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

February Interview Schedule:

Keenan Powell 2/6, Hemlock Needle

A. R. Kennedy 2/13, Saving Ferris

Shari Randall 2/20, Drawn and Buttered

V. M. Burns 2/27, The Puppy Who Knew Too Much

Saturday Guest Bloggers: 2/2 Marilyn Meredith, 2/9 Chloe Sunstone

WWK Satuday Bloggers: 2/16 Margaret S. Hamilton, 2/23 Kait Carson

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

We are especially proud of two WWK bloggers:

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 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.

Shari Randall's third Lobster Shack Mystery, Drawn and Buttered, was published February 26, 2019. Available for sale.


Friday, February 15, 2019

So Why Not Vaccinate? by Warren Bull

So Why Not Vaccinate? by Warren Bull

 Image by Laura Lee Moreau on Upsplash

A recent outbreak of measles hitting just north of where I live caused a public health emergency. But this is not the only place where vaccinations are not routine. Brooklyn, the lower Hudson Valley, and Atlanta are other places where the disease has shown up. In Europe 41,000 cases of measles were identified in the first half of last year, resulting in at least 37 deaths.

The Anti-Vaccination Movement

Julia Belluz wrote on Voxmedia. com on April 2, 2018

Twenty years ago in February, The Lancet, an esteemed medical journal, published a small study that has become one of the most notorious and damaging pieces of research in medicine.
The study, led by the now discredited physician-researcher Andrew Wakefield, involved 12 children and suggested there’s a link between the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine — which is administered to millions of children around the world each year — and autism.
The study was subsequently thoroughly debunked. The Lancet retracted the paper and Wakefield was stripped of his medical license. Autism researchers have shown decisively again and again that the developmental disorder is not caused by vaccines.
The first thing to know about Wakefield’s paper is that it was very dubious science. It did not deserve to be published in a top-tier medical journal — let alone receive all the attention it has subsequently gotten. 
Wakefield drew the association between the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine and autism based on a study involving only 12 children. 
What’s more, when British investigative journalist Brian Deer followed up with the families of each of the 12 kids in the study, he found, “No case was free of misreporting or alteration.” In other words, Wakefield, the lead author of the original report, manipulated his data. 
Wakefield also had major financial conflicts of interest. Among them, while he was discrediting the combination MMR vaccine and suggesting parents should give their children single shots over a longer period of time, he was conveniently filing patents for single-disease vaccines. The General Medical Council (the UK’s medical regulator) when deciding to take away his UK medical license, said Wakefield acted with “callous disregard for the distress and pain the children might suffer.”
In 2004, 10 of his co-authors on the original paper retracted it.  Wakefield didn’t join them, and he has since continued to push his views, including doing the rounds on the anti-vaxxer speakers’ circuit and publishing books.

Wakefield Is Not The Only One Responsible

In a column for the Guardian, and in his book Bad Science, Ben Goldacre pointed out that journalists were complicit in helping perpetuate the notion that vaccines cause autism. 
The media repeatedly reported the concerns of this one man, generally without giving methodological details of the research, either because they found it too complicated, inexplicably, or because to do so would have undermined their story.

Taking your child in for inoculations is not a pleasant experience. They can hurt. The child, if not the parent too, is going to cry. We all want the best for our children. Submitting them to a painful procedure is not intuitively helpful. Anxious parents can find plenty of misinformation about inoculations online. Some people are skeptical about experts. News reports about what are touted as  “scientific breakthroughs” are often contradicted by later accounts of “the latest scientific findings.” Some people do not like to be told what to do and what not to do with their children.  
Addressing concerns of parents without “preaching” or blaming would help persuade reluctant parents of the value of vaccinations against measles. 

Thursday, February 14, 2019


                                                        KEEPING A JOURNAL

Keeping a journal is more than writing down simple things like what happens that day although that's pretty much what I do. It's not exactly like practicing cursive as a young student or writing spelling words ten times. It's more like musicians singing or playing the scales or simple songs to limber up. Keeping a journal not only chronicles your life, but it limbers up your writing skills the way jogging slowly before running limbers your muscles. At least that's my opinion.

I started journaling when I was fourteen. I used a three-ring binder and wrote pages and pages on notebook paper. When I grew up and had teenagers of my own, I was going to remember what it was like to be a teenager. Or so I thought. I kept it up until I graduated, got a job, met my future husband and got too busy. That ended my journaling until my sister-in-law, Joanne, gave me a journal for Christmas in 1981. The inscription read: To Gloria, to gather your thoughts, your prayers, and your memories. I misplaced it and diddn't find it until March 1982. I was in my second semester of college, and my first entry detailed winning the Virginia Perryman Award for freshmen writers. I not only won $60.00 - quite a bit at that time - but also was recognized at an Award Ceremony at Kent State in April.

From that entry I'd like to say I continued a daily journal, but I didn't. I wrote one entry several days later, skipped a year, added a few more entries then skipped three years until after I graduated from college and had been teaching for a while. I didn't start keeping a steady daily journal until the spring of 1989, and I've faithfully written almost every day since that time.

My journals are not filled with beautiful prose nor are there fanciful flights of poetic thoughts. They're mostly prosaic entries listing what I did that day or the day before. Sometimes I write about feelings or ideas I have, but it's not anything future historians would be interested in. It's good I have no illusions about becoming a famous writer someday.

However, when I've gone back to the beginning journals as I did for this blog, I'm reading things I'd forgotten. I regret that I didn't keep a journal when my children were growing up. Fortunately, I wrote letters to my three sisters when they were away at college. My sister Elaine saved the ones I sent her and put them in a scrapbook for me later. She made a beautiful quilted cover for it and gave it to me one Christmas. It was one of my favorite gifts because I read things about my children that I'd forgotten. I didn't remember until I read the letter that my youngest daughter, Mary, had trouble differentiating between frogs and toads and called them froads.

In my journals, I also write on the inside covers every book I've read, the author, and a line or two of my opinion of the book. I also keep a gardening journal during gardening season. The is even more prosaic than my regular journal.

My journals may all end up in a dumpster someday, but then again maybe not. Maybe my children and grandchildren someday will be interested in them. Probably not, but sometimes I like going back to older ones like the one in which I detailed my battle with a skunk. And as for that 3-ring binder journal I kept as a teenager? It go wet when our basement flooded long before my kids were teenagers. Maybe that's why I wasn't the perfect mother a teenager could wish for, or maybe it was because I had four teenagers at one time. Boggles the imagination, doesn't it?

Have you ever tried keeping a journal? Have you used your journals as research for your novels?

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

An Interview with A. R. Kennedy by E. B. Davis

Saving Ferris by A. R. Kennedy

Is your pet family or property?

When Cecilia’s husband dies, she’s forced to become his dog's caregiver, something she does not immediately warm to. But when Ferris’s life is threatened by an intruder, she shoots the intruder to save the golden retriever. The law says Ferris is property but she's learning he's family.

When I found Saving Ferris on Kindle Unlimited, I downloaded it. Look at the cover. Who could resist a good dog read? But I found it was more than a dog story. A. R. Kennedy primarily focuses on how state statutes define dogs. That’s the legal issue, but the personal backstory will evoke readers’ sympathy.

Cecilia, her main character, is a young widow, who moved to the small town of Folley with her husband, Joey, after his father’s death, to run the family construction business. Joey dies in a construction accident. Cecilia’s a city girl. She’s not used to animals or the provincial thinking of the townsfolk. She makes her living online so she can live anywhere. Joey and Cecilia have a good marriage, one that can survive Joey spending a thousand dollars on a dog and bringing Ferris home unexpectedly.

Many of the scenes depict the court case and witness testimony. I thought it might be dry and boring. It wasn’t. In fact, some of it was amusing. Go over the Amazon and download this book—you’ll like it, too.

Please welcome A. R. Kennedy to WWK.                                     E. B. Davis  

Do you own a dog?

Yes, I have two. One is a four-year-old rescue. We think he is a schnauzer yorkie mix. The other is a mini schnauzer puppy.

You state that the story was the result of attending the Writers’ Police Academy. What happened there that prompted the story?

If you are a fiction crime writer, the Writers’ Police Academy is an amazing experience. I’ve attended for over seven years. They have classes on all aspects of law enforcement. FBI, DEA, Secret Service agents as well as local police officers give lectures. Classes are also held on criminal profiling, crime scene investigation and emergency procedures and so much more. Many classes are hands-on. Lee Lofland organizes the informative, informational and fun event.

I attended a class on guns that led to a discussion on self-defense laws, which are different in every state. My next class was taught by a K9 officer. The teacher, a K9 handler, informed us their dogs are considered property. And the idea for Saving Ferris was born.

Ferris is a golden retriever. Most goldens are known as the blond airheads of the dog world. Not without their charms, of course, but Ferris was named due to his circuitous running, like a Ferris Wheel. When Joey unexpectantly brings him home, Cecilia asks if the name is due to his behavior, like Ferris Bueller’s. So, when Joey says Ferris has failed service dog training, it’s of no surprise. But the surprise to me was that a Golden would be trained for that at all. Are there many golden retriever service dogs?

Yes, golden retrievers are often used as service dogs. I chose a golden retriever because years ago my parents were asked to foster golden retriever service dogs. Because we would become too attached to one, they declined the offer.

I couldn’t locate any statistics but many service dog training websites note that golden retrievers are often used because they are intelligent, trainable, gentle, and loyal dogs.

Cecilia considers Ferris to be Joey’s dog, even after Joey dies. But that all changes after the attack. When Cecilia gets home from the hospital, she freaks out that Ferris isn’t in her home. Why the change?

It’s in the moment of the attack and its aftermath that she realizes how much time she has spent with Ferris since her husband’s death and how much she actually loves him.
Unfortunately, we often realize how much we love someone only after they are gone.

Cecilia is a strong woman. How did she get that way? Is there a reason her sister and she don’t get along?

Cecilia is strong because life has forced her to be strong. Her mother died when she was a teenager. Her father handled his grief by escaping into drugs, leaving her to raise her younger sister.

Cecilia and her sister don’t get along because some siblings just don’t. Her sister doesn’t appreciate the sacrifices that Cecilia made for her (and she’s tired of hearing about it). Plus, they view their father very differently. Cecilia sees him as a lost cause, but her sister thinks he’s redeemable.

You started the story in the present after Joey has died but show the past with him living in subsequent chapters. What did you achieve by this presentation?

I felt this presentation revealed Cecilia’s character in the best way. She can come off as cold, but through her love for Joey and their relationship you learn she is not. This is furthered by the development of the relationship with Holden.

Where is Folley? It seemed very provincial.

Folley is a fictional town in the Midwest.

Cecilia’s loving relationships with her father-in-law and husband guide her decisions to stay in Folley. What are her obligations to them and what was in their wills?

When her father-in-law learns he is ill, he has frank discussions with both his children. He wanted to ensure a fair division of his estate and avoid any acrimony between his two children after his death.

He knew his daughter and her husband could not be trusted with the business he had worked most of his life developing. He knew Joey would be better suited for it. The business was important to Joey’s father, so it was important to him, and then to Cecilia as well. Joe Senior treated Cecilia as a daughter when she joined the family and she wanted to repay that love.

Are you a lawyer?

No, I work in healthcare. I have a Doctorate in Physical Therapy and a Master’s in Business Administration. 

Cecilia was in her backyard with Ferris when a local eighteen-year-old delinquent attacks, assaulting, hurting, and trying to rape her. She fights back and runs into the house. Joey tried and failed to train her to shoot a gun, but he impressed the fact that the police would need more than twenty minutes to get to their house. Cecilia gets the gun. By that time, the attacker has a knife to Ferris’s throat warning he will cut his throat. Cecilia fires a warning shot that goes astray and actually kills the attacker by accident. The focus of her second-degree murder trial is the question of how pets are treated under the law. How do laws differ among states/federal law? And why is that the focus of her defense?

There are three types of self-defense laws—Stand Your Ground, Castle Doctrine, and Duty to Retreat. Each state has their own laws. Stand Your Ground states, one can use deadly force to defend yourself if you fear for your or someone else’s life, or are afraid of serious bodily injury.

In Castle Doctrine states, like Folley, if you are in your home, you are not required to retreat prior to using deadly force in self-defense.

Duty to Retreat states, you have a duty to retreat when possible (even in your own house) before using deadly force.

Regardless of state, you must prove you felt your life was endangered. You can protect yourself or others but not property. In all states, pets are considered property.

Reminder, I am not a lawyer and these are very basic explanations.

Your courtroom narrative is riveting as Cecilia’s defense lawyer gets witnesses to define how they treat their pets, as property or family. But I found the testimony of the veterinarian and the K-9 cop the most interesting. How did their views differ?

Thank you! “Riveting”— I need that on the cover!

To a K9 officer, their dog is their partner. According to all the K9 handlers I’ve met, the dog lives with them. Often when the dog retires, they live with the handler. There is a great bond between the two officers.

To a veterinarian, treating your pet is their livelihood. Yes, I’m sure they love their jobs and love your pet, but it’s a business. I’ve seen more than one vet who has overcharged/overtreated in order to plump up the bill, which they ensure is paid before you leave the building. (Please note, doctors for humans do this as well.)
The malpractice premiums I found very interesting and supported Sewell’s argument.

**Just in case my vet is reading this, I’m very blessed to have a good veterinarian. Over the past five years, he has treated three of my dogs and treats all of us with kindness and compassion. And when my Heidi passed away last year, they did let me leave without paying. (I went back the next day.) They saved me from bawling in a crowded lobby.

Why would the townsfolk defend one of their own, even though he was a known low life criminal? I was surprised his brother’s actions against Cecilia wasn’t brought into the trial. Didn’t it cause anyone to stop supporting the murdered man or his mother?

As a native New Yorker who has lived in many states throughout the country, I have found I was often treated as an outsider. In my first year after college, a co-worker once asked me, “Are you one of those New Yorkers?” It was not a compliment. For some towns, (and even some well-known cities), once an outsider, always an outsider.

The brother in law’s actions were deplorable, but defense lawyer Sewell couldn’t use it to defend her. It doesn’t matter why the attacker was there, Cecilia shot him. The attacker’s actions, why he was on her property, are only known to the police, and prosecutor office, and defense team. The rest of the town are unaware of it.

Is this a one-off book? What else do you write?

Yes, this is a stand-alone novel.

I have also written The Nathan Miccoli mystery series, which started on Valentine’s Day! (Available here. https://www.amazon.com/A-R-Kennedy/e/B00GOKCWHE)

I’m currently seeking representation for a cozy mystery series, The Traveling Detective.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Accidental Series

I asked Steve Liskow to tell us how he developed his Zach Barnes PI novel series.  Here's his interesting story. 
KM Rockwood
Steve Liskow with Ernie, who provides advice on chases,
fights and other matters on which cats are experts.

Accidental Series by Steve Liskow

Back Door Man, my sixth Zach Barnes PI novel, came out in November. I never intended Zach to

have his own series.

In 2006, a friend suggested I try writing a romance instead of a mystery. She recommended a few authors to read as models, and I developed a romance that morphed into a romantic thriller.  Over the next two years, most agents sent form rejections, but when I got advice, I tried to follow it. Late in 2009, after 68 rejections and a title change, the book finally sold as Who Wrote the Book of Death? When it appeared in spring of 2010, a few reviewers said they looked forward to the next book in the series. A few readers sent the same request to my website.


Zach Barnes was ridiculously handsome and psychically scarred. Beth Shepard was even more

beautiful and even more damaged. I thought I was writing a one-off pastiche and never planned to
use either character again, so I balanced them on the edge of parody. Now I was stuck with two cartoons that people wanted to see again.

I knew Beth’s backstory fairly well, but I hadn’t given Zach much substance except for a horrible tragedy. I had to go back and create backstories for both characters that would make them more human and still keep them sort of consistent.

I fudged a little. None of Beth’s family has appeared except in emails or phone calls since the first book. We know some of Zach’s backstory, but have never met his parents (I think they’re still alive. Don’t ask me about sibs). I actually define both characters more in terms of
their friends and associates. Zach’s college roommate is now a police detective in central
Connecticut, only a few miles from where Zach lives.

Beth attends book signings as the stand-in for Jim Leslie, a man who writes best-selling romance novels under a pseudonym. The readers think “Taliesyn Holroyd” is a woman, so Beth takes the role. Only the publishers know the truth. Jim and Beth are close friends, and Zach’s old classmate and researcher, Svetlana Melanova Thirst, is now Jim’s lover. Svet is as over-the-top as Zach and Beth, but Jim is so normal he anchors the rest of them.

As the series progresses, Zach and Beth have become more conventionally domestic. They play down their physical beauty with sunglasses, old hats, faded jeans and loose sweatshirts. Beth is the
only one of four siblings with no children, and she wants to be a mother. They’ve bought a house. They’re both learning to cook better. Beth is working on her second novel after publishing dozens of short stories under her own name.

The best thing about Beth and Zach’s domesticity is that I can contrast their concerns with the issues in Zach’s cases. This is how I develop subplots. In Back Door Man, Zach investigates Jack Fisher, who was accused of killing his
fiancĂ©e years ago, but the police couldn’t prove it. He changed his name after the scandal, so his new identity is a parallel with Beth’s alter ego. He’s trying to develop a relationship with Trisha

Straithorne, and their concerns mirror those of Zach and Beth. Trisha Straithorne is trying to write
songs for her band, just as Beth is struggling with her novel. Rasheena Maldonado, a lesbian detective on the Hartford PD, is involved in Fisher’s cold case, and is considering moving in with her lover. All the subplots involve parallels with a relationship and creativity (or children).

Does it always work? Not on the first draft. 

Link to Back Door Man on Amazon:

Monday, February 11, 2019

Only Slightly Embarrassing Writing Tips and Tricks

by Shari Randall

We’ve all had moments when the writing won’t flow. The ideas won’t come. We’re stuck. It’s
not writer’s block exactly, but more a feeling of spinning wheels on a muddy road. With a bit of
traction, you can get back and get writing.

How to get that traction and jumpstart your writing? Here are a few tips and tricks.

Stay In Bed – This is my most self-serving and embarrassing tip. But there is nothing like
lying in bed, hovering in that relaxed and fertile state between sleep and waking, for gathering ideas. When I was on deadline with my third book, Drawn and Buttered, I kept my laptop next to my bed, typing late into the night and starting up again upon waking, with no interruptions except sleep.
If you use this tip, you get points if you have someone bring you breakfast in bed.

Take a Walk - Walking briskly is probably the healthiest way to spur a mind relaxed and focused
on plotting. Fresh air, exercise, and possibly catching the neighbors doing plot worthy things
always helps my writing.

Doodle - When I was in eighth grade, my English teacher was a nun named Sister Arlene. I don’t
remember everything she taught us, but I do remember one surprisingly effective trick. When
we were stuck, Sister Arlene had us write the word “Idea” on a piece of scrap paper, over and
over. Perhaps she was also trying to get us to improve our “chicken scratch” handwriting, but
neuroscience has backed up this approach. Here are two articles that explain how handwriting
sparks more and more complex connections within the brain than keyboarding. Here and Here

Busy Hands, Free Mind – Doing a task that doesn’t require a lot of thought – folding laundry,
sweeping, knitting – frees the mind to wander. Plus you could end up with a really nice

Act It Out – I’ve discovered that stuck feeling happens for a reason – it’s my subconscious telling
me that I’ve gotten off track, that a plot point or bit of dialogue doesn’t work. So I’ll read the
dialogue out loud and mirror my characters’ actions. This helps me figure out what doesn’t
work and makes my kids laugh.

Light a Candle – Yes, prayer works, but I use a candle in a slightly different way. I have a pure
white unscented candle I call my focus candle. I light it and breathe, watching the flame
waver. I’m more ADD than a five year old on birthday cake and Coke but I’ve found this to be a
very effective way to quiet my mind and transition from a busy day to writing mode.

What do you do when you feel stuck? Share your tips and tricks in the comments - because I could sure use them!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

I am to Blame for Decreasing Author Incomes: A one-way conversation

By James M. Jackson

Much of the world blames Amazon for the decline in author incomes. Here’s the truth: I am to blame, not Amazon. Well, I’m not all of the problem, of course; but a tiny bit does belong to me. A critical component of economics theory is how supply and demand shape prices. Part of the problem (the demand side) follows good economic logic on my part; the supply side of the problem demonstrates my economic foolishness. Let me explain:

Shall we start with the demand side, where I claim I am driven by economic logic? Thanks for your indulgence, because at least that part doesn’t make me look stupid.

There would be no Amazon if I didn’t buy stuff from them. (I suppose it’s clear that “I” includes a gazillion other people.) I do not buy print books for retail price, which means I rarely venture into a bookstore. Why should I pay full retail when I can buy the same book online and have it delivered to me in two-days’ time? My TBR (To Be Read) pile will hold me at least that long, and I don’t need the immediate gratification. I make an exception to the full price rule when I purchase a book in person from an author I know, but of the 1,000,000 books published in 2018, I don’t know very many of their authors, so that is cold comfort.

I have given up serendipitous “finds” by not wandering through a bookstore. But honestly, ever since I abandoned the self-help section, my choices have been driven by recommendations from people I know, authors I already read, and interviews I hear on NPR.

And if the author is well-known, I’ll get the book from the library. My taxes and donations pay for the library; I don’t feel guilty about this, nor do I object to people borrowing my books from the library. I love libraries. Always have; always will.

I tried Kindle Unlimited for a year. It was a test to see if I saved money. I didn’t—I don’t read enough books, and many of the nonfiction books I read aren’t available on that platform. But if it or any of its kin saved me money, I’d gobble it up like a mallard on white bread. Saving me money means someone—usually the author—is losing money.

So that’s not so bad, really—me being willing to take the deals the publishing business is offering, even though I know they’re not in the long-term best interests of my author community? Right? It makes sense. And it makes sense to millions of other readers. What, you wonder, is this irrational part I alluded to.

Because I am an author, I also affect the supply side of the equation. I add a book a year to the available titles. Economically, it makes no sense for me to do this. If I had spent the same time making burgers at McDonalds or performing any other near minimum-wage job for which I could qualify, I would have made more money than I have from my six published books.

Being an author is pure economic folly. Yet, I have done it for more than a decade and plan to continue. Unlike many of today’s authors, I do make money and pay taxes on it. But it is a pittance, and if I didn’t have outside income, I could never subsist on my profits. I’ve signed publishing contracts with little or no advance, and I’d do it again for the right opportunity. I accept the terms offered by Amazon—even if that means they take 65% of the value of my novella sales.

I continue to write short stories for which I receive token compensation. My little drop in the supply of books ocean is trivial—but combined with hundreds of thousands of others like me, we present a problem for all authors because we add to the supply and are willing to work almost for free.

Which means, I am personally stupid or we’re missing something from this economic equation. I add to my personal economic balance the pleasure I receive creating stories people enjoy reading. I love meeting fans, and other authors. I make no claim that I must write. I choose to write and that makes me part of the problem for those who think they must write.


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.

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Finding Happiness through the Written Word by Chloe Sunstone

One typical Monday morning I dragged myself to my tedious Human Resources (HR) job. Tired legs, a bored mind and my drooping eyes watched the seconds tick by on the clock. I wondered when this hell would end. When will I be able to escape the suffocating structure of corporate America? That evening, I trudged into my home, laptop in tow, prepared to make a quick, unhealthy dinner and hop on my Dell for another three to four hours of work. I made eye contact with my loving husband, Mike, and he knew.

“Babe, it’s time for you to quit for good. Do something else. How about writing? You’re so talented, you’ll figure it out. Check authoring a bestseller off your bucket list.”

So, the journey began. After over 25 years in HR, I took the leap and returned to my first love, writing.  Energized by my emerging creativity while writing, I’ve released two cybercrime thrillers in the last year.

Why cybercrime? Well, most of my HR experience was in project management, implementing new systems and processes. Plus, I’m married to a Software Engineer and fascinated by today’s technology. Therefore, my books focus on a fictional world where cybercrime bleeds into the real world leading to mayhem and murder.

My latest thriller, Ginger Snapped, was inspired by a family trip to Northern California. While Mike and I walked hand in hand along the Golden Gate Bridge and visited Sonoma Valley like typical camera-carrying, Chardonnay-slugging tourists, we fell in love with the area and had a brief discussion about relocating from Cleveland to San Francisco to start a new adventure. But instead, we returned home to our normal life.

Years later, I recalled that seemingly mundane conversation and my overactive imagination created a situation, where that cross-country move would threaten everything…our beliefs, our relationship and, ultimately, our lives. A simple conversation inspired a potentially best-selling novel. What if?

Learn more about Ginger Snapped below
How does an amazing professional opportunity descend into a living nightmare? Carefree Ginger's motto of “Work Hard, Play Harder” shapes her life. So, when her husband, Jake, gets a job offer on the other side of the country, she is up for the adventure. But after Jake accepts the promotion, nothing is as expected. While Ginger remains in Cleveland to sell their house, she is plagued by strange prank calls, premonition-like nightmares, and the feeling that she is being watched.  Is Jake's new job putting her in danger?  Unfortunately, she ignores her intuition and soon finds herself face to face with a ruthless killer. Trapped in a deadly world of corporate corruption and murderous greed, she must overcome her own fears and rely on her wits if she plans to survive.

Pick up your copy of Ginger Snapped on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1732013608

Chloe lives in Cleveland, Ohio with her loving husband, Mike. They spend their free time boating, scuba diving, and of course, reading. You can find out more about Chloe at:

Friday, February 8, 2019

Newspaper Article Headings: AKA Where have all the copy editors gone? by Warren Bull

Newspaper Article Headings: AKA Where have all the copy editors gone? 
by Warren Bull

Image by Elijah O’Donnell on Upsplash

Man kills self before shooting wife and daughter
Something went wrong in jet crash, expert says
Police begin campaign to run down Jaywalkers
Panda mating fails: Veterinarian takes over
Miners refuse to work after death
Juvenile court to try shooting defendant
War dims hope for peace
If strike isn’t settled quickly, it may last a while
London couple slain; Police suspect homicide
Red tape holds up new bridges
Man struck by lightning faces battery charge
New study of obesity looks for a larger test group
Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft
Kids make nutritious snacks
Local high school dropouts cut in half
Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors
Typhoon rips through cemetery: Hundreds dead

Thursday, February 7, 2019


                                            IMPORTANT LIFE EVENTS

 The most important life event happened with my birth as it does with all of us. I was named Gloria because my mother admired movie stars with that name, but I like to think my dad went along with the name because he was religious and thought of his first born child as a glory to God. At least I believed that and in my egocentric way every Christmas when the refrain of Christmas Carols resounds with my name, I like to think the whole church is singing my glory. Of course, I know that's not true.

Of course there were birthday celebrations that weren't elaborate in my family. I was the oldest of six children and so no one got a lot of gifts for their birthday.. Mom fixed whatever the birthday child wanted for dinner. There weren't a lot of gifts, but I remember getting a green parakeet I named Petey because I wanted one. Today I receive birthday cards and once in awhile a gift, but not so much anymore. My sister-in-law takes me to dinner along with my sisters for my birthday.

And then there were the graduation events. My high school graduation had a beautiful cake and a few relatives coming with cards and money. Certainly nothing like the high school graduation events pu on today. When I graduated from college later in life, my parents, husband and siblings took me to dinner and my kids put on a party for me with a lot of close friends and family coming. I can't remember anything when I got my Master's degree, but we probably went out for dinner.

A wedding is always an important event. I had the white gown that was borrowed from an aunt, flowers, cake, reception in a small hall and food prepared by an aunt and uncle. Another uncle took snapshots with his camera. My father-in-law paid for a band that played mostly polkas. The weeding was preceded by a shower at an aunt's home, a modest home so the guest list was small. Of course there were cards and gifts for the wedding.(3 electric skillets) and many best wishes.

In a little over three years our children started coming. Believe me that was a life changing event when I had four children in less than five years. Of course, I'd always wanted children so I enjoyed having them even though my husband was working two jobs so I didn't have any help there. However, I did enjoy raising them and they turned out well. While raising them I became a Cub Scout leader and later for a lot of years a Girl Scout leader.

However there is almost always something that causes sorrow. When my oldest son, John, was seventeen he developed cancer and died in my arms. This was the son who wrote poetry, drew pictures, played the piano and was so good at so many things with a good sense of humor. He was also a reader like I am.

Six months after he died I went to college for the first time to become an elementary teacher. More than one professor over the years before I graduated thought I should plan on becoming a professor or at least a high school teacher, but I knew younger children are who I wanted to teach. I'd wanted to teach fourth or fifth grade but ended up getting hired to be a third grade teacher and found it was a wonderful grade to teach. I had as much fun teaching them as they had fun whether it was catching insects for a science class or something else. I had so many parents at parent teacher conferences who told me they wished they'd had a teacher like me when they went to school.

Teaching third grade was both rewarding and fun, too. When I'd been teaching for fifteen years I won the Portage County elementary teacher of the year award. It was the first speech I'd ever made. Also, I was a little embarrassed because there were a lot of good teachers in my elementary school, too.

When I eventually retired my son and two daughters had a celebration for me in a banquet room at a restaurant and invited others, too. I told those who were invited the only thing I wanted was a stone. I'm a gardener and like my father before me who always brought home rocks and stones from our vacation camping trips, I did, too. My sister-in-law went to the house where my parents had lived before they died and asked the new owners if she could have one of the stones  around a garden in the back that my dad had built and lined with the stones he'd brought home. They allowed her to get one.

After I retired I started writing books, short stories and poetry. Originally I wrote under a different name, but then switched to my own name. I took writing classes both online and locally. I'd worked on the writing for at least twelve years. I had managed to get some critique partners fortunately. Two of them I still have. One lives in England and one of these years I'm going to go visit her. The other lives in Cincinnati, I also had one who belonged to my writers group, but she gave up after awhile because she wasn't doing so well on her own writing at that time although she's doing well now. Also, she worked full time and didn't have enough time to edit, too.

When I started selling some of my books, I decided to have a book launch at a room I reserved at the church I belong, too. I wasn't sure how many would come and I had it on a Sunday afternoon after the last mass of the day ended. I had prepared food and my daughter and daughter-in-law helped out with punch and setting up the ten tables we had with table clothes. My son showed up with a bouquet of flowers including two blue roses. He had his little four year old granddaughter with him, too.

Since that time I wrote eight more in the Catherine Jewell series and am working on book ten now. I also wrote a middle-grade book "The Sherlock Holmes Detective Book" that adults seem to enjoy as much as kids do. I'm planning on writing more middle-grade books, too. Actually I've already started one that is a fictitious historical book of a young boy who was left behind in Hiram Ohio, the town where I taught school.

No I never got a publisher, but quite a few years ago someone on Writers Who Kill started self-publishing her books and then I heard of others who were doing it too, so that's what I started doing. No, I can't win awards self publishing, but I'm okay with that. I still have a following who like my books. Someone at Mass last Sunday had bought my first book at a craft show at my church and wanted the next two books in my series and gave me money for them. I don't make a lot of money selling my books, but at least twice a year I get money from Amazon, and I have a teacher retirement income which is not large but enough for me to live on. I have money in savings and I'm not extravagant with what money I have.

Also, my church has a craft show every December about three weeks before Christmas and I sell my books there. This past December, I sold over $200.00 that day.

Have you ever thought of self-publishing?

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

An Interview with Keenan Powell by E. B. Davis

"So where did you get the money?” Tom asked.
“The Native corporations receive federal loans and no-bid contracts to do all kinds of stuff. One group of villages got a contract to replace bridges in Napa, California. Someone else replaced all the windows in the JFK federal building in Boston.” Turner barked a laugh.
Keenan Powell, Hemlock Needle, Kindle Loc. 365

In Anchorage, Alaska, Yup’ik Eskimo chief financial officer and single mother, Esther Fancyboy, walks out of a party and into a blizzard. She is never seen again, leaving behind a seven-year-old son, Evan. The local cops say she’ll come home when she’s done partying, but family friend Maeve Malloy doesn’t think it’s that simple. She goes looking for Esther just as she’s getting bad news of her own, a career-ending accusation. When Esther’s body turns up in a snow berm and a witness is shot to death in front of Maeve, she suspects Evan might be in danger. Maeve must race against time to save the boy–along with her career, and maybe her life.

Last month, Level Best Books released Hemlock Needle, the second book in Keenan Powell’s Maeve Malloy mystery series. Keenan is an Alaskan lawyer who has seen it all and lived to tell the tale. The book is not a traditional legal thriller. The focus is on a murder investigation, which delves into federal contracts given to Native corporations, and on Maeve’s current problem with the bar association brought on by her past mistakes. But that doesn’t mean Maeve’s stupid, it means when even the good guys aren’t, there’s little recourse.

The book contains a glossary of terms at the very end. When I finished reading and found it, I felt as flummoxed as when I read A Clockwork Orange, eons ago, without knowing it contained a glossary of terms at the end of the book. Perhaps my advanced copy lacked a table of contents but don’t read the entire book full of Native language terms without bookmarking the glossary at the end. 

Read my first interview with Keenan here. Welcome back to WWK.                                                                                                                            E. B. Davis

You refer to the Alaskan natives as “Natives” or “Eskimos.” Are either politically correct? How do the natives refer to themselves?

That’s a great question.
In recent history, there was a commonly-used vulgar term used to describe Eskimos, which I won’t repeat. During that period of time, the politically-correct term was “Eskimos”. However, there are more than one Eskimo group. I am aware of several in Alaska: the Alutiiq, Chupik, Yup’ik, Inupiat, and Inuit. There could be more.

In addition, there are tribes in Alaska historically referred to as “Indian” rather than “Eskimo”. Those include the Aleuts, Athabaskans, Ahtna, Kenaitze, Tlingit, Haidi, and Tsimshian.

These groups did not care to be lumped together. Not all of these groups are friendly towards each other. They have had recent history of competing for resources and even war between some of these groups. For instance, the Aleuts sided with the Russians against the Tlingits in the Battle of Sitka in 1804. So nowadays, it is common in media to refer to the specific group the person identifies with.

However, in the distant past it was customary to take all the Native children from their homes and send them to a boarding school where they met and intermarried. So it is not uncommon to meet someone who has a complex heritage.

I read an article in a local newspaper when I was writing this book about specifically how Eskimos felt about the term “Eskimo”. Some said that it was offensive to them and some said they were proud of it. So, each to his own.

The term “Native” is often used in the media when identifying a suspect or a victim. With well-known individuals, such as mushers or politicians, their specific heritage is usually noted. “Native” is also used in reference to all the Natives, such as the Alaska Native Medical Center or the Alaska Federation of Natives.

Akutaq’s (Eskimo ice cream) ingredients are whale fat, seal oil, and blueberries whipped to cream consistency. Have you eaten it? Doesn’t it taste like fish?

Once upon a time, I visited the western Alaskan village of Kwethluk and while there, our hostess served akutaq. She apologized because she didn’t have whale fat or seal oil. So in their stead, she used vegetable shortening and vegetable oil. It looked like blue Cool Whip. I ate it. It looked prettier than it tasted to me as blueberries in western Alaska are bitter. Years later, I talked to a little old lady in Anchorage who said that she would add sugar to her akutaq if white people were going to eat it.

A Chinook wind melts snow and ice revealing a missing woman’s body (Esther Fancyboy) whom Maeve and her investigator, Tom, are looking for at the request of her mother, Cora, an old acquaintance of Maeve’s. Is a Chinook wind the same as El Nino? How warm is warm? Are bodies often found after such a wind?

A Chinook wind isn’t the same as El Nino. El Nino is weather cycle that effects large portions of the globe. During El Nino years, Alaska will have a milder winter.

A Chinook wind is a more discrete event. In Alaska, it is caused by warm air moving in from the Pacific Ocean. The winds are often 40 to 50 degrees in temperature and gust over 100 mph, so snow and ice melt fast.

It is not unusual for a body to turn up after a Chinook rips through Anchorage.

If it is a tradition of native peoples that grandparents raise their grandchildren, doesn’t it follow that native children are always behind due to older values and lack of technological knowledge? Is this also why Esther’s son, Evan, calls her by her first name rather than “Mom?”

In the village in olden days, the grandparents would raise their grandchildren while both parents were expected to hunt, fish, gather, prepare food, and attend to the family needs. However, with statehood and development of urban centers occurring at the same time that traditional subsistence activities were outlawed or regulated and the removal of Native children from their homes to go to boarding school, these traditions have been disrupted. That disruption is more extreme in nuclear families who are now living in Anchorage, having left the extended family in the village.

I am not quite sure why the Native kids I’ve seen address their parents by their first name. I wonder if it’s a holdover from precontact.

I had no idea many natives were of the Russian Orthodox religion. How did that come about and what is a Starring ceremony?

Russians settled Alaska before it was sold to the United States. Coastal areas were occupied by fur trappers and traders and the Russian Orthodox Church took on the challenge of spreading Christianity amongst the Native Alaskans. 

Starring is a Christmas tradition like Christmas caroling. In the village, people stroll from house to house singing Christmas songs while men hold tinsel stars about two to three feet in diameter and spin them. Then everyone goes inside, eats and drinks, and the singers move on to the next house. In Anchorage, the different Native groups gather in an event room at the Alaska Native Medical Center where food is shared, songs are sung, dancers dance and the stars are spun. Orthodox Christmas is January 7.

In times of stress, Maeve, a recovering alcoholic, experiences phantom tastes of alcoholic beverages. I’ve heard of smells setting off memories, but never this phenomenon. Was stress the reason Maeve drank?

Maeve is an alcoholic of the genetic variety. She didn’t need a reason to drink. Once she experimented with alcohol in college, her disease took hold. Negotiating a sober lifestyle is stressful in itself for the newly-recovered and if something extra stressful happens, yearning for oblivion, the kneejerk reaction of any alcoholic or addict, is a typical response.

When Maeve is brought up on charges of malpractice stemming from an incident that happened prior to her going into mandated rehab, she realizes she was set up. It seems like she’s being punished twice for the same incident, and this time the outcome could get her disbarred for life. The charge is due to her client providing a false alibi, which at the time she didn’t know about. She was a public defender. Isn’t it the prosecution’s responsibility to break the alibi? Why is she being charged for what she didn’t know? Vice Versa, if the prosecution knew and didn’t say, why aren’t they charged with malpractice?

These are all really good questions. It seems unfair, doesn’t it?

I developed this plot point because it occurred to me that the authorities can be trapped in a web of their own making.  What would happen if the police were working with a confidential informant (“snitch”) who, at the same time, was doing something illegal. Would they turn a blind eye?

What if the only way the prosecution could win the second case (where the snitch is involved in illegal activity) was to disassemble the snitch’s alibi thus revealing that he was a snitch in another investigation, possibly destroying that case and/or risking the snitch’s life?

Point in fact: just a few months ago, a snitch was identified in a drug case to the defendant’s attorney and two days after his identification, he turned up dead. The defendant who he was testifying against has not been charged with his murder.

In Maeve’s case, her client’s alibi witness lied. He testified that he was with the defendant in a strip club and not robbing a store when in fact the snitch was on the other side of town doing a controlled drug deal for the police. A controlled drug deal is when the police wire up the snitch, give him marked money, observe and record the transaction.

Under ethical rules, the prosecution has no duty to reveal their methods or strategy. Nor do I believe that they have an ethical duty to inform the court that another party’s witness is lying. If they did, it would open a snake pit of side-litigation because in almost every case, an element in virtually every case is the accusation that the other party’s witnesses are lying.

But an attorney has an ethical duty to inform the court that her own witness lied or plans to lie. When Maeve learned afterwards that her alibi witness had lied, she was under a duty to inform the court even though her client was acquitted and couldn’t be tried again.  Instead, she swept it under the rug hoping no one would find out.

Maeve feels responsible for the actions of her clients, whom she can’t control. One mentor keeps after her about it “not being all about her.” Why can’t she take that advice?

That’s a complicated question. I’m not a psychologist but I’ve observed that there are many people, alcoholic or not, who interpret every event as effecting them personally or feel they have the power to effect everything around them. Thinking that everyone is out to get you or that when something good happens to someone else, you’re getting cheated is the flipside of the personality that thinks they can go around fixing everyone else. Both behaviors are rooted in self-centeredness.

Newly recovering alcoholics like Maeve sometimes have difficulty grasping this concept. It could well be a developmental thing as many alcoholics begin drinking as teenagers when they should be figuring out who they are, where they end, and where other people begin. So when they sober up, they are adults in adult world with the psyche of a young teenager. It can be quite confusing.

Thomas Sinclair, her investigator, is a complicated character. He’s good at what he does, but he also seems personally involved with her. He’s teaching Maeve defense moves, which she needs. He presses his jeans. He champions Maeve. He protects her, but she provides work for him. Does he fulfill the lack of male role-models in her life, father, brother, boyfriend? How old is Tom?

Tom is functioning in all those roles for Maeve. He introduced her to sobriety. He got her into rehab. He went to her boss to get her time off to go to rehab. He quit his job to go work for her when she left the Public Defender’s Office in part because he enjoyed working with her but also because he hated the politicking at the office. He is like a big brother but his feelings towards her are complicated and so his presence in her life seems to keep her from dating other men. And because Maeve is that teenager psychologically in an adult world, she doesn’t have perspective on her relationship with Tom to understand what exactly is going on between them.

I see Tom as about ten years older than Maeve. So if she’s in her late 20’s, he’s pushing forty.

“Traditional Yup’iks were stoic, especially in the presence of white people.” (Loc. 210) Why?

Traditional Yup’iks seem stoic to white people because white people haven’t learned how to read their facial expressions and body language, which is subtler than in the white culture. Several years ago, I was a presenter at the Alaska Federation of Natives annual conference on the topic of subsistence, having just won a major case in federal court related to that issue.

Before my talk, a local politician spoke. He told the audience that they didn’t need subsistence rights, they needed electricity and clean water and jobs. He was met with stony silence. Then he made a crack about the audience being inscrutable.

I had no problem reading them. Those folks were angry. They were doing just fine before we showed up, thank you very much, and subsistence lifestyle was their job. State regulation of their subsistence rights had turned them into a dependent poverty-stricken population. Then to have this politician show up as a guest at their convention preaching they should assimilate was truly insulting. And bad manners.

The federal government awards contacts to corporations formed by natives. Because of a lack of experience and/or knowledge many of the contracts are subbed out to nonnative corporations. The money passes through the natives who take a cut off the top. I can understand this happening at one time, but like Esther’s cousin who is an engineering student, at some point the new generation should get the education and experience necessary to manage and/or execute contracts. Does the money still just get passed through the natives?

As far as I know, these SBA programs are still being funded and administered.

Sal, a retired cop, opens an Italian restaurant on the first floor of the building in which Maeve’s office Is located. Will she ever get immune to the smells of bread and pizza?

Man, I wish. Of course there is a part of me in Maeve and every time I smell baking bread or pizza while I’m driving down the road, I want to turn my car around and find it.

Isn’t hemlock poisonous?

The hemlock tree in the Pacific Northwest is a variant of pine. It’s not the same stuff Socrates drank. Tea can be made from the needles of the hemlock tree.

What’s next for Maeve and Tom?

The next book, Hell and High Water, is scheduled for release in 2020. After the events in Hemlock Needle, Maeve is not practicing law – at least temporarily. She has taken a summer kitchen helper job at an ecolodge in Seward, Alaska, while Tom is in Homer working on a halibut charter boat. A “pineapple express”, a late summer storm with lots of rain and wind, moves into the area cutting the lodge off from civilization just before someone is murdered. Maeve needs to find who the murderer is and avoid getting killed herself. Tom is doing everything he can to get to Seward to rescue her.