Carving Out Your Words

It’s a well-accepted tenet of fiction writing that you should get through your first draft quickly, not stopping to edit yourself, before you go back and start on the revisions. Otherwise, the reasoning goes, you’ll become mired in the details and lose track of the overall story. Well, I guess I must be a rebel, because that’s just not the way I fly. After coming … Continue reading Carving Out Your Words

Learning, Working, Resting

Bob Dylan famously proclaimed to the world that “he not busy being born is busy dying,” thereby dividing life into two segments: the period when we consistently make the most of our life and move forward, after which we merely exist and begin marching towards our grave. But now that I’m in my sixties, and thus entering the last third of my existence, I’ve been … Continue reading Learning, Working, Resting

California Crime Writers and a Long-Awaited Meeting

A little over a week ago, I had the pleasure of attending and participating in the bi-annual California Crime Writers Conference in Culver City, Los Angeles. Culver City is soaked in movie-making history, with its MGM lot dating back to 1924 and Sony Pictures taking up multiple acres of the now uber-trendy city. So it was appropriate that this year’s CCWC highlighted movie and television … Continue reading California Crime Writers and a Long-Awaited Meeting

Murder from Scratch, and My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Tomorrow, April 9th, marks the official release of the fourth book in my Sally Solari series, Murder from Scratch. Yes, you could say I’m pretty darned excited. But it’s been a tough few days leading up to this point. Last Thursday, I awoke to learn that my 89-year-old father, Kenneth L. Karst, was being assigned hospice care. The news didn’t come as much of surprise, … Continue reading Murder from Scratch, and My Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Conflicted About Conflict

One of the notes I got from my editor after turning in the manuscript for my very first Sally Solari mystery, Dying for a Taste, was this (paraphrased): “I want to know what Sally feels about the conflicts she’s facing. You need to show us more of the emotions she’s experiencing, especially with regard to her father and her ex-boyfriend, Eric.” Right. More emotions; bring … Continue reading Conflicted About Conflict

Making Sushi Is No Mystery

As Monty Python famously said, “And now for something completely different!” But since I do pen culinary-themed mysteries, I thought it only right and proper that I begin to sprinkle the occasional recipe into this blog. So here’s one to celebrate the new year! As some of you probably know, my wife Robin and I spend half the year in Santa Cruz (where my Sally … Continue reading Making Sushi Is No Mystery

Pants-er or Recipe-er?

Authors are often asked whether we’re plotters or pantsers—do we plan out our story lines in advance and outline them in detail, or merely start writing and just see what happens? I’ve been a devout plotter for all my fiction writing career. And for my legal writing career, as well. Though truly, I can’t fathom how anyone could draft a legal brief without doing at … Continue reading Pants-er or Recipe-er?

Murder Mystery Haiku (and a Giveaway!)

This seems to be a week for poetry on the Chicks! Today, I’m discussing the fun, Japanese poetic form of haiku. I was first introduced to haiku back in 1977, when my law professor father initiated the Federal Jurisdiction Haiku Festival at the UCLA School of Law, inviting students and professors to submit original poems on this arcane subject. This was long before I became … Continue reading Murder Mystery Haiku (and a Giveaway!)