Time to load up your Kindle!

thumbnail-2-aspxToday is the first day of Imajin Books’ annual Christmas e-book sale. A range of wonderful titles — mystery, thriller, fantasy, horror, historical, chick lit, young adult, romance, sci fi and Western — are priced at $1.00 for a limited time. Including my Pat Tierney mysteries, Safe Harbor, Black Water and Raven Lake. Check out all the Imajin sale books here.

Then go over to the Mesdames of Mayhem’s blog. Madame Madeleine Harris Callway has put together a fabulous page that details the Mesdames’ book releases in 2016, with purchase links to the books. Take a look and see what the Mesdames have recently written.

There is still time to gift e-books and order paperbacks for Christmas presents!


Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Opportunity for budding crime fiction writers

The Mesdames of Mayhem are planning their third collection of crime fiction stories, which will be released next fall. Titled Thirteen Claws, the anthology will showcase stories by the 15 Mesdames–I’m putting the final touches on mine right now. AND one spot will be reserved for a story by a Canadian writer who has never been published in the crime fiction genre.

Submissions will be judged blind by a committee. All personal identifiers must be removed from the header, footer and body of the story submission.

thThis contest is a great opportunity for unpublished fiction writers. The winner will have his or her story in a paperback and an e-book, and have a publication credit to add to query letters and resumes. Winning or being shortlisted in a writing contest is a shot of adrenaline for writers who are honing their craft in isolation.  I consider being a finalist in Crime Writers of Canada’s inaugural Unhanged Arthur contest (for unpublished crime novelists) in 2007 a major turning point in my fiction writing career. The fact that the judges included my manuscript in the top five submissions meant they liked my work! It was the fuel I needed to keep going.

Here are the submission rules for Thirteen Claws:130926-scary-cat

  • The story must be about a crime, either solving it or trying to prevent it from happening.
  • An animal must be central to the story. Any animal is allowed: for example, a cat, dog, rabbit, bear, snake, even a dragon or other mythical beast. The writer’s imagination is the only limit. The animal must be a main character or pivotal to the plot. In other words, if the animal was taken out, there would be no story.
  • Writers must not have had a work of prose crime fiction published (i.e. short story, novella or novel) in either print or electronic form. Writers whose stories appear on their own personal blog(s) and writers who have had poetry or non-fiction newspaper or magazine articles or non-fiction books about crime are allowed to submit a story for this contest.
  • Writers must be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident in Canada.
  • The story length should be between 2000 and 5000 words.
  • A maximum of two submissions per writer
  • Formatting requirements:
    1. No personal identifiers anywhere in the header, footer or body of the story
    2. Include the story title and page number in the document header
    3. Story file in .rtf format, double-spaced, Times New Roman (12 point) or similar, 1” margins and please, no unusual formatting.
  • Each submission must include a title page with the story title, name of the author and the word count of the story.
  • Deadline for submission is March 15, 2017.
  • All submissions must be electronic and sent to mcallway1@gmail.com.
  • The contest judges reserve the right to name more than one winner. They also have the right to not declare a winner if none of the entries meet a standard suitable for publication in the anthology.
  • The winning author(s) must be prepared to sign a contract with Carrick Publishing.
  • Royalties will be shared equally between all contributors to the anthology after the publisher’s expenses are recovered and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Toronto Humane Society.

GOOD LUCK! Thirteen is the Mesdames’ lucky number. It may be yours too.


Posted in Anthologies, Contests, The writing life | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Toronto Public Library week for me!

tpl-logoIt’s Toronto Public Library week.  Tonight, I join authors Heather Babcock,  Lisa de Nikolits, Terri Favro and John Oughton at Annette Street Library, 145 Annette Street, at 6:30 p.m. We’ll be talking writing and books, and reading from our works. There will be surprises in store!

Thursday, Nov. 17, I’ll be running a 2-hour workshop on Writing Mysteries at Toronto’s Kennedy/Eglinton Library, Liberty Square Plaza, 2380 Eglinton Ave. East. It’s part of a series of workshops developed by Scarborough Arts for local writers, and it’s funded by the Government of Ontario’s Seniors Secretariat. It starts at 1 p.m. and it’s free of charge.

And Thursday evening, I’ll swing over to the Northern District Library, 40 Orchard View Blvd. (Yonge and Eglinton neighbourhood), where Sisters in Crime Toronto will celebrate the release of its latest crime fiction story collection, The Whole She-Bang 3. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

Right now, I’m off to pick up a book I have on hold at my local TPL branch.

Posted in Anthologies, Teaching writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

Pat Tierney chats with Karen Blake-Hall

Today author Karen Blake-Hall interviews Pat Tierney, the protagonist of Safe Harbor, Black Water and Raven Lake, and of several short stories. Karen is a prolific HAND and bookromantic-suspense novelist, and she has determined that under Pat’s stoic exterior, this character is a romantic at heart. It takes one to know one, I suppose.

Karen has Pat tell her whether she agrees with how her author tells Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00070]her story. (Wow, that came as a surprise for me!) How Pat copes with the Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00071]many personal crises she’s experienced in recent years. And the social issues that have been raised in the novels.

Read the full interview here.

Karen Blake-Hall is the publisher of the crime fiction anthologies Nefarious North and Villainous Vacations. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Crime Writers of  Canada, Romance Writers of America and the Writing Community of  Durham Region. Visit her website and check out her novels.



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing a mystery?

I’m gearing up for my Writing Mysteries workshop next Thursday afternoon, Nov. 17. It’s part of a series of two-hour workshops developed by Scarborough Arts for senior writers (age 50 and over), funded by the Government of Ontario’s Seniors Secretariat.

mystery1I’ll be discussing contemporary crime fiction, and offering tips on how to structure and write a novel in the mystery, cozy, noir, and suspense sub-genres. There’s always a crime in these books, and the bad guy or gal is just as important as the protagonist. And there has to be more to a victim than a dead body.

The workshop is free of charge. It starts at 1 p.m. and runs until 3 p.m. at Toronto’s Kennedy/Eglinton Library, Liberty Square Plaza, 2380 Eglinton Ave. East. You can register here, or by calling Scarborough Arts at 416-698-7322. Or just drop in.

And don’t forget to bring pen and paper.

Annette Street Library Nov. 15

November is library month for me. This past Saturday, Nov. 5, I discussed crime fiction with fellow Mesdames of Mayhem at Toronto’s Leaside Library. And on Tuesday Nov. 15 — two days before my Writing Mysteries workshop — I’ll join authors Lisa de Nikolits, John Oughton, Heather Babcock and Terri Favro at 6:30 p.m. at Toronto’s Annette Street Library, 145 Annette Street. The event is titled Not What They Seem, so I take it the five of us will have to reveal our deep, dark secrets. You won’t want to miss it!

George Brown College in January

For a more intensive writing experience, my 12-week course on How to Develop Your Novel starts on Tuesday Jan. 10, 2017, at Toronto’s George Brown College. This is a general novel course, not designed specifically for mystery writers, but content is applicable to all novels. Classes start at 6:30 p.m. and run until 9:30 p.m. Half the class time will be devoted to workshopping works in progress. Check here for more information.

The course will also run in the spring semester, starting Tuesday April 11.

Posted in Teaching writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Jumping into BLACK WATER

Black Water, the second Pat Tierney mystery, opens without any backstory drop from the previous novel. The reader doesn’t need it. The story stands on its own. Pat jumps in, telling us exactly how she feels on this cold Friday in March:

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00071]I was chilled to the bone when I got home that evening. An Arctic air mass from Nunavut had moved into central Ontario and held the city of Toronto in a deep freeze. Cars refused to start. Streetcars broke down all over the city. Pedestrians hurried along in down-filled coats with scarves over their faces.

If spring was on its way, there was no sign of it that Friday in March.

Maxie, our golden retriever, greeted me at the door with a rapturous dance. She wanted to play, but I was in no mood for games. A note on the kitchen counter told me Laura had taken her for a walk before she headed out to a party to celebrate the beginning of winter break.

I crumpled up the note. Thank goodness for that! The last thing I wanted to do was walk a dog in sub-zero weather. Or make dinner. Tommy, my youngest, was with his grandmother that night so I had the evening to myself.

On the way to the phone to check voicemail, the hall mirror told me I looked as bedraggled as I felt. Shoulders slumped, mouth a thin slash across my tense face, short blonde hair stuck out like a scarecrow’s. I looked every one of my forty-seven years. Maybe even a few more.

I pressed the button on the phone to activate unheard voicemail.

“Good afternoon. This is Detective Inspector Stewart Foster of the Ontario Provincial Police. I’m trying to reach Tracy Tierney.”

I swallowed back the panic that was rising inside me. What did the police want with my daughter?

Like to read the rest of the novel? Black Water is FREE as an e-book today on Amazon. Download it here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment


Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00071]BLACK WATER, the second Pat Tierney mystery, is a book dear to my heart. A misunderstanding with her daughter, Tracy, sends Pat up to cottage country north of Toronto to find Tracy’s sweetheart–and redeem her relationship with her daughter. Every parent will understand Pat’s determination to iron things out with Tracy.

“Characters so believable they become friends,” one reviewer wrote about Black Water.

The Kindle version of Black Water is FREE today and for the next few days on Amazon. You can download it here.

Like all three Pat Tierney mysteries, Black Water can be read as a standalone. No need to have read Safe Harbor, the first in the series. But I certainly hope you get around to it at some point!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment