Saturday, January 30, 2016

Mid-winter Book News

We were on the road last weekend and I missed a blog post, but I'm back this cold, snowy Saturday morning with some bits of book news.

I completed the Anna Sweet manuscript a few days ago and sent it to the publisher. She let me know that she plans to read it this weekend and will send her comments. This was a fun one to write, but there is a challenge to writing a mystery in under 15,000 words...formulating a plot, developing characters and real room to spread out or elaborate. Every word has to count. Fingers crossed that this one is well received.

A box of Tumbled Graves bookmarks arrived in the mail earlier this week. I'm pleased to have them in time for my trip to Left Coast Crime in Phoenix at the end of February.

And speaking of Left Coast Crime, I received my panel assignment, which is entitled "Heroes with a Badge--Sleuths in Law Enforcement". Barbara Fradkin is also on the panel as are American authors Neal Griffin, Tyler Dilts and Peg Brantley. I'm looking forward to meeting these authors. I see from Neal Griffin's website that he is a former marine and currently a detective lieutenant on the police force in San Diego county. You meet some fascinating people at these book conferences. Anyhow, I've had a bit of homework for the panel, which I took care of yesterday.

I'm going to be at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Phoenix the evening that I arrive along with several other authors. The owner wants to introduce us to their clients, particularly the Canadian snowbirds. Then, on the Friday night, Crime Writers of Canada is hosting an event to introduce Canadian authors to those attending the conference. Should be a fun time and hopefully helpful with attracting some new readers.

So, I've just completed two weeks of holidays and am back to work Monday for two weeks before taking another couple of weeks off. It won't be long now before I'm a full-time author! I think I'm going to have to set my alarm and get into a work-at-home rhythm as I seem to be sleeping in later and later every morning. Of course, the weather hasn't made me want to leap out of bed at sunrise. I managed to get up at a decent hour today, which calls for another cup of coffee.

I almost forgot to mention a good review for Tumbled Graves in Publisher's Weekly. This is the first review from a professional reviewer so a good sign. I've also heard through my publicist that the book is getting another thumbs by a reviewer who posts in a publication for librarians.Onwards and upwards, people! :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sweeping in Some Fun

I'm starting two weeks of vacation leave from work today and celebrated by sleeping twelve hours. I know - I'm leading the dream life.

I managed to finish the first draft of my manuscript for the fifth Anna Sweet novella, hovering around the 14,000 word mark, which is about two thousand words over my target. I gave the story one complete read through and found a few errors (naturally). I also found a few spots where I needed to revise since the writing didn't ring true. The ending, for example, needs to be changed. I also have to come up with a title. I'll be putting on the final touches the last week of my vacation as this next week will be dedicated to curling.

Ted and I are in the midst of that city-wide bonspiel I mentioned last week in the blog. We managed to win our first two games and have two more today. We need to win one to make it to the finals tomorrow - the games get tougher as you go along so we're hoping to be amongst the last ones standing....but you never know.

(I am really hoping we are yellow.)

Our daughter Lisa is playing in the mixed doubles today in the Continental Cup, live from Vegas. She'll be on TSN at noon EST today if you have a chance to catch the game. Then, Team Homan returns home in time for provincial play downs, starting Monday. We'll be heading out to see them and cheer them on.

I'm planning to take a few weeks off writing at the beginning of February and then will start the fifth Stonechild and Rouleau, which is due next February. This gives me a full year and I'll be retired from my government job so more time to dedicate to the writing life. I'm excited for this change to my schedule. I'm also thinking about taking on more writing projects, but nothing concrete yet. Just a few ideas percolating.

So, I'd best start limbering up for the day ahead and all the rock-throwing and sweeping. I didn't mention the East Coast party tonight at one of the curling clubs complete with a seafood supper. We have to make it through two games to reach the party-carrot, but all in the name of fun.

Good week, everyone.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Let's Get this Party Started

Greetings friends.

Book activity picked up this week. I was asked to do a Q and A for the Dundurn blog, which I completed and submitted. It will be posted March 1st right after the Tumbled Graves release. I've also seen templates for the book launch invitation at Whispers Pub April 3rd, bookmarks and the back cover. I booked a signing at Perfect Books (Elgin Street) on Saturday, April 16th and will have to line up some more through my Chapters connections. I also submitted a short bio and picture for the Left Coast Crime conference booklet...and, rounding into the final chapter of my latest manuscript.

So far, January is speeding by and the rest of this month promises to be busy, mainly with curling, both playing and watching. Our daughter Lisa was on TSN last evening in Banff and will be on again next weekend in Vegas. They're then in provincials in Brampton and we'll make the trip to cheer them on. Meanwhile, Ted and I are in a city-wide mixed bonspiel this upcoming week. For those of you wondering, "What the heck is curling?" I recently penned a short piece for a blog that you might find informative. Yes, the competitive gene appears to be running through my veins. I blame my ancestors.

Thank you to all the bloggers who've been giving Tumbled Graves an advance read and posting reviews. It seems quite a few haven't read the first two books in the series but they enjoy this one enough to go back and read the others. Their reviews can be found on Goodreads. Apparently, you can't post reviews on Amazon until the book is released. This is important because the number of Amazon reviews moves a book up in search engines and gives it a more prominent position. You can really help out your favorite authors by posting a short review on this and other book sites.

So, lots going on and lots on the horizon. We've got a weekend of rain and fog in Ottawa after a few frigid days early in the week. I went out and bought some waterproof boots that are good for -30 degree temperatures. My wardrobe is having trouble keeping up with all these changes. Some mornings it's a toss up whether to put on the bikini or parka. (The bikini might be a stretch - and if that's not a double entendre, I don't know what is.)

Time to make my way through the slush to run some errands. Have a good week, everyone.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Slipping into 2016

Happy New Year one and all as we round the corner into 2016. New calendar years always seem like a chance to get our lives together - to take on projects with fresh eyes or to start something new. Kind of a refresher to jump start our everyday existence and remind us that we are masters of our own lives.

This will be a particularly exciting year for me as Tumbled Graves comes out late February, immediately before I retire from working in the government. I can then pursue my writing full-time, which I know will be a wonderful thing. I will have completed the manuscript I am working on now and well into the fifth Stonechild and Rouleau - I have an idea percolating and am eager to get at the first chapter. The fourth Stonechild currently entitled Shallow End is with my editor and we'll be spending some time this year editing it. I'll also be promoting Tumbled Graves, beginning with a launch at Whispers pub on Sunday, April 3, and a trip to Phoenix in February to Left Coast Crime. As my supervisor at work told me last week, "I have no worries about you finding something to do once you retire." :-)

I have no word yet on when my appearance on Ellie's Read on Ottawa with Barb Fradkin and Mike Martin will appear on Cable 22, but it should be later this month. I'll let you know once I know.

I hope that you got some good books for Christmas. I'm currently re-reading Denise Mina's The Dead Hour and think you would enjoy this series if you haven't already read it. It's gritty and so well drawn, characters and setting both. If I had to name one of my writing influences, this book would be a good place to start.

Well, not much else to report today. I'm still stuffed from holiday food and wine and lazy from stretching out next to the fire reading, writing and puttering around the house. I'm thankful for the past few weeks spending time with family and friends, enjoying this respite from life's demands. As we all know, these come soon enough.

So, put the kettle on, put your feet up and have another cup of tea. Let's enjoy easing into the new year together and take a moment to give thanks for all that's good.