Saturday, November 24, 2018

Signing at Indigo Barrhaven Today!

Good Saturday morning from Ottawa where we've gone from -18  to +3 C. overnight. The weather is as crazy as American politics.

So, for all of you wondering what to do today before the freezing rain sets in around suppertime, come out to Indigo Barrhaven and start your Christmas shopping with a few autographed mysteries. Local crime fiction authors will be on hand all weekend and we're happy to discuss books by all the writers who are taking part. I'll be there with Jim Napier from 10:00 a.m.  to noon and then with Barbara Fradkin from noon p.m. to 1:00 p.m. today.

Writing went well this week. I'm starting the final chapter and will have the first draft wrapped up this week for certain. I'm quite sure I have a bit of rewriting and tidying up to do in places so the work is far from over, but I'm getting there. I'm still aiming for that January 1st deadline!

I made another guest appearance on 1310 News The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe this past Thursday. This was my seventh time since the spring and every time, I've been on with a different guest so great meeting so many new and interesting people. This week, the other guest was Sam Laprade who works with charities and has a Saturday show on 1310 News.

And tomorrow morning, I'll be interviewed for a writing podcast that originates out of British Columbia. I'll let you know how that goes next week.

But for now, I've got to get myself in gear to be on the road to Barrhaven. I hope to see you there :-)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Out and About

Good Saturday morning.

Two events coming up this week. On Thursday, you can catch me again on 1310 News Radio's Power Lunch with Mark Sutcliffe discussing the news of the day. Every week brings new topics in this off-kilter world so tune in if you have time to hear our take on the goings-on of the day.

Then on Saturday, I'll be at Indigo Barrhaven from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m., the first two hours with Jim Napier and the last hour with Barbara Fradkin. This will be my last signing before Christmas so please drop by and say hi if you're in the area and maybe get a jump on your shopping. I've always bought books for my daughters for Christmas gifts and think what could be better than giving several hours of escapism into a good story? I've been lucky to be on the receiving end as well - makes my holidays that much more relaxing to bury myself in a book between visiting and eating. You can also meet other Ottawa crime fiction authors on Saturday and Sunday as part of the store's Mystery Weekend and check out their work.

Last Saturday, I signed for a few hours at Coles Carlingwood and met some new readers and had some good chats. We sold out of Cold Mourning and Butterfly Kills so I hope that I hook them on the series! Here I am getting set to meet people.

I've buckled down at the computer this past week, writing about 1000 words every day and getting so close to the end of the manuscript's first draft that I can see the finish line. I'm actually into the big reveal scenes and lo and behold, the plot is holding together. I'd hoped to be done by today, but there's still a bit more story to unfold. This will give me five or six weeks to whip the draft into shape before January 1st. I'm told that I'll be working with Shannon Whibbs who edited the last couple of books. Things are falling nicely into place, much like the snow falling outside my window.

Winter  arrived in full force Thursday night with our first major storm of the season. Hard to believe Christmas is slightly over five weeks away ....

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Waiting on Winter

Nothing like a bit of freshly fallen snow to make you think of Christmas shopping. I'm going to be at Ottawa's Coles Carlingwood from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. today (Saturday, Nov. 10) if you want any signed books for your gift list ... or for yourself.

So my plan to finish my latest manuscript got sidelined by seven curling games, including last Saturday's charity event run by the marvellous Kelly MacNaull. It's the fifth year with the money raised going to a different charity each year. This year, we raised over $12,000 for the Ottawa Heart Institute. I raffled off a name in Closing Time, my last Stonechild book. I've done several name raffles over the years for different charities and the winning names are sprinkled throughout the series. None of the winners was killed off or did the killing although I've had people say they wouldn't mind being the bad guy :-)

The Curling for a Cause teams in 2017 at the Ottawa Hunt Club

On Monday, I posted in 7 Criminal Minds blogspot. The week's topic concerned picking a fictional world I would like to enter and a character that I would like to become. So, check out my choice! What would yours be?

Turning Secrets is now posted on NetGalley for those reviewers wanting an advance read.  The first couple of reviews have been decent, always a relief. The book is also available for pre-order on Amazon, Chapters, etc. I've put in a request for bookmarks and I'm already thinking about the May launch. Time does trundle along ....

I have a quieter week ahead - well, the start of the week anyhow - so I'm hopeful that next week when you check in, I'll have completed the first draft of Closing Time. Maybe this is all psychological - I'm having a hard time finishing because I know this is my last foray into the world of Stonechild and Rouleau. Good thing I have a deadline to force me to wrap things up sooner rather than later.

Friday, November 2, 2018

And the Days Get Shorter ...

Ah, the lovely month of November.


This is my least favourite month of the year ... well this month and February because of the crappy weather and early darkness. But on we go ...

Not a great deal to report this week. I spoke with my Dundurn publicist Tabassum for a while by phone earlier in the week as we plan the Turning Secrets release in May. The book went up on Net Galley the same day - this is the place reviewers (usually blog) go to read an advance copy and give their assessments. Tabassum said that the newspaper reviews are being given less and less space in their respective papers and reviews in mainstream media are becoming harder to come by as a result, something of which I was well aware - just look at the book section in The National Post and the Ottawa Citizen. The infrequent reviews or even stories about authors are tragic for writers. Many readers buy based on the reviews and unless people hear about a book or an author, sales stay low.

I've been fortunate to have started in this industry when newspapers were still a prime source for getting the news, and my first Stonechild and Rouleau books were reviewed in The National Post, Ottawa Citizen and  Globe and Mail as well as local community papers. These reviews definitely helped me to build an audience. Whenever a review came out, sales skyrocketed on Amazon. Happily, Margaret Canon still reviews crime fiction for the Globe and Mail on quite a regular basis and the book section is updated constantly so a good paper to read for book news and recommendations.

So, now us authors have to get creative and look for new avenues to get the word out :-) the best way though, remains word of mouth because readers only recommend books they like. I've been fortunate here as well and am forever grateful to everyone who mentioned the books to friends or gave a copy as a gift.

I've got two signings coming up: Coles Carlingwood on Saturday, November 10 from 1l:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Indigo Barrhaven on Saturday, November 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. as part of the store's Mystery Weekend. The Mystery Weekend will see a number of local crime fiction writers and I'll be spending the first few hours with Jim Napier and wrapping up my last hour with Barbara Fradkin so I hope you can come by one store or the other!

One good thing about this rainy, grey weather - I'm spending a lot of time at my keyboard working on the latest manuscript. I should have the first draft wrapped up in a week or two and then the first rewrite begins. I might just make that January deadline yet :-)

And thanks to Courtney Mellor, librarian at the Emerald Branch of the Ottawa Public Library, who took this photo from our presentations last week to the new Canadian women's group. A nice memory from a lovely afternoon.