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The ‘official’ cover reveal for ‘The Red Hand’: Clues in plain sight

March 26, 2019

So excited about having a new Frank Nagler Mystery to read.

Michael Stephen Daigle

“Of course they were red, the hand prints. The color of blood, red; the color of life, dripping between the hollow cracks of the siding. Leaking, crimson, chosen carefully. I’m here, the killer said, bragging. Try to find me. – Jimmy Dawson.”


A note on the cover. A wall in the Ironton, N.J. police station is covered by the haphazard taping of crime scene photos.  Detective Frank Nagler stares at the wall daily seeking the path to the killer. How close will he get, and more important, how close will the killer get to him?

Thanks to Anita-Dugan Moore, graphic designer for Imzadi Publishing and Cyber-Bytz for another stunning cover.

This is the prequel to the other three Frank Nagler Mysteries, set 20 years before  “The Swamps of Jersey.”

“The Red Hand” is Nagler’s baptism into the world of horrific crime, and to the heartache that would haunt him…

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Changing genres: Experimentation in writing

February 25, 2019

Writers: In a slump? Some thoughts about that here. Also, observations about tackling a different genre.

Michael Stephen Daigle

“A chef pulls at the edges of their menus to see what new tastes can be created, a photographer tries new mediums, combining old and new, an engineer, a teacher, a social worker, turn their efforts sideways to gain new perspectives and possibly see new solutions to existing problems.

When I wrote the last word of the fourth Frank Nagler mystery, “The Red Hand,” I leaned back in my chair exhausted. It had taken eighteen months to complete the work, half again as long as the other three.

I needed a break.

All writers reach that point. It can be a combination of writing-centric concerns – a certain what-do-I-do-now-panic, too many ideas, no place to put them, or  something  outside of writing, something real-world, because writers do have real lives.

For me it was a combination. I had had shoulder surgery to correct painful tears and bone spurs which…

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Enter the dragon’s lair

February 11, 2019

After two Facebook takeovers, Inky decided he wanted his own group. Thus, something new: Inky’s Lair.  He asked me to share this invitation:

Welcome. I am Inky, author Devorah Fox’s guardian, or in more contemporary parlance, personal assistant. This is my lair, a crucible if you will. Here you will get a bird’s eye, or rather a dragon’s eye, view of what goes into her wonderful fantasy stories and mysteries that you so enjoy reading. You will help me with important decisions about character names, story titles, and book cover concepts. I’ll share sneak peeks at upcoming works, links to free stuff, and other delights. So don’t be afraid … enter. (No advertising unless approved by me.)

Inky's Lair, a Facebook group for book lovers

So come, join us in this slightly magical place to hang out, enjoy book talks, and savor the best toasted marshmallows, not mention dragonalia of all sorts.

The address:

Nagler Book Four: ‘The Red Hand’ accepted for publishing

January 30, 2019

Can’t wait to read it.

Michael Stephen Daigle

Among the favorite words an author likes to hear are: “I really liked your book.”

The other favorite words are: “Your book has been accepted for publication.”

So, I am pleased to announce that the fourth in the award-winning Frank Nagler Mystery series, “The Red Hand,” has been accepted for publication by Imzadi Publishing of Tulsa.

Thanks to Janice and Anita for their hard work to get to this point.

I mean, fours book in the series. I know there are authors who have written dozens of books, and good for them.

But I have written four (so far).

The Nagler mysteries take place in a purposely closed setting – Ironton, New Jersey – a town that has seen better days rife with dirty politics and the scourges of urban America.

The reluctant hero is all this is Detective  Frank Nagler, broken hearted, mildly depressed and yet, by the  third…

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Beyond the Mask Release Day Giveaway

January 29, 2019

Source: Beyond the Mask Release Day Giveaway!

It’s “Beyond the Mask” release day! If you preordered an ebook copy, it should now be in your hot little hands. And please join us on the Facebook page hosted by C. L. Cannon for our release day party. Meet the authors and learn a little more about what’s beyond the mask. Of course, there will be games, prizes, and giveaways. Inky the Dragon and I are taking over today, January 29, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

“Beyond the Mask” includes my story, “Lady Blackwing Gets Her Moniker.” This is the second adventure for Mercedes, a part-time college student, barista, and aspiring writer. You can read about the accident that endows her with her baffling powers in “Lady Blackwing.”


January 25, 2019

This has absolutely nothing to do with books or writing, mine or anyone else’s.

Yesterday I spent half a day assembling a rocking chair. I had bought it online and had failed to see the fine print: “some assembly required.” So it was an unpleasant surprise when it arrived in a flat pack.

I swore that I would never do another one of these. I know that a considerable amount of thought, creativity, and engineering goes into designing these projects such that the parts can be loaded into a box and shipped, and upon arrival can be assembled with a few tools (usually supplied) and even less expertise by blooming idiots. However, the designers of RTA furniture fail to take into account someone like me, a COMPLETE blooming idiot. I have no talent or patience.  I had to research hex nuts to find out which end is “up.”

I could have returned it. But I really wanted that chair, so I tackled it. Four hours, three split cuticles, two broken nails, and several colorful metaphors later, I had it put together. In my defense, one bolt was ever so slightly misaligned and required some editing with a mallet on my part. Indeed, the instructions did advise that two people might be required to align the holes for the fasteners.

I will readily admit that even with the supplied “single end wrench” I did not get all the bolts as tightened as they probably should be. But I gave the chair a test sit and it didn’t collapse. This morning it’s still there on my patio, all in one piece, rocking gently in the breeze, seductively murmuring “come hither.”

My compliments to the designers. This is a very comfortable chair. It has a nice high back and wide arms. It rocks back just so far and then stops at a perfect angle. I foresee many a pleasant hour sitting on the patio drinking coffee or perhaps an adult beverage (like the one I sorely needed after my construction exercise). It’s roomy and supportive for reading. Or writing. So maybe this post is about books after all.

resin wicker RTA rocker

By the way, about those hex nuts? Study the nut and you’ll see that one end is flat and the other end is slightly crowned. The crowned end is “up.”

From the sublime to the ridiculous

January 9, 2019

I promised you a report on my weekend of experiences. That it’s taken me until Wednesday to get to it should give you a clue as to how busy it was.


Saturday I attended the 37th annual Boar’s Head and Yule Log Festival held by the First Christian Church in Corpus Christi. Capping the Christmas season and celebrating Epiphany, it’s an Old English retelling of the coming of the three kings meeting baby Jesus. Originally presented at Queens College in Oxford in 1340, it came to be a holiday tradition in English manor houses and later in colonial America. A Renaissance-era story, it depicts a medieval pageant. This was quite the spectacle and I cannot praise the organizers and actors enough. It would have been sufficient to enjoy it solely for the entertainment value. But I found myself thinking this was the type of exhibition that the lords and ladies of The Bewildering Adventure of King Bewilliam might have enjoyed. I’ll be keeping the sight, sound, and pacing in mind should the Muse want to revisit the Chalklands.

Something Else

Sunday I attended a day-long class to qualify for a Texas License to Carry a concealed handgun. The class began with a four-hour presentation on the various laws governing the licensing and the responsibilities of license holders. Students had to pay attention because a written test followed. I aced it although there was one question that I thought was badly worded. Throughout my career, I’ve written a lot of test questions so I felt justified in criticizing but others shared my opinion.

Then we all drove out in the country to the Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle Club range for the shooting part of the qualification. Applicants must show that they know how to carry a handgun safely, arm it, and ready it to fire. The targets were cardboard slabs mounted on a stand. A green silhouette of a roughly human form was marked with a bull’s eye and three concentric rings.

It’s been decades since I even held a handgun. I have vague recollections of going plinking with a friend and can’t recall if I managed to hit anything.

The instructor organized groups of three shooters at a time. Other than me, the students had handgun experience so the instructor asked me to go last. I spent the time observing and even helped one student load her magazine (“Do NOT call it a clip!” said the instructor) which was part of the test.

It was late in the day by the time we got around to me. The sun was sinking and I worried about being able to see the target much less aim accurately. I was also concerned because though I had recently purchased glasses with distance correction I had yet to receive them. Still, I knew that I’d only stew about it and I didn’t want to put the test off for another day. I figured that even if I blew it, I could try again. The state allows for three chances to pass the shooting test.

The instructor lent safety gear. License applicants must show that they have consideration for their personal safety. Though it was an outdoor range it was still a noisy place. Shooters need hearing protection (earmuffs or plugs). Eye protection in the form of safety goggles or glasses is also a necessity, especially with brass casings flying through the air like bees swarming.

Not only did I not have experience or my own safety gear I also didn’t have a handgun. I had worried that I would find the firearm heavy and awkward to handle. The instructor lent me a Ruger .22 and I had absolutely no problem with it. The “red-dot sight” with which it was equipped made aiming easy. I anticipated recoil of which I had read so much but because .22 is a fairly small caliber, this handgun didn’t present any that I noticed. I did observe another phenomenon of which I had read: muzzle flash.

So, how did I do on the test?

The shooting test requires 50 rounds of ammunition fired at three distances:

  • 3 yards – 20 rounds fired
  • 7 yards – 20 rounds fired
  • 15 yards – 10 rounds fired

It’s a timed test. The Texas LTC shooting test passing score is 175 points out of 250 points or a score of 70%.

LTC shooting testI scored 243.

The day-long class was conducted by Michael McKinley of CCIT. Enthusiastic about handgun operation and safe shooting practices, he was knowledgeable about the subject and patient with a rank beginner. That I passed is a testament to his skills as an instructor.

He did charge us with evaluating our preparedness to shoot someone, especially in a crisis situation. It’s an important consideration but it wasn’t why I applied for the license or took the class. I write a lot of crime fiction and simply need to know more about firearms.


Monday I answered a summons for jury duty. Different states handle this in different ways. Here in Nueces County, citizens report to the Central Jury room and wait, sometimes for hours, sometimes all day, for the court personnel to sort potential jurors into groups. The groups are then assigned to pending cases. Jury candidates might proceed immediately to a courtroom or be instructed to return at a future date at which point attorneys will select jurors from the pool of candidates.

OK, “ridiculous” is a little harsh but it can be tedious. I get summoned at least every other year and occasionally more often so I’ve been through the drill many times. To make some use of the waiting time I bring a book to read or one of my works-in-progress to write. And at least one occasion has provided material to put in my Story Ideas file.

So there you have it. Three experience-packed days all of which yielded grist for the story mill. Now all that’s left is the writing.