Friday, June 25, 2010

Shaken, Not Stirred

So, the earth shook two days ago while I was in my fourth floor office, a point five on the Reichter scale. It was enough to have the floor and walls move and was about as surreal a feeling as one can expect mid-afternoon on a typical work day. My first thought was earthquake, but as it built in intensity, I thought the building might be going down. It was ten seconds of disbelief and some fear. I met co-workers in the hallway and everyone was confused about what to do - we had a huddle and talked over options. We were calm but definitely worried. In the end, we evacuated like everybody else. Our fear was an aftershock or damage to the building's structure. In the end, we found out that our building is a solid structure that should withstand even stronger quakes. I've got to say though, the floor shifting under my feet gave me pause.

I've been invited to my first writers' festival! The bookstore owner of Solstice Books in Wakefield, Quebec has invited me to be part of Wakefest - the website is not up yet, but it looks like four days of fun and local artists at the end of August. I'll be there on Saturday, August 28th to teach a writing workshop to kids in the morning with an author event in the store in the afternoon. The day culminates with a local performer who has reached 'international fame' at the Black Sheep Inn that evening. It would be great to get a crowd out for supper and music - I'm just planting a bug in your ears . . .

I also was interviewed by a L.A. magazine called Eerie Digest with the article coming out August 1st. This was set up by Rachel (publicist) in advance of In Winter's Grip. I'll give the link once it is released. The editor was super to deal with.

Writing went slowly this week. I wrote my character into a bit of a boring corner and am trying to change direction in my mind before sitting down again. I'm also about to start holidays and will be disciplined - at least 1,000 words a day is my target. I might have to buy some super glue to keep my butt in the chair.

Our front steps are progressing as fast as my manuscript. I'm posting weekly photos of the progress on my fan page. I'm not telling my husband, so keep the secret :-)

Saturday, June 19, 2010

June Heat

The heat has settled over Ottawa like a warm blanket . . . and it's not a dry heat. Ottawa summers can be so humid, you're left with curly hair and the need to stay inside with the air conditioning cranked up. In 2001, we were renovating our house and had the air conditioning disconnected. It happened to be one of the hottest summers ever. We would go into our neighbour's pool before bed and just float there for an hour or so trying to get cool. I'd go to bed with an ice pack between my legs and would wake up an hour later with the ice pack warm and no use whatsoever.

Lee Child. An American author I met at Bouchercon two years ago in Baltimore. He's a tall, quiet man who writes the Jack Reacher series - I'm currently reading Gone Tomorrow, which starts with Jack trying to prevent a woman from committing suicide on a subway train. Jack is an ex-major in the U.S. army who's given up on living a conventional life - he travels around the U.S. without any possessions, plans or family - he always ends up in a heap of trouble and always with a new woman who ends up alone but better for having known him. Good escapist reading if you're looking for a new author to read.

My latest manuscript is coming along. I'm about half way through the first draft and still not sure if it is all hanging together. My plan is to keep on until the end and then reshape and edit. Summer holidays are coming soon and I'll have more time to write in my deliciously cool air conditioned office. Happily, this year, the renovations are going on outside. Our front steps are now a heap of rubble and the deck has been hauled away in pieces. We should have a completely new deck . . . well, before the snow falls. My husband is doing all the work himself and he tends to take a long time on projects. He's a perfectionist who also likes to go golfing . . . and in the big scheme of life, who really needs a front door anyhow?

Saturday, June 12, 2010

And the rains came. It's a soppy day to run errands, but I'll soon be forced outside. Today is a luncheon for some children's authors and illustrators in Ottawa at a friend's home not far from mine. I've been invited before but never able to attend because the get togethers were mid-week when I was working. Anyhow, I have to get to the store and get some ingredients for my donation to the potluck. I'm thinking something simple with smoked salmon.

Media kits. Rachel (publicist) sent me proofs yesterday for a little kit to send out to bookstores and reviewers - it's attractive with a wintery grey background on each page. Marketing is such a big part of this writer business. I'm glad to have a professional helping me. Latest word is that In Winter's Grip will be out end of September. I'm planning a joint launch with Barbara Fradkin, author of the Inspector Green series set in Ottawa. We're looking at November 9th at the Library and Archives, but the date is to be confirmed. Barb's book is out after mine and we needed to allow a bit of time.

Monday, I'll be hiking it out to Cumberland with J.C. Sulenko (poet and picture book author) to receive an award for volunteer work from the Ottawa Public Library. I'll post a pic or two on Facebook as Katherine is coming to take some for the Capital Crime Writers' newsletter.

This is a special day - my good friend Carol's daughter Karly is getting married this evening and we will be at the church and cocktail party that follows. We spent a lot of time visiting when they lived six doors down - from the time Karly was three years old. I'm sure I don't need to tell anyone about the swift passage of time :-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

So much to do and so little time.

My weekend ahead has a number of things I need to accomplish: update my website, send a book off to a reviewer for a podcast in September, write to our foster child in Bolivia, update my expenses for my tax return next year, get groceries, work on a manuscript . . . and read The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest (because my friend Ken is waiting to read it on his holiday in a weeks' time).

Hornets' Nest is an interesting read - I'm just over half way through. It's less action than the previous two books by Larsson in this series, and the plot intertwines and folds back on itself with lots of political shenanigans. Steig Larsson died before any of the trilogy was published - I wonder if he imagined the universal success these books would have - I doubt it.

I met with a New York agent at Bloody Words. The idea is to pitch a book and hope they will ask to see it. I wasn't really prepared but had signed up weeks ago and figured it was a chance to get an agent's take on my work. She said that they are just looking for the next blockbuster and middle-list mysteries were dead. Books need 'a hook' to reel in readers. What do you think? Do you like formula-type blockbusters or do you prefer something more subtle?