Thankfully, I found a niche selling my stories to women's magazine in the UK and overseas, and did so successfully for a number of years. Actually, although crime stories weren't usually sought after back then (in fact 'nothing below the chin' was the unwritten rule, which included any violence or bad language), I did manage to slip the occasional cosy crime past the editors. This was all while trying to get a book deal.. which I finally managed to do.
But I've never lost sight of writing short fiction, because that was my apprenticeship, the learning curve of writing to a market, a word-count and - certainly for the magazines - a style.
Like I said, nothing below the chin.
BUT... I did manage to put out some darker stuff, to assuage my desire to get down to the gritty. And one of these stories came back to me just a few days ago, when, thanks to J. Kingston Pierce's RAP SHEET - required reading for every crime and thriller fan - I learned that a US e-zine I'd sold a story a few years ago is still alive and kicking.
Plots With Guns, it's called, and it does what it says on the tin. Don't expect kittens and cosies because that isn't their style. You can find my story in the archives from March 2010, called 'Shooting Fish'. And it features a spear-gun. Chowk!
I'm sure PWG won't mind me passing on the link so you can read this story. They deserve some attention, so if you like your fiction on the darker side of gritty, this is the place to go (although my story isn't really that dark. But be warned, PWG doesn't take prisoners).
With kind thanks to Rap Sheet and PWG for the use of their material.