Friday, October 4, 2013

Girl Trouble

WINNER of Susan Wittig Albert's A Wilder Rose is Cindy from AZ - please email me at rosemary at
rosemaryharris dot com and we'll get the book to you. Congrats!

ROSEMARY HARRIS: Good girls go to heaven, but bad girls go everywhere - and these girls are bad. Today's guest is one of the baddest girls in mystery, Clare Toohey.  Clare was literally one of the first people I met in the mystery community. She may not remember, but we sat at the same table at my first MWA dinner. I thought, wow, that gal looks tough! Imagine my surprise when I discovered she was one of the sweetest, hardest-working, most generous women in the biz. And she does a mean Hamburglar imitation which those of us who attended Crimebake a few years back will remember.

CLARE TOOHEY: Thanks, Reds, for inviting me over! I’m Clare Toohey, the site manager and Managing Editor of, delighted also to have been the editor on a brand new e-collection of short crime fiction (with invaluable assistance from Laura K. Curtis and Claire Eddy).

The phrase “Girl Trouble” may conjure up something specific in your mind, or perhaps a few different somethings, but we wanted to read what came to the fevered brains of our site visitors. We had the notion to solicit our online community for short works on a theme (asking for submissions of artwork for the cover, too). From those, we’d select, edit, and publish a kind of e-zine in short order: 100 days from announcement to on-sale. That pace meant the most we could ever do is 3 per year. That’s no quarterly, not close to a monthly, thus The Malfeasance Occasional (The M.O.) was born.

Well--best laid plans and all--the first issue encountered storms (two actual ones and the rest bureaucratic), so it took about a year finally to happen. *sighs* But now it’s finally here, and the collection is as wonderful as we ever could’ve hoped way back when. *cheers*

Tender-hearted, tough-minded (and occasionally foul-mouthed) girls take center stage in suspenseful tales that are also touching, haunting, and darkly funny. From modern cities and the middle of nowhere--even a place that never existed--come stories about female entrepreneurs, housewives, mothers, daughters, addicts, strivers, wanderers, conquerors, runaways, and women in collision.

We have fourteen stories. The first one, a criminal and cautionary tale about social media is “Follow Us On Facebook and Twitter” by Eric Cline. As our free excerpt, anyone can read the entire story online:

The other stories are just as great, though all very different from each other, and some of them are by established authors you may already know. We’re also proud to have a few debuts. (Okay, three of them would’ve been absolutely, no-contest debuts if we published last year. Since then, a couple of the talented rascals have gone and gotten book contracts and been published elsewhere—guess we’re not alone in recognizing the quality of their work.)

The rest of the stories in the “Girl Trouble” issue are:

"Mad Women" by Patricia Abbott
"The Wentworth Letter" by Jeff Soloway
"The Barnacle" by Hilary Davidson 
"My Brother's Keeper" by Charles Drees
"The Third Echo" by Sam Wiebe
"Magda" by Cathi Stoler
"Crow's Lesson" by Robert Lopresti
"Her Haunted House" by Brendan DuBois
"Girl of Great Price" by Milo James Fowler
"Benign" by Caroline J. Orvis
"Them Old Blues" by Ken Leonard
"Incident on the 405" by Travis Richardson
"Birds of Paradise" by Chuck Wendig

You can also read a brief intro from each of the stories and learn more about the contributors.

The collection’s on sale in e-format for $3.99. We hope you’ll give it a try, because if it goes well, it won’t take a year to do the next one!

(Also, before next Friday, October 11th, if you want to leave a comment here with a link to your website, twitter handle, or your e-mail address (there just needs to be a way to notify you if you’ve won), I’ll have the Reds pick 3 winners at random, who I’ll send a copy in whatever e-format you wish.)
ROSEMARY: Oooh, I see lots of familiar names there including pals Hilary Davidson and Cathi Stoler. Dip into Girl Trouble, the uh, maiden voyage, of the Malfeasance Occasional.


  1. Sounds like a perfect addition to my to-be-read list . . . and I love the title!

  2. Sounds great! I hope it's a big success.

  3. Clare, what a great collection! Do you have a request for submissions out for the next one?

    (Clare was the best moderator EVER at our Bouchercon foody-mystery panel!)

  4. Welcome you remember that dinner??
    Having only written two short stories in my life, I know it takes a different skill set than writing a book does. Apart from girls behaving badly, what were the things you looked for in assembling this collection?

  5. Winning the Wilder book was a nice surprise. Thank you!

  6. What a cool idea! Truly--harnessing talent and the speed of new media--brilliant.

    I am picturing you are the Hamburglar. Hmm.

    What's next for the magazine? And for Criminal ELement?

  7. Edith- Great meeting you, too (even if the panel made me hungry). We have themes in mind, but no firm dates or calls for submission. It's a new idea for us, and frankly, how "occasional" it turns out to be depends upon how it goes. *fingers crossed*

    Rosemary-We looked for an interesting take on the theme, a strong sense of style and craft, and variety--perhaps the toughest part because there might've been several terrific stories taking a similar tack, and deciding among them was excruciating.

    Hank- Ah, the Red and Black ball, at which I recall your arm candy was particularly dapper.

    At CE, we just keep trying to find new ways to enjoy and discuss not only books, but movies, TV, videogames...a wide swath of the world that entertains all kinds of crime fans. And whew, crime fans are busy!

  8. What a good collection of authors. I think an e-collection is a great way to keep the short story alive

    Good luck with it, Clare.

  9. At B'con, I mentioned to Clare that I was starting my pre-book-release blog tour but was having problems finding of interesting things to blog about. She immediately said, "I've been thinking about that!" and reeled off a list of ten or fifteen brilliantly innovative blog ideas (only one of which I can remember, of course, but trust me, I was impressed.)

    So it doesn't surprise me in the least that Clare came up with the idea of a crowd-sourced crime fiction anthology that draws from established pros and new authors both.When 3-D interactive blogs are invented, Clare will be first in line to figure out how to use them.

  10. Hi Clare! What fun! Love the excerpted story. I can't write a short story to save my life, but love to read them and e-anthologies seem to be a great way to resurrect the form.

  11. I agree with Edith. Claire was a fun moderator for the food mystery panel at Bouchercon. I loved her apron and the basket of goodies she tossed. She stirred up a lot of good energy in that room, especially considering the panel started first thing Friday morning.

  12. Way to go, Clare! And I second Ro's and Julia's great descriptions of you. Whenever some innovative and exciting project starts going in the crime fiction community, I know I'll find Clare somewhere behind it, making it happen.

    Are you still looking at doing a historical-themed Malfeasance Occasional?

  13. Love Criminal Element, have reviewed short story anthology, ebooks, definitely putting this on my TBR (soon!) list.

  14. Oh cool! Nice to meet you, Clare. I love I've discovered quite a few new authors from the Fresh Meat column. Who doesn't want to be fresh meat? :-)

    I love what's going on with publishing and e-zines and the world of the short story. There's so much out there that we writers can participate in, and so much excellent writing to discover.

    I'm sorry I missed your panel at Bouchercon. I heard it was great.


  15. Sounds inspired. Thanks


    The short story FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER should be required readng, especially for teenagers.

  17. Thanks everyone for showing up! I ended up on a plane where I couldn't comment, but it's so nice to hear from people who appreciate short fiction. Any of you who get a chance to read it, let us know what you think afterward!