Trouble With The Curve

Through the first part of a rather inauspicious Little League career, I struggled to hit straight fastballs and was fortunate that young pitchers back then were discouraged from throwing the curve. When I graduated to Babe Ruth League, the first two curveballs I ever saw knocked me on my backside despite both being called strikes right […]

The Law of Small Numbers Repeated Many Times

I mentioned in my last post that I have some history as a deliberate thinker. As a writer, I craft my plots carefully, working out details early in the story to lead seamlessly toward the end game. You will rarely catch my protagonists relying on coincidence to solve a mystery. It’s harder and takes longer […]

The Great Reservoir of Unfinished Business

With rare exception, I have used this space to blog about my novels and the occasional political rant. Both topics expose my progressive ideals which, in my view, reflect the better part of me. But as I integrate my newest role—person with Parkinson’s disease (PWP)—into my being I have been engaging in a great deal […]

Crafting Intricate Plots: My Writing Process

I’m not one of those writers who can sit at the keyboard and let his characters take over completely–not that there’s anything wrong with that. Many people enjoy a fast, light-weight story, but I prefer to read more intricate plots, so that’s what I write. The premise for my first novel, The Jinx, had been […]

When Eye Candy Fights Back: Adding Depth To a Love Interest

Frank Paine, the protagonist in King of Paine, is a former Hollywood stud who’s recently joined the FBI, a role that screams for a centerfold on his arm. As a former beauty queen and TV starlet, Jolynn Decker could easily fall into the “eye candy” stereotype, a conclusion not contradicted by our first look at […]

The Chop, The Beast & The Infield Fly Rule

The knock on me as a sportswriter for the Albany Student Press back in the early 80s was that I wrote with my heart instead of my brain. After a December 7th triple-overtime loss by my beloved Great Danes to the national powerhouse Potsdam Bears (Albany played in Division III at the time), I evoked the […]

Researching An FBI Story

King of Paine is a complex story with many subplots and themes, but at heart it’s about a flawed man, Frank Paine, seeking redemption by joining an organization striving to recapture its own fabled mojo after a string of historic failures. With the ghosts of Waco, Ruby Ridge, and 9/11 whispering in his ear, Frank’s […]

Rooting for a Flawed Protagonist

Readers love to root for their action heroes, so even when authors endow their main characters with flaws to add depth and realism, the “defects” are often designed to make you sympathize with the character more (like a job applicant who reluctantly admits to being a workaholic). The archetypes are familiar: the rogue cop whose […]

Weaving Social Themes Into Suspense Novels

Like many thriller/suspense authors, especially those trained as attorneys, I craft intricate, well-researched plots, engage my characters in thought-provoking social drama and spice their lives with alluring romantic entanglements. The most challenging aspect of mastering this genre is incorporating contemporary social issues without preaching or compromising pace. Two early John Grisham novels illustrate the perils. […]

Researching the Psychology of BDSM

Despite the provocative image on King of Paine’s cover, I did not set out to write a novel about BDSM. The story remains primarily a whodunit that follows two investigations, the FBI’s pursuit of a stalker committing a series of kinky Internet crimes and a reporter tracking the disappearance of wealthy senior citizens. But as […]

“Who Are You Chatting With? The Dangers of Anonymous Internet Communications”

Ever since my two sons began using AOL’s instant messaging service in the late-1990s, I’ve been intrigued by the potential for good and evil inherent in anonymous Internet chat, a device featured prominently in both of my novels. Like every parent, I feared my kids could become vulnerable to predators if allowed to roam cyberspace […]

Debunking Cain: Turning 999 Upside Down

Herman Cain’s policies escaped close scrutiny while his presidential campaign lingered on the margins, but the businessman/radio personality’s recent burst into the frontrunner’s box targets him as a candidate to be taken seriously. He’s armed with what he calls his 999 Plan, and he’s dangerous. Cain’s plan is ultimately to phase in the Fair Tax […]

Do We Still Have A Dream?

We celebrate anniversaries to mark time, to reflect on progress year over year. On this 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech, Washington celebrates great leaps forward in race relations with the unveiling of the King Memorial, but my reflections leave me wondering if a shell-shocked nation has given up on […]

My Hero, My Wife, And A Purple Donkey

Recent events have reminded me that behind every good man stands a better woman, a Hillary to inspire the dreamer in Bill. Please forgive the redundancy in the title, but this post is about only one such woman. Ellie is my wife and my hero–and a purple donkey, too. Usually, she inspires me to write […]

How You Can Help An Author Who Inspires You

Have you ever experienced the excitement of discovering a new author who inspires you and wondered why you haven’t heard of him or her before? With thousands of novels published every month, it’s tough to find an audience. Ten years ago, a strong review in Publishers Weekly earned The Jinx a place on bookstore shelves, […]

Free Ebook Reader!

No, this is not spam–although it’s not a free iPad, either. But it is an invitation to join the ebook revolution at zero cost, using your existing electronic equipment. Free software programs by reputable providers are available to turn your home computer, laptop, netbook or smartphone into an ebook reader, and they work beautifully. In […]

Wealth Redistribution, The Law of the Jungle & Seeds of Revolution

We look on with hope and concern as revolution breaks out across the Middle East, but as the world’s great bastion of democracy we seem to consider ourselves immune from civil unrest. I think that’s a mistake. The conservative agenda is planting the seeds of revolution in America, and in a democracy revolution does not […]