Friday, July 25, 2014

Happiness in July

Well, we've had quite a week. The Saturday wedding of my daughter Lisa to Robin was fairy tale perfect. The ceremony was held outside at the Marshes golf club with dinner and dancing inside - a most lovely setting. Below are a couple of pictures as promised.

On my writing front, I managed to do a read-through and edit of the manuscript I've been working on the past year - the third Stonechild and Rouleau, tentatively titled Tumbled Graves. This coincided with the contract arriving in the mail late this week. I also spent time updating my expenses (ahead of tax season) so this bit of housekeeping felt good. Now, I'm ready to start on the fourth Anna Sweet mystery. The publisher tells me that the third is at the printer's and I'll be receiving the galley soon.

As I type this update on my iPad, I am looking out at my sister's garden in Thunder Bay and a glimpse of Lake Superior on the horizon. I flew in yesterday for the weekend and it's looking like a warm, sunny day ahead. Coffee is brewing and we have some catching up to do.

But for now, the photos as promised.  Good day everyone.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Celebration Day

Not a long post this morning as we are in the midst of wedding day preparations - yes, today my daughter Lisa gets married! We've had a busy week with lots of family and friends flying in from as far away as England with dinners and parties leading up to today. A very exciting time.

Lisa before the wedding rehearsal, July 18

We were actually at the wedding of one of Lisa's childhood friends this past Saturday and exiting the hall at going on midnight, I took this picture of the super moon and must say that the photo is suitably mysterious.

My first week of holidays, and I spent the first three week days editing my latest manuscript and pulling the plot together. This is a complicated one to get just right and I'll be spending next week working on it as well. That should leave me a week to get started on the Anna Sweet mystery due in the fall.

I also just received an invitation to appear on a mystery authors' panel at the Toronto International Book Festival in November, so I'm most excited about this opportunity. What's most cool is that the organizers contacted my publisher to invite me!

And finally, this week, the first advance review for Butterfly Kills from a book blogger appeared on Goodreads and it was just lovely. A nice way to start on the feedback.

So, I'm off to get ready for the wedding day - I should have a picture or two for next week's blog.

Wishing much happiness and fun to Lisa and Robin on their beautiful day.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Summer Underway

Good news to report this week. Dundurn had a look at the first chapters and synopsis for the manuscript that I am working on now, the third in the Stonechild and Rouleau series, and gave it the thumbs up. I also completed the first draft last evening. Now, I have to give the entire thing a read through to fix up some of the details. The ending took a slightly different twist than what I'd planned. This turned out to be a tough plot to pull together.

I also  managed to complete some questions for the third Anna Sweet mystery and submitted them to the Grass Roots Press publisher. She tells me that To Keep A Secret is at the printer's - due out in September. My next project is to write the fourth book in the series, due in September.

Luckily, I am now on three weeks holiday from work.


And this will be an exciting week culminating in our daughter Lisa's wedding next Saturday. I might have a picture or two for next week's blog, or maybe the week after. I guess I'll be a bit busy next Saturday. We have lots of celebrating to do.

One last bit of writing news on my projects - the Butterfly Kills advance reading copy is being finalized and the manuscript was posted on NetGalley. Professional readers who write advance reviews can upload it. You might have noticed that Cold Mourning was issued in six parts before it came out as a complete book. This was an experiment from the publisher and  based on feedback, won't be done for the rest of my books. I personally didn't like the format, but can appreciate trying to be innovative in marketing. I think like the majority of readers, I'd rather get the entire book at one go.

We had sad news in the mystry writing community yesterday. One of my fellow Dundurn and Orca authors Lou Allin died of pancreatic cancer. I met Lou at an Arthur Ellis dinner in Toronto several years ago and we'd meet up at different conferences over the years. She was a friendly, warm person, always with a wide smile. I was very lucky to be on a panel with Lou at Bloody Words last month - she'd made the trek from B.C. even though she was very ill. I know everyone recognized the strength this took. She will be greatly missed.

(L to r) Caro Soles, Mary Jane Maffini, me, Lou Allin and Kate Jaimet
Bloody Words, June 2014

So, first day of vacation and it's a beautiful morning. Time for another cup of coffee, then a bike ride and swim. I'll settle into the manuscript re-read this afternoon but anticipate this taking a few days. Maybe, I'll have to bring my laptop outside and find a sunny spot to put my feet up. Luckily, I have a new deck in the backyard that should do the trick.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Into July Heat

I received this emblem in my e-mail last week for My Sister's Keeper being shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis novella of the year. I like the design. Winners receive an actual wooden hangman with movable parts as depicted below.

The third in the Anna Sweet series will be out in September, which seemed like a long way away when I finished with the edits in October, believe it or not  - almost a year before publication. I'm currently writing questions and answers for To Keep a Secret to coincide with its release. It's odd to be going back through the book after not having worked on it for so long.

I'm also plugging away on my latest Stonechild and Rouleau manuscript and am now at 82,000 words and heading toward the climax and ending chapters. I hope to be nearly done, if not done, by the end of this weekend. Then, I'll give the entire manuscript a read through and edit before submitting to Dundurn.

I do a lot of editing and rewriting as I go so the manuscript is usually in not bad shape by the time I finish the first draft. I know other authors who chunk the whole thing down in one go without editing, but I find that I can't work that way. I need to have a chapter fully formed and tidy before I move on to the next. The rereading and editing is the time when I plot the next chapter in my head. Working full time means I'm not able to work on a manuscript in a scheduled way and stretches out the writing. This means I forget details and have to catch plot inconsistences later when I look at the finished manuscript as a whole. A bit pain-staking sometimes, but such is life.

I've just been lined up to do an event in Perth on August 30. Capital Crime Writers is partnering with the Classic Theatre Festival to have two of our authors do short readings and have books for sale before the show on three separate Saturdays. The production this year is Dial M for Murder so suitable subject matter for crime writers. Alfred Hitchcok made the play into a movie with Grace Kelly and Ray Milland in 1954. Ted and I have decided to make a weekend of it and will stay overnight in Perth at a B & B. Could be a nice getaway for you too, Ottawa friends :-)

And another glorious weekend here in Ottawa. I'll be typing with the door and windows open and will take lots of breaks to go outside and enjoy the day. The weekends are never long enough to do all the things I would like to, but I will soon be on a three-week vacation with time to stretch out. Ahh summer.

So much to do, so little time.