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Dean James
Author of the "Cat in the Stacks" mysteries as Miranda James
Recent Activity
When I'm working on a book I don't usually read mysteries. What I read during the period of completing a manuscript varies, depending on whatever my mood might be. At present, during my downtime (usually a little while before bedtime),... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at My Weblog
One of the questions facing mystery writers is whether to write a series or to write stand-alones. The answer depends on several things: the preferences of the writer, the intended audience, and, to a certain degree, the marketplace. My preference... Continue reading
Posted May 10, 2017 at My Weblog
This past weekend I attended the Alabama Book Festival in the state capitol, Montgomery. Carolyn Haines and I did a panel together on cozy mysteries, moderated by our friend Tammy Lynn. This was only the second state book festival that... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at My Weblog
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Carolyn Haines is no stranger to Femmes readers. The USA Today-bestselling author has shared her insights on writing with us before. This week she is launching a new (well, not completely new) venture in her publishing career. For a number... Continue reading
Posted Apr 12, 2017 at My Weblog
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A common question for writers is "Where did you get the idea for your latest book?" Some writers cringe when they hear this question, because sometimes it's hard to say exactly where the inspiration for a book originates. A chance... Continue reading
Posted Mar 29, 2017 at My Weblog
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Not a good day for Julius Caesar... Et tu, Brute? and all that... but possibly a good day to talk about some of my favorite historical mysteries and series. I became fascinated with English history in my teenage years, so... Continue reading
Posted Mar 15, 2017 at My Weblog
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There are those who say that book covers really don't matter. After all, it's what is between them that is really important. Bad books can have great cover art -- and great books can have abysmal covers. I am one... Continue reading
Posted Mar 1, 2017 at My Weblog
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I like to compare reading a book to taking a trip. When I open a book and turn to the first page, I liken it to taking that first step on a journey. Whither am I bound? I could be... Continue reading
Posted Feb 1, 2017 at My Weblog
For my first blog post last year, I shared my thoughts on not making any resolutions for the new year. Now we're in 2017, and my intention remains firm... so in case you missed it last year, here's what I... Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2017 at My Weblog
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My only persistent Christmas tradition revolves around movies. During this time every year, I take time to watch my favorite holiday movies, either on DVD or when they appear on Turner Classic Movies. For me, the season wouldn't be completely... Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2016 at My Weblog
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Last week my partner and I took a week-long cruise on the Carnival Dream in the western Caribbean. This was my third cruise, and the ship was the largest by far that I've sailed on. Capacity is around 4,000 people.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 7, 2016 at My Weblog
One of my beloved teachers, the late professor Maria Hogan Butler, once quoted these lines to me in a letter -- words of encouragement when I sorely needed them. They come from Robert Browning's "Epilogue to 'Asolando'." "One who never... Continue reading
Posted Nov 23, 2016 at My Weblog
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A few years ago I stumbled across the work of an English writer, Elizabeth Cadell. Born in India in 1903 of British parents, she grew up on the subcontinent and was educated there. She returned to England at some point,... Continue reading
Posted Oct 26, 2016 at My Weblog
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I have always had a predilection for female amateur detectives, ever since I first discovered Nancy Drew over forty years ago with The Secret of Shadow Ranch. That was the first mystery I read, and when I graduated to adult... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2016 at My Weblog
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Having recently read her new book and enjoyed it immensely, I invited Jessica Estevao to be my guest for today's blog. Here's a little bit about her. Jessica Estevao writes the Change of Fortune Mysteries. The first in the series,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2016 at My Weblog
I have written numerous times about how I first started reading mysteries -- with Nancy Drew and The Secret of Shadow Ranch. That led me to reading many of the juvenile mystery series that were available all those years ago,... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2016 at My Weblog
On Facebook yesterday, in response to a post by Femme Fatale Toni Kelner, I posted a list of the fifteen writers who have influenced me. The challenge (though I was not actually challenged and simply did this for fun) was... Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2016 at My Weblog
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Carolyn Haines is no stranger to the Femmes readers. The author of the USA Today-bestselling "Bones" series, she has won a huge readership for her tales of murder and mayhem in the Mississippi Delta. Recently retired from her teaching career,... Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at My Weblog
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I've lost count of the number of people I've murdered since the year 2000, when my first novel, Cruel as the Grave, was published. If I sat down and really thought about, I could come up with a number. Over... Continue reading
Posted Jul 20, 2016 at My Weblog
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A few months ago, I was offered the chance to read a book in manuscript by mystery writer Julia Buckley. The book's title intrigued me: A Dark and Stormy Murder. When I read a description of the plot, and that... Continue reading
Posted Jun 21, 2016 at My Weblog
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During my teenage years, I discovered the Middle Ages, chiefly medieval England, through historical fiction. At the time I had no idea where reading those historical novels would lead me. When I first started reading them, I didn't have any... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at My Weblog
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Words are everywhere these days, thanks to social media -- along with pictures, of course. Social media platforms like Facebook (aside from the cute cat and dog videos and pictures) abound with words. Blogs -- millions of blogs -- all... Continue reading
Posted May 11, 2016 at My Weblog
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One of the hallmarks of mysteries on the cozier side -- like the ones I write -- is the lack of in-your-face violence and gore. Another is the conspicuous absence of explicit sex. Cozy writers leave that kind of thing... Continue reading
Posted Apr 27, 2016 at My Weblog
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I have been reading mysteries for nearly five decades now. I got my start with Nancy Drew and The Secret of Shadow Ranch (the revised version). I devoured hundreds of mysteries written for juveniles (as we were called in those... Continue reading
Posted Mar 16, 2016 at My Weblog
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I became fascinated with medieval England as a teenager after having read historical novels by Roberta Gellis and Anya Seton. Their books were filled with color and excitement and described a world that entranced me. So much so that I... Continue reading
Posted Feb 17, 2016 at My Weblog