Friday, November 18, 2016


Sometime in early 2001 I sent a copy of my manuscript, A Touch of Deceit, to a top literary agency in New York City.  Initially the book was rejected because the agent had a tough time believing that the U.S. would ever get involved with a Kurdish uprising in the Middle East.  Implausible was the word he used.  Then September 11th came and the world changed.  The implausible became very plausible.

When Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for President, it was a shocker.  No sane person would have predicted his victory.  And now that he’s about to be the leader of the free world, everything has changed. 

Clearly there’s a divide in our country that goes deeper than liberal and conservative.  Something that Donald Trump tapped into with 3-word catchphrases like ‘Drain the Swamp’ and ‘Build the Wall.’  Its ramifications are being felt globally with protests and warnings from foreign leaders.  The Democrats are screaming that Russia had something to do with the outcome of our election.  And they may be right.

If I were to write a novel three years ago and documented verbatim what happened in the past election cycle, my manuscript would’ve been soundly rejected again. Implausible.  And they would have a point.  Three years ago this scenario was unbelievable. 

But here’s the good news for fiction writers.  Trump has allowed us the freedom to stretch the boundaries of credibility much farther than ever thought possible.  Do you have a storyline that includes a Muslim-American terrorist who’s spent his life building a platform to become President, only to create havoc with our policies allowing a nuclear bomb to be fired at a Middle-Eastern enemy?  Go for it.  Do you have a plot that includes a Presidential candidate who’s a sex addict?  Why not? 

At this point the American public has seen it all and nothing is out of bounds any longer.  Love him or hate him, Donald Trump has opened up so many storylines for future novelists that were considered ridiculous just a few weeks ago.  I can feel the creative juices flowing already. 

How about a movie star who became Governor of California, then went on to become one of the most beloved Presidents in . . . oh wait.

Let’s start with an alien from another galaxy, far, far away.  I’m in.        

Friday, November 11, 2016


When I began writing my latest Nick Bracco thriller, A Touch of Defiance, I had no idea how closely it would emulate national events.  My character, Leo Frazier, is a closet bigot who’s attempting to overthrow the government with his collection of disaffected civilians called the Civil Resistance Movement.  There is civil unrest in our country and Frazier is taking advantage of our angst by drawing people against each other. 

Now in all my Bracco books I never delve into politics.  I never mention if Nick is a Republican or Democrat.  In fact, I never even mention which side of the aisle the President himself resides.  It’s not my place to instill a division among my readers.  I’ve always wanted my stories to be alone in their world without finger-pointing.  The main thrust of my work is simple.  Good versus bad.  The lines get blurry of course when you have a member of the Mafia working with an FBI agent to track down terrorists, but that’s the fun part.  How far can you go before you cross that line?  After all, even gangsters can be patriotic.

So when my story overlaps with today’s news cycle, I’m reminded that we are all part of the same community.  We are all on this spaceship called Earth hurling throughout the universe at breakneck speed and the people in the back of the ship are trying to kill the people in the front of the ship.  As a writer, I find solace in the fact that I can’t possibly prevent division in the world, nor can I bring people together with some fictional series about the mob fighting terrorist.  But I do gain a cathartic buzz knowing that I can offer my readers a sense of triumph.  You can join in with my characters and clench a fist of victory.  This form of accomplishment can be medicinal in this time of disparate agendas.  We are all part of the same spaceship.  So pick up your favorite thriller and delve into the pages.  Let your mind wander.  And please, be accepting of the other side—whatever that other side may be.    

Hop on and enjoy the ride.