Holiday Short Stories By WWK Authors Presented This Season:

11/30 KM Rockwood's "Holiday Summons"
12/06 "Death By Dictionary" by Gloria Alden
12/12 E. B. Davis's "The Christmas Tree"
12/18 "Femme Fatally Yours" by Paula Gail Benson
12/24 Kara Cerise's "The Ho-Ho Plan"
12/30 "Last Minute Shopping" by Shari Randall

For another free short story, check out E. B. Davis's "The Christmas Cookie Conviction" on Kings River Life online magazine at: http://kingsriverlife.com/12/06/the-christmas-cookie-conviction-a-christmas-mystery-short-story/

Put A Shaker of Margaritas: That Mysterious Woman on your holiday list. Three WWK authors have short stories in this Mozark Press anthology. Look for "Moving On" by Paula Gail Benson, "Sauna" by KM Rockwood, and "Wishing For Ignorance" by E. B. Davis. Paper or eformat are available at Amazon.


Gloria Alden has released the fourth book, The Body in the Goldenrod, in her Catherine Jewel series. It's available in print and in eformat. Here are two links to the book: Amazon and Kobo. Put it on your "TBR" or Christmas list!

Carla Damron's latest project, THE STONE NECKLACE, a literary novel about five lives that intersect, and are forever changed, by a senseless accident, has been picked up by Story River Books for publication in 2016. Story River is an arm of the University of South Carolina Press and is under the leadership of editor-in-chief author Pat Conroy. Congratulations, Carla!


A great stocking stuffer, Chesapeake Crimes: Homicidal Holidays is available at Wildside Press or Amazon. This anthology includes short stories by WWK bloggers Shari Randall ("Disco Donna") and E. B. Davis ("Compromised Circumstances").
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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Guest Blog: Jeri Westerson Interview Part II

Today we present the second half of our interview with Jeri Westerson, author of the Crispin Guest series, featuring her ex-knight turn PI, set in the fourteen century. Jeri’s first novel, Veil of Lies, contended for the Shamus and Macavity Awards in 2009. Her second in the series, Serpent of Thorns, was a finalist for the Bruce Alexander Historical Mystery Award. Fans await the October 2010 release of The Demon’s Parchment, the third in the series. She serves on the board and edits the newsletter of the Southern California chapter of Mystery Writers of America, and is president of the Orange County chapter of Sisters in Crime.  To find the first half of this interview, go to the labels on the right side of the screen and click on Jeri's name. 

E.B.D.: How do you research daily life in the fourteenth century?

Jeri: I have this one wonderful book called Chaucer’s London and it’s like a travel guide for time travelers. It tells me what was going on on each street and how the various levels of society interacted. There is also separate research into the various occupations, guilds, morality, and beliefs, because although medieval people thought like us in many ways, in many more ways they do not think like us at all. There is a lot of information out there, especially with the Internet. But a cautionary note about that. Any old website can provide information but is it correct? See if they have a bibliography and then do some back up research the old-fashioned way.

E.B.D: Do you ever find it hard writing about the sexism and cast system of medieval times? I’d have a hard time not making some cryptic editorial comment, not done, of course, but it would frustrate me.

Jeri: These are different people in a different era. We can’t make judgments on them anymore than we can do so on people in other countries or those who worship different from us. Based on their experience of the world they did the best they could. It’s all in context.
People mistakenly call the early Middle Ages the “Dark Ages” but that is an incorrect moniker. There were a lot of innovations just getting off the ground in this period (buttons and button holes, paper, printing press, optical lenses) and it would be a mistake to think of these people as backwards. Just think what people will be thinking about us six hundred years from now. Besides, it’s part of the challenge to embrace Crispin’s prejudices and make them my own, putting myself in his shoes. It’s like an actor getting into character. What motivates him to do the things he has to do? What in his background makes him feel the way he does and what could make him change his mind in the story?

E.B.D.: Have you spent time in London, the setting for your Crispin Guest novels?

Jeri: I have been to London but it was many years ago. And the London of Crispin’s era no longer exists anyway. London had a few big fires between then and now, the great Fire of London in 1666, for instance, that pretty much took out most of it. There are a few structures still from an earlier period, most notably the Tower of London built by William the Conqueror. Westminster Hall is the only remaining structure from King Richard II’s time. It was part of the palace. The Parliament buildings now cover that footprint.
But I have wonderful copies of maps of London from the early fourteenth century and the sixteenth century and taken together, they give me a pretty good picture of London in 1384. I even have street names and info on which church or guildhouse was where. There is a lot of documentation about London.

E.B.D.: Do you ever think that your readers might benefit from a dictionary of medieval terms? From the excerpt provided on www.jeriwesterson.com from The Demon’s Parchment, I’m still trying to figure out what a “solar” is?

Jeri: In the back of each book is a glossary and I try to cover as many as those terms as I can. I’ve been to book clubs and they tell me, “More glossary!” so I’m trying to accommodate.
And by the way, a solar is a room in a house where the family gathers to share one another’s company, as opposed to the more public parlor where business might be conducted. Think of it as the family room or den.

E.B.D.: You were recently interviewed by Channel 32, the Pasadena/L.A. market about your books. How did the TV interview go? Had you ever appeared on TV before? Do you think that it is a good medium for a novelist?

Jeri: It went great! I was on with other Sisters in Crime LA members Ashley Ream and Eric Stone. I’d never been on TV before. They had a very small studio with several cameras and we had a very relaxed discussion between the four of us (including the interviewer) about the benefits of Sisters in Crime and our individual books and careers. I don’t know how many people watched it or if it will translate to sales, but I hope so. Any kind of exposure is a good thing for a novelist. One hopes people watching will be intrigued enough by me and my work to want to buy a book. Our host said it was one of the best shows she had ever done. I got a DVD of it and have yet to watch it but it will soon be up on my website.

E.B.D.: How do you possibly have time to maintain three websites, write new novels and promote your books and other projects?

Jeri: It’s part of the deal when you are in this business. I knew going in that it would require all this other time and expense to get noticed. It’s pretty relentless. The website doesn’t change too much except to update my appearance schedule.
My blog http://www.getting-medieval.com/ takes more time as I have articles on history and the book biz and all that must be researched…unless I go off on a rant. I try not to do that. I like it to read like a magazine with a whole variety of articles and images to look at.

Crispin’s blog, www.CrispinGuest.com is another matter. I try to only post once a month. It’s just a bridge for readers between books so they can keep up with the character to see how he’s doing, but it’s tough writing posts because I can’t write spoilers and I can’t get too far ahead of the book that’s currently out, so they end up being sort of general, everyday stuff. But there is a Mother’s Day post, too. :)
Crispin also has a Myspace page and a Facebook page but I do the Twittering.

E.B.D.: Jeri has several pets, one of which is a tortoise. While spending all those months in hibernation, do you ever have to dust your tortoise?

Jeri: I have a twelve-year-old desert tortoise that we got right out of the egg. We got her from a mating pair that someone owned. Domestic desert tortoises are not allowed to be let loose in the wild (they can give diseases to wild tortoises and wild tortoises can give them diseases) and you cannot sell them so you must give them away.
Her name is Harley, like the motorcycle, though she’s considerably quieter…and slower. When winter is around the corner, she lets us know by not eating and pooping like mad. She gets lethargic (yes, we can tell even though she’s a turtle) and by that we know it’s time to put her in a box and stick her in a closet until spring. Ah, if only you could do that with children.
But because she is in a box, she doesn’t really get dusty.

E.B.D:  Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, Jeri.  The Demon's Parchment, Jeri's latest book will be released on October 12, 2010.

4 comments:

Kaye George said...

Thanks for the interview! I've read others with Jeri, but never knew she had a desert tortoise. Thanks for all the other insights, too, E.B. and Jeri.

sort said...

Ah the secrets that get revealed! There's a picture of her on my blog along with other scenes of my backyard--it was just a very nice day--at www.Getting-Medieval.com and you can see Harley and the cats on my website www.JeriWesterson.com under Fun Stuff.

E. B. Davis said...

This was fun. Let's do it again when The Demon's Parchment comes out in the fall!

Jacqueline Vick said...

Loved it! You really bring the time period alive, even in your interviews.