Inside my CIA Career: Encounter with a Spyplane

Inside my CIA Career: Encounter with a Spyplane

FLYING Several years ago, my husband got his private pilot’s license and we owned a small Piper aircraft. Our son was in kindergarten and promptly fell in love with all things aviation. This rubbed off on me. Our family was soon immersed in flying stories, books about...

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Book Review: THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman

Book Review: THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman

THE THURSDAY MURDER CLUB by Richard Osman What happens when the residents of a bucolic senior living community in England get together to investigate a murder? For starters, one murder becomes . . . many. I’d read so many positive reviews of this book that I was...

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Inside my CIA Career: Media Matters

Inside my CIA Career: Media Matters

What the heck is OSINT My resume includes this line:  OSINT Analyst/Editor, Foreign Broadcast Information Service. Wrote, edited, and briefed analytical conclusions and OSINT reporting content to all levels of inter-and intra-agency audiences. OSINT is shorthand for...

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Inside my CIA Career: Secrets of Great Dialogue

Inside my CIA Career: Secrets of Great Dialogue

Competing Motivations As happened so many times over the course of a 30-year CIA career, I was either a participant or an observer in a dialogue. Not the conversation that happens when you are both talking about the same thing or want the same thing, but a...

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Inside my CIA Career: Make it “Actionable”

Inside my CIA Career: Make it “Actionable”

CIA career During my 30-year CIA career, it was always impressed upon me that we were stewards of the taxpayer’s money. With that in mind, there was effort to make sure the CIA and sister agencies got value for the money when it came to intelligence collection....

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Inside my CIA Career: The Moving Picture Show

Inside my CIA Career: The Moving Picture Show

Thanks to my CIA Career If you’ve read the last few books in the Detective Emilia Cruz police series set in Acapulco, you may have noticed that video plays an important role in providing clues and solving the mystery. In 43 MISSING, the footage from police interviews...

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Book Review: True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

Book Review: True Fiction by Lee Goldberg

TRUE FICTION by Lee Goldberg This outrageously campy thriller is pure escapism. Prepare to suspend disbelief, enjoy a zany premise, and get carried away. The premise Ian Ludlow, author of the he-man soldier of fortune Clint Straker thriller series, is a former TV...

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Inside my CIA Career: the Coup Kit

Inside my CIA Career: the Coup Kit

Coups My official resume says this about the 5 years during my CIA career when I was an all-source analyst: Performed all source analysis of geographic topics of intelligence interest in support of US national security, including National Intelligence Estimates Action...

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Inside my CIA Career: The Analytic Puzzle

Inside my CIA Career: The Analytic Puzzle

First Job My first position with the Central Intelligence Agency was as a political analyst. The official CIA website describes analysis jobs as: “Collaborative. Problem-solvers. Critical thinkers. These are the qualities needed for CIA analytic positions. The ability...

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What I did in the CIA: Glutinous but not Unflavorful

What I did in the CIA: Glutinous but not Unflavorful

Blame it on the Swedish meatballs Early in my CIA career, I was having lunch in the cafeteria of the Original Headquarters Building (back when it was the only Headquarters building.) My friend Willa was apparently feeling daring that day. She ordered the Swedish...

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Book Review: SNOW by John Banville

Book Review: SNOW by John Banville

SNOW by John Banville got a hearty endorsement from several hard-core mystery reader friends and it lived up to expectations in every way except one. It’s a freezing, snowy winter in 1957. Ireland is still a new country. Detective St. John (pronounced Sinjun as he...

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The Big Pivot of 2021

The Big Pivot of 2021

The Big Pivot Do you remember the sofa moving scene in Friends? They guys are doing their best, but it’s too big to get up the stairs. Ross keeps yelling “Pivot, pivot” to no avail. That’s 2020. In 2021 we'll turn the corner. Pivot Ross GIF from Pivot GIFs My personal...

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The Face that Launched 1000 Words

The Face that Launched 1000 Words

Some authors look for visual cues to help create setting and characters. Most call it research. I call it antiques hunting. THE FACE OF THE GALLIANO CLUB To build the Galliano Club series, I have my grandfather’s account books from when he was City Marshall, as well...

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Fiction author asks: Why do we fall in love?

Fiction author asks: Why do we fall in love?

True Story I met my husband at a Memorial Day picnic. After burgers and hot dogs, our host hauled out Trivial Pursuit. Teams were assembled and a fierce no-holds-barred game ensued. To my chagrin, his team won. Nonetheless, when he called a few weeks later, we made a...

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Book Review: THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson

Book Review: THUNDERSTRUCK by Erik Larson

Non-fiction author Erik Larsen (DEAD WAKE, THE DEVIL IN THE WHITE CITY, THE SPLENDID AND THE VILE, etc.) writes true crime with the sweep, suspense, and vocabulary of the best fiction authors. THUNDERSTRUCK may not be his best known book but it is the incredible saga...

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Book Review: GRAY GHOST MURDERS by Keith McCafferty

Book Review: GRAY GHOST MURDERS by Keith McCafferty

I know nothing about fly fishing and have never been to Montana. Nevertheless, the Sean Stranahan mystery series by Keith McCafferty has me hooked. (Sorry, could not resist.) The series has elements of both the Longmire and Mike Bowditch series, but with a gentle...

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Book Review: Dublin Trilogy by Caimh McDonnell

Book Review: Dublin Trilogy by Caimh McDonnell

Author Vee James gifted me this book and a tip of the hat to him. THE MAN WITH ONE OF THOSE FACES is the first book in McDonnell’s Dublin Trilogy about the very funny, yet seriously intriguing misadventures of Paul Mulchrone, Brigit Conroy, and Garda detective Bernard...

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How to be an Armchair Traveler

How to be an Armchair Traveler

I keep waiting for coronavirus to call a time out but, uh, so far . . . no. It's turning me into an armchair traveler. You, too? I have missed museums. Not that I'm a rabid art hound, but museums are a great reason to get up and go somewhere new to refuel my creative...

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Mini Masterclass: How to Write a Mystery Series

Mini Masterclass: How to Write a Mystery Series

Did you ever want to write a mystery series? Have an idea for a character but nothing else? Maybe you need a blueprint for finally getting that mystery series written. True Story When I worked for the CIA, diving into real-life mysteries, I loved reading mysteries...

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For Celine, With Love

For Celine, With Love

TRUE STORY On 11 May 1968, when I was 8 years old, I made my First Communion at St. Paul’s Church in Rome NY. My first cousin Celine was next to me, wearing an identical outfit of starched white linen shift and a lace mantilla secured with a satin ribbon tied under...

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Mexico, Women, Femicide, Fiction

Mexico, Women, Femicide, Fiction

“Women and glass are always in danger.” – Mexican proverb Imagine if Portland, Maine, or Greenville, South Carolina went missing, simply ebbing away like shadows in sunlight over the course of 14 years. The official count of people missing in Mexico since 2006 is...

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Countdown to NARCO NOIR

Countdown to NARCO NOIR

NARCO NOIR, Detective Emilia Cruz Book 8 will be released on 16 April! Emilia goes undercover as a taxi driver to catch a killer, but a dangerous detour takes her to a movie set and the choice that will change her life forever. Cover reveal Once again, artist Matt...

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