Wednesday, 26 December 2007

Oh, yes, I found my publisher at Canadian Tire.

Overcast, mild, highs minus 1

Hello there - hope you're having a relaxed day, digesting. Just spoke to a friend, Pat, and she's off to the Canadian Tire in Cowansville for their annual Boxing Day Sale. It starts at 1pm, but she was there (by mistake) at 9am and people were already waiting! Canadian Tire! Though, to be honest, they sell just about everything there.

Michael and I are staying home. Made the famous Whitehead Humdinger casserole from the turney leftovers. In a large casserole dish we put a generous layer of diced turkey, then stuffing, then poured gravy over it, then a layer of peas and finally the sweet potatoes, made with pinapple and a splash of maple syrup. Threw it in the cottage freezer for when Mike and Dom come down, first weekend of January.

Brother Doug, his ex-wife (but still friend) Mary, and kids Brian, Rosyln and Charlie are arriving Saturday. Pat (if she survives Canadian Tire) is making the kids chicken wings. It's all they want to eat when they come down. Wonder if she'll buy them at Canadian Tire? Perhaps I won't try any. Though, honestly, if I can eat a bag of gummy bears I can sure eat a Canadian tire.

Had a very exciting email from Alan Bradley a few days ago. He's Canadian and he won the Crime Writer's Association Debut Dagger in London last year!

If any of you have an unpublished mystery manuscript and have been wondering if you should enter it in the CWA competition - read this from Alan....

'You predicted that winning the Debut Dagger Award in July would change my life - and you were right! On the strength of that 3000 word submission,
a three book series has been sold to Bantam/Doubleday in the US and Canada, to Orion Books in the UK, and Italian rights to Mondadori in Italy.
I'm just finishing the first volume, "The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie" which is scheduled for publication in March of 2009.
The trip to London was nothing less than sensational, and what a warm welcome I was given by the CWA - as well as numerous agents and publishers! Like you, I am not a good flyer - but the trip to the Park Lane Hotel was too good to resist. I didn't actually realize - or even think about - the fact that I had flown to Europe and back until I was safely home.
In reality, the worst part of the flight was the quality of the movies that they kept showing!
Dorothy Jane Macintosh, of Toronto, was also nominated for the Debut Dagger, and it was a pleasure to meet her at the dinner. We put up quite a good show for Canada, I think!
My web site has just been updated to feature the series, which I'm unofficially calling "The Buckshaw Chronicles". It can be viewed at:'

It's so exciting to witness a dream coming true. It's like seeing a miracle. I'm beyond happy for Alan - and Phyllis Smallman whose Marguerita Nights is being published by McArthur this spring thanks to her winning the Crime Writer's of Canada Unpublished Novel Award.

The CWC deadline is December 31st - so hurry!

The CWA is still a couple of months away - their deadline is Feb 15th.

Thought I'd pass on that great, very inspirational, news.

I know what it's like to get dozen's of rejections. To almost give up. To wonder if my book, my baby, really is that horrible. And then to get the break. But the breaks tend to happen to people who persist.

the other comforting thing is knowing that the more of us who succeed the more help there is for others. In my experience, success is circular, not linear. Get, give, get, give. Then, even if I don't go as far as I would have liked, at least I feel good about myself. No small achievement. Besides, a rising tide really does lift all boats.

Speak tomorrow, I hope. If I haven't exploded from left-overs.


Hilary said...

Season's Greetings, Louise and Michael, and all the best in 2008 (if it hasn't happened already in 2007!) Thanks for keeping up the blog over the holidays. It's a bright spot in my writing day -- a reward at the end of my labours.
I was interested to hear about Alan Bradley. Went to his site -- the book sounds intriguing. Also interested that the novel wasn't finished when he entered Deadly Dagger and found out most aren't. Didn't know this. Yours was complete, was it not? How much did it change after you were shortlisted?
I'm tempted. I have a first draft nearly complete.

Louise Penny Author said...

Hi Hilary,

You're right - novel's don't need to be finished to enter to CWA competition - but they do for the CWC.
Mine was finished - and it changed very little - though I'd already done many edits and polishings.

My advice to people is to finish - party because if somethings going to be disappointing in a first novel it's likely to be how it starts (since this was the very first thing written it generally in a first novel gets changed in the re-writes). But also because it puts huge pressure on a writer to finish if you already have a publisher and an advance. I don't know - frankly - how good STILL LIFE would have been had it been written with that sort of scrutiny and expectation. Having said that, Alan Bradley doesn't seem to have had any difficulty. So it clearly depends upon your temperment.
The other great thing is that if you enter this year and for some reason the judges don't recognize the utter brilliance of your ms (jealousy, I'm sure) - you can always re-submit next year. You really have nothing to lose except the entry fee - especially since you've already finished the first draft.
I know this is contradictory - but you know yourself best and I know you'll make the right decision for yourself.

What an exciting 2008 you have ahead!
Congratulations -


Hilary said...

Hi Louise,
Thanks for your response. The idea of submitting without having completed the work is a bit daunting, which is why I wanted to pick your brain on it. I appreciate your "contradictory" perspectives, and will give it all some thought. In the meantime, the prospect of submitting the first 3000 words certainly sharpened them up! A synopsis of the remainder in 1000 words may not hurt either -- in terms of a feel for overall structure.
Thanks for the advice. Wishing you a wonderful New Year.