Happy New Year! Here’s Some New Stuff!

Hey, I know I’ve been slow putting out new work. Well, wait no longer. I’ve got three – Count ’em! Three! – new offerings as of today.

Winter's Quarterly, January, 2015Winter’s Quarterly – January, 2015

Three tales and an essay from crime writer Jim Winter. Violet: A young girl is trapped in the modern world of prostitution and witnesses a violent confrontation between her captor and her father. Ault Park: Office Mike Dufford, recovering from a hit-and-run accident, has a promotion to sergeant waiting for him. All he has to do is say an assistant chief drove the car. Overpass: A man contemplates ending it all. But first, he wants a damn fine cup of coffee. Politics: A Carlinesque Rant: You can sum up politics in one word. What is it? Well… The first of a quarterly magazine from Jim Winter. 99 cents. Cheap!

Available now at Smashwords.

Gypsy's KissGypsy’s Kiss

Gypsy is a call girl and one of Nick Kepler’s best informants. When she decides to leave the sex trade for good, however, someone gets angry. As in they destroy her apartment. Nick must hide Gypsy on an island in Lake Erie during the off season while he prowls the streets of Cleveland in search of her attacker. But her stalker holds a grudge against more than just Gypsy. Before it’s over, one of Gypsy’s “clients” and Nick himself will be attacked.

Available now for pre-order! Coming February 1.

Boxer briefs

CC 2008 Luis2402

And as always, it’s the first of the month, which means you can get into my shorts for free.

This month’s short is “Brunch,” which goes a long way toward explaining why I don’t write literary fic much. (“Overpass” in Winter’s Quarterly Jan 2015 comes close to real lit fic.)

So bad it’s good. Or at least mediocre.

Get Into Winter’s Shorts: Holiday Edition

Boxer briefs

CC 2008 Luis2402

Miss Black Friday? So did Frank. Well, actually, he was working the mall as a Santa on Black Friday.

So what’s a poor boy to do? Well, in Sunny Acres Christmas, Frank decides to rip off a trailer park on Christmas Eve.

Hey, it worked for the Grinch with Whoville, so why not?

Only he forgot about little Cindy Lou Who.

Get Into Jim’s Shorts: Standard Time Edition

Boxer briefs

CC 2008 Luis2402

Rather than griping this year about the end of daylight savings (and the loss of an hour of daylight in the evening), I’m giving you a new short story for November. Entitled “Thankful,” a battered wife runs into a complication when getting ready for the big feast. Ray Rice might want to think twice before raising his hand again. His wife might get ideas.

As always, comments are welcome.

Gray Listing

As you may know, if you’ve been following this space for a while, I quit subbing short stories for publication to run them myself. The paying markets for crime are almost nil unless you get an anthology invite. So until then, short fiction is going to be something of a garage band arrangement.

As Jim.

As Dick, I’m still subbing to paying markets. After a couple years of fine-tuning and reworking, I’ve discovered something. I am going to have to “gray list” a handful of markets. What’s gray listing?

While science fiction has a wealth of places to submit, there are a handful of markets that, despite what they say, really want to see a track record. Are you famous amongst the spec ficcers? Do #gamergate idiots want to boycott you? (Hint: That means you’ve made it, kids. Go thou and piss them off. It’ll boost your sales.) Did Tor or some other imprint buy your work? If so, you can get into these magazines because your name will sell copies. (Or in the case of tor.com’s short story page, draw page hits.)

When I first started subbing stories to pro markets, I decided to aim high and send to the biggest names in SF fiction. Every one has been shot down. Then it occurred to me that, until Dick either sells a novel to a trad house or manages to move a bunch of copies on his own, they’re not going to talk to me. Do I want to sell to them?

Does a tauntaun shit in the snow?

But that’s not going to happen now. So I’m gray listing them. What’s gray listing (for the second time, Jim)? Simple. White listing is a list of people, markets, or whatever that meet your approval automatically. No questions asked. Black listing, which many of us do to car companies, insurance carries, brands of beer, and so on, means this person, company, market, whatever is banned from doing business or interacting with you. Do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. Go directly to jail. For instance, I will never own another Chrysler product again. The Neon was just such a sloppily built vehicle that I can’t bring myself to make five years of payments on another one. So I have blacklisted Chrysler. I also have blacklisted one short story market for sending one set of specs for a story, then publishing a completely different set of specs. Mind you, I know there are exceptions, but their submissions requirements were so obscure that I had to go through back channels to get them. After being asked to submit. Sure, the pay there would be good, but I think a writer has a right to ask for some clarity.

Gray listing is different. Gray listing means you take the person, place, or thing out of the equation until the time comes when you and the person, place, or thing in question can work for mutual benefit. Hence, Large SF Market Oligarchy™ will not get anymore submissions until Dick becomes someone they would be interested in. Or they ask, which would be cool. One market I’ve stopped subbing to because of this, but also because they only take hard copy submissions. Hello! It’s 2014!

The reason is simple. If it’s highly unlikely an editor is not going to accept a submission regardless of how good it is, then the time spent waiting on approval or rejection is time wasted. Yes, prestige is all well and good, but I (as Dick) want two things: SFWA-approved credits and payment. I really want that last one. I’m a middle-aged man staring at years of student loan payments and want to get rid of a couple of mortgages.

So gray listing’s your buddy. You’re not wasting your time. You’re not wasting a magazine staff’s time (and believe me, the slush pile is an enormous time suck). You’re being efficient. And if one of those gray listed markets sends you a request, then the list has done its job. Win-win.

Get Into Jim’s Shorts: October Edition

Boxer briefs

CC 2008 Luis2402

It’s Rocktober! Which means it’s time for a new short story, this time with a Halloween theme (and maybe even the Day of the Dead, which takes place on November 1.) If last month’s contained hints of the setting for Holland Bay, this month’s story actually takes place in the titular neighborhood.

Entitled “Trick or Treat,” three diminutive gangsta wannabes get in touch with their inner Omar Little. (Remember him from The Wire?) Two minor characters from Holland Bay put in an appearance. They also drop hints about the novel’s storyline.

If you like the story, feel free to drop a line in the comments section. Enjoy.

The Compleat Kepler: The Confessor

cover-smallThe Confessor

The final story in this collection is “The Confessor,” about a man in Antebellum New Orleans who is mistaken for an Episcopal priest. The man, a wine trader named Jack Lucas, does nothing to correct this perception because he recognizes the old man who wants to unburden himself. See, Jack came to America from Italy and assimilated as a way of fitting in. And he remembers tales from his youth in Tuscany of “crazy old Montressor.”

How crazy is crazy old Montressor? Well, Edgar Allen Poe wrote a story about him, “A Cask of Amontillado.” For those of you rusty on your Poe or who have never read the story, Montressor is a man explaining how he lured a man named Fortunado to his death over some perceived insult that is never explained. While reading the story, I got the impression that the slight was all in Montressor’s mind. One other question arose the last time I read it.

Who in the hell is he talking to?

What follows after the jump is the answer.

Continue reading