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.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

An Interview with Annette Dashofy By E. B. Davis

 “He’s really cold.”

“He is dead,” Pete pointed out, as if she weren’t already aware.

But it didn’t feel right. Instead of continuing her examination of the victim’s
skull, she slipped a hand into his shirt, resting her palm against Dale’s chest.
It reminded her of a chunk of meat fresh out of the refrigerator....
“…He shouldn’t be this cold this fast.”
Annette Dashofy, No Way Home, Kindle Loc. 349


Released by Henery Press yesterday, No Way Home is the fifth book of Annette Dashofy’s Zoe Chambers mystery series. Circle of Influence, the first book in the series was nominated for an Agatha Best First Award and was a finalist in the 2014 David Award. The third book, Bridges Burned, was nominated for the Best Contemporary Novel Agatha Award last year. I’ve previously interviewed Annette for WWK because her series is one of my favorites due to her characters and the contemporary topics she engages.

In No Way Home, Annette focuses on two issues, heroin/meth fatal overdoses, a national problem, and the other, natural gas drilling, a regional problem occurring in southwestern Pennsylvania, the setting of this series. Rather than reiterate all the heroin problem data, the chart (left) says it all. From 2013-2017, the statistics worsen.

In the counties of Southwestern Pennsylvania there are sixty-six companies operating almost eight thousand natural gas drilling wells. Violations of EPA regulations have occurred over four thousand times. These companies have been fined over six million dollars, which proves the profitability of drilling. But for every violation, there are environmental impacts that can never restore the environment to its previously pristine state. After looking at all the data, there can be no doubt of Annette’s murder motive.

Please welcome Annette Dashofy to WWK.                                                                           E. B. Davis

What is Marcellus Shale?

I’m no geologist, but in a nutshell, it’s a deep formation of shale rich in natural gas. This formation lies far beneath the surface and stretches across Pennsylvania and West Virginia. My county here in southwestern Pennsylvania was home to some of the first deep gas wells tapping into it. When it was first being talked about, area farmers anticipated becoming the next Saudi Arabia wealthwise.

Why do they call the extraction process “fracking,” and what are its environmental effects?

“Fracking” is a slang term for “hydraulic fracturing,” the process in which huge quantities of water are forced into the wells to break up the shale and release the gas. The environmental impact is still yet to be determined, I think. There have been reports of water sources being contaminated, and the landscape definitely changes when the drillers move in. I’ve been in the middle of this for a while. I try to be very environmentally conscientious, but yes, I leased our rights to the drillers and have wells all around me. My proximity to the industry and my love of my farm gave me what I think is a unique opportunity to explore and understand both sides of the issues.

What does “cardiac whiplash” mean?

Ha! That’s a term I made up. When I was researching the influx of meth into our area, which has always had a high rate of heroin usage among addicts, I wanted to know the effects of the different drugs. Meth is a stimulant, speeding up the heart. Heroin is a depressant, slowing the heart rate and respiration. Taken together, the drugs send the body totally different signals. Someone who has taken heroin first, may be too “out of it” to realize the trouble they’re in when the meth kicks in. NOT some of the most fun research I’ve done.

I’m sure you consider the positions of all your characters when you plot. How did you decide the victim should be a county commissioner instead of a PA Environmental Protection Agency official, or someone else?

To the best of my knowledge, the state EPA doesn’t have much to say about individual municipalities granting permits to drill. They approve the process or are called in if there’s a problem. But around here, the debate has been more localized in the township and county governments. One township might give the drilling companies the greenlight, while their neighbors refuse. That was the angle I chose to explore. Plus there had been some local politcians going to extremes to sway popular opinion their way. It got nasty at times!

In PA, is the decision to approve gas drilling done on the county level? I thought the PA Department of Environmental Protection would have that authority. 

Not really. Their own website states they provide oversight and guidance. They would step in if there was damage to the environment, but it’s the local governments that decide yes or no to allowing drilling.

Everyone questions Zoe’s timing of the murder, including her. But she knows the time it takes a horse to get to the crime scene and get back. I kept thinking they would discover the body had been stream-chilled and moved, but that wasn’t the case. So, something delayed the horse’s return to the barn. In all the scenarios, Zoe never questions the horse’s actions and reliability. Why?

Zoe knows the horse in question. All horses are herd animals. Being alone terrifies them because, in their mind, there are dangers everywhere. This horse was even more “barn sour” than most, plus his stable buddy was back in his stall. Zoe also knows the trails and knows how long it takes to get from point A to point B. Farm girl logic!

What does DA Fratini have against Pete Adams? I could understand why the DA would appoint another county’s detective, Wayne Baronick, to head up the heroin/meth deaths because he heads up a drug task force, but why would he put Baronick in charge of Pete’s homicide case?

DA Fratini is a by-the-books type, and Pete’s tendency to do whatever it takes (within reason) gets on his last nerve. He’s given Pete a lot of leeway in the past, but he’s definitely more comfortable with Wayne overseeing Pete’s actions and the case. Plus the county police has more manpower and better facilities to deal with a high-profile murder case than does Pete’s small department.

After Bridges Burned, the Krolls, the old couple who own the farm and barn, which Zoe manages and provides stable fees from horse owners, move to a mobile home on their land. They are pro-drilling. After careful stewardship of the farmland, why would they allow natural gas drilling on their land?

Money. I’ve witnessed this happen all around me. Farming is hard work with low pay. The younger generation doesn’t want to stick around and break their backs for nothing, so farms fall into disrepair as the older generation ages and can’t keep up. Such is the case with the Krolls and many of their neighbors. The idea of making sometimes millions for simply signing their names is looked at as a godsend. 

Zoe is still homeless after a fire at the farmhouse she rented. Why is she sleeping at the ambulance garage?

Poor Zoe has been bumping around from one friend’s couch to another for a while now. She’d ended up at her ambulance crew partner’s house, but his kids and dog and all the normal hubbub of family life drove her to bunk at the garage just to get some sleep!

After the owners are contacted, the police don’t approach “the Fort,” a very private residence, even though they know it is being illegally occupied by suspected drug dealers. Why?

Legalities. They didn’t have enough probable cause for a search warrant and until they did, they were limited to keeping an eye on the place.

Zoe’s “best friend” Rose doesn’t seem to appreciate her. Rose never asks—she insists—pressing her own agenda on Zoe. Of course, Zoe wants to help, but can’t Rose be more thankful?

These two have been like sisters and they bicker and get on each other’s nerves like only sisters can do. Zoe loves Rose and her kids dearly and would do anything for them. Rose knows this. Plus Rose has been under more stress since losing her husband than Zoe realizes. Rose really does appreciate Zoe’s help. She just doesn’t show it very well.

Why do fathers and sons have so much conflict? Is it classic rebellion?

Family tensions always play a part in my stories. I love exploring father/son, father/daughter, mother/daughter, and sibling relationships. As for fathers and sons, yes, it’s age-old alpha male stuff.  Fathers want their sons to follow in their footsteps. Sons want to find their own way.

What are Navajo tacos?

They’re made with the standard taco fillings of meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, etc. But instead of the crispy tortilla shell, the fillings are piled on a piece of Indian Frybread, which is a flat (but thicker than a tortilla) piece of bread dough, fried or deep fried. Confession time: I’m not that crazy about them, but I seem to be in the minority!

What are you working on?

I’m currently writing the sixth installment, tentatively titled Uneasy Prey, which keeps Pete and Zoe closer to home and dealing with the tragic death of an elderly neighbor who had been confronted by a crew of home-invading con men. Plus some characters from earlier books, who have been missing from the last few, will be returning to the pages! I’ve also signed a contract with my publisher, Henery Press, for books 7, 8, 9, and 10!

What’s next on your schedule?

I have some fun events lined up locally to promote No Way Home. I’m once again attending Malice Domestic in Bethesda, Maryland in late April. And I’m the Saturday luncheon keynote speaker for this year’s Pennwriters Conference in May!

No Way Home Synopsis
A relaxing trail ride turns tragic when Paramedic and Deputy Coroner Zoe Chambers discovers the body of a popular county commissioner in her Pennsylvania woods. Inconsistencies surround the horrible “accident,” but before she can investigate further, she’s pried away by a plea for help from her best friend whose son has been deemed a person of interest in a homicide over a thousand miles away. When he vanishes without a trace, his mother begs Zoe to help clear him and bring him safely home. The task takes Zoe out of her comfort zone in a frantic trip to the desolate canyons and bluffs of New Mexico where she joins forces with the missing boy’s sister and a mysterious young Navajo.

Back at home, Vance Township’s Chief of Police Pete Adams must deal not only with the commissioner’s homicide, but with an influx of meth and a subsequent rash of drug overdoses in his rural community. Bodies keep turning up while suspects keep disappearing. However little else matters when he learns that half a continent away, a brutal killer has Zoe in his sights.


Annette said...

Thanks, everyone, for having me back! E.B., you always ask the most intriguing interview questions!

E. B. Davis said...

In your research for the book, Annette, was there an explanation for why heroin deaths are skyrocketing?

Annette said...

E. B., heroin is relatively cheap, at least around here. But it's also being cut with other drugs these days to give a bigger high. But the drugs (fentanyl being one of the main ones) are even more powerful and more dangerous. The dealers providing this stuff aren't exactly particular about getting the dosage right.

This is one of those topics where I learned a LOT more than I used in the story.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Great interview, Elaine, and Annette, looking forward to reading your books.

Annette said...

Thanks, Margaret!

Mary Sutton said...

This is such an awesome interview, Annette. I can't wait until the party on Saturday!

Mary/Liz Milliron

Annette said...

Thanks, Mary! See you there!

Art Taylor said...

Great interview! And congrats again on the new book!

Annette said...

Thanks, Art!

Shari Randall said...

Hi Annette, I enjoyed your first book and am happy that you are continuing the series. Best wishes!

Gloria Alden said...

Annette, I love your books and look forward to reading the latest one. See you at Malice, I hope.

Annette said...

Shari, thanks so much!

Yes, Gloria, I hope to see you at Malice as well. I always look forward to that one! And THANKS!

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations on your success. Keep writing.

KM Rockwood said...

I love Annette's books! And I know I have lots of company.

She's Keynote Speaker at the Penn Writers Conference this year.

Annette said...

Thank you, Warren!

Aw, thanks, KM. And yes, I'm thrilled to the the Saturday luncheon keynote at the Pennwriters Conference in May! Thrilled and slightly terrified. ;-)

Nancy G. West said...

I learned a lot from your interview. Congrats on your new book and on your contract for writing more!

Grace Topping said...

Congratulations, Annette, on another release. Your book goes to show that you can write an intriguing mystery and work in important issues.

Annette said...

Thanks, Nancy and Grace!

Kait said...

OOOOO can't wait to read No Way Home! Your mysteries and your characters always bring me back home. Love them. Congrats on the new contract.

Annette said...

Thanks so much, Kait!

Deborah Romano said...

For some reason I got the dates mixed up, and I thought the newest book wouldn't be out until May. I was so excited to get an email from Henery Press announcing that it's HERE! Can't wait to get it!

Deb Romano

Linda Thorne said...

So envious you are going to Malice this year. Hope to pull it off next year. Maybe I'll get to meet you. This was a very interesting interview and sounds like you are on your way to more and more successes

Annette said...

Deborah, I hope you enjoy No Way Home!

Linda, Malice is always so much fun. Sorry you can't make it this year, but I look forward to meeting you there next year, if not somewhere else first!