In the last ten days or so, in pretty rapid succession, I got three rejection notices, two from the same publisher. Needless to say, I was bummed. That’s why when Ruth and Ann from Gemini Wordsmiths told me this morning that my short story The Haunted Detective was accepted into their Trench Coat Chronicles anthology, I was thrilled.
I can’t find a formal announcement on their website, but I did find one on a Facebook group, which is where the screen capture comes from.
Here’s part of the submissions call, just to give you an idea of what I had to shoot for:
Send us your best murder mystery stories! There is one requirement: your story must include a trench coat.
We want creativity! While we love Dick Tracy and Humphrey Bogart, we really don’t want any story to contain those particular characters. Give us new, unique tales. We want our readers to be immersed in each story and invested in each character. Is the coat worn by the detective? The victim? The reporter? Is it peripheral to the story or the focus of it? In fact, the trench coat itself could be one of your characters!
We want fiction stories between 500 and 3,500 words in length. We suck at math so if you go over by a bit, we’re not going to slap your wrist. We won’t even know. But just a little bit.
It was a story I’d originally written for another open submissions (and it was rejected) and, it was nearly twice the word count. In order to make it fit 3,500 words, I had to do some serious editing.
What makes this story special?
It’s set in the late 1940s in San Francisco. It is a murder mystery. My private detective is a woman, and she’s being haunted by a ghost who has “hired” her to solve her murder, a murder which took place…well, that would be telling.
Okay, here’s a small excerpt:
I danced down the steps two at a time, trench coat fluttering like Superman’s cape.
“Stop, damn it!” He was bellowing and I was running. Some folks have good luck, some have bad. Mine’s always stupid. I heard the shot as I tripped over a lead wheel block.
Hitting the cement floor, my shoulder popped, then came familiar agony lancing down my arm.
The room echoed with the thump of Eddie landing on concrete. Scrambling up, I sprinted for the exit; a Jesse Owens with 36-C cups.
That’s me flying outside into the hard rain, and dark of the streets of San Francisco, my flesh ripping, and blood spraying as Eddie’s bullet connects. The name’s Marguerite Potter, I’m a Private Investigator, and you’re probably wondering how I got into this mess.
I’m provide more info and where and when you can expect to see The Haunted Detective is it comes in.