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It's Spring, Finally


If your weather is like ours in Nashville, you have been freezing one day and burning up the next. But I think the warm weather is finally here to stay. So welcome to my Spring 2013 Newsletter. Let's get up close and personal.


I'm fresh off a weekend in Knoxville at the Writers Homicide School. Nope, I didn't learn how to eliminate the competition. It's how to get the story right when you're dealing with homicide detectives. As you know, all of my private investigators—Greg and Jill McKenzie and Sid Chance—make good use of their close relationships with homicide cops. What I learned in Knoxville should help me keep the facts straight.


Our teacher was retired Sgt. Derek Pacifico, who spent many years as a homicide detective with the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department in California. The county he covered is the largest in the country, its 20,000 square-mile area bigger than the nine smallest states.


Now let's see what's happening and what's in the works.



Completing the Trilogy


Follow the thrilling adventures of Burke Hill, the reluctant spy, who trekked about the globe searching for what lay behind an enigmatic operation called “Jabberwock.” What he found put his life at risk. Burke and his accomplice, Lorelei Quinn, realized that they alone had any chance of halting a plot by disaffected Cold Warriors to assassinate the American and Russian presidents.


Beware the Jabberwock is the first of three exciting stories that track Burke Hill's journey through the looking glass into the arcane world of espionage. There's a love interest to spice up the action. The book opens at the end of the Cold War as the Soviet Union is crumbling apart. Check the column at right for a special deal on the ebook later this month.


Taking place less than a year later is the second book, The Poksu Conspiracy. Much of the story is set in South Korea and provides a bit of alternative history. Besides being a political thriller, it is also a Korean police procedural, following the work of a Seoul Metropolitan Police Bureau homicide detective. He joins forces with Burke Hill to track down a vicious assassin who's been killing prominent Koreans friendly to the U.S. But the real object of the hunt is the mastermind responsible for setting the hired killer loose and plotting nuclear havoc in the Far East. The Poksu Conspiracy is available for the Kindle at


The last book in the series follows parallel plot lines that begin in September of 1991. One concerns an explosion during a Soviet army exercise in the Ukraine. The other deals with a clandestine Air Force Special Operations mission to Iran directed from the Situation Room at the White House. The main character in the first story line is an investigator for the Minsk, Belarus city prosecutor whose brother was killed in the Ukraine explosion. The main character in the second plot line is the helicopter pilot who took the blame for flying into an ambush, though it was actually the fault of the Air Force Chief of Staff.


Overture to Disaster brings the story lines together when the two characters join forces to thwart a plot by a former KGB officer and an "enforcer" with a cabal of international financiers. Burke Hill enters the action when they seek his help to avoid capture and track down the intended use of a stolen cache of lethal chemical weapons. The ebook will be available for the Kindle in a few weeks. I’ll keep you advised.


What's Been Happening


I suppose I should start with a bit of old news. At my age you tend to forget things, particularly if they happen in the midst of something you'd like not to remember. Toward the end of last summer I got slammed with a case of bronchitis that laid me low for several days. I missed the Killer Nashville conference whose great programs for writers and readers I always look forward to. However, I made it to the final banquet with considerable urging. It was there that Mystery Writers of America Southeast Chapter President Rick Helms presented me the 2012 Magnolia Award for dedication and service to the chapter.

Rick Helms, center, and Clay Stafford, head of the Killer Nashville conference, stand by as I accept the 2012 SEMWA Magnolia Award.


We started the year off as usual with the 6th annual Author Signing at the Manchester, TN Public Library. Manchester is a neat little town near Arnold Air Force Base, home of a character in several of my Greg McKenzie mysteries. In March I spoke to the Stones River Woman's Club at Marathon Village in Nashville. It was a fun event that took place in the old showroom filled with touring cars from 100 years ago. If you've read The Marathon Murders, you're familiar with the place.


I'll be appearing at the annual RC Cola/Moon Pie Festival in Bell Buckle, TN on Saturday, June 15. If you're among the thousands attending, drop by the tent I share with Jaden (Beth) Terrell and say "hi." Hopefully, I'll make it to the Killer Nashville conference this year (August 22-25) at the Hutton Hotel in Nashville. And Jaden and I will also sign books in our tent October 5 at the Main Street Festival in Gallatin, TN.


I'd like to regale you with a bunch of funny stories but fortunately I haven't been the butt of any jokes lately. The funniest thing I've witnessed, though, were two t-ball (or tee-ball) games that involved our great-grandson, five-year-old Link Yerbich (we share the same birthday 82 years apart). Throwing the ball and running all over the place, those kids make quite a spectacle.


That's all for now. To see the latest news, check occasionally at And don't forget to email me if you're changing your email address. I don't like to lose readers from bounced issues.



Beware the Jabberwock

ebook edition will

will be on sale for


May 19-28


To download your copy, go to

on one of those days.


Ebook Bonanza

If you like your books available electronically, don't forget to check my page at for the Kindle editions. Contact me if you need other formats.