Monday, May 30, 2011

The Power of the Quota

The idea of sitting down at your computer and writing the first draft of a novel—an entire 80,000 word (or more) novel—can be daunting. An obstacle so tall and formidable that you might be dissuaded from even starting. But I’ve got an easy-to-implement method that will help you get that draft written with a minimum of pain and suffering (oh, there will be pain and suffering, but this method will help keep you from pulling out all of your hair).

Just sit back and rely on the quota.

Here’s how it works. Take your end goal, say 80,000 words, and divide it by the number of days you have until your deadline. If you don’t have any kind of firm deadline, pick a number, like three months (sixty days—you get your weekends off!). Dividing 80,000 by 60 results in a daily quota of 1333 words per day. Why, you can knock that off in an hour and a half! (Okay, two hours, tops.) As a reward, once your goal is reached, you’re free to do whatever else you want that day (yes, even Facebook)!

If you hit your daily quota, then in three short months, you’ll have an 80,000-word draft of a novel.

Of course, then comes the fun part.


Thursday, May 26, 2011


Guilty! Caught reading crime. Visit Jen’s Book Thoughts to see the incriminating photo.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Fanboy Forever?

Today I’m at InkSpot blogging about morphing into a Fanboy. Click over and tell me if that stage will ever pass. (I hope not!)


Friday, May 20, 2011

Gaithersburg Book Festival

Q. What do Thomas Kaufman, Rita Mae Brown, Donna Andrews, Alex Berenson, Louis Bayard, Stephen Hunter, Brad Parks and…me have in common?

A. We are all appearing at the Gaithersburg Book Festival in the Dashiell Hammett Mystery Pavilion this Saturday (tomorrow)!

I’m batting leadoff at 10:00 am, followed by that bunch of terrific writers.

But the Festival is not just about mysteries! There are seven other pavilions encompassing other genres: fiction, non-fiction, children’s, YA, and even special interests!

And of course the Unicycle Lady will be there!

It’s a full day of fun and books, books and fun (and food!).

Hope to see you there!


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I’m a Pod(cast) Person

I’ve blogged about The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD before. It’s a great place for writers of all types: fiction, non-fiction, rookie, experienced, young, old, published, unpublished.

I’ve also blogged about the advertising campaign I was thrilled to be involved in. You know, the one where my ominous face appears on DC Metrobuses along with a quote:

“Attending workshops at The Writer’s Center was—without a doubt—the biggest factor in my improvement as a writer.”

Now, I’m honored to be part of their podcast interview series, alongside other writers Angela Davis-Gardner, Kelli Stanley, Alan Cheuse, and Alice McDermott.

The free podcast can be heard here, and it is available (also free!) on iTunes.

Thanks to ace interviewer Art Taylor (a 2011 Derringer Award winner) for making me sound a lot better than I am, and to Kyle Semmel of The Writer’s Center for asking me to participate!


Doing the podcast interview was a lot of fun, but I’m anticipating having even more fun this Sunday, May 22 at 2:00 at The Writer’s Center. That’s because I’ll be doing a joint reading (it’s free, too!) with my first instructor there, Ann McLaughlin. I’ll be reading from KILLER ROUTINE, and she’ll be reading from her latest novel, A TRIAL IN SUMMER.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Books, Chocolate, and Wine!

I had a great time at yesterday’s event/signing at One More Page Books in Arlington, VA. If you need books (and who doesn’t?) or if you need chocolate (and who doesn’t?) or if you need wine (and who doesn’t?), you should check out this new store. No joking!

A big thanks to Eileen McGervey and the rest of the characters at One More Page Books!

Some highlights, in pictures:






Monday, May 9, 2011

So Many Questions

On today’s blog tour stop, I’m being interviewed by my writer pal Stephen Parrish on his terrific blog, called, strangely enough, Stephen Parrish.

 KR Blog Tour Logo


Friday, May 6, 2011

Come By and Say Hi!

I’d love to see you at an upcoming event as I promote KILLER ROUTINE. And, as luck would have it, I have three events in the next two weeks or so.

Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 - One More Page Books in Arlington, VA (just over the Falls Church line).

Come out and support this terrific new indie bookstore! I’ll be giving a presentation and signing books (come for the books, but be sure to peruse their very nice wine and chocolate selections). I may even pull out my “simulated” open mic night routine!

Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 amGaithersburg Book Festival

This is one of my favorite events of the year and I’m excited to be invited back! It’s an all-day affair, taking place in multiple pavilions with authors in all genres. My presentation begins at 10 am sharp in the Dashiell Hammett Pavilion. Others following me in that pavilion include mystery/crime writing luminaries Rita Mae Brown, Donna Andrews, Alex Berenson, Louis Bayard, Stephen Hunter, and Brad Parks.

Sunday, May 22 at 2:00The Writer’s Center (Bethesda, MD)

I am thrilled to be doing a joint reading with my wonderful first writing instructor at The Writer’s Center, Ann McLaughlin. This might be your only chance to hear me actually read from one of my books!


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

I Heart My Friends, Old and New

Today, I’m blogging on InkSpot about seeing old friends and making new ones. Click on over and join the lovefest!