Three more gems for 13 Claws collection

The winning story and the two runners-up of the Mesdames of Mayhem’s short story contest have just been announced.

The winning story is “Night Vision” by Mary M. Patterson. And the two runners-up are “Dana’s Cat” by Rosalind Place, and “That Damn Cat” by Marilyn Kay. These three writers have never had a story published in the crime fiction genre.

All three stories will appear in the Mesdames’ third anthology, 13 Claws, which will showcase fiction by the 15 Mesdames and will be released by Carrick Publishing in September. Congratulations to Mary, Rosalind and Marilyn! I’m looking forward to reading your work.

It was Madame Jane Burfield who came up idea of including previously unpublished writers in the collection. Several of our Mesdames teach creative writing, and are at a stage in their careers where they want to give back to the crime-writing community and encourage new Canadian talent. It’s always exciting to help upcoming writers.

Because the contest received many well-written entries, it was decided to include three of its submissions in the anthology instead of the original one winner. All personal identifiers had to be removed from the header, footer and body of the submission, and entries were judged blind by a committee. All stories had to involve a crime, either solving it or preventing it from happening. And an animal had to be central to the story.

There’s no doubt about it. 13 Claws will be a winner!

Posted in Anthologies, Contests | Tagged , | 2 Comments

How to Develop Your Novel

My course at George Brown College, Novel Writing II: How to Develop Your Novel, starts up again tomorrow, Tuesday April 11. But it’s not too late to register. You can do so by clicking here.

Novel II is for writers who have already started or are in the planning stages of a novel. Over the next 12 weeks, we will look closely at novel structure, because following the right roadmap is the way to reach your destination. And we’ll cover getting a manuscript ready to submit to agents or publishers. Two hours of every three-hour class will be devoted to workshopping works-in-progress.

I’m looking forward to meeting a new group of writers tomorrow. The biggest thrill, of course, will be reading my students’ published works!

Posted in Teaching writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Included in Passport to Murder!

Beyond thrilled to learn that my short story “The Queen-size Bed” has been selected for inclusion in Passport to Murder, the Bouchercon 2017 crime fiction anthology!

Bouchercon–the annual Anthony Boucher Memorial World Mystery Convention, named in honour of the late U.S. writer, reviewer and editor Anthony Boucher–will be held in Toronto Oct. 12-15.

Submissions to the anthology were required to have a travel theme, and a murder or a plan to commit murder, and all crime sub-genres were welcome. Eighteen stories were selected from 116 submissions. The collection will be published by Down & Out Books, and will be available for pre-order this summer.

All profits from the anthology will go to literacy fundraising.


Posted in Anthologies | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Celebrating Black Water season

It’s officially spring, and early spring can be a deadly season on Canadian lakes as the ice recedes and black water appears. Those who depend on boats and snowmobiles to reach their homes will find this a tricky time of year for travel.

But stretches of black water persist throughout the entire winter in some areas, a boon to snowmobile skippers. I’m thinking, in particular, of the stretch of water beneath the Dorset Bridge that links two arms of Lake of Bays in Dorset, Ont.

Snowmobile skippers start their machines on firm ice and scream full-speed until they hit open water. The objective is to stay on top of the water until they reach the far bank of ice. Racing at high speeds with the throttle open keeps the machine’s wide tracks on top of the water.

But not everyone makes it to firm ice, and most snowmobile skippers wear wet suits. Small businesses have grown up in the Dorset area to rescue submerged machines, and they charge hefty fees to do so.

Check out a video of snowmobile skipping in Dorset here.

(Intrepid snowmobile skippers are at it in the summer as well. Summer snowmobile skipping is something like jet skiing. But the winter sport, with exposure to frigid black water, is far more deadly.)

Watching snowmobile skippers in Dorset a few years ago gave me the idea of including

winter snowmobile skipping in my second Pat Tierney mystery. And sparked the idea for the novel’s title BLACK WATER. And for the cover design–that’s Pat on a snowmobile in March navigating black water.

To celebrate black water season, BLACK WATER is FREE for the next three days on ALL Amazons. You can download it here.

SAFE HARBOR, the first mystery in the series, is also on sale for the next few days for 99¢ in the U.S. on and for £.99 in Britain on Unfortunately this particular Amazon sale isn’t being held in Canada.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

St. Paddy’s Day, Polish-style

My Polish-Canadian hubby Ed Piwowarczyk loves St. Paddy’s Day. He’s wearing a green shirt today and whipping up his favourite lamb stew with Guinness. I’m making my Irish-Canadian mother’s traditional March 17 dessert, lime Jello.

When we were in Dublin a few years ago, we told an Irish woman we were chatting with in a pub that that my background is Irish and Ed’s is Polish. She remarked that that was a strange combination. Ed replied that the two nations have a lot in common. “They’re both passionate about their beliefs,” he said. “And they both backed lost causes.”

Here’s Ed’s Irish stew recipe:

3 pounds lamb shoulder, cubed; 3 large carrots, peeled and sliced; 3 parsnips, peeled and sliced; 6 stalks celery cut into slices; 1 half-pound of peeled white pearl onions; 1 cup pearl barley; 1 pound white mushrooms; 1 12-ounce can Guinness stout; 2 cups beef broth; 1/2 tsp. black pepper; 1/4 tsp. thyme; 1 cup half-and-half; 4 minced garlic cloves.

Brown the meat in a little oil. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, parsnips and celery, and saute. Add the Guinness, beef stock and barley, and cook over medium heat until just boiling, then reduce heat and simmer for 3 hours. Stir occasionally.

There are no cubed potatoes in the stew. That’s because we eat it over mashed potatoes.

We’ll wash it down with lots of Guinness. And then we’ll watch The Quiet Man.

Beo fada agus rathúil!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

‘Sensitivity’ editing

Another editor to hire: sensitivity readers to scan for racism, sexism, transgender issues,wtdcx9-t_400x400 depiction of chronic pain, depiction of a terminal illness, and no doubt much more. This article says the publishing industry recognizes that “offensive content” is a real concern.

And the concern may make writers think twice about writing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

R&R (rum and rumba) in Cuba

dscf1007Sure didn’t feel like winter on Cayo Santa Maria with daytime highs around 29 C. And our timing was pitch perfect–missed a lot of snow in Toronto while we were hoisting mojitos.

The highlight of the week was the Legendarios del Guajirito show with artists from the Buena Vista Social Club and the Afro-Cuban All Stars. El Guajirito is the Havana club made famous by the legendary Buena Vista Social Club, and on Monday nights its show comes to Cayo Santa Maria. The music sets the crowd on its feet!

Shots below: Ed in his element, our perfect beach and the Legendarios del Guajirito with Tropicana star Maida Mitchell in centre stage.


dscf0988 dscf1085

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment