Saturday, May 27, 2017

Quite the Week

This week included a quick trip to Toronto with my good friend Katherine Hobbs, who accompanied me to the Arthur Ellis Awards dinner at the Arts and Letters Club. We first went to a wine and cheese gala at Dundurn where we met many of the staff and other Dundurn authors. Lots of mingling and book talk :-) Once we arrived at the Club, everyone gathered in the bar where we wine and hors d'oeuvres before we found our seats in the dining room. After a fabulous meal, all of the short-listed authors received a scroll containing a certificate and then the winning titles were announced. No Trace didn't take first prize, making this a hat trick of nominations and losses for my books, but being nominated is wonderful in and of itself.

with Dundurn Vice President Beth Bruder

 Chatting in the Arts and Letters Club bar with Ottawa authors Mary Fernando (shortlisted for best unpublished novel) and Linda Wiken
 My travel mate Katherine Hobbs - you can see Maureen Jennings in the background :-)
 Dundurn President Kirk Howard
 with author Rachel Greenaway who was shortlisted for Best First Novel
 Getting the scroll - on my right is author Elle Wild who won Best First Novel

Back home, I received an email that a talk I gave in April at the Ottawa Independent Authors Association meeting was posted on YouTube. The talk was about writing a crime fiction series and includes many words of wisdom from author friends as well as insight into my writing process. Here is the link if you'd like to check it out.

I'm also thrilled to report that the sixth Anna Sweet novella entitled Missing Her is now available. Very pleased with the cover!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

May Musings

Where has May gone? It's been a crazy weather ride in Ottawa. Snow one week and plus +37 C the next. We began the month with days of heavy rain that flooded out several towns and parts of Gatineau and Ottawa bordering the Ottawa and Rideau rivers. So much devastation. But the late spring weather is leveling off and the tulips and flowering trees are in bloom.

So this week, I'll be going to Toronto with a friend Katherine Hobbs to take in the Arthur Ellis awards dinner at the Arts and Letters Club. We've been invited to a pre-event get together at Dundurn. I hope to have some photos of the evening to post next week. I've also gotten word that Bleeding Darkness, the fifth Stonechild and Rouleau, will be pushed back a month with release now scheduled for May 2018. Actually, this will be better timing for a launch and signings.

My June Chapters Kanata signing has been moved up to Saturday, June 3 from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. so that it is part of the store's July 1st celebration. I'll be at Chapters Rideau on Saturday, July 29 - these are the only signings I have scheduled this summer thus far.

Writing is coming along. I was aiming to have 30,000 words written by the end of May and am now heading up to 33,000 so not too bad. I think I have to stop for a bit and reassess the plot lines. That might become this week's work. I've been writing rather than work on the main idea paragraphs but hope to finish up the environment unit by the end of May.

So, looks like another busy week coming up. I'm hoping to spend some time in the garden as well and have some pots to fill with annuals. I love this time of year even with the crazy weather. It feels like a time of rebirth and possibility and the spring sunshine is mighty welcome too.

Good week ahead, everyone.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Lining up the Ducks

Another rainy Saturday May morning, but the tulips are blooming and the temperature is gradually climbing. Ted and I even managed to sit on a rooftop patio yesterday afternoon!

Been a quiet, routine kind of week on the writing front - not a lot of outside commitments so I fell into a routine, working on the main idea paragraphs in the morning and writing in the afternoon. Writing going slowly at this point but I'm still plugging along.

I went to the Capital Crime Writers monthly meeting on Wednesday evening. Madona Skaff and Michelle Yuan-Innes and I judged this year's Audrey Jessup short story contest and were recognized at the meeting for our efforts. The awards will be announced at the Louise Penny event on June 16 as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Tickets should still be available - Louise is a terrific speaker with a huge Canadian and international following for her crime fiction.

CCW President Michael Murphy, me, Madona, Michelle and VP Patricia Filteau

I've been lined up for two more Chapters signings. Chapters Indigo is promoting Canadian writers in its stores as part of Canada 150 celebrations and Rideau Chapters will be featuring one Ottawa author  every Saturday throughout the summer. My date is July 29. Not certain about the time yet but I imagine it will be late morning/early afternoon. I'm also invited back to Chapters Kanata and will be in the store Saturday, June 24 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. Another nice invitation arrived this week to visit a book club in the west end and we settled on a date in November. I love visiting book clubs and hope I get to visit a few more this year.

I've decided to go to the Arthur Ellis awards dinner on May 25 and my friend Katherine Hobbs has agreed to come along. We'll drive to Toronto the day of the event and back the next morning so a very quick trip. It's at the Arts and Letters Club so a lovely old building. Here's a photo of the bar from one of the dinners I attended a few years ago.

I'm also signed up for Bouchercon in Toronto this October and you really should think about registering if you enjoy crime fiction and meeting writers. I've been to two previous Bouchercons in Baltimore and Cleveland and each had about 1500 attend. Some very interesting panels and lots of mingling in the pub and other events. I believe this is only the second time it's been held in Canada so you might not get this chance for a while unless you want to travel further afield. On the website, you can click on the Attendees link to see everyone registered so far. The team pulling the conference together has been working full out to make sure that it's a huge success. Don't be left out!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

May Settles In

Good (early) Saturday morning. Early because we have company this weekend ... I see a game of fetch in my near future

This week, Pat Campbell and I settled on a cover image for the next Anna Sweet, entitled Missing Her. None of the first five images presented by the designer grabbed us so we both pondered on what would work, oddly coming up with the same idea. The designer used it to come up with several more images, from which Pat and I chose the same one. The cover has now been mocked up and looks terrific. It's off to the printer's and I'll show you the final once it's ready for release.

I completed that author grid for Dundurn and continued on with my recent manuscript, heading up to 28,000 words this weekend. I was aiming to have 30,000 written by the end of May, so am well ahead of schedule.

 On the main idea paragraph front, I submitted the science unit and am now working on the environmental paragraphs. The depletion of the coral reefs and debris in space were my focus this week -- man, our planet is in bad shape. Did you know that only 50 per cent of the coral is in decent shape and we've already lost 19 per cent? Coral reefs protect the land from ocean surges so with it gone... Don't even get me started on what could happen if the junk in space should start colliding and fragmenting in a chain reaction. A piece of debris the size of a paint chip strikes like a grenade, travelling at speeds of 17,500 mph. Not going to be any cheerier this week as I tackle Chernobyl and the garbage crisis.

I've had a bit of time to read (what with all this rain) and just completed Adrian McKinty's latest Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly. This is a terrific series if you're looking for a recommendation. Start with the first in the series and work your way through. I've just started reading Leslie Shimotakahara's novel After the Bloom, which talks about the Japanese being put in camps during the war in Canada and the U.S. Leslie's book received a wonderful review in the National Post a few weeks ago. Another book to add to your reading list!

And finally, I had a fun but tiring last Saturday, spending the morning at Perfect Books as part of Authors for Indies Day, and then across the city to Chapters Kanata where I spent the afternoon. Thank you to Michael Murphy for coming out to Perfect Books and bringing me a coffee and granola bar to keep me going, and to Judith Kalil and Catherine Brown for dropping by Chapters Kanata. So great to see you all.