Types of Mysteries, Part I

There really must be a murder, or at least a major felony — otherwise, what’s the point? Who’s ripping off the hand towels at the Dorchester Hotel is hardly the business of a mystery novel. — Howard Haycraft When I say I am a novice writer, people ask, “What kind of books do you write?” “Well,” I answer, “I’m writing a mystery.” “Ooh,” they often reply, “I love Agatha Christie.” While it’s not exactly a […] Read More

A Bunch of Tossers

Few things put the “games” in Highland Games more than the caber toss. If you’ve ever been to a Scottish Festival, you probably had trouble missing those imposing men and women — also known as “throwers” or “tossers” — doing their able best to flip a telephone pole end over end. Like pretty much all traditional Highlands sports (including the hammer throw, stone put and sheaf toss), the caber toss involves one thing: throwing something […] Read More

A Clever Game of Murder

Driving to Nashville last week, a friend asked me, “Why a mystery? Why choose to start your writing career with a cozy?” Simple. There’s something viscerally satisfying about a mystery novel. We encounter murder, intrigue and misdirection. As in life, we face problems that seem to have no answers. Unlike in life, each death or mishap is (eventually) followed by a tidy, fulfilling resolution. And I discovered this gratification early in life within the pages […] Read More

A History of the Kilt, Part II

According to legend, in about 1720, a Quaker from Lancashire named Thomas Rawlinson was working with Ian MacDonnell, chief of the MacDonnells of Glengarry, on a charcoal and iron foundry near Inverness. While trying to fit in with the locals, Rawlinson had taken to wearing a feileadh beg, the common walking kilt of the day. While he may have enjoyed the freedom of movement and breezy circulation, he did note that the kilt was too bulky. He […] Read More

A History of the Kilt, Part I

Scotsmen, she had occasion to observe, often did have nice knees. Perhaps that was why they insisted upon kilts. — Gail Carriger If you’ve ever been to a Highland games, a Scottish wedding or just a pub crawl on Saint Patricks’ day, you’ve probably encountered lads in kilts. You might have worn one yourself. Right up there with good whiskey, bagpipes and haggis, there aren’t many things as traditionally Scottish as a kilt. And like […] Read More

A Healthy List of Literary Podcasts

Writing, I have found, is good for my health. Over the past few months, I have been focused on wrapping up my first novel, Thou Shalt Not Kilt. My best editing is done in my head, and it comes together nicely when I walk. Every night I’ve been putting in 30 minutes to complete a few laps around the block. The results have been fantastic — both for my book and my blood pressure. My […] Read More

Guilty Pleasures

My work keeps me on the road several days each month. Driving across the southeast, I find myself staying nights in hotels, motels and AirBnB rooms more often than I’d like. I also catch myself stopping in thrift stores, vintage shops, salvage yards and estate sales simply for the thrill of the hunt. A few weeks back in a shop south of Cartersville, I came across a book from my childhood. Alfred Hitchcock and the […] Read More

Update: January 2019

A few weeks off during the holidays gave me a rested start for the new year. The final edits are underway on Thou Shalt Not Kilt, and the next two books in the Elle Cunningham Mackay series are taking shape. With any luck, Elle’s first mystery should be rolling off the e-book press in late Summer. The follow up series, starring Elle’s lifelong friend Emery Vaughn, is next up. The first book, The Earl of […] Read More