Bouchercon Anthology 2020

I’m so thrilled that Michele Drier, Holly West, and the other organizers of Bouchercon 2020 have invited me to serve as the editor of next year’s conference anthology—California Schemin’!

It was one of the honors of my career to edit the Raleigh Bouchercon anthology Murder Under the Oaks in 2015, winner of the Anthony Award the next year for Best Anthology or Collection, and I’m hoping to see as many fine stories in this new anthology as that one boasted and an equally fine mix of established and up-and-coming writers.

The official call for entries is at the Bouchercon 2020 website, but glad to include those guidelines here as well:

Bouchercon 2020 Sacramento invites you to submit a short story for the conference anthology, California Schemin’, to be published for Bouchercon 2020, October 15-18, 2020, in Sacramento, California.

California Schemin’—Bouchercon Anthology 2020 will feature stories by the conference’s guests of honor:  Scott Turow, Walter Mosley, Anne Perry, Anthony Horowitz, Cara Black, and Catriona McPherson. Editing the anthology will be Art Taylor—winner of the Agatha, Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, and Macavity Awards for his own short fiction. The collection will be published by Wildside Press in late September 2020, with all profits from book sales donated to 916 Ink, a creative writing nonprofit that provides workshops for students grades 3-12 in the Sacramento area to help “transform them into confident writers and published authors.”

The deadline for submissions will be March 1, 2020; see full guidelines below. Authors will be notified when the final selections have been made, sometime in June 2020. An announcement about contributors will be made on the Bouchercon 2020 website after all contributors have been confirmed.

Anthology authors will receive $75 and one copy of the anthology and will be invited to participate in a Bouchercon anthology panel and signing at the conference.


Submit your story as an email attachment, in Word .doc or docx, to

The email subject line should read: [your last name goes here], Anthology Submission, [title of story goes here].  For example, Smith, Anthology Submission, All That Glitters Is Not Gold

All author contact information must be in the COVER EMAIL ONLY. Include your real name, your pen name (if you want the story to be published under a different name), your address, phone number, preferred e-mail address, and word count for the story.

There should be no identifying information anywhere on the story.
Stories must be original – not previously published anywhere else.

Stories should be between 1,500 and 5,500 words.

One story submission per person ONLY.

Deadline for submission is midnight on March 1, 2020. Manuscripts MUST be received by that date.

Mandatory Manuscript Guidelines:

Word count: 1,500 to 5,500. Theme: California Schemin’—following that phrase wherever it might take you.

Attach your story to the email. Word doc or docx only. There should be no identifying information in the manuscript. ALL identifying information must be in the cover email.

Use a legible standard font such as Courier or Times New Roman at 12 pt size; no fancy fonts or formatting, please. Italicize (don’t underline) words that are to be italicized.

Indent the first line of new paragraphs by a half-inch tab. Do not simply add additional spacing at the start of each paragraph.

Denote scene breaks with a centered hashtag: #.

Double-space with one-inch margins on all sides.

Questions? Contact Michele Drier, co-chair, Bouchercon 2020 .

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