If you think you can whip up a devilish Christmas story in just two days, check out Chuck Wendig's "The War on Christmas" flash fiction challenge. The theme is literal - write a war about or against Christmas, or any other winter holiday (Hanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa). Details are on his Terrible Minds blog link above.
Rhys Bowen, creator of the Royal Spyness and Molly Murphy mysteries, has been featuring her Twelve Days of Christmas blog posts, with the history and traditions of Christmas carols, Christmas trees, and more.
Want some fun ideas for Christmas treats? The authors at Mystery Lovers Kitchen has several for you, including Caramel Corn, a Christmas Cheesecake and Dark Chocolate Peppermint Oreos. (Until Nabisco makes gluten-free Oreos, I'll just have to watch the rest of you enjoy these!)
GalleyCat has assembled links to 25 Free Christmas eBooks, from A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, to the "The Gift of the Magi" by O. Henry and more.
In-between shopping, decorating, cooking and traveling, why not read a Christmas-themed mystery story or novel? Janet Rudolph has updated her detailed bibliography of holiday books, which has gotten so large, she has to spread it out over several Mystery Fanfare blog posts. Check out the links for books from authors who last names end in A-D, E-H, I-N and O-R (with S-Z coming soon).
The Xmas version of Yellow Mama is out, with "twisted tales of Holiday Horror and Hardboiled Noir." Meanwhile, the latest issue of All Due Respect features the story "A Job for Two" by Eric Beetner. (Hat tip to Chris Rhatigan).
Although not specifically crime fiction-related, the editors of the anthology OH SANDY! An Anthology of Humor for a Serious Purpose, are seeking stories of humorous fiction, poetry and non-fiction of up to 3000 words that are about experiencing a disaster, surviving a hurricane, or living in New Jersey. All proceeds will go to benefit The FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties for Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. The deadline for submissions is the end of December.
It's never too early to plan ahead, especially if it involves a trip to CrimeFest 2014 in the U.K. The conference is sponsoring a Flashbang micro-fiction contest, with the winner receiving two weekend passes to the event (travel and accommodations not included). A panel of judges headed by author Zoe Sharp will pick the best 150-word story, with other prizes and website publications for finalists. The deadline is March 31, 2013.
The Q&A roundup this week includes Kate Stine, publisher of Mystery Scene Magazine, about the history and future of the magazine and how she found true love at a mystery convention; Quentin Bates takes volleys from Declan Burke; Lloyd Shepherd visits Scene of the Crime; and Thuglit's Todd Robinson takes the 10-Question Challenge.
A reminder: you still have time to comment on yesterday's blog post survey and/or send along an e-mail to email@example.com to enter the drawing for one of 2012's top 15 crime fiction novels.
Also: I'm participating in the blog meme for authors, "The Next Big Thing," and I'd love to have you join me for my answers to The Big Ten questions over at my BV Lawson blog.