Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Little Less Crime and Suspense in the World

I think most people would agree that the less crime in the world, the better. Suspense might be a different story - everybody likes a little of that, if only to keep life interesting.

But for a short story writer, crime and suspense (along with a generous dose of romance in a lot of cases) are the bread and butter of most stories, the gasoline that drives the engine (or the electricity, if you're not a big believer in fossil fuels). So life just got a little bit harder with the news that the outstanding webzine, Crime and Suspense, has published its' final issue with the May/June 2009 release.

Crime and Suspense was released monthly from 2005 through 2007, when publisher Tony Burton reconfigured the ezine to a bimonthly publication. I'm partial to this magazine because it was where my very first published story appeared, the tale of a chance meeting between a young boy and gangster John Dillinger in 1930's Kansas, titled "The Road to Olathe."

At the time the story was accepted, I had written several short stories and submitted them to a number of different magazines, both print and online, and been universally rejected. So, to say I was excited when I got the email from Tony telling me that he was going to use "The Road to Olathe" in the June 2007 edition of C&S would be a massive understatement.

I was surprised again in the early summer of 2008, when Tony Burton contacted me to ask if he could include the story in TEN FOR TEN, a print anthology he was putting together that included ten of his favorite stories from the 2007 issues of Crime and Suspense.

The ezine has since run three of my short stories, and I have been published in a pretty wide variety of other venues. I am a two-time Derringer Award Finalist (I never get tired of saying that) and I have high hopes for my novel-writing career, although so far I don't really have anything to base that on other than my own optimism.

But my point is this: Breaking into this field of fiction writing is incredibly difficult - much more so than I imagined when I started. I feel like I owe a lot to Tony Burton's Crime and Suspense webzine as well as to Wolfmont Publishing, the company Tony runs which published TEN FOR TEN and which is taking off to the point where he no longer has the time available to devote to C&S.

Would I have eventually gotten something published and broken in anyway? I like to think so, but the fact of the matter is that Mr. Burton used my material at a time when no one else had, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. I am happy for Tony Burton that Wolfmont is doing well, but for those of us who have enjoyed C&S over the past few years, both as readers and writers, a little less Crime and Suspense in the world isn't necessarily something to celebrate.

If you've never checked it out, go to and see if you don't agree. Click on the subscribers area from the main page and you can read any of the great archived material.

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