April 20, 2017
I've completed "The Smith Case" in "The Thin Mann, Ace Detective" series and have started a second story, "The Angry Heiress." The gorgeous young heiress, Monica Van Dusen, wants out of her third marriage, but her S.O.B. husband is throwing up obstacles. Can T.T. and Rosie help?
March 26, 2017
Roaring ahead on my "T.T. Mann, Ace Detective" project about The Thin Mann and his brother Flat Mann, a detective story spoof set in S.F. in the 1950s. And wouldn't you know, the local crime boss, Biggie Fingers, has a brother named Tiny Fingers.
February 25, 2017
I'm very busy drafting short stories based in the 1940s: stories my father told me, and games my brother and I played. 20,000 words so far this year.
January 31, 2017
I am going flat out on two writing projects. 1) A new Buenaventura Series novel set in 1784. 2) A series of short stories: "Two Boys Growing Up During World War II." It's all coming very easily. Whether either project will ever get into print is another thing altogether.
January 3, 2017
Time to be writing again. I've started 3 projects: a) novel set in NM in 1784; b) another novel set in CA & NYC in the early 1900s; and c) a biography of a NYC woman progressive reformer active prior to World War I. We'll see which one grabs me.
December 25, 2016
2016 was good for P.R. efforts. Made new friends. Even sold a few books. Now I'm ready to start a new writing project. I have one award-winning nonfiction book & two award-winning novels. Which way to go--more historical nonfiction or another novel? Any reactions out there?
November 16, 2016
2016 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of the publication of THE "COUNTERFEIT" MAN. That has prompted me to think about what, if any, changes I would make in my treatment of the Boorn-Colvin mystery. One new angle on the case that came to my attention recently is the work of Rob Warden, the executive director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University School of Law. When Rob first contacted me, he believed that Stephen Boorn's confession in 1819 to having killed Russell Colvin was the earliest-known American example of a false confession made under duress. Although Rob subsequently discovered an earlier case of coerced confession, he included the Boorn-Colvin case in TRUE STORIES OF FALSE CONFESSION, an anthology he edited with Steven A. Drizen in 2009. Rob's use of the case is an example of its continued relevance despite the passage of two centuries.
I agree with Rob's view that Stephen Boorn's acknowledgement of guilt was made under duress. Many elements of his confession reveal that he tailored it to conform to the theory his accusers had developed, and that he did so in hopes of getting off with a charge of manslaughter rather than murder, a capital crime.
But to say that Stephen's confession was coerced and contrived does not by itself prove beyond a shadow of doubt that he was innocent of killing Colvin. That evidence seemingly surfaced in 1819. After Stephen had been declared guilty of murder and sentenced to be hanged, a man claiming to be Russell Colvin was located in New Jersey and brought to Manchester for a brief stay, during which he convinced town authorities that he was who he said he was. Stephen and Jesse Boorn were pardoned and their much-earlier assertions that Russell had simply wandered off into the woods, never to be seen again after the fight, seemed borne out. Case closed.
Fair enough, but how to explain what Stephen stated to family members in 1812: that he knew Russell was dead because he and Jesse "had put him where potatoes would not freeze?"
October 19, 2016
One event is following close on others: a reading at Blue Umbrella Books in Westfield, MA, a lecture to the UMass Retired Faculty Association, a talk at Applewood Community, and a reading at South Hadley Public Library. Very different audiences: some 7th cousins at Westfield, old friends at the RFA meeting, vibrant retirees at Applewood, and (wait & see) in South Hadley.
September 30, 2016
This month I gave a reading in Westfield, Massachusetts and spent many hours setting up future readings. P.R and even a modest amount of networking are full-time jobs. But the BIG NEWS is that THE LAST OF OUR KIND, THIRD IN THE BUENAVENTURA SERIES is a finalist in the 2016 NM-AZ Book Awards competition.
August 12, 2016
Lots of hot weather over the past few weeks. The best part of the day is early morning, but no excuses! Turn on the air conditioner and start writing. Had a good trip with my Kansas cousins to the NY/MA border near Albany. Lots of fun to visit family history sites mentioned in A SCATTERED PEOPLE.