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What I learn Writing Mysteries


I speak on such topics as historical research, indie publishing, and the importance of writing well (for teenagers), but my favorite topic is “What I Learn from Writing Mysteries.” I bring along my lock picks since most people have never seen them except on television.  I gave this talk recently to a group of seniors at a retirement village, and one of the attendees sent me the following bit of information, which I will now add to my talk.

He attached two design patents for attractive shower fixtures that are impossible to use to support a cord or ligature for committing suicide or hanging oneself in the shower. Jails and prisons buy them. He also suggested that I search the U.S. patent records because the range of inventions is amazing. He remembered seeing one for bank robbery prevention which involved locking the robbers in the bank vestibule, preventing their leaving with the loot.

On a Cruise Ship


I just came back from a Caribbean cruise, which was the right thing to do in February.  But being a mystery writer, I do have creepy thoughts sometimes. One of these is when I’m strolling around the Promenade Deck. Often, as I walk, my spine chills as I consider how easy it would be for a big, burly guy to come around the corner, pick me up, and throw me overboard.

I do Google occasionally “lost at sea” and “missing from cruise ship” reports out of curiosity and there are enough of those to make me wonder.  So I asked a “Guest Relations” person and one of the security staff if there are security cameras on deck. I was assured that there were. Okay, so the guy would be caught.

Later, at dinner, I mentioned all this to our dinner companions. One of them said she had the same thoughts when she walked the desk. Ditto with a woman I met at a meeting where I mentioned this. I’m not alone in wondering.

Piracy Report


And speaking of cruise ships, I thought I’d check the latest piracy reports on the International Maritime Bureau website.  As I read their live piracy map, there were 12 boardings and 2 attempted boardings of ships by pirates so far in 2024.

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Apr. 21: Kensington Festival of the Book, Kensington, MD.

Apr. 26-28: Malice Domestic Annual Conference, Bethesda, MD.


Pirates Onboard!

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I love reading and writing mysteries. Here are two of my latest.

The Two-Sided Set-up


From Kirkus reviews -

“... fast-paced and multilayered thriller with well-developed characters and colorful settings.... An engaging tale for aficionados of psychological suspense.”

The House on

Hatemonger Hill


"“An engrossing tale of suspense, treachery, and bad choices made for good reasons…. Historical novel readers with special interest in a suspense story that embraces civil rights activism and gang activity will find The House on Hatemonger Hill hard to point down.”  – Midwest Book Review

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