Friday, August 10, 2012


In a festive mood!

I'm heading out today, along with my cohorts from The Ladies' Killing Circle -- Joan Boswell, Vicki Cameron, Barbara Fradkin, Mary Jane Maffini, and Sue Pike -- for a weekend of celebrating Canadian crime.

If you haven't already heard (and I don't see how you could have missed it, we've been touting it for weeks now!), the LKC are being honoured with the Grant Allen Award on Saturday at the Scene of the Crime Mystery Festival on Wolfe Island. And, understandably, we're delighted.

We've been together almost 25 years now, as a critiquing group -- in fact our latest plotting is trying to come up with a place (something far away and dazzling) to celebrate. In 1994 we produced the first Ladies' Killing Circle anthology, self-named and thought of during a brain storming session by Audrey Jessup, our lovely, charming member who died in 2003. The intent of the anthology was to provide an opportunity for female Canadian mystery authors to be heard, and to gain that all-important writing credit. We were the editorial board, vetting the contributions and selecting an order for the stories in the book. Our publisher had the final say on what went in.

That's basically the way we carried on through the next six anthologies, refining our technique for choosing stories and enlarging the scope of submissions. This, after each one of us vowing 'never again', after experiencing the amount of time and effort that went into ending up with a final product.

But it was also a lot of fun...and the LKC knows how to have fun. Laughter abounds along with the hard work. And the pay-off for us was anthologies that consistently produced short-listed contenders for the Arthur Ellis Best Short Story Award from Crime Writers of Canada. We also had three winners -- not bad for seven anthologies!

That...and the realization that there are so many really good Canadian mystery authors who have gone on from their early starts with the LKC anthologies. Mission accomplished.

However, it's the friendship that counts the most. The Ladies' Killing Circle has grown into a close, supportive group which extends well beyond our writing pursuits. And, we're grateful for the friendship of the contributing authors...all worth the effort! If you'd like to meet them, visit the Ladies' Killing Circle Facebook page. Or join us on Wolfe Island on Saturday...many will be there celebrating along with us.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

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

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