Fiction

2018

“SNAP BAM BOOM”    THE FORGE LITERARY MAGAZINE, SEP. ’18

This rogue wave of gators spoiled my beer buzz entirely, and it risked upsetting Brooke’s hormonal tightrope and concern for what she’d termed our nest time. In my head me and a generic beer and my possible boy-child were stuck on that jet ski dead-in-the-water at twilight, twelve-foot gators with eyes aglow circling us.

The Forge goes with me behind “Snap Bam Boom.”

“PROBLEMS AREN’T STOP SIGNS”   MYSTERY WEEKLY, SEP. ’18 

“Remember that go-getter Victoria?” these boys at Tate’s should’ve been saying. TThese boys should’ve backslapped each other, claim they’d had flirtations and hook-ups with me, the Gossamer girl struck gold. Dream on, boys. I would be living large in Pensacola, a condo with Spanish balconies and a walk-in closet for shoes and a bigger one for my jewelry and beads. 

Behind the story. Featured at Mystery Weekly and available for print and Kindle at Amazon. Little Big Crimes Best Story Read That Week.

“BOOK OF HOURS”   AHMM, JUL/AUG. ‘ 18 

Captured there on parchment, in a garden overrun with acanthus and ivy, a courtly knight gave the full on-bended-knee treatment to a fair and regal blonde. The slightest of beatific smiles crossed her face, and she held her hands clasped tight to her flowing gown, which meant she kept the dagger tucked up her sleeve. 

Behind the story. Available at newsstands, in mailboxes, and forever on the Nook, Magzter, iTunes and Amazon.

“QUEEN AND COUNTRY”   MYSTERY WEEKLY, MAR. ’18

I stroked my trademark stubble, the preeminent stubble in arachnology by any independent measure. The move flashed my chronograph–a thousand quid on New Bond Street, should Amalie ask–which rounded out the Nick Torthwaite-in-the-field look. Stubble, chronograph, safari vest and poplin slacks, I cut a dashing if stocky figure, the famed scientist after his quarry.

Behind the story. Little Big Crimes says “practically in Wodehouse territory.” Available for print and Kindle at Amazon.

2017

“LA TOMATINA”   LOWESTOFT CHRONICLE #31

A gaze out at the sierras and olive groves hid my evil smile. Tomorrow I’d plop a fat tomato square on Elliott’s kisser, and he would plop one on mine, with a gusto that shattered his academic’s cool.

Behind the story. Anthologized in Steadfast Trekkers, Sept. ’18. Available from B&N, Amazon, and from the good people at Lowestoft.

“LET IT BURN”  AHMM, JUL/AUG. ’17

Chicken Wing Doultrie never would let on what he put in his hot paste, but with repeated exposure I’d gotten the gist: three parts lard, a jolt of garlic and some old-time religion’s worth of cayenne. I snatched another bite of his chicken, and the heat of better angels radiated through me. Wing’s Glaze of Glory, good for the soul. In a scouring way.

Behind the story.  Available forever on the Nook, Magzter, iTunes and Amazon.

2016

“HAPPINESS IS A CHOICE”   MYSTERICAL-E, SPRING ’16

Talie held her tongue, sure International Happiness Month would burn up on its own as dumb ideas surely must, like worms did crossing a hot sidewalk. Then August could slow-broil on by, everyone buried under claim forms.

“THE CUMBERLAND PACKAGE” 

AHMM, MAY ’16 

Heady on luck, Vernon daubed on the cologne and aimed high in seeking companionship: Farah-or-Felisha, hair lustrous in the argon light, husky voice cat-tongue coarse. Vernon had ordered her another melontini, with Stoli. “Lawyer or judge?” was all she had said.

Behind the story. Vernon’s side. Available on the Nook, Magzter, iTunes and Amazon.

2015

“WHAT SETTLES AFTER THE STARS”   LOWESTOFT CHRONICLE #24

I coughed a brandied cough. I’d been particularly proud of that column, deeming some new champagne vintage as yet another French prostitute: a high-priced headache, and she and your cash were gone come morning.

Behind the story. Anthologized in Grand Departures, Nov. ’16. Available from B&N, Amazon, and from the good people at Lowestoft.

“CRACK-UP AT WAYCROSS”                   MURDER UNDER THE OAKS, DOWN&OUT BOOKS, EDITOR ART TAYLOR

The simple math said making off with Old Mrs. Whitlock’s pecans a lunch cooler per theft would yield me one bushel a week, a ton in nine months, and a fifty-ton truckload by the time I cashed my first social security check. A genius, though, would boost fifty tons in one brilliant swoop.

Behind the story. Murder Under the Oaks won 2016 Anthony for best story collection. 

Available at IndieBound, B&N, and for print or Kindle at Amazon. Art dishes on the collection here.

“FIRST RODEO”   KINGS RIVER LIFE

Caleb shook me awake at sunrise. Didn’t matter the kid knew I’d be on a three-alarm hangover till noon. Didn’t matter it was already hot enough out the good hens of Crump might lay omelets. It was rodeo day, Caleb’s first one.

Behind the story.

“TWO BAD HAMILTONS AND A HIRSUTE JACKSON”   AHMM, MAY 2015

I had issues with that: one, he had delivered the sixth most unwanted come-on in my life; two, Brownsboro was a mile off his direct route to Mellwood; three, unlike Agent Wiggins, the threats to our nation’s full faith and credit didn’t clock out.

Behind the story. With First Two Pages on the opening

Available as back issue or on the Nook, Magzter, iPad, and Amazon. Little Big Crimes liked it.

2014

“DEATH OR TAXES”   MYSTERICAL-E, JUL. ’14 

As if summoned, out from the back sauntered an older guy in a blazer and cheap slacks. He was mid-fifties, weathered but fit, a measured calm about him as he had stared down the whole catalogue of trouble.

Behind the story. 

“AIX TO GRIND”   AHMM, SEP. ’14

My appearance du jour was tousled brown hair plus trendy glasses with thick frames. I had nothing suspicious on me, no camera or smartphone, not even pen and paper. The guard at the metal detector wasn’t the one I wanted noticing me.

Behind the story.  Back issues available on Nook, Magzter, iPad, and Amazon.

Little Big Crimes digs “Aix” here.

“SPARKS TO BEAR’S HIDE”                                     MWA PRESENTS ICE COLD, EDITED BY JEFFERY DEAVER AND RAYMOND BENSON

A man in police uniform appeared with my coat over his arm. He had a callow face and crooked teeth. I extended my hand for him, but the callow man did not take it. Instead he tossed me the coat and turned on his heel. That I was to follow went unspoken, both the order and the threat.

 Behind the story.

Published by Grand Central Publishing, April ’14. Available in print or audio at B&N, IndieBound, iTunes, Amazon and most places book people buy books.

Bookreporter.com: “…a must-have volume for your bookshelf….”

Reader’s Digest, Best Short Stories To Read Right Now (Apr. ’14). Monsters and Critics weighs in here. And The Gazette here.

“UPRISINGS AT CAP D’ANTIBES”   LOWESTOFT CHRONICLE #17

Across the harbor the cliffs of Cap d’Antibes bulged out into the aquamarine sea. Hailey and I were supposed to be up there, enjoying a tour of the villa, goggling at movie stars, and generally connecting through extreme savoir vivre. Instead she might undergo a communist brainwashing.

Behind the story. Anthologized in Other Places, July ’15. Available at B&N, Amazon and from the good people at Lowestoft.

“WHORLING”   THE ODDVILLE PRESS Vol. II #1

Whether he had fired that Glock or not, Marie understood this much: Colin Cathcart had the most stunning fingerprints.

Behind the story.

2013

“DARK DAYS FOR THE PROFESSOR”    NOT SO FAST: AN ANTHOLOGY OF SOUTHERN FICTION AND HUMOR

Here Amanda came, young and raven-haired, with mocha skin and legs to steam off the Duck River. I buttoned my sport coat. On one hand, my banker was a knockout armed with shot glasses and a fifth of bourbon. On the other, this sort of encounter had direct bearing on why I was on my third wife, and unlike the others, Esperanza knew how to work cutting tools.

Behind the story. Available at Amazon (print or Kindle).

“FIRST OF A FINE SPECTACLE”   PURE SLUSH: CATHERINE REFRACTED

We debated the matter. La Harpe considered helping Katerina along an honor, and I felt it a prison sentence to be shunted into a ghost-writer’s closet. In that sense I won the argument when imperial guardsmen hauled me away.

Behind the story. Available in print or e-book.

“THE CARCASSONNE DREAM”   SWAMP BISCUITS AND TEA #4

Even rookie husbands knew to keep our mouths shut while amassing evidence. I said nothing when the hotel had no pastry at breakfast. I said nothing when out in the blustering wind we watched bakers in aprons hurry toward their cars and all walks of life stop each other to murmur and point.

Behind the story.

“THE TRANSCENDENCE OF PI”   ON THE PREMISES #19, 1st Place

She was sleeping with him of course, but in a pro forma sort of way, as if because nothing good was on television. He suspected other men shared her favors. The absurdity of it drove him wild. Jon Applewhit, Nobel winner and definitive word on pi, was to Izaka not worth minimal effort put into their fling.

Behind the story.

2012

“LA UPSELL”   LOWESTOFT CHRONICLE #11

He pushed my seven euro back at me. “Purchase now and I give you voucher for unlimited cocktails. There are good people in Club Première Vue, Monsieur. Beautiful people.” He tacked on a smile with a twist. “Perhaps you make a new friend.”

Behind the story. “High farce,” says the Lancashire Evening Post. Anthologized in Intrepid Travelers, June ’13. Available at B&N, Amazon and from the good people at Lowestoft.

“THE FOOD ACQUISITION BREAKDOWN”   ONE TITLE MAGAZINE #1

She modeled her shopping pattern after crime scene techs, working each aisle end-to-end in a grid, left and right, up and down, keeping a sharp eye because the food companies always screwed around with shelf position. Then came the climax–checkout, and its seductive melody of beeps.

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