Hello, my name is Martin Hill Ortiz and welcome to my web site. I’m a writer, researcher and professor living in beautiful Puerto Rico. Please take a look around. Thank you and gracias. -mho
Active Member, Mystery Writers of America, Florida chapter.
International Thriller Writers, Associate Member
What’s new? Glad you asked.
The past several years those of us in Southern Puerto Rico have endured Hurricanes Maria and Fiona, a cluster of earthquakes that have numbered in the hundreds (and that’s just counting those 4.0 and greater), and the COVID-19 plague. So far 2023 has been free of disasters.
Over the course of 2022, I had eleven short stories appear in various journals and anthologies. Quite a few were Sherlock Holmes related, including five Sherlock Holmes pastiches and four comic tales of Jules Pfennig, the not-so-much greatest detective and next door neighbor to Holmes.
Although I have decided for 2023 to direct more of my efforts to my longer pieces, juggling two novels, I do have five short stories sold.
For this year, Mystery Magazine has published “The Affair of the Wayward Schoolmaster,” a Holmes pastiche, in their June 2023 issue. Holmes uncovers the disturbing reason why a schoolmaster at a select academy for young women tried robbing a jewelry store–only to be shot to death.
Although Bewildering Stories is a non-paying online magazine, I have enjoyed publishing my science fiction pieces with them. They have published “Receiving the Loyalty Glove” in issue 993. (They have just passed their 1000th issue!) Another speculative piece, “You Know,” has been accepted for the follow-up anthology to last year’s Porvenir, Ya.
I have sold two new Jules Pfennig stories. These are “The Adventure of My Very First Case,” where we learn how Pfennig got into the detecting business and another Pfennig mystery, “The Murder of the Very Dead Victim” where Pfennig is hired to help fake an accident.
My story “WTF,” is pending publication in Maniacal Anthology from Freeze Frame Fiction.
I have spent a good deal of my recent writing time on longer pieces, two of which I have been workshopping through MWA writing groups. These should have fruition soon, including one that is high concept and I think, very marketable.
I have a science fiction story published late in January as part of the anthology “Porvenir, Ya. Citlalzazanilli Mexicatl.” Titled, Ap-Hell, it is a short piece of an optimistic future where people leave behind their earthly conflicts as they move on to other planets.
As Sondheim said, “Perpetual anticipation is good for the soul but it’s bad for the heart.” A large batch of stories which have been accepted are finally coming into print.
Several of these stories have appeared in Mystery Magazine: the editor, Kerry Carter, has been generous in recognizing my work. In the March issue. “You Must Remember This” is a comic piece in which an older hitman teaches a younger hitman the skills involved in delivering a kiss of death.
A solve-it-yourself mystery, “The Corpse That Couldn’t Lie,” appears in the August and September editions of Mystery. It involves a dying man’s final declaration and having to sort between similarly named suspects.
In October’s Mystery Magazine? “The Case of the Canny Cabby.” This comic piece tells the tale of Jules Pfennig, former weasel-wrangler and next door neighbor to Sherlock Holmes, who decides to go into the detective business for himself.
Jules Pfennig returns for the November issue! In “The Adventure of the Bewildering Bell,” he is called upon to determine how a church bell can ring itself.
Two other stories involving Jules Pfennig, have been sold to Mystery and are pending publication, “The Adventure of the Black Barnacle” where Moriarty hires Pfennig to steal a jewel: solely to test the security system and, “The Adventure of My Very First Case,” where we learn how Pfennig got into the detecting business.
A straightforward Sherlock Holmes story (no Pfennig!), The Affair of the Wayward Schoolmaster, has been accepted for the 2023 Sherlock Holmes special issue of Mystery Magazine.
More for 2022.
I’ve spent a good deal of time with Sherlock Holmes recently. Editors Derrick Belanger and Richard Ryan of Belanger Books, specialists in Holmes anthologies, have published my Holmes pastiche, The Matter of the Second Death, in the anthology, Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson: Medical Mysteries volume two. Holmes and Watson are called to determine an urgent matter of not the perpetrator or the how of a person’s death, but the when.
A second story with Belanger Books is due out shortly, “The Case of the Injured Orator,” in the anthology Sherlock Holmes: A Year of Mystery 1883. A mysterious death leads Holmes to uncover a dark family secret.
A non-fiction piece, Arthur Conan Doyle Versus the Evil Holmeswill be soon printed in Belanger Books’ Steel True, Blade Straight. tells the story of how, during his 1894 American tour, author Arthur Conan Doyle’s trip paralleled that of the serial killer, Dr. Henry H. Holmes.
Between Sherlock Holmes and his neighbor, I’ve penned over 50,000 words in stories this past year (along with my long-form projects with hope for future sales).
Finally, my story “WTF,” has been accepted to the Maniacal Anthology from Freeze Frame Press.
I’ve had a short story titled “Down the Well” appear in the July issue of Mystery Magazine. It’s a bit more comic than my typical pieces.
Speaking of comic, I’ve had a short story, “Philosophy 101,” appears in the anthology “Die Laughing.” A 500 page collection uniquely devoted to humorous mystery stories.
“Ghost of a Ghost” appeared in the April edition in Mystery Weekly.
I have sold enough stories to Mystery Writers of America-approved magazines to apply for MWA membership. I received my acceptance in January and am now an active member of the Florida Chapter. Woot!
2020, A Summary of published works.
Literature-wise for 2020, I had three short stories published in Mystery Weekly Magazine, the April, May, and June issues. These are a continuing series following the story of Phillip Prince, an ex-emergency tech on the run from a mysterious danger. The first entry in this series, Bag Man, gained an honorable mention in the anthology, The Best American Mystery Stories, 2019. Look for the stories in the April, May and June 2020 issues.
I had the short story, Last Howl of the Chili Dogs, appear in the March 7th issue of The Weird and Whatnot. My story made the cover art and can be read by downloading the free sample of the magazine.
A poetry book, Tears from the Glass Eye, was selected as a finalist for the Andrés Montoya Poetry Prize out of Notre Dame. Along with the other finalists I was remotely part of the 2020 Dodge Poetry Festival where I recited my works and joined a panel.
Another poetry collection, Summer Matters, was a finalist for the Ramblr Magazine chapbook contest. I appeared (remotely) at their book launch where, once again, I recited my works and joined a panel. Four of these poems appeared in their magazine.
Less recent news:
I have a short story, Francis Valencia Ortiz, appearing in the October 2019 issue of Rendez-Vous Magazine. This magazine has some classy stuff. My story begins:
For all his life, Frank had been at war with the willows. They sprouted in and around the stream, clogged the irrigation ditches, and choked off the water flow. His land, a narrow plain between steep mountain shoulders, received few hours of direct sunlight, and the already challenged crops could not support the shock of thirst: he needed to keep them well watered. So Frank burned the willows, dowsed them with poisons, or latched a chain around their bases using his Power Wagon to yank them out by their roots. They always grew back.
The story is based on the life of my grandfather. I wrote a blog post about him, including a poem.
July has brought the short story, Elwood and Vera, to Airgonaut magazine. It’s a tragicomedy. Two lovers have particular handicaps, one on the left side and the other on the right. When they stand in one formation they share a bit of oblivion. When they stand in the other formation, they are oblivious to the world.
In June I had a short story, Deep in the Never-Night, published in Dream of Shadows. It is an intense science-fiction piece. The world has fallen to an invasion. However, the creatures have found the atmosphere unfavorable, except for the most northern regions. In Greenland, Inuit are caretakers of the giant maggot-like offspring of the visitors.
Neglected by the Southern world, the Inuit tribe’s prospects are bleak. One woman has a plan to wake up the world. An excerpt:
Deep in the Never-Night
A quarter past midnight and the distant maggots howled. To the south, the never-setting sun lazed on a hilltop. Across the sky, an auroral curtain danced, its fabric ruffled by the solar wind. A more earthly breeze blew onshore from Baffin Bay.
Just beyond the village limits, frost crusted the land, covering the karibu lichen and the weather-smoothed stones. Only the cold was jagged. Farther on, a broad rim of earth had been salted, creating a band of no man’s land, a boundary to forewarn trespassers. This flat expanse was free of life save that of a solitary, unsteady figure.
Lacking a decent set of gloves, the widow Eqilana wore oven mitts. She had on her corduroy jacket – not her thickest, but her least-torn. To make it warmer, she had plumped its lining with rags. She carried a leather cinch-sack slung over a shoulder. Rounding her waist, an apron served as a utility belt. Its slots and pockets were stuffed with a spoon carved from a walrus rib, several twist-wrapped morsels of taffy, a pair of wire cutters, and her late husband’s revolver.
Martin Hill Ortiz is a researcher and professor at the Ponce University of Health Sciences in Ponce, Puerto Rico, where he lives with his wife and son. He has three novels in publication: A Predatory Mind, Never Kill A Friend, and A Predator’s Game, along with a novella, Dead Man’s Trail. He has had roughly thirty short stories published in various journals and anthologies including Haunts, Mystery Weekly, Miami Accent, Die Laughing, and Over My Dead Body.