California Schemin’ Bouchercon Anthology

I was very excited when my second short story was accepted for publication. “California Fold’em” actually comes out of a writing class I took with Carolyn Wheat. She gave a writing prompt during the class and we wrote for five minutes.

After the class, I liked the scene I wrote and continued with it. The main character, Eddie, is a small-time con artist who is deep in money trouble and gets in over his head with a Russian gangster. After I wrote a 25,000 word novella, I started plans for two more novellas of the same length with the three main characters who developed in the first one, which I named Crossing Vlad.

A “prequel” story came to me––about how Eddie came to be in debt to Vlad in the first place. When I heard the theme for the Bouchercon anthology, I felt compelled to write that story and send it in. I was thrilled that others enjoyed the exploits of Eddie, who never seems to have as much luck as he would like in life.

I had planned on attending the Bouchercon 2020 event in Sacramento, but Covid-19, of course, made it a virtual convention.

The Official Bouchercon Anthology Announcement

Short Stories Selected for California Schemin’

Bouchercon 2020 celebrates thirteen short story authors whose work was selected for inclusion in this year’s conference anthology, California Schemin’.

These stories will be published alongside short fiction by this year’s Bouchercon Guests of Honor—Scott Turow, Walter Mosley, Anne Perry, Cara Black, Catriona McPherson, and Anthony Horowitz.

More than 150 authors submitted stories. In a two-step blind judging process, first-round readers passed along 44 stories to guest editor Art Taylor for final consideration. Thirteen stories were selected, and we’re glad to reveal their authors here:

  • Jennifer Berg, “Schemes in the Dark”
  • David Boop, “Call Before You Die”
  • Chris Dreith, “Old Soles”
  • Dixon Hill, “No Postman, No Doorbell”
  • Kim Keeline, “California Fold’em”
  • Richard Koreto, “The Hollywood Gangster”
  • Joyce Krieg, “Last Call at the Zanzibar”
  • Ellen Clair Lamb, “The Assistant”
  • Eileen Rendahl, “A Spoonful of Poison”
  • Christopher Ryan, “Hellhounds Hollywood Demons”
  • Linda Townsdin, “Re-entry”
  • Gabriel Valjan, “Elysian Fields”
  • Carrie Voorhis, “The Fandancer’s First Murder”

“I loved the range I saw in all the semi-finalists I read, and especially in these final stories,” said guest editor Art Taylor. “The stories here span a wide range: from hard-boiled and noir, each historically associated with California crime fiction, to Hollywood hijinks to suburban domestic suspense. And the tones range too: from the deadly serious to the delightfully and determinedly irreverent. In short, there’s hopefully a little something for all readers in the mix here.”

Although in-person Bouchercon 2020 in Sacramento, CA has been cancelled, organizers are looking at ways to present some events in a virtual format.

The anthology will be published by Wildside Press in October 2020 and will be on sale through major online booksellers.