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Upcoming Speakers and Topics
All meetings will take place via Zoom. Please note that, although our events are free, advance registration is required.
2021 Fall Authors Showcase, November 4, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. Pacific
Hosted by our Vice-President, Karen Dodd, our showcase will feature six of our author members. Join us to hear about their newest releases and learn more about their writing.
Register for this free event:
More about the authors:
Karen Abrahamson: Author of the police procedural Detective Kazakov Mysteries and the amateur sleuth Phoebe Clay Mysteries, Karen writes fantasy, romance and mystery. Her latest short fiction can be found in the anthology Moonlight and Misadventure, and in upcoming issues of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine and Black Cat Mystery Magazine. Karen’s novel, Beneath Malabar Nets, will be released on November 15, 2021. When she isn’t writing Karen can be found with a camera and backpack in fabulous locations around the world. Karen’s work has been described by national bestselling author, M.L. Buchman as having “connection to culture and … powerful characters (that) make an incredible story.”
Cathy Ace: Cathy Ace’s Welsh Canadian criminal psychologist sleuth Cait Morgan encounters traditional, closed-circle whodunits around the world, while her WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries feature a quartet of soft-boiled female PIs who solve more cozy cases from their office at a Welsh stately home. Her standalone suspense novel, The Wrong Boy, has been optioned for TV (as have her Cait Morgan Mysteries). Shortlisted for Canada’s Bony Blithe Award three times in four years, winning in 2015, she’s also won IPPY and IBA Awards, and has been shortlisted for a Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence. Cathy lives in Canada, having migrated from Wales aged 40.
Marcelle Dubé: Marcelle is the author of the Mendenhall Mystery series and the winner of the Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for “Cold Wave” in Crime Wave: A Canada West Anthology. She grew up near Montreal. She’s lived in several provinces and the Yukon Territory. She now resides in Alberta—which is much like the Yukon in all the ways that count. The sixth Mendenhall mystery will be released soon. Her latest novel, Identity Withheld, will be launched on October 15, 2021.
Joanna Vander Vlugt is an indie author and illustrator. She hosts a podcast called JCVArtStudio from the Dressing Room which provides authors and artists an opportunity to tell their story–a dress rehearsal before taking their book launch or art show on the road.
Joanna’s debut novel, The Unravelling, was a 2019 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist. Previous publications include essays and short fiction in various anthologies. As for Joanna’s illustrations (which have been purchased world-wide), her motorcycle series titled Woman Empowered has been shown in art shows in Victoria. All her art can be viewed on her website or instagram.
Her latest release is the legal thriller Dealer’s Child. It is a 2021 Canadian Book Club Awards finalist.
Pam is an award-winning and USA Today bestselling author. She writes riveting mystery/suspense and young adult books dealing with mental illness, addiction, abuse, and other real-life issues. Workman started publishing in 2013. She has won several literary awards from Library Services for Youth in Custody for her young adult fiction. She currently has over seventy published titles.
Susan J. Wright:
Susan Jane Wright studied anthropology and architecture before finally settling on law. She worked as a litigator at a national law firm before joining the in-house legal group of an international corporation. Her legal career took her around the world from the board rooms of Calgary to the streets of Beijing.
She’s a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime. When she’s not writing she’s travelling with her husband and two daughters. Her favourite vacation was a trip from Prague to London on the Orient Express.
Susan writes legal thrillers. Her short story Madeline in the Moonlight was recently published in the anthology, Moonlight and Misadventures.
Box of Secrets is her debut novel and the first in the Evie Valentine mystery series. It was a finalist in the 2021 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for Best Unpublished Manuscript.
JAN BURKE – November 20 and 21, 2020
We are very grateful to Sisters in Crime, Inc’s Speakers Bureau, for making it possible to host Jan Burke for three events in late 2020:
Ask Me Anything (About Writing). An opportunity to ask Jan how she handles plotting, drafting, revising, writer’s block, fear of rejection, staying motivated when life intrudes, or the thousand other questions you have.
The Essential Triangle – The sleuth, the victim, the villain
What makes a great protagonist? What are some of the considerations you need to bear in mind about your subgenre that may affect choices about your sleuth? What are the “must haves“ concerning any sleuth? Does the victim need to be anything more than a dead body? Should the antagonist be anything more than a creepy dude with a knife? What do you need to keep in mind about these characters and the tensions between them?
Clues, Red Herrings and Suspense
What are some of the most basic mistakes writers make concerning suspense? How can you create a suspect who didn’t do it without making a reader immediately say, “Oh, this one didn’t do it!” What are some of the tools you can use to create clues that work? How do challenges with these elements differ based on point of view?
About Jan Burke — a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Jan Burke has won the Edgar for Best Novel, and the Agatha, the Macavity, and the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Award for Best Short Story, among other honours. Her books have been published internationally and have been optioned for film and television. She is the author of over thirty short stories. Jan’s work in nonfiction includes serving as the associate editor (with Sue Grafton) for MWA’s Handbook, Writing Mysteries. Her forensic science and criminal justice columns appear in Sisters in Crime’s InSinC Quarterly. For more about Jan Burke and her books, click here.
INTERVIEW WITH A CANADIAN JUDGE – January 9, 2021
On Saturday January 9, 2021 Sisters in Crime-Canada West interviewed Laura Bakan, P.C.J., a Judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, to gain insights into the Canadian justice system, the jurisdictions of various Courts, procedural matters, and a day in the life of a Judge.
About Laura Bakan, P.C.J. — After thirty-one years as a civil litigator, Ms. Bakan finally became Honourable, joining the British Columbia Provincial Court as a judge in 2015. She hears criminal, family, child protection and civil matters.
INTERVIEW WITH SGT. G. REID, RCMP – February 21, 2021
On Sunday, February 21, 2021 Sisters in Crime-Canada West interviewed Sgt. Gord Reid, a member of the RCMP, about policing in Canada (with a focus on major crimes).
About Sgt. Reid — During his years with the RCMP Sergeant Gord Reid has worked General Duty, Youth Section, Drugs, Vice and Sex Crimes, and has been a member of the Integrated Homicide Investigation Team and the Integrated Proceeds of Crime Section. Ten years ago he transferred to the Serious Crimes Section in North Vancouver and for the last three years has managed Professional Responsibility within the detachment. Sgt. Reid grew up in Quebec, travelled extensively (both after high school and after university), and worked as a teacher before joining the RCMP. In addition to travelling, he enjoys reading, listening to music, and socializing.
AN EXPERTS PANEL – March 25, 2021 6:30 pm Pacific
Accomplished members of the publishing community shared tips about what writers can do to secure a publishing contract and, once an author is published (either traditionally or indie) what she can and should do to keep her books in the public eye and on the “must-read list” of crime fiction lovers everywhere.
You can find some of the resources that our experts shared on our Helpful Resources page.
Our sibling, AMBER COWIE, moderated this panel. Amber is a novelist and freelance writer living in a small town on the west coast of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Salon, Crime Reads and Knitty, among other publications. Amber’s first novel, Rapid Falls, was a runner up in the Whistler Book Awards and hit number one on the Kindle Bestsellers list as well as the top 100 books in the Kindle Store. She has appeared at Left Coast Crime, the Pacific Northwest Writers Festival, and the Whistler Writers Festival.
In alphabetical order, our panelists were CRYSTAL (C.J.) HUNT, JENNIFER SOMMERSBY, and GORDON WARNOCK.
Crystal (C.J.) Hunt (crystalhuntauthor.com) is a writer, creative mastermind, health psychologist, productivity geek, and strategic authorpreneur who has 40+ published books to her various writing names. She is passionate about helping writers embrace technology and succeed in the brave new world of indie publishing. She writes non-fiction for writers as Crystal Hunt, contemporary romance as CJ Hunt, and kids books as Crystal Stranaghan and various pen names. She has helped hundreds of books through the publication process over the past 15 years, and held leadership positions in numerous writing organizations. Crystal is also the co-founder of the Creative Academy for Writers (creativeacademyforwriters.com), and co-host of the Strategic Authorpreneur Podcast (strategicauthorpreneur.com).
Jennifer Sommersby is, among other things, a collector of elephants, a Superman freak, a wearer of tattoos, an author, a Shakespeare nerd, and a copy and line editor. She lives in Coquitlam with her darling husband and kids and two Very Spoiled Tuxedo Cats.
Gordon Warnock, Partner at Fuse Literary, works with New York Times bestsellers and debut authors alike, representing high-concept suspense, psychological thrillers, and graphic novels. His clients include Amber Cowie (Loss Lake), Steena Holmes (The Perfect Secret), and Kerry Lonsdale (Last Summer). He is a helicopter dog parent and lives in an island fortress off the coast of Vancouver. www.fuseliterary.com, @gordonwarnock
FORENSICS, April 10, 2021, 10:00 a.m. Pacific
We learned about forensic procedures from SERGEANT JONATHAN P.R. SHELDAN, M.O.M., a member of a British Columbia municipal police department.
Sergeant Jonathan Sheldan is currently in his twenty-eighth year of police service with a municipal department in British Columbia. He served as a Forensic Identification Specialist from 2001 to 2011 and returned to Forensic Services as the Sergeant in charge of both the Forensic Identification Services and Integrated Tech Crimes Units in 2017. Sergeant Sheldan has experience as an Integrated unit Homicide Detective from 2011 until 2016; and as a Patrol Road Supervisor (2016/17). Prior to his Law Enforcement career, Sergeant Sheldan was a Captain in the Canadian Armed Forces serving as an Armoured Officer.
RESEARCH, June 5, 2021, 10:00 a.m. Pacific
All things research, featuring our sibling, Tara Moss who has done a fair bit of research (it’s definitely not all about internet searches!) and moderated by another sibling, Amber Cowie.
Tara Moss is the author of 13 books, including 11 novels, most recently the internationally bestseller, The War Widow, which has received excellent reviews. She is also a documentary writer and presenter and is known for her extraordinary research, which has included touring the FBI and LAPD, shooting firearms, being set on fire, being choked unconscious by Ultimate Fighter ‘Big” John McCarthy, flying with the Royal Australian Air Force, spending time in morgues and courtrooms and obtaining her Cert III credentials as a private investigator. She has also been a race car driver, and holds a motorcycle licence and wildlife/snake-handling licence.
CRIMINAL LAW – A LAWYER’S PERSPECTIVE, June 19, 2021, 10:00 a.m. Pacific
The Canadian criminal justice system from a British Columbia defence lawyer, Jeffrey Ray, Q.C., who spoke about procedural matters (preliminary hearings, bail applications, trials, sentencing), ethical dilemmas facing criminal lawyers, and a day in the life as a defence lawyer.
Jeffrey Ray, Q.C. represents clients charged with a variety of criminal offences. He also provides advice to individuals facing criminal investigations or criminal charges. In addition, he has represented small and medium sized businesses engaged in quasi-criminal regulatory investigations. He has appeared in all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada on both Conviction and Sentence Appeals, and often provides advice to other counsel on appeal matters.
SHORT STORIES – A MEMBERS ONLY EVENT on Zoom, July 11, 2021 10:30 a.m. Pacific
Members Merrilee Robson and Marcelle Dubé talked about what makes a short story work, how to write one, and tips about finding a market for your work. And of course, one such market is our very own anthology: Crime Wave 2 – Women of a Certain Age.
Merrilee Robson has placed short stories with several publications, including Alfred Hitchcock magazine, Malice Domestic, and Crime Wave 1.
Marcelle Dubé has also placed short stories with many publications. Her story Cold Wave, which appeared in our Crime Wave 1 anthology in 2020, won the 2021 Crime Writers of Canada Award of Excellence for best short story.
GARRY RODGERS: CORONERS AND THEIR ROLE IN DEATH INVESTIGATIONS September 25, 2021 10:00 a.m. Pacific
This was a fabulous interview/question and answer session dealing with coroner investigations, hearing, determinations and more. A recording of the event is availabe for members of the chapter under our Member Area.
Garry Rodgers is a retired homicide detective after serving twenty years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, nearly all on the Serious Crimes Section where he was a pioneer in DNA evidence processing. Following that, he took a coroner appointment and furthered his forensic experience in human death investigation. Now, Garry has reincarnated as a crime writer with over twenty indie-published books including an eight-part, based-on-true crime series about cases he was involved in. Garry also maintains an active blog at his website, DyingWords.net and is a regular contributor to the Kill Zone group of thriller and mystery writers. Outside of the dark world of death, Garry Rodgers is a certified Transport Canada marine captain and uses that skill to putt around the saltwater near his home on Vancouver Island.