Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ebooks and authors’ rewards

New guidance on ebooks published in the latest issue of The Author

Ebooks and authors’ rewards

Members will be aware that sales of ebooks in the UK are said to be increasing rapidly, although they still account for only a small proportion of publishers’ turnover. The launch of Amazon’s Kindle, already the dominant ebook reader in the USA, is expected to expand the market considerably. Experts predict that sales of digital products are going to rise fast, but forecasts of where the market will be in a year’s time, let alone 10, vary hugely.

The major publishers have invested heavily in establishing their digital infrastructure and ebook lists. Conscious of their large write-offs, they have been negotiating very firmly with authors and their agents over ebook royalties. At present trade publishers tend to insist on royalties between 15 and 25% of their receipts (not the retail price). Authors writing for academic, educational and specialist non-fiction publishers will find that they are frequently stuck with even less.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Next Meeting: January 14 at 7pm

Meeting: January 14, 7pm

Owl's Nest Books, 815A 49 Ave SW, Calgary
Drop-in fee $5.

Presentation begins: about 7:20.

The speaker will be:

Cpl. Lloyd SCHOEPP
Royal Canadian Mounted Police
Commercial Crime Section
International Anti-Corruption Unit

He will talk to us about white collar crime, including his work in the International Anti-Corruption Unit and criminal activity in the business and securities communities. The RCMP investigates major fraud; scams; counterfeiting; identity theft; and other commercial crimes.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Postcard Perps 2010: Fatal Family Reunion

Postcard Perps 2010: Fatal Family Reunion

A Members-Only Short Mystery Fiction Contest

Old Ebenezer is making his will at last, and he wants one more look at all his descendents before picking his main beneficiary. Eccentric uncles, outrageous aunts, cussing cousins and a few obnoxious in-laws are gathered at a guest ranch for the first family reunion in forty years. Mix a bit of brotherly loathing and some seething sisters-in-law with plenty of plain old greed, and one or more of them will not survive the weekend. Your narrator might be a family member or an outsider, a do-gooding sleuth or a villain in mild-mannered disguise. Surprise us. Who dies, how, and why?

The Rules:

1. The annual Postcard Perps contest is open only to members of Mystery Writers Ink.

2. All submissions start with the above scenario. Don’t waste words repeating it; it only exists to set the scene for you.

3. Submissions may be written in any tense and from any point of view.

4. All submissions must be between 600 and 800 words. Every word counts.

5. All submissions must be typed in Courier or Times New Roman 12-point font, double-spaced, on one side of the page only, with indents beginning a new paragraph. Do not leave an extra line between paragraphs.

6. Include a separate cover sheet with the entry’s title, word count and author’s contact information. Only the title and page number can appear in the header. The author’s name must not appear anywhere else on the manuscript.

7. All submissions must be received by 10 pm February 11, 2009 (the February Ink meeting) either by hand to Pamela McDowell or Jayne Barnard or by e-mail to (please put “Ink Postcard Perps” in the subject line).

The Judging:
Entries will be judged by a panel of previous contest winners and coordinators.

The Prizes:

First prize $40, second prize MWI logo merchandise. Authors of any entries selected for publication in the newsletter will receive a one-time publication fee of $10.

8 weeks to the Debut Dagger Deadline

For complete contest details, see

Are you entering your first chapter and synopsis? Wondering how it will stand up to the competitors?

Some quotes to help & inspire you, from Debut Dagger Bulletin No. 8:

Canadian thriller author Rick Mofina:

"Tension stripped bare is mental strain or excitement while suspense is anxiety over uncertainty of what’s to come....Who wants what from whom? What happens if they don't get it? Why now?"

British author Ariana Franklin, whose first book, Mistress of the Art of Death, won the CWA Ellis Peters Award 2007 and the Macavity Historical Award 2008:

"We need to grab our readers by the whatsits at the beginning, tempting them on with a literary version of a ghastly finger beckoning them from the traditional creaking door."

"Once you’re an established author and your readers trust that you’re eventually going to frighten the life out of them, you can get away with dallying -- but not when you’re making your debut."

Monday, December 7, 2009



The WGA is now accepting submissions for the 2010 Alberta Literary Competitions. New for 2010, the WGA is proud to introduce the James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction, and to increase the essay and short story prizes to $700!

The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors. Entries are judged by an independent jury recruited by the WGA. Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category.

Prizes of $1500 are awarded in the following categories:
•R. Ross Annett Award for Children's Literature (chapter books)
•Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
•Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction
•Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
•Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

Prizes of $700 are awarded in the following categories:
•Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award (non-published)
•Howard O'Hagan Award for Short Story (published)
•*NEW* James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (published and non-published)
•Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize (published and non-published)

The WGA is also administering the following awards for 2010:
•The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize ($5000 prize)
•The City of Edmonton Book Prize ($2000 prize)

For the 2010 submission guidelines for all the awards, please visit

The postmark deadline for all awards is December 31, 2009.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Ink Holiday Social December 10th

Postcard Perps, Potluck and Prizes

* a short presentation by Bob Stallworthy for Frontenac House

* dramatic readings of short Christmas-themed mystery tales, and

* the unveiling of the 2010 Postcard Perps Contest scenario..

Please bring finger foods. Beverages will be provided.

See you on December 10th 2009 at Owls Nest Books
Brittania Plaza, 49th Avenue and Elbow Drive SW, Calgary.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

November Events for Ink

* * * * * * * *
November Workshop

Ink's Saturday afternoon workshop on November 21 has been cancelled.

* * * * * * * *

November Meeting

Mystery Writers Ink meets at 7 pm on Thursday evening, November 12. The venue is Owl's Nest Books in Brittania Shopping Plaza, at 815A 49th Ave. SW, Calgary.

Please note that the doors open at 6:45.

Playwright Caroline Russell-King will talk about "Motive, Opportunity and Means of Being a Playwright in Canada."

Caroline Russell-King is a prominent member of the community of playwrights in Canada.

She served as Vice President of The Playwrights Guild of Canada, where she has been a member for 25 years. She also worked with the national editorial board, adjudicating scripts for Playwrights' Canada Press and sat on the Public Lending Right Commission, in Ottawa. Caroline is the Literary Manager for Lunchbox Theatre and a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturges of the Americas. Caroline's plays have been produced all across Canada. Her most produced plays include Scrooge - The Female Version, From Here to Insanity, In the Cards, and Mounting Sex in the Afternoon Zone.

Caroline has been the recipient of many grants and awards. In 1997, two of her plays--Lucky Four and Pigeon Among the Cats--won Honourable Mentions in the National Playwriting Competition. Other awards include The Alberta Playwriting Competition (first prize, one act) and the New Play Development Program (two-time winner).

Her work has been published four times by Playwrights Guild of Canada. She has also been included in four anthologies by Playwrights Canada Press. She wrote, Strategies: The Business of Being a Playwright in Canada, (with Rose Scollard), published by Playwrights Canada Press.

Her drama, High and Splendid Braveries directed by Martin Fishman is being produced at The Studio Theatre at Vertigo in October and her new romantic comedy Mr. Fix It, directed by Kevin McKendrick, opens at Lunchbox Theatre in February.

Caroline's is working on a new comedy called Symphony in O.C.D. Major.

Sunday, October 18, 2009



Fall Event: Careers for Heroes and Heroines

© Want to know more about four fascinating professions that might work for your characters – heroes, heroines or secondary characters?
© Interested in knowing the jargon to give your fiction story validity?


Two speakers in the morning,
A potluck lunch,
Three speakers in the afternoon!

Date: November 14th, Saturday
Time 9:30am to 4:00pm
Location Old Y (223-12th Avenue SW, Calgary)
Admission: ARWA member admission is free
Non-member admission is $10 (Use “Pay Now” Paypal Link at

9:30 Start - Up
9:45 – 1st Session - Tim Manship, Mental Health Therapist/ Aboriginal
Outreach/ Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Services
10:45 COFFEE
11:00 2nd Session (Yvonne Kjorlien – Forensic Anthropologist)
12:00 Potluck Lunch (Please bring a small donation to the table.)
1:00 – 3rd session - 2 RCMP officers – 1 female/ 1 male
2:00 – BREAK
2:15 -3:15+- 4th Session - Paramedic, Gavin Lee

Mahrie E. Glab
Special Events Coordinator
Alberta Romance Writers’ Association

Monday, October 5, 2009

October Speakers: Parole Officers

Two parole officers will join Ink members on Thursday, October 8th at Owl's Nest around 7:30 p.m. to explain how the parole system works in Alberta. Learn the usual practices of monitoring and managing parolees, and hear first-hand anecdotes from their personal experience.

the Unhanged Arthur - one month to entry deadline

The Arthur Ellis Award
for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
(the Unhanged Arthur)

Is the Great Canadian Crime Novel tucked carefully away in a drawer or even languishing under your bed?

Well, here's your chance to pull out that manuscript and enter it for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel (the Unhanged Arthur).

The Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel, sponsored by McArthur & Company Publishing Ltd., was first awarded by the Crime Writers of Canada in 2007 as part of the CWC mandate to recognize and promote the careers of promising new crime writers. The competition is open to (1) Canadian citizens, no matter where they are living, and to writers, regardless of nationality, who have Permanent Resident status in Canada, and (2) who have never had a novel of any kind published commercially.

Contestants should have a completed manuscript and should submit the opening chapter(s) – no more than 5000 words – plus a 500-word synopsis of the rest of the novel. "Crime novel" is defined as crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, or thriller, and can be set in any time period and crime-related sub-genre.

From these initial submissions, up to ten (10) authors will be asked by the judges to submit their completed manuscripts. A shortlist will be selected from these completed manuscripts. The winner will receive a special Arthur Ellis Award along with a cash prize from McArthur & Company. In addition, the winner’s completed manuscript will be read and critiqued by publisher Kim McArthur, who will have the right of first refusal to publish the novel.

All judges are professionals working in the Canadian publishing industry.
The award will be presented at the 2010 Arthur Ellis Awards event in Toronto in May; details will be sent to the shortlisted authors.

NOTE: Winning this award does not guarantee you will get published. It does mean, however, that your work will come to the attention of publishers and agents, both members of the CWC and others involved in Canadian crime fiction publishing.

Competition Rules

Definition of a crime novel

"Crime novel" is defined as crime, detective, espionage, mystery, suspense, or thriller, and can be set in any time period and crime-related sub-genre.


The contest is open to all writers who fulfill the following eligibility requirements:

1. You are a Canadian citizen, regardless of place of residence, or a writer, regardless of nationality, who has been granted Permanent Resident status in Canada.

2. You have not had a novel of any kind published commercially, whether:
* in print or electronically (i.e., e-book or published on the Internet) or self-published
* in any genre, including literary
* under your given name or a pseudonym, and/or
* written alone or jointly with another author

A novel that has an ISBN is considered to be published commercially. However, anyone published in the areas of nonfiction, short stories, poetry, or plays/screenplays is eligible to submit to the Unhanged Arthur.

3. In addition, if you currently have a contract from a publisher for your manuscript, you are ineligible to enter this contest.

You are welcome to submit the same manuscript in subsequent years, provided that it did not win an Unhanged Arthur Award and that criteria 1 to 3 are still met.

If you are uncertain whether your manuscript is eligible, contact us at The decision of Crime Writers of Canada as to whether a manuscript is eligible for the Unhanged Arthur Award is binding.

Submission procedure

1. Entrants should submit three (3) copies of the opening 5000 words of their completed crime novel, together with three (3) copies of a 500-word synopsis describing the novel’s further development. The synopsis should be of the entire novel. The synopsis must be double-spaced. The synopsis is a crucial part of the submission; it is the only way the judges can see the plot development, so take time to write it.

2. Manuscripts and synopses must be in English, typed double-spaced on 8.5" x 11" paper or A4 paper using 12-point Times New Roman or Courier, with 1 inch margins, and unbound.

3. Each page of the manuscript must have a header in the upper left-hand corner, containing the title of the manuscript. Do not include your name as part of the slug line because the judges will be judging blind. Make sure that each page is numbered. Do not include your name on the synopsis; but do include the title of the book.

4. Each submission must be accompanied by a completed entry form and an entry fee of $25.00. Only cheques or postal money orders in Canadian funds, made out to Crime Writers of Canada can be accepted. Writers may submit any number of entries provided that each is accompanied by an entry form plus the entry fee of $25.00.

5. Each submission must be accompanied by a short biography (no more than 150 words) and a "blurb" of 100 words about the plot of your story.

6. The judges will come up with a shortlist from the initial submissions. These authors will be notified in mid-January and asked to submit three (3) copies of their complete manuscript. The winner and runners-up will be determined from this complete manuscript. The decision of the judges is final.

7. Entries must be postmarked by November 6, 2009.

Other important information

1. The Unhanged Arthur shortlist, along with the other Arthur Ellis Awards shortlists, will be announced at the end of April. The winner will be announced at the CWC Arthur Ellis Awards Ceremony in May in Toronto. All shortlisted authors will be sent details about both events.

2. The winner will receive a special Arthur Ellis Award as well as a cash prize from McArthur & Company. Kim McArthur of McArthur & Company will critique the winning manuscript within six months of the dinner. McArthur & Company will have first refusal on the work.

3. There is no commitment on McArthur's part to publish the winning entry, nor is the winner obligated to accept McArthur's offer to publish.

4. Copyright will remain at all times with the entrant.
Entries and manuscripts cannot be returned

Entries should be sent to:

Crime Writers of Canada ,
2010 Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel
3007 Kingston Rd.,
Box 113,
Toronto, ON
M1M 1P1

Submissions must be postmarked by November 6, 2009.

To contact us, write to

In case this is the first writing competition you've entered (or even if you're an old hand at the game), following is some information on how to format and present a submission and how to write a synopsis.

Crime Writers of Canada's
Arthur Ellis Award
for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel

Style Guide

This page addresses various issues to do with formatting and presentation.

There are a few official rules to do with presentation. Entries must be typed and double-spaced, and submitted on 8.5 X 11 inch paper or A4 paper. Use either 12-point Times New Roman or 12-point Courier. Ignoring these rules may disqualify the entry.

Beyond these, however, there are all sorts of presentational elements which won't disqualify you if you get them wrong, but will make it much easier for us to read and enjoy if you get them right.

Formatting and Layout

The best way to format text for fiction, used in just about every novel ever published, is as follows:
* Start new paragraphs with an indented first line.
* Don't use blank lines between consecutive paragraphs. They just break up the flow of the text.
* Do use a blank line or three asterisks to show a break between scenes or a break in the flow of the narrative.
* Use a new paragraph each time a different character starts to speak.

Make sure you include the title of the entry and the page number – but NOT your name – on each page of your submission.


* Check your spelling meticulously. Mis-spellings break the reader's concentration; they also make your work look sloppy and amateurish. If you can't trust the author to spell properly, how can you trust the story they're telling?
* Beware malapropisms and homonyms; words can be spelled correctly and still be terribly wrong. Some examples include a particularly 'viscous murder,' a 'burlesque policeman,' and – in a supermarket – an 'isle of chips.' Do not rely solely on your computer's spell-checker.


Punctuation can be a bit of a minefield, and many of the rules are unclear. Three things in particular to beware of are:
* Apostrophes: It's a shame that many people can't put an apostrophe in its proper place. 'It's' is a contraction of 'it is'; 'its' shows that something belongs to 'it' (whatever 'it' may be). Apostrophes should never be used for plurals – no 'bag's of orange's.'
* Quotation marks: Always use quotation marks around speech. Standard North American usage is to use the “double quote.”
* Exclamation marks! Try not to use exclamation marks. If a sentence is witty, funny, or dramatic, the reader will notice anyway. If it's not, you won't make things better by drawing attention to it.

What to Write

Obviously we can’t tell you what to write – the whole point of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel is to find fresh and original contributions to the genre. But hopefully this page will give you a better idea of what we’re looking for in the opening chapter(s) and the synopsis.

A successful first chapter should draw one in, introduce one to the main characters and subject matter, locate one in a chosen world, intrigue, and surprise. The synopsis should indicate the proposed narrative arc, and the judge should feel that the author will be equal to the task ahead. The synopsis shows you’ve got a story worth telling, and the excerpt shows that you know how to tell it.

Hoard your characters

Characters are the key to the story: if the reader doesn’t care who people are, he won't care what they're doing. Try to give each character a solid introduction, and don't overload the reader with too many characters at once. As the author, you've probably spent months or even years with your characters and you know exactly who they all are, but the reader doesn't have that advantage. This is particularly true for this Arthur Ellis Award, where the judges are having to meet whole new casts of characters at bewildering speed.

Build tension

Many of the entries that work best grip the reader with a genuine sense of tension. This isn't just about overt danger or violence: it's amazing how dull a gruesome murder can be made to seem if it's written badly. Effective tension comes from a sense of menace and anticipation, built up with mood, little clues and tell-tale

Avoid clichés

There are any number of clichés associated with crime fiction – grizzled cops, hard-boiled PI’s, sexy dames and psychopathic villains, to name but a few. Part of the fun of working in the genre is being able to play with these stereotypes, but you’ve got to do something new with them. One year an editor made the plaintive - or pointed - observation: 'Why are all innocent female victims invariably blond and beautiful?'

The warning against clichés applies equally (or even more) to language. Unless you're writing for a tabloid, avoid really common terms: 'emotional rollercoaster'; 'heart-stopping surprise'; or, a pet hate, 'feisty'.

The WOW factor

For any chapter to count in a competition like this, the reader must put the material down thinking ‘Wow!’ and then, ‘I need to read more’. It's not enough for the reader to want to read more, he or she must put the excerpt down feeling they need to know what happens next.

The Synopsis – Don't Sweat It

For many entrants, writing the required synopsis may be more daunting and difficult than writing the initial 10,000 words of their novel. You are not alone! Experienced and published writers balk in exactly the same way when faced with writing one. Feel better? You should.

Why is a synopsis necessary?

It shows:
1. that you are professional enough to know what you are doing.
2. that you can tell a well-constructed story.
3. that you have the technical and imaginative skill to produce an interesting and marketable book, with well-rounded characters and a logical and believable plot.

What makes a synopsis stand out?

1. The synopsis should be of the entire book.
2. Use the same narrative style that you use in the book; if the book is 'chatty' don't change to formal in the synopsis.
3. Be clear. Show plot movements in order, introduce new characters as they appear, if they are major characters show us the 'why' of their actions as well as the 'what'.
4. Never offer meaningless sentences such as: “Something dreadful was about to happen.” or “What happened next would devastate him.”
5. Show how sub-plots interlink with the main plot and its characters.
6. Do not include physical descriptions unless it is absolutely essential.
7. Always use present tense, never past.

These pages incorporate material written by Michael Jecks, Kay Mitchell, and Edwin Thomas, members of the CWA who have coordinated the Debut Dagger Awards.

We thank Margaret Murphy and the Crime Writers Association of Great Britain for their generosity in allowing us to adapt material from their Debut Dagger Award Website in describing the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Unpublished First Crime Novel.

And thank you to Louise Penny and Michael Whiteside for adapting the CWA rules to use for the Unhanged Arthur and to McArthur & Company for their generous support for the Unhanged Arthur.

And, lastly, thanks from this reluctant blog shepherd go to Liz Brady, Executive Director of the Crime Writers of Canada, for sending out this information.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Two Opportunities for Playwrights

Early Bird Deadline for PlayWorks Ink 2009Fast Approaching!

Register on or before Friday, September 18th and receive $35 off the Full Weekend Package or $10 off any Day Pass.

PlayWorks Ink 2009: Process of Illumination

October 22 – 25, 2009

Downtown Calgary, Glenbow Museum
(130 – 9th Avenue S.E.)

Register online:

Full Weekend Package $220/Day Passes $80–$100

PlayWorks Ink 2009: Process of Illumination—a weekend of workshops, discussions, and readings of fresh, new plays—features special guest and Canadian playwright Colleen Murphy. Among her many successes, Ms. Murphy is the recipient of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama, the Enbridge PlayRites Award, and the Canadian Authors Association/Carol Bolt Award for Drama. Renowned for creating work that braves dark questions and kindles meaningful engagement with audiences, Calgary audiences will be familiar with recent productions of her plays The Piper (Downstage) and The December Man (Alberta Theatre Projects).

Ms. Murphy joins PlayWorks Ink this year to lead a workshop in playwriting, deliver her keynote speech, “Confronting Ourselves: Writing Tragedy in a Godless World,” and participate in a panel discussion on the vitality of Canadian theatre—it’s currently inspiring creative methods, the blending of theatrical practices, and the growth of Canadian artistic confidence.

PlayWorks Ink 2009 offers an exciting line-up of workshops for theatre professionals, educators, students, patrons, and all those eager to explore and illuminate the darkened corners of the creative unknown! Instructors feature a pantheon of skilled industry professionals teaching workshops in:

· Playwriting—Colleen Murphy, Jane Heather, Conni Massing, Vicki Stroich

· Performance Creation—Jillian Keiley, Eric Rose

· Improv and Acting skills— Lynda Adams, Dennis Cahill, Cindy Vanden Enden

· Directing—Kevin McKendrick

· Lighting Design—Roger Schultz

· and so much more!

Workshops are limited to 12-16 participants—book now to avoid disappointment! For more information, including the schedule and details of workshops and readings, visit or call 1-888-422-8160.

PlayWorks Ink: Alberta’s Theatre and Playwriting Conference

Presented by Theatre Alberta and Alberta Playwrights’ Network


Wilfrid Laurier University

Interactive Script Writing for Film, Theatre and Television

This web-based course will introduce you to the craft of writing scripts for film, television and the theatre.

When you enroll you will be given a password that unlocks the entrance to the first level of writing challenges. Every step along the way you will submit writing assignments for feedback. Your fee purchases a set number of feedback opportunities, and you set the pace for your submissions.

You are free to select from among a variety of pathways and approaches. You might choose to move quickly through the guided steps for an overview, or you might undertake a series of challenges designed to improve competence in a single facet of script writing. You will have six months from your first login to complete the course. Access to the course will be available October 5, 2009; your first login must occur by Novmeber 2, 2009.

Successful completion of each level opens the doorway to the next set of challenges. Returning students receive a password to the level achieved.

This course has been designed by and will be administered by Dr. Leslie O'Dell; feedback will be provided by Dr. O'Dell or by freelance professional writers under her supervision.

Leslie O'Dell is an associate professor of English and theatre at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she teaches acting, directing, play writing, and dramatic literature at the undergraduate and graduate levels and acting for singers for Laurier's Faculty of Music. She received her Honours BA in Drama from Queen's University and her MA and PhD from the Graduate Centre for the Study of Drama at the University of Toronto.

Leslie is a veteran text consultant at the Stratford Shakespearean Festival and has worked with such directors as Richard Monette, Marti Maraden, David William, Richard Rose, Bernard Hopkins, Robin Philips, Michael Langham, Brian Bedford, Douglas Campbell and Joe Dowling.

Please note: you will require a computer and Internet access to participate in this course as it is delivered completely online.

Course Information

Start Date: October 5, 2009
Time: Whenever is best for you!
Where: From the comfort of home (online)
Cost: $123
Instructor: Dr. Leslie O'Dell, Wilfrid Laurier University

This Blog Needs a Devoted Shepherd

The board of Mystery Writers Ink is working hard to bring members lots of cool programming this year, including the usual great lineup of crime and writing speakers as well as our first-ever Master Class for the Mystery Novel, starting after Christmas with Garry Ryan (signup for this is in November, and a completed first draft is a pre-requisite), and an all-new initiative called 'Members Forum'. Watch for news of this at the October meeting.

Sadly, none of the board has leisure to feed this little blog as it yearns to be fed, on a steady diet of writing news, book launches, writing contests and anything else of general interest to members.

If you are a member visiting the blog and bemoaning its lack of new content, this opportunity is waiting for you!

Email your interest to

and someone from the board will leap gladly to accept your offer.

With hopes for an exciting 2009-10 season of criminal conspiring for us all,

Jayne Barnard
It's that time again! Time for the CBC Literary Awards:

Ready, set, write!

The Literary Awards Team is anxiously awaiting your original and unpublished works (short story, poetry, and creative non-fiction) by November 1, 2009. You could win $60,000 in cash prizes.

Submit online!

Join us on Facebook!

The Awards are Canada's only literary competition celebrating original, unpublished works in both official languages. There are three categories: short story, poetry, and creative non-fiction, with cash prizes totalling $60,000, courtesy of the Canada Council for the Arts, publication in Air Canada's enRoute magazine, and visibility for the winners and their winning entries offered by CBC.

If you've already received this email, please feel free to forward it.

Thank you and we look forward to receiving your submissions!

The Awards Team
(This information line is open from June 1 to December 15.)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Semi-Permanent Change of Venue

Due to overwhelming support by members who voted at the May meeting, the June 11, 2009 meeting and AGM will be held at Owl's Nest Bookstore in Brittania Plaza (Elbow Drive and 49th Avenue SW, Calgary), starting at the usual time of 7 p.m.

Speaker TBA.

Further, the attending members voted overwhelmingly to move to the bookstore for the new Ink year starting in September 2009.

The venue will be reviewed by membership consultation toward the end of the next Ink season (May/June 2010) and a decision made then whether to stay at Owl's Nest or move back to the Old Y.

Meanwhile, the mailing address will continue to be care of the Old y as shown on the website.

How to Decontaminate a Meth Lab

From "Forensic Magazine" :

Homemade laboratories pose dangerous risks not only to those running them, but also to neighbors and the environment. The chemicals involved in meth production are toxic, corrosive, and flammable, creating a high risk of contamination. Further, it is estimated that the production of one pound of meth produces over 5 pounds of toxic waste. As most clandestine “cooks” are amateurs, you can expect a good deal of contamination in a seized lab. Not only will all surfaces be contaminated by the fumes, but much of the toxic waste will have been disposed of in sinks, toilets, bathtubs, and the land surrounding the lab.

For the full article go to

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


April speaker: Mike Hare, co-owner of Owl's Nest Bookstore

Topic: The bookseller's role and how authors can work with sellers to make their books fly off the shelves.

Venue: *Different location Owl's Nest Bookstore in Britannia shopping
centre, on 49th Ave SW at Elbow Dr.

There is a parking lot in front of the store and a large overflow lot
in the back. For transit users, the #3 bus stops right outside
Sunterra market. It is a frequent and late-running bus.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Updates of Miscellaneous Interest

Reminder: February 12th at the Old Y, Melanie Little from Freehand Press will be speaking. See the preceding post for details.


Further to the recent Mystery Press article on the present sorry state of the publishing industry, two things have changed since publication:

1) Book Expo Canada is, as predicted, officially now canceled.

2) The Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a one-year stay of enforcement of the newly added certification and testing requirements for manufacturer and importers of products for children.


Fun link that will nibble away at your spare time for weeks: Top 100 Creative Writing Blogs


Quotable on Mystery Writing:

At least half the mystery novels published violate the law that the solution,
once revealed, must seem to be inevitable.
- Raymond Chandler

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Feb 12 Meeting: The Editing Process

Melanie Little of Freehand Books will speak and answer questions on theprocess of working with an editor--from the initial steps of submitting a manuscript through the collaborative editing process in all its stages.

Melanie Little is an editor at Calgary's Freehand Books, publishing the bestin new Canadian fiction, poetry, and literary non-fiction. Books she hasacquired and edited have been nominated for the Giller Prize, the McAuslanFirst Book Prize, and the BC National Award for Canadian Non-fiction. She isalso the author of The Apprentice's Masterpiece, a novel-in-verse foryoung adults (Annick Press), and Confidence, a collection of stories(Thomas Allen), a Globe and Mail Top 100 book. Her fiction has appeared inanthologies including The Journey Prize Anthology and Scribner's Best ofthe Fiction Workshops, and she has been shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed,Bronwyn Wallace, and CBC Literary Awards. In 2005-6 she was theMarkin-Flanagan Writer in Residence at the University of Calgary.

Ten Stupid Things Cops In Books Do

From that noted cop and crime writer, Robin Burcell: