Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Pause in the Action

After all the publicity excitement of the past month, this last week felt like I'd let my breath out and my shoulders relax for the first time since Butterfly Kills hit the bookshelves in late January. I was also doing a few newspaper interviews and visited an adult literacy group in Moose Jaw for the Anna Sweet series with A Model Death last month, so working on the publicity from two angles and doubly busy. Luckily, the Grass Roots Press team does most of the heavy lifting for the Anna Sweet mysteries since they have a completely different target audience - adult learners - and publicity is aimed at the adult literacy market and literacy conferences.

I've got good news to share. I've been working on the fourth Stonechild and Rouleau mystery and am about half way through the first draft. I approached the acquisitions editor at Dundurn to find out about submitting a synopsis to hopefully secure a spot in the publishing cycle.Not only are they giving me a date, but they also want me to write a few more after that! Sales are going well and reviews are good so thank you everyone who bought the books and took the time to post a comment on Amazon, Goodreads or the other sites. This really matters if you want to keep a series going or an author writing. I am proof positive.

And I have managed to write this week, clearing the 40,000 word mark. The second half of the book goes more quickly I find, and I'll soon be at the keyboard every spare minute. Also on my horizon is the editing process to begin in May on Tumbled Graves, third in the Stonechild series due out in January. I'm anxiously awaiting first look at the cover design. You can find an advance synopsis and chunk of the book on Amazon about...or if you are like me, will want to wait until the book comes out! I rarely read the full cover blurb for a book if I'm into the author's work because then I wait for something to happen when I'm reading the novel. The same with movie trailers - I don't like watching them because then while I watch the movie, I'm waiting for scenes to happen. I usually read reviews after I read the book or see the movie for the same reason.

So next on my plate, I have a few local events in April and then will head to Malice Domestic at the end of April into May in Bethusda, Maryland. I'm looking forward to seeing Ann Cleeves again. She's the international guest of honour and was also at Left Coast Crime in Monterey. We were on the same panel with Louise Penny, Deborah Crombie and Kathy Bennett, all pictured below. All terrific crime writers that you should check out if you haven't already :-)

Time for my second cup of coffee and organizing myself for the day ahead. I have yet to complete gathering all my receipts for this year's tax return so am going to be late for the first time ever. I just can't get myself into gear, but am going to force myself today...or tomorrow.

Where did March go? And why didn't March take the snow with it when it went? Twenty below last night and a chilly morning. No wonder we Canadians begin every conversation with the state of the weather. But I have to say, for crime writers, this climate is a gold mine for creating gloomy settings and brutal backdrops. It could even be a reason to kill........fictionally speaking of course.

Good week, everyone.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Another Snow Day

Happy spring, everyone although another snowy morning in Ottawa. Got the gas fireplace going in my office, taking off the chill. (Next year, am definitely booking a ticket sourth.)

I had a busy week publicity-wise with an open chat from 3:00 to 10:00 p.m. (Eastern) on Bitten by Books, a  review and author event site run by Rachel Smith. She has a large reader following and does a great deal of work behind the scenes. Check out her site and perhaps sign up for her newsletter if you want to know about other author chats - all of them have prizes if you take part and you can get up close and personal with authors from across genres.

CBC Radio Thunder Bay's Lisa Laco interviewed me Wednesday morning on Superior Morning about the Stonechild and Rouleau series. I grew up in Terrace Bay and went to Lakehead University - most of my books have a northwestern Ontario connection, which we discuss in the interview. I've attached the link above if you would like to give a listen.

I'm  a big fan of radio and think it would have been great to be a disc jockey. Maybe in my next life. I listen to the radio as I write, usually CBC Ottawa. Elizbeth Hay's Late Nights on Air is a novel about a radio station in the far North and it's a great read.

I had a small rectangular blue radio when I was in high school in Terrace Bay. It didn't pick up much during the day, but at night, I'd lie in bed and listen to WLS Chicago. Back then, Motown was in its hey day, Michael Jackson was with the Jackson Five, the band Chicago's song 25 or 6 to 4 was a hit...Steppenwolf, Tommy James, Doobie Brothers...there was no end to the talent. What a terrific period for innovative music and so magical to listen to the songs in bed late at night in the darkness of my room.

I've got a few events coming up in April - on the 22nd an evening in Carp at an event being organized by a Grade ten student, and on the 23rd, an Arthur Ellis shortlist event at Rideau Chapters. I'll be on a road trip with Mary Jane Maffini, Linda Wiken and Vicki Delany from April 29 to May 4 as we head to Bethusda Maryland for Malice Domestic, an author/reader conference.  I'll give the details as the events approach

But for today, back working on the manuscript and hopefully the tax return and staying out of the snow. Will this city never warm up?!

These were peonies in my garden last spring to give us hope in frigid Eastern Ontario.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Still Snowing....Still Keeping On

Lots going on these days, writing-wise.

I spent a most enjoyable afternoon last Saturday at Perfect Books. The owner Jim was in the store, working on paperwork as he prepared for a three week vacation with his wife in the tropical clime. He took several long breaks to come chat and we had a steady enough stream of customers stop by to buy books. Cortez had the day off but dropped in to say hello as did Capital Crime Writers president Michael Murphy, pictured below with his copy of Butterfly Kills. I signed some stock - almost sold out of Cold Mourning but several copies of Butterfly Kills still available.

The CFRA Radio 1200 interview was Monday morning at 5:45 a.m. and posted as a podcast  for the week. Not sure who is up that early listening, but luckily, you can still access the podast - Click play for the March 9 In Target Ottawa entry.

I'm also going to be on CBC Radio Thunder Bay one morning next week, between Wednesday and Friday. The show is Superior Morning with host Lisa Laco and this will be my third interview although the first for the Stonechild and Rouleau series. I'll also be answering questions from readers  on Bitten by Books, starting late Tuesday afternoo. Butterfly Kills was reviewed in advance on this site.

And I've managed to get in some writing on the latest manuscript, for which Dundurn has expressed interest in publishing after some e-mail exchange with the acquisitions editor. This means some work for me, writing up the synopsis and series arc - I think I need some time off to get everything done that needs doing, including the pesky tax return. (How in the world can it be tax time already?)

Spring teased us earlier this week for the first time after the looooog cooooold winter and lifted our sorry spirits just enough to crush them with snow and freezing rain starting yesterday with a cold week ahead. I was in Monterey last year at this time at Left Coast Crime and think I might have to sign up for it again next year in Phoenix in order to maintain my sanity, which is slipping with our plummeting temperatures.

Ahh, Monterey in March, touring up the Big Sur highway.  It was the best of times....

Saturday, March 7, 2015

A Trio of Book News

Three bits of news this week to share.

First, I'll be signing copies of Cold Mourning and Butterfly Kills today from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at Perfect Books  at 258A Elgin (Between Somerset and Cooper) - The owner Jim is a former Lisgar High School English teacher, who bought the store because he loves books, and now Perfect Books is one of the few independent bookstores left in Ottawa. Some of you might remember Cortez who worked at Shirley Leishman's for years - well Cortez works at Perfect Books and he knows more about authors and books than anybody in the industry. Needless to say, their selection is great, including mysteries. Come check out  the store today if you have a chance and I'll be around for a chat.

Cortez and me last June at a Cold Mourning signing. Photos by my friend Pat Walton.

In the second photo, I'm talking with Jim, owner of Perfect Books.

Okay, second bit of news. Butterfly Kills made Margaret Cannon's 'six crime novels worth a read' in today's Globe and Mail. Very cool that she uses my book cover as the column's photo and great to be alongside so many good authors, including Gail Bowen. I'm looking forward to picking up her latest.

And third on my plate, I'm being interviewed Monday morning at around 5:45 a.m. (for all you early birds) on Shelley McLean's CFRA radio show On Target Ottawa. Here is the link where you can listen live because what else do you have to do this time in the morning?

So, best get moving so I make Perfect Books for one. I still have laundry and shopping to fit in and hope to get back writing...going to be a busy weekend.