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

January Interviews
1/1 Sherry Harris, Sell Low, Sweet Harriet
1/8 Barbara Ross, Sealed Off
1/15 Libby Klein, Theater Nights Are Murder
1/22 Carol Pouliot, Doorway To Murder
1/29 Julia Buckley, Death with A Dark Red Rose

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
1/4 Lisa Lieberman
1/11 Karen McCarthy
1/18 Trey Baker

WWK Bloggers: 1/25 Kait Carson, 1/30 E. B. Davis


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


Tuesday, January 21, 2020

With A Lot of Help From My Friends

by Paula Gail Benson

Each year, I write a Christmas musical that is performed as a dinner theater at my church, St. Paul’s Lutheran in Columbia, S.C., during the first two Fridays following Thanksgiving. I thought I was ahead of the game this year. By mid-summer, I had worked out a story about a hobo storytelling contest during the Great Depression and developed roles that fit the folks in our company of St. Paul’s Players. I even had many of the musical numbers ready.

Then, one of my Players had a terrible accident, falling from a ladder and breaking ribs. He kept telling me he was working to recover, but those kind of injuries take time. By the end of summer, he regretfully told me that he would not be able to participate.

He encouraged me to cast someone else, but I’d written one key role with him in mind and wanted him to have the chance to play it. About that time, I went to Killer Nashville and, with friends, attended God Help Us!, a show starring Ed Asner in the title role at the Franklin Theater.

Among the group were Debra Goldstein, Nancy Sartor and her husband Dave, Marianne Donley, Carol Wright, and Carol’s husband Bruce Murphy. Marianne and Carol are members of the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable and edit the group’s online quarterly. In addition, both are excellent short story writers. When I mentioned my dilemma with my Christmas production, they suggested I read a story that Carol had written for the group’s anthology, Untethered: Sweet, Funny, and Strange Tales of the Paranormal. Carol’s story took place during the Depression era and was called “The Man from Hooverville.” They encouraged me to consider turning it into a musical.

I read Carol’s story and liked it very much, but its main character was a thirteen-year-old girl. My company of Players were all adults.

After returning home, I was consulting with a co-worker at the office when her brother stopped by to visit. He turned to me and asked if I was working on my Christmas production. After saying I was trying to, he said, “Well, I have a thirteen-year-old daughter and she would love to be in it.”

If I made up this story, no one would believe it, but I’ve learned to expect this kind of “coincidence” to occur each year as I work on our production. Our producer for many years, John Henry, and I used to talk about it as divine intervention, proving that we were on the right track. Since John passed away two summers ago, I now imagine him sitting at God’s elbow, whispering, “You need to get Paula moving with this year’s musical.” Due to John’s estate planning, he continues with us through funding as well as spiritually. His faith in our efforts is a great sustainer and means more than I can say.

So, I asked Carol if she would trust her story to me and she graciously agreed. Her story had three characters: the young girl, her mother, and a mysterious stranger who seemed to come from the Hooverville. I asked Carol questions, like what was the mother’s name and could I expand the story to include other characters, residents of the town and the Hooverville? She agreed to my expansion and, as I shared drafts with her, she told me that I had developed it in ways she considered as she was writing the original story. Talk about a feeling of validation! There is no higher praise for a story adapter than having the original author say you captured her vision. I cannot tell Carol how grateful I am for her encouragement and support for turning her short story into the musical Always with Us.

This year, I truly experienced “if you build it, they will come.” Members of the company brought friends and family members to join us. Our cast increased to nine people, John Arnold (the mysterious man), Jillian Carey Bigony (the mother), Brenda Byrd, Tim Clark, Kristen Coulter, Janie Fulmer, Reggie Hall, Jim Jarvis (members of the town and Hooverville, which I named BeHooven), and Libby Penland as our thirteen-year-old Patty Shepherd. Margaret Davis made me believe I had some talent as a song writer. She helped me organize the music and took on a solo. Malechi Doren and William Paddock signed on as our accompanists and musical transcribers. Dean Long provided lights and sound and Billy Itter ran our spotlight.

Our audiences responded lovingly to the heartfelt nature of the story. We received some of the kindest compliments we have ever had.

In one last dramatic turn, our videographer had a stroke before she could film the production. Fortunately, she received the immediate care she needed and is recovering. I found a group on Facebook and put out an urgent appeal for help. In true show business fashion, the show went on and we have it taped for posterity and for Carol, who cheered us on from a distance. We’ve held off our cast party hoping she and Bruce can come celebrate with us.

So, another opening, another show. This time, with a great deal of help from my friends.

Any theater groupies out there?