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Michael Bracken

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News Digest Feb. 28, 2020

Astounding 5-44, Fantastic 3-65

Paul Fraser reviews Astounding Science Fiction Vol. 33 No. 3 May 1944 on SF Magazines.

Victoria Silverwolf reviews Fantastic Vol. 14 No. 3 March 1965 on Galactic Journey.

Guns + Tacos Vol. 1 & 2

The print version of season one of Guns + Tacos season one arrived last Saturday. Each of its two volumes, created and edited by Michael Bracken and Trey H. Barker include three stories around 40 pages each. Volume One: Gary Phillips, Bracken, and Frank Zafiro. Volume Two: Barker, William Dylan Powell, James A. Hearn, and a bonus story by Bracken, making this the thicker of the two volumes. Season Two has been ordered and will begin later this year from Down & Out Books.

Boy Detective, Find the Money

Art Taylor writes about the story order in his new anthology The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 at Auntie M Writes. (Hat tip Kevin Tipple).

Artist and author Tony Gleeson’s new book, Find the Money, is now available on amazon. The mysterious Vanessa has vanished, and it’s worth a million dollars to a vicious drug lord to get her back. But the ransom disappears, turning up in the hands of a bewildered innocent bystander, while ruthless gangsters and hapless kidnappers alike desperately search for the money. Meanwhile, Detective Marlon Morrison, who only wants to comfortably ride out the final year and a half before his retirement without incident, finds himself involved with a growing succession of murder victims, and a bizarre case growing in complexity by the hour…

Josh Pachter talks to Publisher’s Weekly about his anthologies The Misadventures of Ellery Queen and The Misadventures of Nero Wolfe. (Hat tip Michael Bracken)

Doug Draa announced on Facebook that Weirdbook No. 42 has gone to print!

A.T. Sayre describes his joy and appreciation at having his first story, “Rover,” published in the venerable Analog.

AHMM & EQMM Mar/Apr 2020

Found all four March/April 2020 Dell digests on shelves this week at my local Barnes & Noble’s. Alfred Hitchcock’s features William Burton McCormick’s cover story “Night Train to Berlin.” Ellery Queen’s cover highlights its “Mystery Strangers” theme. Although not listed on the cover, indie favorite Preston Lang also has a story inside—congrats!

Asimov's & Analog Mar/Apr 2020

Asimov’s cover features Nancy Kress’ “Semper Augustus” and Analog continues their retro-look celebration of their 90th year. Note F&SF Editor C.C. Finley’s name on the cover, and inside there’s a new story by Edd Vick* and Manny Frishberg. *Vick as interviewed by D. Blake Werts in The Digest Enthusiast No. 6.

Fantasy & Science Fiction Jan/Feb 2020

Corey Flintoff talks about his “Interlude in Arcadia” (F&SF J/F 2020) on the Fantasy & Science Fiction blog.

Readin’ and Writin’
Finished the audio book version of The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler and loved it. I listened while driving and more than once got so lost in the gorgeous prose I had to try to remember what was happening in the plot. Narrator Ray Porter’s cadence and inflections are a perfect match to Tom Hanks’.

Also on audio, I listened to Break Shot: My First 21 Years by James Taylor. A intimate memoir with Taylor’s recollections of family dysfunction, fighting addiction, and working with Danny (Kootch) Kortchmar, Peter Gordon, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and Carol King. This guided tour of his early life is interspersed with his gorgeous melodies. Riveting, sad, and unforgettable.

Mike Shayne June 1957

In print, I read Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine June 1957. This issue wraps up the trilogy of the serialized Weep for a Blond Corpse, with more action and excitement than the previous two installments. It also boasts two outstanding novelets by Helen Nielsen and Tedd Thomey, as well as some fine short stories by Fletcher Flora, James Schucker, D.E. Forbes, Murray Wolf, and F. Keston Clarke. A great issue of a great digest magazine! Watch for my reviews in a coming issue of bare•bones.

Jeff Vorzimmer, editor of Stark House Press’ Best of Manhunt, read through the current issue of The Digest Enthusiast and awarded it a 5-Star rating this week on GoodReads. Thanks much, Jeff!

TDE12 Update: Met with my writing group on Thursday and shared my review of Paperback Fanatic No. 43, which will appear in TDE12. Also completed the initial layout of my interview with Tony Gleeson for the issue. Thanks to Tony, it’s loaded with beautiful artwork—mostly from vintage digests.

True Crime Detective Summer 1953

From the Vault
Ad copy on page 2: “. . . if you enjoy this issue let us enter a subscription for you so that True Crime Detective may be delivered to you on or before publication date without extra cost. You will find each issue a little better than the one before—an anthology of the best detective true crime stories new and old.” Cost? $1.40 for 4 issues. In 2020 dollars that’s $13.53. I have a feeling it would be more, but I’d get it if it were still being published today. Next week: the final issue.

True Crime Detective Vol. 3 No. 3 Summer 1953
Contents Page
W.T. Brannon “Rendezvous at Rondout”
Joseph Shillips “They Wrote Their Own Convictions”
Homer Croy “Cherokee Bill”
William Roughead “The Merrett Mystery”
Manly Wade Wellman “The General Dies at Dusk”
Miriam Allen deford “The Reluctant Lover”
Frank Mullady “Judgement for a Messiah”

Publisher: Lawrence E. Spivak
Editors: Anthony Boucher, J. Francis McComas
General Manager: Joseph W. Ferman
Managing Editor: Robert P. Mills
Advisory Editor: Charles Angoff
Art Director: George Salter
Cover: Dirone Photography from “Rendezvous at Rondout”
5.5” x 7.75” 128 pages 35¢

News Digest Feb. 14, 2020

Shadow of Doubt by Mary Wickizer Burgess

The British edition of Mary Wickizer Burgess’ latest Gail Brevard mystery, Shadow of Doubt, is out from Lynford Mystery. Meanwhile, the US version is available from Wildside Press, along with other books in the series.

The Winter 2020 newsletter from Paul D. Marks includes news about his coming novel: The Blues Don’t Care, notice of three new interviews/articles, including his discussion of the Bunker Hill series from Ellery Queen in The Digest Enthusiast No. 11, a little history lesson on La La Land, Noirville with Nat King Cole, What’s Next, and Dog Tails. Subscribe at PaulDMarks.com

Robert Lopresti highlights an intriguing story, “Murderer Bill” by John Grant, in the Jan. 2020 Mystery Weekly Magazine over at Little Big Crimes.

Pulp Adventures No.34

Just out is the new issue of Pulp Adventures, No. 34, with classic pulp fiction by William Decatur and a Hollywood Detective yarn by Robert Leslie Bellem. There’s new pulp fiction by William M. Hope, Logan Robichaud, Charles Burgess, Adam Beau McFarlane, Patti Boeckman & Sharla Wilkins, and Ron Riekki. Plus a Dan Turner comics adventure by Bellem and Adolphe Barreaux. PA is published by Rich Harvey and edited by Audrey Parente from Bold Venture. Print $9.95

Analog interviews Douglas F. Dluzen about his story “Welcome to the New You: Terms and Conditions for the iCRISPR Gene-Editing Kit” in the current issue. The Astounding Analog Companion

F&SF Masthead

Auston Habershaw on “Three Gowns for Clara” F&SF blog.

Occult Detective Magazine No. 6

Matthew X. Gomez reviews Occult Detective Magazine No. 6 at EconoClashReview.com

Michael Bracken exposes his life of crime over at SleuthSayers.com.

Mark SaFranko shares his thoughts “From the Short Story to the Big Screen” over at Something is Going to Happen.

John Boston reviews Amazing Stories March 1965 at GalacticJourney.org

Michael Neno reviews The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells on Goodreads.

Rick McCollum

Rick McCollum shared his WIP with Ken Meyer, Jr. over at Ink Stains this week. If you only click on one link from this week’s digest, make it this one!

Thanks to Chuck Carter for posting a link to this Forbes article on SF and Fantasy magazines’ readership in 2020.

Pulp Literature February 2020 e-news includes an offer for ARCs of Allaigna’s Song: Aria by J.M. Landels, The Muse Retreats for writers, author news, Contest deadlines, and much more. Read it here.

J.T. Yost announced Birdcage Bottom Books 2020 lineup Kickstarter campaign.

James Reasoner called The Digest Enthusiast No. 11 “a spectacular issue” on Rough Edges this week, and Walker Martin commented he wished “it was bi-monthly.” If you’re not already a regular reader of Reasoner’s blog it’s one of life’s daily pleasures, and Martin often adds to the fun.

Brain Freeze
Rocket Roach

Jim Main is launching a new mini comic called Brain Freeze (logo art by Marc Haines). The first issue will include a two-page comic by Bob Vojtko rebooting an adventure of Rocket Roach and Radar. Watch this space for availability.

Readin’ ’n Writin’
Alec Cizak and I have been busy working on the next Pulp Modern. Still no firm publication date, but we’re about one-third through production. Rick McCollum is lined up for the cover and Ran Scott will illustrate the stories. Next submission window will be one day, February 23, 2020. Keep an eye on Pulp Modern’s Facebook page for the official announcement.

Rooftop Stew by Max Clotfelter

One of Birdcage Bottom Books 2019 releases was Rooftop Stew by Max Clotfelter, which I read earlier this week. J.R. Williams’ blurb sez it all: “HA, ha! I just love Clotfelter’s weird, gnarly drawings and sick, twisted stories… enjoy this book now, before the final apocalypse brings a sudden, merciful end to this troubled world…”

Michael Shayne Feb. 1957

Also read the Feb. 1957 issue of Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine. A diverse collection of crime stories: smart, screwball comedy by Veronica P. Johns; three solid deductive procedurals by Lee E. Wells, Jay Carroll, and Robert O’Neil Bristow; the suspense of abduction by Samuel W. Taylor, alternative realities by Henry Slesar, Robert Bloch, and Frank Kane; and the opening salvo of Brett Halliday’s Mike Shayne novel, Weep for a Blond Corpse. I’m reviewing this issue and the two that follow for either Peter Enfantino’s reboot of bare*bones magazine or The Digest Enthusiast No. 13.

From the Vault
True Crime Detective Winter 1953

True Crime Detective Winter 1953

True Crime Detective Vol. 2 No. 5 Winter 1953
Contents Page
Frank Mullady “The Wanton Murder of Arnold Schuster”
Edmund Pearson “The Day of Floradora”
J. Francis McComas “Until Your are Dead”
F. Tennyson Jesse “Murder in the King’s Household”
H.B. Irving “The Strange Case of Euphrasie Mercier”
Verdict of Two: a book review department by the Editors
Stuart Palmer “Once Aboard the Lugger”
Miriam Allen deFord “The Murderer was a Lady”
Index to Volume One and Two
Ad for The Book of Wit & Humor (Mercury Publications)

Publisher: Lawrence E. Spivak
Editors: Anthony Boucher, J. Francis McComas
General Manager: Joseph W. Ferman
Managing Editor: Robert P. Mills
Advisory Editor: Charles Angoff
Consulting Editor: Edward D. Radin
Art Director: George Salter
Cover: Dirone Photography from “Murder in the King’s Household”
5.5” x 7.75” 128 pages 35¢

Opening Lines

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016

“Chase Montgomery wasn’t just out of the closet—he was out of the house and leading one-man Gay Pride parades around our little two-stoplight Texas town until he disappeared on the first without saying goodbye.”
“Chase Your Dreams” by Michael Bracken Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine June 2016

Needle Fall/Winter 2012

Needle Fall/Winter 2012

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

TDE: One of your stories, “Yellow Ribbon” with series character Morris Boyette, ran in the Fall/Winter 2012 edition of Needle. Details that initially help flesh out the setting or characters, are later revealed to have greater significance, integral to the story. What’s the balance between serendipity and strategy as you plant these elements?

MB: For most stories it’s a combination of both. Because I often write the beginning with no clue where I’m going, I throw in a bunch of stuff just to set the scene, describe the protagonist, or establish the inciting incident. For example, in “Texas Sundown” (Down & Out: The Magazine No. 3), I wrote about a slice of cherry pie just because I wanted to describe a slice of cherry pie. Later, I realized that slice of pie foreshadowed the ending, so I mentioned it again in a way that added depth to the story that I had not imagined when I started writing.

Other times it’s much more deliberate. In the opening of “Dixie Quickies” (Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1), Tiny Campella stuffs a paperback novel in his back pocket. That and several other things mentioned in the first scene prove to be quite important late in the story, and most of them were intentional.

So, overall, I’d say serendipity and strategy play an equal role.

Needle Fall/Winter 2012
Contents Page
Steve Weddle: A Note from the Editor
Hugh Lessig “Victor Viral”
Brad Green “Seven Feet of Fire”
C.J. Edwards “A Hard Rep”
Erik Arneson “Mess With Me”
Rob W. Hart “Ginny Tonic”
Seamus Scanlon “No Witnesses”
Chris Rhatigan “Creator/Destroyer”
Ed Kurtz “Dog Will Hunt”
Kenneth Loosli “This Sorrow Is An Enemy”
John Kenyon “They All Look Alike”
Jeff Macfee “Trifecta”
Garnett Elliott “The Romero Covenant”
Glenn Gray “Venice Beach Birthday”
Michael Bracken “Yellow Ribbon”
Thomas Pluck “Gumbo Weather”
Timothy Friend “Dog Night”
Court Merrigan “The Scabrous Exploits…”
Kevin Adler “The Interview”
Kevin Brown “Two Birds, No Stone”
Stacey Cochran “Eddie & Sunny”
Matthew C. Funk “Everyone Know The Axeman”
Jim Winter “The Heckler”
Dan O’Shea “The Shroud of Turin”

Needle Magazine Fall/Winter 2012
Senior Editor: Steve Weddle
Editors: Naomi Johnson, Daniel O’Shea, Stephen Blackmoore, Matthew C. Funk
Creative Director Emeritus: John Honor Jacobs
Cover: Scott Morse
6” x 9” 248 pages
Print $10.75
Needle Magazine website

Pulp Adventures No. 27

“My Sister’s Husband” by Michael Bracken

One of the stories I read to prepare for the interview with Michael Bracken that appears in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8 was “My Sister’s Husband.”

Although I didn’t ask a question about this particular story, it’s worth seeking out a copy of Pulp Adventures No. 27 to read it.

Synopsis
Tina lost touch with her sister’s husband, Gerald, after Cheryl died many years ago. After a chance meeting in a restaurant, the two become reacquainted and begin dating. On the surface the relationship builds smoothly, but underneath each questions what’s happening to them and their true feelings.

Pulp Adventures No. 27 Fall 2017
Contents Page
Audrey Parente: Editorial
Adam McFarland “Angels and Animals”
William Hope Hodgson “Jack Grey, Second Mate”
Dana Edward Johnson “The Green Mask”
Howard Hammerman “Not What I Ordered”
William Dudley Pelley “A Case at Law”
Max Brand “Hole-in-the-Wall Barrett”
Audrey Parente interviews Gary Bullock, Journeyman Actor
May Belleville Brown “A Repeating Romeo”
Michael Bracken “My Sister’s Husband”
Richard Brister “Sneak Thief”
Raymond J. Brown “Thirty Days on the Island”
H. Bedford-Jones “Irregular Brethern”

Publisher: Rich Harvey
Editor: Audrey Parente
Cover: Norman Saunders
7” x 10” 134 pages
Print $12.95
Bold Venture Press website

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

The Digest Enthusiast: “Chase Your Dreams,” from AHMM (June 2016), is a great example of a story that evokes an emotional response. What prompts you to include social commentary in a story? Do themes emerge while writing, or are they part of the initial planning process?

Michael Bracken: I rarely start with a theme and never intentionally include social commentary because to do so runs the risk of turning a story into a sermon or, worse, a polemic.

When I let characters react to situations I put them in, sometimes themes emerge that represent beliefs different than my own, and it’s important to let the story be the story and not have a theme forced onto it that fits my beliefs. (Think about all the great noir movies ruined by nonsensical happy endings because movie makers didn’t think audiences would tolerate themes like “life sucks and then you die.”)

“Chase Your Dreams” presents a strong example of what happens when you build characters from the inside out. The protagonist is a closeted gay man in small-town Texas and his clandestine lover,a man who is out and proud of it, disappears. The protagonist is torn between searching for his lover and the realization that by doing so he will out himself. The theme emerges from the actions the protagonist takes and how the other characters react to those actions.

Alfred Hitchcock June 2016
Contents Page
Linda Landrigan’s Editor’s Notes: It Takes a Village
The Lineup
Michael Bracken “Chase Your Dreams”
Sarah Weinman “Death of a Feminist” art by Tim Foley
Willie Rose: The Mysterious Cipher (solution on page 93)
Martin Limón “The King of K-Pop”
Arlene Fisher: Dying Words acrostic puzzle
Janice Law “A Taste of Murder” art by Linda Weatherly
Mysterious Photograph: Words Taking Flight
Brendan DuBois “A Battlefield Reunion”
Erica Wright “Patsy Cline at Harry’s Last Chance Saloon” art by Ally Hodges
Ruth Chessman “Poor Sherm” (Mystery Classic selected and introduced by Jane K. Cleland)
Robert C. Hahn: Booked & Printed
Death On a Starry Night by Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden
Capitol Punishment by Andrew Welsh-Huggins
The Day After Death by Lynn C. Miller
The Story that Won (Dec. 2015) “A Better Plan” by Charles R. McCrary, Jr.
Coming in AHMM Jul/Aug 2016
Directory of Services/Indicia
Solution to the May “Dying Words”
Classified Marketplace

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Vol. 61 No. 6 June 2016
Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Linda Landrigan
Senior Assistant Editor: Jackie Sherbow
VP Art & Production: Susan Mangan
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Chuntisel/iStockphoto
112 pages $4.99
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine website

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5

Contents Page
John Gregory Betancourt: From the Cat’s Perch
Michael Bracken “The Show Must Go On”
Dara Carr “Emily and Elodie”
Tracy Falenwolfe “Partners in Crime”
John M. Floyd “Rhonda and Clyde”
Charlie Hughes “The Idea”
Janice Law “The Bodyguard”
Dennis Palumbo “Trigger Warning”
Keith Snyder “Blue Skies”
Elizabeth Zelvin “A Unicorn in the Harem”
Gil Brewer “Don’t Do That” (Classic Reprint)

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5 (Vol. 2 No. 1) (Nov. 2019)
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
Editors: John Gregory Betancourt, Carla Coupe, Michael Bracken
Production Team: Sam Cooper, Steve Coupe, Shawn Garrett, Yamini Manikoth
Cover: Uncredited
6” x 9” 148 pages
Print $12.00 Kindle (coming soon)
Black Cat Mystery website

Out of the Gutter No. 2

Out of the Gutter No. 2

The Modern Journal of Pulp Fiction and Degenerate Literature
Endorsements
Title Page
Masthead and Indicia
Matthew Louis: From the Editor
Contents Pages

Flash
John McFetridge
“Plugged”
Albert Tucher “Tipping is Optional”
Christs Faust “Hit Me”
Stephen Rogers “Drive Thru”
Matt Wallace “Notes”
Keith Gilman “Bunker Hill”
r2 “Yellow Pellets”
Jacob Kohl “The One That Got Away”

Approximately 10 Minute Read Dept.
William Boyle
“Neighborhood Girl”
Michael Bracken “Professionals”
Paul A Toth “For All I Know”
J.D. Smith “The Flower Girl”
Rey A. Gonzales “Bad Luck
Clair Dickson “The Pleasure Business”
Grant McKenzie “White Volcano”
M.C. O’Connor “Tweaker”

Gangland
John Rickards
“Vengeance is Mine”
Ken Goldman “Fat Larry’s Night With the Alligators”
Mark Marquez “To Get to Uncle Johnny’s”
E.E. Howard “The Thug We Love”
The Classic American Gangster (comic)

15 to 20 Minute Read Dept.
Rick McMahan
“Out On the Razor’s Edge”
Steve Alten “Lost in Time”
William Carl “Rumble”
Julie Wright “Devil, Me and Cherry B”

Nonfiction
Edwin Decker: Guzzle and Go, Goddamnit
Seth Ferranti: Adventures of a Meth Monster
Dale Bridges: Hooked

Other
Mind of My Own
Li’l Dahmer
Submission Guidelines
Notes on Contributors

Out of the Gutter No. 2 Summer 2007
Chief Editor: Matthew Louis
Deputy Editors: DZ Allen, Dale Bridges, Hana K. Lee
Finance: Joel Huck
Associate Publisher: Hassan Brubuddy
Publicity: Barney Stims
European Editor: Offenbach Stutz
5.5” x 8.5” 200 pages Originally $13.50
Out of the Gutter Online

An excerpt from Michael Bracken’s interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

The Digest Enthusiast: In “Professionals,” the narrator is a gay prostitute. In “My Sister’s Husband,” Pulp Adventures No. 27 (Fall 2017) the narrator is a middle-aged woman. How do you ensure your characters act and speak authentically, with respect to their gender, sexual orientation, race, etc.?

Michael Bracken: I’m never certain that they do, and can only hope that they come close enough that readers will accept any mistakes I make.

The key, though, is to build characters from the inside out rather than from the outside in. Regardless of our gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and whatever else divides us, we share many commonalities. We want to love and be loved. We want to feel safe and free from fear. We want to be happy and healthy. We want to be appreciated by our families and respected by our peers. The list goes on and on.

If we build characters from the inside out, the characters will “speak” appropriately and more genuinely than if we build characters from the outside in and rely on stereotypes or presume that all women speak one way and all gay men speak another.

Additionally, I try to minimize the use of jargon. A police office will use terminology from her job differently than a doctor, which is different still from a barista. Only a word or two is necessary for the reader to catch those differences.

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2

Crime Syndicate Magazine No. 2 May 2016
Dietrich Kalteis “Bottom of the Ninth”
Matt Andrew “The Song Remains the Same”
Mike O’Reilly “Fight in the Dog”
Preston Lang “The Counselor”
Michael Bracken “Sugar”
Stephen McQuiggan “Thunderstone”
J.M. Taylor “Secrets in the Snow”
Jinapher Hoffman “Jackpot Blue Thistles”
Nick Kolakowski “Stickup”

Edited by Dietrich Kalteis and Michael Pool
5” x 8” 142 pages
$7.99 Print, $2.99 Kindle
Crime Syndicate Magazine website

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Dec. 2007

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Dec. 2007 Vol. 130 No. 6 Whole No. 796
Contents
David Handler “The Man Who Couldn’t Miss” art by Laurie Harden
Edward D. Hoch “Gypsy Gold”
Jon L. Breen: The Jury Box
Patricia Smiley “Party’s Over”
Bill Crider: Blog Bytes
Jon L. Breen “A Run Through the Calendar”
Loren D. Estleman “Wild Walls” (Valentino) art by Mark Evan Walker
Caroline Menzies “The Bathtub Oracle” (Dept. of First Stories)
Peter Turnbull “The Mummy” art by Allen Davis
Marilyn Todd “Room for Improvement”
2007 EQMM Readers Award Ballot
Anton Chekhov “A Malefactor” (Passport to Crime) translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett
Martin Edwards “An Index”
Maria Hudgins “Murder on the London Eye”
Michael Bracken & Tom Sweeney “Snowbird” art by Mark Evans
Index: Vol. 129 and Vol. 130
Classified Marketplace
Indicia and Masthead

Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Editorial Assistant: Emily Giglierano
Excutive Director Art & Production: Susan Kendrioski
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Rafael de Soto

144 pages $3.99
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine website

I asked Michael Bracken about what it was like to write with a partner on “Snowbird.” Below is an excerpt from his interview in The Digest Enthusiast No. 8, June 2018:

In the early-2000s I edited five anthologies, and Tom had a story in each of them. When I pitched an anthology of private eye stories to a regional publisher, the publisher was interested only if all the stories were set in Texas and the contributors were Texans/ Texas residents. The only way Tom, a New Englander, would get a story in the anthology was if he collaborated with someone in Texas. Me.

Tom’s writing style—that is, the way he uses words and structures sentences—is (or was then) similar to mine, but his approach to writing is quite different. Where I throw something on the page to start and then figure out where I’m going, he likes to start with the theme and build backwards from there.

So, we went back and forth, writing and discussing as we went. I would write a bit and turn it over to him. He would edit or revise what I wrote and add more. I would edit/ revise what he wrote and add to it. All the while we held email discus- sions on the side about where the story was going, what we needed to research to move forward, and so on. (We even roped in a third writer—Çarol Kilgore—to aid with some research. Part of the story is set on the Gulf Coast and Carol provided us with details neither of us could get otherwise.)

Writing the way we did, it’s quite difficult to know now who wrote which passages, but after several months we had a complete draft. Unfortunately, the regional publisher was no longer interested in doing the anthology.
It is true that collaborating means twice the work for half the money, but Tom and I created a story neither of us could have written alone, and it was the first sale either of us made to
EQMM. So, it was well worth the effort.