Pam’s book launch

On Saturday, I had the honour and joy of introducing my friend, Pamela McDowell, at the launch of her first fiction book, Ospreys in Danger, a picture book for children in grades 2-3. The story, based on a real event, features two plucky girls who save ospreys in Waterton National Park. Pam’s launch, approppriately, was held at Calgary’s Inglewood Bird Sanctuary.

Pam signing my books at her launch

Equally appropriate was her choice of launch bookseller -  Owl’s Nest Bookstore.

Creative Non-Fiction conference

Here are a couple more photos taken at last weekend’s Creative Non-fiction Conference. I attended the pre- and post-conference events that were open to the public.

Susan & author Denise Chong at Shelf Life Books reading

Below, I am fiddling with my camera while author and educator Aretha Van Herk speaks at the statues of the Famous Five.

Literary Walk of Old Calgary

Calgary Crime Writers Meeting

Join us at the following event:

Crime & Coffee with Crime Writers of Canada

Thursday, May 15, 2014    7-9 PM

Good Earth at Glenmore Landing

90th Ave and 14th St. SW

Everyone welcome. If the weather’s good, look for us on the patio.

Literary Walk

A little drizzle didn’t diminish my enjoyment of Sunday’s Literary Walk of old Calgary hosted by the Creative Nonfiction Collective Society to wrap up their 10th anniversary conference weekend. Here’s writer Shaun Hunter talking about Calgary’s near-forgotten painter and author, William S. Bates, and his connection to the Grain Exchange Building (1909), now the home of Freehand Books.

After the walk, we warmed up in the James Joyce pub.

Arthur Ellis Short-List Announcement

Lots of fun, companionship and laughs at our Arthur Ellis Short-list announcement event at Owl’s Nest Bookstore on April 24th.

Reader Darlene Quaife and I share a laugh

A bonus was having one of our readers – Axel Howerton – make the short list for Best First Novel.

Axel reading

Our Crime Writers mascot

Arthur Ellis Awards



Announcing the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists and Winner of the CWC Grand Master Award for Crime Writing in Canada

(Toronto, April 24, 2014) Crime Writers of Canada is pleased to announce the 2014 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists, and the winner of the CWC Grand Master Award for Crime Writing in Canada.

This is the inaugural year of the CWC Grand Master Award, intended to recognize Canadian crime writers who have a substantial body of work that has garnered national and international recognition.

This year’s winner of the CWC Grand Master Award is Howard Engel, the author of the award winning Benny Cooperman detective series.  A mainstay of the Canadian crime writing scene for many years, Mr. Engel helped put Canadian crime writing on the map at a time when few mysteries were set in this country.

The 2014 Arthur Ellis Shortlists for Excellence in Crime Writing

Best Novel
John Brooke, Walls of a Mind, Signature Editions
Seán Haldane, The Devil’s Making, Stone Flower Press
Lee Lamothe, Presto Variations, Dundurn
Howard Shrier, Miss Montreal, Vintage Canada
Simone St. James, An Inquiry into Love and Death, Penguin Books

Best First Novel
E.R. Brown, Almost Criminal, Dundurn
A.S.A. Harrison, The Silent Wife, Penguin Books Canada
Axel Howerton, Hot Sinatra, Evolved Publishing
J. Kent Messum, Bait, Penguin Canada
S.G. Wong, Die on Your Feet, Carina Press

Best Novella
Melodie Campbell, The Goddaughter’s Revenge, Orca Books
Brenda Chapman, My Sister’s Keeper, Grassroots Press
James Heneghan, A Woman Scorned, Orca Books

Best Short Story
Donna Carrick, Watermelon Weekend, Thirteen, Carrick Publishing
Jas. R. Petrin, Under Cap Ste. Claire, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, October 2013, Dell Magazines
Twist Phelan, Footprints in Water, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, July 2013, Dell Magazines
Sylvia Maultash Warsh, The Emerald Skull, Thirteen, Carrick Publishing
Sam Wiebe, The Third Echo, Girl Trouble: Malfeasance Occasional, MacMillan/St Martin’s Press

Best Book in French
Chrystine Brouillet, Saccages, La courte échelle
Jacques Côté, Et à l’heure de votre mort, éditions Alire
Maureen Martineau, L’enfant promis, La courte échelle
Jacques Savoie, Le fils emprunté,  Éditions Libre Expression

Best Juvenile/YA
Karen Autio, Sabotage, Sono Nis Press
Gail Gallant, Apparition, Doubleday Canada
Elizabeth MacLeod, Bones Never Lie: How Forensics Helps Solve History’s Mysteries, Annick Press
Ted Staunton, Who I’m Not, Orca Books

Unhanged Arthur
L.J. Gordon, Death at the Iron House Lodge
Rachel Greenaway, Cold Girl
Charlotte Morganti, The Snow Job
Kristina Stanley, Descent
Kevin Thornton, Coiled

Crime Writers of Canada was founded in 1982 as a professional organization designed to raise the profile of Canadian crime writers from coast to coast. Our members include authors, publishers, editors, booksellers, librarians, reviewers, and literary agents as well as many developing authors.

Past winners of the Arthur have included such major names in Canadian crime writing as Howard Engel, Eric Wright, Peter Robinson, James W. Nichol, William Deverell, Gail Bowen, Louise Penny, Stevie Cameron, Julian Sher, Norbert Spehner, Mario Bolduc, Giles Blunt, Barbara Fradkin and Howard Shrier.

We would like to thank Dundurn Press for sponsoring the Unhanged Arthur Award.

For more info about the Arthur Ellis Awards and the shortlists or for contact information about the finalists, contact Arthur Ellis Awards Administrator Alison Bruce, at

Good news

My novel-in-progress, Ten Days in Summer, is a finalist in The Sandy Writing Contest, Thriller/Suspense/Mystery category. Winners will be announced at the Crested Butte Writers Conference in June. I wish I could be there. I feel especially good about this because Sandy was the name of my family dog.


Good News. My long short story “Pandemic” was a finalist in the December 2013 Glimmer Train Fiction Open Contest. “Pandemic” was inspired by my trip to Italy five years ago. I wrote the story mentally for several years before committing it to computer screen, seeking feedback, revising and sending it out. Many thanks to the following people, who read all or part of the manuscript: Brian Brennan, Barb Howard, Shaun Hunter, Lee Kvern, Marilyn Letts and Deborah Willis.

'Last Judgement

Arthur Ellis Awards

Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Writing

Short-list Announcement Party
April 24, 2014   7-9 PM
Owl’s Nest Bookstore
Britannia Shopping Centre at Elbow Drive and 49th Avenue.
815A 49th Avenue SW
Calgary, AB

Crime Writers of Canada members Axel Howerton, Kirk Layton and Darlene Quaife will read from their writing, muse on the theme of ‘short’ and discuss the difference between writing a short story and novel. Music by Alastair Robertson. Emcee Susan Calder. At the end, we’ll reveal the short lists for this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards, Canada’s national mystery and crime writing awards. Winners will be announced at a Toronto banquet in June. Come learn who’s hot in Canadian crime writing.

Light refreshments provided by Owl’s Nest books. Free. Everyone welcome.

For more information contact Owl’s Nest Books 403-287-9557403-287-9557 or

My next event

Mystery of War this afternoon

SCrime Logoaturday, 9 November 2013, 2:00pm

The Mystery of War

Join members of Crime Writers of Canada for an afternoon of readings and reflection

From the innermost struggles of the lone individual through the most intimate of domestic battles and on up to the conflagrations that consume civilizations, War is an enduring fact of human existence. Six Calgary-area crime writers read from their works and reflect on the nature of war, of sacrifice, of history and memory. Readers: Stephen Legault, Linda Kupecek, Jayne Barnard, Darlene Quaife, Sharon Wildwind and Susan Calder. Owl’s Nest Bookstore, Britannia, Calgary.

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