Saturday, July 25, 2015

Last of July

I've met my July word count of 80,000 words and am hoping to get a good start on the ending chapters this weekend. I wrote about a thousand words that I'm not entirely happy with but think I've come up with a way to fix this part of the plot. I'm at the point where I have to pull everything together so moving slowly as I think things through. I have a general idea of where I'm headed but still the details to work out....and to write.

Cold Mounrning received some good reviews by readers on Goodreads this past week as well as a review by a California reviewer/librarian Marlyn Beebe. Each review very much appreciated.

I was in Perfect Books on Elgin a few weeks ago, speaking with Jim the owner, and I asked him if he had the latest Liza Marklund crime novel Without a Trace. I'd seen it listed on Amazon but turns out, it was only the electronic version available. Jim said not to worry, he'd get his book agent in Britain to send over a copy, and it arrived Monday. So, I might be the only one in Canada with a hard copy of Marklund's latest! I've read the first few chapters and it's going to be one of those 'can't put it down' reads. Great cover too.

July is entering its last week and promises to be a hot, dry one. No hoidays for me until September but the pace of life has slowed with the heat and longer days. I have lots to get accomplished in August with this latest manuscript but will appreciate the September break even more when it arrives. I hope you are enjoying some lazy time this summer and taking a much needed break from the routine.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Long and Winding Road

'Achieved 79, 300 words this week and will surpass my target of 80,000 words by the end of July. I'm rounding into the story's climax and having great fun heading to the finish line. I sort of know how things are going to unfold, but surprises always pop up as I write. I compare this creative process to going on a trip. You can take the 401 and stay on the major, straight-line highway, or you can choose less travelled, more scenic roads that lead to surprises and sometimes getting lost. You end up at the same place, but by completely different routes.

Speaking of surprises, I had a lovely one this Tuesday when I found out that Ottawa CTV News at Noon featured Butterfly Kills as a summer read recommendation. Peggy Blair's Hungry Ghosts was the other mystery novel featured on the show. We're both reading in Perth before the play Wait until Dark at the Perth Theatre Festival on August 15th, so rather fitting to have our books recommended  together!

The first chapter from Tumbled Graves is available for free download on iTunes for those of you who want a sneak preview. You can pre-order the book from most bookstores or online book sites, but it won't be released until early 2016. In fact, it's helpful if you request the book at your local bookstore or even library since this puts it on their radar and they often order in more copies.

Another great way to help your favourite author(s) is to post a review on Goodreads and the book sites, like Amazon or Chapters. The number of reviews will move the book up in its standing, and an honest review can help readers decide whether or not to buy the book - of course, all authors naturally hope for good reviews over bad. It's very nice to receive feedback from readers by e-mail, but even better if they take the time to post a review publically.

To be candid, the book business is tough - review sites are few and far between for crime novels; shelf space in bookstores (of which there are fewer and fewer) is limited, and often the same established authors garner the most publicity, no matter the media. I've seen some new authors put out one or two books and then disappear because they can't get the support needed to keep producing. So, purchasing books, writing reviews, chatting up books to your friends... all this is vitally important and the impact cannot be underestimated.

We're having a couple of hot, hot days here in Ottawa, not to mention muggy and humid. I give up completely on my hair these summer days and let it do whatever it likes. My writing process resembles the twisted, curly path of my hair - always surprising and never entirely to be predicted.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Working on Deadline

I've hit 75,000 words this week, writing steadily last weekend and in the evenings. I'm starting to reveal what's really going on and to pull the various plotlines together. This has involved a lot of thinking as I work to make the puzzle pieces fit. I'm still aiming for the first of September deadline and need to allow enough time for a good read through and edit. Usually, I take a three-week vacation in July and write every day but not this year as I'll be taking the month of September for vacation. This working all summer while trying to get the manuscript done is a bit of a killer...

The CKCU interview ran this week and you can listen to the podcast. I have to confess that I wasn't aware the interview had started until partway through - it was a pre-recorded phone interview and the host Pearl Pirie began by saying, "This is how I plan to introduce you," and she had some of my bio wrong. I explained about my books, not realizing we were into the actual interview! I say all this because you might find my first responses ot altogether 'crisp' :-)  Elizabeth Hay and Barb Fradkin are also on the show, speaking about previous interviews on Literary Landscape with host Jane Crosier, who died several years ago. We all have very fond memories of Jane that we share.

I read Elizabeth's book Late Nights on Air some years back and highly recommend it. The book won the Giller in 2007. Barb Fradkin writes the Inspector Green mysteries, two of which won the Arthur Ellis award for Canadian crime fiction so another author to check out if you are looking for good summer reading ideas.

We've got a glorious hot, sunny summer day underway and Ted and I have had our morning coffee int he back garden. I'll be getting into my manuscript shortly and we plan to walk to Westboro Village this evening for supper and possibly a gelato to eat on the meander home. The Pan Am games started last night with a fabulous opening ceremony and I'll be watching as much of the games on tv as I can fit in. July is a great month even if not on vacation.

Here are a few pics I took last week when I biked to Maple Lawn, a walled garden that once belonged to one of the wealthier Westboro families. Volunteers keep the garden looking much like it did back in the days of servants and horse and buggies. A lovely spot to sit and contemplate life or struggle through plot ideas as the garden is free and open to the public.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Long, Lazy July Days

Writing is going well - cracked 70,000 words by July 1st and back on schedule. I'm at a point where I get to play god. Will my characters get into all sorts of trouble or will they escape getting caught? Believe it or not, their dilemma has had me waffling all week although based on past experience, I should go with my original plan much as I'm rooting for them to have it turn out differently. You've got to be tough to be a crime writer. Stick to your murders :-)

We did some tidying up and last minute details for Tumbled Graves and it was off to the printer last week. I'm not sure of its exact release date, but early 2016 sometime. The advance reading copies will be going out to reviewers, thus the space of time.

Two events on the horizon: I'm slated to be on CKCU Thursday, July 9th on Literary Landscapes, which is a Carleton University FM station running between 6:30 and 7:00 p.m. EDT. The show can be heard anywhere from their website.

And Saturday, August 15th, I will be reading with Peggy Blair before the production of Wait Until Dark at the Classic Theatre Festival in Perth, Ontario. I was invited to do the same last summer and had a terrific time. The play was really well done in an old-style theatre. Perth has some lovely B & Bs and restaurants for an overnight getaway. There are two more Saturday performances with fellow crime writers reading before the play if you have one of the nights free and are looking for a fun time - order your tickets in advance.

So this was kind of cool yesterday. Cold Mourning and Butterfly Kills were one and three on the Native literature sales on I guess because I have an Aboriginal cop. I saved the memory with a screenshot.

Have a good week. everyone - the first week of July is looking like a keeper. Safe travels to all those heading out on vacation.