Saturday, October 5, 2019

Settling Into October

Good Saturday morning.

It was a busy week. I got in a bit of writing but am taking my time writing the ending to the manuscript, doing a bit of research, pondering how to pull everything together. All this to say, I still have some work to do before the first draft is finished but I believe it's heading in a good direction.

The new website construction has taken up a lot of time. I've been pulling more stuff together, tracking down reviews and photos, and writing the odd bit. The site isn't ready yet so you'll have to wait a little longer to give it a look although not much longer. Web designer Kim Hadley and I have a call scheduled for Monday to finalize the last details. You can have a look at the current site and compare the changes next week!

A few years ago, a book club invited me to visit one of their homes to discuss Cold Mourning. I hosted them on Thursday as they've now read the series and tell me they are my fan club:-) We had a great discussion about my books and other books since they are all avid readers. I have to say that meeting these lovely, interesting women has been one of the wonderful things about writing the books. They have already lined up a get together for next year to discuss Closing Time, which will be released in May 2020.

 Lynn from the book club at the Turning Secrets launch

I was in my local Coles Carlingwood last week to buy a gift certificate and found my books above one of my favourite authors. Coles has Ann Cleeves latest The Long Call, which marks the beginning of her new series featuring British cop Michael Venn. I bought a copy and am looking forward to the read. The series has already been optioned for television.

So, another Saturday morning as we move deeper into October. Temperatures are dropping and we've had to turn on the furnace and haul out the warmer jackets. This is good weather for writing and I plan to do some this weekend. I also have to put the garden to bed - a task I do not look forward to, but one that I'll be happy I did come spring. And the Canadian Thanksgiving is just around the corner, .... soon time to put on the winter tires. Yikes.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

A Busy End to September

Last week of September and my curling leagues start up this week. Looks like there's no more denying that summer is over. It's the bittersweet season - a month of beauty before the snow and cold.

A few things this week. The Dundurn editor sent along three pages of questions for me to respond to for Closing Time and that took an entire afternoon to go through. I spent another afternoon answering a Q & A for Dietrich Kalteis's blog Off the Cuff, a blog that introduces you to established and up-and-coming mystery authors. Worth checking out!

I've also hired a web designer to revamp my website and gathering stuff together took another half day. In addition, it was my Monday to blog on 7 Criminal Minds. (You can read my process for preparing for tax time.) And I also made a return visit to 1310 News The Power Lunch on Thursday and had an interesting discussion with the other guest about climate change and stories in the news - safe to say, we don't see eye to eye, but the point of the show is to get various opinions. You can give a listen at the link above and see where you stand.

As a result of all these time-consumers, work on my manuscript slowed to a halt, but I attempted to get back writing yesterday with limited success. It's hard to get the momentum going again but needs must. I'm entering the last chapters but the hard work is still ahead, editing, rewriting, pulling the plot line together. So,  in the spirit of procrastination, I spent the second half of the afternoon watching the final three episodes of season two of Mindhunter on Netflix. If you haven't watched the series, it's really well done and follows the FBI unit that started looking at the psychology of serial killers to help solve cases. Not light by any means but fascinating. I think I'll watch some comedy next :-)

The week ahead will include working on the Dundurn publicity grid and the new website, which I hope to unveil in October so stay tuned. I'm also aiming to have draft one of my latest manuscript finished. I'm meeting with a book club on Thursday to discuss Tumbled Graves - they had me visit a few years ago to discuss Cold Mourning and I'm looking forward to seeing them again.

Should be a good week!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Moving into Autumn

Such a beautiful September weekend we're having here in the Ottawa Valley. It's almost a shame to be inside with this summery weather. I've spent most of my days writing at my desk but pack up late afternoon to work in the garden and to sit in the backyard with a glass of wine. If only this could last another month!

The output

And the writing has been going great guns. I was aiming to have the first draft of my latest manuscript written by the end of October but I'm thinking now that it will be done within the next couple of weeks. Then, I'll go back, pull scenes together and flesh some out more. After a couple of reviews, I've got a few people lined up to give it a read since this is essentially a new genre for me and I want to make sure the storyline holds water with a good build up of suspense.

So this past week, I had my head down for the most part, writing or thinking about the plot. I've yet to complete a few publicity tasks but will get to them this week. I also appeared on 1310 News The Power Lunch on Monday, getting a request from the producer to appear Sunday. During the first part of our half hour discussion, Mark Sutcliffe asked me about being the mom of an Olympian curler and how a child achieves such a level - you can listen to my responses at this link.

With The Power Lunch host Mark Sutcliffe

I'll be writing a blog post for this Monday's 7 Criminal Minds blogspot which you can check out on the day. We are actually 10 authors from Canada, the U.S. and Britain who answer a weekly question so you get a variety of perspectives if you follow the blog each day (with the exception of weekends).

Another writing workweek ahead although I'll also try to get outside as much as I can since the weather forecast is for continuing warmth with some rain early in the week. This is such a beautiful time of year - I hope you are also able to enjoy some time outdoors enjoying the season. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Busy Times


I'm currently in Cornwall watching my daughter Lisa curl in the Shorty Jenkins annual spiel. There are many of the top teams here, both men's and women's so an exciting event to start off the season. Needless to say, I won't be getting much writing in this weekend.

I was on 1310 News Radio The Power Lunch on September 3 and the first segment is about my writing and curling, including the Shorty if you have time to give a listen.

I managed to settle back into the writing groove over the past week in addition to working on the publicity tasks on my to-do list. Dundurn asked for a blog post about ending the series that I wrote and submitted on Wednesday. I also completed a form required for every book to help with marketing, leaving one more big document to complete. I've also got a Q and A interview to do for Dietrich Kalteis's blog, named Off the Cuff, due in October. I see Dietrich's September 1 post is an interview with Frank Zafiro, who will be interviewing me on his podcast later in the year. Frank is a most interesting guy so check out Dietrich's blog. Dietrich is a talented West Coast author whom I met a few years ago at Prose in the Park where we were on a panel together. Here we are with Ian Hamilton who is taking the mic from me - I appear to be ribbing him about something.

This week also saw the arrival of my copies of my last two Anna Sweet novellas. It's hard to believe the series has come to an end. I've been writing the Anna Sweet books as long as I've been writing the Stonechild and Rouleau series, alternating between the two. So both are coming to a close at the same time - rather fitting really.

I also have to thank a couple of reviewers for their posts about Turning Secrets. Author and reviewer Jim Napier's review is in The Ottawa Review of Books, in which he says, "Yet another fine novel from this talented and insightful author". The second  review is from James D. A. Terry, who also writes under the name Solomon Knight, another author/reviewer who calls Turning Secrets "a brilliantly written, suspense filled and multifaceted police procedural".

Well, I'm off to the curling club to watch more first-class, top-notch curling. The organizers will have the coffee on to kick start another nail-biting day at the rink. It's sure to be an exciting weekend!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Holiday Over!

The past two months have gone incredibly fast. As promised I'm back to blogging Saturday mornings after a busy summer, work-wise, and a pretty lazy few months otherwise.

Since I last wrote, I've been through next year's manuscript Closing Time two (or was it three) more times and sent in my last changes to the proofs yesterday. As true to form, I'm not as fond of the story as I was at the start of the process because I've lost perspective looking at it so often. However, I liked it well enough before the fifth and sixth edits so I'll hang onto this memory and believe the book is a fitting conclusion to the series. I've also been sent some publicity requests that involved writing a cover letter to reviewers, writing the cover synopsis and submitting a full chapter breakdown for those doing the marketing. Now I have to turn my attention to the publicity and media questionnaire and chart and a blog post for Dundurn. Lots of fun to come :-)

Release date: May 2020

This week also saw the release of the last two Anna Sweet novellas for Grassroots Press called Killer Heat and Too Close to Home. These are terrific little reads written for adult literacy but also good for those wanting a quick read. The challenge was writing a book any adult would enjoy but at a simpler reading level. The series is available in soft cover from the publisher's site or as downloads from Amazon.

 I took part in a few events this summer. A couple of bookstore signings ...

With R.J. Harlick at Chapters Kanata in July

... and The Women Killing It book festival in Picton Labour Day weekend. The festival included seven other Canadian women crime fiction authors: Joy Fielding, Vicki Delany, Hannah Mary McKinnon, Ginger Bolton, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Iona Whishaw and S.M. Hurley. You can read about the event in this article. One highlight was the panel at the Glenwood Cemetery chapel on Saturday evening with Ausma, Hannah and Joy. A spooky setting to discuss crime fiction. The next morning, I taught a workshop on point of view before catching my (very delayed) train home.

 Joy Fielding and me

Back row l to r: Janet Kellough, Vicki Delany, Ginger Bolton, Iona Whishaw, S.M. Hurley
Front row l to r: Ausma Zehanat Khan, Joy Fielding, me, Hannah Mary McKinnon

I've also been plugging away at my latest manuscript, which so far has the generic title Thriller. I'm about 60,000 words in and starting to get to the heart of the mystery. It's been a departure from the other two series that I've been writing over the past six years, but refreshing to tackle a new challenge.

So, no real travel this summer but lots of work in my garden, many evenings drinking wine on the veranda with the neighbours and lots of family time. I hope you enjoyed the oh-too-brief-summer and your tan will take you into the dark days of November. We still have a lovely autumn to look forward to so no need to light the fires yet.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

On Vacation

Gone Fishing!  I'm taking the rest of the summer off this blog but will be back at the end of August.

Enjoy the summer, everyone.


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Oh Canada!

To get this Canada Day weekend started, I'll be at Perfect Books258 Elgin Streettoday (Saturday) between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. so come on by if you're downtown and stock up on some summer reading.

My plan this week had been to finish reviewing the edits for Closing Time from my Dundurn editor Shannon by Friday, and I was on schedule ... and then the summer cold hit. And a nasty bug it is too. Oddly enough, Shannon in Toronto also had it and the cold delayed her edits by a few days. (Can a cold virus be sent electronically?) I also had to reschedule my appearance on The Power Lunch and will be on the show this coming Wednesday, July 3rd. Anyhow, I'm taking the long weekend to finish my edits but really don't have too much left to do.

I also have to write a post for 7 Criminal Minds blog for Monday, Canada Day, so check in and see what I come up with. The question concerns my business skills so should be an imaginative answer since I'm sadly lacking in this department.

My last bit of news for the week is that R.J. Harlick and I are booked in for a joint signing at Chapters Kanata on Saturday, June 27 between 1l:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. We signed together once before and had a great time so looking forward to spending some time catching up

When Ted's and my daughters were younger, we headed up to Parliament Hill to watch the fireworks a few times but now I'm content to watch the festivities on tv, get together with a few friends and have a barbecue, drink wine and eat strawberry shortcake - I go berry picking in the morning. Very Canadiana! We're supposed to have a hot sunny day this year so should be a great way to celebrate our country's birthday.

Have a great weekend, everyone and a special Happy Canada Day to all my Canadian peeps near and far.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Ahh Summer

Summer solstice yesterday was a beautiful day that marked the first day of summer. The rainy week before made the gardens lush with some spring flowers blooming later than usual and the summer bloomers opening too. We whiled the evening away on a friend's veranda until the sun set so a lovely way to see out spring and welcome in summer.

My past few days and the week to come, in contrast, are being spent in front of my computer reviewing the first round of edits for Closing Time done by by Dundurn editor Shannon Whibbs. I have a June 28 deadline so will have to buckle down. A working weekend ahead.

It was a great signing at Coles Carlingwood last Saturday with some friends stopping by for a copy of Turning Secrets and several strangers who stopped to chat and ended up buying Cold Mourning. It was such a good day that we sold out of both books! One woman even drove in from Stittsville to get a signed copy of the latest. Some days, this writing gig feels pretty darn good. One other happening while I was signing was a couple of guys filming for a mall commercial and they took some footage of me and my books - let's see if this makes the cut :-)

I will be at Perfect Books (258 Elgin) on Saturday, June 29 from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. so another chance to come by if you'd like a signed copy.

I'll also be back on 1310 News The Power Lunch this Wednesday (June 26) to talk about the news of the day with host Mark Sutcliffe and another guest. I never know who the other guest is until the day and have met some very interesting people - never the same person twice. You can listen in from noon to 12:30 or watch on Rogers Cable 22 or online at 1310 News Facebook live.

Looking like another lovely day ahead but it's time for me to get the day underway and prepare for that editing. I'm sure I'll be taking breaks to be outside though ... it would be crazy not to enjoy the stretch of summer weather predicted for the week ahead.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Raptors, Fathers Day and Summer on the Way!

Happy Saturday.

I'll be at Coles Carlingwood today (Saturday) from 11:00 a.m. to 1 p.m. signing copies of the Stonechild series, including the latest Turning Secrets. Come by and say hello if you get the chance.

In addition, I'll be signing at Perfect Books on Elgin on Saturday, June 29 between 1:00 and 3:00 p.m. so another chance to meet up if the downtown is more convenient.

Also this week, Dundurn revealed the cover for Closing Time, last in the series, which comes out May 2020. I worked on the back cover text this week and await the first round of edits from my editor Shannon Whibbs. This is the cover - I love the ominous vibe ...

I spent most of the week alternating between working on my latest manuscript and researching for my workshop at the Women Killing It festival in Picton on the Labour Day long weekend. Registration is now open and this poster has the link to the site with all the information. I'm pleased to be part of this cast of up and coming and established Canadian crime fiction writers.

So an eventful week with the Toronto Raptors winning the NBA championship on Thursday and Fathers Day tomorrow. It's good to have events to celebrate that unite the country. We Canadians also are united by our obsession over the weather and looks like we're turning the corner into summer-like conditions in the Ottawa Valley. Barbecues, drinks on the back deck, bike rides, working in the garden, and long lazy days are on the horizon. Good days ahead, starting with our celebration of all the men in our lives tomorrow.

Happy Fathers Day all you dads out there :-)

Columbine in my garden.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Scenes from a Launch

Well, another terrific book launch wrapped up and it went beautifully. For those of you who are familiar with Ottawa, you'll be aware that Elgin Street is undergoing a major overhaul with the street dug up from one end to the other, but this, along with the rain, didn't stop people from venturing to The Cross pub to raise a glass with me. Thank you to everyone who helped make the day such a success.

A special thank you to my daughter Lisa Weagle who gave such a moving introduction. We were also fortunate to have The Haughian Brothers Band entertain us - Thank you Bernie (who came all the way from Collingwood to play), Bob, Misch, Len and Bob. I also owe a debt of gratitude to Perfect Books and Cortez and Kaleigh for selling books on site; Fred Taylor who took all the lovely photos below; and Danny at The Cross for hosting and making such delicious finger food.

One more book in the series to come! Closing Time will be out next May and the band has already committed to one last party. Dundurn is going to reveal the cover this Tuesday so watch for it on social media - I'm extremely happy with the design.

If you missed the launch and live in the area, I will be at Coles in the Carlingwood mall next Saturday, June 15 between 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. so come by and say hi.

Spent a lot of time signing - always a good thing!
With my good friend & launch photographer Fred Taylor
 Turning Secrets - book 6 in the Stonechild and Rouleau series
 From my curling family - Pat, Cathy and Joyce - love this photo
 Summer reading!
 Lisa make such a wonderful introduction
 The hand over
 Listening from the third level balcony

 The Haughian Brothers Band with lead singer Bernie

Seeing friends is the best part of launching a book

With my daughter Julia
Lisa and Me

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Book Launch Day Sunday, June 2!

Tomorrow is Ottawa book launch day! Everything is set and I expect a sizeable crowd - lots of friends and family coming out to raise a glass; purchase a book; and listen to The Haughian Brothers Band with lead singer Bernie, coming all the way from Collingwood. My daughter Lisa Weagle will make the introductions, Fred Taylor will take photos for posterity and The Cross will put out some mighty fine finger food. In the seventies, one would say: 'be there or be square' ... an old chestnut that I think still has legs. Okay, here's the final posting of the invitation!

And for those square people who can't make the event, I'll also be at Coles Carlingwood with copies on Saturday, June 15 between 11 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.

Work has already started on the final Stonechild and Rouleau book entitled Closing Time. The designer is creating the cover and the editor is going through the manuscript for the first time. This one is scheduled for release at the end of May next year ... closing off the series might warrant another party :-)

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spring Days

Starting to feel as if we're heading into some better weather although overall we've had a rainy, cool month of May. We're all longing for a stretch of hotter weather ... not sure what this summer has in store but fingers crossed.

On the 7 Criminal Minds blog, five authors this week were tasked with recommending books for that dad or husband on your Fathers Day list. The posts are all very different, but you might find some new books and authors to check out. Five different authors will be blogging with their choices in the upcoming week, so more recommendations to come.

My week alternated between writing work and gardening. Several trips to gardening centres and then planting what I bought kept me away from my computer, but I wrote in the evenings and met my word count goals. I also had a final review of the Too Close to Home Anna Sweet novella and we finalized a cover photo. And on Wednesday, I appeared on 1310 News The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe to talk about the news of the day. They've asked me back on Thursday this week so you can share part of your lunch hour with us if you have the time.

One week to the Ottawa launch of Turning Secrets! The band is ready to go and the food is ordered. Perfect Books will be on hand with books for sale. Ive heard from lots of people that they plan to attend so we should have a good party. My daughter Lisa will be making introductions and my friend Fred Taylor is returning to take photos so I'll post some the following week. All systems ready to go.

I received several lovely emails from readers this week and reviews posted on social media. Many thanks to everyone for sharing your thoughts about the series. One more to come! It's so satisfying to know that people are eager for the release of each book and connecting with my characters. I've felt the same about many series I've read over the years and know the same anticipation.

A short post this week. Time to get back into the garden before the rain moves in later today. Another changeable spring day in Ottawa.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

May Goings On

The count down is on - fifteen days until the Ottawa launch of Turning Secrets! The annual party is but days away :-)

A good writing week this week as I slip back into the groove. I have to say that writing a thriller is ... wait for it ... thrilling. It's more like the Hitchcock pacing that I love. Lots of tension with the suspense building from a warm pot to a whistling tea kettle. I spent the first part of the week making chapter notes and tuning up the first chapters and am now into the second quarter. (Kind of like a basketball game - go Raptors) (That cheer's for you Robin) Anyhow, my protagonist is in all kinds of trouble and only just beginning to realize it ... how much fun am I having?!

My editor Shannon was in touch end of day yesterday with a tentative schedule for the last Stonechild book called Closing Time. We'll be working through June so another period that I'll have to set aside my latest project to focus on editing the last one. I also will be teaching a writing workshop in August and have to turn my mind to that. Finally, I'll be writing a blogpost for 7 Criminal Minds for this Monday with my book recommendations for Fathers Day. Should be a good few weeks to check in to find out what other authors recommend as well.

I'll be on 1310 News's The Power Lunch this week on Wednesday at noon if anyone is near their computer. The half hour show is also on Rogers Cable 22 and 1310 News Facebook live so I can't show up in my sweats. I try to stay up on the news especially as the date of my guest spot approaches in order to have an informed opinion. There is lots of craziness going on in the world these days I have to say.

Some of you have been asking me about the books being optioned for television and what's going on with that. I'm sad to report that the L.A. screenwriter who optioned the books for the past two years and change suffered a terrible heart attack almost two months ago and was in an induced coma for a few weeks. Happily, he's recovering and home as of a few days ago but the project is on ice. He had a producer interested before he became ill, but I'm not sure if anything will come of this moving forward.

Well, the sun is out and the garden centres are open so time to get a bit of planting done. I'm gambling on the end of the frost (after checking the long range forecast) but who really knows? I still have the snow tires on so hedging my bets ....

Last year's tulips at Dow's Lake - they're less eager to open this year and I can't blame them.