Friday, November 25, 2011

Mike Orenduff: My MYSTERY WE WRITE blog tour guest of the Day

Mike will be giving away a copy of The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolomey to a lucky commenter to this blog when our Mystery We Write Blog Tour is completed on December 9.

Mike Orenduff grew up in a house so close to the Rio Grande that he could Frisbee a tortilla into Mexico. He came by his love of pueblo pottery during weekends, buying small pots from the pueblos his family visited and – in one case – acquiring one when his sister traded chocolate chip cookies for it. His love of pottery expanded to a general interest in archaeology which he studied as an undergraduate.

While in graduate school at the University of New Mexico, Mike worked during the summer as a volunteer teacher at one of the nearby pueblos. He went on to serve as President of New Mexico State University and as a visiting faculty member at West Point and President of Bermuda College. After retiring from higher education, he rekindled his love of the Southwest by writing his award-winning Pot Thief murder mysteries which combine archaeology and philosophy with humor and mystery. Among his many awards are the New Mexico Book of the Year, the “Lefty” national award for best humorous mystery and two “Eppies” for the best eBook mysteries.

His first book, The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, was described by The Baltimore Sun as, “funny at a very high intellectual level and deliciously delightful,” and his latest, The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier, was called "the perfect fusion of murder, mayhem and margaritas” by The El Paso Times.

Welcome, Mike. Tell us about your writing career.

During my four college presidencies (University of Maine at Farmington, The American University in Bulgaria, New Mexico State University and Bermuda College), I did a great deal of writing. I penned budget requests for legislatures, reports to alumni about how their alma mater was doing, and letters to high school students urging them to enroll at my university. In short, I was a fiction writer.
So when I retired, I decided to put my writing to work for nobler causes than seeking unneeded tax dollars, cajoling gifts from alumni and trying to increase enrollments. I decided I’d try to make people laugh.
What keeps me writing is knowing someone will spend a pleasant afternoon reading one of my books. I love to imagine a reader getting a laugh from a line I wrote. I know they do because they tell me so. And my books must be funny because the third one, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein, won the “Lefty” as the Best Humorous Mystery Novel of the Year. The award is based on votes, so it is at least as legitimate as Congress.
When I receive an email from a new fan telling me she loved my latest book and kept reading lines to her husband, it sends me running to the computer to write the next book. I admit it; I’m a reclusive ham. I’m not on stage now like I was as a president, but I still have an audience. And they aren’t complaining about high tuition and uncaring faculty. They are laughing. If I had known being a writer of humorous murder mysteries was so much fun, I would have retired early to get started. Just think of all the legislators, alumni and high school students who would have been spared from reading mail from me.

Buy link:

“Hubert Shuze, pot thief extraordinaire, operates an ancient pottery resale shop, not entirely legally, in the middle of Albuquerque's town square. His activities, both in the selling and creating of ancient pots and their knock-offs, tend to get him mixed up in an assortment of marginally ethical activities, murder generally being the most profound. Shuze operates by a complex set of ethics that allows him to sell questionably legal pots, burglarize, and launder money -- but never to lie, cheat or steal. Along the way, Shuze, a perpetual student of life, educates us on his philosopher du jour. His previous novels featured the philosophies of Pythagoras, Ptolemy and Einstein. "The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier" is a quirky repast of piƱon-infused chimeneas, New Mexican sunsets, and a delightful band of foodie misfits. It is best enjoyed in the fading glow of a Southwestern sunset, a fire crackling beside you, a faithful dog at your feet.” The El Paso Times

Information about the books:

The Pot Thief Who Studied Pythagoras, The Pot Thief Who Studied Ptolemy, The Pot Thief Who Studied Einstein, and The Pot Thief Who Studied Escoffier are published by Oak Tress Press and are available as paperbacks in many Barnes & Nobles, Hastings, and Independent bookstores and as ebooks on Kindle and Nook readers.


Mare said...

Not only do your books make me smile your blog made me laugh out loud. Nice job on a day when Christmas ornaments are coming down from the attic.

Alice Duncan said...

Great blog, Mike!

Barry Ergang said...

Your excellent sense of humor is abundantly obvious in this post, and your books are on my must-read list. (Actually, they have been for a while because of reviews I've read at DorothyL.)

Caroline Clemmons said...

Jinx, I am happy to have "met" you on Earl's blog and now will add your books to my Kindle.

Mike, I'm ordering a couple of your books for my husband for his Christmas stocking -- knowing I can borrow them to read also.

M.M. Gornell said...

Mike is one of my favorite writers and great hearing from him!


Anne K. Albert said...

Making people laugh, is a gift! Great post, Mike and Jinx.

Lubna said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lubna said...

Mike: Wow, you sure have a cool writing background, which definitely helped hone your skills. Budget requests for legislatures? I am sure you had fun with such projects. Did you budget in coffee/tea expenses to keep the poor audience awake while the legislator concerned was practicing self adulation at the weekly meeting.
I had read Pot Thief who studied Pythagoras, and was pleasantly surprised that it did not bore me like my geometry text had done.
Happy blog hopping and belated thanksgiving greetings.
Lubna from India.
lubna.k (at) gmail (dot) com
PS: Got a technical error, the first time I tried to post. Blogger has been giving troubles lately. Anyone else facing that?

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Great post, Mike. You are funny, but in a off-beat sort of way. I didn't know about your presidencies, so I learned something new.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I love your books, Mike, and am in awe of your background. No wonder Hubie is so smart!

Stephanie Suesan Smith, Ph.D. said...

My Dad always had bits of pottery and arrow heads he had picked up (legally) and books on what they were around. I used to love reading them. Now I have books on such things around, but the dogs don't read much.

Earl Staggs said...

I'm with you, Mike. I love it when people say my stories made them laugh. You've made a lot of people laugh, and you still have a lot of books to write. Keep up the good work.

Mike Orenduff said...

Thanks for the comment, Mare. And thanks for reminding me that it is time to start planning for Christmas. Since the federal government has seen fit to move holidays around, maybe they should move Thanksgiving to the spring so it wouldn't be so close to Christmas.


Mike Orenduff said...

Thanks, Barry. Maybe you'll win the book I'm giving away to those who commented on this site. Love your dog.


Mike Orenduff said...

Thanks, Caroline. If you haven't already ordered, you can order from me and I'll sign them for your husband. I'll even beat Amazon's price. Of course if you are ordering from a good independent bookstore, then thanks for supporting them.


Mike Orenduff said...


You win the prize for the comment from farthest away. Great to hear from you again.


Mike Orenduff said...

Hi Stephanie. Where is Hunt County? I'm a Texan, but I can't name all 256 counties.


Mike Orenduff said...

Thanks for hosting me, Jinx. I enjoyed all the comments.

SandyG265 said...

I haven't read any of Mike's books yet but this sounds like a good series.