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

Check out our March author interviews: 3/7--Karen Cantwell, 3/14--Shawn Reilly, 3/21--Annette Dashofy, and 3/28--WWK Blogger Debra Sennefelder (on her debut novel!). Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.

Our March Saturday Guest Blogger Schedule: 3/3-Heather Weidner, 3/10-Holly Chaille, 3/17-Margaret S. Hamilton, 3/24-Kait Carson, 3/31-Charles Saltzberg.

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: https://www.amazon.com/Necessary-Ends-Tai-Randolph-Book-ebook/dp/B079MS67CM/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520014972&sr=8-2&keywords=Tina+Whittle

James M. Jackson's Empty Promises, the next in the Seamus McCree mystery series (5th), will be available on April 3, 2018 at: https://www.amazon.com/Empty-Promises-Seamus-McCree-Book-ebook/dp/B078XJRYDG/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1520089649&sr=8-2&keywords=James+M.+Jackson&dpID=51kcxPsst-L&preST=_SY445_QL70_&dpSrc=srch

Dark Sister, a poetry collection, is Linda Rodriguez's tenth published book. It's available for sale here: https://mammothpublications.net/writers-m-to-z/rodriguez-linda-dark-sister/

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 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.


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Back to my Roots a/k/a Houston, we have a problem By Kait Carson

Forty years ago, on April 13, 1970 Fred W. Haise, James A. Lovell, and John L. Swigert, were taking a little trip, to the moon. Like many travelers, they had a little problem. In their case, all oxygen stores were lost within about 3 hours, along with loss of water, electrical power, and use of the propulsion system. I mentioned they were on their way to the moon? AAA had no one close. So, they did the next best thing, they called Houston, and—remember these guys were trained professionals, but not writers—they said, “Okay, Houston, we’ve had a problem here.” Not what you thought, huh? Me either.

What happened to our beloved “Houston, we have a problem?” Didn’t they say that? Well, according to the Washington Post article quoted above, four years later there was a TV show that used that quote for its title. Why? Drama. Every writer knows the present tense is so much more dramatic than the past perfect!  It’s one of those rules we learn when we go back to our roots. So, Houston, we have a problem is iconic. And although few alive at the time remember the flight in the present tense (we’d grown rather jaded with space flight by 1970) the phrase put Apollo 13 on everyone’s personal radar. That’s a lot of power for five words, and it only could happen with a great editor and a writer going back to his/her roots.

Thirty years ago, during the time of the Cocaine Cowboys (the last of whom was allegedly captured the same week I’m writing this blog), T.D. Allman published a book titled Miami City of the Future. The book’s theme is that Miami will always be relevant because it is a city of constant renewal. Ever changing, always reinventing itself, more a style and way of life than a city. It can never be obsolete, the roots of Miami, the place it always returns, is the future. 

The writing life is like that too. Writing does not get old, it merely goes back to its roots and
gets reinvented and, from the basics, new trends burst on the scene, wash over writers and readers alike, ebb into the past, and along comes the next wave. The trick is figuring out the next wave. Sometimes writers hop on a trend full throttle because it’s what we were writing anyway and thank heaven it’s popular (think cozies). Sometimes writers follow a trend because it’s selling, and dang, this is a tough business and my book would work with this trend (think recipes in books). Sometimes writers are lucky enough to start trends (think Girl titles).

What crests, ebbs, of course, the consolidation of major publishing houses has resulted in the cancellation of a number of favorite cozy series. The first wave hit last year, and fewer and fewer series are being renewed, but new ones are debuting. The cozy is alive and well, it seems to be becoming a bit edgier in the process. Other series are reaching a natural end. One the author always intended, or perhaps one that the character arc dictates. Characters grow and change. Sometimes, the end means, well, the end.

My Hayden Kent series will always be softer and cozier than my Catherine Swope series. That was the plan from the beginning. Catherine has recently demanded more of my attention. I think she’s felt neglected. That’s another character trait. Writers spend so much time with characters that they do become sounding boards, sidekicks, and friends. Scary glimpse into a writer’s psyche that. Since Catherine is making so much emotional noise, and because she is so different from Hayden, I decided to make a bold departure and take her more into the suspense/thriller realm. To do that, I’m moving back to my roots and back to the basics of voice, plotting, outlining, etc. I’m having a blast reacquainting myself with the basics of writing  and developing my characters and stories in a different style.

Happy Earth Day to all.

Do you remember the Apollo series?
If you do, do you remember Apollo 13 as it happened, or after the movie?
Totally off topic, but there could be extra credit—do you think manned moon flights will be resumed?


Jim Jackson said...

I remember Apollo and Mercury before it. And I certainly remembered Apollo 13 from the actual time. The problem is that memories are like DNA exposed to gamma rays. After some time, they begin to morph, to become something different from what they were. So I have my memories, but accuracy may be in doubt.

I do think we’ll have manned moon flights again, but not paid for by the US government.

~ Jim

Gloria Alden said...

Kait, I just vaguely remember it and like Jim, I don't remember all the details As for my cozy series, I tend to make mine if not thrillers, ones who have social issues connecting with what is current now.

Margaret Turkevich said...

I remember manned and unmanned space flights and moon rocks and all the rest. We'll be back in space, but via private, not government investment.

Julie Tollefson said...

Your comment regarding characters as friends/sidekicks really hits home with me this week. Just the other day, I was thinking about Edith and Sadie, two characters from a manuscript that may never see publication, and felt a little twinge that I hadn't spent any time with them recently!

I have vague memories of the Apollo flights. I don't think I understood what a big deal they were at the time.

Shari Randall said...

I have vague memories of space flight before Challenger. Alas, that one I remember vividly.
It will be exciting to see what happens as Catherine moves into more thriller territory!

Kait said...

@Jim, Like you I remember all the programs and cheering John Glenn's orbit. Extremely impressive that you remember Apollo 13 in real time. The social upheaval of the late 60s and early 70s seems to have eclipsed the interest of so many people in the space program. My husband, who grew up to be a rocket scientist, looks at me in disbelief when I say that, but for the common Joe and Jill... I've searched my memory for any true time recollection and failed to find a hint.

Are you foreseeing space tourism, or private enterprise and exploration?

@Gloria - The Blue Rose is up next on my TBR I'm looking forward to it. Tackling a touch of current events always brings the reader into the story. I'll be looking for how you use it in the Blue Rose!

@Margaret - Moon rocks, wasn't there some controversy about radioactivity and moon rocks? I remember a dust-up about how to display them at the Smithsonian.

I'm of two minds about the public/private funding issue. I went to school in Montclair, NJ and was in High School when Apollo 11 landed on the moon. His parents still lived in town and there was a story attributed to his father that "Buzz did say he had a few moments where he remembered everything on the ship was built by the lowest bidder!" Urban legend? Don't know. On the other hand, do private funders have access to the best and the brightest? Hard choice.

@Julie - Ah so glad to read that other writers are haunted by their characters! I was getting worried. The importance of Apollo was very definitely a product of the Cold War.

@Shari - Thanks! She actually seems more comfortable there than she was teetering on the knife edge of traditional.

Challenger was horrific. A moment etched in the mind like few others. I wonder how many grade school students were turned from a career in the sciences in those few, frozen, moments.

Jim Jackson said...

@Kait -- First comes lunar tourism because there are gazillionaires who can't figure out how to spend all their money and don't choose to give it away. Later, because it requires additional technology companies will start mining projects, but I expect those on asteroids first because the politics will be easier.

~ Jim

Kait said...

Most likely right, Jim. The concept of lunar tourism gives me pause though, considering I work in the legal field, my day job requires me to consider the collateral damage of one defective widget. In this case, the widget will have consequences in human terms. Air, auto, train, any mass transit now do as well, but somehow the never-ending quality of space if you miss that tiny dot...too many sci-fi movies as a child I suppose.