Category Archives: Alphabet Land

Being A Stay-At-Home Dad

In order to shepherd my four-year old son through the turbulent waters of Post Toddlerhood, and to ensure that the lad does not get stuck in the school to prison pipeline, I recently quit working and became a stay-at-home dad. First, let me say kudos to all stay-at-home parents out there. This is a rough gig. Very rough. Second, can anyone babysit? Kidding.

Harry, my son, is a spirited young buck and funny as hell, so while I am working on the follow-up to Alphabet Land (and writing “lifestyle” articles under the pseudonym Olive Winks), I started writing a blog called Breakfast With Harry. It’s all about my attempts to feed my little man breakfast.  Occasionally, I rant/muse/complain about kids and parenting and how surprisingly difficult it is to make instant grits. Here’s the link if you want to check it out.  

 

The Rook Lives: A New Book Deal

The Rook and his special brand of justice will live on. Look for him to return in 2018!

Just as I was about to give up on writing mystery novels, Down and Out Books offered me a contract to re-issue Alphabet Land and continue the series. So it looks like the Rook, one of my favorite characters, will live on. . .as soon as I sit back down at the computer and dream up another sticky situation for him and his .45 Chief’s Special to get into.

I’m excited and honored.

In the meantime, I’ve become a stay-at-home dad (long story), and to cope with the stress and share the joys of parenting, I started a blog called Breakfast With Harry. It’s all about me trying to feed my four-year old breakfast everyday. The stories are funny, I think, so check it out.

 

 

All the Different Ways Love Can Feel

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From 2010 to 2014, I wrote private detective mysteries. I wrote them for a lot of reasons, but the main one was simple: I love reading mysteries.  Like everyone else, I loved Chandler, Crumley, and Hammett, and I wanted to do–or try to do–what those guys did so well.  So I wrote one.  And then another.  And another.  And another.  Honestly, I’m proud of the Eli Sharpe series and Alphabet Land, my stand-alone noir thriller.  And I’m grateful to the publishers–Camel Press and 280 Steps respectively–who took a chance on me, just as I’m grateful to any and all who read those books.  My four novels haven’t made me rich, but they were challenging to write, and that made me a better writer. My goal has always been to get better.

Which is why I took a long hiatus from publishing: I wanted to work on my craft.  Plus, I was burnt out and needed to figure out what I really wanted to do next.  So now I’m jumping back into the pool. . .only this time, I’m going a different route: self-publishing a collection of short stories.  Using Createspace, which is surprisingly user-friendly, I’m currently in the process of formatting a book of eleven stories tentatively titled All the Different Ways Love Can Feel. My goal is to have this book available in paperback (print-on-demand) and Kindle some time later this summer. If you’re interested, I plan on revealing the book cover soon as well as writing more about the stories in the collection.

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Alphabet Land Official Release

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Alphabet Land, my first noir crime thriller featuring the problem-solver The Rook, is out today! Pick up the Kindle version ($4.99) or paperback ($14.95) here on Amazon. For fans of Barnes & Noble, go here, or if you prefer, buy it from Books-a-Million, my former employer while in grad school, here. And, of course, you can purchase my book from IndieBound, too.

I’m pretty proud of this book, and I believe readers will have a tough time putting it down once they start reading. . .and when you do finish reading it,  please write a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and/or anywhere else you see fit. Reviews need not be long, but if you want to gush and ramble on and on and on about my brilliance as a novelist, well, I won’t stand in your way.  But seriously, for small press authors, reviews are very important, so thank you in advance for taking the time.

Enjoy!

Max

Read Excerpt of ALPHABET LAND

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Attention fans of noir/hardboiled fiction: click here to read the first chapter of my forthcoming crime thriller Alphabet Land.  If you like it, pre-order the paperback ($14.95) or Kindle ($3.99) here. Or head over to Barnes & Noble and get it here.

Advanced praise for Alphabet Land: 

“Alphabet Land is as coarse and gritty as Carolina noir can get. Max Everhart has a new big fan.”
—JOHN VORHAUS, author of The California Roll 

“Everhart has skillfully put together a fresh, tight tale that juggles the story of multiple damaged goods characters that collide face-first on a chunk of dirt called Alphabet Land. Crime story goodness that’s gritty, pulpy, tragic, even funny at times and rips through pages like lightning.”
—MIKE McCRARY, author of Remo Went Rogue and Getting Ugly

“Alphabet Land, decrepit neighborhood on the wrong side of the bridge in Clyde, South Carolina. A bridge separating “haves” from “have nots,” opulence from squalor, justice from injustice. Meet the Rook, product of Alphabet Land, casket-maker and “problem-solver” by trade. Call him vigilante, or Robin Hood—the Rook lives by his own code and his word is his bond. Max Everhart’s mystifying hero is determined to stop the lustful power mongers from both sides of the bridge before greed destroys all hope for the hood’s people. Hang onto your hat, because you’re in for one hell of a non-stop ride through the dark and violent streets of Alphabet Land!”
—E. MICHAEL HELMS, author of the  Mac McClellan Mystery series

“Alphabet Land is a crooked little concoction of hard luck, urban decay, and vigilante style justice. In this fast-paced urban noir, Everhart introduces the Rook, a chess playing, coffin-building, monosyllabic badass, who’s hellbent on pushing back the rising tide of corruption in his city no matter what it takes. Highly recommended!”

–John Mantooth, author of The Year of the Storm and Shoebox Train Wreck

ALPHABET LAND edits…done

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Weighing in at a lean, mean 50K or so words . . .I just finished the initial edits for my crime thriller Alphabet Land.  The editors at 280 Steps cut about 4K words, which make the story shift from moving at a brisk pace to a pulse-pounding, break-neck speed! I really dig it. Ditto the other changes they made, namely, getting rid of the character names I was using as chapter headings and replacing them with timestamps. This makes perfect sense from a reader perspective because the entire novel takes place in 24 hours. Now it reads like a super intense episode of 24.

A couple of other things I noticed about Alphabet Land. . .

Thing #1: I have a very little recollection of writing this book. So it was kind of amazing to review it again, almost like reading someone else’s work.  I was struck (and, impressed, in all humility) by the cinematic quality of the writing, the hardboiled-ness of the dialog, the gritty settings, and (gulp!) the timely relevance of the themes in play: political and police corruption, race relations, and unemployment. (Note: any “smart” bits, I’ll take credit for, but were, alas, completely accidental.)

Thing #2: The Rook is a dynamic and viable protagonist. As a part-time casket maker, part-time “problem-solver,” the Rook is obsessed with chess, with cleaning up his beloved Alphabet Land neighborhood, and with justice for the disenfranchised.  He has a twisted past, a strong moral compass, and an uncompromising nature. Might sound grandiose, but I want to read more stories with him. . .so I guess I have to write them.

Thing #3: I’m pissed-scared I will never be able to write another book. Occupational hazard, or so I’ve been told by better and more experienced writers than myself, but I still feel an odd mixture of awe at I what I was able to finish and crushing doubt that it’s nowhere near as good as I think it is. And that people will not want to read it. Maybe they won’t. Still, it’s finished, so that’s something.

But enough of my belly-aching. I’m passing 50K on Hannah’s Version, my so-called literary novel, and I’ve got miles and miles to go before I sleep.