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.


Monday, October 22, 2012

'Tis the Season or It's Raining Catalogs

Yesterday the stack of catalogs on my desk keeled over, smacked into a manuscript that I had printed out (all 320 pages) and knocked into the neatly ordered stack. My desk looked like a cyclone had hit it. The shiny covers promised fulfillment of holiday materialism. They were too slippery to provide a stable foundation. But I wax in allegory.

Every fall the catalog companies crank out their holiday issues and my mailbox becomes burdened. Those pertaining to children I immediately throw out. I’m certain the companies keep track of my socio-economic data, and even though I’m old enough to be a grandmother, I’m not, so perhaps they think their children’s catalogs interests me. I could have young nieces and nephews, but mine are adults.

I admit that I’m not a great shopper. If catalogs substitute for a trip to the mall, I thank all of these companies. But I don’t buy much of their merchandise. Reading about the materials used, looking at the colors and finding the right sizes without using my senses provokes my skepticism. Although driving to the mall costs gas and car depreciation, the shipping costs exceed those expenses. When a catalog boasts free shipping, I look through the catalog closely checking if any of their merchandise would appeal to my kith and kin.

I have to admit to paging through most of them, but then I quickly toss them in the waste bin without a second glance. Sometimes I wonder if catalogs are surpassing books in publication. For those who lack a computer, access to the Internet (gasp!) or those who can’t drive anymore to shop, catalogs are essential. But I think those people are in the minority. I’d rather get a pretty postcard advertising their website and online catalog rather than waste trees on publications that go from the mail to my trashcan often without entering my house.

My sister is the queen of catalogs. While at the beach, I glanced through some of them. Her catalogs contain exotic merchandise not readily available in stores. I saw $500 boots (yes, they were beautiful) and a Scandinavian down jacket that I’m sure was well worth the $1000 price tag, but my author’s pay won’t allow me those luxuries. Neither can my sister afford them, but then she’s interested from a professional perspective since she used to buy for a department store. She also had celebrity catalogs. One put out by Robert Redford, of course, was titled Sundance. And to think I saw Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid three times—but then Paul Newman couldn’t be beat, not even by Bob.

My favorite gifts are books. My favorite store: Buxton Village Books, an indie. The owner advertised a new book on Torpedo Junction, aka, The Graveyard of the Atlantic, those waters off the Outer Banks where German U boats waged war during WWI and WWII. My husband will receive that one (and I’ll read it too). As a last resort, I’ll give Amazon gift cards, which I always hope are spent on books. Do you shop by catalog?   


James Montgomery Jackson said...

In my family we've switched the catalog shopping responsibility to the receiver. Find stuff you might like, put it in an email (with online link) and distribute to family members who delete you from the email and pass it back and forth indicating items already purchased so you don't get duplicates.

Jan once went on a big campaign to get companies to stop sending catalogs as an environmental thing. She wrote to each one and requested removal from their lists. Most complied, but then her name appeared on some list they acquired and like a vampire the catalog returned from the dead.

And Elaine, if you hope gift cards will be used for books, consider a gift to Barnes & Noble -- or even better to your indie bookstore, although you'll probably have to pay for shipping from them.

I rarely look at a catalog in print; I do most of my shopping online.

But then again, I'm a guy. If I use a store, I already know what I want and I'm in and out in five minutes. :)

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Wow, I'm impressed with the efficiency of your family, Jim. My sister won't own a computer--I offered her my old one--she refused (I'm not sure why.). Of course, then she wants me to go on my computer, look up gifts online and order for her (!). And since she doesn't own a computer, she'll never read this (hehe). My brother is only marginally better.

The grandparents (husband's side) are better with technology. In the past, I've sent want-lists with links for my family to them. As the grandparents have gotten older, online shopping is so convenient for them.

If I see something in a catalog, I go online to buy it. But I don't shop online unless I see something I might like to buy. I guess I'm not much of a shopper.

Linda Rodriguez said...

EB, I'm with you on not being much of a shopper. I used to shop by catalog a lot. I was a busy professional woman with long weeks and a family to take care of, so did my shopping for all of us and the house in the middle of the night from a catalog. Now, I do a little online, only if I can't find what I need locally. I'm more cognizant of trying to support local businesses.

I don't know what stores Jim uses, though. If I could, I'd be in and out in five minutes, but half the time I spend 15 minutes searching, only to find that they don't have what I want and have to start over at another store. :-(

E. B. Davis said...

Sometimes I get lucky, but on other shopping trips that take me all over town, I find nothing--wasted gas and time. When I spend money, I want it to be for specific things that people want or need. Going shopping and finding stuff that I like and think they will like usually results in wasting money.

Last year, my son had a list a mile long, I'm hoping that this year, a check will suffice. It's not as cheery as opening a gift, but I hope they will appreciate that then it will be their choice to buy or to save.

Kara Cerise said...

We have a mail slot in the front door so our catalogs end up spread a few inches thick across the floor. I have to be careful entering the house after a mail delivery because it’s like walking on an ice rink. I slide left, then right and finally grab the door handle to balance myself.

I rarely buy anything from a catalog. However, when I need help visualizing a setting or character, I flip through them and clip pictures.

E. B. Davis said...

I'm glad you can paper skate, Kara. But I'd be a little wary of having a mail slot. Maybe I think too much about bad stuff (oh yeah--I'm supposed to, duh) but I'd have visions of someone stuffing the slot with a slender Molotov cocktail, putting a hose hooked up to car exhaust in my sleep, or dropping a poisonous snake in through the slot. Well--sorry--hope you sleep well tonight!

E. B. Davis said...

And then there could be the neighborhood boys who go through a stink bomb and lit cherry bomb stage....sorry, I just keep thinking.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Great idea, Kara! Clipping out settings, etc., from catalogs to help you describe things in your book. Thanks!

EB, I had a front door mail slot (in a BAD neighborhood) for more than 25 years. Never did anyone put anything in it other than mail or messages from friends who didn't find us home. Broke the external car mirror. Broke the beautiful bird feeder and stole the first lovely bird bath. Kicked in the front door to rob us once. But never did anyone put anything through that mail slot. The only reason I don't still have one is that it was cheaper to replace the door without it and put up an external mailbox.

E. B. Davis said...

I have a nasty mind, Linda. I'm sure Kara won't have any problems, but nasty minds have to keep busy....

Alyx Morgan said...

I'm not a fan of catalogs at all, because it's too much clutter in the house. I tend to buy online (eBay or Amazon, mostly) when I'm looking for something specific.

I have a friend who used to employ the same method as Jim's family for gift giving. She'd take sales flyers from the stores she liked, circle what she wanted & give those to her family. She still occasionally received things not on her preferred list, but more often than not, it was highly successful for her.

E. B. Davis said...

If everyone is computer literate, Jim's family's method is terrific. I applaud it and wish that every family was so efficient. But, there are those families like mine whose members aren't so savvy. It's a pain. I like looking through, but I won't just buy something to fulfill an obligation. I like to give something that is a want or a need.