Thoughts on the Fatal Defense book launch

Fatal Defense, the new book in the Jessie Black Legal Thriller series, launched on Friday, April 7. It’s still a little early to evaluate the success of the launch, but I thought it might be interesting to share some of my thoughts. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Fatal Defense, Jessie Black Legal Thrillers

Two good reasons you should post book reviews

starsIf you’ve read my books, you know that at the end of each book, I ask readers to post an honest review on Amazon. I make this request because reviews can be critically important to a book’s success. Here are some thoughts on why that’s the case. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Reviews

Fatal Defense (A Jessie Black Legal Thriller) Available This Friday!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since I published the previous book in the Jessie Black series, Deadly Evidence, but the fourth book is finally ready. Fatal Defense will be published for Kindle this Friday, April 7, 2017.

If you hurry, you can pre-order your copy at a special launch price by clicking here!

A paperback version will also be available in the next few weeks. Read more ›

Posted in Uncategorized

Quick Update

paperI’m currently neck-deep in the final edits to the next Jessie Black book, so I don’t have time for a full-length blog post this week. However, I wanted to check in, if for no other reason than to maintain my streak of posting to this blog every week since the beginning of the year. Here are some thoughts about where I’m at with the book. Read more ›

Posted in Blogging, Books, Jessie Black Legal Thrillers, writing

The Pain and the Glory of Editing

pencilForgive me the melodramatic blog title. I’ve been editing the fourth Jessie Black legal thriller since December of 2016, when I finished the first draft. At this point, I’m a little punch-drunk.

Does over three months of editing seem like a long time to you? It feels like an eternity to me. I hate editing. But I would never consider shortchanging this critical part of the writing process. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Jessie Black Legal Thrillers, writing

Tips for Writers—How to Use Weather to Enhance a Story

blizzardHere on the east coast, Winter Storm Stella poured over a foot of snow onto my town yesterday. We had impassable roads, blizzard conditions, accumulating ice, and intense winds. The governor declared a state of emergency, so most businesses closed, kids stayed home from school, the only vehicles on the roads were snowplows and the occasional adventurer, and the snow fell for most of the day in a steady white curtain, occasionally whipped around by a vicious gust of wind.

You don’t visit this blog for weather updates, so let me bring things around to our favorite subject: thrillers. Watching the snow through the window of my writing room got me thinking about the role weather can play in a story. Seems like a good topic for my Writing Tips series. Read more ›

Posted in Books, writing

Nervous Laughter—Humor in Thriller Novels

LMAO blocksOne reason thrillers are often compared to roller coaster rides is that a great thriller grabs hold of your heart and mind and rockets you through many emotions at a whiplash-inducing pace. A great thriller hits several emotions at once—excitement, anxiety, anticipation, fear, hope, sadness, and glee, among others.

For me, humor is one emotion that is often excluded, but that can really make a thriller stand out. Even when I’m on the edge of my seat, rapidly turning the pages of a tense thriller, a laugh can be as welcome—sometimes more welcome—than a scare. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Jessie Black Legal Thrillers, writing Tagged with: ,

A Thriller Writer’s Thoughts on Book Series

booksI’ve written both series and standalone books. The series books are more popular. A quick look at Amazon shows that this is a general trend. The bestseller charts are dominated by series books across most genres, including romance, mystery/thriller, and science fiction and fantasy. Readers seem to love series. But writing them presents some challenges. A series book has some limitations and drawbacks that a standalone novel does not. As a writer, one of my goals is to write good series books while navigating around these potential pitfalls. Read more ›

Posted in Books, Jessie Black Legal Thrillers, writing

Tips for Writers—Why I Outline

lettersThis week’s blog post is on the short side, but it’s critical advice for writers. If there’s one habit you can adopt to help you write more quickly, craft a more satisfying story, and finish what you start, it’s this: Outline. Here are some reasons why. Read more ›

Posted in writing

Do You Want Romance In Your Thrillers?

heart in bookLove is a big deal. The romance genre is the largest and most widely-read genre of books. Just about every book, movie, and TV show touches on the subject of love in some manner. We have a whole holiday devoted to love. So it isn’t surprising that many thriller novels incorporate love, usually in the form of a romance subplot.

As a reader, I have mixed feelings about romance in thrillers. When done well, a romance subplot can add depth to the characters, raise the stakes of the story, and provide the vicarious excitement of experiencing the roller coaster-like emotions of love and desire. But when executed poorly, romance can feel forced and phony. It can induce eye rolls, cringes, or, in the worst case, abandonment of an otherwise enjoyable book. It’s a risky balancing act. As a reader and a writer, I’ve thought about it quite a bit. Read more ›

Posted in Books