Wednesday, 16 February 2011 10:41
altI've been thinking a lot about sex and violence lately.
Oh, please. Get your mind out of the gutter.
I've been thinking about this topic because I am part of a panel this weekend for the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. The exact title of the panel is "Love & Murder;" but we all know what that means.
Florida author Deborah Sharp, right, who is putting together the panel, has come up with some good questions for the speakers, who include P.J. Parrish (Kristy Montee) and Linda Conrad.
Do authors use too much sex and violence?
I read a crazy amount of mysteries every year. You don't even want to know how many as it would seem, well, crazy.
The good news is I believe that most authors use violence only when needed to get a point across or to add to the heart-stopping action. Some authors such as Jacqueline Winspear, Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben use violence very sparingly, making it organic to the story.
The bad news is that some authors seem to feel that if the body count isn't high, the readership won't be either. These are the mysteries that set my teeth on edge, that succumb to the cliches of the genre and follow what I call the Fair Game syndrome. And I am talking about the 1995 movie with Cindy Crawford, which seemed to have a death in every scene.
When an author believes that he or she has to have more, more, more, then chances are the story is just not there and the author needs to sit back and think long and hard about the type of story he or she wants to write.
The use of violence also parallels the use of sex in mysteries. Too much just doesn't work.
I'd like to know readers' views on the issue of sex and violence. What do you think?
How Much Sex and Violence Is Too Much
Oline Cogdill
how-much-too-much-sex-and-violence
altI've been thinking a lot about sex and violence lately.
Oh, please. Get your mind out of the gutter.
I've been thinking about this topic because I am part of a panel this weekend for the Florida chapter of the Mystery Writers of America. The exact title of the panel is "Love & Murder;" but we all know what that means.
Florida author Deborah Sharp, right, who is putting together the panel, has come up with some good questions for the speakers, who include P.J. Parrish (Kristy Montee) and Linda Conrad.
Do authors use too much sex and violence?
I read a crazy amount of mysteries every year. You don't even want to know how many as it would seem, well, crazy.
The good news is I believe that most authors use violence only when needed to get a point across or to add to the heart-stopping action. Some authors such as Jacqueline Winspear, Laura Lippman and Harlan Coben use violence very sparingly, making it organic to the story.
The bad news is that some authors seem to feel that if the body count isn't high, the readership won't be either. These are the mysteries that set my teeth on edge, that succumb to the cliches of the genre and follow what I call the Fair Game syndrome. And I am talking about the 1995 movie with Cindy Crawford, which seemed to have a death in every scene.
When an author believes that he or she has to have more, more, more, then chances are the story is just not there and the author needs to sit back and think long and hard about the type of story he or she wants to write.
The use of violence also parallels the use of sex in mysteries. Too much just doesn't work.
I'd like to know readers' views on the issue of sex and violence. What do you think?
Sunday, 13 February 2011 10:12
altHe's considered the father of American detective fiction. And now his home is in danger.
Because of a tight budget, the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore is no longer receiving city funding to keep the historic landmark going. That amounts to about $80,000 a year to pay for the curator's salary, a security system, utilities and supplies.
Actually, the Poe House hasn't received any money from the city's general fund since last summer. It has been operating thanks to money that the curator, Jeff Jerome, has raised through the years. Now Baltimore is saying that the Poe House must be self-sustaining by 2012 or it will close.
Poe lived in the cramped three-room row house that's now in a dicey neighborhood with his aunt, cousins and grandmother from 1832-1835, before he became famous for his macabre tales. He never lived in Baltimore again, but he died in the city and and is buried in Baltimore. Poe houses also are in Philadelphia and New York, and other cities.

Landmarks such as the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore are part of our history and should be preserved and open to visitors. While it cannot be torn down because of its historical designation, a vacant house is an open invitation to vandals.
These are tough economic times we live in and every city has had to make uncomfortable cutbacks.
Baltimore alone has had several historic venues such as the Peale Museum and the H.L. Mencken House either go close completely to visitors or open sporadically. Other cities also are shuttering libraries, museums, historical landmarks. Many members of DorothyL have been discussing the closing of the Poe House, showing how mystery readers are united.
There's a petition to sign to keep open the Poe House at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-the-poe-house-and-museum-in-baltimore/.
Currently, more than 2,400 people have signed it. Sign the petition but also send money if you can. If 80,000 peole sent in $2 or $3 each, that would be enough to keep it running for a couple of years.
Photo: The Baltimore Poe House and Museum
Baltimore Poe House in Danger
Oline Cogdill
baltimore-poe-house-in-danger
altHe's considered the father of American detective fiction. And now his home is in danger.
Because of a tight budget, the Edgar Allan Poe House in Baltimore is no longer receiving city funding to keep the historic landmark going. That amounts to about $80,000 a year to pay for the curator's salary, a security system, utilities and supplies.
Actually, the Poe House hasn't received any money from the city's general fund since last summer. It has been operating thanks to money that the curator, Jeff Jerome, has raised through the years. Now Baltimore is saying that the Poe House must be self-sustaining by 2012 or it will close.
Poe lived in the cramped three-room row house that's now in a dicey neighborhood with his aunt, cousins and grandmother from 1832-1835, before he became famous for his macabre tales. He never lived in Baltimore again, but he died in the city and and is buried in Baltimore. Poe houses also are in Philadelphia and New York, and other cities.

Landmarks such as the Edgar Allan Poe House and Museum in Baltimore are part of our history and should be preserved and open to visitors. While it cannot be torn down because of its historical designation, a vacant house is an open invitation to vandals.
These are tough economic times we live in and every city has had to make uncomfortable cutbacks.
Baltimore alone has had several historic venues such as the Peale Museum and the H.L. Mencken House either go close completely to visitors or open sporadically. Other cities also are shuttering libraries, museums, historical landmarks. Many members of DorothyL have been discussing the closing of the Poe House, showing how mystery readers are united.
There's a petition to sign to keep open the Poe House at http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/save-the-poe-house-and-museum-in-baltimore/.
Currently, more than 2,400 people have signed it. Sign the petition but also send money if you can. If 80,000 peole sent in $2 or $3 each, that would be enough to keep it running for a couple of years.
Photo: The Baltimore Poe House and Museum
Wednesday, 09 February 2011 10:46
altThe mystery genre is loaded with thousands of gripping novels, poignant characters and solid plots.

Yet when it comes to TV and movies, very few of those wonderful novels make it to the big or little screen intact. The exceptions are so good that they become timeless classics -- Mystic River, L.A. Confidential, The Grifters, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and a few others.

Add to that list Justified, which makes its return Feb. 9 on FX. It will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Justified's first season is available on DVD.

Justified is based on a Leonard short story about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, an old-fashioned Kentucky lawman who is a deeply flawed good man. He knows what he is. A relentless lawman, quick on the draw and usually justified in his shooting.
On the personal side, Givens' is incapable of being faithful but he's so darned charming few women can stay mad at him. However, those charms don't work on criminals and he has more than his share of enemies, which will heat up even more during this season.
What makes Justified work -- and I am so looking forward to this second season -- is that the screenwriters cull Leonard's pitch perfect dialogue. Leonard has always been able to say so much with so few words. He makes the dialogue look simple, but it's loaded with depth.

But Leonard has never skimped on action. Justified's second season begins about two hours after the first season ended so expect plenty of fire power.

Leonard currently is working on a full-length novel about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens.
Photo: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified. FX photo
Get Justified -- Again
Oline Cogdill
get-justified-again
altThe mystery genre is loaded with thousands of gripping novels, poignant characters and solid plots.

Yet when it comes to TV and movies, very few of those wonderful novels make it to the big or little screen intact. The exceptions are so good that they become timeless classics -- Mystic River, L.A. Confidential, The Grifters, Get Shorty, Jackie Brown and a few others.

Add to that list Justified, which makes its return Feb. 9 on FX. It will air on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Justified's first season is available on DVD.

Justified is based on a Leonard short story about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens, an old-fashioned Kentucky lawman who is a deeply flawed good man. He knows what he is. A relentless lawman, quick on the draw and usually justified in his shooting.
On the personal side, Givens' is incapable of being faithful but he's so darned charming few women can stay mad at him. However, those charms don't work on criminals and he has more than his share of enemies, which will heat up even more during this season.
What makes Justified work -- and I am so looking forward to this second season -- is that the screenwriters cull Leonard's pitch perfect dialogue. Leonard has always been able to say so much with so few words. He makes the dialogue look simple, but it's loaded with depth.

But Leonard has never skimped on action. Justified's second season begins about two hours after the first season ended so expect plenty of fire power.

Leonard currently is working on a full-length novel about U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens.
Photo: Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens in Justified. FX photo