Crime Writers Of Canada Announces Arthur Ellis Awards

Crime Writers Of Canada has announced the shortlist for this year’s best in crime writing, so if you’re looking for a good read, here’s the list for you. This year is exciting for me as a have several friends on this list. Good luck to all!

Announcing the 2015 Arthur Ellis Awards 

Shortlists for Crime Writing

Best Novel

Brenda ChapmanCold Mourning, Dundurn Press

Barbara FradkinNone so Blind, Dundurn Press

C.C. HumphreysPlague, Doubleday Canada

Maureen JenningsNo Known Grave, McClelland & Stewart

Alen Mattich, Killing Pilgrim, House of Anansi

Best First Novel

Janet BronsA Quiet Kill, Touchwood Editions

Steve BurrowsSiege of Bitterns, Dundurn Press

M.H. CallwayWindigo Fire, Seraphim Editions

Eve McBrideNo Worst, There Is None, Dundurn Press

Sam WiebeLast of the Independents, Dundurn Press

Best Novella *

Rick BlechtaThe Boom Room, Orca Book Publishers

Vicki DelanyJuba Good, Orca Book Publishers

Ian HamiltonThe Dragon Head of Hong Kong, House of Anansi

Jas. R. Petrin, A Knock on the Door, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine

Best Short Story

Margaret AtwoodStone Mattress, McClelland & Stewart

Melodie CampbellHook, Line and Sinker, Your McMurray Magazine

Peter ClementTherapy, Belgrave House

Madona Skaff, First Impressions, The Whole She-Bang 2, Sisters in Crime

Kevin P. Thornton, Writers Block, World Enough and Crime, Carrick Publishing

Best Book in French

Hervé Gagnon, Jack: Une enquête de Joseph Laflamme, Expression noir / Groupe librex

Andrée Michaud, Bondrée, Editions Québec Amérique

Maryse Rouy, Meurtre à l’hôtel Despréaux, Édition Druide

Richard Ste MarieRepentirs, Alire

Best Juvenile/YA Book

Michael BetchermanFace-Off, Penguin Canada

Sigmund BrouwerDead Man’s Switch, Harvest House

S.J. LaidlawThe Voice Inside My Head, Tundra Books

Norah McClintockAbout That Night, Orca Book Publishers

Jeyn RobertsThe Bodies We Wear, Knopf Books for Young Readers

Best Nonfiction Book

Bob Deasy (with Mark Ebner), Being Uncle Charlie, Penguin Random House

Charlotte GrayThe Massey Murder, HarperCollins

Joan McEwenInnocence on Trial: The Framing of Ivan Henry, Heritage House

Bill Reynolds, Life Real Loud: John Lefebvre, Neteller and the Revolution in Online Gambling, ECW Press

Paula ToddExtreme Mean, McClelland & Stewart

Unhanged Arthur for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel

Rum Luck by Ryan Aldred

Full Curl by Dave Butler

Crisis Point by Dwayne Clayden

Afghan Redemption by Bill Prentice

Strange Things Done by Elle Wild

 And the winners are?

Find out May 28!

Thanks to HSW Literary Agency

Life as a writer is often spent behind closed doors working hard, but there are moments when a writer catches a glimpse of hope that her work may actually entered the world of the published.

Margaret Hart and Natalie St. Pierre at the HSW Literary Agency have been working hard behind the scene to help me get my novels published.

Their last post at HSW Literary Agency:News certainly made me smile, so here’s a shout out to say thanks.

Sometimes a girl just has to share her happiness.

Thanks for reading . . .

Here is what HSW wrote about me:

Persons Unknown? Crime Writer Kristina Stanley Makes Her Name

Author Kristina StanleyThe life of an author, quietly perfecting her craft, is often anonymous. But the efforts of crime writer Kristina Stanley are at last getting the attention they deserve: Stanley has three works up for separate crime writing awards!

Descent, the first book in Stanley’s Kalin Thompson series, is nominated for the Unhanged Arthur, the Arthur Ellis Award recognizing the year’s most promising piece of unpublished crime fiction. Over in the UK, the Crime Writers’ Association honours book two in the series, Burnt, with a nomination for their Debut Dagger. Finally, just in time for Short Story Month, Stanley’s “When a Friendship Fails” is nominated for the Capital Crime Writers‘ Audrey Jessup Short Story Award.

Congratulations, Kristina! We anxiously await the results!

Reading to Write Well

I believe to write well, you have to read. Read everything in the genre you write in, read everything close to the genre you write in, read books you would never write but love to read, but find the time to read.

This is a lovely excuse to spend time reading. I pretend I’m working. Yup – working. Then I don’t feel as if I’m slacking off and not doing other things I should be doing.

So how do I find books to read?

Every year when the Crime Writers Of Canada announces the Arthur Ellis Short lists, I read all the books on the list.

I read by category. The Best Novel, Best First Novel, Best Novella.

Then I play a game with myself and pick the winners. After the winners are announced I compare my list to the winning list. If I’ve chosen a different book, I go back and look at the two books and try to figure out why a certain book one over the one I chose. It makes me look at the book in  a different way and helps me learn new writing techniques.

I hope you find time to read too.

Thanks for reading . . .

Crime Writers Of Canada: Arthur Awards

I’m giddy with happiness and need to share.

Writing  and trying to publish a novel is a long, seriously long, journey, with very few accolades along the way.

With trepidation, I entered DESCENT in the Unhanged Arthur competition. This competition is for Canadian writers and is given for excellence in mystery, suspense and crime writing to unpublished authors.

I submitted my entry last fall. In January came the first exciting news. Descent made the long list. A wild sense of relief filled me. Descent had made it that far, and I felt pretty good. Now, all I had to do was wait until April 24th for the short list announcement.

That’s sounds easy, right?

Wrong. I didn’t sleep for the four nights leading up to the announcement. On the night of the 24th, I went to bed not knowing if Descent made the list or not. I woke up more times than I want to admit, but forced myself not to turn on my computer and check. If Descent wasn’t on the list, I knew I was in for a completely sleepless night.

On the morning of the 25th, I took my first sip of coffee, opened my laptop and collected my email.

The first message I read was from a facebook friend. The text read : Congrats on making the short list.

I looked up at my husband and smiled.

“I told you, you would make it,” he said with a big grin on his face.

Next I read the email from CWC (Crime Writers of Canada) with the official notice that Descent was short listed.

I asked my husband to read the email, just to make sure I wasn’t reading only what I wanted to see.

“Yup, he said. You made it.”

Friday turned out to go by in a blur. I couldn’t quite believe I was on the list.

Saturday morning, I woke up with the first feeling of happiness about the award.

I’m still in the middle of my journey, but once in a while it’s good to stop and enjoy small successes.

Thanks for reading . . .

Here are the places I found the announcement:

CBC Books

Crime Writers Of Canada

Blog Mystery Fanfare

Blog Criminal Element

Blog Shots Crime and Thriller Ezine 

Blog Mystery Mavin Canada

Blog Black Mask

Blog The Rap Sheet

Blog Mystery Scene

Crime Writers Of Canada Mentorship Program

Two years have passes since I participated in the CWC mentorship program. I can’t stress enough what a valuable experience having Garry Ryan (writer for the Detective Lane Mysteries and at the time  President of the CWC) work with me on my manuscript.

Here are the rules  from the CWC newsletter.

If you’re an Associate Member with two or more years in good standing with the Crime Writers of Canada and you’re interested in partnering with one of our wonderful volunteers, please contact the CWC (Address in newsletter). They’ll send you all the information you need to get started, and when you agree to the guidelines, they’ll match you up with the mentor best able to help you out. 

If you’re not a member and are Canadian, why not join?  I think I’m a better writer because of it.

Thanks for reading . . .


Keeping Point Of View Consistent

I’ve always thought Point of View (POV) should remain consistent. Maybe not for a whole novel or even for a chapter, but at least within a scene.

I’m reading a mystery novel that changes the POV within a scene. It’s a novel published the traditional way through a well-known publishing company. I find the POV change within a scene distracting and think it takes away from an otherwise good story.

Are the standards changing?

Anyone else have a view on this?

Thanks for reading . . .


Farley’s Friday: Sharks Go Bump On The Sea

Farley here.

Man, I’m a brave dog. The shark came at us, and I got aggressive.  Got to protect Kristina. That’s my job! I could’ve taken it if Kristina had let me. But let me back up a bit.

I like kayaking with Kristina. She likes to paddle me around, and let’s face it, I like to sit and watch the scene slide by.

We paddle (and by we, I mean Kristina) from deep water to shallow water. I know this to be true because the water changes from dark blue to light blue and I see the sandy bottom.

I see a ray and get distracted for second, but not for long. Another shape is to our left.


The shark aims for the ray but then sees us at the same time I see it. It hunches its back and turns on us. Here is where we get lucky. Going from deep to shallow water causes the water to bunch up and create big waves. A wave hit the back of our kayak right when the shark hit the front. The kayak turned sideways and the shark glanced off the bow.

I jump out of the cockpit and onto the bow. It’s a bit slippery up here, but I don’t care. I’m on a mission.

“Get away, get away,” I bark repeatedly and am surprised when the shark doesn’t listen.

Kristina grabs my harness and she yelps – not me. I’m too brave to yelp. I guess I hurt her leg when I jumped forward, and she was yelping at the pain (not in fear – she says).

The shark turns at us and hunches its back again. This time it doesn’t bump us. It swims in a circle and does its dance one more time. I growl to let it know I’m serious. Mr. Grey Suit swims about twenty feet away and stands off. I scared him! Ha!

Kristina is holding my harness and having trouble paddling. She keeps telling me to sit. Eventually, I get the message and settle down. She paddles us to safety and away from the beast.

What type of shark? I don’t have a clue. Big and grey.

Happy New Year.

Woof Woof.

Thanks for reading . . .


Early Drafts: Having Your Novel Reviewed

Last year at this time I was working with Garry Ryan (2011 CWC President) through the CWC mentorship program on my 3rd novel Burnt. Burnt is now with my literary agent, Margaret Hart, awaiting comment.

I sent Garry about 10 pages at a time, he commented, I updated and sent the next 10 pages. I learned something new with each section. If you get the chance to be part of this program, it’s certainly worth it.

Many of you know my brother, Michael Conn, is also an author. I’ve convinced him that the process I went through with Garry improved my novel and that he, Michael, should do this with me for my next novel.

I’ve finished the first draft of my fourth novel, Look the Other Way, and Michael is reviewing it chapter by chapter. I send him one chapter, he comments, I update and on it goes.

At this early stage, Michael gives me his thoughts on story line, whether he likes a character or not, whether he thinks a sentence is foreshadowing something, and if the writing is good enough.

This helps me see the novel through his eyes and understand what impression I’m giving a reader.

It takes time and effort, but if you can find someone willing to do this for you, I recommend it. My only caution is that you must find someone you trust. It’s hard to put writing out there when it’s not in its most polished state.

Thanks for reading . . .


Crime Writers of Canada

At every writer’s conference, I hear how important it is for writers to have a platform, but when you’re just starting out, how do you create a network of people? If you’re a Canadian Crime writer and looking for a way to build your platform and make connections in the writing world, the Crime Writers of Canada (CWC) might be for you.

This is my third year as an associate member, and all of a sudden I realized I belonged to a group that could help me expand my network and connect me with people who write in crime genre.

Now here’s the delightful surprise. I sent LinkedIn invitations to the other CWC members, and I’m getting messages back almost as fast as I can read them.

CWC has professional members (those who have published their work) and associate members (those who are unpublished), and I’ve connected with many authors in both groups.

This members’ list can be found at Bios on the CWC website  along with writer’s webpages and profiles. It’s a great way to explore Canadian crime novels.

I spent the weekend being amazed at how generous people are with their time and how willing they are to add me to their network.