Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Rambling Saturday Morning

I've been thinking about fame and privacy this week. Perhaps it was the sight of the new Royal heir George and all the hoopla aroung his birth. I'm conflicted knowing what is ahead for him. I'm very happy that I am not in his shoes or Kate's. A trick of birth really.

By the number of reality shows and the Youtube videos of bizarre shenanigans, you'd think everyone's goal in life is to be famous, whether with something worthwhile to offer or no. Do those who will do anything for a viral video believe it will validate their existence? Make them worthy people? It's painful to watch the lengths some will go to in order to hang onto fame once achieved. I'd warrent the attempts have destroyed a lot of people.

I used to like watching movies where I had no idea what the actors were up to in real life.
We know way too much about Tom Cruise.

Anyhow, just a litle Saturday morning pondering.

I've been up early. Started the day drinking coffee with Ted, then out to water the garden. Onto a bit of reading - I've discovered an excellent British author named Susan Hill who has created Detective Simon Serrailler. The book I picked up is The Shadows in the Street. Wow, what fabulous writing: effortless, suspenseful, intriguing characters. She breaks the pattern of starting with a murder but builds to the first, followed quickly by a second. I'm going to search out more in this series.

The Kobo I got for Christmas froze up a few weeks ago and I'm back to buying real hold-in-your-hands books. Nothing can compare, really. I missed the sound of the pages turning and the print on page. (I promise to never leave you again.)

I've started writing again after  a little break. I'm working on the next Anna Sweet mystery, due at the publisher's in November. I'm doing more plotting for these ones, and am finding the balance that works for me. I've been reading Elizabeth George's book Write Away, which gives a lot of insight into her writing process. She does extensive research and plotting before she starts writing. Her books are set in England although she lives in California. Many of her experiences and feelings mirror my own, such as reading and rereading Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. Man, I loved that book as a kid and still do. I'm also a big George fan. I bought Write Away at Bouchercon in Cleveland and stood in line for a while to get her autograph, but gave up after a bit. Back in my hotel room, I discovered that she'd already signed it. Still, would have been nice to meet her if not for the afternoon spent standing in line.

Let me end this rambling blog this morning with an update on Ted's backyard project. The heat over the past few weeks has kept him from making any progress, but he's just headed out to rent a jackhammer. All of our neighbours are in for a treat as he pounds up the old concrete. I know I can hardly wait :-) Advil is at the ready. Aren't you happy that you don't live next door today?

(Destruction photos next week.)

Well, time is a-wasting. All set to get this gorgeous sunny day underway.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Introducing The Hard Fall

Ta da! The new cover for the second in the Anna Sweet mystery series from Grass Roots Press.


I think designer Lara Minja has done a great job with a quite striking image. She also sent me some pretty sweet feedback, which I'm hoping she won"t mind I cut and paste here: 

I am loving your Anna Sweet series. You describe the characters so
well, they seem like real people. Great mysteries too.

If you haven't guessed, I'm trying to whet your whistle, as they say :-)

The manuscript came back one last time for this one earlier in the week. I gave it one last read through. I'm beginning to realize that the odd word gets dropped when the manuscript is being formatted into its final book form. That's why I'm always surprised to see these little errors in my published books that wasn't there on my last read through. Hopefully, we've caught them all this time.

The contract for my second Dundurn book also arrived this week so I'm going through that. It is the sequel to Cold Mourning and already written and submitted. The working title for this one is Butterfly Kills. I moved my cops from Ottawa to Kingston, Ontario for book two. There is lots of room for suspense and murder in this little city peppered with prisons and a large university population. Wa ha ha.

So, my next project will be the third Anna Sweet book, which is due in November. Then, I'll be starting on the third Stonechild and Rouleau mystery for Dundurn. It's kind of fun to have two series on the go - keeps the old mind nimble.

I have a fun morning ahead. My daughter Lisa is getting married next July and we are heading out wedding dress shopping in an hour. And tonight, a little engagement dinner with the two families back here. A little prime rib on the BBQ followed by homemade strawberry shortcake and whipped cream . . . taking time to celebrate all our blessings.

Blue Jays and golf on the teli; beer and wine in the cooler. Hope you are managing to while away this July weekend in fine style as are we.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

July Interlude

This has been a quiet week on the writing front. I tidied up a few loose ends with Dundurn editor Jennifer McNight on the Cold Mourning manuscript, which is now off to final design and print. The ARCs or advance reading copies will go to reviewers six months ahead of publication in spring 2014.

I've cleaned my office as I get ready to start a new project. I must have shredded half a forest.

I've also dog sat for my daughter Julia this week. George is kind of a cutey so thought I'd post a pic.

And Ted continues with the backyard reno. The fence is up but still needs finishing details. The early morning shadows make for good working conditions. Later in the day, the full heat of the sun will make this a sweat box.

So, nearly half-way through July and the hot, humid weather took a two-day reprieve. It's making a return today if you believe the Weather Network. It'll be a good week to get going on a new writing project, in the air conditioning with a bottle of something cold at my elbow.

I love summer.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Rendez-Vous in Montreal

A wind-swept shot of me in front of the brand spanking new Du Boise Library in Saint-Laurent Montreal. In fact, today is the opening day of this two-year project! I was invited to talk about my books and do a reading in the adult section to a small crowd of mystery fans. It was about a thousand degrees in the shade, so the gust of wind was most welcome.

(I swear to you that there were more people in those chairs.) Posing with Marie-Claude, who organized my trip, and her assistant after the reading. They have a lovely little section set up for events in the adult section that looks out over the woods. The library is monstrous. Apparently, the next stage of the project is a sports facility next door.

So, I spent the week on holiday doing a lot of editing on two manuscripts, finishing up the last on Thursday night. I received confirmation this week that the Cold Mourning sequel has been picked up by Dundurn for a spring 2015 publication - the contract is being drawn up now. I also received two contracts from Grass Roots Press this week for two more Anna Sweet mysteries. My cup really is running over.

I know I promised pics of Ted and the new project in our backyard.  I took these last weekend but no developments since then. Ted worked on a roof in the heat and humidity every day last week, so crashing in the air conditioning after supper seemed like the saner idea rather than slogging out in the backyard. He also drove me to Montreal today so I'm to blame for the lack of progress this weekend.

And now, I'm going to slow his progress a bit more this evening. We're heading out to celebrate those book contracts with a fine meal and bottle of wine :-)

Stay cool, my friends.