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Category Archives: Public Libraries

What to do between books

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

What does an author do in between books?

This week I finally emailed the manuscript for my latest Beyond mystery to my publisher. Met the deadline with a few days to spare.

Here’s what I’m doing now and plan to do. It might trigger some ideas for you.

What I don’t do is keep thinking about the outcome of the submission and let it get me in stall mode. Instead, I move on to other writing projects, editing clients’ work, writing workshops and promo of the two Beyond books published.

Other writing projects include developing a possible next Beyond novel – in my head, at this point. I also write personal essays and memoir so I have already returned to a personal essay cum memoir for more rewriting and searching for possible markets. There are other personal essays to be written or rewritten so I keep those in mind as I search for possible markets. Sometimes the markets trigger the essay.

I still edit manuscripts, so have  clients-in-waiting, so to speak, and have emailed one of them, will email another one, and the third one is on holiday right now but when he is back in April, I will email him.

I want to continue teaching writing workshops at branches of Toronto Public Libraries. That means contacting the librarians at some of the 100 branches (yes, Toronto has that many branches. We Torontonians like reading, like borrowing library books – print or e-copy – and attending events, such as writing workshops. These are free to library patrons but I get paid for teaching them). I also plan to develop more workshops I can teach.

Promoting Beyond Blood and Beyond the Tripping Point. I’ve already sneaked in or had already arranged for presentations in the upcoming months, which will start March 24. Have one for the end of May and one in the works for the end of June. Once this nasty winter weather is finished (hopefully before March 24), I want to schedule at least two promo presentations a month – some on my own, and some with Crime Writers of Canada and The Toronto Heliconian Club. I am a member of both and do have something scheduled with each. More on that in future posts.

And I’m doing something that borders on promo and workshops. The end of April, I’m part of a panel on editing and writing for self-publication at an Editors Canada meeting. Again, more on this one in a later post. Although, meantime, you can check the Gigs and Blogs Tours page here with this blog or on my website – go to Beyond Blood and Workshops pages.

You can develop your own writing, etc. plan to keep you from thinking about what the publisher will say about your manuscript. It also works when you have submitted shorter pieces or poems to magazines – print or online.

Come to think of it, why not write some poetry. That will get your creative juices flowing.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

If you click on the book cover at the top it will take you to my publisher’s page about my books and my background.

 

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How Writers in Residence can help your writing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

What are the advantages of having a Writer in Residence look at your writing and give feedback and marketing advice?

I’ve had the good fortune to be involved  on both sides. For two sessions I was Writer in Residence for the Canadian Authors Association Toronto branch. In that position, I have helped writers with advice on marketing their manuscripts, writing a query letter, editing and evaluating their manuscript – up to a point.

One thing about a Writer in Residence is he or she only evaluates/edits up to 20 or 30 pages – either for free or at a lower rate than normal fees. But it is worth every dollar (we don’t have pennies anymore in Canada), Euro or whatever denomination your country has. It is also worth your time because of the vast experience of Writers In Residence. They are published authors in various genres and if you pick your Writer in Residence to match your area of writing it can benefit your writing.

The process varies, but generally it involves submitting a few pages double-spaced of your writing-in-the works and then meeting with the WiR to get his or her feedback, ask questions and get some advice on how to make your manuscript sparkle and perhaps some marketing tips.

Recently, I had the experience of being on the other side of the fence. I am a member of the Toronto Heliconian Club and one of the benefits is the Writer in Residence. Just before Christmas I met with her – Dawn Promislow –  not for critique of my new Beyond novel in the works, but for an assessment of a five-page personal essay. I didn’t have to pre-submit the manuscript, just brought a couple of hard copies – one for her to look at and one for me – while we chatted.

And it was more than just a superficial chat. First, Dawn read the manuscript, then did a general overall evaluation including summing it up as good and more professional than she expected. (Note: this essay had been rewritten more times than I have fingers.) Then we went through it all line-by-line and discussed what worked, what didn’t, what could be expressed better and in fewer words, and what could be deleted. One of my concerns was to make it shorter so I could submit it to markets that require a shorter than 1300 personal essay. Previous to meeting withe Dawn I had shortened it from 1500 words to 1300 words.

It was a two-way discussion, none of this just giving advice with me listening. That’s important because the bottom line is it is my story and if I don’t have some input in the critique, I won’t really understand what needs to be done. The whole meeting took about an hour and 20 minutes.

So, besides CAA and clubs like the Heloconian, where can you find a Writer in Residence?

Try your local libraries. The Toronto Public Library system has two Writers in Residence programs a year, alternating locations with the two largest library branches – Toronto Reference Library and North York Central branch. I have submitted manuscripts over the years to WiRs at both branches. You have to have a library card for this – but library cards are free and renewed annually.

And submit is a keyword here. You have to submit up to a certain number of pages double-spaced to the library by a certain date. Then the library gets the manuscripts to the WiR and you will hear back from the library with an appointment time and date to meet with the WiR. Currently the TPL WiR is poet, memoir author, former journalist, etc. Brian Brett at Toronto Reference Library. For this session, Brian Brett will be focusing on poetry.

That’s another key. Submit something you are writing in the area of the WiR’s experience. Unlike me, who once submitted a chapter of my memoir to a literary novelist and poet. My memoir was part literary in style, but this author just didn’t get it. Another time, much earlier, I submitted one of the original chapter versions of the memoir to a well-rounded in writing experience WiR – Austin Clarke and got some excellent and thorough feedback. It was also a two-way discussion and it was Mr. Clarke’s feedback that helped me decide to actually write more chapters in a memoir.

So, a few tips for submitting your work to a Writer in Residence.

  1. Follow any submission guidelines.
  2. Make sure you match the WiR to what you are writing.
  3. Rewrite, rewrite your submission – a loose draft won’t do.
  4. Show up on time for your appointment with the WiR.
  5. Listen to what the WiR says but don’t be afraid to question and add details about what you are writing – it is not a one-way street.
  6. Don’t be afraid to ask related questions that are pressing – such as markets, copyright issues, and in the case of memoir (one I always find comes up in my memoir writing workshops) –  naming names and the fear with writing your story.

Good luck. The WiR can be the experience that helps you get your manuscript focused and inspires you to keep at it.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

To find out more about Sharon A. Crawford and where her Beyond books are available click on the Beyond Blood book above.And visit her website

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Crime Writers talk crime at Yorkville library tonight

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Crime can pay – at least between the book covers. Maybe not in big sales to make authors rich. But in authors connecting with each other and with readers.

That is set to happen this evening as four of us crime writers from Crime Writers of Canada – Rosemary Aubert, Robert J. Hoshowsky, Nate Hendley and me Sharon A Crawford will be talking about how we either create crime or tell it like it is. For the first time with me involved, there are two true crime reporters – Robert and Nate. Both write different aspects of true crime and both got into doing so in different ways.

On the fiction side, both Rosemary and I write series novels – hers is the award-winning Ellis Portal series. What’s interesting about Rosemary’s books is the first five were published by a large trade publisher, and at the beginning of this year she went with a small independent publisher.

I write the Beyond mystery series and am published by a small trade publisher – no awards yet, but I’m working on it.

Here are the details about the four of us and our presentation this evening.
Nate Hendley

Nate Hendley is a Toronto-based freelance writer and author of several books, primarily in the true-crime genre. Decades of Injustice, a hard-hitting look at the wrongful conviction case of Steven Truscott, is his latest book from a Canadian publisher. His website can be found at www.natehendley.com

 

Robert J. Hoshowsky

Robert J. Hoshowsky is the author of two True Crime books, including the Arthur Ellis-shortlisted The Last to Die: Ronald Turpin, Arthur Lucas, and the End of Capital Punishment in Canada and Unsolved: True Canadian Cold Cases, which inspired Macleans magazine to publish an entire special issue on famous murder cases. His extensive research on the last men executed in Canada has sparked an interest in the Lucas case, which is currently being investigated to determine if Lucas’ death sentence can be posthumously overturned, for the first time in Canadian history.

 

A former Researcher-Reporter at Macleans magazine, he has also contributed to top-rated television programs, including the Canadian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire. His investigative work has been published in over 100 magazines and newspapers worldwide.

 

Much of Robert’s recent work can be found in Serial Killer Quarterly, where he has profiled such infamous murderers as Jeffrey Dahmer, Britain’s John Christie, Leonard Lake and Charles Ng, and Sheila Labarre.

 

Rosemary Aubert

Rosemary Aubert is the author of eighteen published books, the most recent being Don’t Forget You Love Me, the sixth in the acclaimed Ellis Portal mystery series, set in Toronto and featuring a formerly homeless judge and reluctant solver of murders. Rosemary is a popular teacher, presenter and mentor.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

 

Sharon A. Crawford, a former journalist, is a freelance memoir and fiction writer, writing consultant and instructor, and editor. Sharon is the author of the Beyond mystery series, the short story collection Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012), and her latest novel Beyond Blood (Blue Denim Press, Fall 2014). She teaches writing workshops for Toronto Library branches. She belongs to Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, The Toronto Heliconian Club and runs the East End Writers’ Group. Her hobbies: reading, walking and gardening act as catalysts for her next novel.

An Evening of Crime at the Yorkville Library

Thursday, Oct 22, 2015

6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Four Canadian crime writers read from their latest works: Rosemary Aubert, Sharon Crawford, Nate Hendley,and Robert J. Hoshowsky. Sharon Crawford will interview the panel and a question and answer period will follow.

No registration required.

Yorkville Library Branch (Program Room)
22 Yorkville Ave., Toronto, Ontario.

If you are in the area this evening, please drop in.

Meantime, I have to go over the questions I’m asking the panel and make sure I’m on the ball with my answers too.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available

 

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On the book promo road again

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The presentation at Woodbridge library last Thursday evening was another one of those magical evenings where readers and authors connect. So much so we could have gone long beyond the end time.

Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley and I did our separate mini-presentations, each ending with a short reading from one of our books. Nate sat between us “the thorn between the roses” is the way he put it. Maybe, but not the author, more for what he writes – true crime. Nate talked about how he started writing books and sort of “fell” into writing about criminals and now also those wrongly convicted like Steven Truscott. Nate also read an excerpt from Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice (Five River Publishing, 2012)

Rosemary talked about her mystery series featuring financial advisor Pat Tierney and the issues writers of book series have to face. She also discussed how writing contests have helped her get her stories (yes, she also writes short stories) published – something writers shouldn’t ignore. Rosemary read the beginning of her first Pat Tierney novel Safe Harbor (Imajin Books, 2012)

I talked about my series characters – but not from the writing a series viewpoint, but where some of them came from and the location and time period for the Beyond stories featuring the fraternal twin PIs Dana Bowman and Bast Overture and how both affect my research. I also covered a bit of the research I do and read the beginning Prologues from Beyond Blood.(Blue Denim Press, 2014)

And then we turned it over to the audience. Lots of questions – from research to journalism – I got the question on the latter to my surprise because I’m the former journalist and Nate and Rosemary continue working as freelance journalists. The questions turned into a real dialogue among authors and readers. Like we were chatting in a living room – well a somewhat large living room. Afterwards, some of the readers came up to the table to chat more with us and to buy a few books.

And some of us Crime Writers of Canada authors are going to do it again next Tuesday, Sept. 29, 6.30 p.m. to 8 p.m., this time at a library in Toronto’s west end – Runnymede branch. This time the authors are Rob Brunet, Karen Blake-Hall, Madeleine Callway and myself. No true crime, but three of us (Rob, Madeleine and I) all had our first novel published in the second half of last year. Karen writes sizzling suspense-romance. The presentation is free so if you are in the Toronto area, please come – exact address is 2178 Bloor Street West, Toronto, ON. I’m not going to put the library link because as I found out in my other blog http://www.onlychildwrites.wordpress.com) posting on Tuesday, the link for that memoir writing workshop I was teaching Tuesday evening has now disappeared. Fair enough. The workshop is done and over with. So, for now you can check out my Gigs and Blog Tours page on this site (click on it at the top). Just remember the link to the Runnymede library blurb will probably disappear after Sept. 29.

And that reminds me – I better add October’s events to this  Gigs and Blog Tours page.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Click on the Beyond Blood cover at the top to find out where copies are available

 

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Crime Writing Trio off to York Region again

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

The crime-writing trio of Rosemary McCracken, Nate Hendley and myself Sharon A. Crawford are off to yet another library in York Region. In this irregularly scheduled book tour of various York Region libraries, this evening we will hit the Woodbridge Library at 150 Woodbridge Ave. in where else – Woodbridge, Ontario. That’s just north of Toronto. Here’s the blurb about our presentation.

Crime Writers of Canada authors – Nate Hendley, Rosemary McCracken and Sharon A. Crawford have another run-in with crime (between the book covers) coming in September. It is all part of an irregularly scheduled tour of York Region library branches. The “crime” trio will be talking about their books and writing, answering questions from the audience and reading. Nate Hendley writes true crime, Rosemary McCracken writes the Pat Tierney mystery series, and Sharon A. Crawford writes the Beyond mystery series.

I find it interesting doing any crime writing presentation and reading – whatever format we use. This evening one of the librarians will introduce us and we will talk individually about some aspect of our writing. As Rosemary and I both write series mystery fiction, we try to talk about something different in crime writing (besides our book series and character and plots being different). Rosemary will talk about how writers handle writing a series and how writing contests helped market her short stories. I’m focusing on where my characters and plots come from and what, how and why I do the necessary research. Nate writes true crime so that is a whole different perspective,

Rosemary is driving us there and we plan to arrive a bit before the whole presentation starts at 6.30 p.m., going to around 8 p.m. We will have copies of our books, so if you are in the area (I know not all reading this post are), please drop in. It is free and promises to be entertaining.

Our photos and links to our websites/blogs appear below.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

Rosemary McCracken author of Safe Harbor and Black Water mystery novels

https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/

 

Nate Hendley true crime writer

Nate Hendley true crime writer

http://www.natehendley.com/

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford reads from her Beyond series http://www.samcraw.com

 

 

 

http://www.samcraw.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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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Serendipity Book Marketing

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Last Saturday I was the guest speaker for an English Conversation drop-in seminar for new Canadian citizens at a local Toronto library branch (Brentwood). From what was discussed by email with the organizers, I was to talk a bit about writing memoirs using the senses. However, I could bring copies of my mystery books to sell.

So armed with memoir writing handouts and my books I arrived early.

And received a very pleasant surprise.

I already knew one of the organizers, Bill, who attended my memoir writing workshop at another library branch. So, from our phone conversations and emails I knew of this plan he had concocted and yes, I knew he was interested in buying my books as well as others – librarians and seminar participants.

What I didn’t know was all the enthusiasm I would receive about my books and being a writer. As I’ve mentioned before, we writers sometimes forget that this is what we do (just like some people are lawyers) so we take it as second nature.

We, or at least I, never forget we do want and need to sell book copies. But I try not to be in people’s faces about it.

The whole two hours was all about my books – characters and plot – and writing, but with a twist. The participants are newly-arrived in Canada and their English varies from good to just learning. Part of these seminars’ focus is on the idiosyncrasies of the English language. So when a slang phrase or cliché came up, Anna the librarian or Bill would ask the others if they knew what it meant so that started a lively discussion. I caught on to this and started to do the same as for some reason I began involuntarily using a lot of slang terms. And near the end I was allowed to sell my books – sold all of the Beyond the Tripping Point short story collection copies I had brought along and half of the Beyond Blood novel copies.

And Bill, Anna (and Lidia, the other librarian who also facilitated this session) want me back to do a guest spot in one of their evening sessions. Not sure if its fiction writing or memoir writing, but I will be ready for either or both and yes, I can sell books.

Lidia also had me sign the contract to teach a different memoir writing workshop for library patrons in the fall. And yes, I can sell books then, too.

The point here is – no matter how you organize promoting your books, you may miss something – often something pleasant and rewarding – not just book sales, but that magical connection with others who are interested in writing and your books.

Meantime I’m preparing for two gigs with other Crime Writers of Canada members coming up June 11 and June 12. See my website www.samcraw.com and go to Beyond Blood for a list. More on that in next week’s posting.

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.

 

 

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In praise of public libraries

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series available in e-copies from Blue Denim Press

Way back in the late 1980s, an editor at one of the community newspapers I wrote for used to give me assignments connected to the local libraries. He said when he thought of libraries, he thought of me.

In the past few years I have traded my journalism hat for writing mystery fiction. But what this former editor said is still true. I suspect his thoughts would apply to most writers – journalists, fiction, whatever they write.

Libraries seem to be growing – Toronto, Ontario, Canada just opened its 100th branch in the city’s east end. Although the library landscape has changed, writers and readers (the two often overlapping in the same soul), cannot live without their public library. Even if we don’t get off our duff and go inside a library as often as we used to, we do online research in library databases, download e-books to “borrow,” put holds on books (print and e-books) online, and check library websites for their events. Reminders of books coming due or holds available also arrive in our Inbox from the library. And we can read and comment on library blog postings or join online book clubs (Note: there are still in-library book clubs).

Library events will get us into the library. So will picking up print books on hold. And if you are an avid reader like me, once you are in the library, it’s like a candy store. You can’t just leave with what you came there to get. How many times have you stepped into a library to pick up one book on hold and found two or three more you just have to read? Many people don’t want to have to deal with online movies, etc. and prefer to watch a DVD. Your local library to the rescue. You can also borrow old movies, documentaries and the like on DVDs.

Public libraries are also getting into the self-publishing business. The Toronto Reference Library has the Asquith Press service for patrons who want to self-publish a book. See http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/using-the-library/computer-services/book-printing-service/

Don’t forget those knowledgeable librarians who can help you find obscure information in books, non-circulating reference material, online. etc., etc.

And those library events – many are workshops to teach patrons everything from computer basics to finance to writing. The latter is one way I (and other writers) connect to the librarians and library branches. For the past four and a half years I have been teaching writing workshops (fiction and memoir writing) at various Toronto library branches and I love doing so. Besides the librarians, I get to meet a lot of interesting writers and help them with their writing. Some may “follow” me (for want of a better word) to my writing critique group – the East End Writers’ Group, also held in a library branch and may come to my crime readings and presentations (with or without other Crime Writers of Canada members) at …you guessed it – library branches.

And that is a good way for us writers to connect with readers. So is getting your published book into libraries.

That’s the way it should be. You know one of the rules of writing (Rule No. ? – as Gibbs would say on NCIS) – if you are going to write, read in the genre you want to write in.

That is more than an old journalistic research trick.

I would like your comments on libraries. How do you connect with your library branch?

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 – my publisher – you can also purchase e-books – both Kindle and Kobo from Blue Denim Press. Click on the Beyond Blood Book cover at the top of this post.

 

 

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