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Author Donald J. Bingle/Frame Shop Novella

Critiquing Another Writer Can Be Murder

St. Charles, IL

Donald J. Bingle's mystery novella is set in a writers' group and is punctuated by violence, humor, and occasional writing advice. 

The Basics

By backing this Megafounder, you will be among the first to get Frame Shop, the latest project of oft-published, award-winning author Donald J. Bingle. Frame Shop is a 42,000 word mystery thriller novella set in a writers' group. Unlike a traditional who-dunnit,Frame Shop mixes violence, humor, and occasional writing advice in a format that will keep mystery lovers, aspiring authors, and established writers turning the pages. Frame Shop will be made available in the digital format of your choice: Kindle (mobi) or Nook (epub). Both DRM-free formats can, with a free app, also be read on any PC, iPad, Mac, smartphone, or phablet.

You can get Frame Shop alone or in combination with a number of different novels, stories, or packages by award-winning genre author, Donald J. Bingle. Because the Kickstarter is over, stretch goals are no longer applicable and, although mentioned in the video, are no longer available to backers.


About Frame Shop

(Minor spoilers in this section, so skip ahead to the next section if you don't want to know anything else about the plot.)

Harold J. Ackerman thinks his latest cat mystery proves he is the best writer in the Pleasant Meadows Writers’ Guild and Critiquing Society, not that the motley assortment of poets, poseurs, and wannabe writers in the PMWGCS provides much competition. But then Gantry Ellis, the NYT best-selling author of the Danger McAdams mystery thrillers, joins the group and wows everyone. Still, Harold hopes to leverage his connection to the famous author into a big break, agreeing to help his mentor with some crime research. But when Harold interviews a real-life hit man, he decides to keep the information and contact for himself. Soon, he’s just not writing about crime, he’s a co-conspirator, but he’s such a hack writer, he can’t even do that by himself. Instead, he submits his "plots" to the rest of the PMWGCS and its members unwittingly assist.

Critiquing another writer can be murder, especially when he’s working for a hit man.

Here’s an excerpt from Frame Shop in which the hit man, Guy, is berating Harold (who he calls “Sweater Vest”) for attending the funeral of one of Guy’s victims:

“What if they figure out who you are and that you have no connection whatsoever to the deceased? What if they come to your door and want answers?”

“Well,” Sweater Vest temporized, “I guess I’d just tell them ...”

Guy interrupted. “And don’t say you’d just tell them you read about the murder in the paper and wanted to express your condolences. Nobody crashes graveside services. They crash weddings and wakes, cuz that’s where the free booze is. Besides, I may not know you all that well, but even I can tell that you’re not the kind of guy who has a reputation for spontaneous expressions of sympathy to random strangers. If this was aLifetime movie, you’d get cast as the creepy dude who spends too much time watching kids at the park.”

Guy could see Sweater Vest’s blood pressure was rising, too. The fellow’s face was flushing red and his jaw was clenched tight for a few moments before he responded. “There’s no need to be insulting. I had ... I have ... a perfectly good reason to give should anyone ask me why I was at the funeral. It’s the same reason I can give for being anywhere, anytime, watching anything from bums urinating on the subway platform to young women walking by in thin summer dresses.

"I’m a writer. My job is to observe things, notice them, experience them, memorize them, and keep them in my mind’s eye for later use. Everything, everywhere is grist for my mill and I grind my flour into a soft, smooth, silky silt. Characters, settings, emotions, storylines, places, things, clothing, arcane bits of description and poetry. A writer has an excuse for knowing everything from nuclear weapon yields to whether college girls typically wear thongs to avoid panty-lines on their tight, tight jeans when they’re attending a kegger at the local frat. I can go anywhere on the excuse of gathering atmosphere. I can ask questions about a building’s security system or untraceable poisons or what knots are best used for S&M bondage sessions without blinking because I can always say it’s research for a book. I don’t even have to produce the book it was for because I can always say I haven’t written it yet.”

Jesus, the kid was really wound tight. 


About the Author

Donald J. Bingle is the author of three thriller novels, two novellas, and fifty short stories in the science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller, steampunk, mystery, romance, and comedy genres, including many tales in DAW anthologies and sanctioned stories in the Dragonlance, Transformer, and BattleTech universes. He is a full member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, Horror Writers Association, International Association of Tie-In Writers, GenCon Writers’ Symposium, Origins Game Fair Library, and St. Charles Writers’ Group, most for more years than he cares to count. He has had stories in successful Kickstarters for anthologies by Silence in the Library and others, and is the award-winning author of Father's Day, a short, humorous memoir.

Don was also the world's top-ranked player of classic role-playing games (like Advanced Dungeons & Dragons) for fifteen years, playing more than 600 different characters in more than 450 (sometimes multi-round) tournaments (winning more than half the tournaments he has ever played) and has written gaming tournaments, adventures, or source material for TSR, West End, and other game companies in the Forgotten Realms, Paranoia, Chill, and Timemaster game worlds, among others. 


Other Items Included in Award Levels:

Here’s some info of the other items that can be obtained through the various award levels in the Frame Shop Megafounder project.

Net Impact (Alliteration Ink; 2011):

Dick Thornby is not Hollywood’s idea of a spy.

In his rough and tumble job there are no tailored Italian suits, no bimbos eager to please, and no massive underground fortresses built by evil overlords seeking world domination—just an endless series of sinister threats to the safety and security of the billions of mundane citizens of the planet. Sure, Dick's tough and he knows a few tricks to help him get out of a tight spot, even if his boss accuses him of over-reliance on an abundance of explosives. But he's also got a mortgage, a wife upset by his frequent absences on "business" trips, and an increasingly alienated teen-age son who spends way too much time playing in gaming worlds on the computer.

When a mission to bust up an arms exchange in New Zealand goes spectacularly bad, Dick is forced to partner with an espionage neophyte to battle evil on multiple fronts, leading to a final confrontation that incorporates real-world conspiracy theories and cutting-edge technology.

In the end, Dick can save his partner, save his marriage, save his son, or save the world, but he can't do it all.

Forced Conversion (Five Star; 2004):

Everyone can have heaven, any heaven they want, but some people don’t want to go.

"Visceral, bloody -- and one hell of a page turner! Bingle tackles the philosophical issues surrounding uploaded consciousness in a fresh, exciting way. This is the debut of a major novelist -- don't miss it." Robert J. Sawyer, Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning Author.

Mankind has largely retreated to the realms of virtual reality, where resources are unlimited and the problems of the real world--violence, conflict, sickness, and pain--can all be avoided. Unfortunately, those who stay behind in the real world pose the only risk to the immortality of those who have converted to virtual existence.

Derek, a soldier in the Conversion Forces (ConFoes), seeks to enforce the Mandatory Conversion Act on the remaining mals (malcontent Luddites, gangbangers, and religious fanatics). He just wants to put in his time and join his family on one of the virtual worlds. But until then, he is forced to deal with his psychotic squad-mates, the increasingly brutal tactics of the ConFoes, and a mal ambush. And that's just the beginning of his journey.

While most speculative and science fiction deals with worlds transformed by technological advance, Forced Conversion highlights the troubling and chaotic process of that transformation, itself. It combines the adrenaline-soaked action of military fiction with the extrapolation of current scientific trends of the best speculative fiction, while dealing with the moral and religious implications of both war and technology.

If large scale transcendence could occur, this novel explains how it would come about and what the real world would be like in the aftermath.

When Moore’s Law meets God’s Law, the result is forced conversion.

Says Ed Greenwood, Creator of The Forgotten Realms™ and Author of the bestselling Elminster novels: "I loved it! Many writers have explored hard-hitting and brutal possible futures for Earth, and told colorful tales of people trying to stay alive in them, but few have brought such imagined futures as vividly to life as Don Bingle -- and no other book I can think of examines how and why such a future might just happen as well as FORCED CONVERSION does -- or provides half the breath-catching twists and turns of Bingle's yarn. A 'good read' of the old school, coupled with all-too-plausible reasons for everything. A grim warning and a fast action adventure tale, all in one! Highly recommended!"

GREENSWORD (Five Star; 2009):

They’re about to save the world; they just don’t want to be caught doing it.

Zeke, Milo, and Brandon are struggling to keep their environmental protest group, GreensWord, alive. It impresses chicks and sure beats getting jobs as corporate serfs in the real world. But their chief benefactor, movie star Matthew Barrington, threatens to cut off funding unless they stop global warming before his Malibu beach house slides into the storm-tossed ocean. In their desperate effort to save the beach house and their organization, the GreensWord trio is willing to try almost anything. No plan is so illegal, so risky, or so stupid that they won't lend it an ear. But nothing is fast enough to stop global warming in time ... until they think of the unthinkable solution.

And although they may be crazed fanatics, they've watched enough T.V. to think they know exactly what to do to foil any investigation of their noble crime. And if their drastic solution to global warming means they also take out the reigning internet tycoon and his monopolistic software company, that's just organic frosting on the vegan cake.

One person can make a difference in the world.

Of course, three people with a plan to stop global warming overnight can make a big difference.

GREENSWORD is a dark comedy about the environment, extremism, stupid criminals, and the lengths to which people will go to avoid getting a real job.

Says USA Today Bestselling Author of the Warlands trilogy, Elizabeth A Vaughan:"GREENSWORD is a darkly humorous, gripping thriller that combines environmental imperatives, terrorist activities, and sex in ways that still make me wake up in a cold sweat, months after reading the book, convinced that it could happen."

Writer on Demand TM story collections:

Tales of Gamers and Gaming includes three stories, one of novelette length:

"The Quest" (approximately 8,000 words) tells the story of what happens when a group of MMORPG gamers get together in real life. "Loser Takes All" (approximately 5,000 words) tells the story of a man always looking for just one more world to conquer. "Gaming Circle" (approximately 4,100 words) explains what it is about our real lives that makes us want to game.

Tales of Humorous Horror includes three stories:

"BunRabs" (approximately 3,500 words) tells the story of the real truth behind the connection between Easter and bunnies, at least from a unique point of view. "Hell to Pay" (approximately 3,050 words) tells the story of the recording industry's ultimate solution for illiegal downloading of music. "Cursory Review" (approximately 4,200 words) shows that demons really don't find it that easy to create cursed objects.

Tales Out of Time includes three stories:

"Standing Still" (approximately 4,600 words) tells the story of one man trying to help another deal with the reality in which he finds himself. "Knowing She Would" (approximately 3,600 words) tells the story of a girl visited repeatedly by those who need her help in their journeys. "A Passion for Time Travel" (approximately 3,900 words) deals with the problems of a company that sells vacations throughout time.

Grim, Fair e-Tales includes four dark or downbeat stories, two of which are set are fairs or carnivals:

"Suburban Legend" (approximately 6,400 words) rips from the headlines and twists the classic tale of a suburban husband accused of murdering his beautiful wife. "Artists Only" (approximately 3,500 words) tells the tale of a little girl who goes unwillingly with her brother to the local traveling carnival, tires of the garish distractions, and becomes lost. . "Stew" (approximately 3,900 words) deals with a boy who decides it is right to go to war, but later regrets his decision. "Grok" (approximately 4,000 words) is a the story of the mud-man of the local Renaissance Faire.

Tales of an Altered Past Powered by Romance, Horror, and Steam includes four stories:

"Dashed Hopes" (approximately 4,250 words) is a tale of invention, romance, and tragedy set in the coal fields of England. "Rejecting the Anthropocene" (approximately 2,400 words) is a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring science, no matter how unpopular it may be. "Gentlemanly Horrors of Mine Alone" (approximately 7,100 words) is a tale of love, gold and monsters.  It was the ninth story in Mike Stackpole's The Chain Story Project. Each of the stories in the chain begins with a scene set in The Wanderers' Club in London, where patrons take turns telling stories of their adventures and derring-do. Though the plots and characters of the various tales differ and each adventure is self-contained and independent, every story-teller starts out by referencing the story before his in some fashion before telling his own tale Mike Stackpole's character, Rogers, is used with permission. "Foggy Goggles" (approximately 4,200 words) is a tale of an adventuresome reporter, two world-changing inventions, and unintended consequences.

Not-So-Heroic Fantasy includes four stories:

"Fellow Traveler: (approximately 3,040 words) is a tale a bard who makes the most of his limited skills to impress a horde of barbarians of limited intelligence and less hygiene. "Means to an End" (approximately 4,950 words) is a cautionary tale about getting exactly what you planned and schemed and worked and wished for, but with unforeseen results. "The Eye-Candy of Argon" (approximately 2,300 words) is a critical and satirical re-telling (from a different perspective) of "The Eye Of Agron"--widely regarded as the worst published fantasy story of all time. This parody is best enjoyed by those who have already read Jim Theis' original tale in all of its un-copyedited glory, yet lived to read again. "MAKESHIFT" (approximately 5,100 words) mixes fantasy and magic with imagination and the science of noetics in the tale of a very special young man recruited to a world of wonder and weighty responsibility.

Shadow Realities includes five stories:

“Psycho Physics” (approximately 6,000 words) slipstreams a hard-boiled detective through a world of science into a world that he can only pray is science fiction to get his man and avert an unimaginable catastrophe. “For Every Time, A Season” (approximately 2,000 words) reveals a mirror world where everything is exactly the same as our world, except for one crucial dimension that makes all the difference in the world--a life and death difference. “Rural Route” (approximately 4,600 words) reveals the shadows of another reality and their plans for bringing their patterns of darkness to our reality in an unconventional assault that almost no one sees coming. “Day of the Shadows” (approximately 4,000 words) captures what happens when our darkest fears become reality. “” (approximately 4,300 words) teaches us to be wary when our dreams come true, because darkness is concealed inside every wish come true.

All digital copies of material by author Donald J. Bingle will be DRM free.


Shipping, International Orders, etc.

You'll have the chance to indicate your shipping address on the checkout. For those of you disappointed by the lack of international shipping for physical books (digital is no problem, as long as you have a valid email address), please note that I plan to be at both Origins Game Fair and at GenCon in 2015 and you may choose to pick up your physical books from me there.  Of course, you can always have paper copies shipped to a friend in the United States and arrange for shipping directly to you with them. 



Special thanks to Randy Martin for his assistance on the audio portion of the video for Frame Shop and to the many friends and fellow writers who commented on the format and contents of this page.

Team and Story

Donald J. Bingle is retired from his day job and hopes to make a modest income selling his stories and books.  He hopes that you will support this effort, not by giving him money, but by buying his various books, stories, and story collections, reading them, reviewing them, and letting your friends on social media and elsewhere know about the ones you like.  More on Don and his writing can always be found at  Please take a look and like his pages on Facebook, Amazon, GoodReads, and Shelfari.

Sketch is courtesy of Cathy G. Johnson at Used with permission.

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