Saturday, September 28, 2019


I completed and submitted my ninth short story of the year this afternoon. This one's a 1,600-word bit of crime fiction.

Sunday, September 22, 2019


I finished and submitted my eighth short story of the year this evening. This one's a 4,400-word PI story.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019


I received my 11th acceptance of the year this afternoon. This will be a reprint of a horror story first published in 1985.

Monday, September 16, 2019


I received my 10th acceptance of the year earlier today. This is yet another bit of crime fiction.

Thursday, August 15, 2019


I received my 9th acceptance of the year this afternoon, this time for a bit of crime fiction.

Sunday, August 04, 2019


I received my 8th acceptance of the year on Friday, just after I arrived in my hotel room at ArmadilloCon. This one's for a bit of crime fiction submitted back in February.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Three Brisket Tacos and a Sig Sauer

Three Brisket Tacos and a Sig Sauer, the second episode in the Guns + Tacos serial novella anthology series created and edited by Trey R. Barker and me, releases August 1.

Joseph “Joey D” Garrett owes everything to his Aunt Sylvia, including a stint in the Stateville Correctional Center. When he’s released, Joey returns to the only life he knows, and he soon becomes an instrumental part of his aunt’s plan to rob four banks in a single day.

Before that can happen, though, Joey meets Gloria Sanchez, and she turns his life upside down. Gloria’s everything his aunt isn’t, and their developing relationship makes him think about how life could be if he weren’t so dependent on Sylvia. When he’s forced to choose between the two most important women in his life, Joey finds the answer in a take-out bag from a taco truck. 

Order from Amazon. Better still, order from Down & Out Books. Or, even better still, order the entire first season from Down & Out Books.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Eyes of Texas

The Eyes of Texas, an anthology I edited, featuring 17 private eye stories set in Texas, releases just before the Dallas Bouchercon. Read the official press release:

TAMPA, Fla. - July 17, 2019 - PRLog -- Down & Out Books is pleased to announce that THE EYES OF TEXAS: PRIVATE EYES FROM THE PANHANDLE TO THE PINEY WOODS edited by Michael Bracken will be published on October 21, 2019 in trade paperback and ebook formats.


Texas has it all, from bustling big cities to sleepy small towns, and law enforcement alone can't solve every crime. That's where private eyes come in. They take the cases law enforcement can't—or won't. Private eyes may walk the mean streets of Dallas and Houston, but they also stroll through small West Texas towns where the secrets are sometimes more dangerous. Whether driving a Mustang or riding a Mustang, a private eye in Texas is unlike any other in the world.

The Eyes of Texas features seventeen original tales of Lone Star State private eyes from Trey R. Barker, Chuck Brownman, Michael Chandos, John M. Floyd, Debra H. Goldstein, James A. Hearn, Richard Helms, Robert S. Levinson, Scott Montgomery, Sandra Murphy, Josh Pachter, Michael Pool, Graham Powell, William Dylan Powell, Stephen D. Rogers, Mark Troy, and Bev Vincent.

Meet the editor …

Michael Bracken, an award-winning writer of fiction, non-fiction, and advertising copy, has received multiple awards for copywriting, two Derringer Awards for short fiction, and the Edward D. Hoch Memorial Golden Derringer Award for lifetime achievement in short mystery fiction. The author of several books and more than 1,300 short stories, he has edited six crime fiction anthologies and provides editorial services to book and periodical publishers.

Michael regularly speaks about writing, editing, and publishing at conferences, conventions, and corporate seminars, and has taught non-credit courses for writers at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. He's been a guest speaker in classrooms at various universities, including Baylor University and University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.

He received a Bachelor of Arts in Professional Writing from Baylor University and currently serves clients and publishers from his office in Hewitt, Texas.

In its ninth year as an independent publisher of award-winning literary and crime fiction, Down & Out Books ( is based in Tampa, Florida. For more information about the book, to request a review copy of the book, or to inquire about an interview with the editor, contact

Monday, July 01, 2019

Guns + Tacos interview

Brian Drake interviewed me about Guns + Tacos, which launched today. I explain how an offhand comment from co-creator and co-editor Trey R. Barker led to this new novella anthology series from Down & Out Books:

Friday, June 28, 2019

Guns + Tacos launches

The first episode of Guns + Tacos—SMFS-member Gary Phillips' Tacos de Cazuela con Smith & Wesson—is now available to order at Amazon, with a release date of July 1:

Or subscribe to the entire first season at Down & Out Books:

Following at one-month intervals will be additional Guns + Tacos novellas by Michael Bracken, Frank Zafiro, Trey R. Barker, William Dylan Powell, and James A. Hearn. Trey R. Barker and I created and edited this novella anthology series, and we're already working on season 2, which launches July 2020.

Monday, June 17, 2019


This evening, I finished and submitted my seventh short story of the year. This one's a 5,100-word bit of crime fiction.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


I received my 7th acceptance of the year this afternoon. This one's for a bit of crime fiction.

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Wednesday, May 01, 2019


I received my 5th acceptance of the year this morning. This one's my second collaboration with Sandra Murphy (we're two for two!), a bit of crime fiction set in the late 50s/early 60s.

Sunday, April 14, 2019


I completed and submitted my sixth short story of the year this evening, a 2,300-word mystery/ghost story I started writing September 3, 2017.

Sunday, March 31, 2019


I completed and submitted my fifth short story of the year this evening. This one's a 5,600-word mystery co-authored with Sandra Murphy. We sold our first collaboration on first submission, and we're hoping this one sells just as quickly.

Thursday, March 28, 2019


I completed and submitted my fourth short story of the year this evening. It's a 5,100-word bit of crime fiction.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Premiering in July from Down & Out Books …

Down & Out Books is thrilled to announce that in July 2019 GUNS + TACOS: SEASON ONE will premiere. Created and edited by Michael Bracken and Trey R. Barker, the series will consist of six episodes published monthly, with each written to be enjoyed in a single sitting.

“At Bouchercon 2018 in St. Petersburg, I spent a great deal of time hanging out with a revolving group of editors and writers affiliated with Down & Out Books,” said Bracken. “Over the course of the convention, a joke Trey and I shared developed into the genesis of an idea for a series. Frank Zafiro and other writers made suggestions that expanded the scope into something Eric Campbell, publisher of Down & Out Books, liked so much he asked for a formal proposal.”

“I’m a huge fan of television and streaming crime serials, especially those that have an overarching theme but with single episodes that are self-contained,” said Campbell. “Applying this concept to books is a natural extension of this interest. I was so excited by the outline Michael and Trey shared with me for Guns + Tacos that I immediately put the project on our production calendar.”

Here’s how Bracken and Barker describe the series. “There’s a taco truck in Chicago known among a certain segment of the population for its daily specials. Late at night and during the wee hours of the morning, it isn’t the food selection that attracts customers, it’s the illegal weapons available with the special order. Each episode of Guns + Tacos features the story of one Chicagoland resident who visits the taco truck seeking a solution to life’s problems, a solution that always comes in a to-go bag.”

Two subscription options are now available on the Down & Out Books website.

• A print subscription, which entitles you to receive all six digital episodes before their official publication date plus two print copies consisting of Episodes 1-3 and Episodes 4-6 plus an exclusive subscriber-only short story;

• A digital subscription, which entitles you to receive all six episodes before their official publication date plus the exclusive short story.

Titles and authors for Season One are:

Tacos de Cazuela con Smith & Wesson by Gary Phillips,
Three Brisket Tacos and a Sig Sauer by Michael Bracken,
A Gyro and a Glock by Frank Zafiro,
Three Chalupas, Rice, Soda and a Kimber .45 by Trey R. Barker,
Some Churros and El Burro by William Dylan Powell, and
A Beretta, Burritos and Bears by James A. Hearn.

We look forward to having readers join us on this new adventure. Click here for more information about subscribing, or contact us at

Saturday, March 02, 2019


I received my 4th acceptance of the year this morning, but this one's a bit of a cheat: I'm co-editor of the project that accepted it.

Saturday, February 23, 2019


I completed and submitted my third short story of the year this afternoon. It's an 1,800-word bit of crime fiction.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019


I received my 3rd acceptance of the year later last evening. This one is for a time travel mystery.

Monday, February 18, 2019


I completed and submitted my second story of the year this evening. This one's a 3,300-word mystery I started January 1 in response to an anthology invitation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019


I completed and submitted my first short story of the year this evening. This one's a 5,400-word collaboration I started July 17, 2014, and it remained as little more than notes, rough plot, and some partially written scenes until late last year. I found a collaborator with knowledge of football—which was required to complete the story—and we knocked out a submittable draft in less than two months.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

1, 2

I received my first two acceptances of the year this morning, both for audio rights to previously published stories—one is erotic crime fiction, the other erotica.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

2018 in Review

Each year around this time I post a review of the prior year and plans for the coming year. Because I'm now a regular contributor at SleuthSayers, this year I post my year in review there: Take a look.