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

April Interviews

4/1 Jennifer Chow, Mimi Lee Gets A Clue
4/8 John Gaspard
4/15 Art Taylor, The Boy Detective & The Summer of '74
4/22 Maggie Toussaint, Seas the Day
4/29 Grace Topping, Staging Wars

Saturday Guest Bloggers
4/4 Sasscer Hill
4/18 Jackie Green

WWK Bloggers:
4/11 Paula Gail Benson
4/25 Kait Carson


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.

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!


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Working Happier

In the December/January issue of AARP’s magazine, Meghan Bogardus listed eight ways to work happier. Yes, I’m old enough to be a card carrying member of AARP. I’m listing the eight ways she suggested.

 One:   An orderly workplace, according to University of Minnesota researchers encourages safe, conventional thinking. A messy environment, on the other hand, can inspire more creative thinking. 

As you might have guessed, I don't work at this desk.
Since I’m not always into safe conventional thinking  which is why I don’t have my writing income and expenses in order yet for my income tax lady, I can blame it on my messy working environment. However, I have been getting a lot of creative writing done this winter including poetry, essays, blogs, and my latest book in process.

Two:   Exposure to natural daylight improves sleep habits and quality of life. Workers in offices with windows get an average of 46 more minutes of sleep per night than their windowless colleagues do. They also report higher quality of life and get more exercise during the day. 
This is definitely a plus for me. I work at home and all the windows in my house are open to natural daylight. I don’t have blinds or heavy drapes.

Three:  Indoor plants don’t just improve air quality (and look pretty); having live plants in the office has been found to decrease stress and enhance productivity by 12 percent. 

The front window in my living room.
Another plus for me since I not only have extensive gardens outside, every room in my house that has a window – excluding one bathroom – has houseplants in it. The only downside not mentioned is they do take a lot of time keeping watered. But what the heck, if it makes me healthier it’s worth the time spent.

Four:   How about the ol’ liquid lunch? Employers these days typically frown on drinking during working hours, but one small study of young male subjects found that those with a .075 percent blood alcohol level (that’s just shy of the .08 legal limit) bested sober subjects in creative problem solving. 
Well, that lets me out. Except for the occasional glass of wine at my sister-in-law’s home or one of my book clubs I don’t drink any alcoholic beverages. Wine makes me sleepy so I can’t imagine it spiking my creative juices. I’ve never noticed myself being particularly wittier at the book club or my sister-in-law’s home after a glass of wine, either.
Five:   Sitting for more than four hours a day increases the odds of developing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. But standing desks pose their own risks, from varicose veins to carpal tunnel syndrome. A treadmill desk might be best: One study found that those who walked during the workday lost weight and enjoyed productivity gains after one year.  

I have no room in my house a treadmill. I do walk almost every morning and get up after an hour or less on the computer, but I’m afraid most days I spend more than four hours of sitting. If it's not working on my writing, it’s sitting comfortably in my nesting chair reading and listening to music in the evenings or once a week watching the series of mysteries Thursday nights on PBS. Of course, during warmer weather I sit less since I have gardening and mowing to do.

Six:    Pet dogs in the workplace can reduce stress, improve morale, boost collaboration and raise efficiency. 
Maggie Chewing on her stuffed platypus with treats inside.
Well, I not only have my collie, Maggie, I also have two house cats, a canary and two ancient ring-necked African doves that I’m beginning to think will live forever. So my morale and efficiency should be boosted, but since I work alone, the collaboration is not an issue. However, they don’t take into account that dogs, especially, can disturb a writer’s train of thought when they decide they want attention.
Seven:  The sad sandwich-at-your-desk routine is definitely bad for your emotional well-being. Go out for lunch with a friend to promote office harmony and creativity. But if you work with numbers, eating at your desk might cut down on mistakes.  
Where I eat my sad-sandwich-at-lunch with veggies.
Hmmm. I had to think about this. I don’t work in an office with others so I do eat that sad sandwich-at-my desk which is really my library/dining room/office table. And I also fix veggies to go with the sandwich and enjoy reading my daily paper then. I don’t work with anymore numbers than absolutely necessary like paying bills and balancing my checkbook.

Eight:  Most workers who listen to music on the job complete tasks quicker and come up with better ideas than their music free colleagues do.  Plus, tunes reduce stress, especially when you choose the music yourself.  
This is only a few of the many CD's I have.
Okay, I love music, but after I turn off the morning news or unless I’m driving somewhere, I prefer a quiet house when I’m working. Of course, I enjoy hearing Pavarotti, my canary singing or wild bird songs when the windows are open. But, as I mentioned above, most of my evenings are spent listening to music. I have quite an extensive eclectic collection of CD’s and go to at least one or two concerts every month.

What advice will I take from the above list? Maybe get up from the computer more often and exercise or maybe do more cleaning. I’m not going to switch from coffee to wine after lunch. I know how tired it makes me, and I already fight an afternoon slump. I eat lunch with friends at least once a month with one of my book clubs – not the wine drinking one. I may put a CD on in the afternoon, too. Something that makes me want to get up and dance, although I can’t dance and write, too. But overall that’s enough change for me.
Is this you when you  take a brief break from working?

What about you? How happy do you work? Does this list give you an idea for changes you could make?


E. B. Davis said...

I was surprised by the recommendation of a lunch drink. I'd fall asleep. But at another hour of the day, maybe. I could understand how it would lead to creativity. The article as a whole leads me to believe that mixing it up is important. Routine makes for staleness. In any endeavor, that's important and a good plan for life.

Gloria Alden said...

I agree with you, E.B. I do have certain routines every day that I hate to disrupt, but mostly it has to do with the first hour or so of the day before I'm completely awake.

Jim Jackson said...

Well, I could worry about what I’m not doing right or get some work done. Back to the slag heap in preparation for April 8 book launch.

~ Jim

Warren Bull said...

I have the messy office down pat. Maybe I'll try the music, although I can get caught up in that and ignore writing. I hope it doesn't detract from the music playing in my head.

Gloria Alden said...

Good luck on that book launch, Jim. I'm almost done with your second book - Cabin Fever - and enjoying it very much even though it has me awfully worried at times at what is going to happen next.

Warren, I don't think the small magnet showed up well on my desk in the picture, but it says "Einstein had a messy desk, too!" so we're in good company.

KM Rockwood said...

Somewhere on my desk, I have a sign that says, "If a disorganized desk is a sign of a disorganized mind, what is an empty desk?"

I have to admit that at some point, I realized that if I was going to be serious about writing, something had to give. And I made a conscious choice that it would be housework. When I retire, I'm hoping to get some work done on the house and at least somewhat revisit that decision, but for now, while the health department wouldn't condemn the place, messy is a good word to describe it.

Cats and dogs populate the place. I find interaction with them soothing. Except when Hamish runs into my bad knee with his boney head.

Gloria, at least you balance your checkbook. That's something else I kind of intend to do, but never manage. I do, however, have a foolproof method for avoiding problems--I never take out more than has been put in recently. That has resulted in my bank suggesting to me that I need financial counseling, which may be true. About once a year, I sit down & take out the excess & invest it or put it in a CD.

Shari Randall said...

Liquid lunch? I'd fall asleep!
I've got the messy workplace down pat. Something's gotta give between work, family, and writing - and it's the housekeeping. Actually, I work best when things are tidied up - I feel like it gives me more mental space - but perhaps that's my conventional side talking.
Love your orchids, Gloria!

Gloria Alden said...

KM, I have that saying buried somewhere, too. :-)Maggie sometimes tries to go between my legs when I'm walking which throws me a little off balance. As for my checkbook, that may sound like I'm on top of things but sometimes I go three or four months without doing that.

Shari, except for my critters, I don't have family living with me, but we do keep in touch often through phone calls or sibling get-togethers. I'm involved in other activities, too. I do agree that I think I'd work better if my library table was cleaned off. I try. I really do.

The orchids are impulse buys I can't resist. Our local Aldi's grocery store has them for sale for $9.99 every couple of months and sometimes those that don't sell are half that. So I have close to 20 maybe, but all of them aren't blooming right now. They'll rest a while and then start blooming again. I especially like them in the winter when nothing is blooming outside.

Patg said...

I don't know how people can have music on all day. I guess I get too caught up in it, so it is a major distracter for me. And that background kind of stuff is just annoying.
I went looking for an old song from the 50s I wanted to remember the lyrics to, and wound up looking for several others from other decades, and then was too caught up to think about any kind of creative ideas for my WIP. No, no music unless I'm JUST listening.
I can't kill house plants, gotta toss them to get rid of them.

Kara Cerise said...

Perhaps a messy workplace does inspire creativity. This week I decided to let the housework pile up and spend my free time painting a beach scene at sunset using acrylics on canvas. I'm not sure what came over me since I'm not an artist and never learned how to paint. Maybe I needed to shake up my routine and try something new...or procrastinate cleaning.

Gloria Alden said...

Pat, I don't listen to music all day, either. I turn the radio off after the morning news and don't listen to music unless I'm driving until the evening when I settle in too read. And yes, I can do both. If there's a song or part of a movement that catches my attention, I stop reading to listen.

I can't toss houseplants. It's sort of like getting rid of a pet or something.

Kara, one of the things I miss since I moved to the house I live in now and was so busy teaching, is painting. I painted with acrylics for years, but not my creativity is through writing and it leaves no time to paint anymore. I'm glad you're taking it up. I can remember getting my first set of paints in a wooden box with brushes and canvases for S&H green stamps. It took me a whole year before I had the courage to actually start painting something on those stark white canvases. Once I started, I'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning painting.

Judy Hogan said...

I work healthy and happy and use a schedule to vary my routine from sitting to write or use computer and doing things outside. Most of the year I can work outside. Like Gloria, I'm a small farmer. I keep theclassicsalstation.org playing all day, and in the car, too. I also have plants in windows, and this cold winter an exuberant orchid and a red-flowered succulent have been especially cheerful. Around Christmas a Christmas cactus. I'm in NC so usually our winters are mild. In any case, I have to see to the hens. It's a good balance for me, and my daily walk.

Sarah Henning said...

I'm going to have to third the notion that if I'd have a drink for lunch, I'd be completely asleep in a jiff. Plus, I'm sure my bosses would loooove that.

Gloria Alden said...

Judy, that's one of the reasons I keep ponies and chickens. They force me to go outside even during inclement weather when I'd rather not be outside at all. Because of your more balmy weather, you can get outside to garden for more months than I can.

Sarah, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who gets sleepy with a drink. Coffee is my drink of choice throughout the day - at least three cups and sometimes four. I was happy to hear the latest research shows that coffee is good for us.