Saturday, September 24, 2011

The First of Autumn

First day of fall yesterday coinciding with my completion of the first draft of my manuscript, 95,000 words in total. Now begins the task of editing - the cut, slash and rewrite part. Once I finish this, I'll rustle up a few readers to put their critical eyes to the story. It's easy to get too close to the material and miss errors of logic or sections that don't work. So it will still be a ways off before you find out if I had the heart to kill off Susan Halliday :-)

Kristy Wallace, reporter for Ottawa This Week did a nice job with an article she published about my writing. She'd read that I was one of the guest speakers at The People, Words and Change event and asked to interview me for her article on mystery-writing. A neighbour on my street, whom I've known for over 25 years came up to me after the paper was delivered and said, "I didn't know you wrote books." A prime example of why we have to keep doing this publicity schtick.

So next in the writing world, I'm helping to organize the Capital Crime Writers event on October 22nd at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library. This has already taken a bit of time and more will be needed as we get closer. I also have to prepare two workshops - one for kids on short story writing and the other for adults on keeping a plot going. Both workshops are slated for November.

This time of year, just like spring, I feel like starting something new and getting my life reorganized. It's time to put the garden to bed and haul out the warmer clothes; find my curling gear in the back of the closet and order the Thanksgiving turkey. It's wonderful to sleep under a pile of blankets with the windows open as the nights cool down. The leaves are beginning to turn colour and fall apples are at the Parkdale Market. A great season to be out and about or home reading a book with a roast in the oven.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The Power of Words

Bright and early Thursday morning, Katherine Hobbs and I drove to the Tom Brown Arena to attend the People, Words and Change's 2nd annual Power of Words breakfast. PWC is an adult literacy organization that has been around a long time - I taught evenings for them one year in fact in 1984!

I wouldn't be lying to say that it was a little daunting to speak in front of a full house that included fellow presenters Mayor Jim Watson, Brian Kilrea and Terry Marcotte as well as the Chief of Police and city counsellors Katherine Hobbs (not nervous about her :-) and Mathieu Fleury (whom I am pictured with here), sitting in the audience. My video guy Patrick Walton also came out and will be making another short video of the event so you will be able to see snippits of the morning. It was great fun!

The People Words and Change staff and volunteers are wonderful people and the morning really was about them and the students - several students got up to speak about how working with a tutor had changed their lives for the better. It's not an easy thing to go back to school as an adult and to face what can be a lifetime of school failure - courage is not always about the big heroic acts. Speaking of heroes, Moe Nattallah of the Newport restaurant cooked and donated the entire breakfast - how good is that?

So now I am working on publicity for the Capital Crime Writer and Ottawa Public Library mystery author event on October 22nd, another day that promises to be a lot of fun. I've got a news release almost ready to send off and will be sending out notices to blogs this weekend. My friend Darren McEwan set up a Twitter account for us under capcrimewriters so follow us if you are a 'tweeter' - you can also visit the new website at

Can you believe this weather? Another lovely looking day out there but I will stay inside and type the ending of my mauscript. I'm almost there. I've got to decide today whether to kill off a character whose life is currently hanging by a thread. I know what I would like to happen but am not sure she's going to be around much longer . . .

Power of Words Breakfast with Councillor Katherine Hobbs and Mayor Jim Watson

Power of Words Breakfast with CJOH Sports Director Terry Marcotte

Power of Words Breakfast with Brian Kilrea, retired coach of the Ottawa 67s

Saturday, September 3, 2011

September Heat

Just a quick bit of blogging today because my neighbour's pool is calling. It's a sweltering day for September and the all-day rain the weather forecasters promised has turned into blue skies and sunshine. Great for the last long weekend of summer.

This Thursday, I'm part of an exciting event - People, Words and Change, an adult literacy organization, is holding a breakfast and I'm one of three guest speakers, the others being Ottawa mayor Jim Watson and Brian Kilrea of Ottawa 67s fame. CJOH sports director Terry Marcotte is the MC - not bad company, aye? I talk for five minutes and have my notes prepared - exciting but also a wee bit nerve-wracking!

I got a call this week from the local paper Ottawa This Week. They asked for an interview and we set a time for Tuesday. I'll let you know when the article appears and hopefully, I can link to it.

Other than that, I spent an evening with other members of Capital Crime Writers working on the upcoming free, all-day mystery author event at the Ottawa Public Library on October 22nd - mark your calendars - free lunch and a chance to meet most of Ottawa's mystery authors. (Did I mention this is free?) We're planning for a fun day.

I'm onto the last two chapters of my manuscript and will be spending some time writing this afternoon . . . just as soon as I have that swim. The photo today is on our front deck taken just minutes ago. The geraniums are into their second bloom of the summer. I know that not all corners of the country have had the phenomenal weather we've had, but this is one stretch of time I'm awfully glad to be living in the Nation's Capital.