Short Stories

It wasn't until I began writing gay erotica that anything got published-- and back then, I was confused and/or in the closet, so I published under the name Dirk Strong. I couldn't really tell anyone they were my stories at first, but I did make $75.00 each, and they were fun to write. It was exciting to get something in print after trying for so long.

All these stories have been anthologized and you can read more about them here.

Crime Fiction

Cozy Crime Stories
The original Happy Homicides. Contains my short story "Dog Forbid." Steve, Lili and Rochester journey to Amish country over Thanksgiving with Joey, Mark and Brody. The Valentine's Day edition of Happy Homicides, vol. 2. In my story, "For the Love of Dog," a young woman's body is found in the space next to Gail's cafe. Steve and Rochester return to the Happy Homicides fold with "Riding the Tiger," in which Rochester chases a cat and once again leads Steve into trouble.

litter 2020 200 All three of these stories are also included in my anthology, A Litter of Golden Mysteries. Five other original stories and one piece of flash fiction fill in the gaps between stories and provide quick crimes for Steve and Rochester, the heroes of my golden retriever mysteries, to solve.

A Have Body Will Guard Short Story

My story "Two Steak Taco Combos and a Pair of Sig Sauers" is in Volume 6 of Guns + Tacos, a serial fiction from Down and Out Books. Liam's SEAL buddy Joey is about to be married, but his girlfriend has been kidnapped in Chicago, and Aidan and Liam head there to rescue her. Here's how the story starts:

On a Thursday morning at the end of February, Liam McCullough finished his morning workout, showered, and began a quick round of Call of Duty on his laptop. He was about to splash out into the English Channel on D-Day in command of a platoon of soldiers when the Skype request from Joey Sheridan popped up. He immediately ditched the game and answered the call.

Joey looked like shit. His face was smeared with dirt and—could those be tear tracks on his cheek? Joey was a US Navy SEAL, the last of Liam’s original team. And SEALs didn’t cry.

Unless the world was about to fall apart.

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Angus Greeen Short Stories

"Flaking Out in Wilton Manors"

This story finds FBI agent Angus Green tracking down a drug dealer in his community. Here's how it starts:

As I stood in the crowd at Lazy Dick’s, a gay bar in Wilton Manors near my house, a drag queen called Kitty L’Terr took the stage dressed like a thrift-shop reject from Cats in a leopard-print leotard, long red claws and a lion’s mane made of brown ribbons around her neck. She was the visiting artist that week. That is, if you could all what she was doing art.

It had been a long week at the Miami office of the FBI, where I was a special agent assigned to the Violent Crimes Task Force, and I was happy to chill out at the Sunday evening show, though once Kitty began her medley of feline-inspired songs, I wished I’d brought earplugs with me.

As Kitty yowled, “Take me ou-woo-t tonight,” from the musical Rent, a skinny kid in the front row began dancing faster and faster, twirling around like one of those Middle Eastern holy men. The boy with a blond buzz cut who’d been dancing with him backed away, as did older men in tank tops and shorts, giving the young man room to spin, until he toppled over and hit the wooden dance floor hard.

You can find it in Black Cat Weekly #74. Eventually I hope to put together an anthology of the Angus stories.

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"Going Down in Wilton Manors"

"Going Down in Wilton Manors" is a variant on the Angus Green stories, where he shares narration duties with a shadowy operative named Latimer. (Latimer is based loosely on a character by Barry Eisler called Larison, who I fell in love with.) The story begins in Latimer's voice.

It was supposed to be a quick in and out. The way the flight attendants used to say, back when they were called stewardesses. Our ground time here will be brief. That was the way Latimer wanted it. His ex-wife still lived in Kissimmee, so the less time he spent in Florida the better.

It wasn’t even a real operation. Find this computer geek and convince him that it was in his best interest, and his country’s, not to sell his miniature submarine to someone on the terrorist watch list. And if Latimer could convince Mick Humboldt to help locate the elusive Qaisal Mohammed, and bring him to justice, the powers that be would even overlook Humboldt’s interest in young men who might or might not be underage.

You can find it in Black Cat Weekly #53. Eventually I hope to put together an anthology of the Angus stories.

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"Southernmost Point"

"Southernmost Point" is an Angus Green story in Florida Happens, the Bouchercon anthology. It begins this way:

It started with a selfie, and the drag queen who photo-bombed my boyfriend Lester and me.

Lester represents single-batch whiskeys, based out of Fort Lauderdale, where we both live. His region extends all the way to Key West, and one weekend in January he had a couple of promotions set up at bars on Duval Street, in the center of the entertainment district. I had a couple of days’ vacation coming to me from the FBI, where I work as a Special Agent attached to the Violent Crimes Task Force, so I took them and went along for the ride.

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George Clay Short Stories

"Heir Apparent"

"Heir Apparent" is the first story I wrote about George Clay, a gay private eye in Miami Beach in 1969. George's voice is a bit darker than my usual-- because after all, he's living a closeted life in a very different time. The story appears in Groovy Gumshoes. Here's how it begins:

“Mr. Clay, you have to help me. I’ve been to three other private investigators and none of them will work for a faggot.”

The man across from me was in his fifties and bore a striking resemblance to Liberace, from the wavy brown hair plastered in place with hair spray to the spangly jacket he wore and the multiple rings on his fingers.

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"Cabbage Key"

The second George Clay story is "Cabbage Key," which appeared in the Valentine's Day anthology Cupid Shot Me. Michael Nava wrote the introduction to the collection, and mine was one of his two favorite stories! It begins:

I was in bed with Alex Reyes when he said, “I want to spend Valentine’s Day with you.”

Alex was dark-haired and handsome, his Cuban blood evident in the tint of his skin and the slight burr of his accent. I was bigger than he was, taller and with broader shoulders, but in bed we fit together just fine.

I turned on my side to face him. “We can spend it right here,” I said. “With the new fence around your property, no one will notice if my car is here overnight.”

He shook his head. “I want to go out with you. I want to pretend, even if only for a day or a weekend, that we can love each other in public.”

“I’m not sure about that, Alex,” I said gently. “It’s 1969 and although everyone is talking about free love, most of the time it’s boys with girls. And Miami is still a very conservative southern city, especially with the influx of Cuban émigrés like your family. Your people are generally Catholic and not very open to men loving men.”

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"Oyster Creek"

I've been a member of Mystery Writers of America since I began my career as a crime writer, and one of my bucket list items has been to have a story accepted for their annual anthology. That wish came through with "Oyster Creek,"  is in Crime Hits Home, edited by SJ Rozan. George Clay heads back to Tidewater Maryland after his mother is killed. Here's the beginning:

My phone rang early on Tuesday morning. I was groggy, but the attorneys who often used my services as a private investigator had my home number, and I felt bound to answer because business was slow that spring of 1968.

A syrupy-voiced Southern gal asked if I’d take a collect call from my father, and I agreed. It struck me anew what a cheap bastard he was, and had always been.

“George?” he asked.

“Yes, Pop. What’s up?”

“It’s your mother. She’s dead. Funeral this Friday at St. Agnes Church. Eleven in the morning.”

"The Missing Delegate," a George Clay story set at the Democratic Convention in Miami Beach in 1972, is coming in 2023 in an anthology of 1970s private eyes. 

Another George Clay story, "Billie Jean," will be available in 2023 in an anthology of stories inspired by Michael Jackson songs.

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Other Short Mysteries

"Stepping Stones" is a creepy story I wrote for the Bronzeville Bee, which now seems to be defunct. I hope I didn't have anthing to do with that by writing a reverse Lolita-- a young boy who is being groomed by his stepfather, with gruesome results. I hope to make it available somewhere.   bronzeville bee

My story, "Djinn and Tonic", which appears in the Malice Domestic anthology Murder Most Conventional, begins this way:

There was real magic in the world, and false magic, and it took a genie to tell the difference. That was the basis of Biff Andromeda’s private investigation business – using his skills to grant wishes and solve problems for customers.

The shrill ring of his cell phone woke him from a very pleasant dream involving his girlfriend Farishta and a Turkish carpet that flew in lazy circles around the dome of the Hagia Sophia mosque in Istanbul.

He grabbed the phone from the bedside table and groggily said, “Hello?”

“Biff? It’s Yegor Kleyman. Sorry to call you so early but I’m in terrible trouble and I need your help.”

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"Public Relations" appears in the Great Filling Station Holdup anthology, a collection of crime fiction based on the songs of Jimmy Buffett. Mine comes from a song in the Broadway musical, Don't Stop the Carnival, and begins this way:

When Dick Jeffries was caught on camera barebacking a young male exotic dancer, I kicked into full damage control mode. It wasn’t just that he was a married man and a member of the WASP establishment—he was the CEO of a company that made and marketed condoms.

As soon as Dick notified me, I flew to New York from my home on St. Thomas and took an Uber to his penthouse apartment on Central Park West. It was a bitter cold January day, and by five o’clock the sun was already setting. Was that a metaphor for the end of Dick’s career, and perhaps even my own as his PR consultant? I sure as hell hoped not.

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Short Literary Fiction

My career writing literary fiction kicked off when I attended a writer's workshop at LIU-Southampton where I studied with Russell Banks, fresh from his success with Continental Drift. I had been living in Miami for a little under a year, and already South Florida had started to get under my skin. He assigned us a series of short exercises-- describe a person, describe a place, and so on. One of those was to think of a place your character would never go, and then think of a reason that would make him or her go there.

I wrote about this biker bar in Key Largo called The Caribbean Club, which allegedly had appeared in the Bogart & Bacall film To Have and Have Not. I kind of wanted to go there, because of the Hemingway connection, but I knew that wasn't going to happen. When I finally put all those exercises together, I ended up with a short story called "Angel Dust." I submitted it to a short story contest being run by South Florida magazine (now sadly defunct). I won!

At last, a story in a mainstream magazine! Of course, they edited the hell out of it,] without asking me, and even changed the name to "My Cousin's Keeper." And I don't think they even paid me. From then on, I started publishing short stories in magazine and anthologies. The stories from that period are:

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  • "At The Diner" - In The Family magazine, Winter 2003

  • "Japanese Time" at Verbsap. Well, this story isn't exactly new; I wrote the first draft of it over thirty years ago. I attended the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference three times-- in 1979, 1982, and 1992, though this story probably came out of my first or second trip there, hanging out around the piano in the barn. It took a long time before I really knew what to do with it. The editor at Verbsap was great at helping me figure out exactly how to make it work. 

  • "Rashomon at Green Park Tube Station" originally published at, a short-lived gay and lesbian literary website run by Angela Faith Brown. This is a very different type of story for me, very experimental in form. It takes its inspiration from the movie Rashomon, by Akira Kurosawa, in which the same event is described by different people who witness it.

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I began "What She Left" a long time ago, but only a few years ago did I find a place for it in Sarasota Scene magazine. It's about two brothers discovering the legacy left to them at a beachfront cottage.

  "The Angel Fenstermacher" is another story I wrote long ago, inspired by my travels around South Beach on Friday and Saturday evenings, when the streets were filled with Orthodox men in black hats and coats on their way to or from shul. I was lucky to get it included in an issue of Inspicio magazine.

Romantic Fiction

christmas shift 200 A few years ago, MLR Press was putting together a group of reindeer shifter stories for Christmas. Mine was called Christmas Shift, and it's about a young EMT who helps pull Santa's sled, and the rest of the year uses his skills to help patients in remote wilderness rescue operations. What happens, though, when his boyfriend asks him to come to Florida with him?
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My friend Caren Neile was editing mini-magazines for the Globe, a tabloid newspaper, and asked me to contribute a story for an edition focused on cats and romance. I ended up writing a second for a later edition. The cat in the stories, Pilar, was modeled after my friend Pam's Hemmie, a Hemingway cat with six toes, descended from dozens who roamed around Hemingway's house in Key West. Pilar is an Abyssinian, a breed with a lot of dog-like qualities, and it was fun to write these two stories about her.

  • "The Cat in the Bouquet" as "A Christmas Wedding" in The Cat Came Home For Christmas mini-mag, 1995

  • The Cat Who Went North - The Cat Who Loved Christmas mini-mag, 1994

Eventually I collected these two stories, and three other literary short stories, into The Cat Who Got Married. One of my favorite stories, The Temple of Lights, is in that collection, inspired by my experiences landing at Philadelphia International Airport and seeing a glowing building in the distance. Another story, "A New Palace for Rajah," was a way to remember my friend Vicki Van Lieu's family cat, a very regal one with a glossy black coat.

Inspiration strikes at all different times. I clearly remember driving on I-95 north, passing through the city of Miami, when I heard a voice in my head that said "I lost my aunt at the grand opening of the new shopping center last Wednesday." And I knew immediately the speaker had a very simple voice, in which she'd express the meaning of "lost" in two ways. She and her aunt were separated in the crowd-- and then her aunt died, leaving Ima Jean to say that sentence. Ima Jean was such fun to write about that I wrote two stories about her as she finds her way in the world on her own, for the first time.


I'll be at the Fort Lauderdale Book Fair on Saturday, February 4 from 1-6 PM at Esplanade Park in downtown Fort Lauderdale.

Hope to see you there!

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I'll be at Left Coast Crime in Tucson this March.

Panel information to come.


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I'm looking forward to Malice Domestic April 28-30. Will I see you there?

 An openly gay homicide detective explores the dark corners of sunny Hawai’i.

 What the critics have said about the Mahu Investigations:

“Plakcy keeps the waves of suspense crashing!” In LA Magazine
“Hits all the right notes as a mystery.” Mystery Book News
“Kimo brings needed diversity to the genre, and the author handles the island setting well.” Honolulu Star-Bulletin
“Spotless pace, intriguing plots twists, and an earnest depiction of challenges faced by people transitioning out of the closet.” Honolulu Advertiser
“Recommended to a wide audience.” Reviewing the Evidence

Perfect for fans of Joseph Hansen, Michael Nava and John Morgan Wilson.

Read more: Mahu Investigations

What's new? There's always something!

Here are the latest novels, stories and other books that I've been publishing lately. I like to alternate between a variety of genres, from the cozy world of Steve and Rochester to the police procedurals of the Mahu Investigations. In between, I'm writing about George Clay, a gay private eye in Miami Beach in 1969, and a series of gay romances set in Victorian Britain.

I'm also branching out into translations. See my translation page for more information.

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Blessing of the Dogs: Golden Retriever Mysteries #18


Steve Levitan and Lili Weinstock are on their way to the altar—but dognapping and murder get in the way.

The theft of the vice-mayor’s dog unveils a widespread pattern of canine thefts. Could those poor pooches be on their way to a testing lab or a puppy mill? And how does that case play into the death of a Billy Joel tribute act? Could the caterer they’ve hired be responsible?

It will take all of Steve’s hacking skills and Rochester’s talent for nosing out clues to close these cases before Steve and Lili can walk down the aisle... or will a killer ruin their happy ending?

Blessing of the Dogs blends humor, heart, and an intriguing puzzle only Steve, Rochester and readers can solve. It's the perfect new installment for fans of this charming series.

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Saving the Boxer: Ormond Yard #3


Barrister’s clerk Silas Warner has been a sexual butterfly, flitting from man to man in Victorian London. Until he meets boxer Ezra Curiel, who delivers a knockout punch to Silas’s heart.

But can love thrive between two men with such different backgrounds—a poor clerk from the English countryside and a French-born pugilist who has achieved fame and fortune as the Hammering Hebrew?

Their romance is tested when Ezra is arrested for murder. But Silas and his friends know Ezra must be innocent, because he was in their presence at a soirée at Ormond Yard as the murder was committed.

Can Silas gather the talents of the men of Ormond Yard to prove Ezra’s innocence? Or in the process will they ruin his reputation, and subject him and Silas to prison for sodomy?

Saving the Boxer is a tale of two wounded men finding each other and fighting for their true love match in a restrictive society. It is a 65,000-word story of found family, the warmth of accepting strays, and triumph over adversaries. Third in the Ormond Yard series of historical romances, it can easily be read as a standalone.

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Scout Takes the Lead


Wounded Warrior Finds Love and Healing Through Man's Best Friend

A damaged guy, healed by his relationship with a dog.

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The Virgin Homicides (Mahu Investigations #16)

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Two Dead Women. Will Kimo’s Niece be Next?

The latest Honolulu homicides in the long-running Mahu Investigations series are perplexing, even to a seasoned detective like Kimo Kanapa’aka.

The two female victims, a young art college student and a seasoned HR executive, seem to have nothing in common. Yet as Kimo and his partner Ray Donne delve deeper into the investigation, they sense a connection between the two.

Navigating the murky waters of teen dating, fashion influencers, an experimental power company, and a group of frustrated young men, Kimo is determined to find the truth. But when his own family is threatened, the stakes become personal, and Kimo is forced to race against time to bring the killer to justice.

With twists and turns at every corner, this gripping mystery will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Kimo's quest to protect and serve the people of Honolulu with aloha

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"Billie Jean" (A George Clay story in Thriller)

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She says I am the one... but the kid is not my son

I was invited to participate in this awesome anthology of stories inspired by Michael Jackson's Thriller album, and immediately I knew this was the story I wanted to write.

George Clay is a gay private eye in Miami Beach in 1969, dating a handsome Cuban exile. When a young woman tries to blackmail Alex Reyes by insisting that he is the father of her unborn child, George knows it can't be true, because he and Alex were together the night she says the baby was conceived.

But how can George prove she's wrong without revealing their sexuality in dangerous times?

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Dog Rising (Golden Retriever short story)

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A free golden retriever short story!

A production error meant that this story, which was supposed to appear in Black Cat Weekly, went out as a free issue.

Steve and Rochester are helping Rick out at an Easter egg hunt sponsored by the Stewart's Crossing PD when Rochester discovers an autographed baseball. Whose is it and how did it end up abandoned in this park?

Free download

The Art of the Deal (Angus Green short story)

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Flakka, a crazy-making drug, is being distributed in Angus's neighborhood.

You can find it in Black Cat Weekly #74. Eventually I hope to put together an anthology of the Angus stories.

Black Cat Weekly is a great venue for mystery short stories. If you haven't checked it out, here's an opportunity for you.

Black Cat Weekly #53

Brackish Water

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In the first three books of this series, FBI Special Agent Angus Green has demonstrated courage, intelligence and empathy. One of his core beliefs is the influence his late father has had on his life. But what if he learns that everything he believed about that important relationship might be false?

It's no secret that the relationships between fathers and sons are at the heart of many of my books. Angus Green lost his father at age ten, and the memories he holds of things like looking at an atlas with his dad have had a great impact on his life. 

His new case involves a Cuban refugee who wants to trade knowledge of a stolen Old Master painting for his freedom. From the painting (a portrait I invented of Jesus as a boy with his earthly father) to the motivation of the bad guy, who seeks to outshine his father, to the secret that Angus's mother has been keeping for years.

I loved exploring this story and hope readers enjoy it too.

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