Tuesday, 30 June 2009

creme brule, eh?

sunny, hot, temps 26

We're at Hovey Manor, on Lac Massawippi...the Inn that inspired the Manoir Bellechasse. Inspired, but wasn't a real model...since it's considerably less isolated than the manoir in The Murder Stone/A Rule Against Murder.

We arrived Sunday and have been having a wonderful, relaxed time. Pour buckets yesterday, but it was very peaceful. We sat on the wide porch with a pot of coffee and read all morning, then the rain let up just in time to have lunch on another porch, overlooking the lake...I had a warm duck panini and Michael had a lobster salad on baguette, ice tea...then we shared a creme brule.

Then, nap time, and dressed for dinner...by then it was raining heavily again. I had the seared scallops appetizer and duck breast main course, while Michael had fiddlehead soup (an astonishing colour!) and halibut. Then we both had a strawberry parfait.

Dear Lord.

Unbelieveably relaxing. Trying not to think of editing book 6, or launching The Brutal Telling...but I must admit, thoughts sneak in. Had a massage today and kept seeing scenes from book 6, as they might be improved. Oh well. I think that's just how it is. Lucky, I love my characters, so bringing them to Hovey is natural...especially the Gamaches.

Didn't ask for an upgrade, you'll be pleased to hear. And ended up with a lovely room. Hard to have a bad one here.

A couple of readers dropped by for coffee today...their dog, Missy, ate their library copy of Dead Cold and they wondered if maybe I could sign a new one for them, as a replacement. We had a great chat, then they left and I had the massage.

Be well...and be confident in the certainty there is more creme brule coming!

Saturday, 27 June 2009


overcast, warm, scattered showers, temps 23

A mixed day. yesterday we had very dramatic rain in the afternoon and evening, including hail and huge winds. Had the tub filled with water, and the power did go out, but momentarily.

Michael's cold is better...I bbq'd hamburgers in the pouring rain...a comfort food for him. I'm sure that helped. That and all the drugs I stuffed into the patty. Sprinkled it with NeoCitran. Yum.

Spent much of the evening watching coverage of the death of Michael Jackson. Breaks the heart. Mostly what is so painful is seeing that transformation, from vibrant, stunning, energetic young man to what he became. What a price. Still, others have huge fame and somehow manage to deal with it. Some are better equipped - emotionally, tempermentally, physically, and familially (is that a word?)?

Am doing a feature on Alan Bradley for the wonderful publication, Mystery News. Sent him some questions, got his response and am now fashioning the article. Need to remember, too, to send a photo and book cover to the Barry Awards people. They asked about 10 days ago, and I still haven't done it.

Tomorrow Michael and I are off to Manoir Hovey, to celebrate and relax for a few days. Heaven. Am off to the village to pick up a few things (including more stuff to unstuff Michael). Then have a quiet day. Oh, it feels good. Feels odd, actually. Takes me a while to not feel guilty, like I should be doing something constructive.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, 26 June 2009


Mainly sunny, rumbles of thunder, humid and hot temps 30


Arrived back by 4pm yesterday. Took JetBlue out of NYC - what a fabulous experience. Will immediately sign up for their frequent flier programme. We had the 2 hour drive home, easy and lovely drive through the Vermont countryside. Stopped to pick up steaks and fruit and vegetables, got Trudy, and arrived home. Spent the rest of the afternoon - which was sunny and hot - sitting by the pool, reading, drinking pink lemonade, looking at the gardens bursting with blooms. So beautiful and fragrant.


As was NYC, but in a whole other way. How lucky to have both experiences in our lives...and in a single day.

After a BBQ by the pool we went to bed, turned on the TV and saw the horrible news about Michael Jackson. Love his music - especially Thriller...but it felt as though 'Michael Jackson' left decades ago, to be replaced by a very unhappy man. And perhaps worse. So sad.

And also sad for Farrah Fawcett...I think we all knew she was dying, and perhaps this was a blessed release...but can't help feeling badly that her passing is so overshadowed by Michael Jackson's death. Still, both are beyond caring now.

Michael awoke to a cold...he was getting it last night, and sure enough, it arrived. Am trying to look after him, but like most men he both wants to make it clear he's ill (perhaps even dying) but doesn't want any special attention. Will go down and wave lunch in front of him...and some more pink lemonade.

Lise came today and the garden is looking spectacular...it practically giggles as she prunes and trims and weeds. One of the first things I did yesterday was go into the cutting garden and fill vases with peony and salvia.

Alarm guy showed up to put in a carbon monoxide detector in the basement.

Expecting FedEx to pick up some pages for the editors.

Did a call with CBC Radio for the CanadaReads books club - they're doing The Murder Stone(A Rule Against Murder), online, in August...and anyone can take part. I'll let you know more as it gets closer.

Take care and will speak to you tomorrow.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Home Today

Mainly sunny, temps 80

Going to be a gorgeous day in NYC...but we`re heading home. We were initially going to stay until Friday, but decided to return early - missing home...missing the roses and peony. Missing Trudy. And it was such a perfect respite in New York. And now it`s time to go home.

Had a lovely message from Dolores Gordon Smith...who tried to leave it on the `comment`section of the blog but was stymied. So she sent this message privately, and I decided to put it ùp`.

Thanks for the nice things you said about “As If By Magic” Louise. It’s a bit of a new move for my beloved Jack Haldean – he’s investigating some very dark doings round the Thames in the early 1920’s, but there’s some fun stuff on the way.
It’s been great to follow your NY trip. The Frick Collection sounds great – I did a “virtual” internet trip following your comments. When you think of Thomas Cromwell and Thomas More, the lies, the power-struggles, the cheating and the bravery, all for the favour of a King, it’s stunning to think of the two portraits looking silently at each other across a room.

Dolores really is a superb writer.

One of the very nice things about returning home early is that we now have a day completely to ourselves at home...except I`ve ended up scheduling a conversation with a CBC producer tomorrow at 10am - The network has chosen The Murder Stone (A Rule Against Murder) as the CBC Reads book for August, which is huge for the book since it means tens of thousands of readers across the country and some really thoughtful discussion. So we need to co-ordinate some things with Ann, from the CBC. Fortunately we were planning on spending the month at home, so we needn`t juggle the schedule too much.

Take care - be well...and will talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

As If By Magic!

mixed sun and cloud, warm, temps 80

New York City...

Another terrific day. Had breakfast with Linda Ellerbee - the magnificent journalist and writer. She`d gotten in touch after reading the series and we started corresponding and chatting a couple times on the phone...but this was the first time we actually met. She suggested a place not far from her home...AOC cafe on Bleeker Street. Michael and I got there a couple minutes early since we weren`t sure how long the taxi would take. Less time than expected. One thing that strikes a newcomer to NYC is that for the most part the streets are a sea of yellow...only taxis seem to drive in the city. And there are tons of them!

When Linda arrived we all went to the back of the place, and loe and behold, a terrific little courtyard terrace. Michael was relegated to another table (lovely man is happy to sit on his own and let me meet with various people...then he picks up the tab...such a sweet and generous man). linda and I gabbed away like old friends, then she showed us her stunning brownstone in Greenwich village and her production company, Lucky Duck Productions. Then we said goodbye and made our way up to the Gramercy Park area. Our friend Susan had just written to say we HAD to stop by Union Square since it was Wednesday and there`s a wonderful street fair. We actually were geographically confused and thought Union Square was south and we were heading north...but no, there ahead was the square and the fair...and Susan (not for the first time) was right! What a fabulous scene. We hung around, wishing we could buy some of the produce. Michael drooled over the radishes, which he loves...the size of a baseball. Then off to lunch with Andy Martin, the publisher of Minotaur Books and Matthew Shear, the publisher of St. Martin`s paperbacks division. It was at the Gramcery Tavern. Dear God, it was a terrific meal. And a wonderful setting. We talked about all sorts of things, occassionally touching on my books and the next one to be published, The Brutal Telling - but mostly just enjoying ourselves. Michael got to sit with us this time!!! And I`m very grateful to Andy and Matthew for including him, and recognizing that the equation is clear and simple, `No Michael, no books.``

Then back to the hotel for a relax. heading home via Jet Blue tomorrow.

But also wanted to tell you some exciting news about a great writer and friend - Dolores Gordon Smith - a UK writer of historical mysteries. her latest book is called AS IF BY MAGIC and has just been published in the UK. If you haven`t tried her books yet you really must...and I think this is the best one yet! I wanted you to know that.

Hope you`ve enjoyed the visit to New York City...I think next time we`ll stay at the W - but the one on Union Square...great location. And we`d get to know a different part of the city.

Might not blog tomorrow - traveling. Once we get into Burlington we still have an hour and a half drive home...

We`ve had such fun here!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009


Mainly sunny, lovely day, temps 75

New York City. Beautiful day, in every way. Weather is certainly co-operating. It was just right today...not humid or sticky, fresh feeling. Rain has held off, though we were `misted` on last night walking to dinner...at least, we`re hoping that was rain.

Had a terrific dinner last night at DB Bistro Moderne in mid-town Manhatten...chosen by Hope and her husband Charlie because it`s a bistro, like in Three Pines, and the chef is named Olivier. We had a terrific time...first time meeting Charlie and he`s wonderful. Warm, funny, smart (doctor qualified in every field it seems except pediatrics - so Michael pitched in there). I had the green pea soup, cold, and scallops. Absolutely perfect. Michael and Charlie both had smoked salmon as a starter, then Michael had lamb tagine. Charlie had veal and I think hope had lamb chops. Then we settled on decaff cappuccinos. And yakked and laughed all evening.

Rain had cleared by the time we walked home to the hotel...felt totally safe walking through mid-town at 11pm. Perhaps we were delusional, but no one else seemed concerned.

Oh, Hope brought the Advance Readers copy of THE BRUTAL TELLING. I have to say, it looks spectacular. A fireplace, which on first glance might seem inviting, but the stones are heavy and almost cave-like. I think it`s brilliant. We`re all very excited about this book. Out in october.

Got up at 6am today and went over to the Today Show at Rockefeller Plaza. Arrived about 7am and took our places, by then we were way far away from any possible action, but it was really fun to watch. Then we had breakfast at Rock Center Cafe, below the `mall`area. Was going to go to the Popover place, but it was quite far away. Settled on a lovely window seat at the cafe. French Presse coffee, crepes, bacon...relax.

then walked the 20 blocks up Fifth Avenue to the Frick collection...an amazing museum across from Central Park in the former residence of the Frick`s. My god, the collection was stunning. All these paintings I`d seem all my life and was suddenly, unexpectedly, faced with the original. Especially the one of Thomas More, across the fireplace from Cromwell, his mortal enemy, both by Hans Holbein.

constables, Turners, Whistlers, Rembrandts, Degas, Vermeer. ``Ùnbelievable`` Michael kept saying, and he was right. and so peaceful.

then we went across the street, deep into Central Park, and had a picnic. I`d brought along a couple sandwiches and a coke.

Then to Brooks Brothers on Madison Avenue to get Michael a few shirts and a hat. And now we`re back home, having napped, and ready for dinner at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station.

Such fun. How fortunate we are. Speak to you tomorrow!

Monday, 22 June 2009

A Grand Time

partly sunny, warm, temps mid-70`s

A perfect day! Rain has disappeared for the moment - apparently it`s rained for almost 20 days solid. We arrived yesterday between rains - but it teemed down on a street fair we were about to visit, and washed it out, yesterday.

this morning we met Dan in the W for breakfast, then scooted out into the sunshine. Perfect temp. And not humid. Went to the Waldorf-Astoria (just across the street) to visit and pay homage to the Cole Porter piano in the lobby. Ooohed and Aaahed our way across all the great avenues...park, Madison...then on to Fifth Avenue and Saks. Michael bought four fabulous bow ties (the kind you tie yourself, of course!) I hope he wears one out to dinner with Hope and Charlie tonight.

Had dinner last night at a terrific Greek restaurant called the Avra - wonderful fish. Strolled home arm in arm.

Having dinner tonight at the DB Bistro Moderne on 44th street near Fifth Avenue.

Tomorrow we`re up bright and early to go to Rockefeller Plaza to watch the Today Show, then off for breakfast at a place Marjorie recommended (see comments). We have all day to walk and marvel. Want to visit the Frick Museum, and walk in Central Park.

Have reservations tomorrow night at Michael`s favorite restaurant in New York. The Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station. Such fun! Mind you, we`re not exactly specialists in NYC restaurants, so if people have recommendations, please send them along. If we can`t do it for this trip I`ll save them for the next.

By the way, you`re having just a wonderful time in New York!

Sunday, 21 June 2009

New York City!

cloudy, showers, temps 70

Happy Summer! Happy Solstice!

we're here in NYC - what fun! Left home about 8am - got across the border into Vermont and got gas and picked up some coffee...then off to the wonderful Burlington airport. Terrific. Modest size, very efficient. Easy to get through security - or at least it's fast.

I was worried with the weather forecast (rain and possible storms) that the flight would be delayed...especially since we were on a tiny prop plane. Even considered driving instead - but it was just too far, and too much trouble, and Michael said NO. Turns out flying was the right decision - easy flight...no delays. Only problem were two kids and their mohter who seemed totally incapable of dealing with them. One child was about 3 and kept teasing his brother, who would cry whenever Mom was more than an inch away from him.

Prop planes are quite noisey things...but that huge industrial roar was drwned out by the shrieks of the youngest child. Indeed, it sounded as though the plane was powered by that young fellas lungs. That and the whithering looks of the other passengers, including me.

But I put on the headphones, listened to music, and stared out the window...and watched the earth move by. We were in NYC within an hour. Such an easy trip.

Got to the hotel. Did I tell you I'd booked it through Hotwire? First time we tried it. We're at one of the W hotels in New York...and I got worried before we left that they'd, understandably, put us in their worst room, since we'd booked through a discounter. So I called the manager and told him my concerns. He agreed that rooms bought through disounters are the worst ones in the hotel. I asked if maybe, since we"re staying 5 days, we might get an upgrade. He gave me one.

I almost always ask - never, ever demand. Never make the person feel I'm whiny or spoiled or needy. Simply asking, with courtesy.

though this is an even more embarrassing admission given book 4 - and the Gamaches who are content with what they're given, and the hideous Finney family who ALWAYS ask for upgrades. Sadly, in this case, I'm a Finney!

When we arrived the room was OK - certainly acceptable. And this was the upgrade. So I discussed it with Michael, then called down and thanked them for the upgrade and said I was a little embarrassed, but is there another upgrade possible??? I closed my eyes against the vitriol. Instead the nice young man said yes - same catagory but a larger room.

Up we went, and it's a fabulous room! I'm so pleased. Will give the manager a card of thanks and a gift. What a huge difference this makes to us and we're so grateful.

We sat in the lounge - Michael with a cranberry-orange cocktail and I had a Shirley Temple. Read the sunday Times!

Am taking him out to a mediteranian dinner tonight - to celebrate Father's Day. Breakfast tomorrow with my friend Dan. He's also in the book biz...head mystery buyer for barnes and noble in the US. But as soon as we met in a business meeting last year we hit it off, and now email and chat and visit when we can. Most of our talks have nothing to do with mysteries...and certainly not my books. But friend stuff. Mostly dogs, actually. Dan is a lovely man, who writes things like, `Gosh, it`ll be fun to see you again.`

Then Michael and I have dinner tomorrow with the wonderful Hope Dellon, my editor at Minotaur, and her husband Charlie. So looking forward to it.

We`re off for dinner...such fun to celebrate Michael!

Happy Summer again!

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Sparrows song

partly cloudy, showers at times, mild, temps 20

We're back in Sutton! Feels terrific. First thing I did yesterday was take Trudy around the pond, pick some lupins and peony and made arrangements. Heaven.

What a week...exciting and exhausting. But so many weeks are like that. And how wonderful to have this tranquil place to return to. We had breakfast on the screen porch, listening to, and watching, a soft rain fall. Everything smells sweet and looks so fresh and new, and quiet.

This is the calm before New York City. We head out tomorrow - staying until Friday. Have some breakfasts, lunches and a dinner planned with publishing friends. I don't consider this a work trip - just friends...and mostly Michael and me wandering the city. And eating.

I don't like shopping (I keep telling Michael how fortunate he is to have married a woman who doesn't duck into every shop. I'm sure he loves being told how fortunate he his. However, I financially make up for it by insisting on terrific hotel rooms. I LOVE hotels - but only nice ones. Even as a kid I wasn't much in to roughing it. I don't need first class flying, or limos, or Michelin starred restaurants, but I do enjoy a splendid hotel room. Fingers crossed for NYC.

Had a 7:30am dentist appointment yesterday for the two of us. I didn't realize dentists work at that hour, but they do. Then we drove to Radio Canada and took our friend Mike out for breakfast. He's leaving the morning show - next week's his last on-air - and moving back to London to take over the news section of Guardian.com. Very exciting.

After that we drove home and unpacked...collapsed. Then I had an 8pm conference call with a book club in Baltimore. Wonderful questions. It was A FATAL GRACE (DEAD COLD) they'd read and they wanted to know about El's comment on Clara's art - the Arnot case - and lemon meringue pie, among other things.

As I write this I can hear a cacaphony from downstairs...all sorts of shrieks and calls...like a jungle. Went down to check it out. A year or so ago I gave Michael a bird book (he loves birds) with pictures, descriptions and a button to hit that plays that particular bird's call. He's been going through them trying to find what we call the 'Oh Canada' bird.

I've called it that since childhood - everyone I knew called it that. Its song sounds like the first few notes of our national anthem...sort of. But I've never known what it was actually called.

Michael just found it! It's the white throated sparrow.

And, all the nominees for the Barry Awards have been announced. As I mentioned in my last post, I was fortunate enough to be nominated for Best Novel, for THE CRUELEST MONTH. Here's the complete list in that catagory...and congratulations to all the nominees!!!

Trigger City by Sean Chercover
The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason
Envy the Night by Michael Koryta
Red Knife by William Kent Krueger
The Cruelest Month by Louise Penny
Dawn Patrol by Don Winslow

Like the Anthonys and the Macavitys, the Barry Awards will be given out at Bouchercon in October. This year it's in Indianapolis.

We're taking the laptop to New York, so will probably do a few blogs from there. Hope you enjoy this trip.

Oh, and since I almost certainly won't blog tomorrow...Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there. Such a crucial part you have in the family. Enjoy the day!

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Barry nomination - etc!

rain, cool, temps 16

sorry i haven't blogged in a few days - busy but fun time...lots of things happening. the latest news - just in this morning - is the The Cruelest Month (book 3) has been shortlisted for the Barry Award - decided by the editors of Mystery News and Deadly Pleasure's Magazines in the US. I don't yet know who the other nominated authors are, but I'll let you know when I do. This is a terrifically prestigious award and I am beyond thrilled. It will be given out, along with the Anthony and Macavity at Bouchercon in October. This year Bouchercon is in Indianapolis. Hope to see you there!

In our personal lives, and the reason I haven't blogged, is because we moved apartments in Montreal. A smaller place - fits in with our desire to simplfy and get something more fitting to our needs - but better located.

But what a hassle. We came in on Sunday - the computer and lots of other things had been packed away...Monday and Tuesday we had services hooked up - and went to find garden furniture for our balcony. We ended up with stuff called Plicker. Plicker. Never heard of it. Turns out it's plastic whicker. I was surprised and kind of disgusted. Surgusted. In principle. In reality, it was perfect. Very comfortable, quite attractive, if you didn't look too close - and extremely practical. It could be rained on. Indeed almost anything could happen to it and it would survive. Totally flies in the face of my environmental beliefs - but I'm beginning to suspect some of my ethics are situational. This stuff will never biodegrade and the only thing it might conceivably be recycled into is gummy bears. Which means, in a pinch, I could eat my garden furniture.

Wednesday (just yesterday??) was the actual move. I find waiting for the movers the most stressful. So I sat on the sofa beside Michael - who was calmness itself - trying to remember to breathe. Then I saw, like a burning bush, a message. Written on one of our gazillion boxes. Serenity. Serenity it said. How perfect is that? Exactly what I needed. So I concentrated on that...then looked at the box a little closer...what was the product that it was called Serenity?

Adult diapers.

Which - I have to say - are also useful on moving day.

The fellows came...were on time and polite and strong...and most things went perfectly until we arrived at the new apartment and they brought in the bed. Boxspring was fine. The mattress, however, looked as though James Gandolfini was nesting in it. The middle had exploded out.

The mover - Emille - said he'd never in all his 20 years seen anything like it. It was the moving equivilant of Ooops. They turned it over...nope - Gandolfini was there too. Clearly this was a mattress that was never going to be slept on again.

It was 4pm - and we had no bed. I quickly called Au Monde du Matelas...got Rejeanne, who after some calls said there was a queen mattress we could have - called the Everest.

I thought that was a fun name, and almost certainly hyperbole.

No. It arrived at 9pm - we'd been ready for bed for 4 hours. This mattress is immense...almost square! I swear it's ten degrees colder on top of it. Little snow-capped peaks and milk maids yodeling. OK, no milk maids - I put that in for Michael.

This morning we were up at 5am to drive down to Sutton where some of the excess furniture was delivered.

And now we're back in the new apartment - unpacking boxes and organizing...and exhausted. But happy.

Oh, while all of this was happening I also met a great friend who was in Montreal from Winnipeg - Pat. She was only in for Tuesday and Wednesday - so I snuck away from the packing on Tuesday and we had lunch. She was in town presenting the keynote address at the assembly of Human Rights Organizations of Canada. I'm so proud of her and the important work she does.

Need to head off...thank you to all the people who wrote, worried we'd falled off the face of the earth, or swallowed by our mattress. Or chocked on a piece of plither.

We're back! speak to you tomorrow, I hope. Be well.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Literary facts

light rain, humid, temps 15

Sticky day, but mild. Looks like it might clear.

Watched The Queen yesterday afternoon...that wonderful film with Helen Mirren as the Queen, over the days of Diana's death. I'd seen it before but decided to rent it again. Really enjoyed it.

Sent interview questions off to Alan Bradley, who wrote, The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I'm doing a feature interview with him for Mystery News. That's a fantastic publication about crime fiction, with really extension reviews and lots of interviews and column. If you don't subscribe, and you love mysteries, I'd highly suggest it. But when Still Life first came out Lynn Kaczmarek, one of the editors, interviewed me as a debut author. It was such a thoughtful, intelligent interview I was impressed. I've since met Lynn many times and see why it was like that...she's thoughtful and intelligent. And kind.

At one stage she asked if I would like to interview a debut author in return. I thought about it, and finally chose Alan. For a few reasons. I really like his book, and I like him (though we've never met - only corresponded). He's Canadian, from Saskatchewan. Wrote for many years but never really got anywhere...then, at the age of 70 he wrote Sweetness...and it took off. Won the Debut Dagger in the UK -is published all over. He persevered, and his dream came true.

Great story...so I'm doing it for Mystery News.

The editor of Canadian Literature got in touch. They'd like to publish part of my speech from Bloody Words...the part where I talk about a Golden Age for Canadian crime writers...but also the annoyance of being asked if, maybe, someday, I'd like to try my hand at literary fiction. As though what I write, and other crime writers create, can't possibly be literary fiction.

I'm happy to contribute to this discussion, especially in a review called Canadian Literature. We'll see.

Off to Knowlton for breakfast. My hero, Michael, finished the page proofs for the US edition of The Brutel Telling. Amazing amount of work!! Lovely man.

Must go...talk later. Be well.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

ruffled feathers

partly sunny, nice day, temps 20

really, a very nice day, especially in comparisson to the last few. Wayne arrived bright and early to cut the grass. He's such a nice man...fun to see him bouncing along on the trwctor with his cowboy hat...when he goes behind trees and bushes and we get glimpes of him we can almost imagine him on a horse.

Geese come and go. Wayne report that this morning while cutting out by the pond the parents and goslings were on the slope...they ran for the pond when they spotted Wayne, but the little ones got their big goose feet all tangled up and they someraulted into the pond. No one hurt...a few feathers ruffled.

Wayne called his wife Shirley to come and take a picture of them for the local fair. So she was out there for about half an hour.

signed the last of the books - need to call ups. Then did exercise and put a load of laundry in.

A few other things - small and fun - to do today. Michael is plugging along on the page proofs of The Brutal Telling. I have to say, I adore this book. Hope you do too.

Talk tomorrow!

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

A life in bloom

heavy misty rain, then clearing, temps 15

Atmospheric day. Feel like Wuthering Heights here. Heathcliff!!! Cathy!!!

Took Trudy for her morning walk through the misty rain. We had four geese and at least eight, maybe 10 babies, all on the pond. Lovely sight...though walking around the pond is no longer a bare-footed event. Cannot begin to tell you the amount of you-know-what on the lawn.

Why am I surprised. It was about time for another event.

Still, this one is worth it. Very nice to have such life on the pond. But, by the time we went out later, they'd gone. Apparently mom and dad goose carry the babies on their backs. Never seen it, but heard it described. Either way, they're all gone.

Lise and Donna came today. The garden looks fabulous.

Janet and Bob arrived from Pittsburgh and are now in the guest cottage.

Am madly signing books for the US launch of The Brutal Telling. This is never a hardship - though there must be a thousand of them. Everyone I sign I think of you, handing over money you worked hard for, to read my book. And I'm filled with gratitude. That you'd do it. And that this is my job!

We have the fire on today. Michael's reading the proofs of The Brutal Telling, trying to catch all the small errors. Dear Man - he had plenty of his own work to do, but he reads my proofs.

Sent off an endorsement for a book, and a critique of the first ten pages of another one.

I've agreed to read another manuscript, with a view to endorsing it...but it will have to stop there, so I can catch my breath. Will also be doing a feature interview with Alan Bradley - author of The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. He's a Canadian, with an amazing success story...in his 70s! The interview is for Mystery News. Great publication...and I love being able to promote other writers, where possible.

Also have a novella for literacy to write. I'm thinking of making it an 'early' Gamache...when he first joined the force...perhaps even his first murder. This is not book length, but longer than a short story and is both a fundraiser for adult literacy and a book meant to be read by adults reading at about a grade 4 level.

Am hoping to get everything done by the end of the year. And some things need to be done considerably before that. But if I pace myself it's not hard.

the rain has stopped. Will walk trudy, stroll the gardens (lupins up, irises exploding, alliums in bloom - roses in tight bud as are the peony. The clematis has climbed up the posts and is winding itself around the birdhouse. And the huge mature honeysuckle bush is in full bloom - yay lise!!!) Then off to Sutton for food, home to exercise, then flopping on the sofa with a movie.

Hope your day is going well!

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Oh, Gary, just one little thing...

driving rain, temps 10

Blech. Still, we're home and that is wonderful!!! We had planned to stay the night in Montreal and drive back this morning, but the forecast was so horrible we decided might as well face the rush hour traffic out of the city and get back to Sutton. Which we did, and happy for it!

We got back to Montreal mid afternoon Sunday after a terrific Bloody Words conference in Ottawa. Loads of fun. Extremely well organized. This is actually an annual convention and is normally held in Toronto, but they're trying to expand it...hence the Ottawa locale this year...back to Toronto for next year. But the year after is very exciting...it will be in Victoria, British Columbia.

Bloody Words is really very fun, and if you can make one it's well worth it! You can go to their website for more info.

One important thing I forgot to mention about the Arthur Ellis awards - indeed the MOST important thing - is that Michael got to present the award for the Best Unpublished First Novel. This is an award he and I helped found a few years ago, but is the first time we've actually been at the ceremony. He looked stunning in his suit...one actually made by a Monsieur Gamache...his tailor and the initial inspiration for Armand. Interestingly (at least, I find it interesting) by our bed in the hotel room there was a piece of art signed by the artist. Gamache.

Gamache is not a common name, so this was quite surprising...and actually sort of neat.

But - back to Michael. I just wanted to say what a very beautiful job he did. Dignified, warm, thought...he made certain everyone knew what a big night this was for those on the shortlist for Best Unpublished Crime Novel. (the entrants send in the first 3,000 words and if shortlisted they send in their entire book to be judged by editors and agents and other writers.)

He did a wonderful job!

Well - just had a power outage - started this blog at 11:30 and it's now almost 6pm. and power finally on again.

Just also wanted to thank everyone for their support over the past couple of days! And nice comments.

yesterday we started on our apartment move...Gary came and took down the light fixtures and curtains and moved them to the new place. We adore the new place! Thrilled we're making the move. But it's a lot of work getting packed up, and co-ordinating things. Thank God for Gary. Poor man is going to start screening our calls...it's always something not very fun. Septic tanks exploding, dogs throwing up in electrical sockets, roofs ripping off, balconies either collapsing or verandahs leaking. And now having to take down and put up curtains.

Nancy, who fixes our computers, and I were talking about it this morning...how people ask for favours and feel if they put the word 'just' into the sentence it sounds easy. And, actually, it might be easy. But multiply it by the 150 people asking for favours that day and suddenly it isn't so easy. It feels bad to have to say no to people - especailly since they feel their request isn't so unreasonable. Just a little favour.

I wonder if Gary feels like that with us?

Well, we are more than just a little grateful to him. As we are to all the people who help us. Like Lise and Donna. Nancy, Pat and Tony, Wayne. Deanna. Ken and Mary. And Gary, of course. In the summer it looks like a theme park sometimes, with trucks and cars everywhere. I'm not even sure what most of the people are doing, but I do know they're doing more than I am.

Have the week in Sutton to relax. Was planning to watch wall-to-wall videos and eat gummi bears, but the TV stopped working 20 minutes into CNN last night. Serves us right. Then with the power failure even if we'd had TV it wouldn't have worked. So we drove to US - got gas, mailed some books, had lunch in the 1950's at The Crossings restaurant...hot beef sandwich.

Now home.

Talk tomorrow...

Sunday, 7 June 2009


mainly sunny, temps 20

It's early Sunday morning. We're packing the suitcases - somehow we've accumulated a huge amount of stuff. Happily much of it is candy! Not at all sure why, but very kind people are giving me gummy bears. Life blood. As well, the organizors of Bloody words had a couple of wonderful candy packages sent up from Laura Secord.


As anyone who has been to these conventions for mystery readers and writers knows, they're fuelled on candy.

Last night was terrific - loads of fun. Normally I write a speech and memorize it, but this time I decided, what the hell, I'll do my best but basically I'll just read it. Much less stressful and makes the weekend and the dinner a lot more fun. So that's what I did.

Barbara Fradkin - the local guest of honour - gave a wonderful speech...then dinner...then I spoke and finally Denise Mina, the international guest of honour. Her books are quite noir, but she herself is not only charming, but very, very funny.

And, of course, the amazing mary Jane Maffini was delightful as Master of Ceremonies. She - earlier in the day - had the best line. she likened writing a first draft of a novel to having a daily colonoscopy. I howled with laughter and still laugh when I think of it. Perfect description!

Michael was a big hit - not only charming and handsome, but everyone loved his bowtie. Such fun to be on his arm.

Well, we're packed. heading back to Montreal. Gary is coming to the Montreal apartment tomorrow afternoon to take down the curtains and lighting - and put them up in the new place. Bob and Janet arrive at the guest cottage - must remember to ask Pat to unlock the door!

Thanks for accompanying Michael and me to Bloody Words in Ottawa. Hope you had fun.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Bloody Words

sunny, mild, lovely, temps 20

Anotehr gorgeous day...happily we had a chance to go out into it for lunch. Met a group of Quebec and East Coast Canadian crime writers for lunch along Sparks Street, at a pub called the Cock and Lion...it has an outdoor terrace. Beautiful to sit out there, chat, visit, have a burger.

Bit of a busy day. Like most of these writers and readers conventions, most of the 'stuff' actually happens in the hallways. Meeting a lot of old friends, but the most fun is meeting readers and getting a chance, albeit brief, to talk.

The event last night, in which I was interviewed in front of a live audience by Jerri Southcott - a radio and TV host in Ottawa - was fabulous. Not because I was so great but Jerri had done her home-work (interviewing is by far the harder of the jobs) and made it feel more like a thoughtful conversation. And the room was full, which is always wonderful and a bit of a surprise. By 9pm Michael and I were tucked up in bed and had ordered room service.

At 4am there was a commotion in the hallway. The hotel was host to a grad night prom. And the entire prom seems to have decided the 10th floor was the place to be. Not great for sleeping, but I remember doing similar things in my youth, so this seemed like delayed karma. We went back to sleep.

Today, after lunch, I did a half hour Mystery Cafe...which means sitting in a room and reading and talking for half an hour. Standing room only - which felt very good. And terrific questions. Vicki Delaney - a marvelous Canadian crime writer who sets her books in British Columbia - introduced me.

Am back in the room for a shower, then a panel between 5 and 6 - then the gala dinner in which i must speak starts at 7. need to practice, or at least read over, my speech. Blech. I love being interviewed - hate giving speeches.

Still, I need to remind myself I'm among friends, and really, as long as I don't throw up or wet myself, how bad can it be?

Must run - 15 minutes to the panel and I'm still in my bathrobe. this is how bad it can be!!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Linwood wins!

beautiful, sunny day, temps 20

Gorgeous day, and fun evening. As perhaps you've gathered, I didn't win the ellis award, but a fine writer did! Linwood Barclay. Indeed, the field was so strong I felt relaxed knowing whoever won would deserve it.

There's no doubt I would always prefer to hear my name, who wouldn't. But I also know I've had way more than my share of good fortune. The sun shines on Linwood today, and someone else tomorrow and maybe me another day...and all I can do is keep walking outside and doing my best. and knowing even rainy days are blessings.

Our friend Flora joined us at our table for the dinner. a lovely, supportive, woman.

Had huge fun yesterday - lunch on the Rideau Canal, at the National Arts Centre with our friends Vicky and Howard. Listening to funny stories, getting caught up. then Michael and I took the boat cruise along the canal. Beautiful day for it!

it was a bit crowded with kids...the boat before and after were near empty, but ours was full. Not exactly tranquil, but it could have been worse. No loss of life, or temper. Again - things beyond our control. No use stewing, though I try...for a while. But it's not that much fun, so soon give it up in favour of having a good time. Often the scream in my head is way worse than anything happening externally. the good news is, I can turn that off.

Today is splendid - working on my speech for tomorrow night and having lunch with friends...then either off to the war museum or a nap. Am quite tired. And since I'm one of the guests of honour at Bloody Words (the Canadian Crime Writers conference)I have a feature interview tonight, from 7:30 to 8:30 I suspect it will be me, Michael and the interviewer. If I wasn't the interviewee, I wouldn't be there! Oh well. More things I can't control. Actually makes life quite relaxing.

Take care and thank you for all your good wishes regarding the Arthur Ellis. I'm so proud to be a Canadian Crime writer, and the award would have been a treasure, but perhaps another year.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Mid-week Update

brilliant sunshine, temps 20

Great day here in Ottawa...the Ellis Awards tonight at the National Arts Centre. Very exciting and a bit ennervating.

had a great week so far...on Monday Michael and I drove into Montreal in time to catch Angels and Demons at the theatre. We hardly ever get to the movies, since our closest one in the country is the Princess, in Cowansville...we love it. Hufe screen, sticky floors, old, burgundy plush seats...a time warp! But not perhaps a great selection of filsm...though as you see, our standards aren't all that high!

Loved Angels and Demons. I actually really like thrillers and action flicks. I think for me it's just like cartoons...happily the movie, while not exactly Disney, isn't as gory or disturbing as the book - according to Michael. I didn't read it.

Then drove to Toronto Tesuday morning...we leave at 5:30am to miss rush hour...arrived around noon in TO. Stay at the SoHo Met. LOVE it. Napped, then dressed and headed to the Central Reference Library for the big event - with Wendy.

She was brilliant! Very fun and funny and smart, of course. And gorgeous. She read the prologue and first section of The Murder Stone/A Rule Against Murder. I found myself in tears. My childhood friend, a star, reading from my book - in public. And doing it so beautifully.

It was also, I realized with a jolt, the first time i"d heard someone else read my words. The books are available in audio and apparently the men who narrate them are fabulous - the US one was nominated for an Audie last year. But I can't bring myself to listen. It was a shock, to hear Wendy read it. But a lovely, and terribly moving, one.

Then we snuck out and headed for dinner...her time is so short and precious I'm afraid I was quite selfish. We had a blast.

Then next morning we had breakfast with David Kelley - the wonderful GM of the SoHo Met, and a friend. Terrific man. Then it was off to Ottawa and a 4:40 interview wtih Adrian Harewood on CBC Radio - live in studio.

Smart man - and very personable. I enjoyed it. And always fun to meet CBC people. Them Michael and I wandered Ottawa a bit and found a fun Japanese restaurant. We don't get a lot of japanese in Sutton - so it's a real treat.

And now - it's Thursday. Meeting Vicky Harris and her husband Howard for lunch at noon at the National Arts Centre...then back there tonight for the awards gala. All within an easy walk of the Marriott, where we're staying and the mystery conference, Bloody Words is this weekend.

We really want to see the National War Museum while we're here. We understand it's stunning.

Take care...will report in.