CBCBooks on  Twitter CBCBooks on Facebook

Features Blog
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 entry made Canadian crime maven Louise Penny want to read more?...

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This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.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 aged woman feels the onset of a coming storm and rises from her seat to spot an unwelcome visitor outside...

Catherine Astolfo: Creating a credible sleuth

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

More from: Writing Tips

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 you to send in the opening scene to a crime story you were writing. We were looking for tension, terror...

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This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.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… a man on a hunting trip ingests some strange mushrooms and has difficulty distinguishing fantasy from reality. ...

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....

More from: Writing Tips

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This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel, presented by the Crime Writers of Canada.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… we’re introduced to Detective Gilardi as he hunts for a serial killer in the dim stillness of a Middle Eastern...

Donna Carrick: Making a villain memorable

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

More from: Writing Tips

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This week, we are publishing excerpts from the five manuscripts up for this year’s Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Novel.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 (and dreams) of Manhattan at the end of the 19th century. ...

Linwood Barclay: Hook them first, then reel them in

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

More from: Writing Tips

Linda Wiken: The wow factor

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

More from: Writing Tips

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....

More from: Writing Tips

Anne Emery: Setting as character

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

More from: Writing Tips

Ross Pennie: The dynamic duo

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

More from: Writing Tips

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

Canadian crime maven Louise Penny has been leading us in an online master class on the art and craft of killer crime writing. In her final blog, she doles out a heaping helping of lessons she learned the hard way—so you don't have to....

Lou Allin: Layering the landscape

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

More from: Writing Tips

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....

More from: Writing Tips

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 in the making of this series. Battle Eight: Is it ever a good idea to read your past writing? Sharon Butala...

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....

More from: Writing Tips

Robin Spano: Excavating your novel

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

More from: Writing Tips

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!...

More from: Writing Tips

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 answers the final two—revealing the philosophical underpinnings of her novels as well as the titles of the engaging reads on her...

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.)...

More from: Writing Tips

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....

More from: Writing Tips

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 poetry has to teach us about crime fiction, and sharing a precarious situation she once landed in thanks to her...

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....

More from: Writing Tips

Louise Penny Master Class: Creating series-worthy characters

In her fifth blog, the Canadian crime maven reflects on what it takes to build a sleuth worthy of a series—and her own winning formula for Inspector Gamache....

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....

More from: Writing Tips

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

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

More from: Writing Tips

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

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

More from: Writing Tips

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....

More from: Writing Tips

Debra Purdy Kong: The big scene

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

More from: Writing Tips

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....

More from: Writing Tips

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 answers two more—giving us some notes on plot and conflict, as well as letting us know how much legal...

Louise Penny Master Class: Writing to the next corner

The master crime writer on the advice that changed her life—and the critic she had to lock out of the room to make it happen....

Susan Calder: Putting the reader at the scene

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

More from: Writing Tips

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, Louise answers two of them—letting us know what kind of personal experience is required to write in the genre and...

Dave Hugelschaffer: Ask the experts

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

More from: Writing Tips

Louise Penny Master Class: Setting as character

In her third blog for Crime Month, 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 for the 21st century. He put together 20 questions that shine a light on who we really are, both as...

More from: Laferriere Questionnaire

Stephen Gaspar: Writing in the working day

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

More from: Writing Tips

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. ...

More from: Writing Tips

Giles Blunt: Write first, research later

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

More from: Writing Tips

Joy Fielding: A book in a sound bite

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

More from: Writing Tips

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 some of our favourites on the Canada Writes site. The winner of the most compelling scene (as selected by Louise...

Louise Penny Master Class: Murder in the first (chapter)

In her second blog for Crime Month, 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 some of our favourites on the Canada Writes site. The winner of the most compelling scene (as selected by Louise...

Sheila Dalton: Creating a unique voice

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

More from: Writing Tips

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). We'll post some of our favourites on the Canada Writes site. The winner of the most compelling scene (as selected...

C.B. Forrest: Memorable secondary characters

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

More from: Writing Tips

Louise Penny Master Class: My Canadian crime hit list

The Canadian crime maven Louise Penny leads us in an online master class on the art and craft of killer crime writing. First up: Louise 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 our partners on this project: the Crime Writers of Canada. There’s a lot in store, including an impressive, daily “How To”...

John Moss: Write where you know

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

More from: Writing Tips




set count down final date: 11/01/2014
set count up final date: 11/01/2014
show ENTER NOW menu 0