Tag: Sharon Ward

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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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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How I Work

As a new member of Miss Demeanors, I’m working on helping regular readers—as well as new readers—get to know me. So I thought I’d tell you a little about how and where I work. I’ve been a fulltime freelance writer for about ten or twelve years, which means I’ve been lucky enough to have a nicely appointed home office. It started out with a bunch of mismatched hand-me-down furniture, but over the years, I’ve been able to upgrade until now it pretty much all matches and works well for me. My latest addition is an electric desk converter that lets me move my monitors and keyboard up and down, so I can move from standing to sitting, crouching, leaning, whatever works at the time, and it keeps my monitors and keyboards in an ergonomically correct position. I really love it, and it’s done wonders for my stiff shoulders and overstressed wrists. The fact that my desk moves up and down has also forced me to keep it neater. After the first few times my piles of papers went flying, I learned to keep them contained. Like in a file in a drawer, not a random pile. Speaking of monitors, I […]

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