God or Huck Finn: Who Should Tell Your Story?

An online discussion among several of my fellow Poisoned Pen Press authors got me thinking about the one decision every fiction author must make before typing CHAPTER 1 at the top of the page. That decision? Who will tell your story? "Huh," a baffled reader may wonder, "doesn't the author tell ...

Meet Me in St. Louis: Toasted Ravioli, Hoosiers, and High School

If asked to name the key elements of their favorite novel, most readers would place at the top of their list vivid characters and an engaging plot. But when we think of our favorite novels, another vital element is the strong sense of place. Whether it's Huck Finn's Mississippi River ...

From the Odyssey to the Unforgiven

Critics have long debated whether the correct number is six or nine or eleven, but they do agree that all literature--no matter the genre--can be reduced to less than 12 basic story lines. Whether you label Homer's The Odyssey a quest story, a revenge tale, a picaresque adventure, or an astounding melange ...

First Review of The Dead Hand

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Writing is a lonely pursuit. You spend all those hours on your own, writing and rewriting your novel, hoping that it's working, hoping that your readers will enjoy it, worrying that maybe you're kidding yourself, that maybe you're producing the literary equivalent of the Hollywood bomb. Thus nothing makes an author ...

From Hard-Boiled Mysteries to Film Noir to the World

Earlier this month, the St Louis Jewish Film Festival asked me to introduce the screening of Fire Birds, an Israeli murder mystery set in Tel Aviv (with English subtitles). To prepare my introductory remarks, I watched the film. Somewhere toward the middle of the movie, I had my epiphany. "Thank ...

Fire Birds: An Israeli Murder Mystery Film (June 7, 2016)

Murder mystery writer introduces murder mystery film to murder mystery fans at this year's St. Louis Jewish Film Festival. The writer is me. The film is Fire Birds. And if you're a fan of the noire mystery movie--a rich tradition that dates back to such classics as The Maltese Falcon and The Third Man while ...