ETB Crime Fiction WoC Award

The Eleanor Taylor Bland Crime Fiction Writers of Color Award is an annual grant of $2,000 for an emerging writer of color. This grant is intended to support the recipient in crime fiction writing and career development activities. The grantee may choose to use the grant for activities that include workshops, seminars, conferences, retreats, online courses, and research activities required for completion of the work.

The 2023 Submissions will be open February 1 – March 31. Learn more on the Sisters in Crime website.

Weird Weather? Submissions Open

Smoking Pen Press is pleased to announce a new Call for Submissions for a short story anthology for our Read on the Run series. We’re seeking stories about weather. But we aren’t interested in fair winds or ordinary weather, we are looking for Ill Winds and Wild Weather. All genres are considered.

  • Submissions accepted 15 March – 30 April 2023
  • 1,200 to 7,000 words
  • Attach to email as DOC or DOCX file

Contact spp (at) smokingpenpress (dotcom) for more information.

Photo by NOAA on Unsplash

All killer. No filler.

That’s the tagline for the 4 March “Make Crime Pay” event organized and presented by Writing Magazine (UK).

This is an all-day event with options for workshops-only or interviews-only, or both, for £30 and £50, respectively.

Author interviews include:

  • John Connolly, MJ Arlidge, Shari Lapena, Gytha Lodge, BA Paris, Adele Parks, Liz Nugent, and Cath Staincliffe.

Workshops and Panel Talks include:

  • Paul Finch, Susi Holliday, Louise Jensen, Tom Mead, John Sutherland, and Roz Watkins

As the schedule is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. GMT, you’ll be relieved to know that all ticket holders will receive a recording of the event.

Suspense Voice & Theme

Mystery Writers of America (Northwest Chapter) is presenting a full-day mini-conference 11 February. It’s online, and available to nonmembers as well.

Tickets are available via Eventbrite – $10/members and $20 for nonmembers.

Agenda includes
  • Increasing Pace & Suspense with Intentional Rewrites, presented by Elena Taylor
  • Writing Essentials: Voice & Theme, presented by Briana Lane

Read more about the courses and the presenters on the Eventbrite site.

Hailey, Idaho Murder Mystery

Idaho author Julie Weston has a book presentation at 5:30 p.m. MT on Thursday, 2 February, at the Hailey Public Library. The book: MOON BONES, a Nellie Burns and Moonshine Mystery, the 5th in the series.

A book signing will follow.

The death of a Chinese man leads photographer Nellie Burns and Sheriff Asteguitoiri to Vienna, a ghost town in the Stanley Basin in 1920’s Idaho. Sammy Ah Kee, who taught Nellie to drive, found the man’s body and is accused of killing him.  With the help of Nellie’s dog Moonshine, they discover a conspiracy dedicated to enslaving Chinese immigrants. 

Find the book at (supporting your local bookshop), Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.

Idaho Mystery (etc.) Writers…

Do you write mysteries, suspense, crime fiction, thrillers? You are heartily invited to join us, sisters (and brothers)!

An Idaho chapter of the international crime-writer’s association, Sisters In Crime, is in the process of forming. Our first meeting will be in Boise one week from today, on 12 January (5-7 p.m. MT).

Meetings will be in Boise every other month. Check out their website,, for more information.

New Environmental Thriller

At the apex of his career, Doug Diehl becomes superintendent of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, and just in time to watch Congress drill it out from under him. The largest refuge in the country. The largest terrestrial megafauna migration on the planet. Turned into an oil patch, and on his watch. And now he has to live with it. If he can.

This debut novel by Boise author Todd Graeff promises to be a page-turner: Rick Arranger of Limberlost Press says, “I don’t know of another environmental novel since Ed Abbey’s that can get your hackles up the way Good as Given does.”

If this is your cup of tea, find Good as Given, with it’s unmistakable cover art by Ward Hooper, at:

More about the author

An aficionado of the anything-worth-doing-is-worth-overdoing school of compulsive behavior, Todd Graeff has dedicated his first 73 years to conserving wild places, pursuing adventure beyond the borders of good judgment, and writing about his more harrowing experiences. While his non-fiction and fiction have been widely published, Good as Given is his debut novel. Todd, his wife Mary, two high-test English setters, and one lap dog live in Boise, Idaho, where he continues to push the boundaries of good judgment.

Nancy Weston

With books running from mysteries to memoir, Nancy notes: “As I have matured, met people, had encounters, failures and triumphs and learned about life, I have filed away hundreds of interesting characters, events, encounters and sights. Now my mind fills with stories to share and my challenge is to select the one that is right to tell right now.”

Her works include:

  • Digger’s Izzy
  • Valley of Shadows
  • Ice in the Guise of Fire (published August 2022)
  • The Cruelty of Swallows (to be published later in 2022)

Do you have a writing routine? Where and when do you write?

Not really.  I have a list of stories in my mind that I want to tell.  Once I find the one that inspires me at the moment, I pretty much devote myself to getting the outline, then a rough draft of the story.  Then I may set it aside and work on something else or do something entirely different than writing.  Once I come back to it, my mind is fresh and I read it again.  This helps a lot!  Once I get a complete story arc that I like, I get an edited copy for my beta readers.  While they read the manuscript, I take another break.  Once I get their feedback, I may mull over their commentary or not, but I don’t rush into the next draft.  Time is my best friend in the process.  Once I start work again, it is to complete a final draft of the work, although that may be many revisions later.  When I have a complete final draft, I send it to be edited again. 

Continue reading “Nancy Weston”

Writer’s conferences to attend

Now halfway through 2022, we’re a bit late to the gate on posting this — but consider that you can use it as a handy list from which to plan future years’ events (which can be a terrifically fun exercise in and of itself).

Your IWU web editor has concentrated mostly on the mystery realm, broadly speaking, and am leveraging a list of links that author Sherry Briscoe had prepared a few years ago for some critique group friends (this writer included).

But before we hone in on the crime-infested genre, let’s mention three longstanding…

Conferences nearby

  • Idaho Writers Conference is an annual event put on by the Idaho Writers Guild, typically in May. It’s a two-day affair (plans for 2023 include a masterclass add-on for Thursday) combining craft and business and catering to both aspiring and established writers.
  • To the west is the engaging Willamette Writers group who produce the very robust Willamette Writers Conference, typically in August. There’s a wide variety of opportunities and add-ons suited to writers in most all genres and disciplines.
  • And to the south the very active League of Utah Writers‘ annual Quills Conference is so jam-packed that they have had to add a Pre-Quills Conference as well.

Some of the biggies

  • Bouchercon is the name you always hear, a world mystery convention with an aura all its own. They’ve booked 2022’s conference for September in Minneapolis … but also 2023’s in San Diego, 2024’s in Nashville, and 2025’s on the fertile ground of New Orleans.
  • Thrillerfest is an event produced by the International Thriller Writers. This year’s was the end of May in NYC.
  • Crimefest, an international crime fiction convention, was also in May this year, in Bristol. Looks delightful for those interested in a trip to the UK.
  • [added] MurderOne in Dublin is in October 2022 and features an extensive list of talent … truly one to book if at all possible.
  • There might still be time to book a place for Scotland’s international crime fiction convention, enticingly titled Bloody Scotland. It’s to take place in Stirling in September.
  • The Mystery Writers of America put on Sleuthfest, this year in July in Florida. (Love their E A Poe logo.)
  • Rounding out this portion of the list, one must mention Left Coast Crime (2023 is in Tuscon, Arizona) and Malice Domestic (2023 is in Bethesda, Maryland).

Smaller conferences can be fun, too

There are more regional conferences than I can list here, though these and these might get you started, but they often offer a lot to those who either want to stay revved up between the mega-conferences or find the environment in the more well-known writer’s conferences a bit too hectic or intimidating.

That being said, none of these look to be lightweights. So, food for thought.

  • The International Agatha Christie Festival looks to be a treat for all of us who devoured her books when younger (and yes, from time to time currently).
  • On the other hand, the Writers Police Academy puts you in the position of participating in hands-on, real-life training, plus they’re throwing around names like Lee Child and Robert Dugoni. Interesting…
  • Back to England, we have the Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (July in Harrogate).
  • And in Maine (home of a certain Famous Author), we have the Maine Crime Wave, for those who fancy a trip to the other side of the continent.

But there are always so many more . . .

Photo by The Climate Reality Project on Unsplash

Sean McPherson is Back

If you enjoyed Laurie Buchanan‘s first book in this series, Indelible, you’ll want to know that Iconoclast hits the shelves May 3rd.

PLUS: Make a note to attend the May 5th virtual launch event hosted by Rediscovered Books at 7 p.m. (MT).

Burdened by the pressing weight of survivor’s guilt, Sean McPherson, an ex-cop, is desperate for redemption. At Pines & Quill, a writer’s retreat in the Pacific Northwest, he and his fiancée, Emma Benton, are planning their lives together. He wants to go back into law enforcement. She plans to walk again.

But that’s before the Seattle-based crime family get involved…

Pick it up beginning May 3 from your favorite bookseller.