Questions for Authors.

Is there a something you’ve always wanted to know about being an author?  Or maybe a specific question about one of my books?  If so, ask away in the comment section below and I’ll do my best to answer.

My answer to the question I get most often — “Where do your ideas come from?” — is here.

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Where do you get your ideas?

One of the most common questions authors get asked is “where do you get your ideas?”

My standard reply is that ideas are everywhere and all that’s necessary is having the mindset to recognize them. Just be receptive and they will leap out at you, sometimes faster and more numerous than you can handle. For me, I have more ideas that I could possibly write in one lifetime. This is a truthful answer and usually appeases anyone who asks. However, it’s often a little more complicated than that and may depend on the book.

One of my favorite origin stories is about BLIND RUN (which I originally titled THE MOUTH OF BABES). I’m not certain where the kernel came from, but I had an idea that I wanted to write a story about a man protecting children he had no connection to and thus no logical reason to risk his life for. Yet he does. That’s it. That’s all I had. The CIA, the eventual bad stuff going on, even why the children were in danger was all in the future. I do remember that the idea of him living in the desert came early.

So, how did that tiny seed of an idea develop into a four-hundred-page book? Well, I had help.

At the time, I was writing romance, shifting into romantic suspense, with my books edging closer to the suspense line. And there was this niggling of an idea. So, I was coming back from a writer’s conference with two friends, Deborah Smith and Sandra Chastain – both experienced and successful authors – and I told them about my idea. One thing you need to know about writers is that we love brainstorming story ideas – especially someone else’s idea, because the other person must actually do the work. Brainstorming is fun and easy. Writing? Well, it’s work.

Anyway . . . it was a long flight from the West Coast to Atlanta, then a drive to Sandra’s house where we spent the night before Deb and I headed north to our respective homes. We brainstormed the entire time, and by the next morning, I had the beginnings of a real story. Yes, a lot of things changed along the way: the title, the agency Ethan worked for (I originally thought he worked for the NSA), and ages and personalities of the children. But I knew Ethan, who he was, and why he was living in the desert alone. I also had a good idea about the kids and the danger they faced. In other words, I was ready to start and it was just a matter of putting the work into making the story come together.

Do all of my books have such a detailed creation story? No. Some were simpler, some a little more complicated, but BLIND RUN was definitely the most fun.

Now, tell me, what other questions you have about writing, the writing process, or publishing. Just pop your question into the comment section below, and if I don’t know the answer I’ll find it for you.

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Cormoran Strike Novels

Cormoran Stike Novels by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

I am really enjoying this series.  Actually, I’m a bit obsessed with it, which speaks to the talent of J.K. Rawling (aka Robert Galbraith).

I wasn’t planning on reading the series because I’d watched (and loved) the HBO series, C.B. Strike.  A friend, however, told me I really needed to read the books.  I’m so glad I listened to her.  Yes, the TV series is good, and it follows the books closely, but the books just add something, that extra layer of insight and close point of view that you just don’t get on the screen.  Still, I’d recommend both.

I’m ready for book #3, but I’m forcing myself to wait, to slow down.  Otherwise, I’ll end up really sad when I’ve finished them all.

BTW – I’m listening to these on audio, and the reader is really good. And if you’re on KU (Kindle Unlimited, the first two books in the series are free.)

Cormoran Strike Series (6 Books)

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Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Why yes, I’m a Marvel fan. And Dr. Strange is my favorite of the movies / characters. So, of course, we had to go see the new Dr. Strange movie — the first time since the beginning of COVID that we’ve been to a movie theater. Anyway . . . I loved it! Who else?

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The Bomber Mafia

Continuing on my recent obsession with WW II, I just finished reading The Bomber Mafia.  Fascinating!!   Anyone else.

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I know I’m really late with this — a couple of years maybe.

I started watching Yellowstone in February and am so addicted that I’m now almost done with Season 4. And yes, I feel a bit guilty about loving something that is a wee-bit violent. But, hey it’s a David and Goliath story – right? My excuse and I’m sticking to it.

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For All Mankind

My Current Series Obsession

Knowing how I love science, science fiction, and the space program, this should surprise no one.  Has anyone else seen it?    Link to trailer.









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If Only by Judith Arnold

In the last couple of months, I’ve read two Women’s fiction books that I loved. The first is IF ONLY by Judith Arnold. Here is my Amazon review. I highly recommend it.

I have read a lot of books by Judith Arnold but IF ONLY may be my favorite. It has Ms. Arnold’s signature humor, along with realistic characters and great writing. However, there is a uniqueness to IF ONLY. Her main character, Ruth, is a woman in her late 60s who wonders about the paths not taken in her life. So much of Ruth’s story will resonate with women of all ages, and for me, I completely identified with Ruth. Her story may be different, but her experiences are universal. I loved it!


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The Sixth Extinction

I finished my first book for 2022: The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert. It was fascinating. Although I love science books, I’m mainly interested in the physical sciences vs. the biological sciences. This book, however, caught and held my interest. I highly recommend it.



A major book about the future of the world, blending intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes.
Continue reading

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The Ruin by Dervla McTiernan

Don’t you love it when you find a new (to you) author?

A couple of weeks ago I was looking for a short listen from Audible and found two (free) novellas (The Roommate and The Sisters) by an Dervla McTiernan – who I’d never heard of. So, I decided to give them a try. I enjoyed both of them (The Roommate more than The Sisters) and immediately grabbed the first of her books: The Ruin (A Cormac Reilly Mystery Book 1).

It was really good: great characters, setting, and mystery. And if you like to listen to books as I do, the narrator is really good, adding that touch of an Irish accent. I’m almost done with the second book (The Scholar) in the series, so I expect I’ll be reviewing that soon.

Now, the big question, do I rush to read the third book, like I want to, or wait and stretch out the anticipation?

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