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November 29, 2019

My parents gave me a book called Lost Treasure Trails by Thomas Penfield when I was twelve years old. I was enthralled, fascinated, intrigued. The chapters covered buried and sunken treasures and lost mines. I loved it.

That year when we visited the Florida Keys, I in...

August 2, 2019

In The Last Day of Ramadan by Gandharva raja, a new novel by Gandharva raja,  university student Gora and his friends in Delhi, India, are bystanders as Kabir Jain, a professor of comparative religion, carries out his mission to end religious violence and close the rel...

April 19, 2019

My brother, Larry Haavik, is a fine musician who defines music as an “adventure for the ear.” I recently attended his two lectures on the history of jazz.  He talked about how from

the earliest times, people have used sticks, animal skins and other materials to make mus...

February 15, 2019

Since I’m president of the Maryland Writers’ Conference, I am privy to all the factors that go into producing this annual event in Maryland. We want participants to get the most out of it and schedule the panels, workshops, keynote speakers, meals and receptions to hel...

January 13, 2019

What makes a better writer? I’ve been pondering this question after taking a class on award-winning short stories. The stories we read were all by writers who had advanced degrees in creative writing.  

If the current crop of prize-winning writers are coming out with...

March 20, 2018

As a mystery writer, I am fortunate to live in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area with its plethora of agencies involved in fighting crime. Yesterday, I spent the day at the U.S. Treasury Department, finding out how money is made and being amazed at the many in...

March 2, 2018

Traveling broadens the mind and the soul, I’ve heard, and it has certainly made me aware of the desperate lives many people around the world lead, barely earning their bread. Forget about roses. I make a note of horrible, awful, no good jobs held by people I meet on my...

January 13, 2018

When I wrote my latest novel,  Rembrandt’s Shadow, which alternates chapters set in 1999 with chapters following a painting’s provenance from 1616 to 1930. I feltl as though I was walking in a mine field of anachronisms on every page.

For instance, when were cell phon...

November 20, 2017


When I wrote my first novel, Shadow of the Rock, I wanted to subject my heroine, Sara Miller, to an assault and near-rape, but I needed help describing how a predator would approach his victim. I found an excellent description in  Gavin de Becker’s book, The Gift of F...

November 7, 2017

I watched the appraiser pick up a book in good condition, hold it up for us to see. First edition, published in 1912 and a first-person account of the sinking of the Titanic. Wow, I thought. That’s got to be worth something.

The appraiser turned to his colleague and s...

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