In June, 2017, after two and a half years of study, I was awarded a Master of Fine Arts in Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University. My thesis novel, Rogue, is a hybrid mystery/thriller set in Western Pennsylvania. Rogue follows the lonely, desperate struggle of a small town school administrator falsely accused of murder.
Cuernavaca was reviewed in the July, 2015 edition of the MENSA Bulletin, the national magazine of the high IQ organization American MENSA. The reviewer described Cuernavaca’s hero, Scott Flores, as “an interesting character, well written. I recommend him.”
I had a great book event at the home of Yvonne Leonard while I was in Morelos during the entire month of February (see pictures here). One of the attendees was Dorothy Prats, an English language columnist for the Cuernavaca daily newspaper, El Diario de Morelos. She’s going to write a column about me and the book in the next few weeks. We’re also looking into whether the cultural area of the state government might be interested in promoting the book. I’ve also learned that Seneca High School is using Cuernavaca as a reading for creative writing students. So cool that my modest work is being used to encourage young people to read and perhaps write.
On January 9 I started a three year program at Seton Hill University leading to a Master of Fine Arts degree in popular fiction. It’s the only program of its kind in the country, concentrating solely on the study of popular novels. It’s genre specific, and I’m in the mystery/thriller group (what else?). My thesis requirement is a commercially publishable novel manuscript, and, if my mentor (a really cool guy who’s a retired NYPD detective who now writes crime novels for a living) approves of what I’ve been pounding away at for the last two months, I’ve got 30,000 words of it done already. This is an exciting time for me.
On Saturday, April 19, at 6:30 PM I made a presentation about Cuernavaca to a group of more than 30 US expats at the home of Dr. Nan Harrington in Cuernavaca. It is indeed a small world, as Nan’s home is located about a block from where I lived when I attended school in Cuernavaca. It was wonderful to reunite with my friends.
On Saturday, May 17th I attended a book signing at Werner Books in the Liberty Plaza in Erie. Werner’s stocks the book, as does the Tattered Corners bookstore on Chestnut Street in Meadville.
The audio version of Cuernavaca is now available on Audible.com. The narrator/producer is a talented young man from Denver named Jason Jewett who has done professional voice work. His voice is fantastic and perfect for the story. Even if you’ve read the print version, the audio book will be worth listening to just to hear his work. Check out a sample and download it here.
On June 29 Cuernavaca played to an exceptionally good review in the Erie Times-News. Long-time Times book review editor Doug Rieder called Cuernavaca “fast-paced, polished and thoroughly convincing” with “compelling and evocative” characters. Doug is known to have a critical eye, and I especially appreciate his complements. Please click here to download a PDF of the review.
My law firm, Knox, McLaughlin, Gornall & Sennett graciously hosted a hometown launch party on August 5, complete with Mexican themed food. A large group of friends, clients and supporters of the Cuernavaca book project attended and it was incredibly flattering to hear their comments and to receive their encouragement to continue writing.
I’m making plans for a month long stay in Cuernavaca in February, 2015. By then, I expect to be up to my neck in my next book and I’ll use this break from my law practice to do as much writing as I can. I’ll try to stay out of jail and to avoid smugglers, drug runners and kidnappers. I will not, however, promise to avoid an occasional shot of tequila.