That Buxom Blonde Phil Was Looking For

A Long, Hard LookAn excerpt from A Long, Hard Look. Watch for the second Phil Brennan mystery, A Still, Small Voice, this summer.


My front door does not have an annoying habit of failing to stay latched.

It latches just fine. I make sure of it.

So it concerned me not a little that it was ajar when I rounded the top of the stairs.

I froze, then stepped back a bit. I stopped on the top stair and leaned my forehead against the wall, which put my good ear almost in the hallway where it could listen better.

Nothing.

These old wooden floors creak if you look at them. Nobody was moving in my place.

Which meant one of two things: nobody was in my place, or they just weren’t moving.

Continue reading “That Buxom Blonde Phil Was Looking For”


Another Free Book

I’m changing the reward for signing up for my newsletter. Right now, sign up and you’ll get my very first mystery, Through the Fog.

After the 15th, the free book changes to A Long, Hard Look.

To make it more interesting, sign up now to get one, and in the newsletter of the 15th, get the other. Free. Both of ’em. Because everyone on the newsletter on the 15th will get a free book.

At least one free book . . .


Mysteries About People, Not Puzzles: Introspective Noir

Joel D CanfieldThat’s my genre: mysteries about people, not puzzles. The short and shareable marketing-friendly version: introspective noir.

I love writing about people. I love looking inside our heads, yours and mine, trying to understand why we are the way we are.

Humans are irrational

Sometimes we’re mean to those we love or kind to those we don’t. We know exactly what we want, and then when we get it we discover how wrong we were.

We live in moments, barely able to conceive of the future, let alone plan for our being there. We invest far more effort in changing our perspective of the past than in ensuring that we don’t make it a prologue to our future.

Continue reading “Mysteries About People, Not Puzzles: Introspective Noir”


Tabloid Thousand Rover

Cold morning. Mist. Garage doors open, close. Lemming boxen off to slave.

Feet stamped awake. Couch cushions put back. Taste of dirt in his mouth.

Unemployment. Self-employment, maybe. Guns and gals and goodness.

Cold tap water. Hands, face, stomach. No breakfast. Coffee. Black.

Out, down, gone. No lemming box. Just feet.

Foot and foot, foot by foot.

Save the world. Save someone.

Save yourself.


Simplicity Itself (Revisited)

It’s been a couple years since I posted my very first short story (vignette, actually) here: Simplicity Itself.

I wrote it on my first computer, which would have been about 1990. Long before the days of the web. (A computer with no hard drive. Just two 5 1/4″ floppies.)

As soon as it was done, another sentence popped into my head:

It was one of those days when breakfast wanted to be cheap whiskey straight from the bottle.

And we know what that led to, don’t we?

Probably time for Simplicity Itself to turn into the book it never was.

Question is, will it be Phil Brennan’s book, or some completely new character?


A Long, Hard Look is All Yours

A Long Hard LookIt’s been almost 6 weeks since that last post; long overdue.

A Long, Hard Look is ready, as you can see from the sidebar on the left.

Get it in paperback from me or Amazon or get the Kindle version or any other digital version. Help yourself.


And Still, the Delays . . .

Waited an extra few days for a cover blurb well worth waiting for.

Then, and only then, discovered (via Smashwords’ Premium catalog feedback) that there were some formatting issues no one caught.

Formatter was on vacation.

All fixed now. Cover updated. Proof ordered.

It was supposed to arrive tomorrow.

UPS just updated the delivery date to Friday.

When I’ll have left for a long weekend.

And when it’s supposed to be a rainy, blustery day, a bit like last night when the top 20′ feet of the pine tree near the house dropped into the field.

So, I’ll come home late Monday and hopefully find an undamaged proof of A Long, Hard Look which I’ll inspect and approve.

And then, finally, we’ll ship those preorders.

Which means you can still preorder an autographed copy, if you like.


Progress Report on ‘A Long, Hard Look’

It’s edited and proofread, and almost ready to be formatted.

James, the world’s greatest proofreader, found some logical inconsistencies in the story.

Tom, the editor, agrees with me that, in his words, “It isn’t an equation, its an ebb and tide of hypotheses.”

So, today I check the proofreading notes, make my final font choices, and send it off to Leigh Anne Aston to be formatted.

She’ll have it back by Monday(ish) and then we upload it to CreateSpace, order and check the printed proof, and then you all order a handful of copies each for your reading groups, friends, family, and others.

Yeah. That’s the plan.


Finishing

Chapter 1 went live on January 31st (because that’s when I wrote it.)

I’d had the first sentence rattling around in my head for decades. I typed it, for something to do, and the rest of the first chapter came out as if I’d already written it.

The way it ended, I knew I had to keep going.

“Going” is right. In 58 days I wrote 56 chapters. During that time we also moved everything we owned into storage in order to move out of the house we rented before we left for a month-long business trip, which we also had to pack and prepare for, while maintaining some semblance of our normal life.

When people tell me they don’t have time to write, I marvel. Continue reading “Finishing”


A Long, Hard Look (Chapter 50)

It’ll make more sense if you start with Chapter 1

They didn’t call me a cab, but they didn’t shove me down on the pavement either. I did the former for myself and skipped the latter.

I could have walked. It was a beautiful day. Warm, enough breeze to make the warm comforting instead of oppressive. Sky was blue enough, considering the size of the city and the buildings in it.

I’d had enough of the Mills/Mulligan/Breville/whatever family. There was one person I knew I could talk to without explaining or arguing or thinking too hard. Though I didn’t have anything urgent to say, my need to be with someone unoppressive was reason enough for the cab.

Continue reading “A Long, Hard Look (Chapter 50)”