We’re Two Days Into Spring Break And I Haven’t Abandoned The Kids Yet

I really need to come up with some consistency for titling these things. Sometimes I capitalize the first letter of all of the words and sometimes I don’t bother capitalizing small words like the, and, of and those words (I think they’re all prepositions, right?) but it all really depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

So the kids. They have been off of school since Friday last week and it’s been quite pleasant. While I still have to be working during this week the kids haven’t been an undue burden or distraction like they were over winter break.  The biggest reason for this, I believe, that the weather is nice enough for them to play outside so 1)I don’t have to hear ALL of their screaming and 2)Being outside seems to wear them down more so they aren’t as wound up when they are inside. Also, the nicer weather has given ME more energy so I have more patience to deal with them.

A short post today because I really want to do more of these. I really love writing here and enjoy it more when I do it on a regular basis (as do the readers as my stats package points out) but I don’t have the energy or topics for a whole week of 1000 word essays every month of every year. And, as previously stated, I don’t think readers want that. I want to aim for a mix of short posts, long posts, and photo posts. Now I’m going out to take the kids to the library and get Becky some lunch.

Dinosaurs and Picnic Lunches



The kids are on Spring Break this week and we had already pre-paid for Holly to go to day care today so it was just Spenser and I at home. Well, Becky is home all of the time while she’s off of work for the vomits, but we don’t count her. Anyway, because Spenser is in school five days a week, Holly and I usually get to do fun stuff while Spenser gets left out. So today was Spenser’s turn.

Over lunch we went into Ann Arbor and had a picnic in the park then took a tour of the dinosaur exhibits at the University of Michigan Natural History Museum. He loved it. He loves dinosaurs so that wasn’t really a surprise . It was also fun to spend some time just with him. I didn’t realize until today how long it’s been since he and I spent any significant time together. With another kid on the way it’s going to be up to me to make sure all of the kids get some individual time with both Becky and I.

Easter Seems Like A Good Time To Go Back To Church



In the spirit of Americans everywhere who flock to churches on the major holidays, I took the kids back to church for the first official time in about six months. It felt good to be back and I don’t want to be out that long again. Becky was stuck at home in bed, but Holly got to wear her pretty new dress and Spenser got to sing which was hilarious and very enjoyable.

Happy Easter.

Saturday Photo: Easter Egg Hunt Edition

Today is a two-fer with the Saturday photo. We went over to my sister and brother-in-law’s house up in Flint so we could see the new baby and the kids could have another Easter Egg Hunt. It was fun and then Spenser and I took my dad to see Captain America for his birthday. There was gum on the movie theater seat that ruined my sweatshirt so I had to run to the store and buy a new one and take it back to the movie theater so they would reimburse me, but that was a minor glitch in a good day. We also had tacos for lunch and I’ve never had a bad day that involved tacos.

Also, please note that my kids are carrying Scooby Doo Halloween buckets instead of Easter buckets. These are the same ones they took to the hunt at church last night which please be to a significant degree.

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The Worldwide Blog Tour Presents: Me. Yaaaayyyyyy

I was doubly tagged for this by Dave White and Kristi Belcamino, so Internet law demands I participate. Though you all know how much I hate talking about myself, right?


Anyway. It’s me answering four questions, like I was facing a troll or an orc guarding a bridge in a quest novel.

1. What are You Working On Now?

Right now I am working on the sequel to MURDER BOY in which the campus cop who makes all of the trouble that happens in the first book go away comes asking our guy for a favor. This is my version of a Dortmunder book. I’ve always loved heist and caper novels and when Jason asked me what ideas I had for a sequel, my story LOAD, about a sperm bank robbery, came immediately to mind and I had the perfect idea for how to blend the characters who survived MURDER BOY into the plot of the LOAD story. I’m also noodling ideas and structures for the next book I want to write this year which will either be a cozy or an urban fantasy.

2. How Does Your Work Differ From Others In It’s Genre?

My stuff kind of mashes a bunch of stuff together but while it’s deeply rooted in the pulp spirit and the novels of Elmore Leonard, Victor Gischler, Duane Swierczynski and the like, it’s also almost equally influenced by the literary stuff I read, especially the campus and writing life novels by the likes of Richard Russo, Michael Chabon, Paul Auster and Jonathan Ames among others.

3. Why Do You Write What You Do?

Because it allows me to mesh all of my divergent interest in one package. I started off writing PI novels, which I still truly love and hope to get back to soon, but when I was writing meta gonzo pulp crime it was the first time I felt like I was really putting myself on the page and letting my imagination have full reign. I’ve always loved meta fiction and books about writers and it was a great way for me to unleash my frustrations with the brief time I spent in grad school for creative writing as well as my decades of frustration with the poor writer’s life.

4. How Does Your Writing Process Work?

Ha. Haha. Barely. I’m in the process of rebuilding my writing process because it’s a mess. I take forever to get started then have a brief run of success then get stalled out, then panic for a while, then get back to it, then stall out and panic, then repeat for two years or more until the book is done. With two little kids, a day job, another kid on the way, and the desire to write more books, that process just won’t cut it.

Part of it is an issue of focus and discipline, of which I have VERY little, but part of it is a lack of proper planning and that’s the hardest to fix. Ideally I would start blindly and write regularly every day until I get about a quarter of the way into a book and then stop and plan out the rest once I knew the characters and what the story was going to be. I sort of did a version of that for MURDER BOY, which is why it turned out well enough to sell, but I need to compress the time frame substantially. We’ll see how that works out and of course I’ll keep you all updated here.

I usually come to these things at the very end when everyone else has been tagged so I won’t tag anyone else, but go do a Google search and see if you kind find the others. They’re interesting.

A Post To Clear The Taste Of The Last Post Out Of Our Mouths

Well yesterday’s post seemed to hit a nerve and I got quite a few emails and messages from folks telling me that, while it was hard to read, they appreciated me posting it. I appreciated that kind of response. But I don’t want that to be the post hanging at the top of the site for too long, so let’s get on to talking about my novel some more.

I was one of three Polis Books authors to be featured yesterday in Library Journal’s 2014 Mystery Preview. That was really kind of cool to see, especially because the three Polis titles were the only digital-first titles to receive specific mention. As someone who used to read these previews every year to decided what I was going to get excited about, I was doubly excited to see this:

And Bryon Quertermous, the commissioning editor for Angry Robot’s crime fiction imprint Exhibit A Books, has written his first novel, Murder Boy (Jun.), a dark satire that is a mix of Donald Westlake, Elmore Leonard, and Carl Hiaasen.

I’m still giddy. I’ve been bullish on digital-first publishing for a while but this sort of exposure due to the prestige and connections of my publisher makes me feel even better about it. And speaking of which, there’s a sidebar feature on my editor and publisher, Jason Pinter, in the issue as well.

So once again, I’m very very very happy with my publisher and will repay his faith in me by turning in a great second book (which includes actually finishing said second book of course). I can’t wait for this book to come out. Have I mentioned how happy I am?

Be sure to check in tomorrow to see my answers to that Four Questions meme going around. I’ve been double tagged so I must abide.

Learning Hard Lessons At Other Parents’ Expense

I’m in kind of a weird mood today. Not quite depressed, but funky and contemplative. A little girl died in a freak accident at Spenser’s school yesterday and that sort of stuff always freaks me out. The girl was 9 and I think the only thing that could have made it worse is if she had been Spenser’s age or in his class. But with little kids, or any kids, freak accident is such an awful thing to think about because we can’t control it. This was in the drop-off area of the school and it was something I’d seen a bunch of other kids do. She tried to get back in the car when it started moving and was hit and died in surgery. That’s it. The end. And all I can think about today is that family and how they woke up this morning without their little girl because of a freak accident.

Luckily I haven’t had to explain the full details of this to Spenser. He told me the fire trucks and police cars were there for either monsters or to make sure nobody was blown away by the heavy wind. You can be sure I was very loving with my kids yesterday and this morning and while I hate that it takes other families experiencing tragedy for me to get my priorities in order, it’s a gift I intent not to waste. I struggle with spending enough quality time with the kids and I hope I never have to regret that like this girl’s family is regretting things today.


Saturday Photo: Outside Fort Edition


Today is a gorgeous day outside. The kids convinced me to go play outside with them and this is the fort Spenser  built while he was out there. He builds forts wherever he goes kind of like his dad.

Yesterday I spent most of the day at the hospital with Becky. Since almost immediately after looking at the pee stick and finding out she was pregnant, she’s been horribly, horribly sick. Not just normal morning sick, but it’s like she’s had the death flu for almost two months. We’ve talked to the doctor a few times and tried some different things, but yesterday it got serious enough that everyone decided it was time for her to get to the hospital. They pumped her full of sugar and nutrients from an IV and did some other things I’m sure she’d rather I not disclose and it seemed to work. Hopefully we’ll be out of the woods in another couple of weeks or so on this.

I say we like I’m sick, but this has really been tough on her and I’m more of a sad partner looking in but *we’re* not sick as much as *she’s* sick.

Have I mentioned how happy I am it’s nice out? I wish we had a nice table and chairs out there so I could take my laptop out and write, but I haven’t had a chance to replace what we lost to a wind and lightning storm last summer yet. In time. It’s just spring, we’ve still got summer to look forward to.

A Filler Post I’m Starting With No Idea What It Will Be About That I’m Hoping Turns Into Something Profound

I made some changes to my MURDER BOY page that includes new blurbs from Chris Holm and Anthony Neil Smith. I also updated the descriptive blurb to something less rambly and confusing and more punchy. Anytime I do stuff like that I get more excited about this book. I can’t for this book to come out and mostly for people to start reading it.

The weather is finally starting to come around and I’m on my way out right now for a walk with the kids. We’re waiting for Holly who is freaking out because she’s afraid of ants. I’m happy because ants means it’s warm enough for them not to die which means it’s warm enough for *me* not to die if I go outside.

After that big giant post I wrote about structure and outlining and notes and stuff, I’ve chucked most of it and decided I just want to set myself a goal for 1000 words a day until it’s done. I know the basics of what’s going to happen and this is how I want to write this book. For the next book I write this year (yes, I still want to write two books this year) I will absolutely need to do this kind of pre-planning though as both of the books are of types I have never written before (a cozy or an urban fantasy)

I’ve also been toying with the idea of a post about agents and why I’m not working with one and why I probably won’t be looking to work with one in the near future, but as usual I don’t have my mind wrapped around it enough to generate a decent post.

So that’s what’s in my head tonight and I hope your world is better now for having read it. Go take a walk too, we all need more of it.