MISS DEMEANORS

Pay if Forward Friday #FollowFriday

Learning from the Edgar nominees.

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To Thine Own Self Be True

Writers make a lot of choices. We make conscious decisions about if, when and how we integrate our own experiences into our characters. Throughout early drafts, I had a vision about the hero of my latest book. I knew her. Beta readers loved the character and hope she anchors a series. So did I.

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My Art Deco Crime Fighters of Color & Today’s Crime Writers of Color

Featured 1930s Crime Fighters of Color In my 1930s Art Deco Mystery Series, it’s been an absolute joy to highlight marginalized people in history who fought to change the world when discriminatory laws were in place and the odds were stacked against them in a multitude of ways. One of my main characters is Mayor Fiorello La Guardia – New York’s three term mayor who was half-Italian and half-Jewish. It had only been about 40 years since Italians were allowed on the police force, not to mention the anti-Semitic views he endured. I loved adding Sam Battle to the cast of characters, the NYPD’s first black officer who saved lives, stopped a riot pretty much single handedly, and changed the force’s divides in powerful ways (Langston Hughes wrote a manuscript about him (!!!) and the book One Righteous Man: Samuel Battle and the Shattering of the Color Line in New York by Arthur Browne was written from it. Highly recommend).  Jane Bolin makes an appearance and will have future highlights. She was the first black woman to graduate Yale Law School, the first to join the NYC Bar Association, and the first to join the NYC Law Department. In 1939, Mayor La Guardia appointed her as the […]

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Joys of book club

I’m the only writer in the group (or the only one who claims to be) and I find the company of readers so nourishing.

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Oscar Joy

There were a lot of nice moments at the Oscars last night, but one of my favorites was when producer Karen Toliver talked about her animated movie, Hair Love, and how important it is for children to see themselves represented, especially in cartoons, which is for many, the first time they get a sense of what kids should look like.

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Reading India

I first traveled to India nearly twenty years ago. Like a traveler arriving in the United States for the first time, one is conscious of what there isn’t time to see. Imagine claiming to have ‘seen’ America with a stop in New York, a visit to Boston, maybe Miami and San Francisco. What about the deep South, or the Badlands, the New England coast, the west coast. The list goes on. That’s how I feel about India.

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Off limits words?

Recently one of my fellow MissDemeanors mentioned that her family doesn’t like the word chortle. I’ll admit that this made me chortle. After all, it’s a word about laughter. Or is it? Perhaps there’s been a bad moment of exultant singing / chanting that simply should not be repeated.

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Reading for Black History Month

This weekend, happenstance led me to my dog eared copy of Chinua Achebe’s amazing book Things Fall Apart. It was an old friend, the story of Okonkwo’s exile from his tribe, and the shattering changes that come to him and his family with the arrival of European Imperialism. 

February is Black History month and after revisiting Okonkwo’s story I wanted more ‘local’ voices. 

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Food and memory

Proust immortalized the madeleine cookie in his seven volume In Search of Lost Time (A la recherché de temps perdu). Eating this simple French dessert he relived the memories of his childhood through his senses: tasting, smelling, touching and seeing this treat in both the past and the present.

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