Sex, Dementia, and Nursing Homes

August 8th, 2013

Bloomberg News recently published two stories of mine that are among the most difficult and–I think–the most important I’ve ever written.

As the Baby Boom generation begins to move into its late 60s and 70s, the stories ask this question: How do you know when a person with dementia has the mental capacity to consent to sex?

I don’t mean to blow my own horn, but I think the stories are worth reading, whether you think they’re well-done or not. They generated more than quarter of a million hits on the website, another 40,000-plus and our proprietary terminals, and were featured on NPR’s All Things Considered and the PBS Newshour on television.

Here are the links:

Better Late Than Never, eh, Chicago?

June 10th, 2013

Summer showed up this past Saturday in Chicago. “Whoa,” Summer said. “It’s June already? I guess I’m a little late.”

All is forgiven (until next year). Chicago was the place to be this weekend, whether it was Ribfest, Midsommerfest, Bluesfest, Printer’s Row Lit Fest, or the Wells Street Art Fair (not sure how they got away with not being a “fest”).

I spent Saturday at Lit Fest, signing books and talking with fans at the Mystery Writers of America tent, then joining Libby Fischer Hellman, Brian D’Amato, and Alec Nevala-Lee on a panel expertly moderated by Bob Goldsborough (the author who has continued the Nero Wolfe tradition). I was a little out of my league with someone like Brian, who brought a bottle of perfume to illustrate the meaning of noir (I kid you not), and Alec, whose knowledge of film surpasses my knowledge of just about anything except maybe burgers and hockey. It was fun and I learned a few things.

Then came the best part: hanging out at Kasey’s Tavern on Dearborn with fellow authors Marcus Sakey, Mike Harvey, Jon Steele, Jim Garner, and Kevin Guilfoile. We saved the world several times, then forgot how we’d done it. Back to the laptops.

I heard that later that night the local hockey team won a big game.

Sunday wasn’t quite as sweet weather-wise, but better than those November days of the previous week. Pam and I met old friends for lunch at 11 Cafe in the South Loop, where I reintroduced myself to superb pastrami. Then we sat back amid the trees at the Pepsi stage at Bluesfest, drank a beer, read the Sunday papers, and listened to some excellent blues.

Back to work today: fiction, non-fiction, and a Cubs game tonight (yes, watching the Cubs qualifies as work, especially if you’re a Tigers fan). Tomorrow night, I’ll be heading to the Hidden Shamrock at 6 p.m. to celebrate the release of Michael Harvey’s new thriller, THE INNOCENCE GAME. You’re invited. Show up and Mike will buy you a beer!

Lighter, Bendable, Cheaper

June 5th, 2013

The paperback of THE SKELETON BOX is out. You can buy it at your favorite bookstore or online. The book completes the (accidental) Starvation Lake trilogy and has garnered terrific reviews. AP said it’s my best work to date (although AP probably hasn’t seen my WSJ story on the summer travels of the Stanley Cup, which was probably my most FUN work ever).

Thanks to all the readers who support my work!

On the Road Again

May 9th, 2013


I’m writing this from northern Virginia, where Pam and I just met our first grandchild, a (not-so) little boy named Sawyer Brooks Stoutenburgh (that’s him above). At six days old, Sawyer is already quite proficient at three things: sleeping, eating, and voiding. It’s a sweet and precious gift to hold him and wonder what he sees and hears in his little noggin with that wonderful baby-head smell.

I’m heading back to Chicago while Pam hangs around to help Sawyer’s mom and dad, Kaitlin and Andy. I’m happy to report I’ll be visiting with fans around my home state of Michigan over the next several weeks, with stops in Howell, Paw Paw, Beulah, Central Lake, Grayling and, with any luck, a couple of other towns. I’m especially looking forward to seeing Howell, where I worked at the Livingston County Press more than 30 years ago, and Beulah, on the shores of Crystal Lake, which I’ve never seen. See the column to the right for details. I’ll also be speaking at the Printers Row Book Fair in Chicago at 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 8. That’s always a great time to see readers and author pals. I might even grab a beer at Kasey’s on Dearborn Street, a fine emporium.

Good to finally have some spring in Chicago (I probably shouldn’t have said that, eh? Blizzard now in the May 20 forecast?) It’s truly an amazing city in the summer. Can’t wait for Bluesfest, the same weekend as the Book Fair.

Working away, every day, on the fourth novel. I hear there may be interest in the traditional publishing world, which is great, but even if there isn’t, there’s more than one to skin a cat in the pub world these days. Stay in touch!


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