Month: November 2018

Sharon Ashwood: Christmas Stories in a Dark Paranormal World_BSW013 181127


Sharon Ashwood is one of my favorite paranormal authors, so I’m over the moon  excited about this interview. She’s written for Penguin’s Signet Eclipse (before the line was closed), Harlequin Nocturne (which recently closed), and Del Rey, publishing18 trad novels, plus novellas, essays and shorter pieces. She began her professional writing career as a freelance art critic for several publications, including Monday Magazine and occasionally for the Globe and Mail. As a result of a cover article she wrote for the local RWA conference, she joined the chapter and began learning the crucial step of moving from under the bed manuscript to professional submission. In 2005 she got her first traditional contract with Penguin by winning the local chapter contest for unpubbed writers.

She’s tremendously talented and successful, but she claims,: “I still don’t know anything about this business!”

Show Notes

  • the paranormal world  has the same excitement and angst about Christmas
  • humor is a really valuable tool when you write dark stories
  • paranormal stories offer a terrific canvas for comedy and social commentary
  • she’s always been drawn to stories with magic, swords and unicorns
  • paranormal stories allow you to be super creative
  • plays on the contrast between everyday life and the otherworldly – the friction between the fantastic and the mundane
  • she describes the honor of accepting the Rita (the biggest award in the Romance world)
  • in the writing/publishing world you can be on top of everything one second and in  the basement the next, and then on top again
  • recently became a hybrid author and is learning the world of Indie publishing
  • she started in the Indie Publishing world with the Corsaire’s Cove Series, a shared universe she writes with friends
  • she has a demanding full-time job, so she manages her writing by planning in a paper notebook with lots of lists in it
  • considers herself a “plotter” as opposed to a “pantser,” but she’s a plotter who let’s herself lie
  • using her Nanowrimo time to create a new Urban Fantasy series

Tip: Prepare to constantly be learning.

Last Comment: The real secret to success is persistence.


Who says the holiday season is just for humans?

For all the holly-jolly times, family gatherings are complex no matter who—or what—you are. When you’re hunting for the latest “it” toy to stuff a stocking, it doesn’t matter if you’re alive or Undead, fanged or furry—you’re just as desperate to be the cool dad. And then there are the family grumps who never send cards, the ones who eat all the good candy, and those who drool and dig up the neighbor’s yard.

No, the Yuletide Season isn’t for the faint of heart—and sometimes it’s downright demonic—but holiday miracles make it all worthwhile. Chance encounters and unexpected forgiveness remind us that joy doesn’t come in a gift-wrapped box.

This novella from the Dark Forgotten world catches up with favorite characters for a fresh take on the holidays. Those visiting the world for the first time will understand why Chicago Tribune called it “simply superb.”

Grab this book and return to the world of the Dark Forgotten. Santa Claws is waiting!

Who is Sharon Ashwood?

Sharon Ashwood is a novelist, desk jockey and enthusiast for the weird and spooky. She has an English literature degree but works as a finance geek. Interests include growing her to-be-read pile and playing with the toy graveyard on her desk. As a vegetarian, she freely admits the whole vampire/werewolf lifestyle would never work out, so she writes her adventures instead.

Sharon is a winner of the RITA® Award for Paranormal Romance. She lives in the Pacific Northwest and is owned by the Demon Lord of Kitty Badness.

Contact Info:

WebsiteEmailFacebook / Twitter /

Instagram / Pinterest / Goodreads

Bookbub / Newsletter


A Drink She Invented for a Series

The Cat’s Purr 
Put in a largish mug:
3 TB of Calvados or other apple brandy
1 TB Frangelico
Fill with hot chocolate
Top with dash of cinnamon and a generous splash of cream.
Note: for The Corsair’s Cove series


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S. G. Wong: The Marginalization of Minorities BSW012_181020


Hybrid author S.G. Wong is a member of The Writers Union of Canada, the Writer’s Gold of Alberta and the past president of Sisters in Crime, Canada West. She writes alternate history, speculative fiction.
S.G. is a remarkable speaker. I met her at a Sisters in Crime Conference where she spoke about making book marketing manageable. Today we’re going to talk about the hot topic of marginalization of minorities in books.

Show Notes

  • even calling a group a “minority” is marginalizing
  • the importance of learning about the culture and life of the individuals through interviews
  • sensitivity edits, what they are and how they work
  • “inclusivity” vs “diversity” – words matter

Devil Take the Hindmost

This is my most recent novel release, from 2016, Devil Take the Hindmost:

A simple job. A den of thieves. A woman committed to the truth.

It’s a straightforward case: find a missing husband who spends his days examining stamps. Still reeling from recent tragedy, however, PI Lola Starke wants to pass altogether, more so since her ghost, Aubrey, insists it’s the perfect case to ease back into things. But the wife is adamant that something bad has happened. What’s a shamus to do—especially when the missing man works just down the hall?

But straight ain’t in the cards, not in the middle of a high-stakes business deal involving the City’s most powerful film studio, a wily gangster, a rival PI…and a rare stamp. When her client is kidnapped, Lola discovers just how far down the twisting path she’s willing to go to save the woman and her missing husband.

This is the ’30s and this is Crescent City, where gangsters and thieves are thick on the ground and the film studios are the biggest game in town. Where smiles hide secrets and good intentions mean nothing. Where the only question is, what will it take to be last woman standing?

Contact Info

Twitter: @S_G_Wong


S.G. Wong writes the Lola Starke series and Crescent City short stories: hard-boiled detective tales set in an alternate-history 1930s-era “Chinese L.A.” replete with ghosts and magic. She is a Whistler Independent Book Awards nominee and Arthur Ellis Awards finalist. As an avid reader since the age of 7 and a current professional writer nerd, she’s always geeking out on all sorts of genre reads, as well as on worldbuilding, historical research, and the latest publishing industry blog post.


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Janice MacDonald: Genre Fiction the Poor Cousin, BSW011_181113


Janice MacDonald is the author of the Randy Craig Mysteries, set in Edmonton, Alberta. Randy is an amateur detective and academic manqué, who finds herself in a variety of dilemmas as she tries to worm her way into one niche or another of university life. Janice herself no longer teaches at the university level, although she used to lecture on English literature, communications and creative writing. Her MA was on Parody and Detective Fiction, one of the first studies of “subliterary fiction” allowed at the University of Alberta.

She and her husband live in Edmonton

Show Notes

  •  “genre fiction is the poor cousin at the table who actually pays for all the snooty poets to be at the party.”
  • the alignment of genre writing
  • levels and sub-genres of mysteries
  • what makes the mystery genre do compulsory readable
  • changing settings and aging characters
  • many readers are obsessively addicted to mystery fiction
  • Advice: shut the door and write
  • Crime pays

The Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder takes reluctant sleuth and sessional university lecturer Miranda “Randy” Craig from Mexico’s Pacific coast to Edmonton’s vibrant visual art scene while retaining the trademark suspense and humour that have made the series so popular with lovers of academic mystery.

Randy and Steve have finally tied the knot. With the snow blowing and temperatures dipping well below zero they are looking for an escape from the frigid Edmonton winter. Like so many others, they head south to Puerto Vallarta, Jalísco, Mexico, along with a crush of University of Alberta students, looking for a good time during spring break. When a student is found dead in an elaborately staged scene, Randy’s romantic beach walks and candlelit dinners will have to wait. Instead Randy and Steve will have find meaning in the murder to catch the culprit. If they don’t, the honeymoon just might be over.

Meet Janice

“Janice MacDonald is a Canadian author of literary and mystery novels, textbooks, non-fiction titles, and stories for both children and adults. She is best known for writing seven novels featuring amateur sleuth Miranda “Randy” Craig. The Randy Craig Mysteries were the first detective series to be set in Edmonton, Alberta, where Janice lives and works. The latest installment, The Eye of the Beholder, was published in October 2018 by Ravenstone Books, an imprint of the highly respected Turnstone Press. In recent years Janice has also concentrated on literary short fiction, essays, and creative non-fiction. Confederation Drive, a passion project about her trip across Canada on the 50th anniversary of Expo ’67 in Montreal, was released by Edmonton-based Monto Books to coincide with the “Canada 150” sesquicentennial celebrations in 2017.

Janice is a lifelong fan of detective fiction and even wrote her master’s thesis on the subject. She was a long-time reviewer of mystery novels for the Edmonton Journal and an on-air “crime fiction expert” for the Canadian television series Booked. Her first Randy Craig mystery was published in 1994. She is not to be confused with the “small d” Janice Macdonald who writes romance novels. Capital-D Janice MacDonald always makes certain that her books have a much higher body count.

Janice is honoured and delighted by the enthusiastic response to her latest books, and she enjoys interacting with readers through social media on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter. To join the discussion, see the icon links at the top of this page.” (from her website)

Contact Info



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Murder for Christmas

Agatha Christie meets The House of Usher

When code-breaker Madison Rathborne gets an all-expense paid trip to a remote island in the Pacific Northwest the week before Christmas, she expects a peaceful getaway from the fake Santas in the city and the drama of her family’s turkey feast, but Deadman’s Island offers no such sanctuary. Trapped in a maze of secrets, scandals and murder, with a side of ghost, Maddy struggles to make sense of it all. Macabre stories of gruesome deaths on the estate go back centuries. Her logical mind refuses to believe in legends, but there’s no reasonable explanation for what’s going on around her.

Twelve strangers invited to the gathering discover turkey is not the only thing on the menu, as one by one they meet their maker.

Will Mad Rath’s superior logician skills crack the mystery before the killer gets her? Or is there a supernatural force at work that cannot be conquered?

Buy Link

Anne Janzer: Why Brain Science is Important to Writers and Marketing

Successful, non-fiction, hybrid author Anne Janzer calls herself an “armchair cognitive science geek.”  What does that mean? Anne loves reading and learning about the way our minds work. Her background in technology marketing, helps her with book marketing.

Seth Godin, one of my thought-gurus said this about her books:

“Research-based, hands-on, step-by-step wisdom that can help you wrestle with the lizard brain. Certain to help thousands of would-be writers write.” (Seth Godin, author of The Icarus Deception)”

Here’s a taste:

Show Notes:

  • an understanding of cognitive science helps us figure out how our brains work
  • two selves at work in our brain – different mental processes firing
  • you could call them: the creative and the productive
  • and we need them both to be successful
  • being creative is not enough, you need to be able to bring your creation to life
  • it’s useful to think about how to coral these different parts of our brain
  • there’s a universe of information on marketing. It’s overwhelming, but the thing is a lot of the advice might not fit you.
  • when someone is giving you book marketing advice they are doing so with the best of intentions but you have to think “…but it may not fit me.”
  • there is not one right answer to book marketing
  • we have to think of our objectives for the book, what our audience expects and what we are personally strong at doing
  • build for the long term
  • do things that are sustainable for you financially, physically and emotionally
  • have faith in yourself that your understanding of your books and your audience
  • trust yourself
  • Anne offers two courses: the revision process, managing the review and approval process in business


Anne Janzer is an award-winning author on a mission to help people communicate more effectively through writing.

As a professional writer, she has worked with more than one hundred technology companies, writing in the voice of countless brands and corporate executives. She is author of the books Writing to Be Understood,  The Writer’s ProcessThe Workplace Writer’s ProcessandSubscription Marketing.

Her books and online courses help writers improve their processes and communication skills, so they can share their thoughts and ideas with the world. Find her writing at


anne@annejanzer – or find me on my website


My most recent book is Writing to Be Understood: What Works and Why. It’s about the craft and science of nonfiction – how to not be boring, why story and metaphor works, etc.
Another book that might interest you, is The Writer’s Process: Getting Your Brain in Gear. This is about the “inner game” of writing, and applies to all kinds of writing – fiction, nonfiction, academic, everything.

Pre-order Available:

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