Max Thursday

Max ThursdayThese six books are among the finest detective stories I’ve yet read, with honest-to-God mysteries, cracking pace, and a relatable hero. The first one is what helped convert me to a Wade Miller fan.

I intend to discuss them, and some of my other favorite Wade Miller titles, with Chris Hocking in an upcoming post. As I think we once mentioned, don’t go reading discussions, because many of those who discuss the novels carelessly reveal the solution to the mystery. And these really are so tightly plotted you’ll be hard pressed to know what’s going on until the end, so that kind of indifference is inexcusable. These are highly crafted mysteries.

I was just eager to read them — I didn’t mind if my editions were mis-matched, hence the different cover styles and sizes. You’re lucky. So long as you don’t mind e-books, you can find the whole set right here.





rime 2We’re not big video game players in my house. Every winter my wife and son break out some old video games — usually Zelda or Zelda like bright, friendly adventure/quest games from older platforms — and that’s about it. We’re not up on the latest graphic breakthroughs or gameplay techniques, so that if someone states that a game has “dated graphics” or has puzzles that are “too simple to solve” I’m generally not worried: A. even dated graphics usually look just fine to us, because they’re probably at least as good as the ones we’ve seen played B. people who regularly play games are more used to solving certain puzzles a certain way, and we haven’t seen them.

This winter, though, we didn’t play much. I guess we were tired of the same old games, finally. I wasn’t able to track down any new ones, and so the wife and son in particular were still wanting a fun diversion.

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In Thanks

airborneOn Memorial Day I woke early, fully intending to play some of my solitaire wargames, probably Heroes of Normandy. But I turned instead to the revision of a World War II short story I’d been working on, the second of two I’ve written about the United States Airborne.

As I’ve grown older and grown a little wiser, I’ve come to appreciate the sacrifices of our veterans, many of whom were not as fortunate as my father, who made it back home (to be clear, he wasn’t in the airborne). I’ve been thinking about these men and women a lot more in the last year as I’ve been researching World War II, and as I spent a pleasant day with my family yesterday, I tried to savor all the things that I might once have taken for granted. Including the simple joy of all four of us being together and having fun. Even that is a freedom that I might not once have appreciated, and one that might not have been available without enormous risks taken by men and women whom I have never met.

Thank you, veterans.





Hardboiled Monday: The Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories

mammoth book private eyeWhen Chris Hocking and I set out to talk hardboiled fiction every Monday it turned out we (or maybe it was just me) were a little too ambitious. It was hard to keep up the steam, and to keep reading NOTHING but hardboiled for months and months. But we’re returning to discuss great hardboiled fiction as an occasional feature of this web site.

Originally we were discussing all books from this list in order. From here on out we’ll be skipping around. We’ll be trying to cover one subject a month, and I’ll also be trying to provide advanced notice. If you want to see our previous hardboiled discussions, you can access the master list here. Today we’re discussing the well-named Mammoth Book of Private Eye Stories. Read More





Howard ZebrasI’ve been trying to clear off my spinning plates before things get REALLY busy. I haven’t really managed it completely yet, owing to the fact I think I’m a little worn down from all the frantic stuff. It’s as though my mind is insisting on a longer break than I think I need. I keep letting my attention wander or focusing on the wrong things.

But after some downtime over the last few days my batteries feel a little recharged. Hocking and I are putting finishing touches on a new Hardboiled Monday article, and Bill Ward and I are talking about doing a Harold Lamb re-read of the first book of Khlit the Cossack stories.

I also got my finalized schedule of events for GenCon this year. I’m on some pretty nifty panels. And I need to sign up for some more conventions near year’s end and the start of next because lo and behold I’ll have a new book coming out next spring. Looking forward to getting notes from my editor on it this week.

In other, more mysterious news, both of my mystery projects are coming along, and man, am I excited about the sword-and-sorcery one. It’s all I can do to keep that one under wraps. I do look forward to sharing the details about them both with all of you.

For now, apple in hand (because I haven’t finished breakfast) it’s time to get to work.



On Writing Swiftly

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sometimes I write quickly. Occasionally, when I write quickly, I write well. Most of the time, though, I don’t. I have to revise and re-revise and throw things…

Stalking the Beast

Friday, November 1, 2013

My new book is out, NOW! You want monsters, monster slayers, death defying feats, a canny, intelligent female leader? Check out Stalking the Beast. It’s a standalone sequel…

Vincennes Writer’s Festival

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

I don’t think I’ve ever turned the blog over to anyone else, but today I’m going to do so, because Judy Kratzner has said everything I’d say about…

Writing Mistakes, Part 2

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Well, I finally performed the proper web site magics to add Stalking the Beast to the Home Page book slider. I forgot how I had done it the…

My List of Writing Mistakes

Friday, October 25, 2013

A month or so back I was contacted by a reader and fellow writer who’d heard about my mistakes list that I keep in my writing notebooks. She…