Saturday, June 28, 2014

Canada Day Weekend in Ottawa

We are having a fabulous stretch of weather, I have to say. Aside from twenty-four hours of torrential rain on Tuesday, sun, heat and low humidex have been the order of the day. It is going to start getting sticky today but I'll spend a lot of the weekend inside with the air conditioning writing so no problem here.

My editor at Dundurn and the acquisitions editor have been getting ready to pitch my third Stonechild and Rouleau to the editorial committee to see if they will publish it. This involved me writing a detailed chapter-by-chaper outline and a two-page synopsis and sending along the opening chapters, which I had to give an edit before submitting. So this has taken away from my work on the manuscript but has also been beneficial as I review the plot and get a bird's eye view of the storyline and characters. I'm now writing the section leading into the climax of the book and am aiming to have this close to complete by Canada Day. Almost at the finish line . . . . Of course, then comes the editing and fact checking to make sure all my clues add up.

I've been invited to some book events in the upcoming months. At the end of July, I'll be visiting my first book club to talk about Cold Mourning and the series. Capital Crime Writers is lining up some author Saturdays in Perth in August. The Ottawa Public Library asked me to take part in a Kids Lit Cafe on October 25 to talk about Second Chances and meet some readers. I'm done going to book conferences for this year but will look at a few next year with the release of Butterfly Kills. I have an invitation to some libraries in Florida along with Mary Jane Maffini and Barbara Fradkin in the spring, but have to wait to see if this firms up. I'm also lining up to go to Malice Domestic, which takes place around Washington in May, I believe.

But, for now, we are focusing on our daughter's wedding, which is three weeks from today. The shower went beautifully last Saturday with perfect weather and Ted's completed deck. Here's a view from the steps as the party got underway.

And my beautiful daughters, Lisa and Julia.
The moments in life that you need to step back and celebrate.
Later today, after I get in my day's writing, Ted and I will wander into Westboro Village for supper and perhaps gelato. We might find a pub playing music and linger a while longer. This is the Canada Day weekend so lots is going on in the city. Time to get this summer party started!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Stars Align

A busy fun day ahead as my youngest daughter Julia and I prepare to host a wedding shower for my oldest daughter Lisa. We've had our fingers crossed all week for good weather today and the luck is with us - 23 degrees C, sunny and no humidity. We'll be setting up in the backyard and making good use of Ted's new deck. He's been working at this project non-stop for days so a gift really to have it ready for the party.

I've been incredibly busy with writing and writing tasks. I spent several hours drafting a synopsis for the third Stonechild and Rouleau (the manuscript I'm currently working on) and submitted it to Dundurn along with the first chapters on Tuesday, which I also spent time editing.

Thursday was a lunchtime signing at Perfect Books, which is a brisk walk from my office.  Patrick Walton, colleague and friend, came along and shot some photos for me to post. So here are a few:

If you are in downtown Ottawa, be sure to drop in this lovely store (Elgin and Somerset), which has a marvellous selection of books, including a very good mystery section, and a staff that knows its books and can recommend or special order. I'm going to head back to pick up some books, just as soon as I make headway on my current reading pile.

Pat, Grass Roots Press publisher, has asked me to write some chapter questions for adult learners to go with To Keep A Secret, third in the Anna Sweet series and coming out in September. I have until the end of July. A fourth manuscript for this series is due in the fall so my projects are starting to line up.
But today is a beautiful day and it's time to celebrate the summer solstice, the first day of summer and, of course, our daughter's upcoming wedding.
Life is good :-)

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Conferences, Readings and Signings . . .

I've had a bit of trouble settling down to write since Bloody Words but plan to rectify my lapse this weekend. Book conferences take more energy than you would imagine - three cocktail parties, two banquets, lunch with a publisher, dinner and breakfast with fellow authors, late night drinks in the bar . . . it's a wonder I fit in the front seat of my car to drive home . . . and that was just the eating and drinking part. I was in the 'catwalk' procession on Friday night where we showed off posters of our latest book cover and a nine o'clock panel on Saturday morning. I shmoozed with authors, readers, librarians, editors, and publicists and had an overall fun, sleep-deprived time. (and all tax deductable)

 With Dundurn publicist Karen McMullin
 With Dundurn senior editor Sharon Weibe
(l to r) Caro Soles, Mary Jane Maffini, me, Lou Allin and Kate Jaimet
Since I've been home, I've managed to get a bit done on my latest manuscript and will spend most of today and tomorrow writing. I'll be returning to Perfect Books on Elgin (and Somerset) for a lunch hour signing this Thursday, June 19 if anyone working downtown or looking for a signed copy of Cold Mourning wants to drop by. I should be there from about noon to one. The Glebe Report gave Cold Mourning a good comprehensive review, which you can find if you scroll down to the sixth review.

I've been asked recently what books I am reading or would recommend. I took a photo of my current reading pile although it could take me a while to get to these. They are the result of conferences and author readings that I've attended this year so far.
You might notice three mysteries by Scandinavian authors - I attended a reading at the Ottawa Public Library on Monday with three Scandinavian authors: (and they are from left to right) Jakob Melander, The House that Jack Built; Dan T. Sehlberg, Mona; and Thomas Enger, Pierced. Each looks to be an interesting read.
So today, back at the manuscript and I'll be writing up a synopsis and polishing up the first few chapters to submit to the publisher as well. My garden is also calling for some attention, Westfest, our neighbourhood three-day festival is on, and I have some stuff to get together for my daughter Lisa's wedding shower next week. No boredom here.
Enjoy your week, everyone. I hope the sun keeps shining where you are.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Live from Bloody Words

Well, it is a beautiful Saturday morning in Toronto at the Bloody Words mystery conference being held at the Hyatt Regency on the edge of the theatre district.  A fatiguing but most enjoyable time meeting other authors from across the country and lots of mystery readers and librarians. 

I started out Thursday evening at the Arthur Ellis awards dinner in the old Arts and Letters Club, which reminded me of the Rideau Curling Club although grander, where I did not win first place for my novella, but I did have a live cricket jump out of my salad onto the table. Everyone felt this was a sign of good luck to come, which it proved to be as the bartender (who chased down the cricket and released it into the wild) gave me a free drink. It made losing the award easier to bear at any rate.

Friday, I took in not one but two cocktail receptions before taking to the catwalk with other authors - we had big posters of our book covers made and wore them much like models up and down this catwalk to the delight of a packed room. Very funny. I have pictures that I will share next week as I have to upload from my camera.

Today, up bright and early for a nine am panel with Mary Jane Maffini, Lou Allin, Kate Jaimet and Caro Soles. We spoke about writing different series and for different audiences - again, a most amusing hour with much laughter. I then sat in on the Michael Jecks interview. He is the international guest of honour from England and writes medieval mysteries. Great sense of humour and now I'm going to have to read one of his books, which I luckily got in my book bag as a gift. Here he is being interviewed by Cheryl Freedman, grand organizer of the conference, which is in its last year, sadly.

The theme of this blog seems to be how many laughs I've been having, and the day is young yet. I am next off to lunch with an Orca editor and some other authors, then back to take in a few more panels to be followed by another cocktail hour and banquet. Life could be rougher :-)