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Monthly Archives: October 2014

Dana Bowman interviews author Sharon A Crawford

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

I suppose all fictional characters, especially in adventure or heroic fiction, at the end of the day are our dreams about ourselves. And sometimes they can be really revealing.

  • Alan Moore

Dana Bowman sits before me, sketch pad and charcoal in hand. She is going to give me the third-degree interview.

Dana: I understand you and my brother Bast share a career background.

Me: Journalistic, yes. I am a former journalist for 30 years, so a bit longer than your twin. I did write a few crime-related articles but my beats were the arts, health, seniors, and profiles of all kinds of people.

Dana: How and why did you switch from journalism to mystery fiction?

Me: That’s really two questions. First, the journalism one – it wasn’t really a switch. I just got tired of all the work for newspaper and magazine stories for little pay. Guess I ran out of steam but I am still interested in people and writing their stories, so profiles aren’t off the table completely.

Dana: But why mystery fiction?

Me: Because that’s what I like to read and watch on TV. I grew up with Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys and from age 12, Agatha Christie. And my late mom and I used to watch the Perry Mason TV series – the original one in black and white. From all that I got hooked on the puzzle – why people do what they do, why it brings them to murder and who the heck is the guilty party. I also have a sense of justice – people who do the crime should do the time – in one way or another. That doesn’t seem to be happening anymore in real life, even back in your days in the late 1990s.

Dana: As Bast would say, let the record show, that Sharon is referring to the timelines in Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. So, Sharon, can you tell us how you, well created Bast and I? Are you and I similar in any way?

Me: That’s two questions again. I see that’s how you operate.

Dana: You started it all.

Me: Right.

Dana: How are we similar? Especially with our height.

Me: Yes, you and I are shorties, but I have a couple of inches on you.

Dana: Why did you make me 4’11”? Couldn’t you have brought me up to 5 feet at least?

Me: Too close to me. Actually the idea of both yours and Bast’s height came from an aunt and uncle on my dad’s side. Aunt Marguerite was 4’ll” and Uncle Miles was 6’2” But I did give Bast an inch. But I gave you some qualities and traits I don’t have. You own and drive a car. I couldn’t drive a car to save my life.

Dana: Would you want to?

Me: Very occasionally but seldom. I know I would be guilty of roadkill, so it’s safer if I’m never behind the wheel of a car. Also you have a cell phone and I don’t. Sure, it would come in handy in emergencies but cell phone technology is a whole lot more complicated in 2014 than in the late 1990s. And I gave you the gift of being able to draw because I can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler.

Dana: A little jealousy here?

Me. Maybe, but I wanted you different than I. And you and your brother evolved over 15 or 16 years of on and off writing, now definitely in the on stage.

Dana: And Bast? Why did you make him gay?

Me: Because when I first started writing Beyond Blood back in the late 1990s, gay people were just coming out more. The annual Pride parade was just starting up in Toronto. And I wanted a character that was different than what was being published. I know there are now gay (male and female) mystery characters, but how many of them are a fraternal twin?

Dana: True. What about my son David? Where did he come from?

Me: Well, I do have a son, who is now in his mid-thirties and I too was a single parent, so I suppose some of that originated there. And I had issues with being a working mom and wanted to bring that out in the stories.

Dana: Okay. Now, moving along. You mentioned that you want justice done in this world. Is there anything in your background, particularly when growing up, that made you feel this way?

Me: Several things. I was bullied as a child by both one of my best friends and also by a nun in grade school. Never beaten up – it was more verbal. Also I read a lot in the newspapers about 11 and 12-year-old girls getting murdered and that really upset me. I was the same age then. You have to remember this was around 1960 when things were supposedly stricter. Well, they were at school and church – I grew up a Catholic and so there was this belief in the bad being punished for their bad deeds, even an eye for an eye. So, if you killed someone, you deserved to die. But Canadian justice seemed to be getting too liberal. Many convicted murderers were getting their executions (hanging in Canada back then) stayed. I remember in grade 11 at high school class discussion on capital punishment – it was around the time that the government was considering dropping the hanging sentence. I was one of the few in the class who wanted Canada to keep the death penalty. We all know that didn’t happen and a lot of the criminal law got too much in favour of the criminals since then. Sure, some harsh sentences remain, but the convicted killers get jail credit for time spent in prison leading up to and during the trial. The bottom line is I don’t think justice for the victim is being given. But in a mystery novel you can have this happen – one way or the other – even with any lenient laws.

Dana: Wow. That sounds familiar. That’s me; that’s how I feel. And now understand better why I do what I do.

Me: Well, remember I may have created you, but you go out on your own in my stories.

Dana: Oh, so you give me enough rope to hang…. sorry, bad choice of words.

Me: Right. We don’t want you getting killed. It would kill the stories.

Dana: Of course. And I thought it was because you like me.

Me: I do.

Dana: Okay, that’s it for this time. Bast wants to interview you next week.

Meantime click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.

And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

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Book Launch Beyond Blood Musings

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

This country’s crazy in terms of fame and what people think it means. They expect a writer to be something between a Hollywood starlet and the village idiot.

  • Kent Haruf

Beyond Blood and Dead Wrong received a big send-off last Sunday October 19 at our mutual book launch at Paintbox Bistro in Toronto, Canada. It was a lot of work – for my publisher Blue Denim Press to set it all up and for my author colleague Klaus Jakelski and I to invite (and persuade) people to show up. The two guest authors reading – Rosemary McCracken (author of the Pat Tierney mysteries http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/ and Nate Hendley (true crime author who writes about the baddies and Stephen Truscott http://www.natehendley.com/books.html also were a draw. See the Blue Denim Press website www.bluedenimpress.com for photos.

But there are stories behind a book launch – the before, during and after and maybe some lessons to be learned, especially as this was my second book launch.

Not everyone invited will come. I emailed out around 200 invitations but didn’t expect that many to attend – they would have been out on the street if they had. One thing that bugged me at my first launch two years ago and again this go-round is people not letting you know if they can attend or not, but more so if they say they are coming and then don’t show up – unless they have emailed at the last minute that they can’t because of whatever. The last is acceptable. Things happen.

The upside is people invited showing up unexpectedly.

This time round none of my cousins could make it, but my son, Martin and his girlfriend, Juni (bless them) did. I was thrilled when they walked in and Martin handed me a big bouquet of flowers. I was determined to keep it close and when I left it at the restaurant where we ate after the launch, I got off the bus (one stop after boarding) and raced back to the restaurant to collect it. If I hadn’t have done that I would be so upset. How did I miss grabbing it? I guess my mind and hands couldn’t take in more than a big shoulder bag, purse and doggie bag of leftover dinner. I also had stood the bouquet up on the wall behind where I sat to keep it safe. Safe from whom? Me?

I had also tried to get plenty of sleep the nights before so I could avoid being in a daze like the previous book launch. The enough sleep part didn’t work out but no daze. My wits were in place and I made a point of moving around, jumping up from where I was sitting to talk to everyone who came to the launch.

The readings went well, although I stumbled up the stairs and Sarah the publisher had to grab me. Note: I was not drunk. Hadn’t had anything stronger than water to drink. But my very short intro to Beyond Blood and the short excerpt I read went very well. One of my writing colleagues says I read like audio. True, I channel my characters as I read and got the chance to do that at the end of the launch presentations when Klaus and I did a short humorous skit where my main character PI Dana Bowman interviews his main character Dr. Peter Martins. Klaus was lucky as he could appear in his dress suit. I had to alter my appearance. I have long brown-grey hair and wear glasses. Dana has short black hair and doesn’t wear glasses. At least we are both short in height.

I pulled my hair into a ponytail and shoved it under a cap. The glasses went and I buttoned up my sweater and made it look like a sweat shirt – one of Dana’s wardrobe items. I kept my black slacks and black shoes but carried that big shoulder bag mentioned earlier and a sketch pad. Dana sketches while interviewing people. I can’t draw to save my life.

But I could see without the glasses and didn’t trip going up or down the stage stairs this time.

Afterwards the spontaneous dinner arrangements got a little hectic. Paintbox Bistro was closing for the day, so we decided on a Thai restaurant nearby. Shane and Sarah from Blue Denim Press were packing up everything and going to drive to meet us there. Another couple of friends, Sheila and Rod drove. My friend Bob, Martin, Juni and I walked there.

The restaurant was closed on Sundays. We made another choice. But couldn’t text Shane or Sarah to let them know because I didn’t bring their cell phone numbers with me. So the frantic activity began with Martin rushing back to Paintbox and texting Juni back that it was closed and no one was there. Meantime Sheila and Rob had arrived. So when Martin returned we devised a plan. Sheila and Rob would drive to the other restaurant; Bob wanted to walk, and Martin, Juni and I would wait outside the closed restaurant for Shane and Sarah. We waited and waited. Then Juni and I walked to the new restaurant and Martin waited.

Bob, Sheila and Rob were seated in the restaurant when we arrived. A couple of minutes later the other three walked in.

Really, my organization skills are better than this. They have to be because the book launch is only a part of promoting your book.

And more on that in future posts. Meantime click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.

And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Come to Sharon A Crawford’s Book Launch Sunday Oct.19

Sharon A Crawford author of the short story collection Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Sharon A Crawford author of Beyond Blood published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.
– Nancy Kress

 

Dana is scurrying around The Attic Agency Office when Bast walks into the room.

Bast: What are you doing?

Dana: Getting ready for the big launch.

Bast: Our agency opening reception. I thought all was…

Dana: No, no, not that. Sharon A. Crawford’s book launch. You know the author who created us?

Bast: Of course. That is coming up already?

Dana: Yes, this Sunday. October 19. We have to get the word out Bast about her book Beyond Blood.

Bast: You mean before our agency opening?

Dana: Yes, and Sharon’s book launch has to happen first so that Beyond Blood can happen.

Bast: You mean our actual launch, the kidn…

Dana: Sh. Bast, don’t give it all away. People have to come to the book launch and buy a copy of Beyond Blood to find out what happens.

Bast: Right. And we should also mention what else is happening at the Book Launch.

Dana: Yes. The book launch is also for another first time mystery novelist, Klaus Jakelski’s book Dead Wrong. It’s a medical mystery.

Bast: Yes. And Klaus is a medical doctor in Sudbury, Ontario.

Dana: And Sharon, like you is a former journalist, although she covered health as well as some crime stories.

Bast: Sharon is also short like you. In fact, she has a couple of inches on you.

Dana: Bast. Leave my height out of it.

Bast (chuckling): Okay, if you wish.

Dana: What I wish is to find that poster that Blue Denim Press, Sharon’s and Klaus’s publisher, had printed. Have you seen it?

Bast: Yes, right here on my desk.

Dana and Bast grab the poster, hold it up and together announce:

Blue Murder with Blue Denim Press:

Join in the murderous mayhem at the launch of two debut mystery novels:

Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford

Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski

More mayhem provided by guest readers Rosemary McCracken and Nate Hendley

Launch presented by Blue Denim Press.

Mayhem provided by all.

Location:     Paintbox Bistro

555 Dundas Street East (at Parliament St.) Toronto (parking inside building), Ontario

http://paintboxbistro.ca/contact

Time and Date: 3 p.m., Sunday, October 19, 2014

Bring a guest or two if you wish.

There is an entrance cost of $15. per person. That entitles you to a copy of a Blue Denim Press book-. Your guest(s) can choose another book published by Blue Denim Press. No charge for children 16 and under.

See you there.

Cheers.

Dana Bowman

Bast Overture

And

Sharon A. Crawford

And check out Sharon A. Crawford’s Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sharon-A-Crawford/412730865439394

Linked In profile http://ca.linkedin.com/in/sharoncrawfordwordssparkle

Sharon A. Crawford’s website www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood for all the details of Sharon’s gigs.

And visit Sharon’s publisher Blue Denim Press at http://www.bluedenimpress.com to see that poster.

 

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

 

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Beyond Blood’s twin PIs receive ominous phone calls

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Fiction is about stuff that’s screwed up.

  • Nancy Kress

 

Dana speaking into her cell: What do you want?

Voice on the other end: Hello to you too. Just want to touch base and see how you are doing.

Dana: Right, after three years. What about David?

Bast speaking into his cell: Hello. Yes. Who is this?

Muffled voice on the other end: Someone from your past to tell you I will be at your detective agency opening this coming Friday.

Bast: It is an investigative agency. We’re in Canada.

Muffled voice: I know that.

Bast: Who are you? Identify yourself.

Muffled voice: You don’t need to know now who I am. Expect me at your investigative agency opening.

Click:

Bast: He hung up.

Dana, looking over at her brother: Who was it?

Bast shrugs his shoulders: I don’t know. He disguised his voice.

Dana: Maybe it’s a she.

Bast: No, I’ll bet my interest in the business that it’s a man. Just don’t know who. And who are you talking to?

Dana, covering up her cell: Ron, my ex.

Bast: That jerk. What does he want?

Dana: Don’t know and don’t care. I’m just letting him ramble.

Bast: Is that wise?

Dana: He didn’t even ask about his son? He leaves us on our own and…wait.

Ron: … so that’s why I’m late with the support payments.

Dana: So, what’s new? You are always late – when you send them.

Ron: Now listen here.

Dana: No, you listen. I want all the support payments you owe me up to now and I want them here before the end of this month. Do you hear?

Ron: I hear but I just told you why I’m late this month. Weren’t you listening?

Dana: If it were just this month, I might listen and give you some leeway. But it is always this way, excuse after excuse.

Dana hits the off button on her cell and starts swearing.

Bast: Hold on Dana. Take a deep breath. It’s just pre-opening jitters.

Dana: Yes, but look at who has been here – in person or by phone. I don’t trust Lois or Ray Chalmers as far as the end of my desk. Debbie looks like a ghost and now we have Ron and some unknown muffled voice. Methinks the opening will not go well.

Bast: We’ll just have to hope for the best. And stay calm. Look why don’t we focus on something else.

Dana: Like what?

Bast: What about the author of our novel Beyond Blood? She has a big book launch coming up soon.

Dana: Very well. Tell me more about it.

Stay tuned for next week’s blog where Dana and Bast provide details about the Beyond Blood book launch with a unique twist.

Meantime check out my books. The book cover of Beyond Blood at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile. Be the first to review Beyond Blood.

For those of us with a Kobo, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to Sharon A’s Gigs to see where I will be appearing with Beyond Blood.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Beyond Blood – …and open the door again…

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.

  • Richard Bach

Footsteps are heard coming up the stairs to The Attic Investigative Agency.

Dana: Who is it this time?

Bast points to the doorway. Debbie Sangwell, babysitter for Dana’s six-year-old son and daughter of Dana’s best friend, Marge, stumbles in.

Dana (joking): Rough night?

Debbie trying to get her breath: No. Must be the stairs.

Bast: We have an elevator.

Debbie: Yeah, right. Didn’t see it. Oh, this place looks neat. I guess you are wondering why I’m here.

Dana: And where’s David?

Debbie: He’s with Mom. She took him to the park. I’m not feeling that good.

Dana: You coming down with something?

Debbie: Oh no. Just something I ate for breakfast. I’ll be okay. I just wanted to check on the arrangements for Friday evening.

Dana: The reception starts at 7.30 p.m. so you can come over maybe around 7 p.m. or earlier. Hey, why not come for supper?

Debbie staggering a bit. She grabs the back of a chair: Maybe. But 7 p.m. sounds good.

Bast jumping up from his chair: Here, Debbie sit down. I’ll get you a glass of water.

Bast exits the agency office.

Dana, swivelling her chair around until she is almost knee-to-knee with Debbie: You look awful. Your face is pale. You don’t look like you’ve seen a ghost; you look like you are the ghost.

Debbie: I said I’m okay. Just something I ate.

Dana: Okay, just concerned. Okay, back to Friday night. David will probably want to come up here to see all the guests but there will be adult stuff talked about and to tell the truth, some of our guests may be old school and not take kindly to having the son of one of the business owners around. If it were up to me, I’d let him come in at the beginning, introduce him to all, let him look around a bit and then go back downstairs.

Debbie: Got it. I will keep him busy on the second floor, mostly in his room. We have a pile of books to read and… are the Randalls next door coming?

Dana: No, why?

Debbie: Just thinking. Maybe I could take David there to see Mr. Randall and his big train set-up downstairs.

Dana: Hmm.

Debbie: Before his bedtime. I could come here at 6.30 p.m. and take him over.

Dana: Hmm. Well check with Mr. Randall first.

Bast returns with a glass of water which he hands to Debbie. She leans over to grab it and almost falls forward. Dana catches her arms and helps her sit up.

Dana: You really don’t seem well.

Debbie: I’m okay. Just something I ate. Think I’ll go home and rest up for Friday.

Debbie gulps down some water, hands the glass to Dana and manages to stand up without keeling over: See I’m fine. I’ll give you a call before Friday or drop over before.

Dana: Okay.

Bast: Take care.

Debbie: I will. I’m going to have a little nap when I get home.

Bast. I’ll take you to the elevator.

Debbie: No, stairs are fine.

Dana and Bast listen as she goes down the stairs. Her footsteps sound like they are going at normal speed. When they drift off from the second stairway down, Dana turns to Bast.

Dana: Something is up with that girl.

Bast: I agree. You better speak to Madge.

Dana: Will do.

Dana’s cell phone rings. She picks it up

Dana: Hello. What do you want?

Bast’s cell phone starts ringing and he picks it up.

 

Stay tuned for next week’s post.

Meantime check out my books. The book at the top of this blog post links to Amazon. Click on Sharon A Crawford for my profile.

For those of us with Kobo’s, here is that link for the e-pub version. http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-blood-1 And check out my updated web page at www.samcraw.com and click on Beyond Blood. Scroll down to Sharon A’s Gigs to see where I will be appearing with Beyond Blood.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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