“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 1

“Tunnels” of Vancouver – “Rules” research – Part 1

My next Quantum Detective (Nick Sands) novel, Rules of the Game, is set in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have been fascinated by Vancouver ever since a film company sent me there in the late 80s to re-set my L.A.-based novel (Voices in the Night) in Vancouver. I’ve been there several times since and I’ve enjoyed the city every time. I wanted to see some things I would not see on an ordinary tour and, after some research, I found John Atkins who, among many things, is a Vancouver historian who conducts tours of the city he loves. Besides great insight about the destinations on the tour, John provided interesting details during our 3-hour walk and answered many questions about Vancouver, from its founding to present day. He debunked lots of common...

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Rules of the Game – Vancouver

Rules of the Game – Vancouver

I’m headed to Vancouver next month to do some research on the new novel, Rules of the Game. It’s the third book in the “Quantum Detective” series. The first two novels are Trick of the Light and Cathedral of the Senses.  I’ve always loved Vancouver. The first time I visited there was when Larry Spiegel, the producer of “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” optioned my Los Angeles-based novel “Voices in the Night” and hired me to reset it in Vancouver. Since then, I’ve been back many times. Now we have family and many close friends in Vancouver. Rules of the Game is an ambitious novel that includes the first two books’ main characters: Nick Sands and Valerie Tyrell. Much of the book is already...

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On the Road Again

On the Road Again

This is a shot from our first gig as 50 Shades of 60, taken at an outdoor event in the Palm Springs area. About 100 people attended. The reaction was great and it was wonderful playing to such an appreciative and lively crowd. Lots of dancing. On the left is Randolph Winters, author of the Ancient Blood series (available on Amazon). He played keyboards, guitar and sang a couple of songs. Jay Rockbank is a well known Palm Springs singer/musician. When someone from the audience took over his bass guitar duties, he did his best Elvis and Mick Jagger impressions, prowling the stage and involving the audience. Besides playing guitar I sang a few songs. Louis Rivest (far right, with the white guitar) joined us from Vancouver, where he’ll return to his own band in...

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50 Shades of 60

50 Shades of 60

The past several months  I’ve been playing in a band with several friends, Randy Winters (guitar, keyboards, vocals), Jay Rockbank (bass and vocals), and Louis Rivest (guitar). It’s been a gas. (By the way, that’s Jay Rockbank on the right.) About a year ago Randy and I started getting together and playing guitar and singing. Then Jay came along. Louis is a recent Canadian import (from Vancouver). Besides being a lot of fun, my voice and guitar playing have improved dramatically. This will help me when I put together the songs that will accompany the release of the 3rd Quantum Detective novel, Rules of the Game (the first two novels in that series are Trick of the Light and Cathedral of the...

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Speaking at Writers Group Meeting

Speaking at Writers Group Meeting

Recently I spoke at the Sun City Writers Group (Writers Circle) in Palm Desert, California. I was warmly welcomed by Phyllis Humphrey, the club’s vice president. Also in attendance was my old friend Linda Pierce, who had been a student in my Palos “Writing the Novel” class several years ago. (For information about the book, Writing the Novel, click here.) The event was well attended and I had a great time. I spoke about specific tips and tricks I use when I write. Some of the topics covered were “How to deal with writers’ block,” “How to create an outline,” “The importance of pacing,” “Creating ‘character biographies,’” and many other topics. I also recounted a humbling story...

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Rent Home Page as Secret Vault

Rent Home Page as Secret Vault

Last week, while attending a family gathering, the conversation predictably got around to what each of us was doing. When my turn came I mentioned my website: www.StephenSmoke.com. All eyes looked back at me as though I was speaking in a foreign tongue. No one had heard of my site, let alone visited it. How could friends and family possibly find me hidden behind such a complicated URL? (Later that night when I downloaded Google Analytics and signed in for the first time, it became clear that my relatives were not alone in their ignorance of my site.) One tech-savvy relative un-holstered her iPhone, tapped in my name and announced to the not-too-surprised throng that my site didn’t even come up on Google. I looked at her phone and reminded her that my first name...

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Netflix Post-Partum Syndrome

Netflix Post-Partum Syndrome

This past week my wife and I finished the last of 86 episodes of “MI-5,” a BBC series highlighting the exploits of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. I won’t tell you how many episodes we watched per week – let’s just say we finished the series in less than a month. Much less. Because Netflix has, in some cases, all the seasons of a particular series, we can watch a show from beginning to end at our convenience. We don’t have to wait a week between episodes. We don’t have to wait four to six months hanging on the edge of an emotional cliff waiting to see how a crisis resolves. We don’t forget what happened last year,  or small details easily forgotten over many months. No, our experience flows effortlessly...

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