Wednesday, September 4, 2013


Lee Child

I've interviewed Lee Child several times via satellite, but it wasn't until June at Thrillerfest 13 in New York that I got to stand face to face with him for the first time.  Okay, for the sake of clarity, let's say face to neckline is a better description.

He may not have the muscles of his tough guy, revenge seeking hunk of a man in Jack Reacher, but Child is definitely a extra long in the suit department.

Thankfully, he's not menacing either.  At a cocktail party where the booze is flowing freely, anybody who's put words to a chapter wants to get a whiff of the man who's books shoot straight for the top of the New York Times Bestseller List.

Child's latest effort, Never Go Back is circulating everywhere now and it was a pleasure to talk with him again.

Here's a link to our conversation.

And while you have a moment, also check out
my debut espionage thriller Sandstorm.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


The literary universe took a hit today.

Author, screenwriter Elmore Leonard passed away.  He died from complications of a stroke he suffered a few weeks ago.  At age 87, he of course was working on his 46th novel.
A legend

He began his illustrious career in the early 1950s with a slew of successful westerns.  Working for an advertising agency in Detroit, Leonard would rise to write from 5AM-7AM before heading off to his copy editing duties at Campbell-Ewald.  He wrote every day, and once he quit advertising, it accelerated to 10AM to 6PM without a break.

What resulted from his relentless dedication was a writing career that most of us frankly can't even dream about.  "Get Shorty" "3:10 To Yuma" "Out Of Sight" and "Hombre" are just a few of the titles he penned.

I interviewed Leonard on TV a number of occasions.  He was a quiet, always seemingly pleased with his station in life kind of guy.  I recall one time poking fun at him for the car he drove to the station.  If memory serves me right, it was a vintage Volkswagen hatchback.  He laughed and in typical Leonard fashion, responded by saying it was "practical" and "not over the top."  It got him to where he needed to go.

I felt like a member of the club when Leonard told me to simply call him "Dutch."  Growing up I read a few of his westerns and became even a bigger fan when the likes of "Hombre" "Valdez Is Coming" and "3:10 To Yuma" made it to the big screen.  Then came crime fiction for which he either wrote the book or the screenplay.  There were no limits to Dutch's talent.  He had a playful, special relationship with words.

Now that I'm a published author, one of the blurbs that appears on Sandstorm is from Dutch.  It was one of the most nervous calls I've ever made, asking him would he do it.  After all, Dutch only knew me as a TV news anchor.  I also realized he didn't do it very often.  Dutch made me laugh when he said, "I'll look at your manuscript.  Now if I don't like it, I won't give you a blurb."

I told I'm I'd expect nothing less than the truth and that I'd understand if he decided not to offer a blurb.  A few weeks later, my editor at Forge called and said they'd received an endorsement from Elmore Leonard.  It wasn't my birthday, but it sure as hell was quite a present.

Born in New Orleans, Dutch made Metro Detroit his official home.  Once he got a taste, he was a lifer.  He picked up the area's mood, its heart, its dialogue, and often transported it onto the written page.

While those of us who write genre fiction open ourselves to criticism because we aren't perfect, Elmore Leonard was a talent to be taken seriously.  He was a student of the written word.  His prose was a force field.

If you've never read a Leonard novel, or strive to be a novelist, do yourself a favor and find the time to reward yourself with one of his many titles.

One thing is for certain.

His light will never fade.

Thursday, August 1, 2013


My debut espionage thriller SANDSTORM managed to give me something back today that was totally unexpected.  It wasn't a call from my agent or publisher saying it had made the New York Times bestsellers list (though come on, that would be pretty damn sweet). 

No, what I got today was a Facebook message from Tyler Donoghue.  I've never met him, and before that message, had no idea who he was.

I quickly discovered that we share a deep appreciation for my departed friend Vince Flynn and through that association, Tyler had found SANDSTORM.

Here is the message he sent me:

"I'm a die hard Vince Flynn fan. In fact I'm the guy you see in
the hospital on Vince's website for email of the month.  I bought Sandstorm and let me tell you:  It's one of my favorite books EVER!  It was amazing.  I tell everyone about it! Incredible.  With Vince's unfortunate sad death I am glad I found a new author to love!  Thank you!  Are you going to write another book?  Please say yes!!  I look forward to it and look forward to hopefully getting a response from you. Take care!"

Now I've gotten a fair share of email messages and reviews from a number of people who thankfully, have enjoyed SANDSTORM and like Tyler, have been nice enough to inquire about a second book.  But upon investigating, I discovered that for Tyler to take the time to reach out to me, makes SANDSTORM a very worthwhile endeavor.  Even if he was the only person to buy a copy, I'd be touched.

On Vince Flynn's website I learned Tyler, now 27 years old, was nearly killed in a car crash in 2010 that left him disabled.  A fighter for sure, he welcomed the birth of his son this past May.  (You can read his story and become a fan as I have here).

I was extremely humbled and honored for him to give SANDSTORM such lofty praise.  I write about characters who face incredible odds and somehow manage to survive.  They pale in comparison to Tyler's strength and courage.

I'm uplifted that he got in touch and thrilled to have a fan of his magnitude.  Tyler, you better believe I'm working on another book!

Sunday, June 2, 2013


As my debut espionage thriller SANDSTORM officially releases on Tuesday, June 4, I'd like to place
my feet back on the ground long enough to give a couple of shout-outs to some early praise making the rounds.

To the International Thriller Writers organization and its Debut Authors program, a huge thank you for the interview and publicity.  I'm proud to be a member of such a wonderful group bent on killing people on paper and sometimes spreading mass destruction.

Here's a link to the interview in The Big Thrill newsletter. 

The Big Thrill interview

To Hour Detroit magazine, I can't gather up enough copies!

Hour Detroit magazine review

I swear Ricky Brown is not on the payroll, and I generally don't genuflect, but his review in the 
Examiner floored me.  It will be good to hold onto when the less than complimentary reviews come in, and we know they're coming!  Such is the life of being a writer.  You can't please everyone, but happy Ricky is on board. 

Examiner review of Sandstorm

Thursday, May 30, 2013


For years, author Brad Thor has been successfully churning out page turners.

Brad Thor
For years, I've been trying to get Scot Harvath's maker into the studio for a one on one chat.

Finally, I succeeded on a recent trip to Detroit.

Clearly established as one of the best thriller writers ever to bring characters and scenarios to print, Brad is about to launch his lastest effort, "Hidden Order" on July 9th.  He was nice enough to exclusively spill some of the beans about the upcoming novel as well as talk about what makes him tick as a writer.

Brad Thor interview

Wednesday, May 1, 2013


Available June 4th
June 4th looms as a huge check mark in my life.

Long after my time on this earth has passed, there will be tangible evidence that I was here.  In a way, a contribution to the arts.  That feels good.

For a while, I will have the honor of sharing the same precious space reserved for the works of Ian Fleming, Robert Ludlum, Lee Child, Brad Meltzer, Vince Flynn, Frederick Forsyth and so many more.

The air is getting thinner.

It's like precise math at this point.  Hard work + dreams x never giving up = June 4th, which is the day my debut espionage thriller SANDSTORM is released.

I hark back to my days as a youngster when I was drawn to bookstores like a magnet, seeking some far away land or larger than life character to satisfy my imaginative thirst.

They've been out of business for years, but I fondly remember spending countless hours at Kroch's and Brentano's in downtown Chicago.  My mother could deposit me there and then go shopping, secure with the knowledge that I wasn't going to wonder off.  And that was way, way before the invention of cell phones.

Multi levels of books; mysteries, thrillers, WWII, magazines, and newspapers from around the globe.  It was the best of times as I thumbed through the latest Mickey Spillane, Dashiell Hammett, Len Deighton and other offerings.

I'm sure that's where the fire was first lit.  Imagine one day on the shelf, staring back at me, something I created.

Fast forward to 2013 and it's about to become a reality.

I can only speculate that seeing one's first book, a labor of intense love, on a shelf at a bookstore is like an out of body experience.  To that end, I have to tip my hat to Barnes & Noble and countless independent sellers for surviving in this technological age.  Thanks for hanging in there!  Gone are Borders, B. Dalton, Waldenbooks and various other relics that used to cater to a reading world.

Part of me wants to emulate Mary Tyler Moore in the opening credits of her TV show where she spins and joyously throws her hat in the air.  Another part wants to take on the persona of The Most Interesting Man In The World.  Act like you've been here before.

Whichever emotion comes through, I'm sure it will be genuine and extremely humbling.  There are friends, fans and strangers who will willingly fork over their hard earned dollars.

I can only hope I manage to give them the kind of return on their investment that leaves them wanting more.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Bestselling author David Baldacci is at it again.

The man's brain just won't shut off.  That's a good thing for the millions of readers who look forward to his books every year.  A holiday treat this year is "The Forgotten".

I got the opportunity to do a satellite interview with David before Thanksgiving about his latest effort and he gives me a scoop about what lies ahead.

Click the link below to listen.