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

October Interviews
10/2 Debra H. Goldstein, Two Bites To Many
10/10 Connie Berry, A Legacy of Murder
10/17 Lida Sideris, Double Murder or Nothing
10/23 Toni L. P. Kelner writing as Leigh Perry, The Skeleton Stuffs A Stocking
10/30 Jennifer David Hesse, Autumn Alibi

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
10/5 Ang Pompano
10/12 Eyes of Texas Anthology Writers
10/19 Neil Plakcy

WWK Bloggers: 10/26 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

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 was released on June 18th.

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.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Overlooking Treasured Objects

It’s easy for me to walk by objects that I have owned for a long time without noticing them. They fade and blend into the background. This became apparent when a woman, who was measuring my house to install new carpet, commented that she enjoyed the beautiful art in my house. She put down her measuring tape and stopped to look at each painting like she was visiting a museum.

I looked, really looked, to see what she was seeing and took in one-of-a-kind art—pastels, oils, watercolors and mixed media. You may be thinking Picasso or Monet. Nope. Almost all the art hanging on my walls was made by family or friends.

Each piece is special to me and has a story. Here are some of my favorites.

My niece made this oil painting when she was just fourteen years old! It measures 4 ft. x 5 ft. Because of its large size, my husband and I hung it at the top of a staircase.

She is also an excellent writer but decided to forego a career in the glamorous and lucrative arts. Instead, she is studying to be a doctor and now draws gall bladders and hearts.

A coworker gave me this pen-and-ink drawing for my birthday. It was part of a series he called “Beneath the Tile.” He believed that people were different on the inside than how they appeared on the outside. The drawing is hanging above my desk to remind me of that important lesson while I write.

This is my baby portrait painted by a man who, along with his wife, made a treacherous journey from Russia to America during the Cold War. Tibor eventually found work as a janitor in Arizona. My dad learned of his artistic talent and commissioned him to paint individual portraits of the females in the family.

My sister painted three small canvases before she went through cancer treatment and just after our mother died. She was inspired by colorful tiles on a staircase while vacationing in Mexico. Sunny and bright, they remind me of the Southwest where I grew up.

Many years ago my college roommate and I were visiting her parents. Her mother grabbed a box of pastels and a sketch pad and began to draw while we were studying. She had almost completed it when the three of us decided to run an errand.

While we were out, their dog presumably upset that he wasn’t included in the outing, lifted his leg on the back of the partially finished pastel leaning against a chair. Max, a beautiful Samoyed with one blue and one green eye, is no longer with us. But every time I look at this picture, I remember him.

Are there treasured objects in your environment that have become so familiar you overlook them?


E. B. Davis said...

I have an ostrich egg my father brought back from his travels. I used to have a great white shark's jaws (my father, again--Australia), but I mounted them outside over the backdoor of the beach house. Hatteras destroyed them due to the salt and humidity in the air. They developed mold and got mushy. Cartilage rather than bone, I suppose. It surprised me. I wouldn't have mounted them outside had I known. Even dead, the teeth were sharp. You could cut your fingers on them. They snagged fabric, too. (One of the reasons we decided to mount them and get them out of the way!)

But if you are talking oblivious--I was in Costco yesterday. A little man stepped in front of my cart, took something to eat from a vendor, and then proceeded to eat it leisurely and blocked my path. He never looked my way or felt my eyes staring at him in disbelief. Sometimes I think people might be purposefully oblivious. Passive-aggressive?

You are surrounded by talented people, Kara. Appreciate your treasures!

James Montgomery Jackson said...

A good reminder for most of us who take for granted wherever we are that we need to slow ourselves down to again see our surroundings. That applies equally to the treasures in our houses as to the location in which we live.

~ Jim

Kara Cerise said...

E. B., a great white shark's jaws must be large and look rather menacing with razor sharp teeth. What a shame that they were ruined by the salt and humidity. I wouldn't have considered that possibility either. Your dad sounds like he's had wonderful adventures traveling.

There are definitely some oblivious people out there. I was standing in a supermarket checkout line and the woman behind me apparently didn't notice me for awhile. All of a sudden she accused me of cutting in line. So strange.

Jim, good point about taking time to appreciate our surroundings! I'm grateful to live in a place that has clean air and safe water.

Warren Bull said...

I once had an artist as a client who commented on the "yellow triangle" in a painting in the lobby. I asked him to show it to me. It was definitely there. I had just never seen it before.

Kait said...

How wonderful Kara. You have lovely items in your home made all the more precious by their provenance.

Kara Cerise said...

Warren, it's surprising to see something new in a familiar object we often walk past. When that happens in the future, I will refer to it as the "yellow triangle" experience.

Thank you, Kait! They are all special to me.

Gloria Alden said...

What wonderful paintings, Kara. I have a painting on my living room wall that was painted by a cousin of mine. She had an art degree, and we lost touch over the years and only reconnected at a family reunion a few months before she died. We were like sisters growing up since she lived across the road from me.Her daughters gave it to me because they knew I would cherish it. I also have a lovely black and white sketch of my barn and the brick sidewalk leading in that direction that a young man in a wheelchair drew for me from a snap shot that my daughter-in-law gave to him. It was a Christmas present for me. I have many pictures on my walls, some reproductions, some original and some photos I liked and had enlarged, matted and framed. As for a painting with a hidden person in it, years ago I painted the heads of four well-known clowns. Several months later, someone pointed out a fifth. The fifth was the shaded collar of one of the clowns that looked like the profile of a man. Now I see it whenever I look at that picture even though I didn't intentionally paint him.

Shari Randall said...

Kara, I love all your beautiful art! And all the wonderful stories. I stopped to think about what I have on my walls (and I haven't done that in a while) and remembered the stories behind them…the prints my father in law brought back from Japan after the war, the gorgeous framed piece of embroidered kimono silk my mother gave my daughter, artwork done by artists from my hometown, the painted silk abstract made by a friend. Thank you for waking me up to the beauty that's around me every day.

KM Rockwood said...

Whenever possible, I try to surround myself with things I love or which bring back wonderful memories. But I do try to keep it in perspective--they are "things," and I know I have too many physical things in my life.

E.B, you are describing a type of behavior that is fairly common to people with certain types of learning disabilities. They are oblivious. It takes specific instruction for them to learn many usual social norms.

E. B. Davis said...

I never thought of that, KM. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. He was alone (or at least I thought he was) and he was middle-age so it never occurred to me. Perhaps you are right.

I have to laugh. When I first started working after college, I had to supervise women who were older than my mother. Imagine my surprise when they acted like second graders. They had no learning disorders, they were just immature people.

But the oblivious gentleman, may well have had learning disorders. At first, I thought he might be deaf (Costco is loud), but he made no attempt at looking around or being aware of anyone but himself. If he doesn't have learning disorders, I feel sorry for his family. It must be all about him. But then, perhaps that's a problem for the families of those who have learning disorders. I have much to be thankful for.

Kara Cerise said...

Gloria, how nice that you have a painting your cousin made. It probably brings back good memories when you look at it.
I think it's interesting that someone pointed out a fifth clown in your painting. It reminds me of watching clouds and seeing shapes and people in them. The unexpected clown in a painting could be an idea for a spooky short story...

Shari, you have many treasured objects in your house! I'd love to hear the stories and history associated with the prints. I imagine that the embroidered kimono piece, painted silk abstract and paintings from hometown artists are cherished items too.

KM, physical things seem to pile up in my home. I have a theory that they multiply when nobody is watching. I find that family photographs are the most difficult things to throw away even though I have duplicates and the images are saved on my computer.

Sarah Henning said...

That baby portrait is gorgeous! I have a melted "Dali-style" clock sculpture that I got in Spain when I studied abroad 15 years ago. Usually I just dust over it, but the other day I realized how freaking smart I was to buy it at the time. It's always there on the shelf, but if I took the time to really look at it, I can think back to that very cool time in my life. It's a treasure, indeed.

Grace Topping said...

Sometimes people don't value the things they have hanging on their walls. My mother once asked me if there was anything in the house that I would like to have when she's gone. I thought about it and remembered the beautiful oil painting of a lake surrounded by trees. The only thing I really wanted. When I told her about it, she couldn't remember it. When I took her to the place where it had hung, she said, "Oh, I gave that to the Salvation Army." In its place was a seaside print on velvet! Sigh!

Kara Cerise said...

Your Dali-style clock sculpture sounds like a very cool reminder of a special time, Sarah. What a wonderful experience to study abroad in Spain!

I love that story, Grace. I guess everyone has different taste in art. My guess is that the seaside print on velvet isn't hanging in your house.