Sunday Sentence

I’m participating in David Abrams’ project, Sunday Sentence, from his blog, The Quivering Pen, in which, “Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.”

jpg_bridge300“After three days in the wilderness, he had rotated the tires, mended three water mattresses, built a bridge, filled eight snow-control barrels with cinders, and devised a sophisticated system to de-sand everyone before they entered the tent.”jpg_tent0001

Do you recognize the writing of Erma Bombeck? It’s from If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?.

Speaking of the beloved writer, Erma Bombeck, I am thrilled to be attending the sold-out Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, on the campus of Erma’s alma mater, the University of Dayton, from March 31-April 2, 2016. I’ll be joining writers from 35 states, a couple of Canadian provinces, and Madrid, Spain. You can follow the Bombeck Workshop on Twitter @ebww.

How about you? Read any fun or intriguing sentences this week? Do share!

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13


Sunday Sentence

I’m participating in David Abrams’ project, Sunday Sentence, from his blog, The Quivering Pen, in which, “Simply put, the best sentence(s) I’ve read this past week, presented out of context and without commentary.”

“Poets, like detectives, know the truth is laborious: it doesn’t occur by accident, rather it is chiseled and worked into being, the product of time and distance and graft.” 

Source: Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann; Random House NY 2015.

BTW, Colum McCann will be reading from, discussing, and signing this book in Huntington, NY, at the Book Revue, on Saturday, December 12, 7 pm, at 313 New York Avenue (Colum’s tour originally lists December 11, but it has been changed to December 12th, as per Book Revue).

Thirteen Ways of Looking

Anyone else wish to join in with their favorite sentence of the week?

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Maya Angelou Forever Stamp

Today, during National Poetry Month (celebrating poetry’s vital place in our culture), the United States Postal Service issues the Maya Angelou Forever stamp.

On April 7, 2015, Postmaster General Megan Brennan will be joined by Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young and other notables at a first-day-of-issue stamp dedication ceremony in Washington, DC.

Also attending the ceremony will be Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson; Rep. Danny Davis (D-IL); poet Sonia Sanchez; author and journalist Sophia Nelson; Howard University English professor Eleanor Traylor; poet and civil rights activist Nikki Giovanni; civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton; and Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin, whose portrait of Angelou was used for the stamp. Melissa Harris-Perry will serve as master of ceremonies.

The announcement:

Author, poet, actress, and champion of civil rights Dr. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was one of the most dynamic voices in all of 20th-century American literature. The book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, an autobiographical account of her childhood, gained wide acclaim for its vivid depiction of African-American life in the South.

The stamp showcases artist Ross Rossin’s 2013 portrait of Dr. Angelou. The oil-on-canvas painting is part of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery’s collection. In the bottom left corner is the following phrase quoted by Dr. Angelou: “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” Above the quotation is her name in black type. The words “Forever” and “USA” are along the right side.


The stamp pane includes a short excerpt from Angelou’s book, “Letter to My Daughter.” It reads: “Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.” Art director Ethel Kessler of Bethesda, MD, designed the stamp.

Share the news via social media using #MayaForever.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

Literary Trivia

jpg_5840_Royalty_Free_Clip_Art_Surprised_Brain_Cartoon_Character_Reading_A_Book_With_Question_MarkOn, Erin LaRosa compiled a list of “20 Literary Facts to Impress Your Friends With.” Of the 20 facts of literary trivia, I only knew about five; I love learning something new every day!

TriviaPlaza has a quiz, “Literary Detectives and Their Authors.” (The average score is 6.46; I got an 8). Other trivia-plaza-quiz-logogeneral literature quizzes include: “Female Title Characters,” “Pen Names and Authors,” and “Book Opening Lines.” (Haven’t tried those yet.)

logo-for-facebook trivia bug

If you’re up for a lengthy challenge, Triviabug has 275 questions on their Literature Quiz. (If I start it, I’ll never finish this post!)


If you’ve never visited Arts & Letters Daily ~ you’re missing a great opportunity to learn many literary tidbits. New material is added six days a week. Check out this gem, which is linked to the original feature, “The Great Quietness of Eudora Welty,” written by Danny Heitman, at Humanities (The Magazine of the National Endowment of Humanities), March/April 2014:

“Eudora Welty had a simple explanation for her popularity as a speaker: ‘I’m always on time, and I don’t get drunk or hole up in a hotel with my lover.'”


Another site, NewPages, is a wealth of information for writers, readers, and editors, when it comes to Blogs and Daily News Sites.


If you visit any or all of the quiz sites, let us know how you did. Have fun, & good luck!

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

30 Days of the 5-2: Crime Poetry Weekly

5-2 Tour Badge

April is National Poetry Month, and Women of Mystery are joining the celebration by participating in the “30 Days of the 5-2” blog tour. Each Monday of the year, the 5-2 posts an original poem in text and audio/video. The diligent editor of the 5-2 is poet, reviewer, and moderator Gerald So.

On April 24, my blog-mate, Clare Toohey, will join the tour and discuss one of her favorite poems from “The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly.” (BTW, Clare is one of the many talented “Voices of the 5-2.” Listen to her recent reading of “The New Ireland” by Seamus Scanlon.)


One of my favorite features of the 5-2 is the intriguing “signed confession” by the poet; it reveals the inspiration behind his/her poem.

Here’s the ‘confession’ by Stevie Cenko, the poet of “Why?” which debuted on The 5-2 Crime Poetry Weekly on November 25, 2013:

Stevie confesses: “When Crime Equals Horror – Occasionally, we read of a crime committed that is pure, evil horror. When I first learned of the horror Mr. Anthony Blakely suffered, I could only conclude Foster Rayfield Leon was sentenced to two life terms with one sentence for each eye.”

Her poem and her confession struck a chord with me.

As a retired 21-year veteran police officer, I know too well how some tragedies tend to haunt. Many of my stories have been influenced by a crime or a tragedy that has refused to let go.

Here’s the haunting poem, “Why?” by Stevie Cenko:


Star light, star bright, the last star I will see
tonight. Jacksonville will still always be
my home. I was the DJ at the Starlite Café.
I played rock, reggae and requests. I looked at
everyone. I loved to get them dancing and see
them hugging. I made friends with Leon,
a popular guy. One night, outside, he argued
with me, said I looked at his girlfriend, wouldn’t
play her request: a contradiction to me. He beat
me that night. I crawled a few blocks away
and passed out. When I woke up, my eyeballs
were sitting on my cheeks, my right ear sliced off.
A good Samaritan found me and phoned 911.
Leon received two life sentences:
one for each eye sliced out.


If you are interested in submitting a poem to the 5-2, check out the guidelines

You can follow the 5-2 on Twitter @PoemsOnCrime. One of the hashtags in use is #30OfThe52


All April revenue from 5-2 and Lineup books and merchandise is donated to the nonprofit Academy of American Poets, supporting poets at all stages of their careers and fostering the appreciation of contemporary poetry.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

True Detective Withdrawal

True-Detective-HBO-SeriesWith the exception of Seinfeld, I’m not a huge TV-watcher, but I’m currently experiencing withdrawal since HBO’s riveting anthology crime drama series True Detective (created and written by Nic Pizzolatto and directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga) ended last Sunday night. I’m depressed that this brilliant installment has ended.

For an overview of this high-concept cop drama, watch this intriguing 5-minute HBO “About” clip (it contains no spoilers).

Word is that True Detective will return, but without Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson; their chapter of the anthology is closed. Visit for a closer look at the cast and crew of True Detective. The next season will feature a brand new cast and director. Sarah Ball and Drew Magary at contemplate five plot line possibilities for Season Two, which will allegedly involve “Occult Transportation.”

jpg_detective802The popularity of True Detective, which utilized multiples perspectives and timeframes to tell its story, has been intense. HBO Go crashed on the night of the finale (many fans vented on Twitter).  The declared True Detective “a massive hit.”

In his review of True Detective at The Daily Beast, Andrew Romano states, “Judging by the initial installments, it’s not only one of the most riveting and provocative series I’ve seen in the last few years; it’s one of the most riveting and provocative series I’ve ever seen. Period. And despite—or perhaps because of—the somewhat cliched premise, it has the potential, in its own quiet way, to be one of the most revolutionary as well.” I also concur with his opinion regarding Matthew McConaughey’s performance: “It is some of the finest screen acting I’ve seen in a long time.”

Robert Lloyd of the Los Angeles Times praised the series’ format: “We are seeing the return of the miniseries, reborn out of the seasonal long arc of the 8-to-13-hour dramatic serial. With no hurry to get to the end, there is time for slow, detailed storytelling with lots of room for conversation and for silence.”

David Wiegand of San Francisco Chronicle wrote: “The dialogue is rich, colorful and provocative, adding to the gothic sensibilities of the series…All the performances are superb, but those of McConaughey and Harrelson are in a class by themselves. Each actor develops his character with incredible depth and detail. Watching them individually is mesmerizing – watching them act with and against each other is one great holy s- moment after another.”

The chilling opening credits were inspired by double-exposure photography and a haunting song (“Far From Any Road,”a Southern-gothic tune originally released in 2003 by The Handsome Family). Check out the exclusive lyric video on website of Entertainment Weekly. It certainly sets the mood of the series!

Matthew McConaughey talks about his role as Rust Cohle (no spoilers).

jimmy_kimmel_live_kimmel_kartoon_youtube_leprechaun_season_9Whether you watched the series or not, you must experience the Kimmel Kartoon of True Detective and Looney Tunes. Fans of the detective series, Jimmy Kimmel, or Seth Rogen might enjoy this spoof that aired on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.

I echo Lauren Martin’s sentiments in her post, “Why We Don’t Want ‘True Detective’ to Ever End,” especially this excerpt:

We’re dreading the end of “True Detective” because it did something TV had yet to do for us before its debut: made us feel alive. It became a new philosophy, a new way to live our lives. It gave us entertainment in the form of self discovery and reflection. It scared us without monsters and surprise attacks, but with chilling theories about the after-life and forces of evil that lurk in human form and backyards.

Spoiler Alerts: Kenny Herzog of interviewed the villain about his role; Denise Martin of speaks with director Cary Fukunaga about Season One, and in another post, describes the origins of 13 True Detective set pieces. If you haven’t watched the series, but plan to, don’t click on these links ~ wait until you’re done!

magnify question mark-1If you’re interested in True Detective products, visit HBO’s online store.

Did you watch the series? What are your thoughts on the show? Do you plan to “binge-watch” the entire series when it becomes available?

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

MTM: Crime in the City: NPR series


Image via

I recently discovered a fascinating NPR special series called “Crime in the City” that ran last summer, one that would interest mystery, thriller, and crime fiction fans. The series featured interviews with crime novelists about their fictional detectives and the domestic or international  locales with which they are associated.

NPR web site visitors can listen to interviews, read transcripts, see location photos, and read excerpts of each author’s work.

“In ‘Alphabet’ Mysteries, ‘S’ is Really for Santa Barbara,” novelist Sue Grafton and NPR correspondent Mandalit del Barco visit Santa Barbara — the inspiration for Santa Teresa, the fictional stomping grounds of Kinsey Millhone, Grafton’s protagonist PI.


NPR correspondent Neda Ulaby interviews Ben Winters about his New Hampshire mystery novels in “Awaiting the Apocalypse in the Quiet Town of Concord.”

NPR correspondent Robert Smith interviews author Chris Grabenstein, in “Bodies on the Boardwalk: Murder Stirs A Sleepy Jersey Shore.”  The protagonist of his dark humor mysteries is Detective John Ceepak, a former Army military police officer who takes a job as a beach cop to recover from serving in Iraq — although he doesn’t get much rest. (BTW, there’s a shop online dedicated to John Ceepak merchandise!).


NPR correspondent Karen Grigsby Bates interviews Walter Mosley in “Ever-Changing L.A. Links Walter Mosley To His Mid-Century P.I.” Los Angeles is the setting for his iconic protagonist, Easy Rawlins, a man with a passion for social justice. His crime fiction novels take place in the late 1940s through 1967.

In Neville’s Thrillers, Belfast’s Violence Still Burns,” NPR correspondent Noah Adams talks with novelist Stuart Neville about his protagonist, Detective Jack Lennon, and the central role that Belfast plays in his thrillers.


Who are some of your favorite detectives/sleuths/private eyes — and from what towns or cities — fictional or real — do they call home?

For even more author goodness on NPR, check out their archive of author interviews.

Follow me on Twitter @katcop13.

Friday Fatales: Woman of Mystery Ngaio Marsh


Friday Fatales: Women of Mystery is an occasional series in which we honor an author recognized for her contribution to the genre of mystery (or suspense, noir, thriller, and crime fiction).

Edith Ngaio Marsh, an only child of amateur actors, was born in Fendalton, Christchurch, New Zealand on April 23, 1895 (although some sources indicate 1899).

Ngaio (pronounced “nigh-o”) Marsh is considered one of the original “Queens of Crime” — the female writers who dominated the crime fiction genre during the Golden Age of Detective Fiction in the 1920s and 1930s, alongside Agatha Christie, Margery Allingham, and Dorothy L. Sayers.

She was also a noted theatrical producer and many of her mysteries involve theaters and actors. In addition to the theatre and crime fiction, her other passion was painting. jpg_paints121

From the age of 28, she divided her time between New Zealand and the U.K.

Between 1932 and 1982, Ngaio authored 32 novels (most are set in England; four are set in New Zealand) and she published an autobiography, Black Beech and Honeydew, in 1965. Her most famous character is Chief Detective Inspector Roderick Alleyn, a gentleman detective who works for the Criminal Investigation Department of the Metropolitan Police in London.


The detective’s name appears on the list of “20 Best Super Sleuth Names for Boys” on

As an example of Ngaio’s popularity was the “Marsh Million” day in 1949, when 100,000 copies each of ten of her titles were released to the world market by Penguin and Collins.

In recognition to her contributions to theatre, Ngaio Marsh was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 1966.


Nine of her novels were adapted as The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries and aired on BBC in 1993 and 1994. Many of her novels are marked by her strong characterizations. She was known for her attention to police procedures and a strong sense of humor.

Her victims were murdered in unusual ways, such as impaling, spraying with weedkiller, suffocating in a bale of wool, a fatal head wound caused by a rigged bottle of champagne, and boiling in a mud pool.

In 1978, Ngaio received the MWA’s Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement as a detective novelist.

When writing about Dame Ngaio Marsh, Bruce Harding notes in Kotare 2007, Special Issue — Essays in New Zealand Literary Biography Series One: “Women Prose Writers to World War I”:

Marsh believed that detective fiction is by its nature shapely and, as such, ‘can command our aesthetic approval’ and explained why:

It must have a beginning, a middle and an end. The middle must be an extension and development of the beginning and the end must be implicit in both. The writing is as good as the author can make it: nervous, taut, balanced and economic. Descriptive passages are vivid and explicit. The author is not self-indulgent. If he commands a good style, there is every reason for maintaining it. In an age of immensely long and undisciplined novels we can do with some shapely ones and in the midst of much pretentious obscurity a touch of lucidity is not unwelcome.

(Ngaio’s comments are from her piece, ‘Entertainments’, in the January 1978 issue of Pacific Moana Quarterly.)

Ngaio Marsh never married or had children. She died in her New Zealand home in February, 1982, at age 86 (or 82, depending on the source). Her obituary published in The New York Times contained a quote from the author regarding her name: ”What does ‘Ngaio’ mean?” she once said. ”I don’t know. Like many Maori words it has a number of meanings – clever, light on the water, a little bug – but I don’t know which my parents had in mind.”

120px-Ngaio_flowerBeside a meaning of ‘clever,’ Ngaio is the name of a flowering shrub native to New Zealand; it can also mean brightness or brilliance, which symbolises enlightenment or great wisdom, and “reflections on the water.” Some sources indicate the name was chosen by her uncle.

Ngaio Marsh Award

The Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Novel, established in 2010, promotes andcelebrates excellence in crime, mystery and thriller writing by New Zealand authors. It is awarded each year in a ceremony held in Christchurch.


Photo: Ngaio Marsh House & Heritage Trust

Christchurch is also home of the Ngaio Marsh House and Heritage Trust. The house is the original four-bedroom cottage built for the Marsh family in 1905. It was Ngaio’s home for 77 years, where many of her possessions remain.

Check out the extensive bibliography of Dame Ngaio Marsh.


Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

Edgar Allan Poe Exhibition

poeEdgar Allan Poe: Terror of the Soul is currently on exhibit at The Morgan Library and Museum (@MorganLibrary) in New York City, and continues through January 26, 2014. The exhibition will feature nearly 100 items that explore Poe’s poetry, fiction, and literary criticism, and his wide-ranging influence on fellow writers.

As described on The Morgan Library and Museum’s web site:

Poe’s mastery of multiple writing genres will be represented by poem and short story manuscripts, early printed editions, letters, and literary criticism published in contemporary newspapers, magazines, and journals. On view will be such works as Annabel Lee and The Bells in Poe’s own hand; one of the earliest printings of The Raven; the first printing of The Cask of Amontillado; and an unprecedented three copies of Tamerlane, Poe’s earliest published work and one of the rarest books in American literature. Lesser-known writings, including A Reviewer Reviewed—Poe’s never-before-exhibited critique of his own work, written under a pseudonym—and the author’s annotated copy of his last published book, Eureka, provide a more complete picture of this complex writer. 

Importantly, Terror of the Soul is among the first museum exhibitions to explore Poe’s wide-ranging influence on fellow writers as diverse as Charles Dickens, Stéphane Mallarmé, Vladimir Nabokov, and Terry Southern. Other literary masterpieces on view include Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde; Paul Auster’s previously unpublished lecture on Poe’s influence on French authors; and T. S. Eliot’s annotated typescript of The Waste Land.

unnamedThe Morgan Library and Museum is offering related programs during the exhibition, including readings, gallery talks, films, discussions, and family programs.


Check out this slideshow for the exhibition.


Poe iPhone 5 case

The Morgan Library and Museum is located at 225 Madison Avenue at 36th Street. Read here for hours and admission. The Morgan Cafe will be featuring beverages inspired by Edgar Allan Poe & Terror of the Soul. The gift shop, at the museum and online, is offering many Edgar Allan Poe-related items for sale.


Follow me on Twitter @katcop13

The Whole Enchilada by Diane Mott Davidson

Caterer extraordinaire Goldy Shulz is really cooking in this latest culinary story. Holly Ingleby has long been a friend of Goldy’s and her faithful sidekick, Marla Korman. The three of them were part of a personal support group they called Amour Anonymous after divorcing their first husbands. The friendship survived all the moves, hardships, and changes Davidsonin the lives of the three women.

Goldy and Holly met for the first time at the big window in the maternity ward. Both were admiring their brand new sons, born on the same day. That chance meeting bloomed into friendship for the women as well as their sons, Arch and Drew. Now there’s a party at Marla’s new house celebrating the 17th birthday of the boys. Unfortunately, the party was less than happy and ended with Holly dying on the sidewalk out front.

What looks like cardiac arrest in a fairly healthy, young woman may not be. Now Goldy must find the ingredients to solve the many mysteries surrounding Holly’s life when she died.

You can’t go wrong reading Diane Mott Davidson. Not only will you enjoy a delectable mystery with an amazing amount of twists and turns, you’ll get some fabulous recipes. I love to read them, but I doubt I’ll ever prepare one because most of my recipe titles contain the word “easy,” and that wouldn’t apply to the dishes prepared by Goldy and her sous chef, Julian.

Another delicious element in Goldy’s stories is the meals the family enjoys while solving mysteries. With two chefs on the premises, the delights are endless.

As always, this book is layered like lasagna, but everything bubbles to the top in the end. And just to make your mouth water, the recipes included are Enchiladas Suizas, Not-So-Skinny Spinach Dip, Julian’s Fudge with Sun-Dried Cherries and Toasted Pecans, Crunchy Cinnamon Toast, Chocolate Snowcap Cookies, Dad’s Bread, Bread Dough Enhancer, Love-Me-Tenderloin Grilled Steaks, Goldy’s Chef Salad, Sugar-Free Vanilla Gelato, and Spicy Brownies. All of these are served at some point in the book. Yum!

I won’t spoil it for you, but am excited to say there’s an absolutely wonderful surprise at the end. If you’re a long-time fan, you’ll love it.

Have you read this one yet? If not, it’s time to get it!