Author: C. Michele Dorsey

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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LET THE READER DECIDE

I reconsidered titling this blog post, “When Bad Things Happen to Good Writers,” when I heard the conceit and self-indulgence in it. I am celebrating the official publication tomorrow of Tropical Depression, the third mystery in the Sabrina Salter series, and don’t want to sour the joy with even a note of negativity.             I was thrilled when  No Virgin Island and Permanent Sunset, the first two in the series were published after I had tried to have books I had written earlier published. I had and still have no regrets sharing that I got my first publishing contract in the same month I received my Medicare card. I am proud to be a writer of a certain age and will never apologize for trying to share my stories with readers. To me, my reciprocation with readers is the way I thank the thousands of writers who have entertained me since I was a child.             I admit I was surprised when my publisher didn’t want to publish the third installment in the Sabrina Salter series, but I was determined that I would write and publish it anyway. When my efforts and those of my agent were unsuccessful, I continued […]

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SERIES GIVEAWAY

People often ask if you have to read a mystery series in order. The answer is, if the series has been written properly, you don’t. Having said that, I and a million other mystery readers still believe a series is best savored if you read the books in order.             I started reading Louise Penny’s Armand Gamache series with book nine and enjoyed it so much, I read the rest of the series in order one-by-one. I was having a difficult time and her setting, bucolic Three Pines, and her quirky characters offered me escape and comfort.             The third book in the Sabrina Salters series, Tropical Depression, is set to launch by the end of the month. I wrote No Virgin Island first, followed by Permanent Sunset. Here’s a snapshot of the series. Disgraced former Boston meteorologist Sabrina Salter fled Nantucket after being acquitted of her husband’s murder and took refuge in the Virgin Islands where she and her friend Henry established a villa rental business. Unfortunately, trouble follows Sabrina to St. John where dead bodies keep finding her. Already unpopular with the police for being found not guilty, Sabrina must turn to the survival skills she developed as […]

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Pumpkin Time: Rave or Rant?

Michele:   It’s time for my annual pumpkin rant, folks. I’m a little early this year, but no earlier than the appearance of all things orange and pumpkiny everywhere you go. Yes, I did make up that word, but I have no doubt it will be in the next edition of Dreyer’s English. A trip to HomeGoods sent me into pumpkin rage the other day as I sneezed and was blinded by orange. I could go on but instead will ask my fellow Miss Demeanors whether they have more tolerance for all-things-pumpkin than I do: What do you think of All-Things-Pumpkin season? Lattes, candles, bakery goods, it seems you can’t walk into a store without an orange overdose. Are you inspired and writing in the glow of pumpkin candles? Or are you like me, having a case of pumpkin-rage, ready to write with anger? I’m someone who has allergies and has developed a sensitivity to fragrances. I deplore the premature celebration of holidays and seasons. Alexia: All things 🎃 season makes me laugh because of the passionate responses it invokes, both pro and con. I’m not a huge PSL fan but I lean in to the silliness of the battle anyway. It’s […]

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Quirky Characters

What is it about Kinsey Millhone? I didn’t realize how much I miss Kinsey Millhone until I saw the ad for dusting slippers on Facebook. Kinsey, the beloved protagonist in Sue Grafton’s alphabet mystery series, lived in a garage apartment and was known to dust her way up the stairs with her socks on. Sometimes, it’s the little things about a character that make you love them. Like when they cut their hair with manicure scissors, another of Kinsey’s quirks. The New York Times even took note of Kinsey’s odd love of peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. While I do not share Kinsey’s taste in sandwiches, I adored her and her peculiar habits. I once had a chance to chat with Sue Grafton, whose annual addition to the series I still miss every year.  Kinsey had a little black dress made of a mystery fabric that didn’t wrinkle which she pulled out of her purse when the jeans she standardly wore didn’t fit the occasion. Grafton lamented that she had been unable to find such a dress in real life. I have read and enjoyed every one of Sue Grafton’s books, but what I remember most about them are the […]

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Writing on the Porch

There is nothing like writing on a porch. It combines the best of two worlds. I sit on cozy furniture cushioned with piles of pillows, yet I am somehow outdoors smelling the ocean in the distance and listening to the birds serenade me. I can listen to a downpour and inhale the wetness of grass without ever getting wet.             I’ve been coming to this particular porch for the same week for more than twenty years. Even when I downsized and moved to the next town, I continued to come to my retreat on this porch. I have written portions of every book I have ever written on this porch. I have read sections aloud to trusted friends and family. This porch has become a part of me. It feels sacred and safe.             The porch changes just a little every year. The owner has the knack of decorating it and the rest of the tiny cottage with bits and pieces of Cape Cod memorabilia, which somewhere else might feel overdone but here feels perfect. There may be new curtains billowing in the breeze or an additional batch of shells on the table, but the feeling never changes. There is […]

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When Bad Things Happen to Good Conferences

The sad news yesterday that Bouchercon 2021, the beloved annual mystery fan conference that was scheduled for the end of the month in New Orleans, wasn’t surprising. Increasing concerns regarding the insufferable Covid and its variants had many registrants canceling their attendance. It became apparent that the health and safety of attendees were at risk and so the agonizing decision was made to cancel the conference. A tough call, made to the credit of the Bouchercon committee.             To people who have never been involved with holding a conference, the choice to cancel may have seemed simple. Those who have volunteered to work at a mystery writer/reader conference, know better. Most conferences are staffed largely, if not entirely, by volunteers. The work is intense and motivated by the love of mysteries and devotion to the close community of those who love reading and writing them. The work begins far in advance of the actual conference.             Bouchercon 2021 was eagerly anticipated for several reasons. It was the first in-person conference scheduled after Covid resulted in the cancellation of all for a year and a half. People were excited that the venue was New Orleans, the site of previous Bouchercons that […]

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Grab Your Idea and Run

People always ask writers, “Where do you get your ideas?” The answer is probably different for every writer, but what I want to talk about is how exciting it is when a new idea pops up.             Lately, I have been attending to the business of writing. Publishing details, publicizing, copy editing, etc. Frankly, it’s not my favorite part about writing and I often try to avoid it. But that only works for so long. So, I slog away at the drudgery until magically in a moment, I get an idea for a new story. The embryo of a book. It may be a character whispering in my ear, begging for her story to be told or it may be that Greek Gothic house I drive by every week where I am certain events are unfolding that readers have to hear about.  It’s an energizing catalyst for me. I am quickly inspired to finish up the busyness of the business of writing so I can return to the joy of playing make-believe.             So, what is buzzing in my brain that has me so excited?  I’ll share a little, but you’ll have to wait for the book for the full […]

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Close Criminal Encounters

This was my question for Miss Demeanors this week. What they told me that can’t be published was astounding! But what can be put in print is pretty amazing too. Michele:         We write about crime, we read about crime. But do we know criminals? Tell our readers about at least one criminal you have met, either professionally or personally (related to?), and whether that influenced your writing. If you haven’t encountered a criminal (seriously?) tell us about someone who doesn’t quite play by the rules. What my grandmother would call a rogue. I’ll go first.  I had to interview a man who was on trial for killing his wife in front of their three-year-old, who was in a crib. I sat alone with the accused in a small room with cinderblock walls at a small table. He hadn’t gone on trial yet and denied killing the wife. I was there on behalf of the child. There wasn’t an ounce of regret or contrition in his voice. He was arrogant and unfeeling. I was reminded why I didn’t practice criminal law (Keenan feels this way about family law). When I think of that interview, I wonder why I write crime. I […]

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