April 20, 2013 -Well, where has the time come? Jeez Louise, my apologies for not updating this site more regularly. I guess you can pick any excuse you want... too many deadlines, too many distractions, or, er, just laziness
Anyway, glad to report progress on a number of fronts. My latest Lewis Cole novel, "Broken Harbor," has been submitted to my editor, and I'm keeping fingers and toes crossed that all will work out.
I've also sold a number of short stories, and am up to the 125 sold mark. Hard to believe, eh? It sounds like a tremendous number but I think of other mystery authors who have matched or exceeded me --- John Lutz, Ed Hoch and Doug Allyn --- and I know there are plenty more stories to write.
Speaking of stories, I've finally finished my non-fiction book about my experience in "Jeopardy!" Called "My Short, Happy Life in 'Jeopardy!'" and it's available at Amazon.com by clicking here It's also available on the Nook platform from Barnes & Noble, by clicking here And, I'm pleased to say it can also be had on Smashwords by clicking here.
I can't believe how much hard work it took to complete this book! Non-fiction is hard! I mean, I do love writing fiction but let's be real, it's made-up. You can create characters, scenes and whole universes from whole cloth.
But non-fiction... she's a stern mistress. Attention must be paid, and facts must be correct. I based the book on my notes, memories and transcripts from the two games I was privileged to play in... and I hope some of my readers and fans take a look at a whole different part of my life.
Yet I must return to my first love, fiction, and I'm currently working on a few new short stories and outlining a thriller that I certainly hope will make a serious splash when I'm done.
Thanks, once again.
Oh, in case you haven't notice, all of my e-books are now available on Smashwords.com as I expand my self-publishing empire...
December 21, 2012 -Well, it looks like the Apocalypse has been delayed... hopefully for a considerably long time to come
First of all, thanks to all my friends and readers who saw me on "Jeopardy!" and congratulated me for my appearances. Again, I wish I could had played longer, but that's why it's called a game show. I had the time of my life, and I'm still working on an e-book about my appearances.
The past several weeks have been very, very busy and productive for me, with progress being made on a number of projects, including the eighth in my Lewis Cole series. That book is tentatively titled "Broken Harbor," and I hope to get it out to my agent sometime in the new year.
The other newest project to report is the third e-book in my Empire of the North series. Called "The Noble Prince," it's the concluding (or maybe not..) series that takes place in North America hundreds of years after The War of the World sent most of the nations of the earth back to barbarism. It has sword fights, emperors, betrayals, airships and lots of action, love, heroism and betrayal.
This is a new adventure for me, not only writing a multi-volume series of books, but also publishing it new on the Kindle and Nook e-book platforms.
The cover art again is done by the very, very talented Jeroen ten Berge.
If you'd like to order "The Noble Prisoner" from Amazon, do click here.
In the meantime, happy holidays to all of my readers and fans out there. I hope the next few weeks bring all of you peace and joy, two things very much in short supply on this poor globe of ours.
October 8, 2012 -The past couple of weeks have been the most fun and surreal of my life
Back on Wednesday, July 25, I was in Los Angeles, taping an appearance on the famed game show "Jeopardy!" At the time of my last posting (see below) I couldn't reveal what had happened.
But now, a week after my last appearance, all can be revealed.
During that Wednesday's taping, I was one of the last contestants to be called up. I played the game against Erica and Stephanie, both very sharp women, and Erica was the returning champion. It was a hard-fought game, which I ended up... winning!
What an experience, being a "Jeopardy!" champion.
And thanks to my technical wiz, my wife Mona, that show is available below:
After I won that show, there as a scramble among the producers and me, since I had to fly back to L.A. less than a week later to tape my follow-up experience. Going back and appearing in the studio as a "Jeopardy!" champion was almost as surreal as being there in the first place. And again, thanks to Mona, here's that show:
It was a good, strong show, but alas, all good things do come to an end, and I did not return as a "Jeopardy!" champion. But it was a wonderful, unique and incredible experience, and at some point, I intend to write an e-book about my exploits.
September 22, 2012 -Why, where the heck did the summer go?
It's been quite a busy, busy and productive summer, with lots of projects coming along.
But the real highlight of the summer had to be something that I've dreamed of doing for quite some time, and which came true.
In addition to being a writer and a lover of history, I'm also a trivia geek, and my wife and I love watching the game show "Jeopardy!" Earlier this year, I was watching "Jeopardy!" when Alex Trebek announced the on line test, which is the first step in becoming a "Jeopardy!" contestant. I've taken the test before with no results, and decided to give it a try again.
The online test consists of 50 questions, with just a few seconds for each question. I took the test and a number of weeks later, I got an e-mail saying I had passed the test, and I was invited to attend an audition at the Boston Sheraton. So I got dressed up and went to Boston, and in a small audience of other folks, took yet another 50 question test, talked to the contestant coordinators, and played a practice game.
When we left, we were told that about 100,000 people take the online test. From there, 2,000 past the test and are invited to the audition. And from *that* number, 400 to 500 are picked to be in a contestant pool. The producers of "Jeopardy!" pick contestants from that pool for the next 18 months, and basically, it's "don't call us, we'll call you."
We were also told that "Jeopardy!" starts making calls on June 1, and that in the meantime, we should just relax and not obsess over getting a phone call.
So I didn't obsess.
And I got the phone call from "Jeopardy!" on June 1.
I flew out to L.A. and taped my appearance on Wednesday, June 25, and it will air this Friday, September 28.
So how was it? Extremely fun and surreal. I mean, it's a heck of a rush to stand on the actual Sony sound stage where "Jeopardy!" is taped, and realize that up to 10 million people will be watching me and the other contestants.
And how did I do?
Sorry, can't say at this point.
But it was an extraordinary, fulfilling experience, and I expect in the next month or two, I'll write a novella about my experiences and put it up on Kindle and Nook.
Speaking of self-publishing, I also had the second book of my "Empire of the North" series, called "The Noble Prisoner", published last month. It's a treat to see these works available to my readers.
Once again, the cover art for this edition is by the extraordinarily talented Jeroen ten Berge, who's done all of my e-books, and if you'd like to order "The Noble Prisoner" from Amazon, do click here.
In addition, I've been busy with short stories and other projects, and I thank you again for visiting.
June 19, 2012 -Today I took a huge jump in becoming more active in self-publishing, a huge experiment I believe will pay off in the end.
Last year I completed something entirely different for me, a post-apocalytpic science fiction novel that could be read by both adults and young adults. The novel reached almost 600 pages, but after lots of writing, re-writing and editing, I was basically told to put the novel aside, that it was unsaleable.
I brooded for a while over that, and with the continuous explosion of authors publishing their own works on either Amazon or Barnes and Noble, I decided to --- for the first time --- self-publish an original work.
It takes place a few hundred years in the future, after an event called the War of the World decimated humanity and cast most of the Earth back to 19th century technology. In North America, there's only one industrial civilization, the Empire of the Nunavit, which arose from a place once called Canada.
From this empire comes Sire Armand de la Couture, a young, pampered noble, who travels south in an airship with his father --- the Minister of Trade --- to visit a city-state called Potomick, once the capitol of a long-dead empire called Amerka.
While in Potomick, Armand visits a temple where a bearded figure sits in a chair. He's known as Father Abram, a leader who once freed the slaves, and who is an inspiration to those who live in Potomick. When Armand travels back to his home empire, he's filled with questions about his own society, questions that will upend everything he knows, and which will put his life in danger.
"The Noble Warrior" has airships, barbarians, sword fights, ancient secrets, family betrayals, Imperial intrigue, and lots of thought and action. I expanded the original manuscript and broke it into three books, what I'm calling my Empire of the North series. "The Noble Warrior" was released today; "The Noble Prisoner" will come out in July, and "The Noble Prince" will come in July.
The cover art for this edition is by the extraordinarily talented Jeroen ten Berge, who's done all of my e-books, and if you'd like to order "The Noble Warrior" from Amazon, do click here.
A Nook version will be available in just a few days.
Wish me luck; this is a gamble, but I feel strongly I'm making the right step.
May 26, 2012 -As we in the United States commemorate Memorial Day, I'm very pleased to announce that one of my most favorite novels is now available in both the Amazon and Nook e-book formats.
BETRAYED is a thriller that takes another look at the enduring mystery of the MIA's from the Vietnam War, and where I take what I think is a unique approach to the solution to this mystery.
This thriller was one of the easiest novels I've ever written --- about four months, which is extraordinary --- and is one of my favorites. I've gotten a fair number of e-mails from Vietnam-era veterans over the years who found this novel moving, and I cherished each one of their messages.
This edition of BETRAYED is an expanded edition, with material never appearing before, and it also includes a special Author's Afterward.
It's a novel that means a lot to me, and I hope those of you have never read it, now take this opportunity to do so.
The cover art for this edition is by the extraordinarily talented Jeroen ten Berge, and if you'd like to order BETRAYED from Amazon, do click here.
Or if you use the Nook, do click here.
Work continues on a number of writing projects, and I hope to give a more thorough update very soon indeed.
February 23, 2012 -On Facebook there's been references by my fellow writing friends Dana Cameron and Toni L.P. Kelner about attending the recent Boskone science fiction convention, hosted by the New England Science Fiction Association (NESFA), and it brought back very fond memories of the first --- and alas, only --- time I attended Boskone. But I can honestly say this convention was a life-changing experience.
It was in 1977, and at the time, I was a high school senior in New Hampshire, and a serious science fiction fan. I read all the SF magazines at the time --- Analog, Galaxy, Amazing, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Worlds of IF --- and also subscribed to scores of fanzines. I was also active in NESFA (through the mail, of course. This was way pre-Internet times, and the chances of my parents allowing me to drive to Boston by myself was nil.) I also had hopes of someday becoming a writer. I also knew the chances of me going to Boskone was also pretty nil.
But I saw an ad in the Boston Globe advertising a special family getaway deal on the same weekend as Boskone, and God bless my parents, they agreed to go and take me and my seven-year-old brother. I literally counted down the days until the convention weekend. Boskone took place at the Sheraton in downtown Boston, and I know it's hard to believe, but this was the first time I had ever stayed at hotel. After getting settled in --- and God bless my parents again --- they gave me free rein to hang out at the convention over the weekend by myself.
That Friday evening, I remember just wandering around with a silly grin on my face. I had been an enthusiastic but solitary SF fan, and it was just so intoxicating to be among hundreds of other fans for the very first time in my life. I ran into a number of NESFA members, including Tony Lewis, who was the chair of that convention. I also saw authors among the mix --- Hal Clement! Ben Bova! Lester del Rey! --- and was just having a blast.
After attending a couple of panels, going to the art gallery and the area where books and collectibles were being sold, I found myself at a pool party in the hotel. Not that I planned to go swimming, but authors were in attendance, and I quickly found myself talking to David Gerrold, the author of "When HARLIE Was One," "The Man Who Folded Himself," and the classic Star Trek episode, "The Trouble With Tribbles."
I looked at his nametag and said, "You're David Gerrold!" And he looked at my nametag and laughingly said "You're Brendan DuBois!" We started talking about SF, television, and writing, and I found myself in a weird, dreamlike state: me, a seventeen year old kid from a mill town in New Hampshire, talking to David Gerrold. I literally could not believe it was happening.
Then it got better.
He checked the time and said he was going to dinner with his friend Larry and Larry's wife, Fuzzy Pink. Would I like to join them? It took about a nanosecond or two to say yes, and as we were going to the Sheraton's restaurant, he casually mentioned that his friend was SF author Larry Niven, and his wife Marilyn, a/k/a Fuzzy Pink.
If it was possible to have a coronary when you're 17, I'm sure I would have keeled over right there.
We had a lengthy dinner at the Sheraton's restaurant (I ordered the cheapest thing on the menu, a hamburger patty) and there were lots of laughs as the evening progressed. There was talk of SF, of movies, television, and a hilarious re-make of "King Kong" that caused a nearby dining couple to come by and congratulate Larry and David on their ideas. I still couldn't believe that I was there, and that David, Larry and Marilyn were so kind and gracious to someone they had just met.
Throughout that whole dinner, I was treated as an equal, as a soon-to-be peer, and I knew then and there, I really wanted to be a writer. I also knew that at some point, I was going to have a novel published, and that I would dedicate it to David and Larry in remembrance of this extraordinary evening.
Over the convention weekend, I went to many panels, ran into Larry Niven and David Gerrold again, and at the ongoing film festival, a trailer for an unknown movie called "Star Wars" was shown, to cheers and applause.
Then, alas, the convention came to an end on Sunday. I ran into David one more time, he autographed a copy of his latest novel for me --- "Moonstar Odyssey" --- and slipped his business card into it. And then it was time to go home, and the next day, it was back to being a solitary fan at high school. College beckoned and so did journalism, and although my love of SF never went away, I quickly became less active in fandom.
Becoming a published author took longer than I imagined, but I kept at it, and never gave up. And sure enough, the frontpiece for my fifth novel --- "Buried Dreams" --- says, "Dedicated with thanks to the authors Larry Niven and David Gerrold who in 1977 once told a young man he, too, could be a writer some day."
So there you go.
Oh, one more thing. If I turn around in my office chair and look at the bookshelf behind me, there's my autographed copy of "Moonstar Odyssey," with David Gerrold's business card still inside.
It's one of my most cherished possessions.
February 12, 2012 -What a strange winter we've had here in New Hampshire. About five or so weeks before the start of Spring (hurray!) and we still only have a bit of snow and ice on the ground... not that I'm complaining, it's just very, very odd.
This New Year has started off with a bang with a new novel of mine being in final edits before being sent off to my agent, a couple of projects coming to fruition, and outlining and plotting going on for the next Lewis Cole novel.
In the home life, our new boy Spencer is adjusting fairly well to our household, though he still tugs at the leash like he's trying to haul a wagon or something, and he still barks and whirls like a dervish when we visit the vet. But he still has a sweet, playful soul, and we're happy to have him.
In a few weeks I'll be traveling to Orlando to take part in Sleuthfest 2012, a famed mystery and writing convention put on by the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to a few warm days away from the chill of New Hampshire!
January 21, 2012 -So now we're in a new year, and I hope 2012 is a much better, happier and profitable year for all of us... and after the results of 2011, I don't think that's much of a stretch to accomplish.
I'd like to start off with some amazing news that I'm still finding it hard to believe, but here we go: one of my short stories has been optioned by CBS Television for possible development as a television series. What makes it even more delightful is that this is being taken care of by Timberman/Beverly Productions, a production team associated with my favorite television series on FX, "Justified."
Having said this, I know that it's a long-shot that a series will actually occur, but it's still a wonderful development. So light a candle, say a prayer, or cross your fingers on my behalf, and you have my thanks.
This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and I'm happy to report that my alternative history novel, RESURRECTION DAY, a thriller showing what might have happened if that crisis turned into nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, is now available on both the Kindle and the Nook platforms.
Previously published in 1999 by Putnam, it received the Sidewise Award for Best Alternative History Novel of the Year, and also received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist. It was also published overseas in Germany, Great Britain, Japan, and several other countries.
The cover art for this edition is by the extraordinarily talented Jeroen ten Berge, and if you'd like to order RESURRECTION DAY from Amazon, do click here.
Or if you use the Nook, do click here.
I'm glad there's now an opportunity for this novel to get a new audience. So many readers have asked if this book would ever become available again, and I'm glad to make it happen.
And on another good note, I'd like to introduce the latest member of our family, Spencer, a black and white English Springer Spaniel. After the passing of our beloved Tucker last year, Mona and I knew we would eventually bring somebody new into our household: it's too quiet and empty without a dog around.
So Mona kept view on the Internet and found Spencer at a shelter in Pennsylvania. So the day after Christmas, we left New Hampshire at 5 a.m. to pick up Spencer, and we got back at 8 p.m. that night.
It made for a long day --- with Mona doing most of the driving --- but it was worth it to bring this boy into our lives.
He had a bout of kennel cough when he got home, and is adjusting fairly well to his new environment. Our one-eyed cat Bailey was not impressed during the first few days, but even he's now adjusted.
So again, here's for a great New Year for all of us.
December 10, 2011 -After that sad note posted below, I'm glad to release some new information. I just finished the first draft of a novel that I'm very exited and pleased about. I want to keep the details under wraps until I'm further along in the process, but it was a lot of fun to write, and I think it has great potential.
I'm very happy to report that an older novel of mine, FINAL WINTER, is now available on both the Kindle and the Nook platforms. It was published a number of years ago by Five Star Books, and now I'm happy to see it available again to my new readers.
A post 9/11 tale, FINAL WINTER talks about the extraordinary steps that the U.S. government went to prevent another attack from taking place on American soil. Special "Tiger Teams" are set up to work with very little oversight and lots of power to stop the next attack. Consisting of experts from the CIA, NSA, the military, Centers for Disease Control and other agencies, one Tiger Team is working desperately to prevent an airborne anthrax attack from taking place over America's cities.
But there's a traitor within the Tiger Team, a traitor who is working diligently to ensure the attacks take place...
Once again the cover art was done by the incredibly talented Jeroen ten Berge of New Zealand, and if you'd like to order FINAL WINTER from Amazon, do click here.
Or if you use the Nook, do click here.
I'm glad there's now an opportunity for this novel to get a new audience.
December 9, 2011 -There are updates and then there are updates... and this one will be sad and lengthy. Let me start by saying if you're not a dog lover, feel free to skip this update and check back tomorrow.
Early Saturday morning, November 19th, Mona and I lost the dearest, sweetest soul it's been our privilege to ever know, when our English Springer Spaniel, Tucker, passed away after giving us more than seven years of laughs, love, pure joy and play.
To fully tell the story of this special dog, we need to go back to 1999, when Mona and I purchased a weekend place up at Conway Lake. The first weekend we moved in, we were met by a small English Springer Spaniel named Mulligan, who came to us and dropped a rock at our feet. We quickly learned that Mulligan loved to play fetch, whether it was a tennis ball, stick, rock or pine cone. It didn't matter; the play was the thing.
Mulligan lived with the neighboring Glynn family, but we quickly adopted him as our own when we were at Conway Lake. It quickly became a standing and fun joke with the Glynns that when we arrived on Friday evening at the lake, that Mulligan knew we were there and ran over to greet us. When the Glynns traveled to Florida, we "dog sat" Mulligan by taking him home with us. He was funny, playful dog, and we loved him to pieces. He loved us back, but we always knew that the Glynn family came first.
One evening, Mulligan was in bed with us when we talked to Ann Glynn on the telephone, who was checking in from Florida. Mulligan heard Ann's voice and instantly jumped off our bed and ran to the door, convinced his family was there to pick him up.
In 2003, Mulligan became ill with congestive heart failure, and died that December. We were all heartbroken, but Mona and I knew that we would have to have an English Springer Spaniel again in our lives.
We applied to New England English Springer Spaniel, a wonderful outfit that places abandoned or neglected English Springer Spaniels with adoptive families in New England. After our application was approved, we were thrilled to see a six-year-old English Springer Spaniel named Jeter up for adoption. His photo --- which appears nearby --- showed him holding a tennis ball, and we were instantly reminded of Mulligan.
One special weekend in April 2004 we drove up to Maine, to meet Jeter at his foster family home. He was originally from Connecticut, and had been in Maine for about a week. In our car was our old black and white cat Oreo, for we knew Oreo would have to get along with Jeter if we were to have a happy home.
When we got to the home, we saw a dog standing in the window, looking out, and this turned out to be Jeter. Oh, he was such a happy, playful dog, joyous at meeting us. We chatted with the nice woman who had kept him for us, and after papers and payment were exchanged, we left with a bed for Jeter, his food bowl and a ball, which he kept in his mouth. He had no hesitation into jumping into the car with us; it was like he sensed he had finally found his forever home.
Oreo seemed fine with Jeter, and as we drove to Conway, Mona reached over and rubbed his face, and said, "Oh, Jeter, I love you," and I knew we now had a dog in our family.
He quickly adjusted to our living quarters, and he quickly adjusted to his new name... no offense to Yankee fans, but he wasn't going to stay as Jeter. His new name was Tucker, and he took to it almost instantly.
As we stayed with us, we found out certain quirks that made us wonder about his previous life. Despite the fact he didn't like to be alone, he never went down to the cellar. Someone hitting a fly or a moth with a rolled-up magazine or newspaper would either make him leave the room, or would leave him with the shakes. And while he was outside with me, he'd stay by my side while I worked with a chainsaw or leafblower, but inside the house, the sound of the vacuum cleaner would make him flee.
But my word, the joy he had in every day life. He would get up each morning, excited about the day's possibilities, and his little tail would wag so had we would call him propeller butt. He loved long walks, playing with a ball, and going for swims. His swimming style was funny, making Mona and I believe he never swam before; he would sometimes wade out into the water and make giant, leaping jumps, like he was a goat or something.
He had no strangers; only friends he had never met. He loved meeting new people and new dogs, and if he was loose outside with us, he would immediately run to make friends with any children he came across.
Being new to the dog owning life, we were probably too easy on our boy. We let him rest on our couches, and he often shared our bed. One of the things special about Tucker is that if either one of us took to bed ill, he would want to come up and cuddle and share the bed with us.
We hardly ever had to scold him; a few times for inappropriate barking, another few times for wandering too far afield. I always felt like a heel after scolding him, and I made sure after a few minutes that I gave him extra loving and attention. And he'd lick my hands and face, and his deep brown eyes would be wide with pleasure.
Like most dogs, the love of food and begging were a favorite past time. A few weeks after he joined us, I made some microwave popcorn for Mona and me, and were surprised when Tucker trotted over and begged for kernels. And how could we say no? We tried to be judicious at meal time but it was hard, and one of his favorite treats was ice cream. Mona always made sure that there was just a little bit left in her cup so Tucker could lick it clean.
He loved everyone but there were some folks that were just special in Tucker's heart. One was Mona's mom, Jeannette. Tucker loved riding in the car with his head in her lap, and he would stick by Jeannette's side when she visited with us. And more often than not, he would jump in bed with her and spend the night; which led Jeannette to jokingly complain the next morning that he had stolen the bed during the night.
Tucker also had a secret life that we knew very little about. One morning, in talking to a neighbor lady in Exeter, we found out that for the previous several months, Tucker had been visiting her house, playing with her own dog, and stealing the dog's treats and toys. While he offered to replace the stolen toys, she just laughed and said she didn't mind. That was our boy Tucker.
For a number of years, Mona worked at a medical device company in Massachusetts, and Tucker and I would go there to visit, or to take part in a company barbecue. Tucker knew his way to Mona's office, and her co-workers delighted in playing with him and feeding him barbecue treats.
As years past, there were medical challenges -- Tucker had both of his cruciate ligaments replaced --- and other surgeries, but Tucker never complained. If he was bandaged or wore one of those Elizabethen collar, he never tried to tear anything off. He trusted us to take care of him. He was just happy to be with us, day after day, night after night. There's just something so special to come home and to be greeted at the door by Tucker, grinning and tail wagging furiously.
For Tucker, summer meant playtime in the fields, and hours and hours of swimming with Mona, playing with a soggy tennis ball. Winter meant playing in the snow, rolling around, taking a ball and burying it, and then sticking his head in the snow to try to find it. Often Mona and I would play in the snow with him, sometimes only seeing his butt emerge from the snow, tail wagging, and other times, he'd lift up his face, covered with snow and looking like it had been dipped in confectionary sugar.
When I worked in my office, he either stayed with me there or stretched out in the adjacent hallway. And when Mona worked in her home office, he would join her there as well. Over the years, we lost our cat Oreo, and Roscoe came to live with us, and when Roscoe passed, Bailey joined in. Tucker took all three cats with good humor; they scared him sometimes but he always wanted to be friends with them.
We trusted him to go outside on his own, and sometimes he'd just play around in the yard by himself, and sometimes, he'd just lay down on the lawn, looking at the house, waiting and hoping someone would come out and play with him. During those times, there were always dishes to wash, mail to go through, or laundry to sort, but now I wish I had gone and played with him more.
Time passed on and our boy eventually slowed down. His hearing and eyesight started going, and arthritis attacked his spine and joints. White fur appeared about his eyes, but he still had energy and the heart and soul of a puppy. Many times he would meet someone and they would be stunned to learn of his age.
Earlier this year, before our boy turned 13, he started having urination accidents. After a number of tests --- it was first thought he had a kidney or bladder infection --- our superb vet, Dr. Sonnya Dennis of Stratham-Newfields Veterinary Hospital, told us the news we were dreading to hear: our sweet boy had a cancerous tumor in his bladder that was inoperable.
The possibility of chemotherapy was offered but was almost immediately rejected; it would only gain him a few weeks more of life at a cost of being miserable for months. Mona said that we would give him the best summer possible, which we did. Although he wore a child's diaper in the house --- to ensure no more urination accidents --- he still had lots of life and energy. He went for walks nearly every day with Mona and I, and played ball, and swam and swam over the summer, playing with neighbor children.
One small child fell in love with Tucker, and as I walked her back to the beach one day, my voice choked with emotion, I asked her for one favor: please remember Tucker forever, and she promised she would.
Our routines changed; because Tucker needed to go outside because of the incessant pressure of the tumor in his bladder, Mona and I would get up two, three or four times during the night, to let him out to do his business. We ensured we never left him alone for more than three or four hours at home, but we adjusted. How could we not?
As summer went into fall, Tucker stayed active, stayed loving. On the weekend of November 12th and 13th, we had a special time at our weekend place. Mona and I took Tucker for long walks along a dirt road adjacent to the lake, where he ran off leash, sniffing and investigating and marking his territory. He seemed as active and as happy as the first weekend when we adopted him, more than seven years earlier.
Later that week, during one of our walks, Tucker was very, very slow. He lost his appetite, and seemed to be in discomfort. On Saturday the 19th of November, I got up early to let him out. He was panting some. He went outside and struggled, and he couldn't urinate. He laid down on the ground and just looked to the house. I went out and picked him up and brought him in, and he was on our couch, licking my face and Mona's face, and after a call to Dr. Dennis, we just knew with a heavy, heavy heart, that his time had come to say goodbye.
The drive to the vet clinic was surreal, with me driving and Mona sitting in the rear with our boy. I carried him into the clinic and Dr. Dennis examined him and said yes, it was time. There was padded quilt on the floor and soft music playing, and Mona and I were on the floor with our boy, kissing and stroking him, telling him that we would love him forever, that he would no longer be in pain, and that at some point, he would all be together again... and then he was gone.
Now, three weeks later, our house is cleaner and tidier, but oh so empty. There's an empty dog bed on the living room floor, and one upstairs in our bedroom. His toys have been collected in a straw basket, and his food and water bowls are still in the kitchen, empty and waiting. Mona and I often talk about missing him at odd times, like when we're eating and expect somebody to "counter surf" to beg, or when I'm out raking leaves, half-expecting him to be there, ball at his feet, tail wagging, wanting me to drop my rake. Even our hell-raising Bailey seems to miss him; he's been much more affectionate, and he really now hates to be alone in the house when Mona and I leave.
It's a tribute to our boy that we received nearly a half-dozen sympathy cards when we told friends and family, and that when I posted the news of his passing on my Facebook page, nearly forty people posted comments in sympathy.
Ah, Tucker... they say that pets break your heart but only once, and that was certainly true of our boy. He was just so very, very sweet and special, with an innocence and joy of life that was remarkable. We miss him so very, very much...
At some point, we know we'll adopt another English Springer Spaniel. Our home and our lives are way too empty. And whoever this dog will be, will not be a replacement for our Tucker; he'll be a new guy with his own character, which will be fine.
So there you go. Our boy Tucker. Sure, some will say, he was just a dog. But to quote one of my favorite authors, Robert Heinlein, "And Helen of Troy was just a woman."
October 30, 2011 -Wow. What a trick-or-treat surprise. We just went through a wicked Nor'easter that dumped several inches of wet, sticky snow in our home town. We also lost power for more than 20 hours... maybe the ghosts of Halloween were showing us who were in charge!
A while ago, the famed "Gossip Lady" of Portsmouth, N.H., interviewed me about my latest Lewis Cole novel, "Deadly Cove." This interview was conducted at River Run Books in Portsmouth, and is shown below:
October 22, 2011 -The past several weeks have passed at a breakneck pace, and I have a lot to update, so let's get to it, shall we?
A few days ago, I was very happy to see that Otto Penzler had released his latest edition of "The Year's Best American Mystery Stories," this time edited with New York Times bestselling author Harlan Coben. Not only is this a great collection, my short story "Ride-Along," which earlier appeared in "The Strand" magazine is included.
Publisher's Weekly gave this anthology a starred review, and said, "The excellent 15th edition of this 'best of' series, edited by myster maven Otto Penzler, contains 20 winning short stories, many by relative unknowns. Among the standouts are Brendan DuBois's 'Ride-Along,' in which a veteran cop and a freelance reporter get involved in a robbery..."
This is the fifth time I've appeared in this yearly anthology, and each time, it's a thrill. Out of the hundreds of mystery short stories published each year, it's quite the honor to be noted like this.
If you're interested in getting this collection, please do click here.
And speaking of collections, I've re-entered the world of Kindle and have put together an anthology of ten of my military-related mystery short stories. This anthology is called "Death of a Gemini" and the title story is one of my favorites.
"Death of a Gemini" was first published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and tells the story of an F-14 Tomcat pilot flying missions over Afghanistan right after 9/11, where he's haunted by the memory of his brother, killed when the World Trade Center was attacked.
The other nine stories take place at various places and locations, from Quebec City to Key West and other places in between, including an Air Force base that bears a striking resemblance to Pease Air Force Base in Newington, N.H., near where I grew up.
The cover art was done by the incredibly talented Jeroen ten Berge of New Zealand, and if you'd like to check this collection out, do click here.
In addition to Kindle, I'm also starting to broaden my self-published offerings to the Nook reader on Barnes & Noble. Publishing and bookselling are in an uproar now, and it's providing both opportunities and pitfalls for us writers.
I just wrapped up a series of readings and signings for my latest Lewis Cole novel, "Deadly Cove," and as always, it was a delight to meet up with my fans and readers. As to those who are wondering if there's another Lewis Cole novel in our collective future, the answer is yes, of course... eventually.
Meanwhile I'm working on a new novel that I'm about two-thirds of the way through, I have a noir crime novel that I'm looking forward to editing, and I have a couple of interesting projects out there that could be a real blast if (and I hope it's when!) they come true. If so, it would be a Good Thing and a Cool Thing.
A number of months ago, we writers of short fiction lost a huge fan, editor and advocate for us. Marty Greenberg was known as the King of Anthologies for good reason, for working at Tekno Books, Marty literally edited and published hundreds of original anthologies.
My first short story for Marty was a story called "Rapunzel's Revenge," published in an original mystery anthology featuring fairy stories. Over the years I published scores of short stories in collections put together by Marty, writing mysteries, horror, science fiction, fantasy, and on one memorable occasion, a Western.
Marty helped out many of us writers, and gave us tremendous opportunities, and I do hope that Tekno will continue in his absence and honor his accomplishments.
August 17, 2011 -It's been a busy month and I apologize for not updating sooner.
I'm afraid I have to start this update on a sad note. On July 20th, my mother-in-law, Jeannette Pinette, passed away at age 87 at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in Lebanon, N.H. She was with her two daughters and sons-in-law at the time, and her funeral a number of days later was attended by friends and family who honored her long life, filled with love, laughter and great cooking.
From the very first day I met her, she took me in as part of her family, and she was so proud of my work as an author. I always made sure she got an autographed copy of one of my novels, and I found it hysterical that this sweet woman of a certain age had copies of "Playboy" magazine on display in her living room. The reason being, of course, is that those particular issues carried short stories of mine.
She will be missed.
After some delay and rescheduling, I've set up a new series of signings for my latest Lewis Cole novel, "Deadly Cove." Please check the Appearances section in my website for dates and locations.
And for those on Facebook, I've decided to join the 20th century and have set up my own Facebook page. Ain't technology wonderful? One of these days I'll learn how to send and receive a text via my cellphone.
July 14, 2011 -Happy Bastille Day, everyone! French press coffee and French toast for everyone...
I'm pleased to report that I've started my round of area booksignings, starting with my traditional first signing at Water Street Books in my hometown of Exeter, N.H.
Despite the brutal heat, we had a good turnout, with lots of fun questions and such. The highlight of the evening, in my somewhat humble opinion, was when I awarded a door prize to one lucky reader. You see, it's been so long since my Lewis Cole mystery, I decided to award a prize during my first reading. The prize was a mint condition, limited edition Tyler Beach T-shirt. When it came time to award this collector's item, I was thrilled when an old friend and writer of note won it! What a fantastic way to start a book tour.
Next up is the Toadstool Bookstore in Milford, N.H., next Tuesday, the 19th of July, and the Barnes & Noble Bookstore in Newington, N.H. Hope to see some of you there.
I recently heard the very sad news of the passing of Marty Greenberg, one of the greatest anthologists ever. I'll have more to say about Marty in a future update.
July 3, 2011 -Just a very quick note to point out that "Deadly Cove," the seventh Lewis Cole novel (!) will be officially released later this week.
I do hope my faithful readers and fans take a moment to get this book, which I feel is my best Lewis Cole novel to date. It's already gotten a fair number of positive reviews, which is quite pleasing.
Please check out the Appearances section in my website to find out where I'll be appearing for readings and signings. As always, and traditionally, my first signing will be at the wonderful and supportive Water Street Books in Exeter, N.H. That will take place on Tuesday, July 12th, at 7 p.m. Hope to see you there!
June 12, 2011 -Over the past ten years, I've written a number of short stories featuring Owen Taylor, a retired "black ops" specialist who lives in rural New Hampshire and Maine, and who gets involved in protecting his friends and town when deadly circumstances arise.
His first appearance was in "The Dark Snow," which first appeared in "Playboy" magazine, and which was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. The story was anthologized at least a half-dozen times, and was chosen to appear in the "Best American Mystery Stories of the Century" anthology.
Owen has appeared in six lengthy short stories, and now, for the first time, I've put *all* of them in one Kindle anthology, priced at $2.99. In addition to the stories (one of which has never been published), there's an an introduction, an afterward, and notes on how each story was published.
I love these stories, and over the years, I've been asked numerous times if there would ever be a collection. Now, there is, in "Tales from the Dark Snow." In my humble opinion, I think they're six of my finest stories, and I hope that you take a chance to read them.
This collection is also dedicated to a remarkable woman and editor, Alice Turner.
If you're interested, please do click here.
And thanks once again to skilled artist Jeroen ten Berge of New Zealand, who did an extraordinary job with the cover for this collection.
May 30, 2011 -On this Memorial Day, just a word of thanks to our veterans and active duty military personnel who make so many sacrifices in defense of our nation. Politics being politics, and as one who came of age during the Vietnam War, I've always been grateful that despite the harsh rhetoric of so many, most are in agreement that we owe so much to our veterans.
So thanks again.
Following on the heels (or gumshoes, hah-hah-hah) of my previous Kindle piece on how to write the mystery short story, I've followed up with another article, on how to create the first-person traditional detective novel.
As an explanation, there are a variety of mystery novels out there, from cozies to thrillers to hard-boiled and soft-boiled, but a first-person detective novel is where the narrator (the "I" character) works through the mystery and solves the crime.
The perfect example, I hope, are my Lewis Cole novels, the seventh of which ("Deadly Cove") will be published in a couple of months (oops, how did that blatant self-promotion get in here?).
The name of the article is "Writing the First Person Detective Novel: The I's Have It!" It's adapted from an earlier article that I wrote for The Writer magazine, and it's for sale at Amazon.com via Kindle at 99 cents.
If you're interested, please do click here.
May 23, 2011 -Still not the end of the world, though I may think it is if I lived in the Midwest, along Tornado Alley. My word, what horrors those poor folks are living under.
With yet another update, I'm pleased to report that I've posted via Kindle an article that should answer a lot of questions that some of my readers have had over the years.
Since 1986, I've been one happy writer in seeing my short stories see publication. Prior to 1986, I wrote scores and scores of short stories, and in 1986, I was thrilled to "break in" with my first sale to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
After that first story, I've also been fortunate to have more than 100 stories published in a variety of markets, including Playboy, Ellery Queen' Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, and a variety of original anthologies.
Over the years, I've answered lots of questions on how to write and publish short stories, and I'm pleased to say that I now have the answers --- my answers, at least --- on Kindle, with my article "Breaking Into the Short Story Market: It's No Crime!"If you'd like to spend ninety-nine cents to learn my secrets (such as they are), do click here.
May 21, 2011 -As I write this, the Rapture, a/k/a The End of the World, should be upon us. However, a quick look at the news headlines seems that those who put their faith and money into the Rapture have... chosen poorly.
But I do admit that one of the probable signs of the Apocalypse is the frequency of my postings, and this latest update proves the point. Prior to May, my last posting was back in October. Now, in this month alone, I've posted five times, plus some postings on my new Facebook account. If that isn't an indication of the End Times, what else could it be?
This time around, I'd like to announce that I was thrilled and honored when one of my short stories was chosen to be in the anthology, "Best American Noir of the Century," edited by famed editor Otto Penzler and equally famed mystery author James Ellroy, and published by Houghton-Miflin.
The story chosen for this anthology is one that was published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine back in 1987, called "A Ticket Out." It's the tale of two teenage boys back in the early 1970's, living in a small New Hampshire mill town, and their desperation to leave their rural environment.
Prior to sending in a copy of this story a year or so ago, I re-read it and found that it held up pretty well, and I'm proud to have written it.
If you'd like to order this book, click here.
As an added note, all writers dream that their words will outlive them for years to come. With my story appearing in this anthology, and an earlier one appearing in an anthology named "Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," well, let's just say I consider myself fortunate indeed.
Thanks for visiting, and watch out for the Rapture next time...
May 19, 2011 -Another posting and we're just over halfway through the month of May. *Definitely* a record...
I've also recently and confidently entered the 20th century by signing up with Facebook. It was confusing at first and I'm still working things through, but I'm intrigued by what Facebook has to offer. If you're on Facebook, drop by my page by clicking here.
Recently I learned that the two biggest book review publications in the United States --- Publisher's Weekly and Kirkus --- have reviewed the upcoming DEADLY COVE novel. The complete reviews are elsewhere on my website, on the Novels section.
But here's a taste. Publisher's Weekly said of DEADLY COVE: "Protests at the Falconer nuclear power station on New Hampshire's coast form the backdrop for DuBois's suspenseful, satisfying seventh mystery featuring magazine reporter Lewis Cole, who once 'worked as a research analyst for an obscure section of the Department of Defense.'
And from Kirkus: "As usual, DuBois works hard to give every possible attitude toward nuclear plants a sympathetic hearing, and heÕs honest enough to acknowledge that solving the mystery does nothing to solve the problems he raises so compellingly."
Two positive reviews in one day! That may not be the best thing ever in one's writing life, but it sure as heck beats whatever's in second place.
May 15, 2011 -Wow, three postings in one month. I think that's a record for my website.
I'm pleased to say that my Kindle explorations are continuing, and I'm *very* thrilled to note that my novel SIX DAYS has been published on Kindle via Amazon.
This thriller was written right after RESURRECTION DAY, and for a variety of reasons, it was only published in the United Kingdom. This is the first time that SIX DAYS -- on Kindle -- will be available to my American fans.
SIX DAYS has been one of my favorite novels, and re-reading it now, I'm tickled at how well it has held up, since it was originally published back in 2000. I was tempted to make edits and changes, and in the end, decided that wouldn't be right. The book will stand on how it was written and edited back then.
What was also fun in re-reading SIX DAYS was how it reflected the times in which it was written --- during the late 1990's, when Bill Clinton was in office and it seemed the culture wars were in full swing. Looking back and comparing today's political environment... well, those seem to be the good ol' days in reflection.
Some of the contemporary critiques for this work, written in 1999 and 2000, was that some of the plot points were too fantastic: laptops with extraordinary computing power, a second Persian Gulf War in Iraq, conflict between India and Pakistan, and a vicious political environment where political opponents are not defeated, but are killed... Pretty fantastic stuff, hunh?
SIX DAYS is available on Amazon for $2.99 by clicking here.
I do hope my fans who've told me for so long that they missed the chance to read SIX DAYS take this opportunity to give it a shot.
I'd also like to extend my deep thanks once again to skilled artist Jeroen ten Berge of New Zealand, who did an extraordinary job with this cover.
May 5, 2011 -I'm both pleased and thrilled to announce that I've now entered the world of Kindle and self-publishing. Recent conversations with fellow authors and reading news reports over the months has shown that there's an upheaval in the publishing industry, with plenty of benefits for both authors and readers.
With Kindle publishing on Amazon.com, for example, I can now post short stories of mine that haven't appeared anywhere else for my readers to download and enjoy, and as time proceeds, I also intend to post old novels of mine on the Kindle Amazon site for those fans who have had difficulties locating past works.
My first step is publishing a science fiction short story called "On the Plains of Deception." It's the story of the first manned mission to Mars, with a woman Navy Captain as the mission commander and a male Air Force colonel as the landing module pilot. As Armstrong and Aldrin before them, these two American astronauts explore the surface of the Red Planet, but unlike their lunar predecessors, when it's time to blast off from Mars, their upper return module remains still...
The unlucky two are now marooned millions of miles from home, with no hope of repair and rescue. How would you react to such a predicament? In my short story, I explore the anger, the despair and even the dark humor as day after day passes, and as their supplies and air slowly run out.
I hope you take the chance to read this story. It only costs ninety-nine cents, and it's available only on Kindle, by clicking here.
I'd also like to thank New Zealand fan and extraordinary artist Jeroen ten Berge for his great, great cover. To see more of his wonderful work, visit his website by clicking here.
My next stop --- and hopefully in the next week or two --- will be to publish on Kindle my novel, "Six Days," which has only previously been published in the United Kingdom.
May 1, 2011 -Happy May Day to all my readers out there! Writers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains of bad reviews, changing technologies, and poor sales...
Hey, remember me? No excuses, I've just been very, very busy, both in writing and in reading. On the reading side of the house, for some odd reason, I felt compelled to volunteer as a judge for not one, not two, not three, but four (!) award contests. On the writing side, I finished a sprawling 500+ novel in a different genre that after a number of rewrites, I'm putting aside to look at later with a fresh eye. I also completed a new crime novel which is currently being edited on my end.
Now, sharp-eyed readers out there (hi, dad!) will note that my seventh Lewis Cole novel, "Deadly Cove," will be published this July by St. Martin's Press. This will sound like a cliche I know, but I firmly believe that this is my best Lewis Cole novel ever, with the last thirty or so pages moving at a break-neck speed.
Over the next few weeks, I'll be setting up readings and signings at local bookstores (check the Appearances section of my website) and I hope to see some of you there.
In addition, a good friend of mine is having his first novel published in July as well. This novel, AMERIKAN EAGLE, was written by Alan Glenn. For more information about this alternative history thriller, click here.
Meanwhile, I've sold a few short stories, and I'm pleased to report that a story of mine that appeared in the Winter/Spring 2011 issue of "The Strand" magazine, called "Ride-Along," will be re-published in an upcoming edition of "The Year's Best Mystery Stories," edited by Harlan Coben and Otto Penzler.
Last fall, I went to Bouchercon, the world mystery convention in San Francisco, where I had a fantastic time and met up with old friends and met some new ones.
In this photo, taken by famed reviewer and all around good guy Steve Steinbock, you can see yours truly schmoozing in the lounge at the Bouchercon hotel in San Francisco.
From left to right, you'll see (mostly hidden), Linda Landrigan, editor of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, me, my baldspot, (partially hidden) author Angela Zeman, author and actress Melodie Johnson Howe, her husband, famed Hollywood music producer Bones Howe and Janet Hutchings, editor of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
In addition to the panels and the meals and the parties, I was also thrilled to win the Barry Award for Best Short Story of the Year. Awarded by the readers of "Deadly Pleasures" magazine, I won it for my story, "The High House Writer," published in the July/August 2009 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
I'm sure I've missed a lot in this update, and will strive to be better and more timely. Thanks so much!
October 8, 2010 -Sharp-eyed readers out there --- and I know you're there! --- should notice that on the first page of my website, I've updated the book covers for my works. However, these are not new novels; they are two anthologies that I have short stories in that I wanted to let my readers know have just been released.
The first anthology is called "Murder to Mil-Spec," which is edited by Tony Burton of Wolfmont Press. For the past few years, Tony has edited short story anthologies where the authors donate their stories, and all proceeds go to worthy charities. Previously, proceeds were sent to one of my favorite charities, the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program.
This year, all proceeds will go to "Homes for Our Troops," which helps build and re-build homes for our wounded warriors, especially those with missing limbs or who need assistance moving around.
My story, "One More Mission," was inspired by growing up near Pease Air Force Base in Newington, N.H., which has now been almost totally converted to civilian use, and where an old veteran decides to seek justice. I do hope that many of my readers order this anthology.
The second anthology, "Live Free or Undead," edited by Rick Broussard (who is also editor of "New Hampshire" magazine) and published by Plaidswede Press, run by George Geers, a former newspaper editor who sent chills down my spine when I worked for him as an intern. This collection of 20 stories are horror tales, set in my home state, and I think it's wonderfully appropriate that it's being released during the month of Halloween, my favorite holiday.
My contribution to this collection is "Uneasy Lies the Head," a story about a down-on-his-luck Massachusetts resident who unexpectedly becomes mayor of a small, remote New Hampshire town... and where hilarity does *not* ensue.
I hope you get a chance to sample this anthology as well.
In other news, I finished a novel-length secret project that I hope I can tell you more about later; St. Martin's Press intends to publish DEADLY COVE, my new Lewis Cole novel, next July; and work continues on my latest thriller, SHADOW WAR. Oh, and "The Writer" magazine has just purchased my second article for them, about how to create and write a first-person mystery series.
This is going to be a busy traveling month, with three signings set up in my local communities of Somersworth, Hampton and Rye, and in a few days, I'm off to Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention, in San Francisco.
As the summer came to a close, I also had a blast doing area signings with Dana Cameron and Toni L.P. Kelner, publicizing our contributions to the latest MWA anthology, and nearby is a photo of me at the great Water Street Bookstore in my hometown, with my first two fans --- Arthur and Mary DuBois. God bless 'em, although they've heard my countless times at area libraries, bookstores and other venues, they still want to come out to see their author son perform.
Thanks mom and dad.
September 7, 2010 -Holy mackerel, where did the summer go? And my promise for keeping this page updated on a regular basis?.
Errr... maybe I'll make up for it with a lengthy update, which I promise this one will be.
Top of the heap o' news is the delightful word that my latest Lewis Cole novel has been accepted by St. Martin's Press, and although I don't know an exact release date, I'm hoping that that it will be published late next year.
This is the seventh novel in the Lewis Cole series, and started out being called BARREN COVE, but that title has been changed to DEADLY COVE. In this novel, Lewis gets involved --- as only he can do --- in an anti-nuclear demonstration at the Falconer nuclear power plant that descends into violence and murder.
And not to be modest --- insert laugh track here --- I believe this is my strongest Lewis Cole novel yet, and I'm convinced that readers will race through the last three chapters to figure what the heck is going on...
In the novel front, I'm halfway through a new thriller that's tentatively called SHADOW WAR, and I'm enjoying it tremendously. Short stories continue to be written --- and sold! --- and with the sale over the past few months of four new short stories, my sale total has reached 109. Pretty wild, hunh?
And speaking of short stories, I'm thrilled to report that I'm up for two separate short story awards later this year. The first is the Barry Award, given by readers of "Deadly Pleasures" magazine. My short story, "The High House Writer" (published in the July/August 2009 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine) is under consideration for this award.
And another story, "The Dark Island" (pubished in the original anthology "Boston Noir," edited by Dennis Lehane) has been nominated for the Shamus Award, given each year by the Private Eye Writers of America.
Both awards will be given out in October at the World Mystery Convention in San Francisco, which I plan to attend.
And speaking of world (don't you just love my transitions?) a couple of months ago, I received the Dutch edition of my novel, "Twilight." Check out the cover nearby. Isn't that cool? I'm not sure what the title is, but I think it translates to "The Last Days of America."
I find it quite the best when my books get translated; I'm also tickled at seeing my name on a foreign edition, and I especially enjoy seeing how other publishers design covers for an edition in their country.
April 30, 2010 -Just under the wire.... since this is the last day of April, and I'm managing to update this website so that at least I'm keeping a once a month track record.
Let's see, there are a *lot* of irons in the fire at this point. I certainly hope that it won't be long until I can take an iron or two out of the fire and wave it around, and let you folks know what's going on.
But believe me when I say I've been keeping busy with a variety of writing projects, both short and long, and maybe something in between as well.
What is going on at this very moment is that I'm thrilled that a short story of mine, "The Trespassers," has just been published in an anthology presented by the Mystery Writers of America, and edited by New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris. This anthology is a collection of mysteries with a paranormal twist, and I think you'll enjoy this book. For more information, click here.
And what was fun about this story is that I've written scores and scores of regular mystery stories, with an occasional science fiction tale tossed in for spice, but this is the first real ghost story I've ever written... and it was lots of fun.
Maybe those years of appreciating Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft finally paid off.
In our part of New Hampshire, spring has finally sprung... and after a couple of days of unseasonably warm weather, it's gone back to the traditional cool and cloudy. But I'll still take it over snow, any day of the week...
March 13, 2010 - As I write this, the sky is gray and a wind is coming up... and I'm thinking, oh my, not again...
A couple of weeks ago, on a Thursday evening, it was quite dark and a windstorm rose up, the wind growing louder and louder. The windows and doors rattled, and when I let our dog Tucker to use the front lawn for his necessary activity, I could see flashes of blue light on the horizon, and I knew we were going to be in for a rough night: that's usually the sign of electrical transformers failing, or power lines being torn down by broken tree branches.
And sure enough, at 11:45 p.m. that night --- almost exactly two years ago since a devastating ice storm --- we lost power. But this time... thanks to the skills of my brother-in-law Larry, we had a power generator in place to keep some lights, the heat, the refrigerator and the freezer up and running.
The next morning, realizing that our Honda Pilot needed to be topped off with gasoline, and wanting to get more gasoline for the generator, I started driving out to look for an open gas station. And kept on driving. And kept on driving...
It was a spooky sight, seeing gas stations with orange cones out front, or their gas pumps ringed by yellow tape. And approaching intersections with the traffic lights dead, watching cars trying to work their way through the intersection without getting into an accident. It was like the day after the apocalypse, with power out, wondering what was out there.
Eventually I spent nearly an hour, before I found an open gas station. Cars and trucks were lined up at the gas pumps, two or three vehicles in a row, and there was a sense of urgency, of desperation, of some drivers just waiting for an excuse to start fighting to get their precious gasoline. Odd, I know, but it was there... and made the writer's mind wonder just what it would take for the threads to unravel and for things to go wrong...
Well. After that cheerful posting, there's not much new to report, except that I failed to mention last posting that I was very happy to have my first non-fiction piece printed in "The Writer' magazine, about how to write and sell mystery short stories. Sure was fun to break into that market.
My writing rolls right along, and I hope there's more to report in my next update. Thanks and think spring... and think of constant, reliable electricity.
February 11, 2010 - What's this? Two postings in a row? Must be a sign of the approaching Apocalypse, eh? Well, after I had completed yesterday's entry, I realized I had forgotten to mention that I have a story in the upcoming April issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, called "The Thief in the House."
What I particularly like about this story is the "never say die" aspect of this tale. More often than not, when I have an idea for a short story, it comes out strong and I finish it in a couple of weeks. But sometimes, a great idea just fizzles out... or just can't be finished.
This was one of those stories. I had the basic idea but for some reason, it just didn't "click." So I left it alone for a year or two, and then, poking around, it came together when I realized what was missing: a pair of sympathetic female characters. I had tried writing it with two male characters in mind, and it just didn't work. But once the female touch came into play, boom, the story practically wrote itself.
Such are the sometime joys of being a writer. Oh, and another joy is having your name on the cover...
February 10, 2010 - Holy mackerel, I can't believe it's been so long since I've updated this web site. My apologies for not being the best webmaster in the world.
Let's see, a lot's been going on, some positive, some not so positive.
On the writing front, I've been making great progress on a number of projects, and I know I've been circumspect about what's going on, but alas, I have to keep things a bit more quiet for a while. But I'm very, very pleased with the output that I've been producing.
Since I've last posted, our little family suffered a loss just before Christmas, when we woke up one Sunday to find that our cat, Roscoe, had passed away during the night. It was quite the shock. After we mourned the loss of our little friend, we eventually went to the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg, Maine, where we adopted another black and white short hair cat, named Bailey.
Bailey has quickly made himself at home, running around, playing, terrorizing the dog, and making us laugh.
Nearby is a picture of our new boy, who's quickly adjusted to his new life here with us.
We also lost two giants in the writing field, J.D. Salinger and Bob Parker. I remember reading "Catcher in the Rye," years and years ago, and just being so impressed with the prose... and being impressed as well that this talented author actually lived in New Hampshire!
And what I've found amusing in that reading the write-ups and obituaries of J.D. Salinger, a lot of the writers made reference to him being a hermit. Um, not really. A close reading of the stories about J.D. Salinger said he was an active member of his community and surrounding towns. He went to the movies, to church suppers and local bookstores. He wasn't a hermit. He was just a writer who wanted to live his life on his own terms.
But was we're proud to do here in New Hampshire, his neighbors treated him like a local, and when people "from away" came to look him up, his neighbors either didn't give directions to his house, or gave bum directions. And I find that special.
As to Bob Parker, I was fortunate to have met him a half-dozen or times over the past several years at various functions in the Boston area. And everytime, he was cheerful, pleasant and a joy to be around with.
He treated me like an equal, which was a thrill, and he had a writing work ethic that was outstanding: five pages a day, every day, save for Sunday. And he died too young, at age 77, at his desk. What a way to go...
A few weeks ago I had a blast going to the Charles Hotel in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where the Noir Bar there had a special event to celebrate the anthology, "Boston Noir." This anthology --- edited by famed Boston author Dennis Lehane --- has gotten great sales and reviews. Joining me at this event were Dana Cameron, Lynne Heitman and Russ Aborn.
I confess that once we arrived here, I was concerned. This wasn't a bookstore or another typical book event... but it worked out great! The staff of the Charles Hotel and the Noir Bar were gracious, there was woman there from the Harvard Coop, selling books, and it was a great, great night. And one fun bit was that the bar had created drinks for each story...
For my story, "The Dark Island," the drink was made from Makers Mark Bourbon, Averna, a splash of maple syrup, served up. And in the spirit of research, I had two... they were delicious.
And speaking of "Boston Noir," local author Dana Cameron was nominated recently for an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of American for Best Short Story of the Year, for her story "Femme Sole," which is in "Boston Noir." Considering that several hundred stories are read and judged, and only five get nominated, this is quite an achievement.
November 21, 2009 - Welcome back to another update... which of course, is overdue...
The past several weeks have been busy and productive. I was fortunate to travel to Indianapolis last month to attend Bouchercon, the World Mystery Convention. Like Brigadoon of legend, this is a yearly event wear mystery and thriller writers, editors, agents, fans and enthusiasts gather to attend panels, see each other, make deals, and party a lot. And while there were plenty of opportunities to "meet and greet", the Hyatt bar was the most popular hang-out.
One of the pleasures of Bouchercon is meeting old friends, making new ones, and sometimes, putting a face to a phone call or an e-mail. One of the fun parts of Bouchercon was finally meeting John Helfers, a writer in his own right and an editor at Tekno Books. John and I have dealt with each other for more than a decade, and it was great to finally meet him.
I also got a chance to meet other editors and publishing executives (more on this later) and overall, just had a blast. And Indiana is flat, and boy, where the convention was being held, there seemed to be a steakhouse on every corner.
More recently, I also took part at an event at the Boston Book Festival, where Boston Noir --- an anthology I'm proud to be in --- was officially "kicked off" with a presentation by Dennis Lehane, and several other Boston Noir authors including Dana Cameron, Jim Fusilli, Lynne Heitman and Russ Aborn. More than three hundred people came to hear us speak, and we all had a blast.
And a couple of weeks ago, Mona and I were fortunate indeed to have dinner with a dear friend who's also a fellow author, and his artistic wife, and it was an evening full of laughs, stories and a wonderful time.
On the writing front, I have a number of short stories making the rounds, edits continue on a big top-secret writing project, and good progress is being made as well on a new Lewis Cole novel and the outline of a great new thriller.
As always, thanks for visiting...
October 30, 2009 - Happy Halloween, faithful readers...
And if you are a faithful reader, you'll know that Halloween is one of my favorite holidays, and on October 1st, I always haul out the decorations, including lit plastic pumpkins, skeletons, spiders, candles and a graveyard. And each year, I add just a little bit more to the fun.
As I've explained before, I think it's my Celtic background and my New England upbringing that has resulted in my fascination with this spooky holiday. And to mark this holiday, I'm going to tell a true ghost story.
Honest. A true ghost story. Every word of what you're about to read actually did happen.
My wife and I own a small weekend getaway cottage about two hours north of where we live. It's a standard drive up and down, but one weekend a few years ago --- due to a nearby county fair clogging the roadways or something similar --- we decided to take a back way home, through some very rural parts of New Hampshire.
Along the way, we came upon a small ice cream shop off to the left, and we decided to stop for an ice cream cone to munch on as we drove south. I pulled into the parking lot of the shop, saw lights on inside and people gathered about the counter. I drove a bit past the shop, underneath some trees, got my ice cream order from Mona, and walked back to the shop.
It was closed. There were no lights on. There were no people about. I peered into the window. Nothing. Oh, it was an ice cream shop all right... but it was empty of lights or people.
I walked back to the car, told Mona what had happened, and she gave me a curious look. I started up the car, backed out, and kept on driving south, and resisted the urge to look back.
A few times since then, we've driven by the same place, and I jokingly say, "There's the haunted ice cream shop..." And the last time we did that, it was late afternoon on a Sunday, and around this part of our drive ---- and no where else --- there was an unusual, ground-hugging fog.
And during that last drive, Mona told me, "This place just creeps me out."
And I agreed. And kept on driving...
So. Happy Halloween.. and may your night be full of treats and no tricks.
October 9, 2009 - Hey, where did September go?
Sorry faithful readers... maybe I can blame it on the fact that September is my birthday month and yes, once again, I turned 39 years of age.
Summer slipped away with just a few warm days, and it seems like we've instantly jumped into Autumn. The past couple of months have been among the most productive of my life, and I wish I could say more... but let's just say that I'm pleased with the upswing in my career.
In other news, I was honored to be asked to contribute to an anthology called "Boston Noir," edited by the great Dennis Lehane. Published by Akashic Books, "Boston Noir" is part of their series of short story collections set in various cities and neighborhoods across the country.
My story --- "The Dark Island" --- takes place in and around Boston's harbor islands, right after World War II, and I had a blast researching and writing it.
A few days ago, "Boston Noir" received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly, and in an interview with the Boston Herald newspaper, Dennis Lehane mentioned his participation in this collection:
'Since finishing his "The Given Day" opus and starting the new Patrick-and-Angie adventure, Lehane took a minibreak to edit a collection of short stories titled "Boston Noir." The collection, which includes Dennis' own "Animal Rescue," features 11 dark and twisty tales by 11 local writers, each one set in a different neighborhood.
'"I wanted the stories to be diverse in terms of the new Boston," Lehane said. "I didn't want to do a bunch of stories about Irish Boston."
'As a result, the collection features tales set in the Financial District, Roxbury, Brookline and Cambridge, and subjects range from a pedophile priest to Don Lee's "The Oriental Hair Poets."
"It's a good dollection by good writers," Lehane said. "It was a nice experience for me."
And for me as well... If you'd like to learn more about this great anthology, click here.
To make this collection even more memorable, the Boston Book Festival is holding a special "Boston Noir" event on Saturday, October 24th, at the Boston Public Library, where Dennis Lehane will be talking about the anthology, and inviting a few authors in the book --- including yours truly! --- to do a short reading. If you want to know more about this event, click here.
Next week I'll be traveling to Indianapolis for the annual world mystery convention, called Bouchercon. There I'll meet with old friends, make new ones, and learn if I'm to receive the Barry Award for one of my short stories. And if I'm particularly prolific, I'll do a trip report when I come back.As always, thanks for stopping by.
August 6, 2009 - Sigh. The mystery writing community took a heavy hit last week with news that Bill Tapply had passed away at his home in Hancock, N.H. on July 28, after a long struggle with leukemia. Bill was the author of the Brady Coyne mystery series, with the 24th --- the 24th! --- book just completed. Including the Coyne series, Bill wrote more than 40 books in his career that spanned more than 25 years.
But Bill... ah, Bill was much more than a writer. He had started out as a teacher, and the teaching continued right up to his death, with articles in magazines and books about writing. And he loved his family, friends, and was a true outdoorsman. God, how the man loved to fish, and he always had great fishing stories to tell.
And it was wonderful to see the joy in his eyes when he talked about his children, and seeing he and his wife Vicki Stiefel --- a fellow author --- together was always an excuse for great fun and conversation.
I first met Bill when I was a novice writer, with a few published short stories under my belt, and the urge to write my first novel. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, I remember attending my first meeting of the New England chapter back in 1987 or thereabouts. The meetings back then were held at the MIT Faculty Club dining room, and I was quite nervous, driving down from New Hampshire, to meet *real* mystery authors.
But I didn't have to worry. Bill was there, and was friendly and approachable, as were other authors such as John McAleer, Jerry Healy, Linda Barnes and Susan Kelly. Even with just a few published short stories, I was treated as a fellow pro. And when I sold my first novel, Bill was gracious enough to give me a wonderful cover blurb. At some point in our careers, we shared agents and publishers.
One of my fondest memories of Bill is the time we both took a road trip to the Odyssey Book Shop in South Hadley, Massachusetts, near Amherst college, to do an appearance and booksigning. I drove from New Hampshire to Bill's apartment --- I believe it was in Acton --- and then he got in my small Dodge Colt and we drove west for nearly three hours.
During the trip out and back, Bill put the seat as far back as possible, took off his topsiders, and put his feet up on the dashboard. He was the first and last person I allowed to smoke in my car, but he was gracious enough to tap the ashes out the window as we went through the night.
Oh, how I wish there had been a tape recorder in the car that night. We talked about teaching, the outdoors, writing, agents, Hollywood, careers and everything else in between. We had a great time at the bookstore, and we did other events together as well over the years.
As I posted on another web site, I know it's a cliche, but Bill was a man's man. He had this... for lack of a better phrase, coolness about him. Not that he was unapproachable; far from it. No, he was like the Snoopy character, Joe Cool. And I always thought that Bill could have been dropped into a wilderness with no supplies, just his own intelligence and wits, and that he would emerge, three weeks later, in good health, with some great fishing stories and the plot for another Brady Coyne novel.
Some years ago, my wife Mona and I were at Sun Valley Idaho, on a ski vacation. We cross-country skied out to an area near Trail Creek, where there's a monument for Ernest Hemingway. And this is a poem, honoring Hemingway, that truly honors Bill as well:
"Best of all he loved the fall / The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods / Leaves floating on the trout streams / And above the hills / The high blue windless skies / Now he will be part of them forever."
July 30, 2009 - Wow, has it been *that* long since my last update? Sorry... but as it's been said, time sure flies when you're having fun... and the last several weeks have been both fun and eventful.
I'd like to start off with an update on a personal matter, and then go into what's going on in my professional life.
First, the personal stuff. My wife Mona is a proud MIT graduate, and she often gets news updates from MIT that don't generally get out to the public. One such update concerned a three-day seminar some weeks ago to celebrate MIT's contributions to the successful Apollo moon landings, since many MIT professionals and graduates played key roles in the Apollo program, especially when it came to instrumentation, computers and guidance.
So when Mona saw this seminar announced, she encouraged me to go, and I decided -- as a confirmed space geek -- that I should go as well.
The first day of the seminar was registration and an afternoon memorial for Doctor Robert Seamans, former Dean of Engineering at MIT, former Secretary of the Air Force, and for several years, during the crucial years of Apollo, he was Deputy Administrator for NASA.
Well, during that day I was feeling a bit under the weather and behind on several things, and I thought maybe I'd skip the memorial service and register in the morning the next day... but then I decided, well, let's go. So I drove from Exeter to Cambridge, got stuck in heavy traffic, got lost for a bit (and not for the first time, unfortunately) and then parked the car and found my way to the memorial service.
And, wow, speaking at the memorial service was Ted Sorenson, former speechwriter and adviser to President John F. Kennedy, and he was talking about the challenges of JFK's goal of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely before the decade was out. So as I settled in my seat in the auditorium, I thought, boy, I'm glad I made it. There's a veteran of the JFK administration, reminiscing about those exciting days...
So I started going through a program that I had picked up, and was looking at the speakers lined up for Dean Seamans' memorial, and once name leapt out at me: Neil Armstrong, astronaut and professor of engineering. Neil Armstrong! I had no idea... and knowing that Neil Armstrong is a bit of a recluse and doesn't make that many personal appearances, I thought, well, perhaps he'll be speaking via videotape or something similar.
But I looked up at the other speakers on stage... and there he was, sitting there. Neil *bleeping* Armstrong, the first man on the moon. My heart damn near stopped... I mean, I'm a space and astronomy nut extraordinaire, and there he was, Neil Armstrong. I couldn't believe how lucky I was... and then, sitting in the front row... was Buzz *bleeping* Aldrin, the second man on the moon...
And I flashed back to that July 20, forty years ago, when as a lad of nine years old, I was on the floor of our house in Dover, watching those ghostly black and white images from the lunar surface...
The ceremony continued, Armstrong made some wonderful remarks about Dean Seamans, and when it was over, and people were milling about, I went up to Neil Armstrong and said, "Professor Armstrong, I just want to say thank you for all you've done," and he smiled and said thanks in return, and shook my hand.
And then I scurried off and found Buzz Aldrin, and said, "Colonel Aldrin, I just want to say thank you for all you've done," and he politely shook my hand as well... and to cap it all off, also in the crowd, and also someone I shook hands with, was Christopher Kraft, the first flight director for NASA. So in the space of ten minutes, I got to shake hands with three key men who got us to the moon...
Later that day, as I was fighting Boston traffic to get back to New Hampshire, I called my wife on my cellphone, and she asked me how my day had gone, I practically couldn't speak. Who would believe me? But I told her and she was thrilled for me, and I was still thrilled, and am still thrilled as I write this...
The next two days of the seminar saw me getting Kraft's biography autographed, as well as meeting and greeting Harrison Schmitt, the last man on the moon --- on Apollo 17 --- and a former senator from New Mexico. I also got his book autographed as well.
I met many interesting people, saw parts of MIT that my wife once roamed as a student, and at a special event, Mona and I went to the Boston Pops the evening of the second day of the seminar, saw a space-related performance, including "The Planets," narrated by Buzz Aldrin.
And I got lost again, getting out of Boston, with Mona following behind me, in a driving rain. As my Jewish friends say, oy.
One more recollection: one of the speakers was Joseph Gavin, 88 years old, who worked for Grumman during the time they developed the Lunar Module and who was in charge of that program. For the first time, engineers had to design and test a spacecraft that would only operate in the vacuum of space... and they succeeded. And as well all know, the LM served as a vital lifeboat during the Apollo 13 mission.
Later that day, after a lunch break, I saw Joe Gavin, sitting on a bleacher in an auditorium, and I went over and said, "Sir, I'm just a space nut from New Hampshire, and I just want to say thank you... thank you for getting us to the moon." And I shook his hand as well.
All in all, a grand experience, and thanks again to my wife for doing this for me. But one last thought... man, isn't it time for us to go back to the moon, and this time, stay?
Okay, on the professional front, some great developments. First, I'd like to announce that I'm now being represented by Nat Sobel, of the Sobel Weber Associates literary agency in New York City. Nat has been my representative for a few months now, and to say I've been thrilled by what he's done for me would be a considerable understatement. And some very positive things have happened, but alas, I can't reveal them now... let's just say I'm one happy writer.
And this happiness extends into other areas as well. Every year, the Mystery Writers of America put the call out to its membership to submit a short story to an MWA anthology. Their latest anthology, called "Blood Lust" and edited by the esteemed Charlaine Harris (author of the True Blood books, now being shown on HBO) received 225 submissions, and I was thrilled to learn that one of my stories, "The Trespassers," was chosen to appear.
And speaking of short stories, one of my tales, "A Trace of A Trace," which appeared in the anthology "At the Scene of the Crime," edited by Dana Stabenow, was just nominated to receive the Barry Award for Best Short Story of the Year. The Barry Award was named for famed mystery critic and enthusiast Barry Gardner, who died in 1996, and is awarded each year in a variety of categories by the readers of Deadly Pleasures magazine and Mystery News as well.
Now, a few years ago, I was thrilled beyond belief when my short story, "The Dark Snow," was chosen by famed mystery editor and expert Otto Penzler to appear in the Houghton-Mifflin anthology, "The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century." Now, Otto is at it again, working on an anthology called "The Best American Noir Stories of the Century," also to be published by Houghton-Mifflin, and he picked one of my stories, "A Ticket Out," to appear in this wonderful collection.
Like I said, it's been busy and wonderful. Hope the same is true for you as well.
May 21, 2009 - Just a quick update today as New Hampshire begins to prove that yes indeed, warm weather does exist... for yard work beckons to me, and I cannot ignore that siren call...
Last Saturday evening Mona and I were fortunate to attend a special showing of the Dan Brown movie, "Angels & Demons," and we had a spectacular time. The movie was shown at the Portsmouth Music Hall in Portsmouth, N.H., and the place was decorated with flowers, sculpture and the obligatory red carpet.
The movie was great, and it was also great to see some old friends. And speaking of great, earlier in the week, Mona and I also caught the new Star Trek movie. We were able to see that movie at an Imax theater, and it was a wonderful flick that pays homage to the old Star Trek universe while definitely taking a new tack with familiar characters.
In other news, the edits, the re-writes and the edits of my new thriller novel are done. And the book is now being submitted to a number of publishers, and I'm saying prayers, lighting candles, crossing fingers and toes, and considering sacrificing a goat at the next full moon. Wish me luck!
May 9, 2009 - The past few weeks have seen a trip to New York City and some good production on the novel and short story front.
On Thursday, April 30, I traveled to Manhattan for the annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards Dinner, put on by the Mystery Writers of America, the professional writing organization of mystery and thriller writers from around the world.
I took an American Airlines flight from Boston's Logan Airport, and actually arrived at LaGuardia Airport on time. An hour long bus ride later, I was at Grand Central Station in the heart of New York City. And while I'm a true New Hampshire boy, I do love New York City. There's a sense of energy, drama and just plain old excitement... and I spent a few minutes in the lobby of the Chrysler Building, admiring the architecture... the day of Chrysler's bankruptcy. Ironic, eh?
While the MWA Awards Banquet was held at the Grand Hyatt, I stayed just a few blocks away at the New York Helmsley, and my day began with a luncheon put on by Dell Magazines, publisher of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
The luncheon was to honor, if I may say, the Readers Choice Award winners from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. The second-place winner, the popular and prolific Doug Allyn was there, along with his lovely wife Eve, and the third-place winner -- me -- was also there. Also honored was writer David Edgerly Gates, who was a nominee for Best Short Story for a work of his that appeared in AHMM.
And apologies to EQMM editor Janet Hutchings for my late arrival... and to the surly New York City cop who gave me the wrong directions to Madison Avenue upon my exit from the 23rd Street subway station, I do hope you come to New Hampshire some day, looking for Hampton Beach, and end up at Pinkham Notch instead...
After lunch, we walked to the Dell Magazine offices on Park Avenue and had a wonderful afternoon chat session with Janet Hutchings, her assistant Emily Giglierano, AHMM editor Linda Landrigan and her assistant Laurel Fantauzzo, and Doug and Eve Allyn. And as I left, Laurel gave me a wonderful gift bag --- a number of back issues of EQMM and AHMM that contain my short fiction, and a couple of AHMM coffee mugs.
And speaking of Doug, you'll note at the nearby picture is a wonderful photograph of Your Correspondent, Harlan Coben and Doug, with said photo taken by Eve Allyn.
Later that night, after putting on my tuxedo --- an earlier gift from my wife Mona --- I went to the cocktail party and the MWA awards banquet. I met many old friends and made some new ones, and I was honored that night to help present the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Short Story. Joining me on the stage in front of several hundred attendees was the chair of the short story committee, noted author Ellen Crosby.
In my remarks, I paid a small tribute to Ed Hoch, who passed away last year.
This is what I said:
"More than twenty years ago I came to my first MWA banquet, when one of my short stories was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award. During a reception prior to the banquet, this short man with a wide smile and twinkling eyes came up to me, shook my hand, and said, "I've just started reading your stories and they're quite good."
"I thanked him and he walked away, and later I said to someone, "Who was that man I had just talked to?" and the reply blew me away: that was Ed Hoch.
"Ed Hoch! Not only did he read my stuff, he liked it. I felt like a Little Leaguer who had just received praise from a Mickey Mantle... or a Carl Yazstremski. For Ed was the foremost short story writer of us all... with his very first sale taking place back in 1955. His output grew over the years, with series characters such as Nick Velvet, Doctor Sam Hawthorne and Captain Jules Leopold coming to life, and he was such a supporter of the short story form.
"And beginning in April 1973, and ending, sadly, this year in the March/April issue, Ed had a short story published in each issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, an accomplishment I'm sure will never be equaled.
"Tonight, to honor his memory, we present these nominees for Best Short Story of the Year."
And the winner that evening was T. Jefferson Parker, for his story "Skinhead Central," which appeared in the anthology The Blue Religion, published by Hachette Book Group -- Little, Brown and Company.
And I must blushingly admit that as I saw that little Edgar statuette --- for which I've been nominated three times prior without winning --- I was tempted to grab it and make a run for the exit, but earlier, Margery Flax, the very capable administrative manager of MWA, assured me that I'd be tasered before reaching the exit.
Anyway, the evening was wonderful, with bestselling author Lee Child serving as a wonderful and humorous MC, and my thanks to Dell Magazines, for taking care of my banquet ticket and hosting me at their table. And thanks, as well, to Laura Durham, banquest chair, for one of the smoothest and most professional awards banquet I've ever attended.
Following the MWA banquet, I then traveled to Otto Penzler's double top-secret after party, and had a blast with fellow authors Lee Child, S.J. Rozan, Doug Allyn, Michael Connelly, Laura Lippman, David Simon, Harlan Coben and so many others. Back to the hotel room I went at about 2 a.m., a *very* late night for a New Hampshire boy, and then I traveled home the next day... and thanks to American Airlines, got home about three hours late. All in all, a wonderful, wonderful trip.
In other news, I can see light at the end of tunnel for my new thriller, and thanks to Linda Landrigan at AHMM and Janet Hutchings at EQMM, I've sold my 101st and 102nd short story.
As always, thanks for stopping by... and death to spammers!
April 19, 2009 - Another update on the never-ending spam battle... it's funny that once I seem to have the British mortgage company spam under control, another front has been established, from a company offering Russian and Ukrainian brides.
Once I start deleting them, I'm sure my next spam attack will be an outfit offering affordable housing for your overseas brides.
April 17, 2009 - Just a quick update to let you good folks out there know what's going on. Just yesterday, I finished the latest (and greatest!) revisions to my alternative history thriller that I've been working on for some time now, and it feels good to get that done.
I'd like to extend a special thanks to an eagle-eyed fan and reader of mine, Ken Sullivan, who noticed an error in my short story listing, which I've corrected. Thanks, Ken, it's nice to know I'm being watched... and Ken is one of the few people I know that has an autographed copy of my first published short story, which appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine back in 1986.
And in two weeks, I'll be traveling to New York City for the annual Edgar Allan Poe Awards, put on by the Mystery Writers of America. It's a wonderful opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones, and to see editors, agents, and fellow authors. And for this New Hampshire writer, it's a fun time to put on a tux and go to bed at 3 a.m. after a night of partying.
Those who come by this website on a regular basis will note that my guestbook is being spammed by a British mortgage company, of all places. I suppose I should be grateful that it's not a winning lottery ticket from Nigeria or a drug to either reduce or expand certain body parts, but it sure is a pain. Funny thing; I've written to this mortgage company twice, asking them to stop spamming my guestbook, and in preparing a message on their website, they require that a box is clicked on, to ensure that you're not sending... spam.
March 18, 2009 - Now the good news can be revealed... at least partially.
Each year the editors of "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine" ask their readers to name their favorite story for the previous year, and I'm thrilled to learn that my story, "Blue Plate Special," which appeared in the March/April 2008 issue, received the third place award.
Considering the scores of stories that appear in "Ellery Queen" each year, it's quite an honor. The first place award went to Kristine Kathryn Rusch, for her story "The Secret Lives of Cats," which appeared in the July issue, and second place went to fellow writer and friend Doug Allyn, for his July story, "The Sonnets of September."
In fact, I'd like to give a shout-out to Doug, whom I've known for more than twenty years, and -- if one goes back -- usually wins first, second or third place each year from "Ellery Queen's" readers. He's that good of a writer, and plus he's a terrific rock-'n-roll musician.
In other news, the writing steams ahead, and a couple of local libraries have invited me to come by and stop for a visit and chat. Check the Appearances section for these two events, and as the weather gets warmer, I'm sure more appearances will come up as well.
March 8, 2009 - Another week of writing, and as I write this, looks like another snowstorm coming along... ick. This weekend, the weather was warm and the constant drip-drip-drip of water coming off the roof was a welcome sign... but now, it looks like freezing weather is coming, and so is another snowstorm.
Is it spring yet?
This past week, I've been doing my best to catch up on my e-mail, and I apologize to my correspondents who've been waiting for a reply. I promise to reply better in the future! And as I said before, I apologize to those who wrote and didn't get a reply; for some reason, my cranky AOL system has sometimes dumped my e-mail to my Spam folder... which gets deleted very quickly.
And as to the good news, I'm just waiting a little bit before passing it on... don't want to jinx anything!
March 4, 2009 - Another productive week, and another bit of good news, and I hate to do this to my faithful readers, but I'm also keeping this bit of information on the QT, for just a little while. And with this encouraging trend, I'm keeping fingers, toes and anything else crossed for one more bit of very good news to make for a trifecta. Or a hat trick. Or insert your own sports analogy here...
One question I often get is about my short story writing, of which I'm quite proud of... and when asked about the challenges associated with writing short stories, one of the biggest is length.
All magazines and anthologies have word length requirements, where stories have to be a minimum size, and can't exceed a certain length. Reaching the minimum is never a problem, but meeting length requirements... ouch!
Two examples: I had a science fiction short story that I thought would be perfect for a certain on-line market, and without paying attention (I know, a shock, eh?) I submitted the story before checking on the length requirements. Well, I got a blistering reply from the on-line fiction editor, suggesting I check the submission guidelines before sending a story in.
The problem? The stories couldn't be longer than 4,000 words, and the story I had sent in was 6,800. Still... I thought the story had merits, so I thought I could trim it. But after spending several days, trimming and trimming, I had only knocked off three hundred words, leaving 2,500 to go... and then I gave up. The story worked at that word length; cutting almost a third would leave the story unrecognizable.
And now the second example. There's a large magazine market I would love to crack, for it runs both science fiction and mysteries. Its requirement is that stories not be longer than 1,500 words. Oh my, that's about five manuscript pages, and in some ways, writing this one was a chore; trying to get it down to 1,500 words. It took some work, and I'm proud of it, but writing short -- at least for me -- is much, much harder than writing long.
One last thought: one of the many advantages of writing on computers is that in the old days, when I used a typewriter, I would always have to "guesstimate" how many words were on a page. It was a clumsy process of counting words in a number of lines, then multiplying that by the number of lines in a page, and then multiplying that by the number of pages in the story.... pretty cumbersome, but now, the automatic word count eliminates that challenge.
Now, if they could only come up with an automatic plot development device...
February 24, 2009 - And the writing continues, and a bit of good news has come my way which I'm going to keep close to the vest for just a very short while...
In the meantime, as novel writing continues, I decided to do a "head check" of how many short stories I have out to various markets. I always know I have a handful, but sometimes I lose track, because some markets report back in just a few weeks, while others can take a few months.
Well. Imagine my surprise when I went through my computer and checked query letters and short story listings, and I determined that I have *nine* short stories out there, making the rounds. Wow. Nine is quite the number and of course, I'm working on one right now.
For some reason -- and I don't want to curse anything by making note of it -- but this new year of '09 has been exceptionally productive on the writing front. I certainly hope this continues, for it's been a fun and great ride.
More to come in my next update... and I'm also proud to note that so far this year, I've produced more updates here than I did in the entire year of 2008!
February 15, 2009 - Another quiet week on the writing front, though progress always continues. I've found myself in a productive schedule where I'm working on both a novel and a short story at the same time.
For those of you out there interested in the writing process -- hello, hello? -- I tend to work on a novel in the morning, and then a short story in the afternoon. And on the next day, I reverse it, working on a short story in the morning, and a novel in the afternoon.
That way, I'm always approaching my subject with a fresh eye.
Now, I noticed something odd this week, and I hope those who visit my site on a regular basis will help me out. I usually get a number of e-mails from my readers that go into my regular AOL mailbox, and more often than not, I do reply.
However, for some odd reason, some of the mail from my readers gets dumped into my Spam file. And this file doesn't keep mail for very long, just a couple of days or so. Which means, and which horrifies me, is that a number of my readers out there, sending me an e-mail in good faith, never received a reply because their mail got dumped into my Spam file, and was deleted before I could read and reply.
So... my apologies, dear readers. If you've sent an e-mail over the past few months and never got a reply, trust me, it's not because I'm being diva-ish. And if you'd like to re-send an earlier, unanswered message, do so, and I promise I'll be checking my Spam file, to make sure no more messages get ignored.
February 8, 2009 - Not much to report on the writing front this past week, except to say the writing continues, as always!
Some have asked me over the years if any of my works have been adapted to a motion picture. And the quick answer is no, but that doesn't mean there's not interest out there.
Currently, there are four separate attempts underway to bring my works to the famed silver screen, two novels and two short stories. The novels are BETRAYED and RESURRECTION DAY, and the short stories are "Family Game" and "The Dark Snow."
However, all of these worthy efforts are in the very beginning stages, and while I'm hopeful all will come to fruition, it's very, very tough out there for any project to get successfully completed.
But having said so, my, it would be something to see something I wrote up on a movie screen!
Thanks again for stopping by.
February 4, 2009 - Those who have come to this site via the front page have no doubt noticed that the book covers have been changed... FINAL WINTER has moved to the right, and what's this? DEAD SAND on the left? How did that get there?
Well, that's an easy answer. More than fourteen years after being published, DEAD SAND is being re-issued in a large paperback format by New Hampshire publisher Plaidswede Publishing.
And who's behind Plaidswede? Ah, now that's a story. A long time ago... January, 1979, to be precise, I was a college sophomore and doing an internship at a newspaper in Dover, N.H., called Foster's Daily Democrat.
That was a scary thing, to be a teenager, going into a city newsroom. And that's where I met my boss, managing editor George Geers. George was an intimidating presence, sitting at a horsehoe desk, with a bellowing laugh, sharp questions, and a way of getting things done in a very busy and noisy newsroom.
And on my very first day at the newspaper, when I went up to see what I was going to do, George called the newspaper's chief photographer, looked at him, and said, "Take the new kid out." Then he looked at me, with a sly grin, and said, "Don't come back until you have a story."
Talk about swim-or-sink on one's first day! But I did come back with a story on that first day, and learned so very much during that internship.
Now, flash forward many years later, and I learned that George was now running a small press in New Hampshire, was a fan of my work, and was interested in re-publishing my Lewis Cole novels, most of which are now out of print. And I also learned that George couldn't believe that he was such an imposing presence back then.
So, George and his company has re-published DEAD SAND, and has plans to publish BLACK TIDE, and hopefully, other works of mine. I can't tell you how thrilled I am that these out-of-print books are now being made available again.
If you'd like to get a copy of DEAD SAND, I encourage you to click here.
And those sharp-eyed readers out there might spot a familiar figure on the cover of this new edition of DEAD SAND.
January 28, 2009 - And the posting streak continues... not weekly but definitely not quarterly. I hope all of my readers out there (hello? hello?) enjoy my relatively prolific posting pace.
The other evening I was resting in bed with my dear wife, reading PARADE magazine, where I came upon this following item in the Book spot in the Parade Picks section, with the accompanying headline Art Imitates Art:
"Before Stephen King or Alfred Hitchcock, there was Edgar Allan Poe. Poe's macabre tales have haunted readers -- and writers -- for generations. Now, 200 years after his birth, some of those writers are honoring his ghost with On A Raven's Wing (Harper; $15), a collection of 20 original Poe-inspired stories."
Of course, what's cool about this (or as we say in New Hampsha, wicked cool) is that one of my stories is in this anthology. Neat!
Today is a snowy, snowy day, with yet another six to 10 inches of the white stuff heading our way. Our sweet dog Tucker just loves to play and roll around in the snow, while our character cat Roscoe begs to be let out, only to give us a disgusted look while shaking each of his four paws.
The stormy weather is reflected, alas, in the news from the literary front. John Updike has died, as well as James Brady. Can't say much to add to all the platitudes about Updike, but one of his short stories, called "A&P," has always stuck in my mind. A story about a teenage cashier at an A&P store, Updike manages to shove in teenage sexuality, prudity, classism and the nature of work and taking a stand all in one short story. Very impressive!
And most people know of James Brady due to his weekly PARADE column and his writings on advertising and celebrities, but he wrote an autobiography about his service as a Marine officer during the Korean War, called "The Coldest War," published back in 1990. Highly recommended.
January 18, 2009 - So far, so good... I've posted more here in the past three weeks than the previous three months!
Tomorrow, January 19, is the two-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, considered by many to be the father of the detective mystery stories, with such tales as "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" and "The Purloined Letter," and his stories of horror as well, "The Tell-Tale Heart" and "The Fall of the House of Usher."
Another one of his tales that's my favorite is "The Gold-Bug," a wonderful treasure-hunting mystery involving clues and cryptograms.
To commemorate Poe's two-hundredth birthday, the Mystery Writers of America have just published an anthology called "On A Raven's Wing," edited by Edgar-winner and prolific author Stewart Kaminsky. Among the authors in this collection honoring Poe are Mary Higgins Clarke, Thomas Cook, S.J. Rozan and... yours truly. If you'd like to check out this anthology, click here.
My story is the "Cask of Castle Island," which takes place in South Boston and which was inspired by Poe's "The Cask of Amontillado." It was a great honor to be asked to contribute to this anthology, which not only helps a great organization -- MWA -- but also recognizes a unique American literary genius.
January 11, 2009 - My word, will you look at this? Another update to Brendan's website that takes place only eight days after the previous entry... quite an improvement over my usually quarterly update.
Since the last posting, I've been writing up a storm, actually being quite productive for the past eight days, and I'm hoping to continue this level of productivity for the forseeable future. My, updating the website on a regular basis and writing better and more stories. That's one heck of a New Year's already, don't you think?
One fun story I'm working on is a submission to an upcoming short story anthology published by the Mystery Writers of America, an organization I've been a member of for nearly twenty years. Each year the MWA puts out an anthology of original short fiction as a ways of raising money for the organization, and I've been fortunate enough to appear in a couple of previous anthologies.
This anthology, however, is proving to be a fun challenge. The theme this year is a supernatural-based short story, and I've managed to come up with an idea that has some promise. After all, I do live in New England, probably one of the most haunted places in the United States.
So thanks for coming by, and here's to keeping all of one's New Year's resolutions.
January 3, 2009 - Resolutions, resolutions, resolutions... here's to New Year's resolutions, especially one to keep this website updated on a more regular basis.
I hope 2008 was a good year for all my readers, and I hope that '09 will be a better year for all of us. And I'm pleased to report that 2008 ended on a high note, with a short story sale that fulfilled two of my dreams... the first being the sale of my one hundredth short story.
Even as I type those words, I find it hard to believe. One hundred short stories! How the heck did that happen? Well, the short and quick answer is that I love to write, and writing short stories allows me to explore themes, ideas and methods of writing that I don't use in my book-length projects. For example, out of my last several sales, most were written from a female first-person point of view.
Now, on to the second dream.
Though I'm a mystery/suspense author in the main, my very first love has always been science fiction, and since I was 12, I've written scores and scores of science fiction short stories, and submitted them over and over to all of the American science fiction magazines... and over and over, they were rejected.
But I never gave up. And even though I've sold a number of science fiction short stories to original science fiction anthologies and overseas markets, I always wanted to sell a story to one of the American science fiction magazines... and just a week or so ago, I did just that, selling my one hundredth short story, "Illusions of Tranquility," to the Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, which has been publishing since 1949.
A very sweet achievement.
In other news, I'm sure I join many, many readers, writers, editors and fans to be stunned and saddened to learn of the death of Donald Westlake, one of the giants in the field.
For nearly fifty years, he wrote novels and short stories, under his own name and pseudonyms, and was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. Several of his works were also adapted to movies. Two years ago, I was fortunate to spend some time chatting with Donald Westlake at post Edgar Allan Poe Awards party in New York City, and found him to be charming, friendly and a true gem.
Lastly, I'm pleased to post the nearby photo, which shows that some of my readers are in far away places indeed. This photo shows Col. Dave Blanks of the U.S. Air Force, currently stationed in Afghanistan, and also currently reading my novel BETRAYED, which he holds in his hands. He recently sent my an e-mail saying that he's nearing the end of the book, and is eagerly awaiting to see how it ends...
My wife and I give our thanks to Col. Blanks, and the so many others stationed far away from home, serving on our behalf.
Thanks for stopping by, and let's see how well I keep this New Year's resolution!
September 10, 2008 - Hey, where did the summer go?
Well, it certainly feels like it went by at warp speed, that's for sure. But as the summer draws to a close (remember, summer doesn't officially end for another two weeks...) it's been fairly productive. I've sold a couple of more short stories, bringing my total sold to 98... only two away for one heck of a record (if I may so myself).
I've also gone deep into re-working my new thriller, with the result that it's a much stronger, deeper and richer novel... and I have great expectations for it (hmmm, sounds like a fun fiction title, don't you think?)
There's also some interest, nibbling around the edges, for a couple of my works to be turned into movies, which would be quite a thrill. And work continues on work for my next novel, DESPERATION BAY, and --- shhh! -- a new Lewis Cole novel.
Thanks again to all of you for stopping by, and here's to a great Fall for all of us.
June 20, 2008 - To quote a famed British actor from the 1930's (Colin Clive), "It's alive, it's alive!"
Yes, I'm alive, and after the gentle prodding from my wife Mona, I've realized that I haven't posted here for an entire season. So now I think it's appropriate that I update this site on the first day of Summer.
The past few months have been busy and challenging. My new thriller novel is in the very last throes of being polished up prior to submission, and I'm busy outlining and researching my next novel, DESPERATION BAY.
On the never-ending short story front, I was very happy to sell my 97th short story to an upcoming MWA anthology, and was very not happy to learn that a magazine I had earlier sold a short story to has apparently gone out of business. So my short story sale number remains at 96. Ah, the Big Editor in the Sky giveth and taketh away...
During the past few weeks I was a guest speaker at two special events: a conference sponsored by the Seacoast Writer's Association, and a charity event for the Manchester City Library Foundation. I spoke to scores of people at both events, met old fans and made some new friends, and I thank everyone involved for welcoming me.
So thanks again for coming by, and let's see if I can't do a better job of updating on a more consistent basis.
February 13, 2008 - Happy day before Valentine's Day, where we've had snow, sleet, freezing rain and now just rain over the past several hours. Anyone hear of Spring I hope?
It's been a busy few weeks as we slide into the new year, and I've been thrilled to report that I've sold my 95th and 96th short stories, both to markets overseas. First, I'm pleased that I cracked the science fiction short story market with a story of mine called "Not Enough Stars in the Night," which will be published by an Australian science fiction magazine called Cosmos.
And to spread the joy to the other side of the globe, I also sold a story called "A Favorable Favor" to The Strand Magazine, a mystery magazines published in Great Britain. And just four more to go before I break that magic one hundred number...
In novel news, not much to report. My latest thriller is under consideration, and I've just come up with a great idea for a new thriller, which I'm busily plotting out and researching as you read this. And a couple of weeks ago, Mona and I were fortunate to spend an evening out with two special friends in the local writing community, where we had a blast.
I've also been doing local appearances to promote TWILIGHT and the American edition of FINAL WINTER, and if you're in the local area, check out the Appearances page to see where I might end up.
Take care and think warm thoughts!
January 26, 2008 - Belated and happy New Year to you all.
I hope this is a great new year for everyone, but it distresses me to talk about the death of a friend, mentor and giant in the mystery field, Ed Hoch.
Ed had more than 900 short stories published in a career that began in 1955, and since May 1973, he has had a story published in *every* issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. An Edgar Award winner, and a past grandmaster of Mystery Writers of America, Ed still kept a fresh and eager approach to his writing.
I was fortunate enough a few months ago to talk to Ed about an article I was asked to write for the MWA's newsletter, The Third Degree, about short stories, and Ed was gracious and helpful with his time.
And that wasn't the first time Ed had been helpful. I published my first short stories in 1986, and one of the biggest thrills was to get a nice letter and contract from Ed, asking for permission to reprint one of my early stories in his "Year's Best" anthologies, which he had edited for Walker Books.
For years Ed has been a big fan of my works, and was a big supporter of other short story authors as well. He was one of the last mystery short story authors who had his start with the pulps of the 1950's, and he will be greatly missed.
October 3, 2007 - Holey moley, where did the summer go?
No excuses, as one would say in the military, so... no excuses.
So on to the news.
Over the past weekend, at the annual Bouchercon mystery convention - held this year at Anchorage, Alaska - I was honored to receive the Barry Award for Best Mystery Short Story of the Year. As I couldn't be at Bouchcercon this year, fellow short story author Laura Benedict accepted the award on my behalf. The award was for my story, "The Right Call," which appeared in the September/October 2006 issue of "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine."
The Barry Award was named for famed mystery critic and enthusiast Barry Gardner, who died in 1996. In 1997, to honor his memory, Deadly Pleasures magazine set up the Barry Award, to honor the best in mystery fiction. This is the eleventh year these awards have been presented. Previously, they were voted on by the readers of Deadly Pleasures, but this year, balloting was open to readers of Mystery News as well.
Here are my prepared remarks:
"Thanks to all of you here for the joy of receiving this award. I'm just sorry that I wasn't able to be in Anchorage this year to share with this joy in person, and I appreciate Laura accepting this award on my behalf.
"First, my thanks to the readers of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasures for nominating, and then awarding me this wonderful award. And I'd also like to thank Janet Hutchings of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, for publishing this story and so many others.
"But finally, I'd like to express my appreciation to Barry Gardner, for whom this award is named. I met him a number of years ago, before his untimely death, and recalled his enthusiasm for my short stories and my first published novel. He had a keen eye for us writers in the mystery field, and I'm honored that I, at least, got to hear his high praise in person."
Next month, my eleventh novel - TWILIGHT - will be published by St. Martin's Press. This particular novel was published earlier this year in Great Britain by Time/Warner Books under the title of DEAD OF NIGHT.
Just this week, "Publisher's Weekly" gave TWILIGHT a starred review, which is an enormous thrill and honor.
I'd like to share this review with you:
"With exceptional restraint and the accretion of small but telling details, DuBois, already acclaimed for his 2003 thriller BETRAYED, leaps to the forefront of speculations on the future of the war on terror with this quietly devastating cautionary tale. His callow but sympathetic hero, Canadian journalist Samuel Simpson, has joined a United Nations unit attempting to gather evidence against those responsible for a devastating terror attack and document war crimes in the ensuing civil strife. In a twist Rod Serling would have been proud of, DuBois reveals that Simpson's beleaguered team, dodging gunfire in a shattered landscape, is assigned to the United States, which has fallen into anarchy after a dirty bomb destroyed lower Manhattan and other attacks seriously damaged electrical systems across the country. The balance between action and introspection is superb, and DuBois is confident enough of his readership and his premise to avoid a pat, upbeat ending. Those seeking a thoughtful look at a plausible aftermath of further attacks on America will find much to ponder."
Wow. It's reviews like that that can really make a writer go back to the keyboard and try to do better...
And speaking of doing better, I was quite fortunate a few weeks ago to attend Donald Maass' weeklong seminar, "Writing the Breakout Novel," which was held in Westminster, Massachusetts. The seminar ran from September 10 through September 16, and with more than 30 other participants, Ilearned new ways of character development, plotting, building tension, and the other skills that must all come together to write and publish a successful novel. It was quite the learning experience, and I have to thank my wife Mona for suggesting it to me.
In the meantime, I'm encouraged by the re-writing and tinkering that's going into my twelfth novel, and I just sold my 92nd short story to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Alas, it doesn't look like I'll break the 100 short story mark by the end of 2007, but as we Red Sox fans are wont to say, "Wait 'til next year!"
And last night, for the first time in a long time, I attended the monthly meeting of the New England Chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. It was fun, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and I was impressed by the attendance. There was a time, a number of years ago, that the New England chapter could practically meet in a phone booth, but last night, it seemed like nearly 50 people were in attendance. Very impressive...
So, thanks for stopping by, and happy Fall to all of you.
May 11, 2007 - It certainly has been a busy few weeks since my last update, complete with a 24-hour whirlwind visit to New York City.
Thanks to the encouragement of my wife Mona, for the first time in several years I went to the Edgar Allan Poe Awards, held by the Mystery Writers of America at the Hyatt-Regency Hotel in New York City, right next to Grand Central Station. The awards were held the evening of Thursday, April 26, and I had a wonderful time.
Of course, no trip to New York City wouldn't be complete without traveling hassles - a postponed flight going to New York City, followed by a nearly hour delay the next day in returning to Manchester, N.H. - but I still had a jam-packed time in Manhattan. Once I got to my hotel room that afternoon, I hurriedly got dressed in my tuxedo (a past birthday gift from Mona) and went to a reception sponsored by Dell Magazines, the publishers of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
After getting caught up with editors, agents, and fellow authors, I then went to the award ceremony itself, which was hosted by Al Roker of the Today Show, and which had as its highlight, the presentation of the Grand Master Award to Stephen King (earlier I even had a few minutes of charming conversation with Mister King, with whom I share a fondness for White Birch Books in North Conway, N.H.). I sat at a table sponsored by the University Press of New England (thanks John and Linda Landrigan!) and had a lovely time with my tablemates.
After the ceremony, the post-Edgar cocktail parties and get-togethers beckoned, until finally I made it back to my hotel room at 1:30 a.m. the next day, several hours past my usual bed time. I caught up with so many friends that my head was buzzing, and I thank my dear wife for encouraging me to go.
On the writing front, I've sold my 91st short story to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, meaning I'm less than ten stories away from reaching the magic 100 mark. Of course, I would still have to work extra hard to reach the mark of Ed Hoch, who's nearing his 1,000th published short story!
I'm also tinkering a bit with my new thriller, and am about 100 pages into a new novel, of which I'm going to keep close-mouthed for a while. It's something new and experimental, but a lot of fun, and I hope to finish it in a few months.
And last week, Mona and I were fortunate to have dinner with and spend a lovely evening with two dear friends who've been traveling a lot lately, and it was a magical night, especially for our English Springer Spaniel Tucker, who got some extra attention and playtime.
There... an update less than a month away from my previous update! Let's see if I can keep the streak going.
April 19, 2007 - Sorry for the lack of updates... though some things have been going on.
I recently sold my 90th short story - ninety! - to the nice folks at Tekno Books, anthologists extraordinaire, and I realized that with some luck (and some kind editors, of course!) I might be able to break 100 before the year's end. Quite the accomplishment of which I'm proud of, but which pales beside the king of mystery short stories, the very prolific Ed Hoch.
Since May 1973, Ed has *never* missed having a short story in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, a record that frankly leaves me breathless. A stunning accomplishment, which I don't think anyone will ever equal.
And speaking of Ed, the May 2007 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine announced the results of its EQMM Readers Award, where the magazine's readers vote on their favorite short story for the previous year. Friend and fellow short story author Doug Allyn came in first place, while Ed came in second... congratulations to both!
And I'm pleased to see that one of my stories, "The Right Call," came in eighth, tied with a short story by author James H. Cobb. It's always a pleasure to see readers acknowledge your works.
Besides short fiction, final tweaking goes on with my new book, I'm outlining a new thriller, and I'm working on a couple of projects, one of which I'm quite excited about, but intend to keep somewhat confidential for the forseeable future.
On the homefront, one of these days Spring will no doubt make an appearance... we've had rain, snow, rain, snow, a Nor'easter that caused flooding in the area, and more snow. Tucker loves the snow and the flooding means swimming opportunities in the area, but Roscoe can't understand why his humans can't fix the weather so he can go out more often.
Neither do I, frankly...
Thanks for visiting!
January 14, 2007 - A few weeks ago, a good friend, teacher, and mentor passed away.
Don Murray, a retired professor of English from the University of New Hampshire, died on December 30, 2006. I was privileged and honored to have him as a teacher, advisor, and friend all these past years.
A paratrooper during World War II, and later a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist, he came to UNH in 1963 to teach writing and journalism. Scores of journalists across the United States were among those he taught, including myself. After retiring from UNH, Don continued to teach writing, and continued to write as well, turning out well-reviewed and received books on writing and on life.
I first met Don when I was a student at UNH, from 1977 to 1982. I came to UNH with the desire to become a writer, but still unsure of myself and my talent. Through his classes and those of other talented teachers at UNH, I began to really start to learn the craft of writing. At the time, I was also quite active (perhaps too active!) on the student newspaper, and through my experiences, I served an internship at a local newspaper, Foster's Daily Democrat, of Dover, N.H.
By then Don had agreed to become my academic adviser, and helped me wend my way through the UNH English Department and college bureaucracy. During my internship, when I was a young, naive reporter, working at a "real" newspaper, I remember one challenge, where a reporter on the newspaper's staff kept on trying to be my supervisor, though that wasn't his role. I brought my problem to Don, and after a moment of quiet reflection, he smiled and told me to tell the nosy reporter to "f___ off."
That was Don. With a ready smile behind a Burl Ives-type face, he was one to cut to the chase and give you clear advice. And he also kept a close eye on his students, no matter where they were or what they were doing.
One of the few cherished memories I have from a lengthy hospital stay at Mary Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, N.H., during my senior year was a phone call I received from Don, to check up on me, while he was vacationing in St. Petersburg, Fla.
After I left UNH and worked as a reporter, I later turned to my first love, fiction, and kept in touch with Don over the years. By then he was writing a regular column for the Boston Globe newspaper, and every now and then, would drop a line in his columns, saying how much he enjoyed my novels. He was a true and dedicated fan of my work, and at lunches we had together over the years, I often told him how much I owed him in helping me become a writer.
And always, Don had the same reply. He hadn't helped me at all, he said (graciously lying, I might add). He always said that he just got out of my way and pointed me in the right direction.
Mona and I had lunch many times with Don and his famed wife, Minnie Mae, who died in 2005. Usually we ate Chinese food, and the conversations were always filled with laughs and good times.
The last time Mona and I saw Don was this past October, during a taping of a program for our local PBS affiliate, where I was being interviewed by another student of Don's, author and humorist Becky Rule. You could see in his cheery expression just how proud he was of his students, and where they had ended up.
He will be missed.
In my novel SIX DAYS, I penned the following dedication: This book is for Don Murray, veteran, teacher and writer.
And so much more.
December 20, 2006 - Just a number of days left before the end of the year... hard to believe!
I'm pleased that this week and next, I'm going to be appearing on our local PBS television station, WENH-TV, out of Durham, N.H., as part of the UNH Author's Series. The half-hour interview will be broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on Friday, December 22, and at 9:30 p.m., on Thursday, December 28. For those in my area of the world, it will be appearing on Channel 11, or any one of the New Hampshire Public Television Channels. The interview was conducted by the talented author and humorist Becky Rule.
In other news, even though the calendar states winter begins in less than a day, it's been a bizarre late fall. The ice in the pond in front of our house has melted, the goldfish have woken from their slumber and have swum around, and ticks are still attaching themselves to our Tucker. Strange... but I have no doubt we'll get a dumping of snow sooner rather than later.
I'm nearing the end of the revisions for my new thriller, and I'm eagerly awaiting the publication of TWILIGHT next year. It will appear in Great Britain in February 2007 (under the title DEAD OF NIGHT) and will be published in the fall of 2007 in the United States.
And in a bit of good news, FINAL WINTER - which was published earlier this year in Great Britain - will be published in the United States in early 2008 by Five Star Books. I welcome the chance for this thriller to find a home in the United States.
In the meanwhile, best wishes to my readers for the very best of holiday seasons, and a wonderful, peaceful and healthy 2007.
November 10, 2006 - Well, it's been a while since I've done an update, and this one will be quick and to the point.
All is well, and I've just completed a series of book signings and appearances to promote my latest Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM. I'd like to offer my special thanks and good wishes to all the bookstore owners and employees who hosted me at these appearances, and a special thanks to my readers, who showed up to have their books signed and their questions answered.
One highlight during the past several weeks was an interview I taped for Channel 11, the local PBS affiliate from Durham, N.H. The interview was conducted by New Hampshire author and humorist Rebecca Rule, and will be broadcast later this year as part of the Author's Series from the University of New Hampshire, where I received my B.A. in English.
Once I know when this program will be aired, I'll post the date on my website.
On the writing front, I'm re-workng and 'tweaking' my latest thriller, and I hope to have this manuscript off to my agent by early December.
And just yesterday, I learned that Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has purchased a new short story from me, "Blue Plate Special." This short story marks my 87th sale (man, I find that number hard to believe... ) and is part of my not-so-secret effort to reach 90 short stories by year's end.
Again, thanks for stopping by, and for all of my e-mail correspondents, I so appreciate hearing from you.
September 8, 2006 - As summer begins to fade away, I'd like to start out with condolences and then apologies
First, the condolences. From my e-mails and other messages, I know that I have a fair number of enthusiastic fans from the land Down Under, a/k/a Australia. Mona and I were very sorry to hear about the tragic death of Steve Irwin, the enthusiastic 'croc hunter.' As people who care about animals, we were saddened at his tragic and very untimely death. We always enjoyed seeing him on the morning news shows, and occasionally saw some of his programs. He seemed like a fair dinkum.
Next, the apologies. A while ago a reader of mine (Ken, I believe his name was) wrote a lengthy and greatly appreciated Guestbook entry about my works, and even gently pointed out an error in one of my latest short stories. Well, a few days ago, in the never-ending quest to kill spam, I cleaned up some of the more foul entries on my Guestbook, and accidentally deleted that message. My apologies, Ken, and if you'd care to re-post your entry, I'll make sure I don't delete it.
And speaking of my Guestbook, there's a sweet note there from the owners of a restaurant here in Exeter - 11 Water Street - where Mona and I recently had a wonderful dining experience with two dear friends, where we spent more than two hours with fine food, fine wine, and even finer laughter and conversation.
Now, with this entry, I'm quite pleased to report that PRIMARY STORM will soon by hitting the bookstores, and it's a wonderful book. My deep thanks to every one at St. Martin's Press for putting together a very attractive volume, with one of the finest covers I've ever had for one of my works.
Please go to the Appearances section of my website, where you'll see a listing of area bookstores and other places where I'll be giving readings and signing copies of PRIMARY STORM. I do hope that if you're in the area of one of these readings, that you can stop by to say hello.
Meanwhile, final edits proceed on a new book that I'm very enthusiastic about, and I have a few short stories out making the rounds, and I'm beginning the very first steps in figuring out what the next novel is going to be.
Thanks for coming by, and enjoy the last few days of summer!
August 7, 2006 - Hi! Remember me?
Yes, I know it's an odd way of saying hello, but this is an update that is coming to you, two weeks after my last entry, which - in the history of this website - is practically hyperdrive.
In doing book signings and appearances, one of the most common questions I get - besides, of course, the ever popular: "where do you get your ideas?" - is one concerning book covers. How do the covers come about? And do you - the author - have any part in the process?
Well, here are the answers: covers come from the art departments of publishers, who send out the manuscripts early in the editing process to artists or illustrators they have worked with in the past. After reading the manuscript, the artists usually present a sketch or two to the art department, starting the process that leads to a finished cover.
As to the author's part in the process, well, for me, I usually get to look at the cover just before publication and say whether I like it or not. And trust me, whichever answer I provide ends up with the same result: the cover goes to press, as is. But I shouldn't complain; for the most part, I have been extremely pleased with the covers that have appeared on all of my novels, save for one or two that have graced a Lewis Cole mystery, and which left me scratching my head.Now, the cover that has been picked for PRIMARY STORM has an interesting story behind it. When I saw the cover art - which you can see on the front page of this website or lower on this page - I was struck at how realistic it looked. The snow covered trees, the unplowed highway, the vehicle in the distance - it all said to me, New Hampshire in winter time.
And looking at the cover, I wasn't sure if it was a photograph or a painting. Then, I received an unanticipated yet extremely welcome e-mail from a couple in Australia, Dan and Jen Bradby. With their kind permission, I reprint their message below:
"My wife and I are very excited to be part of your latest novel Primary Storm. We were contacted recently from the Art Director at St Martin's who wanted to get permission to reproduce a photo we had taken on the cover of Primary Storm. We of course accepted and are happy to see it up on Amazon already!
"I wanted to let you know some of the story behind the photo we took. My wife and I are Australian but were living in Boston for a year or so. During the winter there we spent most of our weekends visiting your great ski resorts. This particular weekend we were heading to Bretton Woods and were fortunate enough to get a snow storm to provide us with fresh powder. From memory we took the photo somewhere between Conway, NH and Kittery ME on the 11th Feb 2005. The aftermath of the storm made for some amazing sights as we slowly drove up that Friday afternoon.
"We loved New England and are glad we get to share one of our favorite images of it through your book. In fact I just picked up a copy of FINAL WINTER this afternoon from a store here in Australia. I'm up to chapter 3 and am already hooked!"
So there you go.
And what is amazing is that my wife Mona and I know the territory between Conway, N.H., and Kittery, Maine, quite well - and that area becomes the cover of my next novel, courtesy of two people from Australia.
Strange world, ain't it.
In the meantime, editing continues on my new thriller - a book that I'm quite excited about - and I also have a couple of short stories in the proverbial hopper.
My latest published short story, "The Right Call," is currently on newsstands in the September/October issue of "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine."
And with the publication next month of my latest Lewis Cole novel, be sure to visit my Appearances page to see where in New England I will be appearing to do readings and sign copies of PRIMARY STORM.
See you again soon!
July 20, 2006 -- Happy Apollo Day!
All right, I know that most of you are probably shaking your heads over that last sentence, but it does make sense... after all, thirty-seven years ago today, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first humans to step on the moon.
And to make this date even more historic, exactly thirty years ago today, Viking I landed on Mars.
So to a certified space geek like myself, today is a special day. Of course, it makes whatever hair I have left turn even a bit more gray realizing it's been so long since the first moon landings. And to paraphrase Tom Hanks as Jim Lovell in "Apollo 13," when are we going back?
Soon, I hope. Soon.
And speaking of soon, I realize once again the length of time since my last journal entry. I have a semi-excuse, not a particularly good one, but right after that last entry, my old and somewhat reliable iMac started dying a slow and terrible death. Nothing too blatant; the poor dear would "hang up" while trying to start up, and lots of times, it would crash and burn while trying to load a program.
So it was time for a new computer, and once again, I went to Apple, as one of the proud "ten percenters" who own a Macintosh. My first Mac, nearly twenty years ago, was an Apple Mac Plus, followed by a Performa, then the iMac, and now I have a Macbook that I'm still learning how to use. It's a nice piece of equipment, though I was bummed to learn that I had to use Microsoft for a word program. That meant all my old Appleworks files (i.e, short stories and novels) can only be converted through a long and clumsy process.
And speaking of short stories and novels, I'm pleased that I'm making a lot of progress on several fronts. My alternative history novel is finished and is currently being read by my best first editor, Mona. I've gone through the edits from my British editors for TWILIGHT, which is due to be published in Great Britain in February, 2007. Alas, TWILIGHT - which will also be published in the United States in Fall 2007 by St. Martin's Press - won't be called TWILIGHT in the United Kingdom.
It seems my publisher had another author who had a work called TWILIGHT and which was earlier published in hardcover. The paperback edition was set to be released in February, 2007, when it was quickly realized by somebody in my publishing house that two novels called TWILIGHT, released in the same month by the same publisher, would cause a lot of confusion.
So TWILIGHT in the UK will be called DEAD OF NIGHT, but as of now, will remain TWILIGHT in the United States and in Spain and Italy, where rights to it have already been purchased.
Got that? Good...
Recently Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine published one of my latest short stories, called "Redemption Cove."
I think it's one of my best short stories, and I was pleased to see that it made the cover of the current issue of AHMM. If you have a chance, do pick up this issue; this story - I hope! - will raise the hair on the back of your neck.
I also have a short story coming out this month from a magazine called "108", which is dedicated to baseball. The story is called "No Truer Fan," and, of course, is about a Red Sox fan. When I was approached by the editors of this new magazine to submit a story of them, I said I would love to write a story with a Red Sox theme, but I wasn't sure if I could do a story that wasn't a horror story.
However, with some luck and work on my part, I think I produced a story that does the Red Sox and its fans justice. If you'd like to order a copy of this magazine, click here.
Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has also purchased a new short story of mine, called "The Best Revenge," and I'll let you know more about that story when a print date has been set.
In other news, Roscoe continues to adjust well to his new household. He's getting a bit heavier, as he eats more regularly, and he doesn't draw nearly as much blood from Mona and me as he used to. We now let him outside on a leash, attached to a container filled with stones, so he doesn't go far, and he seems content to spend hours near our pond, trying to capture frogs. In fact, a couple of weeks ago, he did grab one, and I managed to intercede before Roscoe sent the poor amphibian to that Great Lillypad in the Sky.
He's a funny boy. There are times when he likes to cuddle a bit and switch on his purr engine. And there are other times when you try to pick him up, and he rolls on his back and bares his fangs and comes at you with all four paws.
I guess that's what makes him a cat, eh?
Once again, thanks for coming by, and I'll try to keep this more updated, especially as I get used to my new MacBook.
May 11, 2006 -- Remember that old saying? If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring? People! Yuck-yuck, except during this particular spring, April showers are bringing May showers, lots and lots of May showers. We've had cool rainy days for the past couple of days, with more rain promised over the next week or so.
Which, I suppose, means that with the wet weather, and no excuse to go out and mow the lawn and do landscaping work, I should spend more time in the office, writing and working on, um, updating my website on a more regular basis.
My latest novel, FINAL WINTER, was released a few weeks ago in Great Britain, and I'm quite pleased to report that according to a British trade magazine, "Bookseller," FINAL WINTER is selling very well. Thanks to my loyal fans in the UK and elsewhere who are supporting this novel. And I'm pleased to report, though I don't want to jinx anything, that odds are improving that FINAL WINTER will find a home in the United States.
My next novel up to be published will be PRIMARY STORM, the sixth novel in my Lewis Cole series. The unbound galleys of PRIMARY STORM have arrived and I'm busy reviewing those pages, which are due back to my publisher next week. As I said before, PRIMARY STORM will be published this September.
And speaking of PRIMARY STORM, the cover art for this book arrived in my e-mailbox a few weeks ago, and is reproduced nearby. It's a beautiful cover, and I'm quite fortunate that my latest covers from St. Martin's Press -- BURIED DREAMS and BETRAYED and now PRIMARY STORM -- have been well done indeed.
Work continues on my latest thriller, and again, not to jinx anything, I believe the first draft will be completed within the next couple of weeks. Then, some revision time, and another draft will be printed out to my loyal and trustworthy first editor and first reader: my wife Mona, who is skilled at pointing out inconsistencies ("why is her hair red in Chapter Two, but brunette in Chapter Eight?") and who also has a very sharp eye for grammatical problems, spelling errors, and the such. Also, she tells me when something works, and, equally as important, when something *doesn't* work. (Hi, dear, and thanks again!)
Short story production continues apace as well, and I've sold a short story to a new magazine that will publish its premier issue next month. Called "108 Magazine," it describes itself as a "quarterly publication that celebrates baseball's contribution to and role in American history, culture, and social fabric." My story is called "No Truer Fan,"and I'm thrilled that it will appear in the very first issue of "108 Magazine."
Now, to answer the question from my non-baseball readers: what the heck does the name of the magazine mean? Easy answer: there are 108 stitches in a regulation baseball. To learn more about this new magazine, click here.
I also have a new short story,"Redemption Cove," coming up in the July/August issue of "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." It's a tale of a young lady, found murdered in a New Hampshire lake, and how this discovery changes so many lives. I believe this story is one of my best, and if you read it, I hope you like it.
In other news, our new cat Roscoe is managing to fit himself better and better with each passing day in our household, and Mona and I have a fewer number of scratches on our hands and fingers to show for it. We even think that Tucker and Roscoe are becoming more used to each other, with the first hints of play time between them.
Encouraging news, I suppose...
Thanks for stopping by!
March 28, 2006 -- Well, not much to say except that it's been a very busy past few months, with many challenges and some sad occurrences.
To begin with, at the very beginning of the year, there was a health problem for a dear family member that has moved to a positive resolution. This meant many hours on the road for Mona and I, and many visiting hours as well. The current situation is just much more upbeat since this loved family member has been discharged from the hospital.
Sadly, a number of weeks ago, we lost Oreo, our cat and boon companion. Oreo had shared more than fifteen years of his life with at first Mona, and then the two of us, after Mona and I got married. He was a special boy, with fans from across the nation and literally, the world. He traveled well with us, going in the car with a minimum of fuss, and enjoyed meeting new people.
He wasn't shy; if you came to our house, he would often stroll up and introduce himself with a loud meow. He also had a taste for people food: lobster, shrimp, hamburg, steak, chicken and pork were his favorites, as well as strawberry ice cream and cantaloupe. Mona and her knitting skills meant that this special boy had a number of hand-knit blankets, which he loved in his own way.
Oreo was never a cuddly lap cat, which some would say was part of his charm. He was persnickity, opinionated and when Tucker the English Springer Spaniel moved into our household, he wasted no time in bopping Tucker on the nose with his paw, to show him who was boss.
He now rests in the flower bed in front of our house, where he would often sunbathe and terrorize the occasional chipmunk or red squirrel. He will be missed.
And now... we introduce Roscoe. Just over a month ago, we decided it was time to have a cat return to our household. The fine people at the Harvest Hills Animal Shelter in Fryeburg, Maine, welcomed us as we spent part of a Saturday morning, looking for that special someone... which we found in Roscoe. Big, muscular, and sharing some of the black-and-white fur patterns of Oreo, Roscoe has settled in well. Unlike Oreo in his later senior years, Roscoe is full of energy and play, and both of us have scratch marks on our hands to mark his roughhousing.
But, like Oreo, when Roscoe met Tucker, he tried to bop him on the nose with his paw to show him who was boss. I guess some things never change.
And on the writing front... visitors will notice a new look on the front page of my website. Yes, FINAL WINTER will be availably shortly to my fans overseas in Great Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth nations, and I do hope that an American publisher will be found so that it will appear on *this* side of the pond as well.
I'm quite proud of FINAL WINTER, though its topic --terrorism -- is probably not one I will return to any time soon. All too often, real news events quickly outstrip any fictional ideas myself and other authors come up with.
One caveat to my overseas fans: when you click on the Amazon.co.uk link for FINAL WINTER, you'll get the correct homepage for my novel. However, due to a communications glitch, the synopsis for this novel is incorrect. I'm told that work is underway to insert the correct synopsis; I sure hope it occurs soon!
Just yesterday I mailed back the corrected manuscript of PRIMARY STORM, which will be published this September -- one of my favorite months! -- by my American publisher, St. Martin's Press. This will be the sixth adventure for Lewis Cole, and involves his participation in the New Hampshire presidential primary.... and believe it or not, candidates are already up here, making the rounds and introducing themselves to long-suffering New Hampshire voters.
Work continues on my new thriller, and on last check, I have three short stories out making the rounds. So writing continues, and continues well, and my thanks again for stopping by, and here's to more timely entries on my part in the future!
January 3, 2006 -- Here's to a happy, safe and wonderful New Year for all my visitors.
The past several weeks have been a jumble of Christmas preparations, planning, some travel up north, and the usual fun chaos of Christmas in New Hampshire with my wife Mona, our creatures Oreo and Tucker, and all of our extended family members. Now that the holiday season is over, it's time to update the website and get back to a regular routine.
In a couple of weeks -- on Tuesday, January 17th, to be precise -- I'll be doing a book signing at 7 p.m. at the Water Street Bookstore at 125 Water Street in Exeter. Along with authors J.E. Seymour and S.A. Daynard, I'll be signing copies of the "Windchill" short fiction crime anthology, published by Level Best Books. This is the anthology -- see entry below -- in which my short story, "The Forever Reunion," appears, and for which I was honored to receive the Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award.
Meanwhile, I continue to work on my new novel, and I was pleased that Tekno Books -- hi Marty, hi Larry, hi John! -- have purchased another short story of mine, "The Unplug War," for an upcoming science-fiction anthology tentatively titled "Man vs. Machine." I find it quite sweet, based on the reams of science fiction that I both read and wrote as a youngster, that I am now selling science fiction short stories. Of course, I have yet to crack the ultimate science fiction market, ANALOG magazine, though I've been trying since I was about twelve or thereabouts. Hmmm.... thirty-plus years of trying to crack a market; you'd think they'd give me a break or something.
Sometime this spring -- still not sure of the definite date -- my newest thriller, FINAL WINTER, will be published in Great Britain and other Commonwealth nations by my superb British publisher, Time-Warner UK. There's still a chance that FINAL WINTER will find a publishing home in the land of my birth, but in the meantime, here's a copy of the cover (my British publisher excels at wonderful covers).
The battle against my guestbook spammers continue, with my tech support adviser Will Eastler doing his part. I would hate to disable my comments section, but I also hate having all that junk clog up my guestbook and offend my readers. So I hope the future brings success to all, and death to spammers!
November 16, 2005 -- As I write this, I still have very fond thoughts concerning an award I received this past Saturday night.
At the banquet of the annual New England Crime Bake conference -- held in Lowell, Mass., November 12 and 13 -- I was quite honored to receive the first annual Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award. It's named after short story author and novelist Al Blanchard, an energetic author and volunteer who did a lot for mystery writers and aspiring writers in New England. Al was serving his third year as president of the New England Chapter of Mystery Writers of America when he suddenly died at last year's conference. A photo of Al is nearby.
The Crime Bake is organized by the New England MWA chapter and Sisters in Crime, and after Al's death, it was decided to honor his memory at this year's conference by establishing the Al Blanchard Crime Fiction Award. Requests for submissions were sent out, and as I understand it, more than 80 submissions were received. They were all submitted anonymously and were judged by a committee of MWA members, plus Enid Blanchard, Al's widow.
In addition to a lovely plaque that is now hanging in my office, my winning story -- "The Forever Reunion" -- was published in a mystery anthology published by Level Best Books of Massachusetts, called "Windchill." This is their third anthology; the previous two books in the series were called "Riptide" and "Undertow."
Upon receiving the award, I made the following remarks to the banquet attendees at the Crime Bake after receiving the award from Enid Blanchard:
Thank you, Enid, for that wonderful introduction.
Before I begin, I'd also like to thank the judges for this fantastic award: Enid, of course, as well as Susan Oleksiw, Leslie Wheeler, Paula Munier and Toni Kelner. As one who has served as an awards judge several times for MWA, I know and appreciate the work that goes into reading and re-reading scores of submissions.
And I'd also like to thank Susan Oleksiw again, and the other members of Level Best books, Skye Alexander and Kate Flora, who are publishing the Wind Chill anthology, which includes not only my story, but those of other New England authors. In these times when it seems like we will eventually end up with three or four corporate publishers, it's heartening to see publishing houses like Level Best exist. And I'd also like thank as well, the members of the Crime Bake committee for organizing this wonderful event...
In accepting this award tonight, the honor really doesn't go to me, but goes to Al Blanchard. It says so much of Al and the lives that he touched that this award was created in his memory.
I confess that I didn't know Al that well, and I am poorer for it. I had met him a few times at meetings of the New England MWA at Kate's Mystery Books, and I remember his twinkling eyes, the ready smile under his thick moustache, and the way he seemed to enjoy having a part in reinvigorating the New England chapter.
But I do know we had things in common, besides being short story writers and novelists. We shared a love of New England and its geography and its people.
If I may, I'd like to read something that Al had said, some time ago, about the importance of setting when it comes to creating a mystery. He said, "A setting in a mystery isn't simply an arbitrary backdrop to a story. A good setting makes things happen. It forms the characters and has a personality and life of its own. Massachusetts has cities, suburbs, farms, wilderness, mountains and the seashore. It also has a mixture of cultures, religions and languages. Basing my mysteries in Massachusetts gives me the opportunity to weave some unique tales."
How true, and I echo Al's words in creating my own mysteries, many of which take place in my home state of New Hampshire, which shares so many of the geographical traits Al mentioned here in Massachusetts... except of course, for a sales or income tax...
So for all of us writers -- those published, those working to be published -- take Al's words to heart when it comes to creating your own tale. Find your own true place, your own true voice, when you sit down at the keyboard.
And Al's life, I think, should also inspire all of us, for he had had a long and satisfying career as a teacher before turning his energies to writing mystery fiction. So many of us come to writing from other fields, other places, after determining we could no longer ignore that voice inside that demanded we write, we create, we take part in this mysterious world of fiction. And Al made it happen.
But when he also turned to writing, he made sure he brought others along with him as well. He was so very active in the New England chapter of MWA, and he had a huge part in working with Sisters in Crime and others in putting on this successful New England Crimebake. He wrote and talked and inspired so many of us to keep at it, not to be discouraged, to try and try again.
In closing, I have fond memories, years ago, of a trip my wife Mona and I took to Sun Valley in Idaho, where Ernest Hemingway spent his last years, where there's a stone monument in his honor near a place called Trail Creek. One winter day the two of us skiied out to this remote area, to find this place of honor. On the monument is the following poem, written by Hemingway, mourning a departed friend:
"Best of all he loved the fall / The leaves yellow on the cottonwoods / Leaves floating on the trout streams / And above the hills / The high blue windless skies / Now he will be part of them forever."
Look around you, look at the writers and the aspiring writers that Al knew, look at this convention he helped organize, look at what Al did in his life, and as long as there's a New England and as long as there are mystery writers, Al will be a part of them forever.
So there you go.
If you'd like to know more about Al, click here.
If you'd like to order a copy of "Windchill," click here.
In addition to receiving the award, I also had a chance to meet some old friends in the mystery field, and to make new ones, and to raise a drink or two in Al's memory.
Writing can be a very solitary business, often conducted through keyboards or modems, and it's a delight sometimes to sit with fellow travelers in this weird trip we call mystery fiction, and to swap tales and lies and to finally agree at the end that yes, it's all worth it.
November 10, 2005 -- Well, another Halloween come and gone... *sigh*.
Perhaps it's my genetic makeup, which is Celtic Irish in origin, but there's something about this time of year that just interests and intrigues me. As I said earlier, not for me the blood-spattered gore fests of certain horror movies or books... I just like the old Druid belief that this time of year -- called Samhain -- was when the barrier between the physical world and the spirit world thinned out, and spirits could come visit their prior life.
I'm an educated man of the 21st century, but late at night, when the lights were off downstairs, I would go out and step on the porch, and look up at the bright stars. The wind would rustle leaves across the yard, and there would always be those small sounds from animals and birds, out there in the darkness. During Halloween, I have two candles burning on the porch, in tiny candle holders that cast shadows of a skull and a skeleton. And when the cold night wind makes the shadows flicker on the walls of the house, that's when I have the faintest feeling of what my Celtic ancestors felt like a thousand years ago.
One of these days... and I don't know when... I'm sure I will write a novel inspired by my love of Halloween. But other novels beckon...
Such as the one I'm working on now, which is proceeding nicely, and I'm pleased with the wonderful cooperation I'm getting from my sources (hi mom, hi dad) and members of the Portsmouth Police Department, who are all assisting in this novel's background.
St. Martin's Press has also officially accepted PRIMARY STORM, my latest Lewis Cole novel, for publication, though a release date hasn't been set yet. When I find out, I'll post it here on my site.
New short stories continue to make the rounds, and I've also been told that one of my newest stories, "The Lights of Crawford Hills," will appear in the March/April 2006 issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.
Amazing, when you think of it... my first published short story, "Dark Corridor," appeared in EQMM in February 1986. Here it is, twenty years and more than eighty published short stories later, I'm still at it...
I'm glad I still enjoy it so.
Thanks for visiting!
October 25, 2005 -- And now, we are into October, one of my most favorite months.
Ever since I was a young'un, there was always something magical and mysterious about October. Beyond the changing of the seasons, the cold nights and crisp mornings, the changing colors of the leaves, there was also a magical feeling with the approach of Halloween.
My brothers and I would spend hours dreaming up what kind of costumes to wear, we'd plan our trick-and-treat route like generals planning an invasion, determining the best and quickest way to hit certain streets and households. Some houses were high on the list: those, for example, who actually gave out full-size Hershey bars, and not those little bite-size bars. And then there were the households to avoid: those who shut off all the lights or those -- horrors! -- that gave out apples.
There were decorations in school, pumpkin to carve out, and of course, the true highlight, the Charlie Brown Halloween special, where I loved hearing the spooky music as Snoopy escaped through the fields of France after being shot down by the Red Baron.
Then, came the special night. For some odd reason, here in New Hampshire, at least, trick-and-treat is done on October 30th, *not* October 31st. Why? No idea... but in any event, we'd rush through dinner -- and groan whenever the doorbell rang, meaning other trick-or-treaters were out there, beating us to the punch -- and change into costumes, grab our flashlights and empty treat bags, and head on out.
Ah. The sound of candy making that satisfying "thump"sound when it was dumped into your paper bag. And the wonderful joy of the next several days, diving in and out, eating the goodies, trying desperately to ration them out to Thanksgiving... knowing there was always some kid (some nameless, kid, of course) was able to ration his candy out to Christmas.
Designing costumes were always the best part of Halloween, and I still fondly remember one costume that really stands out. It started off with a draped white sheet, with me wearing a skeleton mask (this being the 1960s, it was that brittle plastic mask that made you sweat and suffocate after having it on for more than ten minutes) and on top of my head, a Boy Scout-issued Indian headdress that once belonged to my older brother Brian. The headdress was made of fur and had two horns sticking out... and it was a heck of a sight, though the horns were heavy! I remember going to one household up the street, and the male neighbor was so impressed he had to call his wife over, while holding his Doberman by the collar, said Doberman barking furiously at me, no doubt wanting to rip out my throat.
To this day, Halloween remains my favorite holiday, and I still have decorations and pumpkins out -- I usually try to put them up about October 1st -- and I enjoy re-reading two of the greats of American horror literature: Edgar Allan Poe and H.P. Lovecraft, both of whom have New England connections. Not for me the blood-spattered tales or violent movies; I prefer the quiet spookiness that plays around the edges, that make you wonder about a moaning breeze, a creaking branch, and that odd bump in the night.
Have a wonderful Halloween, wherever -- and whoever -- you are...
September 23, 2005 -- Well, I guess the Apocalypse hasn't struck *quite* yet... Apologies once again for not updating the site in a more timely manner.
Now, it's time to take a deep breath and explain where I'm at on the novel front. It's quite confusing -- especially for me, the author -- but it's a lot of fun in a warped way.I now have three completed novels in the pipeline.
First things first... FINAL WINTER, a terrorism-related saga that took me nearly two years to write, is in production at my wonderful British publisher, Time Warner UK. I just went through the copyediting process a few weeks ago, and for the first time in my writing career, I can honestly say that the process was a complete joy, from start to finish. Kudos to Time Warner UK, especially copyeditor Nick Austin, who was a joy to work with.
As of this writing, FINAL WINTER has not yet found an American publisher, but I'll update if and when this changes. The current schedule shows FINAL WINTER being published in Great Britain in the first part of 2006.
Next up... is TWILIGHT. This particular thriller -- a quiet thriller about, well, bad things happening in the United States (don't want to give too much of the plot away at this time ) -- has made a bit of a splash, much to my surprise and enjoyment. TWILIGHT will be published in the United States by my American publisher, St. Martin's Press, and will also be published in Great Britain by Time Warner UK. In addition, TWILIGHT has been picked up by publishers in Holland, Spain, and Italy, and there's hope for a few more foreign publishers jumping on the bandwagon. Much thanks to Liza Dawson and Chandler Crawford for their efforts in making this piece of magic happen.
And last on the hit parade is the sixth novel in my Lewis Cole series, PRIMARY STORM, in which Our Hero Lewis gets mixed up in political shenanigans during the quadrennial circus known as the New Hampshire primary, where residents of my home state have a big hand in choosing the next president. That book is now with my editor at St. Martin's Press, and when a publication date is announced, I'll make sure it appears on my website.
Now, speaking of novels, I'm currently at work on my new thriller, an alternative-history novel. I don't want to hex anything, but so far, this book has been a blast to write.
In other news, I have three short stories out making the proverbial rounds, and am working on a new one. A few days ago I had a delightful appearance at the Exeter Public Library where I gave a sneak peak to the appreciative audience (hi Mom and Dad!) of TWILIGHT, and gave a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at being a writer.
Now, despite the news about hurricanes and such, I'm going to do my best to usher in the Apocalypse by updating this site on a more frequent basis...
August 12, 2005 -- Ouch! Hard to believe it's been *months* since I've updated my pages... apologies all around, but first things first.
My Guestbook is now up and running again. I had been concerned recently that there had been a lack of Guestbook postings, and after checking in with my web guru, Will, of monkeymind.net, I discovered that a bit of um, aggressive deletion of spam on my part in my Guestbook had deleted a key portion of code. Will made a snappy repair (thanks!) and now we're back where we belong.
My apologies if you tried to post a Guestbook message and nothing appeared. Please try again if you'd like... and, of course, Death to Spammers! Or as Cato the Elder might have said, Spammers Delenda Est!
I'm now in the curious but not unpleasant position of having *three* novels out and about, and I'll tell more once I'm in a better position to do so.
In other news, the summer is progressing along nicely, except for the past several days, I had a wicked viral infection that offered coughing, a sore throat, a constant fever and achiness. I napped a lot, ignored yardwork and writing, and read old science fiction and napped. (Old science fiction to me is like comfort food; though I'd call it comfort reading...) Thanks to Mona for taking care of me, Tucker for amusing me, and Oreo for not biting my forehead while I was napping.
Now that I'm feeling better, writing lurches ahead, with work proceeding on my latest thriller. Hope your summer's going well, and here's hoping to a sign of the Apocalypse: me updating this website next week...
May 18, 2005 -- At about 9:10 a.m. this morning, I finished the sixth novel in my Lewis Cole series, PRIMARY STORM. I celebrated this blessed event by taking Tucker out for a quick walk on the front lawn, and by folding some laundry!
Now, the real work begins, as I return to PRIMARY STORM for editing, re-writing, checking for continuity errors -- i.e., two widely different characters sharing the same last name, ouch! -- and spellchecking. Then, a print run and it goes to my very first dear reader, Mona, who takes out her trusty red pen and finds all the mistakes I overlooked. From there, one more pass through on my trusty iMac and off it goes to my agent Liza.
It was fun working through PRIMARY STORM as it approached the end, and as the characters somewhat took control of their destiny and made everything -- I hope! -- work out fine. I usually find that working on a novel has three distinct phases: the wildly optimistic first few chapters, as things come alive and you're excited at the new world you're creating; the sullen middle portion of the book, which is often a slog punctuated by self-doubts, i.e., does any of this make sense?; and the frantic last few chapters, as you realize the darn thing is almost finished.
Writing continues as well on my new thriller, and I'm looking forward to spending more time with that book with PRIMARY STORM esssentially having been completed.
In other news, I'm quite happy with two recent short story sales. The first, "The Temptation of King David," will appear in an anthology edited by Anne Perry (with able assistance by Marty Greenberg and the fun folks at Tekno Books) and to be published by Carrol & Graf. This anthology is called "Thou Shalt Not Kill: Biblical Mystery Stories."
The second sale has a bit of meaning to it. This short story, "The Last Flight,"will be in an anthology edited by Harlan Coben (again, with the able assistance by Marty Greenberg and the fun folks at Tekno Books) and will be published by Tor Books. This anthology, "Relationships Can Be Murder," is an anthology put together by the Mystery Writers of America , the professional organization for mystery authors. I've been a proud member of MWA for nearly twenty years, and I hope this anthology does well for them
There are also other projects out there -- including my thriller-that-used-to-be-called BLACK WIND, and I hope to have some more information on this in the future weeks. Again, my thanks to my agent, Liza Dawson, who's really been out there pitching for me.
Thanks again for stopping by.
April 7, 2005 -- Spring has finally sprung in our little corner of New England, though piles of snow still remain in our yard and along the local roads. Our English Springer Spaniel, Tucker, loves to jump and play in the snow -- digging and then retrieving a green tennis ball -- but he seems to be adjusting to our wet lawn and the muddy woods nearby.
I put on my Wellington boots yesterday and tramped around the yard for the first time, seeing the places that need to be trimmed, the leaves that need to be raked, and other stuff that emerges once the snow melts. A muddy mess, overall, but after this long and grueling winter, it's still a pleasure to see. Mona and I are also enjoying our early morning walks with Tucker as well, as we hear and see birds in numbers that we haven't seen in months.
And as we bid a fond farewell to winter -- hah, hah! -- here's a photo of our home taken a few weeks ago, after the last major dump of the white stuff. Sharp-eyed readers will note our two boys sitting in the middle of the front porch; one of whom would love to jump and roll around in the snow, the other who can hardly wait to get back inside and snuggle up next to the radiator.
Writing continues well the past few weeks, with good progress being made on the new Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM. It's funny how the writing process happens anew with each novel. When a novel starts, the writing is a bit clumsy, hesitant, as the characters begin to take life and interact with each other. Then, at some time, there is a "tipping point," where the characters begin to take on a life of their own, and the writing becomes smoother and faster. A couple of weeks ago, I reached this tipping point with PRIMARY STORM, and it's fun to see Lewis and Felix and Paula and Diane and the other characters in my Lewis Cole series do what they do best.
I've also begun serious work on my new thriller, and have enjoyed immersing myself win the world of the United States, circa 1943. More to come on this book as it proceeds...
The past couple of weeks, I had the fun opportunity to meet with the staff and readers of the public libraries in nearby Brentwood and Hampton, N.H., and it's always a pleasure to meet my readers in person.
Work also continues on other projects as well, and I'd like to give thanks to my agent Liza Dawson, who's been working very hard on my behalf these past few weeks.
Happy spring to all!
February 25, 2005 -- As winter grinds along, we just had another snowstorm, following yet another snowstorm... and more snow is predicted in just a few days. Ah, the joys of living in New Hampshire.
And speaking of joy, I'm excited to announce that my wonderful British publisher, Time Warner UK, has agreed to publish my latest thriller, the-book-no-longer-called BLACK WIND. Once I have more details of a publication date and when the title is nailed down, I'll let you know.
I'm also pleased to report that an interview with me is now up on a website in Brazil devoted to time travel and alternative history. The site is hosted by Octavio Aragao, a Brazilian science fiction author and fan of my alternative history novel, RESURRECTION DAY. You can view the interview by clicking here.
My thanks to Octavio for conducting the interview, and for exposing me to Brazilian readers.
As an aside, it's *always* a big thrill to hear from my fans overseas. It's wonderful to be a published American author; it's even better to know that your works are being read and appreciated overseas.
In other writing news, I've completed a short story for the merry anthologists of Marty Greenberg and John Helfers at Tekno Books, I've finished a special project for my agent (hi, Liza!) and work continues on my new Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM.
By the by, my head feels much better, though some parts are still tender to the touch... but at least my yellow bruise has faded away! Here's to warm weather and best wishes for all of us.
February 11, 2005 -- Another week, another snowstorm. And a misadventure that still has my head ringing...
Let me set this misadventure up. Part of my morning routine, after kissing Mona goodbye as she heads out to work, is to take Tucker out on the leash on our front porch, and meet Mona as she's backing out the Honda from the garage for one last wave, especially from Tucker.
Well, this past Tuesday, the routine became anything but. We have had a bout of warm days here but cold nights, and as I went down the steps, a thin film of ice was on the steps. And you know what? It really is true; when you have an accident, things do *really* move fast, for I don't remember falling down the steps. I just remember being on my side, realizing that my head hurt like hell, and trying to get up while checking to make sure my jaw wasn't broken, as well as any limb or ribs. Luckly, I just had a couple of big eggs on the side of my head, as well as a scraped cheek.
Mona acted fast, putting the Honda in park, and helping me back inside. And for the rest of the day, well, not much got done except for laying down, putting ice packs on my head, and taking Tylenol.
Today my head is better, I have a faint black eye -- actually, more yellow than black -- and I'm a few days behind on my writing obligations (sorry, Liza). And yesterday, more snow, but I walked much, much more carefully...
Speaking of snow, here's a recent photo of Tucker, playing out in the snow, and enjoying himself tremendously. Mona and I believe that he could probably spend the entire day out in the snow, if he could.
And speaking of writing, my latest published short story, "Cold Waters," is in the March/April 2005 issue of "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine." I'd like to take this moment to thank my neighbor and friend Patrick O'Halloran for his technical advice in the research for this story. It was a great help. And it's always a pleasure to appear in EQMM, especially since they published my first short story... good Lord, in 1986, almost twenty years ago!
Where in heck did the time go?
Other writing continues, including a new short story for Marty Greenberg, my new Lewis Cole novel, and other projects as well.
And in the spirit of fairness, here's an old photo of our cat Oreo, doing what he does best. He has spent time in the snow, but Mona and I think that if he had a choice between walking in the snow or snoozing, he'd pick snoozing, every time.
February 4, 2005 -- For those fans who read this site on a regular basis -- come on, there must be four or five of you out there! -- it's no secret that I was and am a big fan of science fiction and fantasy. Growing up in the 1960's and 1970's, I devoured the works of Robert Heinlein, Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, Larry Niven, Harlan Ellison, so forth and so on.
Besides novels, I also read all the magazines: Analog, Amazing SF, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine, Galaxy (now long gone, *sigh*), and others as well that didn't live long, like Galileo and Vertex.
When I first started writing short stories, when I was about 12 or so, those stories were all science fiction. I think my very first short story -- still stuck in one of my filing cabinets -- was called "Two Light Years to Doom." Pulpy stuff, right? (I just now took it out and read it.... oh my, how delightfully horrible it is!) And even at that young age, and all through high school and college, I wrote many, many science fiction short stories and sent them out to the science fiction magazines that I read, magazines that I loved.
I had a dream back then of being the youngest published science fiction author ever, a dream, alas, that never came true. With every story that went out, it would come back regularly with a rejection slip. After college and some years in the newspaper and technical writing business, I tried to resurrect my science fiction career, only to find the same responses. Rejection, rejection, rejection.
Eventually I wrote a short story that was rejected by all of the science fiction magazines, but had a mysterious twist to it. I sent this story out to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, and instead of a rejection slip, I received a contract. That's how my mystery/suspense-thriller writing career began.
Yet... yet... even as I had novels published, and many more short stories, there was still a dreamy 12-year-old boy inside of me that wanted to publish *science fiction.* So every now and then, I'd craft a science fiction story and sent it out to Analog or Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine. And every now and then, I'd get a rejection in reply. Even with the short story awards and recognitions I've received, even with the sales to Playboy and other magazines, I still wanted that success of selling a short story to a science fiction magazine.
Which brings us to the present... and thank you for indulging me for this lengthy set up. Last year I had a science fiction short story published in an original anthology, called SPACE STATIONS, edited by the merry anthologists Marty Greenberg and John Helfers. And just a few days ago, I received a nice form letter from the famed science fiction editor and author, Gardner Dozois, informing me that he wanted to re-print my short story, "Falling Star," in the 22nd edition of "The Year's Best Science Fiction," to be published by St. Martin's Press.
So there you go. Not in a magazine, but a short story of mine will appear in a "Year's Best" anthology of science fiction stories.
Somewhere out there, I think there's a very pleased 12-year-old boy.
January 18, 2005 -- My first entry of the New Year, and I'm happy to note that so far, I'm doing better when it comes to updating this site!
After a bout of warm weather last week that seemed *very* odd (temperatures rising into the 50's, ice and snow melting, the roof fairly dripping with streams of water) we are now back to the usual New Hampshire January weather, i.e., cold! Not as cold as some parts of the country, but cold enough for us, thank you kindly. Mona and I have been trying to get out for walks in the morning, and most mornings, we do make it... though this morning it was *quite* cold, with a stiff wind blowing. We were both bundled up and had our English Springer Spaniel Tucker, walking along. Tucker's such a sweet boy... I'm convinced that if we were somehow able to walk to Hell, he'd be there right beside us, trotting as we enter the infernal region!
We're usually out the door at 6:15 a.m. or thereabouts, and it's still quite dark. It gives me a chance to try out my early morning astronomy -- "Look dear, I do believe that's Mercury over there" -- and it's a nice bit of exercise and quality time with loved ones that I do enjoy... though sometimes, getting out the door when it's in the teens is a bit of a challenge!
On the writing world, Lewis Cole continues his adventures in the New Hampshire primary, and work also continues on outlining and researching my next thriller. I've also been invited to contribute a short story to a new anthology being edited by the King of Anthologists, Marty Greenberg, and I've eagerly jumped into writing this new tale.
My fight against the Forces of Darkness, i.e., spammers, continues, and I now find that I have to visit my site on a daily basis to get rid of all the idiot messages posted for web hosting, poker, and a host of sexual and recreational activities, some of which are probably illegal in New Hampshire.
I continue to wish the very best to all my readers and visitors to this site. And I wish the very best to my poor mom, who's recovering from wrist surgery after breaking her wrist a couple of weeks ago. The surgery was to place pins and a plate to keep her fractured bones together, and my dad's doing yeoman's work in keeping the household running. Hi mom!
December 30, 2004 -- As we near the end of 2004, one of my New Year's resolutions is to keep this site more up to date. Since I'm writing this entry just a couple of weeks after my last entry, I think I'm making good progress... okay, maybe not *good* progress, but progress just the same. One challenge I've been finding lately has been clearing our the spam that has been clogging the guestbook. It's times like these, when I see these long lists of spam messages, that I believe these spammers should be hunted down and... well, you get the idea. As my wife Mona would say, "Not that you have an opinion on that!"
A bunch of news from the short story arena. Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine has just purchased my latest, "The Lights of Crawford Hills," which is my 77th short story sale. Boy, if I get off the mark and get cracking, I might be able to break 100 by the end of 2005... yeah, right.
I'm also pleased to note that one of my short stories, "One Shot Difference," which was first published in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, has been reprinted in the fifth annual edition of "The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories," edited by Ed Gorman and Marty Greenberg. I'm also *very* pleased to note that I believe -- without spending a lot of time perusing my bookshelves -- that I've had a short story in each edition of this fine collection since it was first begun. My thanks to Ed and Marty for this continuing honor. For a direct link to this collection, click here.
For my Japanese fans out there -- and I know there are some! -- I have an essay in a mystery magazine published in Japan, called Giallo. It's in the Giallo Winter 2005 Issue, number 18. I'm on page 374. I'd also like to thank Japanese mystery fan/editor/writer Jiro Kimura for asking for this essay, and please, do visit his wonderful webpage, The Gumshoe Site. Please visit his site by clicking here.
On December 16th, I was a guest of Gardner Goldsmith, radio talkshow host for WGIR-AM, who was broadcasting from the Manchester Public Library in celebration of the library's 150th anniversary. It was a lot of fun, talking about writing, mysteries, and of course, the mystery of writing...
I had a funny experience this past weekend, looking through the New York Times Book Review, and seeing that BLACK WIND had made the hardcover bestseller list. There was just that briefest flash of recognition of my novel title, before I quickly realized that of course, it was the novel by Clive Cussler. Good for him... I met him a number of years ago at Bouchercon in Omaha, and he was charming and friendly.
Writing continues on the latest Lewis Cole, PRIMARY STORM, and I'm keeping fingers, toes, and other appendages crossed that magic will strike on the novel-once-called-BLACK WIND, and the other top-secret book project.
Here's to a great, healthy, safe and wonderful New Year for all of us.
December 13, 2004 -- This is turning out to be an odd end to fall, weather-wise. It's been unseasonably warm here in New Hampshire, with some brief snow storms, but no snow of any duration or depth. However, the snow that has fallen has proven to be an irresistible play area for our English Springer Spaniel, Tucker. He *loves* the snow -- digging and jumping and rolling around -- and he sometimes gives Mona and me a look, as if to say, "How come you guys didn't arrange for this earlier?"
For those of you who are interested, here's our Christmas card photo this year, of Tucker and our cat, Oreo. Tucker seems to be putting up with this humiliation, while Oreo has the look on his face that says, "when I paw you awake at three a.m., you'll know why!" And the amusing part of this is that while I was taking the photo, Oreo was more patient... poor Tucker kept on shaking his head off, trying to knock the antlers off. In any event, we all wish my readers and fans a very safe and happy holiday season...
On the novel-writing front, I'm pleased to report that my agent is enthused about my latest thriller, the novel-once-called-BLACK WIND. Yes, it's finally complete and a copy of it now resides with my spectacular British editor, Hilary Hale at Time Warner UK. And why isn't it BLACK WIND anymore? Well, it seems that a couple of months ago, this obscure and little-known writer named Clive Cussler came out with a new novel, called, of course, BLACK WIND. The plots have nothing in common but its better not to confuse book buyers, bookstore owners, readers, so forth and so on, so the title of BLACK WIND -- which I've been using for almost two years! -- is gone. I have a new title but I'm going to wait a bit before publicly announcing it.
And speaking secrets, there's another book project I'm involved with that has some potential in it, but I'm *really* playing this one close to the vest. Let's just say that my agent was pleasantly surprised to look at this project, and she and I have high hopes for it.
In the meantime, in addition to the usual Christmas time demands, I'm plugging along with Lewis Cole and his new book, PRIMARY STORM. (As an aside... I almost wrote, 'Lewis Cole and his latest adventure...' Like the old Tom Swift books that I read as a kid and loved, you know, Tom Swift and his Amazing Diving Seacopter. I loved those books!) What's been unusual with this book is that in the run-up to the presidential election, I really had to force myself to get to work on this book.
You see, PRIMARY STORM takes place during the New Hampshire primary, and since New Hampshire was one of the 'battleground' states, that meant we got a lot of attention. And a lot of attention translates into yard signs, rallies on street corners, tons and tons of junk mail, idiotic TV advertisements and lots of phone calls -- from pollsters to campaigns. Even on election day, we got three or phone calls, and two visits from folks wanting to know if anyone needed a ride to the polls that day! So with all of this political activity, writing a book about politics just seemed to be too much.
But now that another political season is behind us -- for now! -- I find PRIMARY STORM to be a lot more fun to write.
Thanks again for coming by, and I promise -- as always -- to keep this site more up to date. For one thing, I have to, for those damn spammers are visiting more and more often, clogging up the guestbook with some really vile junk, so I have to be a better up-dater and writer. Not a bad New Year's resolution, a few weeks early, right?
Do take care.
September 14, 2004 -- As I write this, I'm taking a deep breath because my latest thriller, BLACK WIND, is finished. Oh, it's not completed by any means -- there is rewriting ahead and facts to check and more edits to be done -- but the first draft was wrapped up just over a week ago. Boy, it's a great feeling to finish a novel... but it's also a bit nerve wracking. You've got to polish, edit and re-write to make it the best book possible for a) yourself b) your fans, and c) a nice publishing house with an even nicer editor!
And speaking of nice editors, my love and thanks to my wife Mona, who read the 500-plus page manuscript and pointed out all the areas that needed fixing -- including my nasty habit of changing character's names halfway through a book -- and still read through the book with good humor and a sharp eye. And she said she loved the book, though a character or two she liked unfortunately came to an untimely ending.
Over the past several weeks I've been privileged to meet a number of fans at various booksigning events in the area for my latest Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS. Each of these events have been fun, and here are some highlights of what happened:
-- The first one, at Water Street Books in Exeter, where I always kick off my signings. The audience was good-sized, enthusiastic, and one of the best parts of the evening was telling a "Da Vinci Code" joke that had the entire audience roaring with laughter, including that book's author and his lovely wife.
-- Going to Kate's Mystery Books in Cambridge, and spending time with the great Kate Mattes at her unique and lovely store.
-- Dining on rich chocolate cheesecake at Barnes & Noble in Manchester, and meeting a few fans who had literally waited hours to see me.
-- Riverrun Books in Portsmouth, seeing mom and dad and niece Bridget, and running into an old science fiction fan (hi Chick!) who managed to have my very first piece of published writing, a self-published newsletter I created while a dedicated member of the New England Science Fiction Association, so many years ago.
-- A very special night in North Conway at Horsefeathers Restaurant, hosted by Donna Urey of White Birch Books and Brian Glynn of Horsefeathers, who provided spirits and appetizers to an appreciate group of fans who were glad that Lewis Cole had traveled to their fair town.
-- And last week, a very large turnout at Toadstool Books in Milford, where a very dedicated audience peppered me with questions and comments about my works, and where I promised that in the next Lewis Cole novel -- PRIMARY STORM -- Lewis will pay a visit to Milford and Nashua.
So there you have it. I have a few more signings ahead of me (check out the Appearances section if you're interested) and I do so enjoy meeting my fans.
In other news, I'll be editing BLACK WIND and sending it off to my agent in a few weeks, I sold another short story to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine -- "The Devil's Girlfriend" -- and work continues on PRIMARY STORM and doing research for my next thriller.
Now, Tucker is at my side, gently snoring, but obviously telling me that he wants to go for a walk...
As always, thanks again for visiting.
July 28, 2004 -- A quick, important note... the signing set for next week at Kate's Mystery Books in Cambridge has been changed from Thursday, August 6th, to Tuesday, August 3rd. Hope this doesn't cause any problems!
And a big thanks to everyone at Water Street Books who set up my first appearance last week, which was a great success. Thanks, too, go to all the fans who showed up to hear about my new Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS. It was a pleasure and honor talking to you all, and I enjoyed myself tremendously.
One more note: a very big thanks to Liza Dawson, my American agent, Antony Topping, my British agent, and Hilary Hale, my editor at Time Warner UK, for a very nice piece of news I received last week, and which I will reveal more of as circumstances warrant... sorry to be so mysterious, but that's what you get when you read a mystery/thriller writer's website!
July 7, 2004 -- Promises, promises... my apologies for not updating this in a more timely fashion. As they say in the military, "no excuse!"
As you can note from the front page of my website, my new Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, has just been released by St. Martin's Press. It's the fifth novel in the series, and I think it's one of the best... and I'm also quite pleased by the cover. Looks like something from the movie, "The Blair Witch Project," doesn't it? (A fine movie that I will never see, for I enjoy being outdoors in the dark, and don't want to be so frightened that I'll never do that again...) What makes BURIED DREAMS a fun book -- for me, at least -- is the high number of in-jokes and references to friends and family that are scattered throughout the novel.
Initial reviews for BURIED DREAMS have been positive, which just reinforces that old writer's joke: good reviews mean the reviewers in question are intelligent and insightful, while bad reviews mean the reviewers in question are ignorant and clueless.
Check out the Appearances section of my website over the next few days to see a list of area bookstores where I'll be meeting my fans and signing copies of BURIED DREAMS.
Meanwhile, a short story of mine, "Death of a Gemini," appears in the September 2004 issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. My thanks again to good neighbor David Barnes for his technical expertise in this story.BLACK WIND continues to move right along, and I'm now on Chapter 28. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I plan to finish this thriller in the next several weeks. Work also continues on the sixth Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM.
On a personal note, the English Springer Spaniel my wife Mona and I adopted a couple of months ago now has a new name: Tucker. He responds quite well to that name, and I find it a point of pride -- and oddness -- that when we switched his name from Jeter to Tucker, his Yankee's namesake went for a very long hitless batting streak.
Just recently, Tucker underwent surgery for a torn ligament, and he's been doing well, though we've had to hide his tennis balls and other toys, and his walks are kept to a minimum. But with his incision healing so nicely, my wife Mona was able to take him for a few swims this past weekend, to give him some fun and to work out his right rear leg. Of course, it was hard to tell who was having more fun in the water... Mona or Tucker!
Nearby is a photo of Tucker in my office, wondering when in heck I'm going to stop this writing nonsense so I can take him out for a walk.
Guess he has his priorities straight!
Thanks again for stopping by, and have a great and safe summer.
April 14, 2004 -- Remember my last posting, where I indicated I would be updating this portion of the website on a regular basis? Hmmm... wonder if I could attribute this lack of regular posting to a "keyboard malfunction" or something similar...
In any event, the writing continues. I'm pleased with my new thriller, BLACK WIND, which is more than halfway done and which has been read both by my wife Mona and my agent, Liza Dawson. As benefiting these two intelligent and insightful women, they both liked the book so far and made a number of positive suggestions. This wonderful feedback has caused me to re-double my efforts to successfully conclude BLACK WIND as soon as I can.
Speaking of remembering... recall the Secret Book Project? Well, it seems like it's now on hold. As much fun as I had in researching and writing portions of this project, it's now on the back burner unless things change. And to quote Forrest Gump, that's all I'm going to say about that.
Short story production continues, and I've learned that "Death of a Gemini," a lengthy story that takes place a month after 9/11, has been accepted for publication at Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. This story should appear sometime this summer. I'd like to thank my good neighbor, Dave Barnes, former U.S. Navy F-14 pilot, for his technical advice in the researching and writing of this story.
BURIED DREAMS, the next Lewis Cole book, is slated to be published on July 1 by St. Martin's Press. In this book, a friend of Lewis' is convinced that at some point, nearly a thousand years ago, Vikings had settled at what is now known as Tyler Beach, N.H. This character is known as an eccentric, but one night, he reports to Lewis that he has found the evidence he has spent years searching for... archaeological proof that Vikings had in fact been in New Hampshire. And just as this evidence is discovered, Lewis' friend is murdered and the evidence vanishes.
And Lewis doesn't sit still with that particular adventure, as work continues on PRIMARY STORM, a Lewis Cole novel about that wonderful three-ring circus that rolls into my home state every four years, the New Hampshire Primary. What's wonderful about this novel is the research is so easy... just live in New Hampshire and keep up with the news!
A few weeks ago, my wife and I traveled to Florida to meet her cousin Amy, and Amy's husband, Mike. Both are colonels in the U.S. Air Force, and both are stationed at Hurlburt Air Force Base in Florida, home of Air Force Special Operations. I'd like to thank Amy and Mike and many others at Hurlburt for the wonderful "behind the scenes" tour of this fascinating facility. And yes, you can be sure that what I learned at Hurlburt -- within reason, of course -- will find its way onto some pages of fiction.
On a personal note, there's a new addition to our household. Mona and I are now the proud keepers of a six-year-old English Springer Spaniel named Jeter (okay, as Red Sox fan, I'm struggling with his name, but I don't know if the poor guy will respond to Nomar...) and he's fitting right in. Our sixteen-year-old cat Oreo is getting along fine with him (mostly along the line of, stay out of my way and nobody gets hurt) and he's been a real sweetheart.
For the past few years, Mona and I grew to love an English Springer Spaniel named Mulligan (who makes an appearance in both BETRAYED and BURIED DREAMS) who belonged to the Glynn family of Center Conway, N.H. Two days before Christmas last year, a very ill Mulligan had to be put to sleep. He's still greatly missed, and Mona and I decided in part to honor his memory by adopting Jeter through a wonderful organization called New England English Springer Spaniel Rescue. Now, if only I can teach him to answer my e-mail!Thanks again for visiting, and I promise, a quicker update next time.
December 18, 2003 -- For those readers who've been wondering... no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... but thanks for asking! Things are well, but just quite busy.
First, let me send holiday wishes to all of my friends and fans around the world who check on this website, and second, let me tell you that one of my resolutions for the New Year is to keep this website updated on a more regular basis.
Since the last posting, I've continued work on the Secret Book Project, and we'll see where this project goes. I'm afraid I still can't talk about this fun project, as much as I'd like. I'm also working on my new thriller, BLACK WIND, and I'm closing in on the half-way mark, always a great milestone in writing a new novel. I also have a couple of short stories out there, making the rounds, and within the past few months, I've been pleased to see that there's been some movie interest in a couple of my short stories. Now, having been down this road a few times, it *doesn't* guarantee that a movie will be made. But having said that, it sure is fun to have your works considered for a movie!
I'd also like to note that for the past several months, I've been ably represented by my new agent, Liza Dawson of Liza Dawson Associates. Liza was my editor at Penguin Putnam when my alternative history novel, RESURRECTION DAY, was first published.
And speaking of agents... a few months ago, my former literary agent, Jed Mattes, passed away. Jed represented me from the very start of my writing career, back in the mid-1980's, and I have very many fond memories of the work we did together. He will be greatly missed.
Just recently I reviewed the copy-edited manuscript for the new Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, which will be coming out sometime next year by St. Martin's Press. Once I get a firm publishing date, I will let you know. And in reviewing this manuscript, I realized again that this Lewis Cole adventure is his best, and there are a lot of tidbits in this book about Lewis’ past, and his future.
The next Lewis Cole novel, PRIMARY STORM, involves the New Hampshire presidential primary, and one of the joys of living here in New Hampshire, is that doing research for *this* particular novel means just reading the local newspaper and watching the local news. Ah, if only all novels were so easy to research!
Again, best wishes for the upcoming holidays, and the very best wishes for a safe, happy and productive 2004 for all of us!
July 12, 2003 -- For the past several weeks, I've been meeting my readers at area bookstores, and to those who have made the trek to see me speak and have copies of my books signed, thank you very much. It's a pleasure to meet my readers in person, and to answer their questions about my work.
It seems that BETRAYED -- with its theme of loss, betrayal and duty -- has struck a chord with my readers, and for a writer, there's no greater praise. it's nice to know that somebody has enjoyed your book; it's even better to know that a read book stays in someone's mind for a very long time.
And speaking of readers... at an appearance at River Run books in Portsmouth, I met with an older gentleman, a British tourist, who just happened to hear about my book and wanted to meet me. It seems that in the 1950's, as a teenager, he was in the British Army and was captured, becoming a prisoner of the North Koreans.
it's those kinds of moments that make being a writer the best possible job in the world, your writing touches someone's memories and they, in turn, touch your life.
Meanwhile, the signings continue -- check the Appearances page on the site to see where else I'll be appearing -- and so does the writing. I'm nearing the hundred page mark on my new thriller, BLACK WIND, and I've been involved in another book project that's very hush-hush... I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you, and the chore of tracking down each and every visitor to my site seems to be just too much work! ;-)
I hope you're enjoying your summer (and for my fans in the Southern Hemisphere, your winter) and I appreciate you stopping by, and I also appreciate -- as always -- the work of my expert webmistress, Mona.
May 24, 2003 -- Now that the war in Iraq has finally come to a halt (although unfortunately, deaths still occur everyday in that poor land) I'd like to pay tribute to a reporter/editor who died while covering the war. That reporter/editor was Michael Kelly, who was editor of The Atlantic Monthly and a weekly columnist for The Washington Post. Thousands of words and hours of video have been dedicated this past month to honor this brilliant writer and editor, but I still feel I need to add just a little bit of my own thoughts.
Mike and I both attended the University of New Hampshire in Durham, and we both were active on the student newspaper, The New Hampshire. Mike was a few years ahead of me, and though he was slight in stature, he could fill a room instantly with his energy and charm. He knew the joys of a good smoke and a good drink, and for a college freshman like myself, I was impressed at the constant attention he received from the young ladies. Though meeting deadlines did sometimes prove to be a challenge, he brought great joy and dedication to writing his stories. While in college, I also had the true honor of meeting his parents in Washington, D.C., as a guest at one of the many dinner parties they held in their home.
I'm not saying that we were best friends or hung together; no, just for the briefest of times, decades ago, we were colleagues, and I was always proud later -- especially when his Post columns drew wide attention, when he received praise for his book, MARTYR's DAY, and when he made such a drastic improvement at The Atlantic Monthly -- to say that I had known Mike, and had worked on the same paper as he.
When the war began I so looked forward to reading his dispatches from the front, and I recall telling my wife Mona that, "Boy, when this is over, Mike Kelly's going to write a hell of a book."
Alas, the war is over, but I don't think there will be a Mike Kelly book, and that's a shame. He died in the company of men and women whom he loved and honored, the United States military, and even now, I feel a tinge of sadness each Tuesday, looking for his column in the Washington Post.
He will be missed.
As for myself, work continues on my new novel, new short stories, and with the release of BETRAYED, my annual swing through area libraries and bookstores. Make sure to check the Appearances section of my website to see where I'll be reading from BETRAYED and signing copies of my seventh novel.
Thanks for visiting, and as always, thanks to my expert webmistress, Mona, for all her work.
March 24, 2003 -- Much of the past several days has been spent glued to the cable news networks and the web as the war with Iraq commenced. Since I believe most of you come here to read about what's new with my writing career, I'll spare you my opinions on this latest conflict, except to say that I hope it ends soon, that our servicemen and women come home soon as well, and that peace comes to the Iraqi people.
A new anthology of my short fiction has appeared, from Five Star publishing and Tekno Books. it's called "Tales from the Dark Woods", and I'm pleased with this anthology, save for one bone-headed error on my part, in the book's dedication. The dedication should have read: "This collection is dedicated with thanks and affection to the memory of Cathleen Jordan, my editor at Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." I apologize to readers, friends and fans of Cathleen for the error in the dedication.
I invite you to visit Five Star, the publisher of this anthology, by clicking on the link under the cover on the front page of my site.
Meanwhile, my new novel, BETRAYED, is getting ready to be published in a few weeks in Great Britain by Time Warner UK, and their cover art for this suspense-thriller appears nearby. Once this book is available for sale, I'll post a link to it via Amazon.co.uk.
Work also continues on my new suspense-thriller, THE DARK SCHOOL, and I've just started Chapter Seven. I'm closing in on that first big milestone of any new book, the first hundred pages. I also expect that I'll have some good news to report in the weeks ahead concerning my new Lewis Cole mystery, BURIED DREAMS.
At last count, I have five (yes, that's five!) short stories out making the rounds at various magazines, and I'm also working on a new short story for my friends at Tekno Books, about the Texas Rangers. This will be quite the experience for me, as this will be my very first Western story... and I'll have to make sure my research is meticulous! (Can't have 9 millimeter semi-automatic pistols in Texas in the 1870's, as much fun as it sounds...)
Thanks for stopping by, and as always, thanks to my wonderful webmistress, Mona, for all her work. I do hope the next time you visit, the news from the outside world will have improved.
March 8, 2003 -- With experiencing two snowstorms within the span of a week, it seems like what's on our mind here in New Hampshire is a simple two-word phrase... think spring!
I'm happy to report that I'm now working on my new suspense-thriller, THE DARK SCHOOL, and am currently on Chapter Five, making good progress. As much as authors whine and complain about the writing process, I have to admit there is something exhilarating about wading into a new novel. I've also finished a couple of new short stories and they are out "making the rounds" to two of my old friends, "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine" and "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine".
And speaking of short fiction, I was thrilled to learn that one of my short stories, "Richard's Children", has been selected to appear in the annual anthology published by Houghton-Mifflin, "Best American Mystery Stories". This will be my fourth appearance in this excellent anthology series, started and ably edited by Otto Penzler. "Richard's Children", a modern-day look at Shakespeare's RICHARD III, appeared last year in the Berkley anthology "Much Ado About Murder", edited by the famed mystery author, Anne Perry.
The past couple of weeks have also seen me busily editing the galleys for both the American and British editions of my new suspense-thriller, BETRAYED. In the United States, BETRAYED will be published in June by St. Martin's Press, and in Great Britain and other Commonwealth nations, it will be published in April by Time-Warner UK. Both publishers have done spectacular jobs with the cover art for both books as you can see from the St. Martin's Press version here. With the wonderful assistance of my webmistress (hi, Mona!), both covers will be put up on my website, with links enabling you to purchase both editions on-line, as soon as that information is available.
Thanks for stopping by.
January 4, 2003 -- A very special New Year's Greetings for all of my friends and fans. Despite the clouds on the horizon (Iraq, Al-Qaeda, North Korea) I do wish that this year is better one for all of us.
The past few weeks have seen me being reacquainted with winter illness -- both myself and my wife Mona -- and the snow shovel. Snow looks delightful on the trees and on the lawn -- shoveling the damn stuff is painful! We've had our share of snow already, with a nor'easter on Christmas Day, and another foot of the white stuff predicted for my home state as I write this.
Speaking of writing... I'm pleased to report that Tekno Books has purchased my latest short story, "Fagin's Revenge," which will be published in a short story anthology called DEATH BY DICKENS, edited by the esteemed Anne Perry and published by Berkley Books.
And speaking of short stories, I again urge all my visitors to notice my my very first short story anthology, "The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries," recently published from Crippen and Landru. The eleven short stories in this volume, I believe, represent the very best of my short fiction, and I hope my fans take the time to visit the Crippen and Landru site -- linked from the front page -- to check this out.
Meanwhile, I'm wrapping up another series of edits for my new thriller, BETRAYED, set to be published in the United States by St. Martin's Press, and in Great Britain by Time Warner UK. I also plan to start *very* shortly on my new thriller, details of which I'll reveal over the next few months.
Thanks again to all for visiting.
November 23, 2002 -- Ah, Fall. With autumn comes thoughts of... leaves on the ground. In my part of the world, the fall leaves have taken their time to drop, and only just now -- as snow threatens -- have I been able to take out my handy Black and Decker leaf blower, to get rid of the leaves that threaten to choke our yard. it's mind numbing and monotonous work that has as its only reward a) a clean yard and b) a chance to do some plotting along the way.
Besides leaf blowing, I just finished a new short story for a Tekno books anthology, titled "Death by Dickens," due to be published in 2003 by Berkley Books. My story is called "Fagin's Revenge," and is currently in the hands of my most capable editor, my webmistress, Mona.
For those of you coming in through the front page of my site, I hope you take notice of my very first short story anthology, "The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries," published from Crippen and Landru. I hope those fans of mine who aren't familiar with my short fiction take the time to check out this anthology.
Contained in this book are eleven short stories, and of these, one was nominated for a Robert L. Fish Award for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year ("Dark Corridor"), another was nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America ("Driven"), and yet another, "The Dark Snow", was nominated for an Edgar, an Anthony Award, was reprinted in the "The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century," and has appeared in at least three other anthologies. Plus, one other story, "The Road's End," won a Shamus Award in 2001 from the Private Eye Writers of America.
As you can probably tell, I'm proud of these stories...
Meanwhile, a few weeks ago I finished revisions for my June 2003 thriller, BETRAYED, and my British publisher, Time Warner UK, sent along a cover proof for their edition of BETRAYED which is just spectacular... which is nothing surprising coming from my friends in Britain.
I'm working on a new short story involving an old steam train that currently travels through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and the outline work for my new thriller. I've also done some preliminary research for my new Lewis Cole novel, tentatively titled PRIMARY STORM.
For my American visitors, I hope you have a happy and safe Thanksgiving. Thanks to all for stopping by.
October 19, 2002 -- I'd like to start out this update by passing along my sincerest condolences and best wishes to my fans in Australia in the aftermath of the horrible events in Bali. In response to my novels RESURRECTION DAY and SIX DAYS, some of my most thoughtful and encouraging fan mail has come from "Down Under." In these troubling times, we're lucky to have such friends as the Aussies. Good luck and good wishes.
On the writing front, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine has picked up a new short story of mine, "Always Another War." This short story features one of my favorite characters, Owen Taylor, a retired man with a fascinating background who gets involved in things mysterious and criminal in his new home in Pinette, Maine. Owen has been a character in four previous short stories -- "The Dark Snow," "Netmail," "The Shadow Trees," and "Old Soldiers" -- which have appeared in a little-known literary magazine called Playboy (g).
I've also been informed that another short story of mine that is in the November issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, "A Matter of Empire," will be re-published next year in Ed Gorman and Marty Greenberg's continuing anthology, "The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories."
My newest Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, is now in the hands of my publisher at St. Martin's Press, and I'm currently working on revisions for my next suspense thriller, BETRAYED, which will be published next June by both St. Martin's and my British publisher, Time Warner UK.
My first short story anthology, "The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries," (which will be published from Crippen and Landru) is nearing publication. Just a couple of weeks ago, I signed and numbered 250 sheets that will be inserted into the limited hardcover edition of this book. Once this book is available for purchase from Crippen and Landru, I'll have a link here for those interested in purchasing it.
Writing continues on a new short story assigned to me by my friends at Tekno Books, and outline work for my new thriller, and yes, a new Lewis Cole novel!
I hope all of you have a happy and safe Autumn.
September 9, 2002 -- As summer departs, somebody Up There didn't get the word, as my part of New Hampshire -- usually experiencing the first cool weather that means the approach of fall -- is having a mini-heatwave of temperatures approaching 90 degrees Fahrenheit!
Yesterday, the Portsmouth Herald newspaper out of Portsmouth, N.H., (or Porter, N.H., to those fans of my Lewis Cole novels) ran an extensive profile of me in its Sunday edition. If you’d like to read this story on line, click here to view it. And thanks to Gina Carbone for her time in doing the interview, and for doing a thorough and accurate job.
My newest Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, is being read by my literary agent (hi Jed!) and I've just learned that my next suspense thriller, BETRAYED, will be published next June by my American publisher, St. Martin's Press, and my British publisher, Time Warner UK. More information on this book to come as we get closer to the publication date.
I've also been told that my first short story anthology, "The Dark Snow and Other Mysteries," (which will be published from Crippen & Landru, a fine publisher of mystery anthologies out of Virginia) is in final production. As promised before, once this book is complete, I'll have a link here for those interested in purchasing it.
Prep work continues on my next thriller, and a couple of new short stories are out "making the rounds."
And in two days, a somber anniversary is upon us, and I hope -- though the news is not encouraging -- that the next year will be a more peaceful one for all of us.
Once again, thanks for taking the time to visit my site.
August 10, 2002 -- With the exception of maybe another bookstore or two, and a library appearance here and there, my summer tour to promote my latest novel, KILLER WAVES, is complete. I'd like to thank all the bookstore owners and employees who hosted me, as well as the readers, fans and family members who came by to hear me speak or to get a book autographed. it's wonderful to be able to meet my readers and to talk to them about my writing and especially my series character, Lewis Cole.
I'd also like to express a special thanks to my wife, first reader and webmistress, Mona, who often came home to an empty house and a crying cat while her husband was off at another bookstore.
In the meantime, my latest Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, is at my agent's office in New York (hi Jed, Fred and Aaron!) and final production work is underway for my first short story anthology, THE DARK SNOW AND OTHER MYSTERIES, to be published in a couple of months from Crippen & Landru, a fine publisher of mystery anthologies out of Virginia. Once this book is available for sale, I'll have a link placed on my site for those interested in purchasing it.
I'm also plotting and outlining my latest thriller, THE LAST ANGEL, and expect to shortly start the very exciting "page one, chapter one" of any new book project. And, of course, a couple of short stories are out there as well to be worked on.
Thanks again for your interest, and enjoy the rest of the summer (for my fans in this hemisphere; for my readers in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, think spring!).
July 9, 2002 -- Last night my half-hour interview on New Hampshire Public Radio was aired. Thanks to John Walters, host of the "Front Porch" program, who did a great job in interviewing me about Lewis Cole and KILLER WAVES.
If you would like to hear this interview from the NHPR site, click on this link: NPR Interview
As always, thanks for stopping by.
July 4, 2002 -- Happy Independence Day to my friends and fans, and wherever you might be -- in the United States or overseas -- I hope this is a great day for all of you.
I'm pleased to announce that I will be appearing on two radio programs over the next two weeks to discuss my latest novel, KILLER WAVES.
From 6:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, July 8, I will be the guest of John Walters on New Hampshire Public Radio's "Front Porch" program. This interview was taped a couple of weeks ago, and John was a well-prepared and thoughtful interviewer.
This program can be heard on the following FM frequencies from WEVO or its affiliates in New Hampshire:
Also, from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, July 16, I will be appearing on the Mike Pomp program on WTSN-AM 1270 in Dover. This program will be live, and callers are invited to ring me up at 603-742-1270. I've been a guest of Mike's several times before, and he's a fun interviewer who knows Lewis Cole well.
In the meantime, I'm editing the latest Lewis Cole novel, BURIED DREAMS, working on a couple of short stories, and plotting a new thriller. I've also come up with the basic plot of another Lewis Cole mystery, to take place during the circus that comes to town every four years, a/k/a the New Hampshire Presidential Primary. The working title for this novel is PRIMARY STORM.
As always, to see local bookstores where I'll be appearing over the next several weeks, check the Appearances section of my website.
Thanks again for visiting.
P.S. from the first editor/webmistress/wife--As some of you were reacquainting yourselves with Lewis and the gang in KILLER WAVES, I had the pleasure of being a book ahead editing BURIED DREAMS. Like many of you have told us, reading a new Lewis Cole for me is like getting caught up with old friends. Throughout the book I worry about the characters and between books I wonder what they are up to! I really enjoyed BURIED DREAMS and like the fact that Brendan manages to keep each outing fresh and interesting. For those of you who have finished KILLER WAVES, there is something good to look forward to. (The beauty of being webmistress is that Brendan doesn't know how to edit this out!)