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

October Interviews

10/07 M.E. Browning, Shadow Ridge

10/14 Alexia Gordon

10/21 Adam Meyer

10/28 Barbara Ross, Jane Darrowfield and the Madwoman Next Door

October Guest Bloggers

10/03 Kathleen Kalb

10/17 S. Lee Manning

10/31 Sharon Dean

WWK Weekend Bloggers

10/10 Jennifer J. Chow

10/24 Kait Carson


For The Love Of Lobster Tales by Shari Randall is now available to download free for a limited time. Go to Black Cat Mysteries at: https://bcmystery.com/ to get your free copy! Thanks for the freebie, Shari.

Keenan Powell recently signed with agent Amy Collins of Talcott Notch. Congratulations, Keenan!

KM Rockwood's "Secrets To The Grave" will appear in the new SinC Chesapeake Chapter's new anthology Invitation To Murder, which will be released by Wildside Press on 10/6.

Congratulations to our two Silver Falchion Finalists Connie Berry and Debra Goldstein!

Paula Gail Benson's "Cosway's Confidence" placed second and Debra Goldstein's "Wabbit's Carat" received Honorable Mention in the Bethlehem Writers Roundtable 2020 short story contest. Congratulations, Paula and Debra!

Susan Van Kirk's Three May Keep A Secret has been republished by Harlequinn's Worldwide Mystery. The WWK interview about the book can be accessed here. We're so glad another publisher picked up this series.

KM Rockwood's "Burning Desire," and Paula Gail Benson's "Living One's Own Truth," have been published in the anthology Heartbreaks & Half-truths. Congratulations to all of the WWK writers.

Please join Margaret S. Hamilton's Kings River Life podcast of her short story "Busted at the Book Sale" here. Congratulations, Margaret!


Tuesday, January 1, 2019

The Octopus, by Carla Damron, Octopus Tamer

It’s a new year!! Time to make (and pretend we will keep) New Year’s Resolutions! We will all: lose weight. Eat more vegetables. Exercise more.  Be more careful with our budgets.

Blah, blah, blah.

If we belong to a gym, we will curse the crowd that is hogging up all the treadmills---those New Years Resolution people who will be gone in a few weeks.

And while we may drop a pound or two, it will likely be the weight we put on sampling Christmas treats.

Life should return to normal by February.

Not me. I’m trying something different this year. I have one—only ONE—resolution, and I’m determined to follow it through.


“Wait—Carla has an octopus??? I mean, I know she loves animals and all, but …”

No, it’s not a real, living octopus. (Though I’d LOVE one because they are quite clever. You should read Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery). My octopus is what I call the current work in progress. I’m using the braided stories technique that I used with The Stone Necklace but the stories—each a tentacle on this monster—have gotten a bit out of control. Each wants more space on pages. Each has a plot line to resolve. Each thinks IT’S the most important thread to the novel.

I know what you’re thinking. “If each thread has so much content, why don’t you use one as the main story line? You might have several novels here!”

You’re right, of course. That might be the smart thing to do. But do NOT mistake me for someone who is smart.

Nope. I’m taming this sucker. True, I’m almost at ninety thousand words and if I don’t get control of this beast it will top 100K, making it UNSELLABLE.

My answer to this conundrum: it doesn’t matter how long the first draft is. I will snip and prune like a gardener on crack in rewrites. I will don the merciless editor hat and clip the many small tendrils that go nowhere. (Even if I love that bit of narrative and it has the most brilliant metaphor and really I should leave it in…. NO. Merciless editor says NO.)

I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. I cannot convert to Merciless Editor until I’ve finished this draft. Until the octopus is brought under control.

While there are moments when wrestling this beast frustrates the hell out of me, when I emerge from my office frazzled and cursing and threatening to take up knitting, there are also glorious moments that remind me why I love writing. Inventing the art forger character led me to read about the wonky international art market. Delving into the back story of the oldest character led to an epistolary thread that describes civil rights in the south during the 1960s and 70s. And another character’s unsuccessful attempts with a weight loss program became a humorous stand-alone scene that got published as a short story (https://short-edition.com/en/story/5-min/weighty-matters).

My favorite moments—the intermittent reinforcement that every writer lives for—are those when it feels that I’m merely taking dictation: my characters sit beside me narrating their stories.  I do my best to type fast enough to keep up.

Those are the most wonderful, exciting, random, titillating experiences of my creative life. 
They are almost divine. I would not trade them for anything. They are why I write. Why I confront this octopus each and every day.

Which brings me back to the subject of this New Year’s Day blog. Be it resolved that in January, 2019: I WILL TAME THIS OCTOPUS. I’ll have a first draft complete that I can then dismember in revision.

And once that’s done, maybe I can lose a little weight.

And you? What resolutions do you have?


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

I have goals, not resolutions: finish my debut mystery, write the first draft of the second, find homes for a stack of rejected short stories, beat my body into shape for an upcoming wedding, shovel out the house, plan a fabulous trip.

Good luck with your octopus!

Grace Topping said...

Good luck, Carla. As I understand it, octopuses are very intelligent creatures, so you have your work cut out for you.

carla said...

Great goals, Margaret!
And Grace, this beast might very well outsmart me.

Kait said...

The octopus visual is outstanding. I can see Mr. Octopus wrapping a tentacle around your shoulder begging you to follow that particular storyline.

My resolutions? Write "The end" to my current WIP and first in a new series, and lose those pesky 10!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Yay, Margaret, you can do it! Grace, congratulations on your debut! Getiing into my scrub gear to support you, Carla! You can do it! Happy New Year, all!

Paula Gail Benson said...

Sorry, that should be scuba gear. Hope scrub gear will not be needed!

carla said...

Kait, "The End" are magnificent words.
Okay, Paula, with your help ...

KM Rockwood said...

I find the best way to deal with the "octopus" aspect is to write short stories (many of which will never be submitted anywhere) featuring the characters & scenes that insist upon being heard, but probably won't fit into the current WIP.

carla said...

KM, that's a clever solution!