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Category Archives: Author Interviews

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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Writers’ group looks at Writer’s Block

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Who is more to be pitied, a writer bound and gagged by policemen or one living in perfect freedom who has nothing more to say?

– Kurt Vonnegut

You might not want to be arrested and charged by police but there are many options if you have a dose of writer’s block. Last evening, in a round circle discussion, members of my East End Writers’ Group came up with some novel ideas for well writer’s block when writing a novel – or writing anything.

Here are our words of wisdom, in no particular order:

Take a writing course, especially one taught by Brian Henry – you will get inspired and Brian gets you to actually write in his workshops, even during lunch.

Put the blocked novel, short story aside and write something different. Maybe your brain is bored with the same old story and needs something new, at least temporarily. But do come back to the original.

Have a roster of several writing projects on the go – to some extent; don’t over tax yourself – so you can move from one to the other when stuck.

Start reading. You would be surprised how reading another novel, short story, newspaper article written by someone else can inspire you to write. Don’t analyze the story’s style, just go with the flow of writing and let your subconscious absorb the writer’s style. You don’t want to copy it, but it will jar your inner creativity.

Freefall write – write anything that comes to mind and keep writing for at least 20 minutes. You can also use a word, a sentence from a book, a sound, something visual to get you going. Or if you are angry, worried, or fearful about something, write about that. Go where the fear takes you.

Do something completely different – preferably something physical – walk the dog or just go for a walk on your own, do some gardening (season permitting). Getting your body moving can help wake up your brain – often with a possible solution to your block.

One group member writes in different languages, so when blocked he switched languages. He also juggles several writing projects at a time.

And don’t forget to join a writing critique group. Even if you don’t always bring something to read for feedback, just listening to someone read their writing excerpt and listening to and taking part in the discussion, can be inspiring.

Let’s banish writer’s block where it belongs – buried in the snow.

Here are a couple of books to help you do just that with writer’s block.

The Artist’s Way – Julia Cameron

Unlock Writer’s Block – Paul Lima

Cheers.

Sharon

If you click on the book at the top, it will take you to my books,bio, etc on my publisher’s page. To check out the East End Writers’ Group go here.

 

 

 

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Criminals and historical figures on CWC panel

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The bad guys and history guys weren’t there in person. But five of us from Crime Writers of Canada – Rosemary McCracken, Steve Burrows, Sylvia Warsh, Nate Hendley and I told tales of crossing paths with the above and more in our research to write that perfect mystery novel or true crime story.

Rosemary moderated the panel which gave me a breather from that function so I would just have to show up and answer questions. But apparently I had trouble finding the Fairview library branch, or rather the exit from Fairview Mall, where I had to run a few errands first (like glasses cleaner, very important to be able to see through your glasses to read from your books). And I’ve been at this library before and had no trouble then going from the mall across the parking lot to the library. This time I couldn’t find the right exit or even the right level of the mall. Finally I asked at the Guest Service booth.

We had a good audience turnout. Rosemary got us panelists talking and the stories that came out. Sylvia’s Dr. Rebecca Temple mysteries are set in 1979 Toronto, but Find Me Again also goes back in time to Catherine the Great. She did most of her research on the Internet. You can’t exactly interview Catherine the Great. Nate, who writes about true crime (Crystal Death), has met the criminal element – bikers and the like. Rosemary, whose protagonist Pat Tierney is a financial advisor (Safe Harbor), writes about finances as a journalist, so has information and connections there. Steve writes the Birder mysteries (A Siege of Bitterns), so birding features in his novels (Steve is a birder), but he had to do some police research. My Beyond books (Beyond Blood) are set in the late 1990s (so far, the third one I’m working on goes into the twenty-first century). As mentioned in last week’s blog post (https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/2015/07/23/researching-mid-stream-for-your-novel/), I have a police consultant and have to keep any police procedure in that time period. I also have to be careful with technical devices. No social media. Internet connection was via dial-up until late fall 1999, cellphones were just that and they folded closed and had antennae. But there was email and that figures in my Beyond books. In this third one I write, I may have to talk to a psychic, so that should be interesting.

We also read excerpts from our books and answered questions on marketing your book.

Authors and audience connected so well, we had to be reminder by the librarian that it was time to leave.

In August I take a break from actual gigs. So will be spending more time researching and writing that third Beyond book. With a bit of final arrangements for fall presentations and readings. It promises to be a busy fall. Check out the Gigs and Blog Tours page on this blog and also my website http://www.samcraw.com/ for updates as I get them in there.

Meantime, the photo at the top of this post still connects to where you can get e-copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Print copies available (among other places) at https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/home/search/?keywords=Beyond%20blood%20and%20Sharon%20A.%20Crawford

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Gigs and other book promo

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Gearing up for another presentation with other Crime Writers of Canada authors next week. Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley, Steve Burrows, and Sylvia M. Warsh and myself will descend on Fairview Library,in Toronto, Canada next Thursday, July 23. I’m being lazy this time round as Rosemary is doing the moderating honours, including coming up with some questions for us authors to reply with sizzling answers to draw in the audience. We’re also going to read a bit from our books.

Meantime I’ve been busy organizing more gigs for the Crime Writers of Canada gang. And talk about being lazy – no not shrinking back in doing there, but I am consolidating some of my book promo (and also other CWC authors) with DRUM ROLL HERE….

A new page on this blog Gigs and Blog Tours.  It features upcoming gigs, some past gigs that were memorable, blog tours and the like, with lots of photos. Check it out at https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/getting-around-with-the-beyond-blood-gang-and-friends/.

It is an evolving page, with constant changes/additions. You never know from week to week if it will be the same.

Info on my books and gigs are still on my website, but the setup will change – once my son and I get finished creating a new website for me. This is my writing and editing and instructing website http://www.samcraw.com – old one is still up until the new one gets finished.

Meantime, the photo at the top of this post still connects to where you can get copies of Beyond Blood – e-copies and print.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

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Don’t forget the ears – Promoting your book on radio

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

In this graphic online world we sometimes forget there is another older way to promote your book. And it can be done online – live streaming or download or via the website’s Archives. The word is “radio” and although your audience can’t see you they can hear you.

I’ve had that radio interview experience a few times lately for my mystery novel Beyond Blood. None were straightforward. But all were interesting and satisfying.

Probably the closest to “straightforward” was a phone interview for a local (Cobourg, Ontario Canada) radio station. The q and a was normal but it felt a little strange reading an excerpt from Beyond Blood into my wireless phone.

For another radio station I was interviewed in a closet. No brooms or mops but lots of chairs piled up. The location was the Cobourg Public Library and the occasion was Word Northumberland in October 2014. The radio host had a micro digital recorder and among the chairs we did the q and a. Fortunately, I didn’t have to read in the closet. That was done on the small stage in the corner of the publishers and authors exhibit room where authors took their turns reading excerpts from their latest books. And yes, those segments were recorded.
Perhaps the most interesting is the interview I did with Nancy Bullis Tuesday night at 10 p.m. for her Howl show. Love that title. And love the location even more. CIUT 89.5 FM is the long-running University of Toronto radio station. Nancy has been hosting Howl for fifteen and a half years. But they weren’t always at this Hart House location. Until fall 2010 they were in another building closer to a main drag – Bloor Street – and Howl was broadcast live at 2 p.m. on Sundays. Nancy said she always ran into the annual Santa Clause parade just as it started.

But the curious thing is the studio’s actual location – if you can find it. Took me two preliminary visits and a chat with the station manager to find out exactly where on the third floor of historic Hart House it is situated.To make the search more confusing, the first recording studio you see is NOT the correct one. You have to walk along an inner corridor in front of that one until you come to another door which leads you to another corridor with the correct studio at the end.

I had no trouble finding Hart House or its west wing as instructed. Apparently some interviewees can’t do that and land in the east wing. Nancy has chased after lost interviewees before.

But not me. I found it without any problems the night of the interview; my research paid off. When Nancy arrived (and she was early too), she found me chatting with Robert the technician. Nancy and I had a preliminary chat then went inside the studio – the recording part in the front and the actual place where the interview occurs in a small room behind. We sat at a small oval table with huge table-top mics. Nancy checked to see which ones were working and then gave me mic instructions – how far away to put my face from the mic. She adjusted the mic a bit.

I’m usually useless with microphones. I get too close, too far away or worse – have to adjust the mic because someone taller used the mic before me. When I try to adjust these mics, I either can’t move the stand part and/or the mic comes off and I feel like a would-be rock star who can’t sing. That’s me. So I use my loud outside voice.

With the CIUT radio interview, no mic problem I guess. My publisher’s editor listened to the show live while driving home and said the interview was good. I gather he could hear it all right.

So what went on in the interview? Nancy asked questions and I talked about how I got into writing mysteries, about research, some of the characters (the fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture) and Dana’s son, David, plus a couple more eccentric characters, Great Aunt Doris and the stuttering Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, and if my characters appear in both my books.

We also talked about that other Beyond book – the short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012) and the four linked stories connected to Beyond Blood and why the two weren’t published in chronological order.

And where I am reading in the near future. I also managed to get in my website address somewhere in the conversation. Those two are very important.

Speaking of reading – I did read a short excerpt from Beyond Blood. And it didn’t feel like I was reading to a wall or a wireless phone.

Until Wednesday, May 6 you can check out my interview at http://www.ciut.fm/shows-2/ciut-audio-archives/ scroll down to Howl and click on Howl. You need an MP3 player to listen, from what I see there. But remember, I am not technically inclined.

And for those who must have their visual, you can see and hear my interview about Beyond Blood and writing on thatchannel’s Liquid Lunch at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile. If you buy a copy there, please do a review on amazon.com.

 

 

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When your fiction characters get inside your head

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Are your fiction characters trying to take over your mind? Do you seem to be losing yourself in their quirks and even their talk?

Two of the main characters from my Beyond mystery fiction series (Beyond the Tripping Point, 2012 and Beyond Blood, 2014, Blue Denim Press for both) are doing this. Dana Bowman, the PI mom of six to seven-year old-David (age depending on which book) and the stuttering Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding.

Sandra Kryzakos in her Liquid Lunch interview with me says I’m channeling my characters. She bases this on how I talk about them and how I read excerpts from the books. And to add more fuel to the channelling fire, when I told her about Detective Fielding, I started to stutter and said so.

“Now, she’s channeling,” she said. (Watch this thatchannel.com interview on You Tube at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY)

Not the first time something like this has happened. Others hearing me read say I don’t read like I’m just reading but I put myself into the characters, into their heads.

Now, are Dana and Fielding getting back at me? Just kidding? Actually I welcome my characters getting into my head. Besides giving me an excuse for if and when I stumble over words, my characters are speaking to me. They give me ideas for what to write in my third Beyond book. They keep me in touch with what is happening in their lives and remind me of what is impossible. They also remind me they are distinct characters and not me.

Although I wonder about the latter. Especially when I find myself sometimes using “Dana’s big bag” to cart groceries and other purchases. For Dana this bag is her purse. To my credit I use another smaller bag as my purse. But just calling the bag “Dana’s bag,” says something. However, I still can’t draw a straight line even with a ruler and Dana is also an artist, sketching the people she interviews and incorporating the interview context into the drawing. And she drives a car and the only driving I can do is to drive people up a wall. She is also not a gardener and I am. Then there is the 25 or so year age difference. (Note: I’m the older gal here).

And of course, I don’t have a fraternal twin brother – don’t have any siblings.

So, I’ll let Dana, Detective Sergeant Fielding and whomever else I write about “invade” my mind. They have stories to tell and I need to tell their story, not mine, in the Beyond books.

Now, if I could only sort out this dream business. Dana sometimes dreams about the future (you have to read Beyond Blood to see that). I’m hoping my horrendous, sometime scary dreams, are not premonitions of my future. If so, it could be a bleak future.

Dana? What do you think?

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Maybe I’ll see you at a future gig. I post my reading and presentation gigs on the Beyond Blood page of my website www.samcraw.com. Keep checking back for updates.

Sharon A. Crawford is the author of the Beyond book series. More info at www.samcraw.com and www.bluedenimpress.com including a link to a radio interview at http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/

Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

And that Liquid Lunch interview link again is http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY

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Get a Room – Sharon blogs about unique author-reader experience

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

This week I did a guest blog post on Shannon A. Thompson’s very busy blog. Shannon’s blog focuses on the author-reader connection and that happened to me and three other Crime Writers of Canada authors when we recently did a presentation at the Beaches library branch in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ll put the first few paragraphs of my post here. Then I’m connecting you over to Shannon’s blog. (I know; I know; lazy-way out but it gives you a chance to check out another writer’s blog.).

Get a Room – the Ultimate Author and Reader Connection

Readers and writers like to connect on Goodreads, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and blogs. Videos on YouTube give the reader some idea of the author’s persona. But they are not connecting physically. As the title of a song made famous by the late Peggy Lee (back in pre-online days) asks, “Is that all there is?”

But get an author in a “bricks and mortars” room with a group of readers and more can happen. Call it creative magic, call it real connection – whatever you wish, but it is like the icing on the cake.

Why else do authors still do readings and interviews in libraries, cafes, pubs, at book clubs, writing festivals and conferences? Sure, we authors want to sell books, but we want to meet our readers in the flesh. And when you do like me, partner up with authors from a writing organization, the atmosphere can escalate into a literary, or in my case, criminal high. No drugs needed.

As the crime fiction author of the Beyond mystery series (Beyond the Tripping Point, 2012 and Beyond Blood, 2014, Blue Denim Press) and a member of Crime Writers of Canada, I often “appear” with other crime writers to do readings and author interviews. A recent appearance at the Beaches Library Branch in Toronto, Canada, turned into an incredible evening.

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And now over to Shannon, who introduces me first and then posts my blog post.

http://shannonathompson.com/2015/03/09/author-and-reader-connection/

Happy reading and maybe I’ll see you at a future gig. I post my reading and presentation gigs on the Beyond Blood page of my website www.samcraw.com. There are more I have to post but I’m getting to them. Keep checking back.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Author of the Beyond book series. See http://www.samcraw.com and http://www.bluedenimpress.com for more info. Book at top of this post links to my Amazon author profile.

To watch my interview on Liquid Lunch on thatchannel.com go to Go to http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY and enjoy.

 

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