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March 21, 2013
Posted at 1:35 pm

I love the scenes where Tony plays racquetball in the "Model Student" series just as much as the scenes in which he paints or those in which he makes love to his beautiful women. I recently wrote a chapter of "Prodigal" in which Tony competes in his third National Intercollegiate Championship.

As it so happens, the Intercollegiates are underway this week at Arizona State University in Tempe. Of course, because I'm writing fiction, I've already decided who wins this competition, but that is not intended as an insult to one of the best college RB players ever--Taylor Knoth. He's worked hard to become the number one seed and is playing his second game in the tournament at 2:00 this afternoon. You can check the brackets and results at

I never use the actual names or colleges of the players at Intercollegiates or any of the other competitions except when talking about "Name" players like Rocky Carson, Rhonda Radsich, and Paula Longoria. So remember when you read "Prodigal" that it's fiction and is not meant to reflect on the actual competitors or the results of any specific match.

And just in case you are curious when the time comes, the Tri-Delta sorority that has been made infamous in so many writings on SOL (see bluedragon for one) and that I mention in "Prodigal" does not have an active chapter at ASU in Tempe and the situations I "paint" have no grounding in either the real people, places, or the fine reputation of the Tri-Delts.

That's probably just about enough disclaimer to get me in hot water, but it brings me to one of the issues I face in both writing and editing fiction. I've had several people write to me who are familiar with Seattle and assumed that I merely changed the names of real colleges or restaurants or sports clubs. Yes, such places do exist in Seattle. A college of the arts, a Jesuit university, an athletic pavilion that could have a mural painted on it, a real Tent City, etc. But I take all kinds of liberties. The college of the arts in Model Student is more closely patterend after the Minneapolis College of Art and Design than Cornish College of the Arts. My Jesuit university is a combination of two Seattle colleges, plopped down in a different part of the city than either of them. The dual degree program is based on a real program between a college of the arts and a university in Portland, OR.

I guess that's part of the writing process. You use information and observations about real things and then apply them to fictional institutions, landmarks, and events. I was asked by a fan of my mysteries how I found out so much about computer security, online stalking, and bank fraud. She wanted to know if I'd consult on making her online activity more secure. But what I write doesn't have to be true, it needs to be plausible. That's what I'm striving for. As I told her in our conversation, "Fiction has to be believable. Life doesn't."