Author: D.A. Bartley

Favorite Farewells

The Sound of Music is still one of my favorite movies. I understand it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but starting with that iconic opening scene to nuns stealing engine parts, there’s just so much to love. When I first encountered the 1965 musical drama, I identified with Marta and hoped one day I would be like Liesl. I adored Maria, despised The Baroness–now one of my favorites–and was utterly heartbroken by Rolf’s betrayal. And, of course, there was the good night song and that glass of champagne. I inhale the moment Captain von Trapp tears the Nazi flag and don’t exhale until I know the family is safely hiking up the Alps toward Switzerland. I think one of the reasons I love this ending is that it touches on two themes Alexia and Tracee bring up (read on): not everything is perfect and there is hope.

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I wanted to write about friendship because it’s the word that I most associate with Miss Demeanors. These women are not only marvelous writers, but they are also marvelous human beings. I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has shared a kind thought or helpful piece of advice. I really can’t imagine the past two years without them.

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An Interview with Cathi Stoler

Cathi Stoler–a three time finalist & winner of the 2015 Derringer for Best Short Story, Cathi serves on the board of NYC Chapter of Sisters in Crime NY, and is a member Mystery Writers of America & International Thriller Writers–is a busy woman. Her second Nick Donahue adventure, Out of Time, releases soon and is my excuse to catch up with her to ask a few questions.

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A Fond Farewell

I didn’t think I’d be writing these words. Yet, here I am—with a tear in my eye—saying goodbye. This has been a really hard decision to make. This past June, I was elected president of the New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime. As much as I wanted to believe that I could serve as the new president and give this blog my 100%, I finally had to admit that there are only so many hours in the day, and I need to spend some of them sleeping. (Seriously, I can be an incredible grouch.)

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Talking Suspense with Jaden Terrell.

We met this spring when you flew up from Nashville to speak to the New York Chapter of Sisters in Crime. You gave a fascinating presentation on craft. Afterwards, you and I had quite the discussion about what makes for good suspense. You were rather persuasive. So, will you explain what you think makes for I-cannot-put-this-book-down suspense? Thank you. Alison. That was a lively conversation, and as I remember, you were pretty persuasive yourself. I’m a big proponent of Donald Maass’s mantra, “Tension on every page,”  and I think suspense is tightly connected to that. But I also think writers interpret it too narrowly. They add bickering, car chases, explosions, and fight scenes in hopes of raising the stakes and heightening suspense. But we’ve all read books that had non-stop action and yet came across as flat or even humdrum. That happens when the writer forgets to give the reader an emotional stake in the story.

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The Last Days of Summer

Welcome to the last week of August. I love this time of year. That first chill in the evening air reminds me the last petals will drop from the flowers and color will come from leaves changing their colors. Corn on the cob tastes a little sweeter because summer vegetables will soon be replaced by their heartier fall counterparts. This morning, my toes were cold enough that slipping my feet into wool slippers was exactly the right thing to do.

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