Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Why I Love Writers Who Kill

by Paula Gail Benson

Since October 2012, I’ve been very proud to be a member of Writers Who Kill. Through the association, I’ve learned so much and had so many opportunities. I’ve benefited from the information in the interviews by E.B. Davis, Shari Randall, and Grace Topping, as well as getting to conduct a few myself. Also, reading the guest messages has introduced me to many new-to-me authors. Most recently, after reading Jane Isenberg’s post, I purchased and read her The Bones and the Book, a fascinating story that takes place in the 1880s and the 1960s. In addition, I found out the book was published by Oconee Spirit Press LLC, which includes among its authors my favorites Carolyn Hart, Margaret Maron, and Sharyn McCrumb. What a terrific discovery!

In honor of Valentines’ month, I’d like to celebrate each of the folks who are part of this WWK partnership.

Gloria Alden is an incredible role model. Her continuing sense of curiosity and wonder as well as her drive for personal achievement are qualities I hope I can emulate. She cherishes her family and involves them in her publications. I love reading about her animals, book clubs, and adventures.

Warren Bull has some amazing experiences. He’s a Lincoln scholar. He writes wonderful short stories. He travels. I’ve been reading with interest how he has learned to present songs. What an incredibly diverse life! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Kait Carson lives in Florida and writes about resiliency. As her website points out, palm trees can withstand the storm, but are forever changed and bear the scars. She writes the Hayden Kent and Catherine Swope mysteries. Her work is fast paced and suspenseful.

Carla Damron and I live in the same city, now closer since she’s moved to the Northeast side of town. We’ve been members of the Inkplots, a local writing group, for more years than I can remember. Her The Stone Necklace, published by Pat Conroy’s imprint for the University of South Carolina Press, was selected for a citywide read. Seeing her grow in talent and accomplishment is so fantastic.

Annette Dashofy and I met through an online class taught by Susan McBride. Now, I watch with pride as her Zoe Chambers novels are nominated for Agathas! I love that she brings her own experiences to her writing. In particular, I really enjoyed her message about meeting Robert Fuller, whose roles I remember fondly. Recently, she posted the dress she selected for the Agatha banquet. Annette, you’ll rock the room!

E.B. Davis invited me to join WWK. I’ll always be grateful that she saw something worthy in me, at the time, just another member of the online Sisters in Crime Guppy Chapter’s short story critique group with very few publications to my credit. Elaine encouraged me to run for the Guppy board, a fabulous experience. She continues to organize the Guppy online classes. And, she writes great paranormal mystery short stories.

Nancy Eady, one of our newer members, is a fellow lawyer and Guppy. I loved her recent post about taking a photo for the blog. So glad that you have joined us, Nancy.

I’d like to grow up to be Debra Goldstein. From her Agatha nominated short story to her new Sarah Blair series to her serving as President of both the Guppies and Southeast Mystery Writers of America, she is a force with whom to be reckoned. I love it that she’s a fellow theatre geek and will slip away with me from a conference to attend a Garth Brooks’ concert. More adventures to be planned in the future.

Margaret S. Hamilton takes the most gorgeous floral photos and we share a love of New Orleans. She writes fabulous shorts and is involved in so many wonderful organizations. Margaret, I admire your devotion to family and to travel. Please, let me continue to live vicariously through your photographs.

James M. Jackson spoke with the Palmetto Chapter of Sisters in Crime on Saturday to tell us about how to put together an anthology. It was a superb presentation, and he knows whereof he speaks, having put together Lowcountry Crime: Four Novellas, featuring work by himself, Jonathan M. Bryant, Polly Iyer, and Tina Whittle, whose story “Trouble Like a Freight Train Coming” was shortlisted for a Derringer. Jim is a great friend and wonderful son. I’ll bet his Mom doesn’t call him James Montgomery Jackson too often.

Shari Randall writes wonderful short stories and this year her debut novel Curses, Boiled Again! has been nominated for an Agatha! Shari has so many interests that she brings to her writing. I’m so excited that after years of serving as a librarian, she now has taken on the role as Library Liaison for National Sisters in Crime. And, from our meals shared in Bethesda and Raleigh, I can assure you she’s a great partner for sharing tea and sweets!

K.M. Rockwood writes with such depth and compassion about people reinventing themselves. Her Jesse Damon series is riveting, tracing a former inmate’s struggles to return to the world outside, and her short stories follow other characters taking back their lives after facing severe setbacks. She makes you believe in redemption.

Linda Rodriguez writes fictional characters that live on the page and in the minds of readers. Through her poetry, novels, and short stories, she evokes such incredible images. And, she has condensed how she does it into a book and courses to teach writing to others. She’s extraordinary.

Grace Topping is so delightful. I’m always excited to read her interviews. Her debut novel, Staging is Murder, the first in a series featuring Laura Bishop, a house stager, will be available at the end of April and all of us will be celebrating with her! Much success, Grace!

Tina Whittle writes the Tai Randolph/Trey Seavers’ series. She is an accomplished short story author and, like Debra Goldstein, serves on local and national mystery organization boards. In addition to writing, her enthusiasms include boxing, sushi, tarot cards, and her family.

Many thanks to you all for your messages and for allowing me to be a part of this WWK endeavor. Best wishes to you, now and always.


  1. Delightful!

    Thanks for giving us all a bit more information about all those who post on Writers Who Kill!

  2. Thanks, Paula. I'm steaming along on my debut traditional mystery, Curtains for the Corpse.

  3. Thanks, Paula! What a diverse yet cohesive group. I'm honored to be among you.

  4. How kind of you, Paula, to speak so glowingly about all of us--killers on the page. What readers didn't get to read was about you--your intriguing short stories, the Christmas programs that you have written and helped produce for your church each year, how you gather people together at conferences to celebrate the reunions with them. It's been a pleasure getting to know you here at WWK and spending time with you at Malice. Thank you for your lovely post and your generous spirit.

  5. Lovely love letter!! Thank you!

  6. You're welcome. I'm glad you're a part of us.

  7. You all are so wonderful and I'm so very proud to be among you. Thank you for your kind words. Go Team WWK!

  8. What a wonderful blog, Paula. I hope to see you at Malice again this year.