The second ebook issue of Comets and Criminals is available to buy now, including my short story “Garrote”. Most of the stories in the issue will be posted on their website between now and the end of March to read for free, but “Garrote” is an ebook exclusive.
This is a story that I originally wrote for the first Machine of Death anthology, but which was too long for that book. (The early drafts were something like 13,000 words.) The version which Comets and Criminals published is a somewhat trimmer 9,000 words — but it’s still the longest story I’ve ever sold by a fair margin.
I have other reasons to be pleased to see “Garrote” in print besides the usual ones. The story is set in my hometown of Cleveland, and I’m pleased to add my own small effort to the canon of literature about the Great Lakes region. “Garrote” is also a crime story — a police procedural with some mystery to it. Mystery plotting doesn’t exactly come natural to me, but I’m always happy when I try something different and am not totally embarrassed by the results.
That brings me to one of the very neat things about Comets and Criminals. It’s not just a speculative fiction magazine. Instead, it’s looking for stories from a wider range of genres: science-fiction, fantasy, mystery, historical, adventure, western. Most of what I write falls into some category of speculative fiction, but that’s at least partly because those are the easiest kind of stories to sell. It’s great to see new markets that provide opportunities for some different kinds of fiction as well.
The second issue of Comets and Criminals contains the work of eighteen writers. I’m not sure how many pieces are poetry and how many are stories, but either way it’s a remarkable amount of material for a very reasonable price. Personally, I hope to read many more issues over the years to come!