Posts Tagged ‘Brash Books’

Outside-02-215x330Today is pub day for Outside the Law, and, as I did yesterday, I have to again say thanks to the crew at Brash Books (Lee Goldberg & Joel Goldman) for taking the time to read the manuscript, see something in it, and then have the patience and insight to help shape it into what I think is a damn good Southern crime story. Go ahead, buy a copy, read it and agree with me. You know you want to.

Also, please take the time to leave a review on Amazon. Believe it or not, every little bit helps. Then tell all your friends.

And just to whet your appetite (if it isn’t already), check out the first of three trailers for the book here. And read reviews on the “Books” link at the top of the page. Here’s the Publisher’s Weekly review to get you started:

“Sheriff Colt Harper, as the title of Thompson’s tough, fast-paced sequel to 2013’s Deep Blood suggests, takes a Dirty Harry approach to law enforcement. In his first term as sheriff of Mississippi’s rural Lowndes County, Colt has shot several people, and his office stands accused of using excessive violence. He’s unsure whether he should run for reelection. At the scene of a convenience store robbery, a teenage boy, whom Colt places under arrest, tells him that somebody has been taking down drug dealers. When drug dealers start turning up dead, Colt suspects that a serial killer is at work. Molly McDonough, an ATF special agent, helps him investigate. Colt and Molly, who have each become disillusioned with their jobs, are seeking redemption for past mistakes. Meanwhile, a Memphis crime lord has ordered Hack, a hit man, to stop Colt. Hack, too, expresses a desire for redemption. Fueled by either remorse or revenge (or a combination of both), Thompson’s convincing characters race toward an inevitable and explosive showdown.”


I use a variety of methods to stay mentally  and physically focused while I’m trying to write a novel, and this is important to me because I don’t spend all day writing. I may go days without being able to sit down with the characters, and I need to be able to jump right back in whenever I do. So, one of the big challenges for me during the writing of Outside the Law was staying organized for the long haul.  Both physically and mentally.

Outside-02-215x330Physically, writing a 60,000+ novel can get cumbersome, depending on how you’re going about it. I’m like several writer friends I know — I start a Word document and just start banging words out. Which sounds like a great idea until you’re deep into the story, and you need to refer back to an earlier scene or timeline. Then you have to go back and search through pages and pages until you find it. That eats up a lot of time.

So, my preferred method of the actual writing is to do it by chapter, with each chapter being a separate file on my laptop (this is done after I longhand the chapter/scene/thought in a notebook I keep readily available). I also keep one “master” document that is the entire manuscript, and as I finish a chapter, I copy and paste it into the master. This helps if I want to read the whole thing for some reason, plus it lets me see where I am as far as word count or page numbers go. I don’t write to a word count, but that’s a useful rudder when you’re well into the story.

About two years ago, I decided I wanted to try something different as far as “manuscript management” (as I call it). I downloaded a trial version of Scriveners, a powerful multi-function program that allows a writer to accomplish a multitude of tasks: notes, rewrites, cross-reference, etc.

It took some getting used to — you have to learn how to use the system, after all — and in the end I found myself spending more time “getting organized” than I did actually writing. So I went back to my old-fashioned way: my notebook and laptop, a white board and (my nod to “modern times”) and “mind mapping” software that I love because it is my second white board.

And I do love a white board. That’s where I throw timelines, questions, character sketches, whatever brainstorm comes to mind. I’m a visual person, so seeing an idea is much more helpful to me than a spreadsheet or an index card. The software I use does the same thing. I use Mind Node for two simple reasons: it’s free and it’s easy. And because it’s on my laptop, I have a white board  with me everywhere I go — and that comes in handy.

That’s where the ideas usually start. For Outside the Law, I took a look at where the characters were at the end of Deep Blood, and wrote the names on the board . At the top of board, I wrote “Redemption vs. Justice.” Then, as ideas I came to me I filled in the blank, then fleshed out more ideas on Mind Node (where there no physical limitations like the size of the board). The more I did this, the more the story shaped up and pretty soon I was writing it out in my notebook, a chapter or a scene at a time.

(Not to get ahead of myself, but once I finished Outside the Law, I started thinking about ideas for the next Colt Harper book. I wrote three things on the white board: 1. A briefcase full of money; 2. a cemetery; 3. a severed foot.)



Check out the latest Brash Books promo for Outside the Law, which will give you a little insight into who Sheriff Colt Harper really is. View it here.







Pulp Fiction Cover of the Day











Today’s links:

Murder mystery on the East CoastWairoa woman Margie Sullivan, who works under the pen name Rita Ann Ryan, has been writing novels for 20 to 30 years but has only recently decided to finish one.

Angel City turns Hollywood noir on its head in this Oni Press exclusiveMale voices and perspectives dominate the crime noir genre, but Oni Press’ Angel City is changing that both on and off the page. Written by Janet Harvey with art by Megan Levens, this six-issue miniseries follows Dolores Dare, a young woman who moves to Hollywood in the 1930s to pursue a showbiz career, but instead ends up attached to a local gangster as both his girlfriend and one of his enforcers.

It’s Terminal: A Successful Mystery Novelist Goes IndieThis isn’t your typical self-publishing story. Marshall Karp was not only a successful, published author when he went the indie route, but he had written several books with James Patterson, a longtime friend and colleague.

Crime Runs in the Family in New ‘Trespass Against Us’ TrailerCrime fiction has a long, rich legacy of stories pitting one character’s allegiances against each other. Internal conflict is the engine that generates drama for criminals; torn between conscience and instinct, between right and wrong, or in the case of upcoming British import Trespass Against Us, between family and the law.


Pulp Fiction Cover of the Day


Outside the Law Review

Bill Crider is a native Texan who’s best known for the Sheriff Dan Rhodes series, which features a sheriff in a smalloutrage-at-blanco
Texas county. Though contemporary in setting, the Sheriff Rhodes books have many of the qualities of the classic western. Crider has also written a number of western novels (including Outrage at Blanco), both under his own name several house names. He’s published more than 75 novels and has been nominated for the Edgar Award and the Shamus Award, as well as winning the Anthony Award twice and the Derringer Award. Check out his blog at

Here’s what he had to see recently about Outside the Law:

“It’s set in a rural Mississippi county that has more murders per week than Sheriff Dan Rhodes sees in years. Someone’s ripping off meth dealers who work for the Memphis mob and then someone’s killing the dealers as an object lesson. It’s a good thing Sheriff Colt Harper is more like Raylan Givens than Dan Rhodes.

“Harper is a man with a troubled past and his own moral code, and that means sometimes he doesn’t mind doing things that are outside the law, especially when it comes to killers like the man called Hack. Also pursuing Hack is Molly McDonough, who’s gone rogue from her job at the FBI.

“There are survivors in the end, but hardly anyone comes out unscathed in this fast-moving story (I read it in two sittings). Thompson provides lots of gunplay, snappy dialogue, and plenty of intriguing characters. Good stuff. Check it out.”

Today’s links:

Book reviews: Greg Fleming reviews the latest crop of crime fiction and points out some of the year’s best reads.

Tech Plays Role As The Weapon Of Choice In Crime FictionNPR’s Art Silverman reads a lot of crime thrillers. In the last year, he’s noticed “The Internet of Things” seems to being playing a big role as the weapon of choice.

Our 10 Favorite Comics of 2016The graphic novel boom of the past decade has settled down, and the big trade publishers are divesting from the comics market—only one of our Top 10 books comes from a Big Five publishing house.


Outside-02-215x330More advance praise for Outside the Law keeps coming in, this time from New York Times bestelling author Linwood Barclay, who calls the latest Colt Harper novel “Pure entertainment with an edge. The guy can write!”

Be sure and visit Brash Books, home of yours truly and Mystery Writers of America 2017 Grand Master Max Allan Collins.


Today’s crime fiction links:

The best crime books and thrillers of 2016Crime writing turned up in unexpected places this year. The usually mystery-sniffy Man Booker prize shortlist found a place for Graeme Macrae Burnet’s His Bloody Project (Contraband), a smart amalgam of legal thriller and literary game that reads as if Umberto Eco has been resurrected in the 19th-century Scottish Highlands.

HARD CASE CRIME COMICS: Hard Case Crime has been consistently publishing great books for a long time now. This fall the opened a new door and have started publishing comics.