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.


Monday, June 20, 2011

My Obsession

I confess that I am a shell seeker. I have no power to control my pursuit of shells. It’s an obsession, one that I make no apologies for, because I hurt no one in my single mindedness.

I have tried walking on the beach without looking down. Trying to power walk is impossible. Running—forget it. When I sit in my beach chair, I look at the ocean or dunes. The second that I stand, my eyes go to the beach surface, and I resume my hunt. As I wade into the ocean, I check the surf. The surf holds many beauties that I retrieve with the enthusiasm of a dog catching a Frisbee. The shells wait for me to find them.

My husband and I four-wheel drive on the beach. I’ve trained him to stop as soon as I see a shell dump on the beach. Before our truck stops, my door is open, and I leap out to start my hunt. He used to wait for me, motor running. Now, he gets out too. I may have passed on my obsession to him, but at least he no longer moans in disgust.

When going to the beach on a summer’s day, I stuff my beach bag with my finds. This requires emptying my beach bag every day so that it doesn’t weigh a ton. I also want to examine my catch, so I wash my shells at the end of the day, putting them on a towel to dry. The picture on the right shows a typical day’s catch.

In the winter, the best time for shelling, I use a drywall compound bucket to store my finds. The most unusual shells appear during the winter months. Perhaps the winter storms drive them onto the beach or when there are few people on the beach, I find more of them. Whatever the case, I know that I have only found Scotch Bonnets, North Carolina’s State Shell, during the winter months. One winter, I found nine Scotch Bonnets after twenty years of finding none. It may have been a bad winter for them. For me, it was nirvana. No matter the cold winds, I don my winter coat and traverse the beach in my quest. Here’s a Scotch Bonnet. I’ve provided a gold measure that some of my fellow writers may know quite well.

What do I do with all of my shells? I wish that I possessed artistic skill. But, I do not. I have ideas of what I’d like to do if I had that talent—so if you are an artist in need of shell ideas, let me know. I have plenty of work for you. When I first wanted to display my shells, I found the cost of display case type coffee tables prohibitive. I had an epiphany in Home Depot one day while looking at the flower pots. Here is the result, which I converted into cheap but functional tables by having glass cut for the tops. From the top down, you can see into them for a peek at my beauties. At twenty dollars each, I had to have two colors! Of course, on top of the shell buckets’ glass tops I’ve displayed more shells.

Does my obsession spillover into my WIP? You bet! Abby Jenkins saves herself one afternoon using a trusty clam shell to fight her way out of a hole when a demon is after her. There’s just no end to the uses for shells. I’m going to experiment with baking in some of them. Crab Imperial might be even tastier served in a shell.

I’ve stuffed shells in every crevice I can think. Here is my nightstand with lamp base stuffed with shells.

Don’t think I’m ruthless. I do have principles. A few weeks ago while combing the surf I found a perfect palm-size snail shell. I tracked it rolling through the water and snatched it before the next wave crashed over it. As I held the shell in my hands, examining it and turning it over, dark and hairy legs popped out from inside its tubular hollows. Shocked, I threw the shell back in the surf with heavy heart. My find was another’s. We scavengers must respect each other. The hermit crab had first dibs on the snail shell. But next time, it will be mine.

Like any addict, my craving has no end. Just one more shell…

Do you or your characters have obsessions?


Pauline Alldred said...

Shells can be very decorative. If or when you have a grand-daughter, you could make a dolls' house of shells.

My characters don't have obsessions so much as irrational fears. While being brave facing a stronger assailant, the character is afraid when she shuts the window at night that a hand will reach in before she closes the window and stab her in the radial artery.

Warren Bull said...

What clever ways you have to display your shells. I've seen shells with eyes and limbs glued to them to create creatures. I think your way of displaying them as they were found is more attractive. The phrase you can use is "found art." My obsession is reading and maybe writing. Some of my characters share those obsessions too.

E. B. Davis said...

Pauline-If someone else built the dollhouse, maybe I could glue on some shells, but that's the extent of my artistic talent, unfortunately.

Warren-I agree. I'm not into the cutsey stuff they make from shells.

Abby isn't really obsessed by shells. I am, but the obsession spills over into my characters, something no author can help.

I'm also addicted to reading and writing-lots of new authors and new first in series have come out this summer. It's fun.

Kara Cerise said...

I think shell collecting is a rather wonderful obsession. Your table is a clever way to use shells.

E. B. Davis said...

I love it too! Sometimes I think of the ocean as my personal UPS truck, bringing me new merchandise twice daily on the tides.

Kaye George said...

I love your tables, E.B.! I would probably collect shells if I'd ever lived anywhere near a beach. Actually, I do have some. But I mostly have rocks. I'm a VERY amateur geologist and love rocks. Once the movers asked my husband what was in the box he was lifting, rocks? Yep, that's what it was. I'm always looking for ways to display them, too.

Dee Hendershot Gatrell said...

I miss collecting shells. I used to make frames and frame baby announcements, wedding announcements etc for gifts. My husband would cut the frames. I have the state of FL framed, a pelican and a pig in shells.
Thanks for the memories.

E. B. Davis said...

Kaye-another collector of natural artifacts, I should have known. I've never moved my shells...yet! But, I've have already dumped the contents of my "tables" under the house, which is on pilings, to make way for my new collection.

Dee-I had some baskets decorated with shells. Eventually, the glue gave way and I was left with an ugly basket and shells with glue on them. A friend of mine used a shell dipped in paint to decorate a lampshade. It came out very nice, an impression, without using the shell itself--and nothing to fall off.

The natural colors and shapes are beautiful. I just like them as they are in nature.

Anonymous said...

What a lovely post, EB. I think it's great that your "obsession" is such a healthy one, & that you find all sorts of ways to decorate your house with them.

And kudos to your husband for stopping the vehicle & joining you on your treasure hunt! :o)

E. B. Davis said...

He is truely awesome, Alyx. How many guys would stop, get out, and hunt shells with you? Of course, I have to appreciate his hunt for fish as well, but then, when it is tuna...Yes, much too good eating to debate.