Backyard Fairy Tree!

Photo of our backyard fairy tree by Ed Piwowarczyk

In Ireland, fairy trees or bushes are considered sacred rendez-vous points for the wee folk of the neighbourhood. And the Irish take fairy trees very seriously. They deck them with toys, ribbons, fabric from their clothes, messages and prayers scrawled on scraps of paper. In 1999, a County Clare fairy tree was incorporated into plans for a motorway bypass when a folklorist warned of terrible consequences if the tree was destroyed.

Last summer, the ancient apple tree in our backyard died, but I couldn’t bear to part with its lovely sinewy skeleton. I’m in the process of turning it into our own magical fairy tree, trimmed with things I love, including birdhouses. At Christmas, I may add lights.

All to keep the wee folk happy!

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Murder and malaise…and the criminal minds who revel in it!

Carrick Publishing has announced the names of the 35 authors whose stories will appear in its upcoming crime fiction collection, A Grave Diagnosis:

  • Catherine Astolfo: “The Backpack”    
  • Rosemary Aubert: “Mercy”
  • Jayne Barnard: “Christmas Rose”
  • Thom Bennett: “The Empty Grave”
  • Susan Bowman: “The Bridge Case”
  • Jane Petersen Burfield: “Unmasked”
  • Linda Cahill: “The Referral”
  • M.H. (Madeleine) Callway: “The Eternal Bakery of the Fractal Mind”
  • Melodie Campbell: “Two Crooks Walk into a Store”
  • Donna Carrick: “A Grave Diagnosis”
  • Rosalind Croucher: “The Drowning”
  • Lisa de Nikolits: “Love Thy Neighbour”
  • John Floyd: “The Rocking R”
  • Mary Fraser Hamilton: “Aura”
  • Delee Fromm: “The Neighbourhood Watch”
  • Therese Greenwood: “Boom Town Shakedown”
  • Elizabeth Hosang: “A Pill a Day Keeps the Blues Away”
  • Blair Keetch: “Sleep, Perchance to Die”
  • Laura Kulmann: “Change of Heart”
  • Hayley Liversidge: “The Crimson Grave”
  • Sylvia Maultash Warsh: “Days Without Name”
  • Rob McCartney: “The Red Cord”
  • Rosemary McCracken: “Hooked”
  • Lynne Murphy: “Woman Aglow”
  • Joan O’Callaghan: “Napoleon’s Nose”
  • Ed Piwowarczyk: “Danny and Me”
  • Rosalind Place: “Criminals Like Us”
  • Merrilee Robson: “In His Element”
  • C.A. (Carolyn) Rowland: “The House of Elizabeth Dandridge”
  • Steve Shrott: “Sometimes Miracles Happen”
  • Madona Skaff: “Cross Match”
  • Caro Soles: “Waiting in the Wings”
  • Blake Stirling: “The Poison Pill Cure”
  • Kevin Thornton (title currently unavailable)
  • Vanessa Westermann: “Medicine”

All the stories in the anthology revolve around an illness/disease and, of course, a crime. Publisher Donna Carrick says she was “blown away” by the quality of the submissions. “And I’m not easily impressed anymore,” she adds.

A Grave Diagnosis will be released in October.


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Murder and malaise coming your way!

Publisher Donna Carrick says she is overwhelmed by the outstanding quality of stories that have been submitted for consideration for her 2020 crime fiction collection, A Grave Diagnosis. “Without a doubt, it is the highest level to date for our Carrick anthologies,” the publisher of Toronto-based Carrick Publishing says.

The crime stories in A Grave Diagnosis all centre around an illness or a disease. The collection will be released this fall.

Ed and I are both thrilled to have stories accepted for this collection. Stories by several Mesdames of Mayhem will also appear, as well as tales by our writer friends, Linda Cahill, Joan O’Callaghan, and Thom Bennett. And we’re looking forward to reading stories by a number of writers we’ve never been introduced to before.

I’m especially pleased that Rob McCartney, a former student of mine at George Brown College, will make his fiction debut in A Grave Diagnosis with his story, “The Red Cord.” Rob’s interest in crime fiction stems from his days covering the police beat at the Sun Times daily newspaper in Owen Sound, Ont. Rob has also worked in public affairs, communications and marketing. He is currently working on his first crime novel, Bury the Lede.

Rob McCartney will make his fiction debut in A Grave Diagnosis.
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‘Mystery Most Edible’ an Anthony finalist!

Bouchercon announced the finalists for the 2020 Anthony Awards yesterday, and I was thrilled to learn that Malice Domestic 14: Mystery Most Edible (Wildside Press) is one of the five contenders in the Best Anthology/Collection category!

“Dining Out,” my tale of a bent restaurant reviewer, is one of the 36 crime stories in the collection. As the title, Mystery Most Edible, suggests, each story revolves around food in some way. And there aren’t any recipes!

The prestigious Anthony Awards are named after Anthony Boucher (1911-1968), an American critic, editor, and one of the founders of the Mystery Writers of America. The awards are presented every year at the Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. This year, voting for the Anthonys will take place at the 2020 Virtual Bouchercon, Oct. 16-17. The awards will be presented as part of an online ceremony on Oct. 17.

Mystery Most Edible is available on and

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