Saturday, March 25, 2017

Winning ways

Well, since the last post, Team Homan won the round robin at Worlds with a perfect 11-0 record against a tough field and won the one-two game yesterday morning to secure a spot in the gold-medal final on Sunday. I'll be getting up at 3 a.m. to watch - the opponent yet to be decided as the final teams play down. We couldn't be prouder of these girls.

Rachel, Emma, Joanne, Lisa and Cheryl - Go Team Canada!

I was also curling a lot this week - eight games in five days with the last two ahead today. So far, I have a 4-2 record, having played on three different teams. This curling marathon has cut into my writing time, but I'm well on track with my projects regardless: heading up to 14,000 words on the new manuscript; submitted seven paragraphs for review in the adult literacy project; waiting for editor to send back edits on the latest Anna Sweet mystery; prepared my one-hour presentation for the Ottawa Independent Writers talk on April 18....

I'm not sure that I mentioned that I'll be signing at Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto on Saturday, April 15 from 1:00 to 3:00 (Easter weekend). I'll be there with two Toronto authors Steve Burrows and Leslie Shimotakahara. I hear we might even be doing some readings and answering questions about our writing and books. I hope you can come by if you're in Toronto. Sleuth is a famous mystery bookstore and this will be my first visit.  Here's a link to their newsletter.

And back in Ottawa, a few events on the horizon:

April 7 from 7-9 p.m. - Shallow End launch at the Heart and Crown on Preston (all welcome).
April 18 at 7 p.m. - guest speaker at Ottawa Independent Writers' meeting.
April 22 from 11-2 p.m. - signing at Coles Carlingwood.
April 24 - 7 p.m. - guest speaker at Russell Public Library.
April 29 from 1-3 p.m. - signing at Chapters Kanata.

Lots of opportunities for you to catch up with me!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Reviews, Snow and Curling ... Go Team Canada!

The winter that never ends. That what we've been experiencing in Ottawa. I look out at the fresh, high snow banks and have to believe this is it ... but I thought that last week before the blizzard.

We have exciting curling to watch when we don't feel like going outside. My daughter Lisa's team (with Rachel Homan, Emma Miskew and Joanne Courtney) won their two opening games against China and Germany in Beijing with the match against Russia coming up at 2 a.m. tonight or should I say early Sunday morning. I taped last night's opener and watched this morning - thus the delay in getting my day underway. I also have company this weekend - one that needs lots of walks in the winter wonderland.

So this week, I got some writing in on my latest manuscript, now at 11,000 words, and researched and wrote a few paragraphs for the literacy workbooks. I hope to write another one today and continue with the manuscript. Another big task was getting my receipts and documents organized for my tax return, which is now with my accountant. That's always a load off my mind when I turn in the pack of papers.

The reader reviews for Shallow End have been terrific. Jim, owner of Perfect Books, emailed my yesterday that they'd sold out of their copies and are waiting for the book to be reprinted! Wow. I can't thank everyone enough for all your support. The Ottawa launch is three weeks away and I'm hoping you can make it if you're in the city. Mary Jane Maffini is my wonderful MC and Books on Beechwood will be on hand with copies for purchase.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Laying the Groundwork

Today is Shallow End's official launch date although it has been available for over a week now and advance reader copies went out about six months ago. The reader and reviewer feedback has been terrific to date - thank you everyone for helping to spread the word about this series. A special thank you to British crime writer Ann Cleeves who read an advance copy and gave a lovely endorsement. Ann writes the Jimmy Perez Shetland series (on Netflix) and the Vera Stanhope series, great reads all.

I'm plugging away on book six in the series and just over 8000 words, aiming for 10,000 by the end of the month. I'm struggling with the premise but am feeling better about the direction the plot is going. These first chapters are setting the stage and normally take me a lot of time, thinking and revising. Laying the groundwork and hoping it's fertile enough to grow some strong plotting.

I've also been working on a few sample paragraphs for my Grass Roots Press workbook project. The writing has to be at a grade 4/5 level based on the Frye readability graph ... not as easy as you would think. Anyhow, I've been back and forth with the publisher, spoken with her twice on the phone, and I believe I'm on the right track. I'll be settling in with the research and writing this week. I have to write 35 main idea paragraphs with 35 different topics with three deadlines throughout the spring and summer. I like a challenge :-)

And aside from writing, I've been sending out e-vites to the Shallow End launch on April 7 at the Heart and Crown. The thing I like about these launches is seeing everybody once a year - some friends I wouldn't see otherwise as we're all in different parts of the city with busy lives. From initial feedback, there should be a good crowd!

Let's hope it warms up before the launch. Today, we're having a record low temperature for March 11, currently -19 C and feeling like -31 C. Makes you want to curl up with a space heater on high. The snowbanks are lower than a week ago but still very much in evidence. Hard to believe it was +18 C last week in St. Catharines with the grass greening up. Mother Nature likes to keep us on our toes.

More coffee I say. Another cup and then time to get this frosty Saturday underway. 

Good week everyone.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

A Winning Week

We spent an exciting week in St. Catharines at the Scotties - our national ladies' curling competition - and witnessed a terrific final between Ontario (Rachel Homan) and Manitoba (Michelle Englot) with Ontario winning in an extra end. Of course, the Ontario team has our daughter Lisa at lead so a very happy result! They'll represent Canada at Worlds in Beijing China, which begin March 18, although we'll be cheering them on from home.

No tournament is complete without a photo with curling champion Jeff Stoughton :-)

I've been working hard on writing tasks this week, beginning with going through the edits from my Grass Roots editor Pam on the sixth Anna Sweet manuscript. The edits weren't that numerous and mainly concerned plot timing and logic questions. This editing round took me a few days and I now await Pam's feedback. I also signed a contract to work on four workbooks for adult learners, which involves researching thirty-five topics and writing paragraphs based on each topic that have a main idea and supporting details. I've written one paragraph and am currently researching a second topic. I'll submit both next week to see if I'm on the right track. The grade level is four/five. This project will keep me busy for a few months at least.

I also had great news from my Dundurn publicist early this week - Publishers Weekly gave Shallow End a starred review! The review calls the book 'intriguing' and 'a gripping read'. I've been sending out more evites to the launch which will be April 7. Here is the invitation if you are in Ottawa and can plan to attend.

I'll be doing a few book signings as well in April, including a trip to Toronto and Sleuth of Baker Street on Saturday, April 15 between 3:00 and 5:00 p.m. 

Back in Ottawa, I'll be at Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, April 22 between 11:00 a.m. and 2 p.m.; and Chapters Kanata on Saturday, April 29 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m.

So, busy weeks ahead as we round into spring. I hope to meet lots of friends and readers along the way.