Nostalgia City Mysteries

Mark S. Bacon

Tag Archives: Vanessa Shields

Today’s flash fiction story

This sample of flash fiction–a bit shy of 100 words–was a finalist in the recent FF contest discussed here earlier and sponsored by Canadian writer and blogger Vanessa Shields.   Much flash fiction is spare, this especially so.


by Karen Rockwell

“I don’t know,” she said, and she meant it.

Naked oblivion spilled from her thin, wind-chapped lips, filled up her wide near-tears eyes, sprang from her ruddy face, from her panicked expression, like a rash of question marks as she offered up the dog-eared wallet photo of a toothless grinning child.

Detective Macey sighed, then forced a smile at the child’s mother. “We’ll do our best.”

Karen has been revving up her writing career with workshops and is finding publishing venues for many of her stories and poems. Among other recognized works, her story, Remembering Corporal Yeryk, won first prize in the Polar Expressions 2011National Contest. Karen is working on a first chapbook of her poetry.

Vanessa contest results

Flash fiction contest results posted

Congratulations to the winners of the flash fiction contest sponsored by Vanessa Shields and me.  To find out who won, check out Vanessa’s blog here: Vanessa Shields

Flash fiction news

Short Mystery Fiction Society

If you’re interested in flash fiction mystery stories, crime/mystery short stories or even tales a bit longer, you ought to check out the Short Mystery Fiction Society website.  It can be a portal to enjoying some of the best short crime fiction today.

The SMFS is made up of writers and mystery fans who regularly exchange comments, via email, on all topics related to the genre.  Much of it centers on the craft of writing mysteries along with comments on recently published stories.

Each year the organization recognizes the best short mystery fiction through its Derringer Awards.  Categories include flash fiction (up to 1,000) words, short stories, long stories and novelettes.  While the winning stories are not usually posted on the site, this is a great place to find the names of talented authors you can follow.Short mystery soc

For example, last year Bill Pronzini earned the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer for Lifetime Achievement.  He’s collected numerous Edgar Award nominations and many nominations for the Shamus Award from the Private Eye Writers of America including one for Cat’s Paw for which he won the Shamus.  He’s the author or co-author of ten short story collections.

Here are two other names you might want to follow: Allan Leverone and Nicola Kennington.   The former is a short story writer and author of five novels, the latter has a skimpy web presence, but both were nominated for Derringers this year in the flash fiction category and both of their  intense, hard-boiled (is that redundant?) stories are available online through links on the SMFS site.   Both great reads.

Flash fiction contest winners selected

The winning stories in author Vanessa Shields’ Mystery Flash Fiction Contest have been selected and the writers’ names will be posted soon.  Ms. Shields and I reviewed all the entries (I judged the stories blind, not knowing the author names), debated their relative merits (or not) and agreed on the top stories.   We hope to make this an annual contest, so spread the word.

Mysteries and Murder is top seller

Last month Mysteries and Murder, my small collection of mystery flash fiction stories, made the top ten weekly sales list with Ether Books of the UK.  M&M art  dker bk  2377 copyThanks to all who downloaded the book.   Like all the Ether books, it’s designed to be read on your smart phone.  Simply download the Ether app and you’re ready to go.


Short Mystery Fiction Society

Bill Pronzini

Derringer flash fiction winners

Vanessa Shields

Ether Books

%d bloggers like this: