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, April 26, 2016

Of Accidents and Art

The story of this photograph started off with an accident. I was watering the plants on my backyard deck, and I tripped and slopped water on the wooden boards. Suddenly there was a pretty little puddle at my feet. I spill stuff all the time when I'm gardening – dirt, mulch, compost. And since Mother Nature is not known for being overly fastidious, I don't bother cleaning it up.

So the puddle stayed. And it wasn't until I finished my chores and started back inside that I noticed it again. Only this time, it looked very different.

The angle of light was such that the sky overhead reflected in the still water like a mirror. The white clouds, green-gold new oak leaves, and slick black tree limbs were all backgrounded by a sky so clear and blue it looked freshly painted.

But this was no mirror, no flat oval of silvered glass. The water took an organic form, spiky at the edges, like a starburst. It shimmered with liquid grace, following rules of physics to arrange itself there. There was no design of mine in it. There was only this puddle, and the late afternoon sunshine, and the green spring bursting above it.

Soon the sun sank lower, changing the angle of light, and the puddle became a puddle once again. I am writing this post on another brilliant spring day, and I am tempted to try to replicate the effect. But I don't think I can. My intentions would get in the way.

Some artists are spectacularly good at getting out of the way of intention, Jackson Pollack being one of the best. His paintings incorporate fractal patterns typically found only in nature, patterns that at their deepest level cannot be ascertained by the human eye. We see only seemingly random drip and drops, splatters and splashes. And that's what most abstract work painted by humans looks like under the microscope too – a random mess. But Jackson's work, just like Nature's, has an underlying order. Spirals loop together into elegantly mathematical forms, graceful and precise.

I think of this process, the tapping of the underlying order in the chaos, whenever I sit down at the page. We writers are working with limited materials – in English, we have twenty-six letters and a smattering of punctuation marks at our disposal. You'd think we'd run out of interesting new combinations, that perhaps Shakespeare or Morrison or Dickinson would have used up all the really good patterns.

But no. New stories still abound. It's only natural. Our DNA works with only four nucleotides, and look at all the variety there. We writers haven't exhausted our twenty-six building blocks, not by a long shot.

So the next time you end up with a mess, whether wordy or watery, consider the beauty there ripe for the beholding. Perhaps like me, you'll find a rainbow in the ruin.


Jim Jackson said...

Fun picture that you caught, Tina. Not only do we get to write new stories by using the same words in different orders, we also can invent new words. We can read Shakespeare (with a little assistance for ancient meanings); I suspect Will would have some difficulties reading modern stories that rely on cell phones, airplanes and the like.

Julie Tollefson said...

I'm deep into revisions and I needed to hear this today: "So the next time you end up with a mess, whether wordy or watery, consider the beauty there ripe for the beholding. Perhaps like me, you'll find a rainbow in the ruin." I hope you are right. I have quite the wordy mess on my hands right now, and I'm excavating for beauty.

Love the photo and the happy accident that made it possible.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I'm wading through words searching for the beauty within. What a lovely moment to capture.

Tina said...

They say necessity is the mother of invention, but I think accident may be the father. The hardest thing I do as a writer is fight the urge to clean up every mess I make on the page before it's had a chance to soak in, as it were. I'm happy to hear that other writers have their own wordy messes (although I wonder if Shakespeare ever did).

Paula Gail Benson said...

Tina, I love this photo and love even more the words you've used to describe the situation and what you learned from it. In the words of a song from the musical SOMETHING ROTTEN (about the brothers who came up with the first musical while competing with William Shakespeare for an audience), "it's good sentiment and good advice."

Kait Carson said...

Breathtaking. The post, the photo, the concept.

Warren Bull said...

seriously cool

Tina said...

Thank y'all! It makes me happy that y'all enjoyed this little accident.

Gloria Alden said...

Tina, I loved the pictures and the message in your blog. I often find my inspirations while walking in the woods, especially for poetry. Same walk everyday, but there always seems to be something new to see and marvel at.

Tina said...

And that's exactly what poetry is for -- to capture the sameness that is always new.

Shari Randall said...

I can only marvel at this photo. It's amazing, like a magic portal that lets us peek into another world. I bet some people think you did it with Photoshop.
I'll take your message to heart - lots of messes to ponder on the page today - but I'll let them rest and see what happens.

KM Rockwood said...

We need to be open to what's out there if we really want to see what nature provides for us.

Tina said...

A lot of people have used that word, Shari -- "portal." It does have that feeling, like a glimpse into another reality. And no, no technological tinkering of any kind (I haven't the know-how). I am glad I managed to be open that day.