The Book Hunt

It started with a tweet, the book hunt did.

Ebooks are OK, but eventually a person gets the urge to feel the real thing, smell the ink and old paper, to riffle through pages like a deck of cards and listen to the slap-slap-slap, fast or slow or both, again and again.

On a nicer day I would have ridden my bike, but today I took the Prius the quick eight miles to Inkberry Books in Niwot. I walked in the door with two paperbacks I’d grabbed from the cart out front. A buck each.

I told Gene I felt like I was stealing from him as I dropped a faded Nero Wolfe on the desk. Prisoner’s Base by Rex Stout is older than me by a year. The real steal, though: The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction from 1987.

Successful hunting

Gene rang them up before I knew it. $2.16.

“I’m not done yet, Gene,” I said. I told him it was a great start but I was on a hunt. I wanted more crime fiction, the classic stuff. He pointed the way.

I soon latched on to The Case of the Blonde Bonanza, a hardback Perry Mason by Erle Stanley Gardner. Continuing down the shelves I passed by my own Detective Red Shaw novels, two copies of each. Then Micky Spillane caught my eye: The Goliath Bone, a Mike Hammer novel that Max Allan Collins finished after Spillane died in 2006.

Small world.

Max led a week-long mystery writing workshop I attended in Iowa City way back when I’d only written the first draft of a couple of chapters of my first crime novel. He encouraged me to keep going, as did some of the other writers. He chided us all one day for being so polite in our critiques of each other’s work. Nobody cried. He took us all out for ice cream downtown the last day.

Years later he autographed his Road to Perdition graphic novel for my daughter and me at Barnes & Noble in Cedar Rapids.

Nice guy. Helluva writer, prolific as they get.

Bonus: One of his stories is in the anthology I stole from Gene.

Read on, my friends. Read on.

B.J.

Let’s talk crime fiction: November in Niwot

Let’s talk crime fiction!

Join me at Inkberry Books in Niwot, Colorado, at 7 p.m. Saturday, November 16. What to expect: some words about writing what you know, a little reading, some Q&A, some book signing, and an author reception.

FYI, Niwot is a cool little place with friendly people who love music and serve some great food, coffee and craft beer. It’s conveniently located about halfway between Longmont, where I live, and Boulder, where I work. I stopped in at this independent bookstore recently while riding my gravel bike on the LoBo Trail and I’m looking forward to being there again soon.

If you’re in or near Boulder County on November 16, let’s meet at Inkberry Books.

Read on, my friends. Read on.

B.J.

Book club night in Boulder

Looking for some great reads for your book club? Get tons of recommendations Monday, August 19, at Between the Covers with @boulderbooks.

Boulder County Indie Authors (including yours truly) will be there, presenting TEN (10!) of our titles. See you there!

Books, music, fun July 27 in Boulder (authors, too!)

Put it on your calendar and I’ll see you on the patio!

Carnival of the Indies Book Sale, July 27: A day of books, stories, music and fun hosted by the Boulder County Indie Authors on Trident Books’ shady back patio. Our wide variety of books includes young adult, crime fiction, historical fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, memoir, satire, poetry and more!

Meet authors (including yours truly), buy signed books, support local lit and imbibe tasty beverages at this beloved book shop and cafe, 940 Pearl St. in Boulder, Colorado.

Read on, my friends. Read on.

B.J.

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.

Detective Red Shaw is in the bookstore

The paperback crime novels featuring Des Moines’ very own Detective Edward “Red” Shaw have arrived in Des Moines. That just feels right to me.

Coincidentally, they’re in a bookstore that is not far from a taproom/bike shop that I made up for North of Grand: Detective Red Shaw Novel #2.

If I told you the name of the fictional bike shop for beer drinkers, I would be giving away the name of the real bookstore. Alas, you’ll have to wait until the books are actually on the shelf.

Read on.

B.J. Smith
Paperback Writer

Puzzles, pencils and book excerpts

Crossword puzzles used to consume much of my time, especially on Sunday mornings when the tough ones show up in The Denver Post. I did them in pen, no erasing. They sometimes ended in inky messes, where my mistakes were easy to see, but no one ever looked. On occasion, they were perfect.

Crossword puzzle, pen and eyeglasses
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Pencils are for those who know their limits.

I beat my addiction to crosswords and got hooked on Sudoku. The easiest ones became boring, and the evil ones just too damn hard. I did those in ink, too.

Sunday mornings nowadays are given over to more worthwhile pursuits, like writing and bicycling. This morning I decided to publish excerpts from my two Detective Red Shaw novels and then write this little post. The excerpts are from Blood Solutions, which grew out of my experience as a crossword-puzzle proofreader (someone had to do it), and North of Grand, some of which I figured out while riding my bicycle.

Now, back to a short story that needs finishing.

Read on.

B.J.