Only Child on mystery conference panel

I am back to presentations and the like to promote my books, but also to schmooze with other mystery writers and readers. A great way to share and to learn. The first one is the Maple Leaf Mystery Conference from May 24, 2022. I’m on the Cozy Corner panel at 8.15 p.m. EDT, Thursday, May 26, 2022 on Zoom. Authorss on panels and guest authors will have their books for sale. And special guests are Ian Rankin and Maureen Jennings. More info, including website link for conference info is in the below post from my author blog Warning: PI Dana Bowman, my main Beyond mystery series character sticks her nose in that post. But she is not registered or paid to attend the conference so we will be pared her shenanigans.

Write on and read on, especially mysteries.


Sharn A. Crawford

Only Child Writes (and reads, too)

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Filed under Beyond mytery series\, Maple Leaf Mystery Conference, mystery novels, Only child, Reading, Sharon A. Crawford, The Enemies Within Us - a Memoir, Writers Helping Writers, Writing conferences

Only Child on Snow

What fell and fell from the sky in southern Ontario January 17

Monday, January 17 the snow pelted down on Toronto. Buses, streetcars and subways stalled. Roads were closed. Snow piled up and blew all over. People could not get anywhere but some tried and got stuck on roads and highways. The most recent big storm – blizzard – here occurred in January 1999 when the then mayor called in the army to clear us out. Maybe the current Mayor should have done the same. I don’t remember snowfalls as bad as this when I was a child – so that would be the 1950s and early 1960s Back then I liked snow – making snowpersons, trudging through snow, throwing snowballs,,learning to ice skate from my mom in the backyard after Daddy made a rink from hosing down part of the backyard. After it froze Mom and I went out there and she tried to teach me to skate.

Skates like mine

Part of my memoir The Enemies Within Us describes these snow shovelling lessons and then finally Mom and I went to Dieppe Park’s rink – the big time.

Memoir Excerpt

Then Daddy turns it over to Mommy. Like a dance instructor trying to teach steps to a nervous wannabe, she grabs my hands and tries to set me in motion.

Come on Sharon. Just slide your feet, one foot in front of the other.”

My feet, tucked tightly into new white figure skates, scrape and totter along the ice and my fingers dig into her hands; her mittens no protection for the hard, petrified squeeze I give her. I do not want to fall. I might break a leg. I’m terrified of losing control, so carry on clinging to Mom as she steps backward, sometimes in her rubber boots and sometimes in an old pair of Daddy’s black hockey skates. I follow forward like a drunken clown.

Two winters of this private slide and lurch pass by. Then my eighth birthday arrives. “You’re ready for Dieppe Park,” Mom says.

The big time. Dieppe Park has two enclosed hockey rinks and one large pleasure skating rink. Mom and I walk down Greenwood and along Cosburn Avenue. When we arrive, Mom takes me into the cold changing room. She assists me as I shiver into extra socks and the skates; then she laces them up.

“Is this tight enough?” she asks. “Better make it tighter.” She pulls on the laces until I think my ankle will stay straighter than a lamppost.

Then she hands me the skate guards, which I grab with my left hand; my right hand takes hers and I push my bum forward. I try to imagine I am standing but it seems strange and impossible. But I get up. It feels as if I am balancing on stilts the width of a sliver and the weight of a brick. This is not the way I want to see the world better, and I imagine that the world’s eyes are staring at me as Mom walks, and I teeter out the door into colder cold. When we arrive near the ice, my left ankle starts to wobble.

“Sit down here, and I’ll fix it.” Mom points to the bench.

I grip the seat and, like Frankenstein’s monster, plop down. Mom unlaces the offending skate, purses her lips, grunts, and yanks on the laces. If my lungs were in my ankle I would suffocate. She reaches the top of the skate and ties the laces into a bow, followed by a knot.

Then she turns me loose.

End of memoir excerpt. The Enemies Within Us- a Memoir. Copyright Sharon A. Crawford, 2021, published by Blue Denim Press, 2021.

Fast forward to January 2022. I am now a senior and my take on snow and its ramifications have changed more than 180 degrees, many out of my control. Here are a few.

  1. iClimate change – enough said on that – this one deserves its own blog post.
  2. My health. Since 2019 I have been blind in one eye. While I can still read, write, and evaluate clients ‘manuscripts, I can no longer copy edit book-length manuscripts and I am upfront with this to clients and perspective clients. I can, however, copy edit short stories and short articles and essays for clients. But I should not shovel snow as I am prone to falling because I cant see down property, the peripherals in my left eye don’t work. And I suppose as a senior I should not be moving that heavy white stuff.
  3. So over the last few years (before vision impairment) I have hired various snow shovellers. These individuals have presented challenges, but usually got the job done. This last fellow, who has been shovelling my snow for the past five years or so and has been reliable, suddenly turned unreliable this season. The first time in December I let it pass when he didn’t show up to finish the job, even ignoring my follow-up phone call. I decided to give him another chance and shovelled the small amount of snow outside. And didn’t ‘t fall. down. For this January snowfall he showed up and when my neighbour across the street offered his snow blower for the guy to shovel with and also hired him to use the snow blower on his driveway, I was quite pleased. My snow shoveller had shovelled my veranda so I could now open my front door and then he got busy with the driveway, mostly with the snow blower, and cleaned the outside window sills. He went to shovel the far side of the house but complained it was too hard to climb over the raised downspout to get there. He said hr would be back the next day at 7 pm. to finish the jobl. He never showed up and didn’t reply to my voice message.
  4. So I’ve been struggling almost daily to shovel what I can of the blizzard snow. I was especially angry at the no-show shoveller because overnight January 17 the big road snow plow cam by and dumped two plus feet high snow blocking my driveway and the two cache basins. I got my local Councillor’s office to look after the cache basins – I think a staffer came and did that -cleaned out one, which was okay, so I emailed a thank you to my councillor’s secretary and asked that it be passe on to the individual who did the job.
  5. Not so my snow shoveller. Everyday I curse him and I have l told those I recommended him to what he did to me.
  6. As mention, I am out there shovelling bits and pieces – the far side of the house, part of the patio by the house, the driveway, but not the end of the driveway on the street. I tried, but it is too high and too heavy for me. I am sure the neighburs heard my yelling, cursing the snow shoveler, and I don’t care. If you are in the business of snow shovelling, you have to be reliable And if something comes up in your life that changes when you promised to do your job get back to me for crying out loud.I I am not a mind reader and I am not psychic, although I would like to be the latter when it comes to the weather.
  7. I have been given suggestions from friends, etc. of alternatives but am reluctant to try them – the city’s snow shovelling program for seniors doesn’t have a good reputation for service from what I[ve seen. About six years or so ago a couple of my more senior neighbours each got involved in this program and no one showed up. A few years ago another senior and a neighbour recommended the teenage son next door who was doing an excellent job mowing her lawn. So I hired him. He was okay at the job, nothing spectacular. It was his father who kept interfering, coming over with his son and dictating what had to be done and then going after me for not paying his son enough. I’m sure some of the neighbours must have heard us one February evening when h e came over alone to shovel the snow (which I had started doing) and started to taunt me about why am I not thanking him for doing the job and he would be doing it, but only to the end of March. I have no animosity towards the teenage son, just the father – a control freaking helicopter person. Later when talking to some of the other neighbours I found they had much the same opinion as me. Wnat goes around comes around. Might be nice if we we could see some of this as it happens to others
  8. There is one heartening episode of a Good Samaritan’s concern and help when I nearly tripped in the partly shovelled snow walking along the street to the pharmacy to get my COVID -booster was booked for January 18. How’s that for “perfect timing”? I thanked the young fellow and said if he wanted to get past me as I was walking slowly, that was okay with me. I said I was only going to the pharmacy just ahead. However, he insisted he stay right behind me to make sure I was okay walking and did so until we got to the front of the drugstore which was shovelled and salted completely I made it into the pharmacy and got my booster shot, partly thanks to this young man. God bless him and God give the unreliable snow shoveller his comeuppance.

Meantime, I struggle with the snow shovelling and hope the city’s snow removal which is underway through Toronto, gets to my area and removes that white shit before next week when my handyman comes to do some necessary repairs inside the house and has to park in my drive. way If he has to shovel to get in and park his pickup I will charge it back to the unreliable snowman.



Only Child Writes

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Customer Service, Life demands, Snow, Snow Removal, snow shovelling, The Enemies Within Us - a Memoir, Winter Weather

Were the 50s & 60s the good old days?

Only Child with Mom and Dad at Grandpa’s farm in the late 1950s.

I grew up in the 1950s and 1960s which often get called “the good old days”. But were they?

Right now I’m working on a presentation connected to my memoir The Enemies Within Us
and that is the focus of the presentation. I’m not going to spoil it all by telling you the conclusion I come to or how I get there. Not going to reveal the setup of the presentation. Not yet anyway.

But this attitude seems to be universal, at least when you get to my age. And so you get lost in a nostalgic haze where reminiscing is the key word. You can do it in your mind on your own or you can do it with your longtime friends from way back in your school days.

I did that this last weekend when visiting my “old” school friend who I had reconnected with eight years at…you guessed it… a high school reunion. She is now living with her younger sister and when I was there the three of us got into a big discussion of ” Do you remember?” Teachers got a big part here, especially when I mentioned the nun who was school principal at our grade school, Holy Cross when I was in grade eight there, my friend’s sister nodded her head vigorously. The three of us each had a Sister C. story. I related my story from when I was in grade 8, which is depicted in my memoir (although I use pseudonyms). This nun picked on me, plain and complex. She was complex and so was I – like two complexities butting heads, except she was loud and nasty and I was shy and scared and always wanted to please.

Twenty-one years ago I found out from another friend who became a nun (a nice friendly nun) what became of Sister C. So, I spewed it out short and blunt to my friends last weekend.

“She left the convent, got married, had some kids, and died,” I said.

My friend, who sees the bright side of things wondered if marriage and kids and not being a nun suited her better and she was happy then.

I don’t really think so. To me she got her just desserts.

Which brings me to today, i.e., the last few months, even years – personally and universally. Does what we are living through, putting up with, getting shoved at us, make us look back in nostalgia on certainly less complicated times, less erratic times, and certainly times with a much smaller population, not just world wide, but in towns and cities in the country (Canada) and province (Ontario) where I now live. Even in the span of 46 years, the town I lived in for 23 years (Aurora, Ontario) has grown in population and area. When I moved there in 1975 with my then husband, Aurora’s population was 13,500. Granted the public transit was lousy, but the people knew each other and connected one way or the other. That is different now in a town (excuse me, maybe city?) of around 62,000 people as the latest count says. I have returned to Aurora a few times since moving back to Toronto in late 1998 and each time I do so, the number of people I used to know “back then when I lived there” keeps dwindling and not just from dying but moving on and/or just disappearing ,it seems.

The more people around the more problems. And then there is the change in the way we do many things, i.e., technology. Don’t get me wrong, I prefer using a computer to a typewriter, and research is much easier on the Internet than going to libraries and archives, etc. But I love going to libraries and archives.

Everybody, myself included, seems to be so angry. And I don’t think it is just COVID-19 and all its variants, plus the repercussions of changes we have had to make because of it. But wasn’t too much change well into overdrive before COVID-19?

COVID -19 or not, let me give you a short list (read not the whole she-bang) of the big things that have gone haywire, gone wrong in my life in just the last month. Here is the list including some of the items’ ramifications

My laptop was hacked and the fallout included having to change all my passwords, change a credit card account where the hackers got in. Fortunately, my son is a computer techie specializing in software development and the like. So he cleaned up the laptop, changed the passwords I had trouble doing, etc. I am still in the process of filing a police report for this scam/fraud because you call the non-emergency number and get put on hold and the online report won’t let you get to the next page unless you fill in all the blanks. I got railroaded on the online report by where the crime wa committed. The laptop was in my residence but that type of residence isn’t listed in the report.

Within days of each other the house got two leaks within – the tank in the ancient toilet in the upstairs bathroom and the water metre. The latter is city owned and was replaced at no cost. I had to pay for a new toilet. But worse, because of the two leaks (who knows how long they were going on internally) my water bill kept escalating. Now with the waste collection fee added my bill is very high. I can apply for a rebate, but the lady at the utility I spoke to said I should go for it and since the leaks were fixed my water bill consumption has gone down.

And my roof leaked in two places – the two bedrooms – the other night with the wicked storm – heavy winds, thunder and ligtning and rain falling sideways. But the good news is no water got in my basement – then.

And somewhere in there I have to update my senior’s health coverage for prescriptions as I now qualify for free prescriptions again for the next year. It’s based on your annual income.

And the Ontario government in its infinite wisdom is turning all their ID into digital apps, which means cell phones although some of them allow for laptops. I don’t have a cellphone. I am blind in one eye so a cellphone screen is too small for me to see. So do I cart my laptop around when i go to the optometrist. One TV news story, but not the Ontario government website said going digital is optional. I am not going digital with this one.

And I can’t get my eyes tested because the optometrists are on strike against the Ontario government, which means they aren’t seeing us seniors because our visits to optometrists are covered by the government’s health plan. And we aren’t allowed to pay our way temporarily because that is illegal.

So I have to suffer indefinitely with a pair of two-year old eye glasses with permanent scratches and smudges that came from who knows where on the lens for my seeing eye. Some days I have my face almost up to my laptop screen and one of my current working tools is a magnifying glass. Appropriate for someone who also writes mysteries, i.e., the Beyond mystery series whose main character is PI Dana Bowman.

So do I think the 50s and 60s are the gold old days?

What do you think?

Before you answer that check out my memoir here.

Sharon A. Crawford

The M and M writer.

P.S. I fight back. I get after all the “perpetrators” of these problems and others not mentioned. I used my writing skills for writing letters of complaints. I tell people off where necessary.

And I write my latest Beyond mystery, promote my memoir (and that entails writing too), keep my writing group going, help other writers, keep close to my son and some cousins, and close friends by phone, Facebook, Zoom, some in person (social distancing), and I garden.

Pulling weeds is very therapeutic, especially when you give them names.

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Life problems, Mom and Dad, Only child memoir

Only Child’s Mom and gardening

Only Child at entrance to Mom’s garden.

I inherited my love of gardening and my green thumb from my late Mom. She could grow everything from roses to currants to beans to tomatoes. It was this latter that gave a new meaning to green thumb for Mom as we shall see in this gardening scenario from my memoir.

One August day, Mom comes in the side door from the garden. She is carrying an open tomato juice can and she is almost scowling.

“Sharon,” she calls as I stand at the top of the stairway. “Have a look.”

Not knowing what to expect, I hurry down and join her at the door. I lean forward, my nose almost touching the can when Mom reaches inside and hauls out a wiggling creature, a mini-Martian with aerials and a big, ugly body, green mixed with white and black. I jump back before it can attack me.

“Green hornworms,” Mom says. “They won’t bite, but they will gobble up all the tomato leaves, and then the tomatoes won’t have anything to hang onto because the branches will collapse. Sharon, they won’t hurt you.” She shoves the tin closer to my frozen face. This time I just want it all to go away; I want to run up the stairs, but I can’t tear my eyes away from these creatures. So, I move closer and stare again into the can and the squirming critters within. Mom shrugs, turns around, and takes the can of wrigglers outside. I peek through the screen door at the same time she turns around again.

Is she smiling? What’s so funny? Those little monsters are worse than the blackspot on Mommy’s roses. I’m glad she is taking them away from the house. The house must be kept safe. We must be kept safe.

I don’t get it. I am still too young to realize that sometimes evil grows from within.

(From Chapter 2 Practicing Gardening and Religion, The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir, Copyright Sharon A. Crawford, 2020, published by Blue Denim Press)

Not my Mom’s tomato plant, but one in my garden this summer. So far no little green creatures.

There was more evil in my childhood than tomato hornworms. But there was also some good that has carried forward to this dayt. And that includes my love of gardening. I write about gardening to honour my Mom for passing down the gardening bug. That is something I relish doing and find it helps bring my stress level down. Sometimes I wonder if Mom’s gardening helped her cope with Daddy’s cancer.

Read more stories of my growing up the only child of elderly parents when your dad “gets” cancer.

The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir is available from



Barnes and Noble

Happy Reading – and to enjoy even more – read while sitting in the garden.


Only Child Writes

Sharon A. Crawford

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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Gardening, Hereditary, Mother, The Enemies Within Us - a Memoir, Tomatoes

Only Child Honours her late Daddy on Father’s Day

My Dad long before my time

My daddy was often mistaken for my grandfather. He was old enough for that, pushing 60 when I was 10. Perhaps his age and being a first-time father at 49, his age when I was born, and father of an only child to boot, had something to do with it. Certainly, he tried to protect me (and sometimes one of my friends) from the Bully and her gang when they were on the warpath. Once he locked Dorothy and I in the basement to protect us. That didn’t stop the Bully from making ugly faces at us through a locked window. At least we were safe…then.

My daddy taught me to ride a two-wheel bicycle, when I was nine, way later than when my friends learned. He also let me help him mow and water the lawn. But one day that was put in jeopardy because my friends and I (the Bully wasn’t there then) overstepped our bounds in the garden.

The actual flower, vegetable and fruit gardens were Mom’s territory, but besides the lawn, Daddy had a hand in the shrubs growing on our property. Here’s what happened one day.

In the summer my girlfriends and I play outside with our dolls. Give us green grass and trees, or at least big shrubs, and we are happy. We spread our blankets on the grass, sit our dolls on top, stand up the open doll suitcases for walls and hang their clothes inside. Then we set out our dolls’ clothes and go hunt for dinner.

The raspberries, strawberries, and tomatoes in mother’s garden don’t interest us. We are after the big green. Marie grabs a branch from the snowball over by the Swans’ garage, and, one by one, picks off large velvety leaves. Dorothy, Jan, and I do the same and arrange the leaves on our doll plates. We are just sitting down to dinner with our dolls, when Daddy comes through the archway. His stroll turns into a leap of rage.

“What are you girls doing? Stop picking the leaves.” His face is red, and if he doesn’t slow down he’ll vault over the fence into the Swans’ driveway.

The four of us stare at him, our mouths suspended open.

“Don’t you know you are hurting the trees?” he asks.

“Sorry, we didn’t know,” Marie says.

I say nothing. What’s up with Daddy? We have to feed our dolls. However, our dolls’ food now seems like poison.

That evening after dinner, Daddy hauls out the lawn mower and starts pushing it along the front lawn. I step out onto the verandah, but stay back, still reeling from the afternoon. Daddy catches me watching him, stops and beckons to me.

“Do you want to try it?” His voice sounds like the normal Daddy.

I must have nodded, because he invites me over to the mower and patiently explains how it works, First, he helps me steer it, then lets go. Pushing is heavy work on my own, but I shove it forward and at his instruction and encouragement, move it around to our starting point.

(Excerpted from Chapter 3 – Practicing Gardening and Religion from The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir, © Sharon A. Crawford, 2020, Blue Denim Press)

Although it is almost 55 years since my daddy died, I still think of him. He had cancer during the last six years of his life and that was hard for a 10- to 16-year-old to deal with, especially as I had to find out he had cancer from someone outside the family. It affected our closeness. But something almost miraculous happened the day daddy died.

If you want to read more of what happened, you will have to read The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir. And timed perfectly with Father’s Day, my memoir just arrived at three Toronto Public Library branches and is circulating. The link to my memoir listing at the Toronto Public Library is here.

Happy Fathers Day, Daddy, and to all the fathers in the world.



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Filed under 1950s, 1960s, cancer, Dad, Father's Day, Gardening, memoir, Memoir content, Only child memoir, Sharon A. Crawford

East End Writers celebrate 20th in the 21st

Logo designed by Lee Parpart

Been awhile since you heard from me on this blog post. Have posted on my author blog post, but now it is time to get back here and this time it is news about my East End Writers’ Group.


Yes, folks, this writing critique group started 21 years ago with three people showing up (including me) for the first meeting in September 2000. We met in my tiny living room in my tiny bungalow. But that didn’t stop writers coming to our regular monthly meetings from September to June. But sometimes we had 17 or so members and some of us got “pushed” (figuratively speaking) into my office which adjoins the living room. (That part of my house is the open plan).

In 2013 I also had a boarder and her cat. No room in the in for a writers group to meet. Time to get the EEWG show on the road, but little did I know that we would become nomads, and perhaps a version of “the kiss of death” as the next two places we met, albeit briefly, closed down.

Enter a librarian at the S. Walter Stewart library branch (my library) who invited the group to partner with the library with our meetings. That was in summer 2014 and we were there ever since until something called COVID-19 blew in and places closed down, then opened partially, then closed down, etc. We are hoping to return to the library at some time in the future when this COVID-19 has bitten the dust. Meantime, we are getting vaccinated (some of us not knowing which vaccine will be our second shot in the arm) and doing the best we can.

That includes moving the East End Writers’ Group to Zoom, thanks to one of our members Nick Nanos, doing the technical stuff. For the past year we have been holding our writing critique meetings twice a month on Zoom. And that includes our 20th anniversary presentation May 26, 2021 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. where some of our members strut their creative stuff: readings (some with added graphics), one member interviewing another writer on the book he is writing, songwriting how to and singing, and something about when fact and fiction collide. Plus a panel on publishing and a q and a. You are welcome to join, but you have to sign in first.

Official Invitation/notice designed by EEWG member Shane Joseph

Here are more details.

East End Writers’ Group 20th Anniversary Presentation

Wednesday, May 26, 2021, 07:00 p.m. – 09.00 p.m.

Location: Virtual – Zoom

Link to sign in for event here

More information here including how to contact me if you are not on Facebook.



Only Child Writes

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Memoir and Mystery authors sharing book promo

Can authors who write in different genres share virtual book promo?

Yes, especially if one author writes both, which I do. As I write on my author blog,

And if you are thinking what the heck does a mystery have to do with a memoir? Besides both genres beginning with an “M”? Well, I do brand myself as The M and M Creator of Mystery and Memoir. And my memoir The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir does have some mystery in it – an old unsolved murder case in the Toronto Police files, which my friend, The Bully and I, became fixated on. The murder victim was a girl, age 12. The Bully and I were 10. And I delve into some of the other occurrences in my childhood that would end up pointing me into a writing career – both nonfiction (journalism) and writing murder mysteries.

The blog post also gives a bit of info how mystery author and journalist Rosemary McCracken, author of the Pat Tierney mystery series, and I have joined forces to promote our latest books – Uncharted Waters (Rosemary McCracken) and The Enemies Within Us a Memoir (Sharon A. Crawford). There is also a link to her blog Moving Target where she posted her interview with me about my memoir.

So here are the links you need for her interview of me on her Moving Target blog post and a few more of my ramblings about memoir and mystery on my author blog post

Comments and questions always welcome.


Sharon A. Crawford

aka Only Child writes

Author of The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir and the Beyond mystery series. More info on my website

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Filed under Author Joint Book Promo, Beyond Mystery Series, Memoir and Mystery books

Reading memoir and other books good COVID-19 distraction

Memoirs are supposed to be big sellers now. Especially true in these COVID-19 times. We are stuck at home under STAY HOME regulations, so we read (and watch TV too). Sure, we are watching and reading the latest news on the virus. But for our sanity we need some escapism. So we read mysteries and memoir.

I write both (and read both) so maybe have some insight on this, from a personal point of view. I am not a medical professional and don’t profess to be one.

The beauty of memoir is it is a genre that deals with past events – even if only recent past. Memoirs are written by celebrities and by some of us who aren’t really famous. When you read a memoir, you are transferred to something in the past. The story may not be the happiest, but it is not now; it is not COVID-19. It is a distraction and, in my opinion,, a good one. And I’m not saying that because I write and have published memoir. Studies have been done on this and articles written on this. Here are a few links to check out. Some were written before COVID-19.

This one goes into the benefits of reading. If you scroll down far enough you will find the Section on Stress Reduction

This one references some studies, what we expect from a Psychology Today article.

This one is specific to COVID -19. I like the message in large print right at the beginning. “Reading gives us a place to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley.

My recently published book, The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir, is set in the 1950s and 1960s (the grey ages as I call them), mostly in Toronto, but some scenes in southwestern Ontario, Detroit, Michigan, and New York City. Although the main focus is my relationship with my dad and his cancer, there is a lot of humour (not with the cancer) with my family – including cousins and aunts and uncles and my school days. I am a firm believer in finding the humour in situations where possible, but at the same time being serious about serious matters.

Here is a brief blurb about The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir.

“Your dad has cancer.” Ten-year-old Sharon hears these words. Not from her parents. They lied. Set mainly in 1950s and 1960s Toronto, this  is Sharon’s story before and after Daddy’s dirty little secret surfaces. Before, she is Princess to her elderly father’s King. He protects her, a shy only child, from best friend, The Bully. Sharon also deals with a bullying nun at school. She distracts herself playing baseball and piano, riding the rails with Mom and railway timekeeper Daddy, and visiting eccentric Detroit and rural Ontario relatives. After learning the truth, Sharon withdraws from Daddy. At 13, she teaches Mom to play the piano. Then Daddy gets sick again, and again…and dies.

Sharon A. Crawford’s memoir is a powerful, sometimes humorous, account of a young girl’s lessons learned from difficult teachers – bullying, betrayal, and cancer.

More about The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir is on its blog page connected to my author blogs. This page also gives you links to where my memoir is available should you be interested.

Comments about the content of this post and/or my memoir are welcome. I do reply except to spam.


Sharon, aka Only Child Writes

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Only Child Resurfaces with Memoir

I have been absent for too long but have not disappeared. Been busy rewriting my memoir – the one I sometimes alluded to in my posts. Finally finished and The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir has been published by Blue Denim Press and it was released October 1. I have been posting in my author blog including about this new book. So I’m going to copy and paste a few excerpts from my postings there.

But first, a looksee at the cover of my memoir.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-enemies-within-us-smaller.jpg

Drum roll here: After 18 years of on-and-off writing, through several versions with several different content, The Enemies Within Us – a Memoir is done. And it is about time. I’ve been teaching memoir writing workshops for 10 years, so now the teacher has to put her pen where her mouth is  – or something like that.

So, folks,  meet meet me from age four to 22  in my memoir THE ENEMIES WITHIN US.

Oh, oh. PI Dana Bowman, who is not in my memoir, but the main character in my Beyond mystery series is insisting she step in now. She wants to introduce the new book. She is already doing that elsewhere, Give someone an inch and they will take a mile. And don’t ask me to put that in metric. When I was a child we measured in feet and inches, not centimetres and metres. Okay, over to you Dana.

PI Dana Bowman from the Beyond mystery series

Sharon wrote a memoir about her childhood  way way back in the 1950s and 1960s. Unlike me with my fraternal brother, Bast, she was an only child, her parents were what she calls “elderly.” She won’t tell you this, but the book’s title wasn’t the first. She went through many titles and finally her publisher, Shane, at Blue Denim Press  came up with


And here it is…again

Another drum roll please.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is the-enemies-within-us-smaller.jpg

Okay, back to you Sharon.

About time. Dana eluded to some of the memoir’s content. Perhaps the best way to summarize what the book is about is to post the synopsis on the back cover of the book.

“Your dad has cancer.” Ten-year-old Sharon hears these words. Not from her parents. They lied. Set mainly in 1950s and 1960s Toronto, this  is Sharon’s story before and after Daddy’s dirty little secret surfaces. Before, she is Princess to her elderly father’s King. He protects her, a shy only child, from best friend, The Bully. Sharon also deals with a bullying nun at school. She distracts herself playing baseball and piano, riding the rails with Mom and railway timekeeper Daddy, and visiting eccentric Detroit and rural Ontario relatives. After learning the truth, Sharon withdraws from Daddy. At 13, she teaches Mom to play the piano. Then Daddy gets sick again, and again…and dies.

Sharon A. Crawford’s memoir is a powerful, sometimes humorous, account of a young girl’s lessons learned from difficult teachers – bullying, betrayal, and cancer.

In future blog posts I will quote here and there – sometimes – from the content, but I also will ask questions (and give a few tips) about memoir writing. Here’s a question to start you off,

Who reading this is also writing a memoir or has written a memoir? What is the memoir about (briefly)?

Okay, that was two questions. I’m a writer, not a mathematician.

The books’ arrival I alluded to at the beginning are my author’s copies, which this time the publisher sent directly from the distributor to me. Yes, we authors get our own copies, but at half price. The traditional reason for author copies is for us to sell them at readings, festivals, presentations, etc. we attend but the venue is not in a bookstore or the publisher isn’t there to sell the books.  Or we want to give complimentary copies, for example to people who helped us with research, media book reviewers, etc.  In these COVID-19 days in-person presentations, etc. are on hold. But hopefully sometime in the first part of 2021, things will change for the better. So why the author’s copies? Because some of them will go with my virtual book launch in November, which will have a bookstore (as in bricks and mortars) involved, although anyone will be able to purchase The Enemies Within Us at

Amazon and Chapters/Indigo online. Amazon also has the print version.

And some of those complimentary copies, and I suspect a few books sold, will go out to the buyer via Canada Post  – for those who want to get their book directly from the author (i.e., a signed copy). Hey, these are different times and we authors, like everybody else, have to adjust.

 I’ll leave you with a sample of one of the photographs from my childhood. It shows Daddy, Mom and I on the veranda of the house I grew up in. In my memoir, I sometimes refer to the house as “139.”


Sharon A. Crawford

Only Child Writes


Filed under 1950s, 1960s, Blue Denim Press, Books, memoir, Memoir writing, The Enemes Within Us

Only Child on why I’m angry about Covid-19

Siting in the chair instead of standing on it.

It is 5.45 a.m. and I am standing on a chair and reaching over to my smoke detector. No, no fire and no smoke (a plus) but the damn thing woke me up with a beep, then a few minutes later, another beep, then… and so on.


You guessed it – the battery needs changing. Because of the Covid-19 I can’t get a friend, my son, a neighbour or the handyman (all of whom have helped me with this in the past) to do this. I can’t and I will not have them coming into my house (even if they would do so) because we need to self-isolate ourselves for our own and others’ protection from this virus.


So there I stand, first trying to get up on the chair and then standing on it to change the battery. The damn beeping woke me up and I won’t get back to sleep if I don’t change it now. So, I risk my health and safety to do so – despite having a bit of arthritis in my right knee, despite getting sporadic occurrences of sciatica in my left thigh, and despite being blind in one eye.


I am swearing and yelling as I do this task. One thing I have learned over the years (and not just from this virus pandemic) is anger gives me strength – physical and mental. The trick is to use it for something positive and that is definitely NOT going around killing people. So, I manage to figure out how to open this newer smoke detector model (the old one died a year and a half ago and had to be replaced – by the handyman) and I manage to change the battery. For good measure I also change the battery in the nearby carbon monoxide monitor, although it appears to be still working. At least this one is reachable from standing on the floor, and as I have done this change before, I know what I am doing.


While I’m at it, I want to mention one other big hurdle to overcome because of the fallout and repercussions from this virus. But first I want to give thanks and praise for our government leaders – Canadian federal and provincial and especially Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief medical officers of health, for what they are doing. I like Dr. Tam’s no nonsense approach, but she is informative and not rude, not condescending , not dictatorial. And she has experience in dealing with pandemics.  Yes, our Canadian leaders have made mistakes and could have done more – like started earlier with some of the “procedures”. But they are out and up there doing what needs to be done to the best of their abilities.


Having said that, I have one big bone to pick with part of one procedure – what has been kicked off the list of businesses in Ontario that are essential – hardware stores. They were on the first round of essential businesses that could stay open, but went out the door (literally, if you need to do business with them) the first weekend in April. I was shocked. I depend on Home Depot, almost as much as the grocery stores, and I am sure I am not alone here – if the lineups to get in (which I saw on the news just before they had to close their doors) are any indication. True, they have online ordering with the option of pickup outside the store. But to do that you need two things I as a low income senior do not have – a car and a cellphone (the latter is also because of my vision problem. While I can see and read what is on my computer screen, cellphone screens are too small and never mind increasing the size to see three words at a time). The way the pickup at the store works is they let you know by email when your order is ready for pickup. You drive there, and when you arrive in the car lineup to pick up your stuff you call them from your cell phone.


So, if I go that route what do I do? Phone from home just before I leave and lineup up behind the cars? I will be phoning Home Depot later this week to see what they have to say. I know from previously seeing people on the local buses carrying stuff bought at Home Depot that I am not alone in being a walk-in customer.


Yes, there is ordering online for delivery. But not everything in the store is on the online shopping list. No plants, no yard waste bags (Home Depot has garden centres) and God only knows what actual hardware is missing from the list. And except for a few items, you have to pay for the delivery. Most of my list (at this point) includes stuff not on the free delivery list and I resent that because I live just a few blocks from Home Depot. So, I would walk there and buy what I needed and can carry. For the annual garden supplies I would ask a friend or the handyman (if he was picking up stuff to fix something in the house anyway) and I would go with them to pick out the supplies and pay for them.


Can’t do that now. Not safe for anyone. We have to stay healthy and try to help others to do so as well.


For those of you reading this who think I am way out of proportion in my thinking, think again. Gardening (as well as writing, connecting on Facebook and Zoom with family and friends, reading and walking) is for my health – mental, physical and spiritual. This damn virus has just made it more difficult.


And all because of some stupid unhealthy practices at open markets in Wuhan and their government’s lax laws on food health and safety, which started all this.


So, I will fuel my anger to get the things done for my house and garden – even if it means standing on a chair at 6 in the morning.


How are you coping with Covid-19?


Backyard summer 2019. What about this summer?





Only Child Writes


Filed under Anger, Family and Friends, Gardening, Health, Only child