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The latest on Organic Books

Our new family-owned bookstore in Albuquerque's Nob Hill neighborhood draws closer to a reality with every passing day.

We now have a logo, designed by Max Brewer with input from the rest of us:

We love the open-book artwork, which fits with the Art Deco decor of the historic Nob Hill Business Center. We plan to put this design in our large front windows, and it'll be featured on our bags, bookmarks, etc.

Last weekend, the Albuquerque Journal carried a business story about our plans to open the store. You can read it here.

The store is almost ready for us to start filling with books. Electrical, paint and plumbing work was done this week, following some minor demolition and renovation. The 1,300-square-foot space, on the Carlisle Boulevard side of the shopping center, was formerly a nail salon.

We hope to move bookshelves and other furniture into the store next week. Once we take occupancy, even before we're officially open, we'll be taking books in trade and buying from local authors. I'll let you know when we're ready.

Lots of paperwork involved in starting a new business, and we're trying to get it all done quickly so we can have a Grand Opening in early November. Stay tuned.


We're opening a bookstore!

Wouldn't you love an airy, well-lighted bookshop with a great selection of used and new books? My family is opening just such a store in Albuquerque.

Kelly and I signed a lease yesterday for space in the historic Nob Hill Business Center on Route 66. In keeping with Nob Hill's all-natural hipster vibe, the independent bookstore will be called Organic Books.

Our two sons, Max and Seth, will work at the store, so it'll truly be a family business. We're a family who loves real books, and we hope Organic Books will become a gathering place for book lovers.

As the author of 31 books, I've visited stores all over the country, doing book-signings and talks. We plan to have a busy calendar of such events at Organic Books, where we'll feature new books by New Mexico authors as well as a curated selection of thousands of used books.

The Organic Books space has a 13-foot ceiling and huge front windows that let sunshine pour inside. It was formerly a salon, so there's a makeover under way, with some interior walls and fixtures being removed. We should move shelves and books into the shop by mid-October, and hope to have a grand opening in early November.

Photos and more details soon. Whee!


Summertime news

Other than social media posts, including my daily Rules for Successful Living, I haven't written anything in more than a month. And I'm okay with that.

All the writing advice says you should write every day, and that's good practice when you're starting out. But veteran writers -- I've been trying to write fiction for 30 years -- occasionally need a break to recharge the mental and physical batteries. Also, life intrudes. Sometimes, you've got to stop dreaming about your next story and deal with leaky roofs and family traumas.

My wife and I have reached that age where our parents are dying or making end-of-life decisions about assisted living. Our days revolve around their care and the required government and medical paperwork. I've driven to Arkansas, where my mom lives in a nursing home, seven times in the past year and a half.

Summer is often when I write a new novel. I disappear into the book for a month or two, and come out with a first draft that I polish during the school year, when part of my time and attention is devoted to teaching at the Honors College at the University of New Mexico.

Not this summer, though. Not only am I not writing a new book, I'm not even thinking about a new book. I wrote a couple of short stories last spring, but my head is pretty much empty of story at the moment. And that's okay. Because I've been doing this so long, I'm confident the next story will show up when it's ready.

My latest crime novel, COLD CUTS, is still fresh on the market, but I've been too distracted to give it the full promotional push it deserves. It did get its first Amazon review: Five stars!

Speaking of Amazon, I'm running regular sales on my backlist on Kindle. I try to keep at least one of my Kindle books on sale for 99 cents. Currently on sale is BANK JOB, which is in development in Hollywood. Give it a read and visualize who should play the roles in a movie version!

I should note that it's not all grief and drudgery at our house. 'Tis the season of the cookout, and we have wonderful friends. Our younger son is getting married next month, and the outdoor wedding should be an occasion of great joy.

The summer monsoons have arrived in Albuquerque, which reminds me of the climactic scene in COLD CUTS. But you'll have to read it for yourself.

Until next time, happy reading!



Here's something fun: One of my books will be featured (ever so peripherally) in a future episode of BETTER CALL SAUL.

BETTER CALL SAUL is the prequel to BREAKING BAD and, like that enormous hit, it's filmed here in Albuquerque. They're filming the fourth season at locations around town now.

One scene is being filmed at the Monte Carlo Steakhouse, a local institution which I used as a setting in my crime novel BOOST. The Monte Carlo is one of those restaurants where every square inch of wall space is decorated in memorabilia -- model cars, Elvis statues, sports pennants, you name it. Unbeknownst to me, the folks at the Monte Carlo made a big display of BOOST sometime after it was published in 2004. The wall display, which includes the cover of the book, my photo/bio and the three pages that feature the Monte Carlo, apparently will be in the background of a scene in the final episode of Season 4 of BETTER CALL SAUL.

I don't know anything else about the scene or the episode, but I wouldn't blink when I'm watching, if I were you. You might miss my moment of fame.


Pre-order COLD CUTS now!

My latest crime caper, COLD CUTS, is now available for pre-order on Amazon Kindle. If you pre-order, the ebook version will appear in your reader automatically on the official pub date, April 30.

The Kindle version is only $2.99. The trade paperback version, available at Amazon here, is $9.99.

COLD CUTS was inspired by a real-life situation: people smuggling Mexican bologna across the border because it's illegal to bring it into the United States. Rookie smuggler Lucky Flanagan gets into all kinds of trouble when he tries it.

I'm scheduled to do a booksigning for COLD CUTS on May 20 at Treasure House Books here in Albuquerque. Details here. I hope to see some of you there.