An author I wish I'd met

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.


A brief history of Bubba

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.

Next came 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.

I got invited to write a Christmas novella for an anthology, and the result was 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.


BOOST now a bargain

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.

The new Bubba Mabry novella, PARTY DOLL, is selling well, and I thank all of you who've bought a copy. It's only $1.99 on Kindle and Smashwords, as are all the novels featuring the bumbling Albuquerque private eye.
My other recent e-publication, the short story PAYOFF, is only 99 cents.
Please check out all my e-books. Thanks!


Bubba's back!

Bubba Mabry, the bumbling Albuquerque private eye who starred in eight previous books, returns in a new novella, PARTY DOLL.

In PARTY DOLL, Bubba is hired to find a missing stripper who goes by the stage name Joy Forever. Business at the Pink Pony Gentlemen's Club is down without the star attraction, plus she vanished owing her boss, Slick Gurken, a lot of money. Slick wants her found, and he wants it fast.

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!