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LEFT COAST CRIME: SEX, VIOLENCE AND A BRIEF WORD ABOUT MARRIAGE
March 18, 2008

The most recent Left Coast Crime just concluded in Denver, and I thought I would briefly share two things:

The first is a blog from
The Rap Sheet concerning a panel I was on—titled "Sex and Violence: Is Too Much Ever Enough?"—with the inimitable Eric Stone, the dazzling Tasha Alexander, the irrepressible Marcus Sakey, and the slyly sure-handed Bill Cameron. A fun time was had by all—with or without handcuffs (or blushing).

Second, here is a link to a
YouTube video produced by J.T. Ellison of Tasha, at Colin Campbell's insistence, reading an excerpt from the sex scene in Blood of Paradise (which the Washington Post called "heroic"—the sex scene, not Tasha's reading, though you be the judge of what or who is heroic here).

The only sad note to the whole conference came on the final day, when a circle of us had our last meal together. The talk was of marriage. Two of the men were widowers, and two of the women had either concluded or were in the midst of incredibly rough, unsupportive marriages—and the talk turned to other women similarly situated, of which there were a disturbingly large number: gifted writers we all knew, brilliant and beautiful women, trapped in relationships or marriages that were slowly killing their spirits. I came away saddened and even more devoted to these women, whom I'm so proud to call my friends.

The up note? J.T. Ellison nominated her husband, Randy, for Supportive Mensch Award. I seconded. The yeahs carried—unanimously.

Don't get me wrong, I have a number of other male friends whom I know are also great husbands/partners—Eric Stone (boy, he's getting good press here today), Eddie Muller, Tim Maleeny, Kirk Russell, Tony Broadbent, Mark Haskell Smith—to name just the first few who spring to mind. And I know many women writers whose marriages are warm and supportive. But the talk was of a different stripe Sunday afternoon, and I left with a bit of a heavy heart, caring so much for these women I consider exceptional, and deserving of so much.

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