If you are interested in blogging or want to promote your book next year, 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.

Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows. Big news for a new year. Congratulations, Julie.

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.

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.


Monday, November 19, 2012

Enjoying The Holidays

I’ve been told that I’m an intense person. The dictionary tells me that “intense” means existing in the extreme. I don’t like extreme. Words describing “intense” are: vehement, strong, keenness, severity, strenuous and diligence. Some of these words I find to be positive attributes, and yet I can’t or would rather not describe myself as extreme. I’ve found extreme people to be inconsistent, bouncing from one position to its polar opposite, which I find superficial and hypocritical. Take my neighbor…please.

 She was a “born-again-Christian,” (a phrase I’ve translated into “Super-Christian,” all sarcasm intended) who confessed rather proudly that she had “spent her youth wacked-out on drugs and then got pregnant.” The “Lord” raised her children and kept them save. When her kids ran out on the street and drove their bikes nilly-willy through traffic while she talked on the phone, the rest of us neighborhood moms were nervous wrecks. I had no respect for her. She was extreme, but she wasn’t intense—in fact she was down-right relaxed—or maybe just lax. When she moved, we all heaved a sigh of relief, but we still feared for her children.

What I don’t know is: Can you be intense without being extreme? Is intense a bad characteristic?

I’m not sure how anyone can write murder mystery without intensity. To write through a main character’s perspective, a writer must feel what the character feels. By their very nature, murder mysteries and their characters are intense. Who normally stumbles upon dead bodies? Who would pursue killers? Who would put themselves in danger? I can see no other way to create suspense without writing in an intense frame of mind.

But lately, I’ve noticed that my shoulders are hiked and my jaw is locked. Relaxation doesn’t come easily. Have I drunk too much coffee? Am I too enmeshed in my characters? Have I taken my craft too seriously? I’m always striving to get to the next level, to better my writing as if in competition with myself. I’m not competitive by nature, but who wouldn’t want to improve themselves and their craft? The problem is that I feel as if my craft is actually slipping—not improving—making me wonder if intensity can easily turn into stress, which is counterproductive to the process.

This is my last blog until the New Year since we will be presenting new holiday short stories weekly by most of the writers contributing to Writers Who Kill, starting on November 26th. I’m revising my short story now because I’m dissatisfied with it. Taking time off from writing may serve me better than trying to write with the added stress of the holidays. Stress kills creativity, and if my work is evidence, I’m already stressed.

People in other occupations take time off from their jobs. You can, too. Unless you have a deadline or your muse makes demands, don’t think about your characters or the problems you’ve created for them. Take time off to enjoy the holidays.     


Paula Gail Benson said...

I think you have a good idea. Relaxation and opening yourself to different experiences can lead to greater creativity. Hope yours are happy holidays.

Gloria Alden said...

Interesting blog, E.B. I think of intense as being passionate about something and focused on it, which is much better than some of the definitions you listed. But this also creates stress when things outside what you're focusing on interfere with your goals or objectives. Yes, we all need breaks sometimes to give us more perspective. Have a happy Thanksgiving and relax.

Warren Bull said...

I hope you and all of us have holidays that leaves us refreshed and raring to get back to writing.

Carla Damron said...

Well timed blog! I struggle with guilt when I don't write, and that's not good. I NEED to recharge my creativity by taking a break. Thanks for the reminder.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I don't think I would add as much negative connotation to "intense" as you have, but regardless if you're doing something that used to be fun and isn't anymore, it's time for a break.

Something I sometimes forget is that for a muscle to strengthen it needs both work and rest.

I'm looking forward to your 2013 blogs.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for the reminder to take a break! I think it’s important to rest and enjoy life in order to keep our writing fresh.

E. B. Davis said...

Sorry I haven't been around today. We were trying for some R & R on Hatteras Island--except that the road washed out. We took the ferry over, which meant an extra five hours of travel time. We were planning on leaving tomorrow, but when the electric went out last night, we though maybe we'd leave today. The electric came back on before we left, but since a lot of residents go to the mainland for Thanksgiving (and they have priority on the ferry) we thought leaving today was the better plan.

Much to our pleasure, the road was open to four-wheel drive vehicles, which we have, so we forded the road against a wave or two washing through it. Our travel time wasn't much different than normal.

Once on 95N, where we fought traffic, we wondered if fighting waves wasn't the better option. I'm beginning to think that the environmentalists are right--we need the long bridge that bypasses Pea Island. If you can't fight them, may as well join them. And I'm not against baby birds or turtles.

E. B. Davis said...

Gloria--you have an interesting and accurate point. When things outside interfere with my goals--I do stress. I'm not a control freak, but it would be nice sometimes to be able to have control over SOMETHING!

Jim--most people think intense people are negative and uncool--I'm glad you have a different take on the word. Living without passion is a flavorless life. May the holidays be stress free for everyone. (PS--I uploaded the novels on my Kindle--love that technology--like magic!)

Alyx Morgan said...

I think intensity in & of itself is absolutely fine, EB. Like Gloria said, it speaks of passion & focus. When intensity is found in one who is also high-strung, the two together can be a very unpleasant situation (I'm not saying you are, just giving a for instance).

It's also possible that the people who call you "intense" are uncomfortable with your level of passion about things, or your focus or commitment to something. If so, that's their own issue & I hope you don't take it on as your own.

And stress . . . well, that's not good for ANYONE. I hope you find some much needed down time over the holiday season.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks, Alyx. Stress is a state of mind--you try to avoid it--but sometimes it does appear. My body usually does some sort of flip-flop telling me when I'm stressed. Trying to stay low-key can rebound on you. When I've really been stressed, I amazed myself by spontaneously chanting like a Native American war party prior to a raid.