Writerly New Year Resolutions

I was thrilled to ask the Miss Demeanors this absolutely original and inspired question: What are your writerly New Year resolutions?


Mine is to read more outside of traditional mystery. I’m currently writing a gothic psych thriller, or think I am, so as the year goes by, I will read more of them.  (I’m open to suggestions.) Completely outside of the mystery genre, I’m currently listening to Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes, which is included in the Audible plan. I haven’t read anything by her before but she’s quite popular so I was curious. So far, so good. It’s women’s fiction, about a young Irish woman living in New York City who is packed off to rehab by her family. But funny in a Bridget Jones kind of way. Right now, I could use funny. Also I’m open to suggestions on funny reading.


Your writerly question, if not original, is at least traditional. We all make resolutions at this time of year, and most of us break them within two weeks (or am I speaking only of myself??). I am resolving this year to have a finished manuscript in three months’ time, plus a stand-alone pretty well laid out. Will I do this? Only time will tell. Of course, I also vow every year at this time to lose ten pounds.

If I can add a “readerly” goal as well, I plan to read the latest by each of my fellow Miss Demeanors. Can’t wait!

If you want funny but intelligent, Keenan, I suggest the St. Mary’s series by Jodi Taylor and the Bryant and May series by Christopher Fowler. My taste in comedy is pretty dry, though.


I don’t really make resolutions, but I think my most heartfelt goal is to sell, write and successfully submit my next manuscript. Yes, I’m shocked as well that this is the order in which it happens, but there you go. I also have a goal to finally go away on vacation with my family. I just had to cancel our January trip, but since I cancelled in December, I’m thinking all the cancelations, illnesses and worse will be left in 2021.

The last laugh out loud books I read were Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner and Foreskin’s Lament by Shalom Auslander. Neither one is a humorous book, exactly, but they’re both so carefully observed and written with such sharp wit that it’s hard not to get sucked in and laugh at the pathos. Since neither of them is a mystery, except for the disappearance of the wife in Fleishman, they will fit the bill for wider reading.

Happy New Year everyone!


My writerly goal is to finish the novel I’m working on, which is women’s fiction. I wrote 50,000 words of it during NaNoWriMo, though most of them are awful, but at least they helped me figure out what it’s about. Now I’m plowing my way through the second draft. I’ve been reading Tana French’s In the Woods, which I read once before and was so angry at the ending that I threw it out a window. However, time has passed, and now that I know how it ends, I can just read it and love her writing.


 I have objectives, although they are not necessarily tied to January 1. Now that my law practice has pretty much waned, I’d like to structure my time better. I’m most alert and creative in the early morning so I like to use that time for actual writing. After that, I plan to use the rest of the morning (I start pretty early!) to review and work on some of the books I’ve written but have not completed (as in edited, etc.). I hate to admit there are more than six I can think of. I plan to spend early afternoons on the business of writing, not one of my strengths but I do like being the boss of me, so that should inspire. The rest of the day is mine to walk, cook, binge movies, etc. 

We’ll see how that goes!

As for funny books, I cannot think of one to recommend, although I’ve read many good ones. I think the flatness of a pandemic does this to the mind. 

Onward and upward!


My writerly goal is to finish books 3 and 4 in the Fin Fleming series. I plan to publish book 3 in late May and book 4 anytime before year end.

Also, build up a mailing list.

As far as funny books, you can’t beat the Chet and Bernie mysteries by Spencer Quinn (peter Abrahams). Talk about an unreliable narrator—Chet is a dog, and you can distract him with a slim jim. The relationship between Chet and Bernie will melt your heart, even if you’re not a dog lover, and I guarantee at least one belly laugh per page. You can read the books in any order, but I’d start with A Cat Was Involved, which was the first in the series. I love the titles: Thereby Hangs a Tail, Scents and Sensibilities, Dog On It, Tender is the Bite, Heart of Barkness, and the latest Christmas themed, It’s a Wonderful Woof.


Keenan Powell


Keenan Powell is the Agatha, Lefty, and Silver Falchion nominated author of the Maeve Malloy Mystery series, Deadly Solution, Hemlock Needle, Hell and High Water.

While still in high school, she was one of the illustrators of the original Dungeons and Dragons. Art seemed an impractical pursuit – not an heiress, wouldn’t marry well, hated teaching – so she went to law school instead. When not writing or practicing law, Keenan can be found oil painting, studying the Irish language, or hanging out with her friends at mystery conventions.

6.            Sales: Is the Publisher Selling Books?

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