Saturday, March 30, 2019

Live from Left Coast Crime!

Good Saturday morning from beautiful downtown Vancouver. I'm at Left Coast Crime and this is the first time the conference has been held in Canada. As its name suggests, the event takes place in cities up and down the west part of the United States, primarily in cities along the coast. Once, the conference moved across the pond to Great Britain and I hear that was a spectacularly good time. There are a lot of American authors and readers here and they far outnumber the Canadian participants.

I arrived on Wednesday, early morning Vancouver time, and Barbara Fradkin and I went out hiking through Stanley Park for the afternoon, covering 12.3 km as we explored the seawall trail. It's easy to forget all the snow still on the ground in Ottawa.

Thursday morning, I took part in the speed dating. I was paired with J.D. Allen from South Carolina and she kindly mentored me through the process as she's done the speed dating a few times before. There were 20 tables set up around the room, each with readers and two authors who made two-minute book pitches to every table in the room. This took two hours so you an imagine how exhausting it was toward the end. A great way to introduce your work to prospective new readers.

Yesterday, was my panel on police in modern crime fiction. We met the evening before in the hotel pub so were quite relaxed when it came time to present. We had a fair-sized audience and they appeared to enjoy our discussion led by a very adept Corey Lynn Fayman who hails from San Diego. I couldn't have asked for a better group of writers to share the mic with! Barbara Nickless is from Colorado and Catherine Maiorisi hails from New York City.

So lots of time spent mingling, chatting and making connections. Today, I am manning the Crime Writers of Canada table for an hour before meeting some of the 7 Criminal Minds blog authors for lunch. Then, I plan to attend the tribute to the late Sue Grafton with her daughter here on her behalf and then I have a brief reading (5 minutes) to round out my obligations. Tonight is the banquet so some more fun ahead.

I hear there's a snow/ice storm going on in Ottawa today. Kind of glad to be missing that :-)

A few spring scenes outside the hotel to end my post.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Out From Under

I'm leaving on a jet plane ... early, early Wednesday morning. Direct flight to Vancouver and the Left Coast Crime conference at the Hyatt-Regency. Pretty sure it isn't actually a jet plane but I know what it definitely is not - one of the Boeing grounded planes, thank goodness.

I received unhappy news on Wednesday that my roommate Katherine Prairie is under the weather and won't be able to attend unless the antibiotics kick in and she's deemed fit to travel. My fingers are crossed. Otherwise, all the plans are in place. My panel will take place on Friday from 2:45 to 3:30 p.m. and the title is 'Police in Modern Crime Fiction'. I'm the only Canadian writer and the others include moderator Corey Lynn Fayman and panelists Catherine Maiorisi, Barbara Nickless and Greg Randall. I've linked to their sites so you can get to know them - some most interesting mysteries and thrillers to check out.

Kirkus reviewed Turning Secrets - the first time they've reviewed any of my books! For maximum enjoyment, I think this book, of all the books in the series, is best read after the others since it builds on what has gone before. For those of you who've asked me if this book will feature Dawn's father Fisher Dumont, the answer is a resounding yes :-) I'm excited for you to read this next-to-last book.

On the writing/work front, I completed my review of my editor's edits for the last Anna Sweet novella and await her return edits. This is like a tennis match - she volleys and I volley back, each of us putting our own spin on the text. I've also been working on my latest manuscript, hitting the 4000 word mark. I'm liking the story so far but have lots to work through in regards to plot. It's refreshing to be starting a completely new project even if a bit like flinging yourself off a cliff and aiming at the water.

I have another blog post to write this weekend for 7 Criminal Minds. The question asks what the main benefit of a publisher has been for my writing career so you can check out my thoughts on the matter this coming Monday.

I'm proud to say that I steered clear of mentioning the overnight dusting of snow because that would just be too depressing to talk about. (This is the first spring that Ted has shown interest in making a trip south next year around this time.) We've had a few days of rain, but the snowbanks are still several feet tall ... but I won't talk about that since I'm staying away from the depressing talk.

Weather reports say it's going to be warm and sunny in Vancouver next week.

Don't toy with me, Mother Nature!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Weekly Round Up

Good Saturday morning.

A few things to report this week. I'm going to be taking part in the Ottawa Arthur Ellis announcement evening on April 17 from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. at the Rideau Chapters with Mary Jane Maffini moderating. Simultaneous events are being held across the country with local other crime writers leading up to the shortlist announcements at the end of the evening. All are welcome to come out. Below is the event poster with the Ottawa entries for best crime novel - these are just a few of the entries from across Canada.

I received an invitation to speak to a woman's group in May about my writing. They meet in my neighbourhood so I was happy to accept. My dance card is filling up :-)

Also this week, my last Anna Sweet novella came back with the editor's suggestions. I started going through the manuscript yesterday and am about half way through. I figure this will take me well into next week. I've also been writing off and on, trying to organize my thoughts and the plot line. It's been a few years since I started a brand new project so I'm feeling my way.

Another week and a bit before I fly to Left Coast Crime in Vancouver. My flights do not seem to be affected by the recent grounding of the Boeing planes. I am happy that they're not flying until whatever malfunction(s) in the system is sorted out. There has been too much tragedy already.

The conference is being held at the Hyatt-Regency so a lovely setting not too far from the waterfront. I've only been to Vancouver once before and look forward to seeing more of the city. One event that I'll be taking part in is called the author-reader connection, which I mentioned in passing in a previous blog post. Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin and I are hosting four readers for an hour at a pub overlooking the harbour on Friday late afternoon. Our event was listed on the website and already we have four readers signed up. This will be a fun opportunity to introduce our work over a glass of wine.

And here's the link to my latest 7 Criminal Minds blog from this past Monday in case you missed it first time around.

Enjoy the week ahead everyone!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

In the Land of Ice and Snow

Can the cold weather finally be lifting? I've seen cardinals this past week darting through the trees and take this as a good sign. Not much longer before we'll be drinking coffee on the back deck and pulling the shorts out of the closet. A girl can dream.

Yesterday, I appeared on 1310 News - The Power Lunch with host Mark Sutcliffe. Another guest and I receive five topics with multiple choice answers in the morning in an email. We have a couple of hours to research the topics if we're not familiar with the issues, then we chat with Mark about our choices from noon to 12:30. When I know that I'm going to be on, I make certain to watch a lot of news that week to familiarize myself with major stories. It's sure keeping me on top of what's going on in the world!

When I returned home from the radio station, I had an email request from my local Coles to do another signing as well as an email from my Grass Roots editor with her initial thoughts on the Anna Sweet manuscript, which is book eight and entitled Close to Home. She commented on the bittersweet feel for this book as it will be the last in the series. I've spent the past eight years working on this series and the Stonechild series. I'm feeling oddly rudderless but know I'll get into a new project soon once I finish getting my tax information together. Maybe I'll get some house cleaning done too. Open up some of the cupboards and do a cleansing. Within the realm of possibility ...

So this weekend, I'll be writing another blog post for 7 Criminal Minds blogspot, which you can read on Monday. This week's question asks about how I felt the first time I read from my work in public. I'll have to dig around in my brain to come up with that memory. Check in to see how I do :-)

And final plans and information are coming from the Left Coast Crime planning committee. Only a few weeks before I'm off to Vancouver. Barbara Fradkin is on the same morning flight and Katherine Prairie, my roommate for the conference, will be arriving later that day. It's going to be a busy weekend and I'll try to update you on the goings-on.

Barb Fradkin, Katherine Prairie and me at a Chapters signing

Clocks are springing forward tonight, another sign that spring is waiting in the wings. I'm off to watch my daughter Julia curl in mixed play downs this morning so not embracing the season change just yet. Time to slow down and enjoy the moment ... even if I'm still wearing my parka and trying to see past the snowbank at the end of the driveway when I ease the car onto the road.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

March Morning

I spent last week at the Scotties in Sydney, Nova Scotia - Cape Breton to be exact. We had a lot of highs and a couple of lows but Team Homan captured silver in this national championship, which is not too shabby by any standard. It was a gruelling week for all the teams and tough on the families and fans, but these are the memorable moments that make up a lifetime. Here is a photo of me with the six-time Scotties champion, two-time world champion skip Colleen Jones. Another memorable moment :-)

Needless to say, I didn't get much writing in this week although I've spent the last two days working on chapter questions for one of the adult literacy novellas that will be coming out this fall.  I'll soon be working with an editor on the last book in the series and will wait to write the chapter questions for that one. Bittersweet to think it will be my last time writing about Anna Sweet - would be great to have her come to life in a tv series!

I worked with my interim publicist on the bookmarks for Turning Secrets, which Dundurn will release in May. I'm pushing to have them before I leave for Left Coast Crime in Vancouver. My schedule at the conference is starting to shape up. Thursday morning, I'll spend two hours in speed-dating with my partner Katherine Prairie. We'll do two-minute pitches for our books to tables of readers for two hours. (speaking of gruelling :-) Friday is my panel with the topic police procedurals, followed by an author-reader connection at a pub with Mary Jane Maffini, Barbara Fradkin and four readers. Saturday is light with a reading and banquet.

And don't forget the two other events on the horizon as Turning Secrets makes its debut.

The first is Thursday evening, April 25 at the Carlingwood Library. Barbara Fradkin and I will be interviewed by CBC Radio's Giacomo Panico from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. Free admittance and no need to pre-register. We all live in Kitchissippi ward and Barbara and I set some books in Ottawa so the we'll discuss 'Murder in the Hood' among other topics.

And I'm pleased to let you know that my daughter Lisa Weagle will be making the introduction at the book launch slated for Sunday, June 2 from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. at The Cross on Elgin. She's mentioned the word 'roast' a few times so could be entertaining :-) Perfect Books will be on hand with books for purchase and The Haughian Brothers Band will be playing ... make sure to put this on your calendar! (I'm still awaiting the electronic invitation from Dundurn and will be sending that out once I have it.)

So my 12-year old computer has been faltering as of late and I took it into Staples for the third time. "How long does a computer last?" I asked. Tech guy Glenn answered, "Four maybe five years. Seven is unusual. Twelve is heroic." All this to say, I now have a new computer but cannot find half my files, including photos and downloads. Looks like another trip to Staples. I'm on a first-name basis with the tech staff and at this rate, they're going to make it onto my Christmas card list.

Until next week ....