Sunday, July 29, 2007

Lots to catch up on

I'm way behind in posting news to you, and responding to comments -- a combination of post-travel discombobulation and working on finishing a book.

Which doesn't mean I'm short on news! It has been a great week! As some of you know, Kidnapped has been nominated for an Anthony Award for Best Novel, which will be voted on and given at Bouchercon. I know people joke about this, but really, it is an honor to be nominated, and this year I find myself in fine company. You can see the full list of nominees here.

The Summer 2007 issue of CLUES: A Journal of Detection is just out. Ed Gorman has posted some kind comments about my essay in it on his blog. I wrote about Charlotte Armstrong, and like Ed, I hope a small press will reissue some of her best books — she was a master of suspense.

Some of you have mentioned that it is now hard to find a photo of my dog Britches on my Web site. Cappy's on the cover of the books -- his one brown, one blue eye face always appeals to photographers more than Britches, who not only fails to sit still for them, he disappears into his own dark fur. So above, I've posted (or tried to -- Blogger seems not to be cooperating) a photo I took a while ago of him -- "helping" Tim to do a push-up.

More soon!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Looking forward to

1) The Down Tight gig at The Starting Gate next weekend.*

2) Getting my copy of the final installment of Harry Potter's adventures at midnight. I will NOT spoil the book for the rest of you, so don't be afraid to read the blog after today. ;-) I can't tell you how many Web sites and television broadcasts I've been avoiding this week.

3) Going to the NIJ Annual Conference next week!

4) The appearance (on July 22) of a post I wrote at the request of Rhys Bowen for The Lady Killers blog. They've been gathering posts from friends on the theme of "wish you were here/wish I was there."

*Sorry about the mix-up -- I had the wrong date up here for a few hours!

Photo above courtesy of Scott Liddell (hotblack), from

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Please do this now -- you'll help crime labs

As many of you know, I'm concerned about the many problems created by the lack of funding for public forensic science in the United States.

I've just received this message from Beth Lavach, lobbyist for the Consortium of Forensic Science Organizations, about pending legislation that would help fund forensic science in the U.S. -- please lend your immediate support! Responding only takes a few minutes, and you can do a great deal of good by helping out.

As a result of the strong support and efforts of Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Richard Shelby (R-AL), the forensics community has an opportunity to expand and improve its technology, training and facilities. Senator Mikulski is the Chair of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee. Senator Shelby is the Ranking Member.

Because both Senators recognize the importance and value of forensic sciences in the advancement of justice for all citizens, they have approved appropriations of $40 million for Coverdell grants and $151 million for DNA testing and backlog in the Senate Appropriations Bill. The proposed Coverdell funds are more than twice as much as has ever been included in the nation's budget. The DNA figure represents an increase as well.

It is even more encouraging to learn that Senator Joseph Biden (D-DE), a longtime supporter of forensics has joined with Senators Mikulski and Shelby to include additional funding in the authorization bill and, just as important, make the grant application and management process easier for state and local agencies.

While we in the forensics community have much to be pleased about, the real effort has just begun. It's time now to develop a grassroots effort to insure these welcomed beginning steps are made into law and will be just the first steps in an ongoing program.

Forensics needs your help. Each and every one of you!

Step One - contact these Senators and express your appreciation for their support.

Step Two - we need to get these bills through the House of Representatives before they become part of the final spending package. Contact Rep. Alan, Mollohan (D-WV) the Chairman of the Commerce, Justice and Science Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. His support and vote are absolutely essential and you can play a major role in making him aware of the need for backing this funding proposal. Time is critical. This legislation is making its way through Congress as we speak. Get on the phone and or e-mail these legislators. Do all three and urge your colleagues to do the same. Do it now. It's up to the members of the community to make this happen. Thank the Senators for the work they have done and ask Congressman Mollohan to fund at the same level or above!

Sen. Barbara Mikulski
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-4654
Fax: 202-224-8858

Sen. Richard Shelby
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-5744
Fax: 202-224-3416

Sen. Joseph Biden
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Ph: 202-224-5042
Fax: 202-224-0139

The Honorable Alan B. Mollohan
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Ph: 202-225-4172
Fax: 202-225-7564

Monday, July 09, 2007

Getting back in gear

Thanks for your patience! I'm back home from a family reunion, the last day of the class was yesterday, and while there are any number of irons still in the fire, I'm probably going to be able to post here more often now.

A friend of mine sent a link to Ursula K. LeGuin's commentary, "On Serious Literature," which I am adding to a long list of reasons to cherish LeGuin.