In 1994 Sisters in Crime Australia realised that one of the best ways to uncover, encourage and foster a new generation of women crime writers was to host a writing competition.
The Scarlet Stiletto Awards for women's crime and mystery writing was born.
Little did we - the Convenors of Sisters in Crime, aka the Stiletto judges - know what we were in for or just how successful the competition's primary mission would be.
Two decades - and more than 2,538 entries later - the competition is still going strong and, yes, we can claim full responsibility for kick-starting several writing careers and steering more than a few women towards a life in crime.
First Prize in the Scarlet Stiletto Awards (apart from the money which every writer needs a lot more of) is a fabulous mounted trophy made from a real scarlet stiletto shoe with a steel stiletto-blade type heel.
As well as the First, Second and Third overall-prizes, the Scarlet Stilettos also feature a host of category prizes: Malice Domestic, Best Investigative, Cross Genre, The Body in the Library, Best New Talent, Great Film Idea, Funniest Crime, and a Youth Award. All the category prizes carry a cash prize sponsored by other Australian writers, publishers and bookshops.
The winner of the inaugural Scarlet Stiletto shoe trophy won first prize again the following year, so the Judges initiated the 'two strikes and you're out' rule - to give other women writers a chance to shine.
This turned out to be a good decision because over the next 18 years another four women have done the very same thing. Of course now all Shoe Winners are now determined to earn 'their pair' - whereon they are invited to become judges of the competition.
Seventeen shoe and category winners have gone on to have novels published.
To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Scarlet Stiletto Awards, the 2013 prize-winning stories have been collected together in this e-book.
Sisters in Crime Australia and Clan Destine Press have also published many of the winning stories from previous years in two collections - Scarlet Stiletto: the First Cut and Scarlet Stiletto: the Second Cut.
In this collection, Scarlet Stiletto: short stories 2013 you will find tales filled with history, bigotry and revenge, car chases, dead blondes and PIs, tears, chills and laughter, from 12 very talented women writers from across Australia.
Available now from our Website and KOBO
Coming Soon on KINDLE, LULU and other ebook providers