Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Making a Visit to the Paso Robles Library

This is my year for library visits. I have many lined up.

It all began with the Clovis Book Fair sponsored by the Book Barn and the Fresno Library. One of the librarians stopped by my table and asked if I'd like to speak at a library. I must've been the one most willing or exuberant, or who  knows why, but he emailed and asked me to go to several. I've already visited the first one.

Another library speaking engagement came through the Central Coast Sisters in Crime group of which I am a member. I love going over to the coast, so I quickly agreed to be a part of a panel speaking about Writing a Best Seller. We will each be talking about different phases of writing and my main topic will be setting. And yes, I'll have handouts.

I'll also touch on the fact that age has nothing whatsoever to do with writing.

My fellow panelists are Diann Adamson and Cora Ramos.

We will be at the Paso Robles Library, 1000 Spring St., Paso Robles on Saturday, June 24th from 11-1. 

If you live in the area, do drop by and see what we have to say.

I'll have my book, Not as it Seems, with me. It's set in the Central Coast area, Morro Bay and surroundings. I'll bring some of the other of the latest Deputy Tempe Crabtree books too. 

And I'll also have a couple of the Rocky Bluff P.D. series mysteries as they are also set on the coast.

Hope to see some familiar faces.


Monday, June 19, 2017


by Robert L. Bryan

My latest book, Dark Knights, weaves together twenty years of funny cop stories to chronicle my career from patrol officer to captain.  Writing this book was fairly easy because of the dearth of available material to pick from.  After all, there is nothing quite like a cop’s sense of humor – or is there?  

When I was almost finished with the book I let a non-cop friend read a chapter to get his feedback.  I know I am a bit biased, but I thought the chapter I gave him was hysterical.  I was somewhat stunned when he told me that he found the story disturbing and sadistic, but not the least bit funny  So  how does this dark, non-mainstream, gallows sense of humor develop?  Do police officers bring this anything goes propensity towards perverse humor with them to the job, or is it a byproduct of the job?  The answer lies in the emotional and psychological challenges of being a cop.

Being a police officer is akin to constantly riding an emotional roller coaster, involving moments of intense action followed by emotional crashes marked by exhaustion and isolation.  Cops see people at their worst, operating in the chaotic and depressing underbelly of society.  Domestic violence, drug overdoses, fatal car crashes, child abuse, and an assortment of other criminal activities are on a cop’s daily menu for consumption. The dangers cops perceive is not limited to public interactions.  

It is very common in police culture to develop negative feelings and attitudes towards the government and department hierarchy due to a perceived lack of support.  Furthermore, there can also be a perceived lack of support from the law abiding public, as well as a perceived media bias against police officers.  Even family cannot fully comprehend the daily grind, social isolation and stress involved with police work.   This atmosphere cultivates the “us vs. them” attitude present in much of the police culture.

To cope, cops put on emotional armor through the development of a cynical, dehumanizing and hard-edged sense of humor that is an attempt to insulate themselves from the pain and suffering being witnessed on a daily basis.  This attitude and sense of humor is not callous.  To the contrary – it is necessary.  Police officers have to resist their natural revulsion to what they see and must do. Empathy must be held back too, since it can divert too much energy from apprehending suspects and restoring order. Developing gallows humor helps in this process. Through exaggeration and irreverence, they break the connection between a terrifying stimulus and an unwanted emotional response.

These tactics work very well on the job.  There is ample empirical data that supports the physiological aspects of laughter as being an excellent stress reliever.  The delicate balancing act cops perform, however, is separating the job and personal life, and keeping the dark humor exclusively for the job.  This is no easy task, as the usage of dark humor becomes automatic and unconscious, causing problems in private life. 

Soon, nothing is sacred. No working street cop, detective, crime scene investigator or emergency worker can function effectively without denial, suppression and black humor. Unfortunately, what works so well on the job can adversely affect communications with loved ones. Emotional issues are commonplace in relationships. Hiding normal feelings means not recognizing them when they arise and not talking about them. Avoiding, dismissing or laughing them off on a consistent basis means that many important issues may go unresolved.

Robert L. Bryan is a law enforcement and security professional with over thirty-five years of experience.  Robert spent twenty years with the NYC Transit Police and NYPD, retiring at the rank of captain.  He worked a wide variety of patrol, administrative, and investigative assignments, including police academy instructor, narcotics division squad commander, and internal affairs bureau squad commander.  Prior to the NYPD, Robert began his career as a member of both the United States Coast Guard and the United States Border Patrol.  He is currently the chief security officer for NYC Transit’s division of revenue.  Dark Knights is Robert’s third non-fiction book.  C-Case, chronicles his two year assignment as a squad commander in the internal affairs bureau, and Conductor, traces the history of one of America’s most storied professions – the railroad conductor.


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Am I the only Crime Writer out there Addicted to Spider Solitaire?

Am I the Only Crime Writer out There Addicted to Spider Solitaire?

I can sit at my desk with the current mystery I’m working on open in one screen, and all too easily switch screens, and say that I’m going to allow myself only one game. Then two. And so it goes. I’m addicted.

When I’m feeling generous to myself,  I call my obsession with Spider Solitaire a kind of thinking, plotting, planning, letting my mind run on idle while I think up the next brilliant twist in my new Santa Monica mystery.  But I know different. I’m addicted. Something about lining up the cards in an orderly row soothes me.

After all, it’s not as if I feel the world is breathless with anticipation for my next mystery.

My brain gets itchy and restless after I’ve focused down hard on writing. I’ve already twitched back and forth from my Facebook pages to Twitter to email just to see what’s going on. Like there’s ever anything going on with Twitter.

In an effort to limit my Spider Solitaire addiction, I placed a five minute timer on my desk, the old fashioned kind where sand runs through from one compartment to another. Of course, you have to set it to run. And remember to do it.

Yes, I know there is software which helps you limit the amount of time you spend on internet gambling, cybersex, video game addiction, and surfing for porn.  But I’m not that bad!

I tell myself Spider Solitaire is a procrastination tool. And so is Facebook and Twitter. I must have some modicum of self-discipline because I’ve stayed away from Pinterest and any other latest internet craze.

Anything to delay the agony of writing. Perhaps you’re familiar with that great yawning space on the page below your last good sentence?

While I’m trying to work the plot kinks out of my next crime fiction novel, I’ve written
5 10-20,000 word EBooks on the topic of “Writing Your First Mystery. They include Plotting, Editing, Creating Killer Characters, Finishing…and now “Writing Backstory in Your Mystery Fiction.”

I’m working on a first draft of two mysteries; one set in Santa Monica, one set in the tranquil village where I live in the mountains in Central California. I’m working on two at once because the theory was that when one got hard I could turn to the other. That’s what they say at least.

Guess what?  They’re both hard.

In the end, after three or four games, it all comes down to self-discipline, rooting myself in my chair, opening the document file and reading over the last horrible bit of stilted writing that lays there inert on the page. I poke at it for a while.

I know that if I dig through the mess long enough, something will catch fire. I will find myself inserting a comma. Then I’ll rearrange a sentence, and maybe the next paragraph isn’t that bad.

Oh! Something twitched in my brain. Ah, an idea. And sometimes off I go. If I can just drag my fingers back from Spider Solitaire.

I’ve written six mysteries now. I can do this again. It’s not hopeless.

See, what--despite my nasty little Spider Solitaire addiction--I’ve accomplished so far. Visit my page and check me out.

Thursday, June 15, 2017


Creating A Buzz (Building A Platform)

Branding yourself as an author—highlighting the types of books you write—can help you increase book sales. Create a campaign message and write a synopsis of your book tailored for marketing and PR activities in order to create buzz about your book.

Author Branding
Determine what distinguishes you as an author. Consider promoting yourself as an expert on a particular subject. For example, if you are a mystery writer, share information about police methods of a murder investigation or the science of forensics. Develop two or three speaking concepts that focus on a topic rather than just your book. Also, identify personal contacts who might refer you to potential speaking venues.

Book Launch
Start to execute your book marketing actions at least three to four months prior to publishing date. Determine the best day/time to have an in-person launch; consult bookstore owner. Invite people you know: friends and family, co-workers, the media, librarians and fellow authors to celebrate the launch. Consider offering an advance purchase discount.

Orchestrate online launch actions on Goodreads, Amazon, Personal Facebook and Facebook Author Fan Page (See “Social Media/Online Marketing” section.) Promote a mystery book to mystery book stores and mystery book reading groups.

Publicize all speaking/book-signing events through the media and on your website. Incorporate public-relations actions including media outreach. (See “Public Relations/Advertising” section.)

Send a book-launch announcement to your email list, including personal and professional connections. Ask your connections to forward the launch announcement to their contacts.

Utilize cross marketing, which can be very successful. For example, work together with other authors, particularly in your genre. This can be effective and cost saving.

Be consistent with your message and image and maintain a continued presence in front of your target audiences through the various actions and opportunities available to you as an author.

“Dying To Be Beautiful” Mystery Series Books 1-4 
Available at Amazon, B&N, and Independent BookStores

“The Senior Sleuths” 
(Dick and Dora Zimmerman with Zero the Bookie) Fall, 2017
M.Glenda Rosen 

Marcia Rosen
Award Winning “My Memoir Workbook”
“The Woman’s Business 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My First Library Visit This Year

Saturday, June 17, at 11 a.m., I'll be visiting the Gillis Library, 629 W. Dakota, Fresno CA.

This is the first of a series of library visits.

If you come--and hope some of your will--this is what some of what might happen.

I'll introduce myself--hopefully I'll make some people laugh.

Next, I'll want to learn how many in the audience are writers, and who are strictly readers.

I'll tell about my two series--including about some of the books I brought with me.

And I'll answer any questions anyone has about me, my books, or writing.

The books I'll bring, will be the latest in both series, though I'll bring more of the Tempe books than the Rocky Bluff P.D. books.

No, I won't be doing a reading as I don't really like to do those--or listen to them either. One exception, I probably will read the best first line in any of my books.

If you are in the area, do come and visit me.

This month, I'll also be going over to Paso Robles for a group presentation at the library there, Saturday, June 24--11-1 p.m. More later.

And in my own neck of the woods, Tuesday June 27, I'll be at the Exeter Library with good friend, Gloria Getman, at 6:30 p.m. 

Hoping to see some familiar faces.


Sunday, June 11, 2017

Finished the next Deputy Tempe Crabtree mystery---but not exactly.

Yes, it's done--but finished? No, there's a lot more to do.

First, my critique group needs to hear the whole thing and give me there feedback.

As with all my books, I need to start at the beginning and go through it, do some editing and rewriting.

I don't have a title yet--need to come up with something, maybe my critique group can help there too.

Once all that's done, I need to send it off to the publisher. It is very late, I usually have the latest Tempe Crabtree book sent off by this time--but a lot has happened to slow it down, and I must confess, I've slowed down too.

I could blame it on the fact that I keep taking on other jobs--I'm in the throes of judging a writing contest, and agreed to do another--I've done both of these for several years.

There's been lots of family activities too--and I enjoy those.

Anyway, I'll accept the blame and just get busy.


Friday, June 9, 2017

Since We Fell by Dennis Lehane

To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure how I feel about this book.

It's not promoted as a mystery or thriller--just a novel.

The first half is definitely that as it explores the psyche of a woman named Rachel, her mother, and the father whom she's never known--not even his identity.

Of course, the whole book is wonderfully written, literary, as are all Lehane's books. I was compelled to keep reading--though as I got into the second half--I read much faster. Because the whole story takes a turn around, becoming mysterious, sometimes outlandish, and definitely thrilling. There are so many twists and turns, at times it was hard to grasp.

However, I was terribly disappointed by the ending--unless of course, Lehane plans to write a sequel.

I read some of the reviews written by others on Amazon--most readers gave it five stars, some only one or two. 

As for the writing, I'd give it five stars, for the complete story, I'm not sure.

I'd love to hear from other readers and see how they felt about Since We Fell.