Saturday, April 28, 2018

Rounding Out April

This has been a good writing week as I round in on 24,000 words. My goal was 20,000 words by the end of April so I'm ahead of the game. Good thing too because I'll be spending next week editing the Turning Secrets manuscript. I got word from Shannon Whibbs my Dundurn editor late yesterday that she was three-quarters done her edits and should have it to me Monday for my review. She said the characters are feeling like old friends as this is the third manuscript in the series that she's worked on.

So the countdown is on for the release of Bleeding Darkness on May 10. That leaves 12 days to go if all goes as planned. The Ottawa launch is June 3 because it's good to allow a few weeks grace in case of printing delays and to give some time for shipping the books from the warehouse. I've heard back from lots of people and there should be a good crowd. These launches are becoming like my annual block party - a chance to see everybody in one place!

Michelle, my publicist, is working on a signing at Sleuth of Bakerstreet in Toronto and a signing in Kingston. I've been invited to be on the Kingston tv morning show in May and we'll finalize the date once we know if a signing date is available. I know the Chapters is moving locations next month and Michelle is checking with the other bookstore. I've not done a signing in Kingston since I started this series so it's high time!

Linda Wiken launched her latest mystery entitled Marinating in Murder at Books on Beechwood this past Sunday and I drove over to buy a copy and help celebrate. We Ottawa mystery writers are so fortunate to have several dedicated readers who come out to all our events, buy our books and spread the word. The authors also encourage and support each other, making this feel like a bit of a family. Here I am with fellow crime fiction writers (l to r) Barb Fradkin, Linda Wiken and Mary Jane Maffini - thanks for the photo Nancy Reid :-)

This week I've been reading the book X by Sue Grafton, which is her second last book in the Kinsey Millhone series. I met Sue at Left Coast Crime in Monterey a few years ago. We were the only two in the hallway - she was on her way to be interviewed and I was heading to another room to be on a panel. She asked me to help her turn the sound off on her phone and we tinkered with it for a bit before giving up. At that time, I only had knowledge of my work Blackberry and had never used her type of phone. Even in that brief encounter, I felt her warmth and enjoyed her sense of humour which comes through in her writing.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

Fires Burning

Woke up to sunshine this morning and it feels as if spring has arrived. Only five days ago, the ice /snow/hail storm tied up the city and an event I was to attend with Mary Jane Maffini, Linda Wiken and Barbara Fradkin was postponed. Such odd April weather. I have put away my winter boots in a reckless leap of faith ...

The Arthur Ellis shortlist events went on across the country, however, on Wednesday evening. The Ottawa event was at Chapters Rideau and I made my way there with Barbara Fradkin and Alex Brett after we stopped for supper at a bistro across the street. Mary Jane Maffini MC'd with about eight local crime fiction authors speaking about their books and most doing a two-minute reading, myself included. This was the first time I read from the upcoming Bleeding Darkness with the Canadian release now less than three weeks away. Congratulations to all those on the shortlists and especially to Gail Bowen who will receive the Grand Master award for her body of work. So well deserved.

Presenting Bleeding Darkness

With the release of Bleeding Darkness so close, my publicist Michelle Melski has been pulling together a few appearances in addition to ones I've organized. Here's a list of confirmed dates:

Wednesday, May 23 - guest on Rogers Cable 22 - The Author's Journey - live beginning at 1:00 p.m. with repeat shows at 6:00 and 11:00 p.m. the same day.

Sunday, June 3 - launch at the Cross, 360 Elgin Street Ottawa, 2:00-4:00 p.m. with special musical guest Green Floyd. Perfect Books will be on hand with books for purchase.

Monday, May 28 - guest speaker in the Topical Talks series at Abbotsford House, Glebe Centre.

Saturday, June 9 - signing at Coles Carlingwood, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

I'll add more to the list as they're finalized and hope we can meet up along the way.

Writing progressed well this week. I reached my target 20,000 words for April and now feel like this is a bonus week coming up. I'm aiming for 10,000 words a month, allowing for editing work next month on the sixth Stonechild manuscript Turning Secrets. The cover is being designed now - I sent in my ideas Monday.

So, lots of little fires burning behind the scenes as this feels like the calm before the storm. I'm excited for you to finally be able to give Bleeding Darkness a read in a few weeks. Booklist highly recommends this one and calls it "a complex and suspenseful mystery". Rather a nice advance endorsement :-)

Good weekend everyone.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Behind the Scenes

It's been a week of lining up the ducks.

As those of you who follow my blog know, Bleeding Darkness is coming out early next month so lots is going on behind the scenes. I've begun sending out the Ottawa launch invitation - takes place Sunday, June 3 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at the Cross on Elgin. All welcome. I've also lined up a signing with Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, June 9 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  The bookmarks are being printed, the book is also at the printers as I type, the champagne is chilling ...

My publicist Michelle has lined up some media around the time of the launch. So far guest on a morning show in Kingston and a radio interview in Ottawa. The details are still in the works but I'll let you know logistics once confirmed. I've also been invited to speak to an organization in the Glebe around the time of the book release and am told there are usually 50-70 in attendance.

In the meantime, work is beginning on the next in the Stonechild series Turning Secrets. My editor Shannon Whibbs has been in touch and she'll have her first edits to me at the end of April. I'll have the first week or so of May to go through her edits and make more of my own. I also received a form yesterday to give my cover input. It's still exciting to see the cover for the first time. I don't imagine this ever gets old.

This upcoming week, I'll be taking part in two events. Monday, Barb Fradkin, Mary Jane Muffin, Linda Wiken and I will make the trek out to Orleans to present our books, mingle and eat supper with an organization of about thirty people so I'm looking forward to an enjoyable time. Wednesday is the Arthur Ellis awards shortlist event at Chapters Rideau from 7-9 p.m. Several Ottawa crime writers will speak about their books - we each have two minutes and another two minutes if we choose to read. I'm thinking I'll read the first page of Bleeding Darkness but I'll wait to see about the pace of the event before deciding. I'm the last author listed so if it's getting late, I'll make my talk even shorter and sweeter :-) All are welcome to this one as well.

The writing on the latest Stonechild manuscript progressed nicely this week as I approach 19000 words. I'm thinking if I keep a pace of a minimum of 10000 words a month, I'll make the January deadline, allowing for time to edit and rewrite before submission. I've convinced myself that I'm on schedule.

The weather has been crap again this week with a winter storm predicted for tonight and tomorrow. I'm starting to look brilliant instead of lazy for not getting the winter tires changed. At least the weather keeps me indoors writing although I wouldn't mind taking my laptop into the backyard with a glass of lemonade, sunglasses and sunscreen. No need to keep hanging around Winter on my account...

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Enough Already

We woke up to more snow on the ground today, April 7th when average temperatures should be around ten degrees C. We've had rain, sleet, strong winds and frigid temps this week just to make our lives interesting. Someone said that we're having our 22nd winter ... this year.

Killer Heat, the seventh Anna Sweet novella, is now fait accompli. My editor Pam and I made our final changes and she submitted the final manuscript on Thursday. The cover design was also chosen this week and I'm now tasked with writing the cover blurb. I'm contracted for one final Anna Sweet after this one but it's not due for another year.

I also heard from Dundurn about the Turning Secrets manuscript. I'll be working with the same editor as I had for Bleeding Darkness, Shannon Whibbs, and we get started on the editing this month. This one will be released next year so you can see that we work well in advance of publication - I submitted the manuscript in December last year!

Also this week, I spent a few days reading through short stories for Capital Crime Writers' short story contest as I'm one of three judges. I've whittled the pile down and will read through my top contenders this weekend once again to determine order of finish. After that, I'll compare my list with those of the other judges and the discussion will begin until we reach a consensus. Our short list will be announced the evening of the Arthur Ellis short list event on Wednesday, April 18 from 7-9 p.m. I'll be taking part at Chapters Rideau alongside several of our city's crime fiction writers and all are welcome to join us.

I didn't get much writing done on my latest manuscript and feel unsettled about that. I set a weekly word count for myself that I fell well short of and I have another busy week ahead so not sure how much writing I'll get in. At some point soon, I'm going to have to pick up the pace. This will be the last Stonechild and Rouleau mystery and I'm working to wrap up the storylines for my cops. Maybe I'm dragging my heels because it's hard to say goodbye!

So, that about does it for my writing-week round up. I also curled my last games of the season this past week - I was on three teams - finished first overall in two of the leagues in weekly play. Perhaps the winter weather will now decide to wrap it up too. Time to get the bike out and get into the garden.
Barbecues, long summer evenings on the verandah with the neighbours, walks to our local put to sit on the rooftop patio, dinner outdoors ... can't come soon enough.