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

September Interviews

9/2 Dianne Freeman, A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Murder

9/9 Ellen Byron, Murder in the Bayou Boneyard

9/16 Marilyn Levinson, writing as Allison Brook, Checked Out for Murder

9/23 Rhys Bowen, The Last Mrs. Summers

9/30 Sherry Harris, From Beer To Eternity

September Guest Bloggers

9/19 Judy Alter

WWK Weekend Bloggers

9/5 V. M. Burns

9/12 Jennifer J. Chow

9/26 Kait Carson


Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!

Look Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."

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

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Celebrity Bugs

I have a love/hate relationship with spring. I’m thrilled when the gray sky turns blue, the warm sun melts any remaining snow, and flowers burst up through the ground with the force of corn kernels popping.

But evil lurks in my paradise—bugs. Some with faces only their mothers could love.

My first spring living in the D.C. area (2004) I was warned about the approaching 17 year cicada invasion. I didn’t understand all the fuss about singing bugs. How bad could it get? So naïve.

First, they crawled out of the ground, dark bodies with glowing red eyes that looked like they had been residing in one of Dante’s levels of hell. Then they swarmed on trees, shed their skin, gained wings and flew everywhere. They began emitting otherworldly, pulsating noises that sounded like the Mother Ship was hovering nearby. Not long after, they died—sometimes in mid-flight. One landed in my omelet while I was eating brunch on the patio.

I’ve already begun this year’s spring insect dance. One morning while writing, I glimpsed a dark object on the floor skittle by my shoe, antennae waving, clearly taunting me. I jumped out of my chair and ran after the multi-legged creature trying to stomp on it. The bug zigged, I zagged and a dance to an imaginary tune of The Hokey Pokey commenced. Put your right foot in, take your right foot out…

I sat down to continue writing but spotted a spider hanging off a door. The phantom itching began. Was it poisonous? I searched online for an answer and instead found websites devoted to bugs (and animals) named after celebrities.

Yep, celebrities. No joke. Apparently scientists are given free rein with names as long as they abide by guidelines set by the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature.

Some names made me smile:

Preseucoila imallshookupis …Read More »

 – A species of gall wasp named after Elvis Presley and his hit song "All Shook Up". 

Villa manillae Evenhuis – This bee fly’s name was perhaps inspired by the lip syncing duo Milli Vanilli.

Aptostichus barackobamai Bond – A trapdoor spider named after President Obama because he is a fan of Spiderman comics.

Entomologists named three wasp species Polemistus chewbacca, Polemistus vaderi, and Polemistus yoda after their favorite Star Wars characters: Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Yoda.

Scaptia (Plinthina) beyonceae A horsefly with a glamorous golden behind named after singer Beyoncé.

Aptostichus stephencolberti A trapdoor spider named after comedian, Stephen Colbert. However, Colbert asked if they could name something cooler than a spider after him. They complied and named a beetle (way cooler than a spider), Agaporomorphus colberti, in his honor.

Euglossa bazinga is a bee species found in Brazil. It was named after the catchphrase, “bazinga,” used by television character Dr. Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory.

Fun names, but something bugs me. I saw few insects or animals named after authors. And, unless I overlooked a section, I don’t recall seeing any mystery writers on the list. How about naming an inquisitive animal or bug in honor of Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, or Dashiell Hammett?

Do you have a bug horror story?
Does anyone recognize the spider in my photo? Should I be concerned?


Warren Bull said...

In North Carolina I heard the term "Palmetto bug."
When I actually encountered the critter I noticed it had a remarkable resemblance to a northern roach, but it was much bigger.

Kara Cerise said...

Palmetto bugs sound rather creepy, Warren. Maybe I'm better off with my unidentified spider.

Jim Jackson said...

My spider field guide is up north, so I can’t help you on that, but I think of spiders by the door as guardians of the threshold. They capture all the little creepy-crawly critters, so I let them be (and occasionally clean up the spider web, making sure not to harm the spider).

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

I'm actually rather fascinated by insects and arachnids, and no I don't recognize that spider. All spiders have poison in their fangs, it's how they paralyze their prey, but very few cause serious harm to people. The two are the black widow and the brown recluse, and that is almost never fatal. Interesting fact; the spider's poison turns the insect's insides to liquid and then the spider sucks it out.

As for insects, I hate Japanese beetles, flies, gnats and mosquitoes. I'm also not happy about ants in the house or building nests in my flower gardens.

Kara Cerise said...

Jim, what a kind way of thinking about spiders by a door. I like the phrase "guardians of the threshold." Very nice.

Shari Randall said...

Not crazy about bugs to be honest, except for decorative ones, like butterflies. I've made peace with the gigantic garden spiders (that's what I call them, not sure what the real name is) that make webs right near my front door. I tell myself that they're catching bugs before they get inside my house, instead of what they're probably really doing - plotting to catch me in one of their overachieving webs!

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, I'm not fascinated by bugs, but I have a healthy respect for them. A few years ago, my sister was stung by a scorpion which she told me was very painful. And last week after my mother-in-law finished gardening she noticed a lump behind her ear. Half of her face became swollen and red and she got sick. The doctors were stumped and thought perhaps something bit her. After a few days of intravenous antibiotics and other medicine, she's better.

I'm still trying to determine if mosquitos have any useful purpose other than annoying people and animals.

Kara Cerise said...

Shari, opening the front door and walking into a spider web isn't a nice way to start the day. I like your thought that spiders are plotting to catch humans with their large webs. An idea for a spooky short story?

KM Rockwood said...

I've seen a few brown recluse spider bites, and they are nasty. They hide in dark places where people can't see them, like shoes, and bite when someone puts their foot in. Before indoor plumbing (or if you're in a campground with outhouses) they can hide under the seat and give some truly nasty bites in very sensitive places.

I would vote for stinkbugs as my least favorite bug right now. They damage the fruit crops, which are big business around here, and they get into absolutely everywhere, no matter how well you think you have things sealed.

Kara Cerise said...

KM, I've heard that stinkbugs are incredibly destructive and that nobody knows how to control them. I can only imagine how much money growers have lost trying to save their fruit crops. So far, I've only seen a few in my area.

Crazy ants are another invasive species that I think will be costly and difficult to control.

E. B. Davis said...

A good insect is a dead insect. I hate reptiles, too.

E. B. Davis said...

Oh, and rodents, too!

Kara Cerise said...

E.B., your comments reminded me of the lyrics in that old song by Jim Stafford--"I don't like spiders and snakes and that ain't what it takes to love me..."

E. B. Davis said...

You got to trust, Jim Stafford, Kara! ;>)

Sarah Henning said...

Ha! The Beyonce one cracks me up! I have several horror stories about the giant cockroaches we encountered in owning a 1926 Key West-style house in West Palm Beach, Fla. Honestly, I don't want to give you all nightmares, but it was sometimes "The Metamorphosis" come to life.

Kara Cerise said...

The bug named after Beyoncé made me laugh, too, Sarah. Who knew entomologists had such a sense of humor?

Your experience with cockroaches sounds horrible. It gives me chills just thinking about it and I haven't even heard the whole story.

carla said...

Kara, that spider is from a distant galaxy. It was put there to record your comings and goings. It will leave you alone once the spaceship returns.

Kara Cerise said...

I've long suspected that spiders are part of an unearthly diabolical plot, Carla.