It is with great sadness that we must announce the death of WWK blogger Sam Morton. Our condolences to his wife and children. His humor and perspective on life will be greatly missed.

If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, please contact E. B. Davis at

Our May interviews include: the authors of Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warnings! on May 4th, followed by Cynthia Kuhn on May 11th, Annette Dashofy on May 18th, and Julie Mulhern on May 25th. Please check our 2016 WWK Calendar for upcoming author interview dates.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 5/7 RF James, 5/14 Robin Leemann Donovan, 5/21 Micki Browning. WWK Blogger Kait Carson always blogs on the last Saturday of each month.

Warren Bull will have two short stories, "A Christmas Journey" and "Killer Eulogy" in the upcoming Darkhouse anthology titled Black Coffee. The anthology is scheduled for release in May.

Jim Jackson's story "Mad Money" was published in the 2016 Winter edition of Mysterical-e.

KM Rockwood's Abductions and Lies, the 6th in the Jesse Damon Crime Novel series, will be released in April. "Last Laugh," a short story in the anthology Black Coffee in May. "Tarnished Hope," a short story in Murder Most Conventional, sponsored by Malice Domestic, April 29, at the conference. "Frozen Assets," a short story in Chesapeake Crimes: Storm Warning, release date May 14th (an anthology compiled by Chessie Chapter of SINC) Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors on May 4th.

Gloria Alden released the sixth book in her Catherine Jewell mystery series. Carnations for Cornelia is available at Amazon. Congratulations, Gloria.


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Hydrangeas and Short Stories by Margaret S. Hamilton

What do hydrangeas and short stories have in common? I’m writing two stories this month, while I wait for my five hydrangea bushes to bloom. Will the plot, setting, and memorable characters of my stories lead to satisfying endings? Will the hydrangeas amaze and delight me when they bloom? 

I have three “Endless Summer” macrophylla, or mophead, hydrangeas planted in my garden that first produce vivid blue floral balls. In Cincinnati’s alkaline yellow clay soil, the distinctive periwinkle blue blooms fade to muted shades of pink and mauve, lasting well into fall. I plan to spike the soil with aluminum sulfate this year, curious if the blooms will retain their original blue color. Or should I not alter nature’s course, and be content with blooms of different colors? It’s exasperating, like writing a trick ending with a hitherto unsuspected killer.
 “Big Daddy” and “Lemon Daddy,” are two macrophylla hydrangeas that only bloom one year in three, their huge pink balloon-sized blossoms contrasting with vivid yellow-green foliage. I named a memorable short story character “Big Daddy”; he, too, was unpredictable and problematic, but deliciously diabolical.

I fell in love with blue hydrangeas during childhood visits to Cape Cod, their bright sapphire balls of tiny flowers contrasting with orange haploid daylilies against the gray-shingled houses, thriving in the salt air and acid soil. When we moved in Cincinnati, I mapped the sun patterns in the yard, seeking a suitable location for hydrangeas with morning sun and afternoon shade. The “Endless Summer” variety, introduced in 2004, was deemed hardy enough to survive harsh Midwestern winters and hot, humid, summers. I learned that hydrangea flowers and leaves can make a dog sick, if ingested. My standard poodles are more interested in snacking on coneflowers, basil, and tarragon.

The stories are progressing, with settings, characters, and inciting incidents determined. As I write, I discover motive and outcome. While in research mode for a historical story, I learned that Joseph Banks brought the first hydrangeas from China to England in 1790. Hydrangeas were introduced to the United States during the 1820’s. In the past ten years, a huge number of re-blooming varieties have become available--whites, pinks, and purples--in addition to the traditional blue.

My hydrangeas, carefully mulched with pine straw, survived the winter, with buds on both last year’s wood and this year’s, their leaves unfurling in the spring sunshine. I see evidence of blooms on the “Endless Summer” varieties, tiny pinpoints of light green, but alas, nothing on “Big Daddy” and his cousin “Lemon Daddy.”

Will my stories be successful, or doomed to live perpetually in a state of submission, or lie forgotten in a drawer?

As summer approaches, are you anxiously waiting to see what blooms in your garden?

Margaret S. Hamilton has published short stories in Kings River Life and the Darkhouse Destination: Mystery! anthology. When she isn’t tending her garden or walking her two standard poodles, she writes cozy stories and traditional amateur sleuth mysteries.