When We Say ‘Body’ of Work…

Sure. We tend to strew cadavers in our wake. But hey, Long Beach: That doesn’t necessarily make us the world’s worst convention!

Accent on “necessarily.”

The World Mystery Convention, known as Bouchercon, is in Long Beach, Calif., this coming weekend!

bcon14-logoGuests of honor this year include writers Simon Wood, J.A. Jance, Edward Marston, Eoin Colfer, and Jeffery Deaver. Note please, that J.A. is one of our own! She lives in, and writes in, the Pacific Northwest!

I’m on a panel at that looks to be outstanding! “Close Enough for Government Work” The focus is on government agencies and how we use them in suspense stories. Fellow panelists include moderator Chantelle Aimee Osman, Andrew Grant, Derek Haas, Harry Hunsicker and Boyd Morrison.

I might be the only one on the panel who works in government — I’m not sure. But it will be fun to focus on why my first two thrillers, CRASHERS and BREAKING POINT, focused on glorified bureaucrats. (Sure, bureaucrats who solve airliner disasters, but still…)

Drop by if you’re in Sunny California.


The Tough Tightrope of Translation

I’ve been translating a 300-page novel into a 120-page screenplay, which is roughly akin to turning a house into a Ferrari. The stuff you have to turn over, toss out, transmogrify and terraform, just to get the same story into the new mode, is Herculean.

UnknownSo today I stopped in mid-sentence to listen to some music. I write with soundtracks for movies playing in the background (Bryan Tyler, John Powell, James Newton Howard, Michael Giacchino…) and I got to “Another Way to Die,” the theme from 2006’s “Casino Royale.” It’s written by Alicia Keys. And in the space of about 50 lines, she manages to encapsulate 50 years of James Bond films.

It’s one of the best examples of translating from one medium to another that I’ve ever encountered.

I’ve decided to stop whining about my job.


Another ringer with the slick trigger finger
For Her Majesty
Another one with the golden tongue
Poisoning your fantasy
Another bill from a killer turned a thriller
To a tragedy



A door left open
A woman walking by
A drop in the water
A look in your eye
A phone on the table
A man on your side
Or someone that you think that you can trust
It’s just
Another way to die

Another tricky little gun giving solace to the one
That’ll never see the sun shine
Another inch of your life sacrificed for your brother
In the nick of time
Another dirty money heaven sent honey
Turning on a dime


Another girl with her finger on the world
Singing to you what you wanna hear
Another gun thrown down in surrender
Took away your fear
Another man there he stands right behind you
Looking in the mirror


It’s just another
It’s just another
It’s just another way
Shoot ‘em up, bang bang
Hey Hey
It’s just another
Yeah Yeah

Bang bang bang bang

Getting Ready for Bouchercon!


I am heading to Bouchercon!

The annual World Mystery Convention takes place this year at Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 13 to 16. Can’t wait.

Here’s the thing about Bouchercon: It’s for writers of mysteries and thrillers, yes, but it’s mostly for the fans and readers. It’s the event at which average readers get to walk up to their favorite authors and chat with them about their combined love of this genre. It’s great! Every year, I see first-time attendees schmoozing with Lee Child or Sue Grafton or whomever. And it’s pretty clear that the writers love it! That’s the reason we go.

My first Bouchercon was decades ago in San Diego. I was up for a Best First Mystery, and this very nice, older woman stopped to congratulate me. We chatted. She asked where I was from, and how I got started writing, and who I’d seen at the convention. She was just incredibly sweet. She asked my name. “I’m Dana. And you’re…?”

“Marion,” she said, and shook my hand.

It was Marion Zimmer Bradley, one of the giants of the fantasy and science fiction genres. The author of dozens of novels.

And, for me, THAT’S Bouchercon. And always will be.


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