Skip to main content

2018 Derringer Finalist Earl Staggs

I'm a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, an informal association of writers, publishers, and fans that has kept mystery & crime short stories in the public eye since 1996. On April 15, the Society announced the finalists for its 2018 Derringer Awards. Members are voting to determine the winners, to be announced May 15.

In the meantime, as I did last year, I'm inviting the finalists for interviews. If you'd like to participate, email me your answers to the same following questions.

Past SMFS president and two-time Derringer winner Earl Staggs returns to the finals with "Fishing for an Alibi" (Flash Bang Mysteries, Fall 2017) contending for Best Flash.

Describe your story in up to 20 words.

A career criminal thinks he can outsmart Sheriff Mollie Goodall, but he's in for a big surprise.

What were the most difficult and most enjoyable parts of writing the story?

I've written a number of stories featuring Mollie Goodall, fictional sheriff of a fictional Texas county, and it's always fun spending time with her. The toughest part with this one was telling a story within the lengths of flash fiction. Usually, her stories run in the 3000 to 4000 range. I'm happy to say I was pleased when this one came out with a beginning, middle, and end in such a shortened space.

Do you have a (juicy) story about how your story came to be published?

While I wouldn't call it “juicy,” there is a bit of history with this one, It began as an attempt at a you-solve-it story for Woman's World, but I wasn't happy with it that way. I filed it away until I saw the terrific job BJ Bourg and his son Brandon are doing with their Flash Bang Mysteries. I reworked the ending a bit and felt it was a good fit. Happily, they must have thought so, too, since they made it an Editor's Choice for the October 2017 issue.

How does it feel to be a Derringer finalist?

It feels great. No matter how many failures (aka Rejections) there may be during the year, they pale to insignificance if you make the Derringer Finals.


Popular posts from this blog


Ace Atkins' ninth Spenser continuation novel was originally scheduled to be published November 17, but printing and distribution issues have delayed it to January 12, 2021. Fortunately, Putnam Books ' publicist Nicole Biton sent me an advance ebook to review. Book design by Katy Riegel Mattie Sullivan, introduced as the young client in Atkins' 2012 first Spenser ( Robert B. Parker's Lullaby ), returns as a 22-year-old apprentice, taking the case of 15-year-old Chloe Turner, molested by a much older man at Boston's posh Blackstone gentlemen's club. Mattie's investigation leads to hedge fund billionaire Peter Steiner, his British socialite companion Patricia "Poppy" Palmer, and their perverse, private pleasure island in the Bahamas. Steiner and Palmer are inspired by notorious sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and his companion Ghislane Maxwell. Atkins has Mattie drive the investigation knowing she would better empathize with the couple's victims

Richard Hawke

Sunday, August 26, 2007 Participants Tim Cockey (writing as Richard Hawke) Gerald So Brian Thornton

Patricia Abbott talks CONCRETE ANGEL

On sale June 9 from Polis books: Evil doesn’t always live next door. Sometimes it lives right in your own home. Eve Moran has always wanted “things,” her powers of seduction impossible to resist for those who come in contact with her toxic allure. And over the course of her life, she has proven both inventive and tenacious in getting and keeping whatever such things catch her eye, whether they are jewelry, money, or men. Eve lies, steals, cheats, swindles, and is even willing to take a life, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her and depend on her. Her daughter, Christine, compelled by love, dependency, and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions, unwilling to accept the viciousness that runs in her family’s blood. It’s only when Christine’s three-year old brother, Ryan, begins to prove useful to her mother, and Christine sees a horrific pattern repeating itself, that she finds the courage and means to bring an end to Eve’s tyranny. An a