Monday, June 13, 2011

June meeting is this Thursday, June 15th at Owl’s Nest Bookstore

Reminder that the June meeting is this Thursday, June 15th at Owl’s Nest Bookstore in Brittannia Plaza SW (49th St and Elbow Drive SW).

The discussion this month is all about writers conferences: who goes, why they go, where they went, what they got out of the experience. While the focus is on Bloody Words, where there were at least 6 Inksters prowling the halls and appearing on panels, anyone who has been anywhere is welcome to chime in with their experiences.

Following the fun part, we’ll spend a few minutes on business, mainly presenting the audited financial statement held over from May and voting on a membership fee for next year.

Meanwhile, to get the flavour of just some of the activity at Bloody Words, check out recent entries here and at

See you Thursday!


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Grizzly Lies by Eileen Coughlan

As we were giving away several copies of 'Grizzly Lies' at Bloody Words (some donated by the author and some purchased with funds from the Alberta Foundation for the Arts - at a good discount from the owners of Owl's Nest Books), I thought it a good time to re-post my review of this title from its release in 2005:

Until her landlord's body is found beneath the gazebo, freelance journalist Hellie MacConnell's biggest worry is the tourists baiting an irate elk on the lawn. The former happens frequently in the beautiful mountain resort town of Banff, Alberta; the latter is unusual enough that the RCMP sends for a special crimes unit from Calgary. Is it murder or did 'Doc's' old heart simply give out? Why was Doc in Banff at all when he should have been in deepest Africa? Inheriting the house along with oddball environmentalist Arthur, who lives on the property, Hellie must unearth dead loves and buried lies if she is to clear both their names. But Arthur, a noted save-the-grizzlies crusader, has disappeared, leaving butchered bear paws in his cabin.

Meanwhile, anti-hunting protesters rally against a much-publicized auction for a mountain-sheep license. Developers try to drive a wedge between the town and the National Parks bureaucracy that limits its growth. The eternal winter ski-bum party gears up with the usual hard drinking and soft drugs. Between following Arthur's sketchy trail and dodging those gate-crashing bores from the fudge shop, Hellie must interview the publicity-shy winner of the sheep auction, a Texas millionaire whose killing history leads back to the same region of Africa where Doc first met Arthur. To top it all off, a family crisis is flaring up back East. Hunting guides clash with protesters, Arthur's alibi is unstable at best, and somebody seems able to enter Hellie's house unseen, day or night. It's inevitable that she'll find herself staring at the small end of a gun; the only question is, whose?

The pace builds steadily, the heroine's troubles become our own, and the varied mountain landscapes are aptly and beautifully integrated into the changing moods of the story. The writing lifts to occasional flights of enchanting whimsy, as when 'two black crows sailed past like a nasty joke,' or 'dreamy light settled in like dust.' 'Grizzly Lies' is a solid sophomore outing for Eileen Coughlan, whose first novel, 'Dying by Degrees', was short-listed for the 2001 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Blogs reporting on Bloody Words

The usual suspects over at 'Type M for Murder' talk about their Bloody experiences and what makes a good panel.

Author Brenda Chapman talks about the weather, the Canucks fans, and signing her books at Bloody Words.

One woman's summary of the panels she attended at her first crime writers conference

Monday, June 6, 2011

Inkster brings home the Bony Pete short story award

As previously reported by president Anne Jayne, Inkster Jayne Barnard won the short mystery story contest at Bloody Words 2011 in Victoria BC.

Runners-up were Melodie Campbell and Gloria Ferris, both of Ontario.

The prize is $100 and publication in Victoria's Monday Magazine this week, followed by publication on the Monday Mag website.

Here's a photo of Jayne receiving the traditional award statue, in its hand-crafted carrying case, from Grant McKenzie of Monday Magazine:

A delightful woman and a goddess of Canadian crime, Mary Jane Maffini blogs about why writers' conferences are good for us:

Ten Reasons to attend crime writing conferences

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The big moment arrives!

Prepping for the prize draw: Sharon Wildwind stuffing the ballot box

The panelists getting ready to face the lions... er, audience: Sharon Wildwind, Joan Donaldson-Yarmey, Garry Ryan and Susan Calder listening while moderator Anthony Bidulka lays out the ground rules.

Somebody's getting excited !!!!

Audience members filing in to their first panel of the weekend. We had a full house thanks in part to our prime placement on the schedule and also to the stellar work of our panelists in pushing a draw-ticket/advertisement to every single person at the conference's opening reception.

And they're OFF!

It all winds down in a surprisingly short time, with a happy woman named Benny as the proud winner of the prize basket stuffed to the gills with books and other goodies provided by the panelists (plus a bottle of wine and and an Ink mug to drink it from).

This panel brought many positive comments and a lot of interest from mystery readers from across Canada. Many thanks to the Bloody Words Committee for hosting, the panelists for participating, our wonderful moderator Tony B for keeping all the conversational balls in the air, and Mystery Writers Ink and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for funding support.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Ink-sponsored panel at Bloody Words, June 3 at 6:30 p.m.

Moderator Anthony Bidulka. 

Would you cross this man?

The Russell Quant series is a multi award nominee including for the Crime Writers of Canada Arthur Ellis Award and Saskatchewan Book Award. The second book in the series, Flight of Aquavit, was awarded the Lambda Literary Award for Best Men’s Mystery.

Tony rides herd Friday, June 3 over the

'Writing the Open Range' panel at Bloody Words:

Panelist Sharon Wildwind

Sharon, a nurse, lives in Calgary and writes the Elizabeth Pepperhawk - Avivah Rosen series,  a Vietnam-War era set of mysteries about a nurse, a military policewoman and their combat-hardened pal Benny. A fascinating look at attitudes and anguish of a time almost forgotten only 40 years later. Sharon is a long-time member of Mystery Writers Ink in Calgary.

Panelist Garry Ryan 

Garry lives in Calgary and writes the Detective Lane series set in that city. A veteran of 30 years teaching teenagers to properly punctuate, he is more laid-back than his previous career would indicate. The fifth book in his series, Malabarista, is coming out this September.

Panelist Joan Donaldson-Yarmey

Joan, a travel writer with seven titles to her credit, used to live in Edmonton. She takes readers off the main roads into rural regions of Alberta with her mystery series starring travel writer Elizabeth Oliver.

Panelist Susan Calder

Susan's debut mystery, Deadly Fall, features insurance adjuster Paula Savard, and has recently been released from TouchWood Editions. Susan is a long-time member of Mystery Writers Ink.

Follow the full Bloody experience at 

Writing the Open Range