Welcome to my monthly musings, on topics ranging from the writing process to books and authors I admire to whatever else might spark my interest and imagination.  I hope that through these essays you’ll get to know me, and that from your comments (please post them below), I’ll get to know you.  I’ve begun, by way of introduction, by recounting my unlikely journey from L.A. trial lawyer to published novelist.  Just start from the bottom and work your way up.  And if anything tickles your fancy, feel free to share it.  You have my permission.

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When It’s Time to Part With Your Agent

One question an author often hears is, “How did you find an agent?”  In my case, therein lies a tale, and I’ve told it to my friends over at Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers. Comment on the piece before Sunday at noon (rocky mountain time) and you could win a signed book.

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Read an Excerpt from The Last Heir


Last HeirYou can take Jack out of L.A. — in this case, all the way to Napa Valley — but you can’t take the L.A. out of Jack, as this excerpt from THE LAST HEIR at CriminalElements.com conclusively proves.

Meanwhile, I talk to The Sirens of Suspense about the writing process, and how my three careers — lawyer, author, and vigneron — all came together for this book:

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The Cuckoo Case

judges-wig-and-gavelIn today’s news, the lawyer who “leaked” J.K. Rowling’s secret identity as Robert Galbraith was fined for breaching a client confidence.  Below is my version of what might have happened had the case gone to trial.

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Storyteller’s Anthology

SouthWest Writers is a New Mexico-based nonprofit dedicated to inspiring, nurturing, and supporting authors of both fiction and nonfiction throughout the world.  As a second-career novelist looking to break into publishing, it was through winning the SouthWest Writers International Writing Contest in 2010 that I landed my New York literary agent and, soon thereafter, contracts with both New York and London-based publishing houses.  You might say that I owe SWW my present career.

In 2012, the SWW offices in Albuquerque were severely damaged by flooding, forcing the organization both to move and to acquire new furniture, fixtures, and equipment.  In an effort to recoup some of the attendant costs, SWW decided in late 2013 to publish an anthology of original short stories, essays, and book excerpts.  All proceeds from the sale of The Storyteller’s Anthology will go to SWW and will allow them to continue their important mission.

I was pleased to be one of the 40+ authors – a distinguished group that includes David Morrell, Anne Hillerman, Jonathan Miller, and S.H. Baker – invited to contribute to the anthology, which was ably edited by Peggy Herrington.  I would invite all of my friends and readers to consider buying a copy.  When you do, you’ll be supporting SWW and guaranteeing yourself hours of quality entertainment.  And as an extra bonus, many of the contributing authors will be appearing live at Bookworks in Albuquerque (4022 Rio Grande Boulevard NW) at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 19, 2014 to sign copies of The Storyteller’s Anthology.

Great reading for a great cause.  What better way to kick off the new year?

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Hard Twisted now in paperback!

hard_twisted pbI’m pleased to announce that today is publication day for the U.S. trade paperback of HARD TWISTED, the Depression-era true-crime novel that the London Sunday Times called a “taut and intriguing thriller,” and that the L.A. Times called “a gritty, gripping read, and one that begs to be put on film.”  Which explains why I spent most of yesterday doing radio interviews, first with Utah Public Radio host Tom Williams, then with Authors on the Air host Stephen Campbell, and I hope you’ll take a moment and check them out.  Tomorrow (Wednesday) I’m off to Collected Works Bookstore in Santa Fe, NM for a 6:00 p.m. event with author David Edgerly Gates, whose work appears in the newly-released BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF 2013.  I’ll be signing HARD TWISTED, and David will be signing BAMS 2013, and if you’re in the neighborhood, we hope you’ll stop by and say hello.  Also, for those in the southwestern Colorado area, I’ll be interviewed by host Tom Yoder on NPR affilliate KSJD-FM on Friday, November 1 at 8:30 a.m.  Hope you’ll listen in!

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