Holmes Improvement?
Quid Pro Joe

First Crack

It's finally here. D-Day. Time to sweep those Ratzis out of France and dump 'em back across the Rhine where they belong. They're dug in deep, sure, but that's never stopped you hard-luck dog faces before, has it? So come on, Easy Company -- MOVE OUT!!!

Whoops. Sorry to go all Sgt. Rock on you. Wrong D-Day. No one needs you to storm Normandy. What you need to storm is your local independent bookstore. Because, lucky for us, "D-Day" for a book means "drop day" -- as in the day it finally goes on the shelves. And Tuesday, July 21 -- a.k.a. tomorrow -- is drop day for The Crack in the Lens. (Which, news flash, the Dallas Morning News likes quite a bit, thank you very much.)

If you live in the Bay Area, you can celebrate with me live and in person (well, I'll be there in person, anyway -- no promises on how lively) at Alameda's Books Inc. at 7 p.m. If you can't make the 5/50/500/5,000-mile trek to be there, no worries. Over the next few weeks, I'll be popping up here and there to promote the book. And if you still can't catch me in person this summer, just stock up on copies and I'll sign them for you at the Bouchercon mystery convention in Indianapolis come October. I mean -- you'll be there, right? If I miss my panel, look for me in the bar.

And if you can't be there, well, then you're just plain screwed...or maybe not! Because as a reward for reading this far, you now have the chance to win a copy of The Crack in the Lens absolutely free! (I know -- that "absolutely free" bit is, like, totally redundant. If you win a prize, it's "free" by definition, right? But doesn't it sound better to win something absolutely free?) 

Here's the deal. The first person to answer the question below correctly gets The Crack in the Lens and a super-special bonus prize...absolutely free, of course! (The bonus prize is so super-special I haven't even decided what it is yet.) The fifth person to answer the question correctly gets The Crack in the Lens (absolutely free!) and...oh, I don't know...a bookmark. (Not all bonus prizes can be super-special.) And the second, third, fourth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth people to answer the question correctly will get a personalized e-mail from me telling them that they did not win the contest. Print it out, and it's a suitable-for-framing collectible!

The question: Who is America's best-selling author of Sherlockian historical mysteries set in the Old West?

Where to send your answer: steve AT stevehockensmith DOT com

Now come on, Easy Company -- MOVE OUT!!!

Steve Hockensmith
July 20, 2009

UPDATE: The eagle has landed, the book has dropped. Huzzah! But then again, I don't need to tell you, because you already ran out this morning and bought your copies (makes a great gift!) and have dived right into reading it. Right? Right?


Richard Prosch

Woo-hoo! Happy D-Day!! Enjoy!

Shawn D. Hilton

Congrats. In about 40 minutes I'll go and see if my little BOOKSASEVERALTHOUSAND have one out yet, or if I need to drive 40 miles to a real book store.


Thanks for going out to buy the book on D-Day, Shawn! I might call ahead if I were you, though. Sadly, I've got the feeling the book might be hard to find in some areas. I'll be pretty surprised if the B*****s here where I live stocks it, for instance. It seems to be one of those "If national HQ didn't send it to us, we've never heard of it" kind of operations. The local independent store, on the other hand, has a display up with all my previous books and is hosting me for a signing tonight. Woo-hoo Books Inc.! Woo-hoo indies!


Matthew Szewczyk


Congrats! I updated (finally) the Big Red Fan Club with my tale of woe regarding the book. Next time, I order from Amazon!


Checked out your tale (on the News page at http://www.thebigredfanclub.info/ ) and I'm with you, dude -- I'm hoping that "SOLD OUT" really means "WE SOLD ALL FOUR COPIES WE HAD" and not "WE DIDN'T BOTHER STOCKING IT." It's tougher than ever to get into the big chain stores, y'know.

Now I'm off to a store with dozens of copies -- Books Inc. Alameda! I've said it before and I'll say it again: Yaaaaaaaaaaaay indies!


Shawn D. Hilton

60 mile round trip, and the last copy on the shelf was in my hands!

Only read through the intro and the first chapter, but so far so good!


Any chance we'll get to read the actual copy that Big has a contract for? The version he ends up sending into the publisher for print? That would be a fun bonus item.


Wow -- now that's devotion, man! I and my publisher thank you!

Good question about the different versions of Big Red's stories. What I do think you might see eventually is a comparison between what Big Red turns in and what actually winds up in print. Big Red might be pleased as punch to be a published author, but when he finally reads what's been done to his stuff he'll feel more like punching somebody! But that's a tale for another day....


Shawn D. Hilton

If there was a Christmas special (or holiday special or whatever) that was an "unpublished" Big Red story that was lost and newly found I would love to read that. I love reading the version of how the stories he writes about comes to be, but it would be a groovy treat to read one of "his" actual stories. If that even makes any sense.

Shanna Derringer


Totally just ordered some Crack. I cannot wait to receive it in the mail. I am so excited!!

This Derringer is fixin' to go off!


Interesting idea, Shawn. I'm hoping that someday, someway someone'll publish a collection of Big Red/Old Red stories. This might be the kind of fun "bonus" material we could throw in to spice things up. Hmmm...maybe one day....

And Shanna -- I just hope you don't think the book's a misfire! (Ba-da-DING!)


Richard Prosch

Started reading last night. About half way done. Fudge! What'm I doing on the web? I gotta see how it ends! Enjoyin' it mightily!


In the next days I'll go to Florence to order it... I hope I'll have it in a few days!


Hope you enjoyed the rest of the book, Richard! If not, it'll fudgin' break my fudgin' heart. (If you don't get the in-joke, folks, you will once you've read THE CRACK IN THE LENS, too. You ARE going to read it, aren't you? Huh, huh? Well, what's stopping you?!?)

And for those of you who don't know, when Stella says she's going to Florence to get the book, she's not talking about Florence Henderson. Stella is vice president of my Italian fan club. (I just appointed you to the job now, Stella. Hope that's O.K. It's just that I only *have* two Italian fans, so far as I know, and you're one of them....)



Wow! I'm honoured, Steve! :D
Who is the President?


Congratulations -- I'm sure you'll make a wonderful v.p. As for your presidente, that would be Italian cowboy (or should that be "ragazzo delle mucche"?) "Ruggy" Romano, whom you can read about here:




Yes, "ragazzo delle mucche" is correct :D
Have you ever think to sign up on Facebook? You can also do your "fan page".

Cap'n Bob

Mike Avallone. What did I win again?


Sorry, Cap'n -- I said *Sherlockian*, remember? The answer I was looking for, of course, was "William DeAndrea."


Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)