Author: Susan Breen

Author of the Maggie Dove mystery series.

Do you read a book for its cover?

The other day I was scrolling through Facebook and I came across a photo of the cover of Mia Manasala’s new book, Arsenic and Adobo. I was intrigued immediately. The bright colors pulled me in. So did the dog. It just had the vibe of a book I would enjoy reading. I’ve certainly read books with unappealing covers (probably), but I do find that if I like a cover, I’ll often like a book. So I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors how that felt on the subject.

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Hide in Place

Today is the launch date for our newest Miss Demeanor’s debut book, Hide in Place.

It sounds like an incredible story: She left the NYPD in the firestorm of a high-profile case gone horribly wrong. Three years later, the ghosts of her past roar back to terrifying life.

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Edgars

The Edgar nominees for Best Novel were announced last week, and, in a moment of extravagance, I went out and bought all six. I can’t go out to dinner, I figured. Why not spend my money on books?

wanted to be able to write in them and underline favorite sentences and learn from them. I’m a writing teacher and one thing I’m always telling my students is that there’s no better teacher than a book.

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How to Deal with Change

So, after spending a week thrashing around with the new Miss Demeanor site, I think I’ve conquered it, although I notice one of my posts has a red dot that means, “Needs Improvement.” Even the computer is a critic. So I survived, but as I embarked on this week-long journey, I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors how they dealt with change. This is what they said:

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Awards Season

This is Awards season in the mystery world and several writers close to the Miss Demeanors have been nominated for fabulous awards.

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3 things I’ve learned from Michael Connelly

I can’t say I immediately fell in love with HBO’s Harry Bosch. The man looked like a bullet and it took me time to warm up to him. And then one day Bosch was talking to someone, possibly his daughter, and he said, “Closure is a myth,” and from that moment I was hooked. I thought, this is a man of some good sense. Then I went and started reading the Bosch books from the beginning, and now I’m hooked. Here are three things I’ve learned.

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Change

This is my first post on the new, improved, faster, fabulous Miss Demeanor site. It’s much easier to do than I anticipated. But that did not stop me from lying awake for about five hours last night worrying about it. It’s fine. It’s fine.

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My Protagonist Hereby Resolves…

 The Missdemeanors hope 2019 is a kinder, better year than 2018. We believe that in a world where you can be anything, you should be kind. We also believe our characters should resolve to make some changes in the new year:
Michele
Sabrina Salter resolves to find her mother whether she is dead or alive.

Tracee
Agnes Luthi is going to finally learn how to play mah jong

Robin
Emma Quinn resolves not to swear so damn much. (Resolutions are made to be broken, right?)

Cate
Liza Cole resolves to take her medicine regularly.

Susan
Maggie Dove resolves to be a better aunt, lose two pounds, and be more ferocious. Or ferocious at all.

Alison
Abish Taylor resolves to get some sleep (preferably daily!) and to forgive her father.

Alexia
Gethsemane Brown resolves to switch to a whiskey that’s less expensive than Bushmills 21, win the All-County Orchestra competition again, not lose her temper when someone calls her “Sissy,” and improve her brogue. 

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The Best Laid Plans…

 Happy New Year’s!
How are you celebrating the start of 2019? By sleeping off the fun you had on New Year’s Eve? Or did you get up early to greet the start of a new year filled with possibility and opportunity?
I slept in. I spent the last week of the old year traveling so I ended 2018 exhausted and cranky from sleep deprivation. I decided I owed it to myself to start 2019 well-rested and refreshed.
So, getting more sleep must be one of my New Year’s resolutions, right? Nope. I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I used to but, as happens to so many others, by the third week of January—or, with luck, maybe the first week of February—I’d given up on most of them. I tried re-conceptualizing my resolutions as goals but that didn’t work, either. Goal or resolution, it went by the wayside before Spring.
I’m not at the point where I’ve decided to wing it and see what happens for the next 365 days. I need more structure in my life than that. I’ve decided this year to make plans. Plans don’t seem as lofty and daunting as goals and resolutions. We make plans every day—dinners, work projects, trips, outfits. Plans feel familiar, doable. What’s the difference between my everyday plans and my “big”-ish plans for the new year? I will plan for 2019 with conscious thought. (Does that sound too Gwenyth Paltrow-y?) I will make plans using a technique I learned at work, the SMART planning model. SMART is an acronym: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timely. Here’s how it works:
Instead of planning to “exercise more,” I plan to attend barre on Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings and Pilates on Saturday mornings. This plan is specific—barre and Pilates classes on certain days of the week, measurable—I either went to class or I didn’t, yes/no, a binary response, achievable—both barre and Pilates classes are available within 5 miles of both home and work and the MindBody app makes it ridiculously simple to sign-up for class, realistic—let’s be honest, attending class for one hour, 4 days a week won’t significantly disrupt my life, and timely—at the end of each month I can look at the calendar and determine whether or not my plan worked.
SMART planning is useful for more than just exercise regimes. I’m also going to create SMART plans for writing, reading, and spending. But, because SMART planning requires deliberation, I’ve given myself permission to take more than a day to create them. I figure if I’ve mapped them out by the end of January, I’ll still have most of the new year to put them into action.
What about you? Are you a New Year’s resolver, goal-setter, planner, or free spirit? What are some of your resolutions/goals/plans for 2019? 

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