Thursday, December 15, 2022

From Hotel Bars to Hotel California: Guest Post by Don Bruns

Don Bruns: 
From Hotel Bars to Hotel California

Okay, it wasn’t an original idea, but what is? Just because Hotel California isn’t the first anthology of its kind, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great book…a great collection of stories by celebrated authors. Because it is. But here’s how it started. 

I was asked to participate in The Great Filling Station Hold Up, an anthology using Jimmy Buffet song titles edited by Josh Pachter. I wrote "Cheeseburger in Paradise," about a hitman in Munster, Iowa who is eating a cheeseburger at the Paradise Café. An interesting exercise. 

I called Julie Gwinn, my agent and told her the story. She said she wished we’d thought of that. I countered with “We can do this. Let’s do an anthology based on The Eagle’s songs from Hotel California.” She said, “Who are we going to get to write the stories?” 

One week later I gave her the list of authors. Andrew Child with a Jack Reacher story, (New Kid in Town) Heather Graham with a New Orleans thriller, Reed Coleman, John Gilstrap and three other talented authors. (including myself.) She sold it to Blackstone Publishing one week later. Then she asked, “What’s next?” 

I had the answer. Thriller. With the title song, Billy Jean, Wanna’ be Startin’ Somethin’,The Girl is Mine…I knew I’d get authors to write the stories. Jeff Deaver, William Kent Krueger, Heather Graham and others have contributed fabulous stories in the anthology that will release in July of 2023. 

And next? Back in Black, stories using song titles from ACDC’s triumphant album. I called Andrew Child and asked if he wanted to participate once again. He answered, “If I can do You Shook Me All Night Long.” Of course I said yes. Reed Coleman is back, Charles Todd, Sandra Balzo, Heather Graham and some new talented writers including my brother Dave. Back in Black will release July, 2024. 

We’ve had marvelous reviews on Hotel California and made Oline Cogdil’s best mystery list of 2022 in the Florida Sun Sentinal. Twenty five years of networking at conferences, twenty five years of hanging out at the hotel bars has paid off. Next, I think we’ll do Bat Out of Hell, Meatloaf’s first monster hit album. There’s an endless supply of material out there, and we will continue to mine it. 


Don Bruns is the USA Today best selling author of nineteen published novels. Currently working on his fourth New Orleans thriller involving a disgraced homicide detective and a voodoo practitioner, the Indianapolis Star says “Simply put, Bruns is a master story teller.”

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