There are very few people I consider true renaissance men. One managed to convince me I needed to learn the difference between “then” and “than” (and a whole lot more). He was also the guy most responsible for my attempt to write and for finally getting published. Equally as important, he was also most responsible for me wanting to learn. Dave Gresham was an English teacher I took way back in Minot State College in North Dakota and he remains the smartest guy I know. About a dozen years or so ago, I got to meet another Dave/David (Corbett) with smarts anyone would admire. It was at the Toronto Bouchercon (I believe); one of the crime writing conferences I was anxious to attend as one of the new kids on the block. We were on a panel together (I forget the topic) and David Montgomery was the very gracious mediator. Although I’ve since opted away from such conferences, some fine friendships were formed at that one and I treasure those to this day.
His writing is as brilliant as he is; a a man of many talents and passions and about as well-rounded intellectually as one can get. Hell, I don’t even mind that he’s a San Francisco 49’er fan (mostly now because they are a true football team and no longer a gimmicky offense). David is featured at Murderati on Wednesdays.
David was recently kind enough to do a back and forth interview with me over at Murderati where subsequent comments got us into the stuff we really love (so screw football?) ... opera! Check out the interview here and learn some of what David is up to (including his upcoming book on writing), THE ART OF CHARACTER: Mastering the Craft of Characterization for Fiction, Film and TV.
A recovering Catholic, one-time bar band gypsy, and former private investigator with the San Francisco firm of Palladino & Sutherland, David Corbett has had his work hailed as "the best in contemporary crime fiction—or, if I may be so bold, in contemporary fiction, period" (Patrick Anderson, Washington Post).
Here’s David with some writing tips:
And here’s David briefly discussing how he met his wife and her influence on his first wonderful novel (purchased by Ballantine six weeks before his wife passed).
David is a hell of an interesting guy, amici. He’s also a terrific writer and like I said, one of the few true renaissance men I Know.
Continuing TK’s tradition of featuring SNHU MFA graduates, here’s a look at Heidi Cruz, the ONLY EVER SNHU MFA GRADUATE STUDENT TO COMPLETE THREE SENTENCES ON SHUTTER (a.k.a.) STAR ISLAND! That’s right, amici ... three trips to the big house (Oceanic)!
Heidi is the official Queen of the rocky, wind-swept Isles of Shoals.
Heidi is an amazing woman. A horse lover like no other I’ve ever known, she owns one she named Sky (above). The picture above that was taken in Japan where Heidi lived last year and will be returning this October. An adventurous woman with a natural writing talent, she also works with horses in her native New Hampshire.
From her thesis novel: “War Emblem was a deep chestnut like the leaves of the fall. His body was so muscular that even from a distance, Kylie could see the veins standing out on his body, rippling with each stride he took at the gallop. He might as well have been a blur in the memory of her childhood.”
Good luck to Heidi! She’s now a graduate and well on her way.
Momma Stella Update ... this morning she was doing fine (her heart rate) but now has an infection they’re giving her antibiotics for. Zia (aunt) “Disney” Fran (her younger and only remaining sister) was there again this morning with her son Paul and we all had to wear gowns lest we exchange WTF disease with Momma. Oy vey ... if things continue the way they are now, she’ll be in rehab within another day or two (and I can regain some sanity from avoiding traffic for a few days).
This morning she was also telling one of the old Stella stories from way back even her sister didn’t know. Back in the day in Canarsie we had a family that lived across the street from us (the Strauss family) and amici they didn’t like us very much. Probably it had something to do with my grandfather (Pietro) tossing ash cans in the middle of the street and scaring the shit out of them (and everybody else on our side of the block) at all hours of the day or night and then laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world. It also could’ve had something to do with the fact my old man was selling firecrackers in the neighborhood ... but who knows.
One day we were about to leave to visit Freedom Land in Jersey and Momma Strauss called 911 to report my old man: “Firecracker man! He’s the firecracker man! Arrest him, officer! He’s got a wooden leg where he keeps the firecrackers!”
Momma Stella let the two policemen into our house and told them to look wherever they wanted, but to please make it fast because “we’re taking the kids to Freedom Land and we have a long trip.” The law stepped inside the house, glanced in each room and said, “No problem, ma’am.”
Momma Stella then told her sister (this morning): “Franny, I was scared shit. The friggin’ things were in my bedroom closet, the living room closet and in Charlie’s room.”
Momma Stella bluffed her way out of that one, alright.
I love my Mommy!
Momma must’a had a poker face!
And if you couldn’t understand the words, here’s Christopher Walken to help speed the trip.