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.
Yesterday Donna Carrick read my short story, “Farewell to the King,” on Carrick Publishing’s new weekly reading series, Story Stocking.
I’m beyond thrilled to have had my story selected for a reading–and by Carrick’s publisher, no less. My tale of four young women who to travel to Memphis for their idol’s funeral is dear to my heart. It was inspired by my 1977 trip to Memphis to cover Elvis Presley’s funereal for the Montreal Star.
I love Toronto’s Annex district, my very first neighbourhood in the city that I now call home. And streaming There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace, one of the films in the Hot Docs 2020 Festival, last night brought back memories of those early days in Toronto.
I arrived in Toronto in the 1970s when I was hired for a teaching job at Loretto College School on Brunswick Avenue. I was a newcomer to the city and I didn’t have a car, so I looked for a residence within walking distance of the high school. And what a vibrant neighbourhood I found myself in! The cafes, bakeries, and the Hungarian restaurants on Bloor Street West, The Brunswick House, the large Victorian sandstone homes on the residential streets, many of them divided into flats. One of these flats on Huron Street was my first Toronto home. And, of course, Honest Ed’s bargain emporium on Bloor at Bathurst. My neighbours were a glorious mix of cultures: university students and professors, artists, recent immigrants to Canada, and the denizens of the infamous Rochdale College, which at the time was “an experiment in student-run alternative education.”
There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace focuses on Honest Ed’s and the future of the Annex neighbourhood. The store closed in 2016 after 68 years on the corner of Bloor and Bathurst streets. Its site is being transformed in to hundreds of rental units by the property’s new owner, Vancouver property developer Westbank Corp. Director/cinematographer Lulu Wei chronicles the closure of the Toronto landmark and the Mirvish Village artists’ colony on Markham Street, and speculates on the future of the area through interviews with developers, politicians, activists and neighbours.
Watching Wei’s homage to the Annex made me reflect on why I’ve set much of Uncharted Waters, my fourth Pat Tierney mystery, in the Annex. Pat has returned to Toronto after a stint in Ontario cottage country. She’s left her job at a large investment firm, and buys an existing financial planning practice—she loves the work but she wants to be her own boss. So where are Pat’s new business premises? The contemporary Annex. She rents a second-floor office suite above a fictional bookstore on Bloor Street, just east of Bathurst.
Why did I choose that area? I didn’t analyze it too deeply; the setting more or less came to me. The Annex just seemed like a very cool area for Pat to spend her working hours.
The Mesdames of Mayhem, that fabulous collective of 19 Canadian crime writers, recently interviewed me on Blog Spotlight, its new series on blogs and blogging. Answering the Mesdames’ questions forced me take a good look at the blog I started nine years ago and how it’s unfolded since then.
Its title, Moving Target, describes the aim of my blog in a nutshell. A writer’s target is constantly changing. The first target is probably completing a novel or a story; then the target moves to finding a publisher. And when it comes to marketing the work, the target really keeps moving.
The tagline, Rosemary McCracken’s Book Adventure, which you see on the top, right-hand side of the home page, sums up the main content of the blog: my exciting (at least to me) adventures of writing, placing and promoting my fiction. My blog shows the different stages I’ve gone through in my journey as a writer, which can serve as signposts for what lies ahead for beginning writers.
A blog is an important tool for a writer. It helps connect with existing readers and build a wider readership. But blogging may not be for every writer. I tell fellow writers that if it is a real chore, and they’re only blogging because “everyone else is,” they may be better off channelling their energies into other activities. Such as creating a talk on some aspect of writing or publishing, and taking it to libraries.
Check out my complete interview with the Mesdames of Mayhem here.