Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Egg Nog Helps

Nothing big happening this week and happy to see the end of dreary November. On to the excitement of the Christmas season.

I ventured out yesterday, 'Black Friday', to experience the day, and found the shopping busy but not crazy. I walked to the Rideau Centre at lunchtime and wandered through some of the shops on Richmond Road in Westboro after work. I've been a supporter of shopping local for a long time and always spend most of my Christmas dollars in my neighbourhood - this year is no exception.

Westboro, Wellington West into Hintonburg have great shops with unique gifts and it was lovely walking from one shop to another with darkness settling in and the temperature hovering just below freezing. I indulged in an egg nog tea latte toward the end of my tour before picking up supper to bring home at the Piggy Market. So, Black Friday was a relaxing shopping day in my world, unlike the screaming tug of wars over flat screen televisions that I saw on the news in some American and British stores. I wonder if the brawlers will ever see the irony?

You know, Butterfly Kills official release date in Canada is just two months away with the U.S. release slated for February 24. I've booked my Ottawa launch for February 8 and made up an invitation yesterday on Facebook, just to get the date and details out there. If you are able to come, you are most welcome.

I worked on a Q and A this week for a blog that will be posted in February in Omnimystery News. This took up some of my writing time although I still managed a few thousand words. I'm hoping to get more written this weekend. December is a tough month to buckle down. I'm at the point in the manuscript that I'm having to put a lot of mental energy into figuring out the plot and how it will unfold. I keep wishing for a few weeks to concentrate on the book alone, but my reality is that I only have snippets of time - usually after a full day of work.

Ah well. My grumbles are small stuff in comparison to the tough problems others have to deal with. I'm thankful for my full and happy days...and I got a good jump on my Christmas shopping so see some relaxing time ahead...with more egg nog and time with family and friends.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Keeping Ispired

Ted and I caught the morning train to Toronto last Saturday and arrived a few hours before I was to appear at Inspire International Book Fair at the Metro Centre, which happens to connect to Union Station and the hotel where we were staying by skywalks. My pal Dawn Rayner going back to Lakehead University days met us and trucked around with me to the book fair and then out for dinner afterwards. She also bought some copies of Cold Mourning for Christmas presents - Dawn remains one of my steadfast supporters and friends :-)

My panel ran from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. with a signing afterwards. We had a decent audience both sitting and standing listening as the hour unfolded. Steven Beatiie from Quill and Quire moderated the panel and kept it running smoothly. He'd obviously read all of our books and had insightful questions.

 R.J. Harlick, Barbara Fradkin and me signing books after the panel
 And the other panelists Nick Wiltshire and David Poulsen with their mysteries
A view of the main stage
We were four authors from Ottawa and David Poulsen was the only exception and hails from Calgary. Nick Wiltshire is a lawyer who also works for the Department of Justice as do I although we hadn't met before this. So new books to check out!
I have some house-keeping tasks to do this weekend - review and sign a contract for the fifth Anna Sweet, collect up receipts and do some finance recordings, work on a blog post ... I also have gotten a rhythm going on my latest manuscript and am making progress so will be trying to keep this going. Now at 13,000 words.
A Model Death (4th Anna Sweet) boomeranged back this week for a final look. The release date is January 2nd, in time for my visit to Moose Jaw in February where I have an appearance lined up with a literacy group. My next gig is December 10th in Ottawa at the Capital Crime Writers Christmas dinner - I'm guest speaker and will be interviewed by Mary Jane Maffini so should be a good time. Over forty people have registered for the dinner with a few spots left. After that, it's the launch party for Butterfly Kills at Whispers pub on Sunday, February 8th from 2-4 p.m. (mark your calendars!) I'll start advertising after Christmas.
And that wraps up the week that was and what's on the horizon. Between the train ride to Toronto and the ride home the next day, snow settled into the Ottawa Valley, bringing an early winter. However, we're warming up to 14 degrees early next week as our weather yo yo's from one extreme to the other. Canadian weather is not for sissies.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Leaving on a Via Train

Well today is the day I head to Toronto for Inspire International Book Fair! Going by train and staying overnight so a min-vacation in gloomy November - speaking of which, first stay-on-the-ground snowfall yesterday. Seeing other parts of the country with quite a bit of snow already, Ottawa has been lucky thus far. Time to dust off the winter boots.

Back to Inspire, I'm on a Dundurn panel on the Discovery Stage from 5-6 pm with Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Nick Wilkshire and David Poulsen and our interviewer/moderator is Stephen Beattie from Quill & Quire. Then, we do a signing for half an hour. I see Margaret Atwood is on the main stage from 3-4 on Saturday. This is quite the event and the first year for it - getting a ton of press. I'll let you know how it goes next week.

Got in some writing time and also went through A Model Death again, looking a few suggestions fromt he proof reader. After the editor finishes with it, a proof reader gives the manuscript a final read. This one will be out before the end of this year. I also received a contract for book five to be written in 2016. Anna Sweet will be on the case after a year rest :-)

I'm also working with an American publicist for the release of Buterfly Kills. I had to fill in a questionnaire and we worked on a news release. It would be beyond fabulous to make inroads in the U.S. market. On va voir.

Time to throw some clothes in a bag and get ready to catch the train. I don't know about you, but I love the train - sitting back and watching the landscape go by and listening to the clickity clack and mournful whistle. I once took the train from Kingston to Thunder Bay and remember sitting in the dome car to watch the sunset. You have to go a long way to beat that experience. Not sure the train goes to Thunder Bay anymore. (I'm beginning to sound like an old-timer.) The train does still go to Toronto though and I'm happy to be on it in a few hours.

Good weekend everyone.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

On the Run

A little late blogging this morning (now afternoon) as we got up early to watch our daughter Julia curl in a Kemptville bonspiel. They won this morning so we'll be heading back later this afternoon. Spending weekends in curling clubs has been our fall back position since the girls were in little rocks, so about the last twenty years of cheering from behind the glass.

New bookmarks arrived in the mail from Dundurn.  Here's a shot of the front and back.

Got some writing time in this week - squeezing in hours and up to 9000 words. Feels good to get this plot moving. I'm off to Toronto for a Saturday panel at the Inspire International Book Fair. Someone from work sent me an e-mail that they saw my name on the schedule and plan to attend the session. I hope you can make it too if you're down Toronto way.  I'm with some other Dundurn authors on the Discovery stage at 5 p.m.

I was also asked to be the guest speaker at the Capital Crime Writers Christmas dinner on Wednesday, December 10 and said I'd do it if Mary Jane Maffini interviewed me. We met last Sunday for a few hours chatting about questions and the way we wanted to organize our time. I know there are some spots left if you feel like a nice meal at the Tavola restaurant in the Merivale Market Mall and conversation about mysteries and crime-writing. This event is open to non-members. Most of our local crime authors come to the event. I also hear that the food is fabulous.

Well, my time is up today - I'm heading to lunch with a friend and then back to Kemptville. Hope your weekend is not as hectic as mine ....

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Keeping the Fun Rolling into Grey November

The Kids' Lit Cafe was held last Saturday at the Greensboro branch of the Ottawa Public Library. Tables were set up around the room and kids and their parents had a chance to chat with some local children's authors about writing. Three workshops were interspersed throughout the two hours and I had the last one for the older kids. Aided by librarian Jessica Roy, I gave some tips for becoming an author and getting published. The kids who participated were keen writers already and a real treat to spend time with.

Below is a photo from the event. You'll see CBC Radio's Alan Neal on the far left - he co-wrote a picture book - and Frances Itani to the far right. Frances is shortlisted for a Giller for her adult novel Tell so wishing her all the best in a few weeks at the awards ceremony.


My next event is in the Toronto International Book Fair on Saturday, November 15. I'll be on a Dundurn mystery author panel from 5-6 p.m. that will be moderated by Quill and Quire's Stephen Beattie. My fellow authors on the panel are Barbara Fradkin, R.J. Harlick, Nick Wiltshire and David Poulsen. Should be exciting.

Well, this week I managed to write the questions to go along with the fourth Anna Sweet - these questions are posted the publisher's website to help tutors who are working with adult learners. I also completed a questionnaire and got some stuff together for a U.S. publicist I'll be working with for the release of Butterfly Kills. The work on my latest manuscript sadly went nowhere this week, but I am chomping to get back at it. Not today, however. I'm curling in a fund-raiser most of the day and will soon be heading out to the rink. Starting off November with some fun and exercise. Never a bad combination.

My good buddy Katherine Hobbs lost her seat on city counsel in this past Monday's municipal election. I was sad that after all the hard work that she put into her four years on counsel, she wasn't better supported by the ward, but such is the way of politics. However, Katherine is such an inspiration. She's been grace under pressure, never taking her eye off her goal to give back to the community. I see the fruits of her labour all across our ward. Well done, I say.

And now, time to collect my curling stuff, have some breakfast and get this day underway. Stay warm, my friends. Be sure to include a little fun and exercise in your day :-)