Announcing Our New E-Publication of Original Short Crime! Join In!

We’re thrilled to announce that three times a year, we’ll be e-publishing a crime collection of original short works on a theme. We hope you’ll join in!

The Malfeasance Occasional, aka The M.O. will publish its first issue in a scant 100 days on the theme “Girl Trouble,” and we’ll be opening for your submissions in just four weeks. Here’s how we’re going to make it all happen:

UPDATE (11/29): When Sandy heard we were looking for Girl Trouble, she made her own submission and it was a doozy! Not only were our physical offices inaccessible for the first week of November, after that, all normal business was horribly backlogged, and many other collaborators we need to make this happen were involved in vital recovery efforts, both personal and corporate. Critical milestones for this project were therefore missed and, frankly, became less significant by comparison. And then Thanksgiving. For your information, we're leaving below the original, ambitious schedule, which was up-ended at the step where we were due to send out contracts. We believe we'll (at last) be back on track imminently, and appreciate the patience of submitters and prospective readers. We're also looking forward tremendously to sharing the fantastic stories contributed to this inaugural issue- we hope, like us, you'll find it well worth the wait!

August 29th: Announce the project and the theme. Hi! *waving*

September 7th: Cover vote—site visitors will choose from original artworks to select the cover for our inaugural issue!

September 23rd: Our cover is revealed!—plus a sweepstakes for a chance to win an e-copy of the upcoming issue and the original art.

September 26th: After giving you four weeks to think about it, we open our mailbox for never-before-published submissions of 3,000 to 6,000 words, interpreting the first issue’s theme of “Girl Trouble” in the style, tone, subgenre, and era of the writer’s choice. (For “stories,” you can also read “true crime essays.”) Feel free to stretch!

Submissions should be original, not previously appearing in print or online. Stories can be submitted as attachments in any standard document format with author name (and pseudonym), title, and e-mail contact in the document’s header. You’ll receive an acknowledgement of your submission’s receipt within one business day.

October 10th: Submissions close.

October 31st: The first issue’s story selections will be complete, and we'll be contacting each selected author by e-mail with congratulations and a contract! Boo!

The gist is that we’ll pay a flat fee of $350 for a a year’s exclusive use after publication. This is a work-for-hire, and all the nitty-gritty details will be supplied in appropriate legalese for each selected author’s perusal, but we will need contracts signed and at least an e-version returned to us within seven days!

NOTE: If you’re not going to be able to check your e-mail on or near the acceptance date, if you’re not going to be able to respond in a timely fashion, if we don’t get contracts back—for whatever reason—we won’t be able to include the story. There just isn’t enough time built into this admittedly ambitious schedule. We understand that this may not work for everyone, and hope that knowing clearly what to expect and when will help you decide.

November 7th: The issue’s worth of stories and contributors will be announced here!

November 15th: Site registrants get a sneak peek of an entire story—you are registered, aren’t you?!

November 27th: We’ll post another story as an excerpt here with a sweepstakes to win e-copies of the upcoming issue!

December 6th: Issue No. 1 of The Malfeasance Occasional “Girl Trouble” hits the e-stands for $3.99

Every one of these steps will be posted on the site as it happens and will be always be accessible at The Malfeasance Occasional feature page.

If you have general questions about this project or the process, please leave them in the comments, so we can answer them once for everyone’s benefit. If you have a very specific or personal question, use the Contact Us page.

We’ve been itching to find a way to feature more great original work from more authors more often, and we hope you’re as excited about the possibilites as we are!


  1. Terrie Farley Moran

    How exciting! I’m off to spread the word!

  2. Ralph

    This is great news. Does it matter what kind of story you write as long as there’s a crime in it? Can it be humerous? or noir? or historical etc?

    Just trying to narrow it down.



  3. Laura K. Curtis

    Ralph –

    For this particular volume, the sub genre doesn’t matter, only the theme does. Girl trouble past, present, future, funny or grim…it’s all up for grabs.

  4. Jane Sellman

    If we don’t win, do we retain all rights — and do we have to wait until the issue goes live before we can submit the story elsewhere.

    I cannot wait to get started.

  5. Jim Musgrave

    There should be some sinister stories in the hopper (Head-a Hopper, that is).

  6. Jody

    Can there be some element of supernatural involved?

  7. Laura K. Curtis

    Of course, Jody! We’re big fans of that around here!

  8. Laura K. Curtis

    @wordgirlsam –

    Yes, of course. It’s just like any other anthology…only better, of course!

  9. Dawn Miller

    Hi, I might have missed it, but where do you send submissions to? Write mysteries and have a great female protagonist.

  10. Laura K. Curtis

    Hi Dawn —

    Check back on the date that submissions actually open (September 26, this Wednesday!) for the announcement of the opening of the mailbox. Since all that would happen if you tried to submit before that was an automated “sorry, not now,” we don’t post the address until we are open to submissions.

  11. Rob Hansen

    In the days of paper manuscripts double-spacing was required. Is this still the case when submitting electronically?

  12. Clare 2e

    We’d prefer you follow standard manuscript format, because it’s what everyone’s used to looking at and is easy on the eyes.

  13. Jane Sellman

    thanks for your response — I’m getting busy on a story right now. Love this website but it also means I’m adding more things to my To Read list.

  14. Justin Gustainis

    May I submit more than one story? If so, would you prefer each in a separate email?

  15. Clare 2e

    You can submit more than one @JustinScribe.

    Feel free to put them all as attachments in the same e-mail, but if possible put the titles of all (or short form) in the header–basically just make sure we will notice there are multiples.

  16. Sylvia Spruck Wrigley

    For True Crime Essays, do you still want a wordcount of 3,000-6,000? Most of the examples on the site are shorter than that (or I’m looking at the wrong ones).

  17. Clare 2e

    Blog posts are something different than this e-pubbed collection. Please follow the guidelines as provided for this project specifically.

  18. Caroline Susanto

    Hello, is this contest opened internationally?

  19. Clare 2e

    It’s open to anyone, though I should warn you, the mechanisms and timing for international payment can get a little more complicated, because of treaties and taxes and such.

  20. Susan C. Harris

    Will you be accepting excerpts for future editions of M.O.? Or should excerpts be submitted through the regualr excerpt route?

  21. S.A. Merk

    I was hoping to see this do well and wished you best of luck for many more editions. But now I worry that things might have changed. As I don’t see an answer to susieharris comment I will add my redundant query: Are you planning future editions? Have been watching/waiting and I am probably just missing it. Please let us know if you will be accepting future stories for future editions. Thanks.

  22. Clare 2e

    It’s not clear whether we will or not or when–sorry not to have more information at this point. One thing you can be sure of: if and when, it will be widely announced here and across our social media platforms, so you won’t miss out if you’re a regular visitor or newsletter subscriber.

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