Saturday, January 19, 2008

Happy Birthday to Poe: Our First Anniversary

It's Edgar Allan Poe's 199th birthday today, and the Deadly Daughters of the father of the detective story are celebrating. We launched our blog exactly one year ago today. What a year it's been! Sandy won an Agatha for Best First Mystery, Lonnie launched a second series, Julia worked on a suspense stand-alone and was published in a fiction anthology, Sharon's third mystery came out, Liz had a short story in an anthology, and Darlene joined us and sold a new book. We were named "one of eight top mystery blogs" in Library Journal and praised as "schmooze-worthy" by J. Kingston Pierce of The Rap Sheet and January Magazine. Most of all, we've had fun!

To celebrate, we're reprinting Carolyn Hart's piece on how come Poe is considered mystery's founding father, along with a few words from each of us on what it's meant to be one of Poe's Deadly Daughters.

From "The History of the Mystery"
by Carolyn Hart
(InSinC: The Sisters in Crime Newsletter, Vol. XIX, No. 4)

Elements of the mystery are present in much literature, both ancient and modern, but the world waited until Edgar Allan Poe for the first true mystery stories....Poe...create[d] the first amateur detective, Auguste Dupin....[T]he modern mystery traces its beginning to the publication in 1841 of The Murders in the Rue Morgue. All of the elements necessary for a mystery novel were first gathered together in fiction by Poe:
The amateur detective whose exploits were chronicled by an admiring friend
The locked room mystery
An innocent suspect in jeopardy
Careful detection through following clues fairly offered
A trap laid for the true villain
The solution through the efforts of the detective
The first series character
All of this was achieved by Poe in three stories, The Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Mystery of Marie Roget, and The Purloined Letter.

Elizabeth Zelvin:

As the only then unpublished mystery writer in the group, I felt honored to be invited to join Poe's Deadly Daughters. Death Will Get You Sober had just been accepted by St. Martin's, and a year later, it's still creeping toward publication, though my short story, "Death Will Clean Your Closet," appeared in November in Murder New York Style with others by members of Sisters in Crime. I'd never been a blogger or a reader of blogs. So first, I had to figure out how to do it. I didn't know that my weekly blogging deadline would make me into something not far from a journalist: a writer who can turn out an appropriate 500 to 800 word piece on demand about just about anything. Nor did I dream I'd get to know so many luminaries in the field—writers I've admired for decades and rising stars—by interviewing them for Poe's Deadly Daughters: Nancy Pickard, Julie Smith, Carolyn Hart, Jeremiah Healy, Laurie King, Rhys Bowen, Alafair Burke, Sandra Scoppetone, and Lee Goldberg. But best of all: What a joy to have "blog sisters!"

Lonnie Cruse:

I have soooo enjoyed blogging with the other PDDs, and reading their posts, not to mention all of our guest bloggers and interviewees! And I've spent an enjoyable time reading my PDD sisters' books! And learning more about Poe, though I've been a fan of his works for many years.

This year I will be very busy promoting my new series, so the Metropolis Series, featuring Sheriff Joe Dalton will be on hold, at least until 2009. I hope to see book #5 in that series published then. Meanwhile, I'm working on the second '57 series book, crossing my fingers that it will be published by Five Star. Fifty-Seven Heaven received good reviews from Kirkus and Publisher's Weekly.

Writing down our stories is fun and satisfying for authors, at least until we hit a dead end or can't decide where to take the story next. Which generally results in long walks, multiple games of Spider Solitare, and sneak attacks on our secret stash of chocolates (light or dark, your choice.) The most satisfying part of writing for any author is hearing our readers say how much they've enjoyed our books. So please accept my personal thanks to all of you who read this blog and also read our books.

Sharon Wildwind:

What a hoot this first year has been, except maybe for the week where I forgot what day was Tuesday, and missed the blog all together. Writing for an audience has helped me clarify many things that I thought I knew, until I sat down to write about them. Then I had to really think. This whole year has been like a scrapbook of the mind, going all the way from my mother's cookbook to more information about bats than anyone should have. And the best thing was it all, somehow, related to mystery-writing.

The absolute highlight of the year was hearing from an old friend, who "googled" me, found the blog, and got in touch. So, B.L. (and your friend Matt D.) this one's for you. Hugs, Sharon

Julia Buckley

I've greatly enjoyed my year with the Deadly Daughters. I have found that, aside from being able to work with women who share my interest in mystery writing and reading, I am able to count on the daughters as a supportive network of friends. I don't know if I'm already having the "senior moments" my mother complains of, or if they are more like "harassed working mother moments," but I've done my fair share of forgetting and mistake-making, and in every case the daughters swooped in to my aid. Will there ever be a finer group of co-bloggers? Quoth the Raven, Nevermore.

Darlene Ryan:

As the newest Deadly Daughter I had the advantage of joining Sandy, Liz, Lonnie, Julia and Sharon after all the hard work was done. (And it was an honour to be invited to join them.) In the past year I've had one book published and another has sold. And with the encouragement of my fellow bloggers I've started working on that mystery I always said I was going to write. A couple of old college friends found me through this blog. I made one of my writing idols (Tess Gerrittsen) laugh when I shared my semi-deluded belief that we sort of look alike. I made new friends. I gained new readers. Thank you, everyone.

Sandra Parshall:

I'm the one who swore she would never blog -- and look at me now, a year into it and enjoying it more than I thought possible. 2007 was a head-spinning year for me, and one of the best things about it was working with this great group of women writers. I've also loved having the excuse -- er, opportunity -- to ask some wonderful writers a lot of nosy questions in interviews. I hope our loyal readers have enjoyed the past year as much as we have. Stick with us -- we have a lot more in store for you!

To our readers: The one mystery we've never been able to solve is how to get you all to leave more comments, even those of you who tell us privately that you visit regularly. So please help us celebrate our anniversary by checking in. Just click on the Comments link right below this blog, type in a greeting or what you like about Poe's Deadly Daughters or what you'd like to see more of from us, and click on Publish Your Comment. It's dead easy. ;)


Paul Lamb said...

I visit every single day, often more than once! (But I still think "blog" should not be used as a verb, and I think a post on a blog is different from the blog itself, but that's just me.)

The only suggestion I would make about content is that there be a bit less material about personal lives or other "off-topic" matters. I like the posts (note, not "blogs") about writing best: the process, the frustrations, the successes.

Congratulations on your first year!

Sandra Parshall said...

Thanks for your comment, Paul -- and your loyalty! I would welcome more comments from readers about the kind of content you'd like to see here. I sometimes wonder if people really want to know the picky details of how we get our writing done, so it's good to hear that you're interested in that.

What about the rest of you? What have you enjoyed most/leaston PDD in our first year? What do you want to see more of and less of? Be honest! But brutality, of course, is unnecessary. :-)

Lonnie Cruse said...


I agree about making new verbs. Not long ago I heard someone ask how the word "Swiffer" suddenly became a verb, as in I Swiffered the kitchen floor, which, frankly, makes me giggle. I've even seen that "verb" used in a mystery. Not to mention Swiffering. Seems like whenever a new word comes out like "blog" people change it to a verb, adverb, and/or adjective pretty quickly.

Thanks so much for stopping by every day. We appreciate you.

RhondaL said...

Happy Birthday! I check in about twice a week (no particular day) but this may be my first comment. Usually because, by the time I get to the comments section, I'm usually already feeling too guilty about spending time away from my own work. Anyway, congratulations on the blog's yeariversary and keep up the good work. "Daddy" would be proud.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Thanks, Rhonda. In fact, I think Edgar Allan would be astounded if he knew the strange ways in which his reputation and persona endure. I have a little statue of Mr. Poe on my desk as we speak. I got it as a party favor at the Edgars banquet a couple years back, and it's a bobblehead. ;) I've been seriously thinking of incorporating it into a cha-POE for the hat contest at Malice Domestic. :)

Julia Buckley said...

Thanks, Paul and Rhonda. And Lonnie, I agree that words have become very elastic. I still get offended when my students refer to "partying" as if party should be anything other than a noun. And now they say things like "You haven't seen that movie? Why don't you just Netflix it for the weekend?" Or, my most recent favorite, "I don't want the tickets to the movie to sell out before I get there, so I'm going to Fandango it today."

Anonymous said...

Hey, I like it when you guys talk about personal matters. It makes you more "approachable," and lets readers see what makes a writer tick.

Congratulations on your first full year of blogging! May there be many more.

Lynn in Texas said...

Congrats PDDs! I read the blog nearly every day, & will try to come out of lurkdom more often to post comments.

I'm with Lorraine, I love the personal stuff, the more the better!

Keep up the good work!

Darlene Ryan said...

Cinnamon Coffee Cake is the official Poe's Deadly Daughters birthday cake--at least in my house. I'd send you all a piece but I don't think it's going to last the weekend.

Thanks for the congratulations everyone!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I read this blog everyday and I enjoy your personal reactions to the challenges and successes of the writing process for published writers. BLOG AWAY!

Martha said...

Congratulations! I am one of those people who stops in several times a week to see what is new. I've so enjoyed meeting the bloggers, guest bloggers, and those who agree to be interviewed.

I'm curious if you take suggestions for authors to interview? I'm an Alan Gordon fan and have not seen interviews with him anywhere.

Hope to be enjoying your two year anniversary this time next year!

Paul Lamb said...

I suppose what I should say is that while everyone's personal life is as interesting and complex as everyone else's, I come to blogs like this to find insight into people's writing lives.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I'm glad to hear Lynn, Cheryl, and Lorraine say they like the personal stuff. When Paul said he didn't, I wondered whether that particular preference would fall out along gender lines. :) I try to write about topics other than writing that are interesting enough that they might become themes or subplots in mysteries. One of the things I love about mystery readers is that they're interested in so many things. :) And our intention from the outset was to blog (sorry, I like new verbs!) for readers (including but not limited to readers who are writers). I also worry about running out of things to say. ;) But then an idea pops up, and here comes another post. Now I'm off to see if I can come up with 500-800 words about the flexibility of the English language. So thanks for the inspiration, everyone. :)

Sandra Parshall said...

Martha, I'll see if I can get in touch with Alan Gordon. I haven't been able to find a web site for him (yet). If you have a url or e-mail address for him, please send it to me privately at

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

I'm happy to report that I've just written my blog post (I agree about that one, Paul, but I get lazy) about the flexibility of the English language. I'll post it on Thursday. Thanks, everyone, for participating in my creative process. :)

Joyce said...

Happy Anniversary, ladies!

I stop in as often as possible. I try to leave a comment most of the time. I know how hard it is to come up with a topic every week.(I write a post on the Working Stiffs blog every week and it bugs me when I see the stats of how many people visit the blog and don't comment!)