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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

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.

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


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Novel Pets

In books, a pet can be a confidant, cause trouble or be a savior. I recall few unusual pets in mysteries--dogs, cats and horses are usually featured. Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum character has a pet hamster, although I don’t think Rex ever helped solve a crime. I have read one murder mystery with a pet parrot but don’t remember the title. I do remember that the parrot mimicked human language and said words that led to the killer.

My family and I have had unusual pets and I know other people have too. Perhaps with some creativity, these novel pets might lead to a clue, a murderer or complicate a case. Here are four ideas:

When I was young I had a snail named Pearl. At that time there was a trend where snails were sold with rhinestones glued on their backs—probably not allowed today. My friends quipped, “Poor little rich snail.” Pearl liked to crawl out of her bowl and wander around at night but it was easy to find her by following the slime trail the next morning. Maybe a character with a missing pet snail could follow the slime trail and stumble on a clue or a dead body?

My niece has a snake that enjoys studying with her. What if a character’s pet snake escaped its enclosure? Perhaps it could slide under the killer’s door and wrap itself around his ankle. If the killer had ophidiophobia (fear of snakes), direct contact might force a confession.

Many years ago my sister went on a Girl Scout trip to Papago Park in Arizona. She found what she thought was an abandoned kitten and brought it home to nurse back to health. The kitten thrived, gained weight…and began growing fangs. My parents took it back to the veterinarian who said that the kitten was probably part bobcat. The vet advised them to keep Fluffy because he wouldn’t be able to fend for himself in the wild. Fluffy lived a long, happy life but retained some wild animal behaviors like eating raw meat off the kitchen countertop when my mother had her back turned.

If a character owned an exotic but domesticated animal it might be falsely accused of a crime and the owner would need to track down the real culprit. If the killer threatens the owner, the pet could tap into its wild side and save him.

Many years ago our family was house hunting. In one house my mother walked in a bathroom and screamed. There was an alligator in the bathtub! It turned out to be the owner’s pet. I’ve often wondered if the alligator was a trained movie animal since a number of people in the entertainment industry lived in that town.

Perhaps a pet alligator could swallow something (or part of someone) and hinder a detective from solving a case.

Can you think of unusual pets featured in mysteries? Do you have or write about unusual animals?


E. B. Davis said...

I don't write about animals much in my books because I've never had pets while growing up. But, I love reading about pets and I sort of adopt my neighbor's pets sharing them a bit. Of course, I don't have to pay for anything or deal with any damage to my home so for me it's optimal. My favorites books with animals were, James Herriot's vet books, but also Donna Ball's rescue dog series and the late Blaize Clement's pet sitter series. One of her kid's is taking over writing them now. I like ordinary pets, so no alligators!

I am including one cat in my new WIP, a neighbor's cat.

Jim Jackson said...

I don’t have any unusual pets in my books (so far), but I think how characters relate to animals can be a good way to show personality.

As for ways to get the family pet into the story – perhaps the dog got loose and came back with some portion of a human leg – and she refuses to tell where she found her trophy.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

Thank you for the suggestions, E.B. I had forgotten about James Herriot's excellent vet books. All Creatures Great and Small was required reading in school.

I look forward to reading your book and learning what role your neighbor's cat plays in it.

Kara Cerise said...

Good point, Jim, that animals can reflect an character's personality by how they relate to it and what type of pet they choose.

I like your rather macabre suggestion of a dog bringing back a body part. That would be a shock for an owner to see first thing in the morning while making a cup of coffee.

Warren Bull said...

I had very few pets as a child. I do remember one turtle but I don't know how it could help solve a crime. In one of Nancy Pickard's books a pet bird expresses its opinion by defecting into a man's boot.

Kara Cerise said...

Nancy Pickard is clever to have an animal show its dislike of a character in such a memorable way. I think it’s also a good example of showing instead of telling.

I don’t see how a turtle could help solve a crime. I suppose a character could hide something very tiny under the lip of the turtle shell. Now I'm intrigued and will ask my sister-in-law who is a biologist and tortoise expert.

carla said...

My protagonist has a sheepdog who is more of a comical character. I will ponder how she might help solve a crime. I think she'd like that!

Kara Cerise said...

I enjoy watching sheepdogs herd livestock, Carla. They are so agile. Unfortunately, I recently read that Old English sheepdogs are now on the endangered species list.