Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spring Days

Starting to feel as if we're heading into some better weather although overall we've had a rainy, cool month of May. We're all longing for a stretch of hotter weather ... not sure what this summer has in store but fingers crossed.

On the 7 Criminal Minds blog, five authors this week were tasked with recommending books for that dad or husband on your Fathers Day list. The posts are all very different, but you might find some new books and authors to check out. Five different authors will be blogging with their choices in the upcoming week, so more recommendations to come.

My week alternated between writing work and gardening. Several trips to gardening centres and then planting what I bought kept me away from my computer, but I wrote in the evenings and met my word count goals. I also had a final review of the Too Close to Home Anna Sweet novella and we finalized a cover photo. And on Wednesday, I appeared on 1310 News The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe to talk about the news of the day. They've asked me back on Thursday this week so you can share part of your lunch hour with us if you have the time.

One week to the Ottawa launch of Turning Secrets! The band is ready to go and the food is ordered. Perfect Books will be on hand with books for sale. Ive heard from lots of people that they plan to attend so we should have a good party. My daughter Lisa will be making introductions and my friend Fred Taylor is returning to take photos so I'll post some the following week. All systems ready to go.

I received several lovely emails from readers this week and reviews posted on social media. Many thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts about the series. One more to come! It's so satisfying to know that people are eager for the release of each book and connecting with my characters. I've felt the same about many series I've read over the years and know the same anticipation.

A short post this week. Time to get back into the garden before the rain moves in later today. Another changeable spring day in Ottawa.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May Goings On

The count down is on - fifteen days until the Ottawa launch of Turning Secrets! The annual party is but days away :-)

A good writing week this week as I slip back into the groove. I have to say that writing a thriller is ... wait for it ... thrilling. It's more like the Hitchcock pacing that I love. Lots of tension with the suspense building from a warm pot to a whistling tea kettle. I spent the first part of the week making chapter notes and tuning up the first chapters and am now into the second quarter. (Kind of like a basketball game - go Raptors) (That cheer's for you Robin) Anyhow, my protagonist is in all kinds of trouble and only just beginning to realize it ... how much fun am I having?!

My editor Shannon was in touch end of day yesterday with a tentative schedule for the last Stonechild book called Closing Time. We'll be working through June so another period that I'll have to set aside my latest project to focus on editing the last one. I also will be teaching a writing workshop in August and have to turn my mind to that. Finally, I'll be writing a blogpost for 7 Criminal Minds for this Monday with my book recommendations for Fathers Day. Should be a good few weeks to check in to find out what other authors recommend as well.

I'll be on 1310 News's The Power Lunch this week on Wednesday at noon if anyone is near their computer. The half hour show is also on Rogers Cable 22 and 1310 News Facebook live so I can't show up in my sweats. I try to stay up on the news especially as the date of my guest spot approaches in order to have an informed opinion. There is lots of craziness going on in the world these days I have to say.

Some of you have been asking me about the books being optioned for television and what's going on with that. I'm sad to report that the L.A. screenwriter who optioned the books for the past two years and change suffered a terrible heart attack almost two months ago and was in an induced coma for a few weeks. Happily, he's recovering and home as of a few days ago but the project is on ice. He had a producer interested before he became ill, but I'm not sure if anything will come of this moving forward.

Well, the sun is out and the garden centres are open so time to get a bit of planting done. I'm gambling on the end of the frost (after checking the long range forecast) but who really knows? I still have the snow tires on so hedging my bets ....

Last year's tulips at Dow's Lake - they're less eager to open this year and I can't blame them.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

May Days

Well I'm ready for some better weather ... as are most Canadians. Although I saw a video of a man somewhere in the southern climes ring a doorbell and a snake lurched from wherever it had crawled up the door and bit him in the face, so maybe I'm okay with this northern climate after all.

I visited a morning coffee group at St. Luke's Church on Tuesday and met some lovely women. I talked about writing and my books and there were a lot of good questions about the writing business. The woman organizing the guest speakers saw my name on the poster for the library event with Barbara Fradkin and Giacomo Panico so one thing can lead to another.

I've managed to settle back into writing the latest manuscript as I await the next round of editing for Closing Time, the last Stonechild book. The stopping and starting is hard but necessary, and I know that I'm extremely fortunate to be even editing a book for publication. It's probably much the same for actors who have to promote a film they made a few years back with a new project on the go that's now their focus.

It was also my week to post on 7 Criminal Minds blog and the question concerns what I do to prevent sitting at my desk for long periods of time writing. You'll see that my problem actually goes in the other direction. Read my musings as well as those of my fellow bloggers, most of whom appear to suffer from the same restless affliction.

Turning Secrets is available now and is receiving some lovely reviews from readers and bloggers such as this one, posted this week. Only a few weeks until June 2 and the Ottawa launch at The Cross on Elgin. I'm so pleased to have The Haughian Brothers band playing, especially since the lead singer Bernie is returning from his new home in Collingwood to play. I'm really looking forward to seeing Bernie and his wife Darlene as I haven't seen them since their move last year. Perfect Books will also be at the launch with books for sale and I'll be providing some finger food so should be a good party! All are welcome so please come by if you're able.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Early May Days

So, this arrived on Monday.

New book day! Always a thrill to hold that book in my hands for the first time. The book is due on the shelves May 10 but I suspect it might already be available from the online stores. Strangely enough, Dundurn started working on the seventh this week, which is called Closing Time. It will be the last in the series. I'll be working with editor Shannon Whibbs once again (yay!) and she's started the first round of edits this weekend. I also spent three days this week working on a detailed outline of the plot for marketing.  And so it begins ...

I completed the chapter questions for Grass Roots Press early in the week and that ends my work on the Anna Sweet mystery series. I've been writing these novellas over the last eight years so it's somewhat bittersweet to have the books draw to a close. The last two will be out this fall and their titles are Killer Heat and Too Close to Home.

I'm going to speak to a ladies' morning coffee group on Tuesday morning at St. Luke's Church. I'm told to expect twenty to thirty people who are interested in hearing about my writing and books. I'll need to spend a bit of time this weekend outlining what I'm going to say. I also want to get back writing - I put my latest manuscript on hold this week while I worked on the other tasks.

Also got invited back on 1310 News and The Power Lunch and my day is May 22 from noon to 12:30 I'm beginning to think I'm a regular :-) You might have noticed if you've followed my blog for a while that I steer away from politics, religion, anything controversial ... the same goes for my social media. The Power Lunch is the one public forum where I give my opinion on the news of the day.

Well, we're finally getting a nice weekend with sun and predicted temps between seventeen and twenty degrees. Hopefully all the flood waters around the city and region will start to recede and people can soon get their lives back to normal. A lot of people have been under so much stress trying to save their homes.

Have a good week, everyone.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Murder in the Hood

Are these weeks picking up speed or what?

We had a full house at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Thursday evening when CBC Radio host Giacomo Panico interviewed Barbara Fradkin and me about our crime fiction writing. The event was entitled 'Murder in the Hood' since we all live in Kitchissippi Ward.

A big thank you to librarian Paula Copeland who organized and advertised our visit and to the Carlingwood Library for hosting us. Giacomo kept the evening light-hearted and it was a pleasure to spend the hour with him and Barbara. We might have surprised Giacomo with our tales of seeking out good murder sites in and around the city and our interest in ways to bump people off (all for fictional purposes of course) but this is the reality of  life as a mystery writer. I can't deny these are odd pursuits, but they're necessary for story accuracy and make for some interesting field trips :-)

You can catch Giacomo Panico weekly on In Town and Out on CBC Radio One, Saturday mornings from 6 to 9 a.m.

 Giacomo, me and Barbara
Giacomo and my floating head :-)

I had a productive writing week and kept to my daily word count, sometimes exceeding my 500 a day word minimum, now clocking in at over 15,000 words. So far, I'm having a heck of a good time with this one. I hope what is keeping me entertained will also entertain you eventually if the manuscript ever gets a publisher's seal of approval. I also started on some chapter questions for the last Anna Sweet novella that I need to get finished this week. I have an open week ahead so will have lots of time to write and tidy up stuff. I also have a phone meeting planned with my new Dundurn publicist named Saba, and look forward to setting things in motion for Turning Secrets, due out in a few weeks. The Ottawa launch, of course, is Sunday, June 2! Getting close ...

Finally, we're having a great deal of spring flooding around Ottawa and Gatineau and it is a terrible time for thousands of people trying to save their homes. The city has declared a state of emergency and the army has been called in to help. My thoughts are with all those affected and I hope this situation soon improves and people can get back in their homes.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Into the Easter Weekend

Good Saturday morning and Happy Easter. Hope the bunny shows up at your house with some chocolate and jelly beans.

I'm excited this week to have an event with Barbara Fradkin and CBC Radio host Giacomo Panico at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library. The day is Thursday, April 25 and the time is 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. We all live in Kitchissippi ward and the title of the event is Murder in the Hood. All are welcome to this free hour with no pre-registration required.

This past Wednesday, I participated in the Arthur Ellis shortlist evening at Chapters Rideau. Mary Jane Maffini adeptly MC'd the evening and interviewed five authors about our writing. There were similar events taking place across the country with the shortlists announced at precisely eight o'clock. Not many on the lists from the Ottawa area, but I know several of the authors and send my congrats to all, particularly to Vicki Delany who was awarded the Derrick Murdoch award by Crime Writers of Canada for all her contributions to the crime fiction community in Canada. Bravo!
The crew: Madona Skaff, Paulette McCarthy, Jim Napier, Linda Wiken, me & Mary Jane Maffini
Linda Wiken, me & Mary Jane Maffini

Madona Skaff, Paulette McCarthy and Jim Napier

So Turning Secrets will be on the shelves in a few weeks and Dundurn marketing is gearing up. They sent along these images, which they'll be using in publicity. Kind of cool.

I've been getting in quite a bit of writing this week and am back on schedule. I'm having fun on this first draft, not sure if it's any good, but enjoying myself nonetheless. I've also been tidying up some loose ends with my Anna Sweet publisher and have some chapter questions to write for the last book.  We're still waiting for the designer to come up with some cover image choices but expect to receive them soon.

And still getting the word out about the upcoming Ottawa launch ...

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Springing Up All Over

A lovely morning out there - spring has arrived! I curled my last club game this week and have hung up my broom for the season ... time to break out the deck chairs.

I've been plugging away on my latest manuscript. I also wrote a cover blurb for the last Anna Sweet entitled Too Close to Home and gave some ideas for the cover, which is now with the designer. The other thing occupying my week has been sending out book launch invitations although please know you are welcome even if you do not receive the invite individually. The Haughian Brothers Band will entertain and Perfect Books will be on hand and snacks will be provided. Going to be a party...

Date: June 3, 2019
Time: 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.
Location: The Cross, 360 Elgin Street, Ottawa

lead singer Bernie Haughian from last year's launch

This week, I'm taking part in the Arthur Ellis shortlist event at Chapters Rideau from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. Mary Jane Maffini is MC and other Ottawa authors participating include Linda Wiken,  Jim Napier, Madona Skaff and Paulette McCarthy. Other AE events are going on simultaneously across the country and again all are welcome.

Also to put on your calendars, Thursday, April 25 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m., join me, Barbara Fradkin and interviewer (and CBC Radio host) Giacomo Panico at the Carlingwood Branch of the Ottawa Public Library for Murder in the Hood - a discussion of crime writing with a local focus. This event is free and no need to pre-register.

And if you can't make the launch, I'm lined up for a signing at Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, June 15 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. - a bit in the future, but as I've discovered, the future arrives quicker than one would think.

Two other items this week. I was on the Power Lunch on Tuesday at noon with host Mark Sutcliffe and guest Danny Kingsbury, who turns out is the dad of Adam Kingsbury. Adam coached Lisa and Team Homan and we saw him at many events over the past few years. Small world. Anyhow, we had a most entertaining half hour.

I also blogged at 7 Criminal Minds and you can read my post on what I've changed since I started being published at this link.

Time to get in gear and get outside to enjoy the day. I wish you a lovely weekend and good week ahead.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Left Coast Crime Wrap Up

Made it home from Left Coast Crime going at going on three a.m. after a flight delay. I was more than happy to crawl into bed and close my eyes. It was hard to go from spring flowers, sun and 14 degrees back to snow and temps hovering around zero. This photo taken by Madona Skaff is from our last walk to the Vancouver waterfront before heading to the airport - Vicki Delany, Barbara Fradkin and me.

After my blog post last Saturday, I did my stint on the Crime Writers of Canada booth where I met some interesting Canadian crime writers, including my booth-mate Madeleine Callway and B.C. writer Bernadette Calonego. Some of the authors from my other blog gig, 7 Criminal Minds, (for which I'll be blogging this coming Monday) gathered for a photo at the end of my session on the desk,  and a few of us went for lunch in the hotel restaurant. I enjoyed meeting them and spending some time.

 (l to r) Susan Shea, Terry Shames, James Ziskin, Cathy Ace, me, Catriona McPherson & Danny Gardner

I went from there to do a short reading following Jeffrey Siger (who lives on a Greek island and writes thrillers), whom I was on a panel with at my last Left Coast Crime, and Dundurn author Kim Moritsugu, author of The Showrunner. This turned into a nice break in the day and a chance to meet and connect with Kim. I also sat in on a few panels, including one on editing, and another on publicity and marketing. Saturday night was the banquet and I sat at a table hosted by authors Dave Butler and Iona Whishaw. So lots of networking, eating and glasses of wine throughout the weekend.

With Kim Moritsugu and Ken MacQueen, writer & former journalist with McLeans magazine

Back in Ottawa, I spent a good part of the week going over the edits from my Grass Roots editor Pam as we finessed my last Anna Sweet novella, now called Too Close to Home. The edits were not actually that onerous and we wrapped everything up on Thursday. Next, the designer has to come up with a cover. I also managed a few thousand words on my latest manuscript. Not sure if I'm going in a good direction yet, but I'm enjoying trying out a new writing style in the thriller genre.

So I have a few events on the horizon. The first is an interview at the Carlingwood Library on Thursday, April 25 from 7-8 p.m. CBC Radio's Jiacomo Panico will interview Barbara Fradkin and me - we all live in Kitchissippi ward and the title of the event is Murder in the Hood. All are welcome. It's free and no need to pre-register.

CBC Radio host of Intown and Out: Giacomo Panico

Settling back into the routine ....

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Live from Left Coast Crime!

Good Saturday morning from beautiful downtown Vancouver. I'm at Left Coast Crime and this is the first time the conference has been held in Canada. As its name suggests, the event takes place in cities up and down the west part of the United States, primarily in cities along the coast. Once, the conference moved across the pond to Great Britain and I hear that was a spectacularly good time. There are a lot of American authors and readers here and they far outnumber the Canadian participants.

I arrived on Wednesday, early morning Vancouver time, and Barbara Fradkin and I went out hiking through Stanley Park for the afternoon, covering 12.3 km as we explored the seawall trail. It's easy to forget all the snow still on the ground in Ottawa.

Thursday morning, I took part in the speed dating. I was paired with J.D. Allen from South Carolina and she kindly mentored me through the process as she's done the speed dating a few times before. There were 20 tables set up around the room, each with readers and two authors who made two-minute book pitches to every table in the room. This took two hours so you an imagine how exhausting it was toward the end. A great way to introduce your work to prospective new readers.

Yesterday, was my panel on police in modern crime fiction. We met the evening before in the hotel pub so were quite relaxed when it came time to present. We had a fair-sized audience and they appeared to enjoy our discussion led by a very adept Corey Lynn Fayman who hails from San Diego. I couldn't have asked for a better group of writers to share the mic with! Barbara Nickless is from Colorado and Catherine Maiorisi hails from New York City.

So lots of time spent mingling, chatting and making connections. Today, I am manning the Crime Writers of Canada table for an hour before meeting some of the 7 Criminal Minds blog authors for lunch. Then, I plan to attend the tribute to the late Sue Grafton with her daughter here on her behalf and then I have a brief reading (5 minutes) to round out my obligations. Tonight is the banquet so some more fun ahead.

I hear there's a snow/ice storm going on in Ottawa today. Kind of glad to be missing that :-)

A few spring scenes outside the hotel to end my post.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Out From Under

I'm leaving on a jet plane ... early, early Wednesday morning. Direct flight to Vancouver and the Left Coast Crime conference at the Hyatt-Regency. Pretty sure it isn't actually a jet plane but I know what it definitely is not - one of the Boeing grounded planes, thank goodness.

I received unhappy news on Wednesday that my roommate Katherine Prairie is under the weather and won't be able to attend unless the antibiotics kick in and she's deemed fit to travel. My fingers are crossed. Otherwise, all the plans are in place. My panel will take place on Friday from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. and the title is 'Police in Modern Crime Fiction'. I'm the only Canadian writer and the others include moderator Corey Lynn Fayman and panelists Catherine Maiorisi, Barbara Nickless and Greg Randall. I've linked to their sites so you can get to know them - some most interesting mysteries and thrillers to check out.

Kirkus reviewed Turning Secrets - the first time they've reviewed any of my books! For maximum enjoyment, I think this book, of all the books in the series, is best read after the others since it builds on what has gone before. For those of you who've asked me if this book will feature Dawn's father Fisher Dumont, the answer is a resounding yes :-) I'm excited for you to read this next-to-last book.

On the writing/work front, I completed my review of my editor's edits for the last Anna Sweet novella and await her return edits. This is like a tennis match - she volleys and I volley back, each of us putting our own spin on the text. I've also been working on my latest manuscript, hitting the 4000 word mark. I'm liking the story so far but have lots to work through in regards to plot. It's refreshing to be starting a completely new project even if a bit like flinging yourself off a cliff and aiming at the water.

I have another blog post to write this weekend for 7 Criminal Minds. The question asks what the main benefit of a publisher has been for my writing career so you can check out my thoughts on the matter this coming Monday.

I'm proud to say that I steered clear of mentioning the overnight dusting of snow because that would just be too depressing to talk about. (This is the first spring that Ted has shown interest in making a trip south next year around this time.) We've had a few days of rain, but the snowbanks are still several feet tall ... but I won't talk about that since I'm staying away from the depressing talk.

Weather reports say it's going to be warm and sunny in Vancouver next week.

Don't toy with me, Mother Nature!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Weekly Round Up

Good Saturday morning.

A few things to report this week. I'm going to be taking part in the Ottawa Arthur Ellis announcement evening on April 17 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rideau Chapters with Mary Jane Maffini moderating. Simultaneous events are being held across the country with local other crime writers leading up to the shortlist announcements at the end of the evening. All are welcome to come out. Below is the event poster with the Ottawa entries for best crime novel - these are just a few of the entries from across Canada.

I received an invitation to speak to a woman's group in May about my writing. They meet in my neighbourhood so I was happy to accept. My dance card is filling up :-)

Also this week, my last Anna Sweet novella came back with the editor's suggestions. I started going through the manuscript yesterday and am about half way through. I figure this will take me well into next week. I've also been writing off and on, trying to organize my thoughts and the plot line. It's been a few years since I started a brand new project so I'm feeling my way.

Another week and a bit before I fly to Left Coast Crime in Vancouver. My flights do not seem to be affected by the recent grounding of the Boeing planes. I am happy that they're not flying until whatever malfunction(s) in the system is sorted out. There has been too much tragedy already.

The conference is being held at the Hyatt-Regency so a lovely setting not too far from the waterfront. I've only been to Vancouver once before and look forward to seeing more of the city. One event that I'll be taking part in is called the author-reader connection, which I mentioned in passing in a previous blog post. Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin and I are hosting four readers for an hour at a pub overlooking the harbour on Friday late afternoon. Our event was listed on the website and already we have four readers signed up. This will be a fun opportunity to introduce our work over a glass of wine.

And here's the link to my latest 7 Criminal Minds blog from this past Monday in case you missed it first time around.

Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

In the Land of Ice and Snow

Can the cold weather finally be lifting? I've seen cardinals this past week darting through the trees and take this as a good sign. Not much longer before we'll be drinking coffee on the back deck and pulling the shorts out of the closet. A girl can dream.

Yesterday, I appeared on 1310 News - The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe. Another guest and I receive five topics with multiple choice answers in the morning in an email. We have a couple of hours to research the topics if we're not familiar with the issues, then we chat with Mark about our choices from noon to 12:30. When I know that I'm going to be on, I make certain to watch a lot of news that week to familiarize myself with major stories. It's sure keeping me on top of what's going on in the world!

When I returned home from the radio station, I had an email request from my local Coles to do another signing as well as an email from my Grass Roots editor with her initial thoughts on the Anna Sweet manuscript, which is book eight and entitled Close to Home. She commented on the bittersweet feel for this book as it will be the last in the series. I've spent the past eight years working on this series and the Stonechild series. I'm feeling oddly rudderless but know I'll get into a new project soon once I finish getting my tax information together. Maybe I'll get some house cleaning done too. Open up some of the cupboards and do a cleansing. Within the realm of possibility ...

So this weekend, I'll be writing another blog post for 7 Criminal Minds blogspot, which you can read on Monday. This week's question asks about how I felt the first time I read from my work in public. I'll have to dig around in my brain to come up with that memory. Check in to see how I do :-)

And final plans and information are coming from the Left Coast Crime planning committee. Only a few weeks before I'm off to Vancouver. Barbara Fradkin is on the same morning flight and Katherine Prairie, my roommate for the conference, will be arriving later that day. It's going to be a busy weekend and I'll try to update you on the goings-on.

Barb Fradkin, Katherine Prairie and me at a Chapters signing

Clocks are springing forward tonight, another sign that spring is waiting in the wings. I'm off to watch my daughter Julia curl in mixed play downs this morning so not embracing the season change just yet. Time to slow down and enjoy the moment ... even if I'm still wearing my parka and trying to see past the snowbank at the end of the driveway when I ease the car onto the road.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March Morning

I spent last week at the Scotties in Sydney, Nova Scotia - Cape Breton to be exact. We had a lot of highs and a couple of lows but Team Homan captured silver in this national championship, which is not too shabby by any standard. It was a gruelling week for all the teams and tough on the families and fans, but these are the memorable moments that make up a lifetime. Here is a photo of me with the six-time Scotties champion, two-time world champion skip Colleen Jones. Another memorable moment :-)

Needless to say, I didn't get much writing in this week although I've spent the last two days working on chapter questions for one of the adult literacy novellas that will be coming out this fall.  I'll soon be working with an editor on the last book in the series and will wait to write the chapter questions for that one. Bittersweet to think it will be my last time writing about Anna Sweet - would be great to have her come to life in a tv series!

I worked with my interim publicist on the bookmarks for Turning Secrets, which Dundurn will release in May. I'm pushing to have them before I leave for Left Coast Crime in Vancouver. My schedule at the conference is starting to shape up. Thursday morning, I'll spend two hours in speed-dating with my partner Katherine Prairie. We'll do two-minute pitches for our books to tables of readers for two hours. (speaking of gruelling :-) Friday is my panel with the topic police procedurals, followed by an author-reader connection at a pub with Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin and four readers. Saturday is light with a reading and banquet.

And don't forget the two other events on the horizon as Turning Secrets makes its debut.

The first is Thursday evening, April 25 at the Carlingwood Library. Barbara Fradkin and I will be interviewed by CBC Radio's Giacomo Panico from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Free admittance and no need to pre-register. We all live in Kitchissippi ward and Barbara and I set some books in Ottawa so the we'll discuss 'Murder in the Hood' among other topics.

And I'm pleased to let you know that my daughter Lisa Weagle will be making the introduction at the book launch slated for Sunday, June 2 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at The Cross on Elgin. She's mentioned the word 'roast' a few times so could be entertaining :-) Perfect Books will be on hand with books for purchase and The Haughian Brothers Band will be playing ... make sure to put this on your calendar! (I'm still awaiting the electronic invitation from Dundurn and will be sending that out once I have it.)

So my 12-year old computer has been faltering as of late and I took it into Staples for the third time. "How long does a computer last?" I asked. Tech guy Glenn answered, "Four maybe five years. Seven is unusual. Twelve is heroic." All this to say, I now have a new computer but cannot find half my files, including photos and downloads. Looks like another trip to Staples. I'm on a first-name basis with the tech staff and at this rate, they're going to make it onto my Christmas card list.

Until next week ....

Saturday, February 16, 2019


Did you hear my champagne cork pop this past Tuesday? I finished my novella manuscript and sent it off to the publisher Grass Roots Press. I now await their feedback. Such a lovely feeling when you think this is enough tinkering and send the book on its way. This one is tentatively called Close to Home. I like this story and how the series ends and am hopeful that it will be well received. I've now got the last two books done and they'll be published together in the fall. Grass Roots plans a marketing promotion for the new books and the entire series.

Not much else new this week to report. I've been taking it easy since Tuesday. Regrouping. I have made notes about my next project and mulling ideas over in my mind. I even began an opening chapter last night but only to set up the story. It's hard to stay away from the keyboard :-)

It was my Monday to post on 7 Criminal Minds blogspot and the topic concerned the sacrifices we make for our writing. You can read my thoughts on the subject here. This week, we have a new blogger named Abir Mukherjee who posted on Friday. Abir lives in Great Britain so very cool to have him join the blogging team from the U.S. and Canada. His books sound interesting too so check out his post and you'll have a new author to put on your reading list!

So, my Ottawa friends are probably surprised I didn't lead with the weather update since we just lived through snowmageddon - about 30 cm of snow in one day that shut down the city on Wednesday. Strong winds and frigid temperatures added to the misery. We were worried about a power outage and so prepared as best we could. Happily, that didn't happen. You can live without lights but no heat would have been a problem. Well, a better week coming up if predictions hold true. Even a few days of sunshine which will be a change.

The Scotties round robin starts today with Lisa and Team Homan's first game on TSN today at 1:30 EST. This is a great week to have my writing hiatus as I'll be plunked in front of the television for the weekend.

Good week ahead, everyone!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ramping Up

One week ago, we were in Elmira, Ontario waiting for the provincial ladies curling final. My daughter's team Homan ended up victorious and will represent the southern half of the province at the nationals in Sydney, Nova Scotia in a few weeks. Such an exciting finish to the week!

I managed to settle back into my writing rhythm and have about a thousand words left to write on draft one of the Anna Sweet novella. Well, draft one anyway. I'll then spend a few weeks editing before I submit it to Grass Roots Press for their review. After that, I have to write the questions that accompany the last two books for teaching purposes. So no holiday yet.

For those of you following the optioning of my Stonechild and Rouleau series for television, the option ended at the end of January but it has been renewed for another couple of months. I'm finding that this is a slow process with no guarantees, but the possibility keeps life interesting.

On the publicity front, I'm thrilled to tell you that CBC Radio's Giacomo Panico will be interviewing Barbara Fradkin and me at the Carlingwood branch of the Ottawa Public Library on Thursday, April 25 from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. We're all from Kitchissippi and Barb and I have both set some of our books  in and around Ottawa. You won't need to sign up but mark the date and time in your calendars and plan to drop by. We'll talk about writing crime fiction and our books and the local hook. Giacomo is the host of In Town and Out as well as a reporter so I'm excited to have him on board for the event.

And for those of you who haven't heard about my upcoming book launch for Turning Secrets, mark the date! Sunday, June  2 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at The Cross on Elgin. It'll be a party with musical guests The Haughian Brothers Band providing the entertainment. Perfect Books will be on hand with books for purchase and there will be food.

So this weekend, I'll be writing a blog post for 7 Criminal Minds that you'll be able to read on Monday. I'm also planning to finish that manuscript - good to have goals :-) It'll be nice to get the manuscript in the done column before spring weather arrives. Before the Scotties week starts.

The busy February continues.

Happy Valentine's Day :-) xo

Saturday, February 2, 2019

Into February

We didn't think Ottawa was cold enough and so drove through a snowstorm on the 401 to St. Jacobs (north of Waterloo) where it was cold enough to hurt. We came to watch our daughter Lisa curl in the Ontario provincials, which means most of the days and evenings in a cold arena. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to go south in January ...

Spring in coming soon enough and plans are afoot for the Left Coast Crime conference in Vancouver in March. I've been assigned a panel but they won't be announced for a few weeks so mum's the word. I have to send in a little bio and pic for the program booklet and will get that done this week. It's coming up quickly.

The book festival Women Killing It announced some of the guest authors this week, including Joy Fielding, Iona Whishaw and me :-). The event takes place during the Labour Day weekend in Picton, Prince Edward County. This is its third year running and I hear is a great time. I'm excited to be taking part. There will be more author-guest announcements in the upcoming days.

Also this week, Donna Carrick interviewed me by phone for her Dead to Writes podcast and you can listen to it here. The interview is the January 27th date - S2 ES4.

I'm going to be back on 1310 News Radio's The Power Lunch at noon this Wednesday with host Mark Sutcliffe. It's a half hour show where two guests discuss the news of the day with Mark. You never know until the day what news will be topping the headlines. You can catch the show on Rogers Cable 22 and 1310 News Facebook live.

I managed to stay on track with my writing schedule but have taken a few days off with this bit of travel. I'll be back at it Monday and have zeroed in on 10,000 words so am getting there slowly but surely.

Another busy week already underway!

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Weathering the Not-So-Merry Month of January

The cold settled in. The snow fell in record amounts. The freezing rain moved in and out, just to keep things interesting. No wonder we Canadians are obsessed with the weather.

One good side effect of how lousy it's been outdoors is that I keep plugging away on my latest manuscript indoors. I figure I'm about two-thirds done the first draft. These novellas clock in at around 14,000 words so quite a bit shorter than the 90,000 word novels. For those of you who don't know the premise of this adult literacy series, my protagonist Anna Sweet is a PI working in an office in Hintonburg, an Ottawa neighbourhood very close to my own. She and her partner Jada Price are both ex-cops and work to solve murder cases around the city. Her sense of humour is similar to mine but she is much braver than I'll ever be. The beauty of fiction is that you can create characters who lead lives you would never realistically contemplate.

I spent part of the week working on an event at the Carlingwood Library - another save the date event. Fellow Kitchissippi mystery writer Barbara Fradkin and I are going to be interviewed by another local well-known person from the hood, although the name is yet to be confirmed. Stay tuned! The event will take place Thursday, April 25 between 7:00 and 8:00 p.m. All are welcome and it's free with no need to register. An hour of chat about books, writing, crime fiction ... should be an interesting and fun evening.

I'm also going to be back on 1310 News' The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe on Wednesday, February 6th from noon to 12:30. There's so much going on in the news these days so there's bound to be lots to talk about.

Other things to do inside when the weather is frightful: read and watch Netflix.

I'm well into Michelle Obama's bio Becoming.  It's an engaging and insightful read. Michelle is candid about her thoughts and feelings, which takes courage at the best of times. I also learned some things about life inside the White House and the sacrifices an entire family makes when one of them is president of the U.S.

As for Netflix, we watched Roma, which is up for some Academy Awards and a movie that stays with you, and I'm also watching Hinterland, a police procedural set in Wales - rather dark and just that bit depressing, but I'll give it a few more episodes.

So, I hope you're managing to keep warm, dry and in good spirits through the bleak month of January. Good week ahead everyone.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

When the Going Gets Cold ....

The Arctic Vortex is moving down from the north while a snow storm is approaching from the south, taking away any desire I might have left to go outside. As far as I'm concerned, thirty-five below C with frostbite warnings is good enough reason to stay inside with a good book and a cup of tea. (As if I really needed one.)

I settled into a writing rhythm this week, meeting my tail 500-word daily quota for this last Anna Sweet novella. At this rate, I'll be done the first draft by the end of January. Probably sooner as I usually pick up speed toward the end of a book. I worked on a main idea booklet for this same publisher, Grass Roots Press, last year and my copies arrived in the mail this week. It turned into a nice little workbook for ESL students.

It was also my Monday to post on 7 Criminal Minds blogspot. This week's question concerns how to stay focused on writing, especially over the holiday season. You can read my tips - which struck me as ones that can be generalized for other goals - and those of my fellow crime writer bloggers on this link .

Left Coast Crime in Vancouver is now less than ten weeks away and an email arrived with author opportunities. I signed up for a speed-dating morning, which had Ted wondering, but it's actually an event where two authors move from table to table giving two-minute pitches for our books to readers. The goal is to build up interest in readers who might never have heard of us, not to get a date to the prom.

So, following my own advice for getting that next manuscript written, I'm getting this day underway with another cup of coffee, a few miles on my stationary bike and then time at the computer. Stay warm this weekend my fellow Canucks.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

January Morning

Good morning everyone.

This has been a busy week working behind the scenes. The big writing news is that my Ottawa book launch is set and everyone is lined up to make the afternoon a fun event. Everyone is invited so save the date: Sunday, June 2, 2019 from 2-4 p.m. at The Cross on Elgin. This is the same place as the Bleeding Darkness launch and Bernie is returning with a slightly modified band line up that includes his brother, now calling themselves The Haughian Brothers Band. Perfect Books will also be on site to sell books. This is like an annual party where I get to see my friends, new and old!

I've also been corresponding with my Dundurn publicist about various publicity and media ideas and think we have a plan nailed down. Advance reading copies were sent out this week to reviewers so things are gearing up already. I'm lining up a few spring gigs, including one at Carlingwood Library with Barbara Fradkin that I'll have more details about soon. We both live in Kitchissippi Ward so seems like a fitting idea to get together to talk books and writing at our local library.

I also heard from my Grass Roots Press publisher this week. She wanted to know if I'd started writing the last Anna Sweet novella as she plans a publicity campaign for the series in the fall. I spent the last few days rereading the books to refresh my memory about all the characters and plot lines and got writing the opening chapter yesterday. I think I've got a good start to the story. I have to wrap up this series as well, having just written the last book in the Stonechild and Rouldau series. It's going to be odd not having any contracts and deadlines, but I'm ready to start something new even if I'm going to miss my characters.

Finally today, I'm deeply saddened by news of the city double decker bus crash at Westboro station yesterday during rush hour. Three people died at the scene and about twenty-five injured, several critically. This is the station where I caught the bus to work and the stop on my way home for all those years I worked downtown. Such a horrific tragedy on what should have been a typical drive home on a January Friday afternoon. Our hearts are heavy and our thoughts are with the victims and their families today.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Getting Organized in January

So 2019 is well underway ... well a few days in anyway. Have you made any resolutions? I've made the same one I make every year - be open to new adventures and have some fun. Be kind. Keep writing.

I sent in my latest manuscript to Dundurn, managing to complete a third edit before submitting on January 30th, and am officially on vacation for a week.   I say this, but I've spent the last two afternoons working on publicity planning for Turning Secrets and lining up an event at the Carlingwood Library.  I also intend to work on my tax deductions before I start writing again. I'd add cleaning my office but know I likely won't get too far with that. I've shuffled some papers around though.

In this little hiatus, I've managed some Netflix time. Ted and I are watching the third season of Shetland and enjoying the storyline and Shetland scenery. I've  caught an episode of Hinterland and will continue on. I'm also reading Ian Rankin's latest In a House of Lies, which showed up in my Christmas stocking. So far so good.

My next writing project is the final Anna Sweet novella. I plan to reread the series before I begin to refresh my memory and figure out what needs tying up. You'd be surprised how much authors forget about books they've written. I'm always looking back or making searches to find out what colour eyes I gave a character or what car they drive. Writing a book is a mysterious process alright. I'm using this time to come up with storylines. I have one that I'm rolling around in my head but it needs fleshing out and I'm going to need another idea to anchor the book. Next week's work!

A quick post today. Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, fulfilling 2019 with many new adventures. We have a new year ahead with endless possibilities ....