Category Archives: Uncategorized
Lately my writing time and time to do client work kept getting shoved to the back burner because of too many other things getting in the way. So, last week I started to just dive in and write and do the work clients have hired me to do. And push everything else to the back burner.
Isn’t quite working out that way. An unexpected heavy rainfall resulted in some water in the basement and I had to postpone a lunch meeting with a client because I was constantly mopping up. Usually I get a neighbour to check the basement for a few hours if heavy rainfall is forecast. This storm wasn’t until the last minute and I wasn’t going to call my neighbour at the last minute. I mean he is doing me a favour. So, in future I will be more diligent about weather.
And this week I am on a hard purge of what I do and whom I allow to take up my time.
So, out is the would-be landscaper who doesn’t listen to me. Apparently it didn’t sink in when I told him – four times – that I only could afford to pay him for one hour until the end of the month. He didn’t do that great a job of digging part of may garden anyway. The kicker was after I told him no more until the end of the month, he called me four times in an hour and a half (I checked the call display and didn’t answer and he didn’t leave a message). When he landed on my doorstep an hour later I told him off and sent him packing. But he still tried to get my by phone – texting – good luck with that on a land line.
And the self-published author I was introduced to via Linked In by a mutual friend. I had to postpone when we could “chat” (his words, which should have rung alarms in my mind if it wasn’t so cluttered). I did agree to meet him at an author reading/presentation I was at with other authors. We talked a bit, but I told him I was not available until after May 5 and we could meet then. So what does he do but start emailing me with what do I do questions. Excuse me, but this is something I do for a living and he is not a paying client. I ignored the emails and decided he could fend for himself.
Sounds harsh? Maybe. But it’s my writing time and my client work time.
I am also pulling back a bit (time-wise) this month in doing book promo for after June. Still doing some, but trying to work it in between the writing and client work instead of the other way around. That means less time on Facebook and other social media. And it also means cutting back on email time. So, I guess I will be setting the timer when I’m reading and answering email and on Facebook too.
But I’m still going to garden. I can dig my garden myself – always have. And so is spending time with family and friends.
How do you deal with pesky interruptions and other time-stealers that get in the way of your writing?
Now back to client work.
Sharon A. Crawford
Author of the Beyond mysteries.
Being interviewed on a TV show is a good way to get the word out about your book and, if you have a good interviewer, get out some information about you, the author. One sign of interest in your book, is interest in you, the author. How do you write? Why do you write? Or in my case – who wrote the book, Beyond Faith – PI Dana Bowman, the main character who insists she wrote it, or me, Sharon A. Crawford, whose name is on the cover?
All that and more (including non-fiction books versus fiction books) got covered last week when I appeared on the Liquid Lunch where I was interviewed by host Hugh Reilly and a newbie co-host. This is on the Internet channel thatchannel.com – the channel has been going since 2004. Not bigtime ( or small time) TV but TV is no longer just regular channels. Think Crave TV. Think Netflix. And think thatchannel.com
This was my third appearance in six years (one for each Beyond book) on Liquid Lunch. This time I have mixed feelings about the way it went. There wasn’t time for me to read a couple of pages from Beyond Faith because we chatted too much. “We” is mostly Hugh and meas the newbie didn’t say too much and she put her foot in her mouth about one thing she said. But I handled it graciously. Also it was a different studio room and setup from the previous two appearances.
But my biggest gripe was my bangs had been cut too short the day before. Clearly I’m reading too many celebrity stories online. I was able to carry on an intelligent conversation and even steer it back to Beyond Faith when it got a bit off track.
You can check it out for yourself here. Or you can click on the Beyond Faith book cover above and that will take you directly to the interview.
And something extra is coming out of all of this.
I am getting my own TV show on thatchannel.com. It will be about crime – true and fiction and PI Dana Bowman will be a part of it – if she has her way. Show will get going this spring
More info closer to the date. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted. Meantime, watch the video (it’s about 27 minutes) and please spread the link to it on your social media. Thanks.
Sharon A. Crawford
Creating characters that resonate with your readers, characters that are three dimensional – in other words credible characters – is not always easy. But it can lead you down interesting and unexpected pathways and forge a bond between author and character. Sometimes that bond means the character thinks he or she is writing the story.
That’s what happened with the main character in my Beyond mystery series – PI Dana Bowman. Maybe it’s because as part of my book promo she comes to life when I dress up as her for presentations in libraries,cafes and the like.
I have to keep reminding Dana that is is my name, not hers, on the book cover as the author.
And we really are not alike, so not the same person – as I keep telling Dana.
Here’s a character comparison of us on my website
So how do you create credible characters? Do they suddenly appear in your head? Sometimes. Sometimes you get your plot first
Characters can come from real life, your imagination or by osmosis. Here are a few pointers
If you create a character from real life, make sure you use the real person as only a kicking-off point – perhaps how they look, perhaps one distinctive characteristic and create from there.
Don’t steal other authors’ characters – evenly loosely disguised as your so-called character.
Personal experience and knowledge can help in creating and developing characters. but remember you are creating fictional characters for fiction, not writing a memoir.
An oxymoron – fictional characters must come across as real characters, real people, so readers can connect to them.
Once created, characters don’t remain static – they evolve; they change, even in just one short story, and more so in novels, especially series novels.
I have lots more info on this and will be teaching a workshop on Creating Compelling Characters this Sunday, November 5, from 2 p,m. to 4 p.m. with the Toronto Writers Circle at the Toronto Reference area. It is free and open to the writing public. Here is the library info about the group and location. If you live in the general area you might like to join us.
And here is my latest Beyond mystery book. Click on it for more info
Sharon A. Crawford
Those who know me well know that I don’t have a partner and that for the most part I have to get through the crap in life on my own. To clarify, I do have a son and a few close friends who help where they can and for that I am grateful. But often I am facing a lot of problems that I have to deal with on my own. I divide those into constructive challenges and I try to get through those myself and consider them positives. It’s the destructive ones, often coming from left field that I resent having to deal with alone. I consider them negatives. I can’t just ask a non-exiefstent partner for help.
That is why the unexpected help spontaneously from strangers is so wonderful. I am so grateful when that happens I try to pass it along, i.e., help someone else, even if a stranger.
Last week I had a string of help from strangers – and all related to trying to maneuver one of those bloody push trailers/shopping carts.
I never liked them and preferred to cart groceries and books around in bags I carry on my shoulder.
However, last week I had to bring books to a bookseller at the Bouchercon Mystery Writing conference in downtown Toronto so decided to buy one of those trailers. I loaded it with copies of my three Beyond mystery series books. It was heavy. So when I phoned a close friend to invited her to my book launch Oct. 22, I was talking about this trailer and she offered to drive me part way to the location. She had to get her husband to put the trailer in her van. She dropped me off at a taxi stand. As it turned out, it would have been a nightmare going through public transit entrances and exits with the trailer. The cab driver was very friendly and helpful.
Books got delivered okay. But unfortunately not as many sold as I had hoped (and I had brought less than the bookseller had suggested). The day before I had to pick up the books I did the public transit route just to check it out, but as suspected too much for a short skinny woman with a heavy trailer of books.
And did I mention that this bloody trailer collapsed after I got it home empty after dumping the books off at the bookseller’s booth? It was still fine then, or so I thought, but two days later I was moving it around in the house and the top canvas part disconnected from the steel bar near the top. It its fastened by velcro – which would be fine if the side parts of it had been originally put in the steel bars going down when it was at the manufacturer’s. It had looked okay to me and after I closed the velcro part I did notice the bag wasn’t too sturdy from then, but what do I know? I’ve never used the damn things before and only got one because of no other choice to get the books to where I was going.
Sunday morning on the way down, pushing the empty trailer into the subway station, my discomfort must have been visible, because a young fellow offered to carry it down the three flights of stairs. When we got to the bottom, he noticed that the canvas bag was out of the steel side bars and said if he had a screwdriver he would fix it. He said the bag should be in the bars but the top part was screwed in.
To come home, after collecting the unsold books, a hotel employee, I think a bellhop, got the trailer out the door and got me a cab and put the trailer in the trunk. The cab driver was again a helpful and friendly fellow and lifted the offending bag out of the trunk. I did have to drag it up the veranda stairs and into the house.
After I removed the books, it clicked what the fellow at the subway station had been getting at. When I checked the photo of the trailer in the sheet that came with it ( a sheet with little info) I noticed the sides of the trailer were indeed over the sidebar.
Not on my trailer. It’s going back to Canadian Tire today and if they don’t give me my money back I’ll be raising unholy hell. I do not want to cart that trailer around with me today because I have to check out the last part of the trip to where I do a guest breakfast talk on Saturday. The walk after I get off the subway for that is short but tricky and confusing and I sure don’t want to have to figure it out early Saturday morning. You can bet I’m not using a trailer any more. New rule of thumb – I only bring what books I can carry in bags on my shoulders. And hope I have enough books for sales. It has happened once that I didn’t.
I may have to take a cab from the subway station on Saturday morning though if it I feel the route is bad after today’s venture, I’ll see if the organizer can get one of the writing group members to pick me up at the passenger pickup at the subway station.
I am spending too much on cabs here. I never take cabs unless from the train station after a visit with cousins in southwestern Ontario. I live at the poverty level so cabs aren’t really in my budget.
Cheers (I think),
Sharon A. Crawford
Author of the Beyond mystery series. Book Launch for Beyond Faith is Sunday, October 22. See details on flyer below.
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.
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.
Sharon A. Crawford
the real author of the Beyond mystery books.