Sunday, 10 January 2010

Just plain cold

overcast, temps minus 24

OK, jokes over. We can return to normally scheduled programming now. Please. This is cold by even Quebec standards. And where the ice and snow in the trees was glorious yesterday, now I notice many trees bending over, and branches on the ground where they've grown too brittle and broken. Must get out there with a broom and whack our honeysuckle bush.

Still, this is actually pretty much winter here. A few days every winter of desperate cold. Followed by three months of just plain very cold. And a couple months of simply cold.

I actually quite like it. Except for the cold, of course.

Am by the fireplace again, sending My Assistant Lise info on permissions for the sixth book...poetry. Mostly Margaret Atwood. and need to register for Bouchercon. It's a huge crime readers and writers convention. Moves around each year. This year it's in San Francisco in October.

Listening to the soundtrack to The Piano. Loved the the score.

Some people have asked about THE HANGMAN. It's a novella I've written featuring Gamache and a murder in Three Pines. It's part of a new Canadian literacy project called Quick Reads, based on a very successful programme in the UK. Recognizing that emerging readers, adults, are not interested in reading books for kids - that it is in fact insulting and counter-productive to offer them that - the literacy groups decided to approach writers and ask for very short books (slightly longer than a short story) that can be read by adults at a grade 3 to 5 reading level. I was asked to be part of the first wave of Canadian novelists. Very exciting. As you might know, I'm quite involved in literacy campaigns here. How exciting to help someone discover not only the practicalities of reading, but the joy and power! The comfort. The excitement.

THE HANGMAN is the novella I came up with. Just being edited now. I believe it will be published this fall and should be available in the States as well as Canada.

I hope it isn't crap. That would be disappointing.

Quiet day today. Will continue reading the mass market proofs for THE BRUTAL TELLING...finding some odd mistakes...and one howler, as some of you know... will say no more.

I adore days like this...quiet reading, small easy tasks, feeding the birds with Trudy...and working myself up to a bath. Bliss.

Hope this find you enjoying your Sunday. Sorry about the blast of cold Canadian air we've sent south. I blame society.


whalewatcher said...

Thanks for filling us in on THE HANGMAN. As w/so many other good things you do I am not surprised you're helping out in a literacy project. As a 2nd grade teacher I have a prejudice towards increasing literacy. ; ) I look forward to reading it.
Sunny and cold here today, but not -24, so you 'win'. Everyday tasks on my agenda and no fireplace, but a cuppa in my Gamache mug and a book will suffice.
Take care,

Marjorie said...


1. I would pay good money to see a video of you and Michael whacking your honeysuckle bush with a broom! I guess that would mean that Trudy would have to take the video, though. I am sure she is more than capable.

2. If the literacy people were smart, they would make "The Hangman" available as a fundraising tool for their wonderful efforts. I certainly plan on buying it if it is made available.

3. Are you really sure you want to go to St. Lucia? Think how hard it might be to adjust to the sub-zero weather once you return!!!

4. I am having a quiet Sunday as well. Finished a mystery book today that many people raved about. I found it sort of pretentious and hollow. 370 pages of reading time that I will never get back. Which is just the opposite of what I want from books and which is why I am reminded why I love your writing so much.

From Connecticut where it is currently a toast
24 degrees F,

Nikki B said...

Good Morning Louise,

You have just given me the incentive to go out into the 20 degree temps to get yesterdays' mail...feeling like it is a bit balmy here now!

I am going to recommend The Hangman to a client who has a mental illness and has a reading tutor--I have been encouraging her to read more on her own and she is doing so well! Also have a client that works at Kuman (and is also in the Killer Coffee Club), and she is always looking for new things for the kids to read! (and I also would not turn down the chance for yet another Gamache adventure)

The Brutal Telling is on my reading queue for next week --- and now I will also have fun searching for the howler!!

My advice is to postpone the broom hacking and stay by the fire....but if you do venture out I truly believe it is all about the earmuffs!!


whalewatcher said...

Ignorance showing here.... and if it is just a private joke that is fine. What does it mean when people are talking about a 'howler' in the next book, please?

lil Gluckstern said...

Brrr, can only imagine how cold it is, my lungs are aching in sympathy. Here it is cool and damp-54 degrees. We actually had a moderate quake up north, some broken glass and aftershocks. Every area is visited by mother nature in one way or another, I guess. Mostly a quiet day here too, looking forward to hearing about the "howler"? Enjoy the quiet.

Barb said...

My Sunday is full of book club paperwork, and online stuff, so I'm a happy woman. Plus football is on, so that's another happiness.

I think the Hangman project is an excellent idea, and Louise, I know it isn't going to be 'crap'. :) As a kid, I walked to our small town library and tried to sneak adult mysteries past the librarian, by putting them in the middle of a stack of young readers. She always caught me. I had to not only bring a note from mom giving me permission to read those adult books, but had to actually bring MOM with me to tell the librarian in person. Sigh.

I am not sure if I know what Louise means by the "howler", I think I do, but am not 100% and anyway, she should do the honors even if I AM correct. :D

Adriana said...

I think the novella is a great idea, Louise. I grew up in Argentina and I am a librarian. I can say that novellas really can bridge the gap between non-readers, readers where English is their second language and they are used with very good results in literacy programs. The 3-5 grade levels are perfect for engaging the reader and making them want to finish the stories. Great idea. As a librarian, I thank you.

I also thank you for sending the cold south. I live in the beautiful and spoiled town of Sarasota, Florida where the weather has been in the 30s and 40s for days. And while I know that sounds like paradise to the north, our bones hurt from the humidity. But my husband bought me a Kindle for Christmas and your second and third books are the first ones I bought on it (the only ones that are on it so far), so I sit inside, reading one with a hot meatball, potato, and rice soup with mint. I just wish our house had a fireplace.

Thanks for your beautiful writing. Still makes me want to visit Three Pines, if I could find it on a map, I'd go to the Bistro.

Shelagh said...

Hi Louise,

Here, in Michigan, we have two seasons - winter, and construction!. We've had a couple of bitterly cold nights lately but the past couple of days have been in the 20'sF with brilliant blue sky and lots of sunshine.

I bought my daughter a Kindle for Christmas and, of course, the first three books I purchased for it were the first three Three Pines mysteries for it.

I think I know the "howler" from The Brutal Telling, but I agree with Barb and will let you tell us.

Will also join the other bloggers with reading "The Hangman".

How's the honeysuckle bush?????

Hugs, Shelagh

Gail said...

Hello Louise,

As one of a number of Canadian writers who are contributing to the Raven Reads series for Orca Books, I'm delighted to hear that you're part of the movement.

The pub date for "Love You To Death", my book for Raven Reads, is April 1, 2010. There are three other books in Raven's spring list, and although I'm not certain about the pub dates for the others, I do know that Orca has been addressing the needs of reluctant but eager readers here in Canada and in the U.S. for many years, so I'm grateful for this chance to piggyback on your blog.


Bev Stephans said...

Dear Louise,

Even though you are suffering through an obnoxious spell of weather, you still have time to tell about whacking your honeysuckle bush. That's very good form!

I've read The Brutal Telling and I don't remember a howler, but I skim sometimes, so there you have it.

I can't wait for The Hangman. It will be interesting to see how you do it.


Donna K said...

Sounds like you're turning on your weather..probably because you're going to a warmer climate and you're becoming a little smug now, huh?? huh? ha You turncoat you..

Here in northeastern Wisconsin we got some more snow..perfect for xcountry I went alone last Friday on impulse.
Friends working or on vacation.
But I like going alone....or I did..

until I saw the sign..yes, the sign...which stated that a black bear is in the area and to keep your distance.

of course everyone passed me...those speed skier types..skinny,shiny pants, unfriendly...all so very focused!! So I'm basically alone.

Bear like to be warned so I thought of humming like Michael but felt foolish doing it loudly enough..but luckily a couple of ladies fell coming down a hill and
so for awhile I had company in the near distance as I caught up to th em.

I have since decided I'd just have to wave my poles in the air and clack them together..if one would decide to walk my way that is.

I thought I'd found "The Howler"..coyotes don't howl.. just wolves...aha! I've got it! But no, of course they howl. (at the hermit's cabin in the beginning) I give up..

So sure-go --go ahead on your 2 week vacation while the bloggers go nuts combing through every word of "The Brutal Telling" about a brutal telling...

Sunday was frustrating. G.B. lost in the playoffs in overtime to Arizona. Our ball but we fumbled.

Well..back to my dogs.

p.s. Are you packing for Micahel? oops

Take care!

Anne said...

Sorry about your bitter cold - it's been brutal down here in NC but thankfully only one damaged pipe! Just finished reading "A Rule Against Murder" which got me back up at 4am to read more! Trying to put down in words why your writing is so compelling but suffering from head cold and fuzzy so have to just say it was and I can't wait to read another and another and another!Wish I'd started them in order but will correct that with my next one today.
Know your honeysuckle appreciated the dusting - and praying that the oranges in Florida are getting the same tender care. Anne

syaprods said...

Hi Louise,

I'm a new reader of your books and I've fallen completely in love with them. Congratulations.

FYI, I'm reading the US hardcover of THE BRUTAL TELLING and I just caught a typo (p.87 - just after the Chief Inspector adds two more questions to the paper in the incident room - third paragraph from the bottom - "dissatisfid"). Only reason I'm bringing it up is that you might find it to be the same in the mass market proofs.

I look forward to reading your books for many years to come. Thank you for writing them.


Louise Penny Author said...

Hi all,

What fab comments! Wanted to respond to each individually but as you know, I am quite lazy and slothful so this will be a community response to your terrific comments.

First - a blanket apology for the weather! Ours has moderated, and having spanked the honeysuckle (not a euphamism) with the broom (also, not a euphamism) it has bounced back. Other trees still stooping over, but damage seems limited.

Re:howler...what have I done??? Now you'll be (are) wondering. Well, I'm not going to tell you! Ha. But I will say it isn't a typo...but a confusion. Thanks for the typo, though, Suzanne - I hadnLt even seen that one!

Thank you all too for the support with The Hangman. wonderful to hear from Gail about her novella! And, incredibly, we"re actually involved in two different literacy projects! The "Raven Reads" is for Orca - and the one I'm involved with is called Quick Reads and is through ABC Canada Literacy federation. Orca is highly respected for all their books and it will be a fabulous series. Very exciting. And well worth checking out!!

Thanks for all your comments - such fun reading them...and no, I won't be packing for Michael but I will be checking him for boots, long underwear and tuques.

Henry said...

Dear Ms Penny:

I've just finished listening to "A Rule Against Murder" and it has had an interesting effect in that I wasn't so concerned about who "done it" but most enjoyed the characters and mood you've created and your writing style. I was disappointed that you do not list your books-on-tape.
I have too much non-fiction reading to do so rarely have time for detective stories and since my drive to my church (job) takes 45 minutes each way I split that time between Public Radio and books on tape.

Great stuff!

Henry Shaw, Commissioned Lay Pastor
Presbyterian Church of New Rochelle