San Diego. A place known for its blue skies, sandy beaches, and swaying palms. But what happens when that sunny façade cracks and the darkness beneath is revealed?

We can’t wait to find out.

We’re looking for stories set in and around Southern California, or, if you must, California in general. Murder, mayhem, heists, revenge tales, locked door mysteries, noir—Raymond Chandler is buried in San Diego, by the way—if you write the crime, we’ve got the time (and place).

Our goal is to raise money for our charity (to be announced soon). All of the proceeds, after publishing costs, will  go to the charity, along with the proceeds from our live and silent auctions.

In addition to invited stories from our guests of honor, the anthology will feature stories selected through blind submission.

Working Title: Peril Under the Palms

Editor: Holly West


The stories will be read blind by a small committee of readers and the editor. The editor will make final decisions and then lead the authors through any polishing needed in their manuscripts.

If selected, we will send you a contract assigning Bouchercon the rights for your story for one year after the publication date. After that, the rights revert to you. Expect to hear from us by Spring 2023 with acceptance/rejection news (more details on when very soon).

If your story is selected, you will be paid $75.00 so you meet the guidelines for certain awards in our industry. You will also receive a free copy.

We will be holding a signing at Bouchercon 2023.

Holly West, Editor

Holly West is the Anthony Award-nominated author of the Mistress of Fortune historical mystery series. Her debut, Mistress of Fortune, was nominated for the Left Coast Crime Rosebud Award for Best First Novel. Her short fiction has appeared online and in numerous anthologies, and her latest story, “Just to Watch Him Die,” appears in The Eviction of Hope anthology. She’s the editor of Murder-A-Go-Go’s, an Anthony Award-nominated crime fiction anthology inspired by the music of The Go-Go’s. Her novella, The Money Block, out now from Down & Out Books. Born and raised in California and a former long-time resident of Los Angeles, Holly now lives with her husband, Mick, and dogs, Stella and Brando, in Folsom, California.