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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30.


Sunday, September 23, 2012

Landscape of the Heart


I have a theory that part of our inheritance comes in the form of genes and the rest comes in the form of stories. As with the nature/nurture debate we could spend endless time assigning weights to these two forms of inheritance but I’m not gonna do it today, no sir.
Well, maybe a little.
The gene part gave me and my sisters our looks. One of my sisters looks much more like Mom than Dad; my other sister and I look more like Dad. At the visitation for my father, who passed away last week, a lot of people told me I was the spitting image of my father. Other than for a two week experiment, my father never wore a beard and his hair was short. However, we’re both bald and fairly tall, especially in a room of older folks who have shrunk or are stooped. And people need something to say in the receiving line. A few people told my sister who looks quite similar to Mom that she looked just like Dad. Now there is wishful thinking or a demonstrated need for a lens correction.
People will see what they want to. I remember my Mother telling me about people who would swear she looked just like her father. Problem with that was she was adopted. So when people tell you how much you resemble someone else in your family, it’s time to reach for a salt shaker (for that grain of salt) – or sometimes even a salt block.
However, my partner, Jan, insists that as I get older my laugh and Dad’s sound more and more alike. And an ex-wife commented decades ago when watching my father and me walking together that we had the same gaits. I’m not sure whether these shared characteristics are genes, learned/modeled behaviors or salt-shaker material.
And frankly, I don’t much care. What is important to me, and I know has shaped me, are the family stories told. Since it was my father who died, I’ll concentrate on his side of the family. This very small semicircle of headstones represents the following achievements:
Abolitionist newspaper editor and circuit rider (1840s), founder of water cures 1850s (who believed in exercise, whole foods, no caffeine and alcohol), creator of the first ready-to-eat cereal (granula – no typo; granola came about because a rival cereal company lost a patent suit to the Jacksons and had to change the name of their cereal), one of the first US woman physicians (1850s or earlier) and proponent of the “American Costume” (loose fitting clothes for women) , Initial supporters of the first American Red Cross Chapter (Chapter #1 in Dansville, NY), Founder of the Dansville Fire Department, another woman physician (graduated in 1877), an early cost accountant, sober alcoholic, seventy-five-year Mason, decorated Coast Guard auxiliary member for life saving beyond the call of duty (at age 80+), early female graduate of the University of Rochester when women had to take chemistry labs in separate rooms from the men, several authors. And I could go on and on and on.
This past Wednesday we added Dad and all the stories we share of and with him.
~ Jim


E. B. Davis said...

When it comes to physical characteristics, I often wonder when it comes to death, which parent I will emulate.

But, I hope later, when you have processed the death, you'll be able to tell his stories. What will be interesting--which stories your siblings and you favor and keep. I suspect, each of the stories will vary depending on their resound within each of you. Nurture yourself, now. Be a bit selfish. It's a fresh loss and wound that needs time to harden off.

Gloria Alden said...

You have quite an impressive background, Jim, and I can tell your father was a positive influence on your life - as was mine. We are the lucky ones to have been molded by good and strong parents. I value the stories my parents told of their growing up years and of their parents, my grandparents on both sides.

My siblings - 6 of us in all - have various features of both parents, but as we age I see stonger resemblances in each of us to one or the other parent, but more a mixture. My youngest brother looks more and more like our father now.

James Montgomery Jackson said...


I've had my first public opportunity to tell some of Dad's story when I gave his eulogy (one of my sisters also spoke and we had one of Dad's work friends as well.)

And you are right, although many of the themes are the same, we children do have different favorite stories and, of course, our own slants on shared stories.


I've maintained that one of the ways to find out how good a parent a person was is to look to their grandchildren -- and mine are pretty nice kids, so I think my parents get good marks.

~ Jim

Linda Rodriguez said...

You are so right, Jim. The stories of your family are your true inheritance. Like Elaine, I hope you'll share them later when you've had some time to work through your grief. Losing a parent is always difficult, no matter how old we grow ourselves. Do take good care of yourself and give yourself a chance to mourn this unique man.

Warren Bull said...

You have reason to be proud of your family and I'm glad you are starting to take the opportunity to share your family's stories.

B.K. Stevens said...

You have quite an accomplished family, Jim. Your pride in them and your affection for your father shine through in every line of your post.

Jess * Jessie * Jessy said...

What a wonderful, interesting family!

I learned a long time ago that everyone sees differently. Makes you wonder about all those innocent/guilty people in our prisons who were put there because of witnesses. :)

My mother was a beautiful redhead. Today, nearing 90, she looks like a homeless person because she refuses to get her hair trimmed or curled. I notice every time I look in the mirror that I resemble her more and more--not the raving beauty but the homeless person.

In spite of out others see us, I think sometimes nature is cruel. :)

jan godown annino said...

a new blog visitor here ... from the Guppies

thank you for this generous sharing of a remarkable source in one family of stories of this nation's history/important movements/progressive ideas!
it's a lot to absorb at once, the breadth of your family's sweep on your father's side.

how fabulous that the shared trait identified by your
sweetie is the laugh.

a beautiful sharing

James Montgomery Jackson said...


Welcome to both the Guppies and Writers Who Kill.

~ Jim

Kaye George said...

I am so impressed by your ancestry, Jim! Mine include a horse thief and a boy who lied about his age to be a drummer boy in the Revolutionary War.

About gaits, my mother said my brother walked just like her father, who died before he was born. She said he had the same hand gestures too. Life is strange. I can hear my mother myself when I laugh.

This is a fitting tribute to your dad!