Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Letting Go of Tony, IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD

Tomorrow the third Tony Flaner novel, IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD, falls upon the world, to sink or swim as it will. It will be out of my hands. It has been for a while, I guess, but tomorrow is the official day.

Tony and I have had a long relationship. It was Tony who convinced me to become an author, a full time writer, a schlunk who quit a day job to pursue a dream. THE FINGER TRAP was a watershed moment in my life, a moment where, for the first time, future clarity and direction shown bright and clear.

And Tony had stories to tell.

After his origin story, his "coming of age" if you will, he got to fall in love in THICKER THAN WATER—family and past and future all mixing together. Again a simulacrum of my own existence. I had two books that were wonderful.

And now Tony takes a cruise to Alaska, just like I did. It is hard to separate us two sometimes. At the time I think it was me, but when I recall that cruise now, I often see it through Tony’s eyes. 

Even then, when I stepped foot on that ship I knew that Tony walked with me. Though I remember distinctly writing another book on that trip, remember even the chapters I wrote in stolen time in a vacant barroom as the family slept in, Tony was wandering the decks, imagining mayhem. He talked me into asking the crew to show me some places usually off limits to non-fictional characters.

When I got home, Tony mulled and pondered and planned in my subconscious. A plot was formed, a cunning confusion rife with Utah connections. You can take the detective out of the state, but you can’t take the state out of the detective. Where would Flaner mystery be with it scathing social commentary? I don’t know, but Tony would’t like it.

The story was born.

IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD is Tony in full stride. His origin story is told, his growth story is there, here is Tony realized and familiar. His arc is true and in keeping with his life. Though not a series, but a serial, ie the books can be read in any order, it does repay those who’ve followed Tony from the start and hopefully encourages the latecomers to check out his earlier words. That was the plan anyway.

Now the plan is out of my hands. Tony sails alone tomorrow on the Success up the Inside Passage to Alaskan tourist towns with murder on the high seas. The world will judge.

It is a sadly sweet moment, exciting and weighty to release this. Each book is like that, but this time, with Tony here, I feel more confident that he can handle himself. He’s shown me he can and he’s eager to tell his tale. Like me, Tony loves an audience.

Bon voyage!




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Changing Details

In the best of times it’s hard to keep up with the changes in society as a writer. It’s hard to keep up as a citizen with the daily stream of disaster scrolling down our Social Dilemma monitors. This is one of the reason that authors need to embrace editing. Notice I said need, not should

Case in point. When I wrote the THICKER THAN WATER, Tony Flaner’s fantastic Moab Adventure, I made jokes about marijuana. Before it came to print, Colorado had legalized it and I had some re-writes to do. Since it was a plot point I had to finesse it into new form, even projecting that Utah would get medical dispensaries, which they subsequently have.

Flip phones were a thing in the first draft of THE FINGER TRAP. I know that makes the book sound positively ancient, some antediluvian romp with big wheeled bicycles and hoop skirts, but the smart phone thing was just barely launching when the idea was burgeoning. Such is the speed of society.

In my newest Tony Flaner book, IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD, launching next week (Squeeee!), I set the action on a cruise ship. Yeah, when I wrote it, causing was still a thing. This was like last year. People were on cruse ships nine months ago, It hasn’t been that long, but my god does it feel like it has been. The story is light and sarcastic in the Flaner mold and a fantastic book I’ve very proud of, a first rate mystery with twists and chuckles if not outright, “oh my god did he really just say/do/think/smell that” moments. I did hesitate bringing it out in 2020, but I’d already made the promise and I figured that cruising would make a come-back. Eventually.

Harder to decide was the virus. Yes, a virus plays a part in the book, at least in a background way. Norovirus, also known as the cruise ship disease was/is the threat most crews fear the most. This was before our beloved Covid. I thought of changing the threatening virus, but hell if that didn’t just put the story into dark territory with an ending, I, like the rest of the world can’t guess.

So I left it with Norovirus, ran the jokes, the shower, and kept to the mystery comedy, If the book were written today, doubtless it’d be different. I probably would’t put it on a cruise ship, .who knows. 

Truth is, even in the best circumstances, there can be a considerably delay in writing a book and printing it. In speedy times, anachronisms are to be expected. Luckily, I think most readers haven’t caught up the speed of change any more than their authors have,.

My point is, go out and buy IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD now and enjoy an excellent read,


Stay safe.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Join Tony for a cruise


I’ve been on three cruises in my life. Cruising here is means riding a big floating hotel in the ocean for a while as opposed to driving slowly up main street with a bucket of chicken looking for girls on Friday night. 

Each cruise had its own flavor, some were demonstrably better than others. The best, hands down was our cruise to Alaska. It was so good in fact, that I took Tony Flaner along, at least in theory. I should have written the whole thing off as a research trip, but alas, Tony took too long to get his act together and fall onto the page.

Nevertheless, cruising. Yes, we’re about cruising today. It’s not for everyone. And lately, I’d say it not for anyone. Covid has turned it all into a real mess. Tony only had to contend with Norovirus, “cruise ship flu” when he went. Not that that was the real danger. There were badgers out there that menaced him more. Kinda.

So, although I’d recommend Alaska cruising up the Inside Passage most days, these aren’t most days, and I can’t now. But that’s okay, because you can go with Tony Flaner up the coast of Alaska and have more adventure and butter drenched desserts than you could dream of in your Overeaters Anonymous midnight meeting.

Remember, that when you read a book, your synapses react and reform as if the experiences you’re reading about actually are happening to you. So… yeah, I’m offering you an Alaskan cruise for the low low price of $5.99 for the ebook and $17.99 for the all inclusive paperback. Boarding begins on October 15, but reservations are being taken now at:

CLICK HERE

Be safe everyone and read on!




Saturday, September 19, 2020

Historical Document

 I was asked by Jared Quan, the current League of Utah Writers Historian to do a set of interviews discussing my career and the place of the League in it along with other stories of daring dashing do. He'll get around to editing it all together in a more concise format, but in the meantime, the first interview was conducted and uploaded. Here it is, for those interested in my writing journey



That's it for now. Catch you next week.

—J

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Chasing Tomorrow

 So this happened.


I'm in this.

This marks my second short story reprint. My tale, The Lodge which originally appeared in Peaks of Madness, was selected by the League of Utah Writers to be included in this year's award-winning anthology. I say award winning anthology, because in order to be considered for the book, the story has to have placed in the League of Utah Writers writing contest, which The Lodge did. It won a Second Honorable Mention in the category of Horror, which is kind of like a fourth place. I'll take it.

Anytime I get words in print, I celebrate. Chasing Tom

Check out Chasing Tomorrow for a collection of excellent stories. It's cheap on Amazon.



Wednesday, September 2, 2020

The weekend, the wife and I


We have access to an old family cabin up in Flaming Gorge. It’s not ours. It’s our relatives, but once in a while we get up there. We did that last weekend, just the wife and I.

The old cabin is running down. The furniture shows the years, older than my kids. The carpet remembers the Berlin Wall. Once a luxurious getaway, now it’s a rustic getaway, but a getaway it was.

For so many years it has been a part of my summer. A week there on the lake, in the woods, in the family room. Games, music, swimming, talking. The whole bunch of us. This time however, it was just the wife and I.

Little time we had, not the whole week, just a couple of days between shifts at the hospital, pressures of publishing pouring into my hourglass, concerns that would wait, but not long. So we took the not long and we went. Just the wife I.

Once it stood alone in a meadow, but now there are neighbors. Close and view-blocking. But they weren’t there this weekend. And it was just the wife I.

I had brought the usual. A pile of books coated in good intention, a computer for music, iPhones for internet tethering.

Do you see it?

The phone. The computer. It would not be just the wife and I as long as the world could appear in my screen. Many’s a trip I don’t change a thing about my daily routine except the view out the window and the mouse hair on my chair. Working as usual, distracting myself as usual, keeping up on things, which I’ve learned is more properly called “doomscrolling” in this hellish time.

How can there ever be space for just the wife and I under those circumstances?

Seeking that space, we went, but took the wire with us.

Without the other voices of the family. In the cooling cabin, under a four hour thunderstorm burying us in hail, we resisted the siren call.

We left it turned off.

We read. We sat. We walked. We ate. We drank. We talked. We saw a snake, a coyote, cows and crows, hummingbirds and mice. We were together in the quiet of the woods.

Unplugged for a weekend, in an old cabin in familiar forest, it was just the wife and I.


SNEK

Thursday, August 27, 2020


In The Wake of Captain Lord preorder

Hello Friends,

We're in new waters, cold and icy, glacial in fact. Silly. Murderous. We’re in Alaska. The Inside Passage and Tony Flaner has issues, some of them aren’t even personal.

I’m thrilled to announce that IN THE WAKE OF CAPTAIN LORD pre-orders is available.


In the Wake of Captain Lord


If you’re thinking, “Gee, I really want something great to read in October,” this is just the thing for you. There are people who think that far ahead, I’m told. People who make use of their wedding crock-pots and plan a meal the day before they’ll eat it. Those kinds of people. I’m not judging.

Follow this link to place an ebook Pre-Order and be prepared!

Thank you. Carry on.

—Johnny