Seven Tips for Rediscovering Your Love of Reading

  While some writers have been writing stories since they could hold a pencil, that wasn’t my experience. I was a reader first. For thirty-five years I fell into books, crawled into stories, and lived there as often as possible. Then one day the stories in my head tumbled onto a page. I started writing, […]

Top Twelve Mystery Novels of 2020

2020 was a year to forget, but thanks to these twelve highly talented authors, we had wonderful novels that helped us escape the real life problems and suffering around us. Here are the Top Twelve Mystery Novels of 2020 in no particular order. The Finisher by Peter Lovesey (SOHO Press) It’s hard to believe that Peter Lovesey […]

Excerpt: The Murderer and the Fortune Teller by Allan Pinkerton

The Murderer and the Fortune Teller by Allan Pinkerton One sultry day in the summer of 185-, I arrived in Chicago, from a tour I had been making through the Southern States. I had attended to a portion of the accumulated business which I found awaiting me, when a gentleman entered the outer office and […]

Tips for Creating the Perfect Villain

How many times have you read a book where the villain reminds you of the old black-caped character twirling his handlebar mustache and laughing maniacally? Readers may have settled for that characterization a hundred years ago or even twenty-five years ago, but now they are looking for more complex characters and a more perfect villain. […]

Six Bone Crushingly Great Films

Six Bone Crushingly Great Films Like most, I used to think that the expression “break a leg” was just a weird way that actors said good luck before a performance. But that was only before I realized how many great movies have people with broken legs in them. My wife and I discovered this strange […]

Welcome to the neighborhood . . . not! 5 Books that meld good settings with bad people.

  Imagine, just for a moment, being a real estate agent in Monterey California, and your client telling you she wants to live where the “good characters” lived in Big Little Lies and not where the “bad characters lived.”  Sigh.  Perhaps nothing did more and less for a beautiful location than the film adaptation of […]

Pairing Books and FoodPairing Books and Food

Pairing Books and Food I love curling up with a good book and knowing I have an uninterrupted stretch of time ahead of me to enjoy it. That doesn’t happen nearly as often as I’d like (because I have my own books to write, too!), but when it does, I always like to find the […]

A Sherlockian Christmas Carol

      Stave the One   Marley was dead to begin with, There was little doubt of all that. The coroner signed off the papers, And Scrooge had re-rented his flat.   Yes, Marley slept deep in the graveyard, Struck down by the Finger of Fate, And basked in the glory of angels, Whilst […]

Building Suspense with Memory and Emotion: Hank Phillippi Ryan’s Approach to Writing

Every author approaches writing a little differently. Some plot while others are pantsers. Some writers conduct research up front, whereas others may dig up what they need to know as they go along. It’s the unique methods and singular style thriller and mystery authors apply to their work that makes books stand out and differentiates […]

Turning a Family Memory into a Thriller: Samantha Downing Discusses He Started It

It’s safe to say most people’s childhood memories include at least one road trip, complete with a canon of “Are we there yet?” and “He started it!” In fact, family memories like this can have a big impact on us as adults – particularly if we happen to be thriller writers. Such was the case […]

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