Kaitlyn Dunnett/Kathy Lynn Emerson here, blogging today as Kathy. I’m writing this before Malice Domestic and will be on my way home on the day it is posted, but I think I can say with confidence that short stories will have played a big part in my weekend.
A little more than a year ago, I was asked to be one of three first round judges for the Malice Domestic anthology, Mystery Most Historical, scheduled to be published just in time for this year’s convention. Writers entered blind submissions, meaning their names and any identifying information were stripped from the file before the selection panel ever saw them. No one was told who the judges were, either. We didn’t even know each others’ names until the titles and authors of the stories to be included were announced in September. In other words, there was an even playing field. An unpublished writer had as good a chance as a published one of being selected for the anthology. Between May and August I read 102 submissions, scoring them from one to ten with ten being the highest. Only stories that averaged an eight or more advanced to the next stage. Out of those 102 entries, I scored thirteen of them as tens. Ten of those made the final cut.
Now I have to confess that because I was a judge, I was invited to write a story for the anthology. So were the other judges and the guests of honor at this year’s Malice. This is not unusual. Many anthologies are a similar mix of blind submissions and stories that were solicited by the editors. My contribution is “Mistress Threadneedle’s Quest” and it is set in the sixteenth century (big surprise!) but does not use any of the characters from any of my series. It turned out rather well, if I do say so myself, made considerably better by feedback from fellow Maine Crime Writers Kate Flora, Barb Ross, and Lea Wait.
The anthology was designed to make its debut at Malice Domestic with a group book signing at the Friday night dessert party. I’ll try to add photos of that, if not here, then in next weekend’s update.
At last year’s Malice I approached the good folks of Wildside Press, publishers of the Malice anthologies and numerous collections of short stories, about collecting the stories I’ve written, some published and some not, since my first collection (Murders and Other Confusions) was published in 2004. Last time around, all the stories featured characters from my Face Down mystery novels. This time they ranged from medieval England to the present day in the U.S. Long story short, Different Times, Different Crimes is now in print and I couldn’t be more pleased. It contains thirteen stories. One has a medieval setting, six are set in the sixteenth century, three take place in 1888 and involve characters from my Diana Spaulding Mystery Quartet, and three are contemporary stories. Two of those are the adventures of Valentine Veilleux, a secondary character in The Scottie Barked at Midnight in my Liss MacCrimmon series. It’s just possible she may reappear in the new series, since she travels around quite a bit.
The illustrations accompanying this blog, other than the covers of the two new books, are from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, where the stories in question first appeared. The artist is Linda Weatherly S., from whom I later purchased the original artwork.
And now, a giveaway: Comment on this blog anytime in the next week and you will be entered to win a signed copy of Different Times, Different Crimes.
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of over fifty books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Kilt at the Highland Games) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in a Cornish Alehouse) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” series and is set in Elizabethan England. New in 2017 is a collection of Kathy’s short stories, Different Times, Different Crimes. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com