Can a murder scene have a taste?

Let Your Senses Run Wild

Let Your Senses Run Wild   As a suspense and thriller author, I write a lot of murder scenes. It’s a hazard of the job. Sometimes I write them in the moment, as the blade is being swung or the trigger is pulled; sometimes it’s the seconds that immediately follow. And other times, the scenes […]

Five Ways to Begin Your Book

Five Ways to Begin Your Book My favorite part of writing is the beginning of a book. It’s exciting because I feel free to do anything I want. I haven’t painted myself into a corner yet. Or questioned who came up with this stupid plot? Or slogged through the middle where I’m looking around for […]

What’s at Stake? Creating Conflict in your Books

  What’s at Stake? Creating a serious edge-of-the-seat conflict in books… There’s a tongue-in-cheek saying in higher education circles that academic politics are so nasty because the stakes are so low. It’s another way of saying that the intensity of a conflict should match what’s at stake. This is particularly true in thrillers. Who’d want […]

Top 10 Writing Tips for a Killer Novel

  Top 10 Writing Tips for a Killer Novel   Nail the opening. Grab the reader by the throat from the first page, the first paragraph, even the first sentence. Instead of dumping a bunch of backstory into the opening chapter or setting the stage for action that takes place in the second or third […]

Is Research That Important?

Is Research That Important?

Is Research That Important? The need to be a savvy, entertaining, visionary, imaginative, and riveting storyteller aside, research for me is a main and even essential ingredient of being an author who is taken seriously. It is an imperative element, without which any given book would lack authenticity, believability, and that organic quality (fantasy aside, […]

The Not-So Mysterious Mystery Of Creativity

The Not-So Mysterious Mystery Of Creativity   I’m continually asked how did you come up with this?  Where do I get the ideas for my stories?  People genuinely seem confounded by it.  I think the key thing is to be open to the world and the possibilities around you.  Most people aren’t; they lumber through […]

Top Ten Gifts to Give a Suspense Writer…

Top Ten Gifts to Give a Suspense Writer…

Top Ten Gifts to Give a Suspense Writer…   With Christmas approaching, let the angst begin. What should you get the mystery or suspense writer on your list? You know, the one who’s perpetually late because the voices in her head speak over the buzzing of the alarm. Or the one who has ink stains […]

“And the winner is…”

“And the winner is…”

“And the winner is…” A reflection on writing success   I was pretty sure I’d win. After all, I’d been writing for six years—mostly for curriculum publishers and magazines, and I was confident that I really had my act together. The writers’ conference I was attending had a short-story-writing contest and, thankfully for me, although […]

From Covering Crime to Writing Crime

From Covering Crime to Writing Crime Author of  Desert Remains (Seventh Street Books)   “Hello. I’d like to see the menu. Thank you. Now if you wouldn’t mind listing the specials and telling me about the crime du jour.”   That was me, as a cocky young reporter, walking into the newsroom every morning, anticipating whatever […]

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration

Top Five Places to Find Writing Inspiration One of my favorite parts of writing is the noodling. I love the mulling that comes before I’ve committed to what a story will be. I love choosing the tiniest grain of an idea and then going off to look for the things that will transform it into […]