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

August Interview Schedule
8/7 Rhys Bowen Love and Death Among the Cheetahs
8/14 Heather Gilbert Belinda Blake and the Snake in the Grass
8/21 Lynn Chandler Willis Tell Me No Secrets
8/28 Cynthia Kuhn The Subject of Malice
8/31 Bernard Schaffer An Unsettled Grave

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 8/3 M. S. Spencer, 8/10 Zaida Alfaro

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 8/24 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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 will be released on June 18th.

Congratulations to Margaret S. Hamilton for being a finalist in the Daphne Du Maurier contest. Margaret competes in the Unpublished/Mainstream mystery/suspense category.

Congratulations to Shari Randall for WINNING the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interview about the book here. Yay, Shari!

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.

James M. Jackson extends the Seamus McCree series with the May 25th publication of #6, False Bottom.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

After Christmas

                                            After Christmas
                                            It’s time for the tree to go.                                                                    
                                            Scotch pine needles stiff and dead                                                        
                                            litter the floor.  
                                            I get out boxes and start to
                                            undecorate a festive house
                                            of ornaments and memories.
                                            Once placed with care,
                                            I now pack with disregard.
                                            Dull lights on green wire
                                            are unwound from branches
                                            and congregate in piles
                                            to be untangled and rewound.
                                            The tree resists my efforts
                                            to drag it out the front door.
                                            I tug, fight and finally it’s out
                                            leaving behind a layer of needles
                                            which cover the stain where
                                            the dog was sick in the night.
                                            Discouraged I look at the mess.
                                             I need coffee.
                                            Standing at the kitchen window
                                             I watch snowfall and then spy
                                             a large dark bird on an apple tree
                                             out by the pony pasture.
                                             I get my binoculars.
                                             Yes! A pileated woodpecker
                                              is eating leftover shriveled apples.
                                              I pour my coffee and smile
                                              because it’s a bird I rarely see.
                                              Then I head back to clean a mess
                                              not so big now.

There’s always that period of ennui after Christmas, a feeling of both relief that’s it all over, and a feeling of “What do I do now?” So much energy goes into the preparation for Christmas; shopping for gifts, making out Christmas cards – most with little notes, wrapping or bagging the gifts, hanging the outside wreathes, stringing lights up over the arbor, hauling box after box of decorations in from a garage out near the barn, decorating the house, getting the tree and bringing it in and then working to get it to stand upright without leaning to one side or the other and turning it so any bare spots I didn’t notice when picking it out won’t be seen once it’s decorated. There’s the rearranging of the furniture and putting things away to make room for the Christmas decorations. Then there’s shopping for large amounts of food and inevitably I forgot something so I need to go out again. Part of my Christmas preparation for company involves cleaning off the library/dining room table so I can put in the table leaves, and also clearing off the benches beside my table to make room for guests. The paper mess has to do with my writing and/or mail I haven’t gotten around to reading or discarding yet. Everything is thrown into boxes or baskets and either carried upstairs or hidden under a Christmas tablecloth in a corner.

There are parties to attend and those to hostess. I host one for my kids, grand kids and great-grand kids where we exchange our gifts several days in advance. Then there’s the Christmas Eve get together with my siblings and assorted nieces and nephews at my sister, Suzanne’s house about 30 miles away. That’s where we exchange their gifts. On Christmas Day dinner for almost everyone is at my house, including those who attended one or the other of the previous two Christmas celebrations, although some go to other family events. Although I prepare the ham, turkey and other things, most of those who come bring something for the feast.
The only gifts opened on Christmas Day are grab bag gifts. It’s a tradition going back to my childhood. Everyone contributes odds and ends of wrapped things – nothing expensive, and often something funny, but some are rather nice. It’s a good time to clean out those junk drawers, etc. After the basket is passed around, refilled several times and passed around again and again until there are no more grab bag gifts, the trading begins. Get a little pink purse and you’re a guy? Maybe someone has a screwdriver or a lock deicer cartridge willing to trade you. There are pens, gloves, dishcloths, tablets, calendars, etc. Sometimes someone slips some money in, too. Then there’s Great Aunt Kate’s plastic doily with red roses. No one keeps that so I keep rewrapping it every year. I keep telling them it’s an antique now and worth something, but no one believes me.

                                                                                    This year my California daughter, Mary, wasn’t able to make her flight back because of the snow so she stayed a few extra days. In that time, she totally undecorated my house and packed everything back into boxes. She insisted on getting the Christmas tree out so I wouldn’t have to do it later. I helped her with that. Usually I keep it up until at least New Year’s Day, but it’s nice to have it out. Now all I need to do is find all the normal stuff I’ve put away and return it to its familiar and comfortable place and get some of the boxes back out to the garage that didn’t quite make it. And next I have to sort through all the papers I threw into a basket or box. Somewhere buried in there are the postage stamps I need to pay my bills. 

What are your memories of a recent holiday you’ve had? How do you feel when it’s all over?


Anonymous said...

You have given me wonderful memories and traditions!! Next year, we are doing the grab bag with my husbands family so I will get to do it twice!! After Christmas is a little depressing. I put so much time into decorating and shopping and baking, to have it over in one day!!But now, I am glad to have my house back to normal. Well at least for a few weeks until I put my valentine's day stuff up!! LOL Love you, Sue

Gloria Alden said...

Christmas certainly was a lot of fun, wasn't it. Actually, I think you work harder at it than I do, because I don't bake the dozens and dozens of cookies that you do while still taking care of little ones.

The grab bag idea with Mike's family is a good one. Lots of fun and laughs.

Kara Cerise said...

We had houseguests for most of December so I'm still cleaning and putting things away. What I notice most is the absolute quiet. It's an adjustment after a month of noise and fun chaos.

I love your idea of grab bag gifts!

Unknown said...

It was a great Christmas Mom. Too bad you have to host everything every year. It would be nice to have our sibling event at one of the siblings houses instead so you do not have to go through so much. We all appreciate all the work you do! Love you, Mary

Gloria Alden said...

You had more activity and confusion than I did. Don't you love the quiet even though for awhile it doesn't seem quite right?

Start saving for the grab bag gifts. I always plan on getting and wrapping gifts as the year progresses, but as usually happens, I'm wrapping them at the last minute.

Gloria Alden said...

I enjoyed having you home for Christmas, Mary. It made Christmas extra special for me.