Author Appearances by Carl Brookins

Dark. Night. Moon up there somewhere. Temperature in the low teens and the raw windinsidepassage numbed my nose. We stumbled across an ice-rutted parking area in the industrial heart of a suburb somewhere on the northern fringe of the city. Box trucks, vans. Shiny automobiles. Harsh floods bolted high on the concrete walls of the narrow parking space sent needle-sharp shadows caroming off dingy windshields. Behind me a faulty compressor rattled in its cage against the concrete block wall. The wind moaned low.

I slowed and scanned the area, noting two small huddled clusters of figures. Male or female it was impossible to tell. They were plotting a move or sharing a joint. The lone point of color was a garish red orange sign, OPEN, over a glass door. Behind the door, a raucous crowd sampled beer from Bent Brewstillery, ate Jimmy John sandwiches, told each other jokes and lies.

I pushed my way through the tables, heading to the bar. Behind a tall iron-barred barrier, two-story fermenting tanks stood silent sentry duty. Overhead, set against the ribbed ceiling, big televisions sprayed silent electrons of colorful light from sports competitions that the crowd mostly seemed to ignore.

brookins-signingThe trim bartender in a tight t-shirt raised her plucked eyebrows at me. I pointed at the menu and gestured for a small glass of beer. We were checking out an event hosted by a microbrewery. The server poured a glass of rich amber fluid and took my money. My companion and I eeled through the press to the middle of the room where we found a table and two empty chairs. The crowd, a mixed range of ages, got louder and bigger. In another time the atmosphere would have been thick with cigarette smoke. People shifted and surged around the room. I glanced around again slowly, wondering how many were carrying.

A large bearded fellow in a dark woven stocking cap aslaunch on his forehead picked up a wand and cleared his throat into the sound system. He looked like he could handle himself. He looked like he could be competently employed at any of a dozen downtown bars as door minder or bouncer. He muttered an expletive and welcomed the crowd. The beer was excellent. Applause rattled the pile of old board games. Another Noir at the Bar evening of dark readings by local crime writers about nasty, violent crimes, was about to begin. There were a few minor celebrities from the local crime scene in the audience.

The mob organizer of the evening, dressed in in a long dark floor-length gown took the brookins-costumemike. She stared malevolently at us until the restive crowd subsided. Her reading was followed by excerpts read by several local authors. In between readings we all had a few drinks. I read a few paragraphs, a teaser, from my latest detective story, “The Case of the Stolen Case.” There were few questions. I thought it was well received. We drank a little more and I contemplated the sometimes doleful role of the author. Did we sell any books? I can’t say for sure. Later, a short indie film was projected on the painted block wall. We escaped with our lives into the cold and windy winter night.

Authors find themselves promoting their books in some surprising circumstances. The cliché that we lead solitary and lonely lives is just that—a cliché. And even those of us who concentrate at the darker end of the writerly spectrum, often enjoy a relatively normal life with friends, lovers and other writers

brookinsBefore he became a mystery writer and reviewer, Carl Brookins was a counselor and faculty member at Metropolitan State University in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Brookins and his wife are avid recreational sailors. He is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.
He writes the sailing adventure series featuring Michael Tanner and Mary Whitney. The third novel is Old Silver. His new private investigator series features Sean NMI Sean, a short P.I. The first is titled The Case of the Greedy Lawyers. Brookins received a liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota and studied for a MA in Communications at Michigan State University.


Buy links:

The Case of the Yellow Diamond

Come and enjoy a time of conversation with author Carl Brookins as he talks about translating his sailing adventures to fiction and creating fictional characters that feel like old friends. Brookins is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and Private Eye Writers of America. He can frequently be found touring bookstores and libraries with his companions-in-crime, The Minnesota Crime Wave.


9 thoughts on “Author Appearances by Carl Brookins

  1. Hi, Carl. I enjoyed this piece very much. An interesting, scene-based take on the traditional author event summary, which, at this point, I flat out refuse to write and find tedious to read. I have mixed feelings about doing author events, and I’m always jealous of those who can attend, participate, and enjoy themselves. Maybe you could divulge your secret.




  2. I also enjoyed this well written piece it is a worthy read Carl. Maybe Carl has the answer to your question Max. It appears he enjoys other people a lot and has a gregarious nature. Not everyone does. Michael hates public appearances so he won’t have the answer. BTW Max I liked ALPHABET LAND a lot and reviewed it on LinkedIn and twitter. I think I’ll have a go at SPLIT TO SPLINTERS as a result. I see you actually signed your name on your comment. Maybe Kait has the answer as she goes to a lot of writing events. Maybe some people just have to be content with writing good books.
    Good luck with all Carl, thanks for your post. I really liked your word usage.

    Best all

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the kind words, MJ. Hope you like Split to Splinters, too, because as I always say, it was the best I could do at the time. As for Kait, I admire her positive attitude as well as her writing. Regarding author appearances, I’m probably somewhere in between Kait and Michael. I’m not a total recluse, but I certainly have tendencies. Still, I’m not a lonely, miserable, “tortured artist,” either. I just like to stay close to home. That said, I did a multi-author event last weekend, but only because it was two blocks from my house and the bookstore is a mom-and-pop operation. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it. Honestly, I’m just happier writing new stuff and not worrying about self-promotion. On the other hand, I’m happy to direct readers to books and authors I enjoy. Speaking of which, here are two South Carolina writers I met last weekend. Check out their stuff, if you’re so inclined.



    2. MJ, you should read Max’s Eli Sharpe mysteries in order. It’s not necessary of course; each book easily stands alone. But Max does a wonderful job of revealing more about Eli as the books progress. There are only three (so far): Go Go Gato; Split to Splinters; and Ed, Not Eddie. Split to Splinters was a finalist for last year’s SHAMUS Award. Quite an honor! I keep hoping Max will surprise me one day and announce that private eye Eli Sharpe has pulled a Phoenix and risen from the ashes. 🙂
      I highly recommend all three books.


  3. Really enjoyable and enlightening post, Carl. As MJ and Max hinted, I find it very stressful to mix it up in public. I’ve been shy my entire life, but boyhood shyness has increased, as I’ve grown older, to the point of being a near-recluse. Some people find that fact hard to believe. Not a big deal if your name is J.D. Salinger I suppose, but for the rest of us it’s not so enjoyable. I genuinely “like” people; it’s simply difficult for me to mingle and make small talk in a roomful of people, even like-minded souls. Medication helps (prescribed AND pleasurable imbibing. 🙂
    Thanks again for a topical post!


  4. Well, Michael it is possible that writers in general need medication, I do. And it’s possible that we are shy and drink too much and need each other for some kind of friendship. I do need other writers for such. And if I am a near recluse it is laughable because I have so many invitations to non recluse, However I have not written ten or whatever books so I kind of have to be social. However your books I have reviewed are books that I have had a deep connection with and and admire greatly. So we are odd. So what? I have read and written reviews of your books Michael because I greatly admire your talent. The same with Max although I have not read as many. I am currently writing the somewhat edited fifty pages of my own current book and have not forgotten it, There are many more pages and i have to edit those as well. I have great admiration for Kait and as I make my way through this I want to read her work as well. I have a new edition of my first novel coming out and though it appears to be a more dangerous read than a noir I don’t really care as you guys write things that are, shall we say, without words.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can highly vouch for Kait’s “Hayden Kent” mysteries also. Both Death by Blue Water and Death by Sunken Treasure are great reads. Jeez, we’re beginning to sound like a “mutual admiration society” here! I didn’t mean to get off-topic of Carl’s wonderful post. Well, getting off-topic proved the worth of his post, if you think about it. It caused us to think about our own experiences, didn’t it? 🙂


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