End the old year with a bargain

The e-book of LONELY STREET, my debut novel, is on sale for 99 cents, but you need to act soon. Sale ends on Jan. 1.

 LONELY STREET introduced bumbling private eye Bubba Mabry to the world in 1994 in a story about a client who might be the living Elvis. In 2009, Hollywood released a movie version with the same title, starring Jay Mohr, Robert Patrick and Joe Mantegna.

Bubba has starred in eight other mysteries over the years, including the recent novella PARTY DOLL, but LONELY STREET is the place to start the series.

Kindle users can go straight to LONELY STREET by clicking here, but it's on sale everywhere e-books are sold.


Weathering winter

Welcome to December, the Official Month of Lost Gloves.

As colder weather settles over the nation, we're all indoors more, getting on each other's nerves. We must wear more clothing to brave the elements. Driving and walking outdoors take on an air of ice-slick danger.

We here at The Home Front want your winter to be safe and happy, so we've developed the following Winter Survival Guide to help you weather the months ahead:


Being shut up in a cozy house seems romantic when portrayed on TV -- flames dancing in the fireplace, frost on the windows, fuzzy slippers and candlelight. But let's face it, unless you're on an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Aspen, life indoors just isn't that pleasant, especially if children are around. A few days cooped up with kids will make you long for summer, when "Go outside and play" worked as a remedy for frayed nerves.

Even happily married, child-free couples start to annoy each other if they're trapped together indoors. An innocent habit, such as gum-cracking or mindless sniffing, easy to ignore when you're outside a lot, becomes unbearably grating when you're indoors together for days on end. Pretty soon, homicide starts to look like a viable solution.

How to cope with cabin fever? Brandy seems to have medicinal qualities (why do you think those St. Bernards carry it around in the Alps?), and hot cocoa can soothe. But the best treatment remains time alone. You and your spouse should occupy opposite ends of the house as much as possible. And kids can still be forced to go outside if you slather on enough outergarments, which brings us to:


When it gets really cold outside, responsible parents provide their children with the following: long underwear, jeans or ski pants, two pairs of socks, waterproof shoes, T-shirt, sweatshirt, flannel shirt, anorak, heavy coat, gloves or mittens, a woolly scarf and a warm hat. Each of these items will be greeted by objections from the children, who see nothing wrong with dressing like Tarzan when it's snowing. Parents should calmly ignore the complaints and apply each layer as carefully as if it were a coat of paint. By the time you're done, you won't be able to tell whether there's a child inside all those garments. If the child can move freely, he's probably not wearing enough clothes.

The only exception to child clothing complaints: Kids want the biggest, bulkiest ski gloves they can possibly find, because those are the kind that shoot lasers.


Even a quick trip to the convenience store becomes an Arctic expedition during bad weather. If the kids are going with you, allow an extra 30 minutes for preparation and protests. Slick roads slow you down, so allow for that in your daily schedule. And, unexpected storms can bring the whole city to a halt. In fact, if you've got anywhere to go between now and Christmas, you'd better get started now.


If you must spend so much time indoors, at least it can be in an orderly environment. But, naturally, winter presents its own set of problems here, too, the worst being gravity. All those clothes mentioned earlier? They end up on the floor. So you won't need to exercise much during the winter. You'll be doing toe-touches all day long, bending over to pick up mittens and mufflers.

This problem is compounded by the fact that basketball season occurs during winter. Nothing can be put away normally. Every item can be discarded only in the following manner: "He shoots! He scores!" If you, the parent, hear "He shoots!" followed by silence, then you know that's another item you'll be picking up later.

All those clothes must be kept clean. Expect your weekly laundry load to double.

Another problem: All the snow/ice/sludge/dead leaves tracked into the house. Ignore this at your peril. Soon, the footing inside won't be any better than the icy sidewalks outside.


Keep them in the house with you as much as possible. Otherwise, they'll go missing and you'll have a big surprise when the snowdrifts melt.

There you have it. If you follow this advice, you can survive the coming winter and all its hazards. And remember, spring is only 18 months away.

(Ed. note: This is a Home Front column from several years ago. It certainly applies this week. Brr.)


Introducing Max Austin

Official publication date is still months away, but DUKE CITY SPLIT is already available for pre-order at Amazon and elsewhere. At bargain prices, too.

DUKE CITY SPLIT is my first book with Alibi, the new mystery imprint at Random House, and it's the first I'm publishing under my new pen name, Max Austin. Random House revealed the April 8 publication date and the cover art in an announcement the other day.

I love the cover art, and I'm really proud of DUKE CITY SPLIT, which is the first in a trilogy of overlapping crime stories set in Albuquerque.

So why the pen name? My agent's idea. He thinks these new stories are so different from what I've done in the past that they signal the start of something new. I feel that way, too, so I came up with "Max Austin" by taking names from my two grown sons.

So far, I'm very pleased with the new arrangement with Alibi, and I hope it will help me (or, rather, Max Austin) reach a wider audience. I'll happily write more in the series if sales warrant.

Hey, Max Austin, this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship!


And the winners are. . .

A big thanks to everyone who entered my drawing for free paperback copies of THE BIG WINK.

The five lucky winners are Lynn Demsky, Cheryl Stoeser, E.H. Hackney, Margit Curtright and Rick Ollerman. Their copies of THE BIG WINK will go out in Monday's mail.

As for the rest of you, check out THE BIG WINK on Amazon here. They're running a sale on that book and several others I've written. Thanks!


Big book giveaway

If you've ever wondered how a marijuana-based economy might work, you should check out my crime novel THE BIG WINK, which is set in Redding, California, during the peak of the region's "Green Rush."

Sound interesting? You're in luck because I'm giving away FIVE trade paperbacks of THE BIG WINK at noon Sunday, 10/6. To enter, just send an e-mail to abqbrewer@gmail.com with "THE BIG WINK" in the subject line. Winners will be chosen by random drawing and I'll contact them for mailing addresses. Postage is on me.

THE BIG WINK is a personal favorite from among my 25-plus books, and it comes with some of the best blurbs ever, including praise from award-winning authors Bill Fitzhugh, Charlie Price and Reed Farrel Coleman. Reed called me "the evil offspring of Don Winslow and Elmore Leonard." High praise, indeed.

I got a real kick out of writing THE BIG WINK and, as I always joke at personal appearances, the research was a blast, man.

In the opening scene of this action-packed novel, a banker named Kwanzaa DuPont is shot during a holdup at a medical marijuana dispensary. The robbers, led by Ray Bunch, have been knocking over dispensaries for weeks, but the shooting draws the full attention of law enforcement and the news media. The robbers are forced to scatter, and their wanderings take them throughout Northern California's hidden cannabis industry.

THE BIG WINK is populated with a bunch of interesting characters.
I think you'll enjoy getting to know them. For more info about the book, check out the Amazon page here.

Enter the drawing today!


Coming up for air

It's been more than a month since I last posted here because I've been writing the first draft of a new crime novel. Finished it yesterday, so I get to pop up out my gopher hole and take a look around.

When I'm working on the first draft of a story, I try to go fast to take advantage of the creative flow. I set daily goals for myself (usually 10 pages) and hit the mark nearly every day. As I get close to the end of a book, I tend to go faster, writing 15-20 pages a day. Those pages usually need more rewrite later.

Rewrite is the down side to this technique. First draft is fun. It's throwing paint at the canvas. Revision tends to be a long slog, especially the way I do it, going over a manuscript a dozen times or more before I hand it over to my agent. The first draft takes six weeks. The entire process takes six to eight months.

Part of the process is not looking at the manuscript at all, and that's where I am right now. I have to let it "cool" before I start revising and, if there's time, between each revision. Fresh eyes make such a difference.

During these pauses, I catch up the household chores and other work that's been hanging while I was off playing with my imaginary friends. That includes this blog (har) and some of the promotional stuff I'm always putting off. Also, I try to get out of the house a little.

This weekend, I'll be in beautiful Silver City, NM, for the Southwest Festival of the Written Word. First year for this downtown festival, and they've got lots of big-name authors from southern New Mexico, Arizona and Texas giving talks and signing books. Admission is free.

Also this week, I'm attending a big homecoming gathering for past staff members of the Daily Lobo, the student newspaper at the University of New Mexico. I didn't attend UNM, of course, but my wife Kelly was once editor of the Daily Lobo, and I've worked with lots of Lobo alumni. I'm looking forward to seeing some old familiar faces.

The class on American humorists that I'm teaching at UNM's Honors College this semester is lots of fun and the students are terrific. Just approved for next semester is my Become a Better Writer class. I'm on campus only one day a week for these classes, so it leaves lots of time for writing. And rewriting.


Madly scribbling

This week, I finished a final revision of my latest crime novel and immediately started writing the next book.

That's the way my summer has gone, jumping from one project to another while also preparing to teach a college course I've never taught before.

Not only did I finish the new novel (and all its revisions) over the past few months, I also wrote and published a hard-boiled short story called CEMETERY PLOT. It's available exclusively on Kindle (for

now). Only 99 cents. The story's gotten some nice reviews.

The latest novel -- about a hitman who discovers he has a grown son -- is one of three books included in a new deal I was offered by one of the big publishers in New York. All three books will be set in Albuquerque, but I can't say more until all the contracts are signed.

I usually take a little time off between books, but I've been champing at the bit to start on the third one in this Duke City trilogy. I outlined the novel weeks ago, but had to delay the start while I wrapped up work on other projects. Yesterday, I wrote the first few paragraphs, so I guess I'm under way.

My class begins Aug. 21 at the University of New Mexico's Honors College. This semester, I'm teaching "Funny on the Page: American Humorists and Their Times." Should be a lot of fun.

Except for that one-day-a-week class, I'll be pouring myself into the new novel. I can't wait.


My origin story

I won't be seeing the new "Man of Steel" movie, mostly because it's the origin story all over again. Is there anyone in America above the age of six who doesn't know the story of a baby sent from a dying planet to Earth, where he had superhuman powers and became the greatest superhero ever?

Filmmakers seem to think they need to start from scratch each time. How many times have we seen the origin story of Superman? Spider-Man? The Hulk? Perhaps the directors feel the previous movies got it wrong, but more likely they stick with the origin story because it's easier to start at the beginning. Plus, everyone can relate to the story of where a person came from and how it shaped the eventual adult.

My own origin story bears a surprising number of similarities to Superman's story (not counting the whole illegal-alien-from-a-dying-planet angle).

My superpower was reading. I started reading at the age of 3, and was a major pain to my early-grade teachers because I already knew how to read well. Teachers soon learned to feed me library books to keep me quiet while the others were trying to learn.

Like Superman, I grew up in a small town. In Sheridan, Ark., a tidy brick library stood next to the courthouse square. My mother took me there every week and let me check out as many books as I could carry. She even insisted that the elderly librarians let me read books in the "Adult" section (such risque fare as Leslie Charteris and Mickey Spillane). About the time I'd exhausted that library, we moved to a nearby city with a bigger library. I was all set.

At Pine Bluff High School, I worked on the school newspaper. I quickly decided on journalism as a career, just like Clark Kent, and went to work for the Arkansas Gazette right out of high school. The editors and reporters there, and the ones at The Associated Press, where I worked for nearly 10 years, shaped me as a writer and beat a lot of stupidity out of me.

Encouraged by my wife Kelly (a former journalist who bears absolutely no resemblance to Lois Lane), I started trying to write fiction when I was 30. For a decade, I worked at the Albuquerque Journal and wrote fiction in my spare time, while also helping raise our two sons. Those were the superhuman years. When I turned 40, Kelly sprung me from full-time journalism, and I've been writing fiction from home ever since.

I've published more than 25 books over the past 20 years and have a couple more in the pipeline. Most days, I can't wait to get to work on whatever new one I'm writing.

And that feels super, man.


Guns 'n' curses

I've just published a new short story. It's full of violence and bad language. Consider this fair warning.

The story's called CEMETERY PLOT. It opens with a man kneeling, wearing handcuffs, watching another man dig his grave. How he got there, and what happens next, is the crux of this very hard-boiled story.

Available exclusively on Kindle (for now), CEMETERY PLOT is only 99 cents. For more info, click here.

Folks who read my crime novels think of me as an author who does a lot of comedy. And I do. Most of my novels, from LONELY STREET to THE BIG WINK to A BOX OF PANDORAS, are full of the funny stuff. But my short stories tend to be gritty little one-act plays about criminals, centered around an act of violence or three. Not a lot of room for comedy.

Four of these short stories are available individually wherever e-books are sold: PAYOFF, YVONNE'S GONE, FOUND MONEY and SHOWDOWN. Only 99 cents each.

PAYOFF is about a 77-year-old heist man named Eddie who gets hired to commit a murder. YVONNE'S GONE is a rural noir about a drunken hillbilly who is gunning for his wayward wife. FOUND MONEY is a monologue featuring a courier who lost a bag of drug money.  SHOWDOWN centers on two old friends who are rivals at cards and one's startling admission over a game of gin.

I did the cover art on CEMETERY PLOT myself, using Kindle's new beta version of Cover Creator. The other covers (which are much, much better) were done by the lovely and talented Kelly Brewer. I like the one she did for PAYOFF so much, I put it on my business cards. Bang!

Other short stories of mine can be found in the anthologies CRIMES BY MOONLIGHT and WEST COAST CRIME WAVE. Those two stories aren't quite so hard-boiled, but they're both twisty and fun.

Please give my short stories a try. But remember: They're full of guns and cursing. The fainthearted need not apply. ;-)


The ants go marching . . .

The exterminator just left.

With the arrival of warm weather, we've been blessed with an infestation of tiny little ants. They don't seem interested in our water or our food. They just want to run around on the kitchen countertops and drive me crazy.

Like most people in Albuquerque, I'd wager, we have a regular pest control service. This is the desert. There are bugs. We don't want them in the house. Period.

Most of the time, the every-other-month service is plenty. But these ants showed up, and I've had exterminators here twice in a week, pitching God-only-knows what kind of poison at the little pests. I think they've got 'em this time. Only time will tell.

The ants are most active when we're asleep, so I stumble onto a parade of them every morning when I make coffee. I crush the little buggers and mop up their corpses with a damp paper towel. Usually, I try to be quiet about it, but the other day there was an alarming swarm, so I snatched up a fly swatter and started wailing away at the tile countertop.

From the next room, Kelly says, "What are you doing?"

"Killing ants."

"With what," she says, "a FORK?"

I told this story to the pest control manager when I called about the ants. He got a big kick out of it. Not many of his customers, I'm thinking, go for the laugh. He sent someone right away.

And now we wait.


Keeping cool with Mr. Keitel

Yesterday, I had a chance encounter with one of my favorite actors, the great Harvey Keitel. And, yes, I gave him one of my books.

Mr. Keitel is in Albuquerque for a film project. He was meeting with a couple of producer types on Sunday, in a room just off the lobby of a local hotel. As part of the hotel's Mother's Day brunch festivities and to promote the nearby Southwest Book Fiesta, I was supposed to do a book-signing in that very same room.
He sat facing the door, and I recognized him immediately. We've all seen that face on the big screen so many times -- Mean Streets, Taxi Driver, Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Smoke, The Piano, Moonrise Kingdom, on and on -- and he looked exactly like himself, if you know what I mean. He was in workout clothes and hadn't shaved in a day or two, but it was no question Harvey freaking Keitel.

Well, this is awkward. I'm supposed to do an event in this room, and Mr. Keitel and friends are having a business meeting that I absolutely do not want to disturb. I set down my bag of books and walked over to the seated trio and sort of loomed there until they looked up at me. I explained the situation and told Mr. Keitel that I of course had recognized him and was a huge fan. He jumped to his feet and shook my hand, chuckling, saying, "I thought you were with our movie."

He said they'd be leaving soon. I said I'd set up at the other end of the room and try to steer people away from them. Then, with the producer guys sitting there waiting, Mr. Keitel started asking me questions. So, you're an author? You're local? Why kinds of things do you write? I told him my first book, LONELY STREET, had been made into a 2009 movie and he asked me who starred and said he was friends with Joe Mantegna, who played the villain. We did another round of nice-to-meet-yous and I was about to turn away when I caught myself and said, "Hey, could I give you one of my books?"

I dug through the bag of random books that I'd brought over from the Book Fiesta and, sure enough, there was one copy of the perfect book to give to Harvey Keitel, my casino heist novel LOST VEGAS. I told him
he'd inspired one of the characters in the book, a retired Mob button man who runs a small-town casino. The character's nickname is Nicky Pop-Pop. Mr. Keitel laughed at that, thumbing through the pages and repeating, "Nicky Pop-Pop."

I excused myself and went to my table at the other end of the room. They continued their meeting for some time, but there were tall wingback chairs in the way and I couldn't really see or hear much from where I sat. Besides, I was busy with my phone, sending fanboy text messages to my wife.

A few people trickled in and out, and I handed them bookmarks advertising the Book Fiesta. Only one recognized Mr. Keitel, and the actor was charming with him, too.

After a while, the movie trio departed. As they were going out the door, Mr. Keitel showed me he was carrying my book and thanked me again and wished me luck.

So, there you have it. My most recent brush with greatness. I managed to keep my cool, have a nice chat and not go all stalker on Mr. Keitel. I kept my cellphone camera in my pocket. And I put one of my books in his hands.

Mr. Keitel seemed like a truly nice guy. Smart, well-spoken and interested in other people.

He'd be so perfect as Nicky Pop-Pop.


Bobbing with weirdness

Do you love stories about weird coincidences? Here's one:

Last night, I was at a meeting of SouthWest Writers. During intermission, I sold a few copies of my latest paperback, 1500 Rules for Successful Living, including one to a fellow author named Pete David. I've met Pete before and we've e-mailed a few times. Nice guy.

As I began to autograph his copy, I had one of those senior moments (which seem to be more frequent lately), and I didn't write "For Pete," as intended. You're thinking I wrote "For David," right? That would make sense. But what did I write? "For Bob."

Where did "Bob" come from? I have no idea.

Laughing at my own strangeness, I tossed the book back into the box and signed a different copy "For Pete." I've made this kind of mistake before. The screwed-up books become giveaways or shelf copies. No big deal.

Minutes later, while Pete and I were still chatting, another SWW member approached with money in hand, wanting a copy of the RULES. Guess what his name was? That's right. BOB.

As soon as I saw his name tag, I fished the "For Bob" book out of the box and said, "Here you go. Already inscribed for you."

That freaked Bob out a little, but he was a good sport once I explained what had happened. And we all went away, shaking our heads and laughing.

If you want some laughs of your own, give my 1500 RULES a try. Filled with twisted humor, the RULES are 106 pages of utter nonsense for only $5.99. Perfect bathroom reading! Click here for more info, or e-mail me directly at abqbrewer@gmail.com. I'll be glad to autograph a copy for you. Or for any Bobs you might know.


Conference crud

Most writers are solitary creatures, but once in a while we gather in drunken hordes to meet our fans and shake hands and share some germs.

We have no immunity from the viruses, germs and assorted other bugs that normal people pass around, so most of us come away with a cold or something worse. Pile that on top of the hangovers, sleep deprivation and jet lag that accompany most conference weekends, and it's a wonder any of us survive.

We have a term for the flu-like symptoms that follow these weekends away: Conference crud.

I just attended my first conference in two years, so the crud is raging at my house. (New Mexico bonus: Record-high pollen levels, so even people who don't normally have allergies are sneezing their brains out.)

The conference, Left Coast Crime, was at a swank resort in Colorado Springs that had a splendid view of the Rocky Mountains as the blizzard rolled in. Kidding! It was just a little windblown snow, conveniently cleaned off the roads in time to drive home.But the icy weather meant there was even more staying indoors and shaking hands and spreading germs than usual.

As always, I had a great time at Left Coast. These conferences are the only times I see many of my scattered pals, and I spend most of the weekend telling jokes and playing poker and hoorawing over drinks with them. There are also lots of interesting panels and awards handed out and such like, and you can get all that information here: http://www.leftcoastcrime.org/2013/

For me, it's all about the fellowship. And the germs.


Call me when it's over

I don't believe in astrology, though I always read my horoscope in the newspaper. But I'm starting to fear Mercury-in-retrograde.

Have of you heard of this phenomenon? It's an optical illusion that makes it appear the planet Mercury is moving backward, and it occurs three or four times a year. During those periods, astrologists say, machines go wonky and communications break down. True believers never make firm plans when Mercury is in retrograde, because that's just asking for it.

At our house, we've noticed that appliances and other household items tend to go on the fritz during these periods. Or is it simple coincidence, and we're looking for connections? I'll leave that up to you.

Let's look at the past ten days or so:

Mercury went into retrograde on Saturday, Feb. 23. The next day, a tripped circuit breaker locked up my computer. I paid computer wizards $375 to recover my data and fix my hard drive. Two days later, our furnace died. We had other heaters in the house, so it wasn't a big deal, but it did require a repairman to come and fix it.

My Kindle and my cell phone both had problems in the past week, but I managed to fix those myself.

Early this morning, while I was still asleep, Kelly heard a crash in my home office. She turned on the light and found that my globe had somehow unscrewed itself from its base and fallen over. The whole world was topsy-turvy, right there in my unoccupied office.

Who knows what will fall apart next? I'm afraid to drive my car.

This current period of Mercury-in-retrograde ends on March 17, which is St. Patrick's Day. So there are two good reasons to celebrate that day. And two good excuses to drink.


Hearts, flowers and books

Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers. Book lovers are the best!

I'm in great spirits today because I just finished the first draft of a new novel. After a couple of marathon writing days, DEADPAN is done. (Well, it's far from done. Months of revisions to come. But it's always a milestone to reach "The End.")

The first draft took six weeks to write, which is pretty typical for me. January and February tend to be good writing months -- cold weather makes me want to stay indoors -- and I often start a new novel with the new year.

I'll let the manuscript "cool" for a couple of weeks, then start the rewrites. I'm already making notes on things I want to change.

Meanwhile, my most recent crime novels are selling briskly as trade paperbacks (and e-books!) at Amazon.com. Two of them, A BOX OF PANDORAS and LOST VEGAS, were mentioned in "Memorable Reads of 2012" this week at the DorothyL mystery community.

You can see all my 25 books by going to www.stevebrewer.us.com. To see the latest ones, use the drop-down menu to select "Publication Date."

Kelly and I tend to stay low-key about Valentine's Day, but we are going out to dinner tonight at a lovely French restaurant. Hope you have a wonderful day!


"Paradise" in paperback

A hilarious heist novel -- one of my personal favorites -- is now available in trade paperback. The new version of FOOL'S PARADISE can be purchased at Amazon. Click here to see more.

FOOL'S PARADISE originally was published by University of New Mexico Press in 2003. It was one of three books of mine that came out that year (the others being BULLETS and TROPHY HUSBAND), and it sort of got lost in the shuffle.

I got the rights back and published an e-book version last year, and now we've published the new paperback version with a great cover by Kelly Brewer.

FOOL'S PARADISE is a very funny crime novel set mostly in Coronado, CA, one of our favorite vacation spots. Five strangers come together to rob a bank there, even though there are limited routes off the "island" of Coronado. Things go wrong, naturally.

Please give the new version a try. As with the other paperbacks we've published recently, the book features large type and lots of white space, which makes for easy reading. And the laugh-out-loud plot will keep you turning pages.


Paperback rioter

I've unleashed five new paperbacks on the world!

These novels -- some of my best work -- previously were available only as e-books. Now, thanks to the miracle of indie publishing, the books are for sale on Amazon.com as beautiful trade paperbacks with glossy covers. They run 300 pages or more each, and they're priced around $13.

 As you can guess from the titles and covers, these are standalone crime novels. Let me tell you a little about each:

The most recent is A BOX OF PANDORAS, a traditional mystery set at a film festival in Santa Fe. It stars Loretta Kimball of Pandora, NM, president of the International Michael Girard Fan Club. When Mr. Girard, a near-famous actor, falls under suspicion, Loretta takes it upon herself to clear his name. Author Pat Browning just reviewed this novel and called it a "funny, gossipy small-town mystery."

LOST VEGAS is more hard-boiled, a true heist novel about a crew that knocks over a casino in small-town Nevada. Lots of action, and two of my favorite characters, a former Mob button man called Nicky Pop-Pop and a Samoan bodyguard named Shamu.

CALABAMA is rural noir in the vein of my favorite TV show, "Justified," though I wrote it before "Justified" ever aired. It's about a young slacker in Redding, CA, who gets mixed up in a kidnapping scheme with hillbilly crimelord Rydell Vance. Lots of dark comedy.

THE BIG WINK is also set in Redding, at the peak of the medical marijuana boom. A shooting during a holdup at a pot dispensary sets off a manhunt and a media firestorm. Author Reed Farrel Coleman says, "He's done masterful work before, but Brewer's outdone himself with THE BIG WINK."

FIREPOWER is a rip-snorting tale about a taciturn hitman (think Steve McQueen) who rescues an inventor from the evil forces of Big Oil. Author Penny Raife Durant calls it "a rousing story with many twists and turns."

I'm very proud of these books and I hope having them in paperback will mean a wider audience. If they do well, I'll bring out more of my backlist in this format.

In other news, I'm making great progress on the first draft of my new novel, DEADPAN. And the "Become a Better Writer" honors class I'm teaching at the University of New Mexico starts Monday.

Happy reading!


Happy new story!

Let's start 2013 with a bang.

I've just published a new hard-boiled short story, available through Kindle, Smashwords and other e-book sellers. It's called YVONNE'S GONE, and it's a nasty piece of business, full of jealousy and betrayal and murder.

You can read more about this 99-cent short story by clicking here. The brilliant cover art is by Kelly Brewer.

For me, the story of 2012 was the expansion of our E-Book Empire. Over the past two years, Kelly and I have made a cottage industry out of indie publishing. Thanks to e-books, we can now publish books nearly as fast as I can write them.

In 2012, we published a Bubba Mabry novella (PARTY DOLL), a comic mystery novel (A BOX OF PANDORAS), and three short stories, counting YVONNE'S GONE, which launched on Dec. 31. For full descriptions of those stories (and all my books), go to www.stevebrewer.us.com.

As 2012 wrapped up, we tried something new. A BOX OF PANDORAS, which came out as an e-book in June, soon will be available as a trade paperback. We've been learning Amazon's print-on-demand service, CreateSpace, and PANDORAS is going through its final proofing now.  In the coming months, we'll publish my other e-book exclusives (CALABAMA, LOST VEGAS, THE BIG WINK and FIREPOWER) this way, too. Paperback versions of the books will be available through Amazon, and I'll have copies to sell/display at events like next spring's Southwest Book Fiesta in Albuquerque.

I'm taking it easy today, but the rest of January promises to be crazy busy. Not only am I spending a few hours a day on the paperback project, but I'm starting the first draft of a new novel called DEADPAN. Plus, my new writing class in the Honors College at the University of New Mexico starts Jan. 14. Whee!

We wish you happiness, prosperity and good reading in 2013!