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

February Interviews

2/5 Heather Weidner, Glitter, Glam, and Contraband
2/12 Rhys Bowen, Above The Bay of Angels
2/19 Elizabeth Penney, Hems & Homicide
2/26 Annette Dashofy, Under The Radar

Saturday Guest Bloggers:
2/1 Valerie Burns
2/8 Jeannette de Beauvoir
2/15 Kathryn Lane

WWK Bloggers: 2/22 Kait Carson, 1/28 & 1/29 Special Interviews with Agatha Nominees by Paula Gail Benson


WWK is proud of our four Agatha nominees. Kaye George for Best Short Story--not her first time to be nominated, Connie Berry and Grace Topping for Best First Mystery Novel (wish they weren't having to compete against each other), and Annette Dashofy for Best Contemporary Novel--her fifth nomination!

Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:

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."

Kaye George's first novel in the Vintage Sweets mystery series, Revenge is Sweet, will be released on March 10th. Look for the interview here on March 11.

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

Don't miss Shari Randall's "The Queen of Christmas" available on at Amazon. Shari's holiday story for WWK was too long so she published it for our enjoyment. It's available for 99 cents or on Kindle Unlimited for free!

KM Rockwood's "The Society" and "To Die A Free Man; the Story of Joseph Bowers" are included in the BOULD Awards Anthology, which was released on November 19. KM won second place with a cash prize for "The Society." Congratulations, KM! Kaye George's "Meeting on the Funicular" is also in this anthology, which can be bought for 99 cents on Kindle until November 30.

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.

Kaye George's "Grist for the Mill" was published in A Murder of Crows anthology, edited by Sandra Murphy on October 9th.

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.

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: https://tinyurl.com/ydaklx8p


Monday, February 3, 2020

Getting a Life

by Linda Rodriguez
(This is a previously published article.)

Yesterday I just crashed. I slept late. I couldn’t get myself moving on anything I had to do, not this blog post or a manuscript report that’s due, not my usual stint on the WIP, not any of the several business emails I needed to take care of, not trying to clear some of the clutter and mess that have collected in my house as I’ve battled illness and injury, taking care of a slew of freelance commitments, and preparing and teaching several workshops along the way. Usually I rise early, take a deep breath, gird my loins for the day’s battle with the endless to-do list, and kick into overdrive, but yesterday I couldn’t muster the energy or the will to do much of anything productive. This is not like me.

While driving recently with my husband past Kansas City’s Plaza, which is a premier pedestrian shopping mall/outdoor art gallery full of fountains, intricate and colorful Spanish tiles, ornate buildings, and beautiful sculptures, I reminisced sadly about the good times we used to have walking the Plaza and sitting on one of the many benches to watch the parade of people. I reminded my husband of the fun we had taking picnic lunches to some of Kansas City’s many great parks to enjoy after a refreshing walk. I waxed nostalgic over the weekend day trips we used to make to explore lovely small towns all around the Kansas City area—I’ve given many of their best features to my fictional town in my Skeet Bannion series of novels. The strange thing is that, though we don’t do any of those things any longer due to lack of time, we used to do them when I had an ultra-demanding, 60-70-hour per week university job. Now that I’m a full-time writer, however, I have no time to enjoy leisure activities with my husband or any of the other things I used to do to make a real life—cooking, fiberart, gardening, going to Shakespeare or concerts in the park, lunches with friends, etc.

How did this terrible imbalance in my life occur? Isn’t one of the joys of being a full-time writer supposed to be the flexibility of time that allows you to lead a fuller, richer life? How did I manage with that old job and all its hours and responsibilities to weave in time for recreation and fun, time with family and friends, time to feed the creative well inside me, yet now I can hardly find time to even wash dishes or do laundry, the minimal tasks required to keep us from sinking into total chaos?

If I were just writing my books, I would have time to enjoy some of these activities still, but I have to promote those books in an effort to constantly increase sales. Publishers are dumping amazing writers who have received impressive reviews and award nominations, because their sales are just not spectacular enough. So I have to work harder to get the word out about my books and persuade new people to try them. The writing and publishing (with its line edits, copy edits, and page proofs) when combined with the promotion and marketing (with its touring, social media, conferences, and events) are two full-time jobs. Since my writing career is still not earning enough to support me, I must take on freelance writing/editing/evaluating/judging/teaching contracts, yet another full-time job. It’s no wonder I’m so tired!

I’m hardly the only writer in this predicament. Writers who are far more successful and have been doing this for far longer than I have are facing the same dilemma. Several author listservs periodically ring with the cries of authors who have run out of steam trying to do all of this. Some are even seriously thinking of giving up writing, which they love, because they just don’t think they can do all of it any longer.

As a country, we are moving more and more to a freelance or independent contractor environment, where we don’t have paid vacation and sick days and where we can find ourselves working all the time—or feeling as if we ought to be. How do we make a go of this kind of career and still have any kind of life outside of work?

I’m the first to admit I don’t have the answers to that question. I will be spending my next few days trying to find some, however. How we spend our time is our actual life, even if we think we’re just doing it until we bring in enough money or reach a certain level of success. I intend to find a way to bring those elements of a real, lived life back into mine. Can I do it without shortchanging the efforts I need to put into my writing and promotion of my work to create a successful career? I’ll have to find a way.

How do you manage that career-personal life balance that can be so difficult to get right?

Linda Rodriguez's Dark Sister: Poems is her 10th book and is a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award. Plotting the Character-Driven Novel, based on her popular workshop, and The World Is One Place: Native American Poets Visit the Middle East, an anthology she co-edited, were published in 2017.  Every Family Doubt, her fourth mystery featuring Cherokee detective, Skeet Bannion,  and Revising the Character-Driven Novel will be published in 2019. Her three earlier Skeet novels—Every Hidden Fear, Every Broken Trust, Every Last Secret—and earlier books of poetry—Skin Hunger and Heart's Migration—have received critical recognition and awards, such as St. Martin's Press/Malice Domestic Best First Novel, International Latino Book Award, Latina Book Club Best Book of 2014, Midwest Voices & Visions, Elvira Cordero Cisneros Award, Thorpe Menn Award, and Ragdale and Macondo fellowships. Her short story, “The Good Neighbor,” published in Kansas City Noir, has been optioned for film. 

Rodriguez is past chair of the AWP Indigenous Writer’s Caucus, past president of Border Crimes chapter of Sisters in Crime, founding board member of Latino Writers Collective and The Writers Place, and a member of International Thriller Writers, Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Wordcraft Circle of Native American Writers and Storytellers, and Kansas City Cherokee Community. Learn more about her at http://lindarodriguezwrites.blogspot.com


Debra H. Goldstein said...

Sometimes, especially when life has been so pressing, sleeping in or simply taking an insanity day helps re-set the mind and energies. The day for ourselves, gives us the freedom to brainstorm or attack tasks the next day with a more relaxed approach - taking things one step at a time. Balancing writing, promotion, health, and other stressors, is in itself insane. Hope your day of sleeping in helped a little.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Every obligation, even a haircut, breaks my writing routine and throws me off. I used to be more flexible.

KM Rockwood said...

I can't figure out how I used to fit a fulltime job into my life.

I do find that our living expenses, while not small (when did supplemental life insurance and co-pays on drugs become major expenses?) are fixed, and we're totally debt-free, including a paid-off mortgage, so between pensions & social security, we're fine financially. That helps a lot.

However, the days go by before I can catch up with anything, and while I try to devote the same portion of every day to my writing, sometimes I'm just so tired I end up napping instead.

In the end, we do what we have to do, balanced or not.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Deborah, I know you're right, but taking such a day also throws me way behind the mound of daily tasks. You're also right about the insanity of balancing all of this. Unfortunately, we seem to have no other choice.

Linda Rodriguez said...

So true, Margaret. Unfortunately, so very true.

Linda Rodriguez said...

KM, I also find it difficult to figure out how I managed to do everything I did when I had a full-time job. Yes, in the end, we do what we have to do. If we don't, the body reveals and forces us to it.

Kait said...

I wish I had a magic wand - for all of us! Alas, I don't, nor do I have any answers or even good suggestions. It seems to me that the older I get, the faster everything goes. Life right now between day job, writing, home, family moves at the speed of Twitter!

Warren Bull said...

I hear you. I don't have any answers.

Mary Garrett said...

I was just talking with a friend about the trend toward harder work for fewer rewards despite technology which could create sufficient for all with less work . . . if the means of living were shared more equitably. Meanwhile, do take care of yourself. <3
“We should do away with the absolutely specious notion that everybody has to earn a living. It is a fact today that one in ten thousand of us can make a technological breakthrough capable of supporting all the rest. . . . The true business of people should be to go back to school and think about whatever it was they were thinking about before somebody came along and told them they had to earn a living.”
― Buckminster Fuller

Cate Simon said...

As someone with my first book coming out this summer, I do worry and wonder, especially seeing friends who are well-published who can't support themselves entirely that way.

I'm definitely hanging on to my day job -- which is also academic, but since I'm non-tenure track (but have excellent job security), I figure my fiction will just take the place of some of the scholarship I'd be doing otherwise. Which may mean I publish at a slower rate, but I'll take what I can get.

carla said...

It's very hard to balance all this and not feel like you're neglecting something. We all need CLONES.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kate, yes, isn't it amazing how much faster things go the older you get? Maybe we ultimately just die of sheer speed.

Warren, thanks for listening to me vent anyway.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Mary, you're absolutely right. I can remember a time when, as a country, we supported our writers in a better way than we do now. NEA individual grants were much larger, and there were more of them to go around each year. There were also many other opportunities for writers. Heck, during the Depression, President Roosevelt actually paid writers to write.

Unknown, yes, it's always a good idea to hang on to your day job when your first book comes out--and often your second through 7th. It so happens that I had already had to leave my academic day job for health reasons, and at the time my first book came out, my new day job was freelance writing/teaching/editing/etc.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Oh Carla yes! I want my clone now. I think we all do.

Kait said...

Congratulations to the Chiefs! Their first Super Bowl win. Kansas City must be rocking.

I feel your pain. I think every writer and creative feels your pain. Since my last response, I discovered that you have to pick your battles and only do what you like to do with social media. I like the give and take, I hate the buy my book except at and around release time. I trust that enough people will be enticed to check out my work (after the initial blitz for a new release or new information) because they feel they have a relationship with me.

My day job has recently enforced the 8 hour day. This has cut my time at work by 4 hours per day and I'm using those extra hours for writing time. Love it.

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Congrats to the Chiefs! KC must still be doing a victory dance. Did you get fireworks?

I'm getting better at saying "no," though writing with a four month old puppy putting his paws on the keyboard is a challenge.

Warren Bull said...

Woo Hoo Chiefs! As soon as I figure it out how to balance writing and the rest of life, I will tell you.