New and Forthcoming: FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES, and A New Short Story

So the busy summer (and year) continues but a couple of new and upcoming publications featuring work of mine that I should draw your attention to. First up is FOLLOWING THE DETECTIVES: REAL LOCATIONS IN CRIME FICTION, a collection of essays and illustrated maps about some of your favorite crime writers and their chosen settings edited by the indefatigable Maxim Jakubowski. New Holland Publishers will release this at the end of September, and the contributor list is pretty noteworthy: Barry Forshaw, Peter Rozovsky, J. Kingston Pierce, Oline Cogdill are among them. I’ve contributed two pieces: New York as filtered through the work of Lawrence Block, and George Pelecanos’s Washington, DC. I haven’t seen an advance copy yet, but I know they are in the wild, and supposed to be real objets d’art.

Just published is issue 2 of Needle: A Magazine of Noir, the brainchild of Steve Weddle and John Hornor, and along with pieces by Chris Holm, Ray Banks, Stephen Blackmoore and Frank Bill, it includes my first new short story in a long time. “Mirror Image” had a fairly long road to publication. I wrote the initial draft in the fall of 2005, pretty much in one burst as I was able to write first drafts of short fiction back then (now, not so much…) At the time it was a literary story about a young woman’s rather dark exploration of body dysmorphia – a topic I, and I think a great many women, understand all too well – and I sent it to a few such publications, many of whom liked the style but felt something was missing. I let the story gestate and then it became obvious to me what was missing: it needed to be more definitively a crime story, and some restructuring and tweaking made it so.

But the end result still felt like it was burning a hole in my hard drive it wasn’t a good fit for the mystery mags, and while the late, lamented MURDALAND gave me some good feedback, it wasn’t the right fit for them. I’d revisit the story every few months, still think it had some merit, but what to do? And time marched on and priorities shifted.

Then came Needle, and its first issue, which impressed me greatly. Weddle and Hornor had kindly sent me a complimentary copy earlier this year. Nnot only did the magazine look and feel good, the stories were very high calibre all-round. I wanted to be part of that, and casually mentioned I had a story if they were interested in taking a look. They said sure, send it along. And now “Mirror Image”, what I think of as a tale of body dysmorphia noir, is between two covers and available for public consumption. So thanks to Steve and John for giving it a home, and I’ll be curious what you all think when you buy a copy of the new issue.