JANUARY 13, 2015 7:31PM

An Evening's Entertainment



After binge watching Luther, House of Cards and the first four seasons of Girls over the last few weeks, Annie and I tried something a little different last night. Friends of ours had invited us over for a light dinner and a read-through of Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.Read full post »



Last Sunday, a shocking but not surprising edition of Bob Edwards' Weekend ran a documentary called "Dropping The Ball" . It described the horrific way college athletes are treated, with bogus "paper" courses that require no work at all and other classes that are tailored for theRead full post »

DECEMBER 29, 2014 9:03AM

Emily Nussbaum's Drive-by Criticism




Well, it's not just her, though as a high profile TV critic for The new Yorker, she ought to know better.

First let's define our terms. A "drive by" critique is like a drive-by shooting -- fast and mean and cowardly: the opposite of a duel, or… Read full post »

DECEMBER 18, 2014 6:13PM

Nantucket 5-Spot interview



The new Henry Kennis novel , Nantucket Five-Spot 

will be released in January. I did an inyerview about writing for a local give-away newspaper, which never ran it. But I think it's worth reading, in the exciting run-up to the publication date!



First, the… Read full post »

AUGUST 1, 2014 8:09AM

Monopoly Capitalism at Work



I had a good laugh the other day, listening to that recording of the exhausted customer trying to cancel his Comcast account, against the relentless "Why, why whys?" of the maniacal cable company representative.

Then I broke my computer router, an accident which allowed… Read full post »


If I were Henry Kennis, the Police Chief in my Nantucket mystery novels, there are days when I would arrest everyone on the I see on the streets Not all of them are breaking the law – the drunk drivers and the speeders; but their outragesRead full post »



In honor of Dick Cheney’s recent op-ed piece on Iraq, and because I know you’re all busy and there’s so much to read out there I’m offering a round up of four other editorial voices heard around the world in recent weeks. There’s nothing like a self-… Read full post »



x men


Enough with the X-men movies, already! There was one trilogy, then a prequel, than a bunch of unwatchable Wolverine pictures and now they've mashed the Wolverine, the prequels and the sequels into one giant steaming savory X-men Paella for us to gorge ourselves… Read full post »

MAY 19, 2014 10:12PM




A friend of mine died last Saturday.

This won’t be an obituary; I’m not qualified to write one. I never knew his whole life story, just the part of it that touched my own. But Ken Cross had a big place in that life and his deathRead full post »

MAY 17, 2014 10:15AM

In Storage



The twenty-by-fourteen storage locker holds the last of my mother’s itinerant belongings. They accompanied her from her house in Connecticut to her apartment in Los Angeles and then up to Grass Valley when she remarried in her sixties. After her husband’s death these nomadRead full post »

MARCH 3, 2014 3:19PM

Oscar Night



          The Academy Awards hit a new low last night, with Ellen Degeneres taking selfies with the stars and ordering in pizza. It was more like a slumber party, or an episode of her own daytime talk show, than the Oscars. It wasn’tRead full post »

JANUARY 2, 2014 12:32PM

Under The Hood II: A New Ending

So I had everything mapped out. The concept seemed to work. Now all I had to do was write the scenes themselves. 
Here they are ...


Chapter Twenty-Eight

“Don’t Fuck This Up.”


Two weeks later, after… Read full post »

DECEMBER 29, 2013 2:36PM

The Fountain of Youth



This is it! I found it! The fabled Fountain of Youth!  Long sung by bards and visionaries from Herodotus to Prester John, prized by Ponce de Leon ... but never glimpsed by modern man ... Until today!

That's the good news. The bad news takes the form of two… Read full post »





So I had just finished my Big Book, the father-son family drama that started as a novella in 1976 and became a screenplay two years later. The story of Harlan and Robert Mallory went through… Read full post »




As most people know by now, J.K. Rowling recently published a mystery novel, under the pseudonym John Galbraith. Like roughly half a million other people, I bought The Cuckoo’s Calling as soon as the ruse went public. I read the first hundred pages, and that’s/Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 20, 2013 12:40PM

Nantucket Sawbuck excerpt.

Nantucket_FrontCover_ jt final



By a diabolical sequence of accidents and unforeseen circumstances, Mike Henderson's desperate last-minute trip from Nantucket to New York City, undertaken to save his marriage, winds up making him the one suspect in a major murder investigation with an obvious motive, great oppRead full post »

AUGUST 27, 2013 9:33AM

The Devil's Tale, Part One

 deal devil


No one goes to Heaven.

 That’s the first thing you have to understand. The average Joe who sells his soul to me was never getting upstairs anyway. Okay, okay, we get some exceptions. The occasional oddball rich girl who goes into social work because she “wants tRead full post »

MAY 21, 2013 3:29PM

Purgatory at Cumberland Farms



We now have brand new Cumberland Farms store on the small island where I live, and I have come to the conclusion that it’s the most depressing place on earth. The original outlet on the edge of town had a bodega-like quality, an inviting shabbiness. The  seedy summer… Read full post »



This is a true story, from an inside source, and a useful template for working on your own writing.


So, Henry Kissinger calls in one of his aides and asks for a status report on the Allende regime in Chile. This is sometime in 1971. The kid… Read full post »

MARCH 14, 2013 8:41PM

A Satisfactory Conclusion




So you might be wondering how an unknown, thirty year old high school art teacher landed a one-man show at the venerable and exclusive Barudsky Gallery on Madison Avenue, leaping effortlessly over the thousands of aspiring artists rejected there every year and alighting like aRead full post »





Law of Plot: Let situations and characters expand to explain their behavior and the events of the story. The character needs some specialized knowledge suddenly, in Chapter 10? Now you know what he studied in grad school. And that he went to grad school in theRead full post »

MARCH 7, 2013 10:28AM

Craft Notes for Writers #1



As I was working this morning I recognized a small significant fact about narrative writing in general: any description or aphorism gains tremendous value when it’s attributed rather than merely expressed by the narrator.

It’s like the matching funds in a PBS fund dRead full post »

MARCH 1, 2013 6:43PM

Love at 60



                            &nbsRead full post »

FEBRUARY 24, 2013 9:58AM

Big Night





I was finishing my mother’s portrait when my father’s show began.

I had lost track of time. I was so close to the end, I could ‘smell the barn’ as Mom used to say. She always told me it was easy getting her horse to gallopRead full post »

FEBRUARY 17, 2013 11:41PM

Chance and Ambition on Downton Abbey



Matthew and Mary Crawley, in happier days


The season finale of Downton Abbey, which aired on PBS last night, was shown at Christmas in England and ruined the holiday for the whole country. Old fashioned letters poured in, along with angry e-mails and distraught/Read full post »