Book Review: Northwest Angle By William Kent Krueger

Book Review: Northwest Angle By William Kent Krueger New York: Atria Books, 2011. $24.99 Welcome back to northern Minnesota and the quickest, most exciting read closest to the Canadian border. The Northwest Angle is a place of majestic vistas, pristine forests, and ocean-like waters in the Lake of the Woods. And William Kent Krueger’s love […]

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Jon Land

Satisfaction Guaranteed by Jon Land “Does it really work?” Julia Burrell asked the clerk behind the counter.  “Because this is important.”The clerk held the dark bottle between flabby fingers that were fitting extensions of his squat frame topped with a slicked-down comb over that didn’t quite reach.  “It always is.”“Lots depends on it.”“It always does.  […]

Why the Short Story?

Why the Short Story? I’m currently working on my seventeenth (or is it eighteenth?) novel, and I’m struggling with plotting out a manuscript that will be at least three hundred pages, with a number of characters, plot twists, setbacks, and perhaps a flashback or two. Once the outline is done and I’m satisfied, then it’s […]

History, Mystery, and Joy

History, Mystery, and Joy When planning a murder, the first thing you need is a time machine. No DNA evidence to convict, if you go back three decades. No fingerprint evidence if you go back 150 years. Of course, no insanity plea either. No psychiatry, no killer profiling, no rehabilitation, and precious little mercy. All […]

The New Strength of Independent Bookstores

The New Strength of Independent Bookstores

The New Strength of Independent Bookstores   While I am not consistently doing a happy dance—January and February here in Ann Arbor, Michigan, are long, cold months—as an independent bookseller, I have new reasons to be cautiously optimistic. After the closing of Borders, whose mother ship store was just a few blocks away, we’ve seen […]

R.L. Stine on writing

R.L. Stine’s Writing Tips

R. L. Stine’s Writing Tips R. L. Stine is the author of hundreds of bestselling horror fiction novels, including the Goosebumps and Fear Street series. R. L. Stine’s Writing Tips: 1. Never sit down and start writing. Always have a complete plan for what you are going to write before you start. 2. Always know the ending of your […]

Michael Palmer’s Writing Tips

Michael Palmer’s Writing Tips 1) Relax!! — breathing, meditation before starting. Don’t take yourself too seriously. 2) Identify those passages that you are particularly fond of and get rid of them. Those are the passages that call the readers’ attention to what a good writer you are. 3) Be fearless. Try things you know might […]

And the Nominees Are…

And the Nominees Are… Recognizing excellence in the field of mystery fiction, the Critics Awards were judged by a select group of book critics and journalists, from news venues such as The Washington Post, LA Times, Chicago Sun Times, Associated Press, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, The Guardian, and several other daily papers.This will mark the […]

Catchin’ A Firefly In A Mason Jar

Catchin’ A Firefly In A Mason Jar

Catchin’ A Firefly In A Mason Jar My brother and I did everything we could to keep our grandmother from laughing on Thursdays. At least in the wintertime.That was no easy task given there was little in life the old woman liked better than a good belly laugh. Said it prevented indigestion, promoted solid bowel […]

On meeting the creator of The Exorcist

On meeting the creator of The Exorcist

On meeting the creator of The Exorcist Years ago when I was squeaking through high school, I went with friends to see the movie the whole world was talking about: The Exorcist. As a former altar boy who’d been taught by nuns, the story jolted me. I squirmed in my seat each time we were […]

Witches, Burning, Butties, and Beer

Witches, Burning, Butties, and Beer

Witches, Burning, Butties, and Beer Normally, I have no idea where that first elusive spark for a novel comes from. Sometimes a scene just pops into my head, sometimes it’s a title, but for Close To The Bone it happened in a borrowed estate car driving around the South Island of New Zealand in 2009. […]