We’re so far behind in updating this web site it’s not even funny, but it’s not without reason. We moved to Texas last May, had been busy preparing our house for sale, and now that we’re here in Granbury, have been making daily decisions on the new house we are building. To say the least, it’s been exciting and challenging, but that’s no different than writing fiction.
I’m excited about Spectral Gallows 2013 release. This is the second in the Maxx Watts series and is a fun look at a decades-old crime. With Maxx being a Fort Worth homicide detective and I now live here, it’s easy incorporating real locations. Writer’s Block has been very well received and I hope the same is true for Spectral Gallows.
For those unfamiliar, Granbury is a cute historic town located next to a lake bearing its own name. Located on the Brazos River about twenty-five miles southwest of Fort Worth, the town offers fine dining, live theater, ghost tours, and unique shopping. We immediately fell in love with it, and have been enjoying it in spite of the Texas summer heat.
Between blog articles, I’m working on my third Maxx Watts novel, Boxed In. This isn’t your usual kidnapping story, and was inspired by personal experience of getting into the wrong van. Thankfully, in my case we all recognized it after a few minutes of driving. The characters in my story aren’t as lucky.
If you enjoy keeping up with my posts on Murderous Musings, that’s great. For those who haven’t yet checked it out, click the link on the left side of this page. Musings is an eclectic blog that covers topics from travel to murder.
Once things settle down, we should be do a better job of keeping this web site up to date. In the meantime, thanks for your understanding. We’re in Texas now, but far from dead.
Contest ends March 28th, 2012. ENTER EARLY!
Men of Mystery 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Joan Hansen and her cadre of dedicated volunteers put together another outstanding Men of Mystery event at the Irvine Marriott Hotel. The well-attended event drew hundreds of mystery readers to hear featured speakers, William Kent Krueger and Lawrence Block. As usual, a delicious lunch was provided with the "mushroom soup" making its appearance. Mysterious Galaxy did a phenomenal job as the official bookstore for the event. A special thanks to Susie and Marty Lipman for hosting me this year. Make your plans for next year's event - Saturday, November 17, 2012. Hope to see you there!
Check out the Author Events page for more Men of Mystery photos.
Writer's Block and Diablo's Shadow are now availble for Amazon Kindle and Barnes and Noble nook.
Check out the new review for Writer's Block on Mysterious Reviews. Click the link below:
Join me on Terry Odell's excellent blog. The topic is Finding Inspiration. Follow the link below:
The annual Men of Mystery event is open for registration. Join Mark and 50+ authors for a "thrilling" time with "wicked good" food, a full service bookstore...not to mention rubbing elbows and "hobnobbing" with great writers. Further information and registration is available on the Men of Mystery website. Click on the link below and you will be directed to the website.
New Release - November 2011
FedEx flies all kinds of cargo. Animals are among the most interesting. I have flown sea turtles, horses, a variety of birds, and ferrets, and can now add a hippopotamus to that list. This is Tucker's story. If he could write, he would have painted a sign that read, "Eight Year Old Male Hippo in Need of New Home." FedEx came to his rescue, donating their services as a hippotarian gesture to move him from the Topeka Zoo to the San Francisco Zoo. Delivered under perfect flying conditions, Tucker is now busily exploring his new surroundings.
Tucker's story is as interesting as his journey. Born in captivity at Disney's Animal Kingdom, he was destined to be relocated to the San Francisco Zoo over a year ago, but the timing wasn't right. Instead, he was transported to the Topeka Zoo where he met a lovely mate with bountiful proportions. They instantly fell in love and had a baby together on August 21, 2010. But this miracle of birth proved to be Tucker's downfall, for the Topeka Zoo isn't large enough to accommodate three hippos. One of his handlers told me that while Tucker is very docile, the handlers were concerned that Tucker would inadvertently kill his baby by playing with him. Since the baby needed its momma, papa Tucker was being banished like Adam, except he would leave his Eden with a stock of apples.
Tucker was supposed to have been transported on November 30th, 2010, but this transportation fell through. With winter now in full swing, an appeal was made for FedEx to fly him to San Francisco. On January 6th, 2011, Tucker flew from Kansas City to Memphis, then patiently waited for me and my first officer to fly him to Oakland. His oversize crate was approximately 1 1/2 times the size of a normal MD-11 pallet. Loaded with hay and food, he was monitored by two handlers and a veterinarian. Before we took off, they assured me he was comfortable as any hippo could be. I nodded while detecting clear evidence that his internal organs were functioning perfectly. Thankfully, our airplane's rigid cargo barrier confined his distinct aroma to the upper cargo compartment rather than invade the cockpit. Otherwise, it would have been a very long flight.
Thanks to good weather, Tucker probably never knew he moved. He was a perfect passenger throughout our entire flight. Had he been upset, we definitely would have known since annoyed jumbo animals tend to bounce airplanes. But Tucker did none of that. Instead, our four thousand puppy seemed quite content.
On our initial descent into Oakland, the Oakland Center controller assigned a step-down altitude. To make it easier on Tucker's ears, we requested a constant descent because of our special cargo. The controller then asked if we had horses on board. Upon hearing it was a hippo, he replied, "Cool." From then on, we received special handling that never required us to level-off. Tucker's information was passed from controller to controller to ensure our smooth arrival.
I elected to use the full runway length so our deceleration was gradual. The taxi in went as smoothly as our taxi out. From Oakland, Tucker's crate was transported to San Francisco via flatbed truck. The SF Zoo was very appreciative of FedEx's service, and I was happy to be among those playing a part in his relocation. Far more people were involved in this operation than I will ever know, but Tucker's transfer was successful because it was a team effort. Now single again, Tucker is free to find a new mate while enjoying California's moderate climate. Sand Francisco may not be Disney World, but it's far better than winter in Topeka. As for FedEx - we again proved that we deliver the world on time.
Diablo's Shadow available at Diesel ebook store.
Every year that I've been a guest author at the Men of Mystery, "mysterious galaxy" books has done a terrific job of handling all the book orders for the authors. They have done a tremendous job organizing the mayhem, keeping everyone happy and keeping the lines moving. Check out their website. Below is the specific link for the Men of Mystery event.
August 11, 2010
Mark is one of six pilot-authors who were recently featured in FedEx Safe Skies Magazine.