Month: July 2013

Deadly Ink

Two years ago, Deadly Ink had to close its doors, cancelling the conference at the last moment.  But after a two year hiatus, Deadly Ink is returning this week-end, with events and activities Friday, August 2 – Sunday, August 4.   Sometimes things that are presumed to be dead have a way of coming back to life.  And I’m very pleased by its return.

Deadly Ink is one of my favorite conferences, an opportunity for mystery writers and readers from New Jersey and surrounding states to get together for a week-end of workshops, panel discussions and book signings, of alcoholic drinks and chocolate desserts.  It’s a small conference which means that everyone is approachable.  It’s  a chance for readers to chat with their favorite authors and for authors to learn from interested readers.

On Saturday afternoon, I’ll be speaking on a panel about the role of humor in mysteries.  So if you live in New Jersey or have the ability to travel to New Jersey this week-end and you’re an aspiring writer of mysteries or simply a reader who loves a good mystery, you still have time to register.  I hope to see you there.


The Group W Bench

In 1969, at the age of 17, I saw Arlo Guthrie in concert in the gymnasium at St. John’s University.  I guess you could say that I’ve been a fan of Arlo Guthrie ever since I was old enough to take a seat on the Group W Bench.  But now I’ve discovered yet another reason to call myself a fan.


“A perfect blend of the world’s hottest peppers. Organically grown in Arlo’s garden and vine ripened to perfection.” (Rising Son Records)

I got a jar in the mail yesterday and added some of Arlo’s crushed pepper flakes to a pot of mussels cooked with white wine, garlic and fresh thyme.

The next time you find yourself on the Group W bench and the meanest Father raper of them all comes over to you and asks you “Kid, whad’ya get?”  I suggest you tell him that you got a 4 oz. jar of Arlo Guthrie’s Exotic Crushed Hot Peppers.  You’ll be glad you did.

It’s dobby in your rot, droog!

You may not be familiar with Quirk Books, but you have probably read, or at least have heard of, quite of few of Quirk’s books.  Quirk Books is an independent publisher; they are the publisher of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and also of the Worst Case Scenario series.  I am almost embarrassed to admit that I own a copy of Penis Pokey.  According to Quirk, “This book contains no nudity. No profanity. No sexual material of any kind. And yet it just might be the most obscene thing we’ve ever published!”

Ben & Jerry’s needs no such introduction.  But what happens when Quirk Books imagines ice cream flavors inspired by books?  Check out the literary possibilities in  Ice Cream Flavors Inspired by Books.  Now we just have to convince Ben & Jerry to make them.  ‘Cause I need a pint of Clockwork Orange Creamsicle.  “It’s dobby in your rot, droog.”



1. Sleep in.  Get out of bed at 6:45 (I know I posted yesterday about writing at 5:30 in the  morning, but it’s Sunday and sometimes you’ve just got to lazy about in bed  for a bit).
2.  Have a bagel and a cup of coffee.  Read the Sunday Times (not all of it, of course, no one reads the entire Sunday Times).
3.  Write a few hundred words.  Edit a few thousand.
4.  Play a round of golf in the heat.  Birdie the first hole.
5.  Manage a quick swim before the rain.
6.  Sip scotch.
7.  Make pan grilled pork and peaches.
8.  Blog.

One Writer’s Routine

This is the 30th post I have written since moving my blog to wordpress on June 3.  So it may come as a surprise to some of you when I say that I am frustrated that I haven’t been writing.  There are a few of you who will know what I mean.  There is blogging and there is writing and they are not the same thing.  I mean no disrespect to the many talented bloggers that I read regularly, so perhaps I need to clarify that statement.  The difference, for me, is the difference between writing for publication and writing for any other purpose.  Perhaps I need to clarify that statement as well.  One of my favorite quotes about writing comes from T. M. McNally, who wrote, “When you die, I believe, God isn’t going to ask you what you published.  God’s going to ask you what you wrote.”  And I really do believe that, but with all due respect to the Almighty, God may read my unpublished manuscripts, but the ladies in the Hungry Readers Book Club won’t read my books unless they’re published.

As a writer, I think it is important to establish a writing routine that works for you.   So what is my writing routine?   What are the elements that tell me that I’m writing something that may be worthy of being my next book.

1.  I do my best writing at 5:30 in the morning.  If I’m not writing fiction at 5:30 in the morning, I’m not really writing.
2.  If I’m sleeping well, I’m not writing well.  When I’m writing well, I sleep poorly, waking up at 2:00 a.m. my head stuffed with dialogue for the next chapter.
3.  If I’m writing well, I’m not paying enough attention to real life events.  I am somewhere else, in a fictional town, interacting with fictional characters.
4.  If I’m writing well, I will interrupt whatever I am doing to sit down at the computer and write.

So I am very pleased, and more than little bit  excited to realize that I have been up before the alarm every day this week, on the computer writing fiction at 5:30 in the morning, even this morning, Saturday morning, nearly 10,000 words this week about a guy who’s life is about to spin out of control.

Three dead bodies and we still haven’t gotten to the bad stuff.

But we will.

Life is good here.  I hope it is where you are too.