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It’s here. Now.  The Whole She-Bang 3

shebang3We’ve had our Toronto Sisters in Crime  launch, with amazing author readings and masses of chocolate.  After listening to enticing samples read by some of the 18 authors I’m keen to sit down with my own copy and find out where all these intriguing set-ups are headed.

The public launch is Sunday, November 27th at 2:00 pm, at the fantastic Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore at 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto

More readings, more authors, more chocolate.  And wine.

And of course, you can buy the hard copy there.

You can buy your e-copy right now, at an attractive introductory price. Click here to learn where. (Hard copies will be available online soon).

I hope you enjoy my two crime stories, “A Death at the Parsonage” and “Family Traditions“.

Find out more at Sisters in Crime – Toronto

It’s coming soon….The Whole She-Bang 3

shebang3

Love this cover art by Chris Lang

November 2016 will see two of my stories appearing, along with those of 17 other Canadian crime writers, in the new anthology from Canadian Sisters in Crime.

A Death at the Parsonage

1823 England: When a not-very-well-liked clergyman dies a suspicious death while preparing his Sunday sermon, a quick-witted lady turns detective to come to the aid of her friend.

Family Traditions

Stuck in the kitchen on the biggest turkey-and-football day of the year, a long-suffering housewife takes a new look at sacred family traditions.

 

The launch….

Our big launch is on Sunday, November 27th at 2:00PM, at the fantastic Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore at 907 Millwood Rd, Toronto

Wine, readings, author signings and nibblies will all be happening. And of course, you can buy the hard copy there.

Find out more at Sisters in Crime – Toronto

I’ll be letting you know the moment e-copies and hard copies are available on line.

After a busy and exciting spring, having three new short stories accepted for crime anthologies, I got word in September that a FOURTH story has been added to the mix.

Historically Speaking: I’m thrilled to learn my story “The Lady’s Maid Vanishes” has been accepted for inclusion in the anthology, Murder Most Historical , to be published in time for the 2017 Malice Domestic mystery conference.

More She-Bang: November 2016 will see two of my stories appearing, along with those of 17 other Canadian crime writers, in the new anthology, The Whole She-Bang 3

Swimming with the Guppies: My short story “Gossip” will be included in the next Guppy crime anthology, Fish Out of Water.

The Guppies are a Sisters in Crime group of writers whose first three anthologies all have a distinctly fishy flavour.


 The Lady’s Maid Vanishes

1931 in the Canadian Rockies. When her maid goes missing from the viceregal entourage while travelling through the Rockies, Lady Byng, wife of the Governor General, is determined to find out the truth.

 A Death at the Parsonage

1823 England: When a not-very-well-liked clergyman dies a suspicious death while preparing his Sunday sermon, a quick-witted lady turns detective to come to the aid of her friend.

Family Traditions

Stuck in the kitchen on the biggest turkey-and-football day of the year, a long-suffering housewife takes a new look at sacred family traditions.

Gossip

A successful artist returns to the small town she left behind nearly twenty years ago, and discovers her reputation is not what she thought it was.

pandora-in-blue-jeans-adj

Pandora in Blue Jeans

I love this picture. Grace Metalious posing for Larry Smith, photographer at the Lanconia Citizen. It appears on the back cover of her 1956 debut novel, Peyton Place, along with the blurb:

Grace Metalious is the most surprising new novelist of the year.  In  PEYTON PLACE  this Pandora  in  blue  jeans  lifts the lid off a small New England village, in the most explosive novel since KINGS ROW.

I suppose those are the proofs in the picture.  I wonder if she actually wrote at that tiny table in such an uncomfortable position.  But I strongly suspect the ashtray and cigarette are real.

So this (dare I say iconic?) picture of the small town girl turned best-selling author has floated through time in various incarnations.  First and most valid is this image of Allison MacKenzie, played by Diane Varsi, in the 1957 movie.

diane varsi as alison mackenzie

Diane Varsi as Allison MacKenzie, 1957

Clearly Allison lives in a higher rent district than her prototype, and she writes in the living room instead of the kitchen, the table is fancier but smaller and there’s no ashtray in sight. She looks just as uncomfortable.

The movie, by the way, scrubbed up a lot of the events and characters as they were portrayed in the book. Worst job was on the Harringtons, father and son team of slimeballs. Leslie Harrington goes from controlling, conniving town boss to benevolent mill owner, and his complete-waste-of-skin son Rodney, instead of being every mother’s worst nightmare, who dies with his girlfriend in a drunken driving crash, is a decent guy who is killed in WWII and lauded as a war hero. Go figure.

girl on the bestseller list

 

Our next Pandora incarnation is The Girl on the Bestseller List, 1960, by Vin Packer.  The ashtray is back, the table is even smaller and she looks just as uncomfortable as her predecessors in her Room of One’s Own.

From what I found at Goodreads, it’s a crime story centred around Gloria Wealdon, who writes a novel based on the people in her small town.  Hmmm.

Vin Packer is actually Marijane Meaker, who has written a ton of books under a variety of pseudonyms. Vin Packer was her crime novel persona.

 

 

 

Laura Rider's Masterpiece

Decades pass

In 2009, Jane Hamilton, who should know better, writes Laura Rider’s Masterpiece, a fairly silly tale about a woman who engineers her husband’s affair with another woman. Yawn.

But wait, look at the cover….

Yes, it’s Grace alias Allison alias Gloria. Now she’s become Laura Rider. Yet another Pandora in Blue Jeans.

But….what about her friends? Where did they come from?

I’ll tell you.  They came from Louisiana.

 

sugardoll-smaller

 

 

 

In 1956, the year Grace Metalious hit the big time with Peyton Place, Jack Woodford and John B. Thompson wrote Sugar Doll.

They look like nice people, though, don’t they?

 

 

 

 

Pandora in Blue Jeans bobble head doll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pandora in Blue Jeans just lives on and on.  How about  a bobblehead doll from the New Hampshire Historican Society.

No manuscript, but there’s the ashtray.  Only one cigarette.  I guess she’s trying to cut down.

me, strangely like Grace

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years ago, a friend snapped a picture of me at the cottage, working at my laptop.

I know, I know.  But I swear the plaid shirt and jeans and pose are just me. I didn’t notice the resemblance until just recently.

There’s no ashtray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

So now this brings us to Pandora’s final incarnation.  As I said, I love the Pandora in Blue Jeans image. So much so, that I recreated it in miniature.  (Why yes, I am a miniaturist, but that’s another persona.) Here is Grace in 1 inch scale.

Pandora in Blue Jeans_06-a_1

Pandora in Blue Jeans_04-adj_1

Hope you enjoy the many incarnations of Pandora.

For more about this guilty pleasure, take a look at mystery writer Susan Van Kirk’s blog posting.

Or just pick up a copy and lose yourself in the world of Peyton Place.

 

With all the fun of trying to write long and prosper, I have the honour of being asked to participate in two writer panels this week.

Death to the Day Job – Thursday, May 21, 7:00 pm

At the Toronto Sisters in Crime May meeting I’ll be appearing on a panel with Elizabeth J. Duncan and D. J. MacIntosh, hosted by Melodie Campbell.  All of them are accomplished, multipublished Canadian crime writers.

The topic?  Death to the Day Job or, Let’s talk about how you quit your day job and now spend your days making stuff up and getting published and earning lots of money.

Right. Let’s admit that for me, at least, I’ve got the quit the day job part down cold. I had many reasons to leave the evil corporate financial world behind, one of which was, “Gee, I’ll have time to make stuff up and get published and earn lots of money.”

We’ll be holding forth 7:00 p.m. Thursday, May 21, at the Northern District Branch of my favourite institute in Canada, the Toronto Public Library. Guests are welcome at $5 a pop.

Anyone in doubt of how much I love the Toronto Library system (which just opened its 100th branch this week!) can refer to my short story in The Whole She-Bang 2, “Poetic Justice” (aka The Booklover v. The Politician).

 

Women and Crime – Brantford Public Library, Saturday May 23, 2:00 pm

May is Mystery Month in Brantford, and the Library is holding a panel on Women and Crime.  Writers appearing in the anthologies The Whole She-Bang 2 (Canadian Sisters in Crime) and Thirteen (Mesdames of Mayhem) will be participating.  I’ll be joining Catherine Astolfo, Helen Nelson, Jill Downie, Melodie Campbell and Madeleine Harris-Callway.

We’ll be at the Main Library at 173 Colborne Street, Brantford, Ontario, from 2:00-3:30 pm, talking about Women (who we are) and Crime (what we do).

The Whole She-Bang

Yes, it’s official. I’ve turned to a life of crime.  My short story “Poetic Justice” is being included in the newest  anthology from Canadian crime writers, The Whole She-bang 2.

Following the 2011 success of the first book, The Whole She-Bang, the Canadian members of Sisters in Crime decided to publish a second anthology of crime stories by Canadian writers, from first offenders to hardened veterans.

The Whole She-Bang 2

The Whole She-Bang 2

Editor Janet Costello and her crew have pulled together 24 stories ranging from cosy to noir, from deadly serious to dying laughing.  I’m thrilled to be included among such a talented crew of sisters and brothers.

What other writers are saying….

The Whole She-Bang 2 is wonderful! With accomplished short stories that range from hilarious to gruesome to downright unsettling, this is a collection sure to appeal to any taste. It does Canada’s female crime writers proud. —Louise Penny, New York Times Bestselling author

Thoughtful, well-written and above all, entertaining, this collection of short stories by established and up-and-coming crime writers is as Canadian as a polite little murder on a winter’s afternoon.    —Elizabeth J. Duncan, award-winning author of the Penny Brannigan series.

Are the stories in this new collection by Sisters in Crime ingenious? Check. Well written? Check.  A delight, a surprise, and unputdownable, story after story? Check, check, and check. If ever there was an anthology worth checking out, this is it.    Scott Mackay, Arthur Ellis Award winner for best short mystery fiction

You can buy a copy at The Sleuth of Baker Street, Toronto’s Independent Mystery Bookstore,

or order it online,  hard copy or e-book.

Release date November 20 2014..

 

Sigh.  Everyone’s gone home (though some are still travelling) and I’m left with memories of a whole ton of good times and some really nice gifts.

This post covers the last day and  our leave-taking.

Tuesday morning found most of us still at the cottage, but because of the rain, we had no more cavorting on the dock.

Karen takes a shot of the dock from the canoe.  She's so talented.

Karen takes a shot of the dock from the canoe. She’s so talented.

Instead, we sit around the cottage eating breakfast (scones and strawberry jam by me, excellent scrambled eggs by Karen) talking and playing more games. Oh, the hardship.

Sulie, Karen, Perry.  Plus Tricia

Sulie, Karen, Perry. Plus Tricia

Then lunch, and we have to finish up the

a – Butter Tarts

b – Nanaimo Bars

c – Cherry Pie

And then we pack the cars. Of course, the sun comes out.

Perry has decided that though her new “two-person” tent (all campers know what that means) is a good tent, she’s no longer up for sleeping on the ground.  So I inherit a new tent for my grandsons to enjoy.

Back at Neill-Wycik by suppertime.  Susan M has already left in the morning for Colorado, then Walla-Walla, Washington so we’re down to 9.  We enjoy Thai food courtesy of Kristi, plus chow down on a few leftovers.

A lot more talking and then bedtime.

Jerri leaves first, at 6 am, to begin her long trek back to Arkansas, to the waiting arms of Dan. Delta tries hard to make her miss her connecting flight, but they fail, and she reaches the departure lounge with a whole 10 minues to spare and gets her seat back from the stand-by passenger it was given to.

Perry is heading out on her own in her truck, and Betty (Tennessee) is taking Linda (Virginia), Kristi (New York)  and Karen (Tennessee) back in her van.  The planned departure is 8:00.

Tricia, Linda, Perry and Karen make final farewell, at 8:05. (Betty is in the van)

Tricia, Linda, Perry and Karen make final farewell, at 8:05. (Betty is in the van)

At 8:06 (because Betty is very good at herding cats) the two vehicles roll out of the garage.

Tricia and Sulie and I go upstairs and check out, and then we put Sulie in a cab for Billy Bishop Airport; she’s flying to Montreal for a few days before going home to Olympia, Washington).  Then Tricia and I pack my car (I’m taking her to the airport this afternoon to fly home to Victoria). Then….

Tricia helps with the jacking up, and reads the directions to me while I change the tire.

Tricia helps with the jacking up, and reads the directions to me while I change the tire.

So I leave Tricia in the big city to make her own way to the airport, while I drive home and work on getting a new tire.

So there we all our, heading back to our respective homes.

Everyone who is driving crosses the border without incident, and even the peaches make it across without being confiscated (that was an accident).

This has been a wonderful wonderful time.  I’m so happy everyone who came came, and that they all enjoyed themselves so much.  Everyone contributed so much to the fun and fellowship, and it’s absolutely astounding how we can meet up with each other, years apart, and feel like we’ve been been hanging out together always.

Now to start planning the next one.

final post: I’ll put up some pictures Dessies have sent me for a final round-up

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