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Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows.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


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Celebrity Bugs

I have a love/hate relationship with spring. I’m thrilled when the gray sky turns blue, the warm sun melts any remaining snow, and flowers burst up through the ground with the force of corn kernels popping.

But evil lurks in my paradise—bugs. Some with faces only their mothers could love.

My first spring living in the D.C. area (2004) I was warned about the approaching 17 year cicada invasion. I didn’t understand all the fuss about singing bugs. How bad could it get? So naïve.

First, they crawled out of the ground, dark bodies with glowing red eyes that looked like they had been residing in one of Dante’s levels of hell. Then they swarmed on trees, shed their skin, gained wings and flew everywhere. They began emitting otherworldly, pulsating noises that sounded like the Mother Ship was hovering nearby. Not long after, they died—sometimes in mid-flight. One landed in my omelet while I was eating brunch on the patio.

I’ve already begun this year’s spring insect dance. One morning while writing, I glimpsed a dark object on the floor skittle by my shoe, antennae waving, clearly taunting me. I jumped out of my chair and ran after the multi-legged creature trying to stomp on it. The bug zigged, I zagged and a dance to an imaginary tune of The Hokey Pokey commenced. Put your right foot in, take your right foot out…

I sat down to continue writing but spotted a spider hanging off a door. The phantom itching began. Was it poisonous? I searched online for an answer and instead found websites devoted to bugs (and animals) named after celebrities.

Yep, celebrities. No joke. Apparently scientists are given free rein with names as long as they abide by guidelines set by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Some names made me smile:

Preseucoila imallshookupis …Read More »

 – A species of gall wasp named after Elvis Presley and his hit song "All Shook Up". 

Villa manillae Evenhuis – This bee fly’s name was perhaps inspired by the lip syncing duo Milli Vanilli.

Aptostichus barackobamai Bond – A trapdoor spider named after President Obama because he is a fan of Spiderman comics.

Entomologists named three wasp species Polemistus chewbacca, Polemistus vaderi, and Polemistus yoda after their favorite Star Wars characters: Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Yoda.

Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae A horsefly with a glamorous golden behind named after singer Beyoncé.

Aptostichus stephencolberti A trapdoor spider named after comedian, Stephen Colbert. However, Colbert asked if they could name something cooler than a spider after him. They complied and named a beetle (way cooler than a spider), Agaporomorphus colberti, in his honor.

Euglossa bazinga is a bee species found in Brazil. It was named after the catchphrase, “bazinga,” used by television character Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Fun names, but something bugs me. I saw few insects or animals named after authors. And, unless I overlooked a section, I don’t recall seeing any mystery writers on the list. How about naming an inquisitive animal or bug in honor of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, or Dashiell Hammett?

Do you have a bug horror story?
Does anyone recognize the spider in my photo? Should I be concerned?


Warren Bull said...

In North Carolina I heard the term "Palmetto bug."
When I actually encountered the critter I noticed it had a remarkable resemblance to a northern roach, but it was much bigger.

Kara Cerise said...

Palmetto bugs sound rather creepy, Warren. Maybe I'm better off with my unidentified spider.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

My spider field guide is up north, so I can’t help you on that, but I think of spiders by the door as guardians of the threshold. They capture all the little creepy-crawly critters, so I let them be (and occasionally clean up the spider web, making sure not to harm the spider).

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

I'm actually rather fascinated by insects and arachnids, and no I don't recognize that spider. All spiders have poison in their fangs, it's how they paralyze their prey, but very few cause serious harm to people. The two are the black widow and the brown recluse, and that is almost never fatal. Interesting fact; the spider's poison turns the insect's insides to liquid and then the spider sucks it out.

As for insects, I hate Japanese beetles, flies, gnats and mosquitoes. I'm also not happy about ants in the house or building nests in my flower gardens.

Kara Cerise said...

Jim, what a kind way of thinking about spiders by a door. I like the phrase "guardians of the threshold." Very nice.

Shari Randall said...

Not crazy about bugs to be honest, except for decorative ones, like butterflies. I've made peace with the gigantic garden spiders (that's what I call them, not sure what the real name is) that make webs right near my front door. I tell myself that they're catching bugs before they get inside my house, instead of what they're probably really doing - plotting to catch me in one of their overachieving webs!

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, I'm not fascinated by bugs, but I have a healthy respect for them. A few years ago, my sister was stung by a scorpion which she told me was very painful. And last week after my mother-in-law finished gardening she noticed a lump behind her ear. Half of her face became swollen and red and she got sick. The doctors were stumped and thought perhaps something bit her. After a few days of intravenous antibiotics and other medicine, she's better.

I'm still trying to determine if mosquitos have any useful purpose other than annoying people and animals.

Kara Cerise said...

Shari, opening the front door and walking into a spider web isn't a nice way to start the day. I like your thought that spiders are plotting to catch humans with their large webs. An idea for a spooky short story?

KM Rockwood said...

I've seen a few brown recluse spider bites, and they are nasty. They hide in dark places where people can't see them, like shoes, and bite when someone puts their foot in. Before indoor plumbing (or if you're in a campground with outhouses) they can hide under the seat and give some truly nasty bites in very sensitive places.

I would vote for stinkbugs as my least favorite bug right now. They damage the fruit crops, which are big business around here, and they get into absolutely everywhere, no matter how well you think you have things sealed.

Kara Cerise said...

KM, I've heard that stinkbugs are incredibly destructive and that nobody knows how to control them. I can only imagine how much money growers have lost trying to save their fruit crops. So far, I've only seen a few in my area.

Crazy ants are another invasive species that I think will be costly and difficult to control.

E. B. Davis said...

A good insect is a dead insect. I hate reptiles, too.

E. B. Davis said...

Oh, and rodents, too!

Kara Cerise said...

E.B., your comments reminded me of the lyrics in that old song by Jim Stafford--"I don't like spiders and snakes and that ain't what it takes to love me..."

E. B. Davis said...

You got to trust, Jim Stafford, Kara! ;>)

Sarah Henning said...

Ha! The Beyonce one cracks me up! I have several horror stories about the giant cockroaches we encountered in owning a 1926 Key West-style house in West Palm Beach, Fla. Honestly, I don't want to give you all nightmares, but it was sometimes "The Metamorphosis" come to life.

Kara Cerise said...

The bug named after Beyoncé made me laugh, too, Sarah. Who knew entomologists had such a sense of humor?

Your experience with cockroaches sounds horrible. It gives me chills just thinking about it and I haven't even heard the whole story.

Carla Damron said...

Kara, that spider is from a distant galaxy. It was put there to record your comings and goings. It will leave you alone once the spaceship returns.

Kara Cerise said...

I've long suspected that spiders are part of an unearthly diabolical plot, Carla.