RSS

Category Archives: Blogging

Sharon writes M and M

I like to say I write “M and M.” And I don’t mean the candy – although I am a chocoholic. What I write is mystery and memoir. And because I’m one day late with this week’s posting  (too many deadlines, don’t ask), I want to take a look at the second M – memoir writing. Or in my case this month teaching memoir writing  – four weekly sessions at the Toronto Reference Library.

Before I go off on a memoir tangent, I want to mention that many authors, besides me, who started out writing and in some cases, publishing memoir books, also turned to fiction. For example, Catherine Gildner of the Too Close to the Falls memoir “series” – three books so far, also wrote the mystery Seduction. Ross Pennie,whose first published book was a memoir of his time as a young doctor in now writes the Dr. Zol Szabo medical mystery series. If you go to to the Crime Writers of Canada website and check the members biographies, you might find a few more who write M and M. And their quarterly e-publication Cool Canadian Crime (it’s free and available to all, not just CWC members) keeps mystery readers (and writers) up to date on members new books.

So back to that Memoir Writing Course and the connection here I am going to make. I also write another weekly blog on Tuesdays – which focuses on growing up an only child and the consequences over the years since. That gives me leeway for many topics, including writing memoir and teaching memoir. On this other blog, called Only Child Writes (what else would I call it?) for the Tuesdays this month I have been posting a snippet post and a link to it to read the rest. It is all writing and some of it can apply to fiction writing as memoir, although the truth according to the author, is written in fiction style.

Only Child on Research for your Memoir

“Have you found Grandpa’s farm?” my cousin Leona asked me when I called her just after arriving in Walkerton, Ontario.”

This is all part of my research for my family history on my mother’s side.

Read on. Can you see possibilities in what happened for some short fiction?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Author of the Beyond mystery series. More info about  Beyond Blood here.

 

.

 

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on April 14, 2017 in Blogging, Writing

 

Tags: , , , , ,

Writing a new short story finally

The latest Beyond book in the series

The latest Beyond book in the series

I am finally writing a new mystery short story. And I am amazed that I actually found time. Despite my good intentions to try to tame time, except for perhaps a couple of areas, it has not been working. Most of the blame is what I refer to as “outside crap.” Included in that is even more and new computer problems. I won’t go into the sad saga here now, except for the one that is connected to this author blog.

WordPress in its “infinite wisdom” has a Set Featured Image feature. Technically (pun intended) it should work for only the actual blog post you are writing for the image withing the actual post and is not the image (my headshot) that appears at the side outside all blog posts. That one stays. But if it the image is in a blog post and you set it as an “Update” you now have two photos the same side by side on your live post. If you delete one from the one post when you are in Edit Post for update mode, it deletes all the same image on all the posts that have it. Those with another image in the post seem to keep that image.

What were the WordPress designers thinking?

For the ongoing computer crap problems, you will have to check my personal blog, for future postings on it. Meantime, my son the computer techie will be helping me remotely to resolve some of these computer issues later today.

As for the time management plan – the actual writing is getting in there, although not as much time each day as planned and hoped for. I have cut back my email time to 20 minutes a day (using a timer), except for family. All email replies and even new ones with promised information are being prioritized according to content date. So, something happening the end of the month doesn’t get priority over something happening today. I use a timer. So I can write. We writers are driven to write.

Someday I’ll write a noir satire mystery on computer problems and time management, but not in this new story. The story does take something from the news (no, not Trump’s election to the US presidency) but something else that has already been satirized on satire websites. So, I’m not doing satire here. I’m taking the news item and going on a “what if such and such happened? What if the character was like such-and-such?.

And so the story goes. But I’m not writing a fiction based on fact, something writers have to clarify when they are writing; Just because I’m writing fiction doesn’t mean I don’t need to do research. Besides the news stories, I have to research the laws connected to their content, medical issues connected to content, police procedure and most important develop my characters. I have two – a new one and the Toronto Police Service Homicide detective Larry Hutchison from “Missing in Action,” one of my short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012),  Both stories take place in the same time period – NOW. I have wanted to put Detective Hutchinson in more stories, so this is my first go at that. .

I am also trying something new for me. Telling the short story from two different viewpoints – the new character and Hutchinson to develop the cat and mouse suspense.

It is interesting. I have to follow the fiction rules – one character’s point of view per scene with extra line space and/or asterisks in between scenes.

In some future posts I’ll go some more into the ins and outs using two characters points of view in short stories.

For now, it’s back to writing the actual short story…I hope. There better not be any more computer problems.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

And for this post, the Beyond Blood icon a the top does take you to Beyond Blood at Amazon.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Author reading calm after the storm

The latest Beyond book in the series

The latest Beyond book in the series

To continue with last week’s post about the East End Writers’ Group meeting amidst a thunderstorm, my author reading the next evening at another library branch – the Mount Pleasant library branch – went well. In fact the whole Thursday evening of this Urban Art and Folk Salon was something special for all of us. I call it the calm after Wednesday evening’s storm because it was a delightful evening and despite the usual pre-presentation nerves, very enjoyable.

I left in lots of time to allow for public transit screw-ups. Tthere was one delay when I was switching subway lines. Trains were holding because somebody who shouldn’t have been on the tracks was, at another subway station. The TTC kept us informed about subway service and I boarded about the third train that arrived when the train service resumed. When I transferred to a bus, I chatted with a woman who was actually on one of the subway trains that was stopped. She said that everything (including air conditioning and I presume lights) was turned off while they sat. That seems unusual as anytime I’ve been in a train stopped for whatever reason, things were not turned off.

But after this little glitch, everything got better. I sat on a park bench by a school yard and had my sandwich and fruit and took a slow walk the four blocks up to the library, arriving in plenty of time for the 6 p.m. start to the Salon. And what a Salon it was. Lots of musicians, mostly folk who are really good with playing guitar and singing, two poets, and me reading about murder and mayhem. But I read it like it was a play performance – two short story excerpts from Beyond the Tripping Point and the beginning of Beyond Blood. Tom Gannon Hamilton, one of the poets reading and also the host and organizer of these monthly Salons, is also a violinist and he accompanied the other musicians on his violin. The library supplied snacks and at the break I met some new people and re-connected with some “old” (as in those I had met before, not necessarily age).

It was truly a wonderful evening and made up for all the nonsense from the night before. And I notice from the information online that the S. Walter Stewart Library branch where my East End Writers’ Group meets still has the children’s department downstairs closed until further notice due to flooding. I am always outraged and saddened when flooding of buildings – libraries, peoples’ homes, etc. occurs. Most of the time it is from severe weather.

But don’t get me on that topic. I cover it in my personal blog Only Child Writes – in several postings from time to time.

And as usual if you click on the Beyond Blood book cover at the top, it will connect to you my amazon author profile.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Write something else besides your main project

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Sometimes a writing diversion is good when you get bogged down in a long and intense writing project. Or in my case, not only are you rewriting a novel (yes, again) but it’s income tax time.

Even the novel rewriting has been put on hold, except for ideas flooding my mind when math calculations and other income tax nonsense aren’t. Unfortunately I can’t afford to pay someone to do my taxes and because I have a writing and editing business there is a bit more than the regular tax returns to do. So, although I am a senior I can’t use the free tax clinics for seniors at library branches because these clinics don’t include small businesses. These tax professionals should wake up. It’s 2016 and many seniors are also entrepreneurs. At least I have some bookkeeping background. But I’m slow at it as I am more creative than math-oriented.

Okay, off my soap box.

When I’m fed-up with tax stuff, I switch over to another area I write in – memoir/personal essay. This latter is one I’ve decided to get serious about (yet again) and try to get some memoir essays published and get paid for them.

So far this year I’ve written/rewritten two and sent them off for possible publication. Now I’m working on a third and am finding it very satisfying. That may be because it marries two of my big loves and interests – writing and gardening. Without giving away details about the memoir, I have learned a few lessons about writing it. These can be applied to most any types of writing, including fiction.

I read out the memoir at my writing critique group the end of March. Because I’m aiming for a specific Canadian magazine to start, one of the other East End Writers’ Group members suggested I change my US research to Canadian. She suggested I go to the Toronto Botanical Garden library for information.

Which I did last week. And despite my harrowing bus trip to and from on Toronto’s public transit (read about that on my very personal blog here), the actual visit to the library was very productive and helpful. The librarian helped me choose books to check out, brought me old and older copies of a Canadian horticultural organization specific to my topic to look through and check out, and while I was there he did some research online including contacting colleagues at the Botanical Gardens in Hamilton, Ontario and one in New York. The result was two documents which he emailed me. One in particular was very helpful with Canadian history.

Back home, I read through it all and returned to my memoir for more rewriting. I’m still rewriting, but unfortunately today and tomorrow I have to return to the dreaded income tax returns.

So, if you are going bonkers with your main writing project, be it fiction or non-fiction, take another writing break. Write something else completely different. A poem, a journal piece, an essay.

You never know where it will lead. And when you return to your main writing project you will do so with more vigor.

And probably more ideas. Just let them flow in your head. Even when doing something else – other writing or the dreaded income taxes.

At least in Canada we have to May 2 to get them in (as long as post marked that day if sent regular mail), because this year April 30 falls on a Saturday.

Cheers..

Sharon

And again to find out more about my Beyond mystery books, click the Beyond Blood book cover at the top of this blog.

 

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Tales from the book promo trenches Part 2

Sharon reads from her Beyond book series

Sharon reads from her Beyond book series

The book promo for Beyond Blood continues. This time the promo took on somewhat different formats.

 

Wednesday, November 26 I was the guest speaker at the East End Writers’ Group. Disclaimer: it is my own group but because we meet in a library branch (S. Walter Stewart in Toronto) in their large auditorium, we can schedule guest speakers for the first part and after the break do our usual writing critique of members’ works-in-progress.

I talked about how I transition from short stories to novels and vice-versa with series characters. As my situation of writing/publishing is backwards in time, i.e. not chronological, that makes it more complicated. Beyond the Tripping Point, the short story collection was published in fall 2012 but the four linked stories with the fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture, occur in 1999. Beyond Blood is the pre-quel novel set in eight frantic days in August 1998.

My dirty little secret is an older version of Beyond Blood had been written 12 or so years ago. Of course, it had to be completely rewritten. But some of the plotline and character development was already there – something I had to keep in mind when writing the BTTP short stories. It was a constant back and forth as was this presentation last week because I also had q and a with the audience. We even worked humour into the discussion. I ended by doing a short reading from Beyond Blood.

No, didn’t sell any books there – at least in print. But maybe a few people bought e-books on line. Also, when I thought of it, some of the people there had come to my book launch and had already bought a book. Still a good evening.

Saturday, November 29 my books were part of the Toronto Heliconian Literary Group table at the Toronto Heliconian Club’s first (in this incarnation) art and gift sale. In fact, I organized our table. Like sometimes happens with the first of anything, attendance wasn’t great. But I did sell three copies of Beyond Blood and had some good chats with the other member authors. Afterwards, three of us went to the nearby Hemmingway’s Pub for some wine, an early supper and more chatting.

And I bought a mask from one of the artist vendors at the club sale. I collect masks.

But I am now wiped out from all this physical book promo, organization and also client work. I will be taking some time off soon this month to reconnect with family and friends, to attend some Christmas parties and to do some more writing/rewriting of the next novel in the Beyond series. And I will focus more on social media promo for Beyond Blood. And getting more sleep.

But this blog will continue on its weekly (Thursday) basis. However, for the next two weeks I’m letting my two PI characters – Dana Bowman and Bast Overture – do the posting.

Meantime, you can go to my publisher’s website www.bluedenimpress.com to order e-pub and Kindle copies of Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. Also check out my interview with Tom Taylor on cable TV. I talk about writing novels, short stories and some of the characters in Beyond the Tripping Point. Go to http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/ and scroll down on the right until you get to  Watch Sharon A. Crawford and Beyond the Tripping Point on Rogers Cable TV

And I will be going to the book launch of World Enough and Crime Anthology featuring stories by Rosemary McCracken, Rosemary Aubert, Melodie Campbell, Donna Carrick and many more this Saturday, Dec. 6 from 2 p.m. to 3.15 p.m. at Sleuth of Baker St., 907 Millwood Avenue in Toronto. Check out Sleuth at http://sleuthofbakerstreet.ca/ Beyond Blood is also available there to order online.

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

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. Click for link to purchase e-copies

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Setting Writing Goals for 2013

amazon.com link to Sharon A. Crawford's book

amazon.com link to Sharon A. Crawford’s book

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes.

–          Agatha Christie

I’m not sure what the characters in my mystery short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point would plan to do in the new year. Some of the stories take place way before 2013 – for example 1965, 1997 and 1998. Be that as it may, that is no excuse why I and any other writer can’t set writing goals. It’s a new year and that brings new chances to write. If you’ve been procrastinating about finishing or even starting that novel or short story, here are a few outside the box (and a few inside the writing box) ideas how to get yourself from wishful thinking to actually writing.

1.    Do something else, like the late Agatha Christie’s suggestion above and I don’t think she meant using a dishwasher unless the dishwasher is you. Also try gardening (outdoors in season or indoor gardening in winter), walking, vacuuming and dusting, even sleeping. The idea is something mechanical and boring (washing dishes) and something that frees your mind to think creativity (walking, gardening) can kick-start an idea in your mind.
2.    Keep a notepad – electronic or hard copy – and write these ideas down as they hit your brain – you don’t want to operate like a gnat. That means keep something to do so near your bed at night.
3.    Take this latter a step further and start writing down your dreams no matter how silly they seem – analyze them or not, but the content alone may inspire a story.
4.    Learn from other writers – aspiring, established or in-between. Read blogs, attend writing workshops and courses (online or in person), join writing organizations and groups (preferably some that you have to go to in person as the personal connection with writers is good for your writing soul).
5.    Read novels and stories like you want to write – in print or e-book, whichever works for you. Reading others’ writing inspires you, not just with ideas, but with the writer’s style and grace.
6.    Blog excerpts of your writing – but make sure you state that it is copyrighted by you and don’t post the whole story because it could be considered a first publication and may interfere with other publication (unless you self-publish; then you can do what you want). On the other hand blog posts can often turn into seeds for books – trade or self-published. For an example, see posts by Alex Leybourne at http://alexlaybourne.com/
7.    Blog about your writing journey. We can learn from each other. For an example, see blog posts at http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/
8.    Try to write every day, even if just for an hour. For inspiration on this check out Julia Cameron’s The Writer’s Way at http://juliacameronlive.com/
9.    And perhaps most important – set writing goals for the year. Check http://bottledworder.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/new-years-resolutions-2013-guide-for-writers/ and Alex Laybourne’s blog post for Jan. 2 at http://alexlaybourne.com/2013/01/01/new-beginnings-a-guide-to-2013/

Happy and prolific writing for 2013.

If you read my book (see book cover at the top), please review it. Thanks.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: