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

Our March author interviews: Karen Pullen (3/1), Lowcountry Crime authors: Tina Whittle, Polly Iyer, Jonathan M. Bryant, and James M. Jackson (3/8), Annette Dashofy (3/15), Edith Maxwell (3/22) and Barb Ross (3/29).

Saturday Guest Bloggers in March: Maris Soule (3/4), and Virginia Mackey (3/11). WWK Saturday bloggers write on 3/18--Margaret S. Hamilton and on 3/25--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Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows.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 pre-order.

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Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sex in the Suburbs

Last Sunday I awoke at 3:30 a.m. to the sounds of love—well, more accurately, lust. For whatever reason I channeled, Paul Simon’s “Duncan,” which starts with

Couple in the next room bound to win a prize
They’ve been going at it all night long

The problem with my not-quite-awake brain’s jukebox response was this: no humans were involved that night. We’re talking frogs and toads and they are loud. I mean LOUD! Voyeur that I am, I had no shame and listened from the comfort of my bed.

Male frogs and toads attract mates by finding a suitable spot and singing. Suitable means somewhere a female frog can find him because, as happens with many animals, the ladies choose who gets to fertilize their eggs; males catch as catch can. Behind our house is a pond (called a lagoon down here, which has more cachet in real estate terms) and beyond that wetlands. We have a variety of amphibians and that night I heard multiple LOUD frog/toad choruses. Their combined effect was so exuberant that to fall asleep one night I had to turn on background music in order to provide competing white noise.

We could shut the windows, of course, but that’s not a serious option for those nights when the outdoor temperatures are perfect for sleeping.

Eventually a bullfrog added a basso profundo underpinning to the caterwauling of the leopard frogs and tree frogs and Fowler’s toads I knew were out there. For a short time a Barred Owl added its “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for y’all?” above the cacophony.

There were other night sounds as well. Egrets maybe? I can’t be sure, but they too are in the mood. The Great Egret that frequents our lagoon during the day has donned its green eye-shadow to attract a mate.

The amphibian chorus brought to mind another occasion, this in August 1980, where night noises awoke me. Earlier that day I had bought my house, built in 1795, in the Purdy’s section of North Salem, New York (NE corner of Westchester County fifty miles from NYC), and before the furniture arrived I chose to sleep on the living room rug underneath a sleeping bag. I was so tired that I fell asleep before dark.

I awoke to a frightening racket. In my sleep-blurred thinking, I decided there was something wrong with the furnace. After shoving on glasses I followed the penlight beam down the basement stairs, remembering to duck because the ceiling over the steps was low.

Partway down the basement stairs I realized the intensity of the sound was decreasing. Back upstairs, I cupped my hands behind my ears and swiveled my head like an owl to locate the sound. As you have certainly guessed, it was coming from outside. The annual cicadas or katydids or some such were doing their thing—a sound I had never heard before. I laughed at my own foolishness and went back to sleep once my heart quieted.


The next night I experienced the beginning of their bacchanalia. First one insect chirped. Then another. And another. In short order they synchronized their chirps so the singing was in unison. As more males joined in, the noise strengthened and I again heard the chorus that had awoken me on my maiden night in the house.

I know I lose sleep over this stuff, but you’ll never hear me complain.

~ Jim

4 comments:

Gloria Alden said...

Jim, I love the sound of frogs, toads, crickets and cicadas. I sleep with my bedroom window open and not too far away, I have a small goldfish pond. When they suddenly go quiet, I know a raccoon or some other critter is prowling around.I enjoy hearing a barred owl or coyotes in the distance, too. The only night sound I hate is the cars that go by with loud music blasting.

Kara Cerise said...

I live next to a freeway so I'm used to hearing constant noise from cars and motorcycles. The first time I visited friends in the Connecticut countryside I mistakenly thought it would be quiet and peaceful at night. Wrong. I was shocked by the loud, unearthly sounds made by frogs, toads, and other unidentifiable animals. Just when I thought they were going to stop and I could sleep, they revved up again.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

Kara,

I had a friend who lived in downtown Chicago who visited when I lived in the North Salem house. He couldn't sleep either because of the noise. If I had had taxis running up and down the street honking their horns, he wouldn't have had any problem with his slumbers.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

The other day, I was talking on the phone while sitting on my screen porch. A bird interrupted my phone call with its "voice." We have tall Leyland Cypress trees that surround one side of the porch. Birds nest there. They must give instructions to their spouses because one bird's call was so loud, it interrupted my conversation.

We also now have a robin who wants inside our house. We suspect she sees something inside that constitutes nest building material. She continuously bumps into one of our windows like the glass isn't there. I finally closed the curtain on the window to make it look solid. She stopped, but now I wonder if I'll have to keep the window curtain closed the entire spring. It's been three days now.