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


February Interviews













2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar


Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson

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WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Look for Kaye George and Margaret S. Hamilton's short stories in the new Mid-Century Murder by Darkhouse Books. Kaye's story is "Life and Death on the Road" and Margaret's story is titled "4BR/3.5BA Contemporary."


Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.


Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, will be released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here on April 29th.


Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!


KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.


Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.


Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.



Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: https://www.goread.com/book/abraham-lincoln-seldom-told-stories or at Amazon: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p

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Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Place Begging for Trouble

The view east from the geographic center of the
48 contiguous states of the United States.
by Julie Tollefson

A monument at the end of a two-lane blacktop road. A tiny chapel—pulpit and 10 one-person pews—unlocked and unattended. A boarded-up and painted-over abandoned motel.

Sound like a place just begging for trouble?

Yeah, I thought so, too, when I arrived at the geographic center of the United States (minus Alaska and Hawaii), just north of Lebanon, Kansas, population 217*. Lebanon is not close to any of the big highways, and you won't likely find yourself there by accident. As a friend said, the whole place has a Twin Peaks-y vibe.

North of Lebanon and a little bit west, a collection of monuments and a well-maintained picnic area mark the center of the contiguous United States. More intriguing to me, on a small rise overlooking the monument sits the abandoned motel. Every inch, including the boards over the windows, is painted gunmetal gray.

Like every horror-story victim ever written, I followed a little-used path between two evergreens, their branches brushing my shoulders, to get a closer look. What I discovered...well, let's just say that the abandoned motel at the center of the United States will be making an appearance in my fiction. Soon.

In the meantime, here are some photos from the center. If you find yourself in north-central Kansas, be sure to stop and see it for yourself.

*As of 2011, though the little town has seen a steady decline in its population.

This plaque marks the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states of the United States.

The tiny chapel on the park grounds has just enough room inside
for a pulpit and single-person pews on each side of an aisle.


Follow the path to the creepy abandoned motel, if you dare.

12 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

One of the more fascinating (well to me anyway) is tracking the population center of the US over time. Here’s a PDF from the US census bureau. https://www2.census.gov/geo/pdfs/reference/cenpop2010/centerpop_mean2010.pdf

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

Freaky, Julie! Strange situations and places spark the imagination. Glad you got pictures for your writing--now you won't have to revisit the place.

Becky Michael said...

Wow, what a find. It will be interesting to see how you use this in your writing!

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Great setting, Julie. Can't wait to read your fictional interpretation.

Julie Tollefson said...

Wouldn't you know, Jim, the Census Bureau is performing system maintenance right now. I'll check back later, because it does indeed sound fascinating.

Julie Tollefson said...

EB, Becky, and Margaret - We love to find out of the way and interesting places in our travels, and it sure does enrich my writing. A few years ago, we made a very quick trip to Oregon and back and to keep it interesting, plotted several stops a day from small-town tourist attractions and roadside monuments like "World's Largest Ball of Twine" in Cawker City, Kansas, to swimming and a picnic at Great Salt Lake. We had such a great time and every mile added fodder for my fiction.

Grace Topping said...

You never know what fascinating places your travels will take you.

So, how did you find yourself there? That could be a part of your mystery--looking for a place to spend the night in a storm that was severe enough for you to break in for shelter. Go for it.

Julie Tollefson said...

Ha ha! Love it, Grace! We went there on purpose, which presents a whole different set of possibilities for fiction, doesn't it?

Gloria Alden said...

Julie, there are so many places my sisters and I have discovered while traveling on camping trips. What I find even more fascinating are old cemeteries. There is one not too far from me on a hill with nothing but fields around it. I've pulled off the road and hiked up it to see stones dating back to the early 1800s Another one my grandfather found while hunting about three townships north of us in a woods. He showed it to us and although a lot of the stones were down, many were also dated to the early 1800s including one of a soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War. For awhile vandals knocked down stones, but not the local historical society of that area is maintaining this historical cemetery. I find reading old epitaphs fascinating. One in a cemetery not too far away said "He died of a heart attack walking home from church." In another cemetery there were the graves of four very young boys. Three had the same name and the fourth was just baby. Obviously the parents didn't want to give the same name to the fourth child.

Kait said...

Whoa, what a great setting. Especially intrigued by the chapel! Sort of an abandon hope all ye who enter here feel to that. Wonderful. Can't wait to read your take on it.

Julie Tollefson said...

Gloria - I love touring old cemeteries, too. We found one last summer in south-central Kansas that had a row of 7 or 8 plaques, all same last name, all just "baby." Heartbreaking.

Julie Tollefson said...

Kait - I wondered about the backstory for the chapel, but I haven't investigated it yet. Maybe I just prefer to make up my own story for it!