Whom Did Your Favorite Authors Read?

Part of my job as a faculty member of an English Department was to advise students on courses to take before they registered for the next semester. When there were narrow parameters because of required courses, advisement was fairly easy. As required courses were abolished, helping students became increasingly difficult. Eventually English majors could get […] Read More →

Creating a character

A book remains with you not just because you liked the story. In all probability, there was a character with whom you identified strongly, and who came alive in those pages. You thought about her even after the book was over. You went through the book identifying with her, seeing things her way perhaps, rooting […] Read More →

Three Degrees of Separation

For the past few Sundays I’ve enjoyed watching the PBS series Wolf Hall, based on Hilary Mantel’s two wonderful novels about Henry VIII’s court and Thomas Cromwell, Wolf Hall and Bringing Up the Bodies. No matter what your opinion of Mantel’s take on Cromwell, the PBS production is gorgeous and the acting is spectacular. Claire […] Read More →

Poisoned Pen Press Four Cover Reveal Friday!

Return to Dust: A Rick Van Lam Mystery #2 by Andrew Lanh Synopsis: When Marta Kowalski is discovered beneath the Farmington River Bridge, the police write off her death as an unfortunate suicide. Marta had become depressed since the death of an old friend. Marta was a simple woman who cleaned houses, mostly for elderly […] Read More →

There’s a New Sans Serif in Town

I’m hardly a font of knowledge on the subject of typefaces, but I do know what I like; and since the 19th of every month is my bully pulpit opportunity on my publisher’s website, you’ll all just have to listen to me ramble on about a process that yielded unexpected results. It’s not about me. […] Read More →

Deep-Set Eyes and a Perfectly Shaped Head

by Mary Reed A particular interest of older novels for me at least is their unconscious evidence of contemporary notions of feminine beauty, often on full display when first introducing the girl the hero will ultimately marry. As a small illustration I offer a handful of quotes from novels appearing between the late 1890s and […] Read More →


By Jeanne Matthews The first fictional detective, Poe’s brilliant Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin, introduced in 1841, was a knight in the Légion d’Honneur and decidedly male. However it didn’t take long for the ladies to smash the glass ceiling. Ironically, it was smashed for them by men. Two books featuring professional female detectives appeared in […] Read More →

My Conference Buddy

Bouchercon. Malice Domestic. Left Coast Crime. Anyone familiar with crime writing knows the list of big conferences. Thousands of readers and writers and bloggers and reviewers, fans and publishers, editors and agents, all in one city at one time. It’s a glorious collective surge of all that’s fine and exciting about this genre and the […] Read More →