Saturday, November 18, 2017

Books and Wine

Tuesday evening this week, I spent a most delightful evening with a local book club. I was treated to supper and conversation at Flipper's seafood restaurant in the Glebe - such an interesting and warm group of people and their club has been going for fourteen years. A few of their members are absent so we drank their share of wine :-) Thank you Estella and gang for inviting me. They read Cold Mourning beforehand and told me that they all  enjoyed the book or they wouldn't have invited me to dinner! They're on the hunt for the rest of the series so I look forward to more feedback.


This Monday, I'm visiting another book club but this one takes place in a condo in the west end of the city with wine and cheese on the menu. The book club has invited people in the building and other friends and I'm told we'll be thirty to forty people. They've been reading Cold Mourning ahead of the evening, so I'll do a short reading and will answer questions about the book, my writing and the series. I'm looking forward to meeting everyone.

Well, I'm happy to report that I finished the latest manuscript Monday evening. Since then, I've been editing and am now about half-way through my first review. I'm having to tweak bits and rewrite paragraphs to make all the facts align now that I have the ending written. I must confess that I wasn't certain of every twist and turn until the very end and am rereading with an eye to making sure I've tied up all the details and that all the plot lines make sense.  I'll finish the edits early next week and will set it aside for a few days before going through it a second time. Hopefully, the text will be in good enough shape to submit to Dundurn a month early.

We're getting the first winter warning/snowstorm later today according to the weather reports. This is a good weekend to hang out at home with a fire in the grate and a pot of tea. I'll be doing more editing as well as watching curling on television. My daughter Lisa's team is in the quarterfinals of a bonspiel (to be shown on Sportsnet) at 1:00 EDT if you're also looking for an indoor pastime.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

November Morning

The frost is on the pumpkin this morning as our lovely autumn turns wintery. One benefit from the cold weather is that it keeps me stay inside at my desk writing although I lamented yesterday that the days sitting on the back deck are over for the year. I know I'll have cabin fever by January.

So, I'd hoped to have the first draft of my latest manuscript finished by today ... well by last weekend really ... but I'm still writing, now past the 90,000 word mark. The story just keeps going as I work my way to the finish. I'm going to have to cut it down if I go on much longer but my plan is to tie up all the loose ends and then have a look. I've done some editing earlier on but I've been working on this story for almost a year and there will be bits that could use a tidy. 

This week, I'm a guest at a book club on Tuesday - we're going to a local seafood restaurant and will talk about mysteries and writing over plates of shrimp and scallops. The following week, I visit another book club and that one will be a wine and cheese in a condo building with the focus on Cold Mourning. Two lovely evenings meeting mystery readers in relaxed settings. Book clubs are the best!

This time of year, I love rereading poems from my years studying Canadian poetry at university. Here's a snippet from one called "In November" by Archibald Lampman that captures the beauty of this dying season.

The sun shone out a little space
Across the silent sober place,
Over the sand heaps and brown sod,
The mulleins and dead goldenrod,
And passed beyond the thickets gray,
And lit the fallen leaves that lay,
Level and deep within the wood,
A rustling yellow multitude.



Saturday, November 4, 2017

Into November

Some good news this week. Pat Campbell, Grass Roots Press publisher, was in touch and asked me to write two more Anna Sweet novellas. She will publish both at the same time in fall 2019 with a campaign to promote the entire series. The eighth book will be the final in the series so I'll have to gear the last two stories to this end point. She mentioned that so many people have told her how much the love these books - music to my ears.

In the meantime, I'm working away on the sixth Stonechild book entitled Turning Secrets and am currently into the climax of the book and a few thousand words away from finishing the first draft. My process seems to be: write a few paragraphs, pause, think, write a few more hundred words, pause, think, go back and rewrite, pause and think. I'm not certain why I'm so hesitant with this ending, but give me one more week and I'll definitely be done. This leaves me a few months to edit and pull all the strands together more tightly. I also would like to make a trip to Kingston to check out a location, oddly enough that does not include a bar :-)

If you had a chance to watch the tv mini-series Alias Grace based on Margaret Atwood's book, what a treat. The acting was superb and the sets were extremely well done. I read the book some time ago and would like to reread it after seeing the series. My recommendation for the week!

A nice bit of publicity in my mailbox on Wednesday. My good friend and neighbour Kathryn Anthonisen sent in a recommendation for my series to a local magazine called "Neighbours of Westboro" and they published her words in their entirety along with a photo of the series. The magazine is free and goes to several west-end Ottawa neighbourhoods so I'm hoping to attract a few new readers. Thank you Kathryn!


Don't forget to set your clocks back tonight my Canadian friends (with the exception of Saskatchewan). An extra hour of sleep is never a bad thing.