Saturday, October 26, 2013

Cleaning House

Snowing out west and grey, damp days in Ottawa - winter feels just around the corner. I've done some housekeeping tasks this week, trying to clear the decks for a stint of writing. I'm at 7,000 words in the third Stonechild and Rouleau manuscript and trying to frame the next chapter before writing it. I'm stalled as I contemplate how to move the plot forward, but am happy with the lead up.

The first in the series, Cold Mourning, has received a positive reception from bloggers who read the advance reading copy. The latest review comes from a woman in England, who subsequently contacted me to do a Q and A on her blog. I'll post when that comes out.

The third Anna Sweet manuscript came back a second time from the editor with minor changes. Pam Robertson has a keen eye for making certain that all of the events and facts make sense, right down to which side of the street a car would be parked on. I think I need Pam to visit my house and make some sense of it too :-) Anyhow, I got those changes done and returned the manuscript to her for another look. The cover should be the next bit of excitement for this book, which is called To Keep a Secret.

Pat Campbell, Grass Roots Press publisher, tells me that the two Anna Sweet mysteries are very popular already and selling well. Most encouraging.

Three events now set up:

November 19, Alan Cumyn and I will be speaking to adult learners at the adult high school downtown.

December 4, (time TBC) - Winnipeg Public Library - speaking to adult learners.

December 5 from 6-8 pm  -  book signing in McNally Robinson, Winnipeg.

The Winnipeg trip nicely coincides with The Roar of the Rings when my daughter's curling team (Rachel Homan) will be playing for a chance to go to the Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Lisa was on a YouTube show this week called Ask Me Anything. You can still watch the show to find out how the team is preparing for such a major challenge.

And I know you're wondering how the back deck is coming along, so I just stepped outside in the pouring rain to give you the following update: Roof on and deck down. Notice the lovely cedar inside the metal roof. Still need to build the back wall before winter sets in. Fingers crossed that the snow out west isn't planning on moving this way.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

A Busy Autumn

A late blog post today as I got called into work this morning. More writing of a different sort.

I received the edits for the third Anna Sweet mystery and started my review of the suggested changes last Sunday. I have a bit left to do and hope to get through the manuscript tomorrow. I also received a request for an event with Alan Cumyn to present our Grass Roots Press books to adult learners. Looks like I'll be introducing Anna Sweet one morning in November at an adult high school very close to my office. The books received a most encouraging review from Mystery Maven Canada on Friday.

My two publishers are also setting up some events in Winnipeg the first week of December - a signing at one of the bookstores and a library event, hopefully. More to follow.

I've been itching to get back working on my third Stonechild and Rouleau manuscript this week, but editing and work have kept me from the keyboard. I can't believe how time away makes me physically miss writing. I suppose this is a good thing. Once that longing is gone, the time and energy needed to write a book might seem too much. For now, the drive to write is healthy and not going anywhere.

I was worried about how Cold Mourning, the first in the Stonechild and Rouleau series would be received. Like most writers who work long hours on a manuscript, perspective gets lost. So far, I needn't have worried. The ARC has been reviewed by six bloggers and each has given it the thumbs up. One of the comments that brings joy to this old author's heart was: "I could not put this book down". Mission accomplished :-)

So, last Saturday, Ted and I escaped overnight to an exquisite B & B in Perth, Ontario to celebrate our 30th wedding anniversay. Perth Manor is a lovely old home, once owned by Perth's mayor and lovingly restored to its original splendor. We spent part of the day sipping wine in the back garden and then off for supper at the Stone Cellar. Just a lovely day in the Ottawa Valley.


Saturday, October 12, 2013

Happy Reader Faces to Brighten Your Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving weekend and it's looking gorgeous out there. We had our Thanksgiving dinner last Sunday because both our girls are curling this weekend, which in hindsight is rather brilliant - no work preparing a big meal this holiday. Three days to relax.

The Brittons signing last Saturday was a roaring success. We sold most of the Anna Sweet stock (60 books) and the other books of mine that Linda Wiken and Ted Britton had on hand.  I took some photos of some of the readers and here they are:

With Linda Wiken, who looks after the Mystery Book Shelf at Brittons


Thank you to everyone who dropped by - the afternoon was as fun as all the smiles on all these faces.
My other big news is that Dundurn took Cold Mourning to the Frankfurt Book Fair this week. The book was mentioned in a Quill and Quire article and the cover graced a poster in the Dundurn booth.


Saturday, October 5, 2013

The Good Fall

So, I caught the morning train to Toronto on Tuesday for an evening event at the Downsview Branch of the TPL. Dawn, my good buddy from university days, met me and we found our way to a patio downtown for lunch. Then, the subway to her place in North York and some relaxing time before we made it to the library before seven. The two librarians on the front desk had no idea about the event, so that was slightly disconcerting, but soon sorted. About thirty people were in the audience - adult learners, tutors, librarians and a couple more of my friends, Pat and Susan, who made the trek in from Mississauga. I have such great friends :-)

I read from My Sister's Keeper and then spent about forty minutes answering questions from the audience, everything from where I get my characters and ideas to how long it took to become published to my favourite authors. Lots of laughter and very relaxed time. I 'd like to thank Rachelle Gooden, Adult Literacy Services Specialist, for setting up such a lovely evening.

Today, I'm heading to Brittons in the Ottawa Glebe to sign copies of My Sister's Keeper and The Hard Fall. I already have several orders from people who can't make it and know some more friends will be stopping by. I'm thinking this could be fun, especially since Linda Wiken will be in the store. I'm not doing an Ottawa launch for these ones and am doing the signing to give friends and the public a chance to pick up the books. They've each gotten a five-star review on Goodreads! 

Here's a bit of one:

The second book in the Anna Sweet series is another great little mystery that is easily read in one sitting . . .  I found The Hard Fall to be slightly edgier than My Sister's Keeper. I enjoyed the quick build-up of suspense and interesting, complex characters. Brenda Chapman has created a very likable and clever heroine in Anna Sweet and it would be great to see her continue solving mysteries in future books.    
It will be a busy weekend ahead since we are celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow evening. I'm skipping my second coffee now to go buy some wine and ingredients for apple and pumpkin pies. Family, friends, books and good food . . . does life get any better than this?