Saturday, May 18, 2019

May Goings On

The count down is on - fifteen days until the Ottawa launch of Turning Secrets! The annual party is but days away :-)

A good writing week this week as I slip back into the groove. I have to say that writing a thriller is ... wait for it ... thrilling. It's more like the Hitchcock pacing that I love. Lots of tension with the suspense building from a warm pot to a whistling tea kettle. I spent the first part of the week making chapter notes and tuning up the first chapters and am now into the second quarter. (Kind of like a basketball game - go Raptors) (That cheer's for you Robin) Anyhow, my protagonist is in all kinds of trouble and only just beginning to realize it ... how much fun am I having?!

My editor Shannon was in touch end of day yesterday with a tentative schedule for the last Stonechild book called Closing Time. We'll be working through June so another period that I'll have to set aside my latest project to focus on editing the last one. I also will be teaching a writing workshop in August and have to turn my mind to that. Finally, I'll be writing a blogpost for 7 Criminal Minds for this Monday with my book recommendations for Fathers Day. Should be a good few weeks to check in to find out what other authors recommend as well.

I'll be on 1310 News's The Power Lunch this week on Wednesday at noon if anyone is near their computer. The half hour show is also on Rogers Cable 22 and 1310 News Facebook live so I can't show up in my sweats. I try to stay up on the news especially as the date of my guest spot approaches in order to have an informed opinion. There is lots of craziness going on in the world these days I have to say.

Some of you have been asking me about the books being optioned for television and what's going on with that. I'm sad to report that the L.A. screenwriter who optioned the books for the past two years and change suffered a terrible heart attack almost two months ago and was in an induced coma for a few weeks. Happily, he's recovering and home as of a few days ago but the project is on ice. He had a producer interested before he became ill, but I'm not sure if anything will come of this moving forward.

Well, the sun is out and the garden centres are open so time to get a bit of planting done. I'm gambling on the end of the frost (after checking the long range forecast) but who really knows? I still have the snow tires on so hedging my bets ....

Last year's tulips at Dow's Lake - they're less eager to open this year and I can't blame them.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May Days

Well I'm ready for some better weather ... as are most Canadians. Although I saw a video of a man somewhere in the southern climes ring a doorbell and a snake lurched from wherever it had crawled up the door and bit him in the face, so maybe I'm okay with this northern climate after all.

I visited a morning coffee group at St. Luke's Church on Tuesday and met some lovely women. I talked about writing and my books and there were a lot of good questions about the writing business. The woman organizing the guest speakers saw my name on the poster for the library event with Barbara Fradkin and Giacomo Panico so one thing can lead to another.

I've managed to settle back into writing the latest manuscript as I await the next round of editing for Closing Time, the last Stonechild book. The stopping and starting is hard but necessary, and I know that I'm extremely fortunate to be even editing a book for publication. It's probably much the same for actors who have to promote a film they made a few years back with a new project on the go that's now their focus.

It was also my week to post on 7 Criminal Minds blog and the question concerns what I do to prevent sitting at my desk for long periods of time writing. You'll see that my problem actually goes in the other direction. Read my musings as well as those of my fellow bloggers, most of whom appear to suffer from the same restless affliction.

Turning Secrets is available now and is receiving some lovely reviews from readers and bloggers such as this one, posted this week. Only a few weeks until June 2 and the Ottawa launch at The Cross on Elgin. I'm so pleased to have The Haughian Brothers band playing, especially since the lead singer Bernie is returning from his new home in Collingwood to play. I'm really looking forward to seeing Bernie and his wife Darlene as I haven't seen them since their move last year. Perfect Books will also be at the launch with books for sale and I'll be providing some finger food so should be a good party! All are welcome so please come by if you're able.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Early May Days

So, this arrived on Monday.

New book day! Always a thrill to hold that book in my hands for the first time. The book is due on the shelves May 10 but I suspect it might already be available from the online stores. Strangely enough, Dundurn started working on the seventh this week, which is called Closing Time. It will be the last in the series. I'll be working with editor Shannon Whibbs once again (yay!) and she's started the first round of edits this weekend. I also spent three days this week working on a detailed outline of the plot for marketing.  And so it begins ...

I completed the chapter questions for Grass Roots Press early in the week and that ends my work on the Anna Sweet mystery series. I've been writing these novellas over the last eight years so it's somewhat bittersweet to have the books draw to a close. The last two will be out this fall and their titles are Killer Heat and Too Close to Home.

I'm going to speak to a ladies' morning coffee group on Tuesday morning at St. Luke's Church. I'm told to expect twenty to thirty people who are interested in hearing about my writing and books. I'll need to spend a bit of time this weekend outlining what I'm going to say. I also want to get back writing - I put my latest manuscript on hold this week while I worked on the other tasks.

Also got invited back on 1310 News and The Power Lunch and my day is May 22 from noon to 12:30 I'm beginning to think I'm a regular :-) You might have noticed if you've followed my blog for a while that I steer away from politics, religion, anything controversial ... the same goes for my social media. The Power Lunch is the one public forum where I give my opinion on the news of the day.

Well, we're finally getting a nice weekend with sun and predicted temps between seventeen and twenty degrees. Hopefully all the flood waters around the city and region will start to recede and people can soon get their lives back to normal. A lot of people have been under so much stress trying to save their homes.

Have a good week, everyone.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Murder in the Hood

Are these weeks picking up speed or what?

We had a full house at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Thursday evening when CBC Radio host Giacomo Panico interviewed Barbara Fradkin and me about our crime fiction writing. The event was entitled 'Murder in the Hood' since we all live in Kitchissippi Ward.

A big thank you to librarian Paula Copeland who organized and advertised our visit and to the Carlingwood Library for hosting us. Giacomo kept the evening light-hearted and it was a pleasure to spend the hour with him and Barbara. We might have surprised Giacomo with our tales of seeking out good murder sites in and around the city and our interest in ways to bump people off (all for fictional purposes of course) but this is the reality of  life as a mystery writer. I can't deny these are odd pursuits, but they're necessary for story accuracy and make for some interesting field trips :-)

You can catch Giacomo Panico weekly on In Town and Out on CBC Radio One, Saturday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m.

 Giacomo, me and Barbara
Giacomo and my floating head :-)

I had a productive writing week and kept to my daily word count, sometimes exceeding my 500 a day word minimum, now clocking in at over 15,000 words. So far, I'm having a heck of a good time with this one. I hope what is keeping me entertained will also entertain you eventually if the manuscript ever gets a publisher's seal of approval. I also started on some chapter questions for the last Anna Sweet novella that I need to get finished this week. I have an open week ahead so will have lots of time to write and tidy up stuff. I also have a phone meeting planned with my new Dundurn publicist named Saba, and look forward to setting things in motion for Turning Secrets, due out in a few weeks. The Ottawa launch, of course, is Sunday, June 2! Getting close ...

Finally, we're having a great deal of spring flooding around Ottawa and Gatineau and it is a terrible time for thousands of people trying to save their homes. The city has declared a state of emergency and the army has been called in to help. My thoughts are with all those affected and I hope this situation soon improves and people can get back in their homes.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Into the Easter Weekend

Good Saturday morning and Happy Easter. Hope the bunny shows up at your house with some chocolate and jelly beans.

I'm excited this week to have an event with Barbara Fradkin and CBC Radio host Giacomo Panico at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. The day is Thursday, April 25 and the time is 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. We all live in Kitchissippi ward and the title of the event is Murder in the Hood. All are welcome to this free hour with no pre-registration required.

This past Wednesday, I participated in the Arthur Ellis shortlist evening at Chapters Rideau. Mary Jane Maffini adeptly MC'd the evening and interviewed five authors about our writing. There were similar events taking place across the country with the shortlists announced at precisely eight o'clock. Not many on the lists from the Ottawa area, but I know several of the authors and send my congrats to all, particularly to Vicki Delany who was awarded the Derrick Murdoch award by Crime Writers of Canada for all her contributions to the crime fiction community in Canada. Bravo!
The crew: Madona Skaff, Paulette McCarthy, Jim Napier, Linda Wiken, me & Mary Jane Maffini
Linda Wiken, me & Mary Jane Maffini

Madona Skaff, Paulette McCarthy and Jim Napier

So Turning Secrets will be on the shelves in a few weeks and Dundurn marketing is gearing up. They sent along these images, which they'll be using in publicity. Kind of cool.

I've been getting in quite a bit of writing this week and am back on schedule. I'm having fun on this first draft, not sure if it's any good, but enjoying myself nonetheless. I've also been tidying up some loose ends with my Anna Sweet publisher and have some chapter questions to write for the last book.  We're still waiting for the designer to come up with some cover image choices but expect to receive them soon.

And still getting the word out about the upcoming Ottawa launch ...

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Springing Up All Over

A lovely morning out there - spring has arrived! I curled my last club game this week and have hung up my broom for the season ... time to break out the deck chairs.

I've been plugging away on my latest manuscript. I also wrote a cover blurb for the last Anna Sweet entitled Too Close to Home and gave some ideas for the cover, which is now with the designer. The other thing occupying my week has been sending out book launch invitations although please know you are welcome even if you do not receive the invite individually. The Haughian Brothers Band will entertain and Perfect Books will be on hand and snacks will be provided. Going to be a party...

Date: June 3, 2019
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: The Cross, 360 Elgin Street, Ottawa

lead singer Bernie Haughian from last year's launch

This week, I'm taking part in the Arthur Ellis shortlist event at Chapters Rideau from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mary Jane Maffini is MC and other Ottawa authors participating include Linda Wiken,  Jim Napier, Madona Skaff and Paulette McCarthy. Other AE events are going on simultaneously across the country and again all are welcome.

Also to put on your calendars, Thursday, April 25 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., join me, Barbara Fradkin and interviewer (and CBC Radio host) Giacomo Panico at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library for Murder in the Hood - a discussion of crime writing with a local focus. This event is free and no need to pre-register.

And if you can't make the launch, I'm lined up for a signing at Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, June 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - a bit in the future, but as I've discovered, the future arrives quicker than one would think.

Two other items this week. I was on the Power Lunch on Tuesday at noon with host Mark Sutcliffe and guest Danny Kingsbury, who turns out is the dad of Adam Kingsbury. Adam coached Lisa and Team Homan and we saw him at many events over the past few years. Small world. Anyhow, we had a most entertaining half hour.

I also blogged at 7 Criminal Minds and you can read my post on what I've changed since I started being published at this link.

Time to get in gear and get outside to enjoy the day. I wish you a lovely weekend and good week ahead.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Left Coast Crime Wrap Up

Made it home from Left Coast Crime going at going on three a.m. after a flight delay. I was more than happy to crawl into bed and close my eyes. It was hard to go from spring flowers, sun and 14 degrees back to snow and temps hovering around zero. This photo taken by Madona Skaff is from our last walk to the Vancouver waterfront before heading to the airport - Vicki Delany, Barbara Fradkin and me.

After my blog post last Saturday, I did my stint on the Crime Writers of Canada booth where I met some interesting Canadian crime writers, including my booth-mate Madeleine Callway and B.C. writer Bernadette Calonego. Some of the authors from my other blog gig, 7 Criminal Minds, (for which I'll be blogging this coming Monday) gathered for a photo at the end of my session on the desk,  and a few of us went for lunch in the hotel restaurant. I enjoyed meeting them and spending some time.

 (l to r) Susan Shea, Terry Shames, James Ziskin, Cathy Ace, me, Catriona McPherson & Danny Gardner

I went from there to do a short reading following Jeffrey Siger (who lives on a Greek island and writes thrillers), whom I was on a panel with at my last Left Coast Crime, and Dundurn author Kim Moritsugu, author of The Showrunner. This turned into a nice break in the day and a chance to meet and connect with Kim. I also sat in on a few panels, including one on editing, and another on publicity and marketing. Saturday night was the banquet and I sat at a table hosted by authors Dave Butler and Iona Whishaw. So lots of networking, eating and glasses of wine throughout the weekend.

With Kim Moritsugu and Ken MacQueen, writer & former journalist with McLeans magazine

Back in Ottawa, I spent a good part of the week going over the edits from my Grass Roots editor Pam as we finessed my last Anna Sweet novella, now called Too Close to Home. The edits were not actually that onerous and we wrapped everything up on Thursday. Next, the designer has to come up with a cover. I also managed a few thousand words on my latest manuscript. Not sure if I'm going in a good direction yet, but I'm enjoying trying out a new writing style in the thriller genre.

So I have a few events on the horizon. The first is an interview at the Carlingwood Library on Thursday, April 25 from 7-8 p.m. CBC Radio's Jiacomo Panico will interview Barbara Fradkin and me - we all live in Kitchissippi ward and the title of the event is Murder in the Hood. All are welcome. It's free and no need to pre-register.

CBC Radio host of Intown and Out: Giacomo Panico

Settling back into the routine ....