Home Front


Drumroll and . . . rimshot!

Need a laugh in these trying times? How about 4,000 laughs? Would that help?


Ladies and gentlemen, I give you my 33rd published book, RULES FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING, available now on Amazon and at Organic Books in Albuquerque (505-553-3823).


As most of you know, I've written daily Rules for Successful Living since 2009, distributing the addled adages via Facebook and Twitter. In 2012, I assembled 1,500 of the Rules into a self-published collection. 


Lot of Rules under the bridge since then. The master list is at more than 4,400 now, and I'm still writing a new one every day. Around 4,000 made the cut for the latest collection, which is 220 pages in paperback.


A few of my favorites:

 -Never argue with a man whose tattoos outnumber his teeth.

-A watched pot never boils, and a boiled watch isn't much good, either.

-Looking down your nose makes your head look fat.

-When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's myopia.

-It takes two to tango, but you can pirouette all by yourself.

-Circus people always refer to the lion tamer as "the new guy."

I often use the summer months to write a new novel. But like a lot of writers, I've been sort of frozen during the COVID quarantine. It's hard to concentrate on fiction while the world is going nuts all around you. Instead, I poured myself into editing and publishing the RULES FOR SUCCESSFUL LIVING, and into work at our family bookstore. Organic Books reopened to customers on July 1, and business has been brisk.


Tomorrow, I'm back to school, teaching my weekly writing class in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico. The class will be taught mostly in person, and we'll all wear masks and keep our distance in an oversized classroom. It promises to be weird, but I've gotten accustomed to wearing a mask from my shifts at the bookstore.


I hope you and yours are healthy and happy and getting the laughs that you need.


First time in paperback!

One of my personal favorites, my crime novel BANK JOB, is now available in trade paperback here.

BANK JOB was published in hardcover in 2005, but a paperback contract fell through. I subsequently published an e-book version, but print copies were getting hard to find.

For most of its 15-year life, BANK JOB has been under movie option in Hollywood. The current option holder is Peter Ettinger, who made my novel LONELY STREET into a 2009 film. Things are shut down in Hollywood right now, but we hope to one day see BANK JOB on the big screen.

The novel features a trio of knucklehead criminals who stumble upon a retired bank robber named Vince Carson. They take Vince's wife hostage in an attempt to make him rob a local bank for them. But Vince has other plans.

It's a fun, action-packed novel with geriatric heroes. Maybe that's why I like it so much. More and more, I can relate to the old folks.

I hope to use our quarantine time for more of these re-publishing tasks, including new trade paperbacks of LONELY STREET and other early Bubba Mabry novels. I'll keep you posted as they become available.

Our Albuquerque, NM, storefront, Organic Books, remains closed by order of the state, but we're selling books online via bookshop.org/shop/organicbooks or call us at 505-553-3823.

We're beating this virus. Stay home and read!


Safe at home

Like most of you, we're hiding out in our house, waiting for the experts to tell us the worst of the coronavirus plague has passed. Here in Albuquerque, the peak is expected in late April.

We've been sheltering at home since March 14, when we returned from a quick road trip to San Diego. The Left Coast Crime conference was canceled by health officials six hours after we arrived. We went home the next day, and have been there ever since. As near as we can tell, we're healthy.

The family enterprise, Organic Books, was hit by the closures ordered for retail stores throughout New Mexico. We're still doing business online and by phone, but the Nob Hill storefront remains closed.

If you'd like to help us, you can order new books from bookshop.org/shop/organicbooks and they'll be delivered to your door. Independent booksellers like us get a percentage of the sales. Same goes for audio books at Libro.fm, where you can type "Organic Books" in the bookstore field so we get a cut. Finally, and this especially applies to local customers, if you're looking for a used book, call us at 505-553-3823 and we'll see if we can deliver it.

It's a strange time in publishing. Here's this enormous audience, trapped at home, looking for something to read, but the virus restricts movements and cancels events, so it's difficult to get the word out about new books.

I published my latest crime novel, UPSHOT, in late January, just in time for it to be roundly ignored as the whole country focused on the contagion. I brought out the Kindle version in March and sold a few, but I think UPSHOT and a lot of its contemporaries will get lost in the COVID shuffle.

UPSHOT did get a nice review in the Albuquerque Journal last Sunday, but of course all the stores were closed so it's hard to tell if it did any good. You can read it here, but beware, there lies spoilers.

I've got other publishing projects to pursue during the quarantine. (Next up: a trade paperback edition of BANK JOB, which was published in hardcover and e-book, but never in paperback.) But I'm not trying to write anything new and I'm glad. Too many distractions right now.

Take good care of yourselves during this crisis. Stay home. Wash your hands. Order a bunch of good books. Time passes quickly when you have a book to read.


New heist thriller!

UPSHOT is now officially available on Amazon, via independent booksellers and at our family-owned Albuquerque, NM, bookshop, Organic Books.

My 32nd published book, UPSHOT is my first new novel in nearly two years. The last one, COLD CUTS, came out in April 2018.

In the new novel, set here in Albuquerque, a heist crew knocks over an armored van belonging to a cannabis courier company. The owner of the company is determined to get even, and things escalate.

UPSHOT is out now as a $9.99 trade paperback. Expect a Kindle version in a few months.

On March 8, we'll celebrate the new book with a 3 p.m. party at Organic Books. Y'all come!

Later that week, I'll be at Left Coast Crime in San Diego. I'm looking forward to my Saturday morning panel, which is called "Fiction Writers are Professional Liars: But can they do it to your face?" Terry Shames will be the moderator of the panel, which also features Bill Fitzhugh, Donna Andrews and Ellen Byron. Should be fun!

In April, I'll be part of the faculty at the annual writers' conference sponsored by University of New Mexico Continuing Education. My workshop is called "Polishing Your Prose."

On May 19, I'll give a talk on humor-writing at SouthWest Writers.

Busy times. And all these events come on the heels of three short-story anthologies that came out in in the last few months of 2019. I had stories in collections called KNUCKLEHEAD NOIR, A BEAST WITHOUT A NAME and TROUBLE & STRIFE. Check 'em out.

Happy reading!


Read my shorts!

I'm still working on my new novel, UPSHOT, and I'm beginning to doubt whether I can get it published before Christmas, as hoped. I'm on my fourth draft, and there's still more rewrite to come. Plus, there are beta readers and cover art and proofs. Let's say, sometime this winter, there should be a new novel available.

But you can still get some Steve Brewer reading this holiday season. I've got short stories coming out in three different anthologies later this year.

Two of the collections are scheduled to come out at the end of October. KNUCKLEHEAD NOIR will be published by Coffin Hop Press. And A BEAST WITHOUT A NAME will come out from Down and Out Books.

 A short story I wrote a few years ago, "Cemetery Plot," will be featured in KNUCKLEHEAD NOIR. It's a twisted tale set in an Arkansas cemetery, where a low-level criminal is being forced to dig his own grave.

A BEAST WITHOUT A NAME is the second anthology this year of crime stories inspired by the music of Steely Dan. Both were edited by mystery stalwart Brian Thornton. My contribution is a dark vengeance tale called "Black Friday."

In early December, Down and Out will publish TROUBLE AND STRIFE, a collection of crime stories inspired by British rhyming slang and edited by Simon Wood. My story is called "Babbling Brook" and it's set inside a prison.

I'm still devoting a good chunk of every week to the family bookshop, Organic Books in Albuquerque's Nob Hill neighborhood. My wife and I mostly work on weekends, while our two sons manage the place during the week. I'm in charge of author events, and I try to go to all the booksignings and poetry readings we host.

A key scene in UPSHOT happens on Carlisle Boulevard, less than a block from Organic Books. Easiest research ever.

Hope your autumn is filled with great books!