16 October 2021

Mystery Magazine


  

Some of you are probably thinking, You left out part of the title. Did you mean Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, or Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, or Black Cat MM, or Sherlock Holmes MM, etc.? Nope, the title's right. Mystery Magazine is the former Mystery Weekly Magazine, which--as most of you know by now--recently renamed itself and thus clarified things a bit, since it's published once a month.


Let me begin by saying that Mystery Magazine (new name or not) is an excellent publication, based in Canada and published by Chuck Carter, and in my opinion it has become one of the half-dozen leading short-fiction mystery markets. It usually features from eight to ten short stories and one interactive "solve-it-yourself" mystery in every monthly issue, it recently raised its pay rates, it pays on acceptance, it responds quickly to submissions, its covers and layouts always look good, and editor Kerry Carter is kind and competent and professional in every way. Another thing that might be interesting to writers is that after submission MM provides a monitoring link that allows you to see how many stories are ahead of yours in their to-be-read queue. The magazine's only drawback is that they don't provide a free author's copy of the issue your story appears in, but to me that's overridden by the fact that they pay so promptly, often on the same day the acceptance email appears.

Another thing to like about Mystery Magazine is that they are receptive to cross-genre stories. By that I mean writers can include the occasional fantasy, science fiction, horror, or Western ingredient along with the mystery/crime element. To give you an idea of how much that open-minded policy has helped me, here are some quick summaries of my stories at MM/MW so far: 


A gambling addict is pursued by murderous loan sharks. A mystery, but mostly a chase story. ("Merrill's Run," Jan 2017) 

A mix of crime and fantasy involving a missing teenager, a thunderstorm, and travel between dimensions. ("Lightning," Sep 2018) 

A lonely blind woman is targeted by a killer. Just a crime/suspense story with nothing cross-genre going on. ("Rachel's Place," Dec 2019)    

Two brothers in the depression-era south--one of whom has visions of future events--try to protect their alcoholic father from old enemies. ("The Barlow Boys," Nov 2020) 

A former combat soldier stumbles upon a bank robbery and is aided by a woman with paranormal powers. ("Charlie's War," Dec 2020) 

A combination Western/mystery/coming-of-age tale with a minor woo-woo element. ("Wanted," Feb 2021)  

A straight crime story set in the cottonfields of northwest Mississippi. ("The Delta Princess," Sep 2021)  

An offbeat mystery/fantasy featuring occasional small crimes. ("The King's Island," Oct 2021)   

A Western about a small town terrorized by a pair of killers. Obvious genre-mixing here, including a tiny bit of otherworldliness. ("Bad Times at Big Rock," upcoming)  


My point is, only a third of these stories were strictly mystery/crime/suspense. The others all had various shades of paint mixed into the genre can--and those stories probably wouldn't even have been considered at some of the other respected mystery markets. I still write mostly straight and undiluted mystery/crime plots and I will continue doing that, but when I do feel the urge to create a cross-genre story, Mystery Magazine is always on my mind as a possible home for it.

One last thing. I'm not alone in my fondness for this magazine. Many of my fellow SleuthSayers have had stories published in MM as well, before and after its name change: R.T. Lawton, Michael Bracken, Eve Fisher, Robert Lopresti, Steve Liskow, Robert Mangeot, Joseph D'Agnese, Elizabeth Zelvin, Melodie Campbell, the late Paul D. Marks and B.K. Stevens, and probably others I'm leaving out.

What are your thoughts, writers and readers, about Mystery Magazine? Have you read it? Enjoyed it? Written for it?

Here's hoping they stay around for a long time.




27 comments:

  1. Wow! Thanks for the heads-up!

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    1. Glad you stopped in, Jeff. I'd forgotten whether you'd submitted to this magazine in the past. If you haven't, you should!

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  2. As always, good marketing advice!

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    1. Thanks, Janice, for the note. I bet your stories would fit in well, here.

      I find myself paying more attention to MM than I used, both in reading them and writing for them. They've gotten better and better.

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  3. Good article, John. It is a nice market. So far, they have published three of my stories in their monthly magazine, plus one story in their anthology. Four total. There have been a couple of rejections, but that comes with every market.

    One more thing to mention. Since the magazine is based in Canada and pays via PayPal, PayPal takes a very small fee out of the money transfer in order to convert Canadian Loonies into US Dollars to pay U.S. authors. Not a big problem to my mind, merely wanted story submitters to know why there is a slight difference in money sums.

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    1. Hey R.T. Yep, I've seen your name in several of their issues, many of them recently.

      As for PayPal, what I've done is ask Kerry if I might have an Amazon gift card as payment instead of PayPal. (PP and I parted company years ago.) This seems to have worked well at all the places I submit to that pay only via PayPal. The editors say that's easy for them and it's sure easy for me. Just a thought.

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  4. What you said, John. Mystery (Weekly) Magazine has become one of my first submission markets. I've sold three stories there and have one under consideration right now. I like the fast response, and they will sometimes explain why they're turning a story down so I can re-examine choices I made.

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  5. Steve, I too like the fast response. As for hints from the editor, etc., Kerry is great with that kind of thing.

    I have a feeling she's getting more submissions as the magazine has grown. Or at least I notice that there seem to be more stories ahead of mine in the reading queue at any one time. I wish her continued success, because it's a good market.

    Thanks as always for the thoughts.

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  6. Thank you for featuring Mystery Magazine, John! WE Canadians couldn't be more proud of Kerry and the terrific magazine they created. I'd also like to point out that they sponsor an award for the Crime Writers of Canada Awards of Excellence (formerly the Arthur Ellis Awards.) A truly class act.

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  7. Thanks, Melodie--I didn't know about that connection to the Arthur Ellis. I'm pleased that their magazine seems to be doing so well. (Canadian magazines, anthologies, and editors have been kind to me over the years.)

    Hope all is well with you. Thanks as always, for stopping in.

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  8. Kerry and Chuck are great to work with, and they've become a top-tier market for me. I've been in there six times so far, if memory serves, with a seventh story due out sometime soon and another one in the submission queue awaiting a decision — and my Derringer-winning flash story "The Two-Body Problem" appeared in what was then still titled Mystery Weekly.

    Interesting, John, that they've become your go-to market for cross-genre stories. For me, they're my go-to for my short short stories, either flash or just-longer-than-flash. The other markets I sell to don't seem receptive to stories — to my stories, anyway — that are shorter than about two thousand words, but Kerry seems to like them!....

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    1. Good point, Josh. You're right, stories in the 1000- to 2000-word range do sometimes seem harder to place. For some reason, almost all my stories over the past few years have been longer than they used to be, with my average probably around 4-5K, except for stories to places like Woman's World who take ONLY stories less than 1K.

      I've not yet tried Mystery Magazine with a flash story, but I guess I should. Thanks for the insights!

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  9. I just want to say that Kerry and Chuck are two of the nicest, easiest to work with people on the planet! Very grateful to them. And they make a great magazine. Also, first magazine to give me the cover story!

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    1. Hey Bill! You're so right, about the Carters--they're great. And congrats on the cover story!

      Take care, and stay in touch.

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  10. Excellent magazine. Excellent market.

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    1. O'Neil, I think one reason they're so popular with both readers and writers lately is the variety of stories they feature (genre, length, subject matter, etc.). You can always find something different in every issue.

      Thanks for the comment!

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  11. I can vouch for how pleasant it is to work with Kerry and Chuck. And as you say, the magazine's willingness to publish mixed genres is a big part of its appeal.

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    1. I think everybody likes them, Mike. And if anything, the magazine's appeal seems to be growing. I suspect that their response times will eventually get longer because I bet they're getting more submissions these days, but so far it's still good. Thank you so much for stopping in at SS!

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  12. It's a great place to be published!

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    1. Sure is, Eve. That's a sentiment I hear from just about everyone. Let's keep sending 'em stories!

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  13. Excellent magazine and a real pleasure to work with!

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  14. I love it. I have a stack of four of them on my desk right now. :-) I also love that they include some "cross genre" stories.

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    1. Bobbi, it's good to see you here! Thanks for commenting.

      I've especially enjoyed the October "double" issue.

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  15. John, I stumbled upon MM on Amazon. I didn't recognize it and marked it to purchase a copy to see what it's all about. Then I recalled your article and the penny dropped. Thanks as ever, John.

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    ReplyDelete
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