Coast to Coast by Paul D. Marks and Andrew McAleer

Coast to Coastx_1500By Andrew McAleer & Paul D. Marks

Andrew McAleer, Sherlock Holmes Revere Bowl Award Winner and author of Fatal Deeds, and Paul D. Marks, author of the Shamus Award-Winning thriller White Heat, are the editors of a new mystery-thriller short story anthology COAST TO COAST: MURDER FROM SEA TO SHINING SEA out this month from Down & Out Books. They join The Big Thrill to give us a sneak preview of the anthology and talk about what inspired the project.

How did COAST TO COAST evolve? Is there a unifying theme to all the stories?

The concept of the anthology was to gather stories from some of the best short story writers in the country, from the East Coast to the West Coast and the murder belt in between. We wanted to capture the similarities and differences from region to region. And, what’s the one scandalous thing everybody and everyplace has on the docket from sea to shining sea? Crime.

So, we asked authors to give us their best crime stories and we got back a great variety of stories, all set in different places, different atmospheres, different voices. We also made certain the stories in COAST TO COAST round up the usual dubious suspects like malice aforethought, dangerous dames, double cross, puzzles, likeable rogues, not-so-likeable rogues—lust, love and lucre. Our advice to fellow thriller connoisseurs—put the kettle on the boil and, as the bell tolls midnight and the double-locked doors somehow manage to creak, enjoy COAST TO COAST from cover to bloody cover.

Since the theme is murder from “coast to coast,” what are some of the locations?

The stories bounce back and forth between the coasts, and even down to Mexico City. From the famous Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston to the Vincent Thomas Bridge in the Port of Los Angeles. And from the wind-swept New England shoreline to the transitioning Italian-American neighborhood of North Beach in San Francisco, and back down to the Disney Concert Hall in L.A. Crime lurks everywhere, from the murky depths of Echo Park Lake and the body dump of the Angeles National Forest, to the clear waters of Oyster Bay and the beaches of Cape Cod. And the stories in range from hardboiled to suspense-thrillers to a bit of whimsy. Something for everyone.
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Murder Under the Oaks: Bouchercon Anthology 2015

Behind the Scenes of Editing a Crime-Fiction Collection

murder under the oaksBy Art Taylor

For the second year in a row, Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, has partnered with Down & Out Books to debut an anthology of short fiction at the convention—taking place this year in Raleigh, North Carolina, from October 8th to 11th. Sales of MURDER UNDER THE OAKS benefit Wake County Public Libraries in the convention’s host city, and as a native North Carolinian myself, I was thrilled to be invited to serve as editor for the collection.

MURDER UNDER THE OAKS will include plenty of high-tension, high-stakes drama: a personal protection specialist battling a virtual reality program that’s turning against its owner; a Kansas City schoolteacher traveling in Mexico with a makeshift garrote and murder on his mind; and a cop gone rogue to avenge the death of her sister—and to deliver a world of hurt in the process.

But the anthology also has quieter stories, such as one about a father’s nighttime drive to visit his daughter, his reflections on his failed relationship and on fatherhood, and his concerns about the future. While I don’t think anyone would call the story a thriller, it does include its own brand of tension and equally high emotional stakes, speaking to the range of approaches available to us writers.

Maybe this is how it should be in a general anthology, especially one connected with Bouchercon—a mix of stories and styles and tones as varied as the many authors whose work falls under the broad umbrella (or in this case, oak canopy) that we collectively call mysteries. At least I took that as part of my mission in selecting stories for the book.

The final collection includes 21 stories: nine from invited contributors and 12 selected blind from a submission pool that rose to well over 150 stories.

The invited contributors included several of the honorees for this year’s Bouchercon: Margaret Marton, Tom Franklin, Zoë Sharp, Sarah Shaber, Lori Armstrong, and Sean Doolittle. After a couple of other guests of honor were unable to contribute, Down & Out Books solicited stories from two other writers in their stable for consideration: J.L. Abramo and Rob Brunet.

But the real pleasure and the toughest challenges were in selecting from the blind submissions—with confusion reigning from start to finish. In the beginning, the confusion was about the title: “Does my submission have to include a murder? Or an oak?” (No, in each case.) By the end, the confusion was solely my own: Which of the many great stories I read would I pick? And which could I cut?
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Soft Apocalypses by Lucy A. Snyder

Soft Apocalypses by Lucy A. Snyder

By John Raab

Author Lucy Snyder returns with an anthology, including the Bram Stoker winning story of 2013 titled “Magdala Amygdala.” Snyder is also the author of an urban fantasy series featuring Jessie Shimmer. Snyder has sold over one-hundred and twenty short stories. Fifteen of those are included in this latest book SOFT APOCALYPSES, in a range of genres.

SOFT APOCALYPSES is your latest anthology. What kind of short stories will fans see inside the pages?

The book contains a mix of genres. All of the stories are dark, perhaps not all horror, but very dark nonetheless.

“Magdala Amygdala,” the opening story in the collection, is my take on the zombie apocalypse. It won the 2012 Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in Short Fiction. “However….” is the original version of a story Gary A. Braunbeck and I cowrote for a Hellraiser anthology; we were asked to edit this version because it was deemed too disturbing for that book (yes: too disturbing for Hellraiser. I was just as baffled as you are). “Antumbra” is a post-apocalyptic science fiction horror story. “Diamante and Strass” is a post-apocalyptic, rock-and-roll science fiction weird Western. “Tiger Girls vs. the Zombies” is an entirely different take on a zombie apocalypse; it’s set in the world of my book INSTALLING LINUX ON A DEAD BADGER. “The Leviathan of Trincomalee” is a Lovecraftian steampunk adventure tale on the high seas.

Those are just a handful of the stories in the collection. Most every story features some kind of “soft” apocalypse: the world that the main character knows and understands has come to an end, but life goes on after the cataclysm.
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Trouble in Mind: The Collected Stories, Volume 3 by Jeffery Deaver

NEW YORK TIMES bestselling author and highly acclaimed storyteller Jeffery Deaver-the undisputed “grand master of the plot twist” (Booklist)-returns with a dazzling new collection of short stories. In these twelve electrifying tales (including six written just for this anthology) Deaver proves once again his genius for the unexpected-in his world, appearances are always deceiving.

A devoted housekeeper embarks on a quest to find the truth behind her employer’s murder. A washed-up Hollywood actor gets one last, high-stakes chance to revive his career. A man makes an impulsive visit to his hometown, and learns more about his past than he bargained for. Two Olympic track hopefuls receive terrorist threats. And Deaver’s beloved series characters Lincoln Rhyme, Kathryn Dance, and John Pellam return in stories now in print for the first time.
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Murder Here, Murder There by R. Barri Flowers and Jan Grape

By Connie (Corcoran) Wilson, M.S.

“We need to have eyes, here, there and everywhere,” says a character in Edward Marston’s short story “Here, There and Everywhere,” one of the stories in the new anthology MURDER HERE, MURDER THERE, edited by R. Barri Flowers and Jan Grape. Both co-editors also contribute a story (“Convinced” and “The Confession”) among the 19 short stories represented. The book was released May 25, 2012 with “murder coming at you from here, there, and everywhere,” according to TWILIGHT TIMES publisher Lida E. Quillen.
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Between the Lines of Love Is Murder

By Julie Kramer

LOVE IS MURDER says it all. Story after story. Romantic suspense is the theme of the latest International Thriller Writers anthology.

Sandra Brown, author of more than sixty New York Times bestselling novels, immediately accepted the task of editing the short story collection even though she’s never written a short story herself.

“The challenge of writing a short story is so daunting to me,” she said.  “I’d rather write a

full-length novel than even attempt a short story because a good one requires a particular talent that, sadly, I don’t have. That’s why I was so impressed by the cleverness of the stories.”

The book’s appeal is also that Brown shares her gut reaction to each narrative’s mechanics and passion, heightening readers’ expectations story-by-story.

“These writers knew what they were doing,” she said. “Each is different. Some are poignant, others scary. Some focus on high octane action, while others are shatteringly emotional or psychologically terrifying.  Reading them for the first time, I was truly, jaw-droppingly amazed by the variety of talent.”

Brown says the allure of romantic suspense as a genre comes because it crosses over so many other genres — mystery, thrillers, even science fiction.  “Diehard readers of those genres find all the elements they expect and favor, plus the love story angle. The romance adds spice, certainly, but it also raises the stakes for the protagonists.  Love is a dramatic and powerful motivator that can instill in a character strong emotions like rage, bravery, despair, all of which makes for great storytelling.”

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Dangerous Women & Desperate Men by Rick Mofina

DANGEROUS WOMEN & DESPERATE MEN is a collection of four gripping stories of people on the brink; a broken-hearted woman in Las Vegas plots to take what she is owed; a haunted street cop finds his life on the line in a way he never expected; a desperate agent in California makes a life-changing choice; a hard-working middle-aged woman whose world is coming apart fights back with shocking vengeance.

This collection includes “Lightning Rider,” the winner of Canada’s top literary prize for crime fiction, the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.
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Home Improvement: Undead Edition by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

By Don Helin

In their latest Anthology, Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner compiled stories so scary that Romantic Times Book Review says, “As home repair projects can sometimes take on a hellish nature, 14 authors hit the nail on the head with these truly DIY nightmares.”

There’s nothing like home renovation for finding skeletons in the closet or other-worldly portals in the attic.  Editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner return with an all new story collection of the paranormal perils of DIY . . .   This is the fourth anthology from New York Times best selling pair Toni L.P. Kelner and co-editor Charlaine Harris.  Kelner is also the author of the “Where are we Now?” mysteries, the Laura Fleming mystery series, and the forthcoming Family Skeleton Series.  She’s won an Agatha Award and an RT Career Achievement Award, and has been nominated for the Anthony and the Macavity awards.
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No Rest for the Dead edited by Andrew F. Gulli

Special to the Big Thrill by Andrew F. Gulli

It was hot and humid in New York, not many of you will remember the 2005 edition of BEA, but I will for many reasons…

For starters it was the first BEA I attended (and so far the last) and also, I was so damned tired from talking non-stop, shaking hands, and being stuck in that sauna of germs the Javitz Center, that on the airplane journey back home, I was struck with a flu which was biblical in its severity. Being on a runway for three hours and for another three hours on a flight that usually took 90 minutes didn’t help.

A distant memory from that stifling trip that today shines brightly was welcomed by the ITW. I had arranged to see my friend Joe Konrath at the Javitz, “Hey, Andrew you’re coming to the party right?” he asked.
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A Between the Lines Interview with First Thrills authors Lee Child, Steve Berry, Michael Palmer, Heather Graham, John Lescroart, and more

by Brett King

It began as an alliance.  When International Thriller Writers was formed in 2004, its promise rested on bringing together established novelists with emerging writers.  As part of its brisk legacy, ITW has championed the work of new authors, a dedication that shines in the breakthrough publication, First Thrills:  High-Octane Stories from the Hottest Thriller Authors.  Forge Books released the critically acclaimed anthology for the first time in paperback on May 24, 2011.

Under the careful editorship of New York Times bestselling author Lee Child, First Thrills brings together original short stories crafted by seasoned authors to help showcase work from debut authors.  “The idea was to sprinkle some major attractions in the shop window, to draw your eye,” Child notes about the participation of bestselling authors.  “[They] all contributed stories—free, gratis, and for nothing, simply because they remembered their debut years and didn’t want to stand by idle.  Among them, they sell many millions of books a year, and we think they brighten up the shop window enormously.”
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Pittsburgh Noir by Kathleen George

by Karen Harper

PITTSBURGH NOIR is a collection of 14 stories by writers, each either a resident of or with strong links to the city.  Each story takes place in a different neighborhood—according to the Akashic model for the series.  Pittsburgh is a friendly city—sports crazy, lots of working class sensibility, unpretentious.  And Pittsburghers love their city for its ethnic neighborhoods, its spectacular skyline, and the sports teams that keep us entertained (and tense).  But lust, revenge, and dark impulses exist here too because those are all too human motives.  And those motives make for great stories.
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Dreamspell Nightmares: An Anthology

Twenty thriller and horror stories by some of the country’s most imaginative authors. “What do you call three dead lawyers at the bottom of the ocean? A good start” . . .”a tanker sails on a voyage of death. Can war veteran Cheryl Wilkins and enigmatic Patrick Boudreaux uncover and stop a true believer?” . . .”There are many kinds of nightmares” . . . and many more
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Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror edited by R.L. Stine

fear.jpg“Combine a title like Fear with a name like Stine, and most readers will naturally assume this collection is filled with supernatural terrors. And for many of these 13 original stories, they would be right. Many genres are represented, and each story (including Stine’s, which opens the book) offers chills, though seldom getting too gruesome. Readers seeking diverse sources of suspense will most appreciate this collection.” —Publishers Weekly
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Galway Noir by Pat Mullan

The New Publishing Age
By Pat Mullan

galway-noir.jpgIn June I flew from Ireland to New York. As usual I stuffed a paperback – a fat one, about 400 pages – into my carry-on bag. I had really wanted to take a hardback I’d been reading at home but that was impractical.

As my fellow travelers and I waited at the boarding gate in Shannon, many of us fumbled with our books, newspapers, boarding passes, and passports. Even those of us with a practiced expertise dropped our bookmarks or momentarily panicked when we thought we’d mislaid our boarding pass.
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Death’s Excellent Vacaction by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner

By Jamie Rushdeaths-excellent-vacation.JPG

Toni Kelner and I had a great chat about the exciting new anthology of (lucky!) thirteen deliciously dark tales, all by different authors. InDeath’s Excellent Vacation, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations that are frightening, funny, and touching for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque. Learn why it really can be an endless summer-for immortals.
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Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner

100 must readsThe most riveting reads in history meet today’s biggest thriller writers in Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads.

Edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads examines 100 seminal works of suspense through essays contributed by such esteemed modern thriller writers as: David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Sandra Brown, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Heather Graham, John Lescroart, Gayle Lynds, Katherine Neville, Michael Palmer, James Rollins, R. L. Stine, and many more.
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Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner


100 must readsThe most riveting reads in history meet today’s biggest thriller writers in Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads.

Edited by David Morrell and Hank Wagner, Thrillers: 100 Must-Reads examines 100 seminal works of suspense through essays contributed by such esteemed modern thriller writers as: David Baldacci, Steve Berry, Sandra Brown, Lee Child, Jeffery Deaver, Tess Gerritsen, Heather Graham, John Lescroart, Gayle Lynds, Katherine Neville, Michael Palmer, James Rollins, R. L. Stine, and many more.
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Thriller 2: Stories You Can’t Put Down

When some of the top thriller writers in the world came together in Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night, they became a part of one of the most successful short-story anthologies ever published. The highly anticipated Thriller 2: Stories You Just Can’t Put Down is even bigger.

From Jeffery Deaver’s tale of international terrorism to Lisa Jackson’s dysfunctional family in the California wine country to Ridley Pearson’s horrifying serial killer, this collection has something for everyone. Twenty-three bestselling and hot new authors in the genre have submitted original stories to make up this unforgettable blockbuster.
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Thriller: Stories to Keep You Up All Night

Featuring North America’s foremost thriller authors, Thriller is the first collection of pure thriller stories ever published. Offering up heart-pumping tales of suspense in all its guises are thirty-two of the most critically acclaimed and award-winning names in the business. From the signature characters that made such authors as David Morrell and John Lescroart famous, to four of the hottest new voices in the genre, this blockbuster will tantalize and terrify.
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