Barry, You’re Hurting Me

An excerpt from the first Jesse Donovan mystery That She Is Made of Truth which you really should read.

That She is Made of Truth

When my love swears that she is made of truth,
I do believe her though I know she lies
— William Shakespeare

I should have listened to the bard.
— Jesse Donovan

After their 5th anniversary, he smiled less and stopped laughing.

After their 6th anniversary, he started talking less.

After their 7th anniversary, he started drinking.

After their 8th anniversary, he started coming home with lipstick on his collar and perfume that wasn’t hers lingering as he stomped through the living room and up to bed.

On their 9th anniversary, at what had become an annual torture session, he swore at their server and stormed from the restaurant.

She threw a handful of $20 bills on the table and ran after him.

Continue reading “Barry, You’re Hurting Me”


And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)

ocean-fenceIn my latest newsletter I asked for input about which of these works in progress should get my attention after I finish A Still, Small Voice and Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle. (If you want in on stuff like this, sign up for my newsletter.)

  1. The 3rd Irish adventure — From the Fog (follows Through the Fog and Into the Fog)
  2. A 3rd Phil Brennan mystery — A Short, Sharp Shock (follows A Long, Hard Look and A Still, Small Voice [not yet published])
  3. More scifi/adventure — another Jake Calcutta (follows Jake Calcutta and the Temporal Lisle [not yet published])
  4. More Jesse Donovan (follows That She Is Made of Truth)
  5. The Village Id — a witty cozy mystery set in a small English village filled with quirky characters; very P. G. Wodehouse. Check out the 1st chapter.
  6. Coming of age story — a young teen’s life is disrupted when his family has to move in with relatives; he turns to music for comfort
  7. Anacrusis (a mystery with a female lead) — A woman dumps her unfaithful fiancee and moves to a small town where two men amorously pursue her, while one of them awaits the life insurance payoff from the first wife he murdered.

Continue reading “And the Winner Is . . . (What I’m Writing Next)”


Look Back, Look Forth

A Look Back (at My Latest Book)

top-hat-arrivesWhen Lia London mentioned her penchant for writing Shakespearean sonnets on demand, after a brief exchange regarding the details she delivered this, the very first sonnet based on That She Is Made of Truth: Continue reading “Look Back, Look Forth”


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.

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That She Is Made of Truth: Buy It Now

That She is Made of TruthIt’s done.

You can get digital preorders for Kindle or other ereaders. The print version will be ready soon and can be preordered here at my site.

Newsletter members will get one more chance to preorder That She Is Made of Truth at an even lower price than those special preorder prices. Sign up if you want in on the fun.


Introduction Excerpt Excised from ‘That She Is Made Of Truth’

This is the original prologue to the first Jesse Donovan mystery, That She is Made of Truth. With all the changes in the book and the character over the past 3 years, it no longer fit. But like any good writer, I can’t bear to just throw words away. Like any good editor, I don’t see anyplace I’ll ever use them, either. So, how about here?

Yost-typewriter-Co-LdYou’ve heard all the stories about love and betrayal before. If you’re looking for a surprising new angle, prepare to be disappointed.

Continue reading “Introduction Excerpt Excised from ‘That She Is Made Of Truth’”


My Editor Makin’ My Book Better

You’ll want to sing that title to the tune of, um, something that fits. I don’t know what. I just know it’s better if you sing it.

polish-it-upMy editor, Tom Bentley, doesn’t just nudge my words into place. Line editing is important. His polishes my words from workmanlike to well done.

He also asks me hard questions.

Continue reading “My Editor Makin’ My Book Better”


Off to the Editor (After the Last Delay)

rollin' rollin' rollin'Yes, the book was “done” last Friday.

And yes, I’ve said it before: no art is ever finished, but at some point you have to be done.

Unless you’ve built a car with no brakes or a chair without legs.

My omission was less obvious, but still critical. I always run my manuscripts through a marvelous tool called AutoCrit before throwing them over the transom to Tom’s office.

Continue reading “Off to the Editor (After the Last Delay)”


Finding the Right Title

That She is Made of TruthWhen I started this book years ago, the title was anodyne (all lower case) and the lead character was Jake Calcutta.

And eleventyleven other things were different.

Everything’s changed; much adjustment to the story, which now features Jesse Donovan, instead of, well, the other guy.

Everything changed, but the title.

Until now.

The old title didn’t fit anymore.

Like renaming a child just before you send them out into the world, this is unsettling, but it’s still the right thing.

And so, the first Jesse Donovan mystery will be called That She is Made of Truth.