IDOL TALK: Column Begins

My first monthly CrimeReads column on Lee Child appeared today in the online magazine. is the largest website dedicated to reading and writing crime/thriller/mystery novels (up to 900,000 circulation). You might recognize Lee’s story from my website.

Unlike other writers, he had a fairly easy time getting his first book published and since then has had an incredible run writing Jack Reacher novels. He recently announced he’s retiring from the franchise and is turning over the reins to his brother.

Other famous authors who will appear soon in my  CrimeReads column include Michael Connelly, David Morrell and Steve Berry. Watch this space for more first-timer stories.

IDOL TALK: Randy Wayne White’s Gift Keeps Giving

I was sitting in Doc Ford’s restaurant on Sanibel Island talking to the man himself, well, his alter ego: NYT bestselling novelist Randy Wayne White. Randy is best known for his Doc Ford series about a marine biologist and former government agent who lives on Sanibel and always seems to find trouble, or it finds him. Think of Indiana Jones, but on the bays and backwaters of Florida, the Caribbean and South America.

Interviewing Randy in his own restaurant is a feat in and of its own. For two hours we were repeatedly interrupted by loving fans seeking autographed copies of his books, which his restaurants (there are three, soon to be four), are more than happy to sell. And Randy, a true gentleman who admits to a sailor’s vocabulary (although I never heard it) was more than willing to oblige his fans.

There’s a lot more to Randy Wayne White than books and fans, like the work he’s done to help kids and refugees in Cuba. He’s a big man with a big heart. Read more about him in my future column on in the coming months. In the meantime, check out this documentary, “Gift of the Game,” about Randy’s effort to help Cuban children play baseball and to meet Ernest Hemingway’s original boy’s team on the island.

IDOL TALK: Check Out James Grippando’s Novel

My story about James Grippando’s new legal thriller appears in this month’s The Big Thrill magazine. Here’s how it begins:

Let’s face it, no matter what side of the fence you’re on, American politics doesn’t get any zanier than it is right now. That, of course, begs the question, what is a political thriller writer to do? How can fiction possibly top our current political reality?

And if that’s not bad enough, think about all of the people who are so emotionally exhausted from the daily barrage of politics, they’re now tuning out—many of them potential readers of political thrillers.

James Grippando, who writes legal thrillers that sometimes bleed over into the realm of political thriller, says he’s taken the advice of a former book editor: “Don’t get into the ‘can you top this’ category.” Instead, he says, “You’ve got to get into the human element and not go for the shock value.”

Grippando’s new novel, THE BIG LIE—the 16th in his Jack Swyteck series—is actually a legal thriller wrapped in the political setting of a presidential election.

Click here to read the entire article.