Read My New Holmes Story for Free!

mx_6The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories – Part V: Christmas Adventures, is on presale now at If you click on the book cover (“Read This”), then go to the table of contents, you can then click on my story, “The Case of the Ruby Necklace.” The entire tale shows up in the preview, which ends about one page after my story does.

So, please go ahead and check it out. And if you like Holmes Christmas stories, go ahead and buy a copy. Holmes for the Holidays has long been one of my favorite anthologies and I’m excited to read through this new one.

And Parts VI and VII will be out in 2017!

Dirk Gently is Dork Gently

gently_circleIf you read my weekly column over at, you are probably aware that I am a huge fan of Douglas Adams. While I really like The Hitchhiker’s Guide books, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency is my favorite.

The BBC miniseries starring Houdini and Doyle’s Stephan Magnon wasn’t bad.

Unfortunately, the new Gently miniseries on BBC America is a festering pile of crap. As I wrote this week over at, the show has nothing to do with Adams’ character and isn’t any good on its own merits, either. I’ve watched the first three episodes and don’t see much point in continuing on. It’s that bad.

UPDATE – I watched the first ten minutes of episode 4. So, an FBI agent, shot by the alien-like clone beings, was turned into a mouse, while one of the clones became his doppleganger. The mouse was then, apparently, eaten by a girl who thinks she’s a dog.

That was it. I erased it from the DVR and cancelled the series (only from my DVR, sadly). This is just about the stupidest show I have seen in my life. What a wasted opportunity to bring Douglas Adams to television.



Holmes for Halloween!


Oops – Wrong picture!

Happy Halloween! To get into the spirit of things, today over at, I’ve got  a post with some recommended Holmes stories to celebrate the day. I’m a big Robert R. McCammon and F. Paul Wilson fan, but I don’t do a lot of horror. Too creepy for me.

But there’s a mix of scary and supernatural in today’s post.

And click on the story directly below mine: John O’Neill (my editor) and Black Gate won a World Fantasy Award over the weekend!


A Good Month at

swordswizardry_coverI have been writing the Monday morning post over at since March of 2014. ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ has covered a wide range of topics while still focusing on the greatest private detective of them all.

September was by far my best month there, as I had three of the top ten most-viewed posts. Interestingly, all were gaming-related and had nothing to do with Holmes or the mystery genre. Of course, since it’s a fantasy website, that’s not a huge surprise.

My post looking at why I chose Swords & Wizardry (old school) over Pathfinder (modern school) for my current RPG campaign turned out to be the second most popular post of the year so far. I’m a Pathfinder fan and I’ve got a couple of posts coming on why I still think that is a fine system.

The #7 post for the month, RPGing is Storytelling, looked at how growing up Dungeons & Dragons (along with reading mythology) helped me become a writer (to the extent I am one).

And at #9 was my post on prolific pulpster Lester Dent’s formula for writing a pulp story – with plenty of additional insights from Michael Moorcock.

My post on James Edward Holroyd’s two entries in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Library came in at #48.

While I’m going to continue to keep writing about Holmes and mysteries (I have GOT to finish an essay on Erle Stanley Gardner’s Cool and Lam series!), I’m going to be writing more gaming stuff over the course of the next year. I enjoy it and people seem to like it.

Makes sense to me!

And Even More of Otto Penzlers SH Library! (The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes)

penzler_robertsSo, over at today, The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes looks at a fifth book in Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes library. This one is from S.C. Roberts, an accomplished bookman who had a life-long impact on Cambridge.

This is a nifty little collection of essays written by Roberts and a nice addition to a Sherlockian bookshelf. I’ve long been fond of his pastiche, “The Strange Case of the Megatherium Thefts.”

I had previously written a post on Vincent Starrett’s two entries in the series, followed by a post on the two books from James Edward Holroyd.



Story Telling & RPGs (Black Gate)

bg_wraithA couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post over at, comparing the old school approach to Role Playing Games with the more modern one. I used Swords and Wizardry, a recreation of Original Dungeons and Dragons, and Pathfinder. I’m a fan of both systems.

I think that post has turned out to be one of the most popular I’ve written at Black Gate. So, of course, I went back to the well somewhat and this week, talked a bit about how Role Playing Games are about storytelling. And storytelling is what being a writer is about.

I also mention The Iliad, so you know it’s a good post!

If you’re at all interested in RPGs, or wondering how fantasy games with pen and paper can foster imagination, head on over. And add to the comments, please. We get some good discussion and some great points ‘below the line.’


More from Otto Penzler’s SH Reference Library

holroyd_bywaysA couple weeks ago, ‘The Public Life of Sherlock Holmes’ looked at two Vincent Starrett books: The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes and 221B: Studies in Sherlock. Both of those books are part of the nine title Otto Penzler’s Sherlock Holmes Reference Library.

This week, I look at two more books in the series: these from James Edward Holroyd. As with Starrett’s, one (Baker Street Byways) is his own work while the other (Seventeen Steps to 221B) is an edited collection from multiple writers.

Both books are solid additions to a Sherlockian bookshelf, so click on over and check them out.