Monthly Archives: June 2011

Allow me to introduce Daria

When I first imagined “Crashers,” oh, 11 years ago, I didn’t anticipate the character of Daria Gibron being the breakout star.

Oh, she’s fun as hell to write. She’s an ex-pat, ex-spook who leaps first, then strategizes. She pretty much writes her own dialogue. Readers seemed to go crazy for her.

I gave her what I consider to be a nice reveal in the second novel, “Breaking Point.” My editor was happy enough with it that he asked for a third novel featuring Daria. I suppose it’s OK to let you know that, yes, she is the protagonist of the third novel, “Threshold Event.” It’s still in the works, so I don’t have a release date yet.

Doing a novel with just two or three protagonists was a whole hell of a lot easier than “Crashers” and “Breaking Point,” which have a dozen protagonists. There were days when I had to draw diagrams on butcher paper taped to my kitchen cabinets, just to keep the plots and sub-plots clear. “Threshold Event” promises to be a much-more streamlined story.

And I don’t crash a single airplane. Honest. OK, maybe a little one.

Admitting you need help is the first step.

Copy editors

The copy editors at St. Martin’s Press are outstanding. I am a former copy editor, so when I say that, please take it for what it is: A true compliment.

They catch errors that I passed over a dozen times. Amazing.

Folks? Thank you. A novel is a team effort. All y’all held up your end.



A book

I gave author Katy King one of the two Advanced Reader Copies of “Breaking Point” last night. She is a) a great writer and b) the love of my life.

I got home, started reading and listening to music, and she called. “This is a great novel!”

I said, “Sweety, you read it in, like, 12 iterations. You read the first drafts. You read it in longhand on Steno pads! You heard me outline scenes orally in bars! (because, I’m really that boring a date.)

“Yes,” she said. “But I never read it when it was in the form of a book.”

Yes. As always, she’s right. The ARC is a book. It’s no longer a Steno pad or a bunch of printed paged held together by a rubber band.

It’s a book.

ARC of Triumph

I received an Advanced Reader Copy of “Breaking Point” in the mail yesterday. By noon, I had shown it to three state legislators, two waitresses and a guy at a bus stop. I’m a little bit excited about this.

The ARCs are a pre-produced variation of the hardback, which get distributed to bookstores, reviewers and people we hope will write blurbs for the book.

“Breaking Point,” the sequel to “Crashers,” debuts in November.


Too … many jokes… head… bursting into … flames…

I have been asked to be one of the guest speakers at the national convention for Mensa, the high-I.Q. society.

You should feel free to insert your own jokes here.

I will be speaking on the topic, “Political, Plausible and Just Plain Preposterous.” In short, the topic is how one weaves real-world politics into a fictional thriller.

Sometimes, you do it through pure luck. Other times, by being a student of political science and hoping you can read the tea leaves a few years out. I’ll be honest, the third thriller, which I’m working on now, got started before the Arab Spring. A very large chunk of the plot and one of the primary characters revolve around the Mukhabarat, or Syrian Military Intelligence. Obviously, the events of the last month mean that plotline and that character might not make it to the final draft of the novel.

The Mensa organizers turned down my first speech topic: “If you’re so freaking smart, how’d I get invited in?”

The event is 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, at the Portland Hilton, downtown.

You can learn more about Mensa by going to the society’s webpage.

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