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Every new book is an adventure for me.

And like any adventure worth having, it is in turn scary and exhilarating.

My stories tend to brew in my mind for quite a while, like hurricanes forming out there in the Atlantic. They usually start with a tiny nagging idea. I then begin to write copious notes as new "what if?" ideas occur to me.

Finally, I gather up all those notes and start transferring them into STORYBOOK, the software program I use to organize and help me build my outline. Finally when everything is organized I begin to write a synopsis of the story, detailing the action in each chapter.

And that's where I am today - ten pages into my detailed outline.

And again, magic happened.

While thinking about the story over the weekend I began to worry that it might take a little too long to get into the action. I started looking for a way to remedy this and when the answer came, it surprised and delighted me. And more importantly it opened up a entire new possibility for the story.

Not only did I have my solution to my pacing problem, but I had also discovered a way to keep you, hopefully, on the edge of your seats.

And that's day one done... Only forty five more to go before the completion of the first draft.

 
 
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I finished the final revisions on DOUBLE TAP, my next Rip and Wilma book.

Now, it's time to hand the book off to Amy, my ever-patient editor.

Turning a manuscript over to someone else always creates conflicted feelings in me: relief to be finished the revision work at last, while at the same time, the same sense of sadness you feel when a child takes its first steps toward independence.


Finishing DOUBLE TAP is the culmination of over a year and a half worth of work. During that time it has gone from being safely tucked inside my head, and flowed into a Word document that only I could access. Just before I started the revision it took its first baby steps when it was read by three people I trust to give me really blunt and constructive feedback.

This I got in droves and it fueled the revision. I am now satisfied that DOUBLE TAP exceeds the craziness of HAIR TRIGGER.

In the new book Rip and Wilma confront a crazed analyst, a pair of bike gangs and a multitude of other mysterious factions who seem to be hell bent on taking them out of the picture.


If all goes to plan, you will be able see for yourself later this fall when the book is released.



 
 
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When I am not working I love nothing more than to dive into a great book by an author I love. I have a lot of books on the go right now but I thought I might share a few thoughts on some I have read recently.

I'd like to start
with John Connolly's book - THE WOLF IN WINTER
The death of a homeless man and the disappearance of his daughter draw the haunted, lethal private investigator Charlie Parker to Prosperous, Maine. Prosperous has always thrived when others have suffered. Its inhabitants are wealthy, its children's future secure. It shuns outsiders. It guards its own. And at the heart of the Prosperous lie the ruins of an ancient church, transported stone by stone from England centuries earlier by the founders of the town …

Read an excerpt.



This is the latest of John Connolly’s Charlie Parker mystery-horror hybrid novels. For those not familiar with Connolly he is a combination of James Lee Burke and Stephen King.

I usually love his books but this time I was disappointed. The underlying story is a riff on THE WICKER MAN where the old gods have to be satisfied to assure the on-going prosperity of the community. The other big disappointment is that in the second half of the book Parker disappears leaving the stage to be filled by the supporting actors.

That said, the supporting cast in the Parker novels are great and they manage to carry the novel through to a spectacular conclusion. If you haven’t read Connolly yet Wolf in Winter is not a good place to start. There are a lot of threads from earlier novels in it and frankly you would find it too confusing. Do yourself a favour and pick up his earlier books in the series. I guarantee you will be hooked.



 
 
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Now that BLOODY SUNSET is in the stores and starting to sell I am busy revising my next Rip and Wilma book DOUBLE TAP.

Originally I wrote HAIR TRIGGER, which was their first adventure, as a one off. But fate and fickle being what they are, I discovered that there was a large and very enthusiastic audience for my two Detroit contract killers.

My challenge, when I first entertained the idea of doing a second book, was to come up with a story as wild, and hopefully, as funny as the first. I spent a lot of time thinking about it before finally seizing on the core idea that I would build the novel around - Rip and Wilma are hired to find and kill the people who murdered a judge. Their dilemma is that they are the ones who killed the judge.

And it starts from there and drags them along for a really wild ride that takes them from Detroit to Michigan's supermax prison, Switzerland, Buffalo and finally Charleston, South Carolina. Along the way they meet some pretty interesting folks including a beloved children's author who has started to express some bizarre ideas about the British Royal Family; a faded Motown singer whose who is being eaten into bankruptcy by his wife's cats; and a celebrity billionaire who makes Donald Trump look like an introvert. Oh, and did I mention Godzilla? Yes, the king of monsters also makes a guest appearance.

I am just a little over half way into my revisions before I hand it off to Amy, my trusted editor who will help me shape DOUBLE TAP into its final published form.

We are looking at a November or December release date for the book so add it to your list for Santa (who also appears in the book).

Meanwhile if you haven't read the first volume of the Rip and Wilma saga HAIR TRIGGER just click on the Books tab and link to your preferred format.

 
 
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I got a new Kindle Paperwhite for my birthday on Friday. I have to say that it is the finest e-reader I have ever owned (and I've owned a few).

It is simple to set up and connect. I use Calibre to manage my ebooks and it picked the Paperwhite up as soon as I plugged it in.

If you have a Kindle there is more good news...

BLOODY SUNSET, my latest Molly Parsons mystery, is available now as a Kindle e-book for the very reasonable price of $4.95. I think it makes the perfect summer read, but then I would. The e-pub and trade paperback versions of the book will be available later this week.

To purchase your very own Kindle copy of BLOODY SUNSET just click here.

 
 
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Are you ready to go another round with Molly Parsons?

I certainly hope so. BLOODY SUNSET is complete. We are just waiting on the final changes to the front and back covers and then it will go on sale.

The e-book versions should be available early next week on Amazon and Kobo. The trade paperback will be along before the end of the week.

In Bloody Sunset Detective Molly Parsons discovers a holiday weekend is anything but relaxing.

After barely surviving her last case, Molly is looking forward to nothing more than kicking back and enjoying the Independence Day weekend. Unfortunately, a murderer has other plans.

Howard Lane was a cheat and an embezzler, but that didn’t mean he deserved to be chopped up with a meat cleaver. At least Molly doesn’t think so.

Along with a homicide to solve, Molly also has to babysit Wall Street’s most notorious fraud artist. What she doesn’t know is that he is being stalked by the Grim Assassins, a righteous trio of self-styled avengers of crimes against the economy who will stop at nothing to reap their vengeance.

As if her life isn’t complicated enough, Molly finds herself attracted to a charming federal agent with secrets of his own.

Fireworks, gunplay, and murder guarantee this Fourth of July in Sunset will be a memorable one.

And now I can go back to binge watching season two of ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK ...



 
 
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I kicked off my Monday morning making some notes on the new Molly Parsons book - STOLEN SUNSET.

I have been asked a few times if I use any kind of writing software. I do and I don't. Normally when I am drafting an outline I use a program called STORYBOOK, which is open source software.

Unfortunately, it is not being supported any longer and I believe it is no longer downloadable.

STORYBOOK helps me to log and then organize ideas, thoughts and character descriptions.

Before I get to that stage, however, I still use a simple leather bound note book and fountain pen. There is something comforting to me about the scratching sound a nib makes on good paper. It takes me back to public school when I first held a pen - which was nothing more than a red
plastic thingy with a nib on one end. You had to constantly dip it into a bottle of ink.

Over the years I have owned a variety of fountain pens which usually ended up staining my fingers blue and ruining expensive dress shirts. The last one I bought was an really expensive European design that was both uncomfortable to hold and still leaked all over my clothes.

And then ...

(Please forgive me for sounding like a TV commercial)

I discovered the Pilot V Pen. It is the most comfortable fountain pen I have ever held. And it doesn't leak. Best of all, it doesn't need to be refilled. Once it is empty just toss it in the garbage and open another.

It comes in a variety of ink colors to suit every mood. The one I am using currently is filled with green ink - which satisfies my sense of whimsy, I guess.

The Vs seem to last and last. I expect that I will get my full outline and pages of notes out of this one before it goes to its final resting place.

With my battered leather notebook and faithful V Pen in hand I somehow feel more like a writer. I am connected with my inner Faulkner in a simpler time when the act of writing slowed to a more thoughtful pace
. Now, all I need is a set of sleeve garters to complete the effect.

 
 
It's now less than two weeks before the launch of the new Molly Parsons mystery, BLOODY SUNSET.

The advance readers have been unanimous in their praise for the book and I can hardly wait to hear what everyone else thinks. This book has been a long slog for me because of a personal crisis (I lost my dad in the middle of the editing process) which threw me off my game for a few weeks.

However, the recent reading down in Chatham helped me get back on track and it was fun to reveal an abridged first chapter of the book to an audience for the first time.

Thanks again everyone who came out for the reading.

Once BLOODY SUNSET is in the stores we start editing DOUBLE TAP, the follow up to HAIR TRIGGER. And in early July I will start writing the fourth Molly Parsons mystery STOLEN SUNSET.

Fourth? You say. Well, I finished FOGGY SUNSET last year and a special preview is included in both the trade paperback and ebook versions of BLOODY.

With a strong wind at my back DOUBLE TAP and FOGGY SUNSET should be out by the end of the year.

Thanks again for reading.