Friday, February 18, 2011

Changes on the Horizon

Another busy week with big news from my publisher Sylvia McConnell of RendezVous Crime/Napoleon Publishing. They have decided to merge with Dundurn also in Toronto. Dundurn is a well respected, medium-sized publishing house, somewhat larger than RendezVous. Both Sylvia and Allister will continue working for Dundurn, which is good news all around. I'm not sure what this means for the future, but Sylvia assures us that all book slated for 2011 publication will proceed as planned. So, Second Chances will be released under the Dundurn imprint - a new and exciting venture!
I had coffee and a chat with Tim Wynne-Jones last weekend in one of the many Bridgeheads popping up in Westboro. We'd never spoken before except exchanging a few e-mails, so it was good to sit down with such an accomplished author and share stories. We also met so that I could pass him a copy of Second Chances manuscript as he agreed to read it and possibly give a quote for the cover. Anyhow, the most reassuring thing he said was that even with all his success, he's had manuscripts that he could not place with a publisher. Not many, mind you, as he has released about 40 books, both YA and adult. He also reinforced my belief in writing about what interests you, experimenting and not trying to write to trends. He also told me that he and his wife are taking a year to live their dream of a walking tour in England next year - gets one thinking that you can escape from your regular life for a while to pursue dreams.
Speaking of which, the Scotties Tournament of Hearts starts in Charlottetown on Saturday. My daughter Lisa and her team are already there, preparing to meet Nova Scotia at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. We're making the trek with cow bells at the ready. It promises to be a most exciting time. You can follow along on TSN or check out the website at
This week, I've been reading Awesome Author entries and am almost through two of the three age categories. The kids' writing has been uniformly good so it's been a pleasure to read their stories. I have quite a tight deadline since the awards night is in March. Luckily, I've gotten an early jump.
So, lots going on and lots coming up. I see lobster, clams and a salty breeze on my immediate horizon. All good.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Go Team Ontario!

In summer 2004, Ted, Julia and I visited PEI for the first time and searched out the Charlottetown Curling Club, the home of Suzanne Gaudet, a star curler just out of juniors who'd done well at the Scotties. I rmember that the door was unlocked and we went inside to wander around the empty club. We never imagined that we'd be back to Charlottetown to watch one of our daughters representing Ontario in the Scotties, but that is just what is about to happen - Lisa is preparing with the rest of the Rachel Homan rink to fly to Charlottetown at the end of this week to compete against the top ladies' teams in the country. You can cheer them on by watching the games on TSN all week.

My writing this week has been on hold, but that doesn't mean that lots hasn't been going on publicity-wise. My revamped website launched last week and I've already managed to update the news section with a couple of items - an interview on Open Book Toronto and a podcast for PBS that has appeared on YouTube. I made this last interview while at the Magna Cum Murder mystery conference in Muncie Indiana in the fall. I was also interviewed at work for the national Department of Justice magazine, which I believe comes out in April, and had another interview by phone with the Chronicle-Journal in Thunder Bay on Thursday. The article is scheduled to come out early next week. The Chronicle-Journal is also reviewing In Winter's Grip and that will be out in another issue.

Once again, this year, I'm the short story judge for the Ottawa Public Library's Awesome Authors contest for 12-17 year olds. The package of stories arrived by courrier on Wednesday - this year, 150 stories for me to go through. I'm looking forward to some good reading in the next few weeks. I'll be handing out the awards at a ceremony at Ben Franklin place mid-March along with the other two judges.

Other events are lining up for the spring. Barb Fradkin, Jeff Ross and I are planning a joint book launch in May at a pub - my kind of launch - we all have books being released by Orca so decided to hold one big party. More on this soon. Chris Forrest and have also been approached by the downtown library to present our latest books one evening in April. We're planning a fun evening of readings and chat. Again, details will follow.

Well, this afternoon, I'm meeting a new friend for coffee - Tim Wynne-Jones, one of our top writers for kids and young adults. Tim is going to read my manuscript Second Chances with a view to giving a cover blurb. I'm thrilled that he is reading my work. My editor Allister and I made a quick first edit of the manuscript last week so that we'd have a somewhat decent copy for Tim to read. I think if you were a teenager in the 70s, you'll enjoy the story. It was nostalgic doing the research, that's for sure. All the old music is on YouTube . . . a little Smoke on the Water anyone?

Friday, February 4, 2011

New Website Up and Running!

This is a special day for a couple of reasons.

My new website was launched in the wee hours of the morning by Jared Polowick of Foxhound Studio and you can now view his handiwork at The reason for the revamp was so that I can update the site myself - in future, any errors will be mine alone :-) Anyhow, I'm interested in your feedback although I have to say, everyone so far has heaped praise.

The site also has the first-time ever viewing of the book cover for Second Chances, the young adult novel due out this fall. There is also a description of the plot that will appear on the back cover and online book sites.

Finally, if you look under reviews for In Winter's Grip on the new website, you'll find a recent review by Don Graves of the Hamilton Spectator. Don Graves and Margaret Cannon of the Globe and Mail are two of the most revered mystery reviewers for mystery authors, so I'm feeling a little plumped up.

An editing weekend lies ahead, and I'm oddly looking forward to it. Second Chances arrived with the first round of changes from my editor Allister Thompson, and I'm aiming to have it back to him by Sunday evening. As I glance through it, the chances are relatively minor so the goal should be doable.

Other reasons today is special?
Well, It was light when I left the house this morning at 7:15 and blue sky is still visible as the clock heads to 5:00 p.m. The dark days of winter are lifting. Spring can't be far off, and that's a reason to celebrate in my corner of the world.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Sweeping the Province

A lot has gone on since my last chat. You probably noted the new look of my blog - it goes hand in hand with the look of my new website, which will be online later this week. Time, technology and fashion stand still for no one.
The reason I've been somewhat absent from the keyboard has to do with the sport of curling. Last weekend, Ted and my youngest daughter Julia and I were in a city-wide mixed bonspiel. It was seven games in four days that saw us 'B' side runners-up. But this little success was nothing compared to that of our daughter Lisa who curled in the Ontario provincials in Thornhill all last week with the Rachel Homan squad. They emerged victorious and will represent our province at the Scotties in Charlottetown the week of February 19th - we spent five days watching the tournament unfold and these girls made their families and friends very proud. (Our neighbours too, as they toilet-papered our house and hooked out lights to spell out Scotties on our front lawn before we came home.) We can't wait to see the team pitted against the top ladies curlers in the country. You can follow along on TSN! (If they win, I don't know what shenanigans the neighbours will get up to.)
Now back to earth.
I finished my sequel to The Second Wife and am waiting for feedback from the publisher. I'm taking a little break before getting back to a manuscript I started last year. The break won't be too long though as I have to review the first round of edits for my fall release Second Chances. The cover is done and maybe I'll be able to show it to you next week.
In Winter's Grip got a very good review by Don Graves in the Hamilton Spectator, but just in the print version. You'll be able to read it when my new website goes online. So many teasers in this blog post. Did I also tell you that you can read the first chapter of The Second Wife on Orca's website? Check out (Click on the green icon that puts it into full screen mode.
One more bit of promo - a podcast interview from the fall of me discussing the Jennifer Bannon mysteries can be found at
Well, it's time to catch up on e-mails, sleep and all that's been left unattended to. I'll be back to blogging next weekend at the regular time. Until then, I'll be steering clear of curling rinks . . . at least for a day or two.