News and more news!

One of the many things I love about living in a small community is that people seem genuinely interested in hearing what you’re up to, especially something as wild and wonderful as writing a book. I’m delighted to share these newspaper articles and interviews: 

“Attorney Weaves Writing Career Around Her Job,”  in The Daily Inter Lake,

“Local Lawyer Publishes Crime Book,” in The Bigfork Eagle, and

“Bigfork attorney pens book to help crime writers,” in The Missoulian.

Thanks, reporters and editors!

Books, Crooks and Counselors – update – Death Penalty

The sentencing chapter of Books, Crooks and Counselors answers writers’ questions about the death penalty. Last week, the Death Penalty Information Center released its year-end report showing that 78 people had been sentenced to death in 2011 and 43 had been executed–compared to 224 sentences and 85 executions in 2000.

According to an NPR report, the DPIC executive director says that the majority of Americans are opposed to or ambivalent about the death penalty. They are concerned about wrongful executions, unfair sentencing–highlighted by debate over Georgia’s execution of Troy Davis–and the expense of the legal process surrounding the death penalty.

A Gallup poll taken in October showed that 61% of Americans favored the death penalty for murder, the lowest support since the early 1970s.

Illinois abolished the death penalty, Oregon recently imposed a moratorium, and bills to ban it have cropped up in several state legislatures, including my state, Montana.

Again according to NPR, the director of the National District Attorneys Association–the prosecutors–says a big factor in the change in support is a change in the alternatives. Years ago, a life sentence often meant 15 to 20 years. Now, all 50 states and the federal system offer life without parole, meaning death in prison. The director also points to the drop in murder rates, now back to 1960s’ levels.

I’ve long thought that life without parole is a far worse sentence than the death penalty. Once you’re dead, you’re done–at least on the earthly plane–with no more guilt, fear, or shame. And no more potential regret, rehabilitation, or forgiveness. Knowing you’ll die in prison, never to walk free, seems far worse to me.

(Photos: Old Montana Prison, Powell County Museum & Arts Foundation. Handcuffs:

Talking True Crime

One of the best things about going to a conference is meeting smart, nice people who are experts in things you know nothing about. At Bouchercon, I met Doug Starr, author of The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science. I also met the Siren of Suspense, Chantelle Osman. Today, I’m on her blog, the Sirens of Suspense, talking about his book. And if you leave a comment at the Sirens blog (not here!), you’ll be entered to win a copy of Books, Crooks & Counselors.