Sunday, March 2, 2008

Welcome to Carnival of the Criminal Mind's March offering! And we're so happy to be on the merry-go-round.

What is Carnival of the CM, you ask? Well--the website says: "It’s a movable feast, a progressive party, a chance for bloggers to get to know one another and for readers to get introduced to blogs they might have missed. Each blogger who participates hosts the carnival by posting a round-up of what’s going on in the blogosphere: what are people saying, reading, reacting to, complaining about, and who said something brilliant that shouldn’t be missed."

But you can read it here--first! Because this month--we're hosting! And thank you to the wonderful Barbara Fister for inviting us.

When this month arrives in New England and the northeast, it brings hope that someday, winter will be over. Not soon enough, of course, and not for good (there's always that April snow storm), but there is a promise.

Hank says she saw three robins today. And the snow on the sidewalks has melted. But we certainly don't want to wish the time away--when there's so much to do and so many wonderful things happening.

In Jungle Red world, Rosemary's book just came out. Hallie's newest: 1001 Books for Every Mood, will be on shelves momentarily. Hank's first book got an Agatha nomination for best first novel. Roberta's now President of national Sisters in Crime and her latest mystery is flying out of stores. Jan finished the manuscript of Teaser and the rest of us can't wait to read it.

At Jungle Red Writers, we're having a great first year. And we're surviving the winter by making it cozy with cocoa and lattes, good friends, lots of revisions, and certainly with the help of some great books and some great blogs.

Since there are so many great blogs to choose from, we limited our search. Our theme is Strong Women, a topic near and dear to all five of our hearts.

JAN: I have a quote on the bulletin board over my laptop which reminds me to "be funny, be profound, or be quiet." And this is how I feel about blog writing.
In the be funny category, I love to check in with The Good Girls Kill for Money Club,( which has made me laugh hard over Valentines' Day (Regina Harvey,) kids' school assignments (Sara Rosett,) and relating to Felix the Cat (Diana Killian.)

In the be profound department, I like Writer's Plot ( where Kate Flora started a full-scale controversy by being refreshingly honest about the mystery writing business. I applaud her candor, which I found cathartic.

In the both Profound and Funny category, I offer Mo Walsh's Momentary Lapses blog ( She doesn't blog to fill space on a daily basis, but speaks when she has something to say.

She made me weep over Christmas with an incredibly honest and soulful revelation about losing a child, and made me laugh out loud more recently with her spoof, called The Decomposing Press Room, where her fictional publisher offered examples of the new detective series its launching. The series featured everything from a garbage man (making remarkable sleuth sense) to a virtual detective that is a software program.

HALLIE: In the some things wise/vintage and other things smart/hip category...
The Lady Killers ( are the former, and in their blog "seven female writers of mystery fiction share their wit and wisdom, writing tips and travel experiences." What a group: Rhys Bowen, Sharan Newman, Ann Parker, Carola Dunn, Jane Finnis, Mary Anna Evans, Cara Black.

I'm enjoying Ann's multi-part blog on the etiquette of wooing, Victorian style, complete with simply gorgeous Victorian valentines from Rhys for musings on what it takes to write these suckers, and her real pleasure in being in the company of other writers: "It is still a source of wonder to me that we enjoy each other's company so much. In other genres writers regard each other as rivals. We are a huge sorority and fraternity, hanging out together whenever possible, sharing in each other's triumphs and disasters." And of course Cara for sojourns to Paris and everything French.

On the hipster side...I know Jennifer Cruisie isn't, strictly speaking, a crime fiction writer, but her latest book's got hit men and a kidnapping to season the romance and humor Her blog, "argh ink" (, is honest, always amusing, and her play-with-your-brain posts are a hoot. At one point, she tells us she's thinking of writing about a mystery writer who's sick and tired of her series, and she asks our help in coming up with mystery titles with colors in the name. Her list begins:Red Hot and DeadYellow Rose of CorpsesGold Dead FingersHow Now Brown Shroud (from Gaffney, of course)Lavender's Dead, Killer, KillerTan Little CorpsesOrange You Glad I Didn't Say Murder? There's also a fascinating piece about splitting with her agent who incidentally represents many mystery authors.
I am in awe and taking notes...this girl can blog.

HANK: How about My Love's Like a Dead Dead Rose? Or: Who Blue Him Away? Okay, maybe not.

How does Nancy Pickard do it? Her books are astonshingly well-written, and her blog Ah Sweet Mystery of Life The bloggers are four amazingly successful writers, three from the south shore of Massachusetts, another who moved from there to California. It's quite an unusual story. When the blog began, they were just a writer's group, like so many authors have, who met every Monday to share and critique their work. All had aspirations to write the great novel. None had sold. They took turns writing very honestly and caringly about their ups and downs, their fears, their writing techniques. Faithful readers participated in every element of their journey. And sure enough, two of them are now beyond-belief successful, and the other two are well on the way. (Go look at their bios! And you won't be able to resist checking Publisher's Lunch.) It's always inspirational.

And Lipstick Chronicles. What can I say? This group has got it. Perfectly. Put together the blazingly successful team of Harley Jane Kozak, Nancy Martin, Sarah Strohmeyer, Elaine Viets and Michele Martinez, add Rebecca the Bookseller, and you've got an irresistible combination. Oh, and the elusive and mysterious Me, Margie. (Just saying.) What makes TLC so intriguing, though, is that the topics sometimes appear to be all fun (The obituary of a lady wrestler named The Fabulous Moolah, or losing a favorite ski hat, or male cheerleaders, or one called :"The Oscars Suck and I Don't Care") but inevitably they turn out to be clever, intelligently written, thoughtful and satisfying. And oh, so very very funny.

ROBERTA: I love reading blogs that lay it all out, in a helpful way. Tess Gerritsen does just that ( She's a hugely successful crime writer, with books like THE MEPHISTO CLUB to her name, but she speaks from the heart about the difficulties and joys of the writing life. A recent post is "The Writer's Guide to Staying Sane"--it may be too late for some of us--with tips like:

*Stop checking your Amazon index
*Stop Googling yourself
*Learn to say NO
*Chase other interests

There, that should keep us busy! If not sane...

And last but not least, check out the blog that'll be hosting the next carnival, HEY THERE'S A DEAD GUY IN THE LIVING ROOM ( They deserve a shout just for the title alone, but the content is good stuff too--comments on writing and crime fiction from the perspectives of booksellers, publicists, editors, writers, and our favorite smart a** agent, the irrepressible Janet Reid. (And yes, I know there are men in this group and we're writing about strong women--we made an exception. Besides, we like those guys!)

RO's caught in airline hell book tour hell, so she'll weigh in shortly! thanks for stopping in at Jungle Red Writers...
RO: Thanks for understanding. I assumed I'd get stuck somewhere on this tour..going through Chicago four times at this time of year it seemed inevitable. But I got stuck in Miami of all places! Go figure.
Two of my favorite blogs these days typify March weather - lions and lambs. (I can't help myself...I'm a gardener and hoky sayings rule in the gardening universe...along the lines of "When you hear the cuckoos shout, 'tis time to plant your tatties out.")
ANYWAY, the lions (lionesses?) are the estimable women of The Outfit - Barbara D'Amato, Michael Allen Dymmoch, Libby Hellman and Sara Paretsky. Yes there are guys in The Outfit, but I confess I always think of it as the grande dame blog.
And the lambs? A group of relative newbies who've just started a fun blog promising mysteries, humor and high heels. I personally love all of those things, and The Stiletto Gang has inspired me to pack a pair of heels on my upcoming trip to Left Coast Crime. Hope it doesn't snow! Check out


  1. Oh I am such a knucklehead! I knew I'd left something out--the blog for Sisters in Crime:
    Board members post weekly entries about what's going on in the organization, or just about writing and the writing life. This week read Margaret Coel's great advice on writing fast.

    Roberta Isleib
    SinC president

  2. This is a plot to keep me away from my writing, isn't it? You know I've got to check out these blogs, add them to favorites and post comments to at least three or four. Thanks for the intriguing picks.

    Special thanks, Jan, for the kind words and link to my blog. Better put something new up there now!

  3. Great, provocative list! I look forward to reading and sharing with my students.

    Thanks so much.

    -=Susannah, packing for Boston even as we type

  4. Roberta, thanks for the mention of DEAD GUY (as one of the two--or one-and-a-half, since Gordon is a part-time blogger--men on the blog, I appreciate the notice). And congrats to Hank on the Agatha nom!

  5. Thanks for the shout-out to The Lipstick Chronicles - even though you forgot to mention Me, Margie. Not that I care. Just saying.

    But now I found you guys - something else good to read instead of working. But don't tell my bosses at TLC I said that. Seriously.

    --Me, Margie

  6. Well, I wondered why I had hundreds of messages on my phone when I got home from work. And hordes of emails. All missing you. I mean, Me, Margie.

    I'm trying to call them all back and apologize, some reporter I am.

    But through the miracle of blogger, I tucked you right back on the front page. Where you