New Editors for Level Best Books!

ReddawncoverfrontHi All. Barb here. We don’t usually use the blog to break news (except book contracts), but this news involves the handing of the baton from one of us to another of us, so we figured the blog was a good place.

As regular readers know, for the past six years, I’ve been a co-editor, co-publisher at Level Best Books. Level Best was founded in 2003 and helmed by Kate Flora, Susan Oleksiw, Skye Alexander and Ruth M. McCarty. They published seven annual anthologies of short crime stories by New England authors. Then my group of editors, Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Leslie Wheeler and me, took over and did six editions.

It was a true labor of love, and by that I emphasize both the love and the labor. In March, we announced the edition that releases today, Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Red Dawn, would be our last. We put out a call for new editors.

RogueWaveFrontCoverIt was slow going at first. Many highly qualified individuals approached us, but we were looking for a team, and a team we thought could be successful.

Imagine our happiness when a team did approach us that had all the requisite skills and experience, as well as a demonstrated love of short crime fiction and an intention to carry on the traditions of Level Best. Imagine my overwhelming happiness when one of the new editors turned out to be one of our own Wicked Accomplices, Kim Gray! Kim’s fellow editors will be Verena Rose, Harriette Sackler, and Shawn Reilly Simmons, whom many of you may know from their work on the Malice Domestic conference.

Congratulations to the New Editors.

Here’s the full announcement.

New Editors at Level Best Books


Group Plans to Publish 2016 Anthology

Boston, November 6, 2015, Level Best Books announced today that it will continue publishing its annual anthology with a new group of editors at the helm. Level Best, an independent publishing cooperative, has released a collection of crime stories by New England authors every November for the last thirteen years. The current editors, Mark Ammons, Katherine Fast, Barbara Ross and Leslie Wheeler, recently announced that the 2015 collection, titled Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Red Dawn would be their last.

Retiring editor Mark Ammons said, “The new editorial team was by far the most qualified to approach us. We know they will be superb custodians of the Level Best brand.”

The new editors plan to publish a new collection in November 2016 titled Windward, in time for Crime Bake, the annual mystery writers conference sponsored by the New England Chapters of Mystery Writers of America and Sisters in Crime.

“Level Best has produced high-quality anthologies of New England-focused, short crime fiction for many years and we plan to continue the tradition,” said Verena Rose, a member of the new editorial team. Level Best was founded in 2003. Kate Flora, Susan Oleksiw, Skye Alexander and Ruth M. McCarty produced the first seven editions.

The new editors/publishers are all well-known members of the mystery community. Two of the four have received Agatha nominations for their work.

Kimberly Gray is a winner of the William F. Deeck-Malice Domestic Grant, a member of Sisters in Crime and blogs for Scenes from a Baltimore Kitchen and The Wicked Cozy Authors. Her most recent short story entitled “Boardwalk Bound” was published in The Boardwalk Anthology in 2015.

Verena Rose was co-editor of the Agatha Award-nominated Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea: An Interesting and Entertaining History of Malice Domestic’s First 25 Years, published by Wildside Press in 2013. She is also a co-editor of the upcoming Malice Domestic Anthology, Malice 11: Murder Most Conventional, to be published by Wildside Press in 2016.

Harriette Sackler is the author of numerous mystery short stories and is a past Agatha nominee. She has been offered a contract for publication of Love Lives Here: The Story of House with a Heart Senior Pet Sanctuary, a work of non-fiction.

Shawn Reilly Simmons is the author of the Red Carpet Catering mystery series published by Henery Press. Her short story “A Gathering of Great Detectives” will appear in the Malice Domestic Anthology, Malice 11: Murder Most Conventional, to be published by Wildside Press in 2016.

16 Thoughts

  1. I am jumping up and down and clapping! So very delighted that the anthology will continue, and in such competent hands. Congratulations, new editors. And thank you, thank you, outgoing editors, for doing such a splendid job, such a service to short story writers. Whee!

  2. What a wonderful team! Such good news for short story writers and readers.

  3. Wonderful! All of you editors have done an outstanding job assembling a series of strong collections, and I’m happy to know Level Best will go forward with a great new crew.

  4. When the announcement was made that the 2015 anthology would be the last for the present editorial team, I was sad to see such a quality anthology ending, but now, knowing the new hands it will be in, I know it will continue to e one of the best. Appreciation to the outgoing editors and congrats and best wishes to the new team.

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