Category Archives: Conferences

Can-Con 2016: Canadian content conference in speculative arts and lit

The conference takes place from September 9-11, 2016 at the Novotel Hotel (33 Nicholas Street, Ottawa).

Specifically for writers, a literary agent from New York (from the JABberwocky Agency) will be flown in. There will be a chance to talk with him over coffee, see him on panels, and to mingle with him at the publisher receptions at night. There are many experienced authors and editors and some small press publishers as well. And an RCMP Sergeant will be giving a 50-minute presentation on Investigations and Forensics.

CCW president Michael Murphy has attended  the last two conferences and enjoyed them a great deal. While the conference is not specifically geared to mystery people, there are a number of workshops which are of benefit to the writing community.

Go to for the program.

Mystery Twitter contest winners and all-stars

We had a great time reading your tweets for the first (and hopefully annual) CCW Twitter Mystery Contest.

Your super-condensed mysteries were a great lead-up to our conference, Capital Mayhem on Saturday, May 10, 2014. Thanks everyone who jumped into the fictional murder fray.

Here are our winners:

1st place:

  2nd place:

  3rd place:

All Stars:

Participants were encouraged to send in multiple entries, which explains why you may see some of these names twice. A special thanks to CCW authors Brenda Chapman and C.B. Forrest who led by example.

Capital Mayhem features killer criminal minds and panels to die for


Capital Mayhem Poster - email

How many free crime fiction events feature Peter Robinson, author of the popular Inspector Banks series? Answer: Just one–Capital Mayhem.

This premier Capital Crime Writers event  runs from 9 a.m. to approximately 4 p.m. on Saturday,May 10, 2014 at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch. Free refreshments and a gratis lunch are available for the first 100 registrants. Be sure to register at

Robinson will be participating in an interview-format session starting at 9:45 a.m. Got a burning question about Robinson’s writing rituals, favourite characters, or what’s next on his roster? Feel free to send it along to  We want to give fans a chance to get their queries in to the interviewer.

Be sure to stick around for our stellar lineup of Ottawa authors ready to entertain and inform audiences in these panel discussions:

Kickass Characters — What traits should you consider for the ideal hero in stories and novels? How do you make sure your sidekick doesn’t steal the show? Should you use your in-laws as inspiration for the perfect villain? Find answers to these questions and more in the Kickass Characters panel featuring the following top-notch talent: Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Linda Wiken, and Mary Jane Maffini.

Mystery Striptease — What to reveal and conceal when? How many breadcrumbs for your readers are too many? When is a surprise too surprising? Learn from these veterans of criminal intent and imagination: Brenda Chapman, Vicki Delany, C.B. Forrest, and Jeff Ross.

Read My Shorts — Is there such a thing a short story that’s too short? How do you manage to paint the scene of the crime, create compelling characters, and catch the bad guy in such a short amount of time? What does the crime short-story market look like in Canada? Have a listen to these short story pros to glean cues for short-story awesomeness: Wynn Quon, Sue Pike, Denis St. Jean, and Melanie Fogel.

And there’s more! There will be readings, book signings, announcements about the Audrey Jessop short list, and winner of our Twitter mystery contest.

Check out the schedule below:

M.C. – Ottawa City Councillor (and CCW member) Katherine Hobbs

9 a.m. – Muffins, refreshments, and a book sale by Perfect Books

9:30 a.m. – Opening remarks by CCW President Michael Murphy, and Ottawa-Centre MPP Yasir Naqvi

9:45-10:45 a.m. – Peter Robinson talk/interview

10:45-11:15 a.m. – Twitter contest winners announced/read by Kurt Stoodley

11:15-12 p.m. – Kickass Characters with panelists: Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Linka Wiken, and Mary Jane Maffini

12-1 p.m. – Lunch and Writers’ Circle with Tom Curran and David Whellams

1-1:15 p.m. – Audrey Jessop short story contest finalists announced

1:15-2 p.m. – Mystery Striptease with panelists: Brenda Chapman, Vicki Delany, C.B. Forrest, and Jeff Ross

2-2:15 p.m. – Reading by Ottawa Sun Reporter Jon Willing

2:15-2:30 p.m. – Break

2:30-3:15 p.m. – Read My Shorts with panelists: Wyn Quon, Sue Pike, Denis St. Jean, and Melanie Fogel

3:15 p.m. – Closing remarks, book signings, and mingling.

Twitter Mayhem: Ultimate short-short-short crime fiction story contest

twitterTo promote our upcoming crime fiction conference in Ottawa — Capital Mayhem — we’re launching a Twitter mystery contest that starts Monday, April 28. Don’t worry, you have until the end of the week to come up with a mystery that will blow our judges’ socks off. We want the opening line to a short story or novel that you haven’t yet written or wish you could read. The story must be in the crime fiction or thriller genre.

Here are the rules:
1. The complete opening sentence must be contained in a single tweet (There’s no Part 1, Part 2, etc.)

2. You can enter more than once.

3. Your tweet must contain the following hashtag: #capitalmayhem

4. To be eligible for prizes, you must live in the Ottawa/West Quebec area.

The top three tweets will be announced at Capital Mayhem. Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.

Looking for inspiration? CanadaWrites held a contest like this a couple of years ago. Here’s a link to their winning entries in the Lawmakers/Lawbreakers Twitter Challenge.

We’ll also publish our favourite tweets on the blog, so stay tuned.

Capital Mayhem featuring Peter Robinson and Ottawa authors

Capital Mayhem, our upcoming mystery conference on Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch features Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks mystery series.

This free event includes panel discussions starring well-known Ottawa mystery authors,  including those listed on the poster (below) and more, and a free lunch for the first 100 registrants. To register, email:

Capital Mayhem Poster - email




Book swap and a peek at the Capital Mayhem lineup

Give some mystery; get some mystery, and learn about our Capital Mayhem conference!

Bring some books; get some books, and learn about our Capital Mayhem conference!

Does your mystery collection need a refresh? Are there old favourites lying around collecting dust and in need of a good home?

Head on over to this month’s Capital Crime Writers’ meeting where members can pass along books and get some new ones to hibernate with during this interminable winter.

Bring your appetite too because free pizza is on the roster.

The meeting is Wednesday, April 9, 2014 at 6:45 p.m. in the Honeywell Room at Ottawa City Hall. Chat to fellow members about beloved authors, compelling characters, crime, new authors to watch, or even share information about mysteries you’re writing. Elections will also be held for the 2014-15 CCW executive. Non-members are welcome.

Our president Michael Murphy will also share information about Capital Mayhem, our upcoming mystery conference on Saturday, May 10, 2014 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Ottawa Public Library Main Branch.

This free event features Peter Robinson, author of the Inspector Banks mystery series. Attend panel discussions starring well-known Ottawa mystery authors, and chow down on a free lunch. Stay tuned.

Sarah Brandon writes about “A Day To Kill”

CBC’s Alan Neal


Chilling celebrity readings and writing workshops draw Ottawa mystery fans
by SARAH BRANDON on Oct 30, 2011 • 11:18 pm

A chill ran through the 50-person audience as the CBC’s Alan Neal ended his mystery reading on an eerie cliffhanger at last Saturday’s Capital Crime Writers’ gathering.

Neal was one of five celebrity readers at the event, which took place at the Ottawa Public Library’s main branch and featured a writing workshop and various panels.

“[We want to] help raise a profile of our authors. It is kind of tough to get people to know who we are, even within our own community,” said organizer and mystery writer Brenda Chapman.

Capital Crime Writers began in 1989 with only six members. Today it’s composed of 70 people and is still growing, according to founding member Linda Wiken.

“We’re bringing together mystery authors who belong to Capital Crime Writers for a day of entertainment,” said Chapman, adding that it’s also a way for fans of mystery fiction to meet these authors and enjoy their stories.

At times, the audience trembled from the chilling readings featuring novels written by a host of Ottawa’s most talented mystery writers.

Among the authors present were Barbara Fradkin, author of the Inspector Green series, C. B. Forrest, author of The Weight of Stones and Mary Jane Maffini, who has written three mystery series and is the author of two Arthur Ellis award-winning short stories.

Maffini also ran a popular mystery-writing workshop at the event for avid writers, eager to break into the genre.

“We’d had so much fun with it that we thought it would be a great idea to do something to showcase our own authors in Ottawa,” said Chapman about the event, which took roughly four months to plan.

“There are a lot of people working behind the scenes,” Chapman said.

Despite the small audience and chilling subject matter, the audience erupted into laughter from the sometimes raunchy banter exchanged during the panels, while other panels encouraged audience participation.

“Liar!” the audience shouted raucously during the “Meet the Fibbers” panel, in an attempt to reveal whether the panelists were telling the truth about their experiences as authors.

Another panel called “Sex, Drugs and Rock n’ Roll” had authors speaking of their experience delving into these elements both in terms of adult and young adult fiction.

Capital Crime Writers president Michael Murphy said he wants people to leave the event with the motivation to write and to grasp how varied the realm of mystery writing is.

“I hope people will realize that Ottawa has a very lively, vibrant mystery writing community,” Murphy said.

— Photo courtesy of Lenny Wu

Tags: A Day to Kill, Alan Neal, Brandon, Can Culture, Can Culture Magazine, Canadian culture, Canculture, Canculture Magazine, Capital Crime Writers, Mystery, mystery fiction, Ottawa Public Library, Sarah, Sarah Brandon