Friday, April 24, 2015

2015 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlist

ACK! I did not make the shortlist but my fellow authors in Ottawa did! Congratulations Brenda Chapman and Barbara Fradkin! If these crime writers are new to you, check out their titles. Gripping, insightful, these writers are masters of the craft. I'm thrilled! I'm jealous! But mostly, I'm thrilled to see their names on the list!


Crime Writers of Canada present the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards Shortlists for Excellence in Canadian Crime Writing.

Best Novel 
Brenda Chapman, Cold Mourning, Dundurn Press
Barbara Fradkin, None so Blind, Dundurn Press
C.C. Humphreys, Plague, Doubleday Canada
Maureen Jennings, No Known Grave, McClelland & Stewart
Alen Mattich, Killing Pilgrim, House of Anansi

Best First Novel 
Janet Brons, A Quiet Kill, Touchwood Editions
Steve Burrows, Siege of Bitterns, Dundurn Press
M.H. Callway, Windigo Fire, Seraphim Editions
Eve McBride, No Worst, There Is None, Dundurn Press
Sam Wiebe, Last of the Independents, Dundurn Press

Best Novella
Rick Blechta, The Boom Room, Orca Book Publishers
Vicki Delany, Juba Good, Orca Book Publishers
Ian Hamilton, The Dragon Head of Hong Kong, House of Anansi
Jas. R. Petrin, A Knock on the Door, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Best Short Story 
Margaret Atwood, Stone Mattress, McClelland & Stewart
Melodie Campbell, Hook, Line and Sinker, Northword Literary Journal
Peter Clement, Therapy, Belgrave House
Madona Skaff, First Impressions, The Whole She-Bang 2, Sisters in Crime
Kevin P. Thornton, Writers Block, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing  

Best Book in French 
Hervé Gagnon, Jack: Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Expression noir / Groupe librex
Andrée Michaud, Bondrée, Editions Québec Amérique
Maryse Rouy, Meurtre à l’hôtel Despréaux, Édition Druide
Richard Ste Marie, Repentirs, Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Book 
Michael Betcherman, Face-Off, Penguin Canada
Sigmund Brouwer, Dead Man's Switch, Harvest House
S.J. Laidlaw, The Voice Inside My Head, Tundra Books
Norah McClintock, About That Night, Orca Book Publishers
Jeyn Roberts, The Bodies We Wear, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Best Nonfiction Book 
Bob Deasy (with Mark Ebner), Being Uncle Charlie, Penguin Random House
Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder, HarperCollins
Joan McEwen, Innocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry, Heritage House
Bill Reynolds, Life Real Loud: John Lefebvre, Neteller and the Revolution in Online Gambling, ECW Press
Paula Todd, Extreme Mean, McClelland & Stewart

Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel 
Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred
Full Curl by Dave Butler
Crisis Point by Dwayne Clayden
Afghan Redemption by Bill Prentice
Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

The winners will be announced May 28 at the Arts and Letters Club in Toronto! Congratulations to all of the nominees!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Stealing in Broad Daylight


At this very moment I'm listening to the FULL ALBUM of Enya's Greatest Hits on YouTube.

15,909,875 people have tuned in since it was uploaded on November 13, 2013. plata oro is the entity behind the upload and they have 25,140 subscribers.

I don't get it. Did plata oro pay Enya's music label for the right to upload a digital copy? Did YouTube? Was it such a huge cost that the only way to recoup their investment is by running ads throughout? (I just skip 'em. No biggie.)

Has YouTube and plata oro uploaded the album and from the millions of listeners the artist is bound to attract (like me), they make a fantastic profit by selling ads to corporations? ("Psst, guys, I got a vid running on YouTube that has over 15 mil eyeballs. If you want a piece of the action it'll cost ya.")

I never have to pay for this album. It's crazy. I don't get it.

Wait--is this the Utopian Era of Communal Property and no one told me? Well, hot damn! There's a lovely little mansion in Silicon Valley I've had my eye on for some time ... so when can I move in?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(stolen from the National Enquirer. it's their tagline.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Write More. Write Fast. Write Now.

I'm hard at work every day on two new short series for Kindle Unlimited. I write 3000 words a day. It's not easy. The back is the first to go. The wrist is next. I have 20 years of writing experience. There's no excuse for a pitiful word count anymore. (Except blogging. Blogging is a good excuse.)

Tips For Increasing Word Count:

If you're just starting out, the best thing you can do for yourself is just write like hell. It's going to suck. But it's easier to fix words than it is to come up with new words. Write out of sequence if that helps. Write the bits you're interested in. You can knit it all together later. Revision is your friend. Don't worry, you'll get there. But not until you have a first draft with a beginning, middle and end.

If you have years of writing experience and just want to squeeze more productivity out of your writing time:

1) Know that you can write more. If I can do it, you can do it. Don't listen to the voice that says you can't. You can. You already know how to tell a story, it's a matter of typing it.
2) Don't think when you're writing. You can think later. If you get stuck thinking, skip to the next most interesting thing in your story and think about that. You'll want to write it and hey! there's no reason why you shouldn't.
3) Revise as you go along. Hah! I thought I couldn't do this either. But it's amazing how the brain will cough up corrections to scenes, adjust dialogue, add details, etc. if you just let it do its job.
4) Set a word goal and keep a beady eye on the number. It's your cookie--your validation--it loves you. Feed it and watch it grow.
5) When you get to the end of your novel and it resembles a novelette, DO NOT PANIC. This is where the fun happens. Go back to the beginning and flesh out the chapters with description, deepen dialogue and character, add bits of business. You'll be amazed at how painlessly word count grows to full-length novel.

To Outline or Not to Outline, That is the Question.

Some very prolific writers swear by their outlines. Based on my own experience and hearing from other writers, I think the outline works for a particular type of brain. Many authors start with an outline and then scrap it. I start by writing a first draft and the outline emerges from there as I go along.

If outlining exhausts your creativity when it comes time to write, don't bother with them. If you are inspired and excited by outlining and write like a white hot genius when you get to work, count your blessings. Keep what works, chuck what doesn't.

Is it possible to write a book in one month? I think it is but I think first and foremost, it's better to learn your own mind and take the time to say what you want to say. Ultimately, that's where the real joy of writing lies.