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Beyond Faith rewrite done, now what?

Dana Bowman preparing for her next appearance later in June

Last week I finally completed the last rewrite of Beyond Faith for the publisher. I say “final” as there will still be one more when it is partway through production to check it over for minor things – such as the odd spelling or punctuation mistakes. No big changes are supposed to occur as at this stage, changes will now cost the publisher money.

So, what’s next? Promoting Beyond Faith. of course. The publisher has already started that and so have I. I will be a guest reader at the book launch of literary fiction author Shane Joseph at the Toronto book launch of his new short story collection Crossing Limbo, Saturday, July 8.  3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Supermarket Restaurant and Bar in Toronto. I will read a short excerpt from Beyond Faith – using the manuscript 8 1/2 by 11 1/2 sheets and maybe pump up the font size for my bad eyes – well the left eye. (If I don’t continue to use the various prescription eye drops I go blind in the left eye. All these health issues – beyond eyes – are interfering with my life – writing and otherwise. One of the others is dental and the editor at my publisher’s joked that the next Beyond book should be title Beyond Teeth).

So with all this medical crap going on with me, I decided to do some transference in Beyond Faith. Without going into details, I will just say that one of the main twin PIs, Dana Bowman, has her own medical issue crop up that she has to deal with and that influences how she operates to sort out all the criminal issues going on and who is responsible.

And that is the way I liked to do it – i.e., I write complicated plots with plenty going on and lots of twists. And I might do some hinting at that in future blog posts. For now, I’ll just say that Dana’s medical problem has nothing to do with eyes or teeth. And leave it at that.

Meantime, Dana and her comedy skit partner, the aforementioned Shane Joseph and several of his books’ charactes are preparing for another performance where fact is mixed with fiction. More on that in another post. For now here is a link to Shane’s blog post about Crossing Limbo.

As for Dana Bowman, she is staying between the book covers – for now.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

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Crime wave hits Gerrard Ashdale library March 24

Longshot of the Gerrard Ashdale library CWC presentation

Longshot of the Gerrard Ashdale library CWC presentation

At 6.30 p.m., March 24, 2016 an unusual crime wave hit the Gerrard Ashdale branch of the Toronto Public Library. Downstairs, the dead body outline was “drawn” with masking tape. Upstairs, “crime” was in progress – at least between the book covers, and expanding to the audience facing the five crime writers in the front.

For the next hour and a half, true crime writers Mark Eddy and Nate Hendley and crime fiction authors Lisa de Nikolits, Steve Shrott and Sharon A. Crawford (also moderating to keep the crime enthusiasts on track) discussed various aspects of crime writing and reading – from authors’ and readers’ view points.

Besides the why we write what we do (Lisa and I have social justice as our reasons and Mark Eddy, author of The Recent History of Terrorism in Canada 1963 -2013, wrote that book because Canadian literature didn’t have this history published). We also discussed where we get our ideas. For example, many of mine come from real life incidents such as a harrowing drive up Highway 11 to cottage country with a friend when her car brakes stopped working. I take the incident and fictionalize the characters and plot.

But one of the most interesting discussions was in answer to the question:

What is your take on novel or true crime endings, i.e., should you leave the reader hanging or have a resolution that ties up the book’s contents?

Some wanted a full resolution, but some were okay with a resolution for the main plot, but some of the issues with the characters could be left hanging, especially for series novels. Nate Hendley, who (among other true crime books) wrote Steven Truscott; Decades of Injustice about Steven Truscott (who was wrongfully convicted of murder and rape at age 14,in 1959), was pleased that he could put in his book that in 2007 the Ontario Court of Appeal declared Truscott acquitted of the rape and murder of Lynn Harper. That declaration was the result of Truscott himself filing an application for this in 2001. Justice moves slow. In fiction, that can happen faster.

The five of us authors in the hot seats also discussed unusual ways we promote our books. For example, Nate Hendley had copies of his Truscott book at a presentation of a play about Truscott in southwestern Ontario. I dress up as my main Beyond Blood character, Dana Bowman and do short skits where Dana disses me. See my website for where Dana will next appear.

Meantime, here’s another photo of the CWC gang up close at Gerrard Ashdale. Both photos were taken by the library branch’s head librarian, Gail Ferguson.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

The CWC gang up close - Sharon, Steve Shrott, Nate Hendley, Lisa deNikolits, Mark Eddy

CWC gang up close – Sharon, Steve Shrott, Nate Hendley ,Lisa de Nikolits, Mark Eddy

 

 

 

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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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Beyond Blood character puts Sharon A. Crawford in hot seat

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

My ideas usually come not at my desk writing but in the midst of living.

 

  • Anais Nin

 

The other fraternal twin in Beyond Blood – Bast Overture is now going at me with the third degree. At least his journalistic techniques appear familiar to me – he has a recorder running and is also taking notes by hand to back it up in case of technological difficulties.

Bast: Okay, Sharon A., I’ll try not to cover exactly what my sister did last week, but I may want to add to it.

Me: Okay. Fire away.

Bast: First, I’d like to know more about your journalism career. You mentioned you did some crime stories but not a lot. As that is my forte, I wonder if you could tell me what stories you did write and why you wrote them.

Me: Sometimes the story was about a crime that I had first-hand experience with. I see you looked perplexed. No, I didn’t do the crime but it was done against me. For example, when I lived in Aurora, Ontario, my house was broken into. So I wrote a humorous personal essay on that. It was published in Wordscape Seven: Mystery & Suspense Anthology, MTB Press, 2001. I also wrote a story for a community newspaper about protecting your home from invasion.

Bast: What about other stories?

Me: I wrote a story about fraud against seniors in their homes, particularly about home renovations and repairs – this was before Identity theft, although I did write a story on that too. But as I told your sister Dana, I believe that if you do the crime you do the time – one way or the other. So, one of the ways I get back, if you will, is to write about prevention, so people don’t become victims of crime. I talked to seniors as well as police and a unique hardware store then in Aurora – the owners recommended legitimate and trustworthy tradespeople for this. I even found a handyman for me, although I didn’t interview him as that might be considered not at arms length – you know too close to the writer.

Bast: Hmm. You mentioned writing a story on Identity Theft. Can you tell me a bit about that? Did you pitch that story to a magazine or was it assigned?

Me: A little of both. I pitched it to the now defunct Homemakers magazine and the editor there was interested and added more scope to the story so that besides police and identity theft protection experts, I interviewed a couple of people who had their identify stolen – one by getting his regular mail redirected so he had to replace all his credit cards and other ID. The other one was the victim of mortgage fraud – someone put a mortgage, in her name, on her house without her knowledge.

Bast: I gather fraud is something you are interested in and you have that as one of the many crimes in Beyond Blood. How did that come about?

Me: Well, without giving the plot away beyond what is on the back book cover, the fraud in there comes from or maybe I should say is related to some of the other crimes. And I’m not saying any more except that some of the plot events are peculiar to that time (1998) and not completely relevant today.

Bast: That’s a bit obtuse. Care to elaborate.

Me: All right. Without giving it all away (and this is on the back cover) abortions, or rather illegal abortions are part of the story in Beyond Blood. And you know, abortions are in the news again with all the anti-abortion movements in the States and even some press in Canada. But the interesting thing here is not that so much as that one thing related to abortions which was illegal in Canada in 1998 is still illegal in Canada today.

Bast: Let the record show that Sharon A. is not talking about Canadian law regarding abortion itself. Abortions are legal in Canada. Sharon A. is referring to…

Me: Stop. Don’t give the plot away. Let’s just say it all is part of the plot and you and Dana figure it out, but will you do so in time to save Dana’s son and your nephew David?

Bast: Right. But maybe you could include that plot blurb on the back of Beyond Blood. That book cover photo at the top of this post shows the front page only.

Me. Okay. Here it is.

In Beyond Blood (Blue Denim Press, fall 2014), Dana Bowman has misgivings about starting the home-based Attic Investigative Agency with her fraternal twin, Bast Overture. Especially when the agency’s launch is preceded by a break and enter downstairs and a kidnapping at the Mini-Mall involving her son David’s babysitter, Debbie Sangwell. Especially when David is kidnapped and Debbie is murdered during the agency’s opening ceremonies. Hovering in the background is the mysterious “Him.”

Further digging reveals more kidnappings, murders, fraud, and abortion. The twins’ investigation also leads to run-ins with police detective Donald Fielding and CKNT TV reporter Charles Haas, the latter who has the “dirt” on Bast. A colourful cast of characters dot the pages, including Dana’s ex-husband Ronald, Great Aunt Doris, Mini-Mall merchants Lois and Ray Chalmers, and various nosy neighbours. Hovering in the background is the mysterious “Him.”

Dana is pushed beyond blood ties trying to avoid an emotional meltdown as a mother and focus on finding her son. The twin detectives discover that everything seems to be connected. Which connection will lead them to David, and to Debbie’s murderer? Will they be too late for David?

Click on my book cover above – it will lead you to my publisher Blue Denim Press’s website. Scroll down and you can see where Beyond Blood is currently available, including at www.bluedenimpress.com.

And check my website www.samcraw.com – click on Beyond Blood. I constantly update the gigs etc. on that page.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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