If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book, please contact E. B. Davis at writerswhokill@gmail.com

Our April author interviews: Perennial author Susan Wittig Albert--4/5, Sasscer Hill, horse racing insider--4/12, English historical, cozy author, TE Kinsey--4/19, Debut author, Susan Bickford--4/26.

Saturday Guest Bloggers in April: Heather Baker Weidner (4/1), Christina Hoag (4/8), Susan Boles (4/29). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 4/15--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 4/22--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th. In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

Linda Rodriquez has two pending book publications. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel will be released by Scapegoat Press on November 29th. Every Family Doubt, the fourth Skeet Bannion mystery, is scheduled for release on June, 13, 2017. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Linda here in June!

Cross Genre Publications anthology, Hidden Youth, will contain Warren Bull's "The Girl, The Devil, and The Coal Mine." The anthology will be released in late November 2016. The We've Been Trumped anthology released by Dark House Press on September 28th contains Warren Bull's "The Wall" short story and KM Rockwood's "A Phone Call to the White House." KM writes under the name Pat Anne Sirs for this volume.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas Gifts (Part 1 of 3)

I am of mixed minds sharing this story. I am still haunted by the protagonist and wish to share more of her life with readers. Yet some years have passed since I wrote it and the editor in me would make changes. That seems unfair to the writer who wrote the piece--the me of a few years ago. I have refrained using the red pen, and this is the story as I wrote it:

By J. M. Jackson
(Part 1 of 3)

The metronome clicks of marching heels announce my sister-in-law’s approach. My face broadens into a smile as I hear my niece burst into song--melismas on the Gloria, with no attention to her mother’s beat.
    The aide appears at my door. “Miss Anderson, you have visitors. Would you like to see them?”
    I overheard the staff talking a few nights ago after I was supposed to be asleep. Asking permission is now added to their “dignity in dying” initiative. Imagine trying to bring decorum to the indecency of bone cancer.
    I nod assent and squeeze my morphine pump. A tear works at the corner of my eye as I remember the last time they visited. My clairvoyant sight informed me I had many months before I would die. I feel no dignity in the wait.
    Jessica careens around the corner, pouring into the room with all the enthusiasm of the Niagara thundering over the falls, her mother’s words of caution lost in the tumult. She circles the room like a whirlpool, arms twirling in ever faster circles until she bumps into the bed and falls down in a pile of giggles.
    “Jessica! Stop fooling around. You know how to behave in the nursing home. You could hurt one of these old people if you knock into them. Merry Christmas, Jody. How are we feeling today?”
    “But Aunt Jody’s not old.”
    “Jessica, what do you say to your Aunt Jody?”
    “Merry Christmas, Aunt Jody. Why are those tubes sticking into you?”
    Her mother bends into the child’s face. “Jessica, you know what we talked about. Now behave yourself.”
    I find my voice. “I can’t eat solid food any more, so they feed me through the tubes. Merry Christmas to both of you. I’m glad you came.”
    “Why not, Aunt Jody?”
    “It’s fine. She can ask anything she wants; it’s fine. Jessica honey, have you ever been sick to your stomach?”
    “Uh huh.”
    “When they feed me through the arm like this, I don’t get sick to my stomach.”
    “What’s it taste like?”
    I turn my head toward my sister-in-law in her tailored suit, starched white blouse, freshly coiffed hair and precisely plucked eyebrows. “Doris, maybe you could leave Jessica with me for awhile. We have lots to talk about, don’t we, Jessica?”
    Jessica vigorously nods. “Yeah, Mommy. We want our special time alone. Just like always.”
    Doris checks her watch. “You have to give Aunt Jody her Christmas present.”
    Jessica breaks into a gapped grin. Her two top teeth, half emerged from pink gums, are upside down tablets large enough to contain five commandments each. Her bottom teeth have not yet risen.
    “Jessica, let me see your teeth.”
    She sashays over to the bed. “I got a gold dollar for each one, Aunt Jody. The tooth fairy took away my teeth in the middle of the night and left gold dollars...you know, the one with the Indian on them...left them under my pillow. And this one...” She opens her mouth wide enough for me to inspect her tonsils, and points.
    “I got a dollar even though I swallowed the tooth when I ate an apple. It wasn’t my fault that I couldn’t put it under the pillow.”
    “No, not your fault at all.”
    She leans in close, peering back under her arm at her mother and whispers, “You know, I don’t believe in the tooth fairy, but I keep pretending I do.”

Part 2 continues next week
(The story originally appeared in the anthology, Not From Around Here, Are You?)


E. B. Davis said...

It was said that Anton Chekhov was editing his stories on his deathbed, Jim. No need for you to do the same.

Why do we hide the truth from children? I avoided masking truth from my kids because sooner or later I knew they'd know. I didn't want them to accuse me of lying. Nor did I want them to be kicked in the pants by strangers when the truth was revealed. The truth is kinder when told by those who love you.

Warren Bull said...

Sometimes I read my earlier work and cringe. Early in my career, I heard Susan McBride speak. She explained that there's no point in editing something that's already been published. The only exception I make is if something is accepted for reprint.

Pauline Alldred said...

The urge to edit what was published years ago is strong but futile in most cases. I'm just grateful I've learned and grown. Also, I think your earlier story probably seems worse to you than to anyone else.

Your story brings home to me situations I saw so often as an RN. I think it's sad that people so often die in institutions with people who've only known them when they were sick and not as young and healthy persons, full of life and not reminding anyone of death.

Kaye George said...

Jim, I'll admit that I wanted to red pencil the first few sentences, especially after your introduction, but after I got going, I wouldn't have changed a thing. The story grabbed me in the best way. Love the characters and the situation so far.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Thanks for everyone's comments. Warren, I think Susan McBride has it right with respect to where an author needs to spend his or her time.

My son had an English teacher who proclaimed that no piece was ever finished; the author finally decided to abandon it for something else.

So not to worry EB, I'll not be going back to old works to tweak them yet again once they've seen the light of day in publication -- unless there is some reprint opportunity.

Then I'll get Kaye to pull out her red pen and help me out.

Cheers all,

~ Jim