06 November 2021

Hooked on Crime(ucopia)


It's not often that a publisher produces crime anthologies one after the other in a very short period of time. One did, though, this year: John Connor, at the England-based Murderous Ink Press. I found out about them this spring via a routine Google search for mystery anthology calls, and wound up submitting a story for the third in their series of Crimeucopia editions--The Cosy Nostra. They responded with an acceptance, and the publication of the atho was as prompt as the acceptance had been. Since then, they have published five more books, and there'll probably be another one upcoming before the editor, who's had some health problems, suspends publication for six months.

As it turns out, I have partners in Crimeucopia: the work of some of my fellow SleuthSayers has appeared in the pages of these anthologies. Stories written by Eve Fisher and Michael Bracken were featured in We're All Animals Under the Sun; stories by Eve and me appeared in The Cosy Nostra, and stories by me have been published in three more since then: Dead Man's Hand, As in Funny Ha-Ha or Just Peculiar, and The I's Have It. If I've left any SSers out, please let me know in the comments section below and I'll update this post to include your names.

Here's a complete list of (I think) all the Crimeucopia anthologies this year:

The Lady Thrillers, Feb 2021 -- 16 crime stories by women authors

We're All Animals Under the Sun, March 2021 -- 18 stories of motivations, actions, and reactions

The Cosy Nostra, June 2021 -- 17 mostly-cozy crime stories

Dead Man's Hand, July 2021 -- five western novellas

As in Funny Ha-Ha, or Just Peculiar, July 2021 -- 21 humorous or odd (or both) stories

Careless Love, Sep 2021 -- 15 affairs of the heart

The I's Have It, Oct 2021 -- 12 detective/private-eye tales (and a mucho-cool bookcover)

It's Always Raining in Noir City, Nov 2021 -- 16 noir stories

Tales from the Back Porch, coming in Dec 2021 or Jan 2022  

Have any of you read these? If so, please let me know what you think. By the way, many of my writer friends besides Eve and Michael have been published there as well (or soon will be), including Jim Doherty, Adam Meyer, Joan Leotta, Judy Penz Sheluk, Robert Petyo, Bern Sy Moss, M. C. Tuggle, Jan Christensen, Brandon Barrows, and Wil A. Emerson.

I must mention here that John Connor has been great to work with, and I've also been pleased with all the stories I've read in the three paperback Crimeucopias that I have on my shelf (I've not yet received my author copy of The I's Have It). I think Eve and Michael would agree with me there, and I'm sure I can speak for all of us in wishing John a speedy recovery. I hope there'll be more Murderous Ink crime anthologies to come.

I'm also hoping we'll continue to see more books of this kind by other publishers as well. If so, good luck to all of us in getting our stories into them. Keep writing!

Back again in two weeks . . .


  1. Thanks for another good marketing tip.

  2. Hey Janice. Murderous Ink has indeed been a good market this year. At the moment I doubt they're taking submissions, but--again--I hope there'll be more anthologies planned soon.

    Congratulations, by the way, on your story in the upcoming 10th issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Another good market!

  3. John,

    You are absolutely right about John Connor. He's done an outstanding job at MI, and is great to work with.

    1. Mike, I'm still surprised by the fact that he and Murderous Ink put together so many (of what I consider to be) quality anthologies in such a short time span--two of them appeared the same month, this summer! I'm old enough that I still think MI stands for Mission: Impossible, and that would've probably been an appropriate name for that project.

      BTW, I'm pleased we were in this latest anthology together--looking forward to reading your story!

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    3. I just finished Triangles. It's a devilishly twisted, suspenseful, and hilarious tale. I laughed out loud at the Willie Nelson joke, which I did NOT see coming, and I'm usually pretty good at predicting these things.

  4. Enjoyed writing for Crimeucopia, and enjoyed reading Crimeucopia. I hope Mr. Connor has a speedy recovery.

  5. Me too, Bob. Congrats on the stories you've placed there!

  6. I've found John to be lovely to work with and was delighted to hear that he had accepted a story of mine for "Tales from the Back Porch." I hope this is only a temporary bump in the road for him. The consistent high quality of his publications will be a loss to the mystery writing community.

    1. Hi Wendy -- Congratulations on the sale to TftBP! I've been meaning to send him a story to consider for that one, and haven't gotten a round tuit. I too hope he'll be back in business sometime next year.

      Thanks for stopping in at SS!

  7. Cornucopia & Mysterious Ink has been a great marketing place, and I truly hope & pray for John to get better soon. And I'm always happy to be in an anthology with so many great fellow writers.

    1. I've sure been happy with MI, Eve. I think you and Michael found out about them before I did, but even if I was late getting on the train, it's been fun. I still don't know how John was able to put together so many good anthologies in so short a time. Thanks for the thoughts!

  8. John, thanks for the mention, and a good column as always. Yes, John Connor has been a pleasure to deal with. Sorry to hear about his health problems but I hope he (and Crimeucopia) have many good years ahead. And as always I look forward to reading your latest stories there!

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    2. Thanks, Adam. I don't know if John C. reads SleuthSayers, but if he does he should feel good about everyone's testimonials. Editing well isn't easy, and just as some writers aren't always a pleasure to work with, some editors aren't either. The good ones--Josh Pachter, Michael Bracken, Barb Goffman, Eric Guignard, Jay Hartman, John Connor, and others, including of course Linda Landrigan, Janet Hutchings, Andrew Gulli, Kerry Carter, etc.--deserve all the praise and recognition they receive. Thanks for the note!

  9. Many thanks for the kind comments here, and elsewhere. And to misquote someone much more famous - Any reports of Crimeucopia's death are greatly exaggerated. It was originally planned to suspend new project production for around 6 months, in order for us to concentrate on a web presence - something that we don't fully have at the moment.

    However, the intention is to get Tales From The Back Porch up and complete (files locked ready for physical publication) and to pick up on various 'mis-fits' that have remained 'homeless' in the reading stack. Those will be wrapped into Say What Now? - which has a theme of 'no theme at all.'

    We've also been proud to give previously unpublished writers a platform where they can present their work alongside their professional peers - and not seem out of place.

    As usual, take a drive-by of the website - www.murderousinkpress.co.uk every so often as that will have the most up-to-date information.

    Again, many thanks to all who have helped make the anthologies what they are - MIP stands or falls on the quality of the submissions - and a thank you to those who have yet to send something in.

    **Please note, this has been written in English - where a 'u' is not considered to be an embarrassing vowel :)

  10. Hi John -- Glad to hear that, and I'm also pleased that you included a link to Murderous Ink Press. I should've done that.

    Thanks for stopping by, and for producing these great anthologies. Best to you and yours!


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