Tag: writing

Inspirations from the Past

I recently finished writing a historical inspired, in part, by my family’s immigration story.

After joining ancestry.com, I met cousins from that line and in 2015, and I had the chance to visit. One of my questions was why when so many Irish ended up in Canada, or Boston, or New York City, did this family end up in the Berkshires?

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Welcome Emilya Naymark

Today I am thrilled to introduce one of our new Miss Demeanors, Emilya Naymark.

Emilya: Years of hearing my husband’s tales of buying drugs in the city got my gears churning and instead of helping him write his memoirs, as we always joked I would, I up and made him a lady and stuck him into a crime novel.

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Hope, Faith & a Corpse

Midwesterner turned Californian Laura Jensen Walker arrived on the cozy mystery scene in the middle of a pandemic with not one but two new series.

When I began writing my first cozy (A Grave Affair, featuring a recently divorced woman in her forties who moved to a small town to start over), there was a minor woman Episcopal priest character. As I continued writing, that woman priest made it quite clear to me that she was a main character deserving of her own story.

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Those Damn Drafts in the Desk Drawer

Yesterday a writing colleague posted a question on social media about unpublished manuscripts she had sitting in a closet. Do you keep them or toss them out, she asked. Coincidentally, I have been working on a manuscript I wrote a number of years ago, which oddly I had made no effort to publish. It’s the story about a woman named Elise who kept whispering in my ears when I was cooking in my kitchen. I was busy working on a mystery series at the time, so I kept trying to shoo her away, but Elise would not let go of me until I wrote her story. It turned out to be a romantic comedy, a genre I hadn’t attempted before. I enjoyed Elise and the cast of characters supporting her, yet the book did not fit into my plan at the time. We all know what’s happened to plans. For me, the pandemic preceded by a couple of killer hurricanes turned my life into a chopped more than a tossed salad. So be it. You land where you’re planted and try to bloom. Elise has continued to gnaw at me since I placed her in a desk drawer. “Let me […]

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Pure Word Music

I was about thirteen, an impressionable age, when among the stacks in my small hometown library, I stumbled upon the novels of P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced “Woodhouse,” by the way). For the first time in my life I realized that a story could be brilliant, not only for what was said but also for how it was said.

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Many Voices, Many Stories

Voice isn’t content; it’s the way that content is translated onto the page. Voice is easy to recognize in music. Take the same song lyrics sung, for example, by Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, Dolly Parton, and Little Richard. You’d never mistake one for the other. In the same way, you’d never confuse Charles Dickens with J. R. R. Tolkien or Hawthorne with Louise Penny. Your voice as an author is yours alone. Developing your authorial voice takes time.

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On The Short Side

“Surely, moving to Columbus is all Gerald and Annette Reed need to start a new life and escape their demons…”
Mercedes King is the author of “An Agreeable Wife For A Suitable Husband,” one of the stories in the newly published Columbus Noir anthology by Akashic Books. Columbus Noir was the 101st installment in the series—and the first for Ohio.

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Taking Your Own Path in Publishing

We all know there are different paths in publishing. Some writers love not only the actual writing but also the full production of a book, from formatting the pages, producing cover art, and developing publicity materials to setting pub dates and generally seeing things through from plotting to launch and beyond. Eileen Curley Hammond is such a person.

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Devil in a Blue Dress

This spring semester, for my Gotham Writers novel class, I decided to use Easy Rawlins for our character study. Usually I use Jane Eyre, who I love, but I figured I might branch out. Devil in a Blue Dress was published in 1990, and set in 1948 Los Angeles, but really could be set today. Easy Rawlins is a World War II veteran, who fought for the U.S., came to Los Angeles to get a job, was fired for not being respectful enough of his white boss, and winds up getting a job working for a really dangerous man. One of the things that becomes clear as you read the book, is that racism is a daily indignity. Easy almost gets killed when a young white girl starts up a conversation with him. He tries to back away from her, but she’s relentless, and clueless. At another moment he goes to an office to talk to the white man who’s hired him, but when he’s asked who he’s looking to see, he starts to stutter. “It was a habit I developed in Texas when I was a boy. Sometimes, when a white man of authority would catch me off guard, […]

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