Wednesday, March 30, 2011


As a child I always loved carousel rides. I still do. I ride one every chance I get. I know it's slow and it just goes around in a circle, but for some reason I feel so free on them.

I remember when the Polk County Fair would come to town in Minnesota and we would go with my family. It's the first ride I remember ever taking. I thought I was flying. Even then I would lean back and feel the air on my face. I still do.

This carousel is at California Adventure in Anaheim...King Triton's Carousel to be exact. The animals were from the sea and very colorful. I spotted a bright purple seahorse (I've always found them fascinating.) that I wanted to ride on But some little kid beat me to it. I probably could have taken him, (he was only about three years old) but his father was pretty big, so I let him have it. I settled for a sea lion.

Sometimes you just have to feel like a kid. Does anyone else still like to ride the carousel?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bad Language in Novels

My readers often ask me about the use of bad language in my books. I do a lot of book signings at bookstores and talk to many readers, and the one question I hear more often than any other is, "Does it have a lot of bad language in it?"

The concern is often not so much a prudish one, but rather that it detracts rather than adds to the story. I had one man tell me that he expects a writer should be able to come up with more creative words than he can hear every day on the streets. I tend to agree, although there are times when the situation just calls for it and without it, the scene loses authenticity. For instance, I had a scene in my first book where a hardcore methamphetamine user had just lost her children in court. She wasn't about to say, "Oh, piddle-sticks!" So she said something a little more down to earth.

What do you think? Does it bother you when you see a lot of derogatory words in a book? How much is too much?


Monday, March 14, 2011

Website Has a New Look

My website has a whole new look. Please check it out if you get a chance. My publisher, ZOVAbooks, has taken over my website so I don't have to spend time updating it any longer. Yahoo!

If you're looking for the readers' remarks, they have been moved to this site. Just look to your right. They're broken down by each book.

Keep an eye out for the next book in the series. We'll soon be adding the new cover for book #3.

So, when you get a chance check out the new site and please let me know what you think of it.


Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I'll pick game shows for $1000, Alex.

Answer: The biggest all-time money winner on the U.S. syndicated game show Jeopardy!

Question: Who is Brad Rutter?

That is correct!

I had a wonderful opportunity last week to attend a Jeopardy tournament at Cubberley Middle School in Long Beach. The tournament was promoted by Jim Birge, an educator, actor, drama professor, and long time friend of mine. This man has done an incredible job of preparing questions from the school curriculum for these students. He spends long hours in preparation, then he administers a test to all students interested in participating. The top eighteen in each class, sixth, seventh, and eighth, were invited to play some elimination rounds culminating in three students from each grade level who would then play the tournament round. The qualifying process takes about a week. That does not include the many hours Jim spends creating questions.

The whole set up is very authentic. The students stand behind a podium and read the answers from the big screen. They push the buzzer if they know the question. And the scores appear on a screen in front of the podium. I felt like I was at a real Jeopardy game except instead of Alex Trubeck, we had Jim Birge. And as an even greater treat for everyone, Jim managed to convince Brad Rutter, Jeopardy's all time biggest money winner, to host the final tournament game.

The students were so into the game, and what an absolutely wonderful learning experience for these kids. I was truly impressed with what this event had to offer the students. In my opinion it is something every school should include in their schedules. If you have an interest in having this experience at your school click here for more information about the program. The children won't be disappointed.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

The End

I'm afraid I missed a few blogs this past week, but it's not because I wasn't writing. The third book in The Advocate series has been in the works for the past eleven months. This book is a little different than the last two but you will still see Sabre, Bob, and JP as they solve another mystery and survive another adventure.

I have had some incredible writing days the past few weeks and yesterday I completed the last pages of the manuscript. Now the editing process starts. And then galleys and press releases and lots of planning, all leading up to the launch. But for now I'm just thrilled to have reached THE END.