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

April Interview Schedule:
4/3 Connie Berry
4/10 Malice Domestic Anthology 14 Authors
4/17 David Burnsworth
3/24 Grace Topping

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 4/6 Edith Maxwell, 4/13 Ellen Butler

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 4/20 Margaret S. Hamilton, 4/27 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Please read Margaret S. Hamilton and Debra Goldstein's short stories (don't ask about their modus operandi) in a new anthology, Cooked To Death Vol. IV: Cold Cut Files

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's mystery, Staging is Murder, which will be released April 30, is available for pre-order.

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.


Monday, January 7, 2019

Cormac McCarthy Loves My Dog

by Linda Rodriguez

(This is an older blog that I am reposting for two reasons. The first is that I have been quite sick and I'm not back on my feet yet, so not in good shape to write a new blog, and the second is that this same dog this post is about is now elderly and facing the end of his life, going through bouts of confusion and  paralysis in his hindquarters. So this is a memorial of the dog he once was.)

I’m a big rescue-animal person. I’ve had rescue dogs and cats all my adult life. When I’ve lost a dog to the cancers and other vicissitudes of old age, always a heartbreaking situation, I go looking for a replacement in the dogs on death row—those scheduled for euthanasia. I have found so many wonderful dogs in this way.

I’m thinking about this because next week is the adoption anniversary of our current dog, Dyson. Five years ago this fall, we had lost our much-beloved sixteen-year-old Husky-Sharpei, who’d been adopted at seven on what was supposed to be the last day of her life and given us so many more wonderful years. After grieving for a month, we began looking online at the adoptable dogs of local shelters. Hearing that the Kansas City Animal Shelter was overcrowded, we decided to go visit and adopt one of their desperate dogs slated for death.

I walked into the shelter the week before Thanksgiving with certain criteria in mind. I wanted an older female dog who was already housebroken and calm. I knew older dogs were harder to find homes for and figured I’d be able to choose among several older females. No stubborn, rambunctious, untrained young males for me. I was no longer the young, strong woman who had trained such dogs years before.

As luck would have it, someone showed us an emaciated, big, male dog with a strange brindle coat, starved and sad-eyed, who was scheduled for euthanasia the next day. He walked placidly for me on the leash and looked at us without hope. My husband and I were hooked by those big, sad eyes. Even when we were informed that he had heartworm, which costs hundreds of dollars to treat, we weren’t dissuaded and signed up to adopt him that day, all the time telling ourselves how crazy this was. As we signed papers and laid down money, people who worked at the shelter began to filter into the office. “Are you the folks taking Dyson?” they would ask, and then shake our hands and thank us, telling us what a good dog he was. Then, we found out he was about a year old, big as he was—and that he was a breed of dog we’d never heard of before, the Plott hound.

Dyson, who should have weighed at least 70 pounds at that time, was so starved that he weighed less than 40 pounds. (The second photo is of him then, the other photos of him now.) He had never been neutered and never been in a house, we discovered. We would have to keep this long-legged creature crated for weeks at first because of the heartworm treatment. If he became too active, he could have a stroke. What possessed us to continue and sign up for this dog, I can’t begin to understand.

Thus began my education in the dogs Cormac McCarthy calls “the ninja warriors of dogdom” and of whom he says, “They are just without fear.” Developed by a German immigrant family (from whom they get their name) in the Great Smoky Mountains who never sold any outside of the family until after World War II, Plott hounds are the state dog of North Carolina. They were bred for centuries as trackers and hunters of bear. They are practically triple-jointed and can perform acrobatic feats while avoiding the claws of huge bears they have brought to bay. They are highly valued by big game hunters all over the world, who pay thousands of dollars for trained Plott hounds to use to hunt bear, cougars, and other large predators.

We don’t hunt. While on a leash for walks, Dyson constantly charges into the hedges and emerges with a big possum or feral cat in his mouth, which we’ll make him drop—always uninjured since he has the softest mouth. Other things we’ve discovered about Plotts are that they are extra-smart and yet goofy and playful. And so he is. Also, loyal, affectionate, protective, and he loves fibers and textiles, often in early days pulling my knitting out without harming it and lying before it confused at why he couldn’t do what Mommy does with those sticks.

Though he was the opposite of the placid, female, older dog we wanted and he truly does seem to be without fear, Dyson has been the perfect dog for us, always a source of fun and joy. And the inevitable mischief that a young, boisterous male (for once he regained his health, he regained his personality) commits is a small price to pay for the love he shows when he lays his massive head in my lap and looks at me with love in his big, now-happy eyes.

That lack of fear that McCarthy so admired and the resilience that allowed Dyson to bounce back from abuse, starvation, and potentially fatal illness are two qualities I'm trying to achieve for myself as a writer. Dyson refuses to believe that he can't take on any challenge that presents itself. He's absolutely sure that he's equal to any task. Such confidence drives out fear, and I'm trying to cultivate it in myself. I suspect that belief in self is also linked to the resilience Dyson has exhibited, that ability I desire to be able to recover from professional, physical, and financial disaster. The sad dog I rescued has become my senzei in professional matters. If Dyson had opposable thumbs, how would he handle this? has become a recurrent question.

Happy birthday to His Majesty Dyson the Toy King Sweetie Boy Rodriguez-Furnish!

Linda Rodriguez's Dark Sister: Poems is her 10th book. based on her popular workshop, Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, and The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited, were published in 2017. Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery featuring Cherokee detective, Skeet Bannion, and Revising the Character-Driven Novel will be published in 2019. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, Every Last Secret—and earlier books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film.

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Visit her at http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com


KM Rockwood said...

It's always sad when a beloved pet reaches the end of his/her life. We can live well into our 90's, but a 20 year old dog (or cat) is very old. So we can go through quite a few pets in our lifetimes.

We adopt adult rescue dogs, too. Currently we have Vinnie, who came from a program in a prison which takes dogs from local shelters and prepares them for family living. He's getting up there in age, too.

Hope you're feeling better soon!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Love this story about Dyson. Thanks for the photos. Take good care of each other. You're both very special!

Judy Alter said...

As a lifelong dog lover, I enjoyed getting to know Dyson and knowing more about Plott hounds. LUcky Dyson that you found him--and lucky you.

Carla Damron said...

Lucky, lucky Dyson. My latest rescue, Ella, is a mess. She's sweet and smart and mischievous as HELL. When we fostered her, she was an angel. The day we formally adopted, she jumped on the kitchen counter and ate half a meatloaf. Been an adventure ever since, but I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Margaret Turkevich said...

Every day with Dyson at your side is a good day. Take care.

Kait said...

Hugs to you, Linda, and to Dyson. He is a beauty, and lucky to have been rescued by you and your husband.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Km, I do hope you have Vinny for a lot longer. We are hoping a new medicine will give Dyson a few more months of good time before we have to let him go. If it doesn't work though, we'll have to release him fairly soon because he's having a good bit of pain and discomfort. Our pets truly become a part of the family and losing them is a real grief, isn't it?

Thanks so much, Paula!

E. B. Davis said...

Dyson is a Plott hound? I never knew what they looked like. I'm reading about one now in a mystery. The Plott hound is a K-9 dog--smart and well trained. Thanks for your memories of and kindness to Dyson. He's a better dog to have known you. I loved your question WWDD? Feel better, Linda.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Judy, Plott Hounds are quite amazing dogs. They’re really a handful, though.

Carla, isn't that the truth? Our latest rescue was a cat, Natalie, who was the quietest, most placid cat when we visited the shelter, but within two days at our house, she has become a hellion who's decided the entire house is her obstacle course for agility training. You have to love them.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Margaret, yes it is. You're absolutely right.

Hugs back at you, Kait. We feel we were as lucky to get Dyson as he was to be rescued by us.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Elaine, really? What's the title or author of this mystery? I would love to read it. Most people have never heard of Plott Hounds before. They are truly smart dogs and are the only dogs that are both sight hounds and scent hounds and also the only scent hounds who can still smell the trail while they are baying. And speaking of baying, when sirens go off, Dyson starts baying and sounds like the Hound of the Baskervilles.