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

WWK's May interviews will be: 5/2--indie author Bobbi Holmes, 5/9--TG Wolff (aka--Anita Devito), 5/16--Chocolate Bonbon author Dorothy St. James, 5/23--Lida Sideris, 5/30--Food Lovers' Village (and multiple Agatha winner) Leslie Budwitz. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our May Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 5/5--John Carenen, 5/12--Judy Penz Sheluk, 5/19--Margaret S. Hamilton, 5/26--Kait Carson.

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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), will be available on April 3, 2018. Purchase links are here.

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. Look for E. B. Davis's interview with the authors in this anthology on 4/14! 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 August, 2018.

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.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Gift and the Dinner Invitation

by Julie Tollefson

Despite my best intentions, 2017 so far has fallen short of the roaring, productive writing year I envisioned at the end of 2016. Whatever the cause—post-holiday-hustle weariness, flu, mid-winter doldrums—my creative well has been in serious need of refilling.

In recent weeks, by chance, I found a bit of inspiration and renewed energy in a Christmas gift and a dinner invitation.

The gift: Born to Run, Bruce Springsteen’s new memoir. I came late to Springsteen fandom—1984, the “Born in the USA” tour—and I’ve had an on-again, off-again love affair with his music since.  The stories in his memoir about his life and rise to superstardom are interesting, but the pieces I find most fascinating are the descriptions of his creative process. This passage, for example, could apply to short stories or novels as easily as it does to songwriting:

The precision of the storytelling in these types of songs is very important. The correct detail can speak volumes about who your character is, while the wrong one can shred the credibility of your story. When you get the music and lyrics right, your voice disappears into the voices you’ve chosen to write about. (p. 401)

It’s inspiring to read the stories behind the songs, to get some insight into the creative process and struggles of an unquestionably successful and prolific artist.

The dinner invitation: An “authors and appetizers” fundraiser for the local chapter of Altrusa, an international service organization with a focus on literacy projects. A friend invited me to join her for this evening featuring Barbara Stuber, author of 2015 Kansas Notable Book Girl in Reverse, and Nancy Pickard, author of The Scent of Rain and Lightning (recently made into a motion picture and, fingers crossed, coming to nearby movie screens soon), and I’m so glad I did. Barbara and Nancy talked about their muses, research, and the roots of their stories. Their accounts struck just the right note and felt like the personal pep talk I needed to get past my recent bout of ennui.

The gift and the dinner invitation. Inspiration and encouragement. How do you re-energize your creativity when the well runs dry?


Jim Jackson said...

Sometimes we need a vacation. That adage that “All work and no play make Jack a dull boy” has merit. Getting away from our work allows our creative mind to operate behind the scenes, working on problems we’ve given it, allowing it to find new connections, new solutions, new questions to ask. The vacation can be as short as a stroll around the neighborhood or as long as a trip to a foreign land.

~ Jim

Grace Topping said...

Thank you, Julie. Your attempt to find inspiration has inspired me. It goes to show you that we can find inspiration in the most unlikely places.

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like you are taking full advantage of the inspiring opportunities that come your way.

As Jim says, stepping back for a bit often allows the creative process to regenerate.

Warren Bull said...

Nancy Pickard is a great speaker and very encouraging to other writers.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I'm a firm advocate of stepping back. When I start a new short story, I have a visual prompt and let it simmer for a month, adding characters and a plot.

Julie Tollefson said...

Jim - I agree about the value of vacations. I'm a firm believer in taking time off from my day job - I haven't been as good at applying the same principle to writing, but I'm working on it!

Julie Tollefson said...

Aw, that's good to hear, Grace!

Thanks, KM! I'm certainly on the lookout now for more inspirational opportunities!

Julie Tollefson said...

Warren - I couldn't agree with you more. Nancy was among the first writers I met on this journey, and she's always been so encouraging.

Julie Tollefson said...

Margaret - I'd love to hear more about your process. Maybe you'd write a future post about how you develop short story ideas?

Gloria Alden said...

Julie, I took months off last summer after writing my seventh book. I went away three times, and spent a lot of time working in the gardens or spending time with family since my ex had come home and was dying. I also like music with stories which is one of the reasons I'm a big folk music fan. So many of the folk songs tell tales. I've always planned on buying a Bruce Springsteen album, too.

I find that I write best in the winter once Christmas is over, because there isn't much to do outside. In the past three weeks I've written 12 chapters of my latest book while waiting for the cover to be done on the one I just finished a few weeks ago.