Where Do You Get Ideas?

The question writers are asked most often seems to be, “Where do you get your ideas?” Since I was blessed to have a profession (lawyer) where I helped people solve their problems, I regularly witnessed the follies of human beings. Sitting in a courtroom every day, I was never bored and kept my ears, eyes, and a separate notebook open. I have more ideas than I’ll ever be able to use, but that’s not true for everyone.

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Agatha nominations

It’s Agatha Award nominating time, which means that people in the cozy mystery community are going through the books and stories we’ve read this year and cogitating over which ones we’d like to nominate. (Ballots are due in electronically by March 6.)

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Adventures in Time Travel: Would You?

I have two questions for you this week: First, if it were possible, would you travel back in time? Second, if you could land in any historical era, when would it be and why?

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Plot Twist! Secrets, Lies, and Expectations.

If Jed Mercurio is a pantser, I’m a red herring.

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The Mighty Pen

A couple of years ago, back when we could do such things, I went to see a band at a Brooklyn nightspot. In performing what I thought would be a cursory rummage through my bag, the bouncers found my pens. All two dozen or so of them.

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HIDE IN PLACE – the new novel by Emilya Naymark

She left the NYPD in the firestorm of a high-profile case gone horribly wrong. Three years later, the ghosts of her past roar back to terrifying life.

When NYPD undercover cop Laney Bird’s cover is blown in a racketeering case against the Russian mob, she flees the city with her troubled son, Alfie. Now, three years later, she’s found the perfect haven in Sylvan, a charming town in upstate New York.

But then the unthinkable happens: her boy vanishes.

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Celebrate Black History Month with Black Mystery Authors

The history of Black American crime fiction dates back to the 1930s

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Eat, Drink, and be Literary

Welcome to By the Book, Miss Demeanors’ style. In the tradition of the New York Times Sunday feature, the question of the week is: You’re organizing a literary dinner party. Which three authors, dead or alive, do you invite, in addition to your fellow Miss Demeanors, of course?

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Inspiration: Kent Haruf

There’s nothing I love more than an inspirational story, and one of my favorites involves Kent Haruf.

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Length Matters: How Many Words Does It Take?

How long is a sentence? The answer I got in junior high school was “long enough to finish the thought.” Cheeky.

For years, the longest sentence ever written in English was said to be Molly Bloom’s 3,687-word soliloquy in the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922). However, one of the finalists for the 2019 Booker Prize was Lucy Ellman, whose 1,000-page Ducks, Newburyport consists mostly of a single sentence that runs to 426,000 words. Beat that if you can.

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