It Ain’t Rocket Surgery

I love teaching my workshops!

For the last couple of years, I’ve focused on a series of workshops designed to help first-time mystery writers. There are some truly simple tricks that make it much more likely that a new writer will get to those all-important words, “The End.”

Powell's.talkThere are those who want us to believe that being a novelist somehow requires divine intervention or near-superhuman abilities. I’m of the opinion that it takes patience, work and luck. And that a few crafty tricks will tip the balance in favor of the writer. If something was easier than it looks, my brother used to say, “Hell, it ain’t rocket surgery.” I’ve stolen that jumbled colloquialism for these workshops.

I just did a two-hour gig at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale. Among the feedback:

“I attended your workshop today at the Poisoned Pen … I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed your workshop, and how very much I gleaned from it.”

PP.story.hands“That was really useful. Some of these classes aren’t but I want to try some of the stuff you said.”

“That was fun! I have some new ideas now for my book. Thanks!”

Seriously. How cool is that?

How’s Your Week, Mate?

Yikes! Crazy Town.

Sunday: Doing Time in The ‘Pen

I had the chance to teach a workshop at the ever-fabulous Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale, Ariz., where I learned two important things: 1) it’s 147 degrees in the shade, and, 2) there ain’t no shade.PP.story.hands

We had a tremendous turnout for the event: great crowd, great questions.

And not for nothing, but today’s guests at this great bookstore are none other than Faye, Jesse and Jonathan Kellerman! How’s that for flying in good company!

It was a wonderful event! Thanks to Barbara and everyone at the ‘Pen

Monday: Dull and Early

Had the great good fortune that KATU’s “AM Northwest” wanted to promote GUN METAL HEART! That segment was more fun than I can say! Truly grateful to Helen and the gang at AMNW for this. Although, I’m a little upset that the lead-in guest wrote a book about bakeries, and he got to bring bread. I’d’ve brought terrorists if I knew we could use visual aids.

Tuesday: Femme Fatales rule!

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Hank Phillippi Ryan

My friend Hank Phillippi Ryan helps me tell the story of the coolest, most fascinating, most stunningly American engagement announcement of all time! Check it out:

You also should be getting the Twitter feeds of Hank and her mates at Jungle Red Writers. Some of the best blogging in all of the mystery field.

Wednesday: Bin There, Done That

If you’re in the Marion and Polk county areas, drop by The Book Bin, 450 Court St. NE, Salem, at 7 p.m., Wednesday. I’ll be there promoting GUN METAL HEART. This coincides with the September legislative days, and it’ll be great to be back in Salem where I once served in the press corps for the Oregon Legislature.



My friend Adam Gallardo will be there at 7 p.m. Friday to promote his new book, ZOMBURBIA. I was fortunate enough to read a very early excerpt from the book and can tell you, Adam is a talent to watch.

Book Bin: (503) 361-1235. Hours: Mondays-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Sundays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday: High-county hijinks

Finally, heading uphill on Saturday to appear at Sunriver Books, one of the coolest small-town indie libraries in Oregon! I’ll be speaking from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Cannot wait!

Praise for The Poisoned Pen

What do you get when you put an Irish-American from the Pacific Northwest in Arizona in September?

PP.story.hands PP.window PP booksNo, I’m asking. Memory loss is a symptom of heat stroke.

Whatever it was, I’m sure it was a blast! Thank you to everyone who came out Sunday for the workshop and signing at The Poisoned Pen in Scottsdale! We got a very terrific turnout. It is one of the great mystery bookstores in America, and if you haven’t visited, you owe it to yourself to go.

Thanks to everyone there for a splendid time.


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