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Monthly Archives: July 2016

Preparing for author reading amidst aftermath of severe storm etc.

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

You would think as an author I could focus on just the preparation for my reading this evening as part of the Urban Folk Art Salon at the Mount Pleasant Library. But I’m dealing with too many snafus and bad happenings – yesterday’s, ongoing ones, and possibly a somewhat repeat this evening of the one last evening.

Last evening my East End Writers’ Group had its usual almost monthly writing critique at the S. Walter Stewart Library. But we had a severe thunderstorm – actually the heavy rain was the severe part with flash flooding including in the library basement where we meet – we had to go to higher ground and I let everyone out early because I was worried about some water getting in my basement. Yes, some did although with all the towels etc. I had down it was more damp in places in the laundry room. I’ll be going into all this flooding business in my post on my other more personal blog Only Child Writes next Tuesday. For now suffice to say, I got soaked going to the library (despite wearing rain gear) and my running shoes got soaked inside despite spraying them earlier in the day with water repellant.The shoes are outside in the sun now in the hopes that they dry in a few hours. Because…

We may get another round of these thunderstorms with heavy rainfall later this afternoon going into the evening. The Weather Network calls it a risk of a thunderstorm. Just what I need when I have to head out to yet another library for this Urban Folk Art Salon. This time I gave house keys to a neighbour who also has had (now fixed in his case) basement flooding so he should know what to do. Now I just have to get out and there staying dry and get back home again. And enjoy myself the whole evening.

There is more to this why my basement still floods story, but that will also be in the Only Child Writes post next Tuesday.

The other situation I’m still dealing with is trying to get the rest of the payment for a writing course I taught last month. The cheque for two sessions arrived on Tuesday – late. It seems to be too many layers of departments involved and it doesn’t help that my signed contract got lost by the middle-department – that’s the cheque I’m still waiting for.

Such are the woes of the writer. Now I better do one more round of practicing for tonight.

Meantime you can check out the details of this evening’s Urban Folk Art Salon on my author blog post last Thursday or for a shorter version on my Gigs and Blog Tours page here.

And as usual if you click on the Beyond Book cover at the top, it will take you to my Amazon author page.

Wish me luck later today and this evening. And if you are in the area in Toronto this evening, drop in. At least the program room is upstairs on the second floor, so hopefully all will go well.

Cheers.

Sharon

 

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Toronto Urban Folk Art Salon July 28 features many creative people

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

The phone call with the same number came in three times. I didn’t recognize the phone number and the caller’s name didn’t show. Being the recipient of too many telephone scam calls the past month, if I don’t recognize the name or number, I’m reluctant to answer the phone. I figure if it’s important they can leave a message. Of course, the scammers also leave messages, often recorded message. No message was left so on impulse on the third try to reach me, I picked up.

Not a scammer but Gannon Hamilton who organizes and hosts the monthly Urban Folk Art Salon at Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Library branch. He’s a poet and violinist and I met him at the first salon in February. I went because a poet/memoir writer/sculptor I know was one of the six performers. While there I talked to Gannon about participating – but in my acting capacity with another author. He was interested and took my business card.

But he wasn’t calling about my acting. He was calling because he wanted me to be an author reading from my published works (the Beyond mystery books) for July 28. That was a surprise. Usually I have to do a lot of PR and the like to get reading gigs. I said “yes” and we talked a bit more about the Salon. He gave me the name and email of the librarian he works with to schedule these salons and told me to email her with a head shot of me and my name for the flyer she was putting together. I thanked him and contacted the librarian.

The flyer attachment arrived in my Inbox on Tuesday. When I saw the names and photos of the other five, I was honoured to be in such creative company. There are musicians, poets, and one fellow is a poet, actor and artist. It will be interesting to see which of his creative talents he will use next Thursday.

Here is the list of we six, starting with Philip Cairns, the poet,actor and painter just mentioned. Where possible I am putting a link to their websites.

Philip Cairns

Bridget Melody  visual artist, former ballet dancer, and as her name suggests, now a singer/songwriter

Lucky Mike (Cavanaugh) singer, songwriter, roots music, alt.country

Pete Janes

Gannon Hamilton

Sharon A. Crawford – author, editor, writing instructor and sometime actor

All this talent I will be mixing with. And I will try not to disappoint with my reading. Although my character Dana Bowman is staying between the book covers, this time, I have a few “something differents” to use in my readings.

Here are the details about this upcoming Urban Folk Art Salon

An evening of music, poetry. prose, and art.Hosted by Gannon Hamilton, featuring: Bridget Melody, Philip Cairns, Sharon A Crawford, Pete Janes, Lucky Mike and Gannon Hamilton.

Time and Date: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday, July 28, 2016

Location: Mount Pleasant Toronto Public Library Branch, 599 Mount Pleasant Rd., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

If you are in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area), please come to this unique salon.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Recharging you novel’s rewrite

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

This week I finally got back to rewriting the next novel in my Beyond mystery series. The plan had been to spend a good part of June, July and August doing this. But for a change I had a lot of client work. That I’m not complaining about. Neither am I complaining about spending time gardening. As well as writing, gardening is a passion of mine.

However, I am complaining about all the health issues I’ve had to deal with lately, some caused by others’ negligence. (See my post this week on my personal blog Only Child Writes.).

Still doing one client’s work – but no complaints. Client confidentially doesn’t allow me to discuss the client’s work, but sufficient to say it is interesting and challenging and when it arrives I switch over from the novel rewrite to the client work.

Getting back to the big novel rewrite is also a challenge. Having ideas percolating inside my head while I was doing other things and also some suggestions from the editor at Blue Denim Press (my publisher) have been big helps. So has one of my writer friends and colleagues – Rosemary McCracken – just publishing the third in her Pat Tierney mystery series.And having a wacky main character like PI Dana Bowman is good. At least I think so, although she does get inside my head a lot and likes to have her way in her stories. All inspiration to do more than put the seat of my pants to the chair.

How did I actually get back into the rewriting?

First, I reread the novel and comments I had made for changes and also noted what I had changed. Then I got in and made some changes in the beginning and continued on until I got stuck. But I had ideas for other parts, including the ending which needed a big change, so those are the places I focused on next. I feel better that I made changes in the ending even though I know that some of it will be changed as more changes in parts coming before will be made. That’s okay. Often just doing something that is a change is a good start.

Writing the ending before some of the rest, you may ask? I am following the advice given by another author Ken McGoogan who said when he gets tired of writing in chapter order, he will go the end. Mind you he writes narrative non-fiction. But I think it can be done with fiction as long as you realize it is not written in granite. Well, some writers think their prose, and even their punctuation, should be left exactly as they write it.

That is arrogance and maybe a little worry that the editor will mess up your prose so it isn’t really yours when it’s done. And yes, being an editor myself, and a former journalist who worked with several editors, it does happen. However, there is one thing we writers need to remember.

Writers work in isolation. Writers see their creations with tunnel vision. Another pair of eyes will find flaws and better ways to express something than the author.

So keep up the rewriting. Although you can get carried away with that. Another author colleague is still making changes in his novels after they are published. And yes he does have a trade publisher, so not being self-published he can’t exactly make changes in the print book for sale. But he can do so for his author readings.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

If you click on the Beyond Blood book icon a the top it will take you to my amazon author profile and books.

 

 

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Using real life in your fiction – more info

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

A writer friend recently told me that I was one of the strongest people she knows and then she referenced that I raised my son as a single parent.

Once I got over the shock (I seem to live my life in worry and fear lately but I am very vocal and get after people and organizations that mess up my life), I started thinking that this may have a lot to do with the family situation I created in my novel Beyond Blood.

My main character, PI Dana Bowman has a seven-year old son, David. She is also divorced, so a single mom.

In my life, I do have a son whom I raised as a single mom. But I did have help from my ex-husband. Dana gets no help from her ex, Ron, but she and David live with her fraternal twin brother, Bast Overture, also a PI.

My son was a young child in the 1980s while Beyond Blood is set in 1998. But subconsciously I guess some of raising my son rubbed off. But there are several differences besides the time frame. Dana is much more outspoken than I was back then and she ventures where another character Great Aunt Doris says she shouldn’t because she is a mother. Aunt Doris says Dana shouldn’t be working as a private investigator and chasing after bad people also because it’s not safe for David.

Unfortunately, it turns out Aunt Doris is right here because David is kidnapped. But that puts Dana in the double-bind of being the PI to find her son and being his mother. That creates a lot of character conflict which influences the plot. And that is pure imagination. My son was never kidnapped. The closest he came to “disappearing” was when he was four years old. I couldn’t find him anywhere in the house (and yes, I was home at the time) or outside – at first. Then I looked a little closer in the big backyard. Yup! There he was, crouched down in the grass and playing with his toys.

My point here is you can use some situations and even characters loosely in your novels and short stories. But you have to fictionalize it all. Just think “trigger point” and use your imagination from there.

Maybe living my life in fear (balanced by being very outspoken and yes, I admit, sometimes grumpy) has spawned something good. Because Dana’s family situation continued in the four linked short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point and in the current Beyond novel I am currently rewriting.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

And as usual, if you click on the book cover at the top it takes you to my amazon profile and my two Beyond books

 

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