Friday, April 26, 2013


Getting it done!

I heard on the radio the other day that an expert says that "To Do" lists do not help things get done. Huh? I rely on my list and think it's most effective. Part of that stems from having to write the task down, which helps imprint it somewhere in my brain. And also, I get a great deal of pleasure when I cross an item off the list, although I don't seem to be doing that nearly enough these days.

The expert's reasoning is that it adds to a person's stress, knowing there's this list and therefore you waste time pondering the threat of the list, rather than just getting to the task. She/he recommended doing tasks in blocks of half-hour time slots, then re-assessing or moving onto a new one.

There is sound reasoning behind these claims, I think and could I but ponder it longer, I might even remember some of them. But I have this long list of tasks that I need to get done before the day ends and nowhere does it say, "ponder purpose of no lists".

I enjoy hearing or reading these tips on daily living and sometimes find them quite useful. For instance, free green grapes and add them to a glass of white wine. I'm convinced though, that the only thing that will get me using my time more efficiently is if I hire an executive assistant to take care of all those items on the list, except for the writing novel entry.

That might even allow me to keep on track with this blog and update it as promised. Although, I don't know about that. Life seems to be exceedingly busy these days and it's easy to get sidetracked. And I find that leads to more lists. If it's not written down, it might easily get forgotten.

So it seems I'm not giving up my "To Do" list any time in the near future. Now, I'll just progress to item #1 -- write novel.

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase

Berkley Prime Crime, now available
A KILLER READ, also available at your favourite bookstores and online.
Nomianted for an Agatha Award, Best First Novel 2012
COVER STORY available for pre-order; coming Aug. 2013.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Last night was a fun one at the Ottawa Public Library for all. Readers and writers were among the first to hear the shortlist announcement for the Arthur Ellis Awards from Crime Writers of Canada. Mega congratulations to all who made the lists...and to everyone who had something published last year. It was a booming year for Canadian crime....writing.

Here are those shortlisted:

Best First Novel
Peggy Blair, The Beggar’s Opera
Deryn Collier, Confined Space
Peter Kirby, The Dead of Winter
Chris Laing, A Private Man
Simone St. James, The Haunting of Maddy Clare

Best Novel

Linwood Barclay, Trust Your Eyes
Giles Blunt, Until the Night
Sean Chercover, The Trinity Game
Stephen Miller, The Messenger
Carsten Stroud, Niceville

Best Novella
Lou Allin, Contingency Plan
Vicki Delany, A Winter Kill
Barbara Fradkin, Evil behind that Door
Christopher Moore, "Reunion"

Best Short Story
Melodie Campbell, “Life without George” in Over My Dead Body Mystery Magazine, August 2012
Sandy Conrad, “Sins of the Fathers” in Daughters and Other Strangers, The Brucedale Press
Scott MacKay, “Cruel Coast” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, July 2012
Jas R. Petrin, “Mad Dog” in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, October 2012
Yasuko Thanh, “Spring-blade Knife” in Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart

Best Nonfiction
Anita Arvast, Bloody Justice: The Truth behind the Bandidos Massacre at Shedden
Guy Lawson, Octopus: Sam Israel, the Secret Market, and Wall Street’s Wildest Con
Steve Lillebuen, The Devil’s Cinema: The Untold Story behind Mark Twitchell’s Kill Room
Bruce Livesey, Thieves of Bay Street: How Banks, Brokerages and the Wealthy Steal Billions from Canadians

Best Juvenile/YA
Lisa Harrington, Live to Tell
Y.S. Lee, The Agency: The Traitor in the Tunnel
Sylvia McNicoll, Crush Candy Corpse
Shane Peacock, Becoming Holmes
Elizabeth Stewart, The Lynching of Louie Sam

Best Crime Book in French

Mario Bolduc, La Nuit des albinos: Sur les traces de Max O’Brien
André Jacques, De pierres et de sang
Jean Lemieux, L’homme du jeudi
Martin Michaud, Je me souviens
Richard Ste Marie, L’inaveu

Best Unpublished First Crime Novel: the Unhanged Arthur
William Hall, Cold Black Tide
Ilonka Halsband, The Raffle Baby
Coleen Steele, Sins Revisited

The winners will be announced at the Arthur Ellis Awards gala dinner on Thursday, May 30, at the Arts & Letters Club in downtown Toronto. Visit the Crime Writers of Canada website at for all the details.

Friday, April 12, 2013


It's shortlist time!

The annual Arthur Ellis awards from Crime Writers of Canada are approaching -- where is the time going? This year, the winners will be announced at the Arthur Ellis banquet to be held in Toronto on Thurs., May 30th. It promises to be an exciting evening, as they always are, with lots of crime writers, publishers and readers joining in on the festivities.

But first, the shortlist must be announced and Crime Writers in the various regions across Canada will each host their own events on Thurs. April 18th. In Ottawa, the evening of mystery takes place at the Ottawa Public Library, main branch, 120 Metcalfe St., in the Auditorium. Also announced that night is the shortlist for the Audrey Jessup short story contest, sponsored by Capital Crime Writers.

Join Ottawa's top crime writers for an evening that promises to be entertaining as well as entlightening. There will be a panel "discussing" Hard-Boiled or Laughs: What makes a great mystery?, refreshments, and books for sale from Books on Beechwood. And, of course, the awaited shortlist announcement.

For more information, check the Crime Writers of Canada website,

Join in the criminal activities on Thurs., April 18th! Hope to see you there.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Better late than never....

Oh, boy...Easter came and went and I got lost in the muddle. That's why there wasn't a new post last Friday. So, better late than never....

Congratulations to those short listed for the Bony Blithe Award for best "light" mystery. As you may, or may not know, the Bony Blithe was launched last year at the Bloody Words conference in Toronto. Mega cudos to the BW gang for coming up with this great award. It's been thought for many years that mysteries that tread on the light side often get short shrift at the Arther Ellis Awards. Very seldom to they walk away with the Best Novel or even Best First Novel prize.

So, it seems absolutely right that Bloody Words would come up with such a delighful award, giving recognition to perhaps a sub-genre of the mystery business. As they say, these are mysteries that make us smile.

Since there will not be a Bloody Words conference this year (but I hope you've already registered for 2014 in Toronto!), there will be a special Bony Blithe Gala held instead. It's planned for Wed., May 29th, 6-8 p.m. at the first ever, Gun Club & Quilting Bee Gala Award Reception to be held at The National Club, 303 Bay St. in Toronto.

Mega Congratulations to all the nominees. They are:

* THREADED FOR TROUBLE by Janet Bolin (Berkley)
* FOOD FOR THE GODS by Karen Dudley (Ravenstone)
* A SMALL HILL TO DIE ON by Elizabeth J. Duncan (Minotaur Books)
* A PRIVATE MAN by Chris Liang (Seraphim)
* BLOOD BATH AND BEYOND by Michelle Rowen (Obsidian)
* THE MASTERSINGER FROM MINSK by Morley Torgov (Dundurn)

Hope to see you at the Gala! Come out and enjoy the lighter side of crime.