Category: Stuck in the Middle Press


Clothes cover.pngClothes Make the Man and Other Crimes is my latest e-book, a collection of four crime stories. In “The Sun Dress,” a dress, an affair, and a gun lead to a surprising and explosive confrontation. Officer Peggy Roberts makes a traffic stop and hopes to catch a killer in “Clothes Make the Man.” The flash fiction “Details, Details” illuminates the research behind David’s perfect plan to kill his boss. Finally, “First Impression” is a night on the town with a cold-blooded assassin who has made going unnoticed the cornerstone of his profession.

The lead character of “Clothes Make the Man,” police officer Peggy Roberts, had a cameo in my second Kate Sullivan mystery story, “Of Murder and Minidonuts.” Roberts will return in the third Kate Sullivan story when I get around to writing it.

“Clothes Make the Man” was my contribution to Writes of Spring, an anthology edited by Gary Schulze and his wife Pat Frovarp, the then-owners of the fabulous Once Upon a Crime Mystery Bookstore in Minneapolis.

For more than a decade they provided unwavering support for mystery writers in general and Twin Cities writers in particular. Even though for years I had but one mystery short story to my credit—my first Kate Sullivan story, “Out of the Jacuzzi, Into the Sauna,” in Resort to Murder—they always invited me to participate in their annual Writes of Spring signing event. They provided my second mystery credit when they included “Clothes Make the Man” in Writes of Spring, which celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Writes of Spring and the twenty-fifth anniversary of the bookstore.

So I was particularly saddened to learn that Gary had passed away just as I was preparing to release Clothes Make the Man and Other Crimes. A big thanks to both Gary and Pat for everything they have done for the mystery community of writers and readers. It was well deserved when they won a Raven Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 2011.

I’d also like to give a shout-out to Jeff Ayers, Kevin Lauderdale, and Michael Allan Mallory, whose insightful comments helped put an extra polish on each of the stories in Clothes Make the Man and Other Crimes.

SMPLogoI first stuck my toe into the water of self-publishing four years ago with “The Mailbox,” a revised version of my first pro sale. Then I got distracted by other things. Now that I’m a full-time freelancer, I’ve been getting back into it. I’ve got a handful of Kindle singles available and more projects on the way. Eventually I’ll have all my e-books available for Kindle, Nook, and iBooks, but I’m not there yet; all the links in this post are to Amazon.

Even though I’m publishing these myself, I decided to have a name for my virtual press, mostly to amuse myself. I settled on Stuck in the Middle Press for two reasons. First, most writers are stuck in the middle, wandering the no-man’s-land between their first sale and the lightning strike of fame. Second, my initials are SMP, but I couldn’t simply use that because of St. Martin’s Press.

Right now I have just four other titles available in addition to “The Mailbox,” all short stories. There are two Kate Sullivan mystery stories, “Out of the Jacuzzi, Into the Sauna” and “Of Murder and Minidonuts.” Wisecracking Kate likes to stick her civilian nose into crime, investigating murders that happen in her vicinity. High jinks ensue. The first story originally appeared in the regional anthology Resort to Murder, where each story was set on a resort in Minnesota.

In the science fiction story “Finders Keepers,” Cpl. M. J. Robeson faces an intruder trying to pirate the starship Alliance. The story was first published in the anthology Space Grunts. Robeson will return in her next adventure at some point.

The Lovecraft pastiche “The Squid that Came to Phil’s Basement” first appeared in Space and Time Magazine. It answers the question “What if there were a Cthulhu help line?”

I have four other projects in various stages. Clothes Make the Man and other Crimes is a collection of four short-short crime stories that is almost done. Happiness Through Philosophy and Other Nonsense is a larger collection of absurd stories and ludicrous vignettes. “The Satellite Dish” is another Minnesota story, featuring the same characters from “The Mailbox.” The last is an as-yet-untitled collaboration with another writer, details to be announced as we become more certain of them.

Please consider picking up these stories for Kindle, and by all means leave me a review on Amazon if you enjoy them. If you don’t, I apologize, and please play with a kitten until you forget about leaving me a review that compares me to fungus. Thanks in advance.