Charlie gets an Edgar

Congrats to Charlie Price, one of my best pals, who won the Edgar last night in the Young Adult novel category. Charlie took the prize for his third novel, "The Interrogation of Gabriel James."

I got a brief e-mail from him, and he was on Cloud Nine, naturally. I look forward to hearing his entire weepy acceptance speech sometime soon. I'm sure it will be on YouTube.

Charlie's still in New York, which is why, I suppose, the news media in his hometown of Redding don't have the story yet, but I hope they make a big splash of it. Charlie's a terrific guy and deserves the attention.

The Best Novel Edgar went to mystery veteran Steve Hamilton for "The Lock Artist," which I just finished reading. Terrific book about a young safecracker.

Congratulations to all the winners (and the finalists, too)!


You're doing it wrong

Tip for aspiring criminals: After you successfully pull off an "inside job" bank robbery, it's better not to boast about being "RICH" on Facebook.

Four young people in Houston, TX, have learned this lesson the hard way. They were arrested after police found Facebook postings saying one of them was "WIPING MY TEETH WITH HUNDREDS" days after the robbery. One of the suspects is a teller at the bank.

Full story here.


'Lost' Bubba story resurfaces

I always speak of my comic Bubba Mabry mysteries as being a seven-book series, but there's an eighth Bubba story that most people have never seen.

"Sanity Clause" is a 23,000-word novella I wrote several years ago for a Christmas mystery anthology. In the story, Bubba is keeping an eye on the Santas at a local mall when one of them turns up dead. Rather than be known forever as the man who let Santa Claus get killed on his watch, Bubba sets out to solve the murder.

The story has all the usual elements of the series -- including appearances by newspaper reporter Felicia Quattlebaum and Homicide Lt. Steve Romero -- plus one of the funniest fight scenes I've ever written.

The anthology is long out of print, but thanks to the miracle of e-books, I've brought this novella back to life. It's now available via Kindle, Smashwords and other retail outlets. Only 99 cents.

I know it's a long time until Christmas, but wouldn't "Sanity Clause" make a nice electronic stocking stuffer?


Flying solo in e-book publishing

As authors and publishers scramble to get on top of the surging e-book market, I've decided to go it alone. I've secured the e-book rights to my books, and have published my entire backlist via Kindle and Smashwords.

For the first time in years, all seven of the comic Bubba Mabry mysteries are available at the same time. Bubba's publishing history is as checkered as my own (the series has been at four different publishers over the years), and the full set has become increasingly hard to find.

E-books allow me to re-issue books that were published only in hardcover. Now you can find novels like "Bank Job" and "Whipsaw" and the two Drew Gavin mysteries in a more affordable format. Same goes for my humor book, "Trophy Husband."

How affordable? I've published these books at $2.99 each. At that price, a self-published e-book author makes about the same royalty per book (two bucks) as he'd make on a $24 hardcover published in the traditional manner. For the price of two new hardcovers, you could own my whole backlist as e-books.

(One exception here: My car thief novel "Boost" was not self-published. The publisher issued an e-book version and is charging $9.99. I have no control over that.)

I've loaded many of these books over the past few days, so some are still getting their final art and cross-links, and it will take Smashwords a few days to post them all to Barnes and Noble and other online stores. But once e-books are up and available, they require little tending. No warehousing, no distribution problems, no paper.

While I still have manuscripts circulating at the New York publishing houses and many titles still available in paper, I've come to believe that e-books are the future. They make books affordable again. And they allow authors to write whatever we like without worrying that publishers/markets will keep the story from ever reaching readers. How liberating is that?

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. You don't need a Kindle or Nook or other e-reader to enjoy e-books. Download the free Kindle app, and you can read books on your computer or smart phone.

Support your favorite authors. Keep them writing. Buy their e-books.