After I made it on my LAX flight with ten minutes to spare, I promised myself I’d never be that late again. Guess what? I beat my own record.


Recent weather: beautiful but icy. Lots of viruses and falls in the emergency department. Our dog, Roxy, presses on.

Perfect storm: United wouldn’t let me check it online, I waited for the airport shuttle for 20 minutes, the gate woman told me to run and I ended up dropping my passport and doubling back for it, the usual security lineup, the mother of all lineups for US customs, my passport expires in April and it turned out I couldn’t use the US customs machine…

Two lucky breaks: someone turned in my passport, and I made friends with the nice man behind me in line, who let me back in with my passport and again in the US customs inchworm.

I figured it was too late, but once freed from the queues, I dashed to the gate. People scattered out of the way, alerted by my thundering footsteps and the wheels of my carry-on. One guy yelled, “Go, go, go!”

When I finally pulled up at gate 84, I said the United agent, “I guess it’s too late.”

“Yeah,” he said, but he radioed the crew and asked, and…I’m on my way to Phoenix. For Left Coast Crime 2016.


Our kids read. We have indoctrinated them well.

IMG_0063My kids were sadder than usual to see me leave, probably exacerbated by the fact that I worked a week as a hospitalist, then did four ER shifts in six days. Max moped and asked repeatedly if he could come with me and miss school, so I made sure to go sledding with him yesterday afternoon (the only time I’ve ever seen a Crazy Carpet actually work well: on ice). Anastasia seemed impervious, but nearly cried yesterday morning until I asked her to help me pick out a dress for the banquet. She and I did our nails together, and I told both of ’em to try and convince their dad to let them go to Wisconsin for Writers’ Police Academy in August.


Stockholm Syndrome, face out at the Poisoned Pen and surrounded by take-no-prisoners writers!


Jewish Noir, we love you! With Travis Richardson, Kenneth Wishnia and Michael J. Cooper.






I’ve got hope that I’m doing something right. Anastasia told her dad, “When I grow up, I want to be a writer like Mommy. I want to be a doctor like Mommy. I want to be a mommy like Mommy.” She paused. “I’m already a talker like Mommy.” I laughed and laughed when they told me. That’s my girl. Update: I wrote this blog post on the plane. Now I’ve met writers and readers, dined with publishers, tried to hike in the desert, and hung out at one of the world’s coolest bookstores, the Poisoned Pen. More to come.


This gentleman was on his way to work at the airport. He’s lived in Phoenix for 20 years and has never been downtown. He also has excellent facial hair.