The best laid plans of mice and men, they CHANGE

I’ve been real proud of myself this year as I successfully kept to Susan Mallery’s writing schedule. I started January 1 and I’m going to trail off it on April 30 (actually, I already have).

I really hate giving up the four books a year I probably could have written if I’d stayed true, but I know in my heart that each of those books would have only been first drafts (not that there’s anything wrong with that).  But what I’m finding is that I don’t do well working on four to six projects at one time (you didn’t read that here, prospective employers).

I’ve got a good first draft of  TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS and I want to see it through. I have a chapter and a half of  the sequel to THE COWBOY’S BABY and I have the idea in my head for the second in the  TALKING TO THE DEAD GUYS series. But I want to finish the first one first.

I’m also drumming up entries for SCARE THE DICKENS OUT OF US , judging a regional RWA writing contest,  and preparing my last short story THE RETURN OF TRUEPENNY for publication. Then there is marketing and promoting my two novels ARROYO and THE COWBOY’S BABY. If I can get another two good books written and published this year, that’s good enough for me. At least this time. Next year I’ll give Susan Mallery’s schedule another try.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK–Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins and Midshipman’s Hope by David Feintuch.

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Book review RIVER BOTTOM BLUES by Ricky Bush

This week’s book review is of RIVER BOTTOM BLUES by Ricky Bush.

You know when someone like me who doesn’t like either jazz or the blues really enjoys a blues-centric mystery novel, that writer has to be really cooking on all burners.

Here’s RIVER BOTTOM BLUES for you from Texas author Ricky Bush. I loved it. It’s involving and fascinating from beginning to end, full of bluesy jazz and totally rife with blues history. 

Legend has it the devil has been killing blues harmonica players since the early sixties. No one investigates because no one much cares except for the families, and no one believes a string of murders stretching from the sixties into 2009 could possibly be related. It takes a nearly retired former journalist and blues musician investigating the death of his friend Bobby T to break the case wide open.

RIVER BOTTOM BLUES takes you down, raises you up, and spins a hell of a tale full of the blues. You’re going to enjoy it.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK—Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks.

SCARE THE DICKENS OUT OF US, plus Talking to the Dead Guys

The SCARE THE DICKENS OUT OF US ghost story contest and fundraiser (for the Friends of the Dr. Eugene Clark Library in Lockhart, Texas) has just received its first entry for 2012.

No matter that the time span for the contest is July 1 – October 1. While we will disqualify for a late entry, early birds are welcome. As coordinating  judge, I’ve logged the entry and sent the “we got your entry” email. Right now I’m busy trying to interest Texas public libraries in putting up information about Scare The Dickens etc. Our efforts to reach colleges and universities across the country seem mostly to have failed.

Plenty of time left to write a great ghost story for the possibility of a $1000.00 prize. There are also $500.00 and $250.00 prizes as well. Go to for full information and entry forms.


My new novel TALKING To The DEAD GUYS has reached the revision and editing stage.

I’m what they call a “pantster” as a novel writer. I write first and then fix second. I have just finished outlining the novel (which is ass backwards of what logic dictates). Now I have a clear idea where every character is and what they are doing step by step. The next part of the revision stage is to read the novel as a “reader” from first to end without stopping to correct or to even make notes. This will give me a clear idea of what someone other than a writer gets out of it.

Obviously I had to read it chapter by chapter to make an outline. Making the outline was ao damned boring, I’m glad it’s over. And given what I felt this morning in starting the read-through of TTTDG, outlining also gave me a slightly distorted view of the quality of my work. From the outline reading I wasn’t too happy with my first draft. From the “reader” reading, I’m much happier. I see problems, but they’ll be easy to fix. 

Link to my published work —

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK– Sixteen Brides by Stephanie Grace Whitson. Man Plus by Frederik Pohl. River Bottom Blues by Ricky Bush.  The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

The Caline Conspiracy


Behind the cutest, most coveted bio-engineered pet in the world lies a secret.

Is it the brutal murder that opens this story? Or is it something entirely different and equally distasteful?

When his own pet tears out his throat, killing geneticist Ivan Frithke, it sends shock waves through the engineered-pet industry and places a death sentence on the loving caline Madeline that her co-owner refuses to accept. She hires PI Aidra Scott to prove the caline’s innocense and Aidra hires Morris the hacker to help.

M.H. Mead’s earlier novel FATE’S MIRROR features these same two characters. THE CALINE CONSPIRACY is a prequel, with most of the action resting on Aidra’s shoulders this time.

Emotionally captivating and with engaging characters (including the caline Madeline, who most resembles a dog), fast-paced and well written, this science fiction-cum-murder mystery works.

If you liked FATE’S MIRROR you will like THE CALINE CONSPIRACY. If you’ve never read FATE’S MIRROR  you’ll like THE CALINE CONSPIRACY. .