthology for Down & Out Books—The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes From the Panhandle to the Piney Woods—and the number of projects I’m doing with D&O continues to grow.

The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes From the Panhandle to the Piney Woods

The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods
was released just before the 2019 Bouchercon in Dallas. In addition to strong reviews and an Anthony Award nomination for Best Anthology or Collection, stories from The Eyes of Texas have been singled out for award recognition:

Sandra Murphy’s story “Lucy’s Tree” earned a Derringer Award.

Richard Helms’s story “See Humble and Die” was nominated for a Derringer Award and was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020, due out later this year.

Michael Pool’s story “Weathering the Storm” has been short-listed for a Shamus Award.

Guns + Tacos

Guns + Tacos, the serial novella anthology series I co-created and co-edit with Trey R. Barker released its first season in 2019. Six novellas, released as ebooks one episode each month July–December constitute a season, and, after each season ends, that season’s novellas are assembled into a pair of paperbacks, each containing three episodes.

Season 2—with novellas by Ann Aptaker, Eric Beetner, Alec Cizak, Ryan Sayles, Mark Troy, and a collaboration between Trey R. Barker and me—begins next month. Each episode can be ordered individually, but subscribers receive a special bonus story that non-subscribers don’t. Last season I wrote the bonus story; this season Trey wrote it.

And—good news!—we’ve been approved for season 3.

Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir

Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, the first in what we hope will be an annual anthology series, is set to release this fall. After all the contracts are signed and we get a bit closer to publication date, I’ll share the list of contributors.

Mickey Finn 2, slated for publication fall 2021, is in the last stages of the editing process and the manuscript will soon be delivered to the publisher.

Jukes & Tonks

Jukes & Tonks, which I am co-editing with Gary Phillips, is scheduled for publication in spring 2021. Gary and I are awaiting delivery of the last few stories and then copyediting begins.


In addition to the above, I remain editor of a bi-monthly consumer magazine for gardeners and a weekly electronic newsletter for gardeners.


My story “Best Be the Tie that Binds” appears in Black Cat Mystery Magazine #6.

You might say I have a vested interest in two of this year’s Anthony Award-nominated anthologies. Crime Travel (Wildside Press), edited by fellow SleuthSayer Barb Goffman, contains my Derringer Award-nominated story “Love, Or Something Like It.”


  1. Congratulations on your stories and on the success of the anthologies. Bravo!

  2. Congratulations once again, Michael, on your position as editor at BCMM. Looking forward to reading the stories in all these upcoming issues!

    Congrats also on all the accolades for The Eyes of Texas!

  3. You're staying busy! Congratulations on all counts!

  4. Congratulations on everything, Michael!

  5. Congratulations on your many accomplishments. You certainly are busy.

  6. You are amazing. I am proud to have a story in Black Cat 6 and I will be writing about it on SleuthSayers on, I believe, July 15th.

  7. Congrats on your many accomplishments!

  8. I'm exhausted just reading all this. Congratulations to you on all your success!

  9. Where do you find the time? I'm dizzy just reading about it all!

  10. Do you ever sleep? Wow. Lot going on. Good for you and the rest of us.

  11. Congratulations on your stories and your anthologies, Michael!

  12. Thanks, y'all. Sheltering-in-place has been quite beneficial the past few months, providing me with some long blocks of time I don't usually have and allowing me to stay on schedule with everything. When the world returns to normal—if it returns to normal—and the orchestra where I work part-time as marketing director fully reopens, I'll be juggling like a mad dog to keep everything on track.

  13. Wow, Michael. Your never-ending new heights impress me all to pieces. Congratulations and well done!

  14. Whew! Congrats on all that is coming your way -- you've earned it.

  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

  16. “Black Cat Mystery Magazine” is a must have for fans of the mystery short story. It covers a lot of different types of mysteries and includes two classic reprints. All of them are delightful.

    Any short story collection with variety is going to have some stories that appeal to certain readers and others that appeal to different readers. People have different interests. But I can honestly say that each of these stories held my interest. None of them was a ‘clunker.”

    If I had to pick my favorites I would go with the stories by Barb Goffman, Dan Andriacco, and Josh Pacter.

    I look forward to seeing more issues of “Black Cat.” Thank you Amazon


Welcome. Please feel free to comment.

Our corporate secretary is notoriously lax when it comes to comments trapped in the spam folder. It may take Velma a few days to notice, usually after digging in a bottom drawer for a packet of seamed hose, a .38, her flask, or a cigarette.

She’s also sarcastically flip-lipped, but where else can a P.I. find a gal who can wield a candlestick phone, a typewriter, and a gat all at the same time? So bear with us, we value your comment. Once she finishes her Fatima Long Gold.

You can format HTML codes of <b>bold</b>, <i>italics</i>, and links: <a href="https://about.me/SleuthSayers">SleuthSayers</a>