About the blog


Happy new year! And a few changes...

I’m a little slow off the blocks with nearly everything this new year, the consequence of having too long a list of things to start. It’s like launching many balloons into the early morning mist at once. Well, not really, but I have this great picture my father took in Taos in 1986…

The blog is getting a re-organization this year. I currently post twice a week, on Monday & Wednesday. That’s changing to Monday & Friday. Monday will still be the Texas posts; Friday will still be history. I have an orderly convention for distinguishing genres.


Texas now and then

I will continue to post the Texas now and then articles on Mondays. Like sophomore elective courses, they are fun and easy (for me), but hopefully have some intellectual value. I can do a month’s worth in one evening in front of the tube. They go with the Lost Hat, Texas, mystery series, which will grow from one book to two in March or April.

These posts will always have the same title. In case anyone is curious, my sources are:

Elizabethan history

This one’s getting scaled back. I can’t write four long, thoughtful essays about the Elizabethan period every month; or, I can, but I shouldn’t. Each one takes a full day and I’m supposed to be writing fiction; also, finding illustrations for topics like sixteenth-century real estate law is tough.

My new plan is to write one long, thoughtful post about history each month, probably about whatever I’m currently trying to learn. I will continue to walk through one of Bacon’s essays each month, working through the standard list in order. My source is the conveniently searchable rendition at West Egg. Those titles are readily identifiable; e.g., Bacon’s Essays: Of Studies.

For the other two weeks, I’m going to do easy, short posts titled Pix and Quotes, possibly with a subtitle, in which I share some odds and ends that I like. Photographs will be mostly mine and will be mostly sorted around places of interest. These and the history articles will have titles tagged Elizabethan.

Wait: where did these Victorians come from?

I’m launching a series set in the late Victorian period (London) sometime this year; when that happens, some of the Friday posts will be about this period. Their titles will start with the tag Victorian. Catchy, what?

As soon as I finish typing up the notes from my current Bacon-related book, I will embark upon a study of late Victorian mental health beliefs and practices. My characters will be going undercover in a private hospital specializing in the treatment of neurasthenia, an affliction of the rich and sensitive.

There will be another Bacon story in 2016. At least one short story, one novella, and hopefully book 4. But I have to write the stories that clamoring to get out. Squeaky wheels and all that.

Mashmont, launch the balloons!

An infomercial, with apologies

First I am compelled to note that the word ‘infomercial’ does appear in the OED, contrary to my expectations. The first quote cited is “1981   United Press Internat. Newswire (Nexis) 29 Jan.,   He said the system will utilize the ‘infomercial’—a sales pitch couched in information, much as oil companies and other major industries do with their institutional ads.”

Who’d’ve’a thunk it? Now for the ‘mercial.

I am bringing out book 2 in the Francis Bacon mystery series sometime very soon. It was supposed to be December 15th, but that’s not going to happen. I haven’t written the penultimate and antepenultimate chapters yet. No, not because of sloth! Although La Pigrita’s expression perfectly captures the humor of a writer who can’t quite get the end of her book written, even though it’s long past due.

Sloth, one of the seven deadly sins
Sloth, one of the seven deadly sins

My reasons are valid, but I won’t bore you with them. The book may yet make it out by Christmas Day, but if the finale continues to fail to please me, it may not make it until January 22. That’s Francis Bacon’s birthday and thus a good day for launching any intellectual enterprise.

In the meantime, I’ll put the first three chapters in pdf, mobi, and epub formats on the Death by Disputation page on Dec 15, to fulfill part of my promise.

I remind one and all that it’s best to read book 1 first, because there’s a surprise in it that will be spoiled when you read book 2. Apart from the surprise, they’re supposed to stand more or less on their own. But it’s a series and life progresses, so book 2 necessarily reflects any such progress.

To encourage the reading of book 1 first, Murder by Misrule is on sale at Amazon and CreateSpace. Ebook is $2.99, which is as low as Amazon lets you go without altering your fundamental publishing thingamabob. Paper is a nice round $10.00. It is a Christmas book — the season of Misrule!

Last, I will be updating information on the site over the next few weeks and starting a newsletter, which will most assuredly not come out more than once a month. It will contain announcements like book releases, prizes (if I win any), and appearances (natural, like at local libraries, not supernatural.) Although, if I should ever happen to experience a supernatural appearance, you may be certain I will blog about it. I think you can make a spray for those demons with vinegar, garlic, and habanero juice…