Saturday, April 30, 2011

April's End

I've had a great writing week. I've found lots of time to work on my manuscript and the words are flowing. This doesn't mean all the words will make the cut, but it's fun when the plot starts to move and the characters take over. It's true that characters can take a story places you didn't imagine. I currently have a woman character in a very dangerous situation and I'm waiting to see if she lives or dies. The suspense is killing me . . . or will kill her. We both should know by the end of the weekend.

The next big event on my agenda is a joint book launch with Barb Fradkin and Jeff Ross on Sunday afternoon, May 15th from 4:00-6:00 at the Brew Pub on Bank. We met with the owner to finalize the room and to order appetizers. We have the entire basement area - a bar and cozy pub space with room for lots. Barb and I both have Rapid Reads books for adults and Jeff has released his first young adult book - all published by Orca. I hope all of you can come raise a glass.

Well, it's been quite a week: Will and Kate tied the British knot, tornadoes raged across the Southern states, floods threatened towns in Manitoba, the wind reached 95 clicks Thursday afternoon in Ottawa, and the federal election campaign entered its final throes. April has been a turbulant month on many fronts. I am hoping for a more peaceful May for those in difficult times and an end to this horrific weather in so many parts of the world.

The one good thing about this cold Ottawa spring is the bumper crop of tulips in my garden. The first one bloomed yesterday and its buddies won't be far behind. My neighbours are starting to sit on their front porches again and kids are playing on the street. These are the little things that make life good.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hoppy Trails

A big week ahead - federal election campaign, Kate and William's wedding ceremony (and I won't be setting the alarm for 2 a.m.), the visit from that big white rabbit . . . AND four days off work. Four days to work on my latest manuscript. Life is all good.

I'm at that point in my story where I'm getting into the characters and the plot is starting to come together. The word count is inching up to 60,000. This is an adult murder mystery set in Ottawa and written in the third person. In some ways, writing in the third person is tougher than first, but I like experimenting - perhaps you already figured that out by the different projects I've tackled :-) I should have my first draft completed by summertime, but I've been doing a lot of editing as I go so fingers crossed that this manuscript won't need too much tinkering at the end.

Mike Levin interviewed fellow crime author Barbara Fradkin and me a few rainy Sundays ago in Bridgehead coffeeshop in Westboro Village. A photographer appeared part-way through our discussion on writing about murder and the supportive mystery-writing community that our city is famous for. Our actual nickname by our counterparts in Toronto is the Ottawa Mystery Mafia - maybe, I should invest in some dark sunglasses and a horse head. Anyhow, you can read Mike's article in this week's Kitchissippi Times.

I've heard from the publicity folks at Dundurn and have homework to do this weekend. Other than that, I'll be typing at my computer, raking the lawn (Ted will now hold me to this when he sees this in writing), eating out a few times (starting with the Mapelawn Keg tonight), cooking a big Monday night family Easter dinner and reading the latest Michael Connelly hardcover, The Fifth Witness. Aside from the lawn-raking bit, this is shaping up to be a pretty good long weekend - I wish you and yours a marvellous Easter too.

May the chocolate be with you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Winter Coat on Standby

It was great fun to be on two panels this week with my friends Chris Forrest and Tim Wynne-Jones. The first panel at a fundraiser for the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama took place Saturday night. It was a swank affair with wine tasting and tasty food to sample. Mary Jane Maffini and Barb Fradkin joined us to read from our work and discuss crime writing, a discussion led by Tim. He also interviewed me and Chris at the Ottawa Public Library on Tuesday evening. The Library recorded our readings and chat and will be posting on their site - it was a relaxed event, led by the fascinating and incredibly talented Tim, who has not one but two Governor General awards for his writing. Chris said afterward that he could have kept talking with Tim all evening and I have to agree. In the photo above, are Chris, Tim and me. I'll let you know when the audio tape is online. It's been feeling this week like spring is keeping a toehold on the winter side of the street. Today is overcast and rain is in the forecast for the entire weekend. My tulips are up but seem to have stalled. I think I hear them calling for a blanket when I step outside, but that could be just the wind whistling around my head, making me hear things. There are signs that winter is on the way out. For one, curling is over for me as of last Thursday. I'm ready to hang up my broom for the season and will now turn my attention to writing in the evenings. Ted has been talking golf swing, handicaps and early morning games so I'll also be spending those mornings working at my computer too. The changing of the seasons does get me reassessing my schedule and invigorates me to get into some new projects. Heck, I'm even thinking about getting on my stationary bike today . . . just thinking mind you. We saw the Lincoln Lawyer last night at the Kanata 24. It was good. I'd read the book a while ago and thought the movie caught the feel and nuances of the plot very well. A thumbs up. I'm currently reading Mary Jane Maffini's latest: The Busy Woman's Guide to Murder, which just got an excellent review in the Globe and Mail. Way to go my friend :-) Easter is a week away. I'll be ordering a stuffed pork roast from my favourite neighbourhood butcher Saslove's and baking lemon meringue pie on the day. My girls will be over for dinner and hopefully we'll be sitting outside enjoying the hot sunshine before our feast. The mercury has to climb past three at some point, doesn't it?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Week Ahead

I have a busy week ahead, beginning this evening with a fund-raiser at the Ottawa School of Speech and Drama. I'll be reading from In Winter's Grip and then taking part in a panel discussion with Chirs Forrest, Mary Jan Maffini and Barbara Fradkin and led by Tim Wynne-Jones. The evening also includes wine-tasting, hors d'oeuvres and dessert . . . all for a worthy cause. Sunday, I'm meeting with Barb Fradkin and Mike Levin at a local Bridgehead. Mike is interviewing us for an article he'll be submitting to the Kitchissippi Times. I also blogged for Type M for Murder and it will be posted on Sunday: Monday, my ladies team made the playoffs in the ladies' A division and we have a sudden-death game right after I finish work. If we win, we could also play Wednesday, and Thursday. (Yay team!) Tuesday evening, Chris Forrest and I will be reading and in conversation with Tim Wynne-Jones at the main branch of the Ottawa Public Library beginning at 7:00 p.m. I hope lots can make it out for what promises to be an interesting discussion about writing and the book industry. Wednesday, I could be curling still and then will need to rush downtown to the Library and Archives for the Capital Crime Writers meeting, where I am on a panel with Robin Harlick and Tom Curren to discuss researching a novel. This could be very tight. Thursday, is the ladies curling final and banquet. And then on Friday . . . I rest.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hair Today

It takes a village to make a successful photo shoot.

The thought of having my photo taken for book covers and publicity is not top of my bucket list; however, I have to say that my friends help to make it as painless as possible.

It started yesterday when I went to Bayshore to find a new blazer and possibly a new shade of lipstick. The salesgirls in Jacob and Mac (The Bay) were extremely helpful - I came away with a jacket a size smaller than I would have picked (it fit, but I always picture myself as a bigger size than I am) and a little bag of makeup, suitable for having one's portrait done. This morning, bright and early, my lovely hairdresser Barb Hutchings fixed my hair and applied the make up and wouldn't take a cent for her labours. Then, it was off to Christine Tripp's studio in the Glebe for an hour of 'lift your head' and 'give us a smile'. Christine is on the left above with her two photographer apprentices Jill and Matt. Seriously, they were great fun, professional and had me relaxed in no time. So now, we just have to wait for the proofs, likely in a week or so. Hopefully, they'll be enough variety to keep me going for a few years.

Well, a few events coming up with my pals Chris Forrest and Tim Wynne-Jones. The one open to the public is at the Ottawa Public Library, main branch on Metcalfe Street from 7-9 on Tuesday, April 12th. Chris and I are doing short readings and then will settle in to a chat led by Tim about writing and whatever takes our fancy. There will be time for Q's and A's from the audience. I hope you can come by - free and open to all.

Okay, well now that I'm all dolled up, it's time to head out for lunch with a friend. Best to take advantage of a good hair day :-)