Monday, June 9, 2014

Summer Blog Hop!

Stephen Campbell tagged me for a quick four question Blog Hop!  

Just what we need in the summertime, right??

What am I working on?

I've got a couple of projects cooking right now; one I cannot talk about (yet!), still working on VEGAS KNIGHTS, and developing a new outline for a modern day thriller

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

Wow, that is a tough question! I would hope that my own passion for the plot and characters comes through and sweeps the reader into the story.

Why do I write what I do?

I write what I like to read.... it really is that simple! I wish I had a better answer, but that is the base of it.

How does my writing process work?
Kind of a combination of plotting and no-plotting. I try and make at minimum a Ten Point List of things I want to have happen or read about, and then just take off with it. Sometimes the story heads off into a different direction, but that's okay. Part of the fun of it all is seeing how it all works out!

And now.... I'm passing the torch along to the terrific thriller writer J. Carson Black! Her newest FLIGHT 12 is sure to keep you awake all night!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Authors on the Air - Book of the Year!

It was a genuine honor to learn SPIDER'S DANCE was one of the nominees for Book of the Year - 2013 by Authors on the Air Network!

The other nine nominees were:

Fire of the Prophet, Earl Merkel
Going Dark, James Hall
W is for Wasted, Sue Grafton
The Stone of David, Matt Doss
Sanctus, The Key & The Tower, Simon Toyne
The Survivor's Club, J Carson Black
Takedown, Brett Battles/Robert Gregory Browne
The Perfect Mortals, Reece Bridger
Lucky Bastard, Deborah Coonts.

Congratulations to Simon Toyne, author of 

Monday, December 16, 2013

Murders, Mysteries, and Mayhem!

Stephen Campbell interviewed me for his terrific show, MURDERS, MYSTERIES, AND MAYHEM

Air Date: 12/16/2013 at 1:00 CST! Come on over and join us! We talk about everything from Computer Forensics to my personal writing process to The Saint!

Here is the link:

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

"Lucky" Spider!

"Amazing writing! [Your] craft is fabulous, the characters leap off the page, [and your] pacing is spot-on!" - Deborah Coonts, author of the "Lucky O'Toole Las Vegas Adventure" Series.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

The Year So Far!

Thanks to Pam Stack and her program "Authors on the Air", a new reader - James Ewen - had this to say about SPIDER'S DANCE: "This superbly researched suspense novel has a wide spectrum of complex characters, has a multi-layered yet coherent plot and is strongly written, literally right up to the last word. So strongly written, in fact, that I half expected my Coast Guard Daughter to make an appearance at the spill site. Spider's Dance is right up there with the best books I've read this decade!"
2013 has seen the release of a new short story. "It evokes the 1960s Bond/UNCLE/"Secret Agent"/"I Spy" era beautifully; not an easy task in such a short space." - Raymond Benson. Yes, I rather like that comment!

It's hard to believe an entire year has gone by since this was in Publishers Weekly"There are familiar characters....and new ones readers are sure to want to see more of, like [Will Graham's] Nicholas White (“Spider’s Tango”)

To say childhood heroes still exist would be an understatement, to put it mildly. 2013 also saw another dream come true: I was invited to write an introduction for one of the new Mulholland reprints of The Saint novels by Leslie Charteris:

Speaking of The Saint, I was incredibly flattered to receive this email from a reader regarding SOMETIMES, THERE REALLY ARE MONSTERS UNDER THE BED:

"I noticed at the ending, [your hero] was described as [having] a "halo" of light surrounding him, and in my opinion the ending was very much the way Simon Templar - The Saint - by Leslie Charteris might have handled the situation."

To say my Writerly Ego blew all out of proportion for a few minutes would be an understatement, to put it mildly....:)

Click Here

Coming Soon:
(Cover subject to change)

1959 Las Vegas. A city in its infancy, ripe for greed, crime, and corruption.

A casino manager and a State Investigator probe the alleged suicide of a mysterious billionaire.

Add in a terrified singing star, fugitive Nazi scientists, a Satanic cult, and politics at a level where people can be made to 'disappear'.

It all comes together in:

2013 has been pretty amazing so far... and we're not even at the halfway point!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

ALIAS.... THE SAINT! - Now Available! THE SAINT in 2013!

Now available from Amazon UK, TPB and Kindle!
(U.S. deal forthcoming)

It is a tremendous honor for me to be connected (even in a small way) to "The Famous Simon Templar!" Sincerest possible thanks to Ian Dickerson for making this happen and Andrew Howard for his new series of covers!

Here is the trailer to the new series, starring Adam Rayner. Cameos by Sir Roger Moore and Ian Ogilvy:

Wednesday, July 11, 2012


I have no earthly idea who first thought of filtering hot water through coffee beans, but whoever did certainly deserves a place in the history books.

The past few months have wrought some changes in life.  No big deal, really, but adjustments needed to be made.  The reason I mention this is, on one occasion, the doctor was listing all things now forbidden.  The nano-instant he paused for a breath, I jumped in with "What about coffee?"

He asked what kind. "Regular, nothing added."  He shrugged and said, "Knock yourself out."  (Which I thought was kind of odd, as coffee is supposed to keep one awake, but that's just the way my mind works sometimes.)  But that was my first and most major concern at the moment: you cannot take away my coffee!

(He then went on with The List, which ended up rather substantial; months later, a friend cracked, "That leaves you Air, Water, Ice, and Broccoli!"  Sad to say, Peter kind of nailed that one.)

Moving along....

I'm not real sure when my obsession with the Java Bean and the Nectar it delivers began, but I do clearly remember the first time I ever tasted coffee.  It was an immediate bond, a necessity to get through the day, and I've never looked back.  Lots of little placards are showing up these days, like the one at the top of the page, and it got me wondering about this obsession we have with coffee.

Personally, if I have a choice, I stick with the fresh-ground slow dripped magic that comes from my Capresso.  This poor coffee maker has been used and abused for almost fifteen years now, and it chugs along like a little train, delivering cup after cup of coffee just the way I like it.  I'll admit there have been occasions, especially when working and/or traveling, when I drank stuff that didn't belong in a Tennessee pickup truck crankcase, but it got the job done, delivering that much needed jolt to clear the mind and help me focus.

Just for the fun of it, in no particular order, here are some responses from friends.  (If you click on the authors' names, you'll go to their web sites where you'll find some of the best Summer Reads going on today.  I promise you that.)


My husband is the coffee drinker; he's a reporter for the Tribune papers in Florida.
 He uses store bought Gevalia coffee and a Krupps coffee maker.
 I like the smell of coffee and have been known to snort the bags of ground coffee, but I drink hot tea -- Dragon Well Green. I like loose tea and need at least two cups to jumpstart in the morning. Around 11 I take a tea break with more green tea, or flavored green -- strawberry green with real chunks of dried strawberries, or white tea with lavender. At bedtime, I may have a cup of chamomile -- plain old Bigelow bags.
 Avoid energy drinks. Just cold water from the fridge in a pint beer glass with a bendy straw.

We buy coffee beans and grind them at the shop using their self-serve grinder.  We buy our coffee at Trader Joe's.  On the other hand, I do enjoy going into Starbucks and buying a fresh-brewed cuppa.  We use a drip Melitta maker.  
As long as it doesn't taste like shit, I'll drink it.  I do doctor my coffee with milk and sugar. 
 I'll drink hot tea if I'm sick.  No energy drinks.

I have a 4 cup drip Mr. Coffee machine. 
I was on an Only-Italian-Ground-Coffee-From-Harrods-Dept-Store-in-London kick for years but last year my husband didn't travel as much so I buy ground  Folgers 'Black Silk' (we own a bunch of stock in P&G.) 
I am not picky about my coffee- I will buy and drink a cup anywhere (if you want the junkyard-in-TN taste try the coffee at  Becks Prime at Memorial Park, my every Sat morning beverage, yikes!) 
I drink one large mug of coffee a day, then water the remaining hours. 
No beverage gets my fingers to fly across the keyboard or the creative juices flowing unfortunately. But if one is ever invented, I'll buy it and guzzle it!

I'm a big Starbucks guy but I get my coffee at their local store. Don't grind beans or brew them myself.  But my local store has a Clover single serving brew system which is great. 
I use Starbucks Via for instant coffee and pretty much just boil water.
I wouldn't say I'm overly picky but I like to avoid the overly acidic lines and prefer full-bodies flavor.
 Caffeine sure helps!

Don't drink coffee. Yuck! (Ed. Note: Jenn and I are still friends, despite this.)
  I drink *gasp* energy drinks, preferably Sugar Free Rock Star.  
Drinking the energy drink is part of my writing process.  Don't know why.  It's like when smokers drink alcohol.  They will invariably have a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other.  That's me only with pen, paper, and Rock Stars.

We grind our own beans--well, our Cuisinart coffeemaker does.Until a few years ago, I didn't drink coffee at all, preferring Coke Classic to get me going in the morning. But now that I drink coffee, I'm pretty picky. When we travel, I drink my coffee at Starbucks or Caribou Coffee. Never just plain coffee, black--always have lots of creamer and favorings! my current favorite is peppermint mocha or white chocolate peppermint mocha. In the fall/winter it's pumpkin spice or gingerbread lattes. I also drink decaf tea, peach and mango tea as well. Energy drinks? They'll kill you.

Store-bought beans - I love hazelnut creme - and we grind the beans ourselves. (Well, actually, we use a coffee grinder - its much easier than using the thumb and forefinger.) and 
Mr. Coffee. You know, the dumbed-down version.  A child could use it. 
 I don't like bad coffee--spent most of my life drinking bad coffee.  So I try to go to a place that at least has a decent cup of coffee, but I always put nonfat half 'n half in it anyway.  Won't drink bad coffee--like percolator coffee or Folgers coffee from a can. I mean that literally.  I will not tip up the grounds in the can and pour them into my mouth--I tried that once and I nearly choked to death.  Don't like soda, don't like energy drinks, don't like bow-hunting, either.  I know that's not relevant, but that's how I feel.

Pre-ground. We used to grind, but I realized that was a whole lot of time I'm never going to get back. Drip machine (with ILLY) for weekends, Keurig (with Double Black Diamond) for weekdays.
Very very very very picky. Meaning: it has to be coffee. I adore (and of course prefer) great coffee--really appreciate it. I have rejected some, I guess…but it would have to be pretty darn awful. Love tea.  I've never had an energy drink.


Well, as we all know, I don't do coffee.  I'm the tea sipper.  Spent too many years in colonial British countries.  I used to drink Earl Grey, but have developed an aversion to it.  Now I prefer English, Irish Breakfast, Darjeeling or most any other nice straight forward black tea.

I grind them myself, but not daily.  Whenever I run out.  So I'm not a true purist.  I'm half pure and half . . . well, bean slut, I guess.  I have a ridiculously pricey machine called the Moccamaster, but I admit, I truly love it.  It's not even fancy, just expensive.  Unless I'm having withdrawal headaches, I can't stand anything that's been sitting around too long.  But I've been known to drink cold coffee in the afternoon that's leftover from breakfast.  Does that make sense?  If it's hot, it must be fresh. Cold, I'll drink anything.  I drink everything. And let's not forget chocolate.


Grind the beans ourselves.  Lately Independence Coffee from Brenham (so many flavors to choose from!  Jet fuel, Vintage Bin #007 (Ed. Note:  Laurie said "007"....heh....)  , and EarlyWine Breakfast Blends are our favorites).  Mr. Coffee, Keurig, 2 separate French Presses (single and multi-serving - until we discovered French Press raises cholesterol levels - really???  so sad),   single drip for a single cup, espresso machine we haven't figured out still (we got it for our wedding - 5 years ago!).  I think that's all.....  We're pretty picky.  Skyler carries small bags on the road since the hotels don't always stock enough (and decaf just doesn't work - ask any pilot!).  I used to drink it all - especially in my flight instructing days when free was all I could afford.  That stuff had been made at 4 am usually and we were still drinking it at 5pm.  That stuff will eat holes in your stomach, but we drank it happily! I do drink tea first thing in the morning.  Until the first pot of coffee gets made and I can't refuse that smell!  I am half Canadian and I do appreciate a good cup of tea.


For the final word, someone sent me this clip a few years back.  Cannot imagine why!


Best Coffee in the city of Houston?  That's an easy one!