Sunday, December 30, 2007

Holiday Reading

I just finished Sharie Kohler's debut paranormal romance, Marked by Moonlight, and would definitely recommend it. She deftly combines a number of terrific elements including sexy chemistry between the hero and heroine, life-threatening conflict, emotional depth and mystery.

If you're a fan of werewolf stories, this one should not be missed.

(Sharie Kohler also writes historicals as Sophie Jordan, which is how I was first introduced to this author's wonderful writing.)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

"When creative juices flow
Catch them with a pen
Cause if you don't
You may find you can't
recapture them again."

- June Shanahan

It is finally chilly in Houston. I'm drinking hot cocoa and writing from under the down comforter. Stay warm!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Would a grapefruit by any other name...

Okay, first of all, who named grapefruit? They taste nothing like grapes. It was probably a plot by the Vikings or someone, like the naming of Greenland when the place was a frozen tundra. (See helpful photo illustration. Yeah, it's pretty. But would you call it green?)

So I'm over at my friend Nancy Pickard's blog, and Farfetched says he's drinking rum and grapefruit juice, which triggers a shudder from me and the following response:

Far -

Grapefruit juice? Are you out of everything else? (Including your mind)

I was at a friend's a couple days ago, and he got a whole crate of grapefruit from a client who's involved somehow in the grapefruit-growing industry. (Poor guy)

So my friend cuts me a grapefruit for breakfast. My first response was, "Are we on a diet? And will it really last long enough to get through a whole crate of grapefruit?"

And he was like... "This is exceptional grapefruit. Just try it."

Which for some reason I did.

"Isn't that sweet?" he said.

"Compared to what? Lemons?"

Yeah, so it turns out that the best grapefruit in the world is still not an orange. And if you really feel the need to contaminate a perfectly good glass of rum with its juice couldn't you just lie and tell us you used pineapple juice? What's the point of being on the internet if we can't lie to each other?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Don't Tell Hagrid

I was away from home last night, and, as there was no reason for me to sleep better at someone else's place than I do at my own, I woke randomly at 3 am. Turning on the light, I apparently disturbed the Brown Recluse spider which had likely sneaked into the apartment in the stack of moving boxes picked up recently from a warehouse.

I was as taken aback at his sudden appearance as he was at mine. He rushed off, every bit as speedy as the car-chasing spiders from the grounds of Hogwart's. Normally, I'm a "live and let live" sort of person, but since Recluses' bites are poisonous to the point of leaving golf-ball sized holes in the previously unblemished flesh of one's person, I did not feel I could ever sleep again knowing he was free to wander within two miles of me.

The spider as I've said had speed and agility on his side. I on the other hand had only fear and my black clog.

I was able to return to sleep around 4 am. You may infer the rest.

Friday, November 30, 2007

It was the Best of Books, It was the Worst of Books

The 34th annual Dickens on the Strand is this weekend in Galveston. In the 19th century, there was apparently some link between the then richest city in Texas and London (I know, hard to imagine, right?). In any event, when some historic buildings were in danger, this fundraiser festival was born. Now, it's one of the most popular in the country.

My friends, David & John, plan to attend this year. (And my friend, Bethe, and her family usually go every year.) As a result, we had a discussion of, among other things, Dickens' literary works. I'm a fan of David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities. David is not as enthusiastic about Dickens' work, owing to having to read some of the more dreary choices when he was in school.

Now if you have a moment, it's time for audience participation. Tell me which book you loved or hated most that you had to read for high school or college.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanking the Lucky Stars

The guys at the best barbeque place in Houston (Goode Co. BBQ) wear t-shirts that say: "You might give some serious thought to thanking your lucky stars you're in Texas." I'm thankful for that and for some other stuff...

Tonight I'm thanking the night sky and the stars for:

convertibles and wide open spaces, green grass and waterfalls...Penguin Publishing, great books, sweet editors, and characters who enter the world like they own it...Godiva for coming up with a dark chocolate truffle collection, especially the key lime flavor... music by Pink, ballads by Corey Hart, rock star birthdays...and especially all the people ... friends, family, mentors, and icons who make life worth living

What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ghosts of Studies Past

The only trouble with college physics was its computational and conceptual complexity. If not for the math and the mind-bending concepts, it would have been a perfectly lovely subject, like anthropology. I don't recall what other courses I took along with physics, but suffice to say that my second calculus class convinced me that I had studied enough math in my lifetime.
So I gave physics the required attention during the semester, but then the subject was resoundingly neglected.

Imagine my surprise then, when I found that what I know about physics would be important to me as a novelist. It is a bit like opening the fridge and finding a chipmunk snacking on a slice of provolone. One thinks, roughly, "where did that come from?"

I am doing research on astronomy for some books I plan to write. The earth's magnetic fields, the gravitational pull between planets, and a number of other concepts smack of Physics 101. So as I take notes and recall formulas, I think...the university was right; I do need to know this information. All I had to do was become a writer for it to be important again.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

All Better

Thanks for all the well wishes on the blog and off. I'm fully recovered. For many years I have been lucky enough to possess one of the world's hardest working immune systems, so illnesses never sideline me for long.

Since the body's fever response is actually natural and helpful at fighting infection, I let myself run the temperature for a number of hours on Monday. If I'd had to go to work, I would've loaded myself up with Motrin and pressed on. But, for once, I had the luxury of taking to my bed and having a proper sick day. I watched Horatio, Poirot, the crew of Serenity, and Captain Jack Sparrow. I brainstormed in technicolor and scrawled barely legible notes to myself. It was an okay day despite the odd patch of dizzyness.

Yesterday I was back writing, logging 2,000 new words. (Yahoo...writing days rock!) And today I worked the non-writing job, where all arriving fevers were crushed under an avalanche of pharmaceuticals.

Here's hoping you're well! Hugs all around. :)

Monday, November 12, 2007


I constantly see little people, that is children, with fevers of 103 who run around playing. So then why am I barely able to get vertical with a temperature of a mere 99.9? Are they mutants?

Anyway, from the land of fevers and chills, I'm happy to report that I'm safely burrowed under the covers watching Horatio Hornblower. Thank goodness that A&E's series are available on DVD.

Wonderful speaker, Sharon Sala, said over the weekend that she dreams all her books. Maybe somewhere in this place of semi-consciousness, I'll find NYT best-selling plot twists...

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Holiday Books Recommendations - Urban Fantasy/Surreal

Tithe by Holly Black. I discovered this when a local bookseller created a new section for teens in the store. While browsing in the nearby stationery stacks, I looked up and this cover caught my eye. It was the first teen book I've bought. (I don't remember there being any teen books when I was teenager. There was certainly no section for it in my local bookstore.) Anyway, I loved this story about modern faeries. The fae in Tithe are just like the teens in the story (and in real life), at times ferocious, at others endearing. They share no resemblance to any fairies that Disney would approve of and are better for it. I loved this book for living up to its considerable promise.

Guilty Pleasures by Laurell K. Hamilton. One of my favorite series. The first books were so original in their style, combining horror with crime fiction. Preternatural forensics? Yes, actually. With Anita Blake as a vampire assassin/necromancer. This is the original that so many other authors have gone on to copy.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher. "Harry Dresden,Wizard." The words are printed on the door of Harry's place, much to the bafflement of local delivery men. When there are occult crimes in the offing, Harry can be hired to investigate them, and, in Harry, Mr. Butcher's created an enormously likable protagonist. Harry's often an underdog despite considerable skills, and it's fun to watch him battle the universe's evil forces. This series was the basis for a terrific TV series on the Sci Fi channel called The Dresden Files.

I've mentioned Jasper Fforde in other posts, so I would be remiss if I did not include his remarkable and remarkably odd books in this recommendation list. He reports that when his agent was trying to sell the first book, she had difficulty describing the premise and so asked editors to "just read it." I really like that approach. All I'll say is that the main character's name is Thursday Next and people are able to get into books and to kidnap characters right from their pages. If you want to read something wonderfully original, witty, and off-the-wall, I give you The Eyre Affair.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Holiday Books Recommendations - Historical/Time Travel Romance

For the romance readers on your Christmas list, I recommend the following titles:

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Quite simply one of my favorite books ever. Lush prose, wonderful historical detail, and likely the best loved romantic hero of all time. Ms. Gabaldon originally began writing this as a "practice novel." Made aware of this fact and overcome with artistic jealousy, a writer might hate her... except that she created such a heartbreakingly fantastic story. And so we love her.

Charming the Highlander by Janet Chapman. I enjoyed this story so much for its multi-layered emotional conflict and fun adventure and pacing. (I'm not sure why the beautiful uploaded cover is so small. Forgive me that I have not mastered blogger yet.) It's a contemporary novel set in Maine, where the author lives and has wonderful adventures of her own. Ms. Chapman is prolific and once introduced to her work, I'm sure you'll be delighted to find that there's plenty more to read.

The Protector by Madeline Hunter. Any author who can create an entertaining love story with The Black Death sweeping through Europe as the backdrop has a gift. I first read another terrific novel of Ms. Hunter's and enjoyed her pacing and intrigue. I went back to read all of her work and found she is consistently superb in her writing. She also always has terrific characters and is an automatic buy for me.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Drowning Pumpkins

My friend Rick and I spent some time discussing the fact that there are still a number of people who are not deterred from climbing Mt. Everest by a small thing like the high probability of death. When there are numerous other activities one might engage in for fun and sport, it makes one wonder what people are about. Are we bored? Stubborn? Ahem...insane?

Then a few days ago, I was drawn to the ABC news site where I watched a clip about underwater pumpkin-carving. The interview subject said it's quite challenging since pumpkins float. Some divers actually weigh the pumpkins down in order to get them to stay underwater for the carving. (Delay from typing as I contemplate this and laugh...again.) Do these poor divers lack kitchen tables? Perhaps we should start a fund.

So, I'm just curious...does it strike anyone else that we are a staggeringly silly species?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Holiday Books Recommendations - Mystery

Several wonderful friends have asked if my books will be available this year in time for Christmas. Unfortunately no. In the meantime, I see no reason that I can't try to influence your book-buying, since some of you asked...

Christine Goff combines two great ways to spend time, reading and birdwatching. (And doesn't she have beautiful covers?) This terrific series also has a scene that references The In-laws, a favorite movie of mine. Isn't Peter Falk awesome?

Susan Goodwill's book is fun and light with numerous laugh out loud moments and quirky characters. Fans of NYT-bestselling author Jennifer Crusie will enjoy it. Susan's new book will be out in spring, so now is a great time to get introduced to this series.

John Getze's book is just as cool and funny as he is. Austin Carr is the sort of hero you have to shake your head at while rooting for him to survive his adventures. I loved this book, and it was the first book my dad has liked as much as Lawrence Block and Janet Evanovich.

Nancy Pickard's early works are absolutely terrific. I could not put down her novel, The Whole Truth. But this latest book, The Virgin of Small Plains is actually superior. Don't talented and skilled authors who get even better with time, amaze you? They do me. Tami Hoag's like that. Anyway, Virgin transcends the genre and is at once literary and suspenseful. It's a title that should not be missed.

Anyone who knows these books are welcomed to comment (including the authors :) ) And if you've got other literary suggestions those are welcome too. In the next couple weeks, I'm going to post some of my favorite titles for romance, young adult, fantasy, and literary.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Pain in the Neck

"It is great to be a blonde. With low expectations it's easy to surprise people." Pamela Anderson

As I take a break from my studies, I would really like to encounter some wonderful news and entertainment on the internet during breaks. Instead, I am quite annoyed to find that the world is much as I left it. With the exception of the pleasant news about Al Gore and the Nobel Peace Prize. (A 35-year-old died and many other runners were taken the to the hospital from heat-related illness during the Chicago marathon. As most people who stepped outside last week can attest, it's safe to assume that global warming is real.)

Top 5 questions that I would like answered this week...

1. Why does Pamela Anderson have a novel?
2. Why isn't an ethics course required for people who have the most powerful jobs in world?
3. Why doesn't anyone feed Victoria Beckham?
4. Why do Borders coupons expire so quickly?
5. How does one escape news of Britney Spears?

If you have any or all of the answers to the above-mentioned questions, please know that I will be extremely grateful to see your response in the comments section. Thank you & have a wonderful day. :)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cocaine Blues

"Amelia McNaughton took corners as though they were a personal affront." Kerry Greenwood in her second Phryne Fisher mystery.

I am a fan of the 1920s, so one day while I was wandering through Houston's famed mystery bookstore Murder By the Book ( I was intrigued when I saw a staff pick set in that era.

I read the book and found it to be completely wonderful and advise you to try it if you like cozy historical mysteries full of wit and quirky characters. Many thanks to staff member, McKenna, for choosing it and thereby introducing me to the world of Phryne Fisher.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Travel to Tampa

Columbia Restaurant in Tampa, circa 1905

"It is impossible to travel faster than the speed of light, and certainly not desirable, as one's hat keeps blowing off." Woody Allen.

I had the pleasure of seeing my close friends Lorin and Brenda last weekend. We ate at a number of delicious restaurants and I thank Brenda's daughter Liz for all her excellent suggestions. I was not disappointed once. In addition to Columbia's wonderful food, the mosaic tile murals were fantastic.

I was relatively low energy in terms of creativity, so it was fortunate that we visited so many coffee shops and drank many mochas. I decided to use my new prologue and got some new scenes written. I also began work on some new goals. And of course, most importantly, I spent time with my kind, funny, and talented friends. For those of you that know them, you will undoubtedly be extremely envious that you didn't get to travel with me to Tampa. This is a most natural reaction, and I recommend that you go to Lorin's website to see where they will be in the coming months so you too can have some face time with this fabulous pair.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Jane's Legacy

"Let other pens dwell on guilt and misery." Jane Austen

While I spent the weekend and subsequent days at Bonnie's, we went to see Becoming Jane. I'm a decided Jane Austen fan, though not rabid about it. Becoming Jane was rather heart-breaking, and I was glad to learn later that the evidence of the cruelly dashed romance between Austen and Lefroy was not significant.

Meanwhile, thinking of her life, I had to reflect upon her early death. She died at 41 after having written 6 novels. Those stories have gone on to inspire countless books, movies, societies, museums, stage plays, and the admiration of millions. Charlotte Bronte and Mark Twain were quite critical of her work, but I find I can love it without guilt. If characters are put through their trials and tribulations, they usually deserve a happy ending. While I can sometimes enjoy a novel where things are dark and scary or dreary, as an author, I am usually with Jane. Let others dwell in the darkness, I prefer the light. It seems I am not the only one.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

For the Love of Leonard

"They say that 'guns don't kill people, people kill people.' Well, I think the gun helps." Eddie Izzard.

I was quite exhausted when I went to see 3:10 to Yuma. It was a relief that the gunfire was so loud and so frequent since it kept my mind from drifting toward sleep in the dark theatre. Christian Bale was excellent, and Russell Crowe was mesmerizing. Though some moments were far-fetched, the performances made up for them.

The story was written by fellow Motown scribe, Elmore Leonard, who began writing in 1935. Many of his stories have been made into movies, including Out Of Sight, a favorite of mine. Having seen several of Jennifer Lopez's other films, it would be my decided preference that she only work with George Clooney in crime story films adapted from Leonard novels. If she decides to take this advice she will be happy to know that the talented Mr. Leonard, who must be around 110 years old, is still writing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

MTV Generation's Book Club

"I believe in clubs for women, but only if every other form of persuasion fails." W.C. Fields

I have wanted a book club of my very own for some time, but many of the open-to-the-public book clubs around town focus on the meaty "classics," which, since they were written at a time when authors got paid by the word, often have a flagrant disregard for pacing. As much as I liked and admired Anna Karenina while reading it, I couldn't help but picture Tolstoy sitting at his desk saying, "My characters have suffered for their choices, why not you?"

Anyway, I was inquiring yet again at Book Stop about in-house book clubs and trying to psych myself up for Proust when a woman came in searching for the Chick Lit meets Skewer the Rich book The Devil In the Junior League. It turned out she was buying it for a book club. A private book club. One that incorporates authors who write humor. After I chatted her up and managed to obtain an invitation, I nearly fell to my knees to kiss the carpet she walked on.

When I began reading The Devil In the Junior League however, I questioned my choice. The main character is funny, but she's such an enormous snob, a rich, beautiful woman who delights in telling us she's gotten everything she's ever wanted with ease. At first, it was difficult to relate to her. Difficult, in fact, not to throw her and the book she lives in out the window. But I knew that the author, Linda Francis Lee, must have had plans to redeem her, and I admired Lee for even making the attempt. It takes a courageous author to showcase a main character in such a way.

Fortunately, Lee does a wonderful job with this material. By the end, I was rooting whole-heartedly for main character Frede to rule the day. Of note, I especially enjoyed the book's driving pace at the end. Clearly, Lee is a product of the MTV generation/Gen X/Gen Y sensibility that says a quick progression keeps one from losing the short-attention-spanned reader. If you like Chick Lit/Skewer the Rich books, The Devil in the Junior League is an excellent read.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tuesday Mourn

Midtown New York, recalled on a September 11th morning.

"Terrorism (takes) us back to ages we thought were long gone if we allow it a free hand to corrupt democratic societies and destroy the basic rules of international life." Jacques Chirac, speech to UN Assembly Sept. 24th 1986

"Never give in. Never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy." Sir Winston Churchill

"I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards anyone." Edith Cavell, prior to her execution on October 12, 1915

Freedom is not free, but...

"war is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrows." Martin Luther King Jr.

I hope for better days ahead for this troubled rock we live on, especially today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Dawn of a New Day

"In the hour of adversity, be not without hope. For crystal rain falls from black clouds." Persian Poem

Despite the fact that I have been alarmingly social recently, I can not help but feel a bit disconnected from the world. I am adrift in the pages of my novel, while the place where I once worked churns on without me. I boxed up my things last week and most of those boxes still sit in the trunk of my car, as if, by lacking a proper place in my house, they are forced to ride around aimlessly on errands.

Luckily, I have not been without company. Best friends David and Bonnie have been close at hand this weekend. It's an important thing for a writer to have close ties because one can get so lost in the words. Especially me, especially when editing. I'm supposed to be smoothing things out, but rather than carrying a sliver of sandpaper, I seem to be carrying a hammer and a power saw with jagged teeth. I have ripped out a character from my novel, and I can almost see the slashmarks on the pages. This description reminds me very much of Jasper Fforde's novel, The Erye Affair. It was a surreal reading experience, which I recommend. He is an extremely clever author, though I can not for the life of me understand why he insists on adding a superfluous 'F' and 'e' onto his name when the entire car-buying world knows that the correct spelling is Ford.

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Fforde during a luncheon. He was handsome and witty in that charming British way. I would likely have married him had it not been for the small problem of his traveling companion, she claimed to be his wife.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Dragon Slayer Checks Self for Scales

"Don't give a woman advice; one should never give a woman anything she can't wear in the evening." Oscar Wilde

A friend of a friend, KR, is a writer. On hearing that I was going to published, KR asked if she might talk to me about what steps she could take to arrive in the same happy predicament. I spoke to her by phone, talking about the ways she might procede to get her manuscript in front of industry professionals, namely agents and editors.

As we talked, it seemed to me that she also wanted some feedback on her work from another writer. Since once upon a time, I was desperate for that same thing, I did what I told myself I would not. I offered to read her first chapter. Gads.

Critiques are the trickiest bits of business. My intentions are good, but I can be blunt, which leaves me in great fear of becoming like the anti-role model, Tough Cookie. Tough Cookie is a best-selling author who during a writing workshop gleefully warned us that even her NYT bestselling critique partner has to drink alcohol before reading a TC critique of her work. When we pressed on, asking her if she would critique our work, she seemed to morph into Jack Nicholson in that famous scene from A Few Good Men when he's told that the lawyer wants the truth and he snaps, "You can't handle the truth." Proceed at your own risk was the definite message from TC. She claimed with a trace of malevolent pride that her critiques had made some unpublished writers quit writing altogether.

Stop me writing? You and what army, I thought defiantly. I've been trying to quit for years and can't. Underneath my bravado though there was some uncertainty. There are many ways a critique can wound. She couldn't stop me writing, but she might make me question my ability to do it. What if she tore my work to pieces and undermined my confidence? Dangerous proposition to slip her my story I thought, reflecting that the old line that the pen is mightier than the sword was surely written in anticipation of the poison ink from women just such as TC.

To hell with fear, I thought. I gave her my pages. It turned out that there was nothing soul-shattering in her comments. I took what I thought would make the work better and discarded the rest. With Goliath successfully slain, I still walked away with the sobering reminder that in this business, it helps to have a bullet-proof ego.

I read KR's pages and liked them, but I was not without suggestions. Having been to countless lectures on the craft and the business of writing, I told her all the things I wished people had told me early on. And as soon as I e-mailed the document, I regretted it. What if I hurt her feelings? What if she felt that rather than trying to be helpful, I was trying to be condescending? What if I came across like a watered-down but still malignant version of TC? Perish the thought.

I went to sleep at 1 am and woke at 5 am, a sure sign that the stress levels in my subconscious are too high. My first thought upon waking was that I hope my advice helps rather than hurts KR. My other thought was that while it takes courage to ask for an honest critique, it sometimes takes just as much courage to give one.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Intrepid Tuesday

"There is no cure for life or death except to try to enjoy the interval." George Santayana

The triumphant hiker in the top photograph is Helen H. She has accompanied her father, my colleague Stephen, to most of the cocktail parties I have had at my Houston home. I have found that among 20 - 30 adults and no children, she is remarkably self-confident and also much less prone to spill things from her party glass after several refills than most of the other party-goers or myself. In other words, she makes an ideal guest, and I suspect that one day she will conquer the world as well as she conquered this mountain. She is pictured at the top of Black Crater Mountain in central Oregon with Mt. Jefferson in the background.

The other stunning picture is of the north slope (looking north) of Crater Lake in the late afternoon. Thanks to Helen's father for the great travel photos.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bare-knuckle Tuesday

"Man should stop fighting among themselves and should start fighting insects." Luther Burbank

I am on vacation in the Midwest and had the great pleasure of having dinner with a couple of my cousins at an excellent little Mexican restaurant where the guacamole was prepared fresh at the table and the mango margaritas were served in what appeared to be soup bowls growing on large glass stalks.

My cousins are thoroughly modern women in that they are lovely and accomplished, but the unfortunate side effect of being talented and dedicated in the workplace is that one is at times cajoled and at other times railroaded into the position of supervising other people.

Though not professionally trained as storytellers, they are more than adequate in the role, and I found myself transfixed by my cousin Diane's account of being awakened at three in the morning to learn that two women had come to blows at her workplace.

As my cousin is not a producer for Jerry Springer, this was a rather surprising turn of events. She is, in fact, a nursing supervisor at a suburban hospital. Having worked in a hospital myself, I am familiar with the unique set of pressures and frustrations therein, but the thought of an actual fist-fight between colleagues in full view and hearing of patients strikes me as remarkable. I wondered out loud whether there were extenuating circumstances. Had one or both combatants perhaps been raised by wolves? Were they actually drunken seventeen-year-old boys under the influence of massive testosterone surges? Had they been recruited from a rehab facility after frontal lobe injuries?

Despite much bemused laughter and contemplation, we were still unable to come up with a reasonable explanation. Having recently been forced by aol to see so many young female celebrity mug shots, I can't help but be a bit severe upon my gender at the moment. Certainly, the last thing I would like to see is for women to be repressed by society and buttoned-down as though we were back in the 1950s, but honestly I think we can behave a bit better than instinct would sometimes have us do.

I like, though have not always been successful at living by, the old adage: All things in moderation. Writing in particular can be an all-day and well-into-the-night affair at times to the detriment of dusting, raking, or even stretching to allow blood flow to return from my toes. But I resolve to keep trying for balance, which means absolutely no fist fights in the public and no more than one soup-bowl of margaritas.

Kissing the Suspect Release!

Chapter 1 Callie Melville was wanted by the law, but to put it that way made things sound worse than they were. She hoped. The rumors...