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.


Saturday, June 16, 2012

How Connected Are You?

I’m what’s known as a “late adopter.” I wouldn’t have an answering machine, even when everyone had one. Only an unpleasant boss who had serious problems understanding personal boundaries drove me to acquire an answering machine. This was in the days before caller ID was common. Speaking of which, I was late getting caller ID, too. Why should I? If someone really wanted to talk with me, they’d leave me a message, right? Caller ID only came to my house as a part of a package where I couldn’t pick and choose.

As for laptops, how ridiculous? And the early ones certainly were. Rather like carrying a modern desktop computer around with you. I was an early adopter of computers, simply because I worked such long hours, mostly on computer, and I wanted to be able to go home to do some of that work. I’ve  never thought much of having an expensive computer with software that will let you do all kinds of things and using it as a glorified typewriter, so I learned how to use various business and desktop publishing software. At one time, when my employer gave me a PDA he wanted me to use in my work, I learned to use it. I’m no Luddite. But a laptop, no? 

Then I broke my knee. I was under heavy freelance deadlines, but I could not climb the stairs to my office computer—and I was supposed to keep my leg elevated. My wonderful son had just bought a new laptop, so he sent me his “old” one (two years old). It saved the day for me and slowly became my favorite for writing. Later, I bought a newer laptop, very light, with a bigger hard drive and more memory and speed than any desktop I’d ever known.

I resolutely did not want a cell phone. Why should I want others to be able to contact me when I was driving, at a meeting, running errands, or traveling for work or vacation? I relished the time free of demands. I had embraced email because, unlike phone calls, I could respond to it when it was convenient for me. Then came the day I was driving my son to the easternmost reaches of our metropolitan area and my radiator blew up. In a flash, the temperature gauge shot up from normal into the red, giving me just enough time before the explosion to pull into the Wendy’s parking lot I was passing. There were businesses and shopping malls all around, but no pay phones. My son (a resolute early adopter of everything) had a cell phone that proved to be a lifesaver for us.

After that, I went to a mall and got a simple, basic cell phone with prepaid minutes that I periodically refill. That was six years ago, but careful readers might have noticed the present tense I used in that sentence. Yes, I still buy prepaid minutes for my cell phone. It isn’t a basic phone any longer because my other son (an even more resolute early adopter) gave me his smartphone when he bought his first Android. So the phone I have is actually a tiny computer that loads up Microsoft when you turn it on, has a video and still camera, holds and plays all the music files on my home computer, carries my home computer’s contact list, can search the web, and send/read email. I do none of those things, except keep the contacts updated, because the screen is 2” x 3”, the keys are the size of a lentil, the speakers are tiny and tinny, and I only use prepaid minutes. It was one of the very earliest of the smartphones and quite impressive in its day. For me, it functions as a great cell phone, watch, and alarm, which was really all I needed it for.

Things have changed in my life, however. I now do Facebook and Twitter—both of which I swore I’d never do. I have my own blog and post weekly on this blog, plus guest-blogging frequently on others. Since my novel, Every Last Secret, won an award leading to publication, I am connected on the internet in a multitude of ways with readers and other writers. This has been a wonderful gift, but it’s something I really can’t handle as well as I want to and should without buying a modern smartphone. I really saw the need for this when I took the train to and from the Malice Domestic conference in DC, bringing my laptop and finding that advertised wifi connections were not available. People on the newest cellphones weren’t fazed. Going online was part of their cell packages. So I’m facing the purchase of a Blackberry/Android/iPhone sometime in the near future and a cellphone plan. *sigh*

All this connection is a great opportunity for writers and others, but it has a darker side. In a way, it’s the same thing that kept me from a cell phone for all those years. People expect you to be available 24/7. With most, it’s no problem, but there are always, unfortunately, those people like the boss I bought the answering machine to escape who have a faulty sense of boundaries. Where is our shelter from them if they can invade our rest time, our family time, our recharging time? I notice the number of people I have to block on Twitter for spam and the rising number of calls on my unlisted cell phone from salespeople or fundraisers. This doesn’t begin to consider the number of actual friends (some of them friends for years or family members) I’ve asked not to send me game and app invitations on FB who ignore my requests, leaving me to find a way to keep those separate from their genuine messages.

When have we reached too much connection? This is a key question for writers who tend to be introverts and who need lots of time alone and undisturbed in order to write. How connected are you? How do you manage it? What is a good balance for your life? I’d love to know. I’m still finding mine.

[NOTE: I will be out of town when this blog posts, so I may be slightly delayed in my responses to your comments. I will reply as soon as I possibly can.]


Warren Bull said...

Linda is a visiting artist at a university today. I am a troglodyte when it comes to adopting gadgets, I got a credit card after my car broke down out of town and the garage did not accept personal checks. I got a cell phone after I got locked inside an airport while searching for a pay phone. I replaced the first phone after it died with a nifty camera that, Oh my Gosh, also makes calls. All the calls I get on if are from my wife or from someone else misdialing.

Gloria Alden said...

I so understand the dilemma of being too connected. I like my solitude and find a ringing phone an intrusion. If I'm in the house, I answer it, but never with any anticipation. It's for this reason I've balked at getting a cell phone. My daughter did give me an old track phone a few years ago. She wants me to carry with me for the reasons Linda mentioned. I do carry it on my walks in the woods, usually, and usually I remember to take it with me in the car. Fortunately, only my kids have my number for that.

The same daughter insisted I sign up for Facebook. In fact, she did it for me. Until recently, it was rare if I went on more than once a month. I find it hard to keep up with the several list serves I belong to, so I don't plan to Twitter. There is only so much time in a day. I did get a laptop for Malice and a future two week vacation coming up so I can keep up. Otherwise, my inbox will crash from too much that's incoming.

E. B. Davis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
E. B. Davis said...

Sorry--I wanted to edit and posted instead!

I have a cell phone, I'm on various email groups, I blog, I facebook and twitter. On the latter two, I don't have much time to use them because I'm too busy doing all of the others, and this doesn't add in my writing time or my real life.

I don't have an iPhone yet because I'm usually not far from my computer, and there are so many wifi zones that it doesn't seem necessary--especially considering the cost of data plans.

What I won't succumb to is skyping. I have no need to see anyone or have them see me.

What I'd like to do is connect my laptop to my TV to watch movies on Netficks. My daughter has the Netflicks account, but her computer doesn't have a HD cable or an "S Video" slot. I could get a "S Video" cable for my laptop, but I don't have the Netflicks account. I've gone back and forth from the electronics store twice this week.

All of us will be crouched around my daughter's laptop to watch movies this summer.

Sometimes I'm too connected, and other times--not enough. Can you hear me screaming, Linda, all the way to Nebraska?

Linda Rodriguez said...

Hi, everyone! I've had a fantastic time her at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. They've treated me like royalty, truly. But I've been hopping from early in the morning until quite late each night. So my hopes to check here before bed were dashed.

And even if I'd had a spiffy Blackberry/whatever phone, I couldn't have checked this blog or tweeted live. I was the guest of honor, and (quite rightly) my attention was supposed to be on the people who showed up for various things. So, another side to the connection issue!

Linda Rodriguez said...

Warren (and everyone), thanks for stepping in for me. This is such a good group to blog with.

A camera that makes phone calls? Not just a cell phone with a good camera? (Some of the new ones have remarkable cameras.) You'll have to let me know more about this marvel!

Linda Rodriguez said...

But, Gloria, I love having you on Facebook!

I do wish I had woods to walk in, as you do. I believe I could make better peace with all the connectedness if I could have daily time out in nature--and I mean more than out in a small city yard with a liquor store across the street with gang tags on concrete embankment at the corner.

Linda Rodriguez said...

E.B., you may have to rethink skype. Many of the book clubs (and university classes) around the country are starting to us skype to have a visit from ah author they're about to read or reading. I've had to turn down two chances already and have made up my mind that my next laptop will have camera and be able to skype--and sooner than later.

These are opportunities for those coveted things, the multiple sale.

It's just a conspiracy against us, guys!! We'd love to be simple old hermits, but we've got to sell books.

Linda Rodriguez said...

*use* skype to have a visit from *an* author

Bad fingers!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I think there are two related issues involved. First is Warren's about being a tad slow in adopting new technologies.

I was an early adopter of computers and computerized gadgets in my 20s (I had a programmable watch, for example). In my 30s and 40s I was a fast mainstream adopter--no longer bleeding edge.

By my 50s I would only get the thing if I could see a tangible IMMEDIATE benefit. I never had to reboot my pen and paper calendar or worry about losing all my contacts if I lost a PDA (personal data assistant).

However, now that smartphones can automatically sync with my computer, I'm all up to date again.

The second issue is connectivity. I prefer my alone time. I put off getting a cell phone at work until I couldn't any longer because driving was the last bastion of free thinking time I had left where no one could interrupt me.

I still believe my devices are there for my benefit and so although I have facebook and know how to tweet, I find the noise to value ratio too high to spend much time on them.

If the phone rings and I'm busy, I don't answer it. If I am talking to someone and another phone call comes in I continue to talk to the first person; I don't put them on hold.

And I will vote for any politician who will apply the "No call rules" to politics.

~ Jim

Linda Rodriguez said...

Yes, yes, yes, James, as far as your rule of don't put someone on hold to answer a new call, as well as your dictum that your devices are for your benefit. I do believe that... BUT what happens when you have a boss who makes demands--and you really need the job--or an elderly mother or father?

E. B. Davis said...

I agree with Jim. I'll vote for anyone who chooses to respect my privacy by NOT calling me.