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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

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.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spaghetti Westerns, okay; fish and chip Westerns, no

While waiting to find a publisher for my suspense mystery, THE STINKING FLOWER, I’ve started another mystery. Although I can delay deciding on all the key turning points, all those who’ll end up dead, and even on the name of the villain, I do need a setting. The where of a story can include so much and make such a difference to a story that I’m revisiting it for a second week.

My fellow blogger, E.B. Davis, has referred to the location of her novel, the Outer Banks, and has included in her story a local celebrity, Blackbeard. I look forward to reading her published novel and visualizing the setting. I will not be visiting the Outer Banks to find out if Elaine’s portrayal of the area is totally accurate. I don’t care if she’s missed out a one-way street. If a story feels real to me while I’m reading, that is all I ask.

Certain activities in a story are included in the setting. I can understand an avid gun person being annoyed if the way a gun fires or the type of bullet used is incorrect in a story. Annoyed yes, and maybe the irritated reader sends an email to the author so he/she does better research. However to stop reading the story that otherwise works, that isn’t something I’d do.

I’m familiar with hospitals and medical treatments and I’ve seen writers make mistakes with code blues, medical machinery, and drugs. I feel the need to correct these mistakes and do so, in my head. I will continue reading the book if the characters and story hold my attention.

Writers sometimes tell me they are tired of Agatha Christie settings. So am I. I read her books in grade school and was amazed that such a seemingly old-fashioned and lady-like woman could come up with so many crime plots. The society into which she was born no longer exists. Modern British authors write police procedurals, PI’s, amateur sleuths, thrillers, and cozies.

When I was growing up in the UK, I saw many cowboy movies. The whole setting was foreign to me, men on horseback for days, vast plains, and cattle as numerous as the people in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. As a young girl, I was interested in horses so I watched the cowboy movies but I forgot the plots and lonely male characters before I left the cinema.

Recently I watched a TV series on the last cowboys. Instead of horses, the cowboys had trucks and ATV’s. On small farms, the wife helped and the children were training to take over the farm one day. On larger farms, extended families and employees worked together. Calving season corresponded with the snow season and every dead calf meant the cowboy farmer lost money. I was sad to see a young animal born and then freeze to death within the first few hours of life. I cared about these latter day cowboys and their families, and wanted them to succeed. I never did know where the cowboys in Western movies were taking all those cattle.

Sometimes writers are urged to find unusual settings so they stand out from the pack. As many readers, I enjoy learning new things while I’m being entertained. Maybe I have a morbid mind or a little bit of vulture DNA because I especially like learning about autopsies and funeral homes.

Although the web and smart phones have changed the way many of us live, there are areas near my home where people can’t connect with the web and there’s no cell phone reception. My daughter tells me texts always get through but I haven’t yet put that to the test.

A setting is so much more than the accurate depiction of streets and public buildings. An in-depth setting captures the thinking and mood of the time, and the ripple effect of both personal and public events on the local community. Even a thunderstorm is a very different event in a city compared with a rural area. My protagonist, in her early thirties, likes cities but she also longs for the peace and proximity to nature of rural areas. Her story takes place in Boston and Western Massachusetts.


E. B. Davis said...

Someone once said that setting is much like another character, and I think it's true. Settings give parameters for action and provide another medium for character reaction. In the first case, if you want a boat in a scene, normally you'd have to set the scene by water, unless of course you are using a boat on a trailer in someone's driveway. The water setting is a parameter. In the second case, much like another character, the protagonist can react to the setting or weather to effect a mood. The character maybe climbing down a cliff when it starts raining, like another complication the character must overcome or react to irritably like an obnoxious character the protagonist encounters. Setting, whether used to set parameters, create mood, or allow for reaction must be carefully considered by writers. Ignoring this element is a waste.

Pauline Alldred said...

I agree. Picking a setting sets limits to what a protagonist can do. A protagonist has to respond to surroundings, in a company, a hospital,a university, or in raw nature.

Ramona said...

Pauline, I grew up with cattle, so I always understood that, in Westerns, cowboys were driving cows to a slaughterhouse. Perhaps that's a testament to why it might be good to retain some illusion in settings and situations.

Pauline Alldred said...

I guess when I was a child and watching a cowboy movie, it was good not to know all those animals were about to die. It seems a lot of westerns weren't made for adults. There was a Miss Kitty sometimes but she remained virginal. I think High Noon was the first adult western I saw and enjoyed.