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Julie Tollefson won the Mystery Writers of America Midwest Chapter's Holton Award for best unpublished manuscript (member category) for her work in progress, In The Shadows.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, July 4, 2016

Some Thoughts on the Fourth By Margaret S. Hamilton

Bright red geraniums stand tall in their pots, planted with cascades of white petunias and spikes of blue salvia, lined up on front steps all over town in celebration of the Fourth. Star-spangled bunting draped on porch railings, every house flying an American flag.

Except mine. Last summer, someone stole my father’s bicentennial stars and stripes flag, the number “76” encircled by thirteen stars on its blue field, plus its pole, from my street-side mailbox.

Many other houses in the area were hit by the flag thief. Why steal a flag? Flags can’t be fenced, like jewelry or electronics. I was outraged and saddened. I expect political signs to be snatched from my yard. Ohio elections are contentious. We take the time and spend a few dollars to replace them. I rummaged around and found an American flag I’ll fly from a bedroom window. I defy our local flag thief to scale the brick façade to grab it.

As a writer, I draw on material from a lifetime of events. I channeled my frustration about the theft into a recent Kings River Life short story about a flag thief. I am blessed (or cursed) with insatiable curiosity; in my story, I explore the history of the uniquely shaped Ohio state flag, as well as the American flag with seventeen stars when Ohio gained statehood in 1803.

I’ve celebrated the Fourth with fireworks in many places—summer YMCA camp in the Poconos, on Cape Cod beaches, overlooking Santa Monica Bay in Los Angeles, with the Cleveland Symphony at Blossom Music Festival. In Atlanta, we sat on the curb of the Alpharetta Highway and devoured ice cream. Now we’re in Cincinnati, a thirty minute walk from two venues, the fireworks show not until ten o’clock, when it’s finally dark on the far edge of the Eastern Time zone.

We’ve enjoyed performances of Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” performed with fireworks, clanging bells, and cannon fire. In 1974, Arthur Fiedler realized it was the perfect piece for a Boston Pops July Fourth performance, though it celebrates Napoleon’s retreat from Russia, not our War of 1812. In the overture, the spirited tune of “La Marseillaise” is gradually overcome by the statelier “God Save the Czar.” On Independence Day it’s all about celebrating victory from oppression.

In our family, the Fourth isn’t complete without a road race—in Atlanta, the 70,000 runner Peachtree Road Race on what is one of the hottest days of summer. In Cincinnati, a local 10K with a killer hill.

Hamburgers and hotdogs are popular all over the States. We ate grilled salmon with peas in the West. Fried chicken and biscuits in the South. Grilled brats and hot potato salad in the Midwest. Homemade ice cream with cherry pie. Sheet cake iced in white, decorated with strawberries and blueberries. Luscious slices of juicy watermelon. And with Michigan blueberries readily available in Cincinnati, blueberry muffins.

Readers, how do you celebrate the Fourth?

Margaret S. Hamilton writes cozy stories and traditional amateur sleuth novels set in a small Ohio town and Louisiana. She lives in the Cincinnati suburbs.


Jim Jackson said...

This year I am celebrating the 4th on the road. We'll try to avoid getting stuck in parades as we pass from town to town. And with luck, we'll find the monument that marks the gravesite of my 5th Great Grandfather Col. Giles Jackson who fought in the Revolutionary War and as chief of staff to General Gates at the battle of Saratoga was the person who copied out the terms of the surrender.

Be safe on the 4th, everyone.

~ Jim

KM Rockwood said...

Our 4th of July some years, this one included,is somewhat restricted by the re-enactment of the Battle of Gettysburg, held close to where we live. (Have you ever tried to tell your boss the reason you are late for work is because you had to wait to let Confederate cavalry clear the road?)

In the evening, we'll head in the other direction, via back roads, to meet some family members for a late dinner on the patio of a local restaurant that has a great view of fireworks that will be set off from the top of a ski resort mountain.

Kait said...

Margaret, how awful about the flag! You have great memories of multiple regional 4ths. I loved revisiting them. We traditionally cook out, although we opted to do it yesterday as today's weather is predicted to be rainy at about eating time so we will be celebrating this year with beef and chicken burritos! Very American, I know. We'll be finishing off the meal with vanilla ice cream topped with raspberries and blueberries and finished with the oh so necessary whipped cream!

Have a spectacular 4th!

Shari Randall said...

Margaret, I loved your story in Kings River Life. I'm sorry your flag was stolen, but you got a good story out of it!
We always celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary, which was July 4th 59 years ago. Perfect date - always a holiday and always fireworks!

Gloria Alden said...

Margaret, what wonderful memories you have. I'm sorry about the flag especially since it's one that can't be replaced. I love the 1812 Overture played to Fireworks. When our town used to have a big event on New Years Eve, it always ended with fireworks and the 1812 Overture of something similar.

In days past, there were picnics and in the evening we went somewhere to see the fireworks. Now I was invited to two cookouts, but decided I'd rather stay home instead of mingle with mostly friends of my son and daughter, all much younger than me. I've been on the go too much the last few weeks so a quiet day home weeding and writing suits me. Most years a neighbor down the road shoots off firecrackers so I can watch those from my kitchen window.

Paula Gail Benson said...

What terrific plans everyone has! I'm spending my 4th quietly, finishing Louis Bayard's The Pale Blue Eye, eating strawberry pancakes for breakfast and Southern pork barbecue for lunch, and spending some time in the gym to work off the calories! Thanks, Margaret, and Happy 4th to all!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Jim: happy monument hunting and drive safely

Kathleen: that's life living near a battlefield. What wonderful dinner plans.

Kait: We're having garides tourkolimano (shrimp cooked with chopped fresh tomatoes, fresh basil, and feta cheese) for dinner. And blueberry muffins.

Shari: what a great day to get married, with yearly fireworks to celebrate

Gloria: I've been weeding all week in cooler temps, with rain yesterday and today. My husband ran his 10K in the rain and I walked the dogs down to watch.

Happy Fourth!

Linda Thorne said...

Good post. Sitting here in my office at home thinking of going to bed, but listening to the very loud fireworks nearby. Our dogs hate the sound, we love it. Sounds much like battlefields from our history must have. Better here in the safety of home, but they do bring out a lot of history.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Linda, I caught a reference to "noiseless" fireworks designed to spare dogs the agony of the Fourth. And I watched the Washington DC concert on TV with an abbreviated version of the "1812 Overture" complete with artillery fire.