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.