Category James L’Etoile

Travel Roulette 

With a few open days on the calendar before the upcoming book launch, I took my son up on an offer for a quick trip to Las Vegas. You can’t beat the people watching in this town.  The spectacle begins when you step off the airplane into 115 degree heat. That ant under the magnifying […]

Getting Your Hands Dirty–Prison Reform

You hear the expression all the time–“Getting your hands dirty.” A yuppie call to get in the trenches and act like you’re doing the work, just like the common folk. It’s a trite little phrase used frequently by the likes of Martha Stewart, political figures, and CEO’s who haven’t looked at an assembly line since […]

Story Surgery

There are times in my writing process I feel like a hired gun with a scalpel. A slice here, a nip and tuck there–gut the beast. Readers, editors, agents and publishers all shout (okay maybe not really shout–but it seem that way at times) for me to make a change in a POV, or my […]

The Corner Office

I’ve been pretty fortunate over the years to not only maintain gainful employment, but also to do that work in some pretty glamorous settings. As I sit at my desk and figure out which project is going to get my attention today, I think back to other desks, and other times, where I did have […]

The Coffee Apocalypse

For something a little lighter this week–because damn. There is a balance to all things. Light and dark. Good and evil. When one force outweighs the other, the universe shifts to readjust the equilibrium and puts a thumb on the scale like a small town butcher. The forces of karma must be running out of […]

Blurred Lines – the true crime connection

Crime fiction is a strange place. Crime writing takes advantage of a basic human flaw–the willingness to see the victimization of others as a spectator sport. It seems that it’s been part of human nature since we “civilized people” would gather together for a rousing session of Christians Versus Lions–The Ultimate Cage Match. Fast forward […]

A Book By Any Other Name

A title. One simple fricken title. That’s all I’m looking for. I’m searching for a better title for the second book in the Penley Mystery Series. I want something to grab the reader’s attention and imagination. In the search for the name, I’ve staged my own mini-protest and all that’s missing is a #All Titles Matter […]

Crime Under The Big Top

Wherever there are seedy gatherings, crime will inevitably find its way in. Wander down the garish circus alleyways filled with overstuffed clowns, who bark and beg at those with pockets filled with cash, and you’ll find greed and corruption. Sideshows offering a peek at the naked lady or the promise of a fortune told are […]

Writing Sacramento Crime

Sacramento Crime Sacramento as a setting for crime fiction? The sleepy state capitol town doesn’t get a great deal of attention from the hardcore crime community. Crime fiction relies on–well, crime. Naturally, the first places you think of are New York, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newark, Detoit, Baltimore–You get the idea, places where crime is […]

I’m Watching You

They are everywhere Watching, waiting, anticipating. Spending most of my adult life dealing with the darker edges of society–prison, probation and jails–I’ve seen how low humanity can sink. If there is a weakness, or vulnerability present, I can count on a predator to hide in the shadows, ready to pounce. These soulless opportunists strike when […]