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Letter from Laura
April 2004

What's In a Name

If you're reading this, you should know the address -- I've always felt a little sheepish about owning this domain name because I'm far from the only Laura Lippman in the world. (Must be something about that alliteration that proved so appealing.) In fact, there are at least two other Laura Lippmans who write - one who has provided Monarch guides to Shakespearean plays, and another who has written serious, scholarly tomes on children and education.

Still, assuming one has not come here to learn about the other Laura Lippmans, it might be reasonable to infer that people visit this site to read about me, me, me. But I am increasingly uncomfortable with that inference. Yes, this site exists to provide basic information about my publishing career -- when books and short stories are coming out, where I'll be speaking or signing. But, in a perfect world, this site would provide reported pieces about Baltimore, little vignettes that may not make the daily paper, but provide a window onto the place that is integral to everything I write.

In late March, I began to write the April letter. I spent perhaps six hours on it, all told -- revising, researching links. (The links on these pages are chosen pretty carefully, although it's understandable if that's not always obvious.) But I could not hit the send button when it came time to send the piece to Beth Tindall, Webmistress Extraordinaire. The topic (Jane Austen Doe) felt stale, and, although the approach was somewhat novel, the repeated use of the first-person singular was sickening. And then I read this, and it was everything I wish this site could provide on a monthly basis and, theoretically, could. But in practice, it's much, much harder than it looks. A story such as this may be reported and written in a day or two, but it takes a huge investment of time to find such stories. It's worth noting that the "Charmed Lives" column has three regular contributors, which is part of the reason it's a great read, week-in and week-out.

So how do we -- yeah, I'm dragging you into this -- make this site about something other than its eponymous owner without making it a new fulltime job? I have an idea, but it requires cooperation from a big corporation not inclined to grant me any favors. Then again, would the Tribune Co. really notice if I started posting some of my old pieces here? Hmmmmm.

Meanwhile, send your ideas, queries, requests -- about Baltimore, publishing, greyhounds, whatever topics about which I might have first-hand information. The best ideas will be rewarded with galleys for By a Spider's Thread. Important disclaimer: The quantity available will depend on how many I get. I have one now, but expect more.

Meanwhile, I'd also like to hear from anyone who sent a bookplate request in the past six weeks. I've lost some e-mails in a laptop meltdown, so if you haven't heard from me, please write again.

Upcoming appearances:

April 17th, The City Lit Festival, Baltimore, Md.

April 30th-May 1st, Malice Domestic, Arlington, Va.

May 6th, Maryland Library Association, Ocean City, Md.

May 14th, Mystery Lovers Bookshop in Oakmont, Pa. With Karin Slaughter to discuss the collaborative "novel-in-voices" Like a Charm.

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