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Category Archives: Blog Tours and Guest Blogging

Word on the Street for Writers and Readers

The latest Beyond book in the series

The latest Beyond book in the series

The annual Word on the Street (WOTS) Festival is coming up this Sunday, September 25 in Toronto. WOTS has been running since 1990  when it first began on Queen St. West in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Since then it has added locations such as Vancouver, British Columbia, Kitchener, Ontario, and Halifax, Nova Scotia. This year the date for all locations is no longer the same date, so Halifax and Saskatoon were last weekend, but Lethbridge, Alberta is this Saturday, September 24 and Toronto is this Sunday, September 25. WOTS has also changed the Toronto festival location twice – first to Queens Park by the Ontario Parliament buildings in downtown Toronto and then last year to the newly upgraded. renovated Toronto Harbourfront Centre in downtown Toronto and on Lake Ontario.

Although the original location reflects the festival title, I found it difficult to get around here. Yes, part of Queen St. was closed to traffic, with booths in the middle of the street, but you had to plan your stops ahead of time. Otherwise you could be near one end of the street and want to get to a booth or booths at the other ends.

With the Queens Park location, booths were set up in the circled walkway in the park so you could either follow along that or cut across the grass in between. You also had the green park atmosphere, better than a busy street. I liked this location and it was at this location I did a talk in one of the guest writer, writing information, publishing,  and the like tents. I believe the talk was about Interviewing techniques for journalists – I was still working as a freelance journalist then.

The Toronto Harbourfront Centre has been received with mixed reaction. I personally like it – there is the on-the-waterfront location which can be calming and most of the booths are in the same area, so easy enough to get to beyond the usual finding the booth itself by the number – something that was normal with any of the locations.

For the latter two locations, I have been able to sell copies of my Beyond books at the Crime Writers of Canada booth or in the case of Beyond the Tripping Point the year it was coming out – let potential readers know – it was pre-book launch and I didn’t have book copies so had flyers for the book launch. One of them I fashioned with two holes at the top with a string in between. I wore it so after my one hour at the CWB booth was finished, I walked around wearing the flyer.

When Beyond Blood came out in fall 2014, again WOTS was before the book launch, but I had a few pre-launch copies from my publisher (Blue Denim Press) with the instructions to sell to anyone not going to the book launch.

Which I did.

Last year I added an hour with my books at the Toronto Sisters in Crime booth and sold copies of both books. I had a sale price for purchase of both books together and plan to do something like that again this year and perhaps something extra. Not telling. You will have to come out to WOTS in Toronto to see what. But also to meet and talk to  well-known authors and hear them reading, information for writers to get published – often with panel discussions, books for sale, many smaller publishers, writing and editing organizations, plus public libraries, ESL, magazines – small and more wide-spread, book publishers, and of course, food.

For more information on WOTS see here and for the Toronto WOTS go here.

And to see where I’ll be when (at least at the booths), go to my Gigs and Blogs page.

Hope to see you there – well some of you.

As usual the Beyond Blood book icon at the top links to info about my books and my author profile.

Cheers.

Sharon

 

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Rewriting Novels Using Both Sides of the Brain

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Rewriting a novel can be daunting, especially with the many, many rewrites that are necessary. I find there is no right way to do it, but with all the rewrites with my third Beyond book, I discovered by accident a way to be both creative and practical.

Use both sides of your brain – the right side for creativity and the left side for the logical and practical. Let me explain.

Without giving away the plot, let’s just say, like most of my story lines, it is complicated. That means the characters, like real people are complicated.

So I brainstorm outside of writing time for what I could change. When I sit down at the computer, I re-read all the novel and make a few notes. Then I tackle it from the beginning, dealing with it in parts. As I write more ideas come into my brain. But each idea leads to something that will have to be added or changed later on in the novel. So how do I keep track. Sure, I can make a few notes in another file, but mainly I use the Word comment for this with some suggestions.Then I can go back and update later. However, often the creative spirit married to the logical spirit moves me to do so right away. So I follow the thread to the next part that needs changing and do so.

I’ll give you one example which won’t give the story away. My Beyond novels, as well as four stories in Beyond the Tripping Point, feature fraternal twin private investigators, Dana Bowman and Bast Overture. While they partner in their business, they do split up the investigation a lot of the time. One of the things with this is the twins have to keep each other updated with what they find. So that has to go in somehow somewhere or else later on I will be writing from say Bast’s point of view as if he already knows what Dana found out – but nowhere does it say this.The reader can’t assume Dana told him. But I don’t always want a long dialogue between the two unless it can move the plot forward and/or develop the characters.

So, I sometimes use the phrase “Bast brought Dana up to speed about….” or “Dana brought Bast up to speed about…” Sometimes I don’t even do that but just have Bast in his next investigative action think “Dana had told him that… ” and very briefly mention it. I  do the same with Dana and do so when what one twin told the other is relevant to the other twin’s current detecting.

But with all this to-ing and fro-ing something else different has come up – what would happen if one twin didn’t tell the other twin what he or she found out?

Yes, it can be a somewhat constant shifting to different parts of the brain and I find that one feeds the other. And often you are rewriting on the creative side during most of that day’s writing time.

Now if I can just follow through with my rewrite of Beyond….  Nope, not even giving away the title.

Meantime, you can check out Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Link to all that can be found in the usual spot – the book cover at the top.

And later this month I will be back on the PR road for the Beyond books, so next week will be updating both the Gigs and Blog Tours part of this blog (a fiction writing workshop I’m teaching in October is already listed) and also the book page of my website. And yes, Dana will be doing another comedy skit gig in late October – this time with a really big twist. Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Sharon. A. Crawford

 

 

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Writing from Real Life

Rosemary McCracken author of the Pat Tierney mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken author of the Pat Tierney mystery novels

Today, I have a guest blogger – Rosemary McCracken, a friend and writing colleague who has often been part of the same panel on crime writing as me. Rosemary’s third novel, Raven Lake, in her Pat Tierney mystery series is out now in June and… well I’ll let Rosemary tell you all about it and her writing. The e-book launch is on Facebook this Sunday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Click here to reach the party site.and the in-person book launch is June 25, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto. Over to you,  now Rosemary…

Thank you, Sharon, for inviting me here today!

I thought I’d talk about a subject that’s dear to my heart—writing from real life. All writers “borrow” from the people they know and situations they’ve been in when they create their fiction. Some to a greater extent than others. Two students in my How to Develop Your Novel course at Toronto’s George Brown College are working on novels based on their own lives. It’s not as easy a job as it might seem.

Writers who turn real-life events into fiction face the same challenges that writers have with any novel. They need to create believable characters and riveting plots. But knowing the real-life counterparts and the outcome of their adventures can often curb a writer’s ability to let the characters get on with their fictional lives.

My advice to writers who base their stories on real people and events is not to incorporate every detail of the real story into the work of fiction. “Use your imagination,” I tell them, “and don’t feel you have to stick to the facts. You’re writing fiction.”

They will need to expand the scope of the real-life story. In fiction, plot is the order of events in a story that gradually builds tension. The plot needs to develop with all its requisite plot points—which may take characters far afield from the people they are based on. Writers shouldn’t be afraid to impose the cause-and-effect order of plot on the story they are telling. It will build conflict and tension, and make the story more unified and enjoyable for readers.

Of course, names will have to be changed to protect the privacy of people the writer knows. The writer should go a step further and change characters’ initials as well, so that Mark Manners doesn’t become Mike Madison. The character’s physical appearance, the details of his childhood and his job will also need to be altered.

With my background as a newspaper journalist, I enjoy developing fiction from real-life stories that have been in the news—situations or events that happened to other people. And, yes, a story that was in the news a few summers ago is part of my new Pat Tierney mystery novel, Raven Lake.

The news coverage described the plight of vacationers who had turned to rental websites to find vacation homes to rent for their holidays. They arrived at their vacation destinations in Ontario lake country only to find that they’d been duped by con artists. The cottages were actually full-time residences and not for rent at all. They lost their deposits, some lost their full payments, and they had nowhere to spend their holidays. My heart went out to these people who had driven for hours thinking that they were about to spend a relaxing week or two at a sylvan lake. I also felt sorry for the residents of the targeted homes who had would-be renters turning up on their doorsteps. Some of them were afraid that these strangers might take their frustrations out on them.

A perfect crime for a mystery set in cottage country. It helped that I didn’t know any of the real people involved so I was free to create my own characters and outcomes.

Rosemary McCracken

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00070]

Bio:

Rosemary McCracken has worked on newspapers across Canada as a reporter, arts reviewer, editorial writer and editor. She is now a Toronto-based fiction writer and freelance journalist. Her first Pat Tierney mystery, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger in 2010 and published by Imajin Books in 2012. It was followed by Black Water in 2013. “The Sweetheart Scamster,” a Pat Tierney mystery in the anthology Thirteen, was a finalist for a Derringer Award in 2014. Rosemary’s third Pat Tierney mystery, Raven Lake, has just been released. It is available at myBook.to/RavenLakeTierney.

Follow Rosemary on her blog, Moving Target at http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rosemarymccracken and on Twitter @RCMcCracken. Visit Rosemary’s website at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/.

Links to Rosemary’s books and short stories

Safe Harbor: myBook.to/SafeHarborTierney

Black Water: myBook.to/BlackWaterTierney

Raven Lake: myBook.to/RavenLakeTierney

Thirteen: http://amzn.to/18oY8mF

 

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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.

***

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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Guest Alex Laybourne gives us the dirt on writing his novels

Alex Laybourne horror novelist

Alex Laybourne horror novelist

Today I welcome guest Alex Laybourne a prolific horror novelist (four novels published). Alex discusses the difficulties authors have nailing down how they write their novels. He has some interesting insights. Over to you Alex.

As a writer, one of the most common questions you will get asked, besides the insulting and impossible to answer to any degree of satisfaction question of, How many books have you sold, is undoubtedly going to be something directed at the way in which you approach the task at hand.

How do you write your novels?

Do you always know how your book is going to go?

How much preparation do you do for your characters?

Do these sound familiar?

These questions, while interesting to hear, because it means that the person you are talking to is interested in the process rather than the success, are often the hardest to answer. Twice at least.

I say this because it is, for more writers, impossible to give the same answer to these questions twice in a row. I don’t mean this in the sense of, I can’t remember the exact word for word answer I gave the last time but on a much more fundamental level. It is physically impossible to answer this question twice, giving the same themed response.

Why? Well, every book, every project is different. The story is different, the characters, unless you are writing a series, are going to be different. There will be a varied tone and style to their work, certainly for younger, or shall we say, less experienced, writers. For they are trying hard to find their voice, to find that natural tone.

I have now published four full length novels and four (currently unavailable) short story collections, and what worked for the first tale, did not work for the second.

This was a painful fact for me to learn, and it is something that every writer needs to experience for themselves before they understand the meaning behind it.

My first novel, Highway to Hell, I planned out in my head, chapter by chapter, for the most part, but for the sequel, I just couldn’t figure it out ahead of time. I tried, and deleted close to sixty thousand words after finding myself bored and fed up with the story. It turned out that this novel needed to be written ‘on the fly’. This was a frightening process, as I knew nothing, and as I wrote there were passages which I marked for the editing phase. I hated them, and they were out of place, or so it seemed. Then, suddenly, at the end of the book, I found myself linking back to these passages which suddenly not only made sense, but helped round off the tale perfectly.

My novel Diaries of the Damned was written in a similar way. Whereas my most recent novel, Blood of the Tainted was written following the basic storyline, I had in my head, and then the details and a sub plot were added during the re-write phase.

It is impossible to gauge, before you start putting pen to paper, or fingers to keys, as would be more apt in the modern world, how you should write the novel. You could write a wonderful plan, mapping out every conversation and plot point to fit every style guide and craft book you have read, but suddenly, you find yourself stuck. Your imagination has a flare and before you know it the book is going in a different direction.

It is hard not to fight this, not to try and stick to the routine that provided you such success the last time, but it is nature. It cannot be fought any more than we can fight the aging process. We can give it a good try, but ultimately we lose. Go with what your mind, what the natural writer inside of you is saying, and not what the real you wants to do.

Books are a part of us, the characters are part of who we are. They are friends, people who we learn about as we write. The best characters, like the best friendships, are not defined from the very beginning, but evolve naturally over time.

Think about your social interactions. How you behave at work, at home, down the pub with your friends. We do not operate on a single basis of interaction. We adapt as necessary based on where we are, who we are with. We are not denying who we are, but we are allowing the different components of who we are to shine when the time is right.

This is exactly how it works with writing. Whether you are writing standalone novels, a series, or short stories, even blog posts, such as this. The approach you take will vary, because each one will be using a different part of who you are as a writer as the dominant creative voice.

Embrace it, because it knows what it is doing. Once you accept this, two things will happen. Writing will become that much easier, because you know you are doing what is right, and the task of answering the questions mentioned above will become that much harder, for you will be more aware of the layers that run beneath it all.

Thanks for reading.

Alex Laybourne

Bio

Born and raised in the coastal English town Lowestoft, it should come as no surprise (to those that have the misfortune of knowing this place) that Alex Laybourne became a horror writer.

From an early age he attended schools which were at least 30 minutes’ drive away from his home, and so most of his free time was spent alone.

He claims to have been a writer as long as he can remember. With a wild and vivid imagination he finds it all too easy to just drift away into his own mind and explore the worlds he creates. It is a place where the conditions always seem to be just perfect for the cultivation of ideas, plots, scenes, characters and lines of dialogue

He is married and has four wonderful children; James, Logan, Ashleigh and Damon. His biggest dream for them is that they grow up, and spend their lives doing what makes them happy, whatever that is.

Cover of  Alex Laybourne's latest novel. Available on amazon. See link below

Cover of Alex Laybourne’s latest novel Blood of the Tainted.Available on amazon. See link below

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Alex-Laybourne/e/B00580RB18

Official website and blog site http://alexlaybourne.com/

Thanks Alex for your insights.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

Author of the Beyond mystery series – most recent Beyond Blood (Blue Denim Press, 2014).

 

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Taming Time to Write

Beyond Blood_Final EbookSometimes I would like to shoot the clock (figuratively speaking). Finding time to write (and I don’t mean writing for business purposes, including book promo), is something all authors have to deal with.

Of course, the clock is not to blame. The bottom line is there are too many things we have to deal with in our overly fast-paced world and squeezing in writing time is difficult. But we do have only 24 hours a day and it is up to us writers to sort out our time.

What is important to us and what isn’t?

Writing, obviously is one. But we can’t forget about the family, our health, the house problems, the computer problems and other problems that seem to land unwanted on our doorstep. So, for 2015 I ruthlessly pruned what I will do. I use a system of A’s, B’s, C’s and D’s which I found in a time management life balance book. It goes like this:

A –Have to do; want to do (e.g. writing).

B – Have to do; don’t want to do (e.g. dealing with house problems)

C – Don’t have to do; want to do (try new recipes each week)

D – Don’t have to do; don’t want to do (e.g. any dealings with the boarder I evicted last fall)
I also use three categories: delete (my favourite), delay, and do. So some of those items under B, in particular get put on hold. I am also trying to deal with one problem at a time.

For writing specifically, so far I have assigned Wednesday afternoons and Friday afternoons for writing the third book in my Beyond mystery fiction series. Once I get a better handle on some of my business administrative stuff, Wednesday mornings should also come open for other creative writing such as writing contest entries – which include personal essays as well as short stories. The other times in the day include doing client work (writing tutoring and teaching and editing), book promo and the like. Sometimes workshops and readings are set for “writing afternoons” – I honour those first and juggle the creative writing with “client time.”.

Weekends I try to leave for gardening (spring, summer, fall), family, friends, community events and the like, although I will do writing workshops, author readings and presentations and attend the odd writing conference that crop up on weekends.

During all time I keep my mind open for creative ideas for my stories and essays. Often when I am doing other stuff, the creative ideas pop in. Never ignore these –write them down, or enter on your tablet before you get back to whatever you were doing.

And the big time stealer – email? Unless I consider it urgent, I take from a few days to a week to reply. And when I do deal with email, I set the timer and when it rings I just finish the email I am currently writing.

Guess I use a combination of scheduling and being flexible. Whatever it takes to have time to be creative and just write.

Next week I have a guest blogger – Alex Laybourne, who is a prolific horror novel author with a number of books published. Alex will blog about how he writes. Stay tuned.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

For something completely different check out when I was interviewed about Beyond Blood and writing on radio station Northumberland 89.7 FM http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/

All my TV interviews are posted on You Tube. Click on “Video” at the top right of this blog

Check out my website www.samcraw.com for more information about Beyond Blood and my writing workshops. Watch for updates.

The book cover at the top links to my amazon.com author profile and my books.

E-copies are also available at my publisher’s website http://www.bluedenimpress.com

 

 

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Author interviews – learning from both sides of the fence

Cover of Beyond Blood by Sharon A. Crawford, published by Blue Denim Press. Click for link to purchase e-copies

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

Interviewer. Interviewee. Authors can get to do both. Which do you like best?

Last week I sat on both sides of this author interview fence. I posted my review of Rene Natan’s The Woman in Black on this blog and included a short interview with Rene. She also interviewed me for a posting on her blog page and did a book review of Beyond Blood on Goodreads. This interviewing got me thinking about interviews I have done (many, many – around 30 years’ worth) when I was a journalist.

But I have a somewhat unique perspective from the interviewee’s seat. Granted, answers to interview questions for guest blog posts can be carefully thought out. But what about those where the answer has to be spontaneous – such as for most of the profiles and feature articles I wrote where it was either in person or by phone. (Disclaimer: some were via email and could be thought out). Often I would get “don’t print this” or “this is off the record” but you can’t do that when you are being interviewed in front of an audience or on TV. (although TV interviews can be edited).

The bottom line is I get a rush from being interviewed and interviewing other authors. But I also like public speaking and reading from my book in public. Maybe it’s the drama queen in me or perhaps I’m a frustrated actor, but I get in character when I read and when I speak about something I am passionate about – such as writing, I get carried away. And I hope I carry my audience away with me too.

So being interviewed on TV doesn’t faze me, at least not anymore. I never know what some of the questions will be or what I will come up with for answers. But I always pitch right in with an answer – even when the interviewer goes a bit off track as Hugh Reilly did when he interviewed me about Beyond the Tripping Point in fall 2012. He got into Canadian mystery series and British series so I answered his questions and then got it back to Beyond the Tripping Point.

Ditto for being interviewed by Tom Taylor for his cable TV program Writers & Readers. Instead of one 10-minute interview he sprung it on me that there would be a second one about my editing and writing career.

The one that almost threw me for a loop goes back 25 years or so when another journalist (broadcast and print) who was a former mayor of Aurora and I were on an Aurora Cable TV show. I was supposed to be interviewing him – which I did. Then he ended the first segment with “when we come back I’ll be interviewing Sharon about her writing and community work.” (paraphrased).

I had about 10 minutes to catch my breath and mentally change chairs.

At least I didn’t have to prepare questions for this part.

It went off okay, but I think it helped teach me to be spontaneous. So does doing interviews – because you can prepare questions but the interviewee (or subject as journalists call him or her) may go off on tangents, clam up or as one artist did, look at me with dismay when she saw my recorder.

I told her “this is for accuracy,” and she settled down.

Being as accurate as you can, in the moment, is part of the bottom line when interviewing authors (or anyone) or being interviewed as an author. The other important bottom line part is being yourself.

Oh, and if a TV interview, don’t wear white. It interferes with the lighting.

You can read Rene Natan’s interview of me at http://www.scribd.com/doc/251460632/Interview-with-Sharon-Crawford

Rene Natan’s book review of Beyond Blood is on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23160706-beyond-blood

For something completely different check out when I was interviewed about Beyond Blood and writing on radio station Northumberland 89.7 FM http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/

All my TV interviews are posted on You Tube. Click on “Video” at the top right of this blog

Check out my website www.samcraw.com for more information about Beyond Blood and my writing workshops. I do update it.

The book cover at the top links to my amazon.com author profile and my books.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Book launch of Beyond Blood has two guest authors reading

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

Publicity can be terrible. But only if you don’t have any.

  • Jane Russell.

This just in.

Nate Hendley who writes true crime books and Rosemary McCracken who writes mystery novels are guest readers at my book launch October 19.

They will certainly add variety to the two of us from Blue Denim launching our books. Lots of murder and mayhem (in the books, not in the Paintbox Bistro, Toronto launch location). Let’s see:

Nate Hendley has written several books about the baddies such as the The Black Donnellys: The Outrageous Tale of Canada’s Deadliest Feud, American Gangsters: Then and Now, The Mafia: A Guide to an American Subculture and Crystal Death. His current book focuses on something different – a miscarriage of justice – Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice (Five Rivers Publishing, 2012). Nate is also a Toronto, Ontario-based freelance journalist and the Ontario VP for Crime Writers of Canada. I have been helping him line up public readings for CWC authors in Ontario. Find out more about Nate and his books at http://www.natehendley.com/ And check out his crime blog at http://crimestory.wordpress.com/

Rosemary McCracken, another Crime Writers of Canada member writes a mystery series about financial planner Pat Tierney and if you think that sounds dull, think again. Pat seems to get herself embroiled in financial mayhem and murder, and usually some family member is involved somehow. So far the series books are: Safe Harbor (Imagin Books, 2012), and Black Water (Imagin Books, 2013). Pat Tierney also appeared in Rosemary’s short story “The Sweetheart Scamster” in the short story anthology Mesdames of Mayhem Thirteen (2013). Check out Rosemary’s website at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/Home_Page.php for more book information and her Moving Target blog at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/Home_Page.php. Rosemary and I did blog tours and my blog post there is at http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2013/11/15/interview-with-author-sharon-a-crawford/

Nate, Rosemary and I have also made several appearances together and done readings with these CWC presentations. The three of us may be touring together later this year or early next year for more readings. Stay tuned.

And of course, the two of us with books being published by Blue Denim Press

Dead Wrong by Klaus Jakelski – a medical murder mystery. And yes, Klaus is a medical doctor with a family practice in Sudbury, Ontario, but his book takes place in Boston, Massachusetts and Toronto, Ontario. His book is available in e-copy at http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Wrong-Klaus-Jakelski-ebook/dp/B00N32O9Z4

And my book, Beyond Blood, with the infamous fraternal twins Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, a mystery taking place during eight days in August 1998 in fictitious Thurston, Ontario, just north of Toronto.

Meantime, yours truly is still frantically doing pre-book launch promo. Not going as fast as I had hoped. It doesn’t help that both my email/website server went down for a day during maintenance and yesterday my modem-router went off the ISP grid for a bit but only on the hard-wired connection on my desktop computer. The wireless was fine and my laptop was connected. Glitches fixed thanks to good techies at the other end(s). But it steals from your time.

I’m blaming that on why I haven’t updated my website page for Beyond Blood. Some of the updates are off-line but when I had the time to load it – that’s when the website server was off. More info will be up on my website www.samcraw on the Beyond Blood page in the next few days.

Check out the details on my book and my colleague Klaus Jakelski’s book at www.bluedenimpress.com.

The book at the top of this blog post links to amazon.com and 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 when I (finally) get my amazon profile and web page updated I’ll give you the links to them.

Print versions of Beyond Blood and Dead Wrong are coming out soon.

Watch for Dana and Bast. They will be returning here in these blog posts soon. And I promise, Bast will not go missing this time, but somebody else might.

 

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Some thoughts on marketing your published book

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Almost anyone can be an author; the business is to collect money and fame from this state of being.
– A.A. Milne

The book cover for my new mystery novel Beyond Blood is about ready for print. Shane the editor at my publisher’s (Blue Denim Press) and I have been to-ing and fro-ing by email to proofread the cover, mainly the back page info. I think we got the last comma squared away. Whew!

And the cover is awesome and reflects the book’s title and content. When Shane emails me the actual cover in a smaller size, I will post it on this blog.

Meantime I continue on the pre-book launch PR. I also have to consider the other mystery novelist (first novel for both of us) being published by Blue Denim Press – Klaus Jakelski, a medical doctor and author of the medical mystery Dead Wrong. Ironically, Klaus is one of my editing clients although except for providing Blue Denim Press’s contact info, I had nothing to do with his book getting accepted by them. But Klaus and I will be doing some of the PR together.

There are many, many ways an author can publicize his or her book. My publisher is doing some PR (Shane sent me a list, including what we authors can do). However, I have learned much from my PR efforts with my debut mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point.

1. You need a marketing plan as I found out when trying to book a gig reading Beyond the Tripping Point (before it came out) at a bookstore in Waterloo, Ontario. The store manager wanted to see my marketing plan first.
2. You need to organize your marketing plan to suit you. I tried doing it by category (i.e. book launch, writing organizations, etc.) first in a Word Table and then a colleague set it up in Excel. Too confusing. For yet another possible marketing venture, I had to list my Marketing plan by the month. That one works best for me. Under each month I list what I will do by – you guessed it – category. The list meshes social media, email and in-person. And it is always in flux and open to additions – some of which my publisher emails me.

What else have I learned from the PR I did for BTTP?
1. A combination of social media, email and in-person appearances/readings,workshops and lots of book reviews is the way to go. Despite this digital age, author appearances reading should not be excluded. People still like to connect in person with authors.
2. E-mail PR can still work and can be segued into social media and result in book sales.
4. Videos of author reading (short) and interviews (shortish) are also draws if posted on You Tube and all your other social media.
5. Blogging, including blog tours, with connections to amazon.com, etc. and other social media works.
6. A book page on the now old-fashioned website. I have one for Beyond the Tripping Point and have started one for Beyond Blood at http://www.samcraw.com. You can list your author gigs, including blog tours and other relevant info. Just keep it short and use links where possible.

 

What new strategies I need to use with Beyond Blood:

Among others – book trailer, using my social media much more, getting more book reviews, visiting more bricks and mortar bookstores for readings (with or without other Crime Writers of Canada authors) and getting more TV interviews and maybe a radio one, and the DVD copies of the interviews to put up on You Tube, etc. (with my son, Martin, the computer expert’s help), and using a tagline for all of this (for Beyond Blood and Klaus’s Dead Wrong it is Blue Murder, a play on words for the publisher’s name. Shane from Blue Denim Press came up with that one.

It’s almost a full-time job, but as I posted a few weeks ago in https://sharonacrawfordauthor.com/2014/07/10/juggling-time-to-publicize-first-novel-and-write-second-novel/

I do other writing, teaching and editing. It boils down to being organized and picking my battles for all the other stuff in my life that goes wrong. Like the bank (i.e. one of their tellers) paying my property tax money into the city utility (water and waste) account by mistake, so I get a big fine for “non-payment” of property taxes. The bank manager is supposed to be fixing that and seemed very interested if I knew which teller was responsible, so I hope they nail her. She should be paying my fine.

And if any of my readers use other PR strategies for their published books (whether Indie or traditional publisher), please comment.

Meantime, back to the PR for Beyond Blood.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read about my characters and their stories in my short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com.
More info on Sharon A.’s upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html And keep checking http://samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondBlood.html for the latest news on the release of my first mystery novel Beyond Blood, also published by Blue Denim Press http://www.bluedenimpress.com More info on the Beyond Blood page as we get closer to the date. And remember that clicking on the book icon at the top gets you to my Amazon profile.

 

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Guest blogger interviews her protagonist

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken has written two mystery novels (so far) – Safe Harbor and Black Water – featuring financial advisor Pat Tierney. Please welcome guest blogger Rosemary McCracken as she interviews this financial expert whose life is anything but usually dull.

Pat, how do you feel about being the main character of a book?

When you decided to make me the central character of Safe Harbor, the first book in her mystery series, I was puzzled. I’m just an ordinary, forty something woman. Widow, mother of two girls, business woman.Nothing special. But you thought people would be interested in me and my adventures.

And, to my amazement, they were. “I can’t wait for the next Pat Tierney installment,” one reader posted on Amazon. “I look forward to seeing what trouble Pat Tierney gets herself into next,” another reader said.

So I’m back—this time in Black Water.

 

Why did you become a financial advisor?

My late husband, Michael, was a financial advisor with a large investment firm, and his enthusiasm for his work was contagious. I took courses, got my accreditation and then joined Michael at the branch he ran.

I love helping my clients get their financial houses in order. It’s important work and I take it very seriously.

 

How did you get yourself involved in a murder investigation—again?

When it comes to my family, I’m a big softie. When Black Water opened, my relationship with my eldest child, Tracy, was stretched to the limits. I had to set it right. So when she asked me to help locate her sweetheart, Jamie, I had no choice in the matter. I headed out to cottage country north of Toronto where an elderly man had been killed in a suspicious fire. And Jamie was the prime suspect.

 

Did the events ofBlack Watermake youa better person?


Definitely. I’ve learned to get to know people before I judge them. I wasn’t at all happy when Tracy introduced me to Jamie—because Jamie is a woman. You see, I had no inkling of my daughter’s sexual orientation. I’d always considered myself a champion of diversity—racial, religious and sexual. But it’s easy to be open-minded until your own kid comes out.

In short, I botched it big time. After I met Jamie, I threw myself into my work, hoping Tracy would get over her infatuation. I made no effort to get to know Jamie.

But when Tracy asked me to help when Jamie went missing, I realized how important Jamie was to her. She wasn’t just friend. Jamie was the special person in my daughter’s life. Her partner.

I also realized that Tracy had been keeping things from me for a long time. I love my daughters and I don’t want them to keep secrets from me. I decided that I’d get to know Jamie, and if she was the one for Tracy, I’d stand by her choice.

The more I learned about Jamie, the more I liked her. She’s an exceptional young lawyer who secured a landmark judgment on behalf of an elderly woman who lost her savings when a financial advisor put them into high-risk investments. Jamie has talent, energy and integrity. And best of all, she’s devoted to Tracy.

 

What was the most challenging situation you found yourself in in Black Water?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I met up with some truly dreadful people in this book, and a couple of times I really thought it was game over for me. But I’d have to say the biggest challenge was driving a huge snowmobile named Molly across a series of frozen lakes in cottage country. I’d never operated a snowmobile before, and the lakes weren’t as frozen as they should have been. At one point, I had to resort to snowmobile skipping. Have you ever heard of snowmobile skipping? It’s driving a snowmobile across a stretch of open water by approaching it at a very high speed. It’s pretty scary. If you don’t make it over that icy water, you sink like a stone.

 

What’s your greatest failing?

I’m a worrier. I worry about everything, which makes bad situations twice as bad. I worry about them beforehand, and then I have to live through them.

 

Can we look forward to reading about you again?

I know that you have  two more books mapped out for me. Looks like I’ll be getting into trouble for some time to come.

Book cover for Black Water

Book cover for Black Water

BLACK WATER: synopsis 

When Pat Tierney’s daughter, Tracy, asks her to help find Tracy’s partner, Jamie Collins, their mother-daughter relationship is stretched to the limits. Pat heads out to cottage country where an elderly man, who killed Jamie’s sister in an impaired driving accident years ago, has perished in a suspicious fire. Unfortunately, Jamie is the prime suspect.

Pat takes charge at the new branch her investment firm has opened in the seemingly idyllic community where Jamie grew up, and her search for Tracy’s missing sweetheart takes her through a maze of fraud, drugs, bikers and murder.

Once again, Pat proves that her family can always count on her.

 Rosemary McCracken has worked on newspapers across Canada as a reporter, arts reviewer, editorial writer and editor. She is now a Toronto-based fiction writer and freelance journalist. Her first mystery novel, Safe Harbor, was shortlisted for Britain’s Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger in 2010 and published by Imajin Books in 2012. You can buy it here.

Black Water, the second book in the Pat Tierney series, has just been released at the special introductory price of .99! You can buy it here.

Visit Rosemary’s website at http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/.

Follow Rosemary on http://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/. And on Twitter at https://twitter.com/RCMcCracken and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosemarymccracken?ref=tn_tnmn

 

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