I was toiling at the end of my emergency room shift when I got an unusual message. I turned to my colleague and said, “Hey. I’m a finalist for the Derringer Award!”
“Do you know what that is?”
“I assume it’s a writing award.”
“It is. For the best short mystery stories published in the English language.” I revelled in it for a second, and then I said, “Do you know what a Derringer is? It’s a pocket-sized knife–”
“It’s a gun, actually. A small one, easily concealed and favoured by prostitutes.”
I Googled it, and a bunch of gun pictures came up. “Well, still. Because it’s small, it’s a metaphor for the deadly power of short fiction.”
A Derringer. Not a knife. Who’d have thunk it? Plus, this one looks like it’s wearing lipstick.Photo by DuBoix on MorgueFile
“Favoured by prostitutes.”
“Why do you keep saying that?”
Anyway, the important part is that I’ve been shortlisted for the Derringer. So to celebrate, I’ve turned “Because” into an e-book with an essay detailing the genesis of the story at Kris Rusch and Dean Smith’s Oregon mystery workshop, plus observations on the writing life, and what it feels like to hit the Derringer short list, for $2.99.
However, since I love you, my people, I’m giving the story away for free right here for the next seven days.
You can also download Code Blues, the first Hope Sze medical mystery, for free exclusively through the Vuze book bundle. Only until March 16th. Then it will disappear like a sociopath’s conscience. So grab it now! http://blog.vuze.com/2015/02/24/new-medical-thriller-book-bundle-melissa-yi/
While the Short Mystery Fiction Society votes on the Derringers, I do have one weapon in my back pocket. I’m the newest recruit for SleuthSayers, the world’s slickest crew of crime writers and crime fighters. Two of their members, Melodie Campbell and Rob Lopresti, have already won the Derringer (Rob won it twice)! So maybe they’ll help larn me.
In the meantime,
By Melissa Yi
Because you were so fat that I could count the rolls through your T-shirt, and know that they’d build across my belly and back in the exact same way.
Because you spent the check every month, and you never gave me a penny, not even if I needed a new eraser for school. “You just ask your fancy teacher for one. Go on, ask.”
Because I had to ask, and their eyes would burn me with their pity.
Because you’d spend hours painting your nails, but never let me touch any of the bottles, just because I broke one when I was two.
Because I hated the sound of your crinkling chip bags.
Because when Daddy said he was leaving, you said, “Go, then,” and let him walk out the door, even though I screamed and cried.
Read the rest in the format of your choice here (http://melissayuaninnes.com/books/because). Thanks for stopping by. Since people do seem to like freebies, I’ll give away more stories in the future. I may try and coordinate them with my biweekly SleuthSayer posts. The next one is March 23rd. Cheers!