Thursday, June 24, 2010

Page 233

I was happy to discover that I am not the only mystery writer in the Windsor-Essex area. The other week I visited a new bookstore in Amherstburg, Ontario run by writer John Schlarbaum. Page 233 is a house converted to a bookstore at 233 Dalhousie Street across from a waterfront park.
Co-owned by local authors John Schlarbaum and Kevin Jarvis, along with Kevin’s wife Jessica, they offer a variety of book genres from best sellers to new releases and such topics as romance, fiction, biography, business, mystery, fantasy as well as children’s books.
Page 233 is an inviting, homey bookstore with a wide variety of books including John Schlarbaum’s own Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner and the recently published When Angels Fail to Fly, both feature the private investigator Steve Cassidy.
In Barry Jones’ Cold Dinner, Cassidy is hired by Global Insurance to take a fresh look ata cold case, where Cassidy must try to uncover new clues to Jones’ disappearance. However, with the court date looming, there is precious little time to complete his investigation. Steve Cassidy, a disgraced ex-cop with a broken soul, had his work cut out for him. He knew this time around, he had one final shot at redemption, and could blame no one but himself if he failed to solve his first big case.

In When Angels Fail to Fly mysterious events happen to Steve Cassidy’s loved ones, the police, the press and even his friends begin to question his every move. To complicate his life further, a cryptic telephone call begins a new investigation into the bizarre death of a woman keeping a secret. With his life in shambles and warrants being issued in his name, a road trip may hold the key to maintaining his sanity. Regrettably, trouble has a way of finding Steve Cassidy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bloody Words

The Bloody Words mystery writer's conference was May 28-30, and was held at the Hilton in Toronto this year.
Bloody Words is Canada's oldest and largest gathering of mystery readers and authors.

Founded in 1999, the conference has become the late Spring event for people who enjoy genre conventions.

Whether you're a Mystery Reader or Writer, published or unpublished, whether you're into humorous mysteries or the darkest of psychological noir, you'll always have lots to see and do at Canada's biggest annual mystery event.

There were panels covering everything from first novels to the latest in forensics, The Mystery Café with a dozen authors from across Canada and beyond reading from and discussing their books, and workshops to help hone your wr
iting skills. Friday night was the 10th anniversary party and Saturday evening was The Hammett Awards.

This would be my first time attending Bloody Words.
The Bloody Words conference began Friday evening. There was a very nice reception with finger foods and I got a chance to meet some great and interesting people. Later, there were some authors who spoke in different rooms, some good, some not-so-good.

About 9:30 Saturday morning I had this ‘speed dating’ thing where I and another author sat at a table with about six people and we had about three and a half minutes to pitch our books to them. The woman I was teamed up with was an older woman from the east coast who wrote a book called ‘The Revenge of the Lobster Lover’, and she brought this big rubber lobster with a little magnifying glass to the table. She said it was her muse. I told everyone else that I had brought no crustaceans. She had no time filling her time. I spoke for about a minute. I sometimes find it hard to talk about my work. After six minutes we moved to another table and did the same thing to another group of people. My pitch got better as I went. It was fun.

After I attended some panels and listened to more authors read and talk about their work, I sat on a historical panel with four women. I was almost late for the panel. They had to come and find me.
It was a good panel and I had fun. Everyone was given a chance to comment on all the questions. I passed on a question, but only once. Like the speed-dating this was an opportunity to make an impression on the good-size group in the room. The panel was about an hour but it went by very quickly.

It was a great weekend with lots to do and see. Next year Bloody Words will be held in Victoria, B.C. I am not certain I can make that one, but it would be fantastic!