Friday, February 24, 2012


Changing directions!

I started my writing life with novels. Reading, of course. Then attempting to write them. In grade 8 English, as it turns out. But later again, when my son was a toddler and I had temporarily left the workforce.

It started with a creative writing course through the continuing education department of the local school board. Genre writing actually. And from that, a membership in the Ottawa Romance Writers which led to a critiquing group, which led to me and Vicki Cameron attending the Romance Writers of America conference in Boston. The year was 1988 or close enough. At one point, the now legendary tale goes, we looked at each other and decided we were at the wrong conference. We ditched the rest of the sessions and headed to Kate's Mystery Books where we immersed ourselves in mystery novels and joined Sisters in Crime.

Imagine that -- we'd decided to write mysteries!

Back in the routine of an outside job, I wrote every morning for an hour or more before getting my lad ready for school. And, I wrote two novels neither of which is published. Nor will they ever be!!

The other big step was Capital Crime Writers which led to another critiquing group, which morphed through a couple of years into The Ladies' Killing Circle. More novels were worked on -- and also, not published-- and eventually short stories dominated, for me anyway. Besides, they were easier to tackle once Prime Crime Books came into the picture. (I always used to chuckle when customers would daydream about the magnificent life of owning a bookstore & being able to just sit and read or write all day. NOT!)

The Ladies were -- and still are -- dynamite in the role of critique group, inspiring and supporting. But the days of editing anthologies are over and we're proud to have put out seven of them. Most of us are writing novels these days. My earlier attempts were police procedurals but my series is a cosy set in the southern U.S. Quite a departure from where I started out many years ago.

And I love it.

There's no reason why we shouldn't evolve as writers, not only in our writing abilities, but also by trying new things. New sleuths, new genres, new setting, maybe even mainstream. That's what being a writer is...writing what moves us, intrigues us, entices us to stretch those boundaries and habits.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase
A Killer Read coming April, 2012
from Berkley Prime Crime

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