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UNLOADED Vol. 2 is Now Available!

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Anyone who regularly reads this blog, or follows me on social media, knows that I'm a passionate advocate for commonsense gun control—so I was delighted that Eric Beetner invited me to contribute to the second volume of his Anthony Award nominated UNLOADED series.

These anthologies are a who's who of the crime-fic world. UNLOADED Vol. 2: More Crime Writers Writing Without Guns features contributions from Sara Paretsky, James Ziskin, Laura McHugh, and the late Bill Crider, to name but a few. It also features a brand new short story called "Con Season" by yours truly. And, oh yeah, it's out today!

As with the first volume, every story in UNLOADED Vol. 2 is firearm-free—although guns feature prominently in E.A. Aymar's moving essay—and all proceeds go to States United to Prevent Gun Violence. To be clear, though, the UNLOADED series is neither partisan nor anti-gun. Contributing authors hail from both sides of the political aisle, and many of them own guns. Wha…

Crime in the Time of Trump

I've been holed up writing of late, but I wanted to resurface briefly to point y'all toward Brad Parks' terrific CrimeReads piece about writing crime fiction in the time of Trump. He talks to agents, editors, and authors, including yours truly, and offers a fascinating snapshot of our chosen genre.

On the Second Amendment

As I write this, our streets are filled with concerned citizens—many of them children—marching in support of commonsense gun control. In light of that, I'd like to talk about the Second Amendment, which reads, in its entirety:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed. Our forefathers' way with words is well documented, but that, my friends, is a garbage sentence. Perhaps that's why its meaning has long been hotly debated.

One school of thought, the individual right theory, claims that "the right of people to keep and bear Arms" confers an individual right to every citizen of the United States. Another school of thought, the collective rights theory, argues that the prefatory clause "A well regulated Militia" suggests the framers intended only to protect the states from the federal government legislating away their collective right to self-defense.

Whe…

Good Guys With Guns

“The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun,” quoth Wayne LaPierre, “is a good guy with a gun.” When he and his acolytes say that—and they say it a fucking lot—they're not talking about trained law enforcement officials, but armed civilians.

LaPierre is the executive vice president—and, oftentimes, the public face—of the National Rifle Association, so it’s safe to say that he’s got skin in the game. His words have become a rallying cry for gun rights advocates, and it’s easy to see why. They’re simple, unfussy, and direct. They’ve got a nice ring to them. The problem is, they’re utter horseshit—a pop-culture-fueled wish-fulfillment fantasy with no basis in reality.

I should know. As a thriller writer, I make my living peddling that fantasy. And as a scientist, I know a thing or two about analyzing data.

LaPierre’s axiom is repeated ad nauseam every time a mass shooting dominates the news cycle. And don’t get me wrong: an armed civilian has, on occasion, had a positive impact o…

Appearance: Maine Crime Writers Staged Reading, 3/5

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Join me Monday, March 5 at Portland Stage for an event unlike any other, in which actors perform readings of local crime fiction authors Brenda Buchanan, Richard Cass, Barbara Ross, Lea Wait, and yours truly.

Some of the readings will be excerpts from larger works. Mine will be a short story in its entirety—specifically, my Derringer Award nominated "Pretty Little Things," which first appeared in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine way back in 2013. (We were such kids back then, foolish and innocent... or was that just me?)

I participated in this event last year, and it was an absolute blast. The house was packed, and the readings slayed. (The picture at the top of this post was taken during their performance of my short story "Eight Pounds," which I'm proud to say was the most gruesome of the readings by a damn sight.)

The event is pay-what-you-can, with a suggested donation of $10 in advance and $15 at the door. It kicks off with a reception at 6:30PM (featu…