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Category Archives: Series Characters novels and short stories

Introducing Beyond Faith – the cover at least

It’s here – Beyond Faith, the third book in the Beyond mystery series. Well, the cover is. Take a look.

 

And here is what true crime author Nate Hendley has to say about the book.

Beyond Faith offers secrets, lies and death with a connection to the Catholic Church, set in small-town and big-city Ontario. It’s a great story with a great pair of unlikely protagonists (a brother-sister pair of twin investigators), twists, surprises and Sharon Crawford’s distinctive tone and shining dialogue. Recommended for any detective-story fans yearning for Ontario-based tales.

– Nate Hendley, true-crime author (Steven Truscott: Decades of Injustice and The Big Con)

And here’s what I, Dana Bowman, have to say about it

I am thrilled. It perfectly illustrates my book. It…Oh, oh, I hear Sharon A. Crawford coming. She thinks she wrote Beyond Faith, but I have a thing or two to tell her about that.

Voice of Sharon: Dana, what are you up to now?

Dana, shrugging her shoulders: Just publicizing Beyond Faith – that cover is very intriguing. And very apt for the book’s contents.

Voice of Sharon: Which I wrote.

Dana: Really?

Voice of Sharon: All right, Ms. Dana Bowman private investigator. That’s enough. Get your you-know-what back in the agency office. Detective Sergeant Fielding wants a word with you.

Dana: Oh, all right. Coming.

Dana, looking up: Sharon is creating a Beyond Faith page on her website and it is rumoured to be going live soon. Meantime, check out hers and my upcoming appearances on that website under Books or under the Gigs and Blogs page here. See you next week.

Dana heads into the agency office.

Voice of Sharon: That Dana. Sometimes I wonder why I ever created her. But like she said…see you next week.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Sharon A. Crawford mugshot

the real author of the Beyond mystery books.

 

 

 

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Beyond Faith is coming…

We interrupt this story for an announcement from Dana Bowman, the main character in the Beyond mystery series.

 

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 The next novel in the Beyond series – Beyond Faith is coming this October. No spoilers but there are lots of puzzles and murders which I have to solve. And.. oh, oh, my author Sharon A. Crawford is pointing her finger at me to continue with this ongoing weekly story. In a sec – first Beyond Faith takes place the last two months of 1999. And the below story is just before that.

 

Dana: Someone’s coming up the stairs. I’m going to check.

Bast: Wait until the police get here.

Dana frowning: No time.

Bast, closing and locking the agency door: I insist.

Dana, drumming her fingers on the desk: So we do nothing?

Loud banging sounds on the door.

A high-pitched voice from the other side calls out: Open up or he’s dead.

Dana: Who?

Bast: Shh.

David: Mommy, I’m scared.

Bast: Shh.

Voice: Open the door.

Dana: Answer my question first.

Voice: What was the question?

Dana: Who are you and what do you want?

Voice, sounding exasperated but still high-pitched: I told you I want you to open the damn door NOW. You’ll see me when you do.

Dana: All right. All right. Don’t get all tied up in your knickers. I’m coming.

Voice: What?

Dana: Oh never mind. (Then whispering) Ms. Dugan, take David onto the balcony and try to get someone’s attention. Bast and I will try to divert the guy or guys on the other side of the door and keep them talking until the police arrive…but just in case they get in you will be out of the room.

Bast, scratching his head: Is this a good idea? They’ll be trapped out there.

Dana: They’ll also be out of the office and hidden by the drapes on the balcony door and the window there. And they can get someone walking by to help. Ms. Dugan, do you have a cell phone?

Ms, Dugan: No.

Dana: Here, take mine. We can use Bast’s here if we need to. Now go and be quiet.

Ms. Dugan and David exit onto the balcony, closing the door behind them.

Bast: It’s gone awfully quiet out in the hall. Hey, anyone out there?

Silence.

Bast unlocks the door and he and Dana look out.

No one is there. At least no one alive. The body of a young many with a rope around his neck is lying in the hall outside the door.

From behind them they hear the balcony door open and footsteps coming towards them. And then the footsteps stop and there is a scream. …

Ms. Dugan: It’s Wayne.

…TO BE CONTINUED…

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

Like Dana says, Beyond Faith is coming. Meantime, there is Beyond Blood – the book before. If you haven’t read it yet, click on the book cover below to find out how.

 

The second beyond book.

 

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Preparing for author reading amidst aftermath of severe storm etc.

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cheers.

Sharon

 

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Making Your Short Stories Sparkle and Sell

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection. Click on it for publisher's website

If you want to lift your short stories above the mediocre there are many things you can do. One of these is to be original in your story and in your characters. Readers like something different in their plot and eccentric characters can be a big draw whether you are writing commercial or literary fiction.

Three of us commercial fiction authors – Rosemary McCracken, Madeleine Harris-Callway and Sharon A. Crawford – who write both crime novels and short stories will be discussing why and how we do it. We will cover how we get story ideas and how much is from real life and how much from imagination. A couple of us have series characters in some of our short stories and in our novels, so we will discuss how we deal with time lines. Is it difficult going back and forth from writing novels and short stories and what the heck is the difference in how you write each?

Then there is marketing your short stories. Each of us has unusual ways we market our books (both the short stories and the novels).

And this panel will not be just the three of us talking. We are open to lots of  q and a.We want to get a real conversation going on short story writing. Here are the details about this upcoming panel being held by the East End Writers’ Group Wednesday, June 29, 2016.

Making Your Short Stories Sparkle and Sell

Do short stories come from real life, imagination, or both? How do you market short stories? For June’s East End Writers’ Group meeting join fiction authors Rosemary McCracken (shortlisted for the 2014 Derringer Award), Madeleine Harris-Callway (finalist for 2015 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel), and Sharon A. Crawford (author of the “Beyond” mystery series) for a discussion on writing and marketing short stories.  Copies of authors’ books available and there will be  networking and food at 9 p.m.

Time and Date: 7 p.m. to 9.30 p.m., Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Location: S. Walter Stewart library branch, 170 Memorial Park Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

I am doing a guest blog post on Rosemary McCracken’s blog Moving Target about libraries and how they were and are important to me in my writing career, then seguing into this upcoming panel which is held at a library. There is a serendipity for me about this library branch. You’ll find this and more when my post is up on Monday, June 27 at Moving Target.

Meantime you can check out the panelists:

Rosemary McCracken http://www.rosemarymccracken.com/

Madeleine Harris-Callway http://mhcallway.com/

Sharon A. Crawford http://www.samcraw.com

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

That’s my short story collection – Beyond the Tripping Point – book cover at the top of this post. If you click on the book cover, it will take you to my author profile on amazon.com

 

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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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Promote your book alone or with other authors?

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

Do you join with other authors to promote your books? Or are you the lone wolf? I do both and there are pros and cons for each.

With other authors – to use a variation on an old phrase – there are benefits in numbers. If three or even five authors band together to do a reading or some sort of presentation, it can draw in some readers that might not otherwise attend your presentation alone. Not to belittle your book, but we all have preferences for books we read. In the crime genre there is fiction and non-fiction. So by mixing it up with a variety of sub-genres, you can draw in more people. They may not know you or your books but they will find out. The trick is to be friendly, knowledgeable and interesting. Panels with q and a and a bit of author reading work best I have found. And when readers congregate at the author table at the end, there is a good chance they will be purchasing books. Yours might be one of them. Just don’t push it. And you get to meet a bunch of authors writing in the same genre and learn from each other.

Going it alone is a good idea if you want to focus on a particular subject that your book deals with – that could be writing series characters, especially if some appear in short stories as well as novels. Or if you want to talk about particular issues that are in your book and use your book and its story as an example. Beyond Blood covers child kidnapping, serial killers, fraud and abortion pill issues. Although Beyond Blood is set in August 1998, the abortion pill in the novel is still illegal in Canada.

Lots of fodder for thought there. You may also have a specific type of crime writing workshop and use your book for examples.

Then there is the honey of all solo presentations. When the person in charge of the venue – whether library, cafe, pub or festival – asks you to come and do a presentation. The latter has happened to me a few times with Beyond Blood and yes, I have sold book copies. I will be doing it again Sept. 3 (see the Gigs and Blog Tours page).

Just remember not to come on as a salesperson. You are there to primarily entertain and of course underneath all that, hopefully sell some books. But if you stand up (or sit at a table) like some of these motivational speakers continually pitching their courses, you won’t sell a book.

My thoughts anyway.

What do you think?

Cheers.

 

Sharon A. Crawford

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

 

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Fiction characters who want to take over the story

Sharon A. Crawford's latest in the Beyond series

Sharon A. Crawford’s latest in the Beyond series

In my Beyond mystery series, one of the main characters, Dana Bowman, often wants to be front and centre in the story. She even gets into my mind outside of writing time. I’ve posted about that before. Dana can get away with this. She’s one of the twin private investigators and it is her function to get all over the place. But what about a non-series character, a guest of one novel, who grabs the reins and insists?

In my third Beyond mystery book which I am currently writing, this is what’s happening. Without giving the plot away, there is a nun in the story who is important to the plot and as such some of the novel is her story. But she has invaded my mind and is insisting on being in almost every scene.

A little privacy, please, for the other characters and for the plot revelation. One important feature of mystery plots is that each character doesn’t have all the information; they don’t know all the plot. At the same time, putting all the information together for the reader, but at the same time having it happen throughout the story is important. Unless God is one of your main characters, each character doesn’t know it all and letting each character find out and reveal helps make for a good plot.

So, what do you do about “guest” characters trying to take over the whole novel?

  1. Acknowledge them – who they are and that they do have a purpose.
  2. Let them come into your mind and speak because if you shut them out you may lose good plot and character developments.
  3. But give them some parameters. Yes, they are important, but they are part of a whole, part of a plot.
  4. If necessary, give them timelines when it is okay to invade your mind. Not easy, but try the “not now, but (when?)” approach.
  5. Or when they invade, grab that notebook or iPad and start scribbling/typing their information. Sometimes doing something about it right away, stops the “invasion.” You can decide later whether to include it in your story.
  6. And make sure they are playing their important role in your novel. This can be done by having them be one of the novel’s point-of-view characters.

 

I know this may all sound crazy. But it is a good sign that your characters are real in the fiction sense. And that’s a good thing for your readers.

 

This evening from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., I get a chance to talk about developing series characters in fiction. Crime writers Rosemary McCracken (the Pat Tierney mystery fiction series), Nate Hendley (true crime) and I will be talking about writing crime – fiction and true – and getting our work published, to the Storytellers (love that name) writing group at the Angus Glen public library in Markham, Ontario, Canada. It is a Meet-up group. More information at http://www.meetup.com/The-Storytellers/events/221133884/

 

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 including a link to a radio interview at http://bluedenimpress.com/authors/sharon-a-crawford/ Online TV interview from Liquid Lunch is at http://youtu.be/i2bBaePIWgY

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

 

 

 

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