Where is Detective Red Shaw?

B.J. Smith photo

Great question. He’s been on Amazon for a while, but now you can find the fictional Des Moines cop here, too:

Barnes&Noble for Nook readers.

Smashwords in multiple ebook formats.

Beaverdale Books, right there in his hometown.

If the sun is shining, he’ll be wearing his favorite Panama hat, so keep an eye out.

Expecting things to last forever

When I was a boy, I expected things to last forever.

Then I learned that toys and families break, that friends move away and new friends are made, that loves and loved ones are lost and found. That joy and sorrow coexist and that nothing stays the same.

Transient, too, are the wonders of the world, whether shaped by wind and water or formed by our own hands. We mourn their destruction or decay, their ultimate absence from our world.

Then we build again or leave a space to remember, with tears and a smile, what we once had.

Pixabay image

How do I deal with writer’s block?

Update 4/28/2019: I came across a tweet that linked to a blog post about “writer’s-block shaming.” I read far enough to answer the question it asks at the end about if the post made me think. Yes, it did. The following still works for me.


This is like asking me how I deal with the Great Pumpkin, the imaginary character that Charles M. Schulz created. I don’t accept it as a real thing.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t times when it is difficult to sit down and write. Sometimes doing something else is just a choice, a matter of procrastination or distraction.

An absence of discipline.

If I somehow found myself going weeks or months or longer without writing anything, I wouldn’t consider myself a victim of some imaginary blockage. I would quit calling myself a writer.

What is Des Moines?

A hot day at the ballpark

Excerpted from North of Grand: Detective Red Shaw Novel #2
Read the book on Kindle or Nook

Shaw tried to remember the last time he’d been on a date. Way back, right after he met Sally. He hoped this one wouldn’t be as awkward. They’d arranged to meet at the west end of a pedestrian bridge over the river, just a short walk from the police station. He could see her approach from a distance, sporting a close-fitting white top and shorts. She was dressed for the heat and hard to miss. Her light brown curls were tied back and topped with a Cubs visor. A Cubs-blue bag hung from her shoulder.

Baseball image with quote from page text: “Baseball,” she said, looking him in the eye, deadpan serious, “is a metaphor.”

“Hi, Red,” she said as she gave his hand a little squeeze. “Are you ready for some baseball?”

“You bet” was the best he could do. If her V-neck were any deeper, he wouldn’t have been able to speak at all. He took in her smile, her green eyes, and tried to relax. He tried to ignore the sweat trickling down his back and wished he hadn’t worn blue jeans. They followed the walkway south along the river.

“I played here once,” Shaw said as they approached the stadium.

“Really?”

“Well, not here, exactly, but in the old stadium. Same spot. This is nicer.”

They stopped to buy tickets. Not many seats were left for a hot summer night and they small-talked as the line crept along.

“So you were in Triple A?”

Continue reading “A hot day at the ballpark”

View from Lykins Gulch

Like a dog waiting

So Mrs. Smith is away for a few days again, meaning there will be a lot of whining and moping and waiting by the door, feeling sorry for…

The dog, I mean. The dog.

Waiting…

Red Dog Smith feels sorry for himself when she’s not around. He doesn’t handle this well.