Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Arthur Ellis Awards

I'm a bit late with my blog post today but Ted and I only arrrived home from Toronto a short while ago. We spent a couple of nights after the Arthur Ellis awards banquet, which was a lot of fun although Cold Mourning didn't come first - it really was an honour to have it shortlisted as this was a strong field of books starting with the long list.

Thursday started with a wine pre-banquet get together at Dundurn's offices, where Ted, Dawn and I met with the Dundurn team and many of the other authors. I had a great chat with Jennifer McKnight, my editor for the Stonechild series. VP Beth Bruder took us on a tour of the offices and President Kirk Howard welcomed us and gave a toast to Sylvia McConnell for her Derek Murdoch award for all she's done to promote Canadian crime writing. We then scooted up Church Street to pick up my daughter Julia in time for another cocktail hour at the Arts and Letters Club where the banquet was held. Here are a few photos from the evening!

 Jennifer McNight, me and Sylvia McConnell
 Dundurn VP Beth Bruder and Dawn Rayner
 My dates for the evening - Julia, Ted and Dawn
 Crime Writers of Canda President Vicki Delany presenting the Derrick Murdoch award
to Sylvia McConnell
 Dundurn President Kirk Howard
 CWC VP Cathy Ace and Vicki Delany
Linda Wiken
R.J. Harlick, me and Mary Jane Maffini

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Canada Writes Crime

On Sirens of Suspense blog, I'm the featured author this week and give a taste of my other passion, curling! If you are living in the U.S. and post a comment, you could win a copy of Butterfly Kills.

The Arthur Ellis awards dinner is this Thursday in Toronto so Ted and I will be heading down  and picking up our daughter Julia and a friend Dawn Rayner for the evening's events, which begin with a cocktail party at Dundurn. My first publisher, Sylvia McConnell is receiving the Derrick Murdoch at the AE dinner for her contributions to Canadian publishing and the first get together is in her honour. So well deserved for a wonderful person, whom I consider a mentor in this industry. Here is a quote from the announcement:

"In 1998, Sylvia McConnell began RendezVous Crime, a publishing house with the mandate to publish crime novels written by Canadians set in Canada. Over the next thirteen years she published 80 works of crime fiction, many of which were nominated for or won prestigious awards. For her belief in the value of Canadians telling Canadian stories, for her encouragement of new Canadian authors, and for her recognition of talent with staying power, we are proud to present Sylvia McConnell with the Derrick Murdoch award for 2015."

And since Cold Mourning is shortlisted for best crime novel in 2014, I thought you might like to meet the other four finalists and get some new great reading ideas!  Here is a list of their names and books, but you can also check out the other authors and categories on the Crime Writers of Canada site. I've added links to their websites or book if I couldn't find a site. Summer reading!

Barbara Fradkin, None so Blind, Dundurn Press
C.C. Humphreys, Plague, Doubleday Canada
Maureen Jennings, No Known Grave, McClelland & Stewart
Alen Mattich, Killing Pilgrim, House of Anansi

I haven't made my word count on the latest manuscript for May and will be buckling down today. I hope to get enough done that I can spend tomorrow morning going to the Parkdale Market for plants to complete my garden and planters. We had a frost scare last night so I brought in as many of the plants as I could last evening and Ted covered up the rest with sheets. At least it didn't snow.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Lovely Month of May

I spent my writing time editing Tumbled Graves this week. Jennifer McNight, my Dundurn editor, had suggested changes, including adding a scene, and picked out plot inconsistencies. Very little change to the actual text. I sent the manuscript back to her on Thursday evening for her next review. I'll see it one more time before it goes to Jennifer again and then to the copy editor, who looks for spelling errors and the like. This is done now to have advance reading copies ready six months before publication to send out to reviewers. My first manuscripts were not edited electronically but on hard copy. I know that we see different errors when we look at hard copy vs on a computer screen - something about how our brain works - but electronic editing sure is a lot easier.

And now, back to working on my latest manuscript, which is rounding into the stretch before the finish line.This is the scary part when I find out if all the storylines I have going will come together. Send hopeful thoughts, everyone.

I spent last Saturday afternoon signing books at Chapters Rideau with fellow crime authors Vicki Delany (Eva Gates) and Linda Wiken (Erika Chase). You might wonder why they have two names and I only have the one. They each use a pseudonym for their Berkley Crime series - the pseudonym belongs to the series and will not be used again for a new series. In other words, Berkley owns the pseudonym. I don't have the same restriction and so simply write under my own name.

 Linda Wiken, me and Vicki Delany

Several events are coming up: the Arthur Ellis awards dinner on May 28 in Toronto - Ted, Julia and good friend Dawn Rayner will be coming with me so excited about that; Prose in the Park on Saturday, June 6 - I'll be on a crime panel - takes place near the Parkdale Market and is the place to be to hear top Canadian authors in all genres speak about their work and to purchase books; June 13 from noon to three - signing at Chapters Barrhaven; and August 15 reading at the Perth ClassicTheatre Festival with Peggy Blair - loved this event last year and pleased to return with Peggy.

A long weekend ahead and temperatures heating up. I'm going to get into my garden, which is growing a nice crop of grass at the moment, and will get my bike out for the first ride of the year. Other than a few barbecues, I'll spend time typing at the keyboard hitting my word count for May. But for now, another cup of coffee as I ease into the morning.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Braking for Turkeys

An uneventful drive home from Malice Domestic with the exception of a big old wild turkey running across the highway in front of our car in Northern Pennsylvania. I'd never seen one before and was surprised at the size.

Before the turkey sighting, we visited the Mechanisburg Mystery Bookshop for an author chat and readings. We were warmly welcomed by the owner Debbie Beamer, who opened the store especially for our visit. A nice crowd of readers was on hand and they asked a lot of questions following the talk about our books. A most enjoyable few hours.

 Owner Debbie Beamer
 Me, MaryJane Maffini, Erica Chase, Eva Gates
With mystery reader Stacie Amelotte
I'll be at Chapters Rideau in Ottawa today to sign copies of Cold Mourning and Butterfly Kills from noon to two alongside Eva Gates (Vicki Delany) and Erica Chase (Linda Wiken). All welcome to drop by - I'm the only one with one name :-)
The Tumbled Graves manuscript was in my e-mail mailbox upon my return from Malice and I have until a week Monday to go through Jennifer's edits, putting my writing on hold for a bit. It's actually a good exercise to stop and reread book three to make sure I have continuity with the characters and storylines. Jennifer has already picked out a few inconsistencies from the first two books.
And finally, I wrote a guest blog for the Ottawa Public Library about setting - whether to select a real or fictional location. Some light reading with your morning coffee!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Live from Malice

Greetings from Bethesda, Maryland where I am currently attending Malice Domestic, a mystery conference primarily, but not exclusively, for cosy mysteries. These are books with lighter storylines, often cats or dogs feature prominently (sometimes are even the main character), no violence or sex....let's just say that my books will not be the bestsellers this weekend :-) But, I am having fun and have met some readers as well as other authors.

I drove down with Mary Jane Maffini, Linda Wiken and Vicki Delany, leaving Ottawa Wednesday morning. Our one foul up was trying to check into the wrong hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania that evening, only to be sent across the city where we discovered that our reservation in Harrisburg was for our return trip - we were supposed to spend Wednesday evening in Hazleton, which we'd passed an hour earlier. Luckily, we were able to exchange reservations and all was well.

I've sat in on some panels yesterday and today and will soon be heading down to hear Sara Peretsky being interviewed by Parnell Hall. Then, later in the afternoon is a cocktail hour before the closing banquet. In case you think that I'm not working at all, tomorrow morning I'm on a police procedural panel with three American authors: Frankie Y. Bailey, Anne Hillerman and Stephen Kelly. Then, Linda, Mary Jane, Vicki and I hop in the car and speed up the I-85 for an event in a bookshop on the way home.

It was lovely to go from leafless trees in Ottawa to the trees in full leaf with the magnolias and apple trees in bloom once we got closer to Washington. Today is warm - about 80 degrees F - and I'll fit in a second walk this afternoon.

I've managed to find some writing time and while not maintaining my pace this week, I've exceeded my target of 50,000 words by May 1. The edits for Tumbled Graves will be arriving shortly after I get home from my editor and I'll have two weeks to review them. I'm actually looking forward to reading that manuscript again as it should help me with a fact check for the one I'm working on now.

I have a couple of Chapters book signings coming up in May in Ottawa and also the Arthur Ellis dinner in Toronto toward the end of the month - another trip, but shorter and closer to home. This is turning into one busy time but at least the spring weather is here, making it enjoyable to be out and about again!