Author: Sharon Ward

Sharon is a successful freelance writer specializing in technology, manufacturing, and supply chain—even before the supply chain became the topic of the year. Before that, she worked at some of the most successful tech companies in the world, including Microsoft and Oracle. Her real love, though, is diving. As a PADI-certified divemaster, Sharon helped local dive shops with their training classes and has hundreds of dives under her weight belt. Wanting to share the joy and wonder of the underwater world, she wrote In Deep, her debut novel, released in August 2021. The second in the series, Sunken Death, is scheduled for release on December 31, 2021. The third, Dark Tide, will hit the shelves in the spring of 2022.

Summer Kickoff

people have different rituals to mark the coming of summer. It could be ice cream, or the first day at the beach–or unlimited reading.

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Self-Publishing: Five Myths

There’s a lot of interest in self-publishing among authors—even those who have been traditionally published in the past. The problem is that there is so much false, outdated, or just plain wrong info out there that it’s hard to know what to think. I made the leap to self-publishing my mystery novels less than a year ago, but I spent two years researching and learning about how it works and what I could expect—and making some mistakes—that by now, I feel like I have a pretty good handle on the truth. I’m coming up on the publication of the third mystery novel in my Fin Fleming thriller series, and I’m very happy with my results. So in hoped that those of you who have been reluctant to test the waters might find this info useful, here goes. 1.    Self-publishing is expensive Self-publishing may require the author to make some investments, but the difference between what a traditionally published author and a self-published author must spend before publication is not that big. For example, many authors hoping to self-publish will hire a developmental editor, a copy editor, and/or a proofreader before they submit their manuscripts to querying. So do most serious […]

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For mystery writers, it’s as much business as art

Mystery writers have an image problem There’s an image people have about writers—especially about writers of mystery novels. Everybody seems to think we’re up in the garret with ink-stained fingers, ala Jo March from Little Women. Or perhaps the image is more modern, encompassing glittering cocktail parties, featuring icy martinis, designer clothes, and an awestruck group of fans marveling at your image on the billboard in Times Square. But the real “Writing Life” is different for most mystery authors Most authors, regardless of their genre, earn surprisingly little money considering the time and effort they put into their novels. According to the US Government Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean salary for writers and authors is $69,510 per year. But the bureau lumps information, professional, technical, and scientific writers into this group, and those professions typically earn much more than a mystery author. So, many writers and authors work part time at creating their novels while they work full time at a job in another field to pay the bills. That means they get up early so they can squeeze in an hour of writing before work. Or they stay up late, or they write on their lunch hours. Most authors […]

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The Mystery Novel and a Realistic Modern Heroine

By Sharon Ward Every mystery novel has to have an appealing heroine or protagonist, and recently, the Miss Demeanors were talking about our protagonists’ super powers in our respective mystery novel series, and I was complaining about how many female protagonists are written as though they were “Jack Reacher in a dress.”  Most women, as people in the real world know, don’t act like Jack Reacher in one of Lee Child’s thriller novels. (Neither do most men.) Now, I love Jack Reacher. I eagerly await each new installment to find out how he is going to right the wrongs he encounters, and to vicariously enjoy the mayhem he creates while doing it. But Jack Reacher is a big guy. If he wants to kick the snot out of the bad guys, he’s got the brawn to do it. Which is why it makes me crazy when I read a mystery novel or a thriller with a so-called ‘modern heroine” where the petite protagonist hides behind the door and manages to best the bad guys purely because of her superior fighting skills and the element of surprise when she jumps out from behind the door.  No weapons. Bare hands. I think not. […]

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Mystery Series: Love ‘em or Not?

Sharon Ward Many readers enjoy reading mystery novels that are part of a series. Some mystery series go on forever, like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, which still continues long after the original author’s death. Others disappear after two or three entries, often leaving readers frustrated. Some continue so long even the author seems to be sick of them, and astute readers can even tell when the author has subcontracted the new entries to a ghostwriter. Personally, I love reading mystery novels in a series, probably stemming back to my childhood when I devoured Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden and the like. As an adult, I’m hooked on several mystery and thriller series, including Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch, Gregg Hurwitz’s’ Orphan X, Craig Johnson’s Longmire, and Lee Child’s Reacher, among many others. I’m interested in the opinions of the Miss Demeanors and our readers. Do you enjoy reading mystery novels in a series, or do you prefer to read standalone mysteries? Do you have any favorites, and have you ever been disappointed when a series ended too soon?  Connie Berry Since I write a mystery series, I obviously love them, and the reason is the opportunity to bond with a character and […]

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Five Reasons Setting is Important in a Mystery Novel

All about setting In honor of the publication of Michele’s latest standalone mystery novel, Oh Danny Girl, which is set Boston and one of the most Irish towns on the South Shore of Massachusetts, I thought this would be a good time to look at some of the reasons that setting is important to mystery readers. The right setting draws the reader in to the mystery, while the wrong setting can leave the whole story flat. Setting grounds the characters Some mysteries would fall flat without the strong setting surrounding the character. Think of how Robert B. Parker’s Spenser roamed around Boston, casually dropping in to places that local people knew and that out-of-towners had at least heard of. Hank Phillippi Ryan follows in his footsteps, since, like Hank, all the characters in her mystery and thriller books live in Boston or surrounding areas. Going back as far as the mysteries of Agatha Christie, we can see immediately that setting matters to a mystery. From genteel drawing rooms at the vicarage to the Orient Express and the Nile River, we had an immediate feeling for Christie’s character’s surroundings. Oh Danny Girl feels authentic as well, based on Michele’s life in […]

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Women Who Make History

Today is the first day of women’s history month, so even though we Miss Demeanors write fiction, I thought we should kick off the month by celebrating real-life women who make history. For many of us of ‘a certain age’ the concept of women as history-makers was rarely mentioned, but I’m happy to see that attitude changing, even at its current glacial pace.  Women are breaking ground in so many areas: business, politics, science, the arts. I have to say it’s a big change. Back when I was offered the first promotion of my career, I was not allowed to accept the job until I brought in a notarized letter from my husband stating that he understood the new job might require me to work late many evenings, to occasionally travel overnight, or to sometimes come in on weekends.  I was incensed. This was not some rinky-dink ‘Mom & Pop’ company, but a division of a Fortune 500, S&P behemoth. And with attitudes like that prevailing, it’s astonishing how much of history was made by women. So thank you to all the women like  Meg Whitman, Indra Nooyi, and Ginni Rometty who helped change that kind of thinking. You are heroes, and […]

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