First Crack
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Quid Pro Joe

Oh, my God! I'm scrambling to get packed for Houston, and you people think I should be blogging? Are you out of your ever-lovin' minds?!?

Well, maybe you are -- or maybe I am -- since the "you people" telling me to blog are all voices in my head. Still...those mothers are loud! "Your new book just came out...PROMOTE, you schmuck!" they keep shrieking.

But seeing as I don't have any time and I'm not exactly a master of self promotion anyway, I'm going to go the easy route: plagiarism. It's too late to steal someone else's book, so instead I'm just going to steal someone else's book contest.

Joseph Finder's, to be exact. Joe's telling folks he'll give 'em a free paperback if they buy his new hardcover. Smart! Move units while cleaning out the garage! I'm so down with that.

Only I'm no Joe. For one thing, I'm not a super-successful publishing JUGGERNAUT!!! I also don't have a wonderful assistant named Claire, as Joe apparently does. I don't even have a smelly, completely incompetent assistant named Cletus or Bobo. (Bobo would be my trained monkey. If I had a trained monkey. Which, as stated above, I do not. So hold off on those protests, PETA!) I mean, obviously I need help (in more ways than one), but it's just me here, so I have to make this a first come, first served kinda deal.

Here it is. The first 10 people to send me their receipt for The Crack in the Lens will get, absotively posilutely free, the paperback edition of either On the Wrong Track or The Black Dove. (They can also have the Japanese-language edition of On the Wrong Track, if they want, but I can't imagine I'm going to get many takers on that. Even in Japan.)

If you want to hop aboard the free book gravy train, shoot me a message at steve AT stevehockensmith DOT com and...well, I'm still working on the details. (No Claire, remember?) And tell 'em Joe sent you!

Now...where did I put that damn suitcase...?

Steve Hockensmith
July 27, 2009


Shanna Derringer

OMG, fer serious, I better have been one of the ten. If I am, I'll take the Japenese language edition as long as it has your autograph in it.

Preferably NOT in Japanese...

::crosses fingers, crosses toes, crosses legs, crosses arms::

Shanna Derringer

Oh, by the way: I finished "Crack" last night. It was EXCELLENT. It made me incredibly happy. You are a masterful storyteller, my friend. I enjoyed it so much, and now I'm said that it's over. I'm seriously considering starting at the beginning and reading them all again!

Really, though: "Crack" was fabulous, and I loved every word.

Thank you for another great book!


Aw, drat. I have all of those things.

However, I'm lovin' the book. I hope to finish within the next day or two...


Great to hear you love CRACK, Shanna! (Sorry. Is that joke old yet?) "A masterful storyteller" -- ooooo, what a great blurb that would make. Any chance you could get hired by Time magazine in the near future so I can quote you on the front of my next book?

Oh, and you get the Japanese edition, if you really want it! Maybe instead of just reading all the books over again, you could learn Japanese and read the translations. Then you could tell me how Big Red-san and Old Red-san sound in Japanese.

And glad to hear you're digging the book, too, Lee! Did I see on Twitter that you picked up a stomach bug at ComiCon? (Or is that Comic Con? Or Comiccon? Or KomikOn? I'm too lazy to do a search right now.) Anyway, if you are illin', here's hoping it blows over soon!


Matthew Szewczyk

I have the japanese edition and it is VERY cool, worth checking out for sure.


Whoa, dude! You have the Japanese edition of ON THE WRONG TRACK? Man, you're good -- I just got my copies a few days ago, and I only found out last week that there was even going to *be* a Japanese TRACK. I'll be posting something about the cover soon. The Japanese HOLMES cover was impressionistic but, as I recall, kinda-sorta looked like a horse. This one? Looks more like the cafeteria floor after a food fight, if you ask me. But hey -- maybe that's what sells in Japan....



Started and finished reading "Crack" in one day. Have to say, I think it is your best of the series. You "are" a masterful storyteller!!


Thanks, Dad! That means a lot to me.

And hey, folks, this is a guy who knows from Sherlock Holmes and the Wild West, so don't think his endorsement doesn't mean anything just cuz he's my dad!


Richard Prosch

Your best of the series. No doubt.


And thanks to you, too, Rich! Looks like we've got a consensus forming, folks. Anyone else care to weigh in?


Shawn D. Hilton

Not sure if this counts, but what the fudge.

The dog training thing was for my Newfinard (80% Newfoundland 20% St. Bernard or something like that). We fought over the covers the other night. She won. Time to train the dog.

I'm about half way through the book (prepping material for Gen Con), and I like it quite a bit, but as of this page my favorite is still On The Wrong Track. However, I've got half a book to go.


Fudge yeah, that counts! Just let me know which paperback you're hankering for. (Given that you've read them all already, maybe my question should be "Which book would make the best gift for one of your friends or relations?")

Good luck with the St. Bernard! Come winter, you're really going to need those covers....


Shanna Derringer

That's it. I demand the appearance of a Newfinard Dog in the next book. What the fudge!?

I don't know if I can name a Best Of book. Although Crack was amazing [SPOILER:(I'm still all a-tingle from the jailhouse-to-courthouse scene)], I think Holmes on the Range is my absolute fave. It was my first introduction to those red-headed boys, and I love it.

So when I finish Martin Chuzzlewit by Dickens, I'm starting with Holmes on the Range and reading the series through again. Yeehaw!

Matthew Szewczyk

Actually, I think I have the Japanese version on Holmes on the Range. Should have been able to tell since there are no... tracks on the front cover.


Great to hear you're still tingling, Shanna! It's funny: That particular sequence was about a third as long in the first draft. But then my editor, Crafty Keith Kahla, said, "You know, that'd be a good place to ratchet up the suspense. See what you can do there." I guess they don't call him "Crafty Keith" for nothing.

And, Matthew -- I'll be doing a post/contest based around the Japanese TRACK soon, so you'll get a chance to see it and possibly win it. (If you've got the Japanese HOLMES, I assume you'd be interested in the Japanese TRACK, too. For sure, you'd be "the first kid on your block to collect 'em all," as the old cereal commercials used to say....)


Shawn D. Hilton

I'd love which ever book you'd like to send. If I get it in time I'll give it away as a prize in my first session of my Gen Con* scenario: Six Guns of Death. Which, as I hope it sounds, is a western adventure.

Finished the book, and loved it. Still not sure it beat out On The Wrong Track as my favorite, but I did enjoy seeing a few new sides of the brothers. Old Red and true love. Wow.

I miss the old covers from the first two books.

Is there any chance of a Diane Corvus short anywhere in the future? It was nice seeing the boys do their thing without her in this particular adventure, but I wouldn't mind seeing her again in the future.

Now I'm just getting wordy, but are there any stories rolling around with the Native Americans at some point? We've had the cowboys, and to be politically incorrect, I'd love to see the Indians. There's got to be a great story that would tie in somewhere that would bring the two sides together.

That's all the relevant, or semi relevant, stuff I got. For the Newfinard fans we have a pic or two.

Denali, named after the largest mountain in North America (as named by natives, not the guys making the maps and renaming things)is a year and a half old.

The book is only for scale, but even this pic makes her look petite. Her tail is about twice as big as the book.

Sorry about being the weird pet guy.

*Gen Con is a huge (I believe the biggest in the world) gaming convention that takes place in Indianapolis Indiana. If there are any roleplayers or gamers out there I recommend it. Mention the Holmes on the Range books, and I'll make sure I slide you into one of my sessions (all three of my sessions are sold out, but there's always room for a Hockensmith fan at my game.).


I'm with you on the covers, Shawn: I would've preferred something more in line with the first two. Or more in line with the third. We'll see what the fifth book looks like. Given that we've had three distinct styles in four books, I'm guessing it'll be a surprise!

Diana will definitely be back in action soon. Nothing solo's planned for her, though. I did pitch that idea to Crafty Keith once: Why not spin her off into her own series? He was open to the idea without being what you could actually call enthusiastic. But a short story? Hmmm...why not? Aside from the fact that I don't have time to write short stories anymore. Dammit.

As for Big Red and Old Red encountering some Indians/Native Americans/whatever won't offend you -- I've definitely noodled with the notion. If the series continues beyond book #5, I'm thinking it'll happen sooner rather than later. I've got this hankering to send the guys into the Oklahoma Territory, which was a wild and wooly place at the time and home to a lot of uprooted tribes. We'll see if I ever get around to that one....

Given that you posted a picture of my book with your dog, I'm just really, really grateful you liked it. Imagine the picture you could've taken if you'd *hated* the book. You know: Denali makes her editorial comment by...well, I think you get the idea.

When's Gen Con, BTW? I'll try to get you something -- heck, why not a few books, since it's free publicity for me? -- in the next few days.


Shawn D. Hilton

Gen Con is August 13-16, 2009. I run three sessions of 6 Guns of Death, and another gent runs it once as well (I love writing and running adventures, but writing them takes a lot less toll than running them).

I think either of the first three covers would be better for your next book. Obviously, I've got no clue what the next book is about (other than it seems like you're going to Chicago from something I read somewhere), and the third cover might look cool with a Chicago scene on it.

I'd read an interview where you had said short stories were going by the way side as you got busier with the novels (congrats on the success). I was hoping that we might see Diana in an EQ issue at some point. Oh well. Full Red Bros novels are keeping me happy.

I hope the series continues as long as you're enjoying writing them. I can imagine around a book five you might want to try out some other character or characters. However, if the Reds ever wind up in Alaska I may have to buy two copies. No clue why they would ever go to Sewards icebox, but I'd read it. Then again I'm an easy mark.

The only bad thing about reading one of your novels is that after you're done everything else on the shelf looks pretty damn dull.


Spot on about the cover for book #5: I think a variation on the BLACK DOVE cover substituting a giant Ferris Wheel for San Francisco would look cool. (The book takes place at the Columbian Exposition, where the Ferris Wheel was introduced, and the Wheel plays a small role in the story.) But hey -- I haven't even finished a first draft of the book yet, so I suppose we're in cart-before-horse territory here.

A possible continuation of the series beyond book #5 is dependent on several factors: sales for the previous books, Minotaur's level of interest, sales for my upcoming non-"Holmes" novel, my schedule, whether or not I get hit by a bus, etc. Certainly, I've got a *ton* of stories I'd like to tell about the guys. I do want to send them to the frozen north, but I was leaning more toward the Klondike. I'd also like to see them get mixed up in a miners' strike and the trial of a Tom Horn-style bounty hunter and even political skullduggery in Hawaii and a Wild West show tour of Europe.

So many ideas, so little time! And maybe not enough sales. We'll see. Expect an announcement about the boys' future sometime in early '10. In the meantime, I'm going to be working hard to make book #5 a big, fun, tie-up-the-loose-ends capper to the series...just in case it *is* the series capper.


Shawn D. Hilton

" upcoming non-"Holmes" novel,..."

Any clues?


Well, I've been sworn to secrecy, so all I can say is it's a prequel to a book you've probably heard of (and which I, obviously, didn't write) and it's *not* a mystery. I think we'll be able to announce something come October. Till then, stay tuned....


Joe Baugh

Old Red,

I did read about you in the NY Times, however I would not subscribe to that paper for several reasons. And I was intrigued about your exploits and have not read HOTR and am about to finish OTWT.

Big Red certainly does a good job in handling your adventures.

I expect there are many more like me in the USA who now count themselves as your fans.

Your good luck.


Big Red

Hey there, Mulliner! I passed your greetings along to my brother and asked if there was anything I ought to say in reply. His response, and I quote: "Hmm. Sure. Say...'Thanks, Mister. It's good to know my brother can handle *something* other than a fork and knife.'"

Oh, well. It's worth the abuse to know we've got some new Saddle Pals out there. Thanks for the huzzah!

-Big Red

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