Sunday, February 28, 2021

"Hollandaise" Receives Honorable Mention!

I learned, out of submissions from several states and a foreign country, that my “Hollandaise” received honorable mention in the South Carolina Writers Association, Surfside Chapter’s short story contest. (Theme: isolation) In its blog announcement, the chapter called each story “an adventure.” How wonderful to think that solitude and separation from others could present intriguing avenues! My tale features a retired teacher remembering the first time she tasted hollandaise: the night Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. Although she never shared her experience, she finds a unique opportunity to do so. The stories will be published online at this link.
Food Network: Roasted Asparagus with Hollandaise

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Last But Not Leashed

Alexandra Otto
 The Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 third place winner is Alaskan Alexandra Otto’s “Last But Not Leashed” about the House of Showdogs (H.O.S), a dog grooming service and pet spa, which fronts for the world’s greatest known Human Obediance School (H.O.S.). Operative Max, a German Shepherd and former CIA dog, must determine if Labradoodle Shasta’s owner Amy is covertly acquiring a cat. Not only is Max an intrepid investigator, but he has some interesting techniques and tools at his disposal. Is Amy sneaking off to the Cat Palace? Can Max keep Shasta’s life cat-free? Check out the delightful antics at:

Monday, January 4, 2021

Cosway's Confidence


This quarter, my second place award-winning story, “Cosway’s Confidence,” appears in the Bethlehem Writers’ Group Roundtable. The BWR has an annual short story contest. In 2013, my “Long in the Tooth” won third place (as determined by celebrity judge Hank Phillippi Ryan). 2020’s celebrity judge was Spencer Quinn (also known as Peter Abrahams). My story inspiration came from Maggie, my friends’ ferret, and a small eatery, with a floor brass plate opening to the lower level. What happens when the cafe owner interviews a potential employee with imaginary support ferret while the brass plate is open? Here’s the link:


Saturday, December 19, 2020


by Paula Gail Benson

The small, unadorned tombstone sat wedged at the corner of the cemetery's cinder block fencing. Larger monuments in the family plot had lengthy chiseled homages and floral wreaths.

Before leaving the desolated spot, a visitor wondered, could not some recognition be made at Christmas, even for a murderer?

At midnight, the young woman’s wispy figure appeared holding a small bouquet. “Even as a ghost, I feel the wind whipping through the broken bones that never healed,” she whispered.

Beneath her spectral feet, warmth radiated, as if her condemned protector opened a small door from hell to offer her Christmas comfort.


This 100 word story is offered as an entry for the annual Advent Ghosts event hosted by Loren Eaton at I Saw Lightning Fall. See the other entries there. Thanks, Loren, for the opportunity!


Monday, November 30, 2020

Return after Absence

CDC Covid-19 Image

My last entry is dated about a year before the Covid-19 shutdowns. In 2019, I enjoyed moderating panels at Malice Domestic, Killer Nashville, and (my first at) Bouchercon in Dallas, where I got to spend time with my cousins. Since March of this year, most writing meetings have been through new technologies. I’m thankful to have worked with Palmetto Chapter of SinC and Southeastern Chapter of MWA in converting Mystery in the Midlands to a virtual conference; to participating in Ed Aymar’s DC Noir at the Bar; and to moderating a romance in cozy mysteries panel for Sacramento’s virtual Bouchercon.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Links to Malice Domestic's Agatha Nominated Short Stories

Gigi Pandian's 2017 Agatha
One of the delightful aspects of mystery awards season is reading the nominated works. The 2019 Agatha short story nominees provide a range of time periods and characters to contemplate and savor. Here are the links to each story:

"All God's Sparrows" by Leslie Budewitz (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"A Postcard for the Dead" by Susanna Calkins in Florida Happens (Three Rooms Press)
"Bug Appetit" by Barb Goffman (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
"The Case of the Vanishing Professor" by Tara Laskowski (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
"English 398: Fiction Workshop" by Art Taylor (Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

Please read and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

News of a 2019 Bouchercon Anthology!

The Bouchercon Dallas Committee and Down & Out Books proudly announce a call for submissions to the 2019 Bouchercon anthology to honor Bill Crider’s memory. All proceeds from sales will benefit LIFT, Literary Instruction For Texas, which works to enhance and strengthen communities by teaching adults to read.

Stories must be original works (no reprints) of less than 5,000 words. The theme is the conference slogan: Denim, Diamonds, and Death.

The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2019. Please send submissions to

A Bill Crider Contest entry may be submitted, but if selected must be withdrawn from the Contest.