Saturday, January 17, 2009

Happy birthday, dear Eddie...from your Deadly Daughters

**WINNER! Congratulations to Caryn in St. Louis, winner of our anniversary giveaway. Caryn, please send me your mailing address (darlene at and I'll get your copy of Poe in the mail. Thanks to everyone who commented.**

As Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, January 19, rolls around again, Poe's Deadly Daughters enters its third year of blogging. It's a big year for Poe: his ghost will be blowing out 200 virtual candles, while Mystery Writers of America is bestowing its 2009 Raven awards on the Edgar Allan Poe Society and the Poe House in Baltimore, whose curator, Jeff Jerome, endearingly refers to the father of the detective story as "Eddie."

To celebrate we have a copy of Poe, edited by Ellen Datlow, to give away. Published to coincide with the anniversary of Poe's birth, the anthology features 19 stories inspired by the master's writing. Authors include Sharyn McCrumb, Melanie Tem, Gregory Frost, and John Langan. In comments tell us what the highlights of the past year were for you, or just say "Hello" and you'll be entered in a drawing for the book. Check back here Sunday night to find out who the winner is. Good luck!

Here are some of the highlights for each of us in the past year. Thanks for sharing the joys and challenges of the mystery writer's life with us!

Elizabeth Zelvin (Liz)
I celebrated my 64th birthday with the publication of my debut mystery, Death Will Get You Sober, launching the book with a memorable party at The Mysterious Bookshop in New York and fulfilling a lifelong dream. In January, I planned my nationwide book tour; in February, I planned my virtual tour through mystery cyberspace; the virtual tour, guest blogs and interviews on many wonderful mystery blogs, took place in March; the launch in April; a tour that took me to libraries and bookstores in twenty states in May and June; and then I got to bite my nails for a few months, till St. Martin's offered me a contract for the sequel, Death Will Help You Leave Him. It'll be out this fall, and in the meantime, I've had a short story accepted by Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and have been writing and sending out additional stories, some about my series characters and others breaking new ground for me, including historical and paranormal mysteries and a revenge fantasy.

Lonnie Cruse
2008 was a year of big numbers for me. I turned sixty-five, we celebrated our forty-fifth wedding anniversary, our youngest son turned forty, and our grandson became a teenager. Along with those numbers, my first book in my new Kitty Bloodworth/'57 Chevy series came out right at the end of '07, so promotion, signings, and sales (some very important numbers) all took place last year. I'm thankful to my readers and all the numerous libraries that bought copies, as the book sold very well. I hope to continue the series with Five Star publishing it. And I hope to keep blogging here with my lovely Poe sisters. Poe's writing had a huge influence on me as a reader, and I'll never forget reading his work for the first time. I do hope he has some help with those 200 candles!

Julia Buckley
What a fun year it's been! I think this year will be most auspicious, because, if I continue Lonnie's "numbers" theme--I just turned 44 and my other favorite literary great, William Shakespeare, is 444 years old. I feel there is some psychic connection here--not to mention the connection with Edgar Allan. The other day my family was playing a trivia game called "Name Chase," and the question in the air began with "An American writer and poet." With the first clue we got neither gender nor time period, and yet my ten-year-old son and teammate said, "Edgar Allan Poe!" Even more shocking: he was right! Apparently he's been reading "The Raven" in school and has really taken to Poe and his complex rhythms and rhymes. It helped us win the round, and convinces me that our literary greats are always watching over us. :)

May you all have an equally auspicious year!

Sharon Wildwind
Well, the terrible twos weren't so terrible after all. Unlike toddlers, we on the Poe Team didn't have any difficulty making decisions, though several times we came close to losing it because there were so many choices for us, so many wonderful mystery folk out there to share the blog space with, that we had trouble deciding who would come next. Greedy little two-years that we were, we wanted it all! All the writers. All the readers. All the friends. All the books. Thanks for coming along for the ride. Come back, bring your friends. Maybe by next year we'll have figured out how to distribute virtual cake to everyone. Enjoy.

And this just in . . .
Did you know Edgar Allen Poe made a significant contribution to the science of cosmology? From Scientific American
Looking for Background Noise: The Cosmic Reality Check A puzzle, known as Olber’s paradox, was solved in 1848 by Edgar Allan Poe. In his prose poem Eureka, he argued that the stars must not have had enough time to fill the universe with light. The darkness of the night sky, then, tells us that the universe has not existed forever. Not only has that hypothesis stood the test of time, it eventually proved crucial to formulating the big bang theory. Who knew?

Darlene Ryan
I spent a big chunk of 2008 off my feet in a cast and as mushy as it sounds, learned that the writing community really is more like a small town than a sprawling metropolis. My writing friends and colleagues kept me up on everything that was happening in publishing and surrounded by stacks of books. My blog sisters were full of encouragement and good for more than one very needed laugh. And I discovered how many friends I'd made here. (There's nothing like animated barnyard animals singing a get well wish to pull you out of a pity party.)

Thanks for sharing our love of books, cheering our successes and ignoring the times we goofed.

Sandra Parshall
For me, the greatest pleasure of blogging has always been the chance to interview other writers and ask a lot of nosy questions. My thanks to all who submitted to my interrogation during the past year. I promise lots more in the coming year.

A major highlight of 2008 was my visit to the Poe House in Baltimore. In this tiny house, shared with his aunt and cousin (soon to be wife) Virginia, Poe produced some of the most astonishing and memorable writing the world has ever seen. The poverty in which he lived is obvious, and it's also clear that he worked on the margins of American culture, achieving only meager success in his lifetime. Two hundred years after his birth, I hope he is somehow aware of the great esteem in which he is now held, and the enduring popularity of his work. The honors heaped on him this year are well-deserved and too long in coming.

Happy birthday, Eddie.

Above: Poe's tiny bedroom, where he wrote


sistersincrimehotxsinc said...

Happy Birthday, Eddie and Happy Anniversary to Bill and Syl. Hubby and I celebrate our 18th wedding anniversary on Jan. 19th. We didn't make a golden anniversary in our first marriages, so we're aiming at one for the second--of course by that time we'll both be centenarians!! Love you Eddie, love you Bill!

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Sorry--I should have used my personal email for the previous post instead of sistersincrimehotxsinc.

This is me!

Patty said...

I love reading Poe but if you really want chills to run down your spine listen to it being read by Basil Rathbone and Vincent Price... brrrrr

Joyce said...

Happy Birthday, ladies (and you too, Edgar)!

This is one of my favorite blogs and as the person who coordinates the Working Stiffs blog, I know it's no easy task to keep it all together. Yinz guys (as we say in Pittsburgh) have done a stupendous job!

After having a few lowlights (losing my job--for blogging, of all things!) the rest of the year went well. The biggest highlight of the year for me was Bouchercon. I had a fantastic time and it was so great to finally meet some of the Sisters in person. Here's to a wonderful 2009 for everyone!

Peg Brantley said...

What milestone years you all had.

I'm sure there were some wonderful things about 2008 for me, but what stands out the most is the death of my mom. I was sort of glad to move on.

To continued success and growth in 2009!

Elaine Will Sparber said...

Happy birthday to Eddie and also to his wonderful Deadly Daughters, from the Women of Mystery!

Helen K said...

Happy Anniversary to Poe's Deadly Daughters. Now I know what would make my year 2009 stand out & that is a visit to the Poe House in Baltimore. That is a real possibility for me because I am only a couple hours away.

Elizabeth Zelvin said...

Sorry to hear about your mom, Peg. Let's wish for a year without the loss of any loved ones for all of us! We had a rare and remarkable good news headline this week here in New York: the amazing landing of the Airbus in the Hudson River and the survival of everyone on board.

Alaska Author said...

Hello and happy birthday...From Karen Laubenstein in Anchorage -- highlights? I've so enjoyed all of the blogs and have it running as a feed to our Alaska Sisters in Crime Social Network to share with our members.

Sandra Parshall said...

Karen, that's so nice to hear! A big hello to all our Sisters in Alaska!

Helen, yes, you must try to visit the Poe House. There's so much crammed into that small space -- the illustrations for "The Raven" and newspaper accounts of Poe's death, the lap desk he used when he was a university student in Charlottesville, and so many more fascinating items from his life and works. I felt I knew him much better after visiting the house.

Always call ahead and make sure the curator will be there to open the house when you want to go. When the house was built, the surrounding land was countryside, but now it's... well, a slum. The curator keeps the door locked, so you have to let him know you're coming and knock to be admitted. The place is truly *tiny* -- it's hard to imagine that three people lived in it. The stairs up to the second floor room where Poe slept and worked are so steep and narrow that ascending was a little like climbing a mountain. It would be very easy to fall when coming down, so be careful!

Cindy Silberblatt said...

I look forward to the anthology as I'm a Poe lover. But, I'm surprised that Sharyn McCrumb participated as I understood she no longer considered herself a mystery writer. Should be an interesting read. Happy Birthday to the Master. :)
Cindy Silberblatt, DLer, Past Chair Malice Domestic

Carol said...

Hello and Happy Birthday from Carol in PA. I've enjoyed Edgar Allan Poe's stories for a long time! I know I would love this book!
Carol M

caryn said...

Hi all and happy birthday Edgar!
One of the highlights of the year for me was going to my first Bouchercon and meeting many of the authors I only knew from cyberspace before.
We've had several ups and downs as a family this year, but in the end, on New Years Eve, I looked at my husband and said at least we're all here and relatively healthy. Although 2009 hasn't had the best of starts for us, hopefully this year will be the one where things turn around.
Caryn in St.Louis

Hope Clark said...

Happy Birthday, Mr. Poe. 2008 represented 50 submissions of my first mystery novel to agents and five requests to read the manuscript. Three are still reading it, and my fingers are crossed. Hopefully, 2009 means contracts. Book two is written and being outlined. I love envying you ladies so far ahead of me.

Hope Clark