earlemerson.com Mysteries, thrillers, home of PI Thomas Black



On sale September 25, 2015

Two Miles of Darkness, the latest Thomas Black mystery, is coming out on September 25, 2015.  There will be a trade paperback version as well as a Kindle, Nook, and Kobo ebook issue.

If you would like to pre-order, you can do it here for Kindle and here for Kobo.

So far there is no pre-sale link set up for the trade paperback version or for Nook. As soon as there is, I’ll amend this page to reflect it.

There’s a new promotion on Amazon wherein the customer can get the Kindle version for $2.99 when buying the book in trade paper.

If you do all your reading from the library, as many do, please encourage your local library to order the book either electronically or in the paper version.


Cape Disappointment available again

capecolordiff2Cape Disappointment is now available in e-book format on Kindle and Nook versions.  Cape is the 12th mystery in the Thomas Black series and was originally published in 2009 with Ballantine Books. A new trade paperback version is also in the works and should be ready in a week or so, available on Amazon, among other places. We’re just waiting for the page proofs to come in the mail.

Cape Disappointment has been out-of-print for a couple of years now, so we’re excited about this. Once again, the new cover is by Spinachi. This was the last and probably the best of the Thomas Black titles I did while still Read more →

Dear Reader


Rough mock-up of new cover


I’ve had a few people ask questions of me recently. Here are some of the answers.

On work: I am retired from the Seattle Fire Department. I retired in 2010 after 32 1/2  years. I thought it was the best job on the planet while I was doing it, and I still think so. Of course, there is the job of novelist. That’s pretty good, too.

On bringing back past characters: I have resurrected Thomas Black, the Seattle-based private eye who was featured in my first series. Monica’s Sister has been out for a while and soon I’ll bring out Two Miles of Darkness. You might notice that even though thirty years have passed since the series started, Thomas and Kathy haven’t aged much. The world has changed and if you read the books straight through, you might notice in the earlier books Thomas uses a pay phone and has no computer access.  These days he uses the Internet and cell phones to track the bad guys. I have no intention of aging these characters, even though the technology of their lives is changing with the times.

On writing another Fontana: I would like to someday write another Fontana, but so far the muse hasn’t struck. When and if Fontana and Brendan and Mayor Mo ever come back, they won’t have aged at all and, unlike the Black series, I wouldn’t allow the world around them to age. Thus, should Fontana and company come back, they would still be living in a small town in the Cascade foothills in the 1980’s.

These flowers are perfect, my prose is not

Horse pasture in the Snoqualmie Valley, May 2014

Horse pasture in the Snoqualmie Valley, May 2014

Unlike just about any manmade object, this field of buttercups is about perfect. I try hard to eliminate all the typos and assorted mis-spacings that occur in any manuscript but I don’t catch everything. Neither do my proofreaders. If you see anything in any of my electronic books or the paper version of Monica’s Sister, please drop me a line so I can fix it.

Molly sent me notice that I’d used “hoards” when I meant “hordes.” Wow. Didn’t see that one.

Interview with the Author — part II


Top of Mount Si, 4167′, mid December 2013, facing Seattle which is fogged in.

You’ve just brought out Monica’s Sister in trade paper? How was that process and what are your thoughts on it?

Originally I was planning to write more Thomas Black mysteries for e-format only, but there were a lot of complaints about the book not being available in paper, so I backtracked and told people the paper version would come out in time for the holidays, which it did.

Was the process difficult?

Having already put older books on Kindle, Nook and Kobo e-readers, I thought it would be simple, but it turned out to be harder than I thought. There was a lot of tinkering with the format and going over proofs. And then, after reformatting it multiple times, we had to proofread it again. I’m not very good at proofing my own stuff but I had help. At any rate, it’s out in paper now so people are happy.

Are they selling better in paper than in e-book format?

It’s too early to tell. I’ve done virtually no promotion aside from a post on my website, so it will be a gradual process of Read more →

Monica’s Sister in Trade Paper

THUMBNAIL_IMAGE Monica’s Sister, the latest Thomas Black mystery, is now available in trade paperback. This is not a mass market paperback, but a larger volume the size of a hardcover.  Because of some of the printer’s restrictions, it will not be available in many bookstores.

It can be found here at Createspace where the author receives the highest royalty. If you eschew the very largest corporations, Barnes and Noble has it here for a $1.30 less. Or you can get it from the very largest corporation selling books at Amazon where the book is the same price as at B&N, $13.37.

It has been available for $8.99 on e-readers since late July: Monica’s Sister on Kindle, or Monica’s Sister on Nook.

Feel free to post a review to Amazon, Barnes & Noble or Goodreads if you like the book. These reviews can be an enormous help to an author and trust me, each one is read and appreciated.

Read more →

Monica’s Sister now in print

THUMBNAIL_IMAGEMonica’s Sister, the 13th installment of the Thomas Black mystery series, is now available in a trade paperback edition. Right now this is the only place you can get it. Monica’s Sister in trade paperpack.

In a week or so it will be available at Amazon and later in other places. I’ll post a link.





My son recently received a free copy of Monica’s Sister and facetiously reviewed it aloud  as he was leaving our house. “Four stars. I haven’t read this book yet, but it’s probably pretty good  since it was written by my father. I would have given it five stars but it cost too much.”



Monica’s Sister is online

monicassister#7Monica’s Sister is out now in e-book format. This is the 13th Thomas Black and the first novel Earl Emerson has published since 2009.

You can it find here for Kindle readers.

And here for Nook readers.

And here on Kobo.

Note to readers: If you enjoy this mystery please consider writing a review for the online bookstore where you purchased it. Online reviews have taken the place of the marketing department. Also, please tell your friends about this. Your word of mouth replaces the publicity department, also defunct. If you’ve been waiting a long time for a new Earl Emerson novel I can only apologize for the delay. My next Black is nearly complete and will take less time to reach the public than Monica’s Sister. I know a lot of you don’t use e-readers and I apologize for not putting out a paper version at this time.

Interview with the Author June 2013–New Book Coming Soon

It’s been a while since you’ve had a new book come out. There are multiple comments here asking about another Thomas Black as well as another Mac Fontana. What’s up?

As we speak I have a Thomas Black with a copy editor, which is the penultimate step in publishing it. It’s called Monica’s Sister. We’ve got a cover for it and we’re planning to self-publish this summer, electronically only at first. I’m not a publishing conglomerate, and I haven’t done this before so I can only give a best approximation of the time frame. I’m shooting for mid July.

Mac Fontana’s another thing entirely. I would love to write more and if I could turn out a book in a couple of weeks, I would. Unfortunately, it takes the better part of a year for me to scribble out a book. The good news is I have another Black about 90% completed and if this self-publishing venture works out, I’ll bring it out next.

Now that you’re retired from the fire department, your former day job, it seems like you should be able to write faster? Any luck with that?

Some. I think once I start publishing myself I’ll feel more impetus to set deadlines and so forth. I’ve lost a lot of time putting my backlist on e-book. I probably shouldn’t have done it in my spare time, should have set aside a few weeks and worked on the backlist exclusively. I’m not very good at juggling a lot of small projects. That’s one reason I like writing novels. One big ongoing project at all times.

You say Monica’s Sister will be coming out electronically? Will there be a paper version?

That has yet to be determined. I would love to follow in the footsteps of other mid-list authors and just simply do what they’ve done, but there are very few other writers to follow at this point. I’m looking for a process to follow but it seems I’m forced to figure out my own process. My thinking is if we put out a paper version it will be trade paperback and will come out several months, if not six months, after the electronic version.

That’s a little bit like the hardcover release and paperback release used to work?

Right. In the old days a hardcover would come out and then maybe a year later, the paperback would be published. The expensive, $25 hardcover would come out and the publisher would make their money, then a year later the paperback version would come out for maybe $4.99, or in later years $7.99. This was the version the great majority of buyers ended up with. Now, anybody with an electronic reader, a notepad, or a computer can read my latest as soon as it comes out for less than $10.

But nobody wants to read a book on a computer, surely? Read more →