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


June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied


Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson


Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson













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E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.


Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).


Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!


Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.


Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.


Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!


Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.


KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!


Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!

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Sunday, May 13, 2018

A Picture is Worth ...



by Julie Tollefson

In the past couple of weeks, my day job and my fiction writing worlds have collided in the best possible way. My colleagues and I at the Kansas Geological Survey are revamping our online photo library, and I’ve spent hours sorting through hundreds of photos of Kansas landscapes and other geology-related subjects, some of which date back decades.

It’s a task that dovetails nicely with my fiction writing interests. Kansas, the land and its quirks, figures prominently in nearly every story I write. Yeah, I know that when most people think of Kansas, they imagine fields of wheat and corn as far as the eye can see, flat and monotonous. But we also have plenty of unusual, out-of-the way places that inspire dark thoughts of murder and suspense. Over the decades, Survey photographers have documented many of these places.

Take this abandoned house on the High Plains, constructed in the 19th century from local limestone where wood was scarce. Suitable for dumping a body, no?



Or Waconda Spring. Looks like such a refined place, where ladies in summer dresses sip tea in beautiful gardens. But today? The spring is long gone, submerged under Glen Elder Reservoir. Makes you wonder what ghosts lurk there, eh?




The historical photos in the Survey’s collection are my favorite. The cars! The fashion! These guys in fedoras exiting a Pony Express Station in the mid-1960s—they could be old-timey gangsters.



Some of the images inspire with their ingenuity. Here, someone, um, recycled an old truck to secure the opening to an abandoned lead mine.




We have sinkholes…




…and landslides…




…and the occasional flood.



In short, the Survey’s photo archives are a treasure trove of inspiration, and there’s nothing I enjoy more than drawing on these places close to my heart to craft stories of suspense and mystery.

All photos courtesy of Kansas Geological Survey. To see more, visit our photo archives.

Do you have favorite places in your state that you think deserve wider recognition?






15 comments:

Jim Jackson said...

One of my favorite authors is William Least-Heat Moon, and one of my favorite’s of his books was Prarie Erth, which takes a deep look at the Flint Hills of central Kansas.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Great photos! The Cincinnati area has Native American earthworks, some of which have been discovered recently with satellite imaging, close to the Little Miami, Miami, and Ohio Rivers. A great setting for a mystery.

KM Rockwood said...

What an inspiring collection of photos! I think most places have untold stories, both true and imagined. I often think of the ghost who lives below a covered bridge I cross frequently. He was drunk on night, riding his horse home, when the horse shied. He fell into Tom's creek, hit his head and drowned. The horse, of course, continued inhume, and was found standing patiently outside the barn door the next morning. I think his story may demand to be told.

Julie Tollefson said...

That's a great book, Jim, and the Flint Hills are one of my favorite places. They're beautiful in every season, but especially this time of year.

Grace Topping said...

Julie, you always show Kansas as a great place to live. The place in my home state of Pennsylvania that I believe deserves attention is The Horeshoe Curve near Altoona in central Pennsylvania. It is a place on the main line of the railroad going through the Allegheny Mountains from NYC to Chicago that forms a perfect horeshoe. During WWII it was closely guarded to protect this important train line. It was an engineering feat in that it was carved out of the side of the mountain. Passengers on the train can see the front and back of the train as it goes through the curve. A parklike viewing area enables visitors to view passing trains and wave to passengers. Worth visiting—as well as the Railway Museum in Altoona.

Kait said...

Julie, this is wonderful! What are the circles in the top aerial photo? Various sizes and colors, very intriguing. A roadmap for aliens?

Florida used to have tons of mom and pop roadside attractions. Many buildings are still standing (using the term liberally) on long-forgotten roads. I love finding books )or FB pages) of then and now photos, and when I can find the remains of the attractions myself, even better!

Warren Bull said...

Nancy Pickard uses he variety of Kansas landscapes in her novels better than anyone else I know.

Julie Tollefson said...

Margaret - Those sound fantastic!

KM - That's a great story. And I think you're right about most places having hidden stories, whether they're true or not!

Julie Tollefson said...

Grace - I do love my home state! Horseshoe Curve sounds like an interesting place to visit. I imagine it presents many opportunities for suspense or thrillers!

Julie Tollefson said...

Kait - That photo is an aerial of the county I grew up in. Largely agricultural/rural. The circles are fields that have center-pivot irrigation systems. The green circles would be those that have crops growing on them. The browns and yellows are probably crops that have already been harvested. I always think our ag lands seen from the sky look like a giant, complicated quilt, but they do look alien and mysterious, don't they?

Julie Tollefson said...

I couldn't agree more, Warren. Nancy is such a role model for me in the way she makes Kansas landscapes come to life in her stories.

Shari Randall said...

Great photos, Julie. I love the glimpse into the past, especially. Hard to believe that men and women dressed so formally just to go about their day. Hats!
My city, New London, CT is full of great architecture, from the homes of whaling captains from the 1800s to a charming HH Richardson train station. I wish someone would start an architecture tour here - I'd like to take it myself.

Gloria Alden said...

Wonderful pictures, Julie. It makes me want to go to Kansas to visit. I like Nancy Pickard's books, too. My area in N.E. Ohio has a lot of places that go back. I'm always fascinated in visiting old cemetery's and reading the tombstones. There's one north of us with the grave of a soldier who fought in the Revolutionary War and was given land in Ohio in place of money for fighting. Next week my sisters and I are going to visit Zoar Village about 50 or so miles from where I live. It goes way back and is now a museum town.

Julie Tollefson said...

New London sounds delightful, Shari! I would take an architecture tour in a heartbeat.

Julie Tollefson said...

Gloria - Ohio is a state I haven't visited, except maybe to drive through. But your stories make me think we should make time to stop there next time we drive that direction.