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.

Writers Workshops

In my last post, I talked about my favorite writing manuals and we received great recommendations in the comments. Today I’m talking about my favorite writing workshops. I’ve been to a few. And these are the my favorites: Book Passages Mystery Writers Conference If you write mysteries and want to learn how to write better mysteries, this workshop is tailored for you. Book Passage | Book Passage The faculty that had been planned for 2020 included Cara Black, Rhys Bowen, Tony Broadbent, Kimberly Cameron, Karen Catalona, Joe Clifford, George Fong (retired FBI agent), Julie Grames, Dr. Terri L. Haddix, Rachel Howzel Hall, Laurie R. King, James L’Etoile, Tim Maleeny, Catriona McPherson, Vilaska Nguyen (criminal defense attorney), Otto Penzler, Bill Petrocelli, Zoe Quinton, Susan C. Shea, Kelli Stanley, Robin C. Stuart, and Jacqueline Winspear. If you go, don’t miss out on the one-on-one consultations.  They’re worth every penny. Litreactor My online favorite for two reasons: the subjects offered and the workshop structure. Each week of the course, every student uploads a few pages that are critiqued by fellow students and the teacher. Online writing classes and writers’ workshops | LitReactor I got the most out of The Big Idea class with […]

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How to Learn Mystery Writing

How do you learn to write mysteries? Stuck up in Alaska with no local Sisters in Crime, I have had to figure out the craft of writing mysteries by myself. Accordingly, I have purchased just about every writing manual on the market. I asked my sister Miss D’s what their favorite manuals are. Here are mine: Keenan Writing and Selling Your Mystery Novel by Hallie Ephron. This is the bible. Hallie gives you clear explanations of each concept from the premise to preparing the final manuscript. You will learn about structure, character, voice, dialogue, red herrings, plot twists, and so much more. The Art of Character by David Corbett. David is the author of a number of mystery/suspense novels and teaches widely. In this book, you will go beyond the statistical data that would appear on your character’s drivers license and delve into desire, secrets, struggles, and again, so much more. My favorite part of this book is the exercises. If you take the time to develop your characters through working through the suggested questions, your story will practically write itself. The Compass of Character by David Corbett spins off The Art of Character and goes into greater depth discussing […]

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Bouchercon!

https://www.bouchercon2021.com/registration-information Last March, I was in San Diego at Left Coast Crime when the convention was shut down on the first night. Many of us stayed up way past our bedtimes, hanging out in the bar/restaurant, drifting from table to table. I didn’t want to go home. I don’t think anyone else did. Since then there have been virtual conference. But they just aren’t the same. I miss my friends. I miss talking about crime fiction writing with people who understand the art, craft, and business. Bouchercon is on! It’s the biggest fan convention in America, maybe anywhere. Guests of honor include Michael Connelly, Steph Cha, Craig Johnson, Charles and Caroline Todd, Alafair Burke, Ali Karim and Jonathan Marberry. There will be panels from Wednesday through Sunday with all of yours (and my) favorite authors sharing anecdotes. Wednesday evening, my buddy Ellen Byron will be having a release party, get this, in a bar! It’s going to be a blast. For Bouchercon tips, check out Ellen’s post here: 2021 – Twelve New Orleans Do’s and Don’ts – UPDATED with Shopping Tips! (ellenbyron.com) Check in! Are you going to B’con?

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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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