The road between the storms

The road between the storms

Storm vs lull = success The storm called RUSSIAN MOJITO has ended. The lull has arrived, allowing me to catch my breath and attend to all the housekeeping chores that built up while my brain was whirling with MOJITO. The modern do-it-yourself author has a...

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Writing a mystery: 3 essential questions

Writing a mystery: 3 essential questions

RUSSIAN MOJITO, Detective Emilia Cruz Book 7, will be released on 6 June. It is undoubtedly the most complex mystery I've ever written. Emilia's whole future is on the line. Mystery writing: the big start Every Emilia Cruz novel has multiple plot lines. My...

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10 Lessons from Killer Nashville

10 Lessons from Killer Nashville

The Killer Nashville International Writer’s Conference was the first of its kind I’ve ever attended.  I didn’t know quite what to expect but tried to put my best foot forward: Served on 3 panels (Writing Spies and Espionage, Settings, Witness Reliability),...

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The creative process according to Tolkien (and me)

The creative process according to Tolkien (and me)

Last week I sat down with fantasy author Vee James to talk about the creative process. He’s the author of NECCABASHAR, the tale of a young demon climbing the corporate ladder in Hell with hilarious results. (Comedy Channel, take note. This is your next breakout...

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The Importance of a Fatal Flaw

The Importance of a Fatal Flaw

Mysteries are all about complicated people solving complicated plots. We love characters with issues—even a Fatal Flaw--that make them vulnerable and real.  It’s why Spenser has his Code, why John Rebus hangs out in the Oxford Bar, why a 1000-year-old spirit lives...

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10 Ways to Get a Clue

10 Ways to Get a Clue

How many moving parts does it take to build a mystery novel? Do you want the short answer? (lots) Or the long answer? (lots and lots) Building Blocks Now, I'm not whining over the terrible fate of being a mystery author. Actually, I like being a mystery author. I like...

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How to Make an Informed Reading Choice

How to Make an Informed Reading Choice

With so many books out there, how do you make an informed reading choice? From the author's point of view, it's all about "book discoverability.' But I read more than I write and from the reader's perspective, it's all about knowing the book won't disappoint. How to...

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From Panama to Mexico and back again

From Panama to Mexico and back again

Every thriller needs the big climax, right? But suspense needs to be built with action scenes that intrigue us. The mystery setting Remember how in THE KEY TO REBECCA, there's the big climax in the desert as the spy, Wolff, tries to get the radio he's left with the...

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Solve Problems Like a Detective

Solve Problems Like a Detective

  In CLIFF DIVER, Detective Emilia Cruz starts piecing together a police investigation by using a timeline. Emilia’s love of timelines will be an element of her crime-solving skills in every book in the Emilia Cruz mystery series. It’s her go-to problem-solving...

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How to Power Up Your Creativity

How to Power Up Your Creativity

For years I thought creativity belonged exclusively to artists, writers and musicians and longed to be part of such a creative elite. Wow, was I wrong. Now that I’m older and wiser (hopefully) I know that we all have the ability to be creative in any part of our lives...

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The mysterious case of 4 Jars of Inspiration

The mysterious case of 4 Jars of Inspiration

Ready to sweeten life? Throw out a sour mindset?As the author of a mystery series--a relatively solitary occupation--I can’t afford to let my inspiration  ebb away. I’m constantly looking for new sources of motivation, the confidence to tackle new projects, an trying...

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