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

Check out our February author interviews: 2/7-debut author Keenan Powell (Alaskan lawyer), 2/14-Leslie Wheeler (Rattlesnake Hill), 2/21-bestselling author Krista Davis, who unveils a new series, 2/28-Diane Vallere answers my questions about Pajama Frame. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our February Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 2/3-Saralyn Richard, 2/10-Kathryn Lane. WWK's Margaret H. Hamilton will blog on 2/17, and Kait Carson on 2/24.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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.

In addition, our prolific KM has had the following shorts published as well: "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017 and "Turkey Underfoot," appears in the anthology The Killer Wore Cranberry: a Fifth Course of Chaos.


Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Serendipity, Sisters in Crime, and Robert Dugoni, Oh My!

by Paula Gail Benson

Serendipity has been defined as a happy accident, a course of action that leads to unexpected benefits. According to Wikipedia, the word serendipity was initially used by author Horace Walpole, who, in a 1754 letter written to a friend, described a Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip” where the characters were always encountering things they were not seeking.

Generally, as mystery writers, we’re cautioned about not giving characters their answers too easily and making them face conflict or adversity before reaching resolutions. However, most of us remember in the course of our individual writer’s journey being the beneficiary of good fortune through serendipity.

Two instances where I’ve experienced an unexpected writing benefit were in becoming a member of Sisters in Crime (SinC) and meeting New York Times bestselling and Edgar nominated author Robert Dugoni. How those two separate fortunate incidents came together is the story of this message.    

In my post yesterday on The Stiletto Gang, I described how current national Sisters in Crime President Diane Vallere’s association with Sisters in Crime had influenced and advanced her writing career. Similarly, I credit joining that organization with giving me the information and boost I needed to start submitting my short stories to publishers and to become involved in the mystery blogging community.

Cathy Pickens, author of the Avery Andrews mysteries and former President of Sisters in Crime (thus properly recognized as “Goddess”), encouraged me to become a member. Due to her influence, I joined not only Sisters in Crime, but several of its chapters, including the Guppy Chapter, where I now serve on the Steering Committee and one of my stories appeared in the third Guppy anthology, Fish or Cut Bait.

Meanwhile, after we met at the South Carolina Book Festival, Robert Dugoni invited me to collaborate with him on a short story that was published in Killer Nashville Noir: Cold Blooded.

So, when I learned that Robert was headed to Beaufort, S.C., as part of a book tour, and that his trip coincided with the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime’s celebration of SinC’s 30th anniversary, I asked if he could make a stop in Columbia. As serendipity would have it, Robert was able to attend the Palmetto Chapter meeting, where he was made an honorary member. In addition, he was interviewed by his good friend Cathy Pickens and told the group how it felt to receive the Edgar nomination for his novel The Seventh Canon.

Of course, there was cake and Cathy Pickens had the honor of making the first “stab” into it, as is benefiting a celebration of mystery authors.

The serendipity continued the following day when Robert accompanied me to a church service and met a fan of his Tracy Crosswhite series. She was thrilled to receive an autographed copy of the latest novel, The Trapped Girl.

So, while I’ll be careful of allowing my characters to experience too much serendipity, I’ll keep enjoying all that I encounter in life.

Has serendipity ever taken you down a happy pathway?    


Gloria Alden said...

Yes, it has, but the only one that comes to mind now is one when I was teaching. I always put up a word the children wouldn't know, but if they looked it up in a dictionary and wrote down the meaning on a paper and put it in the envelope, they'd win a star - ten stars meant a funny money and ten funny monies got them a prize. That day I put up the word physiognomy. Without realizing the connection, I skimmed to a poem in one of the children's poetry book's I had after attendance and lunch count was taken and came across a poem by Carl Sandburg titled Phyzog, I think, but it was about the same thing my morning word was. I didn't tell my third graders that.

Also, there have been more times than I could count when I've been thinking of someone I haven't talked to in quite some time, and the phone rings and they're on the other end. I
know there have been so many other times that serendipity has surprised me, too. I probably wrote them down in my journal, too, and maybe some day when I'm really old, I'll go back and read those journals.

KM Rockwood said...

Everything that happens to us or that we do is the result of what has gone on previously. How wonderful when our past experiences, etc, lead to those precious moments of serendipity!

Warren Bull said...

I have had the great good fortune of attending the Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime where I learned a great deal from other authors, especially Nancy Pickard.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I prefer to think of it as the stars aligning.

Shari Randall said...

I do think your stars aligned, Paula! How wonderful!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Gloria, I think serendipity in the classroom is a truly special experience.

KM, I agree totally!

Warren, our local chapters offer so much, particularly for those who can't travel to writing conferences. Isn't it wonderful to have brilliant authors like Nancy Pickard, Cathy Pickens, and Robert Dugoni willing to take time to talk with local chapters?

Margaret, you're exactly right!

Shari, I feel very fortunate.

Many thanks to you all for stopping by!