27 December 2022

Deer in the Headlights: 2022 in Review

As I write this year-end review, there’s still a week left in 2022. I doubt anything significant will happen before the new year, so I’m jumping the gun.


Though my productivity remained low this year, I managed to write fifty percent more stories than in 2021, completing nine versus only six the prior year. The shortest was 1,300 words and the longest 14,100 words, for an average of 4,567. Eight were crime fiction. The ninth was a horror story I rough-drafted in January 2006, and all it really needed were some minor tweaks and a title to reach completion.


Even though productivity was low, I placed 72 original and reprint stories.

Eleven stories, including a collaboration with Sandra Murphy, appeared in Black Cat Weekly, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Groovy Gumshoes, Haus, Malice Domestic: Mystery Most Diabolical, Starlite Pulp Review, and Vautrin. Four of the 11 were reprints, with one story being reprinted twice.

Only two editors are represented multiple times: Janet Hutchings published two original stories in EQMM and Cynthia Ward reprinted two in Black Cat Weekly. I included one of my stories in Groovy Gumshoes, a private eye anthology I edited. Six editors or editorial teams each published a single story.

Including stories accepted this year and those accepted in previous years, I have stories forthcoming in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, vol. 4 (a collaboration with Stacy Woodson), Mystery Tribune, Prohibition Peepers, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Starlite Pulp Review, Tough, and Weren’t No Other Way To Be.

Also forthcoming: three collections of erotica containing 58 stories—two originals and 56 reprints—all written back in the days when erotica represented a significant portion of my fiction output.


“The Downeaster ‘Alexa’,” published in Only the Good Die Young, received a Derringer Award.

“Aloha Boys,” published in Hallmarks Of The Job / Aloha Boys: A P.I. Tales Double Feature, was short-listed for a Derringer Award.

“Blindsided,” co-authored with James A. Hearn and published by Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, was short-listed for an Edgar Award.

“Disposable Women,” published by Tough, was short-listed for a Shamus Award.

“Dead Man’s Gorge,” published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, was named “Best Short Story of the Week,” by Anne van Doorn, who reads a short story each day and picks his favorite each week, much like fellow SleuthSayer Robert Lopresti does at Little Big Crimes.


Nine rejections. The only way to avoid these pesky things is to stop submitting.


As mentioned earlier, editing occupied a significant amount of time this year. I over-committed myself, and, though I don’t think I missed any, I spent much of the year staring at oncoming deadlines as if I were a deer caught in the headlights.

This year saw the release of two issues of Black Cat Mystery Magazine (issues 11 and 12). As Associate Editor of Black Cat Weekly, I was responsible for acquiring and editing 52 short stories, one for each weekly issue. This year also saw the release of Groovy Gumshoes: Private Eyes in the Psychedelic Sixties, and Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, vol. 3.

I also edited two additional issues (13 and 14) of BCMM, both of which should appear in the first half of 2023; edited the anthologies Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, vol. 4, More Groovy Gumshoes, Private Dicks and Disco Balls, and Prohibition Peepers, all of which will appear in 2023 or early 2024; and co-edited (with Barb Goffman) an anthology to be identified later. This is the first time I’ve edited an anthology without having a publisher lined up in advance, so I’m learning how to pitch a finished project.

I also co-edited (with Trey R. Barker) the last season of the serial novella anthology series Guns + Tacos.

Outside the mystery world, I edited six issues of Texas Gardener, a bi-monthly consumer magazine, and 52 issues of Seeds, a weekly electronic newsletter for gardeners that, incidentally, published three short stories. I also continued my part-time position as marketing director of a professional orchestra, creating, editing, and managing a variety of advertising, marketing, and promotional materials for print, radio, television, and social media.

Adding all the editing projects together, I had the honor of directly or indirectly shepherding 120 short stories and novellas through to publication.


This year, several stories from projects I edited or co-edited were recognized:

“Two Tamales, One Tokarev, and a Lifetime of Broken Promises” by Stacy Woodson, published in season three of Guns + Tacos, received a Derringer Award.

“Burnin Butt, Texas” by Mark Troy, published in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, issue 10, was short-listed for a Derringer Award.

“An Ache So Divine” by S.A. Cosby, published in Jukes & Tonks, was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery and Suspense and was included in the Honor Roll in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year.

“Return to Sender” by Gar Anthony Haywood, published in Jukes & Tonks, was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery and Suspense.

“Everybody Comes to Lucille’s” by John M. Floyd, published in Jukes & Tonks, was included in the Honor Roll in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year.

“The Last Gasp” by H.K. Slade, published in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, issue 10, was included in the Honor Roll in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year.

“Washed Up” by Nils Gilbertson, published in Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, vol. 2, was included in the Other Distinguished Mystery and Suspense list in The Best American Mystery and Suspense.

I had the honor of publishing several equally amazing stories in 2022 and hope to see many of them recognized during this coming year’s award season.


In February, I’ll be reading submissions for Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir, vol. 5, and I will soon be editing the novellas for Chop Shop, the serial novella anthology series that replaces Guns + Tacos. Work on Black Cat Mystery Magazine and Black Cat Weekly continues, as does efforts to place the anthology Barb Goffman and I co-edited.

I have several anthology concepts I plan to pitch, but first I need to take a bit of a breather. I have several short stories that are near completion, and I’d like to get them off my to-do list and into the hands of editors before I again dive deep into editing.

Additionally, I was elected to the Board of the Mystery Writers of America, will attend orientation in January, and will soon learn what my duties and responsibilities will be during my term in office.

I hope you all had a productive 2022, and I look forward seeing what 2023 brings us.


  1. Another fruitful year, Michael. And congratulations on your election to the Board of the Mystery Writers of America. I appreciate your articles from your perspective as a short mystery fiction author and your perspective as an editor in the same field; they're down-to-earth, informative, and thus helpful. Now I look forward to hearing about your endeavors aboard the Board. It might add another interesting angle.
    And thanks for the shoutout! By writing reviews, I hope to contribute my little bit to the appreciation of short mystery fiction--and learn to express myself in American English along the way!

  2. Michael, as I told you in an earlier personal e-mail, you will make a great addition to the MWA Board of Directors and will give short story authors a voice in the organization. If you have a choice, try to get on the Membership Committee as one of your two committees, assuming the board still does business in the same manner.

  3. Congratulations on your accomplishments in writing and editing. Wow. I know you'll keep it up next year, too!

  4. Phew! I'm exhausted just reading this. You are a dynamo. Congratulations on a fruitful year.
    The part that made me most jealous was nine rejections. Nine! I wish I only had nine rejections.

  5. Congratulations and congratulations and congratulations and congratulations and…

    You outwork pretty much everyone, Michael. You earn my admiration. Happy New Year!


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>