Saturday, March 26, 2016

Spring Hoppiness

Spring started with a snowstorm to keep the sprouting tulips and daffodils from getting too comfortable. I look out at the back deck and dream about those hot summer days outside reading. Not much longer....

I'm currently reading an Ann Cleeves novel Silent Voices, which is in her Vera Stanhope series. I received this book in a gift bag at Left Coast Crime in Phoenix, but I've bought several of Ann's books and was already a fan. Check her out if you haven't already. BBC has made both her Stanhope and Jimmy Perez police procedurals into television shows, which I am hoping will be shown in Canada sometime soon.

And so, only two more days in my government job and then I will become a full-time writer! I've been completing some tasks as I get myself organized to focus on my latest manuscript, including writing a guest blog post and working on my taxes. This involves finding and recording all of my receipts for book-related costs, and I hope to have the package to my accountant on Tuesday. I still have a ways to go, but am slowly getting there.

I will be updating my website this week too. For some reason, my password stopped working and it took me a lot of back and forth with my web provider to get it sorted. I've continued to send out book launch invitations - I always start out sending many and then lose momentum so if you haven't received one, know that you are welcome to come by and raise a glass. Books on Beechwood will be on site with copies for purchase. This takes place next Sunday, April 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 at Whispers pub on Richmond Road in Westboro.

The next event after the launch is the Ottawa International Book Fest on Sunday, April 17 at 8:30 p.m. at Christ Church Cathedral downtown. The panel is called Scene of the Crime and I'll be appearing alongside Joy Fielding, Linwood Barclay and John Lawton. You can purchase tickets ahead of the event through the website and also find out more about these terrific authors. Very exciting!

So today, I'm about to head out and pick up my Easter ham and other food stuffs for preparing Sunday dinner. Ted will be barbecuing the ham in our big green egg - hopefully the snow and ice will have disappeared with the promised rising temperatures. I make an orange bourbon marinade that's not too shabby. I hope you are enjoying this long weekend too with good food, family and friends.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Peace and Love, People

I'm in a better place this week -- recovering nicely from last week's dental surgery and back in the saddle. I don't have much of a constitution for painkillers and the quicker I can stop taking them, the quicker I recover. Some years ago, I had a doctor tell me once that I would never be a drug addict after I didn't react well to strong painkillers following surgery. He's been right so far :-)

So, I'm almost done with my final edits of the fifth PI Anna Sweet novella. Not sure if I told you the title yet. It is (ta da) No Trace. My Grass Roots Press publisher and the editor both give the storyline a thumbs up, and we're just doing final tweaks.

I've been doing some behind the scenes work with my Dundurn publicist Michelle as we set up a few events and put out a few feelers for media ideas. I've also been pleased to receive several e-mails from readers with their reaction to Tumbled Graves and the series thus far. The thing that stands out for me is how much people care about my characters and what happens to them next. I have to say though, your suggestions won't have any impact -- the next installment is already written and their fates for the foreseeable future are sealed :-)

I'm wrapping up the final couple of weeks in my government communications job with a final date of March 30th. Many have asked how I'm feeling about retirement, and I have to say....really good! I'm going to have more time to spend on writing and less time on keeping all the balls in the air. I'm also looking forward to getting off a schedule and having to turn down opportunities because I just don't have the time. More time gardening, biking, curling, swimming, reading, cooking, visiting -- I see all this and more in my future. Maybe, I'll turn back time and become one of those chilled-out hippies eating homemade granola and growing my own coffee....okay, maybe, drinking not growing coffee, but you get the idea. There will be options. Lots of options.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

March Time Out

Good morning - I'm moving slowly today after dental surgery yesterday morning and adjusting to no solid food for three weeks. I can eat stuff like ice cream and mashed potatoes (which I'm not fond of) though and am a bit hepped up on painkillers. I'm also not to talk much for a few days, harder than you might think. The good news is that all went well and every hour is one hour more of healing.

Lots of great news on the publicity front this week. The launch is just a few weeks away now (April 3 at Whispers and I checked in with Books on Beechwood -- books are on order and all is set.

I've also been invited to be part of two panels: the first at the spring Ottawa International Writers Fest on Sunday, April 17 with three terrific crime writers - Joy Fielding, Linwood Barclay and John Lawton. And June 4, I will be appearing at Prose in the Park with three authors from different parts of the country - Ian Hamilton, Peter Kirby and Dietrich Kalteis with Dave Whellams moderating. This is the second year for this outdoor festival and a great chance to see new and established authors up close and personal, some local and others from all parts of the country. So exciting to be part of both festivals!

Then, on April 30, I'm going to be at Books on Beechwood as part of Authors for Indies day, to help support independent bookstores. I sent in a list of books I would recommend and the books will be on display and I'll be there for an hour from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. to interact with customers and plug the books.

Finally, Coles in Carlingwood contacted me for an April signing and we firmed up Saturday, April 23 from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.  Another chance to stop by and chat and pick up a copy of Tumbled Graves :-)

The writing didn't happen this week and I still have one more read through of the Anna Sweet manuscript to complete. With the men's national curling Brier in Ottawa all week, I've spent a lot of time watching matches and away from the computer. Ted and I went to two games last weekend and visited the Patch. Unfortunately, my dental surgery is keeping me home for the final weekend.

My author copies of Tumbled Graves arrived last evening, and I got word that the cover for the fourth in the series should be ready within the next month or so. This one is called Shallow End. Looks like it will be out winter 2017.

Okay, I think I've kept my thoughts together long enough. Time to dribble something down my throat and have a nap. Until next week.....

Saturday, March 5, 2016

In the Heat with Tumbled Graves

Such a busy week that was. Tumbled Graves made its official debut on Saturday accompanied by a couple of blog posts. You can read my responses to questions about my latest in the series posed by Dundurn on their site as well as have a glimpse into my writing space on Cheryl Harrington's blog The Write Spot. Thank you, Cheryl!

And of course, the official Ottawa launch is coming up in a few weeks. I've been sending out electronic invitations, but if you do not receive one, consider yourself invited. We'll be meeting in Whispers pub in Westboro on Sunday, April 3 from 2-4 p.m. with Books on Beechwood on hand with copies for purchase. This will also mark my first weekend of retirement from the government so you might have to raise two glasses of cheer.

I had a great time in Phoenix at Left Coast Crime. The Canadian contingent is known for being a warm and friendly group, and the more of these conferences you attend, the more familiar faces you encounter. I was pleased to meet and spend time with new crime-writing friends Ian Hamilton, Madeleine Harris-Callway and Katherine Prairie, not to mention hanging out with my travel buddy Alex Brett and the rest of the gang. Here are a few pictures from the five days in Phoenix.

First night in Phoenix and sitting on a patio in Scottsdale having enchiladas.
(I am one happy camper.)
An international author event at Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale, following the enchilladas.
Setting up for 'Meet the Canucks' evening at the Hyatt-Regency organized by Crime Writers of Canada - we met lots of American readers!
Posing with Leslie, who won a copy of my novel Cold Mourning
At the Desert Botanical Garden with fellow crime authors Barbara Fradkin and Alex Brett
R.J. Harlick and Barbara Fradkin at the Desert Garden - such a lovely, hot day - 85 F.
If you wanted a change from crime-writing panels....
With British International Guest of Honour Anne Cleeves -- a group of us went for lunch
on a nearby patio.
My panel on police sleuths with Neil Griffin, Tyler Dilts, Barb Fradkin and Peg Brantley.

So, now back to reality. I returned to the Anna Sweet edits and spent a few days going through them. I need to give the manuscript one more review before returning to the editor for her second look. I've had to put my latest Stonechild and Rouleau project on hold while I edit but have been working on the plot in my head since the brief time change from my trip has had me waking up at odd times.

Finally, a heartfelt thank you to everyone who has taken the time to let me know they enjoyed Tumbled Graves. Please also consider posting a review on Amazon, Chapters, Goodreads...this really does help spread the word.

Good week, everyone.