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Our September Author Interviews--9/6 Kathleen Valenti, 9/13 David Burnsworth, 9/20 Jeri Westerson, 9/27 Frances Brody. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
September Saturday Guest Bloggers: 9/2--Anne Bannon, 9/9 WWK Bloggers, 9/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 9/23 Kait Carson, and on 9/30 Karen Borelli.
“May 16, 2017 – The Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) today announced the finalists of the second annual Star Award, given to authors of published women’s fiction.Six finalists were chosen in two categories, General and Outstanding Debut.The winners of the Star Award will be announced at the WFWA Retreat in Albuquerque, New Mexico on September 23, 2017.” In the general category, WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla!
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court &Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
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 bepublished. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton'sshort story, "Once a Kappa" was published as a finalist in the Southern Writer's Magazine annual short story contest issue. Mysterical-E published her "Double Crust Corpse" in the Fall 2016 issue. "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
James M. Jackson's4th book in the Seamus McCree series, Doubtful Relations, is now available. His novella "Low Tide at Tybee" appears February 7 as part of Lowcountry Crimes: Four Novellas, which is available for order.
In reading and writing, I am drawn to the dark side. Murder. Suspense. I get a thrill from peeking over the edge at the worst of human nature, knowing that at the end of the ride the payoff will be the triumph of good over evil. Nice and tidy and controlled.
Last spring, our community (population 5,000) experienced two incidents that caused me to reflect on the connections between the fiction I love and the reality I find reprehensible.
In the first, as winter gave way to spring, someone scrawled a note on the bathroom wall at my son’s school, threatening violence against the student body the next day. In light of school shootings in recent years, and the mass shooting at a business less than 200 miles away a few days earlier, the threat was seriously scary.
Increased anxiety accompanied the increased police presence in all of our small district’s schools. Two hours after the district notified parents of the threat, I sat at my desk going through the motions of work, cleaning out drawers and organizing files and attempting other tasks that didn’t require my full attention. My thoughts were 20 miles away, with my son and my husband, a teacher in the same school.
The next day, when I sent my child to school and my husband to work in a place that potentially could be the site of the next headline news, was even worse. My husband could have called in “sick.” We could have kept our son home. Many, many parents did. Only two students showed up for my husband’s first class of the day. His largest class size was six. District-wide, more than half of students stayed away.
But as a family, after a lot of conversation, we agreed that we did not want to be held hostage to fear instilled by other people. It’s the kind of decision you never want to get wrong, but we thought it was important to show that we weren’t helpless.
A couple of months later, a local man allegedly shot a police detective in a nearby town, then fled through a series of carjackings. My husband and his students stayed at school under lockdown while tactical units surrounded a house a block or so away.
Both of these incidents caused me to think about the implications for my writing. I enjoy reading a sweeping Jason Bourne-like tale of multinational intrigue, but big drama also happens on a smaller scale, locally, at the family or individual level. That’s the sort of fiction I gravitate toward in my writing, where I can explore the consequences for an individual or a community when someone breaks the social contract and commits a heinous act.
When I started writing this post, I thought the message would be “In fiction, unlike in real life, you get to control the outcome. You get to celebrate when the good guys win.” But the real-life incidents I described above were scary, and the consequences rippled throughout the community, even when the outcomes were the best possible under the circumstances (no one attacked the school and police caught the suspect in the shooting of the detective without further harm to innocents). And that is a lesson I want to explore more deeply in my fiction. Crime at all levels leaves scars, and how people—real or fictional—heal and cope in the aftermath determines whether they and their communities let fear win or find the fortitude to be stronger and more resilient despite threats and violence.
How do real-life events influence your thinking about the fiction you read or write?