A tough job

I’m having a look at, and reading if possible, all the contenders for best novel in the Arthur Ellis Awards sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada. Here’s what’s on the list: 1 cozy set in a Quebec village 1 suburban thriller 1 19th century book set in Toronto, involving slavery 1 19th century book […]

How did they know?

For writers, here’s one of the more memorable lines from the movie Capote, starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman: “Plus, I finished my novel yesterday.” The line is spoken by Capote’s friend, Jack. My question is, “How did he know he was finished?” Perhaps, back in the day, using a typewriter, a novelist would know. Now, on […]

Oh, Niki, you’re so fine

Last night, I was a guest presenter at Patron Appreciation Night at the West Lorne, Ontario, Public Library. After my presentation, a high school student approached my table and asked if I would autograph a well-thumbed copy of Body Contact (a previous mystery novel published by Mercury Press). “Of course,” I said. “It’s my favourite […]

Keep it short, and sweeter

At the risk of criticizing widely known and respected practitioners of the craft … I’m of the view that many mystery novels are simply too long. Perhaps that’s the fault of fans, who love to enter a world created by writers they love, and don’t want to leave. I understand that. I’m a mystery reader […]

What if it all stinks?

It’s hard to maintain confidence in your own work. Here’s what happened when I was on a mini-tour to promote an earlier novel called BODY CONTACT. As I approached the microphone, the following thought came from somewhere, “What if the book is all crap?” Having had that experience, I now do everything I can to […]

Working without an agent

Publishing three mystery novels with The Mercury Press out of Toronto has given me a few insights into the world of small press publishing. It’s a wonderful experience to work on a book with an editor like Beverley Daurio at Mercury. Sometimes she seems to understand my manuscripts better than I do. On the business […]

8,710 Words – March 3, 2008

The weekend just past, I was determined to exceed the 49,000-word level and push on past the 50,000-word barrier, maybe even 55,000. Instead, I had to admit that I was somewhat lost. With this realization comes loss of confidence and self-doubt, which some people call writer’s block. Instead of doing a lot of writing, I […]

37,047 Words – February 4, 2008

Now that I’m at 37,047 words of a new Carl North mystery novel that has no name, the work sometimes gives me pause.The metaphor of driving at night, and only needing to see as far as the headlights’ beams, works. But it can be unnerving.It takes a certain amount of faith, and the commitment to […]