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Travel Logs:

2007 Scotland
2004 Spain
1996 Ireland
1992 Maui
1990 Portugal
1989 England
1983 France
1980 Big Bend
1979 Cozumel

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In Austin:
KXAN Weather
The Art of JU Salvant
Master Gohring's Tai Chi
Personal Tai Chi
The Fragrant Garden
Shari Elkins Hikes w Dogs Austin360 Movies


Books and Writing

Lay Death at Her Door is now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kobo. Follow the Lay Death Blog Tour from May 30 to June 20.

book spread for Lay Death

Twenty years ago, Kate Cranbrook’s eyewitness testimony sent the wrong man to prison for rape and murder. When new evidence exonerates him, Kate says that in the darkness and confusion, she must have mistaken her attacker’s identity.

She is lying.

Kate would like nothing better than to turn her back on the past, but she is trapped in a stand-off with the real killer. When a body turns up on her doorstep, she resorts to desperate measures to free herself once and for all from a secret that is ruining her life.

Recent good reads: (crime fiction only)

Jar City, by Arnaldur Indridason. Icelandic Inspector Erlandur tackles another cold case in the Reykjavik series.

Blessed are the Dead, by Malla Nunn. Detective Sargeant Emmanuel Cooper investigates the death of a beautiful young Zulu woman in South Africa in the 1950s Apartheid era.

Gone Girl, by Jillian Flynn. A woman disappears from a small town in Missouri, and her husband comes under suspicion.

Sister, by Rosamund Lupton. A woman refuses to believe her missing sister committed suicide.

Purgatory Chasm, by Steve Ulfelder. A terrific book. Tough guy Conway Sax tries to solve the murder of an AA comrade while also coming to terms with his own degenerate father.

Before I Go to Sleep, by SJ Watson, is amazing. A woman suffering from a rare form of amnesia forgets everything every night. Her journal tells her not to trust her husband.

Most Influential Authors: (not ranked) these are the authors having the greatest influence on me as I write these days.

Edith Wharton
Ross MacDonald
Fyodor Dostoevsky
Vladimir Nabokov
Daphne DuMaurier
MM Kaye
Robert Goddard
Ruth Rendell
Alexander McCall Smith
Joseph Conrad
Jack London
Sue Grafton
Somerset Maugham
Paul Theroux
Sarah Waters

Crime novels: The books that resonate with me as I work these days, and again the list is not ranked or complete.

Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky)
The Chill (Ross MacDonald)
Rebecca (DuMaurier)
Lolita (Nabokov)
In Pale Battalions (Goddard)
The Veiled One (Rendell)
The Secret House of Death (Rendell)
The Talented Mr. Ripley (Highsmith)
Frankenstein (Mary Shelley)

...and everything else by Ruth Rendell. I have been working my way through her oeuvre since October 2010, when I read A Dark-Adapted Eye, mainly because it has such a wonderful title. And now I am captive. She has written about 70 novels, of which I have read more than half. [Discussion]

I was particularly delighted with The Veiled One, one of the Wexford series, in which Mike Burden hounds a very suspicious-behaving (but innocent!) supect until the poor man caves in, begins telling Burden his life story, undergoes a transference, fires his therapist, and latches onto Burden, who by that time is in full and desperate retreat. The evolution of Clifford's and Burden's relationship is accomplished in about 17 scenes of no more than 4-5 pages each -- and ends in disaster.

Books on Writing: These are the books that have helped me one way or another as I have set out to write full-length works of fiction, and the list is not ranked. I've got a dozen more, but these are the ones that have worked for me.

Stephen King, On Writing
Robert McKee, Story
Nancy Kress, Beginnings, Middles and Ends
Orson Scott Card, Characters and Viewpoint
James Scott Bell, The Art of War for Writers
Jerry Cleaver, Immediate Fiction
James N. Frey, How to Write a Damn Good Novel
Monica Wood, Description

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My writing links:
Chicago Manual Online
Writers Workshop (Austin)
Writers Digest
Hotshots (Heart of Texas SinC newsletter)

Writers' League of Texas
Sisters in Crime
Mystery Writers of America
Heart of Texas SinC
Houston Writers Guild
Mystery Booksellers

NY Writers Workshop
The New World of Publishing
Query Shark
Neil Gaiman
1000 Literary Agents
Guide to Literary Agents
The Publishing Point
Book Country
Writers Cafe