Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Introducing Crime Writers of Canada, a guest post by Vicki Delany


JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Vicki Delany is one of our favourite (note the Canadian spelling!) writers here at JRW. So much a favorite, that we, uh, invited her twice this summer. Oops. But we're glad, because Vicki's using her soapbox to do one of the things she does best: represent Canada.


Thanks to Julia for inviting me to do a guest spot on my favourite writer’s blog, Jungle Reds.  I am such a fan of the blog, and the Reds themselves, I kinda like to think of myself as an honourary Red. (Note the ‘u’ in honourary.)

Because I am not famous for my organizing skills, I forgot that I had arranged with Rosemary to visit the blog in August to talk about my new book, A Cold White Sun, the 6th in the Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press. 

So there I was, with an embarrassment of riches, having the opportunity to guest at Jungle Reds twice in two months. As gracious as ever, Julia suggested I take the chance to promote the organization of which I am National Vice President, Crime Writers of Canada.

What a great idea!

 
Let me introduce the CWC to those of you who might not be familiar with it.  As its name suggests the Crime Writers of Canada is an organization of… Canadian crime writers. No brainer there.

We exist to promote Canadian crime writing and Canadian crime writers not only in Canada (where, sadly, we need a lot of promotion) but around the world. You don’t even have to be Canadian to be a member. You just have to be Canadian Friendly.

And you all are, right?

The group was established in 1982 and has grown steadily to its current 315.  In 1994, the CWC established the Arthur Ellis Awards (AKA the Arthurs) for Excellence in Crime Writing. The Arthurs are open only to Canadian citizens and permanent residents, although the books can be published and set anywhere in the world. Or outside of it.  Arthur Ellis, incidentally, was the nom de travail of Canada’s official executioner. A job that was finally eliminated in 1976.

Canada is a mighty big country (second largest land mass after Russia) with a relatively small population.  We can’t exactly all gather at the neighbourhood pub one Sunday afternoon to talk writing.  Nevertheless, one of the goals I have set myself in my term as National VP is to encourage a spirit of cohesion and community. 

Last month I went on a three week book tour to the North West Territories and the Yukon (with a quick pop across the border to Skagway, Alaska) with my friend Barbara Fradkin.  We were overwhelmed by the support of the Yukon CWC members, in particularly Jessica Simon, who organized two events for us in the capital city, Whitehorse. That’s two events in a city with a population of 27,000.  Jessica peppered the town with posters advertising our visit, and drummed the woods to gather eager readers.  In one case, quite literally.  We were giving a reading in a parking lot outside a bookstore. Jessica provided a tent, camping chairs, and blankets in case of cold (which it wasn’t) and then she trotted over to the neighbouring WalMart parking lot and went from RV to RV suggesting people join us. (Why do RVers park outside WalMart when there is about a kazillion acres of wilderness a couple of kilometres down the road?)  So many people came, Barbara and I gave up our seats and sat on the sidewalk.

In the Yukon, I began thinking about what the organization can do to make our members feel part of the whole Canadian crime writing community, just like Jessica did for us. 

Next June, the Canadian mystery conference, Bloody Words, will be held in Toronto.  As well as our not very exciting AGM, the CWC is planning a networking event. Something at which we can meet each other in person, and hopefully get to know more about the state of crime writing (and reading!) in further-flung parts of this enormous country. 

Now, a word from our sponsor:  Bloody Words is a fabulous small conference.  Why don’t you consider coming?  The theme this year is Danse Macabre: Historical Mysteries and the Dance of Death, but all types of mysteries, and mystery authors, from anywhere in the world will be featured. You might recognize the name of the Canadian Guest of Honour.  Who is planning to wear a costume suitable for the event to the banquet. Click here to check it out (the conference, not the costume).  


Perhaps the most important thing, aside from the Arthurs, that the CWC does is its quarterly catalogue of upcoming members’ books, Cool Canadian Crime.  The summer 2013 issue is just out, so I’d like to invite everyone to have a look at what’s new and exciting in the world of Canadian Crime Writing. 

If that whets your appetite, CCC backlists are always available on the web page, crimewriterscanada.com. You don’t even have to remember to look for CCC every quarter, use the subscription link on the web page (under the Books tab) to have CCC delivered straight to your e-mail box.

Want still more? Why not Like us on Facebook?  
   
To welcome you to the world of Canadian crime writing, I’d like to give away a copy of the book Barbara was touring the North for, Whisper of Legends, set in the incredible Nahanni National Park in the North West Territories.  Leave a comment telling us who YOUR favourite Canadian crime writer is, and we will choose one lucky winner. Haven’t read Canadians yet? Then let us know of a book you’re looking forward to reading, and you’ll be entered in the draw too.  Can’t think of just one? Heck, say Hi and that’ll be good enough.

Vicki Delany is not only the NVP of the CWC, she is one of Canada’s most varied and prolific crime writers.   A Cold White Sun, the sixth book in the popular Constable Molly Smith series from Poisoned Pen Press, will be released in August. She is also the author of standalone novels of psychological suspense, and the light-hearted Klondike Gold Rush books from Canada’s Dundurn Press. 
 

Her Rapid Reads book, A Winter Kill, was shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best novella. 


Vicki is a member of the Capital Crime Writers, The Writers Union of Canada, and is on the board of the Crime Writers of Canada and the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival. She is proud to have been chosen as Canadian guest of honour for Bloody Words, the Canadian mystery conference, in 2014. 


Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic Prince Edward County, Ontario. 

Visit Vicki at www.vickidelany.com, www.facebook.com/vicki.delany, and twitter: @vickidelany.




43 comments:

Joan Emerson said...

Good morning, Vicki. What a treat to read about your Crime Writers of Canada group and its activities! Your Constable Molly Smith series is new to me, happily being added to my mountain of to-be-read books . . . .

Edith Maxwell said...
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Edith Maxwell said...

Vicki, thanks for sharing all that information. I liked the FB page and scanned down the Cool Canadian's list seeing a number of authors who I didn't realize were Canadian - doh! My sister is one, though (Canadian, not a crime writer) and I'll be visiting her in Ottawa next week. Is there a good indy bookstore there to hit up with info about my books? I've also added your series to my TBR list, gladly so.

Lucy Burdette aka Roberta Isleib said...

Be sure and click on the link to "oh Canada" before you leave the site gang--it's beautiful.

welcome Vicki and see you soon!

Edith Maxwell said...

Oh, forgot about my favourite Canadian author. I have to say Louise Penny! My sister gave me her first book and I was hooked.

Edith Maxwell said...
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Hallie Ephron said...

For quite a few years I've been a presenter at the Surrey International Writers Conference near Vancouver. It's one of THE largest writers conference anywhere, and surely one of the best (and oddly coziest). I've met many terrific Canadian writers there. I'm running right over to LIKE Crime Writers of Canada and meet some more - hope to see some of them at Surrey in the 10/24-10/27!

Hank Phillippi Ryan said...

Oh, if I click on Oh Canada, I'll be singing it all day! But I goes that's okay..

Hey Vicki! And welcome...loved reading about your group..Canada seems so exotic, and I'm trying to figure out why. Linwood Barclay, right, is Canadian? LOVE his work!

Kristi said...

Hi, Vicky! I loved the arc of A Cold White Sun and went back to read the first five books, so I am firmly hooked on Molly (and John Winters!). Great rendition of Oh Canada by BNL, too. There are so many great Canadian mystery writers!

I was surprised doing genealogical research to learn that 3/4 of my ancestry is Canadian, or at least was for a few years; other Americans came through Ellis Island or southern ports, but my family all settled in Canada before moving south. So I hope to visit those ancestral lands some day (very big grin) -- and I want to see the RCMP's Musical Ride!

Very much looking forward to more Molly.

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks all for the warm RED welcome. In Ottawa, a great and supportive independent book store is called Books on Beechwood. Linda Wiken sold her Prime Crime but later opened a scaled down version called the Prime Crime Bookshelf at Brittons in the Glebe.

Vicki Delany said...

Hank, yes we proudly claim Linwood as our own. He was, I believe, born in the US but came to Canada when he was about four.

Edith Maxwell said...

Thanks for the Ottawa info!

Melodie Campbell said...

Super post, Vicki - you are a fab ambassador for Crime Writers of Canada! And you give it that spice of quirky humour we Canucks are happily famous for.
Joan, I can highly recommend the Molly Smith series. It's my favourite (note the u.)

If anyone has any further questions about CWC, I am the Executive Director and can be reached at info@crimewriterscanada.com

Deb Romano said...

Welcome, Vicki!

In the past year I've begun reading your books. I can tell when an author is becoming one of my favorites: whenever I finish a book by such an author, I experience an intense longing to read the next one. Your books do that to me. At this point, I've read three, and it's so good to know that there are more!

Looking forward to reading your August contribution to JRW!

Melissa Robbins said...

Although we live in KS, my husband works with a lot of Canadians. All the wives hang out and my best friend is from Ottawa. She loves mysteries so I'll definitely show her these links.

Deb Romano said...

Forgot to mention that I love to visit Canada! It's been too long since my last visit. I've been to Ontario, Quebec, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick...such a beautiful country.

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks Melissa. I'm sure your friend will find a lot to her taste.

Rosemary Harris said...

Hey babe - welcome!
And so glad you'll be back to tell us about the new book - but right now...tell us about the hats!

Grace Koshida said...

Love Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin, and your books, too, Vicki.

Vicki Delany said...

Ro wants to know about the hats! In that picture? That was a lot of fun. We were on a panel at B'con called Oh, Canada. And we decided to have some fun with it. Not only did we dress in our national costumes (har har) we provided a buffet with our national dishes. Everything from Cape Breton pork pies (not pies and not containing pork) to Smarties. We were, me, Anthony Bidulka, Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick and Mary Jane Maffini. Tony hates that picture and I drag it out every chance I get.

Deb said...

Hi Vicki! So nice to see you here! I think you Canadian Crime Writers are having way too much fun. And that you should make all us JR Honourary Canadian Crime Writers if you're an Honourary JR. (Note the proper "u")

Love the cover--and the title--of the new book and can't wait to read it!

Lisa Alber said...

Hi Vicki,

A book tour in the Yukon! That seems so rugged and exotic somehow. Love the title and cover also--looking forward to reading it.

I met the most lovely Canadian author, Robin Spano, at Bouchercon a few years back. I got the impression from her that Canadian government is very supportive of its writers and artists. At least, more so than our government. Is that true?

CindyD said...

Vicki, YOU are definitely my favorite Canadian crime writer!

Julia said...

You know what the best thing about Canada is? Poutine. If CWC members routinely offered poutine at booksignings, they'd draw in hundreds at each appearance. Booksellers would be ecstatic... except, perhaps, for the greasy gravy fingerprints left all over their wares.

Vicki Delany said...

I'm off to the kitchen right now to whip up a big batch of poutine just for Julia. If you don't know what that is, you probably don't need to know. Fries with gravy and cheese curds. There are now apparently all sorts of gourmet poutines.

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks CindyD!

Vicki Delany said...

As for the government and the arts. Sorta. The Canada Council gives grants to publishers and sometimes to writers. For some strange reason, crime writers rarely receive CC grants. I'm being snarky here; in Canada crime writers are, as Louise Penny once said, seated at the children's table at the literary banquet. But hey, people actually read our books so take that literary snobs.

Edith Maxwell said...

Poutine! When I first started visiting my sister and Pierrot, my brother-out-law, in the middle of Quebec, every village had its roadside stand. Pronounced poo-TSIN by locals, it is a comfort food par excellence. Can I get a taste of Julia's portion, Vicki? (And do you think they make it in Ottawa??)

Pat D said...

Of course we appreciate our neighbors to the north! We love Canadians and their beautiful country. I don't tend to classify writers by their birthplace. I just find mystery writers and jump for joy. Off hand my favorite writer from Canada is Louise Penny. Wonderful plots, beautiful writing, fabulous characters. I will check out the CWC site and discover some new reasons for joy.
Thanks Vicki!

Vicki Delany said...

Edith, they certainly do make poutine in Ottawa. it can be found next to the beavers tails.

Gram said...

I couldn't pick just one Canadian writer any more than I can pick a favorite child. Thanks for writing...I hope to live long enough to read all the books on my t-b-r list! Dee

Linda Rodriguez said...

Hi, Vicki! So good to see you again on Jungle Reds. This is where I first found out about your Constable Molly books (which have become favorites) a long time ago.

I like lots of Canadian crime writers. You, of course. Louise Penny. Elizabeth Duncan. Linwood Barclay. Mary Jane Maffini. Robin Spano. The list goes on and on.

Brenda Buchanan said...

I love all of the Canadian crime writers Linda mentions, and then some: Giles Blunt, Barbara Fradkin, Lou Allin, Ann-Marie Macdonald and Alistair MacLeod among them.

Hooray also for the suggestion that more US crime writers and fans take advantage of the Canadian crime writers annual conference, Bloody Words. I went in 2009 when it was in Ottawa. Fabulous time!

Reine said...

Vicki I love your moose hat. It's almost as good as my husband's cheese hat. I also love Molly Smith, the Poisoned Pen, and Canada home to many ancestors.

Reine said...

Oops forgot… so far you and Louise Penny are my Canadian favorites. I'm relatively new at reading for fun, so I have a lot of catching up to do.

Alison said...

As a Canadian, perhaps I have an unfair advantage of liking so many canadian authors - but here are a few - Medora Sale, Gail Bowen, Suzanne North, Peter Robinson Louise Penny and my late cousin - Michael Van Rooy

danielle-momo said...

Hi Vicky, I'll be happy to reconnect with Constable Molly.
So, I love your books as well as those of Louise Penny et Mary Jane Maffini .
As a canadian, I should check CWC list to know more authors.

Barbara Fradkin said...

Hi everyone, Wow, it's wonderful to see all the excitement about new books and authors. My book that is in the draw is set In the northern wilderness of Nahanni National Park, but my inspector Green is normally an Ottawa city boy and the rest of the series is set in and around Ottawa, our nation's capital. A gorgeous and interesting place in its own right, with just the right mix of urban grit, suburban secrets and international sophistication.

Vicki Delany said...

Thanks for your interest in Canadian crime, all. And thanks to the Reds for giving me the opportunity to talk about it.

Picks By Pat said...

Hi Vicki,
What a great post, and timely! I just posted about Bloody words on my blog a week ago.
I have several Canadian writers I enjoy, and it's hard to pick a favorite, but I'd include our guest blogger, Vicki Delany (just finishing the latest Molly Smith mystery ARC) Rick Mofina and Sandra Ruttan.

RJ Harlick said...

A terrific post, Vicki. Thanks for opening the window a little further on all of us Cool Canadian crime writers plotting nefarious dealings north of the border. And I'm so glad to see so many of you liking our CWC FB page. A whole new world of Canadian crime writers awaits you at the CWC website. www.crimewriterscanada.com

Anthony Bidulka said...

Actually Vicki, I don't hate that picture...now that some time has passed....:)

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