Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Big Reveal!!

So this morning, the big reveal! Below is Laura Boyle's front cover design for Turning Secrets, book six in the Stonechild and Rouleau series. A somewhat unsettling and suspenseful vibe? This one will be released by Dundurn in May 2019 so a little wait ...

And not to end here, photographer/videographer/neighbour Graham Law took some publicity pictures of me in his backyard on Monday and here is a sample of his handiwork (Hopefully, this one isn't unsettling too :-):

Other news - I'm going to be on CBC Radio's All in a Day with Alan Neal in early August. The date is being finalized but I can tell you that it should be a fun and somewhat novel (ah hem) interview. Stay tuned!

Writing chugged along this week but I had to fill in a publicity grid for the next book and this took me a couple of afternoons. I've gotten used to working on a few books at the same time: writing one, editing another and publicity for a third, and while confusing, everything seems to get done on time. I've learned not to sweat it. Working in Communications in the government was a great training ground for juggling projects.

Not a great deal more to report this week. The road construction has turned our street into a dust bowl but my garden is taking little notice and thriving. It helps that I'm out there every morning hosing down the flowers. The grass ... not so much. It's become yellow and crunchy - I believe what you call 'gone dormant' although it sure looks dead to me. I'll end this week with a few more photos - the first two of my front yard/street and the third of my hardy side garden. Good week everyone.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Summer in the City

Good morning everyone. Mid-July already! The best time of year for fresh produce - I think I've eaten four pounds of cherries alone.

Bleeding Darkness has been on the shelves for two months now and I've been working with Dundurn on the next book - Turning Secrets, which is due for release in May 2019. This week, designer Laura Boyle sent along a preliminary version of the cover and she nicely captured the major theme. I also spent a morning tightening up the cover text which I'd written a while back. Dundurn needs this now to start publicizing in catalogues. I'll share the cover once I have the final.

Meanwhile, I continue writing the latest manuscript and am in the dreaded middle. This is the point in every manuscript where I question the plot, the writing and my ability to pull this off. I'm comforted that other authors all report this same self-doubt mid-way through their manuscripts. The remedy is to ignore the negative thoughts and to keep writing. This seventh book in the series is the last so I'm tying up ongoing plot lines and this makes the writing even more challenging. I'm aiming to hit 50,000 words by the end of July and have 3000 words to go so I should reach the target without problem.

I was invited back to Radio 1310 News and the Power Lunch with Mark Sutcliffe on Monday. I enjoy speaking about topics in the news, not normally voicing my opinions except to Ted :-) You can watch the half hour show, which was broadcast simultaneously on 1310 Facebook Live and Rogers Cable 22.

Our street work continues, making concentration a challenge. They dug up our lawn to lay new pipe so I was typing while they excavated and pounded and beeped a few feet away. The noise and shaking starts at 7 a.m. on the dot and stops at 5 or 6 p.m. I've surprisingly managed to ignore most of the noise except when the entire house shakes and the pounding feels like it's going right through one's body. The dust is incredible - our cars are coated in it every day and it sifts into the house. I have a dust allergy so my sneeze count is up. Anyhow, we need the new sewers so this is small pain for big gain and I applaud the guys who spend the long, hot days doing this dusty, dirty, unpleasant, nasty work.

So, time for that last cup of coffee before I get the day underway. I have a little bike ride and writing on my agenda capped off by a BBQ and glass of wine.

Ahh summer ....

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Writing Through the Heat

Another week spent writing. Nothing all that exciting about sitting at my computer typing ... plugging away and moving the story forward. I have, however, passed the half-way mark in the word count.

As you may recall, I was on Radio 1310's Power Lunch a month ago with host Mark Sutcliffe. Well, I've been invited back and you can tune in this Monday between noon and 12:30. The show is also broadcast live on Rogers Cable 22 and on 1310 Facebook Live--just do a search and there it will be on your computer. We get five topics in the news the morning of the show along with opinion choices and then discuss our points of view over the half hour. The other guest will be a surprise until the day of.

I'm also going to get some photos taken on Tuesday with Graham Law, a photog friend who curls at the Granite and lives a few streets over. This came about because Dundurn requested one for next year's book Turning Secrets along with a couple of pages of information. That took some time to get together but I managed to make yesterday's deadline. The photo will be late but this won't be an issue.

Man, this past week was blistering hot. A few days in the forties with the humidex and the air felt so heavy and thick, it hurt to breathe. I made it outside early every morning to water the garden and flower pots before the sun was fully up. By lunchtime, it was too hot to spend any time outdoors.  Too hot to barbecue at suppertime even.  We've had heat waves before but never one like this. Not encouraging Mother Nature to make a habit of it.

So, another week ahead of writing. Thank you to everyone who's been posting comments, pictures of Bleeding Darkness in different locales or photos of themselves reading the book. Every photo makes me smile and helps spread the word. Also to those posting reviews on social media. You know, I grew up in the generation told not to blow your own horn and marketing does not come naturally. However, I've come to realize that if people don't know about the books or receive enough positive feedback on them, they will never pick them up -- and it's a great feeling to know people are enjoying my stories:-)

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Hot Time in the City

Heat has settled like a Hudson's Bay blanket over the Ottawa Valley and most of Ontario. Tomorrow, Canada Day, is expected to hit 47 degrees C with the humidex factored in. We're about to experience the tropics in the Canadian North. (I will not be attempting to straighten my hair.

This has been another quiet week on the publicity front so I've been able to write every day. My goal was to reach 40,000 words by the end of June and I'm now heading up to 43,000 words - a good thing as July is going to be busy. I started filling in information Dundurn requested for the publication of Turning Secrets (book 6 in the Stonechild series) next year and have to focus on this soon. It's due back July 6 and I have a ways to go. So, another week at the computer ahead.

Speaking of which, the City of Ottawa is 'revitalizing' our street. This involves replacing sewers and water lines. The truck noise, which includes continual beeping, diesel trucks idling, and pounding that shakes the house, begins at 7 a.m. and goes on until 5 p.m. or so every week day. The dust blows and settles around and in our house and yard so that I have to keep the windows closed - and we're told to expect this for the entire summer. I've been typing at my computer and it's vibrating from the pounding going on metres away. Makes concentration difficult, sometimes impossible. I feel for the construction workers who have to live with this day in and day out, slaving away out there in the heat and humidity and dirt. We have it easy by comparison. Still, everyone on the street is eagerly anticipating the autumn silence.

I went downtown to Tim Wynne-Jones book launch on Tuesday evening and picked up a signed copy of The Ruinous Sweep. It was great to see Tim and to hear him read from his latest book - he's also the voice on the audiobook version. The protagonists in this book are two older teens but Tim says the book crosses into adult and is a mystery/thriller. I'm excited to give it a read.

And that's it for my book news.

So plans for Canada Day? I went strawberry picking yesterday morning before the heat settled in and will be baking my annual strawberry shortcake to bring to our friends' house for supper. We've been getting together with them most Canada Days since the kids were little. This year as always, it's worth stopping and appreciating this vibrant, inclusive and free country that we call home. Now more than ever. we cannot take all that we have for granted.

Cheers Canada! You're looking mighty good for your 151 years.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Into the Rhythm

This was a week to decompress. After a month of events and media, I was happy to get back into the rhythm of my normal life.

This is a decompressed me - very easy to achieve :-)

I often get asked when I write and for how long. Many writers work best in the morning but I'm finding that I use the mornings to get my chores and running around done and start writing around eleven. I break for lunch and then write most of the afternoon, sometimes after supper if I'm on a roll. I aim for minimum 500 words a day and sometimes manage closer to 1000.

Often, I've got other work going on in addition to the writing. For example, this week Dundurn sent along a request for a page of information to prepare for the release of my next book entitled Turning Secrets, which is the sixth Stonechild and Rouleau mystery. It has a May 2019 publication date so you can see we prepare well ahead. As part of this info, I have to write a book cover synopsis so this is going to take some thought and time. I worked an hour yesterday morning on the material and expect I'll be working at it off and on all next week. I also did some to-ing and fro-ing this week with Diane Walker and Amanda Malone to set up a signing at their Chapters store in Gloucester. We've chosen Sunday, August 19 so I'll be give you the details later in the summer.

Bleeding Darkness is getting some terrific reviews from readers on Goodreads as well as from Booklist and Publisher's Weekly. I'm mighty pleased that the series is striking a note with readers and thank everyone who took the time to post a review or to send a note to me privately with your thoughts.

Last night, I went to see the iconic Boz Scaggs at Jazz Fest and what a great show. I can't tell you how many times I played Silk Degrees on the turntable over the years and it was very cool to hear Boz sing several of the songs live. Such a smooth, one-of-a-kind voice with songs that truly hold up.

Also did some reading this week. I finished Truth by Peter Temple. He's an award-winning Australian writer and has a unique style that I quite admire. I'd previously read The Broken Shore, which won the 2007 Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award and which I was blown away by. I'm now rereading a Denise Mina book called Still Midnight. A different style but another marvellous crime writer. I highly recommend her work, especially the Paddy Meehan books. Some summer reading to put on your list!

So, we've turned the corner into summer and the first few days have been warm and sunny. Today promises to be rainy but the gardens will welcome a drink. I'm about to put on another pot of coffee as I start a slow easing into the day. I hope you also have a relaxing weekend with a good book on the go and time to savour the longest days of the year. This is a pic of my writing and reading nook - a great spot to while away the hours.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

TV, Radio and Bookshops ...

So that was some week! Two store signings and three television interviews, including an overnight trip to Kingston. The Global interview was in the CKWS Kingston studio yesterday morning and you can view the clip.

A few photos from the signing at Novel Idea - a lovely bookshop that you need to visit when you're next in Kingston.

With Kathy Prairie and her husband Bill - Kathy is a mystery/thriller author and we had a chance to catch up over dinner the night before.

The Hollywood in the Valley taping was downtown last Saturday with host Matt Demers. The episode will be on Bell Fibe tv On Demand but I'm not sure of timing. This was a light-hearted interview and we managed it in one take. I couldn't recall what I said until later talking to Ted when I remembered his name came up a few times .... lucky for me he has a good sense of humour. I'll let you know when the show airs once I get the word.

On set with Matt Demers aka Mr. Hollywood

And Tuesday, I was on the Power Lunch on radio 1310 News with host Mark Sutcliffe. The show was broadcast simultaneously on Cable 22 television. The other guest was Ottawa lawyer John MacDonell, who was Chief of Staff for Peter MacKay when he was Minister at Defense and Foreign Affairs. We were given five topics with multiple choice opinions in the morning about topics in the news that day. It was a fun experience and I enjoyed meeting Mark and John, both interesting, friendly men who made me feel welcome.

Nothing planned this week so I can get back writing. I have about 5000 words to pump out by the end of the month to stay on the schedule I've set for myself. I alternate between working at the computer in my office and taking my laptop outside onto the back deck. More often than not, I get the bulk of my writing done in the afternoon once I get the running around and social media stuff done.

I should also have time this week to get back in my garden. A shot of the poppies in all their glory!

Saturday, June 9, 2018

On the Horizon

A busy week ahead.

This morning I'll be at Coles Carlingwood from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for any Ottawa readers who are looking for a signed copy of Bleeding Darkness.

And the rest of the week:

Saturday June 9 - 2:30 filming an interview with Matt Demers for Bell Fibe tv Show
Hollywood in the Valley                                           
Tuesday June 12 - Guest on Radio 1310 News Power Lunch with Mark Sutcliffe from noon to 12:30
Friday June 15 - Guest on Kingston tv CKWS The Morning Show
Friday June 15 - 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. signing at Novel Idea bookshop, Kingston

The Sunday launch at The Cross on Elgin was terrific - lots of old friends and new friends came by to raise a glass and celebrate. Thank you to Katherine Hobbs for being MC, Green Floyd for entertaining us and Fred Taylor for snapping the photos below.