Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Come By and Say Hi!

Over the next month, I’ll be leaving my cave to make a few appearances. If you’re in the area, come by and say hi!

April 27, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
Mystery Writers of America Booth
International Day of the Book
Howard Avenue
Kensington, MD 20895


May 2 - 4
[On Saturday, May 3, 2:00 pm, I'll be moderating the panel: Putting the "Fun" in Funerals (Panelists: Donna Andrews, Brad Parks, Helen Smith, Nancy G. West)]
Malice Domestic Mystery Convention
Hyatt Regency Hotel
Bethesda, MD 20814


May 17, 1:00 pm – Free Presentation: "How to Write a Mystery" 
Gaithersburg Book Festival
31 South Summit Avenue
Gaithersburg, MD 20877


Thursday, April 17, 2014

A Man of Many Books

If you could choose a dead author to mentor you today, who would you choose and why?

Hemingway? Too gruff.

Edgar Allan Poe? Too creepy.

Faulkner? Too wordy.

Norman Mailer? Too drunk.

Tom Wolfe? Too alive.

I think I’d choose Robert B. Parker. He’s one of the authors that inspired me to become a writer myself, and I’ve read every one of his (many) books, some multiple times. RobertBParker

He’s written four series, in two different genres (mystery and western). He’s written standalones. He was prolific; it seemed like he wrote at least a book a year for fifty years. I love his characters. I love his dialogue. I love the moral dilemmas he created for his characters. (His plots were, uh, utilitarian, for the most part, simply canvasses to paint on. But nobody’s perfect.)

Bob and I would have some fun…

We’d talk shop, down on the banks of the Charles in springtime, watching the college crew teams practice on the river. We’d stroll through Back Bay, discussing characterization and the role of the macho sidekick. We would enjoy a meal at the Chart House as we watched the planes descend toward Logan, deep in conversation about multiple book story arcs.

And he’d impress upon me the importance of researching the setting where a story takes place, insisting on hands-on experiential learning. We’d work out together at the local gym. Take in a new exhibit at the Museum of Science.

Catch a game or three at Fenway.

Yeah, I definitely could get into this whole being mentored thing.

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Can I Still Do Arithmetic?

If you lost the ability to write or read for a day,
what would you do?

Confession #1 – I’m not one of those writers who needs to write every day.

Confession #2 – I’m not one of those readers who needs to read every day. (Does the morning paper count?)

In other words, having to refrain from both activities for a day would be no big hardship for me!
If the weather was nice, I’d get some exercise, for sure. Go for a walk or run. Work on my swing or maybe squeeze in eighteen thirty-six holes. School my son in a game (or three) of H-O-R-S-E.

If the weather wasn’t so nice, I would curl up with a good book I might go to a museum. Watch a movie. Binge watch some Netflix series (Do NOT tell me how Breaking Bad ends! Ditto for what’s going on with House of Cards. Double ditto for Orange is the New Black). Organize my record collection (yes, vinyl!). Round up a few potential victims and coerce them into playing a marathon game of Monopoly.

Or I could do something more productive. Like clean the kitchen, laundry room, garage, office, basement, den, living room, dining room, and/or storage area. Or do some house maintenance. I’m sure there’s something around here that needs touching-up, landscaping, fixing, arranging, rearranging, or demolishing.

In other words, I think I could keep busy if I couldn’t read or write for an entire year!

(This entry is “simul-posted” on Criminal Minds.)