Sunday, 10 April 2011

Write-on Mystery

Welcome to our discussion blog.


  1. Looking forward to contributing to the conversations.

  2. Amazon Book Review
    by Rick Gustafson
    April 15, 2011

    Strong Début for Arthurson,
    4.0 out of 5 stars

    Newspaper reporter Leo Desroches needs to feed his addiction. Estranged from his family, his coworkers, and life itself, Leo's impulses manifest themselves in startling ways as he delves into the murder of a Native woman found in a farmer's field outside Edmonton, Alberta. Leo's contradictions will have readers rooting for him even as they wince at the depths of his depravity.

    Wayne Arthurson's début novel, Fall from Grace, tackles issues such as addiction and the plight of Natives in Canada, while delivering the grit of a thriller and the suspense of good mystery. The story twists from the opening sentence, "Do you want to see the body?" and continues to shock as Leo challenges local law enforcement on his way to a confrontation with a killer.

  3. Sounds great, can't wait to read the book.

  4. Introducing…Karen Blake-Hall
    By Janet Costello
    Karen is my Sister in Crime in Toronto. She has written in the romance arena, but now she’s found a happy home with crime writing.
    The first thing you notice about her…she’s always smiling. Unless she’s talking about plotting. Then she twinkles wickedly!
    Asked about her influences, Karen replied “Iris Johansen, Allison Brennan, Sara Paretsky, Wendi Corsi Staub, Heather Graham, of late Rick Mofina, David Corbett, Wayne Arthurson, and Robin Burcell. Once I read a book and I can’t put it down, I’ll read everything I can from that author. I’m just a compulsive.”
    She comes with a game plan. And she’s capable of execution! She oversees two critique groups, generates her mystery prose on schedule, and is always on the lookout for good stimulation.
    When she realized, at Left Coast Crime 2011, that she should ramp up the violence in her writing, her delight was somewhat disturbingly evident. She shared with me her eager willingness to explore activities in her crime research that neither a martial arts expert nor her husband would participate in.
    Currently Karen works in a department store, giving authenticity to the setting of her first mystery. I’ve had a peak at Working Stiffs. It’s going to be a twisted fun read when we get our hands on it! She’ll be posting on every other Thursday, starting June 9th.

  5. Wow Karen, Write-on Mystery is a super HQ and your intro is great. I'm looking forward to some of that crime research into 'ramped up violence' and reading into your favourite authors.That would be emotional violence right?

  6. Karen weaves a mean tale, her characters slipping and sliding into and out of emotional webs and intrigues - and that's without any violence! Bring in the violence and her romantic mystery puts a whole other spin on love and lust.
    Heaven knows how she juggles two critique groups and her own writing, but she does.
    And she gives great advice ... keeps a nettled, anxious writer on course.

  7. Introducing … Kollene McKeown

    Words, words, words. They inform, caress, upset, delight, describe and entertain us.
    For people like Kollene, a fellow Sister in Crime, they’re the machinery that fires her very fast-paced, breath-taking work-in-progress, a mystery that almost exclusively revolves around two characters (who don’t really know each other well), and who are caught up in an intriguing chase. From one page to the next, we don’t know whether her female protagonist is a clever con or a sweetheart. And her besotted sidekick, a young man along for the ride, just doesn’t know what he’s got himself into. But he just won’t leave.
    A dedicated bibliophile who is never without a book in hand, Kollene spends a lot of time indulging in this blog site’s subject: Murder.
    No, no. Not committing it. Kollene’s a lovely individual who’d never stoop to that. She’d rather write about it. But she also likes reading about it, too; Ian Rankin, Elizabeth George, James Patterson, Iris Johansen, Lisa Gardner, Dan Brown, Steve Berry ...The list, she concedes, is too long to mention.
    Kollene started writing her book 15 years ago when she had a job that gave her “a lot of down time.” A devoted crossword puzzler and Sudoku fan, she decided to stop fiddling with other people’s words and gather up some of her own.
    At the time, she was also a volunteer for the Ontario Wheelchair Sports Association and was the editor of two of their newsletters. She also had her own Direct Marketing company, which dealt in statement inserts. A busy lady!
    She now works for a large department store … that is, when she’s not toying with ideas of murder, bodies, crime scenes and all manner of dastardly deeds.
    Attention, shoppers!!!

  8. Karen's dialogue crackles with urgency, humour and romance. Her new novel Working Stiffs is a lively backdrop for the kind of people we love and know and some people we don’t like at all brimming over with their wants and all too human needs. Set in that contemporary microscosm of Canadian life, a busy department store, Karen’s new novel grabs us from the start. We’re rooting for the characters to survive the deadly storm that is keeping them prisoner but someone wants them dead.

  9. Introducing…Mar Preston
    Mar grew up in northern Ontario and loves its lakes and forests. She’s still a Canadian citizen, but she’s lived in California a long time. “California winters,” she softly chided me, who longs to live in North Bay, “are just too seductive.” OK, it wasn’t quite like that--she may have chortled at my madness first!
    She didn’t just find the winters seductive. What writer doesn’t want picking grapes in the Beaujolais fields and daffodils in Eureka, selling Fuller Brush, and cracking crabs in her resume?
    She spent the next thirty years in Santa Monica’s UCLA, studying, then working as a researcher at the University of Southern California, where she received an MFA in creative writing.
    All along she was writing and playing the ‘what if’ game. What if that man who just walked past her, leading two Chihuahuas fell to the ground with a bullet in his temple? What if that red-haired woman got on the next bus and simply disappeared? Her brain never shut off.
    We met at Left Coast Crime, both of us lending a hand to the organizing committee. I know Mar to be a conscientious animal lover. She is also a habitual do-gooder, volunteering on many grass roots campaigns and elections.
    “Getting a good murder mystery novel out of what goes on behind the scenes in grassroots politics makes all those dreary city council meetings worthwhile.”
    Mar can only start her list of influences: John D. MacDonald, Ken Stange , Sara Paretsky, Michael Connelly, John Irving, Marcia Muller, Tony Hillerman and J. A. Jance. Her natural and current bent is toward contemporary police procedurals.
    Mar will be posting every other Thursday starting June 16th.

  10. Introducing...Janet Costello

    When you walk into Janet Costello’s ‘library in the sky’, you know just the kind of person she is: smart, articulate, and extremely well read. And we’re not kidding about ‘library’. Wall to wall bookcases line Janet’s living room, which includes a centre isle of back-to-back bookcases. Heaven. Take a peek into her closets and you’ll know even more about her: cases of red wine signal the warm and generous person she is.

    Rather than write fiction, Janet says she prefers to shine the spotlight on others, and indeed she does this by doing interviews with writers. She is a supporter of all mystery writers, with extra shout-outs for Canadians, Sisters in Crime and her blogmates. Janet has volunteered for several conferences, including Bouchercon 2004, Bloody Words 2010, and can be seen any place where she can pitch in. She has a special knack for creating a variety of puzzles, which are regularly featured in the SinC newsletter.

    But reading is where Janet truly inspires awe. Her rush reading pile…well, actually, it’s three bookcases. Rush Rush reading pile – twenty-four books at the moment. She says her influences are biographer Nancy Mitford, Inside the Actor’s Studio’s James Lipton, Edgar Wallace, Nevil Shute, Dick Francis and Ruth Rendell. For their gracious and generous manner at all times, Canadian mystery writers Louise Penny and Anthony Bidulka.

    Frankly, if we’re talking gracious and generous, Janet embodies these attributes in spades. I’m proud to call her my friend. Her first post will be on Tuesday May 31.

    Melodie Campbell

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  12. Introducing…Heather Mac Archer

    Heather Mac Archer loves murder; she loves history and is currently writing not one but two murder mysteries one set in the UK and one in Canada. Both feature beautifully detailed locales.
    Heather thinks the challenge of a good murder mystery is to draw an emotional link between the murder and the crime. “There is always a link to the past, either in the childhood of the murderer or the life of the victim.”
    After her minister father taught her to read at four, she inhaled everything in his library from Thornton W. Burgess animal stories to theology, psychology and history. Spreading her literary wings in the Fenelon Falls Village Library, she consumed all of Agatha Christie by her early teens. She admires Ruth Rendell/Barbara Vine, Ian Rankin, John Goddard, Kate Atkinson and Anne Perry for their portrayal of the psychological aspects of crime in “a delicious way.” Other influences include two history degrees and copyediting murder stories during her career at the Toronto Star:
    “I can’t visit a place,” says the deceptively mild-mannered Heather with a gentle smile and a glitter in her eye “and not sit back and look around and think this would be a fine place to set a murder.”

    Heather’s first blog appears Monday, June 6, 2011.

  13. The Mystery of the Five Maidens

    Years ago a group of spiritually-minded forest lovers began hanging mementos of personal significance on the branches of a semi-circle of pines high on the side of a mountain here in California. The site looked onto a distant mountain that the native people around here were taught through legend to regard as the Center of the Cosmos. Someone dragged a mediation chair up the mountain for a lone visitor to commune with the mountain and the spirtis. Over time, people adorned the pines with odd ornaments, found solace there, and gradally everyone knew about the quiet place in the forest. Others came, a drum circle, solstice worshippers among the New Age folk, the curious, the dog walkers and hikers. and the enviromentalists tut-tutting over this misused of Forest Service Land.

    Then in the dark of a moonless night vandals destroyed the Shrine of the Five Maidens as it was now called.

    You're wondering why I'm telling you all this? These are the issues that eat up my time as a writer of mystery novels set in Santa Monica, California - nowhere near where I live. I have no idea who desecrated the five Maidens Shrine.
    There is no way I can stay out of the controversy that is whipping around. I read every email, gossip at the post office and go to provate meetings where this is the topic. I knew there are writers who can get keys moving on the keyboard no matter what. I heard Jane Yolen at a conference once say, "I tell my children, don't bother me unless there are broken bones protuding or hemorahaging."

    How I wish I could do that as a writer, but I can't.