Tonight! Online! Reading a Short Story with MWA-NY

Tonight at 6:00 p.m. eastern U.S. time, the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter is hosting a terrific online reading event!

You can watch live on the MWA-NY Facebook page or the MWA-NY YouTube page.

Authors who will be reading include Nancy Bilyeau, Suzanne Chazin, Jane Kelly, Lanny Larcinese, Jeff Markowitz, Erica Obey, and Camilla Trinchieri.

I’ll be there, too, reading a story from my collection The Throes of Crime.

Remember, the show kicks off at 6:00 p.m. eastern U.S. time. And you can watch live on the MWA-NY Facebook page or the MWA-NY YouTube page.

Authors are reading in alphabetical order — which means I’m up first. Hope you can join us!

TriBond Twelve Trivia #4

This trivia game is inspired by Tim Walsh’s classic game TriBond (Tim’s also an author; he wrote, among others, the great book Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them — and don’t miss his terrific YouTube channel), and my friend James Torr, who knows how to put together a killer trivia night.

Each set of three in the image above has something in common. What is it?

(If you’re reading this on the front page of my website, click through for hints and answers. Otherwise, scroll down.)

Continue reading “TriBond Twelve Trivia #4”

Discussing Catan on NPR

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that the pandemic — which is causing many more people to stay at home much more often — has led to increased sales of board games and jigsaw puzzles. In this report from NPR, reporter Rob Schmitz looks specifically at the modern classic Catan (aka Settlers of Catan).

Rob talked to me for the story and some of my comments are included. When he asked about the impact Catan has had on boardgaming, I gushed (if my recollection is correct) even a little more than is included in the final report.

It’s difficult to overestimate, in my view, the influence Catan has had on the design of modern board games. You can’t draw a straight line from every game back to Catan, of course, but that’s also part of its influence. It broke the mold, and was wildly successful doing so. That helped inspire other designers and publishers to take more risks, to be more creative.

We’re all treated to a much richer selection of tabletop games today because of Catan.

You can listen to Rob’s story below, or on NPR’s website (where a transcript is also available).

Recommended: Secret City on Netflix

Secret City, a (so far) two-season show available on Netflix, is a terrific drama set in Australia. It’s available on Netflix (at least in the United States; I’m not sure about other countries).

Based on novels by Steve Lewis and Chris Uhlmann (The Marmalade Files, The Mandarin Code, and The Shadow Game), Secret City is set in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. It’s a political thriller with plenty — plenty — of twists and turns.

It stars Anna Torv (who also starred in Fringe and Mindhunter) as Harriet Dunkley, a newspaper reporter with The Daily Nation, and Damon Herriman (Dewey Crowe from Justified and Charles Manson on Mindhunter).

Secret City is a fascinating look at the world of Australian politics and journalism (the laws governing the press in Australia are quite different than those here in the United States) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It pushes past reality fairly often (or so one hopes), but it examines important questions about international alliances, the rapid growth of the surveillance state, the use of military drones, and freedom of the press — all while being extremely entertaining.

Highly recommended.

TriBond Twelve Trivia #3

This trivia game is inspired by Tim Walsh’s classic game TriBond (Tim’s also an author; he wrote, among others, the great book Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them — and don’t miss his terrific YouTube channel), and my friend James Torr, who knows how to put together a killer trivia night.

Each set of three in the image above has something in common. What is it?

(If you’re reading this on the front page of my website, click through for hints and answers. Otherwise, scroll down.)

Continue reading “TriBond Twelve Trivia #3”

This Land is a Great Podcast

On July 9, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that approximately half of Oklahoma is inside a Native American reservation. (Read coverage from NPR and The New York Times.)

The decision, authored by Justice Neil Gorsuch, opens with this:

On the far end of the Trail of Tears was a promise. Forced to leave their ancestral lands in Georgia and Alabama, the Creek Nation received assurances that their new lands in the West would be secure forever. In exchange for ceding “all their land, East of the Mississippi river,” the U. S. government agreed by treaty that “[t]he Creek country west of the Mississippi shall be solemnly guarantied to the Creek Indians.” … Today we are asked whether the land these treaties promised remains an Indian reservation for purposes of federal criminal law. Because Congress has not said otherwise, we hold the government to its word.

It’s a fascinating decision for many reasons, and I think the best way to fully understand it is listening to the podcast This Land. (Most episodes were produced and released prior to the decision, but new episodes are now being made.)

Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, an Oklahoma journalist and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, This Land examines how a seemingly simple murder case led to the largest restoration of tribal land in U.S. history. I highly recommend it.

Also recommended is this opinion piece in The New York Times: “This 19th-Century Law Helps Shape Criminal Justice in Indian Country” by David Heska Wanbli Weiden, a professor of Native American studies. His article discusses the impact of the Major Crimes Act, enacted in 1885.

TriBond Trivia #2

This trivia game is inspired by Tim Walsh’s classic game TriBond (Tim’s also an author; he wrote, among others, the great book Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them — and don’t miss his terrific YouTube channel), and my friend James Torr, who knows how to put together a killer trivia night.

Each set of three in the image above has something in common. What is it?

(If you’re reading this on the front page of my website, click through for hints and answers. Otherwise, scroll down.)

Continue reading “TriBond Trivia #2”

TriBond Trivia #1

This trivia game is inspired by Tim Walsh’s classic game TriBond (Tim’s also an author; he wrote, among others, the great book Timeless Toys: Classic Toys and the Playmakers Who Created Them — and don’t miss his terrific YouTube channel), and my friend James Torr, who knows how to put together a killer trivia night.

Each set of three in the image above has something in common. What is it?

Hint: The answers are all television shows, movies, or TV/movie franchises.

(If you’re reading this on the front page of my website, click through for the answers. Otherwise, scroll down.)

Continue reading “TriBond Trivia #1”

2020 James & Jeanne Arneson Scholarship Winner

I’m thrilled to announce this year’s winner of the James & Jeanne Arneson Memorial Scholarship is Maci Kasuske, a senior at Wilmot (South Dakota) High School.

Maci won the $250 scholarship for her excellent short story “The Product.”

Our guest judge this year was James Grady, author of Six Days of the Condor and many other novels. He called Maci’s story “masterful” and said, “My hope is this is the start of many more stories and eventually novels.”

Congratulations, Maci!

How to Host a Game Night – New Book in October

My next book — HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT — is available for pre-order!

It’s no secret that I love board games, and writing HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT was an absolute blast. It’s packed with practical advice, incredible and funny stories about gaming, and reviews of some of the games I love best.

I wrote a piece for The Opinionated Gamers that talks a bit more about why I love this project so much.

Published by Tiller Press, a division of Simon & Schuster, HOW TO HOST A GAME NIGHT is scheduled to release on Oct. 27, 2020. Go ahead and order a copy from your favorite bookstore today!

Continue reading “How to Host a Game Night – New Book in October”