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


June Interviews

6/02 Terrie Moran, Murder She Wrote: Killing in a Koi Pond

6/09 Connie Berry, The Art of Betrayal

6/16 Kathleen Kalb, A Final Finale or A Fatal First Night

6/23 Jackie Layton, Bag of Bones: A Low Country Dog Walker Mystery

6/30 Mary Keliikoa, Denied


Saturday WWK Bloggers

6/12 Jennifer J. Chow

6/26 Kait Carson


Guest Blogs

6/05 Samantha Downing

6/19 Lynn Johanson













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E. B. Davis's "The Pearl Necklace" will appear in the new SinC Guppy anthology The Fish That Got Away to be released in July by Wildside Press. The anthology was edited by Linda Rodriguez. It will be released on June 21st.


Paula Gail Benson's monologue "Beloved Husband," from the perspective of Norton Baskin the second husband of Marjorie Kinan Rawlings (who wrote The Yearling and Cross Creek), appears in the Red Penguin Collection's An Empty Stage (released March 28, 2021).


Martha Reed's "Death by GPS" will appear in the Spring 2021 issue of Suspense Magazine, which will be released in the second week of April. Congratulations, Martha!


Susan Van Kirk has a new audiobook, A Death at Tippitt Pond, that will be released this month. Marry in Haste will be released in May by Harlequin Worldwide Mystery, as will Death Takes No Bribes in September. Congratulations, Susan.


Congratulations to Martha Reed. Her short story, "The Honor Thief" was chosen for the 2021 Bouchercon Anthology, This Time For Sure. Hank Phillippi Ryan will edit the volume, which will be released in August at the time of the convention.


Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Killer Weeds," appears in the January 20 edition of Texas Gardener's Seeds: From Our Garden to Yours. Congratulations, Margaret, who, if you follow Facebook know, is a superb gardener herself!


Congratulations to Paula Gail Benson whose "Reputation or Soul" has been chosen for Malice Domestic 16: Mystery Most Diabolical anthology to be released this spring.


KM Rockwood's "Stay Safe--Very Safe" appears in this year's 2020 BOULD anthology. Congratulations, KM!


Annette Dashofy signed with agent Dawn Dowdle of the Blue Ridge Literary Agency. Congratulations, Annette!

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Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Catastrophe Kit by Carla Damron


I’ve written before about my excellent catastrophizing genes. Our DNA carries a “expect the worst and plan for it” marker. It seems to be tied to the X chromosome, though my brother has some of this trait. If there’s a hurricane that is predicted to hit anywhere near SC, I assume it will hit us directly, so my “hurricane survival kit” is always kept up-to-date. It includes flashlights, power banks, water containers, battery operated fans …. The list is lengthy. I even fill our tubs for toilet flushing, in case we lose water.

When meteorologists predict we’ll get a half- inch of snow, I make sure the cupboards are full and we have plenty of batteries, in case ice brings down a tree limb that knocks out our power. You never know when the “big one” will hit us (we had a blizzard in the 1970s).

My catastrophizing genes let me down this year. I did not, in my wildest imaginings, predict a pandemic. Not until February, when word of an outbreak in China made the news. By March, the gene was in overdrive. The pandemic was imminent, and I was behind in my preparations. Though a little late, I began assembling my pandemic kit. I bought gloves. I scored a few masks and started reading about how to make my own (a project that never went well). I bought medicines we needed and medicines we might need. I emptied freezer space so that we could stock-up, in case getting groceries became impossible.

By April, I was obsessive in my assemblage. Toilet paper? Check, though I didn’t overdo it. There’s a difference between “preparing” and “hording”. Hand sanitizer? Some, but I also had the ingredients needed to make my own. Lysol? Yep, but I wish, to this day, I’d bought more. Bleach? Definitely, but not for drinking. Wipes? Of course. Dog poop bags? Plenty.

You’re probably wondering about that last item. I didn’t want to run out of rubber gloves, so we used them on our hands when touching possibly contaminated surfaces, like ATMs and credit card devices. 

Our pandemic groceries included enough coffee to last till the next Ice Age, milk (we freeze it), rice, beans, and, just in case, wine. I bought plenty of flour and yeast, in case I turn into a colonial prairie woman and have to make my own bread. Dog and cat food aplenty.

Whenever info came out about something that might be useful to prevent/combat the coronavirus, I was likely to get it. So I have zinc, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3. I’d get a voodoo doll if I thought that would help.

Now that we’re five months into pandemic life, I’ve made adjustments to our kit. Dog poop bags are less necessary—keeping hand sanitizer with us always works just as well. I’ve added face shields and have collected quite the range of masks in lots of different colors. Yep, that kit is loaded. I am prepared.

Except… there is one aspect of this crisis for which I wasn’t prepared. Not at all. I wasn’t ready for the most inevitable effect of the pandemic: what to do about the sameness of my days—the boredom? How do I manage the feelings of unreality and grief for the way life used to be? How do I take care of my emotional health? Trust me, there’s nothing in my kit that helps with this.
Through trial and error, I’ve figured out how to manage. I need routine. I get up, read for an hour or so, dress in clothes that aren’t pajamas, then get to writing. I touch base with friends and my family. I get out of the house when the weather allows it. I make sure to exercise every day. 

And then I read some more. I’ve also been careful about the books I choose. I can’t seem to handle ultra-serious or too-sad stories. I put aside a few literary novels and picked up some wonderful mysteries—the perfect escapism literature. Lately, I’m plowing through Louise Penny’s Inspector Gamache series. I imagine that I live in Three Pines, Quebec, and that the quirky residents are my neighbors. There’s a fluffy blanket of snow in front of my house and I’m sipping cider at the bistro. While the real world may not be a fair place, I can trust that the culprits in Penny’s novels will not escape Gamache’s justice. This is my much-needed sanctuary in a world spun off its axis.

As a writer, I want my work to be a sanctuary. I want readers to embrace my characters the way I embrace Gamache. Maybe that’s grandiose thinking—I’m nowhere near her caliber or popularity, but we writers need to have goals.

My goal is this: may my words be a refuge, my settings an escape. May I take you away from the hard reality of today and give you a few hours of respite. May the adventures in my pages help you forget our new dystopian reality and perhaps even give you hope.

Better times will come. We must be patient.

One last thing: this is my last regular blog on this site. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings. If you want to stay in touch, my website is www.carladamron.com and my email is carladamronwriter@gmail.com.

Peace and be well.



           


7 comments:

Kait said...

Oh, Carla, you will be missed, but we will look forward to guest blogs.

I hope that you and your family are safe in Isaias, who would anticipate two emergency situations at once, Coronavirus and a hurricane! As a long-term denizen of Florida, we also are familiar with disaster preparedness. As you point out - the catastrophe kit provides a degree of comfort, but nothing has prepared us for the isolation of the pandemic.

Jim Jackson said...

Carla,

I’ve always said that boredom is simply a lack of imagination. However, being forced to stay in the same small space without visitors can be challenging regardless of one’s imagination. But, it seems all you really need is the hint of a coming catastrophe to keep you fully engaged.

~ Jim

Margaret S. Hamilton said...

Take care and keep in touch!

KM Rockwood said...

We will miss you, Carla! Best wishes for your future endeavors.

At least it sounds like you'll be prepared for whatever comes.

carla said...

Thanks y'all! And hopefully I'll be back one day!!

Susan said...

Hope you come back for some guest blogs. Meanwhile, stay safe.

Grace Topping said...

Terrific post, Carla. Are you a Capricorn? I'm the type of person who stocks up (not hoarding) for any eventualities. I'm so sorry to see you leave WWK. We'll leave the light on in case you decide you have a burning to post something in the future.