The Arthurs

Me as Emcee

On Thursday, April 21, I had the pleasure of hosting the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime writing.

Four fellow CWC members participated: Jayne Barnard, Eileen Bell (from Edmonton), Dwayne Clayden and Axel Howerton.

Axel began by warming up the audience with magic tricks that involved thumb cuffs and a toy gun that I shot.

Dwayne explained what the Arthurs are about. They got their name from the pseudonym of Canada’s Official Hangman and over the years have been won by such illustrious writers as Eric Wright, Gail Bowen and Margaret Atwood.

Axel reads the shortlist for Best Crime First Novel

Through the evening, we took turns reading the shortlists for the eight Arthur categories. Eileen, Jayne, Axel and Dwayne shared short readings from their writing. We all engaged in a spirited and honest discussion of Writing Contests and Awards: the Good, Bad & Ugly.

Only Axel and I knew the shortlisted authors names in advance. We saved the category with a winner present for last, unaware that a second winner in the same category was in the audience. What a treat and a splendid ending to a fun night.

We applaud the winners in our midst

Alice Bienia and Jayne Barnard, shortlisted for the Unhanged Arthur award for best unpublished novel.

Arthur Announcements Tonight!

Tonight’s the night we announce the shortlists for this year’s Arthur Ellis Awards for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing. I’ll emcee the event, which takes place at Calgary’s Owl’s Nest Bookstore and features my partners in crime: Jayne Barnard, E.C. Bell, Dwayne Clayden and Axel Howerton. Join us for readings, magic tricks and a lively discussion of Writing Contests and Awards: the Good, Bad & Ugly.

Writing in the Works

I’m fortunate to be participating in two readings at the end of April. The Arthur Ellis Shortlist event arrives first – on April 21st – where I get to host the mayhem and try to keep those wild crime writers in line.

A week later, on April 28th,  I’ll be reading at Writing in the Works, which features writing-in-progress, works seeking publication and works about to be published. After the readings, we’ll participate in a roundtable discussion on the creative process. Emcee Elaine Morin also promises a few questions just for fun.

This will be the 10th installment of Writing in the Works. Over the years, we’ve showcased many up-an-coming Calgary writers. I’m proud to say I’m a founding member. The most fun is meeting the other fine women at Original Joes restaurant to brainstorm the next Writing in the Works event.

Arthur Ellis Shortlist Awards

I’m excited to be hosting this year’s Arthur Ellis Shortlist Event in Calgary, featuring Crime Writers of Canada authors Jayne Barnard, E.C. Bell, Dwayne Clayden and Axel Howerton.  Join us for a night of conversation, fictional shenanigans, criminal mischief and the announcement of this years official nominees for the 2016 Arthur Ellis Awards, honoring the the best of this year’s Canadian crime writing!

When? April 21, starting 7:00 PM

Where? Owl’s Nest Bookstore, Brittania Shopping Centre, 815A 49th Avenue SW, Calgary

Deadly Fall in Ramsay

This week’s Calgary Through the Eyes of Writers blogs about Deadly Fall, with a hilarious picture of sculpture in Ramsay that looks like a falling church. Hilarious. How have I missed seeing this art? I’ll look out for it on my next walk through Ramsay.

Opal POV

I’m honoured to be the featured writer in this month’s issue of Opal POV, an E-zine launched this summer by Calgary writer and publisher Cindy DeJager.

In addition to interviews, articles and flash fiction, Opal POV features regular columns by Calgary writer Catherine Saykaly-Stevens on social media (this month her topic is Password Protection) and author, former police officer and paramedic Dwayne Clayden on what TV and movies get wrong in police and medical shows. You can subscribe to Opal POV E-Zine for free.

If, like me, you have problems reading the flip E-zine format, the publisher has added a DOWNLOAD PDF button just below the flip-zine on this page.


Happy New Year

NaNoWriMo got me interested in tracking my writing activity stats. For Christmas, I received a present that is doing this for physical activity – a fitbit that tracks my daily footsteps.

So far — that, is for six days — my fitbit has encouraged me to walk or jog on the spot when I’d normally be sitting or standing. I have to say this jogging has sometimes been distracting for my family.

Periodically, through the day, I log onto my fitbit computer site and ‘synch’ the steps I’ve walked since I clipped the small device onto my shirt or pants that morning. The site displays graphs that show how close I am to my daily goal of 10,000 steps, the calories needed to lose a pound a week and my minutes of activity, which still seem small compared to my sedentary hours. The dashboard also rates activities by intensity. My basic walking around the house has been low intensity, a quick walk through a grocery store and one riser stair-stepping were medium and on-the-spot  jogging was high. Stair-stepping feels a bit more intense to me than spot jogging, so this might not be completely accurate. While I’ve usually reached my goal for daily steps, my calories burned have yet to hit the mark. It seems to lose my holiday weight I’ll need to increase the minutes of intensity and/or numbers of steps. This might happen, at least some days, when I restart gym classes and do longer walks in the new year.

This fitbit has been fun. I hope I keep going with it and, for once, keep my ususal New Year’s Resolution to exercise more. And one of these days I’ll have to stop eating those chocolates and cookies.

Best wishes to you for your 2016 resolutions and dreams.

Happy Holidays

I wish you all a magical holiday season. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016 filled with reading and writing.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Writers

I'd enjoy a 2016 desk calendar with this theme

While Googling images for memoir writing I came across a couple of Christmas gift ideas for writers interested in memoir: a desk calendar and a game.

I also like playing board games. A family game of 'Memoir' would have plenty of scope for conflict.

See today’s blog post for my thoughts on Memoir vs. Fiction.

Happy Holidays!


Compelling! Earthshattering!?? This is why memoirs are hard to get published.

My National Novel Writing Month project this fall wasn’t a novel — it was a memoir. I decided this was allowed, since memoir is, in many ways, closer to novels and than it is to other non-fiction. On the whole, while writing the book last month, I found memoir closer to fiction than I expected.

Writing a memoir this fall surprised me more than anyone. I first thought of this book idea about a week before NaNoWriMo was due to start. It came out of my musings on how to promote my newly completed novel. Publication could be far down the road, but I had the time now to consider issues from the novel that I might write or speak about to attract an audience to the fiction story. Being me with my novel brain, the ideas morphed into a larger concept. NaNo was coming up and I figured, why not give it a try? If nothing else, exploring memoir, a new genre (for me), would be a good writing exercise and, possibly, help me work up some short articles and talks from the material.

And so, my NaMeWriMo project was born. Check out my blog posts today and next week for more reflections as I progressed through the writing process.

Could be compelling and earthshattering.

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