Saturday, September 16, 2017

A Labour of Love

This was another week spent editing Bleeding Darkness - this time, copy edits and hopefully for the last time. At the point that I'm at now with the manuscript, I'm tired of it, have no idea if it's any good, think the suspense has disappeared (as it has because I've read it twelve times), wish I'd written every sentence another way, wonder if I should chuck my computer and take up lawn bowling ... and have been here often enough to know that this feeling is part of the process. I worked all weekend and finally finished recording the last of my edits in a Word doc at nine p.m. Wednesday night.

It's time to pour a big glass of wine.

Editing leaves no time to do laundry.

It's time to set this one free.



My editor contact at Dundurn tells me that the copy editor is also having a go at the text and once they coordinate both our changes into the master document, the process picks up steam. The advance reading copies will be prepared and mailed out and the book will be posted on Net Galley for advance book reviewers. It doesn't actually hit the stores until May 2018, and by then I'll be elbow deep in my next book and have forgotten much of what I laboured over for so long with this one. Maybe, labour is the right word. The same thing happened after having babies. With the passing of time, I forgot how kind of awful yet glorious the experience was.

Men, if you want to experience labour (without the physical pain), write a book. You'll live through the same anxiety, fatigue and sense of creating something bigger than yourself, while wondering how the hell it's ever going to find it's way out of you. You'll worry about how the world will take to your little offering, hoping it amounts to something once it leaves your all-consuming focus and care. You too can experience listening to your spouse without hearing a thing they've said (although I think this happens already) and become as forgetful as ... well, a pregnant woman. Even the entire book-writing process takes about ten months of distracted gestation.

On to the rest of my week ...

I finished reading Ann Cleeves latest Vera Stanhope book entitled The Seagull and Barb Fradkin's latest Amanda Doucette, entitled Trickster's Lullaby, taking breaks from editing now and then because my eyes needed more exercise :-) Now, I'm doing some research, writing questions and getting ready to host both authors on October 10 for an evening of writing chat about their writing process, influences and latest books. Be sure to order a ticket and come out to learn more about two of the finest crime fiction writers in the field today.

A note that I'll be appearing at the Crime Writers of Canada table (booth 213) at Toronto Word on the Street next Sunday, September 24 - it would be great to meet some Toronto readers so stop by if you're out and about.

So, I've got to get back into the latest manuscript that I set aside to edit ... and if you don't think it was confusing to be writing one and editing another, you'd be wrong. I'm trying to remember my train of thought from a week ago when I was confident I had the ending worked out. I'm at about 67,000 words with 20,000 or so left to go. I'm at that point with the plot where I'm girding my loins to jump off the cliff and hoping the parachute opens. (The baby is kicking at my rib cage.)

Yeah, I think I could do with a holiday too :-)


Saturday, September 9, 2017

Onward

The first full week of September completed; terrible storms battering the Caribbean and Florida this weekend; frost warnings in Northern Ontario; forest fires raging out West; and cool nights and summery days in Ottawa. This is the turning month.

Some progress this week. I completed my notes on the latest manuscript to date, revising as I went. I've begun working my way into the ending, sort of feeling my way as I go. This one might need more rewriting but at least I'm feeling organized.

I had a few tasks to complete for the upcoming Bleeding Darkness, including writing a cover letter that goes out with the advance reading copies. As you might recall, I completed two complete manuscript edits last month working with my Dundurn editor. Well, the book rebounded in my inbox late yesterday for me to give it a final read - a copy editor is going through the manuscript at the same time. The text is now in final book format and I'm not to do any rewriting, just looking for the dreaded typos and punctuation errors. You might wonder how any can slip past with all this editing, but the mind somehow glosses over them when reading, especially the sixth or seventh time through. I heard that the book industry considers ten errors acceptable, but I have to say that even one error in my books sets my teeth on edge. Happily, these can be corrected in the ebook format but not so easy in printed books until a reprint.

I'm told that the two audio books for Cold Mourning and Butterfly Kills are completed and a distributor is being lined up so they should be available soon! I haven't received copies yet and am eager to hear how they turned out. With all the time and care put into them, they should be terrific. especially with Michelle St. John reading the books.


I'm also gearing up to interview Ann Cleeves and Barbara Fradkin as part of the Ottawa International Writers Fest on the evening of Tuesday, October 10. Tickets are now available so you can preorder and spend the evening getting to know two crime writers at the top of their game. I've received copies of each of their latest books from their publishers and can tell you that they've penned some excellent, suspenseful reads. I know Barbara well since we both live in Ottawa (in fact in the same neighbourhood) and I've met Ann twice - at Left Coast Crime in Monterey where we were on a panel together with Louise Penny and Debra Combrie, and in Phoenix where this photo was taken when we were out for lunch.

And finally this week, reviewer Jim Napier gave Shallow End a thumbs-up review in The Ottawa Review of Books. Jim has been reviewing Canadian crime fiction for some time and recently released his own first novel entitled Legacy that I look forward to reading over the winter.

But for now, one more cup of coffee and back to the editing. I hope this weekend finds you safe and dry wherever you are.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

Finding the Zen

This writing week was one of leisure. I caught the Monday morning train to Cobourg (an hour east of Toronto) and met a friend Dawn at St. Anne's Spa, some fifteen minutes from the city in the country. The spa was once a farmhouse that has had several additions and is a popular destination for folks from Toronto. Lots of opportunity to jump into hot baths and pools or take yoga classes (not that I did) when not getting pummeled by a masseuse or eating gourmet food. No televisions and cellphones discouraged - relaxation the name of the game. It was a lovely, luxurious spot with walking trails and gardens.  A chance to recharge.




Back in Ottawa, we spent a few days roaming around the city, including a walk across the interprovincial bridge to Jacques Cartier Park to see the plant sculptures, one of the Canada 150 projects. All I can say is wow. Be sure to go if you get the chance. They are simply amazing. -all made from live plants - the pictures don't do them justice.







So today, I'm back at my desk, getting organized and back into a routine. I'm now officially slated to interview Barbara Fradkin and Ann Cleeves at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on October 10th! So exciting - I've received copies of their latest books and have some great reading ahead as I prepare. I'm also going to be at Word on the Street in Toronto on Sunday, September 24 at the Crime Writers of Canada table from noon to one, and then Bouchercon in early October.

But for today, I'm happy to be back writing my latest manuscript -  still completing a chapter synopsis as I get ready to tackle the ending. This is going to be one busy fall!!