Sandra Parshall's Blog (11)

Characters Who Haunt Us

(Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters)

I can’t get the girl out of my mind. I worry about her. I want to know what happened to her after the book ended.

Throughout most of Elizabeth George’s Missing Joseph, I found the 13-year-old character Maggie Spence exasperating in the way a lot of teens are. Lying to her mother, sneaking out to rendezvous with a boy she was forbidden to see, engaging in sex long before she was capable of dealing with it emotionally. I… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on November 13, 2009 at 7:55am — No Comments

Who makes money on Kindle books?

Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters.

The Amazon Kindle has broadened the market for books, and Kindle rights are making the same amount of money for publishers, and in many cases the authors, as the print editions. So why are publishers worried as they watch Amazon conquer the e-book market?

I’ve read a lot on this subject lately, but an article by Rachel Deahl in the May 11 Publishers Weekly did the best job of explaining the conundrum publishers… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on May 27, 2009 at 12:41am — 3 Comments

Readers in a Rut

[Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters.]

“I stopped enjoying her books years ago, but I still buy them and read them.”

“His last half-dozen books have been poorly written and boring – but I can’t seem to stop myself from buying them, even though I know I’m going to hate them.”

How many times have you heard people say this sort of thing? How many times have you seen similar statements posted on DorothyL? How many times have you admitted to buying books by… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on May 9, 2009 at 4:59am — 6 Comments

"Ripped from the headlines" plots & people

Sandra Parshall

[Cross-posted from the Poe's Deadly Daughters blog]

I know a woman who could be transferred to the pages of a novel exactly as she is, to become a marvelously twisted character. She would be a plausible killer because of her unmatched talent for holding a grudge and her relentless vindictiveness. She would make an even more believable victim because everyone who knows her longs to be rid of her.

I’ll probably use her in a book sooner or later.… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on April 10, 2009 at 1:06am — 6 Comments

Why are so many people in prison?

Sandra Parshall

Did you know that one out of every 31 adults in the U.S. is either in prison/jail or on supervised release from incarceration?

That startling statistic is in an article by Senator James Webb of Virginia that appeared in last Sunday’s Parade Magazine. I don’t usually regard this newspaper supplement as a source of sociological wisdom, but Webb’s piece is worth every citizen’s attention. Reform of the criminal justice system and our overburdened prisons is… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on April 3, 2009 at 1:24am — 31 Comments

The Things We Keep

Sandra Parshall

(cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters)

On my desk sits a small brown pottery jar, crammed full of pens and pencils. It’s not much to look at, but it has been on every desk I’ve had for many years and unless it somehow gets broken into a million pieces, it will be on my desk for the rest of my life. On the bottom of the jar is the amateur potter’s name, scratched into the surface, the last three letters tiny and cramped because her name was long and she ran… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on January 12, 2008 at 4:48am — No Comments

Whose book is it, anyway?

(Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters <

Writers hear a lot about their “contract with the reader” -- the obligation to deliver a good story and to follow through on the expectations they’ve created.

For mystery writers, that unwritten contract requires that we obey the conventions of the various subgenres. Readers of humorous cozies would feel betrayed and angry if their favorite writers shoved their noses into the realistic gore of… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on August 30, 2007 at 6:48am — No Comments

Books into film

(Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters)

“It’s being made into a movie.”

Words to strike terror into the heart of a devoted reader. Even worse: “It’s being filmed for television.”

Sometimes it’s done right. The movie of Mystic River is almost as good as Dennis Lehane’s novel. The first Godfather film is better than the book. Showtime did a credible job of bringing Darkly Dreaming Dexter to television, and I liked it despite some changes.

More often, films… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on April 19, 2007 at 10:58am — 3 Comments

Riding the Review Rollercoaster

(Cross-posted from Poe's Deadly Daughters)

Now, at last, I understand my urge to publish novels.

It’s not a deep-seated desire to communicate. It’s not a need to purge my imagination of all those crazy made-up people who keep running around in their made-up world, doing shocking things. It’s not, heaven knows, a belief that publication will make me rich and famous. (I was never naive enough to believe that.)

No, it’s…

Added by Sandra Parshall on April 6, 2007 at 12:12pm — 6 Comments

Memories of Prison

(Cross-posted from my group blog, Poe's Deadly Daughters <>)

The Maryland House of Correction in Jessup is closed at last. The 129-year-old building is empty of inmates, and its long history of riots, attacks on correctional officers, escapes and violence among prisoners has come to an end.

Years ago, when I was a young reporter on the Baltimore Evening Sun, I visited Maryland prisons to report on health care for inmates. I had been… Continue

Added by Sandra Parshall on March 29, 2007 at 5:32am — 1 Comment

My Books

I'll introduce myself shamelessly with a little blatant self-promotion. I'm thrilled that my 2006 book, The Heat of the Moon, has been nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. My second book, Disturbing the Dead, is just going on sale now. I'm still fairly new to the world of published authors and haven't had time to become jaded and blase. With any luck, I never will.

Thanks to the creator of this site -- it's a welcome alternative to the kid-clogged MySpace.

Added by Sandra Parshall on March 8, 2007 at 1:16am — 1 Comment

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