Hey, readers in New Mexico! Take a drive to the East Mountains this Saturday, enjoy the scenery and visit with a couple of local authors.
Thriller writer Joseph Badal and I will be at the Old Schoolhouse Gallery from 1 to 3 p.m., signing books and telling lies. The gallery is at 12504 Hwy. 14, near the turnoff to the ski area.
I'll be selling paperback and hardcover books from among my 25 titles and talking about my recent plunge into e-book publishing. All five of Joe's thrillers will be available.
After the event, we're adjourning to a restaurant next door for drinks and more lies.
Hey, readers in New Mexico! Take a drive to the East Mountains this Saturday, enjoy the scenery and visit with a couple of local authors.
Starting today, all my e-books are $2.99 or less. That's 25 titles, including my latest novel, the hilarious mystery A BOX OF PANDORAS, which came out in June. All $2.99 or less.
All of us who are publishing e-books have experimented with price points, and I've come to believe $2.99 is the way to go for novel-length fiction. It's only half as much as a paperback, and readers will risk that much on an unfamiliar author, I think. Because the royalty rate is so much better on e-books, the author makes about $2 per e-book at $2.99, about the same as on a $24 hardcover published the traditional way.
SHOWDOWN and FOUND MONEY. Enjoyed writing both, and I've started sketching out another one. Short stories seem much more rewarding now that there's a guaranteed market via e-books.
I'm moderating a panel Friday at the Tony Hillerman mystery writing seminar in Santa Fe. The 9 a.m. panel, which is on writing humor, also features New Mexico authors Michael Orenduff and Richard Peck. Looking forward to it.
Now back to writing!
Give FOUND MONEY a try. I think you'll like it. And it's only 99 cents.
Thanks to e-books, I'll write more short stories and novellas in the future. The market tilts toward shorter works now, after years of going the other direction. Plus, I enjoy writing them. Short stories used to seem so much harder than novels, but I started thinking of them as one-act plays, and that's made it easier.
I've started sketching out a new novel, but it's in the earliest stages right now. Doubt I'll get much done on it this week because I've got lots of chores and meetings, and a stack of papers to grade for my University of New Mexico class. But some part of my brain is always working on the next book.
Looking forward to Halloween. We get lots of trick-or-treaters at our Albuquerque home because the neighborhood park has a "pumpkin glow." Last year, we gave out 10 pounds of candy. One of my chores today is to buy 11 pounds of candy, so I'll be sure to have leftovers for me.
Two old men sit down together once a week to play gin rummy. They've met for these games at the farm for thirty years. One night, one man reveals a terrible secret from long ago. Revealing a secret always has consequences.
I wrote SHOWDOWN after sending my new bank robber novel STASH THE CASH off to my agent. He loved the manuscript, but asked for changes, including a new, grittier title. I'm now feverishly working on the rewrite of The Novel Formerly Known as STASH THE CASH. It's even darker than before.
The new working title is DUKE CITY SPLIT. You like?
My most recent novel-length e-book, A BOX OF PANDORAS, is still selling briskly, thank you very much. It's gotten excellent customer reviews, except for one complaining about the few scattered curse words. Apparently not allowed in cozies. Damn.
My "New Noir" class at the University of New Mexico is keeping me hopping, adding to my usual reading load. And I'm reading and planning for next semester's Honors class, a first-time offering called "Become a Better Writer."
My SouthWest Writers mystery-writing seminar last weekend went very well. Sixteen students managed to stay awake while I talked faster than an auctioneer for four hours. We all went away exhausted, yet energized about writing.
Busy, busy, busy. Next public appearance is at the Tony Hillerman Writing Seminar in November in Santa Fe. I'm popping in on Nov. 9 to preside over a humor panel with fellow New Mexico authors Richard Peck and Michael Orenduff. Should be a hoot and a half.
Now stop reading this and go read SHOWDOWN.
For three days only, my new novel is FREE, exclusively on Kindle.
Now, it's FREE. Supposedly, giving away a new book moves a lot of copies and gets people to talking about it and gets Amazon's sales algorithms engorged and perky. So I'm trying the free promotion. Just this once.
Hurry. The giveaway ends at midnight on Monday. Click here: amzn.to/T98PkQ
You don't need an e-reader to enjoy e-books. The Kindle Reader App is free for PCs, smartphones, etc. Check it out!
Whew, it's been a busy time around our house. I've got a little gap before it gets really busy again, so a quick update.
I've finished the latest draft of my new manuscript, a crime novel called STASH THE CASH, and it's on Kelly's desk now. One more round of editing, then it goes to my agent in New York. Once it's done, I hope to write a short story or two before I plunge into the next novel.
The fall semester at the University of New Mexico starts Aug. 20, and I've got some more prep work to do for the class I'm teaching in the Honors Program: "The New Noir: Contemporary Crime Fiction for Today's Dark Times." Looking forward to introducing a new crop of students to noir stories.
Amongst all this fun, I've been busy promoting A BOX OF PANDORAS, my comic mystery that came out exclusively on Kindle at the end of June. It's selling well, and has gotten splendid reviews on Amazon. Click here to see more.
In July, I gave speeches about e-books at both SouthWest Writers and the local Sisters in Crime chapter. Big turnouts, and the talks were well-received.
Coming up: I'm giving a half-day workshop on mystery writing for SouthWest Writers on Sept. 29. Details here. I'm also on a humor panel on Nov. 9 at the Tony Hillerman Writing Conference in Santa Fe. Click here for details. Looking forward to these events!
ABQ Friends: I'm speaking on e-books and self-publishing next Tuesday (7/24) at a meeting of Croak & Dagger, the Albuquerque chapter of Sisters in Crime. The 7 p.m. meeting is at a police substation way up by Montgomery and Tramway.
Directions and more info at their website: http://www.croak-and-dagger.com/index.html
This talk will cover some of the same ground as last Tuesday's speech at SouthWest Writers, but with an emphasis on the mystery and thriller genres.
Admission is free!
"The e-book revolution" is the topic when I speak to SouthWest Writers next Tuesday (7/17).
I'll also read a little from my new Kindle book, A BOX OF PANDORAS.
The SouthWest Writers meeting starts at 7 p.m. Tuesday at its usual location at 5540 Eubank NE in Albuquerque. Click here for more info about the meeting and about SouthWest Writers..
Hope to see you there!
This is the second half of a short story featuring characters from my new mystery novel, A BOX OF PANDORAS. If you enjoy the story, try the novel, which is available on Kindle-only for now. Click here to see more.
I'm happy to announce that my new novel, A BOX OF PANDORAS, is now available through Amazon for Kindle. And it's only $3.99.
I'm very proud of this book. It's got all the elements of a traditional mystery, but it's loaded with laughs and the female protagonist is an absolute stitch. Loretta Kimball is a small-town busybody, sassy and sharp, who knows everybody in Pandora, NM, and is perfectly willing to share her opinions about them.
For the first time, I'm publishing through the KDP Select program, which offers certain promotion and marketing benefits in exchange for a 90-day exclusive on Kindle. This means members of Amazon Prime can borrow the book for free. (It also means that fans who read my books on Nook and other e-readers will have to wait a few months for A BOX OF PANDORAS. Sorry!)
Most New Mexicans will recognize the title, as it comes from our late, great Gov. Bruce King, who was famous for such malaprops. He once warned that a legislative measure would "open up a whole box of Pandoras." When I decided to create a New Mexico town for this book, Pandora seemed a natural.
While the town is imaginary, life there will seem very real to folks who grew up in small towns and rural areas. Everybody knows everybody. You can't get away with anything. Old grudges last forever.
One of the funniest aspects of A BOX OF PANDORAS is Loretta's lifelong grudge against Mitzi Tyner, a schoolmate who's always stealing Loretta's thunder. Mitzi and her sidekick, Nannette Hoch, attend the Santa Fe film festival, too, and play big roles in the story.
I've already written one short story featuring these characters, and would love to feature them in more novels. Depends on sales, of course. So get out there and do your part. Pick up A BOX OF PANDORAS today!
Here's a first look at the cover for my new e-book, which comes out later this week. A BOX OF PANDORAS is a traditional mystery with lots of laughs, set here in New Mexico. I think you'll love it.
The cover was designed by Kelly Brewer, who's done a number of my covers since we launched our E-Book Empire. She also helps edit my books. As I've said so often before, it pays to marry into talent.
I'm doing the final proofing and formatting of A BOX OF PANDORAS, and it should be available via Kindle and Smashwords by the end of the week, and on Nook, etc., shortly thereafter. (Don't worry, I'll let you know when.)
Those of you who follow me on Facebook or Twitter know that I've lately been sharing first lines from my novels. Here's the first line of A BOX OF PANDORAS:
"When I first heard my film idol was coming to New Mexico, you could've knocked me over with a feather boa."
If you've ever heard me talk about mysteries, then you know one of my all-time heroes is the late, great Donald E. Westlake. This week, I felt a special connection with him.
I met Westlake a couple of times before his death in 2008, but they were brief encounters at book events in New York, and I mostly acted like a drooling fanboy. For the past couple of decades, I've tracked down most of his 100-plus books, and reveled in every one. I especially like the hard-boiled tales about the professional thief Parker that Westlake wrote under the pseudonym Richard Stark. I thought I'd read every one of them.
Which brings us to this week. At the library, I found an old large-print edition of an unfamiliar Stark novel, and I was excited to read one I'd somehow missed. It's called "The Black Ice Score," and it's from 1965. In the story, Parker helps some guys from a new African nation called Dhaba steal diamonds that their evil president has smuggled to the U.S. It's a typical Parker story, with lots of violence and a couple of nice twists. One group of bad guys is sent after the diamonds by a General Goma back in Dhaba. We never see Goma, but reference is made to him several times.
How did Westlake and I both end up with a General Goma? I remember thinking up the name when I was writing "Cutthroat" and settling on it because it sounded African. But had I really read it before in "The Black Ice Score" years ago, then forgotten I'd ever read that story? Was it strictly a coincidence? Was there any chance that Westlake saw "Cutthroat" before he died, and thought my Goma was some sort of homage? Did we have some sort of freaky ESP connection?
If I thought I could channel Westlake, I'd be the happiest writer around. Do yourself a favor and read his books. And read "Cutthroat" while you're at it. Say hi to General Goma for me.
It's been, um, (mumble-mumble) weeks since I last updated this blog, but I finally have a moment on a Sunday afternoon to catch up on what's been a very busy time.
My class in the University of New Mexico's Honors Program wrapped up in May, freeing up more time for writing. I had a great semester with some very bright students, and I'm looking forward to teaching "The New Noir: Contemporary Crime Fiction" next fall.
Sales of my e-books via Kindle and Smashwords continue to go well, and I've been experimenting with advertising the e-books through Google's Adwords program. Be interested to hear from any of you who might've seen one of those ads.
Yesterday, I joined Southwest Writers, and Kel and I enjoyed a SWW lecture on creativity by a local neuroscientist. I'm scheduled to speak to SWW next month about the e-book revolution, and I'm giving a similar talk to the local Sisters in Crime chapter on July 24. Also, I've been invited to be on a humor panel in November at the Tony Hillerman Writing Conference in Santa Fe.
One of the other authors on that panel will be Craig Johnson of LONGMIRE fame. Craig and his wife Judy were in town the other night for a booksigning, and we went out to dinner with them. Had a wonderful time. Craig is a natural-born storyteller, and he was a big hit with the standing-room-only crowd at Bookworks. We're looking forward to the TV premiere of LONGMIRE tonight.
June is typically the hottest month in Albuquerque, and we've been getting some smokey skies from that giant wildfire in southwestern New Mexico, but that hasn't stopped us from getting outdoors and going to cookouts, etc. Kel's planting flowers in our yard, and we both try to walk outdoors for exercise nearly every day. Our neighborhood near UNM is great for walking. Lots of trees and quiet streets, and the occasional roadrunner to keep you company.
We're looking forward to Summerfest and other Albuquerque activities over the next few months. But for now, back to those rewrites . . .
Starting today, you can get one of my e-books for FREE every time you review one.
Post a review on Amazon and/or Smashwords, then send an e-mail to email@example.com, saying something like, "Hey, Steve: I reviewed CALABAMA, and now I'd like a copy of THE BIG WINK." I'll send you a FREE e-book of the one requested, via either Smashwords coupon or Amazon "gift," your choice.
My e-books are already cheap ($2.99 or less), but I need more reviews. If you like to write reviews, you could plow through my whole backlist for almost nothing. But you need to get cracking. This offer ends May 31.
To see all my books, go to my Amazon page here or my Smashwords page here.
Now get to reading!
This blog has been dormant for six weeks, so I wanted to poke up my head and say I haven't died. I'm writing the first draft of a new novel.
Whenever I'm in this stage of the novel-writing process, other things tend to fall by the wayside. My head is so full of the story I'm writing, it's hard to focus on other stuff, such as blogging and marketing and laundry.
I'm a little over halfway through the first draft of a thriller called STASH THE CASH. It's ripping along at my regular pace, between 30-40 pages a week. At this rate, I should be done within six weeks, with the usual months of rewriting to follow.
I'm also teaching this semester at the University of New Mexico. That class keeps me busy on Wednesdays. I volunteered to teach a few sessions at an April 20 writing seminar at UNM, and I'm devoting this weekend to preparation for that.
Of course, I've had my head down, writing, ever since we got here. First, I cranked out the latest Bubba Mabry story, a novella called PARTY DOLL. And now I'm hard at work on STASH THE CASH.
Meanwhile, I signed an extension on the film/TV option on my 2004 novel BOOST. And, while I can't really talk about it yet, there's some film interest in 2005's BANK JOB as well. Now if I can just get Hollywood interested in my more recent books, such as LOST VEGAS or THE BIG WINK, I'll be all set.
For more info about all my books, check out my Amazon page at http://www.stevebrewer.us.com/. Now I've got to get back to writing the new one.
If you're a book blogger/reviewer, I'd love for you to have a free review copy of my new e-book, PARTY DOLL. Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
PARTY DOLL, a 37,000-word novella, is the ninth story in the series featuring bumbling Albuquerque private eye Bubba Mabry. In PARTY DOLL, Bubba is hired to locate a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever. His investigation uncovers corruption at the highest levels of state government.
I'm available for guest-blogging related to the new book, and I also have a Q-and-A with the author that I can send to you.
For more info on PARTY DOLL and my other 23 books, see my Amazon page here. Thanks!
Last Friday, I stopped by the branch library near our house to drop off some books. I browsed the stacks and was delighted to find "The Long Home," William Gay's first novel and the only one of his titles I hadn't read.
In a chilling coincidence, I went home, logged onto the Internet and immediately found the first word of Gay's death. He was 68 years old, and apparently died of heart failure the night before.
I'd only recently discovered Gay, who's often compared to William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy. Gay's name kept cropping up in interviews with other authors I admire, but I hadn't gotten around to his books until a few weeks ago. I gobbled them right up. Not only are they beautifully written, but they're set in a South not that different from the place where I grew up. They spoke to me. I'm sorry he won't be around to write more of them.
You can find many tributes to Gay on the Internet. The USA Today obit is here.
I was being interviewed the other day about the new Bubba Mabry novella, PARTY DOLL, when I realized I've known Bubba for more than 20 years now.
Bubba was the star of my first published novel, LONELY STREET, and we've been together through six more novels, two novellas and a movie. I've published 14 other books during that time as well, but I keep coming back to Bubba.
All the Bubba stories remain in print via Kindle and Smashwords for $1.99 or less, and most are still readily available in paper as well. For those who've come to the series recently, I thought you could use a quick history of Bubba.
I wrote LONELY STREET in 1991, but it was 1994 before it was published by Pocket Books. In LONELY STREET, the bumbling private eye is hired by what appears to be the living Elvis. A reporter is trying to expose that The King faked his own death years before, and Bubba's hired to tail him.
Partly because of that rock 'n' roll connection, LONELY STREET remains my best all-time seller, and it was made into a Hollywood comedy that came out a couple of years ago. Here's the trailer:
That's the ever-hilarious Jay Mohr as Bubba. Underneath that incredible makeup is Robert Patrick as Elvis. Other faces you probably recognized are Joe Mantegna, Katt Williams and Mike Starr. The film was directed by Peter Ettinger.
The second Bubba book was BABY FACE. In that one, Bubba and his girlfriend, newspaper reporter Felicia Quattlebaum, take on the Religious Right, politicians, hookers and a vicious pimp named Sultan Sweeney.
WITCHY WOMAN, in which Bubba goes to Taos, NM, to try to wrest a rich heiress away from an all-female cult. Things get weird when Felicia goes undercover by pretending to join the cult.
In SHAKY GROUND, Bubba and Felicia get married, but their wedding is almost ruined by Bubba's investigation into the killing of a biologist in the desert west of Albuquerque.
DIRTY POOL came next. Bubba goes head-to-head with a Texas private eye named William Pool as they both search for a young skinhead who's faked his own kidnapping. Whoever finds him first gets to keep whatever ransom is recovered.
In CRAZY LOVE, Bubba goes to work for a jealous widower who believes his wife had an affair before she died.
MONKEY MAN takes place mostly at the Albuquerque zoo. It opens with the shooting of a whistleblower zoo employee by a man wearing a gorilla suit. Things only get weirder from there.
SANITY CLAUSE. In that story, Bubba is working as security at a mall at Christmastime, and somebody bumps off one of the guys who plays Santa.
That brings us to the new novella, PARTY DOLL, in which Bubba is hired to locate a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever.
I don't have immediate plans to write another Bubba story; I've started working on a standalone about bank robbers. But I'm sure Bubba will return before long. He and I go way back.
I'm pleased to announce that one of my most acclaimed crime novels, BOOST, is now available as an e-book for only $2.99.
BOOST was the only one of my books that had been e-published by its regular hardcover/paperback publisher. They'd been charging $8.61 for the e-book, and the pricing was out of my control. But last week I successfully got the e-book rights back so I could publish it myself via Kindle and Smashwords.
In BOOST, professional car thief Sam Hill discovers the corpse of a police informant in the trunk of a stolen 1965 Thunderbird. Someone has set Sam up, and he won't rest until he gets even. It's a fun, fast-paced story in which car thieves are the good guys.
Kelly Brewer did an outstanding job on the cover art, as you can see. By the way, that is indeed a '65 Thunderbird in the photo.
BOOST got some of the best reviews I've ever received; the Baltimore Sun called it "incredibly entertaining." The book remains under TV/film option in Hollywood, and a director in India also has expressed interest in making it into a movie.
My E-book Empire is now complete. I've self-published my entire backlist, as well as new crime novels such as THE BIG WINK, LOST VEGAS, CALABAMA and FIREPOWER. All are $2.99 or less.
My other recent e-publication, the short story PAYOFF, is only 99 cents.
Please check out all my e-books. Thanks!
Bubba Mabry, the bumbling Albuquerque private eye who starred in eight previous books, returns in a new novella, PARTY DOLL.
But there's more here than meets the eye. The feds also are interested in Joy. And her disappearance may play a role in the latest crusade by Bubba's wife, newspaper reporter Felicia Quattlebaum.
I started writing PARTY DOLL back in October. At first, I thought it would be a short story. But the story kept growing, getting more complex, and it ended up being a 37,000-word novella.
Thanks to the e-book revolution, there's a market now for such shorter books. And novellas can sell for much less. PARTY DOLL is only $1.99 via Kindle and Smashwords. All the other Bubba e-books are similarly priced, so you can get the whole series for less than twenty bucks.
PARTY DOLL is a fast, funny mystery. Hope you enjoy it!
My hard-boiled short story PAYOFF is now a free e-book via Smashwords. Click here to see it. Smashwords allows you to download such stories to virtually all e-readers, including Kindle.
PAYOFF was written originally for DAMN NEAR DEAD (Busted Flush Press), an anthology of "geezer noir" featuring protagonists who are senior citizens. In PAYOFF, a 77-year-old heist man named Eddie gets approached by someone who wants a murder committed. Eddie's no killer, but at his age, what has he got to lose?
PAYOFF is also on Amazon.com, but it's listed there at 99 cents. I'm trying to get Amazon to make the 20-page story free there as well, but that's taking a while. Check out PAYOFF. I think you'll enjoy it.
Meanwhile, work on the new Bubba Mabry novella proceeds apace. I'm doing the final edits on PARTY DOLL, and should have it posted to Kindle and Smashwords (at a price of only $1.99) within the next couple of weeks. Here's the first look at the cover art, designed by Kelly Brewer. She did the PAYOFF cover as well. Is Kelly great at this or what?
In PARTY DOLL, the bumbling Albuquerque private eye is hired to track down a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever. Fun story, with lots of action. Coming soon!
It takes two to tango, but you can pirouette all by yourself.
Many a man's nose has been broken by his own middle finger.
When in the company of well-diggers, don't get them started on how cold it is.
It takes a lot of balls to overdecorate a Christmas tree.
In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man should not run with scissors.
If you enjoy my "Rules," please consider the e-book. It's only $2.99. Thanks!
A tip for the Deputy Barney Fifes of the world: If you leave a suspect in your patrol car, make sure he can't drive it away.
Police in northwest Indiana are still on the lookout for a man who stole a cop car, then had the audacity to use the police radio to ask headquarters how to remove his handcuffs. He also asked whether the car had a cigarette lighter.
The car was later found submerged in water in a nearby county. No sign of the 22-year-old suspect, who presumably still was wearing the handcuffs.
Full story here.