Where Have You Visited (as an armchair traveler)?

By Christine DeSmet Armchair Travelers Readers and writers are armchair travelers. We love sitting down with a book that takes us to a new place or helps us revisit a favorite place. In this special time, readers are reading even more books instead of traveling by planes, trains or automobiles. What’s on the list of the places you’ve visited in the past months via the pages of a novel or memoir? North and South My recent “travels” have included North Carolina (Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens), Afghanistan (A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini), South Africa (Born a Crime by Trevor…

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DOWN THE RESEARCH RABBIT HOLE

AUTHORS BECOME EXPERTS ON THE MOST INTERESTING THINGS: By Valerie Biel We’ve all heard the jokes writers make about what trouble they’d be in if someone they know dies mysteriously and their computer search history was examined. I imagine that a group of writers focused on mystery, suspense, and thrillers like The Blackbirds would be particularly suspicious! But no matter the topic, writers are diligent researchers, often to the point of becoming an expert in areas that might surprise people. With that in mind, I asked my fellow Blackbirds what unexpected areas they’ve become experts in due to their writing…

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INSPIRATION: A Prize Fighter and Iron Ninja of the Great Depression, My Superstar Mother

By Joy Ann Ribar I am a member of a privileged class of individuals who can count on what I call the WOW factor.  I have a Wiser Older Woman (WOW) who raised and influenced me to be a fierce individual thinker.   EXTRAORDINARY ROLE MODEL My mother, Delilas Wheaton Christensen,  was born a few months before the stock market crash of 1929, which meant her core self was formed and framed during the Great Depression.  After her older sister died at the age of nine, she inherited the position of the oldest daughter in a brood of children. In the…

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