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

Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Trixie Stiletto.


“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction. Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut. The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.

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.

In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.

Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.

James M. Jackson's 4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Monday, July 2, 2012

On Having A Radical Experience

I am preempting my previously published blog for this, more timely, blog. My apologies to my blogmates for not submitting this to our peer review process.
On Friday, June 29th, the Washington, D.C. area where I live experienced a storm, one I’d never heard of before, a derecho. From The Washington Post, July 1, “Derechos occur only about once every four years…[are] fast-moving, long-lived, large violent thunderstorm[s, which] create wind damage along a swath of more than 240 miles and produce wind gusts of at least 58 miles per hour.” The derecho in our area clocked 80 mph, knocking out power lines and stations in its straight path (distinguishing it from the circular path of tornados) from Indiana to the Chesapeake Bay where it went off-shore, but not before killing five people in the D. C. area—four from fallen trees, one drowned from a capsized boat. Derechos form from hot air masses and develop along the jet stream. Our hot air mass topped 104 degrees and during these hot days, we lost power for 48 hours—a radical experience for the suburban dweller.

The police cordoned off intersections since traffic signals were not operating. It felt as though we lived in a demilitarized zone. Travel to a local grocery store took an hour because of blocked roads and time to figure out which three rights would equal one left-hand turn. We were lucky since we already had:

·         A generator with long enough electrical cords to power our chest freezer and refrigerator—but small mobile generators aren’t meant to be run 24/7 so we operated the generator three hours on, one hour off not only so it wouldn’t overheat, but also to conserve fuel. The noise from generators in our neighborhood was deafening. Those without generators eventually cleared out their appliances making for smelly garbage in the 104 degree heat.

·         Water since our pumping station wasn’t affected. If not for this element, we would have had to evacuate our home. With water, we could drink, bathe, clean and hose ourselves off to keep cool. We donned our bathing suits, drenched ourselves and hoped to catch a breeze on our porches.

·         A basement, which stayed cool. We could have sat in the basement for the entire 48 hours, but since it was dark and we had to operate the generator, it wasn’t a great option. Sleeping there was a blessing. Some of our neighbors do not have basements.

·         A premise I had cleaned just before the storm hit. Even with clean bathrooms and a clean kitchen, we noticed that within 24 hours, our house began to stink in the heat. Any bacteria in the house multiplied quickly. Our soiled clothing added to the sour atmosphere.

·         A gas grill with two propane tanks to cook all meals.

·         Flashlights with fresh batteries.

·         Nearby communities that still had power, fuel and groceries.

·         Paper reading material (like all those back issues of Ellery Queen that I hadn’t yet read), which kept me from going crazy, taking me to other places for mental relief.

·         No elderly family members living with us, and neighbors we’ve known for over twenty years. I have allergies, which were exacerbated by the heat and lack of filtered air. With a newly filled prescription, I faired fine. But it reminded me that the elderly wouldn’t have done as well. Our neighbors provided comradery and comic relief.

  Our power company would not commit to a timeline saying two days to a week before power could be restored. Many of our friends are still without power, which we learned via our cell phones (another blessing I failed to mention—along with disposable plates and cutlery). During the first 24 hours, our attitudes were party-like. After that, we operated on survival mode—our attitudes, grim, the heat, oppressive.

Unfairly, I compared myself to ancestors, who never knew of electricity. They lived on more land without the interdependence of neighbors and community. Yes, they knew more about the fundamentals. They also possessed the tools and commodities to survive. But, their life expectancy was much shorter than our life expectancy. We are limited in our ability to survive because our communities are developed with the assumption of access to power. Without that assumed power, we, like our ancestors, would be able to survive independently, but I fear—not as happily.

Post Script: Now that our power has been restored, temperatures are expected to be in the lower 90s today, ten degrees less. I fail to appreciate this perversity.  

Pictures courtesy of the Capitol Weather Gang and The Washington Post.

11 comments:

Warren Bull said...

What an ordeal. It's easy to see how it could have been a total disaster like in New Orleans after the hurricane.
We don't appreciate what we have until we lose i.t

E. B. Davis said...

Woo Hoo--coffee from my coffee maker, toast from my toaster, cool air from my HVAC unit. What a relief! On her way to work, my daughter reported that some traffic signals are still out.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, didn't realize you were hit by this. I'd been checking on other friends I knew had lost power in the derecho (still haven't been restored), but they're further south in Virginia. I'm so glad you've had your power restored. It's no picnic when it's out, especially in 100+ degrees!

Stay safe and powered and cool!

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks, Linda. I will. Having no power is especially hard on a writer. I feel so out of touch, not only online, but also in my writing. I'm used to jotting down notes on paper, but I don't write on paper. The only time I do is perhaps a first paragraph just to get me started. There are so many things to do now that I'm back from vacation. But then, for two days we sat in our chairs hoping for a breeze while tending the generator. What a nonstarter weekend!

Kara Cerise said...

That was quite a storm! I think it will take some time to return to normal. In our area many people are still without power, we have to boil our water, some traffic signals are out and it’s difficult to find an open gas station. The scariest part was the feeling of isolation since we couldn’t use cell phones or landlines for two days. I later heard that the 911 system didn’t work either.

I have to admit that I enjoyed being able to read mystery anthologies like Chesapeake Crimes: This Job is Murder, uninterrupted for the 24 hours I didn’t have power. Great story, E.B.!

E. B. Davis said...

Wow! Thank you, Kim. Having a trusty anthology is a great idea. I love anthologies--the next one to buy--Warren's new one--STRANGE SUMMER MYSTERIES: A DAY AT THE BEACH published by Whortleberry Press http://www.lulu.com/shop/jean-goldstrom/strange-summer-mysteries-a-day-at-the-beach/paperback/product-20234427.html

Sorry-the link wouldn't go live for me.

Gloria Alden said...

How miserable that must have been for you E.B. and for Kara, too, as well as the other residents effected. We escaped that, but have still had hot, hot weather.

Much of the reason today's people suffer so much from the heat in cities like yours is all the pavement that adds to the heat. Years ago there were paved streets and parking lots.

I'm glad things are returning to normal for you. It does make one appreciate electricity, doesn't it.

E. B. Davis said...

I received an email from my county-Loudoun. 41,000 residences were without power as of yesterday. Today, 15,000 residences were still without power. Yes, Gloria--electricity is a wonderful thing. I spend a lot of time engaged with electronics of one sort or another. I'm happy to report that residences were the priority. My gym just opened this afternoon. The remaining customers without power are to the west of me towards West VA.

Kaye George said...

Glad you're back and OK, E.B.! What an ordeal. Our daughter, in the same area, fared much better since their power didn't go out. They had a hard time finding groceries for the baby, though.

A similar storm hit us our first night in a new house in Holliday, Texas. We had constant 90 mph winds for 50 minutes. Terrifying!

E. B. Davis said...

And you never mentioned a word to anyone about the experience. What a horrible welcome? Glad you were safe and came through the ordeal.

Kaye George said...

Not this house, E.B.! This was 10 years ago, two houses ago.