Starting on 11/28 WWK presents original short stories by some of our authors. Here's our lineup:

11/28 Debra H. Goldstein, "Thanksgiving in Moderation"

12/5 Annette Dashofy, "Las Posadas--A New Mexico Christmas"

12/12 Warren Bull, "The Thanksgiving War"

12/19 KM Rockwood, "The Gift of Peace"

12/26 Paula Gail Benson, "The Lost Week of the Year"

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

November Interviews
11/6 Barbara Ross, Nogged Off
11/13 Lena Gregory, Scone Cold Killer
11/20 Lois Winston, Handmade Ho-Ho Homicide
11/27 V. M Burns, Bookmarked For Murder

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
11/2 V. M. Burns
11/9 Heather Redmond
11/16 Arlene Kay

WWK Bloggers: 11/23 Kait Carson


Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

Paula Gail Benson's story "Wisest, Swiftest, Kindest" appears in Love in the Lowcountry an anthology by the Lowcountry Romance Writers available 11/5 in e-book and print format on Amazon. The anthology includes fourteen stories all based in Charleston, South Carolina.

Lyrical Press will publish Kaye George's Vintage Sweets mystery series. The first book, Revenge Is Sweet, will be released in March. Look for the interview here on 3/11.

Shari Randall will be writing again for St. Martin's, perhaps under a pseudonym. We look forward to reading Shari's Ice Cream Shop Mystery series debuting next year. Congratulations, Shari!

Susan Van Kirk's A Death At Tippett Pond was released on June 15th. Read E. B. Davis's interview with Susan.

KM Rockwood's "Frozen Daiquiris" appears in The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery & Suspense, edited by Judy Penz Sheluk. The anthology was released on June 18th.

Fishy Business anthology authors include KM Rockwood, Debra Goldstein, and James M. Jackson. This volume was edited by Linda Rodriguez.

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.

Warren Bull's Abraham Lincoln: Seldom Told Stories was released. It is available at: GoRead: or at Amazon:

Grace Topping's mystery, Staging is Murder was released April 30. It is now also available in audio.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

An Interview with Author Julie Mulhern by E. B. Davis

My late husband had done things I didn’t like to think about. True, he’d been an
upstanding member of the community. True, he’d been a good provider. True, he’d
adored our daughter. But Henry’s faults as a husband outweighed the good.
He’d cheated on me with friends. He’d cheated on me with strangers. He’d
cheated on me with women who carried handcuffs and whips.
To say our marriage wasn’t in the greatest shape before I did the
unforgivable was an understatement.
My unforgiveable sin?
I earned more money than he did.
Julie Mulhern, Telephone Line, Kindle Loc. 484

A killer is calling, and Ellison’s life is on the line.

Ellison Russell is planning the event of the season—and she’s stressed. Why not yoga?

Because the yoga instructor gets murdered during class—and Ellison’s stress level rises exponentially. Now, in addition to raising a ridiculous amount of money, she’s babysitting a deranged cat (named after the devil himself), taking ten million phone calls (most of them from Mother), and finding more bodies (they’re popping up like dandelions after a spring rain).

There’s no such thing as balance when the killer makes it personal. Can Ellison catch a murderer or will her next namaste be her last?

Julie Mulhern’s writing in The Country Club Murders has been compared to the Gilmore Girls, the old TV show near and dear to many of us with daughters. Why? Because of the close relationship of her main character, Ellison Russell, and her daughter, Grace. And Ellison’s adversarial relationship with her mother. But at times each merge into one character, much to all of their dismays. We all want to be ourselves, not comparable to our mothers. We want to be a better version of our mothers. But then, there are times when no one is better than our mothers, very smart and strong, and sometimes they forget themselves. For example:

“We both stared at the phone.
Neither of us made a single move to pick up the receiver.
Brnng, brnng.
“You’re the adult.”[Grace said]
She had a point.”                                Kindle Loc. 3979

I’m ashamed to say, this reminds me of when my young daughter disposed of a dead mouse in our house that I just couldn’t deal with. Thank you, Audrey!

Please welcome Julie Mulhern back to WWK!                                                                                E. B. Davis

Henry, Ellison’s late husband, was a blackmailer for the thrill of control and power. Ellison found his blackmail files after his death. Why didn’t she destroy them?

Ellison discovered the files in the summer when building a fire and burning their contents wasn’t an option. Later, she put them out of her mind—after all, she’s been BUSY finding bodies.

After Ellison identifies a murdered yoga instructor at the home of her friend Winnie Flournoy, a defense attorney is also found murdered in his car trunk. Anarchy doesn’t connect the two deaths. But it makes Ellison wonder. Why?

Ellison has access to the above-referenced files and knows there’s a connection. Detective Anarchy Jones doesn’t know about the files or their contents.

One of Grace’s friends goes to a bar and comes home drunk, but not before she is assaulted and raped. Grace questions her friend’s innocence. How does Ellison respond?

I don’t think Grace questions her friend’s innocence. What I do think is people (even fictional people) have a tendency to believe in karmic scales. If something awful (cancer, murder, rape) happens there’s a tendency to ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” That question ignores an uncomfortable truth—life is messy and random and bad things happen to good people for no reason. In cases of rape, it’s far too easy to blame the victim (she was drinking, she was dressed provocatively, she was out too late…). According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, one in five women in the United States will be raped in their lifetime. Not a single one of them is to blame for what happened to them.

Jennifer and Marshall are new neighbors from California. Jennifer helps Grace with her math homework since she majored in math at Stanford. Jennifer offers to talk with Grace’s friend who was attacked. Jennifer and her sister-in-law, who killed herself, were also attacked. She seems so nice, except her cooking stinks. How could Jennifer possibly think her JellO concoctions are edible? Lettuce, olives, raisins…
There’s a fascinating article about JellO, its ascendency as a salad item, and social history. Gelatin began its culinary life as a delicacy so the advent of refrigeration and instant JellO made it a popular item. Mid-century homemakers got creative (especially after the introduction of lime JellO). I encourage everyone to Google 1970s JellO molds—you’ll find recipe cards that suggest Jennifer’s salad isn’t too far off the mark.

Why does Aggie favor Hunter Tafft instead of Anarchy? Does Max also favor Hunter?

Ellison’s housekeeper, Aggie, adores Hunter because her late husband used to work for him. Max the dog favors anyone who’ll give him treats. Preferably bacon.

Even though she knows better, Ellison still blames herself for the breakdown of her marriage. Why?

There are so many ways to answer this question.

First, what we know and what we feel are often at odds. Guess which one most often wins?

Second, Ellison’s stories are set in the 1970s and she’s almost 40, which means she was born in an era (and in a social class) when women kept quiet and looked the other way. That’s what her mother would have done.

The weight of familial and societal expectations sits heavily on Ellison’s shoulders.

When Ellison raises one million dollars to match that of other, larger cities for the museum exhibit, she and Grace celebrate with chocolate cake. While eating cake, Grace says, “If I was raped, and you murdered the rapist, it would totally be my fault.” She’d followed my reasoning down the wrong path.
“Nope. The decision to commit murder would be on me, not you. But death—even a violent death—would be too easy.” I narrowed my eyes. “I’d rather let the guy live and make his life miserable.”
“For a minute there, you looked and sounded exactly like Granna.”
“Your grandmother has her good points.”
“True. But she can be scary.” Grace shuddered…”

Is there such a thing as a fate worse than death, like Ellison’s mother?

A fate worse than death? Absolutely. Is that fate actually Ellison’s mother? Doubtful.

A theme, a fact, in Telephone Line is that woman blame themselves for things beyond their control—or at least they used to do so. It was the old blame the victim game that persists. I remember the phrase, “She got herself pregnant.” As if a pregnant girl sought out artificial insemination instead of being raped. Why were the responsibilities and repercussions always assigned to women? Do you think the “Me, Too” movement is a result of this skewed legal problem?

Women blame themselves, women blame each other, and men blame women. Is it any wonder that women end up with the blame?

I think #metoo is about the thousands of women who’ve kept silent about rape, harassment or abuse (many because speaking out might mean the loss of a job they need to support their families). It is so important for women to speak up when abuse happens. Legal protections are in place, and speaking up gives the police an opportunity to investigate when evidence still exists.

Why is Libba so interested in Anarchy’s past, his single status, and his future?

Libba’s interest in Anarchy is based on her feelings for Ellison. She doesn’t want to see Ellison get hurt again.

Ellison and Max outrun a man she thinks is following her. Is Ellison in really good physical condition? How about Max?

Ellison keeps fit. She and Max (who’s a Weimaraner) are both runners.

In assault and rape cases, often the trial to prosecute the perpetrator are more traumatic to the victim than the criminal act because the defense tries to discredit the victim. Is that still the case?

Recently in Missouri, a lobbyist attempted to take the teeth out of Title IX legislation. He argued, “women, more than men, regret casual sex, and it is these unsatisfying sexual unions caused by regret — not rape — that is the real sex problem on campus.” That argument—she wanted it then she changed her mind—was made in APRIL. So, yes, discrediting the victim is still a problem.
Ellison is a dog person. When her friend Winnie asks her to take care of her cat, Beezie, Ellison doesn’t realize the cat’s nickname is short for Beelzebub, and for good reason. The cat attacks her friend, Libba. Even Winnie’s kids hate the cat. Why are people blind to their pet’s behavior? And why didn’t the cat attack the intruders Winnie had in her home?

True story. I know a woman who had a Pomeranian who attacked anyone who walked through her front door. She didn’t see it as a problem (what damage can a Pom do?) When one of her friends required stitches (apparently those little dogs can do a number on ankles), she paid the doctor’s bill and did not apologize for her dog. I have no idea why some people can’t see problems right in front of them—but they can’t.

As for Beezie and the intruder, for all we know, Beezie did attack. Since Ellison wasn’t there to see it, the attack is not in the book.

Are Swanson’s and Woolf’s local Kansas City stores?

Swanson’s and Woolf’s were beloved Kansas City stores. Sadly, they both closed years ago.

What’s next for Ellison?

Ellison has a gala coming up. I’m pretty sure something will go disastrously wrong.


Margaret S. Hamilton said...

congratulations on your new release!

When I worked in the kitchen of a Cape Cod seafood restaurant, one of my jobs was shredding leftover vegetables to use in a "molded" salad, topped with a celery seed dressing made from a secret recipe. When my boss assembled the "moldie", she added mayo and sour cream to the chopped broccoli, carrots, and peas. Some salads were better than others, the visual impact as important as the taste.

Customers who didn't eat tossed salad were served our unique concoctions.

Kaye George said...

Great interview--there's a lot going on here! But, hey, I have to keep Jell-O in the house for my grandkids. And I like it too. It's good for your nails and hair!

Julie said...

Thanks so much for hosting me today!

Kait said...

Excellent interview. Julie, I'm a big fan of the Ellison books. You "get" the 1970s vibe and you always weave a larger perspective into the books. Looking forward to the newest. As for Jell-O, my mother had a carrot mold - with orange Jell-O. Thank heaven she skipped the raisins my aunt always added.

E. B. Davis said...

Love Julie's series! Thanks for the interview, Julie. Until next time.

bethany said...

I remember shopping at Swansons! I also remember when it closed, my mother was bereft. I can't read one of Julie's books without wanting a Winsteads burger either. Sadly the location closest to me is long gone.

KM Rockwood said...

Ah, lime JellO. With heavy cream, cream cheese, drained canned fruit and cast in a bundt pan. The crowning piece on the buffet table. With the decided advantage that usually nobody took any, so it could remain as a centerpiece.

Grandmother/mother/daughter relationships are fraught with issues. A great area to explore in mystery books.

Jeanie Jackson said...

Although the rape was a small part of the novel, it played a large role and Ellison's comments about it are one of the most important parts of the books. I laughed throughout which made the seriousness of the issue easier to read about.

Oh, that jello mold! Epic