I grew up all over the place but I came of age in Los Angeles. I moved there when I was 22 and left decades later; older, wiser, and many shades blonder. For years, Los Angeles was the setting of my first fiction: the crime stories, the urban fantasies, the dark tales I concocted for …

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Can I tell you a secret? If I never read another love story set in New York City, I’ll be fine. If I never see another movie where the lovers meet at the top of the Empire State Building or go walking in Central Park or skating at Rockefeller Center, I won’t shed a tear. …

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I know a lot of people who couldn’t wait for the movie version of 50 Shades of Grey to open. Not because they looked forward to seeing Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan bring the characters to vivid life, but so they could heap scorn on it. They fully expected the movie adaptation to live down to their expectations, …

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Some of the most enduring female characters in literature were created by male authors—Miss Havisham and Madame Defarge (Charles Dickens), Becky Sharp (William Makepeace Thackeray), Anna Karenina (Leo Tolstoy), and Daisy Miller (Henry James). Almost any list of memorable literary heroines is top-heavy with female-centric titles written by men, from Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to …

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In this latest collection of short stories by members of the New York Tri-State Sisters in Crime, editor Anita Page—whose story “Their Little Secret” anchors the antho—has assembled 20 tales from veterans and newbies alike, tying them together thematically with Tolstoy’s famous line about all “unhappy families being unhappy in their own way.” Each story …

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I used to write serial crime fiction for a site owned by America Online. When I was first hired for the gig, I was told my employers wanted something like Armistead Maupin’s serialized Tales of the City which ran as installments in the San Francisco Chronicle in the Seventies. One of the ongoing storylines in …

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Use all your senses when you’re writing, we’re told—your sense of touch and sight, and hearing, and smell, and taste. That’s good advice and I’ve tried to take it to heart. One of the first writers who truly made an impact on me in terms of writing style was Tanith Lee whose gorgeous, sensual prose …

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I owe my writing career to three women, one who is dead, one who never existed, and one who is coming up on the century mark—Janette Sebring Lowrey, Carolyn Keene, and Beverly Cleary. I firmly believe that the best preparation for becoming a writer is being a reader first, and while I did not know …

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