Author: Keenan Powell

Keenan Powell is the Agatha, Lefty, and Silver Falchion nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series. While still in high school, she was one of the illustrators of the original Dungeons and Dragons. Art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. An Air Force brat, she was ready for a new place to go upon graduation so the day after commencement, she moved to Alaska where she continues to practice law. Her career has spanned the gamut from criminal defense, family law, dog law, personal injury, workers compensation, and appeals. In addition to writing the Maeve Malloy series, she has published a number of short stories including The Banshee of Adams, Massachusetts which short-listed for the Al Blanchard award. When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting, studying the Irish language, or hanging out with her friends at mystery conventions.

Happy Solstice!

Solstice is coming up on June 21. It’s is a big deal in Alaska. Everything is blooming. The fish are running. And we have lots of sun. In Utqiagvik, the northern most city in Alaska, the sun rises on May 10 or 11 and sets on August 1 or 2. That’s 83 days of daylight. In Anchorage, where I live, 722 miles south of Utqiagvik, the sun rises on June 21st at 4:21 a.m. and sets at 11:42 p.m. That’s 19 hours and 21 minutes of daylight. But to tell the truth, the “night” isn’t dark – it’s more like dusk for a while. Most years we have a street fair in Anchorage. The cops and the fireman compete in feats of strength – very entertaining. There are carnival rides, fair food, face painting, and lots of booths. One year, they blocked off an entire street and filled it with sand for little kids to play in. This year, no fair. But I’m certain everyone will be celebrating in their own way. Lots of fisher people on the rivers. Lots of campers in the woods. Lots of hikers on the trails. I’ll probably work in an extra long bike ride […]

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My Favorite Audiobooks

I love audiobooks. Do you? Audios are great because they don’t tie me down to a book.  I can listen to them while I’m cleaning house, driving the car, gardening, riding my bike, and steaming in the bath. A good narrator can bring life to a story, even more so than if I read it. Here are some of my favorites: The Thursday Murder Club Author: Richard Osman, Narrator: Lesley Manville. Lesley Manville is brilliant at bringing to life several characters “of a certain age,” which I am so I am particular about how we’re presented. She is witty and brings intelligence, compassion, and wisdom to her narration. The story: The club consists of four retired individuals living in a Kent, England, retirement community. They meet weekly to discuss cold cases purloined from the files of a past member, a detective. Meanwhile the developer of the retirement community wants to add additional housing by removing a convent’s burial ground and building on that space he now owns. Everyone else is opposed to it. As the conflict develops, his contractor is murdered. So the Thursday Murder Club are now investigating an open case. Highfire Author: Eoin Colfer, Narrator: Johnny Heller The […]

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I Need A Laugh

Life has been particularly challenging the past few weeks and I need a laugh. So hit me with your recommendations: books, audiobooks, movies, TV shows, anything funny. And in return, my two recommendations to you are Scot Free by Catriona McPherson and the audio book of Highfire by Eoin Colfer, both of which made me laugh out loud in a most unladylike manner. And, for your viewing delight, here are photos of my grandchildren making faces at me. Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

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Why Do We Love Books?

Miss Demeanor’s Question of the Week: Why Do We Love Books? Keenan: I love books because they transport me from real life and give me a chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Susan: I love books because they reassure me that I’m not the only lunatic out there. I’ve found some of my best friends in books. (Jane Eyre comes to mind.) They comfort me, inspire me, teach me and show me the world. Recently I was reading Julia Philips novel, Disappearing Earth, which is set in Siberia, and I thought, I’m in Siberia! Emilya: Well… yeah. I can’t imagine not reading. I don’t think more than a day has ever passed in my life after the age of 8 when I didn’t read for pleasure. Escapism, education, you name it, books do it for me. In that vein, I especially appreciate books written by authors from environments completely different from mine, whether it’s other countries, other genders, class, background, etc., etc. Connie: “The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and […]

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Mexican Gothic

It’s Cinco de Mayo, Mexican Independence Day. When I was living in California, that meant Corona beer and chile rellenos. (I never figured out how to eat a taco without everything falling out.) This year, I’m celebrating by reading Mexican Gothic, which I just purchased last night. New York Times bestseller. Zillions of Amazon, Goodreads, and Audible reviews. Have you read it? What did you think? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

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Who is Your Favorite Sherlock?

May 22 is Arthur Conan Doyle’s birthday. In celebration, tell us who your favorite Sherlock is! For a long time, Jeremy Brett was the only one for me. But Benedict crept into my heart, how can he not? As much as I adore Robert Downey Jr, sorry to say he’s my third choice. Is your favorite one of these three or do you have another? Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter.

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To Cut or Not to Cut #amediting

I’ve been rolling through the first revision of my WIP (work in progress) for a week or so, tweaking forty pages a day, when I hit a problem. I had a couple of sequential scenes that, when written, felt intrinsic to the story and quite plausible but on this pass weren’t working. I didn’t know what the problem was. Should I cut them? I didn’t want to but I couldn’t articulate a reason why. Should I revise them? How? I didn’t know what was wrong with them. So I decided to sleep on it. My reward was weird dreams. In one dream, I’m watching a man being dragged down a river by a sea bass that he had hooked. It was a thing he liked to do, like sea bass charioting. Eventually the fish got away and he had to trudge back up the river, which was only waist-deep, to stake out his favorite sea-bass catching spot. In another dream, I deftly revised a scene in a thrilling chase story, like North by Northwest, and just before I was to send it out to the betas, I realized there was no McGuffin – no reason for the bad guys to […]

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Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Psychological Thrillers, Irish Style

Little Cruelties and The Liar's Daughter

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! March 17th is yet another excuse to steep myself in my rich Irish heritage. When I was little, all that meant to me was blue eyes and curly hair. Since early adulthood, I’ve read everything Celtic I could get my hands on, historical, sociological, mythological; and eventually I discovered Irish crime fiction – a vibrant genre in its own right. Today, in celebration of Irishness, I want to introduce you to two of my favorite Irish crime fiction writers: Liz Nugent and Claire Allan. In 2020, these authors each published two of the most profoundly impactful psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. About Liz Nugent Liz Nugent was born in Dublin in 1967. Her career began in broadcasting. Later she toured with Riverdance working backstage. She barreled onto the crime fiction scene in 2014 with her debut, Unraveling Oliver, easily one of the creepiest psychological thrillers I’ve ever read. Not only was it an Oprah Magazine pick and a bestseller, it was also listed by the Sunday Times as one of the 50 great Irish novels of the 21st century. She didn’t quit there. Since then, she’s published four more standalones, Lying in Wait, Skin Deep, and […]

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