Monday, May 31, 2010

Hazy Monday.

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 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!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Just back from my visit to Mrs. Webster's Grade Six class at Leslie Park School. It's a little school, one story smack in the middle of a residential area, with about 130 kids. My group of 30 grade sixers was an enthusiastic lot with questions about the writing process and inspiration. My neighbour Carol is principal and she took me on a tour after the class, which was the last one of the day. The best thing was when three boys stayed behind to ask for my autograph - (I hope those weren't blank cheques they placed in front of me.)

I arrived home to a Winter's Grip manuscript in my in box from Allister, editor for RendezVous Crime. They've gone through it once and have some suggestions for me to wade through this weekend. Not too many though so it won't take all my time. I might have time for some writing if I can keep myself inside.

We're looking at a hot, sunny weekend and up to 35 or so by Tuesday. May has turned into July! I want to get to the plant store tomorrow and into the garden. May 24th weekend. This is when I'm all gung ho about gardening. The feeling wears off by end of June and then it's every plant for itself.

Next Friday, I'll be heading to Toronto with three girlfriends to take in Bloody Words mystery writing and fan conference. I'm on Friday night panel that has a bad girls' theme. I'm pretty sure they mean our characters and not us personally, but I can come up with some stories if pressed:-) Rachel Sentes even put out a news release that you can find on my website under media. The title makes me laugh.

Well, off to find some shade. Happy long weekend everyone.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The weeks sure go fast.

But this is my favourite time. Friday, home from work, with a weekend ahead.

My daughter Lisa's article was in the Wednesday Globe and Mail. A lot of people have told me how much they like the story - I think it is a terrific bit of writing, but I'll let you be the judge. (The link won't copy here so I'll try to attach when I post this in Facebook.) Lisa, I'm proud of you kid.

I wrote a bit but probably read more this week. For those of you looking for a good read, Harlan Coben is an American thriller writer and one of the best, in my humble opinion. He spins good suspense with likable protagonists. I just finished reading Long Lost, published March 2010 - hot off the press, as they say. Anyhow, Harlan is the reason I didn't write as much as I should have this week. I have to say that I'd never heard of him before I went to Bouchercon (mystery writers' conference) in Baltimore two years ago. He was on a panel and an engaging speaker with one of those fine senses of humour. I've since read a few of his books and enjoyed them. If our paths ever cross again, I think he owes me a beer for this fine review of his work :-)

Well, almost time to wander down to the local pub with my husband for a bite to eat served up by out youngest daughter. Since she moved out last summer, we look forward to seeing her at her place of work . . . and it doesn't hurt that she's now waiting on us. Sometimes, life has these full-circle moments.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Well, I was thinking this was going to be a boring week for the blog, and then, Thursday happened! It opened with my daughter Lisa telling me her article that she submitted to the Globe and Mail Facts and Arguments page will be printed this coming Wednesday. Be sure to check it out!

Next, I get word from the fabulous author, Mary Jane Maffini that she is keen to go on a roadtrip with me to Muncie, Indiana at the end of October to a writers' conference.

I'm pumped.

I'm thinking Thelma and Louise. . . well shorter, better dressed versions of Thelma and Louise . . . with credit cards and nice shoes.

Then, (this is deeper into Thursday morning), I received an e-mail from my publisher at Napoleon that they would like to publish a stand-alone young adult book I submitted a few months ago. It is tentatively called After Annie and set in the Vietnam era. So, you can imagine, that had me smiling. No date of release yet, but possibly in 2011. The story will have you reliving the seventies (or what you can remember of them:-) and remembering what it was like to be sixteen.

The day was capped off with an e-mail from the children's book manager at Chapters Pinecrest to do a book signing in July.

All in all, a pretty good day.

My latest manuscript is coming along. I'm at 40,000 words with rain in the forecast. That'll keep me out of the garden and at the keyboard.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I think my blog is working . . . I got feedback today!

My daughter called me at work. "Mom, I'm reading your blog right now, and ewww."

It takes me a split second. "Are you referring to the last entry?"

"I am, and my friend has it open on his computer too. How could you? You're a . . . you're my mother!"

"Well, I used the word 'racy' to make the writing sound exciting. Maybe the passage I wrote wasn't exactly racy. More like integral to the plot. Don't forget, I have to make this blog interesting. I'm building a fan base."

"I don't know if you're qualified to talk about such things."

"You mean . . . ?"

"Yeah, s . . .e . . .x. It makes me wonder just what is going on inside your head."

"Uh, I wonder sometimes too, but trust me, I know a bit about this subject."

"Eww! Double eww!"


I think I'm onto something. A few more weeks of creative spin and this puppy could go viral.