Wednesday, 29 April 2009

A very fine house

Sunny, mild, temps 16

Nice day - perfect spring day. young leaves on the trees here in Montreal. I'm just back from speaking to a meeting of school librarians. It's an annual meeting for them and they hold it in a school in north end Montreal. mA part mof the city I don't know. Thank God for GPS.

Had a fun time and they invited me to stay for lunch- catered by the adlut students studying the culinary arts. Yum.

Had loads of fun in the Laurentians the past couple of days. Drove the car to a new dealership to get the tires changed and tune-up. We have a BMW - a treat for Mihael when I signed the last contract. Nice car - though I wopuildn't recommend it. Really ridiculous computer system for everything. Not at all intuitie. Need 2 people to drive the car. Ugh. And the service at the place we bought it was atrocious. Don't expect that from a highend dealership.

So once lease is up we're giving it up - bersides with the environment a priority we'll give up the second car and downsize to something more responsible.

But we so hated the BMW service we called another dealership and they sounded nicer so we took the car in there Monday and they were fine. About time we changed the winter tires - now that leaves are on the trees and the daffs are up!

The we picked up the loaner and drove north into the mountains and Lac Manitou. I used to go there as a child. As we drove along the dirt road all sorts of memories flooded back...blueberry picking with my gradnfather, walking nwith him holding my hand and him reciting poetry. Reading in the bedroom as a child. Laughing so hard with my friend vicky while baking cookies for a boy we both had a crush on that we peed on the floor. First kiss, first dance, first broken heart. Through the grate in my bedroom I heard my parents decide to separate. Life. I think I became aware there, at Lac Manitou.

It was amazing to be back - and as something so far removed from the gawky, awkward, little girl. Something no one, least of all I, could have predicted. A successful novelist.

And yet, not so far. It still felt like home.

Stayed with the Vicky's parents, Gwen and Tuppy - and Vicky came from ottawa. We sat on the veranda overlooking the lake and had tea. Such fun to be there with Michael. Then had dinner, Monday night, and went to bed.

Their home is for me the quintessential country home. Wood and shingled and rambling, filled with regatta pennants and arts from generations, some accomplished some not much more than finger painting. It was calm and comforting and comfortable.

It felt magical. And Tuppy and Gwen, now well into their 80's, were gracious and warm - felt like my own parents. And Vicky and I giggled like school girls and took the dog for a walk in the rain.

Then next day, Tuesday, spoke to the Laurentian Club (an off-shoot from the Canadian Club)- about 100 people there - many I knew from childhood too. Who'd come to see little Louise Penny, all grown up. Bar Mussels was there. 92 years old. And Dune and Mary.

Felt so comfortable. In a career that sometimes doesn't feel comfortable, where the idea is to try new things, get out of the comfort zone. To meet strangers, and speak to large crowds...things that are comfortable are precious.

This was precious.

As was getting to share it with Michael. And now you.

Off to Washington tomorrow for Malice Domestic...not taking the laptop but will try to find a computer to blog on. If not, it will probably be next wednesday.

Be well.

Sunday, 26 April 2009


overcast, cool (compared to yesterday), temps 16

Can't believe it got up to 28 degrees yesterday! Actually hard to sleep it was so hot upstairs. Turned the ceiling fan on...then the temp dropped in the night. Phew.

You see - we can talk about the weather forever. And I know how interesting it is to other people.

Pat and Tony will be moving in here tomorrow while we're away - bringing their dogs and looking after Trudy. We're off to Ste Agathe tomorrow, to spend the night with a couple of friends at Lac manitou. Then I'll be giving a talk to the local Canadian Club. Then on Wednesday I have a talk to the Protestant School board members. Then on Thursday we fly to Washington for Malice Domestic.

That's a fun 3 day convention for mystery readers and writers - especially in the Tradiitonal gnre. I really like Malice Domestic. Lots of fun. This year the guest of honour is Anne Perry.

After that - next Sunday - I have that event with Marcia Talley, Rhys Bowen, Elaine Viets, Mary Jane Maffini and GM Maillet at the B&N in Annapolis. 5pm. Then on monday I'll be heading to Pittsburgh for the Festival of Mystery.

Busy time.

And not sure when I'll get a chance to blog. Will try, but you might not hear from me for 10 days or so. Think of me at the Agatha Awards Saturday night...The Cruelest Month is nominated. But it's a hugely talented field!

Take care of yourselves, and each other, and I'll talk to you soon.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Headache, in Pig Latin

sunny, hot!!! temps 28

this would be considered a hot day at any time of the year! Wonderful, gorgeous, blessed day! Just back from the village - groceries and a few things - everyone smiling!

Day started off not so good. A woke with a I recognized...stress. And I can even fine-tune it. Book stress. Something wasn't right with the manuscript. As the morning wore on the headache worsened, but I kept hoping it was something else, something trivial. Like a brian tumor, or a stroke. But no such luck. I knew it was because I was unhappy with yesterday's writing.

I went back to it, read the chapter before and while I did some minor fiddling, I actually really liked the chapter. Then I started on yesterdays...the first part was fine...then I hit it.

It's immediately obvious. The writing is fine, all good words...but not perhaps in the right order. It's funny how clear it is when it doesn't work. Not that i start writing in Pig Latin, though that would make the bad writing more obvious...but it just doesn't "work".

But I didn't know what would work. So I fiddled and messed and played around...and suddenly wrote a sentence that took me off in the right direction.

Again, it's funny how clear it is when it's right!


A huge relief. I ended up taking 500 words out and re-writing the whole thing, but now I really like it. It serves all the purposes it needs to serve. Character development, richness of setting, and advances the plot. Yay.

Lovely day.

and, happy birthday, Anny!!!! A day late, but there you have it...

Friday, 24 April 2009

Arthur Ellis nomination!

sunny, warm, beautiful temps 20

Yaaaayy. THE MURDER STONE (A RULE AGAINST MURDER) has been shortlisted for the Arthur Ellis for best crime novel in Canada. It's a really strong list too. Linwood Barclay, Maureen Jennings, James W. Nichol and Michael Rose are also on it. Congratulations to everyone.

The nominations were announced last night across the country at different events. In Montreal it was done as part of a panel at the literary festival, Blue Metropolis. Anna Asimakopulos moderated and it was Giles Blunt and me. Then the nominations announced.

I'd practiced my, 'I'm so happy for all the nominees and don't care that I'm not one' face. It's a long face. Happily no one had to see it.

Then Nancy Grant, the regional Crime Writers of Canada VP, asked Michael to read the shortlist for the Best Unpublished Novel. What an honour...and he did it beautifully.

Another person I want to mention is Phyllis Smallman - she's shortlisted for Best First Crime Novel...she won the Best Unpublished a couple of years ago with her fab book, Marguarita Nights. Her second book is just coming out.

It's been aneventful couple of day...quite busy. Did the workshop in Lennoxville, then a signing at the University bookstore then a wonderful dinner with our friends Jim and Roya, then drove in to Montreal. Next day we ran around doing all sorts of things in preparation to move...then the panel last night.

We stopped at McDonalds on our way down to the country. Celebratory burger and fries. Talk about glamorous! But mightly yummy.

Got back to writing today...takes some time. Am off to write the May newsletter since I'll be gone for most of next week.

Oh, what a gorgeous day it is here...real spring...and tomorrow supposed to be up to 26 degrees! And Lise came today with Donna and they got the garden started. Wonderful.

Lots of reasons to celebrate.

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

All the rage

rain, cool, windy at times, temps 10

Dreary day. Went in to Montreal - via our breakfast of French Toast in Cowansville. Michael met with Frank the accountant...and I went to the dentist, then to the new hairdresser. Is hairdresser a terribly old fashioned word? Oh well. Happily, thank God!, the hair looks great. And I think it's not just one of those cuts that looks great because they've put the scaffolding, plaster, girders in there and it'll look like bear droppings tomorrow. I think this is a genuinely terrific cut.

Those of you going to Malice Domestic in Washington, DC next week will get to judge for yourselves. You might want to start practicing now - 'Great hair, Louise!'. or 'Oh, my God! It's Angelina Jolie.' Something like that.

Tomorrow we're off to Bishop's University in Lennoxville. I'll be giving a workshop on writing and marketing for a couple of hours in the morning, then doing a book signing in the afternoon at the university bookshop. Then an early dinner with two great friends, Jim and Roya. Roya's the prof. who's invited me, and Jim is a mystery writer and reviewer and was hugely supportive when I was writing STILL LIFE. He taught mystery writing for many years. After dinner Michael and I will drive the 2 hours in to Montreal.

then on Thursday we're meeting with movers to get estimates for the apartment move, in the morning. And in the evening I'm on a panel at the book festival Blue Metropolis, with Giles Blunt. It will be moderated by Anna Asimikopolis - of CBC Radio, and recorded for broadcast.

After that Michael and I will hop back in the car and drive back down here. That will give us all Friday to Sat. and Sunday...before jumping back into events next week. Hectic time - but all good stuff.

Pretty good work day, no? Oh, just finished an interview with a Pittsburgh newspaper, in advance of the Festival of Mystery. It's a fabulous book festival put on by Mystery Lovers Bookstore...and will be held Monday, May 4th in the afternoon. If you live in the area just go to the Mystery Lovers Bookstore for details. Love to see you there. There will be 40 crime writers!

Take care, will try to blog again Thursday. Oh, one more thing (feel like Columbo)... Tony was right...the pile of bear poop really is a conversation piece. The FedEx woman arrived not long ago - showed it proudly to her and she was very impressed. It might even replace Gnomes and Pink Flamingos. I tell ya, it's gonna be big - real BIG!

Monday, 20 April 2009

She also asks if you're really wearing that...

overcast, breezy, temps 11

Quite chilly this morning, but became nicer in the afternoon as the winds died down a bit and the day warmed up.

Bear returned last night. Ripped off the third and final bird was screwed onto the end of the post and it took it off completely.

Last night I kept waking up, thinking I heard the bear...went downstairs, turned on the outside lights...first time I saw a plump skunk - which seemed undeterred by the light and eventually waddled away. The next time I woke up to noise and snuck downstairs to find two massive racoons. Now, I would have probably concluded those racoons had done the damage had the bear not gifted us with such a massive pile of poop.

We seem to have a wilflife zoo happening at night here.

I suspect we won't see much more of the bear since there's nothing left to get in to.

Wrote for most of today. Need to head in to Montreal tomorrow. Taxes for Michael and dentist and hairdresser for me. I can't tell you how many times Michael's asked, 'So, have you called the hairdresser?' 'Do you have an appointment yet?' 'Your hair looks ridiculous and your dead mother has asked me to tell you that.' OK, he didn't actually say that last thing, but I heard it anyway with my accute hearing.

So, the appointment is made. And not with the local village barber this time.

Pray for me. Will report back.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Charlotte, is that a pile of bear droppings?

sunny, gorgeous day, temps 11

Not, perhaps, as warm as some days but again the wind is calm - so it feels like a perfect spring day.

Took Trudy for a walk this morning..she got halfway into the field and took off for our front lawn - quite a distance away. I watched her, then decided if she was there I might as well feed the birds.

The first sign of trouble came when I noticed the large open birdfeeder had been ripped apart. I thought - raccoon. Then I noticed that the tubular birdfeeder that is attached to the house by a metal rod was missing completely and the metal rod was bent.

Then I saw a huge pile of steaming you-know-what on the lawn, about the size of Billy Crystal. I immediately called - 'Michaaaael!'

He was in the kitchen and came running out, in his slippers, sweats and sweater. I pointed to what had been our birdfeeders - then the pile.

Bears. Big bears. Then we looked at the metal garbage can we keep the birdseed in. It was over on its side, dented and the top torn off. Oddly, the bad of seed was still in it.

This was very exciting. I don't mind bears at all - though I don't think I'll be sleeping on the screen porch anytime soon...and we made sure we locked the case this was a bear of considerable brain. What surprised us was that we heard nothing...and our bedroom look out over the front lawn.

We called Tony who confirmed it was a bear...and when asked about the crushed metal garbage can and why we didn't hear it he said that bears are very, very quiet.

We let that be.

I used to think it must be quite glamourous to be a writer. Now I know it's mostly sitting around in flannels and the most exciting conversation is about piles of crap in the front yard. I think Emily Bronte must have found the same thing.

The good news is the crap is now on the front lawn and no longer on the page. But it seems a karmic thing with me. If I'm not dreaming of toilets I'm afraid my book is crap, or I'm actually finding not effete little deer droppings, but massive mountains of it on the lawn.

Saved a frog out of the pool this morning too. I'd like to see the Bronte's beat that.

As an addendum to this post, Tony just dropped by - to look at the dropping (yup, bear)and put the battery back in the tractor. He was also going to pick up the poop and toss it into the woods but decided to leave it there.

Why, Tony? I asked.

As a conversation piece, he said.

Obviously Tony knows just how sparkling our conversation normally is, that it can be helped along by a pile of crap on the lawn.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Bliss, and wet dog

rainy in am, then partial clearing, temps 11

great day. very still...rained this morning, but I love rainy days. Perhaps not all the time, but once in a while, perfect. Love the sound of falling rain, and the fragrance of wet grass, and earth, and dog.

Finally got back into the writing zone. Happy again with what I'm doing. had to go back over my notes to figure out the at that stage! Can be quite confusing. And, as you'll see when you read it, there are a number of things woven together so I want to make sure thwere aren't any huge honkin' holes.

Went out for dinner tonight...tried a new pasta place in the village. OK but not great. Michael's was better than mine. We were actually there celebrating end of taxed and end of line edits (or proofs). All ready to be sent back to the editors. Michael, dear one, does the line proofs for me since I find it very difficult to try to write one book and be totally immersed in the editing of the last. So he spent three days doing it, and asking me whenever there was an issue. Happily Nancy, the UK proofs editor, is fabulous - she caught a few details. And we have a couple of friends here, Susan and Lili, both of whom read the manuscript and picked up on some issues and some typos and French mistakes...

But now it's done and I'll send it off on Monday.

Now, two glorious days of nothing!!! No social events, no interviews, no speaking engagements - nothing except writing. Bliss. The easiest part of my life is writing. The rest is hard...and for someone like me, the hardest is trying to do it all at once. There are periods I feel like I'm just barely holding on to order.

Happily, these days all's well. Perhaps I'm missing something.

What wisdom there is in living one day at a time. At being able to plan ahead but not project. And really being very present...not worrying about tomorrow. When I can do that, well, today is wonderful and all I need.

Can't always do it though. Oh, well. At least I'm trying.

Be well - talk tomorrow...

Friday, 17 April 2009

Happy Birthday, Susan!!!

sunny, then clouded over, mild, but strong wind, temps 14

Strange day. According to the thermometer it's the warmest day so far, but it actually feels cooler than many we've had. a bit of a bite in the air and a very strong wind. nearly whitecaps on the pond.

Had our first sightings of the fish in our pond...huge school of them zipping under the bridge to the island. I didn't know what it was at first, because of the turbulance on the surface, then I realized it was scores of bass. Yay.

Our great friend Susan is celebrating her birthday today. Happy Birthday!

Which reminds me, I want to say HI to Belinda, aka BB, who I hear is a lovely woman. She reads this blog so she must be lovely, refined, intelligent - and perhaps just the slightest bit nuts. The best people are. Clearly you are too, since you're reading this!

Wrote almost 3,000 words today...then had a crisis. I was sure it was wrong. Well, not wrong, but long. I'd taken almost a chapter to say something that might be said in a sentence. Did it really need two whole scenes, actually, three? I almost erased it, then I thought, instead of erasing it, I should put it into my "bits and pieces" file - in case. Then I thought - maybe I should just sleep on it.

So I got on the elliptical machine, plugged into my iPod, and realized indeed, the chapter was right. Besides, I can always take it out on the first edit.

Writing a first draft is like walking through an emotional mine field. Scary, dangerous, but best not to panic.

Michael and I went to Knowlton for breakfast at Cafe Floral. Yum. And they had Neil Young's Harvest playing. Hadn't heard it in decades. What a fabulous album. It's part of the 'music of my life' - one of those albums I remember from growing up...loved then and love now. I wonder what the 15 year olds of today would make of it?

Got a couple of steaks for the barbeque tonight but it's clouded over so much we might do it tomorrow...though we're actually going out tomorrow. Oh, the humanity! When will these dreadful decisions end!!

Keep well. Keep nuts.

Thursday, 16 April 2009


sunny, beautiful day, slight chill in the air, temps 8 degrees

Walked Trudy around the pond this morning wearing flannel pajama bottoms, sweat shirt, parks and cap. And boots. Looked indigent. Thank God I'm already married - honestly, I think the combo of living in the country, writing and being naturally slothful doesn't lead to a great fashion statement.

Oh, discovered that book 5 - THE BRUTAL TELLING - can now be pre-ordered on Amazon and almost certainly at your local bookstore. It comes out in October, but it's always a great idea to get your order in since with A RULE AGAINST MURDER they ran out and had to go into another printing right away. I figure if I'm going to go for the hardcover I'd prefer a first edition!

Am up to 63-thousand words in Bury Your DEad - book 6 in the Chief Inspector Gamache series. I aim for anything between 90-thousand words and 120. I think this one will be slightly over 100. But I could be fooled. It seems as I near the end it races away from me.

Because of Michael's birthday celebrations and visiting family I decided to take time off - about a week - and really join the festivities. Right decision.

However, I was surprised when yesterday came and I sat down in front of the laptop by the fireplace, and I was afraid. I wanted to run away. To do the laundry, walk Trudy, cook (for Heaven's sake!). Anything.

I was fearful I'd lost the trail. Lost the feeling. Fearful I couldn't get back to the story. Fearful I was a horrible writer, the story was crap, I was out of ideas.

The usual suspects all showed up at once. Quite a little party.

But I stuck with it and wrote a couple thousand words yesterday.

Today I felt the same way, but slightly less fearful. Again I persisted. And wrote almost 3 thousand words. Just kept at it.

I know every writer goes through the same thing. At some stage, sometimes frequently when writing, we hit that wall. It's constructed of insecurity, terror, low self-esteem, terror, and yes, terror.

Some writers step back and wait for the fire to re-start, the inspiration to hit again.

But most that I know put their heads down and write. And write. Write through the fear - and break back into that space where it feels more like transcribing. Where words and thoughts and ideas are flowing. Characters are talking and acting and I'm just the diarist. Thrilling.

I'm a big fan of persistence. I think it trumps genius every time. I think genuis is often lazy, because it doesn't have to work. And so it doesn't develop courage, doesn't develop discipline. Structure. Persistence. I think genius is often arrogant too - and that separates us from other people. And that can't be good for a writer.

Anyway, I'm feeling a little better. Have until next Tuesday with nothing much to do but write. Then we go in to Montreal for taxes, then out of Bishop's University in Lennoxville for a workshop I'm giving and a signing...then in to the Montreal Literary Festival, Blue Metropolis next Thursday, for a panel with Giles Blunt. The following week I'm all over the place, including flying to Washington for Malice Domestic.

Still, I'm much further along in this book than I ever dreamed. I think because I was in Quebec City for that month, and have been thinking about this book for a year or so.

Wish me luck. Wish me persistence, actually. And I wish you plenty too.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Is that a bear dropping?

Sunny, milder, temps 4

Slight chill in the wind but mostly a nice spring day. Crocuses (Croci?) are up. Trudy and I went for a walk through the forest, between the main house and the cottage. Should have worn my Wellies. Up-to-here in mud. As was Trudy. Saw what looked like moost droppings...way to big for deer, but similar. Our neighbours, Guy and Nicole, say there's a huge black bear around but I didn't see any evidence. Though my skills as a tracker aren't all that honed.

Nice day. Breakfast in Cowansville, Lunch with Cheryl and Joan in Sutton (Cheryl's birthday) - then off to Richford Vermont for gas and to mail a few things.

Then home for the Trudy walk and a meeting with Lise, my assistant. She brought turnovers and pumpkin chocolate loaf for Michael's birthday so we put the kettle on, had a tea and fresh baking! Not a bad corporate environment.

Back to book 6 tomorrow...can hardly wait. And Malice Domestic in Washington fast approaching, as are a couple of events next week - a workshop at Bishop's University and signing in their bookstore, then a Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal...I have an event next Thursday night - April 23rd - with Giles Blunt, a fabulous Canadian mystery writer. Then the shortlist for the Arthur Ellis awards will be announced. They've asked Michael to read out the names of people nominated for the Best Unpublihsed First Novel. So kind of them to do.

Off to feed Trudy. Speak tomorrow.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Back to Normal...we're F.I.N.E.

sunny, breezy, cold, temps 1 degree

Nasty cold, but at least it's sunny.

got up at 5am and my brother Doug and I drove in to Montreal, up to the Plateau area to pick up a U-Haul truck then back to our apartment. Doug and I then loaded the truck with a few things from our mother I chose after her death that won't fit into our new, smaller, apartment. Doug and Mary said they'd take a couple of pieces, to eventually give to their kids. So that was great.

Doug headed off to Toronto mid-morning and I drove back to the country.

Then had a wonderful afternoon doing absolutely nothing except eat leftover birthday cake in front of the TV. Fantasy Homes by the Sea. A new BBC Canada favorite.


Cheryl turns 49 tomorrow - Joan and I are taking her out for lunch. Then Lise coming in the afternoon to go over some things. Back to book 6 on Wednesday. Can hardly wait!

Speak tomorrow.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Phew...and Happy Easter

cloudy, cool, scattered flurries

A cool, damp day, but the sun pops out every now and then. Perfect day to curl up by the fire, read, have a bath and watch the Masters on TV.

Happy Easter.

Feels a bit like a resurrection here... our life is back! But what a blast we had. Loads of fun with the family. And a wonderful birthday party for Michael. It was especially moving when the cake came out and everyone stood and clapped and sang. And belautiful, robust, heartfelt voices. It just felt like something special was in the room with us. Affection, belonging, even love.

The funniest moment was shortly after Doug, Mary and their kids arrived. with Buttercup. It's always wise to check out BC dropping because you never know what you might find. That missing sock. A glove. The dishwasher. The dog is prodigious. But this time the hilarily wasn't centred on Buttercup, but on Brian. As we walked the dogs around the pond, and I was describing the ice going out of the pond a few days earlier, Brian, who is 13 and thinks with the brain of a 13 year old, which is about on par with Buttercup...well Brian asked if he could go swimming. We, of course, said, fine. Then I said I'd give him 5 dollars to jump into the pond. Well, he stripped down to his boxers (it's practically snowing out) hemmed and hawed for 30 seconds, then ran and dove in.

And came up shrieking.

doug, his father, took the dog's chuck-it (a bit like a rod) and leaned into the pond trying to get him to take it. Between shrieks and swimming for shore Brian yelled that his underwear had come off. So I turned around, knowing he (with his 13 year old brain) was trying to decide what was worse...his aunt seeing him naked, or freezing to death. Happily his underwear was found around his ankles, he got out of the pond and ran all the way home, screaming.

Charlie, a very sanguine younger brother, watched this and commented: I've never seen Brian run so fast.

I went home, put him in the big tub in our bathroom in a hot bath and put an action flick on the TV. And gave him 10 dollars for the swim, and the entertainment. We didn't see him again for an hour and half but all agreed it was worth the money.

Dinner that night was sublime, with our good friend Nancy having made a DVD of Michael's life, from photos I supplied her. Happily Michael can be oblivious to his surroundings and didn't seem to notice pictures coming off the walls, the bookcases, the piano. The place was stripped.

And all appeared on this amazing video...from birth, to nutty 60's hair, to his kids, to our wedding, to our life together. about 15 minutes, and three songs he loves... Josh Groban's When You Say You Love Me, KD Lang singing Cohen's Hallelujah, and Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers 'Islands in the Stream'. It was gorgeous. And very moving.

The food was fab. Only two children cried. Michael cried. I cried. I suspect others cried. There was only a little blood. (I'm not kidding - one of the children fell and scraped her knee quite badly - there were two doctors and two emergency technicians there...and all it took was a mother's kiss.)

Mary and the kids left yesterday morning - but neighbors and friends came by for Easter dinner last night of wood smoked ham (called a Mechoui in Quebec), eggplant parmessan, salads, baguette and chocolate mousse. It was very relaxed. And fun.

But wow, were we tired last night. Today we feel we're creeping back to normal. Making calls, writing letters. Doug and I will drive in to Montreal early tomorrow morning so he can pick up a truck and take some of our furniture back to Toronto with him.

Snowing again here. I wonder if this is how people who've run marathons feel? Exhausted, but very good.

Happy Easter...happy holidays. Happy Michael. Happy me.

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy 75th Michael!

overcast, cool, temps plus 4

The big day is here! I wanted to write a quick blog since you've all been so kind and say thank you to you!

We were talking this morning about how lucky we are. Michael is younger than when I met him 15 years ago. He's been extremely fortunate with his health and is as mentionally vigorous as ever - working on his book everyday. What a difference good health makes. But what an even bigger difference good attitude makes.

Doug, Mary and the kids arrived in Montreal at 1am...he called about 9am to give us an update. They should arrive down here any time. Michael's received so many lovely cards and phone calls and emails.

And this morning even the ducks and geese seemed to be celebrating. Must run off - a few things yet to do. Like get clothes on. Hope I don't forget that. One of my nightmares coming true...suddenly finding myself naked. And then a toilet appears in the middle of the room. Never mind.

thank you again for celebrating with us! Will tell you tomorrow how it went.

Thursday, 9 April 2009


overcast, mild, temps plus 5

All the snow, or at least most of it, has melted. And the bluebells survived! Extremely hectic days...preparing for guests to arrive, trying to figure out meals and menus and sleeping arrangements. You know the drill.

And trying to remember they're all family and good friends and no one really cares if they get peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast. And lunch. And BBQed peanut butter for dinner. I'll tell you, if anyone in the family ever developed a peanut allergy we'd be in trouble.

Michael's birthday is tomorrow - 75. And then Easter after that. We have loads of kids coming so needed to remember easter chocolates too! I used to love Easter chocolates as a kid. Still do, actually.

Michael sent me a stunning bouquet this morning, to say Thank You for all the work. This was, thankfully, before the peanut butter fiasco.

Have been asked to write a novella for literacy - a very short mystery for adults, but who read at about a grade 5 level...starting to think about that. It will, apparently, be available in bookstores too with all proceeds going to Adult Literacy services.

Must head...I have loads of things left to screw up. I'll try to write tomorrow with an update. Why, oh, why didn't he want to go on a nice cruise for his 75th????

Next time.

Be well. And happy Passover!

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Happy Details

snow, rain, sleet, yech.

Another typical April day. We just got back from Montreal - toting a pizza for Tony and a thank you for looking after Trudy.

Signed a lease for a new apartment in Montreal. In Quebec (and nowhere else as far as I can tell) they call apartment sizes as 1 1/2 or 2 1/2 etc. Took me forever to figure it out - and still not totally sure. But we knew we wanted at 3 1/2 - which in the rest of the known world is called a one bedroom.

This place is great - we're very happy. And basically it will be a pied a terre in the city.

things shaping up beautifully for Michael's party. small. 30 people. Including my brother Doug, his ex-wife and still good friend (as she is to us) Mary, and their kids, Brian, Roslyn and Charlie. They're coming from Toronto.

Still loads of details and I'm sure I've forgotten something. Like food. But a relief to know if I have, well, everyone is such a great friend it's not the end of the world. Though I do want it to be nice for Michael. He says he only plans to turnn 75 two or three times, so I'd better get it right!

writing tomorrow morning then coffee with Cotton in Knowlton and a few errands. Blog pretty boring these days. Oh, the proofs arrived for THE BRUTAL TELLING so we're starting on the proof of the last stages. And saw the US cataloge for it. It will come out in the US in that's 2 books in one year.

I have to tell you that I really love this book. We're back in Three Pines for THE BRUTAL TELLING. Anyway, you'll decide for yourselves.

And A RULE AGAINST MURDER is now available in Kindle, for those Kindlers out there.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

eternal spring

snow, windy, cold, temps minus 2

Not actually that cold, but below seasonable and, as you can see, cold enough to snow. Blech. It's that wet, heavy stuff - covering everything. If we can wait long enough it will melt - and fortunately we don't need to leave the house for a day or so.

This always happens, and will again I'm sure before the end of April. In THE CRUELEST MONTH I describe how unpredictable Easter is...not only is it the moveable feast, but you never know if we'll get daffodils in bloom or a snowstorm.

Yesterday all the ice left the pond, the frogs were calling, the ducks had returned. Pussy-willows were blooming, and by the birdfeeder, in the white garden, there were bluebells. The first flowers of spring.

Now under a couple of inches of snow.

But I'm amazed that, when the snow melts, they'll still be there, and still blooming.

What I don't learn from dogs I learn in my garden. The enternal spring.

Went to a wonderful party at Lise's home yesterday. it was a sort of tupperware thing, except for food. Perfect. there were about 15 of us and Lise had cooked up and storm and we sat, listened to the demonstration, then ate and chatted and ordered things. Such fun. And Lise is so wonderful...gracious, warm, nurturing, and smart.

Speak to you for breakfast then writing.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Wizard Michael

very windy, sunny then rainy, temps 15

Very mild day - but unsettled.

Hopped into Montreal quickly - a couple of things came up suddenly. Picked up Michael's new glasses. The old perscription was off - but he thought it was just his sight getting worse. Then a new optomotrist tested him, and got the perscription right!

What a difference. All the way back down the highway he kept saying things like, 'It's great to be able to see the other cars.' Or, 'So that's what that sign says.'

He'd driven us into Montreal. Dear Lord.

Picked up more anti-puppy mills hats. Chatted with our friend Kirk who runs an antique shop in Knowlton and is very involved in animal rights. We think we're going to get a few merchants together and have the same hats made up for the SPCA Monteregie - at our own expense. Sell them in shops and through my website for 10 dollars and send all the money to the SPCA to crack down on the puppy mills.

Just starting with the effort - but will keep you informed.

Lise is having a tea and 'sale of goods' at her home tomorrow afternoon. Am hoping to make it. Michael having his beard and hair cut tomorrow anticipation of his birthday.

With his new glasses he looks like Harry potter grown up. Adorable.

Hope you're well. Talk tomorrow, or so.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Escape to the Country

Mainly sunny, but some cloud and sprinkles, temps plus 3

Not too bad outside, but a little windy and it goes right through on these damp days. Fed the birds today - end of the seed, but we have another bag so will lug it to the garbage can we keep the bird seed in, against the raccoons.

Lots more writing today.

And responded to all the emails from the newsletter which went out this morning. So many lovely, thoughtful and kind comments about Maggie. And so many stories of people's owns beloved pets. I'm very grateful when people tell me how they've been through similar things in their lives. We're all connected.

Had a long bath and watched Escape to the Country - a BBC property show. Very relaxing.

Did 20 minutes on the ellitical machine. Once gary suggested listening to the iPod it made a huge difference. We're probably going to Knowlton for breakfast tomorrow...need to do some fine tuning on Michael's birthday dinner arrangements.

Packed, but good, days.