Monthly Archives: September 2014

Book Review: Strong Darkness by Jon Land



Caitlin Strong is back. Boy is she ever. STRONG DARKNESS starts with a bang and never let’s up. With nods to the infamous Judge Roy Bean and her ancestor Texas Ranger William Ray Strong and settings as diverse as Texas and Rhode Island, Caitlin confronts forces that test her skills and threaten her life. As with each Caitlin Strong story, the writing is crisp, and moves with break-neck speed. Jon Land has always known his way around a thriller and this is an outstanding addition to this series. Read this one. Read all of them. You will no doubt become a Strong fan. STRONG DARKNESS is a wild ride. Highly recommended.

Visit Jon’s Site:


Posted by on September 30, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Military Book Fair Coming to San Diego Saturday November 8th


Don’t miss the Military Book Fair onboard the aircraft carrier the USS Midway. How cool is that?

It’s on Saturday, November 8, 2014, in San Diego.

Midway 2

Here is the info:

Book enthusiasts are invited to attend the Military Book Fair on November 8th from 10 am to 4 pm.  This book fair is unique because it will take place on the aircraft carrier USS Midway, located in San Diego Harbor. You will have the opportunity buy one or more books at the Midway/Fair bookstore and have them signed, as well as a chance to listen to the authors during panel sessions.  Just buy a $20 Midway ticket and you get the Fair along with a tour of the aircraft carrier.  The added benefit is that you will be helping our military, because all proceeds go to several veterans’ organizations.

Don’t let the title fool you. In attendance (other than myself) will be authors from various genres, almost fifty in total, including Catherine Coulter, Charles and Caroline Todd, James Rollins, Ted Bell, C. J. Lyons, T. Jefferson Parker, Jan Burke, D. P. Lyle, Iris and Roy Johansen, Amy Hatvany, Andrew Kaplan, and Dale Brown. The panels will start at 10 am with “Veteran Characters”; 11:15 am will be “Female Heroines”; 12:30 pm “Hot and Cold Wars”; 3 pm “Terrorists and Politics” and ending with “Guns and Needles” at 4 pm.

In addition at 2 pm there will be a Q/A with Hank Steinberg, the executive director of the television shows “The Last Ship” and “Without A Trace.”

Hank and all the panel authors will sign books bought ONLY at the Midway bookstore directly after the panel discussion.  For a small additional cost, you can purchase photo opportunities, fast pass tickets, and a personal written note from an author answering a question. Just go to the bookstore to pay for these fabulous extras.

USS Midway Museum: San Diego, California

If you want an “up close and personal” experience, buy a discounted ticket and you can join the authors after the book fair at a cocktail party on the Midway flight deck from 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. During the cocktail party, you can enjoy a performance from recording artist Jessica Sanchez, last season’s “American Idol” runner up.   At the cocktail party, you will enjoy a silent auction, food, drinks, prizes, an author five-minute heads up on “what’s on the horizon” regarding any future projects, and a meet and greet with most of the fifty authors.

If you have any questions please see our website:

or contact Elise Cooper at

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Posted by on September 26, 2014 in Writing


Frankenstein and Creativity

Dr. Frakenstein

An interesting article recently appeared in The Atlantic on the origins of creativity and whether it is innate or can be learned: “Can Creativity Be Learned?” by Cody C. Delistraty. It makes for interesting reading and raises some intriguing questions. For example, creative folks tend to have more grey matter in the right posterior middle temporal area of their brain. Is this what makes them creative or does this result from them flexing their “creative muscle”? Chicken or egg?

Temporal Lobe

The author uses Mary Shelly and her classic horror story Frankenstein to underline his points.

In a past post on this blog I briefly talked about how Mary Shelly’s classic story came about. Here is an except:

On a literary and historical note, Frankenstein might never have been written had it not been for a volcanic eruption on the other side of the world. In 1815, Mount Tambora in Indonesia erupted with such force that it filled the air with millions of tons of ejected particulate matter. This rose into the high atmosphere, dropped world temperatures for many months and resulted in 1816 being called the “Year Without Summer.” Snow fell in New England in July!

During that summer, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, her lover and future husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron settled into Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva. The summer was so cold and wet that they spent much of their time in the villa talking and telling stories. They decided to have a writing contest and see who could write the best short story. Mary’s story evolved into the classic Frankenstein; or the Modern Prometheus.

There has long been controversy over how Mary came up with such a story, She said it came to her in a “waking dream,” but some have suggested that her father had told her stories of a doctor who did such experiments and others have suggested that she and Shelley had actually visited Castle Frankenstein, the birthplace of Johann Conrad Dippel, a physician and alchemist who did indeed perform reanimation experiments on corpses. Either way she wrote a kick-ass story that has survived for nearly two centuries and will survive for many more.

The full post can be found here:


Posted by on September 22, 2014 in Forensic Psychiatry, Medical Issues, Writing


Crime and Science Radio: From Firefights To Fiction: An Interview With Military Surgeon and Author Dr. Jeffrey Wilson

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Join Jan Burke and DP Lyle in a discussion of combat surgery and fiction writing with Vascular and Trauma surgeon Dr. Jeffrey Wilson.

BIO: Jeffrey Wilson has at one time worked as an actor, a firefighter, a paramedic, a jet pilot, a diving instructor, a Naval Officer, and a Vascular and Trauma Surgeon. He also served numerous tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as a combat surgeon with both the Marines and with a Joint Special Operations Task Force. He has written dozens of short stories, won a few fiction competitions, and currently has a 3 book deal with JournalStone Publishing for his novels. His first novel, THE TRAITEUR’S RING, was published in 2011. His second book, THE DONORS was released in June of 2012 and won a Gold Medal in the sci-fi/fantasy/horror category from the Military Writers Society of America. FADE TO BLACK is his third novel from JournalStone. Jeff and his wife, Wendy, are Virginia natives who, with children Emma, Jack, and Connor, call Tampa, Florida home. He still works part time as a Vascular Surgeon and as a consultant for the Department of Defense when not hard at work on his next book.

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Dr. Jeffrey Wilson’s Recommended Reading:

Service by Marcus Luttrell

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell

American Sniper by Chris Kyle

LINKS: Website:

Annals of Surgery: Combat casualty and Surgical Progress:

How Stuff Works: What Equipment Do Army Combat Surgeons Have?:

You Tube: 212th Combat Field Hospital (Warning: Graphic Content):

You Tube: Battlefield surgery PART 1 2 Survival:

Fade To Black on Amazon:

Fade To Black at B&N:

You Tube: 212th Combat Field Hospital (Graphic):

You Tube: Battlefield Surgery:



I Can Read Your Mind, Sort Of


From the Abstract “Conscious Brain-to-Brain Communication in Humans Using Non-Invasive Technologies” by Grau, Ginhoux, et al:

More fully developed, related implementations will open new research venues in cognitive, social and clinical neuroscience and the scientific study of consciousness. We envision that hyperinteraction technologies will eventually have a profound impact on the social structure of our civilization and raise important ethical issues.

You think?

This fascinating research is sort of Sookie Stackhouse meets the Vulcan Mind Meld. Intriguing and scary.


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Posted by on September 18, 2014 in Medical Issues


Two Excellent Books From Dianne Emley and Janice Gable Bashman Out Today


The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley

Murder in La La Land. In The Night Visitor, Dianne Emley takes us into the flashy and trashy world of A-List Hollywood. The good, the bad, and the very ugly. Sex, drugs, and rock and roll as well as greed, corruption, jealousy, and a thirst for power and money infuse every page. This story will hook you from the start and not let go.


Predator by Janice Gable Bashman

Sixteen-year-old Bree Sunderland expected a quiet vacation in Ireland, where she and her scientist father plan to study bog corpses. But a young Irish man steals her heart—-and more. Werewolves, genetic therapy, and a mercenary lycanthropic army—-what’s not to like?

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Posted by on September 16, 2014 in Book Review, Writing


Book Review: Silent Witnesses by Nigel McCrery

SW Cover

Chicago Review Press

September 1, 2014

ISBN-10: 1613730020

ISBN-13: 978-1613730027

288 pages

. . . an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science

Silent Witnesses is an easily accessible and well-written primer on the history of forensic science. It reads like a work of fiction but offers the reader a clear history of many of the most important advances in forensic investigative techniques. The topics are covered in chapters titled: Identity, Ballistics, Blood, Trace Evidence, The Body, Poisons, and DNA. Each subject is reviewed chronologically and numerous milestone cases in the development and growth of forensic science are presented.

For example, in the Identity chapter, the war between Alphonse Bertillon and his anthropometric ID system known as “bertillonage” and those who favored fingerprinting as the gold standard for identification of an individual is documented. In Blood, the development of the ABO blood typing system is well presented as well as the methods for identifying a stain as blood and determining that it is human and not animal, both extremely important in crimes where blood is shed. In Trace Evidence, the discovery and development of the microscope as a forensic tool is covered in great detail. Poisons have been around almost as long as civilization and in the chapter Poisons this long and sordid history is chronicled as are the steps in the creation of the fascinating field of forensic toxicology, including the development of the famous Marsh and Reinsch tests for identifying the “inheritance powder” arsenic.

Perhaps the most enjoyable parts of Silent Witnesses are the discussions of famous cases that helped develop forensic science as a viable entity. Silent Witnesses opens with the famous Colin Pitchfork case—-the first time DNA profiling was used to solve a murder. Other seminal cases include: the Francisca Rojas case (the first time fingerprints solved a murder); the St. Valentine’s Day massacre (which put firearm’s examinations in the public eye); the Sam Sheppard case (where blood spatter analysis proved crucial in the retrial of the famous physician); the Parkman-Webster case (one of the first to employ dental examinations to identify a partially destroyed corpse); the Murder at the Crumbles case (involving the great medical detective Sir Bernard Spilsbury and leading to the creation of the police officer’s “murder bag”); the more modern “radiological” poisoning of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko; and many more that will keep the reader enthralled.

Silent Witnesses is a delightful journey through the evolution of forensic science and is a very useful introduction to the subject. Highly recommended.

Originally posted at NY Journal of Books:


ThrillerFest, CraftFest, and Master CraftFest Registration Now Open

ITW Black-Red


Click Here to Register 

We’re excited to announce that registration for ThrillerFest X is now open. Come help us celebrate the 10th Anniversary of ThrillerFest next July 7-11, 2015 where you’ll be able to connect with old friends and meet new ones!

Please sign up before 10/31/14 to take advantage of the Early Bird Discount. You won’t want to miss the fabulous lineup of special guests we’re hosting this year.

2015 ThrillerMaster:  Nelson DeMille

2014 ThrillerMaster:  Scott Turow

2015 Spotlight Guests:  Charlaine Harris, Hugh Howey, Greg Iles

2014 Silver Bullet Award recipient:  Brenda Novak


Master CraftFest:  Join NYT Bestsellers Steve Berry, Grant Blackwood, Robert Dugoni, Steven James, D.P. Lyle, Gayle Lynds, and Lorenzo Carcaterra for an intensive and intimate one-day workshop to help improve your writing skills.

CraftFest:  NYT bestsellers and other phenomenal instructors will host workshops designed to take your writing to the next level. This year, we are creating new programming at CraftFest, including a “Fact Track” lineup with information about firearms, explosives, forensics, pathology, and other information that will help you write realistic scenes as well as a “Career Track” lineup which will focus on marketing, promotion, and other career-related advice.

PitchFest:  On Thursday, July 9th, we’ll host PitchFest, where you can pitch your novel to the best literary agents/producers/editors in the business. Last year, we had over 50 agents, editors, and producers attending this special event. Read about the incredible tales of success under the Success Stories tab at

ThrillerFest:  Join us for fabulous interviews with 2015 ThrillerMaster Nelson DeMille and 2015 Spotlight Guests Charlaine Harris, Hugh Howey, and Greg Iles. Stay tuned for more information about panels, other special guests, and our incredible banquet.

Hope to see you next July!

Warmest regards,

Kimberley Howe
Executive Director, ThrillerFest

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Posted by on September 11, 2014 in Writing


Jack The Ripper Identified?



A new book titled Naming Jack The Ripper by Russell Edwards presents information that the author feels solves the famous Jack The Ripper case. The five murder-mutilations that occurred in London’s East End during 1888 have baffled criminologists for over a century. Several suspects have been identified but none have been proven to be the real Ripper. So who is Jack? According to Edwards, it’s Aaron Kosminski, a Polish immigrant who had “mental issues,” was 23 years old at the time of the killings, and who ultimately died in an insane asylum many years later at the age of 53. He never confessed or anything convenient like that, but he has long been one to the prime suspects.

So is he really Jack? Maybe. Here are some articles. Make up your own mind.

Daily Mail UK:

Independent UK:

Mirror UK:




Steve Berry’s The Patriot Threat Poster Giveaway



Here’s a chance to win a great poster. My friend, Steve Berry, is giving away a signed poster of the book cover for his upcoming book, THE PATRIOT THREAT, which will be released in the United States on March 31, 2015. It’s a provocative thriller that poses a dangerous question: What if the federal income tax is illegal? The poster is 2′ x 3′, full color, and mounted on a foam core backing. The giveaway runs from September 2, 2014, through October 2, 2014. For more information and to enter the giveaway, click here.

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Posted by on September 8, 2014 in Writing

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