Create Your Own Reality

Many years ago I wrote a book set in Australia. It was while I was researching Aboriginal religions for this book that I first learned about “pointing the bone.” “Pointing the bone” is a ritual curse that Aborigine shamans perform which causes the person pointed at – the “pointee,” as it were – to die. […] Read More →

Who Should Tell Your Story?

An online discussion among several of my fellow Poisoned Pen Press authors got me thinking about the one decision every fiction author must make before typing CHAPTER 1 at the top of the page. That decision? Who will tell your story? “Huh,” a baffled reader may wonder, “doesn’t the author tell the story?” Only rarely. […] Read More →

It Makes A Better Story

Most people I know profess to not like film biopics.  “That’s not really the way it happened,” is the customary complaint.  For reply, I usually quote the novelist Stanley Elkin, from his masterpiece, The Living End.  Ellerbee, Elkin’s protagonist, demands in anger and misery to know what was God’s goal “…when You shaped shit and […] Read More →

Plotting and Punching

“Keep your hands up,” Martin tells me. He demonstrates, his bare fists at chin level, curled fingers facing. I put my hands up. They are wrapped, swathed in a stretchy black semi-elastic tape. Wrapping one’s hands is a meditative practice. Three loops around the wrist, eight loops around the palm of the hand. Then between […] Read More →

In Praise of Indies

Late last month I did something wacky. Rather than face airport chaos I decided to go by car on a trip which happily combined family and author events. Alert readers of this blog will know that I reside in Colorado, so this is no trip around the block. About 3800 trips around the block would […] Read More →


In a radio interview I heard Merle Streep say she was lucky because she knew pretty much how good she was or wasn’t at different skills. What a gift, I thought. I was in Tucson when I heard that interview, and on the way home while crossing the desert, I got a profound realization: I’m […] Read More →

Understanding Acknowledgments

I need to submit my “front material” for my next mystery, Fractured Families, which will be published March 2017. For me the most troubling task is that of writing thanks and acknowledgments. I worry that I will leave someone out. This seemingly innocent task can be rather tricky. I don’t want to thank someone who […] Read More →

Book Sleuthing

As a former information professional, I have mixed feelings about the Internet and the way it has changed our lives (and careers!) but sometimes it provides a lot of fun. I have become hooked on the used book sites and the way they make it possible to find old books. Here is an oddball search […] Read More →