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May 2012 Archives

Page Turner Challenge: We have a winner!

...not to mention four runners-up in the Canada Writes Crime Month Page Turner Challenge, where we asked you to write the most chilling, compelling first scene of a crime novel. Whose...

Unhanged Arthur: "Too Far to Fall" by Shane Sawyer

This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada. In today’s story…an...

Catherine Astolfo: Creating a credible sleuth

The author of the Emily Taylor Mysteries on making your amateur sleuth believable....

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Announcing the shortlist for The Page Turner Challenge

It’s the last week of Crime Month on Canada Writes. It’s been a wonderful five weeks, largely due to the wonderful entries we received for The Page Turner Challenge. We asked...

Unhanged Arthur: "Gunning for Bear" by Madeleine Harris-Callway

This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada. In today’s excerpt…...

Michael Blair: Listening to your internal editor

Hearing voices? According to the author of If Looks Could Kill, that's not necessarily a bad thing....

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Unhanged Arthur: The Rhymester by Valerie A. Drego

This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada. In today’s excerpt…...

Donna Carrick: Making a villain memorable

The crime adventure author on how to make your baddie truly creepy.  ...

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Unhanged Arthur: "Snake in the Snow" by William Bonnell

This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel. In today’s excerpt... William Bonnell introduces us to the streets...

Linwood Barclay: Hook them first, then reel them in

For this newspaper columnist turned mystery writer, it all starts with the hook....

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Home Smoked by Mela Sarkar

“Boathouse. Another boathouse. More boathouses,” said Ron, pounding on each one briefly as the boys scrambled their way along the pebbly beach. They were nearly at the end of the...

Linda Wiken: The wow factor

When it comes to penning crime fiction that will hook a reader, don't save the best for last....

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A Wolf in the Head by Gloria Varley

Snow, deep over my boots, over my knees, a feeling it will swallow me up. My parents are dragging supplies on a sled but there's no room for me to...

Robert Rotenberg: Call the police--Part 2

The criminal lawyer and writer seconds advice by fellow crime scribe Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan: chat up the cops....

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One for Murder by Deborah Whelan

My screams ricochet off the corridor walls and I scramble out of Barnaby’s room. I press my forehead against the window and choke back the bile. I don’t have the...

Anne Emery: Setting as character

The author of the Collins-Burke mystery series on the value of knowing where you are....

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The Death Position by Elaine Bander

“Empty your mind,” said Rami, her voice like golden honey. “Let your thoughts float away like butterflies. Don’t try to control them. Breathe in through your nose, out through your...

Ross Pennie: The dynamic duo

The Szabo and Wakefield scribe on the enduring power of a memorable sidekick for your sleuth....

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Hanging in the Shadows by Susan Cross

As the shutter snapped picture after picture of the interplay of light and shadow in the old oak forest on the night of the full moon, Shawna suddenly dropped her...

Louise Penny: 18 things I wish I'd known before starting my first book

On the 10th Anniversary of the publication of her first book Still Life, the Canadian crime maven doles out a heaping helping of lessons she learned the hard way—so you...

Lou Allin: Layering the landscape

Today's crime writing tip: think of your story as less straight line, more tapestry....

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Decontamination by Jack Ruttan

Decon Tech William Gibbs blanched at the scene inside the tenement front door. A drug deal gone bad, both sides down shooting. The TV was playing some random sports channel. Snack...

Page Turner Challenge now closed!

A big thank you to everyone who participated! The evaluation process now begins...Next week we will announce the talented writer whose opening crime scene Louise Penny found to be the...

D.J. McIntosh: How to get published

The author of one of Amazon.ca's top mystery picks gives her advice on how to rise above the slush pile....

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Dye Her In Red by Heidi Joffe

At seven am, only a few students prowled around Ribauld University campus, and as one of them, Anita felt studiously determined to finish her project before the weekend. So far...

Ashes and Dust by Gina MacArthur

Simply beautiful.They were the first words -the only words - that sprang to mind as he looked down at her face. The curve of her nose was perfect. Her eyelashes -wispy...

Sharon Butala vs. Jane Urquhart: Read past work/Never look back

We've teamed up with The Next Chapter to present The Canada Writes Literary Smackdowns, an essay series in which authors sound off on various writing topics. No writers were injured...

Stephen Legault: The master plan

For the creator of the Cole Blackwater mysteries, the best crime novels start with lots and lots of butcher paper....

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A Murder in Many Parts by Tina Wayland

Hands in the glove compartment. An ear in the tape deck. Bowls dangling from the gas tank.More metaphor than murder, Detective Grey thought. This case was going to be less...

The Gift of Gold by Terrence Thomas

She'll be sorry.Percy Marsden set the pistol down on the arm of the chair and poured another generous glass of Scotch, spilling some but not caring.  As he put the...

The Body in the Black Dress by Ruth Sutherland

You want me to what?I couldn't believe what this guy was asking me to do.  But he did have the gun, after all.  I never realized how big a gun...

The Milk of Human Evil by Geri Newell

PROLOGUEJUNE 25, 5:00 am, MONACO CASINO RESORT I lay in the immense king-size bed, with the fluffy duvet up to my chin, facing the floor to ceiling window.  The heavy drapes...

The Inefficiency of Dying Twice by Heather Husby-Wall

James was definitely dead.  His heart had stopped beating.  His eyes were glazed over.  His skin was cold and clammy from having lain in the slush-filled gutter for so long....

Art Appreciation by Tanya Ambrose

Two undercover security guys from the PMO stood between the body and the painting. Dressed in trademark black suits and dark glasses they talked casually but every word was heard...

Robin Spano: Excavating your novel

When her plot won't move forward, this B.C. mystery author just changes direction....

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Such a Change of Fortunes by Deb Loughead

Nothing more satisfying than a fresh block of wood.  As promising as a brand new day, awaiting him in its raw form to be transformed, given another chance in a...

C.C. Benison: How to beat writer's block

C.C. Benison on not one, but two great new products to help you get writing again!...

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Tell Me Not To by Megan Cavon

I click the clothespin open and shut.  It's cheaply made and the metal spring is coated with rust.  Still, it opens and closes with little complaint.  Such an innocuous object,...

Louise Penny Help Desk: Part 4

As part of crime month on Canada Writes, we asked you to send along to us some of the questions you had for our Master Class leader Louise Penny. Here, Louise...

Kay Stewart: Three keys to a believable story

The author of the Danutia Dranchuk series on the three golden rules she's picked up along the way. (Hint: get your bird species straight.)...

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Autumn Descent by Diane Wallace

The cornucopia overflowed with mini pumpkins, rose-hips and polished apples. It was flanked on either end of the harvest table by chunky candles and pewter vases filled with wild asters....

Barbara Fradkin: Creating an engaging series character

The writer who's spent eight books in the company of hot-headed Inspector Michael Green on getting inside your series sleuth....

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Stanley Park by Travis McLean

1983It was a Sunday night and Penelope Lau took the lever in her small palms and began to work at it, triggering the gates that held in the saltwater of...

Louise Penny Help Desk: Part 3

As part of Crime Month on Canada Writes, we asked you to send us your questions for our Master Class leader Louise Penny. Here, Louise answers two more—letting us know what...

Roy Innes: A deadline and a promise

This late-blooming crime writer has a two-part recipe to ban writer's block. Make that three if you've got access to a cold garrett....

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What's the Frequency Kenneth? by Todd Brown

The investigating officer already knew a lot.For example, he knew the victim had mass, but no energy. On the subject of mass, the Detective knew that the victim was a...

Louise Penny on the making of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache

On the 10th Anniversary of the publication of her first book Still Life, the Canadian crime maven reflects on what it takes to build a sleuth worthy of a series—and her own...

Sheila Kindellan-Sheehan: Call the police!

For this Montreal crime author, the most relevant, thrilling and unexpected facts come straight from the long arm of the law....

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A Man Falls, Burning by Susan Ellis

A man falls, burning. He falls lightly, carelessly, faster than the snowflakes falling with him, streaming smoke. No one sees him fall, with the exception of a dog sleeping curled...

Rick Mofina: When bad things happen to good people...

...you've got a great thriller, according to this internationally lauded crime writer. ...

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Missing Clayton by Bev Irwin

I don’t like it here. It’s dark. It’s cold. Why doesn’t Mommy come and get me? She knows I don’t like the dark.“Your mommy has to find you,” the man...

Phyllis Smallman: You say "eavesdropping," I say "writing"

Listen up, says this Unhanged Arthur winner: the best dialogue comes from real people....

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Optimist Road by MJ Snyder

The last time I saw my old man, his knuckles were bloody, his face spattered with red freckles. Blood on his mouth too, thanks to my one good punch. His...

Copper and Diamonds by Joanne Coish

I was too late. Blood spread over the floors and ceiling like paint, but in a colour and odour that no one would deliberately choose. Copper, always copper along with...

Eugene Meese: Making secondary characters memorable

When it comes to fleshing out characters, this Nova Scotia crime writer urges you to save lots of energy for the little people....

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Debra Purdy Kong: The big scene

The author of the Casey Holland mysteries on making your best scenes into multi-taskers....

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Eric Wright: Write it, then Google it

The author of the much-lauded Charlie Salter mysteries is urging you to close that Internet search engine and get writing....

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Scarlet by Jennifer Sterne-Pownall

The knife’s blade flashed as she pulled it from her mother’s chest.  It slid out much easier than the child had thought it would, and she fell back against the...

Louise Penny Help Desk: Part 2

As part of crime month on Canada Writes, we asked you to send along to us some of the questions you had for our Master Class leader Louise Penny. Here,...

Louise Penny on writing to the next corner

On the 10th Anniversary of the publication of her first book Still Life, the master crime writer shares the story of the advice that changed her life—and the critic she had to...

Susan Calder: Putting the reader at the scene

Never be on the outside looking in, says this Calgary crime writer.  ...

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Crimes Seen by Kevin Thornton

“The Problem with blood is that it sticks to your skin,” said Jonathan, in between the screams of the electric saw.  Leila glanced down at her naked body, and then...

Louise Penny Help Desk: Part 1

As part of crime month on Canada Writes, we asked you to send along to us some of the questions you had for our Master Class leader Louise Penny. Here,...

Dave Hugelschaffer: Ask the experts

For the author of the Porter Cassel mysteries, the best research comes straight from the expert's mouth....

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'Til Death Us Do Part by Karen Janigan

Paula Baker angled her sailboard slight downwind to skirt a ghostly white mass floating in the evening sunset in the middle of Mahone Bay. A sunken tender, she thought, as...

Louise Penny on setting as character

The New York Times-bestselling author on the value of enticing the reader with sensory detail... without straying into overload territory....

Kevin Sylvester takes the Laferrière Questionnaire

The author of the mouthwatering Neil Flambé mysteries submits to our sleuthing, courtesy of Canadian author Dany Laferrière.About the Laferrière Questionnaire: We asked writer Dany Laferrière to reinterpret the Proust Questionnaire...

Stephen Gaspar: Writing in the working day

Step one of great writing, according to this mystery scribe: punch in on time....

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Halloween Taxi Ride by Barbara Baker

"How much further?” I question the driver. “We should be there by now.” “Soon,” his leather finger pokes my thigh. He laughs. I jerk my legs over to the door; press my...

Home Sweet Home by Elisa McRae

Officer Galos pulled into the driveway. He didn’t bother putting the park brake on. The dispatcher had been wrong. His house hadn’t been broken into, as she’d reported. This wasn’t...

Linda Kupecek: The power of the sidekick

For this Calgary crime writer, sleuths are all well and good, but sidekicks can be where you have the most fun. ...

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Giles Blunt: Write first, research later

To this IMPAC-longlisted crime writer, research can be the procrastinator's best friend.  ...

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Joy Fielding: A book in a sound bite

The New York Times-bestselling crime writer on the importance of summing it all up....

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Celebrity entry: Deryn Collier

The Page Turner Challenge is on until May 22! We are looking for you to write the opening scene of a crime or mystery story (in 250 words or less). We'll post...

Louise Penny: Murder in the first (chapter)

The four-time Agatha Award winner gives her top tips for getting your crime novel noticed. (Hint: throw a body in there quick.)...

Celebrity entries: Pamela Callow and Howard Shrier

The Page Turner Challenge is on until May 22! We are looking for you to write the opening scene of a crime or mystery story (in 250 words or less). We'll post...

Sheila Dalton: Creating a unique voice

The author of The Girl in the Box on keeping only the characters who truly stand out....

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Announcing the Page Turner Challenge

UPDATE: The Page Turner Challenge is now closed. Thanks to everyone who participated! The winner will be announced on May 31.Attention, Canadian crime writers! Sharpen those hooks and drag out...

Celebrity entries: Anthony Bidulka and Vicki Delany

The Page Turner Challenge is on until May 22! We are looking for you to write the opening scene of a crime or mystery story (in 250 words or less)....

C.B. Forrest: Memorable secondary characters

The author of the Charlie McKelvey mysteries on fleshing out those supporting roles....

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Louise Penny's Canadian crime hit list

The Canadian crime maven surveys the Canadian crime landscape and name-drops the writers who are making their mark. ...

Q&A with Garry Ryan

Welcome to Crime Month on Canada Writes! For the next 31 days there’ll be nothing but murder mystery, murder and mayhem on our site, and largely thanks to our...

John Moss: Write where you know

According to this Toronto crime writer, armchair travel and whodunits don't always mix....

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