Noir at the Bar in Philadelphia – This Sunday! (Oct. 28)

Noir at the Bar Chilled to the MarrowI’ll be joining a crew of great writers in Philadelphia this Sunday night (Oct. 28) for another Noir at the Bar!

The show begins at 6:30 p.m. at Misconduct Tavern, 1511 Locust St, Philadelphia. Admission is free, and the restaurant serves great food and drinks, so join us!

This is part of a series of Noir at the Bar events called CHILLED TO THE MARROW. Authors around the world are participating in Noir at the Bar events to help raise funds to cover medical expenses for Evie Swierczynski, who was recently diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Evie is awesome, and she’s the daughter of Duane Swierczynski, author of a lot of amazing novels and comic books.

For more information about supporting #TeamEvie, visit this GoFundMe page.

Hosted by the inimitable Jon McGoran, the Philadelphia lineup includes these amazing authors:

There will be a raffle to help raise funds, and probably a few surprises…

Hope to see you there!

Noir at the Bar – A Great Night in Harrisburg

Noir at the Bar in Harrisburg, PA, on May 20, 2018.

A stellar crew made the most recent Harrisburg Noir at the Bar one to remember. We took over the second floor at Sturges Speakeasy in Harrisburg, PA, on Sunday night, May 20, and had a blast.

Everyone read great stories. So many great stories! I want to thank all of the authors who came out for the event:

And last but certainly not least, singer-songwriter John Austin and trumpeter Nathan Froehlich, who helped end the night with the surreal experience of me performing a (mostly spoken-word) song (the very romantic “We’re Still in Love”).

If you want to know more about the authors, check out their full bios here.

Noir at the Bar in Harrisburg – Tonight! (May 20)

Noir at the Bar returns to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, tonight!

Festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Sturges Speakeasy, 400 Forster Street. Admission is free, the restaurant serves great food and great beer, and there will be book giveaways. So join us!

Join us for a great lineup (complete bios available here) that includes:

Owen Laukkanen, author of the brand new maritime adventure thriller Gale Force (which has been praised by the likes of Clive Cussler and Lee Child), along with six critically acclaimed Stevens and Windermere FBI thrillers.

Robb Cadigan, author of Phoenixville Rising and an upcoming second novel which is based on a true crime story and set in Pennsylvania.

Beth Fantaskey, author of five paranormal and mystery novels for young adults and middle-grade readers and (as Bethany Blake) the Lucky Paws Petsitting Mysteries.

Gabriella Gill, author of Saving Metropolis, Behind the Mask, and the upcoming The Gentlemen’s Flying Club.

Merry Jones, author of Child’s Play, the third novel featuring unreliable narrator Elle Harrison, as well as a series of thrillers featuring heroine Harper Jennings, an Iraq war veteran.

Catherine Jordan, author of the paranormal thrillers The Book Seller’s Secret and Seeking Samiel.

Jon McGoran, author of eight novels including Spliced, a near future science fiction thriller, and the ecological thrillers Drift, Deadout, Dust Up, and Down to Zero.

John L. Micek, author of the upcoming novel Saving Time and the opinion editor and political columnist for PennLive/The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa.

David Nemeth, writer of the crime fiction blog Unlawful Acts and a columnist at Do Some Damage.

And last but certainly not least, singer-songwriter John Austin, who has released 10 critically acclaimed albums, will be performing a new song with… me. But don’t worry, I won’t be singing.

I hope to see you tonight at Sturges Speakeasy!

Broke Hack Mountain

broke_hack_mountainSix writers. One cabin. Very limited cell service.

What could possibly go wrong?

Rob Hart organized a writing retreat over the long Fourth of July weekend, christened it Broke Hack Mountain, and it was extremely productive. Rob invited Todd Robinson, Jon McGoran, Josh Bazell, Dan Krokos, and me to come along, and we spent a ton of time pounding away on our keyboards. And eating. And making fire. And eating. And snoring.

Rob’s summary of the weekend is great: Broke Hack Mountain: A Recap, and Tips for Planning Your Own Writing Retreat

Extra thanks to my wife Beth, who sent me to the cabin loaded up with fruit salad, grapes, bananas, and more. She saved me from a diet of exclusively bacon and steak!

Jessica Zempel Wins First James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship

Zempel Family at Sodak ShoresJessica Zempel, a student at Wilmot High School in South Dakota, is the winner of the first annual James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship is awarded to graduates of Wilmot High School who display an aptitude in creative writing by authoring a short story.

Jessica’s story, “Love, Lust, and Death,” was chosen as the winner by novelist Jon McGoran.

Set in Quedlinburg, Germany, “Love, Lust, and Death” is about a serial killer and a woman who falls in love with him and tries to reform him.

Earlier this month, Beth and I traveled to Wilmot to present Jessica with her $250 prize during Wilmot High School’s Academic Awards Program. The night before the program, we enjoyed a great dinner at Sodak Shores with Jessica, her parents, and her English teacher, Danielle DeGreef.

Jon McGoranJessica also received an autographed copy of Jon’s latest novel, the excellent DUST UP and an autographed copy of THUGLIT #16 featuring my short story “It Bothers Me,” set in Wilmot.

A special thanks to Wilmot High School principal Larry Hulscher for all of his assistance and to English teacher Danielle DeGreef for encouraging so many students to submit stories.

You can learn more about the scholarship, including the reason it goes to a student at Wilmot High School, right here.


If you’d like to make a tax-deductible (at least in the U.S.) contribution to the James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund, the South Dakota Community Foundation makes it easy.

You can contribute with a credit card online. (If you contribute online, SDCF covers all transaction fees. There’s no cost to you or the fund.)

Or you can contribute by sending a check made payable to “James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship Fund” to:

South Dakota Community Foundation
P.O. Box 296
Pierre, SD 57501

No contribution is too small. Thank you!