Saturday, October 5, 2019

Settling Into October

Good Saturday morning.

It was a busy week. I got in a bit of writing but am taking my time writing the ending to the manuscript, doing a bit of research, pondering how to pull everything together. All this to say, I still have some work to do before the first draft is finished but I believe it's heading in a good direction.

The new website construction has taken up a lot of time. I've been pulling more stuff together, tracking down reviews and photos, and writing the odd bit. The site isn't ready yet so you'll have to wait a little longer to give it a look although not much longer. Web designer Kim Hadley and I have a call scheduled for Monday to finalize the last details. You can have a look at the current site and compare the changes next week!

A few years ago, a book club invited me to visit one of their homes to discuss Cold Mourning. I hosted them on Thursday as they've now read the series and tell me they are my fan club:-) We had a great discussion about my books and other books since they are all avid readers. I have to say that meeting these lovely, interesting women has been one of the wonderful things about writing the books. They have already lined up a get together for next year to discuss Closing Time, which will be released in May 2020.

 Lynn from the book club at the Turning Secrets launch

I was in my local Coles Carlingwood last week to buy a gift certificate and found my books above one of my favourite authors. Coles has Ann Cleeves latest The Long Call, which marks the beginning of her new series featuring British cop Michael Venn. I bought a copy and am looking forward to the read. The series has already been optioned for television.

So, another Saturday morning as we move deeper into October. Temperatures are dropping and we've had to turn on the furnace and haul out the warmer jackets. This is good weather for writing and I plan to do some this weekend. I also have to put the garden to bed - a task I do not look forward to, but one that I'll be happy I did come spring. And the Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner, .... soon time to put on the winter tires. Yikes.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Busy End to September

Last week of September and my curling leagues start up this week. Looks like there's no more denying that summer is over. It's the bittersweet season - a month of beauty before the snow and cold.

A few things this week. The Dundurn editor sent along three pages of questions for me to respond to for Closing Time and that took an entire afternoon to go through. I spent another afternoon answering a Q & A for Dietrich Kalteis's blog Off the Cuff, a blog that introduces you to established and up-and-coming mystery authors. Worth checking out!

I've also hired a web designer to revamp my website and gathering stuff together took another half day. In addition, it was my Monday to blog on 7 Criminal Minds. (You can read my process for preparing for tax time.) And I also made a return visit to 1310 News The Power Lunch on Thursday and had an interesting discussion with the other guest about climate change and stories in the news - safe to say, we don't see eye to eye, but the point of the show is to get various opinions. You can give a listen at the link above and see where you stand.

As a result of all these time-consumers, work on my manuscript slowed to a halt, but I attempted to get back writing yesterday with limited success. It's hard to get the momentum going again but needs must. I'm entering the last chapters but the hard work is still ahead, editing, rewriting, pulling the plot line together. So,  in the spirit of procrastination, I spent the second half of the afternoon watching the final three episodes of season two of Mindhunter on Netflix. If you haven't watched the series, it's really well done and follows the FBI unit that started looking at the psychology of serial killers to help solve cases. Not light by any means but fascinating. I think I'll watch some comedy next :-)

The week ahead will include working on the Dundurn publicity grid and the new website, which I hope to unveil in October so stay tuned. I'm also aiming to have draft one of my latest manuscript finished. I'm meeting with a book club on Thursday to discuss Tumbled Graves - they had me visit a few years ago to discuss Cold Mourning and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Should be a good week!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Moving into Autumn

Such a beautiful September weekend we're having here in the Ottawa Valley. It's almost a shame to be inside with this summery weather. I've spent most of my days writing at my desk but pack up late afternoon to work in the garden and to sit in the backyard with a glass of wine. If only this could last another month!

The output

And the writing has been going great guns. I was aiming to have the first draft of my latest manuscript written by the end of October but I'm thinking now that it will be done within the next couple of weeks. Then, I'll go back, pull scenes together and flesh some out more. After a couple of reviews, I've got a few people lined up to give it a read since this is essentially a new genre for me and I want to make sure the storyline holds water with a good build up of suspense.

So this past week, I had my head down for the most part, writing or thinking about the plot. I've yet to complete a few publicity tasks but will get to them this week. I also appeared on 1310 News The Power Lunch on Monday, getting a request from the producer to appear Sunday. During the first part of our half hour discussion, Mark Sutcliffe asked me about being the mom of an Olympian curler and how a child achieves such a level - you can listen to my responses at this link.

With The Power Lunch host Mark Sutcliffe

I'll be writing a blog post for this Monday's 7 Criminal Minds blogspot which you can check out on the day. We are actually 10 authors from Canada, the U.S. and Britain who answer a weekly question so you get a variety of perspectives if you follow the blog each day (with the exception of weekends).

Another writing workweek ahead although I'll also try to get outside as much as I can since the weather forecast is for continuing warmth with some rain early in the week. This is such a beautiful time of year - I hope you are also able to enjoy some time outdoors enjoying the season. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Busy Times


I'm currently in Cornwall watching my daughter Lisa curl in the Shorty Jenkins annual spiel. There are many of the top teams here, both men's and women's so an exciting event to start off the season. Needless to say, I won't be getting much writing in this weekend.

I was on 1310 News Radio The Power Lunch on September 3 and the first segment is about my writing and curling, including the Shorty if you have time to give a listen.

I managed to settle back into the writing groove over the past week in addition to working on the publicity tasks on my to-do list. Dundurn asked for a blog post about ending the series that I wrote and submitted on Wednesday. I also completed a form required for every book to help with marketing, leaving one more big document to complete. I've also got a Q and A interview to do for Dietrich Kalteis's blog, named Off the Cuff, due in October. I see Dietrich's September 1 post is an interview with Frank Zafiro, who will be interviewing me on his podcast later in the year. Frank is a most interesting guy so check out Dietrich's blog. Dietrich is a talented West Coast author whom I met a few years ago at Prose in the Park where we were on a panel together. Here we are with Ian Hamilton who is taking the mic from me - I appear to be ribbing him about something.

This week also saw the arrival of my copies of my last two Anna Sweet novellas. It's hard to believe the series has come to an end. I've been writing the Anna Sweet books as long as I've been writing the Stonechild and Rouleau series, alternating between the two. So both are coming to a close at the same time - rather fitting really.

I also have to thank a couple of reviewers for their posts about Turning Secrets. Author and reviewer Jim Napier's review is in The Ottawa Review of Books, in which he says, "Yet another fine novel from this talented and insightful author". The second  review is from James D. A. Terry, who also writes under the name Solomon Knight, another author/reviewer who calls Turning Secrets "a brilliantly written, suspense filled and multifaceted police procedural".

Well, I'm off to the curling club to watch more first-class, top-notch curling. The organizers will have the coffee on to kick start another nail-biting day at the rink. It's sure to be an exciting weekend!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Holiday Over!

The past two months have gone incredibly fast. As promised I'm back to blogging Saturday mornings after a busy summer, work-wise, and a pretty lazy few months otherwise.

Since I last wrote, I've been through next year's manuscript Closing Time two (or was it three) more times and sent in my last changes to the proofs yesterday. As true to form, I'm not as fond of the story as I was at the start of the process because I've lost perspective looking at it so often. However, I liked it well enough before the fifth and sixth edits so I'll hang onto this memory and believe the book is a fitting conclusion to the series. I've also been sent some publicity requests that involved writing a cover letter to reviewers, writing the cover synopsis and submitting a full chapter breakdown for those doing the marketing. Now I have to turn my attention to the publicity and media questionnaire and chart and a blog post for Dundurn. Lots of fun to come :-)

Release date: May 2020

This week also saw the release of the last two Anna Sweet novellas for Grassroots Press called Killer Heat and Too Close to Home. These are terrific little reads written for adult literacy but also good for those wanting a quick read. The challenge was writing a book any adult would enjoy but at a simpler reading level. The series is available in soft cover from the publisher's site or as downloads from Amazon.

 I took part in a few events this summer. A couple of bookstore signings ...

With R.J. Harlick at Chapters Kanata in July

... and The Women Killing It book festival in Picton Labour Day weekend. The festival included seven other Canadian women crime fiction authors: Joy Fielding, Vicki Delany, Hannah Mary McKinnon, Ginger Bolton, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Iona Whishaw and S.M. Hurley. You can read about the event in this article. One highlight was the panel at the Glenwood Cemetery chapel on Saturday evening with Ausma, Hannah and Joy. A spooky setting to discuss crime fiction. The next morning, I taught a workshop on point of view before catching my (very delayed) train home.

 Joy Fielding and me

Back row l to r: Janet Kellough, Vicki Delany, Ginger Bolton, Iona Whishaw, S.M. Hurley
Front row l to r: Ausma Zehanat Khan, Joy Fielding, me, Hannah Mary McKinnon

I've also been plugging away at my latest manuscript, which so far has the generic title Thriller. I'm about 60,000 words in and starting to get to the heart of the mystery. It's been a departure from the other two series that I've been writing over the past six years, but refreshing to tackle a new challenge.

So, no real travel this summer but lots of work in my garden, many evenings drinking wine on the veranda with the neighbours and lots of family time. I hope you enjoyed the oh-too-brief-summer and your tan will take you into the dark days of November. We still have a lovely autumn to look forward to so no need to light the fires yet.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

On Vacation

Gone Fishing!  I'm taking the rest of the summer off this blog but will be back at the end of August.

Enjoy the summer, everyone.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Oh Canada!

To get this Canada Day weekend started, I'll be at Perfect Books258 Elgin Streettoday (Saturday) between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. so come on by if you're downtown and stock up on some summer reading.

My plan this week had been to finish reviewing the edits for Closing Time from my Dundurn editor Shannon by Friday, and I was on schedule ... and then the summer cold hit. And a nasty bug it is too. Oddly enough, Shannon in Toronto also had it and the cold delayed her edits by a few days. (Can a cold virus be sent electronically?) I also had to reschedule my appearance on The Power Lunch and will be on the show this coming Wednesday, July 3rd. Anyhow, I'm taking the long weekend to finish my edits but really don't have too much left to do.

I also have to write a post for 7 Criminal Minds blog for Monday, Canada Day, so check in and see what I come up with. The question concerns my business skills so should be an imaginative answer since I'm sadly lacking in this department.

My last bit of news for the week is that R.J. Harlick and I are booked in for a joint signing at Chapters Kanata on Saturday, June 27 between 1l:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We signed together once before and had a great time so looking forward to spending some time catching up

When Ted's and my daughters were younger, we headed up to Parliament Hill to watch the fireworks a few times but now I'm content to watch the festivities on tv, get together with a few friends and have a barbecue, drink wine and eat strawberry shortcake - I go berry picking in the morning. Very Canadiana! We're supposed to have a hot sunny day this year so should be a great way to celebrate our country's birthday.

Have a great weekend, everyone and a special Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian peeps near and far.