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

August Interviews

8/5 Lucy Burdette, The Key Lime Crime

8/12 Maggie Toussaint, All Done With It

8/19 Julie Mulhern, Killer Queen

8/26 Debra Goldstein, Three Treats Too Many

August Guest Bloggers

8/8 Leslie Wheeler

8/15 Jean Rabe

August Interviews

8/22 Kait Carson

8/29 WWK Authors--What We're Reading Now


Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Naming of the Muse by Karen Duxbury

Karen Duxbury is a Sister in Crime and the Treasurer of The Great Unpublished, Guppies subchapter. When Karen offered to guest blog, I knew her blog would be a fun read because this isn’t Karen’s first time at WWK. Her first guest blog can be found at:"Bood-colored Glasses". Welcome Karen back to WWK!
E. B. Davis

After a long dry spell (both weather and writing) I turned to some of my favorite writing teachers for advice. They all believe in the power of the muse. They advocate the Taming of the Muse by personifying it. After all, how can you demand help from your muse without giving him a name? How can you expect your muse to speak to you without first talking to or, dare I say it, pleading with her for inspiration. I tried what I imagined were the usual muse names – Agatha, Erle, Sherlock, Nancy - but nothing worked for me. I realized that unlike some of my idols, I needed to be able to see my muse and to touch him or her. I made it my mission to find my muse.

I haunted Hobby Lobby. I wandered aimlessly in the knick-knack aisles of department stores. I even told my incredibly creative son I wanted a muse for my birthday. Nothing worked. Finally I came upon a sale rack at the local Border’s and there he was, sitting in a bright red and gold, shrine-shaped box. I’d found my muse and his name was Itty Bitty Buddha. I was thrilled! I carried him home, took him out of his box, assembled his little pedestal and sat him in the place of honor on my desk. I even read the equally tiny booklet he came with telling me the basics of Buddha’s teaching and meditation. This was it. This was what I’d been searching for. I couldn’t wait for the incredible sense of calm and joy that he promised me.

I lit one of Itty Bitty Buddha’s incense sticks and placed it atop my book shelf. I sat at my desk, hands poised over the keyboard waiting for the words to flow. And I waited. And I waited. Buddha wasn’t speaking to me. I opened the booklet and read the instructions again. Breathe slowly and deeply. Count each breath in and out. Clear all the thoughts from my head… wait a minute! How’s my muse supposed to help me if I’m not allowed to think? I wanted thoughts in my head. I craved them! Surely Buddha meant I only had to rid myself of those pesky negative thoughts rambling through my brain. I did my best to brush off all visions of failure, closed my eyes and tried again.

Disaster struck in the form of Mr.Skittlesthecatfromhell. My big mean orange tabby, jumped up on my desk to take his customary position in front of my monitor. Sadly, this put Buddha in imminent danger. Skittles did not appreciate this interloper and promptly knocked him off the pedestal. I picked up Itty Bitty Buddha to return him to his place of glory only to have my fingers nipped and my muse left sprawling face down on my desk. Staring straight into my eyes and daring me to stop him, Mr. Skittles grabbed Buddha by the neck and attempted to chew off his head. Knowing this cat and, more importantly his teeth, all too well, there was no way I was sacrificing my already bloodied hands to protect my, so far, non-functioning muse. The Maiming of the Muse had begun and I was back at square one in my search for inspiration.

A few weeks and zero words written later, I went to the Houston Modern Market in search of my muse. The Modern Market is a collective of local artists and craftsmen who come together to show and sell vintage, contemporary and modern art, jewelry and other objects. I wandered the aisles for hours until I came across the answer to my prayers in the form of an angry owl! The heck with sweet, calm, peaceful little Buddha, what I needed was a drill sergeant.

My owl was perfect. He was too big for Mr. Skittles to chew up yet small enough that he could sit anywhere on my desk and stare at me until I’m forced to write. I was in love. The vendor carefully wrapped him in tissue paper and explained that he was designed by Edvard Lindahl. At last The Naming of the Muse was complete. I brought Edvard home, unwrapped him and tossed the crinkly tissue paper to evil-cat as a peace offering.

Edvard sits on my desk atop a box of thumb tacks and glares at me with his piercing yellow eyes each time I look away from my computer screen. He may not ‘speak’ to me as much as I would like, but whenever I look at him I am reminded that we writers are nuts! I mean come on people, who picks an owl for a muse? All he ever talks about is who done it. Who done it? Who? Who? What about the when? And the how? Just once I want to hear why they done it! C’mon Edvard, tell me... why why why?

Karen Duxbury is a happily reformed accountant living in Houston, Texas. She shares her home with her handsome husband Dave and her evil nemesis Mr. Skittlesthecatfromhell. In addition to naming her muse, Karen has also renamed herself for her non-mystery work. She would like to introduce you to Kara Duxton. Kara is in the revision stage on A Clash of Skulls, a mystery novel that, well, mysteriously turned itself into a horror story.


Warren Bull said...

Dear Karen and Kara too,

I am not at all certain the muse can be "tamed." She may not like the comparison to a certain historical shrew. I believe she prefers to be wooed and is not at all adverse to teasing me.

But if angry owl works, go for it!

Anonymous said...

I just finished writing a short story in record time so I think Edvard is doing his job...for now anyway.

Of course, if he doesn't work out, there's always the cat!!

Pauline Alldred said...

I think the muse prefers to remain in the shadows and I'm fairly sure he/she is a shape-shifter. Change is permanent, even in muses.

E. B. Davis said...

It's evident to me that my muse is either with me or not!

Sometimes, though, I view my muse like Keith Richards views his--the stories/songs are already written--they're out there on the wind, in the universe, somewhere and if you think of one and listen, they come to you.

Anonymous said...

Shadowy shape shifter; winds in the universe... it has all worked for me at times. Unfortunately, I manage to get in my own way often enough that I need something solid to hold in my hand. Something to distract me long enough for the story to take form out of those shadows and winds.

Kaye George said...

Well, he's Minerva's symbol and she's the Goddess of Wisdom, so maybe you're onto something. I wish I had room on my desk right now for a Muse!

I'm glad Edvard is working for you, Karen. :)