Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Are you SURE that's the football???

rainy, cold, temps 5

Glove weather! Wore cashmere turtleneck and sweater for the first time this season. Don't think we'll be using the swimming pool again this year! But we're keeping it open because the family is coming from all over Canada for our annual reunion next week and the place just looks more attractive with the pool in operation and not covered by a slimy leaf strewn net.

My brother Rob and his wife Audi are coming from Edmonton. He's the assistant deputy minister of the Environment in Albert. We're very, very proud of him. And amazed that a man who couldn't remember to flush a toilet is now in charge of the environment. Don't tell me there isn't karma.

My brother Doug, whom you've met, is also coming, with his three kids, Brian, Roslyn and Charlie. And probably their dog, Buttercup, the hound from hell. Actually, Buttercup is much better...calming down. Her one outstanding eccentricity is her ability to eat anything - then poop it back out. Most of the fun of a Penny family reunion is seeing what comes out of Buttercup. Be warned, in case you're thinking of marrying one of us.

As well, two of Michael's sons are coming down. Just ordered the turkey. had an interesting conversation with the butcher.

I wanted grain fed, free ranger, organic turkey. pretty much a turnip shapped like a turkey is what I wanted. He offered wild turkey.

Wild turkey?

Does someone shoot them, I asked. Because I don't approve of hunting.

He looked at me understandably sceptically. I'm quite selective in my killing. It must be organic and grainfed, but not wild. Because wild would be unethical.

My hypocrisies were showing.

We ended up compromising and I ordered a 15 pound grain fed, non-wild, turkey.

Really looking forward to Thanksgiving. Ours here in Canada is about a month earlier than in the States. Not at all sure why there's the difference, but there is. It's a wonderful time for walks in the country, or horseback riding, or football games by the pond. Or watching Buttercup poop the missing football.

We also plan to bake some apple pies - told Pat we'd bake one for her. She called back yesterday and offered to bake it herself. Hmmmm.

We're in Montreal - Michael has his operation tomorrow. Need to be at the hospital by 9am...operation at 12:30 - home by mid afternoon we hope. Then we have a 6:15 am appointment with the doctor for a checkup on Friday.

I took the call and kept repeating...6:15am??? That's 6:15 in the MORNING????


Will report to you tomorrow - without fail. I cannot express to you how much your support has meant, and does mean.

Thank you. Bless you.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

starred Booklist!

rain, cool, temps 15

Nice day...autumn day. Much like yesterday. Though Ken, who does the pool, says snow is in the forecast. Can you believe it??? Will let you know.

Relaxed day. Went off to Knowlton for breakfast with Danny and Philip. They're the organizors (among others) of the Letters from Knowlton writers and writing fest. The first one was this summer and it was a great success. They wondered if I could get involved in the next one. I said, yes, of course. And they also asked if I could be the honourary chairperson. I hestitated. My problem is I hate to take on more than I should - and then let everyone down. But they assured me the 'honourary' is bigger than the 'chairperson'. So I agreed.

It will be next summer, and it will be fun to help track down some of the writers we've met, and invite them. A summer weekend in Quebec's eastern townships is about as close to heaven as I've come. Though I suspect everyone feels like that about their area.

But I'll keep you informed as it gets closer.

Then off to the local community radio station - CIDI - for a one hour interview with Kate Wisdom on her new arts show. She's a marvelous interviewer and had actually read THE BRUTAL TELLING - which helps!

Then home to write the October newsletter and a few other things.

Oh, we got a terrific starred review in Booklist, in the US - a very influential publication. here's part of what they said...

Penny has been compared to Agatha Christie, and while there is a surface resemblance there, it sells her short. Her characters are too rich, her grasp of nuance and human psychology too firm for the formula-bound Christie. No, Penny belongs in the hands of those who read not only P. D. James but also Donna Leon, who, like Penny, mixes her hero’s family and professional lives fluidly and with a subtle grasp of telling detail.

I'm really thrilled with that review.

Michael and I are off to Montreal tomorrow. Hope to start the first big edit on the novella when we get in. Enough time has passed I think I can now detach and see it clearly, and make the changes. I hope. Though I must say, I quite like editing. This is the novella for literacy, written as part of the Quick Reads programme, developing books for adult emerging readers. It's a Chief Inspector Gamache, Three Pines novella.

Must be off...just got off the eliptical machine. I think I like it less and less! But, i know it's good for me.

Oh, Trudy was just going nuts barking. Michael went to see what it was about and there were two deer in the field by the pond. An adult and a baby. Lovely.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Stefanie Pintoff

steady rain, foggy, cool, temps 12

We need the rain, so while it's sort of dreary this is actually very good. This is the cod liver oil of weather.

Sat in front of the fire place, editing...very relaxing. This part of the process is. I think it must be like getting into shape. At first it's horrible and frightening and discouraging...and tempting to quit. That's what a first draft feels like. Also, that it will never, ever lead to anything worthwhile. Folly.

But after a long while it gets earlier...and easier. And now the book is in shape (i however have basically sat on a sofa for five years, so I am also in shape, but it looks like a pear) - and it's just fine tuning now. A buff book.

As you might know, I was supposed to go to Connecticut for a couple of events this Friday but cancelled because Michael's having eye surgery. Could not possibly pass up a chance to boss him around. But this meant cancelling a couple of very important events - and I feel terrible about it.

But the wonderful Stefanie Pintoff, another Minotaur author, has agreed to step in for me. She won the 2008 St Martin's Minotaur/Mystery Writers of America Best First Novel Award for her stunning debut IN THE SHADOW OF GOTHAM.

So if you are anywhere near the New Canaan Library in Connecticut this Friday at noon you must see her speak. She's terrific. She's also drop dead gorgeous.

Had fabulous news...People Magazine is planning to run the review in the issue that goes on sale Thursday!! And - even more exciting - they say it is the lead review. Now, clearly, anything can happen and they change their minds...but so far the news is beyond fantastic!!!

A great way to start the week.

Also want to remind those of you in the area...the official Canadian launch for THE BRUTAL TELLING is this coming Sunday, here in the Townships. Danny and Lucy, of Brome Lake Books, are organizing a special brunch - that is also a fundraiser for the local Yamaska Literacy Council. I'll be giving a talk, taking questions, doing a brief reading from THE BRUTAL TELLING and of course, signing books. Great way to pick up early Christmas gifts!

Now, to be honest, I don't know if Danny and Lucy have any tickets left. The event will be held at the local Lakeview Hotel...but you can call them. Their number is: 450-242-2242.

Am off to Knowlton, actually for a breakfast meeting with Danny and one of the organizors of the very young local literary ferstival. After that I have a 1 hour taping with the local radio station, and Kate Wisdom - who is brilliant. Then home to write the October newsletter.

I find if I don't keep on top of things, it all comes crashing down...Some people are amazed when I respond immediately to emails, but I find if I don't, then suddenly I have 100, and am overwhelmed...or things get forgotten.

It's a great life...and long as you keep moving...

Sunday, 27 September 2009

New York Times Review of Books Ad!!!

rainy, cool, temps 15

Fall day - grey and cool - damp into the bones. But has the advantage of being completely natural for this time of year.

We're back in Sutton - feels great to be home...or at least the country home. But had a very fun day. As some of you noticed, my fabulous publishers, Minotaur Books, put a full page, colour ad in today's New York Times Review of Books!!!!

It looks unbelievable. Dazzling! How wonderful is this?

As most of you know, I this is a huge step forward in terms of exposure for the Chief Inspector Gamache books. And it feels fantastic. I'm so proud of THE BRUTAL TELLING. It's not a book I just dashed off (actually, none of them is) - it took well over a year of thinking, planning, writing and editing.

But still, I don't think anyone expects this sort of reception. I sure didn't... and I am deeply, deeply thrilled...and deeply aware of how fortunate I am.

And very grateful to all of you for buying the books, many of you from the very beginning, and telling others about them. None of this happens without your help. I know that...and very aware of it.

Thank you for this amazing time in my life. No matter what happens, I've had this past week and will remember it always.


Had breakfast this morning with Francine Pelletier and her partner David Sherman. among other things, they produce documentries and they've asked if Michael and I will be part of their latest, on people's relationship with alcohol. We met at Nick's and immediately hit it off. Fascinating people. Successful people. I often expect people like that to be cynical, with an edge. Sarcastic and caustic. But they were anything but. Warm and comfortable, thoughtful. Intelligent. It was a terrific time.

Left them with just enough time to zip home, change into our "sunday best" and head off to the United Church at Landsdown and the Boulevard, in Montreal. We were meeting Bal, Linda and their daughter Bethany. Bethany's in a terrific band at the church called TM2, and they were performing at the 11am service. We'd said we wanted to hear bethany, and this was our chance.

She was brilliant. She has a full, rich, voice. Surprising in it's strength and very beautiful.

Indeed the whole service was beautiful - the focus was saving the earth. Not frightening, but reassuring - that we can do it. But must act.

We were supposed to then have lunch with Bal, Linda and Bethany, but Linda and Bal are sick with colds, so we've taken a 'rain-check'.

Got home by 3:30, got some groceries, played with happy to see her again!! Watched the last of the golf...yay Phil Mickleson! And am now writing to you.

A perfect day! A full page ad in the NYTRB!!! Breakfast with fascinating people!!! A church service and hearing Bethany sing!!! Then home safe and sound.

Hope those of you who have THE BRUTAL TELLING are enjoying it. And please, tell others about it!!! It really would be great to push this one over the top.

thank you for all you've done for me already!! Hope you also had a great weekend.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

New Yorker!!

sunny, fabulous autumn day, temps 18

Gorgeous day. Met Elise and Susan in Nick's for breakfast...then walked to Stuart's funeral. Very, very beautiful. Packed. Wonderful eulogies. I held it together until Donna and Jeremy and Stuarts 90 year old mother walked back down the church aisle at the end. Then I cried.

But it was also a real celebration - with lots of laughter.

Then Michael and I went out for lunch to the bistro and then home to work. Finished the first draft of a manuscript I'm working on...always feels great. Then watched a couple episodes of the second season of 30 Rock. Hilarious.

The BIG news though is that Minotaur has put a fabulous ad for THE BRUTAL TELLING in this week's New Yorker Magazine!!! Page 4 I believe. It looks great, and honestly, after reading the New Yorker for years, to find myself a part of it, albeit a bought part, is magical. Really, almost out-of-body.

So many amazing this have happened this week...such joy - and such sadness. Feels like a week at the the extremes. And the key seems to be to feel things totally, but not be swallowed up. Equilibrium. And appreciation.

What a week!

Tomorrow am meeting a former colleague who now produces documentries. She wants to know if I'll be a part of one she's wer're meeting for breakfast - yes - at nicks! Might have to have a phone line put in there.

Then off to church with Bal, Linda and Bethany. As you might realize, this isn't something Michael and I normally do...but tomorrow is special. Bethany's band is performing at the service. Then we're off to their place for lunch...then driving home to Sutton.

Full says. Never know what any given day will bring.

Off for dinner...salads with Michael. I can hear him in the bedroom laughing at 30 Rock. Lovely sound.

Friday, 25 September 2009


sunny, cool, temps 15

In the sun, out of the wind, it's gorgeous. In the shade, in the wind, it's like the arctic. Makes dressing quite a challenge.

We're in Montreal...arrived about midnight last night after a great time at the Kingston Writers Festival. Fabulous time. Wonderfully organized...terrific line-up of authors...very exciting. And the volunteers were amazing! Fun, vibrant, happy to be there. Made everything a joy.

I had a panel discussion with Howard Engel, moderated by the terrific Therese Greenwood, who writes short stories. Howard, Michael and I went for dinner in Kingston to a restaurant called Chez Piggy. Infact, one of the recent comments on this blog suggested we try out Chez we did. Sat outside. Had steak frites...all three of us. Michael called it Miss Piggy's the whole time and everyone recognized Howard from the night before...making me wonder what he'd done the night before that made him so memorable.

Got back to the venue in time for our panel...the place was sold-out. Packed. Therese was fabulous. Being a moderator is the most difficult job on the panel. We had loads of fun - then Michael and I jumped in the car for the 2 1/2 hour drive back to Montreal.

Went to Stuart's visitation today. So difficult seeing all those photos of him, healthy and happy. Poor Donna and Jeremy.

Thank you to everyone writing in with kind words about Stuart. We're meeting Susan and another friend, Elise Jacob for breakfast, then we're all going to the funeral. Elise used to be a receptionist at CBC and is now a famous photographer. Next week she's doing a portrait of the Dalai Lama. Aren't people unexpected and amazing.

I always liked Elise...which is why I named one of the characters in Still Life after her. I wonder if she knows...I wonder if I should tell her. Oh oh. Still, if she's photographing the DL surely she's not allowed to haul off and hit me.

Speaking oif photographs, we had a bunch of new ones taken of me earlier this week in Toronto. It was a bit of an emergency...yes, a photo emergency. Only in publishing are you likely to get that.

People Magazine said they might (stress, might) be interested in running a review of THE BRUTAL TELLING in the issue that goes on sale next Friday - Oct 1st. But they needed a new photo of me.

Of course, I was told just as I had a mouthful of french fries, in my sweats, in the hotel room. Mwarwch? I said. Yes, the publishers said - and we need it now.

So once we'd established that People Magazine could probably not make do with a snapshot taken by Michael's blackberry, we remembered that our good friend Ian Crysler lives in Toronto and is...a photographer!

Poor Ian got the call at 9pm that he needed to be at the SoHo Met at 9am the next morning...pleeeease...

Bless him - such a wonderful guy...he dropped everything (I'm sure that bride didn't care) and showed up. By then I'd gotten the cheesecake out from between my teeth, and even managed to shower...and we spent the morning shooting.

Very fun, really. Much more fun with a friend, so I could relax. Sort of.

If People runs the review, which would be terrific, you can see the outcome.

This puiblishing world is exciting and peculiar. There is SO much that is beyond anyone's control. Like being the Barnes and Noble main selection. Unbelievably fabulous...but we couldn't make that happen. And reviews...there's so little print space left for reviews...there's no way you can 'buy' a review. Or the People Mag. Something that potenially influential, and all we can do is wait and hope.

It is a great exercise for me in patience, and in having faith that whatever happens was meant to. Both for the good, and sometimes for the not-so-good.

Acceptance. And trying not to wreck something with worry.

You know, seeing that montage of Stuart at the visitation today reminded me of what passion he had, for so many things. Gardening. local politics. His home in the country. Military history. Mr. Bean. Trying to save the local hospital. And of course, his family.

I think if there was one thing I walked out of there with for my life it was to at least try. With all my heart. And not worry so much about the outcome. Just try.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Stuart Robertson

overcast, teeming rain just now, muggy, mild, temps 24

Way above seasonalbe temps today. Rain held off until just now.

About two minutes ago we received the sad news that a friend and former colleague at the CBC, Stuart Robertson, has died. He was 65 and had battled lymphoma for 15 years. He was known as the gardening guy...and beloved for his humour and passion. He had a couple books out and would lecture about gardening...and he had a column in the Montreal Gazette for years.

But he was more than that. He was a journalist who chased hard news stories, though his heart was really more in the happy stories. he loved it when he could uncover good news, and tell people. He was tall and slim and spoke, for reasons that baffled perhaps even him, with a slight British accent. He was married to Donna and has a son, Jeremy.

I realize most of you don;t know who I'm talking about, and to be honest, while Stuart and Donna were at our wedding, we didn't stay close. But it was hard not to have alot of affection for Stuart. He was a delightful man. To everything there is, as Stuart knew, a season. But I can't help think the frost came a little too early.

On another note, after much agonizing, I've decided to cannot leave Michael after his eye operation. So I spoke to the people at my publishers, Minotaur, and they were great. Without hesitation they said they'd look after it, and to not worry.

'It' meant cancelling two important tour events! The talk at the New Canaan library - which I'm VERY disappointed about. There were so many people I was looking forward to meeting, some for the first time, some who have become friend. I am sorry.

It also meant having to bow out of a very important publishing event...the New England Independent Booksellers Association annual gathering. I was among 12 authors voted to join them for their sign books and chat. It was going to be a fabulous chance to meet these important and influential people, and thank them for being so supportive.

I really did agonize over this...going back and forth. It was such an important engagement, for this the biggest book of my career.

But Michael's eye operation was just the day before, and could not be changed even if we wanted to. At first I thought at least I'd be there for the operation, go away early the next morning, then return by noon the next day...away 30 hours.

You can see - I'm good at rationalizing. But I wasn't happy. it wasn't sitting right. And finally I knew it just wasn't right. I could never, and should never, put my career ahead of my husband. If it was a hangnail, yes. But this was his eyesight...and while there is every reason to be optomistic, it is still stressful.

So I called, and bless them, Minotaur and andy martin the publisher could not have been nicer about what was clearly a blow to their marketing strategy. Andy basically said, 'Don't worry. Do what you have to do for Michael.'

And now, today, to hear about Stuart. And I knew even more I'd made the right decision. We have to put the people we love first.

Besides, what are the books about, if not that? How could I write about love and loyalty, then not be there for Michael?

As soon as I decided, I knew.

Off to Kingston tomorrow for the writer's festival. A 6:30 to 8pm panel, then driving back to Montreal by midnight.

Be well.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

THE BRUTAL TELLING is launched!!!

overcast, mild, temps 22

It's launch day - and the most exciting of my career! As I said yesterday, the largest bookseller in the world, Barnes and Noble, has made THE BRUTAL TELLING their main selection.

I feel so giddy I'm almost sick. But in a good way. Good nausea. Like morning sickness. I guess. As you see, my mind has also been affected.

What a thrilling day - and THE BRUTAL TELLING is now on sale across the US!!!

I sure hope you like it.

And I really want to thank you all for finding the series before anyone else knew about it. And sticking with me. And telling others. How lucky I am. I happy I am!!!

And, Lesa Holstein, a wonderful book blogger from Arizona has a terrific review of THE BRUTAL TELLING. Here site is called Lesa's Book Critique. Here's an excerpt...

How do I describe the latest Chief Inspector Armand Gamache novel? Penny rips you apart, and then patches you up with poetry and Gamache's kindness....Clara, the artist who serves as the conscience of the village says, "Every Quebec village has a vocation. Some make cheese, some wine, some pots. We produce bodies." But, where did the body come from? Gamache knows there are secrets hidden, and lies told by some of his old friends....deep in the heart of the forest surrounding Three Pines, Gamache discovers contradictions - the horrifying cruelty man is capable of, along with beauty and peace....It's autumn in Three Pines in The Brutal Telling, a time of beauty, change, and death. Those elements merge to make this the most powerful book yet in the Chief Inspector Gamache series.

What a beautiful review from Lesa Holstein!

And what a dream of a day!!! Honestly, I wish I could describe how exciting today has been. I spent most of it responding to emails - wonderful, exhilerating messages. And speaking to the publisher in New York...Minotaur Books. Fabulous publisher. As a gift celebrating the launch, and the B&N Main Selection, they sent a framed photo of a huge ad that will soon appear. I won't say where...perhaps you'll see it.

How lucky am I?

And then, tonight, my brother Doug arrives at the hotel holding a big box, very carefully. I felt for sure it must be something alive. Gerbils, perhaps. The little known tradition of giving gerbils as a launch gift. Thank God Minotaur hasn't yet heard of it.

fortunately it turned out to be a cake! Michael had contacted Doug and asked if he could arrange to have a cake with the cover image of the book on it. this, of course, fell to Doug's ex-wife but great friend Mary, to track someone down.

they did...and it looks great. Will try to get it up on the website at some point.

Then we all went out to a nearby Indian restaurant for dinner...then back to the hotel room for cafe au lait and to devour THE BRUTAL TELLING. As I hope you soon will!

Then, at 8:30, I had a conference call with a wonderful, lively, smart book club in the american midwest. Springfield. Great questions. And a great way for me to cap off this celebratory day!

And now my latest child is free. I've done all I can. Let's see how she does.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Barnes and Noble Recommends!!!!

rain, mild, temps 20

What a few days!!! Now I can let the secret out...THE BRUTAL TELLING has been chosen by Barnes and Noble as their main selection! This is HUGE. I knew it was on the shortlist, but never dreamed it would actually be chosen. It means the book will be features prominently on the website and in the 700 B&N stores across the States. It is considered second only to Oprah in terms of impact.

I am beyond thrilled...ecstatic. Yippee.

If you go to B&N website you can see a Tagged interview. that's one of the main reasons I went to New York earlier this month.

It was SO hard to keep the secret. The only other person who knew about it, in my circle, was Michael. And everytime he threatened to say anything I poked him in the eye.

Wait a minute. you don't think....

We are in Toronto now, at the SoHo Met (great hotel) and enjoying the extraordinary time. I'm determined not to dull the thrill by worrying. But to hand it over and delight in this great, unexpected gift.

Can hardly wait until tomorrow when THE BRUTAL TELLING goes on sale across the States!! Beyond thrilling.

Had a fun weekend...visited Cousin Marjorie in Elora, Ontario - and did the Eden Mills Literary Festival, also in Ontario. It was a stunningly beautiful day (yesterday) and it was a stunningly beautiful location. this small town - a village really - of stone homes on a river. they closed the whole village to cars and made it pedestrian only - with four venues with authors giving talks and readings.

Mine was at the Mill - with another mystery writer, Terry Griggs, and a Canadian philosopher, John Ralston Saul. It was the first time I read from THE BRUTAL TELLING. Not convinced I did the best job, but have to start somewhere. It will get better and better as I practice and get in front of audiences. It annoyed me, I must admit, that John Ralson Saul - a quite prominent Canadian - didn't bother to show up until his time...wandering over and apologising by explaining he was just hanging around doing nothing, and forgot.

Not sure about Terry, but didn't make me feel a lot of respect for him. I've traveled the world doing literary festivals, often exhausted - as are almost all the other writers - but we still manage to show respect for our fellow panelists by at least listening to them, and not only showing up when we get centre stage.

Oh, well. Maybe I'll be like that one day.

Happily, it wasn't a big deal, just a sort of bafflement and disappointment. I'd heard good things about him. We still bought his book. It is important to support each other, after all.

We're in TO until Thursday...totally bouyant about the B&N turn of events!!!!

And can hardly wait until tomorrow (Tueday) when THE BRUTAL TELLING is on sale across the US. I feel quite emotional about it.

Be well - and thank you for sticking with me...and showing up, even when I had very little to say.

Friday, 18 September 2009

A gift of sight

rainy then sunny, cool, temps 18

Very rainy this morning. Fortunately we have raincoats and umbrellas. Got up early and were at Nick's for breakfast by 7:30. Hopped in a cab (actually found one!) and got to the dentist in time for the 9am appointment. Michael brought a book and waited, but it didn't take long. Then we walked toward his 11am eye appointment, but that gave us plenty of time to wander. By then the rain was just spitting, and by the time we got there the sun was breaking through.

The news from the eye doc was a bit mixed. On the plus side - and this is huge - he's confident the operation will do thge trick. He'd actually going to graft some donated eye tissue onto Michael's eye - among other things he'll be doing. He says eyes donated - by someone who has often died tragically young - can help save the sight of up to 40 people. Including Michael. How beautiful is that. And how devestating. And how grateful we are to the family who had to make a terrible decision. And made it.

The not great news is that his sight is failing in that eye and the doc says it's turning slightly opaque.

But we have decided to believe all that will be reversed by the amazing operation and the great gift of donated tissue.

So the operation is set for Oct 1st. I was supposed to go to Connecticut that day, but have put it off until the next day...the doc says Michael will be fine, and he has an 8:20 appointment for a check up that the doc will also be caring for him. And at least I'll be there for the operation and that night. Then home the next day.

Will rent him some DVD's, get him a mountain of pastries and call every hour.

got home in time for our friends Jack and Jane to arrive. Jack said he'd install some blinds we had made. Turns out the blinds are too while Jack and Michael then decideed to install a ceiling lamp instead JaNE AND i took refuge in the living room.

We adore Jack and Jane and end up yakking and laughing about all sorts of things. Like us they love antiques and traveling...Jane is a gifted interior decorator and works with Kirk - and helps us. And Jack - among many talents - builds furniture.

So we had a great time. And now the sun is out, we're heading off for an early dinner...and driving to Elora, Ontario tomorrow...Won't blog for a few days...probably not until we hit the SoHo Met Hotel in Toronto on Monday.

Speak to you then. Counting the sleeps until THE BRUTAL TELLING is launched!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Timbeeeeer! I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...

mainly sunny, cool, temps 18

Sweater weather, but perfect autumn. Just a beuatiful fall day in Quebec. The maple tree outside our window has exploded in colour...reds and oranges...just stunning. We can see the trees changing colour on the mountains around us. It starts, of course, at the top where it's cooler, and creeps its way down. Very pretty, very seasonal.

I did some writing this morning, and worked a bit more on the article for the Sunday Telegraph, then Michael and I took Trudy out to the pond and we chopped down a bunch of trees that were blocking paths, and sight lines. These are weed trees that were also chocking out good, hardwood we cleared space around them. Also found some beautiful little spruce trees in there, and cleared around them.

Perfect fall work to do. Not too hot.

Then in to Sutton for lunch and more errands. We're heading off to Ontario, including the event at Eden Mills on Sunday. Will be staying with Michael's cousin Marjorie in Elora and she adores Quebec cheeses, so we went into the local cheese shop and picked out a selection.

Then home. I finally got back on the exercise machine...feels good, now that its done! And did a load of laundry. Now our suitcases are on the bed, ready to be packed. Happily we're taking the car so we don't need to think too much - just shove everything in. The big things to remember, though, are my tour schedule, so I don't forget a date, and our laptops. And each other.

Sad to leave home - but Pat and Tony are coming early tomorrow morning so we know it, and Trudy, are in good hands. Still, it is so beautiful around here this time of year. But it is also beautiful in Elora - and we hear Eden Mills is stunning.

then off to the Kingston Literary Fest on Thursday for an event I'm really looking forward to. I'm on a panel with the fabulous Howard Engel. He was really the first Canadian crime writers - certainly the first successful one. he wrote the Benny Cooperman books and there was a TV series. He's also a delightly, generous man. It's such an honour to share the stage with him. That's at 6:30 on Sept 24th at the Kingston, Ontario literary festival.

But the big event this week is going to Michael's eye doctor Friday morning to talk about the operation. I'm sure he'll have good news!

Will try to blog tomorrow. In the meantime, be well.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Seven days

Overcast, mild, temps 20

Rained buckets in the night. Perfect for the gardens and the water table.

There are all sorts of wild turkeys around the place - with their little ones. Quite worried what will happen in a few weeks when hunting season begins. They seem totally unafraid of people. Silly things.

Went off to Cowansville for breakfast this morning...very tasty. Did some errands including looking at a bridge. Michael had the great idea of having another bridge put in from the island in our pond to the other side. Right now we, of course, have one bridge, but it would be fun to keep going and have another. So we looked at some very attractive cedar bridges. But the man gave me the creeps. Seemed sort of boozy, at 11am. Thought this might not be the guy we want to invite onto our property.

Still, Michael had a great idea. Will just search around.

Have been asked by the Sunday Telegraph in London to write a travel article on Quebec City. Will do that this afternoon. Happily, as many of you know, we spent a month there this past winter - and I lived there for a few years - so I know it quite well. And, of course, I adore it.

Put on one of my autumn coats today. Put my hand in the pocket, and discovered a time machine...of sorts. Found a map of the Art Gallery of Ontario from a couple of years ago. Receipts from Canada Post and some construction material. A To Do list -including dry cleaning, nuts, fish nets and mosaic tiles. Makes you wonder what we were building.

Also found 11 cents and a golf tee.

The other pocket was filled with dog treats.

And that was the big excitement today. Have I killed you yet? Or are you made of stronger stuff?

Actually, these are terrifically exciting times!!! Seven days to go until the US launch of THE BRUTAL TELLING. Hope you like it!

Monday, 14 September 2009

Starred Library Journal!!

Overcast, mild, temps 20

Quite a nice day. No rain, though we had some yesterday. Went off to the dentist this morning - then drove home. Met Michael in Sutton for lunch. Lovely to see him again. Then home. Great to be home again - even after so short a time away.

Arrived to wonderful news. THE BRUTAL TELLING has received a starred review from Library Journal. Here it is:

[star!!] Penny, Louise. The Brutal Telling.

Having won numerous mystery prizes, including the prestigious Arthur Ellis and Anthony awards for her debut, Still Life, Canadian author Penny has only gotten better with each succeeding novel. Her fifth in the series is the finest of all. Featuring series protagonist Chief Inspector Gamache, this literary mystery explores the ways in which sins of the past have a way of resurrecting themselves, wreaking havoc upon their perpetrators, and, unfortunately, the innocent. Thus, when a hermit is slain in the woods near an isolated village in rural Quebec, secrets surface, unmasking characters who have adopted benign personae to conceal their questionable past deeds. Fortunately, sagacious Gamache possesses the acumen to peel away the layers of deceit and to expose the truth. VERDICT This superb novel will appeal to readers who enjoy sophisticated literary mysteries in the tradition of Donna Leon.

And - almost as exciting - I arrived home to find Michael had re-organized my closet. Imagine that! We've decided, actually, to share closet space, so neither one of us has the best or the worst space. But I'd been meaning to organize my bits, and he knows it. So it was amazing to get back and he'd already done it.

Honestly, I really should go away more often. The most amazing things happen!

Have a roast in the oven - felt I should at least give him a decent meal - make sure he's happy to see me back! Brought a couple of pastries from Montreal to seal the deal!

Be well - talk to you tomorrow.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Lyn Hamilton

cloudy, some showers, temps 23

Am in Montreal now...easy drive in. Spent the morning working on the novella...and finished the first draft. It's almost 15,000 words, and is supposed to be 12,000 max. And am writing at a 3.6 grade average - and was hoping to be at 3.5 or below. But that's what editing is for.

Quite happy with the story so far. Very different, writing a short story. While I like the outcome I'm not sure the form is for me. Perhaps I'm just intimidated by it.

Had very sad news yesterday about the mystery writing colleague. Lyn Hamilton died of cancer. She was just past her 65th birthday. She kept her illness from everyone except close friends. I certainly had no idea. And saw her just a few months ago. She was supposed to be one of the Guests of Honour at Bloody Words next year.

She was not only a superb writer - her hero was Lara McClintock, an archeologist - she was also a wonderful mentor to emerging writers, and one of the most gracious people you'd want to meet.

I was really rocked by the news and can only imagine how people much closer to her are feeling.

Thought I would pass that along - and pay homage to a fine, fine person.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

No, nothing to declare...except my stupidity.

mainly cloudy, mild, temps 18

Well, the sun keeps coming out, which is great for people getting married today, but the rest of us were really hoping for rain! After a July where it wouldn't stop we had an August where we got almost no rain...and September has been totally dry.

Far from a crisis yet - but the gardens are thirsty.

Plugging away on the novella. Almost 12,000 words, which is the limit. But nearing the end, and I know I can always take out quite a few words. It has been lots of fun.

Eleven days now until The Brutal Telling is released in the States! Cannot begin to tell you how excited I am by this book. Who knows if others will like it, but I know for sure it is the best book I could have written. That feels good.

Of course, it feels even better if hundreds of thousands of people agree. As you see, I dream big!

Off to Richford. A package has arrived at the Pinnacle hoping it's the bedside table I ordered. No, I am not planning on trying to smuggle it through the border. Even I am not quite that delusional. Or insane.

Must run - am off to Montreal tomorrow for an early dental appointment Monday morning. Michael staying behind with Trudy.

Will try to blog tomorrow. By the way, my friend John Moss has started a blog. He's a wonderful Canadian mystery writer. Don't know his blog address, but if you google him you'll be sure to find it. Lovely man. His wife Bev is also a friend...she's the one who pointed me to Pottery Barn and the bedside table. So if I'm arrested for smuggling (which I do NOT plan to try) I know who to blame. I certainly could not possibly ever be my fault.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Paging Dr. Nancy! Stat!

sunny, mild, temps 18

lovely day - great for walking.

We're back in the country - arrived back yesterday. Nice to be here...we have a huge maple tree outside our bedroom window that's turning reds and oranges...stunning! Best when there's still lots of green, for contrast.

Had lots of fun at the McGill medical party. It was to celebrate the passing of the Eric M Flanders Chair in Palliative Medicine from our friend Balfour Mount to Dr. Bernard a sort of duel celebration. Of Bal's amazing career in creating Palliative care (and even coining the term) for end-of-life care - and a celebration of passing the torch to Bernard.

In his speech Bernard quoted someone (I didn't actually catch who) - who said, 'That pain in terminal illness cannot be controled is a tragedy. That it can be controlled and isn't is a scandal.'

And we live in scandalous times. The knowledge is there, in certain disciplines, to control pain, but how many of us know people who have died in agony...because that highly skilled palliative care wasn't there?

It was wonderful to be able to celebrate Bal - and see a whole bunch of people Michael and I hadn't seen in years. And fun for him to be there as a newly-minted Professor Emeritus. And I was the bit of fluff for his arm.

Oh, had a wonderful Kirkus Review for THE BRUTAL TELLING:

Penny is a world-class storyteller. If you don’t want to move to Montreal with Gamache as your neighbor—or better yet, relocate to Three Pines and be welcomed into its community of eccentrics—you have sawdust in your veins, which must be very uncomfortable.

Spent most of the day writing the novella. Am over 8,000 words. A little worried it will end up being 100,000 words - which is a few more than they want! About two hour in, just as I was on a roll, the laptop kakked out!!! Keyboard wouldn't work. Froze. Now, this had happened once before a couple of years ago...I apparently hit a few keys by mistake and it triggered the locking mechanism for the keyboard. But how to unlock?

We called Nancy...our superhero! She came immediately and after a couple of hours managed to un-install, then re-install the keyboard.

Very frustrating!!!

Oh, by the way, the wonderful Larry in Quebec City wrote to suggest holding off buying a netbook because Microsoft is coming out with a new system in late October. so that's what I'll do... Thanks Larry!

also spend a lot of the day juggling appearance requests. Said yes to a couple of book club conference calls...and also agreed to an appearance at a literary festival next August in British Columbia, and to do an author reading at the Stratford Festival, also next summer.

But need to make sure I don't agree to too much traveling. It always seems such a good idea when it's a year away! But have to say, both of these sound wonderful.

Must head off to make dinner...another barbeque. Do it while we can!

Be well.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


sunny, mild, lovely day, temps 20

Stunning day - not a cloud. Beautiful walking weather. Michael and I had breakfast, then I headed off to check out netbooks at Bureau en Gros, which is a big office supply chain. Looking at Toshiba and Samsung, but they didn't have the types I'd found online with great reviews. Will keep looking. I think with the amount I travel, the volume of email and the need to do some writing (but not other stuff) a netbook makes more sense than a new laptop. Love my old one, even though the letter have almost completely worn off the keyboard. It's a clunky old thing, but mine.

But for traveling, I think a netbook would work.

Got my haircut by Olivier...he did a great job. Then had Linda remove my moustache with hot wax. Yikes! I have this done about once a year. I'm lucky that I'm quiet fair and the odd black, wiry hair can be the hot wax and feathers treatment isn't essential all the time. Though they actually don't put feathers on. Instead she uses some sort of sandpaper-like strip and rip the top layer of skin (and presumably, hair) right out. My upper lip was deep purple. Not exactly an improvement - and we have quite a formal affair tonight at McGill University - the investiture of a chair in medicine.

Linda, being quite understanding, said she'd get rid of the purple by smearing a calming cream on it. When I looked in the mirror I had a Fu Manchu of green paste. I whizzed around to stare at Linda. She explained that the green hid the purple. Which was true. But it was still green. Under my nose. Can you imagine showing up at a formal cocktail in a room filled with medical specialists, looking like I had a petrie dish on my upper lip?

The haircut would have to be pretty spectacular to overcome that. And it wasn't that good.

I went into the washroom and wiped the green goop off. So now I have a slightly numb, slightly purple upper lip. Perhaps, like Queens of old, I should put a big fake mole on my cheek, as a diversion.

Or, maybe I can decide the entire room isn't that interested in me. Yes, perhaps that will be my beauty secret today. Modesty.

Came home and wrote 15-hundred words on the novella that now has a name. The Hangman. It will be published in the fall of 2010 and features Chief Inspector Gamache and a murder in - you guessed it - Three Pines! Such fun to be back there. Am about to write a scene between Gamache and Myrna. What a challenge writing for adults who read at about a grade 4 level. It sure makes me think. And simplfy my language.

Time to get my party frock on. Off to the ceremony and party, then home to watch Obama's speech on health care.

By the way, happy 9/9/09.

Be well.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009


Mainly sunny, some high cloud, waspy, temps 20

Yes, I meant waspy. Since we're in Westmount, Quebec that can mean swarms of White Anglo Saxon Protestants (like me) - but it also means the stinging kind of wasps....though the Anglo Saxons can also sting, they're just more subtle about it.

Tried to sit out on the balcony to read over some research in preparation for today's news conference and a wasp kept bobbing around. Normally I don't worry - but then normally after a swat or two they go away. This one kept landing and climbing. hard to concentrate.

So I ran away. Back inside. I suppose I could have killed it but that didn't seem fair. Besides, everytime I see a wasp I wonder if it might be my mother, re-incarnated. Best, for karmic reasons, not to squish your mother.

Went to Nick's this morning for breakfast. Michael arrived in from the country yesterday it was great to have company. After breakfast he had some errands to run and so did I. Went off to return the videos...saw Grey HBO movie nominated for some Emmys. Oh, my God was it fabulous! Drew Barrymore in particular was amazing. a revelation. I highly recommend the movie. Also saw the remake of The Italian Job with Mark Wahlberg (dull) and Meet the Parents with Ben Stiller and Robert De Niro. Hilarious. Hadn't seen it before.

ASfter returning the DVD's I zipped into a sporting goods store and bought new sweat pants. My old ones were 15 years old (bought on my honeymoon - I know, most brides go for lace and satin...Michael got sweats and flannel and a very comfortable and happy wife.) Time for a new pair of sweats.

Then home to write more on the novella. Have gone from dreading it to actually enjoying writing it. Not sure how much editing it will need and if I'm moving the story forward fast enough (it needs to be between 10-and 12-thousand normal books are about 110-thousand).

Still, it's fun.

Have the news conference with ABC Canada (the sponsors of the literacy novella series), Joy Fielding, a fabulous Canadian writer, the Federal minister of something (who are providing the funding) and members of the news media. That's at 2pm. For half an hour. I suspect my part of it will be about 30 seconds.

Then have the rest of the day to myself. Such fun. Will probably nap. God, if I feel like this now how will I feel when I'm 90? Probably full of beans, having rested most of my life.

Will report in tomorrow. Hope you're well.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Anticipating winter

partly cloudy, cool, temps 13

Chilly morning - but all of them are now. Like most northerners, I adore autumn. Best time of the year. I don't even mind the promise of snow to come. I suppose that's because I don't have to 'deal' with it so much. When I was working at CBC Radio and living in the Plateau Mont Royal quartier winters were horrible...for those us us with a car. No parking - just street parking...and when there were snow storms it was terrible! Snow clearing came with their sirens at 2am - everyone scrambling out of bed trying to shovel cars clear in the narrow streets...which pretty much meant dumping the snow on your neighbor's car and hoping he wouldn't come out and find it - which he always did because everyone needed to move their cars. Amazing it never came to blows. But very stressful.

Now we live on 70 acres so we can toss the snow anywhere we want! Actually, Tony digs us out now. And we're never in a rush. A few times I've had to get out to make a flight for a book tour and that gets very stressful...but generally we can see the storm coming at least 12 hours ahead and can make other arrangements.

But nfor the most part Michael and I just light the fire, put water in the tub in case the power goes off (no - not 'cut off'!) and make sure we have lots of food. Then we hunker down and watch the storm hit. It is amazing to be safe and warm inside. Though I always spare a thought and prayer for people stuck on the highways.

Now that is terrifying. I don't know an adult Canadian who hasn't had the experience of knowing this was how, and when, they'd die. Only to, miraculously, survive.

Perhaps that's why our murder rate is so low in Canada. Why bother killing someone when the elements would do it soon enough for you?

Wrote some more of the Quick Reads book this just listening to music and sipping coffee. Still loving the montreal apartment.

Michael wrote to say Tony was stacking the winter wood supply, dropped off by Delmar - so we'll have plenty of winter wood.

Talk to you tomorrow. Have a great last day of the long weekend - if you get one. I now know that in the UK at least there is no Labour Day long weekend.

Be well.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Drugs? No thanks, I have a pink pig.

sunny, cool, temps 18

Am sitting in Montreal in the apartment sipping an extra strong cappuccino and eating a brilliant pink pastry shaped like a pig and filled with cream.

Life doesn't get much better.

Michael and his son stayed in the country to have a day or so to themselves. Susan and I drove back this morning. Had a riot yesterday. Susan loves farmers markets because she's such a good cook. I love to just crawl from stall to stall and table to table, wishing we were aquiring rather than thinning out our worldly goods. Still S. and I went to the Sutton market, got vegetables and baked goods and some jewelery and bits and bobs. Then off to the Knowlton market...which is very nice, but more serious...not as much a market/yard sale. I didn't get anything, but Susan bought some sausages.

That took all morning an slightly into the afternoon. The guys headed off to thge Broke Lake Fair. Victor had never been and Michael was happy to show him around. The had a fabulous time too...learned all about how horses were shod. and a thing called The Cage of Death!!!!

Then Susan came over for dinner...bbq steaK, as well as fresh zucchini and corn barbequed as it was unfortunate when 30 seconds in the BBQ ran out of gas.

Oh, dear. We seem to be power-challenged of late!

Happily, Susan had made a HUGE peach crisp for dessert, so there was always that to be had, along with baguette that didn't need to the barbequed. The other fortunate thing was that the bbq at the guest cottage still had gas, so we zipped over there and took the tank. Slightly late, the dinner was done. It was a spectacularly beautiful day and evening, so it was lovely to hang by the pool, barbequing, listening to everyone talking and laughing.

A perfect Labour Day long weekend.

Now I have a day or so to myself. have rented some DVD's - got some pastries - and other nutritious food and plan to write some of the novella, prepare for Tuesday's news conference on the literacy project and just relax. Will be meeting a woiman I don't know but is married to the son of an aquaitance...I've met the son. Terrific family. Anyway, had a call from the son, David, to say his wife has written a book and... I could see it coming. Would I mind reading it? Critiquing it? Sending it to my agent?

These are TOTALLY appropriate and understandable questions, and ones I asked of authors when I was desperately trying to get a toe-hold in publishing. I never, ever get upset being asked that - and indeed have only admiration for people who have the courage to ask.

But -

Thge unfortunate fact is right now I just have run out of time. So I've instituted a 'no more endorsement' policy, and the most I will agree to do is read the first few thousand words of a manuscript and critque it. The fact is, within the first few thoiusand words you know if the person can write, if the characters and setting are alive, and if a reader would want to go further. Truth be told? You generally know in the first 100 words. Most agents, editors and the general public give a book one maybe two paragraphs to hook them.

So - I was actually dreading what David would say because it is extremely hard to say no to a friend or aquaintance...especially people from the country. So I was stunned and delighted when his next sentence was that his wife has landed a two book contract with HarperCollins Canada!!!

How wonderful is that??

He simply wanted to know if I could speak with her and tell her some of the things I wished I'd known when I'd first started out. So she and I chatted and have arranged to meet for coffee in Montreal tomorrow afternoon.

I cannot tell you how happy I always am to hear when authors land contracts. So this will be a joy.

Hope you're enjoying your long weekend and are healthy and well. At peace. If not, may I suggest a violent pink pig pastry and a double cappuccino?

Speak tomorrow.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Lise wins 1st place at Fair!!!

sunny, hot, temps 28

another stunning day. full moon last night. We walked back from the cottage, through the woods and turned off the flashlight - we didn't need it until we got into the trees. The moon was brilliant enough.

Had a blast today. Went off to the Brome County Fair with Michael and Susan. Ran into all sorts of friends. Janet, and Nancy and George, Wayne and Shirley. Lise - my assistant won first prize in the hooked rug competition!!! We saw her entry and it's magnificent...she actually made a rug version of the fair poster from a couple of years ago.

Congratulations, Lise!!!

We ate Derby burgers and fries - watched the cattle judging...Michael decided the second one from the right would win.

Why, I asked, never knowing he had an eye for cow-flesh. Perhaps, I thought, this new Emeritus status comes with new knowledge. Apparently not.

It has a nice bum, he said.

That was really the last time I asked which one he thought would win. Susan thought the one making all the mooing sounds would win, except it wasn't actually in the ring.

We then visited the animal sheds, where the animals waited for their judging times. Sheep and goats and rabbits and chickens.

We bought home-made chutney and corn on the cob and peaches and tomatoes...and got soft ice-cream cones each and watched teens get on the scariest rides! Such fun to watch from the safety of the ground - with an ice cream cone.

Oh, we also tried one of the games of skill and chance. Darts, thrown at balloons. We had 7 darts. I threw 2 and hit 2 balloons. Michael threw 2 and hit 2 balloons, and Susan threw 3 and hit 2 balloons. We won a brilliant blue stuffed pony we gave to Pat for her granddaughter. That poor concession! If we could burst so many balloons they're going to be bankrupt in hours!

But we had a lot of fun.

Home now - organizing some things, replying the letters and phone calls from the last week. Gorgeous, gorgeous day and the entire weekend is supposed to be fabulous.

Hope you're enjoying your weekend!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Emeritus Professor Whitehead

brilliant, sunny day, warm, temps 25 - full moon

Gorgeous, perfect, still day. We're finally back in Sutton and wow does it feel great!

As you might be able to tell from the title, we returned to find a wonderful letter from McGill University, where Michael was a full professor of Medicine - that he has been awarded the honorific of Professor Emeritus!!!

We are both so moved and thrilled! What a remarkable career he has enjoyed. Teaching, research, his clinical practice, and running the hematology department at the Montreal Children's hospital...helping, or at least trying to help, so many children with cancer.

I cannot tell you how proud I am of him - and how wonderful this recognition is - and how well deserved!

Congratulations, Michael!!

I'm sorry not to have written sooner, but I headed off to New York City early Tuesday morning for publishers meetings, and returned fairly late last night. Shouldn't have been all that late except my flight got in at 5pm into Dorval airport, along with every huge plane in the world...and the customs was packed. It was ridiculous. On top of that, there were only 6 customs agents on duty for almost a thousand people. the line snaked around and around like a very ill-tempered colon. At one stage I thought they must have added lots more agents because the line suddenly seemed to move. Then I realized my metabolism must have slowed down and my body gone into survival/hibernation mode - so that a small shuffle forward felt like a sprint. The customs line lasted way longer than the flight. If I was a visitor to Canada I would never return.


I spent the time composing stern letters to my MP - which I then forgot in the euphoria of being through.

Oh, the power has been restored next door, which is good, since our friend Susan came down with us to stay the long labour day weekend. It's the Brome County Fair weekend, and we're off to see it tomorrow. Visit the animals (Michael has a thing for goats, but don't tell anyone) - we need to eat a famous Derby Burger, made by our neighbors down the dirt road, Charlie Derby - though they have competition at the fair these days from the bison burgers.

There's fresh cooked corn on the cob, and candy floss, and licorice sticks and pipes and fragrant, sweet apples.

Michael had another eye doctor's appointment with mixed results...but some hope! The leak is still there, and his eye pressure has dropped to dangerous levels, but the doc now thinks he can probably operate, close the tear and put in a shunt (which, of course I immediate associate with freight cars but suspect and hope that isn't accurate).

The Doc wants to take it slowly and give the eye a chance to heal on its own, so we'll go back in 2 weeks and the operation is scheduled for october 1st.

We have every hope it will work.

We both want to sincerely thank all of you for your well wishes...both those of you who wrote to us, and those of you who might not have written but who thought of us with kindness. We could feel it. And this comes with my sincerely gratitude.

New York City was wonderful. I'm slowly getting to know it. Feeling more comfortable, though I still get turned around, which is nigh-on impossible since it's a grid actually have to work at getting lost.

I walked from 52nd street where my hotel was, down to 20th for a lunch date, then back up - so lost in my own thoughts and imagination that I overshot it and finally ground to a hot halt at 59th street. 70 blocks of NYC...and adoring every moment. Of course, the weather was glorious.

I'm very, very glad to be getting to know New York, and feel less alienated. Such a shame not to appreciate one of the great cities of the world - and what a relief to feel that happening. Familiarity...and perseverance.

This has been yet another unexpected blessing of my writing career. Without it I would never have kept returning to New York... and would never have grown to really like it.

Well, off to the bedroom....haven't even been upstairs yet. We arrived in the country around 2pm - unloaded the car - then I went over the the guest cottage and Susan and I hopped in the car and drove across the border to the Hannaford in Enosburg, Vermont. She had a shopping list almost as long as the customs line. I, of course, impulse of my favorite things. Then we headed home - arriving about 5pm...then I replenished the flowers in vases around the home and cut some to take over to susan...then Michael and Trudy and I walked through the woods to the cottage for dinner.

Susan's a fabulous cook!

And now we're home and I wanted to write you with an update, and to tell you about the Emeritus news, which we're excited about - and the very hopeful news about Michael's eye.

And to thank you, for your support!

Thank you.