Writing from Here to There

Most of us love the fact that books can take us out of our ordinary lives and transport us to distant lands. But how does an author create a story that can do that? Many novelists root their stories in places they’ve once lived. Barbara Kingsolver, for instance, spent part of her childhood in the Congo, which lends verisimilitude to her terrific novel, The Poisonwood Bible. And while The Stockholm Octavo is set in the 18th Century, the novel was doubtless inspired by the nine Continue reading →

Judging a Book by its Cover

A or B. Which of these two covers below best addresses the question, “What does an old stuffed bunny have to do with a missing three-year-old and a religious cult?” If your answer is “A” you agree with everyone I asked last Sunday while signing at the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC. “A” is the fantastic new Suspense Publishing cover for Last Writes, which was the fourth book in my forensic handwriting series (2010). The first four books were published by Penguin, who Continue reading →

Travel on the Horizon

If you love to travel and love to write, you can simply weave together these two urges to create the ideal occupation, right? It makes perfect sense… or so I thought when I first landed in Thailand. My writing implements were at hand and my senses were primed. I would absorb it all, craft pages of sparkling prose, and my imagined career as a travel writer would be underway. By day two, however, I’d yet to write a single useable paragraph. And by the next Continue reading →

Everyday Hero: Benny Adkins

April 1, 2016 I have read and I have seen acts of heroism and gallantry that have always amazed me. But every once in a while an individual seems to break the definition of “Hero” in such a way as to make the word insufficient to describe what he has done. Bennie Adkins is just that sort of individual. After fifty years, Adkins was finally recognized for his service in Vietnam; service that will go down in history as not just heroic, but also almost Continue reading →