Saturday, April 30, 2016

Authors for Indies Day!

Today is Authors for Indies Day - authors across the country will be visiting local independent bookstores to support them and spend some time as volunteer salespeople. This year, authors picked their favorite reads ahead of time and will be recommending their picks to customers. I'm going to be at Books on Beechwood from 1:00 to 2:00 this afternoon with my choices and hope you can come by. Perfect Books on Elgin Street and Octupus Books in the Glebe are also hosting authors all day so another option if you are downtown.

I had a wonderful time at Coles Carlingwood last week. The staff is warm and welcoming and lots of people stopped by to chat and buy books, including some friends and neighbours and lots of strangers. A special thank you to Barb Woodward who came out to spend the afternoon keeping me company. Here are a few pics from the day:

I received word from Grass Roots Press that No Trace, the fifth Anna Sweet Novella, will be published in September. It also looks like Shallow End, the fourth Stonechild and Rouleau, will be published by Dundurn in April 2017, not the fall as I first thought. They are working on the cover now and I should see it next week. The cover synopsis has been posted on Amazon and other sites if you are interested in taking a peek.

Writing is going great on my latest manuscript. I'm settling into a routine and aiming for a minimum of 500 words a day. I managed to exceed the target all week. As they say, half the battle is getting your bum in the chair.

Well, spring has been a cold one this year and today is going to be a better one than we've had in a while. May 1st tomorrow so things are bound to start looking up. Let's all put our collective heads together and wish for some sun and heat. Let's get this summer started.....

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Book Signing Today - Carlingwood Coles

First things first - today, I will be signing copies of the Stonechild and Rouleau series, including the latest release Tumbled Graves, from 11:15 a.m. until 1:15 p.m. at Coles in the Carlingwood mall, Ottawa. If you'd like a signed copy or a chat, please stop by - I'd love to see you.

The Ottawa Writers Festival was on this week (still a few events to come) and I did a presentation about creating my lead cops in the Stonechild and Rouleau series and was on a panel with Linwood Barclay, Joy Fielding and John Lawton, who each presented and read as well. The festival team was warm and welcoming and very professional, getting us hooked up with mics and ready to appear and serving up beverages and food afterward. We had a good turnout and I had a great time -- such a pleasure to meet these terrific, best-selling authors and get to spend the evening with them. There were several familiar faces in the audience, making the night even more special. You can read more about the evening in this Writers Festival blog post. I have to say that writing has given me memorable experiences that I never would have had otherwise.

Barbara Fradkin, me and Joy Fielding
With Linwood Barclay and John Lawton

Writing news. I completed drafting discussion questions for No Trace, fifth in the Anna Sweet novellas and signed a contract for book six, due next spring. I've also been working on a special project for the publisher, but more about that another time. I managed some work on my latest Stonechild manuscript, now closing in on 10,000 words. I have to pick up the pace, but I'm still questioning the plot as it has unfolded so far. As I wrote previously, this book is starting differently than the others and while intriguing, is also proving to be more of a challenge.

I've been retired from the government just over three weeks now and must say that I've never lacked for things to do. The tough part is getting my head around the fact that I have all day to get things done and that I don't have to rush all the time...or look for another job! It's like my life has done a 360 and my mind is having trouble computing. I've been told to take several months to settle in and I guess this might be good advice. Luckily, warm weather is on the horizon with lots to do outdoors and some travel planned later in the summer. I think I'll be okay :-)

And so, time to get myself organized for the day and off to the mall a bit later on. Wishing everyone a great weekend.

My good buddy Darlene Cole spotted this Perfect Books window display!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

A Busy Spring


The sun is shining, crocuses are in bloom, snow is nearly gone. The change of seasons is always invigorating and makes me want to tackle new projects.

I received the cover concept for No Trace, the fifth Anna Sweet novella and quite like it. I've been asked to write the accompanying questions to go with the book for adult learners and to write a sixth Anna Sweet due next spring. My publisher said that she reread the edited manuscript a few days ago and doesn't want the series to end!

As for the Stonechild and Rouleau series, the designer is now working on a cover for the fourth entitled Shallow End. This one will be published in 2017, likely in the fall. Marketing starts soon but the editing will not happen until early next year. Meanwhile, I am working away on the fifth in the series and am closing in on 8000 words. Every book has its own rhythm I am finding, with the plot like a puzzle that unfolds as I write. This manuscript is different than the others and so far keeping me intrigued.

Tomorrow evening will find me with Linwood Barclay, Joy Fielding, John Lawton and Barbara Fradkin at the Ottawa International Writers Festival, speaking about our books and crime writing. You can join us at 8:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral on Sparks Street -- more ticket information is available on the website. It should be a marvelous evening. You can also check out the other authors who will be appearing at the festival - a terrific and eclectic lineup this spring.

Next Saturday, April 23, I'll be signing at Coles Carlingwood between 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. if you are still in search of the Stonechild and Rouleau books. Then, on Saturday, April 30, I'll be taking part in the Authors for Indies day, appearing at Books on Beechwood between 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. to take to readers about books I've read and recommend. We only have a few independent bookstores remaining in Ottawa and they offer personalized service and are a such a valuable resource in our communities. Plan to drop by and talk to staff, meet local authors, buy a book, and spread the word.

Ted and I spent the last few days in Toronto watching our daughter Lisa curl in the Players Championship and they've (i.e. Team Homan) made the quarter finals today at noon. So, I'll set aside my writing while the games are on Sportsnet today and tomorrow, and fit in some writing here and there. Happily, I have all week now to write and don't have to cram it in after work and on weekends.

Good week, everyone. Take time to enjoy the spring sunshine :-)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Launching Tumbled Graves and Winning Cheese

Two weeks since my last update, but life has been busy since retirement...making up for lost time:-) I was in an all-day curling bonspiel last Saturday in Winchester, and then the Tumbled Graves launch on Sunday. A fun weekend all around. We managed to win a few pounds of cheese, steaks and shrimp at the Winchester spiel, so a filling start to the weekend, and then, a good crowd and lots of books sales to cap it off. A huge thank you to Books on Beechwood (Hilary and Bridget who came out on a Sunday), and the staff at Whispers Pub, who took excellent care of us. Alex Brett was a brilliant MC and such a great support always. Alex has penned two mysteries, the first of which is Cold Dark Matter, and you should get your hands on a copy for a really good read. I also want to thank my friend Fred Taylor, who took some great photos of the event, and Graham Law who stepped in early on and took some pictures with my camera.

Just a bit of news. The Ottawa International Writers Festival is fast approaching with a terrific lineup. I hope to see you at the Scene of the Crime panel on Sunday, April 17 at 8:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral on Sparks Street. John Lawton, Joy Fielding, Linwood Barclay, moi and moderator Barbara's not to be missed! I was pleasantly delighted to have the festival's Artistic Director Sean Wilson recommend my book  today on CTV Ottawa News at Noon along with some other festival picks. You can watch the video and get some spring book ideas for your list.

I'm also going to be signing Tumbled Graves at Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, April 23 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. if you're still looking for a copy.

I've been working all week on book stuff -- finished editing my latest Anna Sweet, which is entitled No Trace and out later this year from Grass Roots Press. That took some to-ing and fro-ing but laid to bed now and awaiting the cover concepts. I also spent hours working on an author grid for Dundurn, which helps with marketing. This weekend, at last, down to some writing time!

So without further ado, here are some pics from the launch. It was a most happy afternoon:-)