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Of Edgars, Ravens, and other mysterious stories and events

Well, as Lee Goldberg attests on his blog A Writer’s Life, Mystery Writers of  America (MWA) has announced the annual Edgar nominations. The Edgars derive their name from Edgar Allen Poe, long considered the father of the detective story. Houstonions might enjoy knowing that our own Murder by the Book’s owner Martha Farrington will be honored with a 2005 MWA Raven Award. This award is given to individuals and institutions who have made significant contributions to the mystery genre or to MWA. Murder by the Book is a great independent bookstore and the folks there do a wonderful job; they really know their mysteries. If you haven’t had a chance to wander around the bookcases filled with mystery stories that range from cozies to psychological suspense, shame on you. The folks at Murder by the Book are often quoted in Publisher’s Weekly, the publishing industry’s number one trade magazine, because they know what’s going on in their corner of the book world. All that said, they’re good people, too.

You might not know that Houston is home to MWA’s Southwest Chapter, a great group with monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of the month. The group will have their main annual event this year, the 2005 Hard-Boiled Heroes and Cozy Cats Conference, on June 17 and 18. They’ll also be holding a short story contest sponsered by Murder by the Book. Last year’s winner, Joyce Gibb, recently sold her entry to Alfred Hitchcock Magazine. The contest will be judged by Texas author and MWA/SW Vice President Michael Bracken and will feature cash awards and recognition during the awards ceremony at lunch. The short story should be between 1,000 and 5,000 words. Check their website (scroll down) for more details as it gets closer to the event.

I’m telling you now about the contest so you can have plenty of time to write and submit your entry. If you’d like to read a few short stories to get your creative juices flowing, pick up a copy of the Alfred Hitchcock Magazine or Ellery Queen Magazine. I’m sure they’ll stimulate a few ideas. Or order a copy of The Best American Mystery Stories 2004 .

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