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

January Interview Schedule:

Debra H. Goldstein 1/2, One Taste Too Many,

JC Kenney 1/9, A Literal Mess,

Barbara Ross 1/16, Steamed Open,

Joana Garcia 1/23, Voice Over Actor,

Sherry Harris 1/30, The Gun Also Rises.

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 1/5 Jane Isenberg, 1/12 Bob Germaux

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 1/19 Margaret S. Hamilton, 1/26 Kait Carson

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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.

Annette Dashofy's Cry Wolf, was be released on September 18th.

Shari Randall's third Lobster Shack Mystery, Drawn and Buttered, will be published February 26, 2019 and is available for preorder now.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Of Derringers and Down South

I recently had some wonderful news—my novella "Trouble Like a Freight Train Coming" is a finalist for a Derringer Award for Best Novelette (which the Short Mystery Fiction Society describes as a work between 8001 and 20,000 words). "Trouble" is one of four stories in the anthology Lowcountry Crimes, published by Wolf's Echo Press, which is owned and managed by my fellow Writers Who Kill blogger James M. Jackson, whose "Low Tide at Tybee" is also in the book.

I owe Jim a debt of gratitude for not only including me in the anthology, but for coming up with the idea in the first place. The Lowcountry is a two-hundred-mile stretch of coastal South Carolina and Georgia characterized by mud flats and estuaries and maritime forests. The landscape here is deep green and silver gray and muted khaki, shot through by spartina grass and edged with sand the color of bleached bone. Its criminal history is legendary—from tobacco runners to bootleggers to con men of both high and low society, this tangled, humid skein of marshland attracts anyone looking for, as one of my characters describes it, “left hand work.”

The narrator of my Tai Randolph mysteries currently lives in Atlanta, but she was born in Savannah and lived there for most of her life, partaking fully in the lesser vices the area is famous for—liquor, tobacco, and indolence. Eventually the weight of loss grew too heavy a yoke around her neck, and she put Savannah in her rearview mirror…but not forever. The Lowcounty pulls and draws like the tide. For Tai, Savannah will always be the place she can never quite return to, never quite leave.

I grew up in the Georgia heartland—for me, home feels like cotton fields against a flat blue sky with red clay ditches and blackberry brambles. But having lived in the Lowcountry for almost three decades now, I appreciate its languid charms. I’ve written before about my favorite places (like Bonaventure Cemetery) but Savannah is blessed with an abundance of iconic riches; here are three of them.

You better watch out!
1. Climbing the Stone Stairs of Death.

River Street, as you can probably guess, runs alongside the Savannah River. Formerly a port, the area underwent a massive revitalization in the seventies and became one of the city’s top tourist spots. Restaurants and bars and shops now line the waterfront where ships once unloaded their cargo, including their ballast stones. Those stones were used to make the cobblestone streets and the steep, narrow, and utterly unsymmetrical stairs that lead to the downtown area. These steps bear warning signs that the foolhardy and the inebriated ignore at their peril. Regardless, the stairs are so popular that they have their own Facebook page—climbing them is a rite of passage.

A Reisling along Turner Creek
2. Drinks on the water (but not necessarily big water)

Not all the Savannah action takes place by the river or at Tybee Island—some of the most iconic Lowcountry moments can be found far from the madding tourist crowds. Many restaurants nestle right up to one of the tidal creeks running through the area. Some are elegant, some quite ramshackle, but most offer fine libations and even finer views. You may have to hone your map-reading skills to find them, but unique goodies await you when you do.

Books, you say? I'm sure they have some somewhere.
3. Visiting the Book Lady Bookstore

If you like your bookstore filled with literary-minded locals, lots of character, and of course, thousands of books, then this gem on Liberty Street will provide hours of exploration and joy. Books stacked here, books stacked there, books old and new stacked everywhere. Paperbacks and hardcovers, Savannah history and contemporary mysteries, antique books so valuable they’re kept behind glass…whatever your literary cup of tea, Joni and Chris have something to delight you. It’s a cool respite on a hot day, guaranteed sand gnat free, and it supports Savannah’s local authors with enthusiasm and unswerving commitment; after all, as Flannery O’Connor said, “Every author is local somewhere.”

So the next time you’re cruising the Lowcountry, step off the beaten path long enough to appreciate one of Savannah’s hidden gems. I can’t promise you’ll stumble onto secret treasure like my girl Tai did, or discover a murder that needs solving, but I guarantee you’ll find something worth your time.
*     *     * 
Tina Whittle writes the Tai Randolph mysteries for Poisoned Pen Press. The sixth book in this Atlanta-based series—Necessary Ends—is available now. Tina is a proud member of Sisters in Crime and serves as both a chapter officer and national board member. Visit her website to follow her on social media, sign up for her newsletter, or read additional scenes and short stories: www.tinawhittle.com.


Kait said...

Congratulations, Tina! I've got my fingers crossed. I just finished Darker than Any Shadow and loved it!

My first and only trip to Savannah was in 1971. Clearly, it's time for a return! Who could say no to the Book Lady Bookstore?

Jim Jackson said...

For me, the signature characteristics of the Lowcountry are its tidal marshes. Other places have barrier islands, historic cities, great walking and dining, but only in this area of the country do the marshes make such a mark on the landscape and its people. Like breathing, the twice-daily high tides bring nutrients in from the seas, and the twice-daily low tides flush the system.

A wonderful place to live and a wonderful place to set a murder or two or a dozen.

E. B. Davis said...

Thanks for the tour--I have to visit someday. I enjoyed all of the novelettes in the anthology. Best of luck with the Derringer Award!

Tina said...

I agree with you, Jim--there's something about the Lowcountry tides that create a sense of time very different from the mainland, or even other tidal areas. Some are as high as nine feet, and they blur the boundaries between earth and water. The air smells vegetal down here--I feel like I'm inhaling vitamins.

And thank you, EB-- I have my fingers crossed!

Margaret Turkevich said...

Tina, congratulations! When we lived in Atlanta, we made the road trip to Savannah at least once a year for soccer games and Girl Scout events. Great food and interesting sights.

Tina said...

Thank you, Margaret! That's a heckuva drive, but definitely worth it!

Gloria Alden said...

Congratulations, Tina. I liked all the stories in the book, it's too bad everyone didn't win, too. I loved your pictures, especially the bookstore. Every time my sisters and I go on a camping trip we always stop in the small towns to visit the bookstores. We've never gone far south enough to visit the area you write about. Mostly mountains and hilly areas.

Grace Topping said...

That's a lovely draw to the Low Country, Tina, and Savannah. I had a one-day visit to Savannah, and I can't wait to return. And, your Tai books sound intriguing. Congratulations on the publication.

Warren Bull said...

Congratulations and good luck

Tina said...

Thank you all! We should have a get-together in Savannah some time -- it would be a hoot!

I wish all the stories had been nominated too, but most (including Jim's) were longer than 20,000 words, which was the cutoff for novelette. Mine squeaked under at 19,000 and something.

Shari Randall said...

Savannah has been on my list for years and now this has me positively raring to go! All that atmosphere - I don't know how you stand it. You must feel that you're living in a novel.
Best wishes for the Derringer - keep us posted!

KM Rockwood said...

Congratulations on the nomination!

Like Shari, I've had Savannah on my "destinations to be visited" for a long time. One of these days I'll make it!