Sunday, December 26, 2010

So this is Christmas

Boxing Day 2010.

Christmas to me is those unexpected moments that lighten your heart or make you realize how fortunate you are to have special people in your life. It can be my daughters sleeping over Christmas Eve; opening Christmas stockings on our bed with the kids like we have every year since they were born; finding time for a hot bath and a read before preparing the Christmas dinner; sharing a meal with friends and family long into the night.

Every Christmas, I wait for those few magical moments. This year, I had several, perhaps because I let the holiday flow as it would without worrying about outcomes. It began at work Thursday morning where I thanked the cleaning woman as I do each time, for collecting my garbage. I told her that I would not be in Christmas Eve and wished her a good holiday. She spontaneously flung her arms around me in a hug and wished me a Merry Christmas. It was an unexpected gesture that had me smiling all day.

I send a Christmas card to my all-time favourite English prof from Lakehead U. every year and have done for over 35 years. This year, I did not receive a card back. I worried that he might be too ill to write and fussed about it to Ted a few times over the last week. Christmas Eve morning, his card arrived to my delight. Also in the mail that morning was the Orca spring catalogue with The Second Wife displayed in three places. Another little gift for the holiday.

This Christmas we spent much of our waking hours talking, laughing and reminiscing. A steady stream of old records on the player, too much food and wine and late nights - it has been a mid-winter break from routine and commitments. Ted and I have another luncheon today with old friends and then I will have two days to write and to finish reading C.B. Forrest's second mystery Slow Recoil. Chris is a falulous writer and I'm happy to report that we will be touring together with our new books in the new year.

I hope that you are also taking the time to let the season flow around you and to find those magical moments that warm your heart.

Happiest of holidays to you and all those you hold dear.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Fending Off the Panic Zone

So, one week to the big day. Still no tree bought or Christmas lights up outside. No baking done. Gifts not wrapped. Seems to me, things are running right on schedule.

I'll bet you're wondering how I'm going to pull this one off seeing as how I still have a week in the office ahead of me. I'm actually beginning to wonder a bit myself. The photo above was taken last Christmas in Vegas. One of the hotels had this amazing display - obviously the hotel staff had some time on their hands.

You can come out and commiserate with me about Christmas pasts and the state of this one on Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 9:00 at the Ottawa Citizen Conference Centre at 1101 Baxter Road - Randall Denley, Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin, C.B. Forrest, R.J. Harlick and I will be selling and signing copies of our books - nice Christmas gifts for readers on your list.

I've been working away on a new manuscript and like how it's coming along. I hope to complete a chapter today in between finishing up my shopping and heading out for another Christmas dinner with friends. About the only thing I've managed to stay ahead of this season is the socializing - but maybe that's what it's all about anyhow - getting together with friends and family over some good food and wine.

Time to put on some Christmas music and crank up the gas fireplace. I have another hour or so before I need to go outside. Plenty of time for another cup of coffee while I get myself organized . . . .

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tis the Season

Last year, my family and I ran away for Christmas. I saw the glittering lights of Las Vegas and the desert for the first time in my life. I have to say that while I liked the reprieve from all the work that goes into a traditional Christmas, I'm not sorry to be home this year. That said, two weeks from today is Christmas Eve and I have blessed little done. I'm convinced it will all fall into place. There will be turkey and stuff in the stockings. I am not delusional. I am not delusional.

This week, was the annual Capital Crime Writers' dinner at Robbie's restaurant with The Ottawa Citizen's Randall Denley as guest speaker. He's released his first murder mystery entitled One Dead Sister set in Ottawa and New England. It was a fun evening - I realize how many good friends I've made in this group. I always like getting together with others who think about killing people off . . . in fiction.

I also happened upon the cover for my April Orca release, The Second Wife. Very cool cover and all who've seen it are giving it the thumbs up. You can check it out on the Orca site under Rapid Reads. I'm currently working on a sequel and hope to have it done in a few months. Gwen Lake is a character I like immensely. My daughter Lisa (who's read The Second Wife manuscript) tells me that she likes what a mess Gwen's life is - a divorced desk cop who likes the odd bottle of wine and sees the world through sardonic eyes. Much like most of my friends except for the divorced desk cop bit.

So writing, gift buying, partying (three lunches, a wine and cheese and a couple of dinners coming up this week), curling, baking and tree putting-upping on my horizon - oh yeah, and my full-time job. I'm actually starting to get in the Christmas spirit . . . time to deck the halls.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Canadian Mysteries Need Your Support

These are difficult days in Canadian publishing. My publisher sent out a notice to her authors yesterday, informing us that while our latest books are in the Chapters/Indigo warehouse, and have been for over a month, they will not be in the stores until after Christmas. For smaller publishers and authors who have not written blockbusters like Going Rogue (and you might ask yourself how Sarah Palin became a bestseller in Canada), this lack of distribution is like a death knell. Our work is good. It deserves to be on the shelves.

I encourage each of you to take the time to write to Chapters or to call your local store and ask that your favourite Canadian mystery author's work be brought into the store right away. If we do not take a stand, good, new authors will stop writing, smaller publishers will go out of business, and a blossoming segment of Canadian writing will disappear. We need to start making noise.

On my writing front, Kitchissippi Times printed a little article this week about my book launch with Barbara Fradkin - it was a well written piece and will help to get our names out locally. I've been settling in to write the next installment in the Orca Rapid Reads series and have the first three chapters written. I'm still sorting out in my head where the storyline will go. I'm happy to be working on a new piece and not editing.

Well, the weather in Ottawa has been unbelievably mild as we head into December, with the odd sprinkle of snow followed by above-freezing temps and rain. As I look out the window, I see green grass and a coating of frost on the roofs across the street. Makes it hard to get motivated to go Christmas shopping. We better get some snow soon or there won't be many gifts under the tree.