Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Short Fiction and Anita Ray

One of the pleasures of crime fiction and the mystery writing community is the respect given to short fiction by writers and editors and readers. Today we have a fair number of magazines in which to publish short fiction.

At the top of the list are the two Dell magazines, Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. Close behind are the Level Best Books annual anthologies for New England writers. Sisters in Crime chapters and Mystery Writers of American produce solid collections of stories, and numerous ezines publish a wide variety of stories--no subgenre is overlooked, it seems. Also close to the top is the "solve-it-yourself Mystery" in Woman's World. I can't think of another genre in which writers can move so easily between long and short forms, and often do.

Sandra Seamans lists a large number of publications for short fiction at her blog site, My Little Corner ( and her site is a must-look for short story writers.

I have a special affection for short mystery stories because I discovered Anita Ray, my Indian-American sleuth, in one. I had a sense of who Anita was but I couldn't capture her whenever I started writing the opening scenes of a novel. It seemed that the demands of the longer story crowded out the space and authorial focus she needed to emerge. Once I started a short story, where she had to carry the story line, Anita Ray came through, with her irreverence, sense of humor, and unflappable commitment to justice.

Writing an Anita Ray story never seems like work. The dialogue flows, the clues pop up, and the characters throw themselves into the plot. I wish everything I wrote came that easily.

This month, and through the summer, I'm republishing Anita Ray stories originally published in AHMM and Level Best Books. Adding to the fun will be the chance to use some of my own photographs of India for the covers. First up is "The Secret of the Pulluvan Drum," which first appeared in Deadfall: Crime Stories by New England Writers (Level Best Books, 2008). I hope you have a chance to take a look.

For more Anita Ray stories, go to:


  1. Yes, it's fun to use your own pictures for covers. I do that with memes lately, but have been using stock photos for my covers, and also using Amazon Cover Creator, which works pretty well.

  2. I started out using Amazon Cover Creator but couldn't get just what i wanted, so I expanded on it in Photoshop and then got help from a designer friend. This part of the writing biz is a lot of fun. Thanks for commenting.