What??? Is that even a thing?
It is, as I discovered last Monday when I went to the book page for Never Speak on Amazon. I do it at least once a day to check my sales rank—a shameful practice which I try to justify by knowing that I’m far from alone.
When I looked on Monday the Kindle version of my book was gone. Had I violated one of Amazon’s unwritten rules, and they’d killed my book? A flurry of emails revealed the…Continue
If you’re born a lemon-head, make lemonade.
(Note to subscribers: due to the demands of my current book project, I will no longer post every…Continue
My guilty secret: I take a nap after lunch every day, and I’ve been doing it since my late 20s. Why guilty? Napping has always had this faint whiff of wrongness, something to do with naps being the exclusive province of geezers, folks who are so used up that they don’t have the juice to get through the day. But there was nothing vague about the words of my spiritual teacher. In typical terse take-no-prisoners style, he said, “Naps are suicide.”
I heard these words a few years after…Continue
Here's my first list of great TV series
There’s nothing modern about this tragedy.
Like many, I found the pictures of Notre Dame—with flames reaching to the heavens, the ornate steeple collapsing like…Continue
NEVER SPEAK has been out for 10 weeks. Thank you, everyone who has bought and reviewed it!
NEVER SPEAK in its first library appearance
at the Cutler Memorial in Plainfield, VT. Thank you, Jane Youngbear!
How a chance encounter turned me into a novelist.
I first came to Hudson, NY in the early aughties. I’d been…Continue
But I see a hidden danger in it.
When I first heard of Michael Pollan’s bestselling book How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches…Continue
But only if you think it is.
Like many of my stories, this one has a front end (the present) and a back (the past.) I’ll start with the past.
I was living in a fifth floor walkup in the scary northern tip of Manhattan, trying to get someone—anyone!— to pay me to write music. For over a year I schlepped the long way downtown on the A Train to meet potential buyers, my demo tape clutched in sweaty palms and my gut in the…Continue
Featuring Pieces that inspired Never Speak, book one in the Murderous Arts Series.
I. RAY’S HOUSE
The protagonist of Never Speak is Ray Watts, a visual artist who lives above his gallery in Hudson, NY. Ray has gothic taste. His patron saint is Edgar Allen Poe, with whom he shares a weakness for absinthe. He of course lives in a Victorian house.
One like this one in Hudson, only narrow, sandwiched between other…Continue
Four years ago, I’d completed two novels in a mystery/thriller series. There was a lot of media buzz about self-publishing, and I was on the fence as to whether to go that way or hold out for a traditional deal. Over the months that I hemmed and hawed over my dilemma, I sensed that the golden moment for self-publishing might have already passed. Everyone and his aunt seemed to be slapping a book up on…Continue
As a kid I read Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth. Though I knew it was fiction, I became obsessed with the desire to go to the center of the earth. My mother got me a little book The Story of Caves. It told of holes in the ground and the men who go in them.
Spelunkers, they were called in the book, but when I met a real one at sleep away camp he called himself a caver. He drove us deep into the Berkshires in an…Continue
It’s not a book in my preferred mystery/thriller genre, not a book at all, or even short story, but this New Yorker article, about the best-selling author of the mystery/thriller The Woman in the Window. The article is a very long read—12,000 words—but I scarfed it down in one sitting, even though I’d laid down for a much needed nap. Within minutes I was wide awake.
The New York Times weekly column “By the Book” interviews authors and famous people about what they read. Most have a bedside table threatening collapse from the mountain of books piled on it. They sprinkle their reading lists with obscure works, like that new translation of a 18TH century Latvian poet I’ve never heard of. I leave the column feeling less well read than the authors.
But that wouldn’t be hard. On my bedside table you’ll find a couple of dust covered…Continue
In October our Tibetan Spaniel Milo developed a cough. Ten days later he was dead of an enlarged heart. Judy and I were devastated. Milo was fourteen, but our previous Tibbies had lived to almost twenty.
Judy had sworn up and down that Milo would be our last dog. Within hours of Milo’s passing we were talking about a puppy. I contacted…Continue
CULTS IN OUR MIDST*
When most people think of cults what tends to come to mind is the Manson Family or Jim Jones and the Kool-aid. Heaven’s Gate members in those bunk beds with plastic bags covering their heads. Aum Shinrikyo unleashing Sarin gas in the Tokyo Subway. There’s a reason people associate the word cult with the most extreme examples, i.e. death cults. It’s a way of distancing themselves from a terrifying phenomenon. A way of saying “I’d never get involved with anything…Continue
Since moving to the Bay Area I’ve been listening a lot to our local public radio station KQED. I turned on my car radio the other day and there was an unmistakable voice that I thought I’d never hear again–that of my friend Jill Ker Conway. She died a few weeks ago, on June 1st. I was hearing an interview with Terri Gross from 1994, but Jill didn’t sound any different than the last time we spoke.
We met when my family moved to a Western Massachusetts town–coincidentally…Continue
The Netflix documentary series Wild Wild Country tells the story of Indian guru Baghwan Shree Rajneesh’s years in the US. In 1981 he and his followers moved to remote Antelope, Oregon, population 40. On a hundred mile square tract of wilderness they built Rajneeshpuram, a city that housed up to 7000, complete with a shopping mall and airport.
The locals were none too pleased with their new maroon-clad neighbors and did everything they could to get them to leave. The…Continue
I am happy to announce that I have signed a deal with TCK Publishing for Never Speak, If I Fell, and The Girl in the Game, novels of psychological suspense.
This never would have happened without my wife Judy, agent Evan Marshall, and the brainstorming, mentoring, beta-reading and handholding of countless friends, family and fellow writers at Our Salon and Open Salon over the thirteen and a half…Continue
I first gazed up at the summit thirteen years ago. It looked close. I was writing a memoir about my father and the 1960’s. Memoirs…Continue