Thursday, April 27, 2017

Writing at Any Age


I didn’t start writing until I was fifty-six years old. When I lived in Colorado, I mentored a middle school student who was working on his first novel. We all have our individual paths to writing. For me, the timing was right as I approached retirement to dedicate myself to something I could retire into.

This last Saturday at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, Morrie Markoff had a booth and signed his book, Keep Breathing. With the hundreds of authors signing at the festival, what set Morrie apart was that he published his first book at the age of 103. He’s an inspiration and a model that we can begin writing at any age.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Presentation for The Tesla Legacy

Whenever I have a book published, I put together a new presentation to give at events and signings. With the recent release of my international thriller, The Tesla Legacy, I have developed a speech about the genius inventor, Nikola Tesla, whose inventions play a key role in the novel. Tesla was a fascinating dichotomy. He was a pacifist who invented weapons, invented things in his mind without a blueprint but held strange ideas about transmissions from Mars and eugenics, was brilliant at inventing but poor at business, was a cleanliness nut but kept pigeons in his hotel room and was on the autism spectrum with his strange quirks, one of which was doing things in multiples of three and staying in hotel rooms that were divisible by three.

I will be presenting and signing The Tesla Legacy at Mystery Ink, 8907 Warner Avenue #135, Huntington  Beach, CA, on Saturday, April 29, 2017, at 3 PM, and at Gatsby Books, 5535 E. Spring Street, Long Beach, CA, on Sunday, April 30, 2017 at 3 PM.

 
Picture a retired mathematics professor and conspiracy nut with a butt-kicking, surrogate-daughter sidekick. Elmore Kranz bombards the police with his predictions of disaster until one of them actually happens, to the point that he’s implicated in the plot. Even with the assistance of his one ally, rookie cop Brittney Chase, people start dying around Elmore as attempts are made on his life. Following up on inventions from eccentric genius, Nikola Tesla, Elmore and Brittney team up to solve a hundred year old puzzle while trying to thwart a secret government agency and an Afghani terrorist group who seek to get their hands on a doomsday weapon.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Inventing Games


As a writer, I’m interested in the creative process. As a grandfather, I enjoy watching my twenty-month-old grandson invent games.

At his young age, he’s constantly trying new things and showing how early the creative process comes into play. Once he masters a new skill, he likes to add a new twist to challenge himself. Here are some examples:

Now that he can walk, he no longer confines himself to a smooth path. Instead, he walks on the curb adjoining the nature trail to see if he can balance on it.

At the playground he has learned to go down the slides. Now he has invented a game where he takes a stick, leaf or toy up the steps with him and sends them down the slide before he slides down.

On the swing at the playground, he enjoys being pushed but now wants to go into the swing holding a ball. He then throws the ball to me while swinging and catches it when I toss it back.

At the playground there are four metal picnic tables, end to end. He has turned this into a race track where he pushed his toy car around on the seats of the picnic tables.

When we play with plastic blocks, instead of carrying them from one place to another in his hand, he uses a long plastic spoon to balance the blocks.

He loves jars and cans. He will fill up a can with pegs and dump the can into another can, and then dump the contents back into the original can.

Each time we get together, I can’t wait to see what he invents.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Reversion of Rights



I have six published books in my Paul Jacobson Geezer-lit Mystery Series. Print rights have reverted to me for five of these books, with one more in December of this year. One of these has already been published as a trade paperback and I will be working with another publisher on getting the others back in print.

This all came about because my previous publisher, Five Star, decided to exit the mystery book publishing business. With rights being reverted, I now can take the necessary steps to keep the books in print.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Grandson Lessons – Sharing Toys


Several days ago my twenty-month-old grandson was playing at the park with two other little boys. They had all brought sand toys along. Each was playing with someone else’s toys. The other kid’s toys are always more intriguing than your own.

The good news is that he’s learning to share. He still grabs things away at times but now is more apt to let someone else use one of his toys while he plays with the other kid’s toys. I guess it’s all part of the civilizing process—at least until you get into politics.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Left Coast Crime Conference


I had the opportunity to participate in the Left Coast Crime Conference in Honolulu last week. This gathering of mystery fans and mystery writers is one of the highlights of my writing year. I get to meet other mystery authors and fans and chat with old friends.

One of the events I enjoyed was Author Speed Dating. We teamed up with another author and gave two-minute pitches to sixteen tables of readers. Robert Downs and I were a team. By the end we could give each others’ speeches. Here’s Robert in action.



I was also on a panel about heroes and villains with Colin Cotterill, Susanna Calkins, Augie Hicks and Penny Warner. We had a lively discussion on villainous heroes and heroic villains.

I enjoyed introducing thirteen new authors at the Meet the New Author Breakfast and even had a chance to get in an ocean swim and visit the three outdoor pools at the Hilton Hawaiian Village. Great event and kudos to Lucinda Surber, Stan Ulrich and Gay Gale for a well-run conference.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Meet the New Authors Breakfast at the Left Coast Crime Conference


Kicking off Thursday, March 16, 2017, is the Left Coast Crime Conference in Honolulu. This conference is held annually in February or March in different cities in the western part of the United States. It provides an opportunity for mystery fans and mystery writers to mingle, attend panels and share their love of the mystery genre.

I have the opportunity to moderate the Meet the New Authors Breakfast at this conference. This year we have thirteen new authors to introduce to the fans. These are writers who have published their first mystery/crime/suspense/thriller novel within the last year.
This is the tenth year of holding this event at the conference, the first being in Denver in 2008. We have had anywhere from twelve to forty-four new authors in attendance. Each of the new authors gives a short presentation on the most important thing readers should know about their debut novel. The new authors shore their enthusiasm of being published, and the fans have a chance to meet these authors who now have launched their mystery writing careers.