Saturday, August 29, 2015

Time to Put My Feet Up

My latest manuscript is now with Dundurn along with a synopsis and cover text. I've had no feedback as of yet, but am officially taking a break from writing for a month...or two. I'll also be taking a month off my day job with the government and doing some travelling in Europe. Spain, Portugal and the South of France await.

So, I'll be taking a few weeks off from blogging but will resume September 26 - with tales of my travels and a few photos.

I have two writing events lined up after my break:

I'll be speaking at the Cumberland branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Wednesday, September 30 at 7 p.m. about writing the Anna Sweet mysteries.

On Saturday, October 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., I'll be at the Coles in Carlingwood Mall to sign copies of the Stonechild and Rouleau mysteries - a chance to pick up copies for yourself or Christmas presents.

I was also interviewed recently for an article in Ottawa Magazine for the October issue on mysterious settings in Ottawa - just in time for Hallowe'en, and I'm going to be interviewed on Cable 22 around the same time as part of a series on local authors.

I spent part of this week working with my publicist Jim Hatch on organizing places to send advance reading copies (ARCs) of Tumbled Graves and have a bit of work to do this weekend. The book is also avialable on NetGalley for reviewers, journalists and others in the book industry. The official launch is February 2016 - not that far away in the big scheme of things! I'll have to start thinking about a book launch in Ottawa.

So, a few weeks to relax and recharge. I hope you enjoy these last weeks of summer and take some time to rest up and to have some fun. I'll be back in a few weeks to catch up :-)

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Theatre and Homemade Peach Pie

I enjoyed my evening at the Perth Classic Theatre Festival alongside author Peggy Blair. A group of us met up for supper ahead of time at O'Reilly's pub with a choice spot on the outdoor patio. Our readings and chat were before the showing of Wait Until Dark.

A woman bought Butterfly Kills and In Winter's Grip, saying that she'd taken Cold Mourning out of the library and really liked it. She recommended Cold Mourning to her friend who then bought a copy - gratifying to have new readers discover my books. After the play, we spent the night and following day at a friend's cottage just outside Perth. We were in the middle of a heat wave so lovely to have a dip in Farren Lake and eat homemade peach pie. A few pics - Matthew Behrens on the far left of the first photo is the Associate Producer.

 Reading on stage
 Peggy Blair talks about her Inspector Ramirez series
Friends Kathryn and Carol
Liam's Peach Pie
The cottage at Farren Lake
Back at the keyboard in my spare hours. I've done a complete edit of my recent manuscript, which is a good thing as my Dundurn editor Jennifer was in touch mid-week requesting a synopsis to be presented at an editorial meeting this coming Thursday. I completed one and worked on the cover text. I found a few gaps in my plotline (I knew I would) and am writing a few more passages. I plan to have the manuscript to Jennifer sometime Sunday. Then, champagne all around!
I got a few requests this week - a Cumberland writing group asked me to speak about my adult literacy series at the Cumberland library at the end of September, and a television show on Cable 22 asked me to be interviewed end of October.
And finally this week, I've been plotting book five in the Stonechild and Rouleau series although I plan to take a few months' break. I have an Anna Sweet mystery to write before the Stonechild and have been running an idea for that one around in my head too, but I really am going to take a few months away from the keyboard ... well, a few weeks anyway!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Heating Up Once Again

Today is the day I head to Perth to do a reading with Peggy Blair before the evening show Wait Until Dark. Some neighbours and Ted are coming along and we'll be all meeting up for an early supper in Perth. Promises to be a fun day, and a hot one. We've got a steamy week ahead with temperatures close to 40 c with the humidex factored in. Summer is definitely not over.

Update on my latest manuscript: I've spent four or five days going through and editing, checking the locations and timing and making good use of Google Earth and a Kingston street map. I have two weeks to tidy up the script and send it to Dundurn for the September 1 deadline. I'm going to make it! I should be able to reveal the title soon. I have one that the acquisitions editor likes but I want to make sure it is accepted after my editor reads the manuscript before sending into the cyber universe.

I also have been working on a blog entry for Kristina Stanley's site (in my spare time:-) and should have that ready in a few days. I met Kristina when she was living in Ottawa and she now lives in B.C. and recently released her first novel entitled  Descent. A fresh, new voice in Canadian crime fiction.

So, I have a few things to organize for my trip to Perth and hope to get in a few more hours of editing. Very soon, I am going to be taking a looooong holiday. I hope the warm weather holds....

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Waiting Until Dark....

Well, I've finished the first draft of my latest manuscript - fourth in the Stonechild and Rouleau series. Now, begins the slow, methodical work, pulling all the plotlines together, checking facts and timeline, finding grammatical errors... I have several characters living in different parts of Kingston and have Google Earth and a street map of Kingston open as I check locations. This cast of characters is moving all around the city and each place has to be checked out. I feel like I'm running a kingdom - deciding who lives where: a nice house, a crummy apartment, downtown, in the burbs - who is naughty and who is nice - who gets to live and who gets murdered.....

I'm looking forward to the Perth Classic Theatre Festival production of Wait Until Dark next Saturday evening. Peggy Blair and I will be doing short readings from our work beginning at 7 p.m. before the play gets underway. I remember seeing the movie with Audrey Hepburn many years back and it's a suspenseful storyline. A blind woman is trapped in her apartment with men searching for a heroin-filled doll. Kind of has that Hitchcock feel, doesn't it, although he didn't direct the movie. No wonder I check cupboards and under beds when I'm in the house alone.

If you're thinking about a fun evening out, order tickets in advance - the play is on for a few weekends with Ottawa crime writers putting on readings for three Saturday evenings. Perth also has some fine restaurants for dinner before the show and lovely B & Bs for an overnight getaway.

Here are a few pictures from last year - I'm on stage with Thomas Curran waiting to do our readings. You can see a bit of the set behind us. We sold copies of our books at intermission.

I can't believe ads are running for back to school sales. Didn't the kids just get rleased from classes yesterday? I think time really is speeding up. But there is still time left to enjoy the heat of summer and long, lazy days. No snow on the horizon yet!

Have a good, relaxing week, everyone. Maybe, I'll see you in Perth!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Long August Weekend at the Keyboard

The long weekend is here and we've got a spectacular day underway. The 40 degree heat has lifted and the sun is shining, and I have three days to wrap up the ending on this latest manuscript. I'm close to 83,000 words, using some of my time this week to ponder the ending. I'm still not 100 per cent sure how everything will unfold, so this should be an interesting few days. I remain on track to meet my September 1 deadline.

I visited my neighbourhood Carlingwood mall earlier this week and introduced myself to the Coles staff, who as it turns out, had all heard of me. The assistant manager said that they'd had to reorder my Stonechild and Rouleau mysteries three times as they keep selling out. We've set up a signing for Saturday, October 3 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. so I hope to attract some new readers from my 'hood'.

An interesting interview in the Globe and Mail this week with Toronto crime writer Linwood Barclay. He talks about how easy it would be to keep rewriting the same best-selling book but his need to stretch as an author. He spent the last fourteen or so months writing at new trilogy and challenging his comfort zone. I've done much the same throughout my writing career, starting with young adult mysteries and short stories for adults, which I wrote all around the same time. I went on to write In Winter's Grip, a standalone adult mystery and now alternate between the Stonechild and Rouleau police procedurals and the Anna Sweet PI mysteries for adult literacy. All the while, I've been experimenting and quite frankly, amusing myself. I'm grateful for those readers who've read every one of my books and come along with me on my writing quest. I'll be interested tor read Linwood's latest Broken Promise to see where he's taken his writing, which has already garnered a wide international audience.


Today is a beautiful day, with hours of sunshine spread out before me, a second cup of coffee at the ready and some good writing time waiting to be filled.

Good safe long weekend, everyone.