MISS DEMEANORS

It’s Giveaway Time!

 

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Coffee, Tea, or ? A Writer’s Choice

I’ve been watching all the tea-drinking online as people celebrate the launch of Lori Rader-Day’s Death at Greenway and thinking about how seriously writers seem to take their beverages. My question is are you a tea drinker or a coffee drinker, or both? Is drinking either part of your writing ritual? Are there any other beverages you connect to your writing? And, yes Alexia, it can involve bourbon or other spirits. Me:  I’ve tried to like tea many times. It’s such a civilized beverage, but I am a dark French roast coffee drinker who thinks it’s blasphemy to add sugar or milk. I have discovered Irish Gunpowder Gin, which contains botanicals, including green tea, if that counts. Keenan:   A pot of Death Wish to start off my writerly activities at 0430. When that runs out, around now noon, I switch to Tazo Green China Tips.  Emilya:   Funny you ask! Just this morning I crushed the mint I grew and dried over the summer. I’ll probably have one moreharvest before the weather really turns. Tea is not a beverage, it’s a way of life. Recently my mix of choice is Irish Breakfast with loose chamomile flowers. SO delicious. If I can […]

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Secret histories

A weird thing happened when I started to write my new novel, Maggie Dove and the Lost Brides. (Coming on November 9!!!)

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If Walls Could Talk

Last week my husband and I spent the better part of a day trekking on Dartmoor in Devon. There we saw stone walls built in the 1300s. The stones, we were told, were so skillfully fitted together, they rarely fall. These dry stone walls have long outlived their human makers. They have witnessed births and deaths, celebrations and wars, abundance and famine. If walls could talk, think of the untold stories they would tell.

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What is Gothic Fiction?

I have a new story cooking in my head which I think might be gothic, but I’m not sure. I don’t exactly know what gothic is. I’ve heard it described as horror and as romance. Now, while I can give you many accountings of horrible dates (I’m sure we call can), that’s not really the direction I want to take this story. I asked Cynthia Kuhn, author of the acclaimed Lila McLean Academic Mystery series and literature professor in real life, what goth was. She told me there are three basic elements: a creepy old house, a family legacy, and a ghost. And then she gave me a reading assignment. It took two tries but I finally finished Rebecca, Prof. Kuhn. I don’t know why I didn’t like it the first time around. Loved it the second time. Rebecca has all the elements: a creepy old house owned by some kind of aristocrat (read: legacy) and while there isn’t a ghost per se, the presence of the deceased titular character still presides over the living.  The recently popular Mexican Gothic has the creepy old house, a family legacy, and a creepy old guy – still alive but he’s practically a […]

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Entropy in storytelling

Entropy is the opposite of stasis, and therefore, the exact thing that makes stories so interesting. A character wakes up one morning expecting their life to roll along as it always had, and then WHAM. Disorder, a break, destruction. And nothing can ever go back to how it was, because that’s how life works.

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The pleasure of re-reading a book

I reread Agatha Christie’s Sleeping Murder this week. I had the same sense of compulsion to reach the end, and wondered how you all feel when rereading an old favorite.

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What Remains

La Plus Ça Change I just got back from a trip a couple of hours ago. My travels involved three airports, three planes, and several Lyfts. They also involved masks but not so much social distancing. Restaurants were open again and airports seemed just as crowded as they did in the before times. While I was on my trip, I used a cloud-based communications app to interview an author for my podcast. I later used the same app to give a podcasting tutorial to a writers’ group. The day prior, I’d used it to attend a writing workshop. The author and the writers’ group were more than 700 miles away from me. The workshop moderator was 2,000 miles away. If the lockdown hadn’t forced us to find new ways to communicate, I likely wouldn’t have done any of those things. Some changes brought about by the lockdown are likely here to stay. Live streaming and virtual conferencing aren’t going anywhere. And that’s a good thing. Because of Zoom, Slack, Adobe Connect, Microsoft Teams, Streamyard, Crowdcast, Looped, Facebook Live, Instagram Live, and all the other streaming platforms and communications apps we can interact with people, attend conferences and lectures, and participate […]

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Death at Greenway: Lori Rader-Day

I was honored to receive an advance copy of Death at Greenway annotated by the author Lori Rader-Day, which I won in a charity auction. I made myself read it slowly, savoring the experience of having the insight of the author as I read her fabulous story about Agatha Christie’s holiday home. Lori generously answered a few of my questions to share with Miss Demeanor’s readers.

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Stories, stories, everywhere

Recently I spent twelve days in the hospital. One thing I discovered is that there is actually a limit to the number of Law & Orders you can watch. But, when I turned off the TV, I discovered myself awash in some of the most profound and moving stories I’d ever heard.

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Sometimes You Have To Leave Home

Setting can be a character in its own right. It can also be a metaphor. Setting creates a mood, grounds a story in reality, informs the characters, and often determines plot. Think of the wilds of Cornwall in Daphne Du Maurier’s Rebecca, or the bleak, treacherous moors in Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles or the Dustbowl of the 1930s in Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. These stories couldn’t have happened anywhere else, and the job of the author is to transport their readers to another time and place.

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Recent Posts

It’s Giveaway Time!
  • October 1, 2021
Secret histories
  • October 21, 2021
If Walls Could Talk
  • October 20, 2021
What is Gothic Fiction?
  • October 19, 2021
Entropy in storytelling
  • October 18, 2021
What Remains
  • October 14, 2021

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