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Preview: Type M for Murder

Type M for Murder

Rick Blechta, Aline Templeton, Vicki Delany, Frankie Bailey, John Corrigan, Barbara Fradkin, Donis Casey, Charlotte Hinger, Mario Acevedo, Sybil Johnson, and Marianne Wheelaghan — always ready to Type M for MURDER. “One of 100 Best Creative Writing B

Updated: 2017-12-14T08:34:37.973-05:00


Art, Actions, and Morality


Richard Wagner Like Rick (below), I have been pondering conundrums lately. I don’t usually express my opinions online. I have found that when it comes to the internet one is well advised to keep her private thoughts private. But lately I have been thinking about the implications of recent events, Many years ago, a local radio program held a contest to determine which classical composer was

The horror of it all


Barbara here. Reading the last few posts has left me with a cascade of mostly disjointed thoughts, which I will try to pull together to make some sort of useful point. Rick wonders about the predominance of "negative" characters in crime fiction and Aline was pleased to discover that despite their very negative public image, most politicians are actually committed, hard-working people whose

Are you a “plus” or a “minus”?


by Rick Blechta My wife and I have a theory about people. A person who overall has a positive outlook on life is a “plus”, and one who tends towards the negative is a “minus”. You can’t be in the middle on this. Years of observing people confirms our suspicions. You don’t need to be around someone for very long to be able to categorize them. That being said, there are certainly gradations in

The Mother of Parliaments


I had a fascinating experience last week. As one of the current directors of the Crime Writers' Association, I was invited to not one, but two award parties in the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament. Under the shadow of Big Ben, the famous clock – currently shrouded in scaffolding because of repairs – we walked along to the visitors' entrance, where the security would put

A Bookish Tradition with Cookies!


By Vicki Delany Last week, Barbara encouraged you to check out the Crime Writers of Canada annual catalogue for tips on your holiday giving. After all, books make great presents, and Canadian mystery writers really, really need your support if we’re going to be able to keep on writing. Before that Rick reminded us of

Sorting Books


There's no longer any rhyme or reason to my books. Not any more. When I lived in Western Kansas I had solid walls of bookcases in my finished basement. I knew exactly where everything was. But after two moves my books are in total disarray. When I lived in the apartment in Loveland I didn't have any storage. My books were in five different locations: the shelves I managed to squeeze into my

Who's Awed by Virginia Woolf?


I read Virginia Woolf’s To The Lighthouse twice this fall, once alone and once with a class of high-achieving Advanced Placement students. I was wowed the first time I read the book, but taking a second look –– reading it to teach it –– forces one to take a closer glance under the hood, so to speak. This is particularly good for a writer –– the chance to study a master at her craft. Now I’m a

Nancy Drew and World War II


I spent some time with Nancy Drew over the Thanksgiving holiday. I read all of the ND books when I was a kid, but I don’t remember much about them so I’ve been gradually rereading them and discovering all kinds of stuff all over again. You might remember some of my previous posts on my ND adventures, Books That Last and the Stratemeyer Syndicate   This time I learned the following about Nancy:

Something to tickle your funnybone


by Rick Blechta I’m really pressed for time this week and was hoping to find a bit of it to write my post but the day is already half-gone and it’s time to come up with a Plan B. I’ll resort to my usual fallback and give you a few cartoons I’ve put aside over the past few months. Hope you like ’em, and I’ll see you next week with a proper post! Until then…

Water Under The Bridge


P { margin-bottom: 0.21cm; } Last week a reader took a fierce dislike to a writing colleague's latest crime novel and told her so on Twitter. It was an all out, prolonged attack. My colleague was left stunned and bewildered. This was not a normal reader disliking said novel for whatever reason, which is perfectly fair in writing – after all, we can't please all of the readers all of the

Weekend Guest: Paul Doiron on Research into his Novels


John here. Our guest blogger this week is fellow Mainer, Paul Doiron, author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels set in the Maine woods. His first book, The Poacher’s Son, won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and was nominated for an Edgar Award, an Anthony Award, a Macavity Award, and a Thriller Award. PopMatters named it one of the best works of fiction

The Holidays Are Upon Us


Thanksgiving is over for both the U.S. and Canada, which means that the holiday season is officially off and running. My husband and I had our traditional vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner with a friend who has no family locally and doesn't object to eating Quorn turkey roast. We have been doing this for years. It has become our ritual. for the past many years, our Christmas ritual entails a giant

The future as we know it...


Reader beware: Barbara's rant. On Monday, the big Canadian headline was the news of a deal between two media giants that decimated the local print media in Canada, mainly in Ontario. Postmedia and TorStar made a deal to "swap" about four dozen newspapers in smaller cities that they had previously bought up, and immediately closed down three dozen of them, throwing hundreds of people out of

I Like Iceland! (or Giftgiving Made Easy)


by Rick Blechta Before I get up on my Type M soapbox (always at the ready in a corner of my studio), you must read this article (Literary Iceland Revels in Its Annual Christmas Book Flood). Relax. There’s no test at the end! I’m assuming that if you’re here, then you’re a book lover like the rest of us. And that being the case, the story linked above warmed the cockles of your heart as much as

Books Do Furnish a Room


I am rather taken by an expression, much used by the younger members of my family, 'Is it a thing?' Or perhaps, since I've never seen it written, 'Is it a Thing?' I had probably heard it before without paying particular attention, but when I first noticed it was when my recently-married son gave his wife a six-month anniversary present. Yes, I know — mine neither. Those costs could fairly mount

Will crime fiction lose its wheels?


One of the staples of crime and crime fiction may soon disappear. I'm talking about the get-away car. To explain, the tech prognosticators are predicting that soon—within ten years, maybe five—the private car as we know it will be as obsolete as the horse-drawn buggy. According to this vision of tomorrow, to get around, instead of firing up the family jalopy, we'll summon a robotic Uber/Lyft

The best advice?


Recently a lady posted me asking "what is the most important advice you can give to someone who is beginning to write a novel and why?" The question threw me because I could think of so many things I wanted to tell her. I received the best overarching advice many years ago, at the start of my career, from a man who became a major power in the publishing business: "Write what you really

Happy Thanksgiving


I have much to be thankful for this year. I say that every year, usually in the cliche way most of us living First World lives do. But this year things are a little different. This time around, the words resonate a little more. Actually a lot more. On August 24, after a week of not feeling so hot and two days after driving my 19-year-old to Kenyon College in Ohio, which is 10 hours away, I went

Thanksgiving at the Beach


It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. Time for half the population to travel to visit the other half. Or that’s the way it seems, anyway. I enjoyed the recent posts by Aline and Barbara on setting so I thought I’d chime in. I live in a Southern California beach city. Temperatures here are fairly mild as far as fall and winter are concerned, although we did register unseasonably warm temps in

Stop the presses!


by Rick Blechta A thriller has won a major literary award! Yes, you read that correctly. Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square won the Giller Prize last night (along with the $100,000 prize). The annual gala event is broadcast by CBC coast-to-coast-to-coast here in Canada and it always gets massive media attention, which is very good for publishing in general here in the Great White North. And

Tanjin Binhai Library, China by MVRDV


For my brief post today, I'd like to share the news about China's spectacular new library, the Tianjin Binhai Library in Tianjin. Why? Because it's unbelievably beautiful and we writers all like libraries, don't we? The library contains 1.2 million books and is designed by the Dutch architectural firm MVRDV. The 360,000-square-foot library is designed to look like a giant eye. It has five

RJ Harlick: The special people I’ve met along the way


Our guest blogger this weekend is my long-time friend and fabulous Ottawa writer, Robin Harlick. Called “the queen of Canadian wilderness fiction,” RJ Harlick writes the popular Meg Harris mystery series set in the wilds of West Quebec. Like her heroine Meg Harris, RJ loves nothing better than to roam the forests surrounding her own wilderness cabin or paddle the endless lakes and rivers. But

Conferences and Subplots


I intended to chime in on the discussion about setting, but last night I was thinking more about conferences and subplots. No, I'm not planning to use attending a mystery conference as a subplot in my book in progress. But attending a conference did take me back to tinker with my subplots. This past weekend, I attended the New England Crime Bake, one of my favorite conferences. It's jointly

The Day of the Dead


I missed my post a couple of weeks ago, and it was completely by accident. I actually wrote the entry below and scheduled it for publication, but I didn't hit publish. Instead I kept it as a draft. Now, I've been known to do this before, but I always always check on my post day to make sure the entry came up. Except for last time. Instead, I was lying in bed suffering from the flu, and rather

The devil's in the details


Barbara here. Aline's Monday post about setting serves as a springboard to mine. Great minds think alike! I too want to talk about setting, and more specifically about the setting of my Inspector Green novels, which are set in Ottawa, Canada's national capital and my adoptive home. Write what you know, we writers are advised when we first set pen to paper. Really? What a bore that would be.