Gerald So

Kevin Burton Smith

Victoria Esposito-Shea




We did it for over a decade, and ran that thing as far as we could, eventually abandoning it out west. But we had a good run, didn't we, guys?

We won some awards, were nominated for a few others, and we've seen some of our writers move on to far better things than this little dive hidden away on a dusty backroad a few miles off the information superhighway.

Anyway, back when we we're doing it, this was our spiel:

We aim to publish four times a year, but we may also occasionally publish interim mini-issues. As well, we are looking for excerpts from upcoming private eye novels and reviews of books of interest to our readers.

Anyone interested in submitting something is urged to send a query first. Tell our fiction editor Gerald So a little about yourself, your fiction and what you hope to get out of this. We may not get back to you right away, but we will get back to you. Any unsolicitated stuff goes to the very, very bottom of my slush pile (or at least as soon as we have enough slush to make a pile...)

For enquiries regarding excerpts, reviews, essays or advertising, please contact Kevin Burton Smith.


After years of deliberation, soul-searching and penny-pinching, THRILLING DETECTIVE WEB SITE became a paying market for short fiction in 2004.

Don't get too excited -- since we don't charge any admission (unlike some of those other high-priced spreads) we can't afford to pay anything but a dinky nominal amoun, currently $15.00.

But our writers deserve at least a token of our appreciation. And, after all, we do have to keep up with the Joneses.

We will be financing this through a combination of ad revenue, donations from readers and from our own pockets, in the hope we'll be rewarded later -- if not in this life, perhaps then in the next.

And I'm sure -- or at least hope -- we'll be swamped by a ton of would-be Chandlers and rec room Spillanes. So please do Gerald, our two-fisted fiction editor, and myself a favour:

READ THE FRIGGIN' GUIDELINES! And then read THUNDERING CLICHES. Demonstrating the ability to read is always a good sign in a writer.

And it really impresses editors.

If those doesn't scare you away, maybe this will: we actually edit our stories. We do not rubberstamp them, so if you're the sort of writer who doesn't work well with editors or thinks your story could never in a million years be better, don't waste your time -- or ours.

Yeah, yeah, yeah... I can hear the bitching already, but trust me, being hardasses about little things like grammar, spelling and especially narrative continuity and consistency pays off in the long run, with award-winning stories and a loyal readership that has made Thrilling Detective the web's premier site for fans of private eye action.

No, we're not perfect (God knows we're not!) and we DO make mistakes, but our interest is ALWAYS in getting the best stories we can out of our writers for our readers.

So there...

  • We're not responsible for someone ripping off your story.
  • The copyright will remain with the author.
  • If the author ever becomes a gazillionaire because someone spotted his/her work here, he/she owes us a beer.

Have patience. Both Gerald and I have real lives, as well. We'll keep doing this as long as folks submit stuff, but there are a few things we should get straight:

  • All stories must feature a private eye. If you're not sure what I'm talking about, please read What is a Private Eye, Anyway?
  • If we are interested, you'll be dealing with our fiction editor Gerald So. Somewhere along the line, I usually put my two cents in as well, but Gerald's the one you have to be nice to.
  • Please send a query first. No unsolicited manuscripts. We will hold unsolicited manuscripts up to ridicule, and we reserve the right to say rude things about your mother. And absolutely no simultaneous submissions. If we find out, we will say rude things about you.
  • On all e-mail correspondence regarding your submission, PLEASE begin the subject line with "THRILLING FICTION." e.g.

    "THRILLING FICTION: (Title of your story here)"

  • Short stories must be self-contained stories. No serials (ie: no "to be continued"s) or vignettes. The exception, of course, are excerpts from upcoming books.
  • Excerpts should give a taste of the book from which they're drawn. We will only consider excerpts from books with firm publication dates. DON' T send us the first chapter of a book you've been trying to finish (or sell) for three years.
  • Stories generally run about 10,000 words, at the very most. 7000-8000 seems about right, but we're flexible. Very flexible. A good short-short might show us the error of our ways.
  • If we bite, and ask to see your story, please send submissions as attachments in Rich Text Format (.rtf) to Gerald.
  • Don't go crazy with the formatting, because it doesn't impress us. Absolutely no headers, footers, smart quotes, m-dashes, or any fancy word processor character or formatting that shows up as gibberish when transmitted in a plain text e-mail.

    For example:

  • Do use ' for apostrophes.
  • Do use " " for quotation marks. No "smart quotes."
  • Do use -- for m-dashes.
  • Do not use multiple spaces to indent or align text.

If you don't know what we're talking about, FIND OUT! We like our manuscripts as readable as possible. We'd rather work on your story than spend time reformatting it so it's at least legible. Please stick to the following matters of form, or we may not read your submission:

  • How to format your submission:
    In the upper left corner of the first page, provide:

  • 1) Your Real name
  • 2) Street Address
  • 3) E-mail Address
  • 4) Approximate Word Count
  • 5) Your Word Processing Program and Platform (PC or Mac)
  • 6) Date of Submission

Skip a few lines and provide:

  • 1) Title of Your Story
  • 2) by (The name you wish to appear in print)

Skip a few more lines and begin the body of your story. Set your story in an easy-to-read 12-point font (preferably Times New Roman or Courier New), double-spaced, with normal paragraph indentation.

  • You are expected to proofread for grammar, spelling, and punctuation BEFORE submitting. Ideally we should be doing less copy-editing so as to focus on problems of plot, character, structure, narrative flow, etc.
  • PAYMENT: We're only paying $10.00 U.S.(via cheque or PayPal) for a first run story, an amount hardly likely to impress your bank manager (or even the kid next door with the lemonade stand). But it does mean your work will have been published on-line and available to the world, and you will have received financial compensation for it.
  • Please submit only one story at a time. Don't submit a second story until you have received a response to your first. We will not publish multiple stories by the same author in the same issue. To motivate your best work, there is a limit of two submissions per author per reading period.
  • Since we're really picky buggers, we will probably ask the author of a promising story to revise it based on our critique and resubmit it to us. Each story is eligible for two resubmits, after which, if it is not accepted, we have the right to reject it.
  • We're not responsible for someone ripping off your story.
  • The copyright will remain with the author, but the author grants us permission to publish it on our website.
  • We don't mind period pulp pastiche or parody, if you really must, but it better not just be an excuse for lame or lazy writing. Nothing against period pieces, either, but we'd prefer for the stories to be contemporary, much in the way the pulp crime magazines reflected their own times.
  • If you include legal and psychological underpinnings to your fiction, please be aware that you should do your research ahead of time, because if you fuck up either of these areas, the Fiction Editor Emeritus, who is a lawyer married to a psychologist, is authorized to track you down and kill you.
  • And while we're at it, remember to keep it real. As editors, we get a little tired of lame excuses from (usually newbie) writers whining that "it happened in real life." Sorry, but real life doesn't have to make sense; fiction DOES. Throw up too many red flags in a story (even if it did happen to your Uncle Oswald's next door neighbour's brother-in-law) and we don't give a damn how good a storyteller you are, you'll have lost your reader.
  • So, get the facts straight, and please do more than recycle clichés. For more suggestions on what we're not looking for, take a peek at Thundering Clichés.
  • If the author ever becomes a gazillionaire because someone spotted his/her work here, he/she owes Gerald and me a beer. Each.


That was then... not NOW!

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