It seems like forever since I’ve sat down to blog. I guess a few months is forever to some. Would you believe that I was kidnapped by members of the MWA Florida board of directors and held on bread and water until I agreed to join them?

If you knew Jim Born, president of the chapter, mystery writer, FDLE agent, and all around scoundrel, you’d believe me. Honestly.

Thanks to some board members, namely Diane Stuckart, Linda Hengerer, Miriam Auerbach, Rhonda Pollero, Deb Sharp, Rick Wymer, and Neil Plakcy, I was allowed to spend part of the summer with my family (supervised by the heavily armed Born).

When my family had left, Born water-boarded me into submission. So, I am now on the board of the Florida chapter of MWA. What does that mean? I drive once a month, usually, from Key West to the Deerfield Beach Hilton (4 hours) and then home. The chapter holds its monthly luncheon meeting there and the board usually meets prior. Due to the threat of more water-boarding by board members, I ignore the fact that I have to be on the road by 6 a.m. to make the board meeting.

Of course, I kid about the water-boarding. Jim Born didn’t really do it. He did use the threat of doing it (and some other interrogation techniques he has learned from Republicans in the old Bush White House. Rumor is, Jim taught Chaney to duck hunt.)

When Neil Plakcy called and asked me if I would be interested, I said yes. It has given me a chance to be active in what the chapter does and doesn’t do and as a first-time novelist that’s important to me. I share many of the same problems other first-time novelists have and I have not forgotten the hell of a climb it was to get here – level one.

What has really been amazing is discovering that the chapter’s established writers haven’t forgotten those days. The whole purpose of our SleuthFest gathering the end of February, is to help everyone, the pro, the newbie, the wannabe and let the fan/reader get up close and personal with their favorite writer and maybe discover their next favorite writer.

Are you in that mix? Check out the SleuthFest website. It is still building, but it will give you some ideas. Check out and you will learn about the chapter and SleuthFest. It is a few minutes well spent. Come SleuthFest in February 2010 and see if what I am saying about Jim Born ain’t true! I can’t promise he won’t want to water-board you, but I can guarantee you a great three-day weekend.

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Comment by Michael Haskins on August 14, 2009 at 9:03pm
John, the Florida sun makes even Jim mellow, added of course his time holding court in the hotel bar and bread and water isn't too much of a stretch! Of course, he now has an open-to-the-public second personality as a science fiction writer and another name! That's our Jim, one wasn't good enough.
Comment by John McFetridge on August 14, 2009 at 12:47pm
I believe everything you say about Jim Born except the bread and water. Having met him in a couple of Bouchercon bars that's just too much of a stretch.

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