How to Keep Track of Characters

Rounding up all the names in a mystery series is an essential but rather treacherous chore. With the first book, it’s a breeze. There is very little to keep track of. But as books are added to the series, it’s essential to have some kind of method or the books will start resembling real life […] Read More →

Toni Morrison and the Writing Process

I had a chance to hear Toni Morrison speak this week. I’d had the ticket for a few months but I almost didn’t go. It had been a difficult week and a long, difficult day. I wanted to crawl into bed. But. Toni Morrison. Right in my neighborhood. Actually, three blocks from my house.  In […] Read More →

Go Play in the Street

  The city of Tempe, Arizona, where I live, recently made it illegal smoke in the car when there is a child on board. It is also illegal to drive in town without wearing a seat belt. I applaud the sentiment. However, when I read about the smoking ordinance, I immediately remembered the road trip […] Read More →

Just Call Me Professor

I’m back to being a teacher again. You’d have thought I’d learned my lesson having taught the same college intersession course (the equivalent of taking a drink from a fire hose) two years ago. But here I am, back again at Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, Pennsylvania, thirty miles south of Pittsburgh—with the faculty […] Read More →

“You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.”

By Michael A. Kahn Fiction versus reality. I have written occasionally, and contemplated more often, the profound wisdom behind the old saying that truth is stranger than fiction. As Mark Twain wrote, “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; truth is not.” Indeed, the laws governing […] Read More →


The last Christmas my grandfather was with us, he made certain there was a brightly-decorated tree in our house.  Then he gave me a little plush Santa Claus, which became a family treasure.  That was seven decades ago.  I was two.

A New Beginning? It’s In the Cards

So ten days into 2016, and I’m revamping my life again. It’s a regular thing we do this time of year, taking advantage of all that clean-slate energy. And it never fails to turns up surprises both pleasant and not-so-pleasant — missing earrings, decayed cookies, that birthday card for my best friend that I swore […] Read More →