Monday, October 3, 2016

Mystery Weekly Magazine

Kerry Carter, Editor of Mystery Weekly, joins us today to tell us all about the magazine. One of the great things about Mystery Weekly is that you can sign up at their website to get a free story e-mailed to your inbox every week. It's like a wonderful little piece of decadent story candy. This month's issue features the great Sherlock Holmes. I had a story in the July issue (cover below). You can find Mystery Weekly on Facebook and on Twitter @mysteryweekly. 

Mystery Weekly Magazine is celebrating its one-year anniversary. What inspired you to start the magazine?
The catalyst was probably my insatiable appetite for short mysteries. I'm a long time subscriber to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and have always enjoyed the steady stream of stories they provide. But together they only publish a dozen mysteries per month, and I wanted more. There are so many original new voices that aren't being heard; so many fresh and exciting mysteries that aren't being read. I decided that not only was there room for another mystery magazine, but there was a desperate need for it.

Now I have well over a hundred submissions to read every month. I read them all start to finish, taking notes in case the author requests feedback. It's a huge time requirement, but I enjoy every minute of it.

Our goal is to offer our readers a wide variety of writing styles and mystery genres, and to distribute them in as many formats as possible every month.

What has been most challenging about running a monthly magazine?

We faced a lot of technical and logistic challenges in our first year, but today we're a very well-oiled machine. The only challenge that remains is how to effectively promote the magazine on a tight budget. A decade ago, you could throw up a website and get healthy traffic with almost no effort. Or, you could advertise on Google and buy visitors for pennies. But this just isn't the case anymore. The internet is congested; everyone has something to sell, and online ad rates have skyrocketed in spite of being less effective than ever. Today it's all about strategic partnerships, social media, and attracting free publicity. And these require a lot of time and hard work.

What do you look for in a story?

In the broadest sense I am looking to be entertained. I could break it down further into having a strong ending, sparkling prose, and an original concept, but nothing is set in stone. As long as the story revolves around a crime, I'll consider it. I like to be surprised and challenged, not bored by a story that goes nowhere.

What I'm not looking for are stories containing excessive violence, graphic sexuality, or anything else that might put our lunch hour readers off their sandwiches.

What do you wish mystery fans knew about Mystery Weekly Magazine?

Despite our name, we are a monthly magazine publishing a half dozen or more original mysteries every month. We're available in the App stores, on digital newstands, and by direct subscription from our website. Issues can now be purchased in the Amazon Kindle store as well.

The "e-weekly" in our name refers to our weekly newsletter. Every Tuesday morning we email a free sample story from our magazine. Anyone can sign up with just an email address. Ultimately, we hope some people will subscribe to our paid product, which contains extra stories and content.

What can you tell us about this issue? What can we look forward to?

October is an exciting month for us because it's a Sherlock Holmes themed issue, although you'll find some non-Sherlock mysteries and a few non-fiction pieces too, including a great introduction by Sherlock expert Vincent W. Wright.

The story featured on our cover is "The Adventure Of The Missing Princess," by Michael Mallory. It begins when a colleague of Watson's visits him at his surgery with a story about a missing princess and the Elephant Man. Holmes makes his appearance in typical dramatic fashion, and quickly connects the dots, leaving the reader wondering how they'd missed the obvious clues. 

 This story is followed by "The Case of the Masticated Hand," by Jaap Boekestein and Roelof Goudriaan, a supernatural mystery involving the hand of a mummy that's delivered to Holmes in a parcel. Then, in "The Mystery of the Bee's Egg," by Eric Cline, Sherlock investigates how a man's death is connected to the construction of a foredoomed mile-long bridge. Not only is this story filled with fascinating details, but it's masterfully written and has an entertaining plot.

This issue also contains a nice mix of non-Sherlockian mysteries. Martin Hill Ortiz returns with "The Pit Of Hell", another story featuring a retired illusionist who is called upon to solve baffling crimes. This is a locked-room mystery, but the question is how an escape artist vanished from a full body cast in his hospital bed. "Your Turn" is a gritty crime story about a couple who work their cons out of a cheap motel, and author Dan DeVoto sweeps us into the dustbin right along with them through vivid writing and characterization. And Karl Lykken gives us a story of actuaries who keep a dead pool, called "Unacceptable Risk."

But the story I'm especially excited about is "Acid Test", from Allen Lang. Allen is a superb writer who frequently appeared in the mystery and science fiction pulps of the 50's, 60's, and 70's. He gave up writing fiction for writing computer code, he explained to me, and this story is his first sale in over 40 years. Well, let me tell you, "Acid Test" will make you lament his lost decades of productivity. Without giving too much away, he delivers a heart-pounding story about an amateur scientist who tries to create ghosts in his basement laboratory. Sensational, mysterious, and absolutely riveting.

Our October issue is a great example of the sort of variety you'll find in our magazine. Anybody who enjoys reading should sign up for our free weekly mysteries. You can easily unsubscribe at any time ... but I'm pretty sure you won't want to.


  1. Great interview—and very much admire your work!

  2. Thank you Kerry for stopping by the Playground! We love the magazine.

  3. I agree, Art, great interview. What dedication Kerry, reading every entry and taking notes to give feedback to authors. Simply terrific!

  4. Having stories emailed once a week is brilliant. When I'm in line at the bank or post office, I'd rather be reading a story on my phone than checking my email.