Charles A. Ray's Blog (12)

New mystery series honors seniors

Just launched a new mystery series, the Ed Lazenby Mysteries. This is a cozy mystery series, featuring amateur detectives, Ed Lazenby and Ernesto Cardoza, residents of a retirement community who can't resist sticking their noses into police matters. In the first book of the series, 'Butterfly Effect,' Ed and Ernesto set out to rescue a neighbor who is kidnapped. The book will soon be available on Amazon and other sites in paperback and for Kindle. If you want it early, though, you can get a…


Added by Charles A. Ray on November 1, 2015 at 11:17pm — No Comments

WIP: First chapter of new Al Pennyback novel, 'Deadbeat'

     A man always takes full responsibility for his actions. That’s what Uncle Buddy used to say to us boys who hung around him all the time. Uncle Buddy was something of an enigma. He never told us where he came from, but from the way he talked we knew he wasn’t from East Texas. He didn’t have that slow, sugary drawl that everyone else had, and he spoke at a faster…


Added by Charles A. Ray on June 23, 2014 at 12:51pm — No Comments

First Chapter of "Deadly Intentions," a new Al Pennyback Mystery

The following excerpt is the first chapter of an upcoming Al Pennyback mystery, Deadly Intentions, which will be published soon.  Reader comments are welcome.  Check my other titles at



Added by Charles A. Ray on November 6, 2011 at 5:06pm — No Comments

A Good Mystery Doesn't Always Have to Have a Crime

I've been busy adding to the Al Pennyback series, and in those I follow the rules of mystery writing; a crime, a criminal and victim, lots of clues, and a protoganist who faces long odds but prevails in the end.  A good mystery story, though, doesn't always have to be about a crime.  In my latest short story, Sour Note, a continuation of a series of stories about Louis Dumkowski, a born loser who…


Added by Charles A. Ray on September 7, 2011 at 11:31pm — No Comments

Chapter One of my new Al Pennyback mystery, "A Good Day to Die"


March 24, Oakland, CA

     The sun, just rising, made the hills around San Francisco look like green jewels, and the Golden Gate Bridge gleamed in the early morning light, as the Christina B out of Hong Kong made her way slowly through the bay, heading for a dock at Oakland terminal.

     Captain Chow Hung Fat, a slender Chinese with close-cropped iron gray hair, felt every one of his sixty years as he stood at the front of the wheelhouse, watching the…


Added by Charles A. Ray on January 16, 2011 at 1:02am — No Comments

I Write Pulp Fiction, And I'm Darned Proud Of It

I cut my teeth reading pulp fiction.  You know, the dime novels of the forties and fifties.  Now, the term pulp fiction is often used disparangly, but these were stories that kept you turning the page.  Who can ever forget Spillane's "I, the Jury" or the action stories by L. Ron Hubbard.  They might not be taught in college literature classes, but people read and enjoyed them.  When I started the Al Pennyback mystery series, I initially tried for a 'literary' feel, but it just didn't 'feel'…


Added by Charles A. Ray on December 26, 2010 at 8:23am — No Comments

Dead, White, and Blue - Preview of Number 4 of the Al Pennyback mystery series


Near Lost City, West Virginia

The autumn morning was ablaze with the orange and red of the oak and maple trees that covered the undulating hills that lined the road. A gentle breeze wafted lazily through the woods, making a soft whispering sound. Fluffy clouds dotted the light blue sky.

Two men, dressed in green and black camouflage suits and carrying 30/30 rifles, stood idly beside the two lane blacktop road, looking back up the slope… Continue

Added by Charles A. Ray on August 6, 2010 at 7:29pm — No Comments

Branching out into short stories

Having cut my teeth, so to speak, on long mystery fiction, I decided to try my hand at shorter pieces. I found a site, where short stories of all genres can be posted. My first offering, a short humor/mystery, "Dead Letter," won an Editors Choice Award, and got lots of email from people who were upset that I apparently killed the main character at the end. Bowing to popular opinion, I revived him in "Return to Sender," which also won an Editors Choice Award, and got… Continue

Added by Charles A. Ray on July 6, 2010 at 5:22am — No Comments

Third Al Pennyback e-Book now available.

I finally finished the third of my Al Pennyback mystery series. I've been working on this particular series for over eight years and have about ten rough drafts stored away. Every now and then, I get a call from the muse, and I take one out and begin to cut, slash, rewrite and agonize to get it into readable form. I think number three is better than the first two - "Memorial to the Dead" starts with a corpse in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, DC and starts our hero…


Added by Charles A. Ray on June 9, 2010 at 1:47pm — No Comments

Promoting Your Work

Writing is hard work; but, marketing what you write is even harder. Writers are usually solitary creatures by nature, and hitting the hustings to promote their work is like a trip to the dentist. But, like that trip to the dentist, as painful as it might be it's beneficial. Nay, it's essential. You can write the best book in the world, and if it's not marketed, it will be unread - except for your long-suffering spouse or significant other.

So, how do you go about marketing…


Added by Charles A. Ray on May 25, 2010 at 11:39pm — No Comments

Why I chose the characters and setting for "Color Me Dead"

Some friends of mine, after reading Color Me Dead asked me why, after chosing DC as a setting for the story, I didn't focus on political intrigue or espionage as do many authors who set their stories in the nation's capitol. Well, I've read many of those stories, and while they're great tales, I have always felt that the average Joes who inhabit DC get left out. The common people who make up 90% of the city are no more than background or walk-ons in most stories. Consider this, though:… Continue

Added by Charles A. Ray on March 6, 2010 at 8:45pm — No Comments

New DC mystery novel published as e-book

I just recently published my first full length work of fiction as an e-book. Color Me Dead is about a DC-based private detective, Al Pennyback, who gets caught up in a major criminal conspiracy in the course of investigating the shooting death of a Washington teen. Al, a retired army officer, is something of a loner, and not your average detective - he does not, for instance, carry a weapon. Unlike many stories with DC as a setting, there are no political conspiracies here, just a look… Continue

Added by Charles A. Ray on March 2, 2010 at 2:45pm — No Comments

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