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Poll Positions

This is the age we live in. Late last week, I sent a big ol' load of Work In Progress to my agent so she could show it to a few editor friends of ours. As long as I was sitting around waiting to hear what folks thought, I decided to move ahead on an ebook project I've wanted to do. And now, a handful of days later, it's more or less done, and hopefully it'll be available to purchase within the next three weeks. Viva technology!

Voter And viva democracy! Hosni Mubarak's put me in a takin'-it-to-the-streets, will-of-the-people kind of mood, so I'm going to let you have a say in things. The ebook in question is a collection of "Holmes on the Range" short stories. What the heck should I call it? You'll find some choices below. Pick your favorite quick enough, and you'll even get a Chicago election-style bonus: a bribe! The first five people to cast a vote will receive a free, signed copy of World's Greatest Sleuth!. Just click on your fave, then post a comment to claim your payoff. If you're not one of the first five, no sweat -- I'll choose another three voters at random to receive a paperback copy of The Crack in the Lens. Don't forget to register your vote in the comments section, and you could be a winner!

So get out there and vote, citizens! Polls close...oh, whenever I decide to close 'em....

UPDATE: The polls are closed! Well, not technically. I don't know how to turn off the voting thingie below. But we have a winner. After a nail-biter of an election, The Devil's Acre has called to concede defeat. Our champion is Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries. The book should be available (both as a download and -- surprise! -- a real, paper-pages-and-everything book book!) next month. Stay tuned for details. In the meantime, we have more paper-pages-and-everything book books to give away. Our three randomly chosen prize winners are Tom Mathews, John Purcell and "Janet." Send your addresses to me at steve AT stevehockensmith DOT com, and signed copies of The Crack in the Lens will soon be winging their way to your doors.



The "Devil's Acre" just has a good ring to it.


Thanks for voting, Stefan! Looks like you're our first winner. I know you've already got a copy of WGS! (since you noticed your name in the Acknowledgments -- my pleasure to salute a supportive reader!). Would you like to claim an alternate prize? A copy of the Western anthology Ghost Towns, which includes a Big Red/Old Red story? A German-language edition of Dawn of the Dreadfuls? A copy of Death Do Us Part, an old Mystery Writers of America anthology that includes one of my more obscure short stories?


I like the Dear Dr. Watson title because he deserves some recognition too :)


Thanks for weighing in, Sheila! You can claim our second complimentary copy of World's Greatest Sleuth!, if you'd like. Just shoot your info to me at steve AT stevehockensmith DOT com.


I voted for "The Devil's Acre: Seven Holmes on the Range Adventures." The most delicious sounding of the choices.

Davis Grayson

I say go for Dear Dr. Watson. It intrigues me:)

Karen Spencer

I voted for "Dear Dr. Watson," just because I want to get something autographed from you. That's not from the 80s. ;-)


Congrats and thanks to Stefan, Sheila, Don, Davis and Karen -- you've all earned free copies of World's Greatest Sleuth! just for exercising your God-given right to vote. Send your mailing addresses to steve AT stevehockensmith DOT com to claim your books. And don't give up, latecomers. I've still got copies of The Crack in the Lens to give away, and I need a lot more vox populi to help me make up my mind.

Shawn Hilton

I went with the HOLMES ON THE RANGE SHORT STORY COLLECTION. I think it's straight to the point, it points the reader directly back to the first book in the series (and hopefully that leads them to buying that book as well), and I think it would also appeal to the readers that actively look for short story collections.

I was lucky enough to win a signed copy recently so please disqualify me from any cool stuff this time.

I'm still waiting for the Holmes on the Range one shot comic book. That would be cool.


I went with The Devil's Acre, since it added a bit of spice to the naming mix. Just got my copy of WGS in the mail from Amazon, and I can't wait to have time to tuck into it properly! :)


How about "The Magnificent Seven Holmes on the Range Mini-Mysteries"?

Eric Beetner

I went with Devil's Acre since Holmes is already in the title. Plus it sounded the most intriguing to me.

Marge Rhode

The "Dear Mr. Holmes" title reminds me most of the first Amlingmeyer brothers' story I read in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine (which, as I recall, prompted me to renew my subscription at the time.) I really liked the format of a letter from Otto, and if each of the stories follows that format, it certainly gets my vote.

Tom Mathews

I agree with Marge. The one Holmes on the Range story I've read began with "Dear Mr. Holmes" and the format worked great!

It's a good thing I'm not one of the first five as I already have a signed copy of your new book but don't have "Crack in the Lens" I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Rob Lopresti

Dear Dr Watson is the most intriguing.

Jeff Barnhardt

I chose "Mr Holmes", but all the titles will do.

I heard about the first book while listening on the book channel on satellite radio. I liked it so much I got the first book through the library and then bought all the rest.

I just finished World's Finest last night. The book ended so well, I was worried that would be the end of the series. And now I find we are getting some short stories. That is good news indeed.

Jeff Barnhardt

Sigh, it is World's Greatest, not Finest. I blame Dayquil and DC Comics for the goof.


Thanks for coming out to the polls, everybody! This is great feedback. Some of you made an excellent point about the epistolary nature of these stories -- they all take the form of letters -- and how that's captured best with the "Dear Mr. Holmes/Dr. Watson" titles. I do find "The Devil's Acre" evocative, though. But who knows? Maybe "Seven Holmes on the Range Mini-Mysteries" will come roaring out of nowhere with dozens of votes. Weirder things have happened in American elections....


Dayquil and DC Comics, Jeff? Sounds like a recipe for a great afternoon to me! Or maybe I'm thinking of Robitussin.

Bill Hess

I know I'm throwing a monkey wrench in all of this, but my favorite would be to combine two: Dear Dr Watson: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries. Regardless, I can't wait for more HOTR goodness. I'm about 3/4th the way through TWGD and am absolutely loving it. Thanks Steve for another winner!


I admit at first I picked one title, then considered another, then read the comments before voting and went for a completely different title than the first two. My first being simply The Holmes on the Range Short Story Collection because I thought it would catch my eye quicker on the book shelf. Then I liked the sound of Devil's Acre. But after reading that all of the stories start off as a letter, I finally voted on Dear Mr. Holmes. I just got Cracked Lens and look forward to World's Greatest Sleuth. Keep up the great work!

John Purcell

Hi Steve. Just dropped by serendipitously because I'm listening to A Crack in the Lens in my car (After listening to Holmes on the Range"). Also bought Black Dove, which showed up in the mail today. They crack me up, especially with whoever does the voice. Bob the Builder?

We met in Toronto, and I have the pictures to prove it.



You're in the dark booth in the back on that last one, but you were sitting at our table. That's Jon Jordan with his head on the table.

Jeez, I can't believe those pictures are still up.

Anyway, I liked all the proposed titles, so I sorta went eenie-meenie-miney-moe. Ended up with the first one.

To anyone who hasn't listened to these books, even if you've read them, you gotta listen to the audible versions. The voices are spot on, laugh out loud great.

To bad I didn't get here a day earlier, I see. Oh, well.


Definitely "The Devil's Acre: Seven Holmes on the Range Adventures."

Brian Brady

Well, I tried to vote and the interwebsite told me I already voted, and when I yelled back at my computer that I had not voted yet, it just sat there all smug and silent. So I hit refresh and it went to the results screen, and 'Dear Mr. Holmes" is in 1st place, so maybe I did...because that would be my first choice. Glad to hear the short story collection is coming out, sad to hear it's an e-book release, I'll never buy an e-reader, not until the last paper book publishing company closes it doors forever and you pry my real, paper books from my cold dead fingers...


Thanks for the votes and the great comments, everybody! Check out the update above to see our winner. And speaking of winners, Tom Mathews, "Janet" and John Purcell have all won personalized copies of The Crack in the Lens. Congrats!

Oh, and thanks for the links to the Toronto pics, John. It's funny. That con was just, what -- six years ago? Yet I can't help but think "Geez...I look so *young*."


Oh, and Brian -- you'll have no excuse for missing out on Dear Mr. Holmes: Seven Holmes on the Range Mysteries. I'm going to put it out in a Print On Demand edition, as well. Details soon....

John Purcell

Thanks! Seems I got here just in time!

"Yet I can't help but think "Geez...I look so *young*."

Yea, and I wasn't using my walker in those pictures, or my earhorn. ;)

Thanks again

I'm too late to vote, but as a rather new addict to Holmes on the Range, I am merely thrilled to learn that MORE MORE MORE will be available to satisfy my cravings! :)


We're always excited to welcome someone new to the Holmes on the Range party, Apaperbackwriter! (I hope you don't mind my calling you by your first name, Ms. Blogspot-Com.) Unfortunately, my plans for a short story collection have hit a wee snag -- it's going to take a little longer to get the cover than I'd planned on. But that just means the book'll be available in April or May as opposed to March. One way or another, your Holmes on the Range munchies will soon be gratified!


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