Monday, July 30, 2012


The competitive spirit!

Have you noticed the Google logo these days? The Olympic spirit thrives. And I know many who are glued to the tube or computer to watch the results these days. We all love the thrill of the competition and so much better when a Canadian wins! But, as many commentators are repeated saying these days, it's how you get there that counts.
Try your best. That's all we should ask.

What about writing? What would be considered the Olympics in that arena? Undoubtedly, the Pulitzer Prize. And then we have the Booker Man, the Orange and various other international in scope. On the home front it's the Giller and the GG's. Honing in even further on the mystery and crime writing world, it's the Arthur Ellis Awards in Canada while the U.K. has the Daggers and the U.S. has the Edgars, the Anthony's, the Agatha's and thriller and private eye writing awards, too.

So, do they really matter?

As a reader, do you eagerly compile a reading list based on the latest award winners? Do you gravitate to that "Winner" sticker that a publisher will usually affix to the front cover? Do you believe it when you're told that this is "the best" in its category?

For writers, it's an entirely different matter. Whether it's a fan-based or reader award, or a judging by peers, the award signifies that what you're writing has an additional value beyond self-gratification or satisfaction. All those long, sometimes lonely and frustrating hours are worth it. You have 'arrived'.

Actually, you've 'arrived' just to be on the short-list. And, taking it one step further, you've truly 'arrived' just (and that's a big 'just') to have finished a manuscript. Remember, it's the getting there that counts. Wouldn't you agree?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012


by John Lawrence Reynolds

Welcome back, John! It's been too long since we last had a mystery novel from John Lawrence Reynolds. He's been busy writing but a lot of the time it's been non-fiction, usually about crime. Good reads but not the terrific novels of yore. So, it's really a bonus for all mystery readers that he's written Beach Strip.

The setting is the title, a beach strip, near a canal that empties into one of the Great Lakes. It starts with a bit of background about the main character, Josie Marshall and how she met her husband Gabe. Josie's visiting her mom in a retirement home where she's been living since suffering a debilitating stroke. The dreaded phone call comes and Josie learns that her cop-husband is dead; his naked body has been found on the beach strip in front of their house, a suicide.

That's the belief of his colleagues and as the finger-pointing begins as to the reasons he would take his life, Josie fights to prove it was murder. She struggles against the evidence, a cop who clearly detests her, another who clearly doesn't, and her own feelings of guilt.

Through her investigations, we meet a series of unique characters who populate the beach strip; some are outright disturbing. But Josie doesn't give up, not even when her own life is in danger. As the suspense deftly builds, lies and betrayals hold the key to the truth and, we're hoping, validation of Josie's quest.

Reynolds has always been a favourite author of mine. His writing is gripping; his use of words balance the tension with a calm that belies the underlying menace. Josie's story will stay with you. He's portrayed her desperation and confusion in masterful prose. Not surprising since he's a two-time winner of an Arthur Ellis Award from Crime Writers of Canada. Welcome back, John!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Things noted!

My life is a series of notes. These would be the ones I've written to myself. They say such things as "Dig up irises". I need that reminder because by this time of year, the iris plants out front are hidden by numerous flowering bushes. And, I really do need to move them so that next year they'll bloom out in the open.

I also have notes such as "oil change" and "change Brita". I post these in my agenda for a date three months from when they've been done. My "To Do" list also has post-it notes attached at odd angles, add-ons and the like.

Birthdays are written on the wall calendar in CAPITAL LETTERS. Highlighter points out the days bill payments are due. Some notes get posted in duplicate in two different locations, making it more difficult to ignore. Others are punctuated by lots of exclamation marks!!!

My latest note written just an hour ago reads, "Midge". That's the name of a new character in my new book. It just came to me while I was reading the morning paper. I didn't see the name in print, although I was scanning the Obits. It just came to me and I liked it. These things do happen and frequently when plotting a new book. I have a collection of bits of paper with jottings, quotations, references, list of possible titles, etc. that I've shoved into a brand new file folder marked, #4. As I transfer these to a computer file by the same name, I trash the paper trail. The act of writing these items a second time, when transferring to computer, helps to ingrain the thoughts in my consciousness and usually leads to a longer writing session as the ideas start flowing.

With this book, having the extra time, I'm also looking at different ways of plotting. This entire process is exciting as anything is possible and after all, what doesn't work or what seems silly when re-visiting, can easily be deleted. Then it's just a matter of locating all those new notes and being thankful for post-its.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012


Energy boosts!

Just when you're sitting there facing a blank screen with a blank mind as a companion, an email arrives from a reader saying, "I loved your book". Actually, this is the email: I loved your book. As a reader of 150+ books a year i was drawn in by the title. Anyway I have already ordered book 2.

Wow -- just what I needed. The adrenaline started flowing, the brain cells started doing a little dance, and I'm pumped and ready to get to work.

I've also given myself a deadline, which is what I always need to work towards. I should have done that sooner but I'll blame my lethargy on all this heat and humidity. Funny how one email can act like a cooling breeze -- and I mean that in a good way.

Which is a reminder to me that when I finish reading a book -- and I'm putting a serious dent in my TBR pile, finally! -- I need to let that author know when it's one that's blown me away. These comments aren't ego-boosters, they're those nods of approval that inspire the writer to carry on with it. It's all well and good to claim to write for oneself but seriously, when you know a reader or two is hooked, that you've given them some reading pleasure, isn't that what it's all about?

So keep those cards and letters, okay, emails coming in to all the writers you're reading and appreciating. Now...back to my book!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Saturday, July 21, 2012


by Mary Jackman
Dundurn Press

Take a Toronto restauranteur writing about a Toronto restauranteur, throw in a murder or two, a missing chef, a health inspector and an intriguing cop -- all in the novel, of course -- and you have what is hopefully the start of a new Canadian mystery series.

It takes place in Toronto, always a fun setting for murder and mayhem. She shops in Kensington Market (which is such an atmospheric spot) until the body of her meat supplier is found, her head chef, Daniel Chapin, goes missing, and the restaurant, Walker's Way Bistro is shut down by an over-zealous health inspector. Her bills are mounting but her general manager and good buddy, Rick keeps her sane along with running the place. What's a girl to do but track down her wayward chef, a pursuit that takes Liz to the east coast, Nova Scotia to be exact, and some nice descriptive parts.

Back in TO, Liz continues her sleuthing (despite instructions from the police not to do so) routing up tales of adultery, disgruntled employees, property lust and an industrial sizes freezer just waiting to have someone locked into it. Guess who! Of course, there's a hint of romance brewing between Liz and the handsome Detective Winn.

At times the snappy dialogue seems a bit forced and doesn't quite work but that's no reason not to read and enjoy Spoiled Rotten. Restaurants and cooking are hot stuff on TV these's clever of Jackman to transfer her knowledge of the industry to the pages of a mystery novel. Her characters are memorable. The mystery is plausible. The outlook for this series (which I hope it is), is four star!

Friday, July 20, 2012


Say it isn't so!

The Fifty Shades of ka-ching has struck again! In an early morning CBC radio interview today, a book columnist from Toronto was discussing the erotification (did I make this word up?) of the classics. Imagine! Jane Austen's beloved Pride and Prejudice now presented with eroticism leaping from its pages. I can think of nothing sadder.

Surely there are enough hot historical romances, many x-rated, on the shelves at the moment. Why resort to re-writing the classics? Money, that's why. They're in the public domain; E.L. James of Fifty Shades fame is accumulating royalties as fast as Rowling; and, everyone wants a piece of that pie. In other words, no...nothing is sacred anymore.

One fact that was pointed out, however, was with e-books, trends are exploited much faster. In traditional publishing, anyone writing to take advantage of a trend might find that trend has changed by the time the novel is published.

Not these days. With e-books, riding the trend is just a short formatting away. Is this good or bad? Will we hit the point of over-saturation with each trend? Will we run out of trends at this rate?

Do we care?

I do. If you can't be creative enough to write your own novel then better stick to your day job. Just leave the classics alone!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


August 11, 2012 is a very special day for the Ladies’ Killing Circle. This is the day when the six of us will be presented with the Grant Allen Award at the annual Scene of the Crime Mystery Festival on Wolfe Island. It’s an idyllic setting, the largest island of the legendary thousand islands in the St. Lawrence River, which forms much of the eastern half of the Canada/ US border. Like all islands, it has its own culture - rebellious, proud and individualistic. Along with the fishermen, farmers and homesteaders, pirates and smugglers shaped its history, and thousands of barrels of smuggled sugar, guns and whiskey lie on the river bottom just off its shores.

But before there were smugglers and bootleggers, there was Grant Allen, who was born and bred on the island over a century and a half ago. He has been called Canada’s first crime writer and was certainly one of the most prolific authors of the Victorian era. He published an astonishing array of books of science and philosophy, as well as 40 novels, but it is his crime fiction, and his friendship with Conan Doyle, that makes him central to today’s festival. Every year since the festival’s inception, the Grant Allen Award has been given to a writer who has made a pioneering contribution to Canadian crime writing.

Over the years the festival has honoured such pioneers as Eric Wright, Howard Engel, Gail Bowen and Peter Robinson, and this year the festival has chosen the unique collective of women who formed the Ladies’ Killing Circle. LKC perceived a glaring need – publishing opportunities for Canadian female short story writers – and set about filling it. Under our auspices, seven anthologies were edited and published, giving voice to numerous Canadian women writers who went on to their own fame and glory. Among them, the six ladies themselves. Four of us went on to publish multiple novels (twenty-plus and counting), while one went on to children’s and young adult novels and the other continued her award-winning career in short story writing and editing.

Keep an eye on this space, and on the Ladies’ Killing Circle Fan Page, for more details on the success and accomplishments of all those women who got their start, literally, in one of the LKC anthologies. Many names will be familiar. And if you want to learn more about this delightful, old-fashioned mystery festival, with its free ferry rides and its traditional church supper, check out Register early to ensure a spot!

Barbara Fradkin is a child psychologist with a fascination for how we turn bad. In addition to her darkly haunting short stories in the Ladies Killing Circle anthologies, she writes the gritty, Ottawa-based Inspector Green novels which havewon back to back Arthur Ellis Awards for Best Novel from Crime Writers of Canada. The eighth in the series, Beautiful Lie the Dead, explores love in all its complications. And, her Rapid Read from Orca, The Fall Guy, was launched last year.

Monday, July 16, 2012


Reading and writing....

For the past week-and-a-half I've been volunteering at one of our many summer music festivals, this one for chamber music entitled Music & Beyond. I've loved the experience of meeting new people, supporting this organization, and getting to hear some amazing music.

It hasn't been without it's downside though. Like the oppressive heat and humidity we're experiencing in Ottawa. Although two of the venues had AC, there was still the time spent walking through the long lines of patrons waiting outside on the sidewalk for the doors to open, after the musicians had finished rehearsing. We'd sell tickets, programme books and raffle tickets, and also offer water, which was always gratefully appreciated.

Another part of the 'adventure' was taking the bus. Not knowing if I'd easily find downtown parking and also dreading the rush-hour traffic, even with AC in the car (I hate using it though, preferring to keep my windows open and a breeze fanning through the car), I decided to opt for OC Transpo. Which meant the second day of transit, after getting a close look at the route and seeing stores and buildings I'd never noticed when driving, I took to reading for the often half-hour drive.

It's a great way to visit some mass market authors I'd never tried before. And, since my publisher, Berkley Prime Crime is American, I chose to spend my time reading other cosy writers from their line. I know, this is a blog about Canadian writing, so I'll focus on how these books have influenced my writing.

I've written the three books in my series with the idea of entertaining my readers...and myself. I've used traditional themes for murder -- revenge and greed being the main ones -- but haven't given over many inches to exploring those themes in depth. There are several examples of crime novels written by Canadians where moral issues are a driving force -- locally, Barbara Fradkin and R.J. Harlick's series come to mind. But I'd never thought to delve deeper with my cosies.

Since I'm spending the summer starting book #4, in case the series is continued, and also fleshing out a brand new series, this has given me something else to ponder. I always enjoy the beginning months of a new book. Anything's possible and new ideas can be tried then used or discarded. And, I'm delighted to have something else to add to that mix. I think it's a time to grow as a writer.

What about you? What has influenced your writing most recently?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Friday, July 13, 2012



Remind me again why we like technology so much? Why all the new "time-saving" electronics are so important? Why I even pause to ask these questions?

Maybe my computer needs cleaning or an overhauling. Maybe I need more RAM or whatever it is. Maybe I need more patience. It's just that I get so fed up with having to keep re-trying to enter a program; when Facebook tells me my password is not correct; when Twitter is overloaded so 'try again later'.

Who said we need all these gizmos, anyway? I'll admit, when everything works properly, it's pretty nice. It's good to have the world at your fingertips through Google. It's pretty nifty being able to communicate with friends across the country with just a few keystrokes. It's a help being able to edit a manuscript with 'cut' and 'paste' features.

But sometimes I long for the good old days of picking up the telephone, getting a letter or a card in the mailbox, using the old Remington to type up the manuscript along with scissors and a glue stick to 'cut' and 'paste'. It wasn't fast. It wasn't tidy. But it sure didn't raise my internal temperature the way my electronics often do.

Which is not a so great in the midst of our incredible heat wave. It's a good thing I've taken the day off from writing and will spend most of it in an air conditioned church, volunteering at a marvelous Music and Beyond concert. No electronics allowed there!

Hope you're keeping cool...inside and out! Speaking of outside, there's a cardinal calling me.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012



Everyone could be and at one time was creative.

Children love imaginative play. They tell stories, make things, manipulate toys and draw and paint with joy. Sadly, somewhere along the line, some lose their confidence in their ability to create.

How many of us have heard people say that they couldn’t think of a story, couldn’t draw a straight line, couldn’t express themselves or suffered from writer’s block.
I’m pretty sure this lack of confidence happens around the age of eleven when children, particularly girls, begin to care what others think of their efforts. They internalize critical remarks and allow the negative guy to sit on their shoulders carping, criticizing and questioning what they do.

This new awareness immobilizes them. They want to make things but don’t think they can meet their own or other people’s standards so they don’t try. It’s sad because creating makes you happy and it’s depressing to see so many frozen by fear of failing, fear of ‘not being good enough.’

Failure is necessary.

Trying something and not having it succeed is the basis for improvement. Fear of failing is paralyzing and, until you can get by that barrier, you can’t go ahead. If this fear affects you there are those who can help you move beyond this wall. Deanne Fitzpatrick is a Nova Scotia artist whose medium is hooked rugs. An artist in hooked rugs? Sounds banal but go on her web site or examine her museum pieces and you’ll see that she is an artist.

Recently Deanne was interviewed on an American Radio blog. Here is her introduction to the interview: "Dear Diary, I often listen to Lesley Riley’s Interviews with a variety of artists on Art and Soul Radio online. She asks good questions and gets me thinking about art and creativity. I really liked her show so I wrote to thank her for it because I do that sometimes. When I did, she invited me to be a guest on her show, and I was delighted to do. If you want to hear me talk about my rugs, the studio, and art and creativity then you can listen below. I would encourage to subscribe to Lesley’s show on iTunes. It is interesting and fun to listen to while you hook your rugs."

As we all know, you make time for your art whether it be writing, painting, fibre arts or music. It is that repeated daily work that makes you a professional. But more than that you have to believe that you are a writer, a painter, a creator and move beyond fear of failure.

Download the interview and see if you don’t find food for thought. Listen to the Art and Soul Radio interview here….

A member of the Ladies Killing Circle, Joan Boswell co-edited four of their short story anthologies: Fit to Die, Bone Dance, Boomers Go Bad and Going Out With a Bang. Her three mysteries, Cut Off His Tale, Cut to the Quick and, Cut and Run were published in 2005, 2007 and 2007. The latest in the series, Cut to the Bone, will be published by Dundurn in November. In 2000 she won the $10,000 Toronto Star’s short story contest. Joan lives in Toronto with three flat-coated retrievers.

Monday, July 9, 2012


Let's try something different!

If you've been following this blog, you know I'm looking for something different to do with it. Full schedules, overworked brains and tired fingers have combined to make this a necessary transition.

What I've come up with, and I hope it works, is a new schedule. From today, Mystery Maven Canada will have Mayhem on Mondays with me blogging (the majority of the time); Wicked Wednesdays with rotating authors or rather, authors who rotate blogging. The dangerous dames from Ladies' Killing Circle Thursdays will be slotted in on a regular Wed. each month, with guest authors for the fourth (and fifth, if it's a long one) slots.

Fridays will be me again but mainly doing reviews of new Canadian mysteries. I'd also be pleased to post reviews done by others. If there's a book that I haven't yet reviewed and you'd like to do it, just contact me by email.

What I need is information! If you've heard anything through the publishing grapevine, know of something coming down the pike, have a launch or signing coming up, or maybe it's an idea for a blog you'd like me to do...please get in touch. My email is Or leave a comment at this blogsite.

If you'd like to write a guest blog, also let me know. And if you have a new book coming out, please ask your publisher to send me a paper copy.

I'm hoping these changes will help keep Mystery Maven Canada fresh and entertaining for readers, and for contributors. Please let me know how it's doing as you get used to the a new viewing schedule. Sounds like a new TV season. Maybe it will be as addictive.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Saturday, July 7, 2012


by Dave Hugelschaffer
Cormorant Books Inc.

I must confess, this is the first Porter Cassel mystery I've read, even though it's the third in the series. I missed the first two partly because of time, or lack of, and partly -- I admit it -- I thought a mystery with a forest fire investigator wasn't my type of book. How wrong I was!

I was hooked on page one, on the way to the scene of yet another fire in the Fort Chipewyan area of northern Alberta. It appears to most that these are random fires but Cassel has a collection of broken bottles and a sinking feeling that these were targeted acts of arson. What gets tricky is that all the forests are on Cree land. This scenario unfolds as a body is found in a burned out cabin at the next fire; the band chief's pick-up is stolen and torched; and, a young teenager goes missing.

Although the RCMP have taken the lead on the investigations, Cassel can't quite keep away from the sleuthing trail that leads him into personal danger and professional disgrace. It's this tenacity that eventually solves the case although not all are brought to justice.

Dave Hugelschaffer knows whereof he writes. A former forest ranger and firefighter, it's this experience that draws the reader into the story and the world of forest fighting. It's a fascinating world and Hugelschaffer is a skilled writer, hooking the reader with descriptions of the landscape and characters, and keeping the pace, or the heat, turned up right to the end. And besides that, it's a well-crafted mystery. So grab and cold drink, and enjoy.

Friday, July 6, 2012


Publishing high-five!

In an article in today's Ottawa Citizen, it's revealed that noted Ottawa photographer Tony Fouhse is starting a publishing house, Straylight.

Before everyone gets that manuscript ready to send, take note that it's for photography books and zines. This is particularly good news if you love sitting with a paper book, thumbing through amazing photos, which is what Fouhse takes. His camera tells stories that go directly to the heart of the matter.

Even better news, is that in this 2012 world of publishing, some people still believe that paper books are the way to go. Traditional publishing may have a fever and chills but it is not quarantined nor on its death bed. And that's heartening for writers, and photographers, editors, copyeditors, cover artists...that whole gamut of creativity that goes into the finished product. A paper book that you can put on the coffee table and enjoy the cover, pick up and thumb through as you look for a quote, curl up with and read while turning pages.

Long live publishing, paper books and brave souls like Tony Fouhse.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Thursday, July 5, 2012



Last week on Mystery Maven Canada, Joan Boswell blogged that the Ladies' Killing Circle would receive the Grant Allen Award at the Scene of the Crime Festival on Wolfe Island on August 11. She also mentioned she was collecting news from our forty-seven contributors from our seven anthologies to put on our website: One of the questions she asks these authors is whether they have pets.

What is it about writers and their cats and dogs? My writing group, the aforementioned Ladies' Killing Circle, has an excess of riches in the pet department. Among the six of us we own eight dogs and two cats. We used to have even more and still miss Vicki Cameron's Giga, a splendid German shepherd who could leap tall buildings, or at least ten feet off a dock to retrieve a thrown stick or ball. A more recent loss was Barbara's cat, Henna, a dignified lady of uncertain age.

My life is run by an Australian Shepherd. Joan can often be seen being walked by three flat coat retrievers and Linda Wiken has two opinionated Siamese cats. Not many people boss Mary Jane Maffini about but you should see her two mini dachshunds barking out orders. Barbara Fradkin's Nova Scotia duck tolling retrievers are the talk of her neighbourhood. Eva is a certified show dog honing her skills as a retriever of very dead ducks.

My Facebook friends are mostly writers and they post glorious photos of their four-legged friends. I can keep up with Tony Bidulka's poodles, Patricia Flewelling's hilarious Dixie, Robin Harlick's Sterling, Susan Gates' Winnie and Caro Soles "hounds", all without leaving the comfort of my office. I happen to know that Peggy Blair's cocker spaniel and her cat share a wing chair while Peggy is writing another Inspector Ramirez novel. Both Melodie Campbell's and Lou Allen's dogs dominate their Facebook pages.

I have lots of other friends, Facebook and otherwise, but they don't have nearly the number of animals living with them as my writing friends do. These non-writers are able to travel to exotic places and buy lovely clothes while my pet-owning friends and I bankrupt ourselves on veterinarian bills and boarding kennel fees.

So, I ask again, what is it about writers and their pets?

I have a theory about this. I believe our pets act as a buffer against those inner demons that criticize everything we write. While the voice in our head is telling us we can't write for beans, our pets are telling us everything we write is extraordinary. They are without doubt the kindest critics ever and as long as they are fed on time, get plenty of exercise and are allowed to curl up close by while we're writing, they think we're amazing.

Sue Pike has published a couple of dozen stories and won several awards including an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Crime Story. Her latest, Where the Snow Lay Dinted appeared in the January issue of Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine.

Sue and her husband and an opinionated Australian Shepherd named Cooper spend the winter months in Ottawa and the rest of the time at a mysterious cottage on the Rideau Lakes.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Working towards new!

First of all, my thanks to everyone for comments and suggestions yesterday both on the blog, Facebook and with emails. I'm quite enthusiastic about the response and am looking forward to spending the next few days sorting through a variety of possibilities and hopefully, next week will be the big Reveal!

Until then, Mystery Maven Canada will continue on as before.

My thanks to all the contributors in the will still be called upon. Believe me. So beware!

Readers, aware that I'll have a more interactive role for you, too -- if you'd like to participate.

Most importantly, if writers have any news about your books that you'd like to share, please email me at I'll be happy to include all the latest that's fit to print, as they say. That's the scope, remember. This is all Canadian -- not that I have anything against other nationalities (some of my good writing buddies are Americans) -- but we need to be able to shine the limelight on what's happening with crime writing in this country. It's not appearing, to any great extent, in any other forum. But I need your help in order to do that. You are the holders of the information. Please, pass it along.

And speaking of Americans, a very Happy July 4th to y'all!

In the meantime...keep those 'cards & letters' coming in!

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Change is good!

I think it's time for a change!

The country's had a birthday; so have I; so has Mystery Maven Canada. Another year starts afresh and change is good. I've often found change hard to deal with, especially when it involves something I totally enjoy. But it's part of living and growing as a person, as a writer, as a blog.

I'm bringing about the change in my writing by fleshing out a new series, while moving forward with another in the Ashton Corners Book Club mysteries. I also want to write another short story, something I haven't done in a while. I figure all these efforts will help keep my writing fresh and my brain evolving.

So, it's time to look at this blog. Mystery Maven Canada started two years ago -- yes, it was early July, 2010. It was an idea I had since deciding to close Prime Crime Books...a way of keeping in touch with customers and keeping them informed about upcoming books. It morphed into a vehicle for other mystery writers to reach the public and a way to share news and thoughts about the changing world of publishing.

But I feel it's becoming more of a diary, which, I'm told, is what most blogs are. I hadn't meant it to be so focused on my thoughts...and they're running thin these days. But most writers are busy, well, writing. Deadlines loom, life intrudes, blogs become a chore. I've really appreciated the willingness of the authors I've contacted to write guest blogs. Their input has added a lot of value to this blog. But as I said, writers are busy people.

The Ladies' Killing Circle have gamely kept Thursdays a day of lively and reflective reading...but, they all have deadlines, too.

We miss Mary Jane Maffini's input but she's had to focus elsewhere for several months now, although she's easing back into writing these days.

And the publishing world...well, what is there to say about it? If you're an afficianado of paper books, it's a sad prognosis. If e-books are your forte, the news is better but still, it's an unruly field and it, too will have to evolve.

I've been flogging the lack of media attention to mystery writing in Canada. One caveat is the CBC which has come through with flying colours, devoting an entire month on their Canada Writes website to Canadian mystery writing and also, continuing to highlight our wonderful authors on various programmes.

What more is there to say?

I mean, really...what more is there to say? I'd like to hear from you. That's what the comment feature is for. I'm thinking of changing the weekly format and this is the time to tell me, what do you want to read on this blog? Who do you want to hear from? What news?

I will say that reviews will continue and probably, become more prominent. What I'd like to say is that I'll also have more immediate author news posted -- more in the way of events, launches, upcoming releases, TV deals...all that juicy stuff. But I need to hear from the authors themselves in order to do that.

So, what's it to be? How should Mystery Maven Canada change? Do you care?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
READ & BURIED, coming Dec., 2012