Monday, November 19, 2012

A Reflective Thanksgiving

For the folks affected by Hurricane Sandy, this Thanksgiving may be quite different. Tragically, lives were lost. For the families and friends of those victims, the absence of their loved ones on this holiday and the holidays to come will be even more painful. I pray for their strength to get through it. Many people lost their homes, cars, treasured possessions, and more. Out-of-state utility workers left their families to help us. Public Safety workers have put in exhaustive hours. I hope that the majority of them can be home with their families for Thanksgiving. There will be much to ponder this Thursday when reflecting upon what we are grateful for in our lives.

One of my neighbor's uprooted trees
My family, our relatives, and friends got through it relatively unscathed; we were extremely fortunate, compared to the devastation experienced by some of our neighbors and fellow Long Islanders.

For those who might need assistance, or if you are interested in helping the victims of Hurricane Sandy, visit the website of the American Red Cross (@RedCross on Twitter).

Yesterday, on a brisk yet sunny autumn day, I took a long drive to attend a guided walking tour of Northport. Along the way, I admired the colors of the leaves which still clung to the trees that were left standing. I listened to one of my "mix-tape" CDs, which included (get ready, I have an extremely eclectic love of music): "Moondance" by Van Morrison, "The Rising" by Bruce Springsteen, "Forever in Blue Jeans" by Neil Diamond, "You're My Home" by Billy Joel, "Peaceful Easy Feeling" by the Eagles, and "Song for You" by Leon Russell, and many, many more. But it was some of the sights on this journey that encouraged me; the clean-up, repair, and rebuilding that has already taken place in such a short period of time. However, from seeing the photographs on the news, in the paper, and online, there is devastation on this island and surrounding east coast communities that will take months, if not years, to recuperate and rebuild.

Several Robert Frost quotes went through my mind, including:

"Nothing gold can stay."

"In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

"Hope is not found in a way out but a way through."

I enjoyed the informative guided walking tour of Northport's historic Main Street. The Northport Historical Society's guided tour ("Parading Down Main Street") is offered approximately one Sunday a month, starting at 1:30 p.m. The next scheduled tour is December 16, 2012. A ticket cost $5.00, and it is well worth it. (The museum also offers a self-guided tour, Tuesday through Sunday from 1 pm - 4:30 pm). The tour guide, Dan, was a wealth of information. I highly recommend it ~ get ready to learn a lot.
If you've never visited Northport, you will see "Gunther's Tap Room," a favorite hang-out of Jack Kerouac's, and you will discover where a speakeasy existed during Prohibition.

The museum, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1914 with funds provided by Andrew Carnegie for a Village Library. It functioned as a library until 1967; it became the home to the Northport Historical Society Museum in 1974. The society was established in 1962, and this year marks the 50th Anniversary of the society.

Why the walking tour of Northport, you might ask?

My husband grew up in Northport; his parents were born and raised in Northport. My mother's family moved from Brooklyn to Northport in the early 1950s. My grandfather, Edward Welsh, ran the concession stand at Crab Meadow Beach; he installed a jukebox under the pavilion, and he filled it with records from some new singer named Elvis Presley. Tragically, a massive heart attack claimed his life at age 47, leaving my broken-hearted grandmother to raise six children (ages 4-16, my mom being 15) on her own.

Even more connections: I delivered mail one summer in Northport; I subbed as a music teacher in the Northport-East Northport School District shortly after graduating from LIU. When I became a Suffolk County Police Officer, I patrolled the East Northport and Northport areas outside of the Incorporated Village of Northport. Fate has been pointing me towards Northport my entire life.

My true crime memoir centers around the 1955 hatchet murder of a taxi driver on Scudder Avenue in Northport (today happens to mark the 57th anniversary); it was a case that my armchair-detective grandmother, who lived two miles from the scene of the crime, discussed with me regularly, among other unsolved cases. Sadly, she passed away at age 61 when I was 13. I often ache to have an "adult" conversation with her about the case and what I've uncovered over the past two decades.

Speaking of Northport, there's an unusual but fun event occurring on Saturday, November 24, 2012, at 7 p.m., in front of the Northport Hardware Company, 90 Main Street; the Annual Leg Lamp Lighting Ceremony (an homage to "A Christmas Story"). Check out this YouTube Video from last year's event.

Wishing you and yours a warm, relaxing, enjoyable Thanksgiving with your loved ones.

Here's one of my favorite Erma Bombeck quotes, sure to give you a chuckle:

"Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence."

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Craft of Writing Quote

I enjoy collecting quotes on the craft of writing. I'd like to share a couple of quotes from American writer Marion Zimmer Bradley  who passed away on this date in 1999.  

“There's no "magic secret"; writing is like everything else; ten percent inspiration or talent, and ninety percent hard work. Persistence; keeping at it till you get there. As Agnes de Mille said, it means working every day—bored, tired, weary, or with a fever of a hundred and two.” 

"Think of this: a thousand pages sounds like a lot. But write three pages a day and a year from now you'll have a book."

In "What Is A Short Story?" Marion offers advice on the elements of the short story. 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

"The Fighter" by Gym Class Heroes

I fell in love with the song the first time I heard it...some songs may take time to grow on you, but this one hit me immediately. I think it will hit you, too! It's contagious ~ and very inspirational! It's no surprise that the featured singer, the super-talented Ryan Tedder, is the flavor added to this fantastic song. His life story is one big inspiration. You may recognize his voice ~ he's the lead singer of OneRepublic. He's also a songwriter and a producer.

I'm fairly new at Pinterest, and I've started a board called, "Cool Music" and this one fit the bill.
Let me know what you think ~ and if you have any other suggestions for my Cool Music board.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Mammogram Bill in NYS

I've just read some positive news: A bill approved by the NYS Legislature in hopes of increasing the early detection of breast cancer would require that women be given notice in mammography reports if they have dense breast tissue, which makes it difficult to detect cancer.

I just wrote a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo to urge him to sign the measure. Any fellow New Yorkers who wish to email the governor may do so here.

However, it's only one step in the right direction.

I am living proof that even a sonogram may not pick up existing tumors.

I had a baseline mammo at age 34, because of family history. I was vigilant about screening and health care exams. At age 40, during a SBE (self breast exam), I felt something hard, something different. I immediately went to my OB/GYN. Since I had a mammogram months earlier, he sent me for a sonogram. I was relieved, but puzzled, when I was told it was nothing. I did what no woman should ever do: I gave up on SBEs. I should have followed my gut, which was telling me something wasn't right. But the tests showed otherwise, right? Why should I keep checking, only to bother the doctor, to have tests that show nothing? In hindsight, of course, I should have insisted on a biopsy.

Here's the kicker: a biopsy wouldn't have revealed anything. Why? Because in order to do a biopsy, a sonogram must zero in on the questionable spot. If the sonogram isn't picking up on the questionable spot, how can a biopsy be properly performed? It can't!

When I had a mammogram at age 42, the day before Thanksgiving in 2003 (I was given this appointment three weeks after being told they wished to repeat the mammo and conduct a sonogram because of "dense breast tissue"), I was informed I had at least three tumors; at least one was "highly suspicious of a malignancy." I asked the doctor how she knew this already, without benefit of a biopsy; she said that most benign tumors were cylindrical; malignant ones had spidery veins.

It took three more weeks to get an appointment with a breast surgeon; two weeks after that, a needle-core biopsy. Two medical professionals labored for three hours to obtain fluid samples to perform the biopsy. They struck a vein, and blood poured down into my neck and hair as they attempted to stop the bleeding.

About three days later, while I was at work, a nurse called with the results. I held my breath. "Benign!" she said. Huh? Puzzled again.

I saw the breast cancer surgeon for a follow-up on my biopsy. He said whatever they removed during the biopsy may have come back benign, but it didn't match what he had seen in the other reports. He insisted on an excisional biopsy; this took about another month to schedule.

During my follow-up, I was told, "It's not good." He informed me and my husband that I had three malignant tumors that were 5.5, 3, and 2 centimeters in size. I had lobular cancer (something I had never heard of), and that lobular cancer is difficult to detect in mammograms and sonograms.
"Do the women of America know this?" I asked, since I consider myself fairly well-read, and I had NEVER heard of this (which is tough to hear for the first time when it applies to you).

My thoughts flooded back two years earlier, when I had complained of a lump, and the mammo & sonogram failed to pick up on it. I had given up on SBEs, assuming the tests would pick up on it. I was WRONG.

According to the University of Washington Department of Radiation, "Lobular tumors are notorious for hiding within breast tissue."

The only message I can tell women (or men with women in their lives, to pass this message along): you must be your own best advocate. You know your body better than anyone else. You must push forward if you feel that something foreign has developed in your body. The sad news is that at least three exams, the mammogram, sonogram, and biopsy may not even pick it up. The only test that will ultimately discover the tumors is an MRI, which is extremely expensive and not covered by most insurance.

Fortunately, exams are moving along a lot quicker for patients these days. When I think that I saw my OB/GYN for an annual visit in September 2003, and it took until Halloween to get a mammogram appointment, then the day before Thanksgiving to get a repeat mammo and a sonogram, several weeks to see the breast surgeon, two more weeks to schedule a needle core biopsy ~ only to hear the results were benign (meanwhile, I had cancer), and another month for an excisional biopsy ~ to be told on February 4, 2004, that I had lobular cancer, it makes me shudder. I am truly fortunate to be alive, eight years later. I endured multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, and radiation.

Each day is such a gift, and I'm extremely grateful to my doctors for saving my life.

Check out: Breast Cancer Facts Every Woman Should Know.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Shakespeare's Pre-Globe Theatre Unearthed

Archaeologists from the Museum of London Archaelogy (MOLA) have discovered the remains of The Curtain theater, built in 1577, an early playhouse used by William Shakespeare's company where "Romeo and Juliet" may have first been performed, before the Globe theater was built.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

2012 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize

I just learned about a writing competition, and the deadline's around the corner. But if you've got an unpublished story that's no more than 1500 words, any genre, and are willing to spend $10 on the entry fee, you may want to consider entering it into the 2012 Spilling Ink Short Story Prize. Spilling Ink Review is a quarterly e-journal (@spillinginkling on Twitter).

The guest judge is Richard Beard (@BeardRichard on Twitter).

Deadline is May 31, 2012.

Check out all the rules ~ and good luck!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Arrest in Etan Patz Murder

Thirty-three years ago today, Etan Patz disappeared along the two-block route to his bus stop, the first time he ever walked it alone.

Today, Pedro Hernandez, age 51, of Maple Shade, New Jersey, was arraigned for the murder of six-year-old Etan Patz.

I've written an in-depth post about the case on Women of Mystery, including the difficult revelation that the evidence was within reach of the original investigators, yet they chose not to pursue it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Happy Birthday Gotye

Gotye, the Belgian-Australian recording artist who sings "Somebody That I Used to Know," turns 32 today. 

A few weeks ago, my 14-year-old son introduced me to the fascinating song; he said it was the number one song on iTunes. I was immediately hooked; I quickly learned the rest of the world is crazy about it, too! The song, a slow-building duet with New Zealand singer Kimbra, is achieving phenomenal success. 

Richard Smirke of Billboard describes it: "The song, which mixes sparse, shuffling percussion; spooky tremolo sounds; and an earworm melody played on a xylophone, has since topped the charts in more than a dozen countries..."

Michael Martin (@Michael_Kronicle) of @HuffPostEnt interviewed Gotye last month, and among the topics discussed is Gotye's experience in writing the song. A video of their interview (just shy of 24 minutes) appears on @HuffPostEnt. 

To date, the video of the song has been viewed more than 218 million times. In Australia, "Somebody That I Used to Know" has been certified 8x Platinum! 

Another video gone viral is a cover version of the song, performed by Walk Off The Earth, in which the five band members play one guitar ~ it's super cool!

I'm addicted to it ~ the haunting melody, harmony and the intensity of the singers' emotions ~ as if they truly were scorned lovers. The song certainly has struck a chord with worldwide listeners. What about you? Have you heard this song before? Like it? Love it? Hate it? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Wisdom of Da Vinci

On this date in 1519, the world lost a genius, Leonardo Da Vinci. Whenever I read his quotes, I'm in awe of his wisdom ~ yet it doesn't come as a surprise, coming from an artist of his magnitude.

Here's a few of my favorites:

"Art is never finished, only abandoned." (This reminds me of a Hemingway quote I once read, of which I'm paraphrasing: "Writing is never done; it's just due.")

"I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do."

"Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason."

Think you know a lot about Leonardo? Check out this fun trivia quiz.

Did you know that Leonardo was an inveterate procrastinator? The Last Supper was only completed after his patrons threatened to cut off his funds; Mona Lisa took 20 years to complete! By the way, the Writing Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill offers excellent advice in assisting writers who suffer with procrastination.

Visit for vital info and a video on the life of the gifted painter of The Last Supper and Mona Lisa. An article by Jeanna Bryner on LiveScience reveals 25 Secrets of Mona Lisa.

It's in Italian, but there's a Twitter account devoted to the Vinci, Italy museum @museoleonardo.

My daughter, Miranda, had the privilege of viewing the Mona Lisa when she visited the Lourve last summer during her 21-day tour of Greece, Italy, and France with the People to People Ambassador Program. (On Twitter: @PeopleToPeople). She was deeply moved by the experience. I dream about visiting France and Italy someday.

As a part of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen, from now through June 10, 2012, visitors to Bristol can view an exhibition of ten Da Vinci drawings.  In addition, Da Vinci-themed workshops, family events, lectures, guided tours, and more are being offered.

I will make it to Bristol one day ~ my grandfather was born in London in 1911, and his maternal ancestors (his mother, Beatrice Needham, was born in Fishponds), lived in Bristol for hundreds of years. I've done extensive genealogy research, and have even found relatives online -- and I can't wait to visit.

How about you? A favorite Leonardo Da Vinci quote? Have you experienced the viewing of either Mona Lisa or The Last Supper?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The "5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly" Blog Tour

National Poetry Month is drawing to a close, and it's been such a wonderful opportunity during the "30 Days of the 5-2" blog tour to celebrate the poetry that is published at "5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly" presented by Poetic Justice Press (@PJPress on Twitter). I'd like to thank Editor Gerald So for allowing me to participate in this fabulous tour!

The poem I'd like to profile is called, "Twelve Apologies" by Ray Succre. For an extra bonus, click below to listen to Ray reading this entertaining piece of confessional poetry


Mr. Arnolds, my neighbor five years ago: It was me. I'm the one who ran over your cat. I didn't even see it. I'm sorry that I suggested your daughter may have done it. I'm sorry.

Jan Arnolds: See above. I'm sorry.

Grandma J.: The coat you bought me last year? The one I always say I've just taken off whenever you call? I drunkenly lit it on fire five months ago. I'm sorry.

Amad, my old friend: Remember when I threw that monstrous party and you passed out, and by morning, some measly person had stolen your cigarettes and poured soup on your crotch? They gave me some of the cigarettes not to say anything, and the soup was my idea. I'm sorry.

My ex, Andrea: When I lost my job because of corporate cutbacks? That was a lie. I told my boss that if she talked to me that way again, I'd piss on her head. She fired me. I'm sorry.

Bookstore On the Bay: It was me. I stole all those books. I figured out how to remove the magnetic strips, and would do so while chatting up your clerk. I did this daily. He thought we were pals. I read all of the books I stole, at least. One a day for almost an entire summer. I'm sorry.

Little Lisa: We only went out for a single day in the third grade, and we broke-up because I wouldn't give you my pen. Listen, I told everybody we did it. I'm sorry.

Laurel, a waitress in Olympia, Washington: That guy who stole my wallet off the counter while I was in the restroom, which made me unable to pay for my coffee that one time? I didn't own a wallet. I'm sorry.

Safeway of America, Inc.:  I was the one who stole Eraserhead. I gave you the wrong phone number which truly was an accident because I'd just moved into a new place with a new number, but you didn't check my I.D. and when I was about to sign the little rental agreement, I noticed the phone number I'd given had pulled up the first name "Esther", so, quickly and unfortunately for Esther and your company, I signed it "Antonio Banderas" and never returned the video. I'm sorry to you and I'm sorry to Esther and I'm sorry to Mr. Banderas, as well.

To a certain couple: Red fruits don't cause Alzheimer's disease. I made it up. You can start eating strawberries again. I'm sorry.

To Aaron from sixth grade: Though it’s been twenty years, I've still got your Nintendo game, Bionic Commando.  I convinced you I had given it back and that you had lost it, but I just hadn't beaten the game yet. I moved to the other side of the country with it. I'm sorry.

To Kat, a neighbor in a high-rise apartment building I once resided in: Sixteen years ago, I needed to make a local call and my phone service had just been disconnected. You had offered to let my use your phone for local calls. I knocked but you weren't home. Later, I found the telephone service grid on the second floor, so I spliced into your line with my room's phone, thinking that it wouldn't really matter as long as I switched it back when I was done. When I picked up to make my important call, you were home and you were ordering something on it. The salesclerk couldn't figure out what ordering number your item was supposed to have, so you had to explain to him (and though you didn't know it, to me) that it was the jelly-apparatus on some page 36 . The Rhino II, I think it was called. I didn't mean to overhear it. I hope everything worked out and I'm sure blue was a wonderful color. I'm sorry.

I think that confessional poetry might be fun to experiment with; how about you?

Sunday, April 1, 2012

2012 Derringer Award Winners Announced

I am deeply honored that my story, "Heat of Passion" was among the finalists for the 2012 Derringer Award for Best Flash Fiction Story. The results have just been announced by SMFS President (and awesome short story writer) Sandra Seamans. Eligible voting members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society read the stories and cast their votes. 

Congratulations to the winners:

Best Flash Story: "Lessons Learned" by Allan Leverone

Best Short Story: "Touch of Death" by B.V. Lawson

Best Long Story: Tie "A Drowning at Snow's Cut" by Art Taylor and "Brea's Tale"
by Karen Pullen

Best Novelette: "Where Billy Died" by Earl Staggs

Congratulations to all of the nominees as well. Your stories are outstanding and the judges did a terrific job in narrowing down the choices. I'm grateful for the efforts of 2012 Derringer Coordinator Gwen Mayo, the judges, and the voting members of SMFS who took the time to read the stories and make the tough decisions.

Thanks, also, to Editor Christopher Grant for having accepted and published "Heat of Passion" on A Twist of Noir on February 14, 2011 ~ and to the dedicated readers who took the time to read and comment about my story. The feedback has been a tremendous gift. 

A special shout-out to the publishers/hosts of the winning stories: Shotgun HoneyAbsent Willow Review(currently closed); Untreed ReadsEllery Queen Mystery Magazine; and to the dozens of bloggers (and those who promoted on Facebook and Twitter, too) ~ who announced the 2012 Derringer Award Finalists throughout March 2012 and wrote so many kind words. Thanks for your faithful support of short mystery and crime fiction!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Backspace/SEMINAR Log Line Contest

Up for a fun log line challenge?

The Backspace Writers Conference is hosting a log line contest. For more info on the conference being held May 24-26 in NYC, check out this article in the March 2012's issue of Writer Magazine. 

Three winners will be chosen based on originality and execution by Judges from Folio Literary Management. Each winner receives a pair of tickets to the Broadway smash, Seminar. The tickets can be won on someone else's behalf (but can't be transferred once a name is connected to the voucher), which must be redeemed by May 13; performances run until May 27. Seminar currently stars Alan Rickman until April 1, then Jeff Goldblum joins the cast on April 3.

The title and pitch for your log line (limit: 100 words) is for a fictitious novel -- not your own. According to the announcement: "The more inventive and high concept your story idea, the better!"

One entry per person. Read the official rules before filling out the form. There's a Facebook angle involved in the contest, too; authors who receive the most combined "likes" and comments will each win a signed and personalized copy of literary agent Donald Maass's Writing the Breakout Novel and The Fire in Fiction. 

The deadline is April 15. Winners to be announced April 22.

Good luck!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

River Bandon, County Cork
Kinsale, Ireland

Cobh, Ireland

In celebration of St. Patrick's Day, I'm posting a few photographs I took during a trip to Ireland in 2003. 

"Ireland is rich in literature that understands a soul's yearnings, and dancing that understands a happy heart." ~ Margaret Jackson

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Ben Hecht: The Shakespeare of Hollywood

On this date in 1894, one of my favorite screenwriters of all time was born. Ben Hecht was also a director, producer, playwright and a novelist.

Ben was the first recipient of the Academy Award for Original Screenplay, for the movie Underworld (1927).

The screenplays he wrote or worked on (many times uncredited) include the following:

Scarface (1932), The Front Page, Twentieth Century (1934), Barbary Coast (1935), Nothing Sacred (1937), Some Like It Hot, Gone with the Wind, Gunga Din, Wuthering Heights (all 1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Spellbound (1945), Notorious (1946), Monkey Business, A Farewell to Arms (1957), Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), and Casino Royale (1967; released after Hecht's death in 1964).

He also provided story ideas for such films as Stagecoach (1939). In 1940, he wrote, produced, and directed Angels Over Broadway.

Six of his movie screenplays were nominated for Academy Awards; two won.

My personal favorite is His Girl Friday. If you've never seen it, try to get it from your library (or watch it online at IMDb). The rapid-fire dialogue is extraordinary. As a police officer, I worked with the media for 16 years, so this movie is even more endearing to me. It's quite evident in this film that Mr. Hecht had an extensive background in journalism.

When Hecht was living in New York in 1926, he received a telegram from a screenwriter friend who had recently moved to L.A. "Millions are to be grabbed out here and your only competition is idiots. Don't let this get around." He traveled to Hollywood, and began his career by writing the screenplay for Underworld, as the sound era had ended.

We know where that landed him!

Monday, February 27, 2012

The 2012 Academy Awards

I'm thrilled that Woody Allen won the Best Original Screenplay Academy Award for Midnight in Paris. I blogged about my admiration for the film on Women of Mystery in January.

How wonderful that Christopher Plummer finally gets to take home the Oscar. I loved his acceptance speech the most. Such class!

I'm glad I got to see The Artist, the Best Picture winner. I took my teenage daughter to see it ~ we absolutely loved it. After it ended, I asked her, "Well ~ what do you think for Best Picture? Midnight in Paris, Hugo, or The Artist?" since we had seen and loved all of them, and we knew it would be a tough decision. We were stumped.

A theatre patron on the way in as we were heading out asked if we liked it. Her hesitation, as I've heard from so many others, was that it was a "silent" film. We reassured her that she would enjoy it thoroughly. When you think about it, there is no other way to honor the silent film era but to make a silent film, and in black and white.

During the Oscar telecast, my husband keenly noticed a cameo of Jim Parsons, the extremely talented, multi-award-winning actor who portrays Dr. Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, during an extremely brief video clip of the winning Best Original Song, "Man or Muppet." If you're a fan of the show, you'll love the video -- it's awesome.
Available for a limited time, you can watch the Oscar-winning "Best Animated Short Film," The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

For a complete list of winners, click here.

Did you watch the Oscars? Did any of your favorites win? Didn't Angelina Jolie look ridiculous as she awkwardly stood with her right leg sticking out of the slit in her dress while presenting? It didn't take long for @AngiesRightLeg to pop up on Twitter (which currently has more than 13,000 followers).

Sunday, January 29, 2012

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe

On January 29, 1845, readers of the New York Evening Mirror were treated to a narrative poem called "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe.

The editor of the Mirror, Nathaniel Parker Willis, introduced the poem, calling it "unsurpassed in English poetry for subtle conception, masterly ingenuity of versification, and consistent, sustaining of imaginative will stick to the memory of everybody who reads it."

Image: The Edgar Allan Poe Society in Baltimore
Poe was paid nine dollars for its publication.

George Rex Graham, a friend and former employer of Poe's, had declined Poe's offer to be the first to print "The Raven." Graham said he didn't like it, but paid Poe $15.00 in charity. Graham made up for his poor decision by publishing Poe's essay, "The Philosophy of Composition" in Graham's American Monthly Magazine for Literature and Art, a year later.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Happy Birthday, Wilkie Collins

On this date in 1824, British novelist Wilkie Collins was born

T.S. Eliot described The Moonstone as the first and greatest of English detective novels.

A quote from The Woman in White seems to have stood the test of time:

"There are foolish criminals who are discovered, and wise criminals who escape.  The hiding of a crime, or the detection of a crime, what is it?  A trial of skill between the police on one side, and the individual on the other. When the criminal is a brutal, ignorant fool, the police, in nine cases out of ten, win.  When the criminal is a resolute, educated, highly-intelligent man, the police, in nine cases out of ten, lose."

Click here for more Wilkie Collins quotes.