My Shirt Isn't Inside Out, But I'm Not Sure About the Rest of Me #MondayBlogs #SINCCW2018 - Jo-Ann Carson

My Shirt Isn't Inside Out, But I'm Not Sure About the Rest of Me #MondayBlogs #SINCCW2018

Well the good news is I haven’t worn my shirt inside out all week. Mind you, that’s only because it’s one of the three things I focus on every morning.
Launching my podcast, Blood, Sweat and Words, is frazzling. When I complete one task, five more appear. Some items are easy. Others , not so much. Imagine editing the sound of paper turning. That’s my life right now.

My First Recording Goes Wrong

It was the first day of recording for me. My very first. I had everything set for 9 a.m. my time. I went on Skype early and stared at the screen, willing it to be kind to me. I had my notes ready and a glass of water.
What could go wrong?
I thought about that. We had over 500 wild fires raging in the province so the air quality was deteriorating by the moment, but I figured I could handle that. It would only be a ten to twenty minute discussion and I had cough drops.
My nerves were frayed, but I had picked my daughter (aka J.C. McKenzie) for my first interview, so I expected it to be okay. Not only would she forgive me for whatever mistakes I made, she would make me laugh about them later.
So … what could go wrong?
At five to 9 I dialed J.C. on Skype. It rang once, twice and then …
Skype boot me out and told me to go see Microsoft. What the heck! The house phone rang. It never rings. I picked it up. My husband told me a new hose wouldn’t do, the mechanic said we need a thousand-dollar radiator. My cell phone rang. J.C. asked me why I hadn’t called her.
It’s now 9:00 a.m. I have my landline phone in one hand, my cell phone in the other and I’m staring at my computer screen which said — go talk to Microsoft. How could the universe deal me so many things at one precise moment?
I wanted to scream, but I had no time.
If I wrote this scene in a book my beta-readers would wince. No one would believe it. Too many aliens, as they say. It lacks believability. But yes, it happened to me.
End of story. The radiator is in the van. It took me twenty minutes to make Microsoft happy. And J.C. and I did record that day. As usual, she was funny, entertaining and informative. It’s the Sept. 28th episode: Science Geek to Author, btw.
What have I learned from this? To stop asking myself what could go wrong.
15 days … and counting.

My Mystery Weekend

On Friday I went to Victoria with two writing friends, Judy Hudson and Jodie Esche, to attend a “Summer Retreat” hosted by the western Canadian chapter of Sisters in Crime (SINC).
It was fantastic.
The night before the event we met downtown for a casual get-together at the famous pub, Swans. The room that was booked wasn’t available due to renovations so our group was cast out into the main pub with the blaring music. I nodded my head a lot:) as it was difficult to even get people’s names, in the noise. But we still had a good time.


Organizer and writer S.G. Wong with Jodie Esche


Famous mystery writer Laurie R. King with Judy Hudson

We stayed at the Chateau Victoria.

We travelled by car, not horse, but I had to take a picture of this scene.
Our room was amazing! As I drank my morning coffee on our fourteenth floor balcony,  I watched cruise ships in the harbor and people strolling around downtown. In the distance I could see Washington.
Here’s a bunch of us having a final breakfast together at the restaurant “Vista 18” at the top of the hotel, which overlooks all of Victoria.


Judy, Glen Jodie, me (and yes I do have eyeballs) and Marjorie


I’m not sure who ate all of this, but when I looked down it was all gone. That’s my story and i’m sticking to it.


The one day SINC retreat was held in the  plush-beyond-words Magnolia Hotel. There were five sessions and they were all good. I’ll tell you about my favorite three:

Janice MacDonald

“Inclusion Rider: Populating the 21st Century Novel”
A mystery novelist with an academic background, MacDonald gave us a lot to think about. She talked about the history of the genre, the slow acceptance of it in academic circles and the dynamics of the basic structure. While there is a well-worn mystery formula, it is constantly evolving. The writer needs to play with the conventions and inventions. The reader knows the conventions well and expects them. She waits to see what the writer will do with them. The world within the mystery story is defined and inclusive. It gives the reader a feeling of belonging and  promotes: integration, inclusion and tolerance.
Things to avoid: tokenism, bandwagon tailgating, painful dialect, stereotyping, product placement and virtue signaling.

S.G. Wong

Tinker & Tailor: Author Marketing That Suits Best
An Arthur Eliis Awards finalist,  crime and speculative fiction novelist and speaker, S.G. Wong, fearlessly took on the beast in the room: marketing. She talked about targeting “the reader,” not a demographic group or “everyone,” but “the reader” who will love your book. She discussed strategies and tactics for effective marketing. I appreciated her calm, practical advice to develop your own strategy that fits  you and your career goals

Laurie R. King

Sustaining a Series
“Laurie R. King is the New York Times bestselling author of 27 novels and other works, including the Mary Russell-Sherlock Holmes stories. She is probably the only writer to have both an Edgar and an honorary doctorate in theology.” (from her website)
King is an amazing speaker. I could listen to her talk about anything. She told us about her mystery series and how she sustains the reader’s and her own interest in the stories as they go along.
It was an honor to hear her speak, and I’m downloading her books right now.

Sisters in Crime (SINC) 

rock! This was the first time they had a conference in Canada and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The organizers and one volunteer were friendly and helpful, and the sessions were informative and inspiring. I hope they’ll do it again.
I got the pin. Needless to say I’m thinking of becoming a member.
That’s my Monday chatter. I hope it reaches you in good spirits and health.

7 Replies to “My Shirt Isn't Inside Out, But I'm Not Sure About the Rest of Me #MondayBlogs #SINCCW2018”

  1. Great write-up, Jo-Ann! It was a wonderful conference with such a marvelous sense of community. Joining up with so many people on the same writing journey, and hearing such great talks has set my writing brain buzzing. I hope we cross paths again, perhaps at Left Coast Crime 2018 in Vancouver?

    1. Hi Simone,
      Thank you.
      I hope we meet up again too. I’m thinking about the Vancouver conference, but I’m not sure yet. I belong to two of the writing groups on the island. Do you live here? What are you writing?
      all the best,

      1. Hi Jo-Ann,
        I’m in Portland, Oregon. We have a pretty active writing community down here, too. Our local Sisters in Crime have a monthly dinner that I’ve enjoyed a few times. And of course, there is Powell’s City of Books!
        My co-author, Kath Nyborg, is in Seattle, WA. Together we write modern speculative suspense. Our current project is a series that is morphing from mystery to thriller over the course of the books as the protagonists discover the wider implications of and corruption around the murder in book 1 🙂 Book one is done and with our agent, and we’re doing a second round of edits on book two now.
        We really needed Laurie R. King’s encouraging talk about “keeping a series going.” Book twos are so much more challenging than we anticipated when we were blithely outlining the series!
        Let me know if you come down to visit some time 🙂

  2. Well, you’re making me feel good. My car died going into the parking lot at Thrifty’s. I phoned BCAA and signed up with them on the spot. The first tow truck came, wacked the car until it shook around the gas tank, told me I had an air bubble and should be good now. I drove one block to the next light. On Hillside, one of the busiest streets in Victoria, and then it died. Another tow truck came out and towed me to Kal Tire on Sooke Rd. In one of the fasted fixes of all time they diagnosed fuel pump, managed to get one in and have it repaired by 4:30 that night. $470.00 but who’s counting. And I ended up buying a new computer because the dog ate my computer cord. Another $700.00.
    But the Sisters In Crime weekend sounds wonderful. I’m glad you had such a good time. And I’m pretty sure the pod casts will be insightful and entertaining when they air. Even if you have shirt on the wrongside out, which of course we’ll never know.

    1. Oh Pat,
      I’m sorry, but I’m laughing. Your car story is really sad, but you write it so well I’m laughing. Poor you. Poor car. And naughty Fluffy.
      And our world turns. I wonder if you are destined to make your next hero a mechanic.
      Thanks so much for your story. I love it.
      And yes, I may be nude when I podcast:)

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