Friday, April 30, 2010

Well, I'm starting to enjoy the characters in this latest manuscript. I've been writing during my lunch hour at work and managing to get a flow going. Sometimes, I find myself still working on a scene just before bed. This book is taking a few twists I hadn't planned on, including a few racy, sex scenes. Something to read out loud at library events . . . or maybe not.

Anyhow, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the next scenes and what happens to the characters as I ride home from work on the bus. (A few times, I've almost missed getting off at my stop.) Characters really do start taking on a life of their own. It's odd, but you start to think of them as real people. I have trouble putting the ones I like in harm's way or having something horrible happen to them, and when bad things do happen to characters I like, it's draining. Readers go through the same experience - you become personally invested in characters' lives once you're hooked on the story.

I have some housekeeping stuff to do this weekend, including an update of my website and some publicity work that Rachel sent me in an e-mail yesterday. Rachel is contacting blogs and book reviewers for In Winter's Grip, which will likely have a September release. She's starting to get the ducks in a row.

I'm reading Linwood Barclay's novel, Never Look Away. It's a 2010 thriller, and I think, some of his best writing. The plot has a great premise and some unexpected twists. Definitely worth a read. This week, I'm going to try to get to the theatre to watch The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - I hear it's excellent - Swedish with English subtitles. I want to see this version before Hollywood gets its hooks into the script.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Capital Crime Wave rolled into the Ottawa Public Library last night. Ottawa journalist Kate Jaimet did an amazing job interviewing four authors - Tom Henighan, R.J. Harlick, Brian McKillop and . . . me. We each read for a few minutes from our work and then Kate chatted with each of us in turn about writing. What struck me as we were doing our schtick, was how varied our work is and our different life experiences that have all led into the writing field. Tom is a retired English prof from Carleton who specializes in mythology. I know this because he lives down the street from me, and one year I graded papers for his mythology class. Small world. R.J. or Robin is another Capital Crime Writer whose series is set in West Quebec - both of us are published by Napoleon/RendezVous so we're almost related :-) Brian is a historian and head of the history department at Carleton - his 800 page book is a bio of Pierre Burton and sounds fascinating.

The Arthur Ellis awards shortlists were announced last night (the real reason for the event) and kudos to fellow Ottawa authors Robin, Chris Forrest and Rick Mofina for their nominations. These are national awards with lots of competition for those few spots on the shortlist.

Writing has gone slowly this week. I need to buckle down. Some weeks, it just goes that way. If someone out there wants to pay me to stay home and write, I'm listening. Shakespeare had a patron and what's good enough for the bard is good enough for me. I could be a kept author.

A nice note in the mail today from Ottawa Councillor Jan Harder - the Awesome Author judges are being awarded the OPL Order of Friendship for "outstanding volunteer work". There will be a little ceremony in June.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

I awoke to rain pattering on the skylight and birds singing in the pine tree outside our bedroom window. Spring has truly arrived.

It's been a busy week on a few fronts. Writing was going well early on as I was closing in on 35,000 words, but then, life started happening. I curled three games so far this week and have one more tonight. My ladies's team won a B side trophy and tonight, my mixed team goes for the B side championship. That will wrap up curling for the season - I'm ready for a break!

I've been looking into writers' conferences and am considering ones in Indiana, Chicago and Vancouver next year. This May, I'll be going to Bloody Words in Toronto. These conferences are good ways to introduce fans to your work and to make connections in the industry. They can also be a lot of fun since each time you go, you make more friends. I'll blog more about the Toronto conference to give you the flavour of what goes on.

Two events coming up this week. Thursday is an evening at the Ottawa Public Library to announce the Arthur Ellis shortlist. These are the national crime writing awards and it is quite prestigious even to be nominated. I'll be reading from In Winter's Grip for the first time and will be interviewed along with three other authors by Ottawa Citizen journalist and author Kate Jaimet. Then, Saturday is Write Night at the GCTC where I'll give some opening remarks before the play by Arthur Milner. This is an event organized by Capital Crime Writers and includes a wine and cheese beforehand.

Speaking of Capital Crime Writers, the Wednesday meeting's guest speaker was Bill Bartlett, senior lawyer at Department of Justice (my workplace!) and he spoke about gangs in Canada. Most interesting and lots of writing ideas there. I've been asked to write up a synopsis of his talk for the Purloined Newsletter so hope to get to that today.

On an uplifting note, I had a bone density test and saw my doctor yesterday. He tells me I have the bones of a woman in her twenties. I told my husband he's got a young wife and didn't know it :-)

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Last night, I met up with two friends from Capital Crime Writers, Katherine Hobbs and Alex Brett. Katherine is editor of the Purloined Newsletter and currently running for city council in Kitchissippi ward. We worked together on the Crime Writers executive for four years and Katherine organized Bloody Words national mystery writers' conference last year while I handled publicity. (She will make an excellent councillor.) Alex Brett is one of the first mystery authors I met in Ottawa and a solid talent. She has two books out with Dundern in Toronto and is currently close to finishing up a manuscript, which I can't wait to read.

Anyhow, we met after work at a little pub in Westboro called Trio. Trio is a long, narrow space with high seats and tables, a choice wine list and upscale finger foods. The place opens at 4 p.m. and is packed from then to closing. All three of us live in Westboro, which is a residential neighbourhood just west of the downtown that is labelled one of the 'trendy' places to live. It's become a mix of small, older houses and new development but still has lots of green space and a small town feel.

We were lucky enough to get a table (there are not that many) and whiled away the evening talking about writing, books, politics, our lives - everything that matters. Alex has a new hobby, making podcasts of short stories for people to download or listen to on their computers. One of my short stories entitled "Evening the Score" is in line to be recorded and will be up on my website. Very cool.

Writing is going well this week. Some new scenes coming together.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What wonderful weather for the second of April - twenty-six degrees and sunshine. The heat brought out neighbours and the day was spent catching up with old friends. I managed to get in a bit of writing and wrote about 2500 words since last weekend. Not quite 30,000 words yet, but I should be by Easter Monday.

The Awesome Authors' awards evening went like a clock. It was held in the Chambers at Ben Franklin Place - basically a theatre, which was packed with kids and their families. We were three judges, each responsible for a different category. I judged English short stories while the two other judges handled Enlish poetry and French poetry and short stories. The spirit of the evening was to encourage all of the kids to keep writing, whether their submission won or not. Lots of door prizes and every kid got a package of stuff.

I came home Thursday to an e-mail from Gillian O'Reilly Editor for the Canadian Children's Book News, a magazine with national distribution. She asked to interview me for an issue which will contain an article about different children's mystery authors. I should be in good company as there are a lot of good mystery authors across the country.

Well, tomorrow promises to be an ever warmer, sunnier day than today - we're breaking records like never before. One amazing record is that Ottawa had no snow whatsoever for the whole month of March. Luckily for the trees, we are having rain later this week - and lucky for authors as the rain keeps us indoors at our computers!

Happy Easter, everyone.