Mad Rush

Summer's over. Busy season is here. Our annual trip to Disneyland, which always coincides with my son's birthday, served as a bridge between the two. Holden is not yet four, and this was his 6th trip to The Happiest Place on Earth. As parents we strive to replicate the good times, eschew the bad, Read More

What Is Found, What Is Lost, by Anne Leigh Parrish: Book Review

Like poetry, literary fiction makes for an easy target. Whereas mystery, my milieu, relies on plot to propel the narrative (i.e., it’s all about the story), lit fiction only has the language. Sure, there are characters, too. But they often don’t “do” much, opting for internal strife over external Read More

Afterschool Special: You Are Going to Prison

Back at the end of my drug run, prison had gone from possibility to probability, to mutherfucking certainty. That's what happens when you violate terms of a plea agreement. Following arrest, arraignment, and sentencing for my part in a counterfeit checking scheme, I was told to report to the Sheriff's Read More

Robin Williams, Suicide, and Other Happy Thoughts

Let's get the housekeeping out of the way first. Please READ THIS REVIEW that came out Friday. It's for Lamentation, and is the best I've ever gotten. I feel bad because the dude who wrote it clearly loves the book, but his enthusiasm got buried in my news feed with the ... big announcement. (More on Read More

Demystifying Mystery

This fall I will be teaching a class over at the SF Writer's Grotto. The intensive 5-week (one night a week) course will cover plotting a mystery novel and how to get said novel published, two things that, once upon a time, seemed impossible to me. Like dating a Hodgson Sister in high school or understanding Read More


Last Friday, I found out my Association of Writing Programs proposal (pg. 89) had been accepted for next year's conference in Minneapolis. Getting on a panel at AWP is not easy, and the last time I had been in Minneapolis I was living in a skid row hotel called the Candlelight Inn, strung out and contemplating Read More

50 Shades of Envy

On Friday night, I stole this pic from East Bay writer Nick Mamantas's Facebook page. And then I proceeded to throw a hissy fit over the shitty prose for the next three hours. Other writer friends joined in, almost all sharing my point of view. What other conclusion can one draw? All you got Read More