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

Here are the upcoming WWK interviews for the month of July!

July 4th Christopher Huang, A Gentleman's Murder

July 11th V. M. Burns, The Plot Is Murder

July 18th Edith Maxwell (Maddie Day), Death Over Easy

July 25th Shari Randall, Against The Claw

Our July Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 7/7--Mary Feliz, 7/14--Annie Hogsett, 7/21--Margaret S. Hamilton, 7/28--Kait Carson.

Our special bloggers for the fifth Monday and Tuesday of July--Kaye George and Paula Gail Benson.

Please welcome two new members to WWK--Annette Dashofy, who will blog on alternative Sundays with Jim Jackson, and Nancy Eady, who will blog on every fourth Monday. Thanks for blogging with us Annette and Nancy!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Annette Dashofy's Uneasy Prey was released in March. It is the sixth Zoe Chambers Mystery. The seventh, Cry Wolf, will be released on September 18th. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with Annette on September 19th.

Carla Damron's quirky short story, "Subplot", was published in the Spring edition of The Offbeat Literary Journal. You can find it here: http://offbeat.msu.edu/volume-18-spring-2018/

Tina Whittle's sixth Tai Randolph mystery, Necessary Ends, debuts on April 3, 2018. Look for it here. Tina was nominated for a Derringer Award for her novelette, "Trouble Like A Freight Train Coming." We're all crossing our fingers for her.

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), was published on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here. He's working on Seamus McCree #6 (False Bottom)

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here:

Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.

Shari Randall's second Lobster Shack Mystery, Against the Claw, will be available in July 31, 2018.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Maira Kalman's Looking at Lincoln - Portrait of a Favorite President

It’s Presidents Day! Or maybe not where you live. February 16 is an official federal holiday – George Washington’s Birthday. States are not required to adopt federal holidays, however, and in many places the presidents with February birthdays, Washington and Abraham Lincoln, are forced to share a celebratory day, the mashed up Presidents Day. One wonders what these two men, the gentleman farmer and the country lawyer, would have made of this forced sharing. One thinks of kids unlucky enough to have a birthday on Christmas. There just doesn’t seem to be enough attention to go around. Somebody’s short-changed.

As we do on most American holidays, we’ll shop sales or go to the movies, or just work as usual. But if you’d like to do something president-related I hope you’ll consider spending a few moments sharing a very special book with a child. Many books about historical figures claim to “bring history to life.” Maira Kalman’s Looking At Lincoln conjures Lincoln, with all his complexities, joys and sadnesses, in a children’s book that transcends category.

Something interesting happens when you ask a poet or artist to do a historian’s work. Kalman, an artist, writer, and designer whose work appears in The New Yorker, approaches Lincoln with an artist’s eye. She admits up front that when she started to research, she fell in love with Abraham Lincoln. Not a confession you’ll hear most professors or historians make, and I wondered if the book was going to get a little weird, but no worries. One cannot help but agree with Kalman’s taste. Lincoln was a fascinating man.

What does this book offer writers? Kalman shows us the details that, like brush stroke after brush stroke on canvas, build the most colorful and intriguing portrait. Unlike a historian, she conjectures with a child’s curiosity, which draws you into the text. You can’t help but feel that you know Lincoln better, know the real Lincoln, after spending time with this book.

We all know the Lincoln of history books: born in a log cabin, became a lawyer, wrote the Emancipation Proclamation, preserved the Union. The great orator. Honest Abe.

In this book, we see the homely details that a child would want to know – and if we’re honest, the kinds of details that we all want to know. Kalman tells us Lincoln always had an apple on the table where he worked. Was kicked in the head by a mule and was unconscious for two days. Loved the vanilla cake that his wife made. Enjoyed Mozart, especially The Magic Flute. Stuffed notes into his hat so he wouldn’t forget things. Loved his dog, Fido. Fido had crossed eyes.

So, Writers Who Kill, who was your favorite president?
What details define your character?


James Montgomery Jackson said...

There are too many who are fascinating to say which is a favorite. Easier to say which ones I care very little about.

The oldest is Martin Van Buren, and I have to say I am less interested in the ones I lived through, so that excludes Truman through Obama.

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

A few years ago, I finally toured Mount Vernon. Washington had so many trials to overcome. I had had no idea of his business failures, his experiments in commerce, his health problems, or of his remarkable wife.

I can't say who my favorite president is, but my favorite historical figure is Ben Franklin. He seemed to know how to live life to its fullest. That's an art.

KM Rockwood said...

I'd have to go with Lincoln. I live in the Gettysburg area, so almost by osmosis, I know a lot about him (teaching American history to inner city special ed kids for a few years doesn't hurt, either. Or does being married to someone who teaches American political science in a community college and sometimes tries out his class preps on me.)

Lincoln was a class act.

Gloria Alden said...

It's Abraham Lincoln. I've read at least three biographies of him and each one only increases my admiration from him. I like his lack of pretension, his humor and how he managed to get people to work together if not always, certainly better than most presidents. Also, he was always a caring husband and father.

This past Saturday a woman portrayed Mary Todd Lincoln and another woman portrayed her seamstress, who had been a former slave and managed to buy freedom for her and her son. Both were good, but the woman who portrayed the slave was fantastic. Lincoln's wife has not always been treated fairly by both he media of the time or today, unfortunately. I read a biography of her, too, hat treated her better.

Shari Randall said...

I see what you mean, Jim. Living through some of these modern presidencies has proved to be pretty dispiriting.

EB, I'm with you on Ben Franklin. What a bon vivant! We need more of that - though the modern press would have a field day.

KM, I'd like to do more reading on Lincoln so if you or your husband could recommend good books I'd appreciate it.

Gloria, that play sounds great. What was it called? Mary Todd Lincoln has gotten harsh treatment, today and in the past. Her own son committed her to an institution….though goodness knows he had his own trials. The more I learn about what Lincoln went through, the more impressed I am by his inner strength.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Shari, I always love your telling us about new books you share with children. This is one I intend to read. I had the opportunity to shake Gerald Ford's hand, and will never forget how he focused on me for that moment, making me feel like we were the only ones in the room. Since that time, I have read a gret deal about him . A most impressive person.

Paula Gail Benson said...

Sorry. That should have been great!

Kara Cerise said...

Sometimes I learn more from children's books than from reading history books for adults.

I feel like I know more about Lincoln's life--his personal and professional trials--than other presidents because so much has been written about him. I'm impressed with his strength of character.

Shari Randall said...

Hi Paula,
How cool that you got to meet a president. Ford always seemed like a real person to me (maybe it was those Chevy Chase impressions?)

Hi Kara,
I think you're right - and the movie Lincoln also has probably introduced him to those who won't find him in books. Loved that movie - Love Daniel Day Lewis!