Monday, March 31, 2014

Syndicate Books to publish GBH and entire Ted Lewis catalog

I receive a lot of press releases and this one immediately caught my attention, that a new publisher would be publishing the complete writings of Ted Lewis. Of course the Jack Carter books are named by title in the release but I wanted to know something else, something I'm sure others are thinking. Would GBH be coming back in to print? GBH is a long out of print crime novel that commands high prices on the secondary market. Also, a lot of crime fiction fans want to read it. I asked Paul Oliver about GBH, he told me that GBH would be published as a hardcover in Spring 2015 and will be the culmination of the project. All of the Lewis books will be available as ebooks too. 

A quick look at the Syndicate Books website tells us that:

Syndicate books is a new publishing company that specializes in restoring to print & digital availability important works of crime & mystery fiction.
(Emphasis is mine)

On Facebook and Twitter I've often talked about out of print authors, Newton Thornburg and Shane Stevens come to mind, and I hope that Syndicate Books is around for a long time to ensure that these (fingers crossed) forgotten books and authors, and others, find a new audience today. It's a worthwhile endeavor. I'm excited for the Ted Lewis books and I'm excited to see what future projects will be.

Below is the full press release:

New York, NY, March 8th, 2014—Syndicate Books, a recently incorporated crime and mystery fiction publisher based in Brooklyn, New York, announced a distribution agreement with the award-winning independent publishing house Soho Press. The agreement will see select print and digital titles from Syndicate distributed via Soho Press’s pre-existing relationship with Random House Publishers Services. These titles will be distributed under the imprint name Soho Syndicate.

Syndicate’s lead project is the publication of the complete writings of the late Ted Lewis, author of nine novels, several of which are cited as among crime fiction’s most influential.  A few of Lewis’s most important works have never before been published in North America. Syndicate’s lead title, which publishes in September, is Lewis’ best known work, Get Carter, a book which has been adapted to film three times, most famously by Mike Hodges in 1971 and starring Michael Caine as the protagonist, Jack Carter. Hodges has written a special Foreword for the Syndicate edition.

The two other Lewis novels featuring Jack Carter also publish this fall. The third novel, Jack Carter and the Mafia Pigeon, has never before been published in North America while the second, Jack Carter’s Law, has been out of print for nearly 40 years. The rest of Lewis’s novels will be published digitally, emphasizing Syndicate’s hybrid approach.
Paul Oliver, publisher at Syndicate Books, also happens to be the director of marketing and publicity for Soho Press. Oliver has no plans on leaving Soho because of the launch of Syndicate Books.

Oliver, a 15-year veteran of the book industry, sees Syndicate as the natural progression of his career. Prior to working in publishing he co-owned a new and used bookstore in the Philadelphia area for eight years and worked for Barnes & Noble before that.

Syndicate hopes to announce another set of properties in the coming months.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

The Stars Aligned

By Kristi Belcamino
I’m just going to say right off the bat that I’m a little bit intimidated to even attempt to fill Joelle Charbonneau’s shoes on this amazing blog.
Why? Well, because she’s a rock star.
Joelle is one of the most dedicated and talented writers I know. And for some reason, I’ve been lucky enough to have her in my corner for the last few years. Damn lucky.
We first met when she judged a contest I entered. She wrote her name on my judging form, and asked me to keep in touch. Ever since that day, she’s been one of the most supportive and nicest writers I’ve ever met. And as I got to know her, I soon realized she was by far one of the hardest working writers out there, as well.
So when Joelle asked me to take her spot here at Do Some Damage on Sundays, I was floored, flattered, and thrilled at the same time. She’ll be back to guest post and I made sure to tell her if she ever changes her mind, this spot is really and truly always hers.
By now, though, you’re probably wondering who is Kristi Belcamino.
I’m a crime fiction writer, Italian mama of two feisty little girls, and a part-time newspaper reporter living in Minneapolis. My first novel, Blessed are the Dead, goes on sale June 10th. It’s inspired by my dealings with a serial killer when I was a full-time cops reporter working the San Francisco Bay Area crime beat.
When my editor and publicist found out I’d been asked to join Do Some Damage, they immediately suggested I reveal the cover for my new book here first. (Just shows how respected and beloved this blog is.)
Steve Weddle was gracious enough to give me the thumbs up on revealing my cover as part of my first post and the stars aligned.
Before I do so, I want to thank Steve and Joelle and all you loyal readers for allowing me to take over the Sunday spot on this blog. I’ve got a bunch of ideas for posts, but am also very excited to hear what you’d like to read about, so feel free to shoot me an email at and tell me your thoughts and ideas. You can also find out more about me at my website, or on Facebook at
Thank you so much for allowing me to be part of Do Some Damage!
Here is the back cover copy for my book, Blessed are the Dead

To catch a killer, one reporter must risk it all...
San Francisco Bay Area newspaper reporter Gabriella Giovanni spends her days on the crime beat flitting in and out of other people’s nightmares, yet walking away unscathed.
When a little girl disappears on the way to the school bus stop, her quest for justice and a front-page story leads her to a convicted kidnapper, Jack Dean Johnson, who reels her in with promises to reveal his exploits as a long-time serial killer to her alone. Gabriella's passion for her job quickly spirals into obsession when she begins to suspect Johnson may have ties to her own dark past: her sister’s murder.
 Risking her life, her job, and everything she holds dear, Gabriella embarks on a path to find answers and stop a deranged murderer before he strikes again.
Perfect for fans of Sue Grafton and Laura Lippman's Tess Monaghan series!

If you want to preorder a copy of the book you can do that here.  
If you don't want to wait, keep an eye on my Facebook page. You might just have a chance to win an early copy. 
And (drumroll please) here is the cover:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Aaron Allston's Writing Guidebook: An Enlightening Look at the Plotting Process

Scott D. Parker

A couple weeks back, I wrote about one of the rabbit trails we all take through the shrubbery that is the internet. The thing at the end of my trail was the wonderful happenstance discovery of Aaron Allston’s book, Plotting: A Novelist’s Workout Guide. For those who may have missed it, the following text from the opening page is what hooked me:

Do any of these statements sound familiar?
  • "I come up with good ideas, but I can't develop them into complete novels." [Yes! That’s me!]
  • "I'm going along fine with my novel, and then it just stops. I can't get it moving again." [Again, yeah!]
  • "I know what happens from start to finish, but I can't figure out what it's really about." [Sometime, yeah.]
  • "I know what's supposed to happen and what it's supposed to mean, but my story is just not working." [Still me, a bit]
  • "My novel is missing something and I can't figure out what it is." [Sure.]
If any of the above applies to you, Plotting: A Novelist's Workout Guide can help.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I’ve finished this book and it is exactly what I needed. You see, I’m stuck on a story that I’m writing and I’m trying to figure out which way it needs to go (bullet point #2). Moreover, bullet point #1 is a thing I struggle with as well.

Allston breaks down his book into two large sections. The third section is the appendix. Part one is theory. Here is where he lays out, in detail, many of the concepts most of us already know: What is a scene, the basics of plotting, the four elements of plots, etc. But where this book differs from others I’ve read is in two very important ways. One, Allston gives you exercises! Yes, you have homework. Some of these exercises might be basic, but for a beginning writer (or one who might be stuck), they are fantastic. There are exercises in each chapter (four chapters per section) and, while they start out as random exercises, they gradually turn to your own work. That’s a nice way of coming at your novel--in-progress with something akin to outside eyes.

But where this book really earns it’s keep is the sample novel. To illustrate his points, Allston uses lots of on-the-fly examples. Along the way, however, he starts a novel from scratch. He poses an idea for a story and takes it from idea all the way through two to three outlines! This was like a light bulb went off in my head. I’ve heard talk of outlining over and over and I could not get past the idea of the high school-type outline with Roman numerals. I was a bit ahead of the curve with my use of notecards, but seeing Allston ask the questions writers are suppose to ask, answer them, and then build his plot was so enlightening. Especially when he got to the outlining stage, just reading and trying to absorb all that is present in the outline is both daunting and exciting.

The book has done something I expected it to do: I couldn’t wait to finish it so I could start applying it’s teachings on my own work.

I mentioned this in my previous post mentioning this book, but Allston recently passed away. But he has left writers of all stages of development with a fantastic primer on how to plot and prepare for writing.

You can get the book via Amazon or at ArcherRat Publishing’s website (where you can get the epub or a PDF) If you head over there, Allston also posted some Author’s Notes where he examines the process he used to write a few of his short stories. If you get the Amazon Kindle version, you can highlight and annotate the book to your heart's content. I know I sure did. Afterwards, you can go and get your notes from the web and keep some of Allston's checklists on your desk while you write. Perfect!

This book, in its circuitous route, arrived at the time I most needed it. I'm now looking forward to applying Allston's processes in all my writing.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Welcome to Blurb Country

In my Do Some Damage debut, I wrote about agents and some guidelines that might help you in your quest for representation. This week, I'm jumping ahead to a shinier, happier place. One that features you already having a book deal. We are now entering BLURB COUNTRY. 

So, your book's coming out. Congrats. That's great news. Your editor has let you know it's time to think about blurbs. Don't freak out. It'll be OK. 

I've read a few great essays debating the merits of blurbs - "Do they help sell your book?", etc. Over at There's a Dead Guy in the Room, Erin Mitchell wrote a pretty lengthy and insightful blog post on it recently. Your mileage may vary when it comes to whether blurbs matter or not. I think blurbs help. Especially if you're a new writer looking to get eyeballs on your work. That's where I'm at, and the only experience I can speak to.

I was pretty happy with the blurbs I got for my debut novel, SILENT CITY. The list of blurbers (what a gross-sounding word, huh?) ranged from NYT bestsellers to up-and-coming authors. I'd love to say that was my master plan all along, but I can't. That being said, I did learn a lot in the process - here are some lessons I think you'll find helpful.

Who should blurb your book? Like trying to find an agent via authors you admire, I think it helps to target authors you look up to when asking for blurbs. Which author's readers do you think your book would resonate with most? Written a cozy? Then you may not want a blurb from a gritty noir writer. Then again, maybe you want to expand your audience to attract edgier readers. That's cool, too. Just make sure your book delivers for those potential readers.

Do not SPAM people. OK, you've got your list of targets. You may even have email addresses for them. DO NOT SEND A MASS EMAIL. DO NOT SEND A BCC EMAIL. Write a unique, personalized and honest email to each person on your list. Let them know you've written your first book, why you're a fan of their material and ask them if they'd consider reading your book and maybe blurbing it. Be gracious. Be friendly. Be honest. Send.

Ask your friends. Networking! It's hard. Sometimes annoying. But essential. If you want to write crime novels, you should probably get to know other people that do. They're pretty nice people, I'd say. Before I first considered writing SILENT CITY, I was a crime fiction fan, and I'm extremely grateful to the writers that were friendly and welcoming to me when I had no book credits under my belt. Over time, you build relationships and friendships with people. Who better to have praising your work than someone that really knows you and the struggles you've been through to get to the finish line? By all means, go pie-in-the-sky with your blurb list, but don't forget your friends. They know you and want to help you. Let them.

Do not be a pest. You sent out your emails asking for blurbs, or maybe your editor did based on the list you provided them. A few weeks have passed. Some authors responded quickly and excitedly. Some declined. Some haven't responded at all. For declines - be gracious, thankful and understanding. Authors are busy - they're writing their own work. It's OK. And hey, maybe your book didn't click with them. Do not force them into saying that. If they cite their schedule, then be grateful they're letting you know and move on. If they're upfront and say it wasn't their cup of tea, do not get defensive. The crime fiction community is a small one, and you should be trying to make friends and advocates, not rivals and enemies. Plus, it's your first book. It might not be for everyone. Heck, your twelfth book might be for everyone. Like pinging agents, be judicious in your reminders. Two reminders and no response? Assume it's not going to happen. If it does, great. If not, that's OK. Do not treat potential blurbers like people that owe you something. They're doing you a huge favor - they're taking time out of their busy schedule to ostensibly read and blurb your book. If they don't have the time, let it go. If they do, treat it like a gift from Santa.

Don't burn people. "Burn them? How is that possible?" Simple - remember earlier when you put together that list of people you wanted to blurb your book? Keep in mind, you're promising these people a spot on your book if they deliver. So, if and when they do, you have to hold up your end of the bargain. Got too many blurbs to fit on the book? Not good. So, try to gauge space and keep in contact with your editor about how many you need, exactly. The last thing you want to do is apologize to someone who spent hours of their time reading your book and writing something nice because their blurb didn't make the cut. Actually, the last thing you ever want to do is not use a blurb and not tell the author. That's a quick way to burn a bridge.

Be understanding. "Alex, you said that already." Well, it bears repeating. Also, authors have different rules of the road when it comes to blurbing. Some do it all the time. Some are extremely selective. Some never blurb. Keep that in mind when researching your list and when reacting to a pass - you might be asking someone to do something they're not comfortable doing, per se. Do your best to preserve the friendship/relationship over the short-term gain of a blurb.

I know some of the above can sound harsh - but I share these tips because I've made some of the mistakes myself. I've been a pest. I've over-booked blurbs (though, thankfully, managed to fit them all in the book) and I've been emo about declines. These are normal things that happen. We're so close to our work and care deeply about the time we've put into creating it, that even the slightest hint of negativity can stir us up. It's all part of growing a thicker skin.

Speaking of thicker skin…next time we'll chat about REVIEWS.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Just Popping In

This is how I'm feeling right about now:

Although in my case, a death in the family and now, a wicked stomach flu, make Holly a dull girl.

I have stuff to talk about that we'll get to in the next few weeks: I'm just got back from my first writers conference as a published author and I'm just finishing copy edits on my second novel.

But just so we have something to discuss here and now, tell me what your favorite movie about writers is? Although I posted the video of The Shining, I'd have to say that Sunset Boulevard is my all time favorite.

Also, welcome to Kristi Belacamino and Alex Segura, both of whom are now blogging on Do Some Damage. I'm no longer the new kid on the block!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Trouble in the Heartland


There’s no official publication date yet but I think the buzz has started to really build about a new anthology of stories inspired by Bruce Springsteen songs, Trouble in the Heartland.

I’m thrilled to have a story in the collection, especially since I grew up in a big city very far from the ‘heartland.’ untitled (9)

And yet, even though through the 70s Montreal was famous for hosting some massive prog rock concerts in the Olympic Stadium – ELP and their full orchestra and choir, Pink Floyd and the giant pig (legend has it that it was at the Olympic Stadium concert that Roger Waters first got the idea he wanted a wall between himself and the rowdy crowd – and then the rest of the world), Queen Rocks Montreal is a pretty good DVD – Bruce Springsteen is also massively popular there – as he is everywhere.

Sometimes I watch YouTube clips of Springsteen playing at soccer arenas in Europe and wonder what the crowd there really knows about Nebraska?

The Vietnam War is pretty much at the heart of America’s baby boom generation and yet there are audiences in Amsterdam and Oslo singing, “Got into a hometown jam, so they put a rifle in my hand, sent me off to a foreign land, to go and kill the yellow man.” (you’re singing along right now, aren’t you). It can’t just be the catchy beat.

So, while no other country had its young men drafted and sent to war in Vietnam, the feeling – the feelings, the strange, confusing, contradictory feelings that young men go through as they make their way from adolescent to adult – the desire to be a ‘good guy’ and a hero, to defend their country, to do their part, to not let people down – is universal.

And so is what Springsteen hit on so perfectly; “Go and kill the yellow man.”

Lately I’ve been doing some research on Vietnam War Resisters – draft dodgers as they were called at the time – and one thing that keeps coming up again and again isn’t men saying they were afraid to die, but men saying that they did not want, “to go and kill the yellow man.”

So I guess Springsteen gets to the universal heart of the matter for young men.

But what I’ve always loved about Bruce Springsteen songs are the women. And the relationships. He also gets to the heart of the matter there, too.

Springsteen songs aren’t about guys who try really hard and the women who don’t understand them. The women in Springsteen songs aren’t manipulative femme fatales selfishly getting what they want and tossing the men aside. These are people who struggle together.

Or not together. And there’s always that possibility that things will fall apart.

“Cherry says she’s gonna walk, ‘cause she found out I took her radio and hocked it, But Eddie, man, she don’t understand, that two grand’s practically in my pocket.”

Oh no, Cherry understands. Cherry’s been through this before. More than once. That radio’s gone and there won’t be two grand in this guy’s pocket. He’s an amateur and he’s going to get schooled by a pro. He’s the only one who can’t see it coming.

For my contribution to Trouble in the Heartland I picked the song, “Spare Parts,” from the Tunnel of Love album because I really like Janey. Sure, maybe after she gets pregnant (“Bobby said he’d pull out, Bobby stayed in”) Bobby gets let off a little easily, “Bobby got scared and he ran away,” and Janey has to deal with everything, but it is Janey’s story.

It was a thrill to imagine a little more to Janey’s story and I want to thank Joe Clifford and the guys at Zelmer Pulp and Gutter Books. I can’t wait to read the stories.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Quick Notes

One For My Baby by Barry Graham

Clear motives, menacing characters, the right amount of raunch, and quick violence are all pack tight into this short, sharp, lean and mean noiry tale.  It was the perfect Sunday morning read for me.

Highly Recommended

What Happens in Reno by Mike Monson

I've got a lot of nits to pick with this book and I think it gets off to a shaky start but, once it gets going it mostly works. What Happens in Reno features a four way race to the bottom that will entice most noir readers. 


Federales by Chris Irvin

A strong novella and one of the better pieces of fiction I've read so far this year. The narrative is very tight and, at times, it reminded me of Man on Fire (a movie I loved). I thought that the book took a really interesting turn late in the story that I would have liked to see Irvin spend more time exploring.

Highly Recommended

And the Hills Opened Up by David Oppegaard

I've read a few weird westerns lately and this one separates itself from the pack by being a western first and foremost and then introducing the weird in a really subtle, but effective way. We get to know the town, then we get to know all of the characters, then the other is introduced. (I basically used the various cast members of Deadwood to voice the different characters in the book -- don't judge me.)

Highly Recommended.

The Door That Faced West by Alan M Clark

Tells the story of The Harpe Brothers via the perspective of the youngest of their wives in a brilliant narrative voice that fits in with Mattie Ross (True Grit) and Ree Dolly (Winter's Bone). An outstanding book that fires on all cylinders and succeeds on many levels.

Highly Recommended

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The quest to become a unicorn

By: Joelle Charbonneau

When I started the first page of my first book, I knew nothing about the craft of writing or about the publishing industry.  I wanted to tell a story.  I wanted to see how the story would end.  The funny thing is that by hitting THE END of that story, a whole new story began.  The story of a unicorn.

I started writing in 2003.  And as I am fond of pointing out, I never took an English class in college.  There was nothing that made me qualified to write a book other than the fact that I sat down at the computer and decided to try.  And wow did I try.  And try.  And try.

Each book racked up dozens of rejections.  During that time, e-publishing through Amazon, B&N and other sources had begun to grow at an amazing rate.  Lots of writers I knew ditched the idea of traditional publishing in order to independently publish their work.  I cheered them on.  Meanwhile, I kept writing.


That question comes up a lot when I talk to writers groups.  Do I think those books were bad?  The first one is.  Trust me on this.  It is BAD!  But the others – I don’t think so.  None of them were bad.  Readers might have enjoyed them, but I’ll never find out if that is true.   I put them to the side because deep in my heart I wasn’t sure I was good enough to be an author. 

I grew up reading any book I could get my hands on.  I loved stories and books and thought authors were different from the people I knew because they had the power to make worlds and characters come alive on the page.  They made me gasp and my heart pound.  They made me sigh and cry.  They were like unicorns.  They weren’t quite of this earth.  They were magic.  

So, perhaps it isn’t strange that I was skeptical that I, who while growing up had never considered being a writer or who had never taken a single creative writing class, could ever write a book that was good enough to be read.  I doubted that I could ever be a unicorn.

Each manuscript taught me something new.  Every day I wrote made me better.  But still I doubted.  Until finally, I found a literary agent who said that she believed in my book.   She believed in me.  

Those words were a kind of magic.  A validation that I might some day be good enough to be an author.  And when that manuscript (my fifth completed novel) sold to St. Martin’s Minotaur, I waited for the magic spell that would make believe I was a unicorn.

The spell never came. 

The first book came out.  It got positive reviews from the trades and found a home with readers who embraced Elwood the Camel and Rebecca Robbins.  And still I waited for the magic.  That moment where I believed I had the right to call myself an author.

I’ve published 9 books since the Fall of 2010.  The 10th will come out on June 17th of this year.  I’ve been nominated for some awards (how did that happen?), have seen my work on the New York Times list (HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?) and have signed thousands of copies of title pages that bear my name.  I always thought those would be the things that made me feel like a real author.  And while I’m grateful for all of them, they were not the magic spell that made me believe I had the right to claim the title as my own.

A little over four years ago, a group of writers asked me if I’d be willing to blog with them.  Many of them were multi-published novelists.  Others had a slew of short fiction or film scripts to their names.  They were all talented and smart and writers I admired.

And they wanted me.  They believed in me.  They still believe in me.

Looking back, I realize that the journey to becoming an author was filled with important milestones and moments.  Some like my first call with my agent or hitting the New York Times list are big, huge, noisy moments.  Others are quiet, like finding the perfect hook to a chapter while sitting in the living room while everyone else in the house is asleep.  And then there are moments like the day that I was asked to join Do Some Damage.  The day where my fellow writers by their request made me realize that even if I didn’t feel like one – I really was a unicorn. 

Or I guess I should say I am a unicorn.  How strange is that?

I am honored and lucky and so thrilled to have this job and to have shared this blog with so many incredibly talented writers for the last 4 years.   And I am humbled by every reader who has given me the most precious gifts you can give – your time and attention.  You have made these past four years on this blog an incredible experience.  And now it is my turn to share that experience with someone else.

It is time for me to step aside.  Although, you won’t get rid of me.  I plan on guest posting whenever I can swing it and I will always consider myself a member of Do Some Damage.  But after four years on Do Some Damage, surrounded by the most amazing and supportive group ever, the time has come for me to give another author a chance to shine. 

And trust me – she is going to shine bright. 

Kristi Belcamino is an incredible unicorn.  Her debut novel, Blessed Are The Dead, will be published on June 10th from Harper Collins.  It’s going to be one heck of a ride. 

The ride on Do Some Damage will start next Sunday with Kristi’s first post.  I hope she enjoys her time with you as much as I have. 

So, I guess I will sign off this last post saying Thank you.  Thank you to the Do Some Damage gang for believing in me.  I hope I have done you proud.  And thank you to each and every reader who has taken time out of your day in order to spend it with me.  You make me believe in magic.  You are the ones who have made me a unicorn.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Playing Detective

Scott D. Parker

Okay, raise your hands if you’ve ever lost something? I’m seeing a lot of hands because, come on: everybody loses something sometime. The “fun” thing about losing something is playing detective. I put the word fun in quotes because sometimes, it ain’t really fun losing something you really want to find.

For me, this week, it was my Nook Simple Touch. This is my older Nook--I also have the color Nook HD that I got around Christmas time--that is only an ereader. It uses the e-ink technology which, they say, is easier on the eyes. I wanted to run a couple of reading experiments with it so I went to where I last saw it: in my front living room/library. Odd. It wasn’t there. But I could have sworn it was there next to my reading chair. Nope. Not there. My office can get cluttered so that’s the next logical place I go. I have a lot of horizontal space and I can, as the days go on--remember: I work from home four out of five days--said horizontal space can attract a lot of stuff. I look under the stacks of paper, around my bookcases, and under the table where I keep a couple of long boxes full of comics. My Nook was not there.

There’s that moment when you want to find something and you’ve started looking for it and you’ve looked in the most obvious places when you have a decision to make: do I expend the energy now and keep looking or move on to something else with the calm assurance that the thing will turn up eventually. You know the moment I’m talking about? Sure you do, because we’ve all done it. My decision was simple: find the Nook. It became my calling, my reason for being. No, not really, but I dang well wanted to find it.

Many of us have written about detectives and their methodologies. I became one this week. (I started looking for the Nook last weekend.) I started thinking through my days. Where do I keep my reading material? If you were to pose that question to my wife, she’d reply with “Everywhere.” Yeah, that’s kinda the truth. So I started scouring the house for the usual places: front room, game room, next-to-the-bed table, kitchen. No Nook. The wife did appreciate me picking up my various reading centers along the way, however. Chalk one in the win column.

But she’s also the clear-headed one of the family and she questioned why I wanted it. “You didn’t use it that often.” True, I said, but I’d like to use it again, more thoroughly, and for certain activities. More than that, however, around Monday evening, I just wanted to know where the darn thing was.

It was at this point that my mind’s eye began playing tricks on me. I kept ‘seeing’ the Nook in certain places and it kept not being there. Crap. I looked through various stacks of comics over and over again (remember that definition of insanity?) and no Nook. I started having weird thoughts: perhaps it was in the pocket of a jacket! Not bothering to realize that I rarely leave home with the device, I opened all my jackets. Not there (natch). The wife and boy started wondering why it was so important. “Because I want to find it,” I said.

My detective brain, such as it is, started concocting scenarios. My wife took it to teach me a lesson about having piles of stuff around the house. The arched eyebrow I got when I broached that theory was the only answer I needed. Another idea was the boy took it and hid it. Why? Who knows, but I asked. His reaction was wonderfully straightforward: “Dad, if I knew where it was, I’d go get it for you.” The heart swelled with pride while the non-Nook hole grew ever larger.

The middle of the week saw a revelation: I was missing some comics as well! They are probably with my Nook. I find the comics, I find the Nook. That was a great theory...until one evening when I was on the floor putting on my Crocs...and saw the ‘missing’ stack of comics. They weren’t lost. I had just forgotten where I put them.

Frankly, I tore the house apart looking for the thing. Me being the brilliant detective, I realized that the Nook most likely wasn’t in the house (or the saxophone case; or the boxes of Christmas stuff; or slide in among my books; or in my wife’s office; or in my son’s room). I started to wonder what I was doing the last time I saw it. No clue, but I know I needed to look outside, in the cars. With a cool CSI-type flashlight, I scanned the wife’s car. Nothing. Then I got to my car and looked in the obvious places: hatchback, the racks, the pockets and under the seat. Nothing. No, wait. Was that it?

Viola! It was under the driver’s seat, face down, so the black plastic back of the Nook blended with the black rug. Success! The investigation was over. I had located the mysteriously missing Nook. But why was it under the seat of my car? Oh yeah, now I remember. I had taken it with me on a church lock-in. But then there was a no-electronics rule and I had put it under the seat. The memory of that decision rushed back at me like a movie special effect.

But why had I wanted the Nook in the first place? It actually took me a moment to remember: Oh yeah: to read. I enjoyed the discovery, but also missed the search.

Hmmm, maybe I'll get the family to really hide something next time and then give me clues. Sounds like a fun long as they don't hide something really important. You know, like my Nook.