Saturday, March 30, 2013

Out Like A Lion

The new cover arrived this week from Dundurn! Looks like a keeper. The novel is set just before Christmas in Ottawa so a frosty time in the nation's capital that's been well captured. Cold Mourning is due for release March 1, 2014:

I've been plugging away on its sequel and am rounding the corner to the ending, now at 71,000 words and aiming for the vicinity of 80,000 words. I had trouble sleeping on Thursday night, working out the plot details in my mind, mainly because the story took a turn that I didn't see coming. Once I finish this draft, I'm going to set it aside for a bit while I work on the sequel to My Sister's Keeper for Grass Roots Press. Looks like I have my work cut out for me through the summer!

I had a great time at the Awesome Authors awards evening where I announced the English short story winners and honourable mentions on Tuesday evening. The auditorium at Ben Franklin Place in Centrepointe was packed to the rafters with people standing and sitting on the floor. There were lots of excited kids and their families reflecting the record number of poetry and short story entries in both English and French. I read over 250 entries, which was about 100 more than last year. Shout out to Jessica Roy from the Ottawa Public Library who organized the contest and MC'd the ceremony. She sent me a couple of photos taken by their official photographer.

I'm sitting between fellow judges Michel Lavoie and J.C. Sulzenko. To JC's left is OPL Board Trustee AndrĂ© Bergeron, Board Trustee, Jim Bennett and City Councillor Keith Egli, who helped with handing out the prizes.

Michel Lavoie, JC Sulzenko et moi after the ceremony.
I'm most happy to have four days off this weekend to work on my manuscript and am making good use of the time. Today, however, I have an Easter dinner for eight to prepare and will be heading out to the shops after another cup of coffee. Ted is going to spearhead the cooking of a ham on the BBQ, something we've never attempted. The biggest challenge will be digging out the BBQ from the pile of snow in the backyard.

I hope you also have a wonderful weekend and the bunny hops by with some chocolate eggs.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

A Good Good Day

I have nervous typing fingers today as my daughter Lisa's ladies curling team under Rachel Homan's skipship takes on Scotland's Eve Muirhead in the 2/3 game in an hour in the world championships. The Homan team played a solid game this morning, and I'm confident they can go all the way to gold. Still, nervous times for all the parents :-) Very proud times too.

Tuesday, I braved the late-season snowstorm to cross the bridge into Quebec to speak with Mr. Cooper's creative writing class at Darcy McGee High School. What a nice group of kids, who asked lots of good questions - the hour rather flew by. This is the second year that they publish a literary magazine and Tuesday was also the day they posed for photos for their publication, a few of the guys even dressing in costume. They gave me a copy of last year's magazine as a parting gift, and I look forward to reading it soon.

Yesterday, I arrived home to an e-mail from Allister Thompson with the cover jpeg for Cold Mourning and it's a keeper! I'm not sure yet if I can share or what the marketing strategy is so I will hold off. You'll just have to tune back in, hopefully in a day or two. I'll be posting on my Facebook page.

I'm also working with my website guy Jared to revamp the main page of the site to make the news more accessible. If you have suggestions, send along an e-mail to me through the site. We'll need the weekend to get it into shape, especially since I'm a bit preoccupied with this curling business :-)

Speaking of which, I'd better get in my pre-game pacing.

Go Canda Go!!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

World Class

A few things to report in my wrtiting world.

I'm managed to get in some writing hours on my latest manuscript and will put in more time this weekend. I also finished judging the Awesome Authors contest and sent in my list of winners to the Ottawa Public Library organizer. The awards evening is two weeks from now and I'll be there to call out the winners for the English short stories - always an exciting evening for the young authors.

I'm heading into Quebec to Symmes-D'Arcy McGee High School on Tuesday to visit Mr. Cooper's writing class to discuss  . . . what else, writing and the publishing world. I'm looking forward to meeting the class, which publishes a literary magazine every year, so I know they're keen on creative writing.

I also confirmed with Dundurn that Cold Mourning will be released March 1, 2014 and so I booked into Left Coast Crime in Monterey California next spring. Some of the Ladies Killing Circle are going as is my friend Jan Bowick so there will be lots of company en route. This conference is held in a different American town or city somewhere along the Pacific Coast every year at the same time. If you have a look at the resort we're staying at in Monterey by the sea, you might just think about booking too:-) Look out your window at the snow and think about palm trees, heat and surf . . . . I'm planning to go to Bloody Words mystery conference in Toronto and another in the northeastern U.S. called Malice Domestic next year as well. I'll just keep a packed suitcase under my bed.

Finally, in my writing world, I went to hear Staff Sergeant Lynn Turnbull speak about crisis negotiations and tactical interventions on Wednesday evening at Capital Crime Writers. Lynn is a negotiator with the Ottawa Police with many years of experience and many case studies to share. She held us spellbound and gave us a lot of useful information - all I can say is that if I ever have an 'incident', I'd like Sergeant Turnbull to talk me down.

And now, the exciting part of my blog this week: Ladies Curling Worlds start today in Latvia! The first Canadian game is being broadcast at 1:00 pm EDT on TSN. The girls had an adventurous trip over, getting stuck in the Frankfurt Airport for about 30 hours because of a freak snowstorm that hit Europe and caused the cancellation of all flights for the day and night. Luckily, all their equipment and luggage made it to Riga with them when they finally got on a flight, and they've had three nights to recooperate.

And today, the curling begins!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

March . . . ing On

For those of you who missed the Facebook posting of my new book from Grass Roots Press, to be released this September here it is:

Kudos to the designer Lara Minja. This is the first in a series of quick-read mysteries along the lines of Rapid Reads and The Second Wife. I set the series in Ottawa and readers from here will recognize sections of the city, including Westboro and Manotick. The premise is that Anna Sweet, a retired cop in her late twenties, is working in seedy bars as she makes her way across the U.S., avoiding responsiblity and trying to forget some serious crap. She gets a call late one night that her sister Cheri has been in a car accident back in Ottawa. Cheri believes someone is out to kill her. Part of the serious crap is that Cheri slept with Anna's fiance so Anna is conflicted about rushing home to 'save' her. But the sister bond wins out. Anna returns home reluctantly and is immediately drawn into the mystery. I'm pumped about this series and can't wait for you to read My Sister's Keeper.

Well, I've finished reading all 250 short story entries for the Awesome Authors contest and I've completed judging two of the age categories with one to go. I'll have that done by the end of the weekend. I just love reading each story because I know what it takes to put your work out there to be judged and these kids have worked hard to produce a good story . . . and some of them are excellent.

I've managed to get some writing in and will be putting in more time as my curling season winds down and golf season starts (I don't golf, but Ted does so I write all morning when he's on the links :-) I've also gotten used to writing on my laptop and can see myself on the front deck, enjoying the summer day and typing away. Ahhh summer. Sun, heat, no snow.

I'm meeting up with my good friend Alex Brett tomorrow as she passes me her newly completed manuscript for a read and feedback. I'm excited because Alex is such a good writer and she's worked a long time on this manuscript. Can't wait to read it! I also have Cold Mourning (Dundurn spring 2014) with C.B. Forrest, who is reading it with a view to giving a cover quote.

We had a family dinner last night at Agave Grill to celebrate our daughter Lisa Weagle's Scotties win. Tonight is a big send-off party at the Ottawa Curling Club with the public invited - begins at 7:30. The team leaves for Latvia on Monday to play in the worlds. The first game is televised on TSN at 1 pm Eastern time next Saturday, March 16. The girls are chomping to get back on the ice and compete for Canada.  We're just so proud of all they've accomplished and wish them good curling all next week! This is a photo of a banner that Lisa's work colleagues made for her:


Saturday, March 2, 2013


So, Team Homan won the national Scotties Tournament of Hearts last Sunday in Kingston! What a stunning performance against Jennifer Jones, a very worthy opponent. Both teams put on a show of curling ability and superior strategy, but the Homan team came out on top. To crown off the night, my daughter Lisa won the most valuable player trophy from TSN.

Team Homan walking up the ice to receive their Scotties trophy after winning the final game.

 A wave to the crowd from my daughter Lisa.

I was bringing good karma with the Scotties trophy earlier in the week.
The team: Coach Earl Morris, Emma Miskew, Rachel Homan, Lisa Weagle, Alison Kreviazuk and Stephanie LeDrew
I see a parallel between this team's success and writing . . . both take a lot of work, practice and dedication without any assurance of the final outcome. The leap of faith that success will arrive some day and the willingness to accept rejection or defeat along the way are intrinsic to both sport and writing. Without this struggle though, the victories wouldn't be as sweet or as valuable.
Well, I read through all 200 of the electronic entries to the Awesome Authors contest and another package of hard copy entries arrived by post yesterday. There look to be about 50 more, which I plan to have read by the end of the weekend. Then, time to determine order of finish from my shortlists.
I'll also be back working on my manuscript. Allister Thompson, senior editor at Dundurn, gave this story its first pitch to the editorial board and feedback is good. I'm most eager to get back at it . . . the finish is on the horizon and so much fun to write.
I also discovered that Cold Mourning is up on Amazon already although not due out until March 2014 - no cover yet, but the synopsis is posted. You can even pre-order!
Lots going on as we turn the corner into warmer temperatures and melting snow. So much to be thankful for and so much to celebrate.
Go Team Canada!