Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Little Nostalgia

I'm late blogging this weekend for a couple of reasons. I've been spending all my free time at the curling club in an annual bonspiel, which ended last night with a banquet. We came runner up in one of the events so lots of rocks thrown and lots of sweeping.

In my free moments, I've been editing Second Chances - well, reviewing the edits in track changes from Allister, my Dundurn editor. Nothing too major, but this is my last chance to make changes to the text. The adjective that comes to mind is 'pain-staking'. I've made it once through and now have to give it another complete read to look for inconsistencies although Allister has done a good job pointing out the major ones. I also have to confirm dates of the music I mention in the story, which is set in 1971 - the golden age of peace, love and rock 'n roll. What an era in which to cut your musical taste buds. The explosion of innovative music and bands has never been matched, in my humble opinion.

I remember my first 45 - it was "Lady Willpower" by Gary Puckett and the Union Gap. I had a crush on Mark Lindsey (do you remember the name of his band?) and even wrote a fan letter - I must have been about 12 years old. If you're out there, Mark, I'm still waiting for your reply. I'm sure you've got some time to answer now. It was the age of live bands at high school dances, records and stereos. Sometimes, I think technology hasn't really improved the experience.

So, Christmas is a month away. I ordered the turkey today and am picking away at the gift-shopping. The calendar is starting to fill up at an alarming rate but the week ahead will be dedicated to editing in between work and more curling games. If things don't lighten up soon, I'm going to have to get a bigger plate.

And the November rain and double digit temperatures are taking us into December - I can't remember ever going this long in the season without the need to wear my winter boots.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

So much to do . . .

Just back from teaching a great group of girls at the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library - eleven in total - would have been 12 kids except the boy who poked his head in skeedadled after one look at all those girls. Give him a few years and he'll realize the advantages.

I spent the morning working on reviewing the edits from Allister for Second Chances and I've poured myself a glass of Sandbanks white and am about to get back at it. I have a long way to go. You might find it odd for me to be editing text 10 months before release date, but there's a tight deadline process that kicks in. I try not to be the hold up and never have been to date. I'm keen to start a new project, but seem to have spent the last month editing the latest manuscript and now this one. It'll probably be January before I get into a new book. I have a plot taking shape in my head already.

So just leading the charge on organizing Capital Crime Writers' Christmas dinner on Dec. 14th and figuring out how to post on their new website - looks like I'm going to become webmaster - who knew I'd be the one with the most experience? Almost flies in the face of reason, which is where my technical ability tends to take wing. Just ask Ted. He gives me lessons in using the VCR and setting the clocks and then . . . just does it himself. I have the head nodding / uncomprenhending blank stare down to a science . . . but enough about my failings.

Oh yes, you must check out the Capital Crime Writers' Youtube video of A Day to Kill event - just search for the organization on the site and it will pop up. Patrick Walton did a great job.

The girls in my workshop today said that it doesn't feel close to Christmas without any snow. I've managed to sneak in some gift shopping already and bought some cards. I'm starting to feel the spirit even without any snow and temperatures in the teens. Christmas party, anyone?! It's been a busy, workaholic kind of fall so soon time to kick up the heels and celebrate another year, but for now . . . back to editing - just 240 pages to go before I'm done.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

November Goings On

The middle of a long weekend and I'm enjoying every minute.

I spent yesterday working away on my manuscript, beginning at 7:30 a.m. and stopping at 9:00 p.m. with a few breaks along the way. Absolutely glorious. When you work fulltime, a day to focus entirely on writing is a luxury and something to be savoured.

The lecture/workshop at the Ottawa Public Library on Tuesday evening got great reviews. The e-mail feedback I received, and I quote, ah hem, "informative, warm and entertaining". Ted thinks I should take my schtick on the road and charge $10,000 an hour. You have to like his ability to dream big.

I'm teaching a short story workshop to kids at the Sunnyside branch of the Ottawa Public Library and need to turn my attention to reviewing my lesson plan, which I used last year. It worked well and this will be a new group of kids, if enough sign up that is. I haven't seen much advertising of the workshop and I'm not convinced it's a go yet. This is a commitment that goes along with the Awesome Author contest, for which I will again be judging the English short stories this year.

I'm also helping with the programming at Capital Crime Writers - we have a great guest speaker this Wednesday at 7:00 at the Library and Archives - Damiem Coakeley, newly retired police officer,who will be talking about being on the beat and what really goes on in the holding cells. You are welcome to come out for a meeting to see if you would like to join (only $30 a year). My part is to organize the Christmas dinner on December 14th and have lined up Toronto author Howard Shrier to be our special guest speaker - he won the Arthur Ellis award a few years ago for best crime novel and his books have been optioned for a proposed television series, now in development at CTV. Very exciting to have him come talk to us about his books and writing.

I'm managing to curl two-three times a week after work, but lately with the time change and morning darkness while I stand at the busstop to head downtown to my office, I've been longing for a long holiday in a distant land. If I could get one $10,000 gig, I'd be on the next plane to a place with palm trees where the sun shines past four o'clock in the afternoon.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Multi-tasking My Way Through November

So much going on.

I'm working away on my one and a half hour presentation for the Canadian Authors Association meeting this Tuesday evening when I will discuss working through a manuscript and delve a bit into the world of publishing. At first, when the invitation arrived in my in-box this summer, I thought I would have to decline because I couldn't imagine what bit of wisdom I could impart. Well, I'm up to ten pages of notes so I must be smarter than I thought :-) I'll let you know how it goes over next week when I'll be preparing for my kids' short story workshop at the Sunnyside Branch of the Ottawa Public Library . . .

I also booked a hotel room for Bouchercon 2012 in Cleveland Ohio - I'll be travelling with my partners in crime, Darlene Cole and Katherine Hobbs. We went to Bloody Words in Victoria together and had a great time so Cleveland next October will be something to look forward to. Bouchercon brings in lots of big name authors and this one will have Elizabeth George, Robin Cook, Mary Higgins Clark and John Connolly. I met one of the women organizing it when I was on that book tour with Mary Jane Maffini last fall and if her energy level is anything to go by, this should be some weekend - I'll be on a panel and it will be an opportunity to do a bit of promotion. You know, Cleveland isn't that far away if you're looking for an October holiday and a few days to talk books and meet authors. Room rates are low if you're there for the conference . . .

I also heard from my editor Allister at Dundurn and he's now working on Second Chances. Once he's done his edit, it comes to me with his suggested changes and I have a few weeks to go through the manuscript . . . again. A lot of work goes into these puppies before they see the bookstore shelf.

Capital Crime Writers hired Patrick, my video-filming friend, to make up a video about 'A Day to Kill' a few Saturdays ago and he's working his way through the reams of film he took at the event. I've seen the first few minutes and it should be great - a little ominous with some fake blood splatter. I'll post the link once it's up on YouTube so you'll get a flavour of the day.

I've got the afternoon open to do some editing on my latest manuscript and maybe to add a few more pages of wisdom to my presentation. (Who knew I had this much brilliance in me?)