For those following my work, and I’m truly humbled to say it appears there’s a fair number of you out there, you might have noticed several months ago I released a Kindle-only short story, the first in a series I’m calling “Moses Calhoun Potboilers.”
I haven’t written much (or maybe anything?) about Moses Calhoun on my blog, nor have I made any effort to market the story. I was waiting to comment on the Moses Calhoun Potboilers until I had a few stories published or close to being published.
Today I’ve hit the publish button on the second Moses Calhoun Potboiler, and I expect within a few hours it will be available for download on a Kindle or Kindle app. So I figured today was the day to make some comment about it here on the blog.
When I was in high school I was a huge fan of Robert Parker’s Spenser novels. Inspired by Parker’s novels, I used to write these very average short stories about a private detective. I wrote the stories solely for my own amusement. I enjoyed writing them, and I cast myself and my girlfriend at the time as the lead characters. I shared the stories with her. To my knowledge, we’re the only two people who ever read them, and I do not know if any copies still exist.
Sometime last year I started writing the first of the Moses Calhoun stories. I didn’t know if I was going to finish it or publish it or what I was going to do with it. I just knew that I was enjoying writing it, and as I printed pages for Jean to read, she enjoyed reading it.
So with no fanfare or grand announcement, I published the first Moses Calhoun story in August of last year.
I’ve continued writing the Moses Calhoun stories (I call them “potboilers” because I like that). In addition to the one publishing on Kindle today, I have three others in various stages of completion and I suspect I’ll be publishing those very soon. One of them is great. The others, I think, are pretty good.
This isn’t high literature here. I call them potboilers for a reason. They’re just fun stories that I enjoy writing. If we have to categorize them and make them sound more important than they are, I’m thinking of them as sort of Southern Gothic. They are set in the modern-day South and when I write the bad guys – usually meth addicts or other miscreants – I think of Flannery O’Connor.
Our hero, Moses Calhoun, is a good-guy lawman. He’s got a knack for catching criminals. He’s a simple sort of guy. Truthfully, in writing the stories, I have more fun with the miscreants than I do with Moses Calhoun. They’re more colorful. Calhoun is pretty much black and white.
I am weaving through the short stories an arc, and I suspect at some point I’ll release all of these together as one novel. The arc stories are titled “Interception” and will be released in a number of parts (Interception Part 1 should be published by the end of April). The other short stories are Calhoun’s adventures in the time periods between the arc stories.
I spent a decade in Putnam County, Georgia, covering the sheriff’s office there as a newspaper reporter. The sheriff, Howard Sills, is a good friend of mine and I’ve dedicated these stories to him (and to Jean) because Sills taught me so much about the criminal justice system. I saw him and his deputies investigate a lot of crimes, and much of what I learned from covering the sheriff’s office gets incorporated into these stories.
These potboilers are around 15,000 to 20,000 words and can be read in a sitting or two (depending how long you sit), so you don’t have to invest much if you want to give them a try. I’m pricing them at 99 cents which is as cheap as I can go on Kindle.
So that’s a little bit about Moses Calhoun and what I’m cooking up there. If you enjoy books like the Spenser novels or Elmore Leonard’s Raylan Givens stories or even Carl Hiaasen’s books, I think Moses Calhoun fits into the same sort of category, and you’ll probably enjoy these, too.
I’ll say this, also: I am working on one Moses Calhoun story, and when I get that published I’m going to have to insist you read that one even if you don’t read any of the others. It’s outrageously good, and I can’t wait to tell you about it.
If you’re a fan of Jackson Speed (and let’s be honest, Jackson Speed fans make up the entirety of my fans) and care nothing about other characters or other stories, don’t fret – Jackson Speed at the High Tide will be released very soon! I’m working on edits and rewrites, and that’s a lengthy process. But I promise I am working on it!