You bet your halibut

Word here in Santa Cruz, CA, is that the halibut migration that results in hauls of the yummy fish has arrived early this year. I'm no fisherman, but this news did remind me of one of my favorite Home Front columns from a few years ago. Read it here.

Re-reading it made me miss my sons. Hope it makes you laugh.


You're doing it wrong

Note to aspiring criminals: When doing a snatch-and-run robbery at a convenience store, first make sure there aren't FOUR sheriff's deputies inside the store.

Apparently, two thieves in La Mirada, CA, didn't notice the two patrol cars parked beside the store. Once inside, they were too busy grabbing up $18.76 worth of snacks and beer to notice the uniformed deputies, who promptly arrested them.

Sounds like a "munchie run" gone wrong.

Full story here.


You're doing it wrong

Police in Arlington Heights, IL, say three young burglars killed their victims' goldfish because "they didn't want to leave any witnesses."

The youths broke into a house and stole tons of stuff. Before leaving, they poured hot sauce and other toxins into the aquarium to eliminate the witnesses.

Police later caught up to the geniuses through stolen goods sold at local pawn shops.

Full story here.


Back in the saddle

I've started a new novel. Only been writing it for a couple of days now, though I've been sketching it out for a few weeks. A comic crime novel with a female protagonist, set in New Mexico and involving some Hollywood types.

Not the novel I'd been planning to write. I'd planned to make use of our scenic new location, and write a revenge thriller set in Santa Cruz. But I'm in too good a mood these days to write dreary suspense. So it's comedy again. And it's New Mexico again. Surprise, surprise.

Like a lot of authors, I may write about a place better when I'm not there. Don't get me wrong, it helps to really know a place before you use it as a setting, even if it's a place you've made up. But a little distance helps, too, keeps you from getting bogged down in concrete detail when your imagination should be running wild.

I often write about locations after I've physically (or at least mentally) moved on. My most recent novel, "The Big Wink,"(currently being shopped around by my agent) is set mostly in Redding and Northern California, and was written as we were busily leaving there. My most recent Bubba Mabry novel, "Monkey Man," set in Albuquerque, was written while we lived in Redding, as were a couple of suspense novels that were set mostly in San Francisco, where we lived in the '80s. Now that we're happily on the beach in Santa Cruz? I'm writing about small-town New Mexico. Go figure.

Luckily, we visited The Land of Enchantment over the holidays, and Kel and I are going again in late March, when I'm toastmaster at the Left Coast Crime conference in Santa Fe. More tax-deductible research!

To start writing a novel, no matter how many times you've done it before, is a leap of a faith, one that might not pay off for months or years. Funny how often that leap lands someplace you didn't expect.