And Now For Something Completely Different…

Okay, it’s not totally different, but it’s totally new.



BOUGHT THE FARM is the first in a brand new cozy mystery series. Right now you are saying to yourself “Self, what is this brand new book about?” GOOD QUESTION. Here’s the answer:

Rainy Day is headed to greener pastures.

Divorced, and with kids out on their own, she uses a recent inheritance to make big changes to her life. She quits her job and, on a whim, buys a hobby farm in rural Virginia, a hundred miles from her long-time home near Washington, DC. Despite the fact that she has no idea what she’s doing, she’s buoyed by the prospect of living in a small town and adjusting to country life. 

Until she finds a body in her bungalow.

A handsome neighbor, a charming pastor, a grumpy bartender, and a bumbling sheriff all manage to complicate the situation, especially when Rainy herself becomes a suspect in the crime.

When things take a turn for the worse, Rainy has to wonder – did she make a mistake buying the farm?

It’s not rough and tumble like my Joe and Noah books; it’s more funny and goofy like my Moose River and Deuce books. If that’s your thing, you should totally check it out.

Thread of Danger Is Now Available

While you’ve been enjoying your summer and laying by the pool and sticking your feet in the sand and setting off fireworks in your driveway and barbecuing all of the meat, I’ve been working. SO HARD.

As a result, the 7th book in the Joe Tyler series, THREAD OF DANGER is out today.

DangerCoverSmall Size

You can find it at Amazon, Apple, Barnes&Noble and Kobo right this second.

Hurry and go get it before they are all gone. (Just kidding – there’s an unlimited supply.)

Playing The Game

For a long time, I’ve wanted to write a Young Adult novel.

So, um, I did.


Brady Mickelson knows how to play the game. Not just basketball, but the game of life.

As the new kid at school, all Brady wants to do is fit in, make friends, secure a starting spot on the basketball team, and maybe, if he’s lucky, shed his v-card along the way.

With his skills on the court, making varsity is a lock.

But the other stuff? Not so much.

The friends come fast and furious once he makes the team but the one friend he really wants is Amy Mitchell, and he sure wouldn’t mind losing his virginity to her, either. He thinks he might get his chance at the kick-off party for basketball season…until she bails on him and disappears. The night goes further off the rails when Brady mistakenly walks into a room and finds Amy with three of his teammates.

Brady doesn’t want to get involved in the messy aftermath of that night. But Amy becomes a shell of her former self, and everyone has a different story about what happened in that room. Brady has a feeling he knows, but no one, not even Amy, wants to do anything about it. When new rumors surface—rumors that implicate Brady—he’s forced to take action.

Even if it means losing friends, and even if it means kissing his hopes of college ball goodbye.

Because everything Brady wants—and the one thing he needs—is in jeopardy.

And he might not be able to play the game after all.

This is a contemporary story with some tough subject matter. I’ve spent the majority of my adult life working with teens in some capacity and I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what their lives are like. They swear, they have sex, and they have to make difficult decisions. It’s teens doing things that not everyone might deem appropriate. If you aren’t comfortable reading about those things, this probably isn’t the book for you. And that’s okay! But if this does sound like something you’d be interested in reading, I hope you’ll check it out. It’s currently available exclusively at Amazon.



You Should Read This Book

If you’re a regular mystery reader, then you might’ve come across all of the hoopla regarding Steve Hamilton’s The Second Life of Nick Mason. Basically, he called out his old publisher for telling him one thing, then doing another, and he then promptly bought himself out of the contract, refusing to accept the fact that they had lied to him.

This, uh, rarely happens. The buying out part, I mean.

After he did that, another publisher very quickly snapped up the rights to the book, along with a few other future books, and promised that they would, indeed, make sure this book (and Steve, because he’s a great writer and a super nice guy) got the attention it/he deserved.

So the book’s out and I just finished it.

It. Is. Terrific.

It seems rare these days that a book that gets a ton of advance hype lives up to the billing, but this one really does. It’s a terrific read, with a great anti-hero, and reads like a roller coaster going downhill.

If you’re looking for something to take to the pool this week, I’d highly recommend this one.

Hamilton Cover.jpg


I Wrote A Thing About Being A Sad Padres Fan

Much of my non-writing time is dominated by watching/complaining about/being horrified by the San Diego Padres. These days, there really isn’t much to get excited about it if you’re a fan and it’s hard to think that there will be anything worth getting enthusiastic for in the near future.

So, because I like to share my misery with others, I wrote about what it’s like to be a fan of a franchise that continually hovers near the bottom of the professional sports pool. Eephus Magazine, which is published by the Los Angeles Review of Books, let me cry on their shoulder and you can read it right here. (And you should check out the other stuff on Eephus – some really cool writing about sports.)

You’ve Got Blackmail

Well, not you personally. At least, I hope not…

You’ve Got Blackmail is the fifth installment in the Moose River mystery series. And here’s what the fancy, schmancy cover looks like:

You've Got Blackmail_medium

And here’s what it’s about:

When Jake’s ex-wife moves to Minnesota, Daisy does her best to make Stella Gardner feel welcome. She puts on a smile as she helps Stella move into her new home, and she even invites her to Thanksgiving dinner, hoping for a smooth transition as they redefine their blended family.

But when Stella confides that she’s receiving threats at her new job, Daisy realizes that Stella’s life is being complicated by more than just sharing holidays and custody. And when those threats take a darker turn – a turn that affects Daisy and her family, too – she knows she’s going to have to get involved.

Because her family’s happiness – and safety – depends on it.

Mystery and shenanigans. Probably your two favorite things. Maybe?

Anyway – it’ll be available a week from today on all of the usual ebook retailing sites. I’ll let you know the second it’s available. The second!

And, hey. If you want to know about this kind of exciting stuff sooner, you can always sign up for my monthly newsletter.

Where Have I Been?

Last month, I sent out a newsletter for the first time in a long time. (Are you getting my newsletter? Would you like to receive it? You can click on the “Newsletter” tab up top or you can click right here to sign up. I send it out once a month and try not to bother you too much.) Here, in it’s entirety, is the letter I sent out to subscribers and readers:

Where Have I Been?
It’s been six months since I’ve sent one of these out. I think I still remember how to do it.

But where have I been?

In order to explain that, I need to go back about ten years. So, bear with me. It’ll take a few minutes to explain.

When I published my first book, Killer Swell, in 2005, I was inundated with emails and phone calls from people telling me they’d read the book and they really enjoyed it. My publisher even got a few big time authors to take a look at it prior to publication and they were kind enough to say nice things about it. I remember being relieved that the majority of the people who read the book seemed to like it and I was still a bit dumbfounded by the fact that people were finally reading this book that I’d spent so long writing. I’m not sure that there’s another feeling like having someone come up to you, whom you’ve never met, and have them tell you they read your book and they liked it. It’s a crazy, surreal feeling.

But the one person that read the book who surprised me the most was my dad.

He didn’t read fiction. He was a newspaper guy, a magazine guy, an evening news guy. Make believe didn’t hold much appeal for him and I’m not sure exactly of how many novels he’d read in his life, but I’m pretty confident you could count the total number on one hand.

But he did read Killer Swell and he liked it. I thought he might be bluffing about reading it, so I quizzed him on details and it turned out he wasn’t bluffing. He actually had read it.

I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. My dad wasn’t crazy into the details of sports like I am, but I can’t recall him ever missing a single basketball or baseball or football game I played in as a kid. He wasn’t a huge movie person, but he took me to see Raiders of the Lost Ark and we saw Chariots of Fire four times in the theater and we couldn’t drive out of the parking lot after seeing Airplane because he was laughing too hard to pull out of the parking space. And he certainly didn’t really understand my fascination with books, but spent plenty of hours sitting in chairs in bookstores while I perused the shelves. So while our interests might’ve been different, he managed to find a way to bridge the gap, even if it bored the crap out of him.

As my career started to grow, I think he (along with my mom) was more excited about it than I was. They wanted to know when the signings were going to happen. They flew to San Diego to be at a signing on my first real book tour. They pushed the book to their friends. In the last ten years, he and my mom have basically served as my sales and marketing team.

That doesn’t mean he read everything I wrote. He tried the Deuce books and he just didn’t get them. Too far removed from reality, probably. The lunacy and humor I put into those books just didn’t resonate with him. And that was fine because it saved me from having to explain that even though the father character in the book was based on him, it wasn’t exactly like him, because I might’ve taken some creative liberty and stretched the boundaries of some of my father’s idiosyncrasies. Mockery is the sincerest form of flattery or something like that.

Over the last few years, while he wasn’t reading the newer books I was writing, he was curious about my career. How do ebooks work? How do you make money? How do you make enough money to pay your bills? Should we clear out the guest bedroom in case you need to move in due to extreme poverty? Within five minutes of walking into his home, he would invariably ask some form of “What are you working on?”

In November of 2013, when things were really starting to take off for me from a writing standpoint, when my life finally was sorting itself out after a period of some really crappy years, his got a bit more complicated. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer.

It’s an understatement to say that he didn’t take the diagnosis well. He was pissed off. He wasn’t supposed to get cancer. Cancer was something other people had. He just had some back pain and the doctors must’ve been confused.

But they weren’t and he had to deal with the reality that his new reality was different than what he’d planned.

The original prognosis was good. If all things went well, maybe ten years. Maybe a little less. Never good to hear that you’ve been assigned an expiration date, but a decade felt somewhat fair for a guy who’d just crossed seventy years of age. Yeah, there’d be radiation and chemo and a lot of other crap and he wouldn’t feel great all the time, but if it bought him that extra decade, then fine.

There were lots of ups and downs in 2014. Some weeks were good and some were not. If you’ve experienced cancer firsthand, this isn’t news. It is a roller coaster than never stops at the station to let you off. The longest ride you’ve ever been on, the one that provides exactly no thrills. But I think we all were hanging on to that initial prognosis. I’ve had other family members and friends who’ve experienced cancer and come out on the winning end. So I think we all were holding onto the notion that he still had a fair amount of time and hey, sometimes cancer just goes the hell away.

But when we hit January of this year, it was pretty clear that his time was going to be significantly limited. I won’t share all of the ugly details – mainly because he’d probably be mortified that I’d share them with anyone – but, again, if you’ve been around terminal cancer, you know how it goes. Once you start sliding downward, it becomes hard to stop. And the slide started in earnest in February, continued through March and on April 28, 2015, one day after his 73rd birthday, my dad passed away.

It’s very strange now that he’s gone. No phone calls. No texts filled with tons of typos. No more yelling at the guy in the next lane who got too close to his beloved Lexus. There is a void there and it’s almost like he’s gone on some long trip to Europe or something. Which is crazy because the last thing my dad ever would’ve done is travel to Europe.

So my 2015 hasn’t gone as planned. I got Foul Play out at the beginning of the year, but the other projects have been slow going because we’ve been occupied by other things and, quite honestly, I haven’t felt much like writing. The wheels are turning again, though, I promise. But I’m a little reluctant to throw out release dates until I get a bit closer to finishing the next Joe, the next Noah and the next Daisy. They are coming, but I hope you’ll excuse their late arrival. Sometimes, life gets in the way and takes a swing at you when you aren’t expecting it.

Thank you to those of you that knew what was going on and reached out with kind words. I am a private person and share very little about what goes on behind the curtain, but I do appreciate your good thoughts. Thank you to those of you that have asked where the books are. Your continued interest is why I continue to write the books and I genuinely appreciate your investment in my writing. I also sincerely appreciate your patience. I’m getting back to it.

Because I know that somewhere, my dad is asking “So what are you working on?


So that’s where I’ve been. But a new book is on the way. I’ll post the cover in just a few days. You can sign up for the newsletter or check back here if you want to take a look.



The Next Joe Tyler Book Arrives Next Week

What? The fifth book in the Joe Tyler book series comes out next week?


Except it isn’t.

THREAD OF FEAR will be available next week.

Don’t believe me?

Here’s the cover:



Want to make sure you find out the second it’s available? Maybe even before the general public?

Sign up for my newsletter right here and you’ll get an email the second it’s available!