Keep reading during this pandemic, on us.

In these quarantined times we've come to appreciate films, music, and of course, books to help us cope.

At the initiative of Karen Dionne, a group of authors have put together a collection of books that will be temporary free to download as a gift to readers.

From my own books I've selected A DOZEN SHORTS, a collection of short stories, and my debut novel TREASURE HUNT, which launches the series The Falcon Chronicles

August and the Language Barrier

One of the most difficult battles in my writing career has been the language barrier. Spanish was, and remains, my native language. The American Dream has reached outside North American borders, and I wanted to become a writer with a publisher in New York City. I figured all I had to do was write in English. A simple plan, right?

At nineteen, I was blessed with a job where I had to speak and write in English. Then there was the reading. Every early customer presented me with books. That’s when I discovered Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, Ken Follett and Clive Cussler. I got proficient, and people kept telling me I was good at speaking too. Match that praise with the desire to put ideas in writing and you have a recipe for publishing dreams.

I started my first novel in 1998 and made the rookie mistake of showing it to people who cared for me and didn’t want to break my heart. I can’t help but wonder if someone who disliked me would have helped me improve faster.

The very best thing I’ve done is investing in the Merriam-Webster and Oxford English dictionaries.

The second thing that helped me improve has been the support of native speakers willing to go through hell correcting the typos that would spring out of nowhere as they tried to navigate my stories.

I have writing friends who show me mistakes and help me make corrections. I will not claim I am master of the language, but one of those friends claims she can now concentrate more on plot or character development than grammar mistakes. And although the wars on Oxford comma and splitting infinitives still rage on, at least the difference between irony and coincidence is no longer a mystery to me.

The August edition of The Big Thrill is out and I contributed a piece about Preston & Child's new book Old Bones:

Up Close:  Preston and Child by J. H. Bográn: 

July News

Here's the July edition of The Big Thrill

Also, I'm visiting New York City to participate in a panel at ThrillerFest

You can expect some pictures and a full report soon.

And last, but not least, here's the July edition of my newsletter, which comes as the first in a series of articles related to the craft of writing.

Ending a book with a cliffhanger, or don’t leave your readers hanging.

The June edition of The Big Thrill

For the June edition of The Big Thrill, I had the opportunity to interview two people I admire:

I met D.P. Lyle in the hallways of ThrillerFest in 2010, so I jumped at the opportunity to talk to him about his newest book, Sunshine State, and how he intertwines thriller with humor.

Read it here:

The first novel I read from Steven Savile was Silver. It had been recommended to me by a then-mentor. I was enthralled with the tale, the scope. Then later I discovered he also wrote novels for two of my favorite TV serials, Doctor Who and Torchwood. It's not surprised that when he submitted his newest, White Peak, I made sure the editor knew I was interested, even when it meant a second assignment for the month. The things you do for the love of writing!
There's also a catch, it turns out Steven novel was released under the alias of Ronan Frost.

Read it here: 

May the Fourth be with you!

On May Fourth I was invited by the Centro Cultural Sampedrano to give a lecture on Star Wars.
I took the opportunity to discuss the arc of the story on cinema's most iconic villain. I mean of course, Darth Vader, the Jedi formerly known as Anakin Skywalker.

Staying out of the Star Wars Stories, I concentrated on Episodes I through VI, starting from the cute little boy who casually murdered countless people by destroying a space ship. Granted it also saved the lives of his friends during the battle on Naboo. Visited the bad decision making during Episode III and culminated with his sacrifice in Emperor Palpatine's throne room aboard the Second Death Star.
A full path that led to redemption as envisioned by George Lucas.

I had a blast with the public because they had seen the movies, so no spoiler alert was necessary, and the discussion went into such mind-bugling details like "Why did Leia kiss her brother in Empire?" My response, beside the obvious that George dropped the ball there, was to point out that Leia was not kin on kissing her unknown brother, but rather to make Han Solo jealous.

May the Fourth be with you....and tomorrow, remember the revenge of the Fifth!