I stepped outside at my usual 7:15 a.m. to walk to the transitway where I catch the bus to work - and partway down the first street, I smelled something burning. It was a whiff of what seemed to be burning garbage. I stopped and searched for smoke in case someone's shed or house had caught on fire, but I saw nothing. When I went out for a lunchtime walk, the air was thicker and the smell of burning filled my nose and throat. News reports said the wind had shifted and brought smoke from forest fires burning in Quebec across the Ottawa Valley. We just had a taste of how horrible it must be for communities close to the blaze. Let's all start wishing for a steady all day rain across Northern Quebec and Ontario.
I arrived home from Bloody Words in Toronto late Sunday afternoon. It was fun to meet up with friends I haven't seen in a while and to meet new ones. The Friday night panel on bad girls in crime fiction was a hoot - good crowd and lots of laughter. Therese Greenwood, a Kingston short story writer, is an adept moderator, and she kept the questions coming. We had varied backgrounds - Pat Capponi (Toronto) writes about poverty and mental illness in her mysteries and she is herself an activist fighting for systemic change in how we look after marginalized people. Mary Jane Maffini (Ottawa) has three mystery series underway, all featuring comedy and strong female protagonists. Jill Edmondson (Toronto) is a professor at George Brown College, and her main character works for a phone sex line when she's not detecting. All interesting people with great senses of humour.
I've posted photos on my fan page (link at www.brendachapman.ca) if you want to see the panel in question.
There were two cocktail parties, one foolishly before our panel, perhaps explaining some of the laughter, and one before the banquet on Saturday night. All in all, we were well fed and watered and it was an enjoyable few days away. Still, nice to get back home.
Next on the social agenda is Capital Crime Writers' wind-up pub night at the Brewmasters Pub.
Cocktail parties, pub nights, nights at the Hilton - this writing life isn't too hard to take at all!