When It’s Time to End a Series

The first thing to say is my Kate Hamilton Mystery series is not ending. But I’ve been thinking about this question lately for two reasons. First because I’ve been developing a possible new historical mystery series, which has been fun. Second, because two wonderful series written by writer friends have recently and unexpectedly ended. Why, when the series were doing so well?

Read More

Stumblin’ outta bed and staggerin’ to the kitchen . . .

In In Place of Fear, we meet Helen Crowther the day before she begins her new job – her first job. She’s steeling herself, deciding what to wear, and still trying to persuade her parents that she’s not making a big mistake, biting off more than she can chew.

Read More

Writing Awards

This past weekend saw the presentation of ITW’s 2022 awards for books and stories published in 2021. I’ve read two of the winners and can wholeheartedly say they deserved every accolade.

So, in honor of award season, and if you’ve published or will publish anything in 2022, here’s a list of industry recognized awards you can submit your work to for next year. I mean, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?

Read More

Where do you get book recommendations?

Word READ in front of shelves of books

Fellow Miss Demeanors, where do you turn for a book recommendation? 

Read More

Hot Weather, Cool Books

It’s hot out there Summer doesn’t officially begin until June 21 but the thermometer on my car’s dashboard is already registering temperatures of one hundred. My phone informs me that it’s a mere 87 degrees F today. I won’t lie, when the mercury (or whatever they use in thermometers these days) reaches past 85 degrees, I don’t feel like moving much. I used to tease my mother, who grew up someplace a lot hotter than the place where I grew up, for moving so slowly.  Then I spent a summer in her home state, and I got it. Hot + humid = walk real slow. Hot, or not, reads Hot weather puts me in a quandary about what to read. Part of me gravitates to sultry Southern stories, books like Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Cutting Season. Perhaps through some sympathetic literary magic, immersing myself in a hot fictional world will help me feel cooler. The other part gravitates to stories set in the coldest winter, like Murder on the Orient Express and Mystery in White. Reading about crimes set in cold climes might help me imagine that it’s not so […]

Read More

The Mystery of Endings

Every story has a beginning, a middle and an end. Right? Not always. Have you ever had the bad luck of happily reading a book, reaching the climax, turning the page to find out what happens and seeing a message, something like, buy book two to find out what happens? I have. In both romances and mysteries. And I’ll tell you what happens for me: I never buy that author again. But those ransom kinds of endings are just the most egregious examples of bad endings.  More of them are like the one described in a comment posted today in a Facebook reader’s group. I don’t have permission to quote the comment so here’s the gist of it. The ending “stunk.” After a big buildup it seemed like they suddenly remembered they had a deadline, made something up and spit it out. I’ve read a number of books that ended like the one referenced in that Facebook comment. It seems as if the author was bored or tired and just stopped writing when he or she hit the climax and failed to provide a denouement, “the final part of a play, movie, or narrative in which the strands of the plot […]

Read More


I began writing the Sabrina Salter series when I was on vacation in St. John ten years ago. I was sitting at the dining room table in a lovely villa looking out at the hexagonal pool and the pergola beyond it. A hammock hanging from the pergola called me, but not to come lie on it. No, I wondered what would happen if someone stormed through the periwinkle blue gate and shot a man who fell back onto the hammock. I imagined that a woman discovered his dead body and became a suspect in his murder. How Sabrina crept into my head.             That’s how Sabrina’s story began in my head. Soon I was more obsessed with Sabrina than the murder she was accused of. I began wondering what her story was. How had she come to live on St. John? What did she do for a living? Did she have a lover? Who were her friends? Did she have a pet? How was her relationship with family? What was her childhood like? Getting to know Sabrina better             Sabrina lived in the crevices of my mind day and night. Her evolution was organic. She had a painful past. She […]

Read More

Memorial Day Reading List

I was going to draw up a list of great books to read for Memorial Day, and then I happened to wander over to the American Writers Museum and saw that they had already compiled a wonderful list. So I thought perhaps I might just borrow/steal/be inspired by it.

Read More

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.

Read More

WORDS: Five We Misspell, Five We Mispronounce, and One Pet Peeve

Who cares about spelling anymore? With spelling tests in schools fast disappearing, our children are left to blunder along, trusting in technology to set things right. The upshot? In my opinion, although we may make fewer mistakes on paper, we are losing the ability to spell. And therefore to read. So, in an attempt to stem the tide of illiteracy, I humbly submit five common words just about everyone misspells followed by five words most people mispronounce and one small, very personal pet peeve.

Read More

Recent Posts

Writing on the Porch
  • June 24, 2022
How do I look?
  • June 23, 2022
Titles, the Torture Of
  • June 20, 2022
Write What You Know
  • June 14, 2022
  • June 13, 2022
  • June 10, 2022

Search By Tags