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?
I think about food a lot. In part because I seem to be incessantly hungry—the result, no doubt, of having to greatly curb my caloric intake now that I’ve reached what the French so delicately call un certain âge. But also because I’m pretty much obsessed with food, even when not hungry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve begun discussing and planning a … Continue reading When is a Fruit a Vegetable?
It’s long been my belief that coming together at mealtimes to sip some wine, swap stories, and learn what’s been going on in each others’ lives, is an essential part of what it is that makes us human. From the time of the stone age, early Homo Sapiens would gather about the communal fire each night for safety, stories, and food. And although this now … Continue reading Dinner in a Time of Pandemic
Like everyone who’d registered for Left Coast Crime this year, I was faced with the decision two weeks ago whether or not to attend, given the health risks posed by the COVID-19 virus. Since I’m in good health with no respiratory or immunity issues, I determined to go. After all, it’s one of the best mystery conventions in the world, and would be my only … Continue reading LCC 2020—It Went By So Fast!
We’ve all had them. Once can be funny, twice or three times hilarious, but anything much more than that can become pretty maddening, right? So why does our body do such a strange—and annoying—thing? What’s the point of hiccups, anyway? There are some adorable kids’ books about hiccups, including this one Hiccups can happen for a variety of causes—some physical, some emotional—and result from an … Continue reading What’s the Deal with Hiccups?