Friday, October 20, 2017

Book Clubs and Deadlines

Some lovely news this week. No Trace has been shortlisted for an Ontario Library Association Golden Oak award. The shortlist is decided by a panel of librarians and it is for writing aimed at adult learners. Now, adult students across the province have a chance to read and vote for the book they like best with an awards event in Toronto in the spring.


I've recovered from Bouchercon last weekend and am back working at my desk. I received a deadline and pub date for the sixth Stonechild book, Turning Secrets - it's due January 1st and the publication date is May 11, 2019. They do plan ahead in this publishing business! I've hit 80,000 words in the first draft and am working to connect all the pieces and land the ending. It's rather like rounding up a bunch of cats that have been following me around, waiting for their turn at the food bowl. They're all converging at once and I've got to exert some control and manage the chaos.

So, next on the agenda in November, I'll be visiting two local book clubs to talk about writing and my series. They will be two very different outings - the first is dinner at a seafood restaurant and the second is a drop in wine and cheese in a condo building. I've visited several book clubs and have enjoyed every one. What better way to spend an evening or afternoon than talking books and crime fiction with people who have the same passion for the written word? If you belong to a book club and would like me to visit, send along an email and we can see about setting something up.

Below are a few pics from last week's travels. Have a good week ahead everyone :-)

 The Dundurn publicity team Michelle, Jaclyn and Kendra
Some of the Dundurn authors - Barbara Fradkin, Dave Butler, Rachel Greenaway and David Paulson. (The fellow on the far left is a book translator and friend of Rachel's.)
Crime Writers of Canada quizz night - co-hosting alongside Toronto author Peter Fritze.
Louise Penny being interviewed by Ann Cleeves Sunday morning - the room was packed!




Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bouchercon - Wrapping up Days 3 and 4

I'm on the train home from Bouchercon, my first real opportunity to catch up on days three and four. The highlights of yesterday were meeting some readers in the hospitality room first thing in the morning when I hosted a table as part of the Crime Writers of Canada duties. I met an ex-journalist who was looking for a publisher for his first novel, a woman who'd been at a book club that I presented at last year in Ottawa, and a woman from Cleveland who loved all things mystery. My panel was later in the day and Caro Ramsay moderated in excellent fashion - she'd read our books and gave insightful questions and comments and incorporated a lot of humour into the session. The room was quite full and many came up afterwards to say they'd enjoyed it. Just before our panel, I sat in on one with Linwood Barclay, Kathy Reichs and a few other authors whose names escape me now, and the topic was writing standalone as well as series. Very informative from a writer perspective.

Supper last evening was a trek through the tunnels to the Cactus Club with the Ottawa crew - Mary Jane Maffini, Linda Wiken, Robin Harlick and Barbara Fradkin. After we determined that we were the oldest in the club by about thirty years, we settled in for a few hours of delicious food, loud music, and lots of laughter.

This morning, I sat in on the Louise Penny interview with Ann Cleeves asking the questions, and again, a packed room. The hour zipped past and I checked out of the hotel immediately afterwards, met up with a Toronto friend, trundled down Yonge pulling my suitcase and stopped for lunch before arriving at Union Station.

The conference was fun and overall worthwhile. I spent time chatting with many authors and made several new acquaintances. It's a chance to catch up on industry news and share stories about events and marketing. I remembered just how big Bouchercon is (about 1700 attendees) and that they come from all corners of the world, including Australia, Japan, Scandinavia, Greece, Britain, France ... and the list goes on. My favourite moments were when readers came up to me to tell me how much they are enjoying my series. In particular, a man came up to me with all my books at the signing table after the panel - his wife was ill but wanted to make sure he got my signature on each of them and she'd written a lovely note to me. They live in Nova Scotia and she said that her entire bookclub of 22 members has read all my books and the librarian in their town said that my books and one other author's are the most signed out books in their library.

Words to make attending worth the price of admission:-)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Live From Bouchercon - Friday - Day Two

This morning started with a phone call from Robin Harlick to meet for coffee at the coffeeshop downstairs. Turns out there's more than one coffeeshop and we picked different ones. I reverted to my original plan to bring a coffee back to my room, after which I got ready to meet the Dundurn authors in the lobby at 9:15 for a cab ride to the Dundurn office. We were greeted by the Dundurn team including VP Beth Bruder and President Kirk Howard and more coffee and pastries. I met David Butler from B.C. whose first book Full Curl was just released - I gave an endorsement so it was nice to meet him in person. I had good chats with Beth, the three Dundurn publicists and David Paulson (Alberta).

We walked back to the hotel in time for me to do my one-hour stint at the Crime Writers of Canada table, oddly enough, with David Paulson. We kept each other laughing in between chatting with authors who came up to the table. I guess the most famous of these was William Deverell who was the creative force behind CBC's Street Legal. I then met up with my publicist Michelle Melski and Rachel Greenaway (B.C. Dundurn author) for lunch in the hotel and we chatted about all things publicity-related.

So I was in my room for a moment around 3:20, getting ready to go see a panel with Ann Cleeves as one of the panelists, when the fire alarm went off. I went into the hallway and nobody. I walked toward the stairs/elevators when a woman from New York City came into the hall and she suggested that we take the stairs together. She said that she'd grabbed her passport from the safe so that she could get home if this turned into a disaster. Sad to think that people from the U.S., New York in particular, have this underlying fear. We made it to the ground along with several other people who'd taken the stairs as an announcement let us know that the fire was reported in the garage. As it happened, I met Rick Mofina coming out of the hotel and we decided it was safe enough to go back in to the bar where we spent the rest of the afternoon catching up (we worked next to each other at Health Canada for a few years) and talking about the book business. Kind of serendipity really! Oh, and there was no fire in the end:-)

This evening beginning at 6:00, I'm heading to the international reception for authors from other countries across the seas who've made it here. There is a cocktail/dessert party after that that I may or may not attend, but from 9:30 to 11:00, I'm part of a Crime Writers of Canada quizz game with lots of donated books as giveaways. At these conferences, publishers and groups sponsor events as a way to get their authors known. Since this is going to be a late night, I'll post now with more from Bouchercon tomorrow!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Live From Bouchercon - Day One

Well I've made it to Toronto and four days of Bouchercon but we need to back up a few days. Tuesday evening, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ann Cleeves and Barbara Fradkin as part of the Ottawa Writers Festival. We met at Southminster Church in Old Ottawa South and were greeted by an audience of over 200 people. True confession: I'd never interviewed anyone before and was slightly nervous, but really needed have been. Ann and Barb were great and didn't pass on any of my questions. It truly was a delightful evening.

Barbara Fradkin, Ann Cleeves and me

So, not so bright and early this morning, Barbara Fradkin (pictured above) picked me up and we took the 401 to Toronto, stopping in Cobourg at the Mill Tavern for a late lunch. I actually caught an Uber from somewhere in Toronto as Barb was visiting her daughter first, and made it to the Sheraton around four o'clock.

I checked in and went exploring, meeting several people I know along the way. Mainly Canadian people. I exchanged a few words with Howard Engel in the book room - he is one of Canada's icons in the mystery-writing genre, but didn't feel up to asking for a photo ... yet. After a brief rest, I met up with nine other Canadian authors (all women) and we went for supper in the hotel. Then off to the bar. This is a massive conference with about 1700 attendees. I didn't recognize many of them pouring through the bar, but a lot are Americans and a lot look young.

Tomorrow starts bright and early with a trip to Dundurn publishers for coffee. I'll let you know what I get up to at the end of the day ....

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Autumn Bounty

Happy Thanksgiving weekend all my Canadian friends. Bucking tradition this year, we're barbecuing a ham smothered in orange bourbon sauce and getting together with friends and neighbours for a potluck feast on Sunday. Both daughters are in out of town curling bonspiels and we're fortunate to have such good friends with whom to share the feast.

Ted and I got married Thanksgiving weekend and oddly enough, the two couples across the street share the same weekend. So this will be the third year we all go out for supper to celebrate, making for two special meals. Even the weather is making for a terrific weekend with warm temps and sun tomorrow. The leaves are only beginning to turn. A beautiful season before the snow :-)


So, Tuesday, October 10 is the Scene of the Crime event, part of the Ottawa Writers Fest. I'm excited to be spending the evening in conversation with Ann Cleeves and Barbara Fradkin at Southminster United Church at 15 Aylmer Avenue in Ottawa South. Some friends are coming and it should be an all around great night. I believe you can still order a ticket if you'd like to come too. They're available through the Writers Fest website where you can find the event details. Peter Robb of Artsfile wrote insightful articles on Ann and Barbara that you might enjoy reading ahead of the evening.

A few days after the event, I'm off to Toronto and Bouchercon from Thursday to Sunday. I read that over 1700 people are attending, making this one big conference! I'm hoping to meet up with old friends as well as make new ones. I'll be taking part in the Crime Writers of Canada quizz Friday night and the 'Blue Detectives' panel on Saturday from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. I'm also taking a few shifts at the Crime Writers table and refreshment area. If you're at Bouchercon, be sure to say hi! Check back at this site as I'll blog from Bouchercon with updates on the goings-on.

Time to get this morning underway. I have to make my way to the shops to buy final items for the big Thanksgiving dinner. I wish everyone also celebrating a Happy Thanksgiving with lots of pie.