read my stuff while you’re stuck at home, part 6: worlds of my own creation


So many of us are kinda stuck staying home a lot, and that means more reading time! Or, at least, time spent reading so you don’t go batshit because you’re stuck staying at home a lot……

As one possible thing to read, how about my writing? I’ve already posted about my various writings based on TV shows — including my Star Trek work and my work based on other shows — work based on movies, work based on games and gaming, and stuff based on comic books. Now we take a look at worlds of my own creation, including the “Precinct” series; tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet; “The Adventures of Bram Gold”; “Super City Cops”; Connie de la Vega stories; Shirley Holmes & Jack Watson stories; and assorted other bits and bobs.

The “Precinct” series


  • Dragon Precinct — the members of a heroic quest start dying one by one and Lieutenants Danthres Tresyllione and Torin ban Wyvald of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard must find the killer before more heroes are killed
  • Unicorn Precinct — the scion of a wealthy family is killed under mysterious circumstances and Danthres and Torin must navigate the fraught waters of the upper classes to learn the truth
  • Goblin Precinct — a new magick-enhanced designer drug is working its way through Cliff’s End, and the Brotherhood of Wizards wants the rogue wizard responsible stopped
  • Gryphon Precinct — Lord Albin’s death sends shockwaves through Cliff’s End, as the Castle Guard must find out the truth about his death while dealing with the wholesale changes made by his son
  • Mermaid Precinct — the legendary Pirate Queen has died, and Danthres and Torin are tasked with finding the killer, an investigation that will lead all the way to the king and queen of the realm!

Short story collections:

  • Tales from Dragon Precinct — collects ten stories of the Cliff’s End Castle Guard as we see Danthres and Torin’s first case together, plus the death of a wizard who animated his furniture, a family seemingly killed by a demon of which there is no actual sign, a vampire hunter gone missing, the dragon that appears every midsummer suddenly going berserk, a closet that spews filth, interrogations of a house fae and the brother of a murder victim, and old cases of Danthres and Iaian both come back to haunt the Castle Guard. Plus a look in at the surviving heroes from Dragon Precinct. (Collects “When the Magick Goes Away,” “Getting the Chair,” “Crime of Passion,” “Blood on the Water,” “Fire in the Hole,” “A Clean Getaway,” “House Arrest,” “Brotherly Love,” “Catch and Release,” and “Heroes Welcome.”)

Short stories

  • “Gan Brightblade vs. Mitos the Mighty” in the eSpec Books edition of Dragon Precinct — a bard tries to tell the story of Gan Brightblade and his friends’ final battle against a mighty wizard, but the participants keep correcting him
  • “Partners in Crime” in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido — Danthres and Aleta lothLathna must put aside their differences to work together to solve the murder of an elf
  • “Baker’s Dozen” in the eSpec Books edition of Goblin Precinct — Danthres and Torin’s second case together as they try to determine why several bakeries around Cliff’s End are being vandalized
  • “Chaos Theory” in the eSpec Books edition of Gryphon Precinct — several murders are committed by people in Cliff’s End who have no memory of doing so, yet every murder has the exact same MO
  • “The Midwinter of Our Discontent” in Release the Virgins! — a locked-room mystery as a priest is found dead when he was in a room with several acolytes and several virgin sacrifices — one of whom is also a murderer
  • “Used To Be” in Across the Universe: Tales of Alternative Beatles — the Castle Guard arrests Jahn the Bard, a member of the Fabulous Foursome, great heroes of Flingaria of the past who must reunite now

Tales of Cassie Zukav, weirdness magnet

Short story collection:

  • Ragnarok and Roll: Tales of Cassie Zukav, Weirdness Magnet — nine stories involving Cassie, who learns she is a Dís, a Norse fate goddess, and faces off against Loki, a soul-stealing musician, a water fae, a brutal collective spirit, Thor, and plenty more (includes “Ragnarok and Roll,” “I Believe I’m Sinkin’ Down,” “Undine the Boardwalk,” the three-part story “Cayo Hueso,” “Love Over and Over,” “God of Blunder,” and “How You Can Prevent Forest Fires…”)

Short stories:

  • “Fish Out of Water” in Out of Tune — a mermaid is trying to get back home, and Loki may hold the key to her salvation
  • Down to the Waterline” in Buzzy Mag — people are turning up dead and naked in bodies of water, and Cassie has to figure out how before the creature responsible claims another victim
  • “Seven Mile Race” in Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido — Tyr and Thor’s sibling rivalry expresses itself in a most peculiar car race
  • “William Did It” in A Baker’s Dozen of Magic — after visiting the eerie William the Doll exhibit, one of Cassie’s new friends starts acting very strangely
  • “Behind the Wheel” in TV Gods: Summer Programming — a sports-cast is a little too interested in Jamie McIntyre’s life, and Cassie has to stop them from finding out he’s really the Norse god Tyr
  • “Rán for Your Life” in Unearthed — a container found in the Gulf of Mexico may hold the key to a missing Norse god

The Adventures of Bram Gold


  • A Furnace Sealed — first book in the New York City-based urban fantasy series that has Bram Gold, who is a Courser — a supernatural hunter for hire — having to wrangle unicorns, mind werewolves, and figure out why immortals in the Bronx are being murdered

Short stories:

  • “Under the King’s Bridge” in Liar Liar — Bram is hired to find out why the people of the Marble Hill neighborhood have all become strangely lethargic, and he uncovers a hundred-year-old mystery…

Super City Cops


  • The Case of the Claw — a spree killer who appears every few years is back, and Detectives Kristin Milewski and Peter MacAvoy must figure out who he really is before he kills again; plus the Super City Police Department must deal with numerous other issues from domestic situations gone bad thanks to a purloined ray gun to a hole blown in the drunk tank by a super-villain who sobered up to an alien invasion


  • Avenging Amethyst — the mysterious Amethyst is found dead on a rooftop, but everything Detective Milewski and her new partner Detective Jorge Alvarado turn up just raises more questions
  • Undercover Blues — an undercover operation to capture the mad villain Apollo goes horribly wrong thanks to the Cowboy’s unwitting interference, putting a detective in grave danger
  • Secret Identities — Lieutenant Therese Zimmerman is shocked to see Spectacular Man unconscious on her patio, and that’s just the first of many devastating revelations as Milewski and Alvarado try to solve the murder of several homeless people

Short stories:

  • “Stone Cold Whodunit” in With Great Power — Milewski and Alvarado have absolutely no clues why a woman died in an alley, nor why her brain is several degrees colder than the rest of her corpse
  • “Send in the Clones” in The Side of Good/The Side of Evil — one of the Clone Master’s many clones has gone rogue and actually wishes to confess

Connie de la Vega

Short stories:

  • “The Silent Dust” in Brave New Girls: Adventures of Gals and Gizmos — Connie de la Vega — a technician on the moon who’s got the brains to be an engineer, but not the money to afford the qualifying exams — finds herself in a position to save five people stuck in an airlock, assuming anyone actually listens to her
  • “The Puzzle” in Footprints in the Stars — while doing maintenance work, Connie makes an amazing discovery that could indicate alien life

Shirley Holmes & Jack Watson

Short stories:

  • “Identity” in Baker Street Irregulars — Jack Watson, a medical student, agrees to be the companion for a difficult young woman named Shirley Holmes, and he helps her determine why a friend’s fiancé has gone missing
  • “Six Red Dragons” in Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot — several matching dragon figurines have been stolen and smashed, and Shirley and Jack must figure out why

Miscellaneous other original fiction

Short story collections:

  • Without a License: The Fantastic Worlds of Keith R.A. DeCandido — a representative sampling of my original fiction, including a “Precinct” story (“Partners in Crime”), a Cassie Zukav story (“Seven Mile Race”), a Bram Gold story (“Under the King’s Bridge”), a V-Wars story (“The Ballad of Big Charlie”), a thriller (“-30-“), a mystery (“Editorial Interference”), a science fiction story (“The Stone of the First High Pontiff”), a funny animal story (“Sunday in the Park with Spot”), and three very short stories (“A Vampire and a Vampire Hunter Walk Into a Bar,” “Wild Bill Got Shot,” and “Behold a White Tricycle”),

Short stories:

  • “Editorial Interference” in Circles in the Hair — Special Agent D.B. Annichiarico must find the connection among a series of murders all across the country where everyone has been strangled by a printer cord
  • “Sunday in the Park with Spot” in Furry Fantastic — the great cat Mittens tells a fable about dogs, cats, and squirrels
  • “The Stone of the First High Pontiff” in The Best of Defending the Future — the “human finder” Jin is hired to find something that can’t be found — except she does actually find it, much to her client’s chagrin
  • “We Seceded Where Others Failed” in Altered States of the Union — the story of the Conch Republic of the Florida Keys, which seceded from the Union in 1925
  • “House Hunting” in They Keep Killing Glenn — trying to find a house you like when you’re more than six-and-a-half feet tall and you just want to fit in the place you plan to live in for the rest of your life…
  • “Alien Invasion of Earth!” in Thrilling Adventure Yarns — aliens have invaded — can American ingenuity and science save the day???

KRAD COVID reading #11: “Six Red Dragons”

In 2017, I wrote my first story featuring a brilliant young woman named Shirley Holmes and a medical student named Jack Watson in modern-day New York. It appeared in Baker Street Irregulars, an alternate Holmes anthology edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry, and when Mike and Jonathan go the go-ahead to do a follow-up volume, I wrote another Shirley-and-Jack story, “Six Red Dragons,” which I read here.

Check it out! And please subscribe to the channel!

happy book birthday to Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot


Last year, Diversion Books released Baker Street Irregulars, a collection of 13 stories featuring alternate versions of Sherlock Holmes. Among others, the book included “Identity,” a story that paired up a brilliant young woman named Shirley Holmes with an African-American med student named Jack Watson.

Today, the sequel has been released! It’s the book birthday for Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot. Like the first one, it’s edited by the dream team of Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry, and like the first one, it’s got a Shirley-and-Jack story, this one called “Six Red Dragons.”

Here’s the full table of contents:

  • Introduction: “My Old Friend Sherlock Holmes” by Jonathan Maberry
  • “The Problem of the Three Journals” by Narrelle M. Harris (Sherlock is an Australian hipster)
  • “Six Red Dragons” by Keith R.A. DeCandido (Sherlock is a young girl in modern New York City)
  • “The Adventure of the Diode Detective” by Jody Lynn Nye (Sherlock is a home security system)
  • “Investigations upon Taxonomy of Venomous Squamates” by R. Rozakis (Sherlock is a graduate student at a lab)
  • “Papyrus” by Sarah Stegall (Sherlock is a female librarian in ancient Egypt)
  • “My Dear Wa’ats” by Hildy Silverman (Sherlock is an alien ship’s captain)
  • “A Scandal in Chelm” by Daniel M. Kimmel (Sherlock is a rabbi)
  • “The Affair of the Green Crayon” by Stephanie M. McPherson (Sherlock is a grade school teacher)
  • “A Study in Space” by Derek Beebe (Sherlock is a teenager on a moon station)
  • “Sin Eater and the Adventure of Ginger Mary” by Gordon Linzner (Sherlock is a “sin eater” in rural post-Civil War America)
  • “The Adventure of the Double-Sized Final Issue” by Mike Strauss (Sherlock is a comic book character)
  • “A Very Important Nobody” by Chuck Regan (Sherlock is an investigator on one of Jupiter’s moons)
  • “Ho Ho Holmes” by Nat Gertler (Sherlock is Santa Claus)

And here’s an excerpt from “Six Red Dragons.”

“Hey, Shirley,” I said as I led Lestrade in. “Your cop buddy’s here.”

She was arranging the pastries on the three-tiered tray and didn’t look up at either of us. “Welcome, Detective. Hello, Jack. I see you had a difficult shift in the emergency room.”

Shirley hadn’t known that I was doing an ER shift today—mostly because I hadn’t known myself until I showed up at work. Like most med students, I went where they told me to go, and because someone called in sick, I got the ER shift instead of the lab shift I was scheduled for.

With a sigh, Shirley added, “Before you ask how I knew, you’re wearing a different shirt than you were wearing when you left, specifically the one you keep in your locker as a backup, you have the same soap smell you had the last time you had to shower at the hospital after your shift, there are tiny flecks of blood and vomit on parts of your shoes, and a bruise on your left arm, all indicators of the somewhat more chaotic nature of an emergency room shift. Also, you have bags under your eyes, which has only happened when you’ve worked the emergency room.”

“I wasn’t gonna ask that,” I said with a smile. I’d given up asking how she knew stuff, ‘cause it was always just that she noticed every damn thing. And it was Saturday night in the ER, which meant lots of puke, piss, and shit on top of the expected blood. “I was gonna ask if I could join you and the detective here for your tea.”

“I did not set a place for you. However, your need for caffeine is obvious, and the traditional tea service is generally more than two people can reasonably drink, so you may join us, yes.”

I had to admit, as soon as I saw the two places set out, I figured she was gonna kick me upstairs because I wasn’t part of the already set service, but she worked her way through letting me stay. I was kinda hoping she wouldn’t. The detective owing me a favor was nice and all, but I was really tired.

Still, she was also right that the caffeine hit would be good.

I offered to get my own place setting, and Shirley said, “That will not be necessary. I am the host, and it is my responsibility to adjust the place settings accordingly.”

“Maybe, but I know where everything is, and you look like you want to start hearing what the detective has to say.”

“That is true.” She sounded almost relieved. Even though she had talked herself into letting me stick around, I could tell that, on the one hand, she didn’t want to do the extra work, but on the other, she felt obligated to. She sounded pretty relieved that I just gave her an out.

Of course, she didn’t thank me.

This link takes you to Diversion’s page for the book, which includes a complete set of ordering links.

So check it out!

cover reveal: Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot

Earlier this year, Diversion Books published Baker Street Irregulars, an anthology of alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes edited by Michael A. Ventrella & Jonathan Maberry. It included my story “Identity,” which introduced Shirley Holmes, a young woman in modern New York City, who meets a med student named Jack Watson, who takes a room in her Riverside Drive home and together they solve a mystery.

Shirley and Jack will be back in the spring of 2018 in Baker Street Irregulars: The Game is Afoot, in a story called “Six Red Dragons,” in which Detective Guillaume Lestrade of the 24th Precinct brings an odd case to Shirley’s door.

Jonathan revealed the cover today, and here it is for y’all:


Isn’t it great? Can’t wait to read the other stories……….


Baker Street Irregulars 2 available for preorder!


I’m pleased to see that Amazon has Baker Street Irregulars 2: The Game’s Afoot available for preorder! This is the second volume of alternate takes on Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson — basically our remit as authors is to do Holmes and Watson anywhere but Victorian London — and includes stories by Derek Beebe, Nat Gertler, Narrelle M. Harris, Daniel M. Kimmel, Gordon Linzner, Stephanie M. McPherson, Jody Lynn Nye, Chuck Regan, R. Rozakis, Hildy Silverman, Sarah Stegall, Mike Strauss, and, oh yeah, me!

I’m doing a story called “Six Red Dragons” which, like my story “Identity” in Volume 1, features Shirley Holmes and Jack Watson in modern New York City.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

The next morning, I came downstairs, and Shirley was in the same spot, the tea stuff all there, though the food was all gone. Ever since her aunt got cancer, they’d hired someone to come in and clean the place every other day, but today wasn’t her day on, so I figured I’d clean up after Shirley, since nobody else was gonna do it, and cockroaches would mess up the nice house.

I grabbed the tea service, trying not to spill any crumbs, and commented on her having been here all night.

“I would think, Jack, that even someone of your intelligence would be able to determine that for yourself, given that I am wearing the same clothes, I have eaten all the food and drunk all the tea that was left, and my hair now has the oily consistency it frustratingly acquires when I have not showered in more than thirty-seven hours.”

“Was just making a comment.”

“The pitch of your voice went higher on the word ‘night,’ which is indicative of an interrogative rather than a declaratory statement.”

I honestly didn’t remember if I’d done that or not. “In that case, it was rhetorical. What’d you find out?”

“Quite a bit. The clinic does indeed have security footage, which was appended to the report that Detective Lestrade forwarded to me, the Morse Shop has an Etsy site that shows off its wares, and Dr. Barnicot regularly updates his Facebook page with a near-constant stream of pictures. I have been able to find images of all three figurines.”

She held up the tablet, which had what looked like a screengrab focused on a red dragon figurine, a picture of a windowsill filled with tchotchkes, one of which was a red dragon figurine, and a picture of a red dragon figurine against a white background.

“They all look the same to me.”

Shirley sighed, and I knew I’d said something wrong. “The grooves and lines of the image from the Morse Shop are sharper than those of the one on Dr. Barnicot’s windowsill. The resolution of the security camera is insufficient to compare that level of detail for the one in the clinic. That they are similar enough that your eye cannot determine the difference indicates that these figurines were cast, but not with metal, plaster, or concrete—likely they were resin cast, as those molds tend to degrade over time, particularly ones created by single artisans rather than industrially produced.”

“Which tracks with stuff sold at the Morse Shop.”

“Indeed.” She looked straight at me, which was rare. “If you are free, would you like to accompany me to Columbus Avenue?”

“Wanna get some brunch?”

“I am sated after consuming the remains of the tea service. No, I was referring to the Columbus Avenue crafts fair that occupies the section of that street behind the American Museum of Natural History. Based on the information in the Etsy shop, the creator of these dragon figurines, one Liese Gelder, has a stand there. Your presence would be useful in questioning her.”

I chuckled. If somebody wanted Shirley’s help, she could interrogate better than the Army CID guys I served with in Afghanistan, but when it came to just talking to people, having a doctor-in-training along was a lot more useful.

“Well, I got today off, so sure. I got some lab notes I need to translate into English at some point, but I can do that later.”

“I assume that to mean a figurative translation of poor handwriting and abbreviated text into something coherent rather than an actual translation?”

Some of the doctors who were training me didn’t have English as their first language, as it happened, but I did not want to get into that with Ms. Literal, so I just said, “Yeah.”

We each showered, and I drank some coffee, and then we took an Uber to Columbus and 81st. Shirley has the Uber account because she got tired of being ignored by cabbies when she tried to hail one. As a large black man, I could relate.


You can preorder the book at Amazon, and you can also get Volume 1, which includes the first Shirley-and-Jack story “Identity,” from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, or Indie Bound.

table of contents for Baker Street Irregulars Volume 2


Michael A. Ventrella has announced the table of contents for the second Baker Street Irregulars anthology he is editing with Jonathan Maberry, featuring alternate Sherlock Holmes stories. The first one came out earlier this year from Diversion, and has been a big hit, and the second one will be out in early 2018. I have a story in it, another Shirley Holmes-and-Jack Watson story like “Identity” in the first one.

Here are the stories:

“The Problem of the Three Journals” by Narrelle Harris. (Sherlock is a barista in Australia.)

“Six Red Dragons” by Keith R.A. DeCandido. (Sherlock is a young girl in modern New York City.)

“The Adventures of the Diode Detective” by Jody Lynn Nye. (Sherlock is a home security system.)

“Investigations Upon Taxonomy of Venomous Squamates” by R. Rozakis. (Sherlock is a graduate student at a lab.)

“Papyrus” by Sarah Stegall. (Sherlock is a female librarian in ancient Egypt.)

“My Dear Wa’ats” by Hildy Silverman. (Sherlock is an alien ship captain.)

“A Scandal in Chelm” by Daniel M. Kimmel. (Sherlock is a rabbi.)

“The Affair of the Green Crayon” by Stephanie McPherson. (Sherlock is a grade-school teacher.)

“A Study in Space” by Derek Beebe. (Sherlock is a teenager on a lunar station.)

“Sin-Eater and the Adventure of Ginger Mary” by Gordon Linzner. (Sherlock is a sin-eater in rural post-Civil War America.)

“The Adventure of the Double-Sized Final Issue” by Michael Strauss. (Sherlock is a comib-book character.)

“A Very Important Nobody” by Chuck Regan. (Sherlock is an investigator on one of Jupiter’s moons.)

“Ho Ho Holmes” by Nat Gertler. (Sherlock is Santa Claus.)



I have to say that I’m dying to read Nat’s story…..

It’s not available for preorder yet, but you can get the first book in print, eBook, or audio at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound, Kobo, or directly from Diversion (book) or Recorded Books (audio).


Zombiepalooza talks Sherlock Holmes with me and other Baker Street Irregulars contributors


Last night, Jackie Chin and Dead Door William hosted Zombiepalooza live, a five-hour interview show that can be seen on YouTube. It was live last night from 8pm-1am EST last night, and the focus was on Baker Street Irregulars, the alternate Sherlock Holmes anthology edited by Michael A. Ventrella and Jonathan Maberry to which I contributed the story “Identity.”

To that end, Jackie and William had several of the people involved in the anthology on the show: Michael was on first for an hour, followed by Jim Avelli, followed by me, followed by Jody Lynn Nye, and finishing with Ryk Spoor in the final hour. It was a lot of fun, and we talked about all kinds of nifty things.

The show is still archived on the Tube of You. I show up at 2:01:04.