Anthony, Edgar, and Shamus nominee
Author Photos by Amber Bracken
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Michael Bracken maintains a personal blog at
and he posts every third Tuesday at the group blog
Michael Bracken is an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, and advertising copy. An Edgar Award nominee and Shamus Award nominee, he has received multiple awards for copywriting, three Derringer Awards for short fiction, and the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction. The author of several books and more than 1,200 short stories, he has edited twenty-eight published or forthcoming crime fiction anthologies, including the Anthony Award-nominated The Eyes of Texas, and provides editorial services to book and periodical publishers.
Michael regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing at conferences, conventions, and corporate seminars, and has taught non-credit courses for writers at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He’s been a guest speaker in classrooms at various universities, including Baylor University and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
He received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from Baylor University and in June 2021 was named a Prominent Alumnus for his accomplishments as an award-winning mystery writer. He currently serves clients and publishers from his office in Hewitt, Texas.
Michael Bracken is the author of several books, including All White Girls, Bad Girls, Deadly Campaign, Psi Cops, Tequila Sunrise, and Yesterday in Blood and Bone, and more than 1,200 of Bracken’s short stories have appeared in anthologies and in literary, small press, and commercial publications worldwide. One of the most prolific living short-story writers, he had—before the streak ended in May 2018—one or more short stories published each and every month for 178 consecutive months.
Bracken’s story “Disposable Women” (Tough, July 19, 2021) was nominated for a Shamus Award. Bracken and co-author James A. Hearn received an Edgar Award nomination for their short story “Blindsided” (Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, September/October 2021). “All My Yesterdays,” “Getting Out of the Box” and “The Downeaster Alexa” received Derringer Awards; “Aloha Boys,” “Cuts Like a Knife,” and “Love, or Something Like It” were short-listed for the Derringer Award; and “Of Dreams Unborn” appeared on the preliminary ballot for the Nebula Award. In 2016, Bracken received the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement from the Short Mystery Fiction Society.
Bracken’s “Feel the Pain” was selected for inclusion in The Best New Erotica 4 (2005); “Smoked” was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2018; and “Blest Be the Tie That Binds" was selected for inclusion in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021 and in Best Crime Fiction of The Year #1, and was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021.
“Dreams Unborn” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Mystery Stories 2005, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Mystery Stories 2019, “The Town Where Money Grew on Trees” was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Mystery Stories 2020, and "Blest Be the Tie That Binds" was named a Distinguished Story in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2021. “Kissing Cousins” was named a Distinguided Story in The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2023 and was included in the Honor Roll in The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2023.
“Snowbird,” co-authored with Tom Sweeney, was named fourth best story of the year in the Ellery Queen Readers Award, “Wishing Tree” tied for seventh place, and "Sit. Stay. Die.," co-authored with Sandra Murphy, tied for tenth place. Additionally, he contributed to the Anthony Award-nominated anthologies Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea (Down & Out Books), Passport to Murder: Bouchercon Anthology 2017 (Down & Out Books), Crime Travel (Wildside Press), and The Beat of Black Wings: Crime Fiction Inspired by the Songs of Joni Mitchell (Untreed Reads), and to the Lambda Literary Award-nominated anthologies Show-Offs (Cleis Press) and Team Players (Bruno Gműnder).
His short crime fiction has appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Black Mask, Crime Square, Down & Out: The Magazine, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Espionage Magazine, Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, The Private Eye Writers of America Presents: Fifty Shades of Grey Fedora, and in many other anthologies and periodicals.
A multi-genre writer, Bracken has also published erotica, fantasy, horror, and science fiction short stories, and he wrote so many stories for women’s magazines such as True Confessions, True Experience, True Love, True Romance, and True Story that he was dubbed “The King of Confessions” (“Diversify Your Career: Exploring Fiction-Writing Options” by Vivi Anna, Romance Writers Report, July 2010).
Bracken contributed a chapter on writing short fiction to the textbook Many Genres, One Craft (Headline Books, Inc.), is one of five writers featured in Writing Erotica (Self-Counsel Press), and is extensively quoted in The 101 Habits of Highly Successful Novelists (Adams Media). Additionally, he’s written about or been quoted in articles about writing that have appeared in SFWA Bulletin, The Third Degree, The Writer, Writer’s Digest, Writers’ Forum, and other publications.
In early 2020, after serving a year as co-editor, Bracken became editor of Black Cat Mystery Magazine, in 2021 he became an associate editor for Black Cat Weekly, and in 2023 he became a consulting editor to the Level Short imprint of Level Best Books.
He is the creator and editor of Chop Shop and is the co-creator/co-editor (with Trey R. Barker) of Guns + Tacos, both serial novella anthology series published by Down & Out Books. He is also the editor of twenty-eight published or forthcoming crime fiction anthologies, including the Anthony Award-nominated The Eyes of Texas: Private Eyes from the Panhandle to the Piney Woods (Down & Out Books), the three-volume Fedora series (Betancourt & Company), and the multi-volume Mickey Finn: 21st Century Noir (Down and Out Books). Stories from the anthologies and periodicals Bracken has edited have won or been short-listed for the Anthony, Derringer, Edgar, Macavity, Shamus, and Thriller awards and been selected for inclusion in and/or made the extended list of best stories of the year in The Best American Mystery Stories, The Best American Mystery and Suspense, The Best Mystery Stories of the Year, and The World’s Finest Mystery and Crime Stories.
In addition to writing and editing fiction, Bracken is the editor of Texas Gardener, a bi-monthly consumer magazine; editor of Seeds, a weekly newsletter; and for 15 years served as an editor of Senior News, a monthly newspaper distributed throughout Texas. Additionally, he has edited several corporate and organization newsletters. His non-fiction has appeared in numerous publications, and he has received local, regional, and national awards for advertising copywriting, including a Silver ADDY Award presented by the American Advertising Federation.
Currently serving on the Mystery Writers of America Board of Directors, Bracken served as vice president of the Private Eye Writers of America, served three terms as vice president of the Mystery Writers of America’s Southwest Chapter, and served as both president and vice-president of the Short Mystery Fiction Society. He held many elected positions in the Waco Advertising Federation (a chapter of the American Advertising Federation), including president. He is also an active member of International Thriller Writers and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers Association, and he is a former active member of the Horror Writers Association.
He regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing to audiences across the U.S. The many writing conferences and conventions he’s spoken at include A Bridge to Publication, ApolloCon, Archon, ArmadilloCon, Bayou Writers Group Conference, Between the Pages, Bouchercon, Hardboiled Heroes & Cozy Cats, Harriet Austin Writers’ Conference, The Journey Conference (sponsored by The Writer), The Langdon Weekend, Left Coast Crime, Malice Domestic, McKendree Writers’ Conference, Oklahoma Writers Federation’s annual conference, Pennwriters, Puerto Vallarta International Writers Conference, Seton Hill University’s In Your Write Mind conference, South Bay Writers, Texas Library Association, and Woodlands Writers’ Guild’s annual conference. He's spoken to meetings of various writing organizations, including Malice in Memphis, Mystery Writers of America chapters (Mid-Atlantic, New England, and Southwest), Romance Writers of America (Heart of Texas chapter), and Sisters in Crime (Heart of Texas chapter). He’s also taught non-credit writing classes at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville and guest-lectured in writing classes at Baylor University, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and elsewhere.
Bracken received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from Baylor University and in June 2021 was named a Prominent Alumnus for his accomplishments as an award-winning mystery writer. He currently serves clients and publishers from his office in Hewitt, Texas.