Mystery Mondays: Author Garry Ryan on Keeping A Novel Relevant

I know a secret! Today on Mystery Mondays, Garry Ryan, best-selling author of the Detective Lane Mysteries, is here to talk about keeping a novel relevant. But that’s not the secret.

Do you want to know the secret? Of course you do.

The next novel in the Detective Lane series will be published by NeWest Press this year! The title:  MATANZAS.

The blurb is below…Maybe if we’re lucky, Garry will give us more details on the release.

And now over to Garry.

Keeping a Novel Relevant by Garry Ryan 

How do you make a book relevant at release? A few years can pass after the process of writing, submitting and editing is completed. It can become a bit of a challenge to remain current.

As a result, I look for plausible predictions of what’s likely to happen. I also watch trends and think about outcomes.

Matanzas might work as an example here. It’s set in Cuba and Calgary. Before writing the novel there had been whisperings about Cuba and the US normalizing relations. After the book was written and accepted by the publisher, the US reopened its embassy in Havana. It was necessary to keep this likely scenario in mind while developing characters and plot so as not to make any obvious errors.


I’ve also been watching the changes happening in Latin America while working on novels exploring the relationship between Canada and Mexico. It’s really about seeing how the old, the new and our cultures interact during difficult times. Carrying a camera documents these changes, which comes in handy when writing scenes.


Predicting the future is a fool’s game, but considering a variety of outcomes and how they might legitimize or compromise a novel is worth considering.



Matanzas Cover copyHis psyche still reeling from having to kill a criminal in the line of duty, Calgary’s Detective Lane flies to Cuba to celebrate the wedding of his beloved niece. While there, though, he finds himself drafted by the local police into investigating the murder of a Canadian tourist.

Upon his return to Calgary, links between this incident and the deaths of local elderly pensioners start to make themselves known, drawing Lane and his partner Nigel Li further into a web of conspiracy, politics and big money.

Garry Ryan’s award-winning, best-selling mystery series continues with all the intrigue, good humour and mochaccinos that fans have come to expect.

Who is Garry Ryan?



Since 2004 Garry Ryan has published nine novels with NeWest Press. The second, The Lucky Elephant Restaurant, won a 2007 Lambda Literary Award. In 2009, Ryan was awarded Calgary’s Freedom of Expression Award.

Mystery Mondays: Jennifer Leeper on the Emotions Punch Of Short Stories

Today on Mystery Mondays, we’re doing something a little different. Author, Jennifer Leeper is here to talk about short stories. I think this is the first short story collection I’ve hosted, so it’s a bit of a thrill for me. Enjoy!

Short, Not Small by Jennifer Leeper

515-HrYG7AL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_Whether you’re a reader or writer of short stories, you know they can offer as much of an emotional gut punch or brain rock as a 300,000-word tome. Collections of short stories offer authors and readers the chance to quickly dive deep into the lives of characters and repeat this experience over and over between two covers. My latest collection, Border Run and Other Stories explores many characters within a relatively short word span, and I’m privileged to take you on a sampling tour here of these vastly different character worlds.

If the shoe fits

 In The Shoes, Carlos finds a letter from his abuela, who recently passed away, and in the letter she charges her family with conscientiously distributing her hoard of shoes. They can’t simply dump the house-sized pile of footwear at a thrift store, but must match each pair with the right feet. Not only does Carlos, his sister, and parents find it difficult to marry the shoes to wearers, but the result of hastily discarded pairs of shoes results in a horrific series of events that irreparably alters the lives of Carlos and his family.

The dead live on

In Book of the Dead, Violet Mora finds the “bucket list” Luca Barnes, the boy who bullied her in high school in the ashes of his family’s house that burned down after Luca fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his mouth. In the spirit of revenge, Violet decides to work her way through Luca’s list herself. Instead of revenge, however, Violet encounters Luca’s twin, Dominic, as she completes Luca’s objectives, and she experiences more than she bargained for when she took on Luca’s list.

 Take this job and shove it

In The Vortex, a man has been writing the same resignation letter in his head for years but he never actually submits it to his boss. Then, one day he decides to erase thousands of emails with one mouse click. He is set free and set off course all at once.

Though there are threaded themes of redemption, loss, and mortality across the 14 stories of this collection it’s the character development that allows each piece to stand apart. It’s not the word count that matters, but how words are used to bring lives on the page to life that counts.

Who Is Jennifer Leeper:

f792d207c31f8ddac4e71e9aaa583014_400x400Ms. Leeper is an award-winning fiction author who’s publications credits include Independent Ink Magazine, Notes Magazine, The Stone Hobo, Poiesis, Every Day Fiction, Aphelion Webzine, Heater magazine, Cowboy Jamboree, The New Engagement, Alaska Quarterly Review and The Liguorian.

She has had works published by J. Burrage Publications, Hen House Press, Inwood Indiana Press, Alternating Current Press, Barking Rain Press, Whispering Prairie Press, and Spider Road Press.

In 2012, Ms. Leeper was awarded the Catoctin Mountain Artist-in-Residency, and in 2013, Ms. Leeper was a Tuscany Prize Novella Award finalist through Tuscany Press for her short novel, Tribe. Ms. Leeper’s short story Tatau was published in the journal, Poiesis, and was short listed as a finalist for the Luminaire Award in 2015, and nominated by Alternating Current for Queen’s Ferry Press’ Best of Small Fictions of 2016 Prize. In 2016,

The Saturday Evening Post honored Ms. Leeper’s short story Book of the Dead with an honorable mention in its Great American Fiction Contest. Ms. Leeper’s short story The Bottle won second place in the Spider’s Web Flash Fiction Prize through Spider Road Press.

You can find Border Run and Other Stories at Barking Rain Press: and Amazon. You can find Jennifer  and her other fiction on Twitter @JenLeeper1 or at her author website:


You’ve finished your first draft. Congratulations! Now what?

Just in case you missed this post a couple of months ago, I wanted to let you know we have a free eBook about the key elements of fiction.

Whether you’re self-publishing or going the traditional route, your story needs to be as good as you can possibly make it before sharing with others.

Now is the time to evaluate your writing with a big-picture edit to ensure your story works and is compelling to your readers.

But just re-reading your novel and looking for areas of improvement without having a process can waste a lot of time. Questions that come to mind are:

  • Where to start?
  • What to change?
  • How to make it better?


Don’t despair. There is light at the end of the editing tunnel. Just like you learned how to write a novel, you can learn how to perform a big-picture edit. All you need is a clear process, some editing knowledge, and the right tool.

With our free eBookyou’ll learn how big-picture editing is all about evaluating the major components of your story. We call these components the Key Elements Of Fiction.  Our eBook shows you how to use the key elements of fiction to evaluate your story.


Thanks for reading…

Farley’s Friday: Presents!

Farley here,

The door bell rings. I run in circles knowing there’s a human on the other side of the door. I don’t really care who it is ’cause I know I’ll get attention.

I run to the door, sit, and swish my tail across the tile.

Kristina follows me to the door. She opens it.

Farley and Box

I rush forward and rub my nose in the person’s leg. She pets me.

Then…Kristina takes a package from her. It’s a present for me!

I love getting a box. It takes me an hour to rip it apart and leave it shreds on the floor.


Woof Woof.


Guest Author Kristina Stanley and Her App for Writers – Elaine Cougler | Author of The Loyalist Trilogy

Guest Author Kristina Stanley and Her App for Writers

Today is special because fellow Canadian author, Kristina Stanley, is here to talk about her fabulous app for writers. I first noticed Kristina in the blog world as she wrote her posts about and during her sailing journey with her husband. It just sounded so romantic and so “out there”! She loves dogs and writes tirelessly. And now she’s going to tell us about her app. Take it away, Kristina! …

Full post at: Guest Author Kristina Stanley and Her App for Writers – Elaine Cougler | Author of The Loyalist Trilogy


Mystery Mondays: Janet Elizabeth Lynn on Researching A Novel.

Today we welcome Janet Elizabeth Lynn to Mystery Mondays. Will Zeilinger his going to sneak in here too! I think this a a first for Mystery Mondays – a couple co-authoring novels. They are here with a new release and an essay about research.

Researching Hollywood 1950s

The Feminine and the Dignified by Janet Elizabeth Lynn

My husband, Will Zeilinger, and I write the Skylar Drake Murder Mystery series set in 1955 in Hollywood.  Private Investigator, Skylar Drake, hunts down murders in the Los Angeles area while working as a stuntman for the movie studios. Though the stories are hard-boiled, Drake also lives in the era which required us to research the life and times of Los Angeles mid 1950s.

While researching this period we had to carefully scrutinize the clothes, cars, politics, music, movies and (of all things) weather for each book. The fun part of the research are the clothes. Dressing our Femme Fatales for daytime and evening, as well as the men has been a real kick.

We discovered the hardships of returning War II and Korean War veterans beginning careers and marrying. Women were expected to give up their wartime careers to become homemakers and mothers. Because of this, there was a move toward a more feminine look for women and dignified look for men. There was also a desire to indulge in luxury, after the years of wartime deprivation and rationing.

Desert Ice, released this January, is the third in the series. And, yes we are still married!


WHO ARE Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger

BW Janet Bill 01Published authors Janet Elizabeth Lynn and Will Zeilinger had been writing individually until they got together and wrote the SKYLAR DRAKE MURDER MYSTERY Series.

These hard-boiled tales are based in old Hollywood of 1955.  Janet has published seven mystery novels and Will has three plus two short stories. Their world travels have sparked several ideas for murder and crime stories. This creative couple is married and live in Southern California.




Desert Ice front cover _Web

In 1955, a missing Marine and stolen diamonds lead Private Eye Skylar Drake to Sin City, where the women are beautiful and almost everything is legal—except murder.

The FBI and a Las Vegas crime boss force him to choose between the right and wrong side of the law. All the while, government secrets, sordid lies and trickery block his efforts to solve the case.

Common sense tells him to go back to L.A. but is gut tells him to find his fellow Marine.



Find Out More:

Janet Elizabeth Lynn

Will Zeilinger

Desert Ice on Amazon.

Farley’s Friday: Dogs At Play

Farley here,

It’s still winter here in Canada and the golf course is still open for dogs. Also, this week is something called spring break where small humans don’t have to go to school.

That means these little people come to the resort. That’s nice, but what’s really great is they bring their dogs.

Farley and Jessie

This is my friend for life Jessie. She’s supposed to be wrestling with me, but she’s been in the car for a few hours and needs to run. Meanwhile, I’ll just roll around until she’s ready to play.

Freedom to run is the best!

Woof Woof.