Coming at you with Bugs, Cowboys, Cavalry, and Excerpts

Feb 01, 2024 6:55 am

I've got bugs in my system--6 chapters worth, a space cowboy short story in the works, and another story about the cavalry at Leipzig still in research mode. The bugs and cowboy stories are moving along at a satisfying pace.

Is the collaborative story dead? Send your paragraphs if you want to keep it alive.

In the 2024 Kickoff Giveaway, Scott J. won autographed copies of Threading The Rude Eye and Power to Hurt.

Susan J., the backup winner, received an autographed copy of The Shrinking Zone.


Every once in a while, I share some bits from my books. It must be once in a while, because here are a couple passages from books in completely different genres. Which do you prefer?

Here's an excerpt from Smoke, my 1940s noir-mystery novel with a side of humor:

“Shall I take you home? We can meet tomorrow and go

take a look.”

“Oh. I am home,” she said, rising. “We have an apartment

above the restaurant. It’s very nice. Would you like to see


I very much wanted to see that apartment. In fact, I

doubted that I would ever want to leave it. I looked down

and found Gogol in my hand. Without looking up into her

eyes, I found a page and let my eyes traipse along the lines

until they latched onto a phrase, “[I]f a friend invites one to

his village twelve miles away, it usually means that there’ll

actually be twenty-five miles to go.”

The problem was that I wanted to go every one of those

twenty-five miles…but I knew better.

She was lighting another cigarette, waiting for my


So was I; I had no idea whether my heart or my head

would answer.

In my hesitancy, she spoke again, “Why do you do that,

look in your book from time to time, I mean?”

“Wisdom, strength, inspiration, hope…something better

than I could think of on my own.”

“That’s very strange,” she said, blowing a smoky stream.

“How did you ever come up with that?”


Here's an excerpt from Crisis in Fire and Snow, from the Tomahawks and Dragon Fire flintlock fantasy series:

A steel blade plunged through the cabin door, coughing

splinters into the cabin. A shaft of light flashed through the hole as the tomahawk withdrew to chop again. A louder report sent a musket ball though the shutter loophole on Hugh’s left. He had directed his attention to the door, thinking that the savages had abandoned the attempt to

take him through the windows. The ball struck the chimney

and ricocheted against the back wall, where it dug into the

timber, raising a long splinter that clung to its parent at one


Hugh turned to the window, but the attacker had withdrawn. When he faced the door again, another tomahawk chop tore through the wood to leave a hole larger than his hand. Hugh leveled a musket at the hole and fired. A blast of fire and smoke blocked the hole from his view, but a cry from without gave him satisfaction.

He retreated to the far wall. The relentless chopping ate

through the door and broke the bar. As the door flew open,

Hugh fired the other musket.


If you're in the mood for mysteries, take a look at Dani Simms Read Between the Wines Cozy Mystery Boxset. image

Don't miss this

Speculative Fiction Blast


Honor Roll with special thanks to these subscribers:

Lois for her stunning review and heroic defense of The Shrinking Zone.

JBudd for reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, In Death Bedrenched, Power to Hurt, The Shrinking Zone, Clamorous Harbingers, Promise of Carnage and Flame, Truth in Flames, and Crisis in Fire and Snow.

Colleen for leaving ratings for several of my books on Amazon.

Rob for leaving a review of Threading the Rude Eye.

Michael for leaving reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, and The Shrinking Zone.

Mayra for a review of Threading the Rude Eye.

Gloria for a review of Threading the Rude Eye.

ShannonC for a review of In Death Bedrenched

Jan for reviews of Threading the Rude Eye, Power to Hurt, Clamorous Harbingers, Promise of Carnage and Flame, In Death Bedrenched, The Shrinking Zone, Truth in Flames, Justice in Season, Justice Resurgent, Crisis in Fire and Snow, and Smoke.

Bonnie for a review of In Death Bedrenched, and Crisis in Fire and Snow.

PAR for a review of Threading the Rude Eye

-There are many other reviews of my books, of course, but I don't know whether those reviewers are also subscribers to this newsletter.