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

July Interviews

7/1 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
7/8 Jessica Baker, Murder on the Flying Scotsman
7/15 TG Wolff, Driving Reign
7/22 Leslie Budewitz, The Solace of Bay Leaves
7/29 Cynthia Kuhn, The Study of Secrets

Saturday Guest Bloggers

7/11 Mark Dressler
7/18 James McCrone

WWK Bloggers:

7/4 Valerie Burns
7/25 Kait Carson


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!

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."

Grace Topping's second novel in Laura Bishop staging series, Staging Wars, was released by Henery Press on April 28th. Look for the interview here from April 29th.

Kaye George's second novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Deadly Sweet Tooth, was released on June 2. Look for the interview here on June 10.

Annette Dashofy's 10th Zoe Chambers mystery, Til Death, will be released on June 16th. Look for the interview here on June 17.


Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Malice Domestic Anthology 14: Mystery Most Edible Interview by E. B. Davis

Malice Domestic Mystery Most Edible is the newest anthology released by Wildside Press. The stories are chosen by a panel of judges, who are not on the Malice Board, but are normally regular attendees of the convention. The panel of judges don't see each other’s scores. It’s a fair and blind method of choosing the stories included in the anthology.

Most anthologies contain about 20-24 short stories. This anthology includes 36 stories. I asked some of the authors questions about their stories. All the stories involve food one way or another. It’s quite a treat (sorry) and a bargain.

Welcome authors to WWK.                                   E. B. Davis
“The Extra Ingredient” by Joan Long
What’s in the purple cannister?

Three Egg Kitchen takes its “rat” problems seriously, so the purple canister contains rat poisoning.

“A Death in Yelapa” by Leslie Budewitz
Is there some chemical in cilantro that makes it distasteful to some people?

Food researchers say that roughly 15% of the population think cilantro tastes like soap. Why? That 15% apparently have an increased sensitivity to bitterness, with receptor genes that react negatively to the naturally-occurring aldehydes in cilantro---which also occur in some soaps.  There is a slight geographic component to the sensitivity or tolerance – people of Central American or Indian ancestry rarely have problems with cilantro, which makes sense as it is native to those regions and is common in regional cuisines, while people of East Asian ancestry tend to be more cilantrophobic. As for me? Bring it on!

“Pie Sisters” by Richard Cass
Is there a real tale about rhubarb leaves?

Rhubarb leaves are toxic: they contain oxalic acid and sennoside. A person in good health would have to eat several kilos of leaves to die. In 1919, a doctor in Helena, Montana reported to the Journal of the American Medical Association that a young woman in his care had died, bleeding from the nose, after ingesting rhubarb leaves and stems for dinner.

“Too Many Cooks Almost Spoil the Murder” by Lynne Ewing
Have you ever competed in a cooking or baking contest? 

Years ago, I loved baking chocolate cakes and often entered my recipes in competitions.  My cakes have never won but creating new recipes was always fun.

“Pig Lickin' Good” by Debra H. Goldstein
How did the cake get its name? Did you pull on your Alabama roots for this story?

The South is known for pig roasts. At these barbecue events, guests would pick or pull the tender meat off the cooked pig. Consequently, these events became known as Pig Pickin’s. The cake recipe featured in “Pig Lickin’ Good“ is a moist cake often served at these barbecues because of its simplicity and the way its taste compliments the barbecued pig. At the end of the meal, the event’s success was noted by the licking clean of one’s fingers.  The name, Pig Lickin’ Cake, originally was used in the Carolinas, but later adopted throughout the south. As a transplanted Yankee, it was research rather than roots that brought me to the recipe.

“Quiche Alain” by Marni Graff
Have you ever eaten Puffer fish?

I’ve never eaten pufferfish, and would run like the dickens from it on a menu! But it was used in an episode of Alfred Hitchcock I saw decades ago, and it made an impression on me. When I was looking for an unusual way to kill someone for this story, the memory came to me from the depths of my memory bank.

“Diet of Death” by Ang Pompano
“We all sold our souls one way or another in the cooking industry.” Loc. 1435
In what ways?

Publicity-hungry diet guru Alan Tolzer is willing to set aside his feud with super star food columnist Betty Ann Green so she can promote his book. But Betty doesn’t exist. The editor of On-Topic Magazine has secretly hired a cooking-challenged man, Quincy Lazzaro, to write the “Cooking with Betty” column.  And Quincy, desperate for a writing job, accepted the invitation to deceive the public by impersonating Betty. Now he's feeling guilty about compromising his values and wondering how long before he gets caught. 

“Death at The Willard Hotel” by Verena Rose
I’ve eaten many times at the Old Ebbitt Grill, but I didn’t know it started out as a hotel. When did the hotel close? Thanksgiving Day was celebrated in April?

The Old Ebbitt Grill began in 1856 when William Ebbitt bought a boarding house. I couldn’t find when it actually stopped being a boarding house. But its best distinction is being Washington’s first known saloon. While looking at the calendar for 1860 I discovered that Thanksgiving Day was indeed celebrated on April 13. However, during Lincoln’s presidency it was changed to November.

“Dining Out” by Rosemary McCracken
Do restaurant critics really have the power to close a restaurant?

I don’t believe that a single newspaper, magazine or radio review has the power to close a restaurant. But, combined with word of mouth from restaurant-goers, a review can add to the negative buzz about a restaurant that can impact its business. The restaurant business is precarious, with huge overhead costs. If its tables are empty, a restaurant can go out of business in a matter of months.

“Snowbirding” by Kristin Kisska
How do people get hemlock? Does it have to be distilled or can the needles be placed in food or drink?

Poisonous hemlock--a highly toxic and invasive plant species--grows all over North America and can be found along roadsides and thick clusters of weeds.  In fact, hemlock leaves can be confused for parsley and the stem for parsnip!  In my story, I assumed the alcohol was laced with bits of the plant floating inside the silver flask.  Since the story takes place in the thick of Maine's winter, the hemlock would've been collected months before and stored for later (nefarious) use.

“Up Day Down Day Deadly Day” by Ellen Larson
You made up the acronym “WOE,” didn’t you? Your story does have a lot of humor in it. Are you worried that readers will think you were making fun of overweight people and be offended?

All the acronyms and weight-loss language are real and well known to the dieting community. It’s funny because it’s true!

Not at all. Fat-shaming—and looksism in general—is abhorent to me, and you won't find it in this story. In fact, I think readers might be surprised at how normal all the characters are—especially when they are being very, very silly.

“The Secret Blend” by Stacy Woodson
Did you ever work at KFC?

I never worked at KFC, but I was a frequent customer when I was stationed at Fort Bragg. 

“First of The Year” by Gabriel Valjan
What is the Spanish word for “stew?” Why is it scary? Are octopuses smart?

El guiso is Spanish for stew, and it's also a gruesome method the Los Zetas cartel uses on their victims. Recipe: live person, 55-gallon of acid, and the person is either boiled alive or set on fire. An octopus can escape its aquarium, open jars and halve coconuts. A city of octopuses was found in the waters of Jervis Bay, off the coast of eastern Australia in 2017.

“The Cremains of The Day” by Josh Pachter
Is there really a Bossa Nova donut?

I really hope there's a Bossa Nova donut somewhere — maybe in Rio de Janeiro? — but I'm sorry to admit that there isn't one in Cedar Falls, Iowa. I made up the Mojo Donuts shop, too, although Cup of Joe on Main Street is real, and I spent a lot of time there when my wife Laurie and I lived in the Cedar Valley from 2008 to 2010. (If you ever find yourself next door in Waterloo, try the Texas donut at Johnson's Bakery. It's as big as your head, and every bite is delicious!)

“Killer Chocolate Chips” by Ruth McCarty
Most abused women are passive. What are triggers that make them act?

I think the most important trigger is when an abused woman reaches the lowest point in her relationship and realizes that taking action, even if it threatens her life, is better than staying in an abusive relationship.

“Sushi Lessons” by Edith Maxwell
Have you spent time in Japan?

I lived in the greater Tokyo-Yokohama area for two years in the seventies, when my American boyfriend was in the US Navy and worked on a small base. We lived in a drafty little house (not on base) in Minami Rinkan, on the Okakyu train line. I taught conversational English to businessmen and studied Japanese. We drank at a local bar in the neighborhood with a Mama-san just like in the story - where I felt comfortable going alone as a woman - and we learned how to make sushi from the old woman at the fish shop. You will recognize all of that from the story. Nothing else in "Sushi Lessons" is true - I swear! This is my third short story set in Japan (see https://edithmaxwell.com/short-fiction/ for the others).

“The Missing Ingredient for Murderous Intent” by Elizabeth Perona
Who is Joy?

Joy is one of our main characters, another of the "skinny dipping grandmas" who in the first book in the Bucket List mystery series, chronicled the elderly sleuths's escapades attempting to solve the murder mystery. She ended up becoming a correspondent for Good Morning America reporting occasionally on issues facing older Americans. She also became a reporter for a local news station, which is how she was able to track down the information Francine needed in the short story.

“It's Canning Season” by Adele Polomski
Why are there alligator farmers? Who wants alligators?

Alligator farmers in Florida can legally sell as many alligators as they can raise.  There are lucrative markets for both the meat and skins of these creatures, and farm raising alligators is a lot less complicated than producing cattle.  Unlike other farm-raised animals, alligators don’t need vaccinations, live on undevelopable swampy land and can survive with little food.  It’s not easy to get alligators to nest in captivity.  To restock their enterprises, farmers depend on collecting eggs in the wild, a costly and heavily regulated activity.  To cut corners, some alligator farmers turn to poachers.  

“The Gourmand” by Nancy Cole Silverman
Have you found life ironic?

What a cool question.  I chose to use a food critic as one the principal characters in the story, because after working in talk radio for many years, I’d known a few.  Ironically, most were never what their fans might expect.  Irony?  You bet!

“The Last Word” by Shawn Reilly Simmons
“The thermostat was set at a perfect seventy-two, the ambient air providing comfort and the ideal environment for both entrees and desserts to maintain their integrity for up to seven minutes after they left the service window.” Loc. 3577
Has someone really studied this stuff?

Like many things related to the culinary world, this concept is a mixture of study and practice. Once a dish is prepared, the clock starts ticking, and it must get to the diner before it "dies in the window" meaning it won't maintain its integrity or taste as good as it did in the first few minutes after cooking. Kitchens can reach up to 115 degrees or more, especially in front of a busy grill, and if the dining area is too cold, it will chill the food down too quickly and throw the dish out of balance. I chose 72 as the temperature for my story's chef because that's my favorite temp to dine in to keep my food tasty--and he's as particular about these things as I am! 

“Murder Takes the Cupcake” by Kate Willett
Are you going to develop a series based on these sisters?

Yes! I've been loosely outlining another story about the mystery surrounding the sisters' mother. Right now, I'm in the very early planning stages, but I think this one might be novelette length. Polly and Kaitlyn surprised me, and I don't think their story is finished yet. When I began writing "Murder Takes the Cupcake," I had no idea who they even were. I hadn't done any character work beforehand; I just dove head first into writing based on a vague idea about a girl visiting a psychic. Then Polly and Kaitlyn suddenly took hold of the plot and wouldn't let go. Their dynamic is fascinating, and I'm excited to explore it more. So, yes, my plan is for a series!

“Morsels of The Gods” by Victoria Thompson
Were the original marshmallows flavored by mallow? What are mallows? Are they grown in marshes?

Mallow plants are herbs and grow in marshy areas. Marshmallows were originally made from the mallow plant as far back as 2000 B.C. and were used medicinally. French confectioners added ingredients and made them into confections, for which we will always be grateful.

“Mrs. Beeton's Sausage Stuffing” by Christine Trent
Was Florence Nightingale really a proponent of adding raw eggs to food for patients?

Indeed she was!  Egg mixed into beef broth, eggs in wine…any way she could get an egg into a patient (or inmate, as they called hospital patients in those days) was fine by Florence.  She considered an egg to not only be very nutritious, but an item that could be easily slipped into any meal, whether cracked open and stirred into a drink or served poached with toast.  Florence Nightingale was an early proponent of using nutrition to help speed recovery along, although most health care professionals today might question serving beer and wine to hospital patients!

“Bring It” by Terry Shames
How did Jenna get Alain to go along with her plan?

It wasn’t my intent that Alain would know what Jenna was ultimately up to. She paid him to waltz in just long enough to lend his charm, good looks, and French accent to her plan to upend Marcia’s control of the potluck. He is gone before the real action begins. 

“Gutbombs 'N' Guinness” by Lisa Preston
Why did you make the central character a young woman horseshoer?

When I developed my horseshoer mystery series, I wanted to create an unusual world that readers aren't already seeing in another series featuring a protagonist who has room to grow. Rainy Dale, the high school dropout turned horseshoer, who pursued her childhood horse to another state fit the bill. Then I was delighted when my publisher gave me permission to use Rainy and her boyfriend in this story to explore their early days together.
{Note: spellcheck will not like "horseshoer" as one word--but it's one word.}

“Carne Diem” by Sharon Lynn
Is your main character hypoglycemic?

Since my main character lives on a boat she is constantly in motion. Boatlife requires cleaning of mold, keeping saltwater from eating away metal, and making sure sealife isn't attaching itself to the hull. Also, there is an unintentional core workout of keeping balanced when the boat moves on the tide. Add all of that to the sunshine and fresh air and my character always needs to stay nourished to keep up her energy.

“Turn the Sage” by Stephen D. Rogers
Do you like puns and word play?

Yes, I do enjoy word play, and have to resist including more in order to highlight the emotional journey of the characters.  A dash of dialogue, a sprinkle of setting, a pinch of pun.  Voila!

“Bad Ju-Ju” by M.A. Monnin
Can anyone buy bottles of nicotine?

Yes! Liquid nicotine is shockingly easy to buy online. Pure nicotine requires an FDA registration number, but to purchase strong dilutions, all that is needed is that buyers meet their state age requirements to purchase tobacco.

Here are additional stories included in the anthology!

“A Cup of Tea” by Parnell Hall
“Brown Recluse” by Marcia Adair
“A Slice of Heaven” by Laura Brennan
“Sticky Fingers” by L. D. Masterson
“Honor Thy Father” by Harriette Sackler
“The Blue Ribbon” by Cynthia Kuhn
“Murder Takes the Cupcake” by Kate Willett
“Bull Dog Gravy” by Mark Thielman
“Deadly In-Flight Dining” by Sara Rosett


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congrats to all

Warren Bull said...

What fun! and congratulations to all.

E. B. Davis said...

I love anthologies. This one was fun. There were 36 stories so look forward to lots of good reading. Thanks to all the authors for answering my questions.

KM Rockwood said...

Sounds like a great anthology! I like to read a short story before I go to bed every night, and this sounds like I will love it and it will last me for a while.

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks for having us. It was fun!

Mary Garrett said...

I have asked my library to order this, and they agreed. <3 my library! I'm looking forward to happy reading.

Lisa Preston said...

Thanks, E.B., for this great way to dip into the anthology for a sneak peek.

Cynthia Kuhn said...

What a great post! Can't wait to read everyone's stories. :)