Saturday, January 31, 2015

Butterfly Kills Makes its Debut

Everyone who is happy to see the end of January, raise your hand. It was another -33 degree night to cap off one of the coldest Januaries in Ottawa that I can remember. If I see one more photo on Facebook of someone lounging on a beach with a drink...I might have to go down south and join them.

As Butterfly Kills book launch approaches on Sunday, February 8 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Whispers Pub - hope to see you there - the first of the media is hitting the stands. Peter Robb at the Ottawa Citizen posted a terrific review last night. The Kingston Whig Standard is also running a review next week or the week after and the Kitchissippi TImes is running a profile this upcoming week. If you could share the Citizen review through social media, I would be most appreciative - readers are the best way of spreading the word.

I've been asked a few times where my lead cop character Kala Stonechild came from. For those who haven't read Cold Mourning, Stonechild is 29 years old, Aboriginal and grew up in foster homes. She's a loner, intelligent and self-sufficient but also vulnerable. She's not very good at sticking with relationships and has a trust issue. My best answer to her origin is that she originated in the many news stories that I've read about issues impacting First Nations kids in Canada, including the devastation from sending several generations to residential schools. Kala's parents, both deceased when the book starts, were sent to a residential school and neither had any parenting skills as a result. The repercussions reach far beyond the history books to present day and Kala personifies some of the impact in a way that I hope resonates with readers.

I have some homework to do on book three in the series, which is entitled Tumbled Graves. The editorial work begins in a few months and the book is slated for release by Dundurn in early January 2016. I stalled a bit this week working on the fourth book in the series because I've been sick, but I appear to be on the mend today and will spend a good part of this weekend writing. The Citizen review is giving me renewed energy!

So, just a week to go before the Butterfly Kills launch. I double checked that Books on Beechwood has the books and is set to atttend and I'm in contact with Stacy at Whispers to reorganize our space to accommodate more people and to order some finger food. My good friend Katherine Hobbs has kindly agreed to say a few words of welcome, and my cousin Janet Chapman is driving in from Montreal.

It's going to be a party - come raise a glass and help me celebrate!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Tea and Honey

A rather exciting week that was.

My author copies of Butterfly Kills arrived Thursday evening and I finally got to hold the book for the first time. Always a thrill to open the box and pull one out.

The next exciting news is that Butterfly Kills is generating media interest. Now I'm told by my publicist that publications do not like authors to broadcast upcoming press ahead of time, so I'm going to stay mum.  You will need to check back over the next month or so to find out who and where!

However, for the Anna Sweet mysteries, I was already interviewed by the Moose Jaw Times Herald for my upcoming visit to the Multicultural Centre to speak to the adult learners and to do a reading. I'm told that most of the adults are new Canadians who are working on literacy skills. The Optimists Club in Moose Jaw is donating $200 so that every one of the students can receive a copy of one of my books - such a generous thing for them to do.

My Dundurn publicist Karen McMullin has been working to have me appear in a Moose Jaw bookstore to sign copies of the Stonechild and Rouleau mysteries, only to discover that the closest bookstore is in Regina - 45 minutes down the highway. So, I'm going to be appearing in the Regina Chapters on Friday, February 20 from 1-2 pm. Help to spread the word if you know anyone in Regina.

I'm posting a short one today as the cold and/or flu returned a few days ago to make me somewhat miserable. Ted got me moving with a cup of tea and honey, but I think a second nap is in order. I hope your weekend is healthier than mine has shaped up to be :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

January Morning

I managed to make headway on a few fronts this past week. Writing went well enough - completed a few thousand words on the latest manuscript and spent some time thinking about the plot. I've got a killer in mind and have been working my story to set up the crime reveal, but I'm not sure if it's going to work.  So this one could be an adventure. I'll keep writing this weekend and hope some of the crime plot starts to gel.

Publicity work is leaping along. I was interviewed by phone by a reporter at the Moose Jaw Times Herald in advance of my visit to the Multicultural Council's class of adult learners in February. We will be in Moose Jaw to cheer on our daughter Lisa and Team Homan at the Scotties - should be a great time and I'm excited to be heading north (and west) for a week. We fly into Regina and have rented a car to get to Moose Jaw, which is about a 40-minute drive from all accounts. The Prairies have a beauty that draws you in.

I will be interviewed online on March 17th late in the afternoon on Bitten by the Book, a popular book forum in the U.S. They are also planning to review the Stonechild and Rouleau books around the same time. I filled in a questionnaire one evening in preparation for the interview. I'll share more about this as the event draws closer.

I'm also working with my friend and author Alex Brett on drumming up some local media interest and have quite a bit to do on this score today. Who knew that the hardest part of getting published would be the publicity work that follows?

Butterfly Kills is now up on Amazon and stock is being distributed across the country. My copies still have not arrived but should be this week. I continue to send out electronic invitations to the February 8th launch at Whispers and lots of people have indicated that they'll be coming to help celebrate. I have to check in with Books on Beechwood and Whispers this week to make sure everything is ready.

So much to do. So many balls to keep in the air.

January is half complete and our deep freeze continues. I think we hit -33 last night with the wind chill. I'm not looking forward to stepping outside today but have some errands to do. I'll put them off until I've had another cup of coffee...or two. My next car is going to have heated seats.

The hills grow wintry white, and bleak winds moan
About the naked uplands. I alone
Am neither sad, nor shelterless, nor gray,
Wrapped round with thought, content to watch and dream.

Archibald Lampman - 1888

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Southern Dreaming

So that was a cold week. Frost bite warning, -37 C with the wind chill (and there was wind) and brutal mornings standing in the dark waiting for the bus to go downtown to work. Made me want to curl up under a blanket with a bowl of pasta and some chocolate cake.

Made me wonder why I haven't booked a trip south.

I managed to finsh going through my latest manuscript, doing a quick edit and making notes of the key points in each chapter. This weekend, I'm ready to get back writing and start the plot moving forward as I finish up the first third of the book. Time to pick up speed.

Still no sign of my box of Butterfly Kills books from Dundurn. I was in touch with the author in Toronto who received my books by mistake before Christmas and he reported that they had been picked up. Hopefully, they'll arrive early this week. The book is now available on Amazon .ca and Chapters if the date on their websites is correct. It will be released in the U.S. in February. I also set up a couple of free copies for a draw on Goodreads - if you're a member, you can put your name into the draw.

I'm now set to visit the Multicultural Centre in Moose Jaw (not Cuba) in February to speak to adult learners about the Anna Sweet mysteries and the writing life. I'm hoping to also do a signing in the Moose Jaw Chapters for the Stonechild and Rouleau books but am waiting for confirmation from my Dundurn publicist. Moose Jaw in February - just when you thought it couldn't get any colder....

I'm having a sluggish morning. I slept in longer than normal and am still sleepy after two cups of coffee. This must be my body's response to our Canadian winter. I've actually got a chocolate coconut cake recipe that I'm cued up to make once I get myself moving and head to the market for ingredients. This is my solution to the deep freeze and likely the origin of the expression, "Let them eat cake": Comfort food and sleep.

Stay warm my friends.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Getting This New Year Underway

Not only do Christmas holidays play havoc with the diet/drink/sleep habits, but they also make the writing schedule go topsy turvy. I actually spent a few days reading through the first 20,000 words of this latest manuscript, making notes and doing a quick edit. Not quite done, but just need a few uninterrupted hours to finish...well maybe several uninterrupted hours.

I also spent some time completing three blog posts for three different American blogs. One involved casting my main characters in Butterfly Kills in a movie. I was slightly stressed at the idea as I haven't watched many movies lately and don't know the names of actors or directors with the exception of those hyper-famous ones, and who wants them -- their pay cheques alone would sink the movie. Luckily, my friend Sue Rothery is a movie buff and was more than happy to spend an afternoon e-mailing lists of possible candidates back and forth. We came up with some interesting choices, not to mention hot. I think Hollywood should give me a call.

I signed up for one book conference next year called Malice Domestic in Bathesda, Maryland. This will involve a road trip with my travel buddies Mary Jane Maffini and Linda Wiken with a new travel mate Vicki Delany. They're planning book stop events along the way so should be a novel experience. (ha ha.) I'll be sure to blog en route so you can come along. Already I have a bit of homework to do, needing to submit a bio and photo. The author panels are assigned closer to the event.

Still no sign of my Butterfly Kills copies from Dundurn but hopefully they'll land on my doorstep next week. I'm slowly starting to send out the book launch invitations. I happened to spend New Year's Eve at Whispers pub where the launch is being held, and Stacy the manager said all is lined up. I'll order some finger food the week before and will check in with Books on Beechwood who'll be on hand to sell books. Consider yourself invited.

Well, this weekend is devoted to watching my daughter Julia curl in ladies regional playdowns in Smiths Falls, so that writing schedule is still standing on its head. Yet, some things, like watching my daughter compete, are worth putting the writing on hold. Let's hope the winter storm the weather stations are predicting holds off.

So 2015 is off to a busy start - Happy New Year, everyone - I wish you a happy, healthy year ahead!