Saturday, March 29, 2008


As I have spoken to groups at retirement homes, I’ve met of a number of people who are writing their memoirs. At a meeting about services for older citizens, I recently encountered two individuals who also help older people with documenting their life stories. This is a great practice to leave a legacy for one’s offspring as well as a good mental exercise. When my mom could no longer see to write, I interviewed her over the phone to write down her recollections. I wrote this up and gave a copy to my kids. I know I wasn’t that interested in my parents’ stories until the time my wife and I had our first child. Something about the step forward made me more interested in where I came from.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Printed, Electronic and Audio Books

What will be the future of printed books? Printed book readers tend to be older citizens as the younger generation has become enamored with electronic forms of entertainment. Many forays into electronic books have been tried including those by Sony, Net Library (acquired by OCLC) and most recently’s Kindle. As people age and have difficulty with eye sight (macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma), two variations of standard print books appeal to older readers: large print editions and books on tape/CD. Although I can still read standard print with my thick glasses, I thoroughly enjoy audio books which I listen to whenever I’m driving by myself. Although I don’t drive a great deal, I’ve found that time for the normal commute (when I worked before retiring), errands, etc. adds up. Over the last five years, I’ve averaged listening to a book and a half a month while driving. In addition to the enjoyment of a good story, I’ve found my driving to be less stressful. Instead of cursing drivers ahead who won’t merge and lamenting getting stuck in traffic, now I sit back and listen to a good story. In our world of multi-media, I expect to see all forms of “reading” continue. This will include electronic books, audio books and print.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Left Coast Crime Conference

At the Left Coast Crime Conference in Denver last week I had the pleasure of introducing twenty new mystery authors. All of these published their first mystery novel between February 2007 and March 2008. These are excellent works take place throughout the United States and Canada. Here are the demographics of the settings:

6 in the East
4 in the South
2 in the Midwest
1 in Colorado
3 in California
4 in the Pacific Northwest

These novels run the gamut from outrageous comedy to dark suspense, so whatever your reading tastes you will find excellent reading in this list. So here they are:

Laura Benedict, Isabella Moon
Bill Cameron, Lost Dog
Toni McGee Causey, Bobbie Faye’s Very Bad Day
J.T. Ellison, All the Pretty Girls
Dana Fredsti, Murder for Hire: The Peruvian Pigeon
Michelle Gagnon, The Tunnels
Jack Getze, Big Numbers
Barbara Graham, Murder by Serpents
Beth Groundwater, A Real Basket Case
Rosemary Harris, Pushing Up Daisies
Gabriella Herkert, Catnapped
Ken Isaacson, Silent Counsel
Marc Louis Lecard, Vinnie’s Head
C.J. Lyons, Lifelines
Cricket McRae, Lye in Wait
Sharon Rowse, The Silk Train Murder
Susan Arnout Smith, The Timer Game
Patricia Stoltey, The Prairie Grass Murders
Terri Thayer, Wild Goose Chase
Richard Thompson, Fiddle Game

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Police Citizens' Academy

I’ve had the opportunity to participate in two citizens’ police academies. Last fall I attended the Boulder Police Department Citizens' Academy and I’m currently in the Boulder County Sheriff Citizens' Academy. These are excellent programs that inform citizens about law enforcement activities and procedures. Subjects covered include: crime analysis; laws of arrest, search and seizure; bomb squad; professional standards; traffic and accident investigation; SWAT; street patrol; drug and narcotic investigation; identity theft; liquor enforcement and DUI; victim services; crime scene processing; municipal court; jail tour; criminal and death investigations; officer safety; gun range; animal control; domestic violence investigation; restorative justice; K9 handling; role of DA; defensive tactics; forensic cyber investigation; gang crimes; and internal affairs. As a mystery writer this has been invaluable in helping me improve the accuracy of my writing. Anyone can attend who is not a felon. Take a look in your communities to see if similar programs are offered.