Highsmith - Criminally good

Expectations are running high here with the November 20 release of Carol. We expect to see drop-dead period clothing and crackling chemistry between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, but the sharp end of our interest lies in the resurgence of notice in author Patricia Highsmith. 

The Bechdel clip offers a fine peer review of PH's strength in psychological detailing. I've added "The Blunderer," as well as the recent "The Talented Miss Highsmith" to my MUST READ shelf. 

Do you have a personal favorite character from these uneasy tales?

Milestone Moment

It's not often I am transported out of my seat and onto my feet when reading my morning email. Not so, today.

We are getting ever-closer to the publishing of Buckle Down. This means the 20th re-read is behind us, plot points, character crises and timelines have all been scrutinized and scrupulously screened for inconsistencies. These are not moments for the muse, but rather for the systematic genius of my editor and partner in crime. Now we're down to attribution. One of my scenes includes reference to work by Scottish author, Jackie Kay. I sent off this enquiry - a request to quote said work. As I'd tried to connect this request through contacts found on GoodReads, twitter and an online email, I held scant hope of a reply through a form. But look...success! See excerpts below.
To: rights@bloodaxebooks.com

Subject: Website Contact Form Enquiry - Rights

Enquiry: I would appreciate your forwarding this request to author Jackie Kay. Many thanks in advance for your assistance!
Dear Jackie, 
I write because I am the author of a series of "Cozy-noir" mysteries based in Portland, Oregon. The books feature a cast of strong female characters, with the protagonist's book group (populated, as you may guess, with strong women) aid in the resolution of the mystery and the opportunity for justice to be served. The group's readings' inform the narrative and the ensuing conversation helps untangle the puzzle. 

The first book in the series contains adoption as a theme. I would very much like to quote a bit of your poetry in a scene in which your book is discussed by the fictional book group. Specifically, I would like to include this from "George Square": 

"And off they went, my two parents
to march against the war in Iraq, 
him with his plastic hips. Her with her arthritis, 
waved at each other like old friends, flapping, 
where they'd met for so many marches over their years, 
for peace on earth, for pity's sake, for peace, for peace." 

The poem would be discussed in the context of what incredible people your parents seem to be, and the tremendous examples they set for you. Naturally, I would give you credit in whatever way you prefer. There is, perhaps, a more formal way of my making this request. Please let me know if this is something you might consider. 

Thank you again for your lovely work. 

and THIS was the letter I received back from the publisher:


Yes that’s fine with me and sounds like a great cause for discussion. please go ahead, citing the following acknowledgment in accompanying literature:

Jackie Kay, Darling: New & Selected Poems (Bloodaxe Books 2007)


I hope this helps,

Dr. Suzanne Fairless-Aitken
Rights & Permissions
Bloodaxe Books


So, imagine Mata's book group sitting around the fire on an autumn evening discussing a crime long unavenged, some of adoption's many faces, and a conversation informed by poetry and prose that illuminates the gathering. It is thrilling to me that I will be able to include something of Jackie Kay's sweet genius in  the pages of Buckle Down. Thanks, BloodAxe Books, Suzanne Fairless-Aitken and the author herself, Jackie Kay. I'm over the moon, and rejoicing in this milestone moment.


Book Group Gathering Place - 'round the fire. Cozy!

Book Group Gathering Place - 'round the fire. Cozy!