Mysterical-e has the goal of providing writers and readers with information
on the leading personalities and artists in the realm of mystery,
crime, supernatural and fantastical. Iíve been following Blue Murder
Magazine and have enjoyed watching it develop. The editor, DAVID FIRKS,
is a natural for an interview because he is such an impassioned personality.
One really gets a sense of him and his love for crime fiction.
How does it feel to be at the helm of the coolest cutting-edge
electronic magazine for short murder mystery with a decidedly noir
Thanks for your kind words. I enjoy this project so much. Blue Murder
grew up as a labor of love and it's very rewarding to see the positive
response it has been receiving world-wide.
You're such a nice guy and yet your magazine focuses the reader
on the bad, dark, secret desires and weaknesses of characters who
are often less than admirable. Can you explain that?
Noir fiction is a very seductive art form. The more you read, the
more you want. Besides, noir is in all of us. We all have secret desires
and weaknesses. Many times it's easier to explain these elements through
street characters, P.I.'s and shady types.
I've noticed the artwork for Blue Murder always features the back
of a mysterious man in a suit, a window, a half naked woman and a
smoking gun. The images are classy and quite effective. Why did you
choose them and how do they connect for you as editor?
I've always been a fan of '40's and '50's noir and hardboiled cinema.
I must have collected every title available. Black and white color/mood/theme
was my design direction for BMM since the innocent days back in '97.
I thought the images you mentioned above were a compliment to the
subject and quality of stories we publish.
What do you feel are the most burdensome responsibilities of owning
and managing and e-zine?
As far as big responsibilities in owning a web-zine, they hit you
from all sides. Keep in mind, we're talking the internet now, a world-wide
audience. I receive approx. 80 emails a day and 100 submissions a
week. Time is a valuable commodity. There are the writers to be attended
to. There are the readers to be attended to. There are memberships
to send out and keep track of. There are publishers in NY sending
books to be reviewed. There are headaches when the technical hardware/software
malfunctions. There is cost. It's much more expensive than people
Blue Murder is a labor of love and patience for me. It takes a year
or two on the web to prove you're strong. Then the advertising comes
in. If I can make a profit with the BMM project after the second year,
I will have succeeded. Blue Murder is basically a one-man show. I
own and maintain it. I am very fortunate to have quality contributors
as far as columnists, reviewers, writers, etc.
Presently I am holding down two jobs to help subsidize this project.
I wouldn't change it for the world. My goal was to publish a professional
looking magazine and website that was appealing to the internet audience.
I enjoy it so much.
What is it about the personalities and/or talents of your staff
that made you feel they were worthy additions to your fare of hard-boiled
fiction? Beginning with Charles Shafer with whom Iíve had the pleasure
of several email conversations.
Charlie was with me from the beginning days of this project. We both
grew up in Chicago, but met through the Internet when he sent me his
first story submission for BMM. Since then, his column, SO ANYHOW,
originated. Our audience loves him. So do we.
Kevin contacted me shortly after the first issue of BMM was launched.
He is a world of information regarding P.I.'s in literature and film
and is the web guy for the Thrilling Detective Website. He has fun
with words in print, and is very enjoyable to work with. Our audience
really enjoys his columns.
Kate is class. Period. She is so professional to work with and her
columns exude that aura.
Tim. Great guy. Came to me when BMM was a child. He helped promote
the site in NY for the pure enjoyment of being a part of it. He is
very supportive and a tremendous interviewer-writer as well.
G. Miki Hayden?
Gail is a real find! She loves what she does and it shows in her work.
I am grateful to be associated with an individual of this high caliber.
Paul is one professional columnist-writer and has recently joined
BMM with his new column, DARK HIGHWAY. He is probably one of the most
knowledgeable writers I know in regards to everything noir/hardboiled.
I thought this might be a good addition for the segment of our audience
that enters our site craving to understand what noir is all about
in literature, film and pulps.
Although Gary is really not a member of our staff, he has been very
supportive of the Blue Murder project. Gary was doing the noir/hardboiled
thing with his mag, Hardboiled, long before it recently became popular
again. He's a great guy to work with and dedicated to the genre. Hell,
Gary is the genre.
What is Loft Works, Inc.?
It's my corporation umbrella Blue Murder is included under. If
I may let the cat out of the bag, Loft Works is launching an exciting
new on-line magazine for general short fiction and serialized novellas.
I will still oversee the publishing/web design aspect, but the editor
is Troy Dufrene. We will be posting guidelines/announcements the third
week of August '99. First issue is scheduled to launch late October/early
November. There is a third sister magazine launching at the end of
the year 2000, but I cannot disclose that info yet.
As a reader of Blue Murder, I have to admit that I'm more than
a little amazed by your accessibility as editor. When I inquired about
writer's guidelines I received an immediate response from you. When
I had trouble downloading the mag and asked for help you were there
to advise me and promptly solved the problem. It's obvious that you
have a wonderful rapport with your staff and a writing career of your
own. How do you pull it off?
I don't sleep. This project has been most exciting and rewarding for
me. The incredible caliber of people I have met through this endeavor
has been inspirational. I enjoy responding to my audience. It's all
part of the process.
Do you have a heavy submission load? How much do you personally
The submission load is very heavy. I read all of them. Sometimes my
response time to this scenario is not what I'd hoped it to be. Although
I try my best to respond to every submission in a respectable amount
of time, I fall short once in a while. But I do respond to everybody
and thank them for their patience.
What prompted you to add the writing contest to your format?
The pure enjoyment of it. I believe contests are as equally fun for
the writers as well as the judges. It also gets the audience involved
with the Blue Murder project. The quality of the unique submissions
we receive for our contests is incredible, considering the strict
guidelines we require.
The Editor's Desk is a wonderful intro to the mag. What seems to
be communicated overall is support from the editor, meaning you. I've
noticed that you are even letting people know about unique job opportunities.
It would seem that you love this art form and you love the people
who love it.
You're absolutely right. I love this art form. The on-line market
for fiction magazines/related subjects is still very new. I believe
the more websites involved, the stronger the market. That's the beauty
of the Internet. We all support each other to a certain degree.
Mysterical-e, a new ezine with a desire to create a market for
longer format short stories and to include supernatural and fantastical
with mystery and crime has a philosophy of strong support for the
writers. We are a group of editors that works together to make creative
decisions and to create magazine policy. What advice would you give
us, the collective staff at Mysterical-e?
This one is a tough question to answer. I think editing, like writing,
is a very personal thing. Like too many cooks in the kitchen, this
scenario might pose a challenge for your group. If you all agree on
some basics though, and determine guidelines that cannot be broken,
it might prove to be a new exciting venture on the web. Could be a
great weaving of minds, views and endless editing possibilities. So,
with that in mind, here are some ideas that may answer your question.
These are simply guides I created. If they work for anyone in your
group, I'm glad I could pass them on. If not, no worries.
1. Rejection of submissions is tougher on the editor than the writer.
2. Although it's good to have friends and fans, they should be separate
from an editor-writer relationship.
3. An editor is many times perceived as the "bad guy."
4. A good story submission should jump out of the manila envelope
and say, "Hey man, read me. You will not forget me. I won't let you
5. Never give advice to friends or family about their stories when
you're an editor.
6. Many critics will put you down for your literary publication as
an editor/publisher, (especially an e-zine). Understand this is a
constant. Usually is most apparent on list-serves and other forms
of accessible media.
7. If you can wake up in the middle of the night and start reading
new story submissions, you should be an editor.
8. Everything said and done, this process can be most rewarding. It
just depends on how tough you are.
What do you have to say to the editors of Mysterical-e about those
times when vision is not so clear? You know, when it's not so easy.
Sometimes things can get tough for an editor. How far does he/she
push their market for their publication? If the stories are too cutting
edge, will they turn off the audience? If they are too watered down,
will they have the same effect? I think what is hardest for me is
keeping the magazine consistent in quality and still improving with
Every time a new issue of Blue Murder launches I hold my breath and
wait to see how the critics react to it. That is a very soul-searching
process for me. Because each issue of BMM takes endless hours to prepare.
The last thing an editor wants after this process is for his/her publication
to get negative responses in list-serves, website editorials, etc.
It is by far the hardest rejection to deal with I know of.
Finally, in the beginning stages of your website/ezine development,
you will have many fans who are the writers you will be publishing.
After a few issues are out, a newer audience will develop. This is
your bread and butter, the true test of your publication becoming
viable. They are the ones who purchase memberships/subscriptions,
don't write but love to read. They will be honest with you about your
publication. This is when you find out if you have what it takes.
I want to wish the staff at Mysterical-e the most success possible
with their project. It takes guts to do what you're doing and I respect
that. It's also good to see another mystery ezine on the net. Makes
the market stronger.
Copyright © 1999 Denise