Saturday, July 31, 2010

Taking Care of Business

It's a fabulous sunny Saturday morning to start the August 1st long weekend. I've been up early reading Harlan Coben's thriller One False Move, realeased in 1998. It's a snappy read, full of humour and one-liners. But enough frivolity. I need to get down to business.

I heard from my publisher about the manuscript entitled After Annie. While she likes all the plotlines, she would like me to pick one to bring to the fore and pull the book together. I think she's hit a flaw in the book, but now it's what do I cut and what do I beef up? Whatever I pick, it means a lot of reworking . . . and I'm already working on two other projects and have a final review of In Winter's Grip coming. Like that old Tommy Roe song . . . you're making me Dizzy, My head is spinning, Like a whirlpool it never ends . . . I'm known for botching up lyrics and getting the names of singers (and friends) wrong so hope that was a proper rendition. Anyhow, you get the idea.

Mary Jane Maffini and I have booked two events on our road trip to Muncie Indiana. In addition to the Foul Play bookstore in Westerville, Ohio, we've now got a stop in the South Euclid branch of the Cuyahoga Public Library in Ohio. The library is in an old mansion and there is a fountain in the room where we'll be reading. Both stops include dinner or lunch with the organizers - this trip is shaping up to be great fun. I've never set foot in Ohio so it'll be a new state notch in my belt.

So, an update on what you're really interested in - our front steps. Two photos on my Facebook fan page this week - one of the progress and one of the reason why. Ted might just get to the backyard projects if this keeps up. Ted, Tiger and Weirsy are all in a slump, and that's not all bad.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Back to Work

A sluggish kind of week - back at work and catching the early bus to settle into the office routine.
Working five days a week is hard on the system. Today is Saturday, and I could barely get myself out of bed. I'd probably still be in it if Ted hadn't climbed the stairs with a cup of coffee.

I did some housekeeping this week behind the scenes, including signing up for Bloody Words 2011 in June in Victoria and updating the appearances on my website with more additions to come. This should be a busy fall. Only two more months before In Winter's Grip is released and the date of the launch with Barbara Fradkin has been set - Tuesday evening, November 16th at the Library and Archives in Ottawa. Barbara writes the Inspector Green series set in Ottawa and two of her books won the Arthur Ellis award for crime novel of the year, so a popular local author with a growing fan base. It's odd that all the launches for my kids' books were in a pub and my adult one will be in the Archives. We'll still have wine available though!

I wanted to say what great friends and family I have. I am humbled by the support I have received and am often amazed by your generosity. Thank you for coming out to my events, sending encouraging e-mails, travelling around the city and province with me and enjoying my books - I am one fortunate cookie.

Well, Ted has been beavering away on our front steps. The latest photo on my fan page shows incredible progress. The orange thing is still there but now is just for show (he tells me). At this rate, we'll be sitting on the deck, drinking our morning coffee before much longer. I might not even have to wear my parka. Speaking of coffee, there's time for another cup before I start on the day. I will be going through my current manuscript beginning to end to adjust the plot as required and to tidy up some editing before I head into the home stretch . . . . but no rush today. I have no buses to catch or deadlines to meet . . . life is all good.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Holiday Continues . . .

My holidays are drawing to a close and just when I was getting into a good rhythm of reading, writing and visiting friends. Yes, the log jam in my noggin with my latest manuscript has been broken and I am back writing away with ideas coming freely. I'm liking it again!

I've also been back working out, believe it or not, to get in shape for curling this fall. I'm on two teams - skipping a ladies' team and playing lead in the open competitive - as we say in curling, I got "picked up" by three men. Perhaps, they should look at changing this expression. Playing lead means a lot of sweeping, which requires lots of muscles if you would like to be effective. Anyhow, my recent workouts have been balanced out by eating in restaurants and drinking wine in the evenings. (I'm on holidays after all, not in boot camp.) Therefore, the before and after photos of me show about as much progress as our front steps being built by Ted. Have a look at my Facebook fan page for the latest development (yes, development is singular on purpose).

A little article by Katherine Hobbs is in my community paper this week about the library award I received a few weeks ago. Very nice and mentions my upcoming release. Thanks Katherine!

The manager of the Chapters in the Pinecrest mall invited me to a book signing tomorrow from 1:00 to 3:00 so that's where you'll find me. I'm hoping to see a few familiar faces :-)

I've was invited yesterday by the Ottawa Public Library to lead another writing workshop for kids in November and we've settled on a Saturday. I'm not sure which branch yet - it's kind of cool when you start getting invitations without advertising. Other authors had told me this starts happening once you've had a few books published, and I'm becoming a believer.

Well, two weeks of vacation have left me very relaxed and full of energy. I'll just go have a little nap and watch some of the British Open while I think how to put this energy to good use . . . .

I hope you are letting the long, lazy days of summer take hold too.

Friday, July 9, 2010

When the Weather is Hot

The heat this week has been incredible - mid-forties every day since the weekend if you include humidity. (I could be a stand in for Shirley Temple if she needed a hair double.) Luckily, I am on holidays and have access to a pool and air conditioning and hair gel.

Ted and I went to see a matinee - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo yesterday at the Rainbow theatre in St. Laurent shopping centre. I had no idea they even had a theatre but that was the only place this movie was showing in Ottawa. The theatre was cozy and freezing - I stumbled when we walked out after the show, my feet were so cold. The oddest thing. Two women sat down behind us (there were empty seats everywhere) and spoke to each other through all the opening trailers until another person told them to be quiet. As the movie started, one of these two women tapped my on the shoulder a few times and asked me to move seats - she said she couldn't read the subtitles . . . and she came in after me! I stayed where I was. sheesh. Then, another woman behind us (not in the same two) kept getting up to leave when a violent scene was on - she had to step over several people each time. As the ending carnage began, she and her husband excused their way down the line and out the door. I think the heat is making people stranger than normal.

I've been writing every day, trying to get past the feeling that I don't like the manuscript anymore. This seems to happen with every one at some point. I think it's spending too much time going over the same words and losing perspective. I'm around 50,000 words though and reluctant to stop until I see it through. I wonder if this happens to Atwood?

I've also been finalizing what I'll be doing for Wakefest in August and setting up a book launch for November with Barbara Fradkin. Diane Walker of Leishman books is booking the Library and Archives but having trouble getting the date we want. Fingers crossed.

So, I have another week off. Tonight, my old bookclub is meeting for the first time after a brief hiatus. We are about ten women, mostly neighbours or neighbours who've moved away, and we try to meet once a month. To belong, you have to host once a year and supply wine. We select a book every month, but very few ever read it. Our main rule is the one about serving wine.

I hope everyone is managing to stay cool. Environment Canada is calling for lots more heat ahead . . . .

Friday, July 2, 2010

Hot Time Summer in the City

The day after Canada Day and the official first day of my summer vacation. I spent a lovely afternoon with author Mary Jane Maffini - lunch on her balcony overlooking the Rideau River - and then, we got down to business. We're plotting our October road trip to Muncie Indiana where we will take part in Magna Cum Murder, an annual mystery conference. We managed to book an engagement at a bookstore called Foul Play in Westerville, Ohio en route, and the store owner would like to take us out to dinner after our readings. We've sent out e-mails to other spots along the way, gauging where we will be when and then figuring out what we can manage. Mary Jane has a lot of contacts in the U.S. and that makes planning much easier. It's a thirteen hour drive each way so lots of potential bookstores and libraries. I'll post a listing on my website once all is finalized.

If you've read Mary Jane's books, you know that she has three series going, all mysteries with a comedic bent. Mary Jane is also a very funny lady so if we manage half the laughter we had over lunch, this trip should be a ton of fun. Too bad we can't bring everyone along with us :-)

I'm settling in to a bit of writing. It's felt more like work than fun lately so I'm hoping to get into a writing groove now that I have time to relax and rejuvenate. And the meteorologists are calling for sun and heat all week . . . does life get any better?

I've taken a weekly photo of 'my front steps', which my husband optimistically tells me should be done in two weeks (which is next weekend since he made the pronouncement last week). I'm thinking the odds in Vegas would not be in his favour on this one. Have a look on my Facebook fan page and you be the judge.