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, September 24, 2012

New Roles

My son became engaged this summer. I felt elated by the news, but then I also realized that with their marriage I would become a dreaded mother-in-law, and I—cringed.

Often the new roles we must play in life are fraught with bad examples. The mother-in-law is usually portrayed as a unlikeable, judgmental woman who competes with the son’s wife and makes power plays to force the daughter-in-law into the backseat proving Mom is still her son’s number one gal. This is all a bit too Freudian for me. As a mom, I want to help them as much as I can without interfering. How I will accomplish that is another matter, but I think it involves keeping my mouth shut as much as possible. Luckily, I have a life outside of my kids, which is often the main problem where mother-in-laws are concerned.

But this situation started me thinking about my role as an author. We have relationships to each other online and in person at conferences and to the public who we hope will read our work. Communicating with each other is much easier because we all know what we are up against and, except for having little time, writers are a helpful group. But in any group there are a few political and personal skirmishes that occur. Who can you ask to promote your work? Who will write a blurb for your jacket cover? Will anyone be insulted if you ask?

I’m still hesitant outside of the writing world to announce that I am a mystery writer. When I say my short stories have been published, people usually follow up by saying something about seeing me on the bestseller list someday. While this is a nice sentiment, it also downplays my current accomplishments. I usually reply with a depreciating comment because, of course, in our dreams, being on the bestseller’s list is the goal. The entire conversation makes me uncomfortable so I switch topics.

Authors who already have several books published may have an easier time, but if your book hasn’t sold a million copies and Oprah hasn’t recommended it, perhaps the role is still awkward. Awards and money do prove your success, and yet good work still abounds outside of the superstar realm.  
If someone mentions in conversation he/she is an engineer, no one asks if his/her work has garnered professional awards or made millions, but in the case of writers, the public expects us all to be recipients of Agatha or Edgar awards and/or be on the bestseller list. If not, you must not be a good writer. It’s as if writing is a profession for stars only. I wonder if actors and actresses go through this too. I imagine an actor being asked if he won an Academy Award to have him reply, “No, but I was great in that toilet cleaner commercial.”

Everyone starts somewhere, and perhaps in this profession it is especially strange because there are very few fiction writers who start writing after college and make it to the top while in their youth. Most of us are older, and therefore have the experience and life skills to give necessary depth and dimension to our work. In other fields, there are management trainees and continuing rungs on the ladder to the top of their fields. No one expects someone in business to start at the top. In writing, there are few instant success stories, but then, in any profession there are precious few. The public’s perception of writers I find incredulous and strange.

Do you find it difficult to talk about your writing to those outside of the field? Do you explain or smile and switch topics?


Alyx Morgan said...

It was hard for me, at first, to say that I was a writer; & even now I say "aspiring author, whenever anyone asks.

I think those of us who are unpublished equate being a writer as being in the same class as Stephen King, or Nora Roberts, or whatever famous author comes to mind. It's almost like, until we're on that same level, we can't consider ourselves as pursuing the same career. Silly, but there it is.

Polly Iyer said...

Oh, this is so easy for me to answer. I used to have a life--go out, shop, see people. Now I write. I rarely meet anyone anymore to tell them what I do. My friends know, of course, but many of those are writers now. I have had people I know superficially email me and ask if I was the same person who wrote this or that book. It surprises me when it happens. Most non-writers don't know about the Agatha or Edgar, and few care. They just want to read a good book.

E. B. Davis said...

Before I was published, Alyx, I didn't even say "aspiring" author. I didn't say anything about writing. But now that I am published and many of the publishers want writers to help sell the book, I feel obligated to put myself "out there." I even felt queasy during my first book launch (along with the other writers in the anthology) because my family was there. They were terrific, and I think the launch gave my new career more validity.

E. B. Davis said...

Polly, don't you promote wherever you go? Don't people ask you what you do? I meet new people periodically, and I do want to sell books--so I tell them. Of course, I have to qualify by adding--just short stories so far.

James Montgomery Jackson said...

I used to be somewhat embarrassed to proclaim I am an author, but then I realized that while many aspire, it takes perseverance to write & rewrite & rewrite to polish a manuscript. Most writers don't have that level of commitment; I do and eventually it paid off with publications.

These days when anyone can be published, I work into a conversation someone else starts about my bridge book the fact that it is published by the largest English-speaking bridge publishing house, Master Point Press.

When I talk about my mystery I also note that Barking Rain Press acquired it. they are paying me; I'm not paying them.

When people ask when I'll be on the best seller list I mention that if I were only interested in money, I would be better off working at McDonalds.

I wrote the bridge book to help people be better players. It's a good book and I'm thrilled when people tell me that it has helped them. That is my real reward.

With the mysteries, I look forward to being told by someone that she enjoyed it or that he learned something new. That is the reward I am anticipating.

Sure, I like a bit of extra cash, but that's not why I do this.

EB, people have acquired your short stories when they had choices. To edit a line from the 60s black power movement as captured by James Brown, "Say it loud: I'm an author and I'm proud."

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

LOL, Jim. No one is an author for the money because so few make much. Perhaps people assume that writers are in it for the money. I envision snickers behind my back, as if I'm delusional. Like I said when I blogged about getting my first big paycheck of $20, per hour my daughter made more babysitting. But then, the other negative thing I assume people think--that my writing is self indulgent drivel, which is, I guess, why you make a point of saying that publishers bought your work. I think a valid point for anyone thinking of self-publishing and one of many reasons that I won't self-publish.

Betsy Bitner said...

Alyx - you should say you're a writer without the "aspiring" part because , I assume, you actually are writing and not just staring at a computer screen hoping to write! But I understand you qualifying it because you know the next question will be "So what have you written?" Just tell them you're working on a novel - it's more than most people ever get around to doing.
EB - excellent point about people's (well-meaning I think) expectations to see you on the NYT bestseller list someday as undermining what you've already accomplished. I never thought of it that way!

E. B. Davis said...

I think of it as a back-handed compliment, Betsy, but then maybe I'm overly sensitive. I wish they would say that they'd like to read what I have written (and buy some of the anthologies I've appeared in) and then compliment me on my stories--now that would be a real compliment rather than alluding to some pie in the sky fairy tale about being on the bestseller's list--a pat on the head for good little writers. Sorry-I just don't know how to react to their comments, which is why I change the subject.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, I know what you mean, and it doesn't get lots better after you're published or win awards, I think. I started in poetry and had two books published and won some big awards that had quite a bit of money attached, but of course, people don't read poetry. At my high school reunion, hardly anyone bought my poetry books, but my work-for-hire cookbooks flew off the sale table.

That was probably a good start for me since a lot more people read, or at least have heard of, mysteries than poetry. But even after a major award, a B&N pick, and a national book club selection, I get "Are you on the best seller list?" I think those are mostly folks who don't really read, though. (At least, that's what I tell myself. LOL)

E. B. Davis said...

Thank you Linda for confirming that someone else gets strange reactions from people too announcing mystery writing as a profession. For a while, I thought I was the only one! If you are getting those reaction, I shouldn't feel so bad. But--what do you do? Say no to being on the bestseller list and then what? I've always preferred mid list authors, but then I seem to be in the minority.

Polly Iyer said...

Actually, Elaine, I rarely mention that I write books. Promotion is not my strong suit. Our accountant, whom I've never met, has read everything I've written and has been a much better PR person than I've been. Also one guy in town who's also talked me up. Every writer needs a few of those.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm in awe, Polly. That's terrific. My best case scenario is that my books spread like wildfire via word of mouth--something I'd never admit to anyone other than writers!

Polly Iyer said...

My word of mouth is very small, Elaine. Your diss of self-publishing is the second diss I've read in a couple of days. I think it's unfortunate, because there are a lot of good books out there by authors who published through Amazon or any of the other self-publishing venues. There's a lot of crap too, but that holds true for the traditionally published also. Maybe I'm an anomaly, but I'd like to make money from my writing, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. We, as authors, put a lot of time into writing. That word of mouth is nice, and I like it, but I also like the remuneration that comes as a reward for the years of work. You guys are much more altruistic than I am. It reminds me of my years after art school. My best friend, a painter, had to support herself by teaching so she could paint. We used to laugh about creating art work to match someone's sofa. I, on the other hand, went into commercial art. Maybe I'm just a commercially-minded person.

I'm in awe of Linda. She wrote a good book and reaped the rewards. Nothing is better than that. Kudos.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Thanks, Polly.

I don't think Elaine meant to diss self-publishing, though. I think she just wanted to point out that the bias against self-publishing is something authors need to take into consideration. Unfortunately, that bias is real, as you've obviously encountered. And that bias, reinforced by those who put out crap, as you said, makes it tough on people who self-publish quality books in a quality way.

In today's publishing world where everything's in flux, I don't think any of us can sneer at any other option since we may be doing it before long. We just make the decisions that are best for us at the time. I suspect when it all shakes out, the most successful of us will be combining traditional publication with some self-publication.

E. B. Davis said...

Polly--We've had this discussion before. You came in first runner up in the prestigious Daphne Du Maurier, which means you have proven yourself to be equal to professional standards. Many self published authors do not have proof of their writing abilities and have not paid for professional editors, etc. I keep telling you, you may be self published, but you are no amateur--which is the category many self published authors are in whether they know it or not.

E. B. Davis said...

And I'll add this to clarify--If you have won awards or have any other measure that your writing ability is at a professional level and you pay a professional editor to vet your work, I have no problem with self publishing. But, I have downloaded a lot of crap so I know a lot of authors out there probably have no idea on what level they are writing. It isn't easy and not just everyone can throw up a book on Amazon, nor should they. No cut to Polly intended at all. I have and do interview self-published authors whose work I really enjoy--like this Wednesday's guest, Karen Cantrell--and Polly's books.