Category: Fiction

Silver Linings

Yesterday evening at 8pm, just as the sun in central Ohio was sinking below the horizon and the cicadas were considering the merits of silence at last, I logged onto Poisoned Pen Bookstore Facebook Live for a conversation with well-known bookstore owner Barbara Peters and the amazing writer and teacher Jane K. Cleland. What a privilege for a relative newcomer like me to be talking about writing mysteries with such kind and generous women. Barbara, editor-in-chief of Poisoned Pen Press and owner of The Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Scottsdale, Arizona, is a well-known advocate for writers. Her store has a worldwide clientele. She reads more books in a year than most people read in a lifetime and still finds time to host an incredible number of interviews and events. She does it all, as it turns out, not for profit but for the love of good books. Both Jane and I write stories about American antiques dealers who solve crimes on the side. I’m a relative newcomer. My protagonist, Kate Hamilton, owns an antiques shop in Jackson Falls, Ohio, but has been spending most of her time recently in a small Suffolk village called Long Barston. The third in the […]

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Where’s the dog?

I never set out to write a dog into my books, but I can’t help it. I can’t imagine life without my own Jack Russell terriers and can’t imagine my characters without their dogs.

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Can we talk about shoes?

A few years ago, I went to the Boucheron World Mystery Convention, when it was in Toronto. One thing led to another and I wound up at a John Fluevog shoe store with fellow Miss Demeanor, Alexia Gordon. (We were on our way to a haunted walking tour, but that’s another story.) Never had I seen such amazing shoes, in so many colors, with such fabulous heels. I am strictly an Easy Spirit person, but I couldn’t resist. I splurged on this pair of shoes, and even though I don’t wear them a lot, or not at all in the last year or so, I get pleasure out of looking at them. They are works of art. Plus they have this cute engraving on the bottom. Nothing like looking at the bottom of your shoes and feeling inspired. Iwas thinking about shoes because tomorrow, author Christina Chiu, is coming to my book club to discuss her novel, Beauty. In real life, Christina is a shoe designer, and when she writes about shoes, you see them in a whole new way. “Black boots. There in the window. Could they really be lace? Wow. Floral and paisley-drops. Open-toed, trimmed with leather, knee […]

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Time To Dream

Last Monday, after a three-month-long writing marathon, I completed the draft of my fourth Kate Hamilton mystery and sent it off to my editor. The book actually took eleven months to write, but the final three months were intense. Yes, there will be editing ahead, but suddenly I have free time again. Time to dream. Time to make decisions. What shall I work on next? The fifth in the series or something entirely new? Or both? Beginning a new book feels something like moving to a new house in a new town. When my husband and I were first married and in the Air Force, we did that frequently. Within the space of four years, three months, and nine days, we lived in ten different apartments. In one of those moves, to Bangor, Maine, our furniture was delayed, and because my husband had to report for duty, I spent two days in an empty townhouse with a bottle of Windex, a roll of paper towels, and my old coffee percolator. That old percolator was always the touchstone for me. In a new place, when I first heard the burbling of the pot and smelled the coffee, I felt like I […]

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What’s your trigger?

We here at MissDemeanors are a tough bunch. We write crime, which means we look into the dark side of human nature as a matter of business. But even for us there are topics not to be touched.

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What do you mean when you say Surreal?

The other day I noticed an ad for a collection of short stories about the pandemic. According to the blurb on the cover of The Decameron Project, “When reality is surreal, only fiction can make sense of it.” That made me think of how often I’ve used the word “surreal” since the pandemic started. When I say something is surreal, what I mean is that it’s unbelievable. Or strange. But I began to wonder about what the word actually means. In the deepest sense. So I popped over to the Museum of Modern Art. Everything you’d ever want to know about surrealism is explained there, and I was intrigued by the definition. Influenced by the writings of psychologist Sigmund Freud, the literary, intellectual, and artistic movement called Surrealism sought a revolution against the constraints of the rational mind; and by extension, the rules of a society they saw as oppressive.  Our country has spent a lot of time over the last year discussing the rules of our society, and what they mean, and who they apply to. It’s our job as mystery writers to push people to the breaking point, and see how they respond when a rule stands in their way. […]

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What we are reading this weekend.

Hello Miss Demeanors, I’m heading into the weekend with a few books underway. I’m listening to Homer’s Odyssey. And I’m reading Bernard Cornwell’s The Pale Horseman on my phone. AND I’m absolutely riveted by The Nine: the true story of a band of women who survived the worst of Nazi Germany.

What are you reading?

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Recent Posts

Silver Linings
  • June 15, 2021
Happy Solstice!
  • June 14, 2021
Brothers and Sisters
  • June 11, 2021
Where’s the dog?
  • June 10, 2021
The Art of Betrayal
  • June 8, 2021
Time To Dream
  • June 4, 2021

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