Fighting Chance



to be published by

The Poisoned Pencil


I’m delighted to announce that my young adult mystery, FIGHTING CHANCE, will be published by The Poisoned Pencil, the new YA imprint of Poisoned Pen Press.

FIGHTING CHANCE is a martial arts mystery for boys (but I bet girls will like it, too). When seventeen-year-old Matt Foley’s beloved coach is killed in a sparring match at a tae kwon do tournament, the police decide it’s a tragic accident. Matt’s not so sure. With help from a small, diverse group of friends, Matt learns the coach’s opponent, Bobby Davis, is a brutal, highly skilled martial artist, the central attraction at an illegal fight club. Now, Matt’s convinced someone hired Davis to murder the coach. But who would want to harm the coach, and why do it at a tournament? Matt’s efforts to find the truth bring him into conflict with some of the most prominent citizens in his small Virginia town, with his principal, with the police, and with his parents. But Matt persists, even when some conflicts prove dangerous. To improve his self-defense skills, he joins a krav maga class. Matt has a feeling that he’ll need those skills, that some day he’ll have to face Bobby Davis himself.

FIGHTING CHANCE is scheduled for publication in winter, 2015. I’m thrilled to be one of The Poisoned Pencil’s debut authors.




Interpretation of Murder

to be published by

Black Opal Books

I’m thrilled to announce that Black Opal Books is publishing my first novel, Interpretation of Murder. This novel re-introduces American Sign Language interpreter Jane Ciardi, the protagonist of my Derringer-winning short story titled—coincidentally—“Interpretation of Murder,” which appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine in December, 2010.

In the novel, Jane accepts a part-time job from a Cleveland private detective. Jane’s assignment is to keep tabs on a Deaf African-American teenager whose odd behavior alarms her wealthy father. Jane also needs to discover the truth behind two murders—including the murder of the first interpreter the detective hired. To get closer to the teenager, Jane joins a fitness center owned by a family that brings new meaning to the word “dysfunctional.” Jane can’t help feeling attracted to the family’s youngest son, a cheerfully amoral charmer who seems equally drawn to her. But he’s keeping secrets, and so are others at the fitness center. The more Jane learns about the center, the more she suspects some people go there to get more than a workout. The more she learns, the more she becomes the target of attacks that force her to use her martial arts skills to defend herself. Somehow, Jane realizes, the fitness center is connected to the two murders and to the Deaf teenager’s odd behavior. Jane’s struggle to unravel all the secrets tests her resourcefulness, her loyalties, and her courage.

At this point, it looks as though the novel might be published early in 2015. When I know more, I’ll announce it here. I’m delighted to be publishing with Black Opal Books, a Mystery Writers of America approved press with a strong mystery line. I’m also delighted that my first novel has a link with AHMM, the magazine that gave me my start as a mystery writer. I couldn’t be happier.




Two New Hitchcock

Stories Coming



My first mystery story was “True Detective,” which introduced the team of sweet but dim Lieutenant Walt Johnson and his modestly brilliant sergeant, Gordon Bolt, who sees himself as nothing but a humble assistant but is in fact the one who always figures everything out. Ten other Walt and Bolt stories followed, all in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine—“True Confession,” “True Romance,” “True Adventure,” “True Crime,” “True Love,” “True Story,” “True Suspects,” “True Colors,” “True Blue,” and “True Test.” This fall, the series will come to an end with “True Enough.” Much as I love these characters, I felt that after a dozen stories, it was time to give poor Walt a rest from his constant anxieties and feelings of guilt, and to let Sergeant Bolt finally attain his heart’s desire. And it wasn’t getting any easier to keep coming up with “true” titles! More details will follow as the publication date nears.

AHMM has also accepted another story, “A Joy Forever.” This one isn’t part of one of my series. It’s a portrait of a patient, meticulous murderer with a familiar motive but an unusual method. Writers shouldn’t have favorites, any more than parents should, but I’ll admit to a special fondness for this story. There are just three characters—Mike, Gwen, and Chris. Mike is, admittedly, a pretty standard figure, but I think both Gwen and Chris have some depth. And I like the way the story is crafted, the way its various elements come together at the end. I hope you’ll like it, too. When I find out when the story will appear, I’ll let you know.

american mystery


“Thea’s First Husband”

Makes the List

I’m delighted to announce that “Thea’s First Husband” is included in the list of “Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2012″ in The Best American Mystery Stories 2013. It’s an honor to see one of my stories on this list, and it’s a pleasure to see stories by several friends and fellow Hitchcock authors listed as well.

Thea’s First Husband,” published in June 2012 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, was also nominated for both Agatha and Macavity awards. It’s a story about an insecure husband who decides to test his young wife’s loyalty. His biggest mistake is hiring a private detective to watch her—a private detective who turns out to have an agenda of his own. If you’d like to read the story, please click here:

Thea’s First Husband

 To purchase the anthology, click the button below.




Who shot the gun-control advocate?

an e-novella from Untreed Reads

     When rising politician Karen Dodd pushes through the toughest gun-control bill in Ohio’s history, she thinks it’s her ticket to the governor’s office. But soon after she announces her candidacy, on the day she’s slated to receive an award from a gun-control organization, Karen Dodd is found dead in her comfortable suburban home, one bullet through her heart.

Suspects abound—her philandering husband, a hard-drinking former beauty queen, a smooth-talking gun lobbyist and his deceptively meek assistant, an ambitious television reporter who sees the murder as the story that could transform her career. Police lieutenant Dan Ledger puts his own life in danger as he struggles to uncover the secrets of suspects who at first seem harmlessly eccentric—but who can quickly turn deadly serious. Ledger’s used to piecing together meager bits of evidence, and he’s usually adept at analyzing the fears and desires that drive people to kill. This time, though, the motive takes him by surprise.

ONE SHOT is a traditional whodunit with a contemporary twist. Packed with suspense and humor, it raises questions about issues ranging from gun control to reality television. Click the button below to purchase.

Untreed_Small Great reads for every device



a short story from Untreed Reads

Will’s aunt wants him to spend some time with his estranged son at Christmas. All Will wants is to knock off his girlfriend’s husband and collect a share of the life insurance policy. Unfortunately, when you fail to take all the angles into account, the perfect crime can really ruin your holiday. Click the button below to purchase.

Untreed_Small Great reads for every device

Also available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online vendors.


In February, Dark Quest Books  published To Hell in a Fast Car, edited by John L. French. All the stories in the anthology share the same basic theme: Sometimes, people headed for disaster are unable or unwilling to turn back, even though they may know things can’t end well. In my story, “No Good Deed,” lonely, introverted social worker Janice thinks that by opening her home to a charming but wildly undisciplined teenager, she can turn the girl’s life around. But when the teenager starts tempting her to do things she’s never done before, Janice finds that her own life is the one being turned around, in increasingly costly and dangerous ways. Click the button below to purchase.





#1 Jacqueline Seewald on 11.04.11 at 6:48 pm

Congrats, B.K., the novel reads well.

#2 jan godown annino on 03.11.13 at 1:04 pm

These accomplishments are billboard-worthy . I followed the link from your recent post to the Gup listserv. And I’m so glad I did. I also now remember enjoying your article on advice from Poe, in The Writer, which I think I saw in our library.
I’m a newbie & so upflited by everyone sharing the tips.
Congratulations & good luck with the Agatha.

#3 bkstevens on 03.11.13 at 2:17 pm

Hi, Jan–

Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m glad you liked the Poe article. I’ve enjoyed Poe’s stories and poems for many years; it was interesting to discover some of the things he has to say about writing. Best of luck with your own endeavors!
Bonnie (B.K.)

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