My big writing news for 2017 would be big in any year. I've been named guest of honor for the upcoming Magna cum Murder Conference. It will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, on October 20-22, 2017.
Magna began in 1995, with Ralph McInerny, the distinguished academic and award-winning mystery writer, as its guest of honor. Michael Z. Lewin was another honoree at that initial conference. The subsequent guests of honor have included most of the big names in crime writing, including Mary Higgins Clark, Michael Connelly, and S.J. Rozan. This year they decided to go whimsical. I'm hoping it will work out for them.
There will also be an international guest of honor, Andrew Taylor, an award-winning author of crime novels and historical fiction. I'm looking forward to meeting him.
Magna is sponsored by Ball State University, which explains its academic sounding name. It's known for its intriguing and challenging panel topics and for the easy interaction between writers and readers, a byproduct of Magna's small size and of its venue, the Columbia Club, a wood-paneled private club on Monument Circle, Indy's geographic center.
Magna's welcoming nature and its energy come from the woman who started it and still runs it, Kathryn Kennison, Director of Ball State's E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center, which provides outreach programs for the communities surrounding the university. Kathryn is a voracious reader and a fan of the traditional mystery who treats returning attendees as old friends and new attendees as new friends. As I've written elsewhere, Magna is the only conference I know that begins and ends with a hug.
If you're interested in more information on Magna cum Murder, please use the following link: http://cms.bsu.edu/academics/centersandinstitutes/ebball/magnacummurder.
In June 2016, my latest book, TALES OF THE STAR REPUBLIC, was published by the Gisbourne Press. As its title suggests, this is a collection of my Star Republic short stories, which feature an Indianapolis reporter who solves mysteries with paranormal elements. In TALES, those elements include ghosts, levitating stones, grave robbing, channeling, and phone calls from the dead. Six of the twelve stories in the collection were published previously and six appear in print for the first time. TALES OF THE STAR REPUBLIC is available as an eBook, in Kindle and Nook formats, and as a trade paperback. It can be ordered using the following links: amazon.com - barnesandnoble.com.
My previous book and my first stand-alone mystery novel, THE QUIET WOMAN, was published by Five Star in June 2014. It's been called "a romantic mystery, set in Ireland, with ghost," which both describes the book and suggests—accurately—that it's unlike any other novel I've published. The book had a particularly long gestation period, and in its final form, it owes a lot to the stand-alone short stories I began to publish in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in 2007. (These are described on the Short Fiction page.)
Please see the new Stand-Alone Novels page of this web site for a more detailed description and reviews of THE QUIET WOMAN. It can be ordered in hardcover or eBook using the following links: amazon.com - barnesandnoble.com
Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine published another of my Sherlock Holmes parodies, "The Engineer's Thumb," in its January/February 2017 double issue, bringing the total published so far to six. The entries in this series purport to be from the recently unearthed notebooks of Dr. John Watson, and as such, they represent the true and unadulterated versions of Holmes's famous cases.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine published my comic mystery, "The Hawaii Murder Case," in its January/February 2017 double issue. The story's protagonist is an anxious vacationer whose husband is knocked on the head and begins to take on the characteristics of the famous detective he's been reading about, Philo Vance.
Be on the lookout for "Infinite Uticas," another case for my Indy newspaper reporter who specializes in the paranormal. It's scheduled to appear in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in June. Please see the Short Stories page for a description of the Star Republic tales and my other short story series.
Still available is a short story collection featuring my Hollywood private eye Scott Elliott. THE HOLLYWOOD OP is being offered by Perfect Crime Books.