A year ago, in an effort to stop me from gnashing my teeth about things I couldn’t change, my doctor took the (extreme) step of forbidding me to engage in politics. Since I live outside the States and can no longer participate directly, this effectively slammed the door on reading about politics, or talking about politics, or even listening to other people talk about politics.
Unlike my previous life, where I was a player, now geography and my physician were forcing me to sit on the sidelines and not… Continue reading
We are challenged on this blog to post about “writerly things,” a moniker that could include almost any item, event, or thought, given the right circumstances.
That being the case, three times in the last six months I’ve written about the mystery of two Dutch girls, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, who disappeared from my part of Panama in April. The doomed girlsare now off the radar of most officialdom, which would like to quiet the whole… Continue reading
I went to ThrillerFest this past July and posted about my experience last month. As I said then, it was the first conference I’ve attended and, predictably, I racked up plenty of boo-boos. There were some good things as well so I’ve distilled both ends of the experience into a short list of takeaways that, hopefully, will help other neophyte conference attendees.
#1 Know your purpose and goal in attending the event. I knew that my purpose was to assess whether I wanted to engage an agent for my second book, having self-published the first. I wanted to see… Continue reading
Last January, I decided to attend Thrillerfest, of all the mystery conferences, this being the one that intrigued me most.
Steve Berry spoke to a packed house.
There was a great CraftFest segment with top authors. A big luncheon and cocktail party where I could mingle with interesting folks in the mystery community. And there was the jewel, PitchFest, a singular opportunity to meet agents and put my second book —… Continue reading
Before I begin my post I would like to say how happy I am to again be an active participant in this wonderful blog. Beginning in late Spring and extending over the summer into September, I first underwent manic preparation of a manuscript for Thrillerfest, followed by a lingering family illness, followed by an all-consuming interest in the subject of this post. Those things combined led me to take a hiatus from the blog, which is now, happily, concluded.
Regarding the post, I experienced for the second time in my life what it is like to be drawn into
Back in the Spring, I noted here the story of two Dutch students, Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, who came to my town of Boquete, Panama, and never made it home. One beautiful April day, they disappeared on a hike near the local volcano, leaving town without a guide and without saying precisely which trail they were taking. Their only companion was “Blue,” the Husky mix who belonged to the hostel where the students were staying. “Blue” returned to Boquete, but, ominously, the girls didn’t.
I love this month’s topic. In my previous life (maybe in this one, too), I must have been a real nerd. The card-carrying kind, with the pen clip for my blouse pocket and a baseball cap turned the wrong way, bill forward.
I probably had red hair in kinks that stuck out all over. And definitely freckles.
My idea of fun was to collect “Resources.”
Maybe I landed a job at MI-5. Or maybe I was a librarian, before they got cool… Continue reading
Writing, for me, is an act of pure joy, a chance to leave the world and enter a frothy bubble of thought and creation. I look forward to it as I move through the day, the way a child might, when promised candy at the end of chores.
While writing is my one true love, research has always been a second passion. In my university years, I was lucky to be just a few minutes hike from a paradise of sorts, the Library of Congress, with its heady combination of almost unlimited resources (838 miles of shelves!) set in… Continue reading
Linda’s suggestion that we write about Settings this month was a welcome one, as I’ve been deep in the jungle this week, researching Panama’s dark and fearsome Darien Gap for my new thriller, ESCAPE TO PANAMA. Once upon a time, all of Panama was like the nearly impenetrable Darien, though today sections have been so hacked and burned that you can’t tell much difference from the U.S.
I’ve done some thinking recently about writer’s block, the self-inflicted wound that almost all wordsmiths endure at least once in our careers. So much has been written about the subject that it almost seems presumptuous to add anything more. Indeed a Writer’s Block cottage industry has sprung up, complete with books, audio tapes, even counselors who specialize in the phenomenon. Nonetheless, I’ll throw in a few more paragraphs in the hopes that they might be of help to anyone battling the wretched affliction. For, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that there can never be too… Continue reading