Sunday, June 17, 2018

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY

S. Lee Manning: As I write this, I am glancing over at the picture of a young handsome man in an Ohio State baseball uniform. His arms raised, he is winding up to throw the pitch. He’s fresh out of the service, studying journalism and hoping to become a writer. He never did. Instead he went into advertising. 

Years later, he taught me how to throw a baseball and how to hit, pushed me to write, wept when I left Cincinnati for New York, and wept when I returned for a visit. 

This is the fourth Father’s Day without him, and I can feel the tears rising in my eyes just thinking about him.
My Dad, who almost made it to the Cincinnati Reds

June is the month of love and marriages. It seemed like the perfect month to write about love and protagonists in thrillers, which is why it’s the topic of the month on RWW – should we choose to write the topic of the month. I was contemplating writing on spies and romance – and then I realized that my post would be out on Father’s Day. 

Somehow Father’s Day doesn’t seem to have the cultural emotional outpouring that Mother’s Day does. Fathers wind up receiving the ceremonial golf balls or ties, and then stand at the grill to cook hot dogs and hamburgers in their own honor. But little is said about their importance in our lives. So in honor of the two men closest to my heart, my late and beloved Dad, Lou Katz, Louie Baby, and my wonderful husband, Jim, the father of my two children, it’s time to correct this wrong. 

And after all, if the topic is love, maybe the place to start is with fathers – if you were lucky enough to have a good one. 


So here’s to my Dad who bought me my first guitar, who loved to hear me sing, who hated a column I wrote in my early twenties but defended me against anyone who dared to criticize me. Here’s to my Dad who took me for ice cream and to hit golf balls, who pitched softballs, making me the best softball player in the fifth grade, and who took me swimming and to Cincinnati’s Coney Island. Here’s to my Dad who accepted my non-Jewish boyfriend (who would become my husband) the first time I brought him home, despite the disapproval of my mother and other more orthodox family members. Here’s to my Dad who always thought I was a better person than I am, who believed in me when I sometimes didn’t believe in myself.
 
Jim with our daughter Jenny.

Jim with our son Dean

And here’s to Jim who slept in a blue chair next to my hospital bed for two weeks when I had to be hospitalized after breaking my water at 24 weeks pregnant with our oldest child. Here’s to Jim who left his job early every day for three months to visit our newborn baby in the ICU – which wound up hampering that job, who, when I was pregnant with our son and on bed rest for seven months, took care of our five-year-old daughter after getting home from a long day at work. Here’s to Jim who spent years commuting long distances to difficult jobs - for his family.  Here’s to Jim for putting up with – and eventually forgiving – members of my family who took years to accept that I’d married a non-Jew. Here’s to Jim for wanting the best for both of his children, for accepting and supporting their choices in life.

I wouldn’t be the person I am without my father – or without Jim. 

Happy Father’s Day. 

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Douglas Preston Goes Rogue

...Submitted by Karna Small Bodman 

We are delighted to welcome great thriller writer Doug Preston as our Rogue guest blogger today. 


Doug is the author of thirty-five books, both fiction and non-fiction... New York Times bestsellers....several reaching the number 1 position!  This great writer has worked as an editor at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and taught nonfiction writing at Princeton University. He is known for collaborating with another terrific author, Lincoln Child. Publishers Weekly describes the duo this way: they "stand head and shoulders above their rivals." Doug wrote his first novel, RELIC, with "Linc" and it was made into a movie by Paramount Pictures

Doug Preston and Linc Child

We invited Doug to tell us where he gets the inspiration for his novels and what the latest one is about. Here's his story: 


One of the most common questions a novelist gets is, Where do you get your ideas? Often the ideas come like a bolt out of the blue with no known source. But others often come out of our life experiences—especially my work as a journalist.

            Linc and I have an unusual way of working. He will often read some article I wrote for a magazine, ponder it, and come up with an amazing idea for a novel. RIPTIDE was borne this way, from a novel I wrote about the Oak Island treasure in Smithsonian Magazine. Read it here .

When I wrote an article about prehistoric cannibalism for the New Yorker, Linc read it and came up with the idea for THUNDERHEAD.

            This is how it often works: I’ll research some strange phenomenon, and Linc will work his imaginative magic on it and turn it into a brilliant novel.
            The Gideon Crew series is one where this method of working has been particularly fruitful.  The first novel we wrote in the series, GIDEON’S SWORD, came out of research I was doing on historic burial grounds. I stumbled across an article on the web about Hart Island, the largest “Potter’s Field” in the world, where the indigent dead from New York City have been interred since the Civil War. I learned that there is an area on Hart Island where amputated limbs from hospitals are buried, even though the original owners are still going about their business, very much alive. This was due to certain religious beliefs, in which human body parts must be buried with religious rites and not discarded as medical waste. I told Linc this idea and he came up with the brilliant concept that a scientist is smuggling an object of immense scientific value into the United States hidden inside the flesh of his leg. He is involved in a car accident, the leg is amputated and buried on Hart Island—and then it has to be retrieved. That retrieval involved a scene of dueling backhoes and other excitement.
            But perhaps the longest gestating idea of all is the one at the heart of this last novel in the Gideon series, THE PHARAOH KEY, which was published on Tuesday, June 12. It came out of a story I wrote for the New Yorker magazine back in 1996. Read it here  

 An archaeologist named Kent Weeks had discovered a new tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Egypt, known as KV5. It turned out to be the largest tomb ever found in the valley—the final resting place for the fifty or so sons of Ramesses the Great. The tomb was vast. 
Thebes Mapping Project 
At the time I arrived, Kent and his team had already uncovered 97 rooms in the tomb, many of which were blocked by debris and had not yet been entered.
            When I was a child, I often fantasized of being the first one to enter an Egyptian tomb, but when I grew up I realized that all the tombs had been discovered and even if one or two still remained, I’d never be the first in one anyway.
            But when I got to KV5, I realized that maybe my childhood dream could come true. I asked Kent if I could be the first one into one of those blocked chambers.
            “Absolutely not,” he said. “It would be highly irregular.”
            “It would make a great ending to my article,” I said.
            I pleaded with him for a while and he finally said, “Oh well, all right. I don’t see any harm in it.” He pointed out that the tomb had been thoroughly robbed in antiquity anyway, with not much left of value. “Just don’t touch anything.”
            So he brought me way into the very back of the tomb, through several pillared chambers, down one long corridor and to the end of another. He picked out the smallest, meanest, least significant doorway he could find and said, “How about this one?”
            I was thrilled.
            He directed his archaeology workmen to break through the debris blocking the very top of the door below the lintel, making a hole big enough for a person to fit in. Two workmen threaded a light in a cage through the space and then, to my consternation, picked me up and shoved me head first through the opening. I fell into the room, choking in dust, rubbed my eyes and looked around.
            “What do you see?” I heard Kent’s voice from outside.
            “Gold—everywhere the glint of gold.”
            There was a short silence and then I heard him burst out, “Bullshit! You’re just quoting what Howard Carter said! You’re pulling my chain!”
            The room was, in fact, trashed and thoroughly robbed, the ceiling partially caved in, with nothing but broken stuff lying all around—and not a hint of gold. Later Kent told me I had given him one of the worst moments of his life, thinking that he had just ceded a fabulous discovery to some unworthy journalist.
            This long-winded story finally brings us back around to THE PHARAOH KEY. Linc read that article I wrote in the New Yorker and was captivated.
            “We’ve got to figure out how to turn this into a novel,” he said. We talked about it, and talked again, but we just couldn’t come up with that stunningly original idea.
            That was twenty years ago. Every few years, he’d bring it up again. “Surely there’s some way to turn your Egyptian experience into a novel!” and we’d brainstorm again, and again, but we were never satisfied with our ideas. Ancient Egypt, it must be said, has been thoroughly mined by fiction writers. We just couldn’t come up with that truly original idea -- one that would surprise, thrill, and delight the reader.
            That is, until two years ago, when Linc once again brought it up. We brainstormed yet again—and suddenly the central idea to THE PHARAOH KEY popped up. That’s it! We cried. Finally we had that truly original, unexpected, and fresh idea that had not been used by anyone else, but was historically accurate and believable. 


            THE PHARAOH KEY opens like this (don’t worry—no spoilers here):

            The company Gideon Crew and his partner Manuel Garza works for is suddenly shut down and the head of the company, Eli Glinn, vanishes. The two are given an hour to collect their belongings and vacate the premises. It is the most ignoble of terminations -- until they decide to rip off EES on their way out.
            What they steal is a translation completed by EES of a three thousand year old clay disc. The “translation” turns out to be not a translation at all, but a strange sort of map to a desperately remote location in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. But it says nothing about what is there—it only gives the place. Is it a tomb? Buried riches? The lost gold mine of the pharaohs? Gideon and Garza, angry at having been fired, decide to journey to the unknown place and, if they find anything of value, steal it from EES.

            And thus was born THE PHARAOH KEY......Doug Preston

What an incredible story. Thanks, Doug, for sharing your research with us here on Rogue Women Writers. Now, I hope you will leave a comment and share your own methods of research  (whether it's for writing a story, planning a trip -- whatever) and tell us how it all compares with the terrific work by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child.

....Karna Small Bodman


Sunday, June 10, 2018

From Russia With Love

Or what I did on vacation...

The film "To Russia With Love" played on the cruise ship's big screen by the pool the night before we sailed into St. Petersburg. Passengers lounged on the deck chairs, side tables littered with drink glasses, munching popcorn and wearing Bose headphones to maximize the sound experience. Never mind that the movie took place in Turkey, where Bond was sent to assist in the defection of a Soviet consulate clerk, and where SPECTRE planned to avenge Bond's killing of Dr. No. We were headed to Russia.

At around 11:00 p.m., I closed the blackout shades on the sunset. At 7:00 a.m., I took pictures of the view entering the harbor at St. Petersburg.



I'm sure you notice from the pictures the same things we did. First there was the smog. It saturated the air. Then there were the nuclear reactors rimming the harbor. The cooling towers only omit vapor, so they aren't the source of the pollution, but there's no denying their presence.
Border Control

The one thing we discovered as we planned our trip is that you cannot venture into Russia unless you're on a cruise tour or have a personal visa.

The personal visa is expensive. You must have a valid reason for visiting, and you need a Russian sponsoring organization or individual. If you're going as a tourist, you also need to have a "contract for provision of tourist services" with a tourist organization registered with the Russian Federal Tourism Agency. Be prepared to give fingerprints, proof of medical insurance, documents of ownership of property in the US, certificates verifying family membership, a salary certification from your employer, and bank statements. You must list all areas of Russia you intend to visit (there are restricted areas), and if you violate your visa hours of arrival and departure there will be penalties. THEN, there's the cost—anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to as much as eight hundred to one thousand dollars—and when you go through border control, expect to be questioned.

If you're going ashore with a cruise tour, it's simple. The cruise ship arranges visas for their passengers. You are given documentation showing the tour you're taking, when it departs, when it returns, and you simply pass through border control and go ashore—unless Russia decides you aren't welcome at the time you arrive and you simply cannot disembark. According to the cruise director, it's happened.

Fortunately, we were allowed to take the tours we'd signed up for. Every tour we had to pass through border control, pass back through border control, and then pass through border control again for each consecutive tour—even if
they were scheduled back to back. The fact the Russians are serious became clear when, just before departure, we were not allowed to reenter Russia through border control to mail postcards in a postbox visible from the guard station. Reason? We didn't have a visa to do that.

The tours we took were phenomenal.

The first day we visited Peterhof Palace and Gardens, then took a Panoramic tour of the city by coach. The guide was knowledgeable and forthcoming, but the crowds of tourist groups were brutal. Stern-faced museum guards marched us through the palace rooms, not allowing anyone to stop and pause over an exhibit, just to keep things moving. And, getting a picture of the fountain without a sea of people was impossible. I was even body-slammed out of the way by an Asian woman with a selfie stick who clearly wanted the photo more than I.

The second day was more our style. We had signed up for a canal tour of St. Petersburg, a visit to Peter and Paul Fortress (where the Romanoffs are all buried)—and yes, Anastasia is there. We encountered sunbathers à la Putin (men tanned to a deep brown, wearing speedos and flexing their muscles at the edge of the Neva River) and a scout jamboree. We ate lunch at the Restaurant Metropol, Gregoriy Rasputin's favorite hangout, and a spot popular with St. Petersburg's intellectuals such as poets, artists, journalists and students. In later years, the VIP Hall was reserved for local Party Elite and visiting dignitary. Today, it's open to everyone and serves strictly Russian cuisine.

We had a little extra time before lunch, and as our luck would have it, there was an Ice Cream Festival taking place on the square adjacent. I asked if we could go, and our guide, Maria, looked surprised. She asked how many would like to walk around the festival for the twenty minutes we had to wait. Only about half of us were game. Interesting. The rest stayed in the lobby of the Metropol under the management watchful eye, while the rest of us were led down an alley to a back entrance to the festival. In route Maria revealed that she had never, in her nine years of leading trips, ever been able to take a group to a local event.


The pièce de résistance was a visit to the Hermitage, where they were preparing the square for a ballet and musical performance.We visited the French Impressionists building—my favorite type of art. I was in heaven.
Things I learned from our guide that stuck with me:

1. When the Soviets decided everyone should own land, each citizen was given their share—4 sq. meters, or approximately 36 sq. feet.

2. The average middle class and above middle class family live in apartments of approximately 450 sq. feet.

3. There are still people who choose to live in kommunalkas (communal living apartments). Each family gets one room that belongs to them and then they share a kitchen and bathroom with six or seven other families. Each family is allowed to keep one bar of soap in a special soap dish and one towel hanging in the bathroom. The kitchens usually have multiple stoves. Cleaning is shared.

4. Much of the repairs to the city were actually facades. If you look behind the facade, you discover crumbling buildings. According to Maria, "The people also put on a happy face because they are taught to be happy with what they have. There's not much else we can do."

Would I go back to Russia? In a heartbeat. But, I think I would want to try and arrange for a personal visa. Do you think they'd issue a work visa for an espionage writer?


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

THE MOONLIGHTING CURSE: And No, We're NOT Talking Werewolves

June. Love is in the air, weddings abound, and this month's topic is "love and the single spy."

And that begs the question: Is it possible for spies to have a love life? I can only imagine this is a balancing act for the real-life spy, especially when the stakes are high. But what about their fictional counterparts? And how do you sustain this love-life in a multi-book series?


MOONLIGHTING
starring Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepher on my desktop.
For those of us old enough to have watched the TV series Moonlighting, we probably remember how the two main characters, Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, walked a tightrope as they tried to work together while denying their sexual attraction. (Okay, they were PIs, not spies, but the example holds.) The fans tuned in each week for the will-they/won’t-they-EVER-get-together set-up. And then, one day, it happened. The two got together. And the show went downhill from there. 

In fact, the ratings dive was so significant, it’s known in the TV writing world as the “Moonlighting Effect” or “Moonlighting Curse.”  In novels and movies, that push/pull of the (often) main characters as they deny their sexual attraction is an integral part of the story. Sure, we tune in for the weekly episode to see if they survive, solve the mystery, save the world. But when it comes right down to it, what we really tune in for are the characters.  We are invested in them. We want to root for them. We like it when there’s a love interest. In fact, we love it when there’s a love interest. The most successful movies/books quite often have some element of romance in it. Why? It’s not about the sex. Not totally. Nor is it all about the sexual tension which can add depth to the story. 

What it’s really about is conflict. 

That, Rogue Readers, is a word dreaded by almost all new writers. We know good conflict when we see it, but creating it is a lot harder than it seems. We’re not talking about the little fights and misunderstandings easily resolved. We’re talking about the major stumbling blocks and obstacles that keep our protagonist from reaching his/her goal.  Without conflict, at least in the romantic sense, we get to the “Moonlighting Effect” much faster.  The whole idea is to keep the viewer or reader glued to the seat, anxious to turn the pages to see how these two are going to get together—if they’re going to get together. (Should you be wondering how this pertains to spy thrillers, think 007. Every James Bond flick managed good conflict and sexual tension in each and every incarnation. It’s why the movies are still very popular.)

We watch (or read) a story, that, if it’s done well, has us feeling that essential chemistry between the two characters. We want to know more. And, just when we think “ha!” they’re going to get together, that pesky conflict gets in the way. Or the bad guy gets in the way. Or the kids, the ex, etc., etc. 

Case in point. The Sydney Fitzpatrick FBI forensic artist series. Sydney, the main character, an FBI agent and forensic artist, meets up with Zachary Griffin in book two of the series, THE BONE CHAMBER. They are definitely attracted to each other. Problem is, they work for two different agencies, usually on opposing sides with completely different goals. Knowing I wanted the series to run the length of several books at least, I had to come up with some clever ways to keep them apart. By the fifth and last book of the series, THE KILL ORDER, we know/hope these two are destined to be together. But, we also learn that Griffin technically is under orders to kill Sydney. (Remember those opposing sides I talked about?) So, what’s a spy to do? Well, clearly the book is about how they get around that particular obstacle--while saving the world. 

I must have gotten something right, since THE KILL ORDER was named as one of Library Journal’s Best Thrillers of 2014.

But what happens when your spies are married? Now that I’m co-writing with Clive Cussler on the Sam and Remi Fargo books, I have a whole new set of issues. Okay, technically, they’re not really spies, they’re treasure hunters, and in our most recent outing, THE GRAY GHOST (5/29/18), the Fargos are hunting for the stolen prototype of the 1906 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Even so, this husband/wife duo fight off villains evil enough to give James Bond a run for his money. (And without all the cool spy gadgets, too.) Regardless, Sam and Remi are happily married, so no worries about the Moonlighting Effect dampening the novels. 

And that, Rogue Readers, presents a whole new challenge. How to add conflict and excitement to a multi-book series with married protagonists. 

What I’ve discovered after co-writing our third Fargo book (the 11thin the series) is that the surrounding characters, new and old, can pick up the slack in creating obstacles and conflict that help to enhance the story. In THE GRAY GHOST, the conflict comes from the past, an old journal telling a story of cousins at the turn of the century, which in turn leads to clues and conflict in the present-day story as the Fargos hunt for the stolen Gray Ghost. I think Cussler and I pulled it off quite nicely in this book. So far, the reviews have been very positive, with Kirkus giving THE GRAY GHOST a starred review.

So, Rogue Readers, I’m wondering if you have any examples of the “Moonlighting Curse” in anything that you’ve watched on TV or read in a favorite series? Leave a comment and I’ll enter your name in a drawing for a free copy of the audio CD version of THE GRAY GHOST (read by the incomparable Scott Brick). 

I’d love to hear what you think!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Writing and Renovation



Writing and Renovation

       My summer plans? Changing the look of my kitchen. It will be a process, and that made me realize how many similarities steps there are in both a home reno project and writing a novel.

1. The sudden idea. The impetus for my first published book sprang to my mind after reading two particularly gruesome murder mysteries. Lying in bed on my day off as my husband got ready for work, I found myself saying: “I’m going to write a book in which the killer doesn’t harm a hair on the victim’s head, barely even touches them…until he encases their legs in cement and drops them in the river.” The kitchen cabinets had a less positive beginning—one day I walked in and decided that 18 years with the builder’s minimum was enough. Hey, I wrote my first screenplay simply because after watching yet another ill-advised remake of a 70’s TV show, decided I could do better. (Not naming any names, Dark Shadows.)

2. Research. In Trail of Blood, a good chunk of the book occurred in 1935. How did cops investigate crimes without DNA, videotapes, and Google? Who knew that spaghetti was the hip thing to eat, like kale or power grains today? Who knew that there was paint made just for laminate? 

3. Planning decisions. What is going to happen, and in what order? This is of vital importance in mysteries as the protagonist discovers clues, suspects try to hide the clues, and the writer drops clues designed to go unnoticed because their importance is not yet apparent. In That Darkness, as seemingly unrelated deaths occur, each one brings Maggie a clue as to their connection to homicide detective Jack Renner. In my kitchen I could—provided I could afford it—replace the cabinets, or change the doors. Paint, or re-laminate?   

4. Juggling. How many subplots are too many? When does the perky comic relief seem forced? Jack has a partner, Riley, who always has a snappy comment and a lunch menu on hand. But have I handcuffed this perfectly intelligent character into a role of sidekick? (Though where would a cop story be without the trusty sidekick?) And can I trust any contractor to show up on time for the long process of sand, prime, paint and paint again?

5. Stretch, but don’t bite off more than you can chew. In Perish I really wanted to write about the 2008 financial crash, but there was no way to transport 2008 Wall Street to 2018 Cleveland, or to convincingly recreate the same events in present day Ohio. Instead I focused on one aspect (predatory lending) and the role it played in the 2008 crisis. I’m pretty sure I can handle painting the laminate boxes. But installing hinges and handles on the doors and the doors on the cabinets, and getting them all straight, even, and properly opening and closing…yeah, I think I’m going to hire someone for that.

6.  Enjoy. My sister’s favorite part of redecorating is when the dropcloths are all folded away and the helpers have all left and she is left with nothing more to do than decide where to put this vase—or would a framed photo reinforce the square motif? Does this wall need another touch of the accent color? She will spend hours doing this. Me, I love the feeling of not having to write for a while, of being able to tell myself the book, for better or worse, is at my agent’s and there’s nothing I can do about that now and let’s get to all those little jobs that piled up while I was writing every day. Let’s plan some trips and get a massage and look at the volumes on my shelf that have my name on the spine and walk into the kitchen and think how much better it looks now. Because, before I know it, I’ll get an idea. Then it’s back to #1.


      What would you rather tackle? A home improvement project, or a novel?

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Travel Post: Berlin, Marlene Dietrich and Movies

Marlene Dietrich and John Wayne

I'm traveling through Europe and stopped in Berlin to see the Museum of Film and Television. Housed in a fabulous, modern, building it has interesting exhibits from the era of silent movies up to today. From the silent era, this clip from the horror movie The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari is so vivid and well done! I stood mesmerized as I watched it. I can see why it's a classic.

 


They also have an entire exhibit of Marlene Dietrich's costumes from her movies as well as some famous public and private photos. The photo above is from her private collection. Just look at these two. With Wayne's tie undone and Marlene reaching up to hold his hand still as he lights her cigarette, the photo is the epitome of cool. 

And Marlene was amazing. I'll admit I didn't know a whole lot about her before viewing this exhibit, but now I find her fascinating. She broke norms and apparently broke hearts if the passionate telegrams, postcards, and letters written to her are any indication. Seems as though everyone was drawn to her and more than a few fell in love with her. She must have been a larger than life personality. 

There's a scene from a movie where she's singing a song and takes a cigarette from a soldier, smokes it as she strolls across the nightclub floor, and then passes it to her piano player. I loved the scene and had to film it. Here's the clip: 



Dietrich was one of a kind, and so is Berlin. The energy and vibrancy is off the charts, but I had little sense of the decadence that must have existed before the war. Perhaps it's still there, simmering. I loved Berlin and can see why everyone I meet raves about the city. 

And from here I head to Rome, where the weather is warm and the people exuberant. One of my favorite places, I intend to hang out, visit the main attractions, and revisit a couple of streets that can be found in my next work in progress. 

I'll be back in June. Until then,

Happy Summer!

Jamie Freveletti

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Summer Reading List

...by Karna Small Bodman

Do your summer plans include relaxing with a new thriller or great biography per chance?  All of us Rogue Women Writers who, of course, are book lovers and book creators certainly hope they will -- so I figure this is a good time to mention some new ones you might like to check out.  First, I wanted to tell you about the June 5 release of the new story of Checkmate.  Okay, I admit I'm starting with one of my own thrillers (but stay with me - there are more to come). 




This story was inspired by President Reagan's announcement of a bold new system he challenged America's brightest scientists to invent -- missile defense.  I was serving on his staff at the time and saw first-hand how Washington could react with howls and derision of this "wild" idea.  Some said Reagan was acting like Superman thinking "a bullet could hit a bullet." Others said that even though it probably wouldn't work, the Soviets would feel threatened  and so we could simply "trade it away"  for reductions in their big missiles at arms control talks.  But look how it is working today with systems protecting several countries including Israel and South Korea in addition to deployments along our own west coast. I thought it was such a cool idea, I created a character who invents her own missile defense system and tries to use it when militants threaten one of the most beautiful sites in the world -- the Taj Mahal. If you'd like to read how my heroine races to handle all of this, it is available for pre-order  here 

A second recently released thriller is one by our friend, and one-time guest blogger, New York Times bestselling author, Lee Child.  The title is Midnight Line -- which is another one of Lee's famous Jack Reacher stories.  In fact, The Washington Post describes this character as "one of this century's most original, tantalizing pop-fiction heroes," a fellow, you'll recall, that has been played by Tom Cruise in two feature films (even though in the novels, Reacher is described as a huge man -- 6'5" or so,  as I recall -- and Tom Cruise is not.  Oh well)


Speaking of film adaptations, I just saw that Showtime has acquired another summer thriller for a TV series. This one has received a ton of publicity since it is co-written by James Patterson and none other than Bill Clinton.  The title is The President is Missing and all the action takes place in a mere three days.

  This book is coming out the same week as mine.  Talk about competition in the marketplace.  

And since I've mentioned a Clinton endeavor, I'll head across the aisle and tell you about another book involving three days. I have just started to read a terrific story titled Three Days in Moscow, by Bret Baier.  While it does focus on a summit meeting in Russia between President Ronald Reagan and General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev, the author reviews Reagan's history, the development of his ideas about key political issues and his rise from radio broadcaster and "B movie star" to the highest office in the land.  The audio version is particularly good as Baier, a seasoned newscaster, is the narrator. 

I  mentioned James Patterson collaborating with Bill Clinton on their new thriller.  Another famous duo includes our own new Rogue member, Robin Burcell, who writes with bestselling author Clive Cussler.  They have a new thriller which will be released THIS week, The Gray Ghost. 
This novel has already received a starred Kirkus review which reads, "Thriller fans will delight in this latest escapade. Cussler and co-author Burcell have delivered a winner!"  

The story involves the search for a legendary Rolls-Royce -- a search that threatens the lives of husband-and-wife team, Sam and Remi Fargo.  It is the 10th in this exciting Sam and Remi adventure series.

Of course, there are many more great books coming out this summer season, so my question for you readers is this:  What novels would you like to recommend for summer? Please share your suggestions with all of here at Rogue Women Writers.  We love new ideas, so do leave a comment below. Thank you for visiting us here. We all hope you have a wonderful summer with family and friends.

…..Karna Small Bodman