Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hot August Nights

Another hot tamale today, hitting 39 C with the humidex.

I've had a productive week, surpassing 49,000 words but also stopping for three days to make notes on the manuscript to date and doing a light edit. A few of my plot points were contradicted later on so I had to tie things up. I also rewrote some physical description based on the field trip to Kingston last week. For instance, I had a body found near the river, which worked when you saw the location on a map, but when we walked the area, we couldn't get to the river, only to a marshy area. I've now upped my word count to 1000 a day and have been managing - although I have a few days away this week so flexibility is key (to my sanity).

I received ten demo audio tapes from Dundurn of voice actors reading a section from Cold Mourning. Several people from Dundurn and I are listening to the tapes and working to select the actress to read the books on tape for download. I've ranked them and sent in my choices so we'll see if others pick the same. I found judging some short story contests that people have varied opinions - always the case in selecting subjectively.

I was invited to another book club next month and accepted as well as receiving an invitation to the Power of Words breakfast also in September. The breakfast is to celebrate adult learners and their tutors and can be a very moving event. I'm planning to attend this year as I was a guest speaker at the breakfast a few years ago and know what great work everyone is doing.

So, this will be a short post as I throw my bathing suit in a bag and head out to a cottage for the day. It's just too hot to stay in the city.

Wherever you are, stay cool my friends.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Checking out Locations for Murder...

Another week away from home, this time picking up some Oakville friends on our way to the beautiful Niagara on the Lake for a few nights in Everheart B & B, a place I highly recommend. Ted and I spent an evening and morning in Kingston checking out the neighborhood where I'm currently setting book five in the Stonechild and Rouleau series. Does this look like a good spot for a murder?! Can you guess where it is in Kingston?

We also checked out some pubs in downtown Kingston, five in all, prompting Ted to ask if my books were in fact just a tour of Kingston bars and restaurants. Well, there is some of that, but with a little murder thrown in :-) One of the characters taking a major role in this manuscript has a favorite bar where she spends a lot of time. Here is a photo and a big high five if you can identify it.

So, I'm settled back at home and plan to finesse two scenes that I've been writing before rereading the manuscript, now at the half-way point. I'll adjust some of the settings based on our Kingston tour. Visiting the actual neighborhood locations has given me a feel for the scenes that I didn't have previously, having only found the places on Google Earth.

As I get back down to work, I'll imagine myself back in Niagara, sitting on the front veranda of the B and B with nothing but wine and sunshine ahead. I've covered a lot of the province this summer and have spent time in some beautiful places - such a spectacular summer!

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Out and About in the Dog Days of Summer

I arrived back in Ottawa on Monday and the proofs for Shallow End were waiting for me in my in box. I spent the ensuing four days giving the text one last read and recording revisions in a Word document, submitting my changes to Dundurn at the end of the day yesterday. At my end, this is a wrap!

Now, I can get down to working on my latest manuscript. It's been a while and I'm eager to get back at it. Let's hope the words are backed up and ready to gush out in a steady stream of brilliance.

I took a few pictures at the Chapters Thunder Bay signing last Saturday, at which my niece Laura came along to keep my company. I met some lovely people at the store, both staff and customers and managed to sell a few books even though the Harry Potter release was at midnight. (I knew I should have called my last book Harry Patter.)

Also this week, Carol Anne Meehan interviewed me on her author Wednesday half hour on 1310 News AM radio. I phoned in from my office at home and had a good chat about my books, publishing and the mystery scene in Ottawa. As always, I omitted to name some of my fellow authors when put on the spot to name some so let me add Rick Mofina, Patricia Filteau, Alex Brett and Thomas Curran to my list - we have a terrific, vibrant crop of talent that you need to check out.

You can listen to the interview - click on August 3 between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. and my interview is at the 21 minute mark.

So, a little writing and a little travel on my agenda for this week, including a day in Kingston to check out my latest neighborhood and crime scene, which is deep in the woods. Yes, Ted is coming along and wants you to check in and make sure he makes it home by next weekend. Wa ha ha.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

In the Great Northwest

Good morning from Thunder Bay. The weather here has been absolutely beautiful all week and so good to see my family and Lake Superior again.

I went to the CBC radio station Thursday morning to pre tape an interview that ran on Superior Morning early Friday. Host Lisa Laco was on holidays but her replacement Matt was great and it turns out he knew my sister Donna who came with me to the studio - in fact, they used to be next door neighbours. Thunder Bay is about 110,000 people so that makes for mighty small odds! If they post the interview in a podcast, I'll post the link. It was a fun interview.

Today, I'm slated to be at Chapters in Intercity from 1:00 to 3:00, so let any of your Thunder Bay friends know if they'd like to drop by. My niece Laura is going to keep me company. I fly home Monday and have another radio interview scheduled on 1310 News AM radio with Carol Anne Meehan on Wednesday sometime between 1:00 and 3:00. Still have to confirm the date and time.

I haven't got any writing in this week but will get back on schedule Tuesday. My fingers are itchy to get back at it, but I haven't minded a holiday. The Shallow End manuscript will be popping back for one last look as well with another tight deadline. I have to wonder when did I ever find time to work full time?!

It's another sunny, gorgeous morning here in Northwestern Ontario. I can just see Lake Superior between the rooftops and hope to get down to the harbour again before I leave. You can see the lake from almost anywhere this part of the city. Time to get a cup of coffee and go sit in my sister's back garden to get this day underway.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Lazy Days and Big News!

Another lovely weekend! I've already watered the garden and biked to the grocery store and library. Just brewing another pot of coffee and I'll have a cup with Ted on the back deck before settling down to write.

My happy place and the view from my chair. Ahh, summer.

I have some great news to share. Dundurn is going to make the first two Stonechild and Rouleau books into audio books! You'll be able to listen to the books while relaxing in your back garden or driving or walking with your iPhone. I get to help select the voice actor and sit in on a studio recording so all very exciting! I'm not sure when this all gets underway, but my sense is that it will be very soon - I'll keep you updated as the venture continues.

On my latest manuscript, I have the next two scenes plotted out in my mind as I approach 44,000 words. I'm aiming to pass the 45,000 word mark before I leave for Thunder Bay next week and should make it. Still having fun with this one.

So, I'll be on CBC radio in Thunder Bay likely this coming Friday on Lisa Laco's show Superior Morning, which we'll prerecord on Thursday. Then, I'll be at Chapters in Intercity on Saturday from 1:00 to 3:00 - hoping to see some people from my past!

Good weekend, everyone. Enjoy the last of July! (Lots of happy exclamation marks :-)

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Writing Through July

Good morning, everyone and it is a beautiful morning in Ottawa. Warm but the humidity dissipated last evening with a good dousing of rain.

I had a busy week at my computer to make the Friday editing deadline for Shallow End. The manuscript looks to be in good shape, thanks to the good work of the copy editor Shari Rutherford, who happens to know the city of Kingston very well - helpful to get all the details right.

I managed little writing on the current manuscript and will start back on that today. I'm at a stage where I'm trying to work out the plot line for the second half of the book.

I spent a lovely evening yesterday with a local book club who invited me for supper at Biagio's restaurant where we talked about Tumbled Graves over wine and pasta. They'd each read the book and everyone enjoyed it, even those who weren't fond of mysteries as a rule. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and answering all their questions which ranged from my writing process to the road to publication to selecting a book title. Thank you to Brenda Clement for inviting me and to all the ladies for such an enjoyable evening and for your enthusiasm for the Stonechild series!

I received an invitation from Carol Anne Meehan to be on her 1300 News  radio show and we've settled on Wednesday, August 3. I'm looking forward to talking about the books with her as well as my interview with Lisa Lasco in a couple of weeks on Superior Morning on CBC radio in Thunder Bay. I'm also booked for Ellie's Read on Ottawa on Cable 22 with filming the end of August. Lots going on!

So back to the coffee pot for another cup before I get started on the writing. I'm reinvigorated after visiting the book club and receiving all their positive feedback - one of the best parts of this writing business :-)

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Writing, Editing and Talking Mystery

A busy writing week coming up. I'm zeroing in on 40,000 words on the latest manuscript and averaging over 500 words a day, including weekends. The writing has been flowing the last few days, which is a pleasant change from the struggle with plot I've been having lately.

The Shallow End manuscript boomeranged back yesterday late in the day. It has been edited by a copy editor and I now have to go through her edits and comments and do another check of the text. I have exactly a one week deadline for this so it will get priority over writing. The advance reader copies (ARCs) go to reviewers six months ahead of release, which will be September or October since the release is slated for  early March 2017. Once I return the manuscript by next Friday, the editor will go through it again and I get one last look in August.

Meanwhile, I'm now booked for an interview on CBC Radio in Thunder Bay when I'm up that way in a couple of weeks. I'll be on the morning show Superior North with host Lisa Laco. I was in the studio for an interview with my kids' series some years ago, but Lisa was on holidays. I've phoned in from Ottawa for a couple more interviews with Lisa but have never met her so I'm looking forward to the in-person interview this time. I'll also be at the Chapters in Thunder Bay on Saturday, July 30th from 1:00 to 3:00 pm so please spread the word if you have friends or family in Thunder Bay.

Also this week, I'm meeting up with a local book club for supper and a chat about the Stonechild and Rouleau series on Friday. I met a few of the book club members at Prose in the Park in June and look forward to seeing them again.

So it's a rainy Saturday and I have lots to accomplish at the computer. My writing buddy Trooper is here until Sunday to keep me company although he's made it clear that all work and no play makes for a dull day.