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


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


Sunday, January 13, 2019

About this New Year's Thing . . .

Happy New Year, everyone. Yes, I know it’s January 13, but this is my first Writers Who Kill blog for the year, so it still feels like a new year. For those who make resolutions, there’s probably a 50/50 chance you’re keeping all of them. And for those who celebrate the new year using other calendars: Chinese, Hebrew, Hirji, and so many others I have no clue about, I don’t apologize for my celebration of the Gregorian calendar. Nor do I put my version of keeping track of time ahead of yours. It is, however, the way I see the world.

This “how I see the world” is important to understanding how deeply buried our preconceived notions can be. And when we turn to the author business of creating characters, we must also keep in mind that people act from their beliefs, regardless of facts.

Taking calendars as an example, embedded in my use of the Gregorian calendar is Christianity. In its original form, the current calendar year would be referred to as AD 2019. The AD comes from the medieval Latin anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord”, referring to the year attributed to the birth of Jesus Christ. (Scholars don’t agree on when Jesus was born, but most think it was several years before the Gregorian calendar starts counting. The Gregorian Calendar is a modification of the earlier Julian calendar done to more accurately reflect leap years.)

Sometime during my lifetime, a movement occurred to secularize naming of years and change AD to CE, which stands for “Common Era.” Turns out, like many things “I know,” the actual timing of this movement is not as I remembered. The first reference may have been 1615 used by the astronomer Johannes Kepler. Scientists were the first adopters.

The Latin equivalent of anno Domini is ante Cristum natum (before the birth of Christ). Unlike the AD, which stuck, ADN did not, and many languages rejected the Latin and substituted the words in their own language. In English this became Before Christ, shortened to BC and occurring after the numerical date, so the year before AD 1 is 1 BC. Poor zero never got a chance to strut his stuff. BC, morphs to BCE (before Common Era) in the secularized version.

Yet even dressing up dates with the new CE and BCE tags, does not eliminate their Christian origins. The origins are obfuscated, but no less present. Scratch the surface the tiniest bit and the Christian origins sparkle beneath the clothing we’ve put on dates.

People and characters often hold truths that are not fact-based. My false recollection that the use of CE was introduced during my lifetime is a small, and probably inconsequential, example. But it does suggest we need to periodically question the basis of our understandings.

In discussing Trump’s Wall with someone of a more conservative persuasion than I hold, I referred to the first line in Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall”:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,

I was told I had missed the whole point of the poem, which she claimed was contained in the last line:

“Good fences make good neighbors.”

And this illustrates our differences more clearly than I could have earlier articulated: my strong attachment to the poem’s first line, hers to its last. I argue context: the narrator does NOT agree with the “Good fences make good neighbors.” statement handed down from neighbor father to neighbor son, spoken reverently without reflection upon the rationale behind the saying or when it may or may not be justified.

That, of course, is my point of view and it fits my personality, I often challenge “truths” to test their limits. My math background makes me dig for the hidden assumptions that support the “facts.”

Others prefer to follow the well-worn path espoused by those before them. Testing these known truths is irrational and counterproductive.

The problem with unchallenged misunderstandings in ourselves or others is they become bedrock truths. I would have great difficulty thinking that today belongs to the year 5779 (Hebrew Calendar). Conceptually, I understand it’s just a different number system that mathematically maps calendar days one-to-one from my current system. No day is lost, none added. It’s a matter of convenience, I say, and ignore the cultural significance of the choice.

I often see errors in fact made by people espousing all shades of political views. When I have specific expertise (usually actuarial or financial), I’ll often try to provide a correct explanation. This reflection on the New Year and its cultural bias has made me realize maybe I should have a New Year’s resolution.

I hereby resolve to try to be more conscious of my inherent biases before touting my opinion.

But, I already know as soon as I enter the world of Facebook, I’m more likely to find the speck in your eye than the beam in mine. How long will your resolution last?

* * * * * * * *
James M. Jackson authors the Seamus McCree mystery series. Empty Promises, the fifth novel in the series—this one set in the deep woods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula—is now available. You can sign up for his newsletter and find more information about Jim and his books at https://jamesmjackson.com.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

well said.

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks, Margaret.

Tina said...

If only we all were open to learning about our own thought processes, even the problematic ones. Here's to a new year of curiosity and questing.

KM Rockwood said...

While there are some actual truths (if you drop something in the air, gravity will pull it downward) that seldom extends to political or cultural viewpoints. The ancient Greeks "knew" that women weren't mentally equipped to govern. Europeans in the middle ages "knew" that the earth was flat. I sometimes wonder what we "know" that will be proven erroneous at some point in the future.

Debra H. Goldstein said...

Happy New Year and did you know …. oops, I may have gotten that from social media vs. knowledge. Either way, what you said makes sense.

Warren Bull said...

I will try to keep learning this year.

Jim Jackson said...

Thanks everyone.

Kathleen -- according to Kurt Vonnegut in Slapstick, or Lonesome No More the current epoch has experienced constant gravity, but it's really a variable and so people have to adjust to high and low gravity days. Hi ho!