By now, most of us bibliophiles are well aware of Marie Kondo’s admonition that we ought to declutter our homes by purging them of excessive “stuff,” books included. Her notion is that you should pick up each item in your home, hold it to your breast, and if it doesn’t “spark joy,” then you should toss it. But as my wife Robin (who would be … Continue reading Books Spark My Joy
My wife Robin leaves today for a two-week road trip, during which time she’ll visit friends in eastern California, Utah, and Colorado, and spend a couple days eating and gambling her way through Las Vegas (don’t worry; she only plays 25-cent video poker). It’s always a bit odd when she’s gone. When you’re used to having someone around the house, it’s strange having it to … Continue reading When the Cat’s Away…
Yesterday marked the summer solstice, the longest day of the year (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere), as well as the official first day of summer. Summer? What’s that? we may be asking ourselves, after having last year’s pretty much taken away from us by the pandemic. But now that so many in the country have been vaccinated, we’re finally venturing … Continue reading It’s Summer—This Time for Real!
As some of you are no doubt aware, my wife and I split our time between two homes, spending half the year in Santa Cruz, California, and the other half in Hilo, Hawai‘i. I’ve lived in Santa Cruz since the mid-1970s, and my love for the locale inspired me to create my Sally Solari mysteries, which are set in the once-sleepy fishing and retirement community, … Continue reading Writing from Afar
Sue Grafton loved to explain that she kept her private investigator heroine, Kinsey Millhone, locked in the 1980s so that Kinsey wouldn’t have the luxury of such technology as cell phones and laptops to assist in her investigations. And I have to say, I sometimes wish I’d done the same with my sleuth. In fact, at the time I was writing the first in my … Continue reading The Trouble With Tech
This is probably the most common question asked of me by folks hearing for the first time that I write mystery novels. And my go-to answer is generally, “Why, everywhere!” But the other day, when a neighbor—who’s just now reading through my Sally Solari series—asked me this question, after providing the same stock answer as usual (with the addition of, “Hey, you might end up … Continue reading Where Do You Get Your Ideas?
My mother, Smiley Cook Karst—who passed away on January 3rd at the grand old age of 91—was perhaps my greatest inspiration as a writer. Sure, my law professor father, author of three books and many dozens of articles about Constitutional law, was far more famous. But notwithstanding that I, too, worked as an attorney, I was never drawn to writing about the law. No, my … Continue reading Like Mother Like Daughter
No, we, alas, won’t be hosting meals for twelve people crammed around the dining room table this year, but I imagine most of us will be preparing a Thanksgiving meal for our “bubble” of two or four. And although the get-togethers will be small, they’ll still be joyous and delicious. And come Thursday night, “stuffed” is how the majority of folks in the country will … Continue reading Stuffed
My law professor father used to like to say, “There are only two times I’m miserable—when I’m writing and when I’m not writing.” And I have to agree. Because when you’re in the middle of a book, you’re nervous about getting it right and angsting that you should be working on it whenever you’re not. But when you’re not in the middle of a book, … Continue reading Starting From Scratch
I’m one of the lucky ones. Several of my friends lost their homes to the CZU Lightning Complex fire north of Santa Cruz (so called because it was started by a dry lightning storm) which began in the early hours of Sunday, August 16—and is still burning. The city of Santa Cruz, was thankfully spared. But on Wednesday, August 19, Robin and I awoke to … Continue reading A Values Clarification
I’m guessing it’s a pretty safe bet that most everyone’s routines have been disturbed since the middle of March. Which is not a good thing, since we humans thrive on routine. And when our lives are disrupted and we can no longer do the things we’ve been accustomed to, it can be hard on one’s mental health. For me, as I wrote about earlier, what … Continue reading Riding Out Your Thoughts
All the fiction I’ve written to date—unpublished things, as well as my Sally Solari novels—has been in the first person. However, when I started book one in my mystery series, Dying for a Taste, I actually did so in the third person. There was no particular reason for this choice, other than the fact that most novels seemed to be written that way. But about … Continue reading Which Person is Which?