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

February Interview Schedule:

Keenan Powell 2/6, Hemlock Needle

A. R. Kennedy 2/13, Saving Ferris

Shari Randall 2/20, Drawn and Buttered

V. M. Burns 2/27, The Puppy Who Knew Too Much

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 2/2 Marilyn Meredith, 2/9 Chloe Sunstone

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 2/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 2/23 Kait Carson

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

We are especially proud of two WWK bloggers:

Congratulations to Shari Randall for her nomination for the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Her book, Curses, Boiled Again was published by St. Martin's last year. Read the interviewabout the book here. Yay, Shari!

The Malice Domestic conference participants have nominated Annette Dashofy for an Agatha Award for her Zoe Chambers mystery Cry Wolf, published in 2018 by Henery Press. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Annette about Cry Wolf here. Will four nominations be the charm?

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: http://a.co/d/jdSBKdM

Grace Topping signed a three-book contract with Henery Press for her Laura Bishop Home Staging series. Congratulations, Grace!

KM Rockwood's new short story, "Map to Oblivion," has been included the anthology Shhhh...Murder! edited by Andrew MacRae and published by Darkhouse Books. It was released on Sept. 12.

Warren Bull also has a story in Shhh...Murder! Look for "Elsinore Noir," Warren's short story, in this anthology.

Shari Randall's third Lobster Shack Mystery, Drawn and Buttered, was published February 26, 2019. Available for sale.


Sunday, January 21, 2018

Apologies to My Neighbor, Who No Doubt Thinks I’m Some Kind of Maniac

By Julie Tollefson

Wednesday night, returning from a delightfully relaxing yoga class, I became stuck at the end of our driveway. It’s a long drive. After last weekend’s snow and this week’s frigid temperatures and a few days of the Tollefson clan driving in and out, in and out, the driveway had become a compacted sheet of ice. And that bit at the very end, where it meets the road? It’s steep.

But I drive a big truck, so I threw it in four-wheel drive and made it up the bump and to the house, still basking in the yoga glow.

A few minutes later, though, I thought about my son, working a late shift at the local Sonic. He drives a little car. Low clearance. No four-wheel drive. He would definitely not make it up that icy little hill. I worried about this for a few minutes, my hard-earned calm ebbing, before I remembered the bags of sand left over from last summer’s gardening projects. Perfect! I’d just dump some of that at the end of the drive and put my anxieties to rest.

A flaw with this plan quickly became apparent: The sand, which had been sitting outside the garage since summer, was heavy and frozen solid. Nevertheless, I had ideas. I could solve this problem. So I wrangled the sand into my truck, found a hammer to break it up, and carted it to the end of the driveway.

Which is how I came to be silhouetted against my truck’s headlights whaling away at a frozen chunk of sand with the claw end of a hammer when a neighbor I only know by sight drove by.

He slowed.

Don’t stop, I thought. Maybe if I turn my back, he’ll drive right on past.

He stopped. A little hesitantly, I thought. Then he rolled down his window.

“Everything okay?”

He even sounded hesitant. And who could blame him?

“Sure!” I injected extra cheer in my voice, but I half-hid the hammer clutched at my side behind my coat as I walked toward his SUV. (Yo, that’s not suspicious and menacing at all!) “Just spreading sand on the ice!”

“Um, yeah. Good.” His window hadn’t even fully closed before he sped off.

And that’s the story of how I went from peaced-out post-yoga bliss to a hammer-wielding fiend straight out of a Coen brothers film in less than 30 minutes. I’m sure this will be useful if I ever need to write a villain with an affinity for brandishing common household tools at innocent passersby.

Every experience is research.

Sorry, neighbor.


Jim Jackson said...

. . . which is why some people choose to shovel snow before it can morph into ice. You didn’t tell us, did said child make it home safely?

~ Jim

E. B. Davis said...

To get my photo for the home page of WWK, I ran around the backyard posing with a gun. I'm sure a few of my neighbors thought I was nuts. It wasn't loaded, but then my husband said he could see the gun wasn't loaded in most of the pictures, which lessens its impact (even if it is all pretend). I chose a picture that wasn't as revealing. I think to get scenes accurate most mystery writers try them out to get them "right." I'll have to read to find out where you use your hammer claw scene! Sounds as if you must invent a fiend--perhaps on a Halloween night.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Julie, great situation! Better than mole-stomping. Equal to the time I hosed out our large wheeled garbage cart and climbed inside, trying to figure out how to insert a body into it.

Grace Topping said...

Your neighbor was suspicious of your activity and you were innocent of any wrong doing. It makes you wonder about the times things looked innocent but weren't.

Tina said...

It's all fodder, yes indeed. My neighbor doesn't even bat an eye at my shenanigans any longer.

Julie Tollefson said...

Jim - Sure, and where's the adventure in that? To be honest, I would prefer never to leave the house from, say, mid-November till late March. I hate the cold/winter/winter weather that much.

But the boyo DID make it home safely, so totally worth scaring the neighbors and looking like a fool. :)

Julie Tollefson said...

Ooh, good idea, EB! Halloween and hammer claws seem made for each other!

Margaret - Mole stomping! I've done that, too! Were you able to figure out how to get a body in the cart?

Julie Tollefson said...

Definitely food for thought, Grace. I do play scenarios in my head when I see people out and about doing things that *could* be suspicious. And as you say, Tina, it's all fodder.

Warren Bull said...

We writers are notorious for overhearing conversations around and thinking about how what is being discussed might lead to murder. I wonder what others think when they hear us talking about things like the effect of pouring lye on a a dead body in the bathtub.

KM Rockwood said...

Who knows what people think about us from what we do & from the conversations we have?

I took a newly-released friend out to lunch on Friday. He wasn't paying a whole lot of attention to who could hear us. I'm not sure how the conversation struck most people, but I did notice the waitress did a double take when she heard him say, "Sure beats the last seventeen years of prison food." I also noticed from that point on, a hefty young man suddenly became our server.

Kait said...

Oh, Julie - hysterical! I remember fighting the ice lump at the end of the drive. So frustrating, you no sooner get it shoveled or cleared and along comes the plow! I give your neighbor credit for stopping despite his fear. Can you imagine what he said to his wife!

Kathleen, I feel your pain. Hubs and I were having dinner one night when I announced I wasn't sure I'd killed the right person. The people at the next table flagged the server and asked to change tables.

Shari Randall said...

I can't stop laughing! I think you've got to bring brownies to your neighbor's house just to see if he opens the door to you - or not!

Gloria Alden said...

For the cover of my first book my step-granddaughter who does my books couldn't find the picture of a body. So I asked my son to dress up in decent slacks and a white shirt since the body had to be one of a rich man. I had him lie down on the ground while I took pictures of him. Fortunately, it was far enough off the road I doubt that any neighbors could have seen him lying there.

I have a bit of a problem sometimes at the beginning of my driveway, too, because sometimes the snow plow that go down the road put some of the snow there. My driveway goes uphill slightly, too, so when it's icy I don't stop.

Julie Tollefson said...

Warren - I'm sure the conversations we have with our writing friends raise a few eyebrows. i like the idea of keeping people guessing!

Love your stories Kathleen and Kait! Both hilarious - to us, but maybe not to the strangers involved, eh?

Julie Tollefson said...

Shari, but then I'd need to spy on him to make sure he ate them instead of immediately throwing them out, right?

Gloria, your son sounds like a good sport. And yes, the snow plot sometimes makes it harder for us, too. I would be happy to live where it never snowed.

holdenj said...

Haha! Pretty sure I have brought hours of enjoyment/disbelief to my neighbors with various snow and lawn adventures!