Friday, 30 April 2010


sunny, warm, lovely day - temps 75

Glorious washington today...trees in full bloom.

Michael and I had breakfast together, though I was still full from yesterday. Then at 10am there was this wonderful event that I believe is unique to Malice Domestic and that's this sort of speed dating with authors. 20 tables are set up, with ten people at each, and space for 2 authors. the fabulous Canaidan myrsery writer Vicki Delany and I teamed up. We had 2 minutes each to talk about our books, then at the end of 4 minutes the authors got up and went to the next table and began again. For 90 minutes. By the end we were giddy with exhaustion.

Then Vicki, Michael and I headed off for lunch - and returned in time to hear William Link interviewed one-on-one. He's one half of the famous Levinson-Link TV producing team. They created Columbo and Murder, She Wrote and all sorts of other great TV shows and movies. Brilliant. He's one of the guest of honors here. Very funny interview - filled with anecdotes. Sadly I don't have time to go through it now. But trust me, they were hilarious. Best I'm just teasing you.

had a quiet hour in the room and now am in the lobby blogging - where the internet is available.

Oh, the Edgar's were last night in New York City and Minotaur Books (my publishers) cleaned up! John Hart won for Best Novel and the fabulous Stefani Pintoff won for best first novel for In the Shadow of Gotham. Congratulations!!!

Need to run...opening ceremonies in a few minutes...introducing the Agatha nominees.... Rhys Bown, Donna Andrews, Lorna Barrett, Hank Phillipi Ryan and me! Then the five of us have a panel...and then there's the live auction tonight. They're auctioning off a signed ARC for Bury Your Dead...the first person in the world, outside the publishers, to get a copy!!

Speak later...

Thursday, 29 April 2010

No, no, I'm not from Montreal, the home of the Habs...

Sunny, warm, temps mid-70's.

Wow, what a change. We had to wear our boots just to get to the car. Fortunately (unlike last November) both Michael and I remember to change out of them at the airport. Got away nice and early. By 8am. But we'd already had Tony topping up the swimming pool with water and Gary dropping by.

Gary, Michael and I danced around the mud room shouting, 'Habs!!! Habs!!!'

The Montreal Canadiens (known in Canada as the Habs after the french phrsae habitant) defeated the Washington Capitals 2-1 last night to take their series. Against ALL odds. The Habs were the last placed team and the Caps the first. Wow.

Gary's last word before leaving was, 'For God's sake, don't tell them you're from montreal.'

So what's the first thing I say when asked by the cab driver at the Washington airport where we're from? 'Oh, Montreal.'

he gave us the stink-eye.

As I say, Tony also dropped by

Indeed, we knew Tony was there because we heard what sounded like the biggest mouse in the world scrambling away behind a wall. A bull-mouse. Turns out it was just Tony, trying to attach the hose to the outside tap.

Ken and Mary came late yesterday, to vacuum the pool. I have a photo of them shoveling first, to get to it, after our snow fall. Fortunately most of it has fallen off the trees.

Got across the border easily and did the park and shuttle thing at the Burlington Airport. Twice. Let me explain...ahem... the community radio station gave me an MP3 player to record this I started recording events this morning...bits and piece, inclduing crossing the border. We got to the airport, jumped on the shuttle, checked in, got through security when I realized I'd left the recorder in the car!


Told Michael. Dear one volunteered to go all the way back. But I said, No, let's just leave it, I can record another event for them. But he I decided I really should go. (a rare moment of clarity). Went back through security, out the airport, waited for the nice shuttle to the park and shuttle, got the keys, walked to the car...and found the tape machine...lying on the pavement beside the car!!!

Just lying there.


Now this is a terribly expensive machine and I'm not at all sure what lie I'd have to tell them. Mugged in Washington, and the only thing they took as the MP3 player.

But I didn't have to...there it was.

Sooo, back on the shuttle, back to the airport, back through security, who now scrutinized me quite closely as a possible psychotic. And found Michael waiting at the gate. Told him the whole amazing story, and thanked him. he was quite chuffed, and he should be.

The flight from Burlington to Washington DC was about an hour...very smooth and easy, and fast.

We arrived, checked in - dodged dirty looks when people realized we were from Quebec... then went to a local seafood house for chowder and sea scallops. Now will spend the evening relaxing before tomorrow. We've been here at Malice Domestic so often it feels like home. Dear, not sure that sounds so good...

Go Habs!!!

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Snow! Snow!!

snow! More snow. temps slightly above freezing

We've had over a foot. More whacking away at the bushes and trees. Driving back from Sutton last night there were all these trees bowed down over the we had to weave around the trees. Again, very pretty, if it wasn't in danger of hurting the trees, and us.

Power went off and on all night long. Kept waking up to things clicking and whirring back to life. Though, that actually might have been Michael. Or me. I do whirr a lot.

This morning it continued to snow - more than 14 inches in total. Tony came by with more bird seed for the poor birds. Then a wonderful thing started melting. Fast. Now almost all the snow has come off the trees and bushes...phew.

Wrote lots today. Wrote good. Well, wrote lots. But didn't finish the first draft and now I'm too pooped. Will take the computer with me and see what happens. Off to Washington tomorrow - for Malice Domestic.

So looking forward to it. Busy, busy time - but I just love this readers and writers conference. it focusses on traditional mysteries. the readers are deeply intelligent and very supportive of everyone.

Might not be able to blog tomorrow - but will try.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010


Snow!!! temps zero


Did I mention what happened today? We're having Snow!!! And now just a flake or two. We've had about a foot of heavy wet stuff. Very, very beautiful. But when it starts staying on the roads it's quite dangerous, especially since most people have removed their winter tires. We haven't. Couldn't get an appointment with the garage until next Tuesday. Seemed nuts to be driving on winter tires into May. Until today. Now we look brilliant.

The main problem for us, though, is what the heavy snow does to the trees and bushes and flowers. Poor tulips, bowed to the ground. But it's the bushes and trees that are the most worrisome. After feeding trudy she and I went outside with a big broom, and swept the honeysuckle and lilacs and apple trees.

Very satisfying - and fun. they bounced right back into place once the snow dropped off their branches.

The other problem, related to trees and heavy snow, is that they bend over onto the hydro wires (electrical lines I guess they're called elsewhere) - causing power outages. We poured a tubful of water, in case there's an outage.

Michael and I went to breakfast this morning, then to Knowlton to visit Lucy and Danny at the bookstore and sign some books. then over to the community radio station - CIDI. I told them I'd take a tape machine and record our trip to Washington for Malice Domestic and the Agatha Awards - to give people an idea what it feels like from the inside. But we had to pop by to pick up the machine and learn how to use it.

Nice day yesterday too...but with writing like a maniac trying to finish the book before heading to Washington Thursday I barely looked up. So didn't have time to blog. Then we had a dinner party last night. Actually, it was a fundraiser to raise money for sports facilities for kids here. 300 people at the chalet of the ski hill, Mont Sutton. Ironic it should start to snow while there. Our friend Wilder arranged for a table. Lots of fun. But to be honest I was so tired and distracted I'm not sure I was the best companion. And the music was so loud it was almost impossible to hear.

But I'm glad we went...and we met a bunch of people we've never met before.

We have a neighborhood watch meeting tonight, in Sutton. Through the snow, but our friends and neighbors Guy and Nicole are organizing it - so we really should go. Besides, there'll be Surete du Quebec officers there - and I have some questions.

I don't actually think I'll be finished the book tomorrow - but I'm close. We'll see. Perhaps I'll get as far as I can and just write, The End.

Hope you're enjoying the day!

Sunday, 25 April 2010

The end is nigh...or...The end is not nigh

mainly sunny, mild, temps 15

Did a lot of writing today - almost 4,000 words. I think my plan now is just to blast through to the end, and worry about whether these sections are any good on the second draft. I know, I know - I've said that before...but this time I think I mean it. I'm so close to the end...I can hear and see the next few scenes...and I know that when I get to this stage in the next draft it will be obvious what needs to be changed.

But we'll see. The only problem, as ever, is that the end seems to keep moving further away.

Michael is also VERY close to finishing his first draft...very exciting.

Lovely day here...the gardens, thanks to Lise and Donna, look spectacular. Trudy and I toured them a few times - and around the pond too. Sitting here in the TV room I can see the front porch and see a birds next there - with a bird coming and going. not sure it there are eggs or babies. That would be fun.

VERY happy that the Canada geese seem to have given our pond a miss this year. We love seeing them and their babies - but their droppings get old fast.

Nice quiet day. Bliss. Nothing to do except what we want. Which is pretty well drinking cafe au lait, eat Social Teas, write, and walk with Trudy.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

the doc's dock

sunny, mild, temps 15

Another beautiful day - we're back in Sutton. Walked over to the guest cottage with trudy to see how Gary and Alan got on without our supervision and advice. Oddly, everything is finished! And done beautifully!! The large blacony/deck/verandah. And they re-built the dock completely! And even built in a bench. It is just so peaceful on a summer's day to sit down there with a cup of coffee in the morning. And now they needn't worry about taking their lives in their hands.

the place is getting very uninteresting. Hardly any mortal dangers anymore. Bears gone. Decks without holes. Docks repaired. We're heading off to Malice on Thursday (thank for the link, Marjorie!!!) - but friends will be using the cottage in our absence - coming for a funeral.

Speaking of travels, we've confirmed (as far as I know) that the Canadian launch party for Bury Your Dead will be in Quebec City on Friday, Oct 29th. At the Morrin Centre - which is the home of the wonderful Literary and Historical Society - where much of the action of Bury Your Dead takes place. We'll be there, of course...and it'll be a GREAT party. If you can come that would be amazing.

And, have just booked a few days in New York in early July...some business stuff, but mostly going to celebrate my friend Dan's birthday. Michael and I will be staying at a hotel I've been dying to try - the W Union Square. Now, we've stayed at lots of W's - like them a lot...but they are famous for compact rooms...and in NYC they tend to be miniscule. But apparently the W Un ion Square has much larger rooms...and we booked into a Mega Room - which bodes well. Will let you know, of course.

Gary and Alan, Bless 'em, also put the dock in at the main house.

The daffodils are all up - the tulips are just days away from blooming. What an amazing time of the year...especually when you consider the feet and feet of snow not all that long ago.

Didn't get any writing done today - but did a first draft of the May newsletter. Don't forget, I'll be giving away 2 copies of the advance copy of BURY YOUR DEAD in this newsletter. It always feels better to get the newsletter written. Linda Lyall, in Scotland, who manages and designs the website and newsletter, is magnificent.

Must go. Have some gardening to do. As we talked to the cottage I noticed some digitalis in the forest _ where i'd spread seeds years ago - and want to dig some up and plant them in the garden around the house. And our friend Cotton dropped by while we were gone and left off three beautiful potted asian lilies, which need to be popped into the garden as well. The cutting garden I think, for them.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Oh - the Canadien's won!!! Just when we thought we'd be put out of our misery. But hope still burns.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Earth Day - plus one

sunny, mild, temps 10

A little cool in the shade...still wearing my all-time favorite coat - a waxed Barbour we bought years ago in London. In fact, the photo to the right - me sitting on the bench at home - in that photo I'm wearing it too. Love it. Because it's waxed I smell more than a little bit like an old tent.

An oddly comforting smell, actually. At least for me - not sure if it's as comforting for my companions.

Like most people, I'm drawn to fragrance. Roses, sandalwood, coffee, bacon, fresh cut grass, peony, lilac, smoke from maple logs in the fireplace - and old tents. I read once that my generation (I'm turning 52) tends to relate to chemical smells - gasoline, Ben Gay, cool aid. Things that are manufactured. The older generation reacts to natural aromas - like grass.

I thought that was interesting - and perhaps even true. I know when I smell Ben Gay I feel comforted. I suspect when my mother smelt it she felt simply stressed. One more sick child.

Had fun yesterday - very hectic day. Supposed to have breakfast with our friend but there was a confusion of dates. Frustrating since we'd have loved to see her, and it pushed our day back by 2 hours. We'd normally be at the restaurant for breakfast by 7:30 - 8am - home by nine and writing...but she wanted to meet at 9am. So lost 2 hours of precious writing time when I'm rushing and working hard to try to finish before we head to Washington next Thursday. Not catastrophic if I don't finish, but having to stop writing for four days in a first draft is never a good thing for me.

But, got home and got 2 hours of writing done anyway, before heading off to our tax accountant. Great news - I'm getting a refund. Not great news - it will be eaten up and then some by Michael's taxes! All those pedicures, I suspect.

Then we hopped it over to the Delta in Montrealfor the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival - met Nancy and pat and Barbara and Anthony for drinks and dinner. I scooted away briefly to meet with Louise loiselle, the president of Flammarion Quebec, my French publisher. She was there with one of her authors, James Frey. Rejoined the others then we headed to the event room.

It's always a little scary, thinking no one will show up - but the place was packed. Barbara Fradkin and Anthony Bidulka were sparkling and fascinating...and then Anthony was nominated for the Arthur Ellis for Best Novel...which was thrilling!

there was a wine and cheese afterward - sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada. Nancy Grant - the VP of the CWC did the most wonderful thing. She took all our book covers and turned them into wine labels, then stuck them on wine bottles. It was a riot.

Home by shortly after 9pm...pooped.

Hope you had a happy Earth Day. When I think of the changes in our lives - environmentally speaking - since the first Earth Day 40 years ago I shudder. At the waste I'm responsible the fear of what we've collectively done - but also at how easy the changes are to implement. Our garbage is easily a quarter what it once was. We have one car (and a horse). We compost and turn off lights. And still we could do so much more.

I look at old movies - from the 40s or 50s - and want to shout at the screen...don't do it. Don't ruin everything. Don't build big cars and create fast food and strip the rain forests, don't rip of passenger rail routes and don't believe plastic is the future.

But apparently screaming at the TV doesn't work. if it did the montreal Canadiens would be winning their series!

Be well - speak to you tomorrow. Back to work for me.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

One tooth down

mainly sunny, warm, temps 17

Another beautiful day. Tossed and turned last night...worried about the book. Finally fell asleep and woke up to the alarm just before 6am. Michael is wonderful. Before I was writing I was always the first up - getting breakfast for everyone, walking Trudy. But since writing...indeed in the past couple years - he's started getting up first and making breakfast and walking Trudy. In the summer this is lovely, but not as heroic as in the dead of winter. Nothing quite like walking Trudy in pitch black and minus 20. At 7am.

Still, summer or winter, I appreciate that little extra time in bed - and to get up when I smell the coffee! Bliss.

Was at work before 8am... afraid to read what I did yesterday and the day before. But was surprised and relieved to see how much I liked it...until about 2/3rds of the way through...then it got rough. So I cut and added and polished - and edited. Took away about 1500 words and added about 1000. And now I'm very relieved and very tired.

We drove in to Mtl - and took Michael to his dentist, who decided to do some adjustments on a lower tooth. Tomorrow Michael's going to the specialist about the old root canal. Breakfast with an old family friend...Mary. At Nick's, of course. Then writing. Then our accountant Frank for taxes....then...Blue Met panel.

Great news, though!! NAT Grant, who was organizing the event and was trapped in London flew out today! So she'll be there. Organizing... I'll be there moderating. And Barbara Fradkin and Anthony Bidulka will be there panalist-ing.

If you come, you need to know there's a free wine and cheese after, sponsored by the Crime Writers of Canada.

Hope you're well! Speak tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Moving ahead by going back

mainly sunny, warm, lovely day. temps 15

Gorgeous day - Lise, Donna Del and two young men shoveled compost for most of the day - and the garden looks spectacular. There was a bat flying around, though. Freaked poor Donna out. I love bats - but don't really want to get too close. They're just so good for the environment...but they should not be flying around during the day.

not sure what's up with this property...normally noctural creatures are about in broad daylight. The skunk and now the bat.

Our theory is it's the bat that was asleep this winter by the fireplace, that I took out and put in the shed. The gardeners disturbed it today and it left the shed and just zoomed around. I hope so. Like to think the little bat survived.

We dropped by and saw Markus...rolling in the mud. Very happy horse! Also dropped by and saw Gary and Alan at the guest cottage and the new balcony they've built. Fabulous!

Went to breakfast with michael this morning - then drove to Richford, to mail the page proof corrections to NYC - and listen to music and think about the rest of the book. Actually, I just had another structural idea.

Wrote a few thousand words...but now i think I need to go back and re-do it. Oh well.

have been invited to the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, TN - for Oct 8,9th. And the Calgary Literary Festival. Not sure if I can make that one, though I'd LOVE to. My friend Anne Green runs it and it's her last year putting it together, so would love to go to celebrate her. But it's the same weekend as Bouchercon, in San Francisco. the big crime readers and writers convention.

Busy week...will set the alarm and get up early tomorrow to write a couple thousand words before noon - then off to Montreal for Michael's dentist stuff...then Thursday we have breakfast with a friend, and off to Blue Met. The ash cloud had stranded the Crime Writers of Canada organizer of the event in England - so Barbara, Tony and I need to get there early and figure things out. Happily we've all done this many times...but it means doing stuff we wouldn't normally. (do NOT let your imaginations go wild)

Then the event at 6:30 at the delta hotel. Thanks, Marjorie, for the link on the comments page!!!

Will try to blog tomorrow...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Barbara Fradkin and Anthony Bidulka

cloudy, showers cool, temps 3

Lise and Donna came to tidy the garden more before Del arrives tomorrow with several strong guys to spread the compost. Always an exciting day. And - you must know - I'm not being facetious. I honestly get excited by compost day. As does Lise. Which makes us such a great team. That and the fact Lise made chocolate covered graham crackers this morning and brought four of them for us!

In fact, My Assistant (and Gardener) Lise is the woman I want to be. Efficient, kind, generous - a really hard worker who never complains (even when we gave her a urinal as a welcome gift...well, it's actually a vase, but it sure looks like a urinal). We pay her in dog biscuits. She does complain a bit about that.

Wrote almost 4,000 words today. Difficult scene, so surprising so many words ended up on the page. But I'm at that stage where I think what I'll do now (often do this at various stages in books) is throw a lot of words onto the page one day and try not to worry what a dog's breakfast it might be, then spend the next day or two editing and shaping. Then do more original writing...and then edit. Kind of move along in stages.

I also realize I can take a lot of words out without losing anything important. Indeed, it picks up the less is more. In reading over and editing from the day before I see what I often do. I put WAY too many steps in. I'll say something like, "Gamache sat down then looked over at Gabri before picking up his glass and taking a sip of red wine." I actually have not written that sentence in the book...but it would be improved by simply saying, "Gamache sat, and looking over at Gabri he took a sip of red wine.' No need to say he picked up his glass. Like saying someone walked over to the stairs and went up them. Most of the time we can just say he went upstairs. The rest can be taken for granted. Not every step needs to be described. That's your job as the reader. You do at least half the can fill in the blanks. Our job is to lead you there. And not treat you like idiots.

Wanted to mention I'll be moderating a panel discussion this coming Thursday evening at 6:30 - as part of the Montreal literary festival called Blue Metropolis. It's with two fabulous mystery writers - Barbara Fradkin and Anthony Bidulka. both award-winning, bestselling authors. It's at the Delta Hotel in Montreal. Indeed the Blue Met starts Wed. and goes all weekend. But if you like mysteries and live anywhere close to Montreal you might want to come to our event. you have to buy tickets, but I think you can get a ticket just to whatever events you'd like to see.

Hope to see you there!

So, I find, I can often just drop words like 'up', 'down', 'over'. Sometimes I leave them in for cadence or flow

Sunday, 18 April 2010

When Peckish Turns to Piggy - by Michael W

rain, rain and rain temps 4

We're back in Sutton after a wonderful weekend. Had huge fun in Burlington, VT for Susan's birthday. Her good friend Liz was there too. We went shopping on Church street, hit a couple book stores, had drinks in our room all together so Susan could open her gifts....then all headed out to a restaurant called The Belted Cow.

Oh. My. God.

Amazing food. And we know amazing. And we know food! This was fabulous. We started with the asparagus soup with bacon and morels, some divine flatbread shared - then onto the main course. Michael had the filet mignon, Liz had the salmon and the Birthday Girl and I had the pork. All have horseradish mashed potatoes.

It was delicious and disgusting. You'd have thought we never eat. But the portions were so big not even Michael W could finish - however a few minutes later he was eye-ing a lemon concoction at the next table.

I vowed never to eat again.

Next mornining, lying in bed and talking about what a great evening we'd had I asked Michael how he felt. He said, 'I now know what happens when peckish turns to piggy.' It was such a perfect line - and decritpion of all of us - I had to use it.

Can you believe the ash. I find it odd I didn't mention it in earlier posts since I've been riveted to the news of the volcano since it happened. What a shock. All air traffic stopped in France, UK, Germany etc. Shocking. And dreadful for the travelers, especially families, caught up in it.

Like most of you, we have friends either stuck there, or stuck here - or whose vacations have been either cancelled or delayed beyond recognition. I wonder what the airlines etc will decide to do.

I finally finished the page proofs...sent the email corrections off and tomorrow need to mail the hard copy.

While the women were clothes shopping in Burlington, Michael decided to sit outside on a bench in the mall and stare into space, which is apparently more interesting than answering, 'What do you think of this? Do you like it?'

He voted with his feet. But eventually tired to looking at thin air and took himself off to the William-Sonoma. We don't have a WS in Quebec so this is a treat. And, I think he was trying to make up for the gift he brought back for me from NYC last week.

It was wrinkle remover.

I kid you not. This is right up there with his gift for our very first Christmas together - make-up lessons.

Now, I have to tell you, unless Este Lauder has started making caulking, my wrinkles are going nowhere. But I think he saw my face when I tore the paper off his gift. So off he went.

For those of you who read A Rule Against Murder/The Murder Stone, there's a scene where Gamache describes the first gift he took to Reine-Marie's mother, when they were dating, and he was a young, nervous man trying to make a good impression. Well, the gift he gave was exactly the same as the one Michael describes giving to the mother of his first love, fifty five years ago.

He took her, for reasons that defy explanation, a bath mat.

So, the bar is set pretty low for Dr. Michael. Anything short of a handful of skunk poop is considered good in this family. So I really just thanked him for the wrinkle remover and now have the added gift of being able to kid him about it.

But he actually found a lovely gift at WS. Soap. And not an anti-fungal, industrial strength deodorant, medicinal, facial hair removing soap. But some lovely rose scented liquid soap and hand cream. It'll go into the city apartment.

We're home now. I'm sitting in front of the fireplace, reading a manuscript an editor/friend sent to read to possibly blurb. I say no thank you to most requests these days. Just don't have time. but he's my first editor - and since left the imprint for another. And his dog, Henry, inspired Gamache's Henri. So I really owe him. And like him. The manuscript's a riot. Am already halfway through. It's really a Christmas novella, called The Fat Man - A Tale of North Pole Noir. And is hilarious.

Such is our Sunday - sipping cafe au lait and listening to Simon and Garfunkle. And planning a bubble bath.

Be well. Will talk to you tomorrow.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Michael's got nerve (s)

rain, cool, temps 3

We're in Montreal. Having a wonderful day....especiually hearing from Lise that it was snowing in Sutton this morning. Not here. Rain and cool, but not bad at all.

Michael went to his dentist yesterday afternoon because a tooth was hurting. Seems it was the same tooth that had had a root canal 15 years ago. Which is odd. Given that generally a root canal would kill the nerve, or root. But now the tooth is hurting. The dentist (who didn't do the root canal) says sometimes a tooth had more than one root, it can be like a tree, I suppose, with small off shoots.

Michael seems to be root-enriched. But the dentists grinded the tooth down a bit and now it isn't hurting, and Michael's just made an appointment with the root-canal guy. For next week.

He's feel much better.

We had a splendid day here. Writing. Wrote about 3,000 words...very complex series of scenes. not sure how good it is, but I think it's quite good. Will know better tomorrow when I read it over.

All our adventures with the bear (well, granted, most of them have been in my head) made me remember a not very good movie with two great actors...The Edge...Anthony Hopkins, Alec Baldwin and a honkin great grizzly bear. It's a silly movie, but with lovely scenery, which all three actors are now eating. This might not help my concerns about a bear breaking into our home. But perhaps I will now dream about Alec Baldwin breaking in.

I'm ready.

Writing tomorrow morning then off to Burlington for dinner with Susan and her friend Liz, to celebrate Susan's birthday. We're eating at the Belted Cow. Might not have a chance to blog tomorrow. Will aim for Sunday!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


beautiful sunny day, cool - temps 6

heavy frost on the ground this morning. temp minus 1 when we left for birthday breakfast with Cheryl. Such a fun time. She just turned 50...and I'm turning 52. Wonderful to have a friend going through exactly the same things, same issues, as I am. Feeling in many ways stronger, more confident - but also questioning alot of things in our lives. And in ourselves. And how to become better people. And still be true to who we are. When to bend and when to stand firm.

A life-long learning, at least for me.

so it's always wonderful to speak to Cheryl, who is funny, kind, thoughtful - and honest about how she's feeling.

Dropped by the guest cottage later in the afternoon - the new balcony is looking spectacular. Had to climb a ladder to get up. then walked out onto the dock and almost fell through. Gary...are you listening? (or even reading??) the dock needs replacing!!!

I'll tell you, this guest cottage - if anything can go wrong, it will. do you remember last autumn when suddenly the septic tank needed replacing and michael fell into it? Between Michael and Trudy it's no wonder guests prefer their own separate home.

Busy day. had a conference call about the US cover for Bury Your DEad. VERY exciting. Can hardly wait for you to see it.

And the Advance Readers Copies (ARCs) of Bury Your Dead will be ready soon! I'm going to give two away with the May newsletter and every subsequent newsletter until publication in September. Good luck.

Between calls and emails (trying to set-up Canadian tours as well and have just been invited to the International Festival of Authors in Toronto) I managed about 12-hundred words today.

And then Michael said he had a tooth ache. So we called the dentist in Montreal and tried to book in for today, but could only get tomorrow at 4:30. In Montreal. But I have a big interview with VITA magazine (the French equivalent of MORE Magazine) tomorrow at 2pm. here.

I wrote Annick, the lovely woman writing the article and asked if she could come earlier, and explained why. She very kindly wrote back to say she can make it another day. So we've re-scheduled for April 28th - just before we head to Washington for Malice domestic.

Finished the page proofs last night - and today I sent off an email with all the corrections. SO theilled to have that done. Always a huge job.

So - will write tomorrow morning, we'll hop in the car (Pat and Tony will come and sit Trudy) - and head to the Mtl apartment. We've decided since we'll be going to Burlington, VT for dinner Saturday to celebrate our friend Susan's birthday (and staying the night) we might as well stay in MTL and drive directly down on Saturday.


Didn't worry about the bear yesterday. By the way, that 'Someone's been sleeping in my bed...' line from yesterday's blog came from Gary who guffawed when I told him my fear that Smokey would get into the house, and come gunning for us.

Be well - might not blog tomorrow, but will try to get back to you on Friday.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Somebody's been sleeping in my bed...

bright sunny skies, cool, temps 6

Very calm day, no wind...makes it feel much milder. But it is a crystal clear day. Gorgeous.

Didn't sleep well last night. Started off well. got to bed by 8:30 (yes - such is the life of an international jet setter) - read the page proofs for Bury Your 100 more done. Not many errors, at least not that I found. Then at 10pm I watched House Hunters and House Hunters International. New favorite shows. Fantasy stuff. Then off to sleep. I always fall asleep quickly.

And then, well, it's anyone's guess what happens. Happily most days now I sleep all the way through. But sometimes i wake up at 3 and toss and turn. Thinking about the book. But not last night. last night I woke up about 1am and starting thinking about....the bear.

suppose, my 1am brain asked, the bear comes back and is hungry. Can it break into the house? the doors are locked, the alarm is on...but maybe a bear doesn't worry about such things. And then what?

What was that? A creak? A groan? A bear?

So I lay in bed coming up with plans. Close and lock the bedroom door...though that seemed not very effective, if the bear could get through locked front door. Still, it would slow him down, thought my 1:30am brain.

but it did not seem the best plan. We could climb into the attic, I thought. drag a chair over, lift Michael into it first, get Trudy up there. Then I could jump up...and maybe knock over the chair. So the bear wouldn't come up too.

Have to take the phone to call someone. The Surete. They'd save us.

I fell off to sleep trying to remember to take the phone with us into the attic when the bear broke into the house.

I hope a degree of insanity is a good thing in a writer. Kind of too bad if it isn't.

Went off for breakfast in Cowansville today - then did some banking and renewed my drivers license and health care card. And then home by noon, for a call from my agent with the news Turkey has bought the rights to my books. That's terrific. Very happy about that.

fielded some requests for events to promote The Brutal Telling, including a possible mini-tour of Ontario linked to the Evergreen nominations of the Ontario Library System.

Then spent the afternoon writing book 7. Such a funny life (bears aside)...promoting The Brutal Telling, editing Bury Your Dead, writing book 7 and starting to think about book 8. No wonder I'm nutty.

tomorrow is our friend Bal's birthday, as well as our friend Cheryl's birthday! I'm heading off for a 7:30 birthday breakfast with Cheryl. Great way to start the day.

Hope you are slightly nuts too.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Absolutely no evidence, except....

Mainly sunny, cool, temps 5

A little breezy, and that's making it feel quite chilly.

Our quiet day today started with a mob scene. Woke up to see, out the bathroom window, Lise and Donna doing the garden. Then Wilder and Maurice arrived to clip and shape the lindens. Then we could hear hammering from the cottage - Gary and Alain building the new verandah. And then Jana arrived to talk about Markus.

All this before 9:30am.

I finally settled down to write by 10:30...and finished about five to three. Lots of phone calls too. many to do with Markus as well. As perhaps you've gathered, nothing ever moves in a straight line around here. The latest wrinkle is that the horse rescue network does not let their rescue horses go to anyone boarding at a riding school. The woman who runs the horse rescue network knows there are many, many wonderful, responsible, kind and terrific riding schools, but she and the board feel there's just a lot of potential for abuse. Great riding schools can be sold and the new owner might not have the same standards.

So, we'll see what happens...because I think Markus would thrive with Niki - the woman who came from Ottawa yesterday.

Wonderful seeing Lise and Donna today...that is always a great day. At some stage I went outside with Trudy who was whining to get outside and play with them - we toured the garden and I explained about the damage done by the bear. But also explained that it was something of a mystery since there was absolutely no evidence, beside the damage, that it was a bear. no poop. No prints. I pointed to the ground below the bent metal bar attached to the brick of our home...the one the bear bent.

'See,' I said, pointing at the blue bells. 'No paw prints.'

'You mean,' said Lise, 'like this one?'

'Huh?' says I.

Lise, having been there a full ten seconds, was pointing to the biggest honking bear paw print, in mud, face level on the wooden shutter.

'Well,' I said, 'except for that one, of course.'


How could we have missed it? Michael, Tony, Pat and I all looked, and failed to see a paw the size of a pie plate. It's a miracle and a mystery how I can manage to write crime fiction when clearly I'm the worst detective going. Fortunately My Assistant Lise not only has senses, she uses them.

Now need to send off a bio and some possible questions for an upcoming panel at Malice Domestic, in Washington. Then make dinner.

Be well.

Sunday, 11 April 2010


mixed cloud and sun, cool, temps 5

Bit of a mixed day. Some lovely sun, and some sleet. Thank you again for all the lovely birthday wishes for Michael. We all went out for dinner last night to L'entrecote st-Jean...Michael, his two sons and me. We all had steak frites (that's all they serve - and do it brilliantly) and shared a couple orders of profiteroles. The Mike and Vic went to see Alice in Wonderland and Michael and I walked back to the hotel. Went into a bookstore on the way to browse. Hard to pass by a bookstore. And fun to go into one at night.

Had a lovely breakfast in the hotel. Cafe au lait and I had the cold buffet while the brithday boy had eggs benedict.

Then home. Stopped for groceries.

We then hopped right over to see Markus. Speaking of whom, I forgot to mention in yesterday's post that I did not 'win' the male masseur. Not perhaps surprisingly one of the gorgeous blonde young women got him. I got a very nice woman, who concentrated on my head, so that when the massage was over I looked like Bozo. But a very relaxed Bozo.

We met a woman named Niki at Jana's. She's a magnificent horse woman - owned thoroughbreds and works with a trainer....she'd just lost her last horse a year or two ago. So she came to see Markus.

I realized after riding him, and speaking with the very wise Jana, that I was a bridge for Markus, not a destination. And we needed to find him a permanent home with someone who knew and loved horses and would give him the training and stimulation he deserves.

But I have to say, I'm strangely upset at the idea of seeing him go. He's way too much horse for the likes of me. It would never work. I know that. But wow, it hurts. The thought of letting him go. Still, it needs to be done. thankfully, Niki seems wonderful. Rode him, cantered him, put him through his paces. And he needs that.

Because he's a rescue horse I won't sell him, but give him away. And whoever takes him will be inspected by the horse rescue people. And they won't be allowed to sell him either. The point, obviously, is to find him a loving home - as much of a permanent home as possible in an uncertain world.

We're watching the masters. Phil is doing VERY well. Not sure Tiger has changed much in terms of his outlook and approach.

When we arrived home there'd been some damage to the property...and Tony and Pat explained it was a bear! Ripped the bird feeders up. Bended a bunch of metal bars. Did not, however, this year leave a soft and smelly conversation piece on the front lawn. Which is a bit of a shame, really. The only thing that made its visit fun last year. Now we have nothing but hungry birds and what looks like abstract sculptures to show for it.

But it sure feels good to be home. Blessedly quiet day tomorrow. A newspaper interview in the afternoon, but beyond that, just writing. Phew.

Hope you're well - and thank you again for the birthday greetings for Michael!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Michael's birthday

sunny, cool, windy, temps 10

It's Michael's 76th birthday. Thank you so much for all your good wishes! I means a lot to me and a lot of Michael.

We had a 6am wake-up call...because Michael was meeting his friend and colleague Bill Woods at the hematology conference - meeting for breakfast at 7am. Out the door he flew at 6:45. Short walk there. I ordered a huge pot of coffee, some fruit and a pastry basket. And got to writing.

I realize it takes me about an hour to settle down and get in 'the zone'...but once there life, and fiction, is easier. Still trying not to worry about the length of the manuscript. As you see, I'm having mixed success.

Michael got back by noon and we scooted out for his birthday lunch at M brgr, just up the street on Drummond. We both had a strawberry/mango milkshake, a burger with mushrooms and goat cheese (the birthday boy also had carmelized onions) and he also ordered sweet potato fries. Thank God one of us did!

Then off to Oligvy's for a bit of birthday shopping...and back to the hotel. I couldn"t quite figure out what the rush was to get back and then it slipped out.

The Masters!

While Michael watched Tiger and Phil et al, I decided to have a massage. Up to the 12th floor. There was the most glorious young man who was a massage therapist. I arrived with two other women - both young. I'll tell you, it was a race to strip down and get into the robe and out the door first, to claim that young guy. He really was quite spectacular. If Markus had been a man, he's have been this fellow. Though I suspect this guy was not a gelding.

Then back upstairs now. Michael had a small nap, but not before seeing Phil get two eagles in a row. Very exciting. And now we;'re waiting for his sons vic and Mike to come by the hotel. We'll have drinks (let them raid the mini-bar) then head over to Entrecote St-Jean a couple streets over.

Unfortunately there's a Montreal Canadiens hockey game tonight so there are a lot of rowdies. Indeed, have to say there is a slight 'flake factor' in the hotel over the weekend. There was a man riding the elevator wearing just a bathing suit. And it wasn't 'Markus' - more's the pity.

Must run - thanks again for all the lovely Michael birthday wishes! I know some of you also have birthday's today - sooo, happy birthday to you too!

Friday, 9 April 2010

Michael back

overcast, cool, temps 11

Cool front came in yesterday...very strong winds. but good sleeping weather! I wrote yesterday morning then instead of driving straight to the Burlington Airport from Montreal, to pick up the guys, I thought I should drive home to sutton, drop my bags off, then head to Burlington...which is what I did. The forecast had been for torrential rains, but they never came - at least, not before getting home from the airport...thank heaven.

Got to the airport with about an hour to spare...their jet Blue flight got in about 6pm. The driving yesterday was wonderful. Easy - but also relaxing and wonderful to listen to music, and just let my mind go. float. Imagine the scenes in Three Pines. Conversations Gamache would have with Clara. Conversations between suspects. Where various scenes would take place. Some issues I'd forgotten that Gamache needs answers to. Very fun.

Took the proofs for Bury Your Dead with me to the airport, thinking I could sit over a coffee and read them. But I couldn't find a restaurant or place for coffee there (it's a terrific but quite modest sized airport). So I waited at their gate and read.

their plane got in half an hour early. Now, I ask you, how does that happen on a flight that is itself only an hour long. Did they break the time barrier? but it was great to see them!

We got back to Richford, VT, yakking all the way, then stopped for gas, and stopped at a restuarant Michael and I rarely go to, called The Crossings. Very old fashioned. Not sure it's changed in 40 years. Same decor, same menu. Very comfortable and comforting.

So I got really caught up there. They went to two broadway shows, had lunch at Sardi's, dinner at the Oyster Bar. Another dinner at Broadway Joe's. they walked the elevated park...not sure that's what it's called, but it's where the old elevated rail went...instead of tearing down the rail the city of new york simply turfed over it, planted trees and flowers and now people can walk quite a distance through downtown...or actually slightly above downtown. It isn't finished yet, but the guys had a great time. The took a tour of the NY library. Visited the Neighborhood Playhouse, where Mike (Michael's oldest son) was a student many years ago. They just went, went, went.

by the time we got home they were exhausted. So we went to bed and awoke today to lots of rain, and cool.

It's Mike's birthday - indeed this trip was to celebrate Michael's, Mike's and Vic's birrthdays! So we put candles in the hot cross buns for breakfast and sang.

Then Michael and I hopped in the car and headed into Montreal. Michael has a hematology meeting happening here at the Queen Elizabeth hotel. Our original idea was to stay there, but I had such a great time at the Hotel Le Crystal - just down the street from the Queen E - that we decided to stay here for another 2 nights. And, after I dropped Michael off and came to the hotel, I discovered they gave me the same room.

Feels like home! And everyone remembers my name. Very impressive.

Just finished the writing for the day. I've decided to keep track of the daily word-count, but not add up the cumulative, anymore....since it doesn't really matter now. This first draft will be as long as it needs to be. The worst thing I could do now is get freaked out about length and start doing it in short-hand. Drop scenes, or make them more threadbare than they should be.

So, now I don't know how far along I am. But I suspect 2/'s important to know where I am in the story arc, for structural reasons - but not to worry about the word-count.

happy birthday, Mike!!

Happy birthday, Mari.

Michael's birthday is tomorrow. Fun to celebrate it in Montreal. He has a 7am breakfast meeting with a colleague at the conference...but we'll see what happens after that. see what he wants to do.

Speak to you tomorrow - or if not, Sunday.

Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

Gems and the other stuff

overcast, some cloud bursts, temps 15

Walked half an hour to breakfast over on Greene Ave with a friend - Nancy. As we had breakfast i noticed it was getting very, very dark outside. Then there was a murmur around the restaurant as everyone noticed. And then the heavens opened. Very dramatic. It had been a long time since I'd seen it that dark. It was like a total eclipse. Actually a little frightening.

But then the cloud burst passed and the sun came out. Walked back to the hotel listening to the ipod. Ali in the Jungle. Falling by Alicia Keys, Lux Eterana.

Then got down to writing. Actually took me a while to settle. As always I re-read what I'd done yesterday...and edited and smoothed. the mist-steps are much clearer the next day. Someone asked in a comment if I just sit the whole time or if I get up and walk around. I actually get up quite a bit. Wander. Pour a coffee or soft drink. Meander around.

Yesterday afternoon I put the ipod on the player in the room and pretended I was 'in concert'. used the small umbrella as a microphone. Very satisfying. The concert was a huge success.

Then I went back to writing.

Not too sure about what I wrote today. All these choices affect the structure. But I need to remember I can always go back and change it. This is just the first draft. No one else has read it.

I need to change the name of a character. I realize two fairly prominent characters have similar names. This is one of the many, many reasons no one should ever read one of my first drafts. They make no sense. Characters change names. Some disappear completely. Others appear. things are repeated often two or three times, until I decide in subsequent drafts where they are best left. It's a complete dog's breakfast. Actually, it's a lot like Trudy after she's rolled in skunk poop. Really, nothing much to redeem it.

Except that somewhere in there is something precious.

But the process is scary...I have to let go and acceot that along with the gems there will be smelly stuff. My major pre-occupation with this book is structure and pacing...and when things need to be revealed. But the fact is, that's always the issue. Right now all the characters have been introduced and established...and the job of narrowing, revealing, exposing has begun. But what and when is the issue.

Oh well. No job is easy. And I have to say, any job, no matter how difficult involves sitting in my pajamas and sipping diet coke and eating room service is pretty good.

And really, for the most part I've totally loved writing this book. There are scenes I (a little embarrassing to admit) love. In fact, I found myself crying as I wrote one. I think today's scenes were just complex. But I'm happy with them...just not sure they'll make the final cut.

Will write tomorrow morning - hope to get late check out. And then head off to Burlington, VT to pick the guys up. Sounds like they're having the best time! Went to Sardi's today for lunch. Went to the MoMA. Are shopping now on Fifth Ave. Tonight they're seeing a musical called 'Promise's, Promise's.'

Yesterday they went to dinner at the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station and saw the comedy, God of Carnage. Yes, I know, but it's actually a comedy.

Home tomorrow. Then back to Montreal hotel Friday and Sat. There's a big hematology meeting in Montreal and Michael need to go. Some of the people he's writing about will be there. Quite a week for the big guy. And his birthday is Saturday!!

76. Just a kid.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

clear skies

overcast, mild, temps 14

Just came back from doing some shopping. I got up early, ordered a huge pot of coffee and started writing. Was finished the 2,000 words before noon. After a second huge pot (this time decaf).

The writing's going very well. As I mentioned yesterday, these are some difficult, pivotal scenes - for the book and this mystery, but also for the characters. They need to work on lots of levels without appearing to. My first pass at scenes like these is often very heavy-handed. Bring out the sledge hammers! And the trawl. I don't actually worry...I just like to get something down...and then edit. So first thing I did this morning was go back over the stuff I did yesterday and lighten, lighten, shape, trim, adjust. Spend about 90 minutes and didn't add a word to the word-count, but did a whole lot of new writing, and taking out.

Then went on to the new stuff. And tomorrow i'll edit and lighten it. Always easier to work from something than nothing.

I realized, as I left the hotel to shop, that my step was also light. When the writing's going well the sun shines - when it isn't going well it goes from cloudy, to a cat 5 hurricane. As Michael will tell you. Being married to a writer must be the worst. Well, I guess a spouse murderer would be worse. Just.

How lovely it is to not have to think of anything, except writing. Ahhh.

Monday, 5 April 2010


partly cloudy, mild, temps 16

Well, I'm sitting in the Hotel le Crystal in Montreal! What bliss.

Michael and two of his sons are in New York City, having a fun "boys" week. Staying close to Times Square. Just got an email from Michael to say they'd arrived, sorted out a problem with their hotel, headed to Rockefeller Square and been up to Top of the Rock...for a fabulous view of New York. And are now sitting down below, having a very late lunch and watching the skaters.

The forecast for NYC this week is sunny with temps ranging from 70 to 79!!!

Michael's son's arrived Saturday and we had such fun celebrating Easter. Our friend Wilder dropped by for a steak dinner. Pat, God bless her, made scalloped potatoes and a wonderful apple and pear crisp.

Then up at 6am for the 2 hour drive to Burlington Vt airport. Such a civilized airport to fly out of.

When this trip was coming up I wondered what to do with myself. I could, of course, go with them to NYC and stay in a different hotel - let them have their fun and I could see loads of people I adore in NYC. But the priority is to write. So I thought about it...and decided I could have the best of both worlds. Stay in a fabulous hotel, and write. And the way to do it was to go to a hotel in Montreal.

Yes, I know, we have an apartment here. But I just love hotels...such a treat. I remember when I was 8 my mother took me for our only mother-daughter expedition...and it was a doozie. We were living in Toronto, and Mom took me to the best hotel in the city at the time. The Royal York. Just for one night...but now, almost half a century later, I still remember it. The awe of walking through the grand lobby. The huge bed and soft sheets. Room service! Wow.

I've loved hotels ever since. As you might realize from reading this blog, I don't really visit cities, I visit hotels. In Scottsdale, Arizona I visit the Valley Ho (I know...quite a name - but fab hotel), in NYC I visit the W Union Square. In Toronto I visit the Soho Met. I honestly am not all that interested in what is happening outside the walls. This is not totally true. But a great hotel in a mediocre city is a wonderful experience for me. A bad hotel in a great city is a bad experience for me.

Michael, though, doesn't much care. A cardboard box is fine.

I sometimes wonder if he knew what hit him when we fell in love and married. That God for forgives so much.

So here I am, trying out this new hotel. Brand now...opened a few months. I've never stayed here before, but the rooms looked huge, and not terribly expensive. And right downtown, on de la Montagne.

The arrival at the hotel was a bit disappointing. Nothing huge. I just think when your car rolls up you shouldn't have to wait for a doorman or bellhop. I had to wait...though I could see him through the glass doors, chatting. I got out, popped the trunk, waited...wondered if maybe I need to take out my own luggage - which I'm capable of doing since I got it in. It was just sort of baffling and disconcerting. but the man finally arrived. And then into the room. Very nice. some small, odd, oversights...but I think as I settle in things will feel better. it is certainly a wonderful hotel in a fabulous location.

And - did I mention - it has a spa!! Guess what I'm doing tomorrow.

As soon as I arrived and unpacked I hooked up the computer and spent the next 5 hours writing. Editing a bit to get back into the swing. I'm finding this situation - being quietly at this very nice hotel - wonderful for writing. Relaxing. I also had the benefit of the 2 hours drive from the Burlington airport, with music, to think about the book. hear some of the conversations.

Am now writing quite a difficult series of scenes. Pivotal. Lots needs to happen, without appearing to. Such bliss to be here until Thursday.

Speak to you tomorrow.

Sunday, 4 April 2010


overcast, mild, temps 16

It actually feels cold compared to reached 30 degrees in the shade. Amazing! Almost too hot. Spring flowers blooming all over the place. Very unusual, and unexpected at Easter.

Two geese on the pond. Nature going wild.

Went riding on Markus yesterday. Well...first Jana and I groomed him, then saddled. Then we took him to the upper pasture and she did the lunge line. Which means, for those of you like me who don't know much about horses, that Markus was on a long rope with Jana in the middle and he walked, trotted and cantered around her.

He's gorgeous! Very athletic. And, honestly? Way too much horse for me.

Jana got up on him and walked and trotted. Said he had a beautiful gait. But also powerful. Then I got onto him but was too much of a chicken to do anything other than walk. But it was exciting. Then we bathed him.

As I walked over I realized how difficult it is to write a book and have distractions - even something as apparently benign as dinner parties or lunches with friends. Each is not a tast or chore, none lasts long...but at least half the world of writing a novel comes in the quiet times...those hours when I'm not writing, but am thinking. That;s how problems are flagged, problems are solved. Scenes are sharped. Ideas come.

Though, michael and I were at a gathering last night and I'd been having difficulty with an ongoing thread and how to resolve it...and someone said something - just a line - at the meeting last night - and I realized that was it. As we were all leaving I told him what a very great gift he'd given me. He laughed...but I went back to it because I wanted him to know this wasn't trivial for me and I was sincere in my thanks...and that he'd greatly relieved my mind.

So - inspiration comes from all sorts of sources...but for me I just really need quiet. To write - but equally to contemplate.

How lovely to get it too, walking over to see Markus. Another way he's saving me.

Happy Easter.

Friday, 2 April 2010

A Good Friday

briilaint, beautiful sunny day. hot. temps 26

This is unbelievable. Stunning day. Sunny, sweet. Birds singing, trees budding. bluebells out. Tony came by and repaired the broken screen on the screen porch then helped up put the furniture on the porch. Table, sofa bedm rocking chairs. Hassocks. And now we're siting on the screen porch, in shorts and sandals...Michael reading scientific papers on cancer screening and me responding to emails...and writing to you.

Hectic day. Wrote until just after 3pm. Did a load of laundry including our bedding...and hung them on the line outside. Nothing smells so good as line dried bedding.

Trudy rolled in skunk poop again. So she got her special shampoo - again. Thankfully with the weather so great we could do it outside. Then Michael and I walked down the road to feed Markus some carrots.

We got him organic carrots. Jana was very, very nice about it but she did suggest maybe we wanted to buy his carrots by the ton and not the ounce. Or at least by the sack.

We're going to have our first barbeque of the year tonight. We're also aware and watching the flooding in the eastern coast of the US. Hope you haven't been affected.

Wrote 2,000 words today. keeping the critic away with a stick.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, 1 April 2010

Watching Out

sunny, warm, gorgeous! temps 16

Wow - fabulous day! Walking around the pond with Trudy it smelled both musky and sweet. The ice is going out of the pond. Wonderful for us to wander the edge, looking into the water. Trying to find the fish. They won't be out for a while, but fun to look.

Trudy, clever girl, decided to take stink-dom to a whole other level. it wasn't enough to smell like a skunk, today she decided to roll in skunk poop. covered in it. Now she smells of skunk and poop. Love is not just blind, it had no sense of smell. Lucky for her.

Our neighbors Guy and Nicole dropped by last night. They're starting up Neighborhood Watch. We joined. But we're not worried. We have a dog who smells of skunk and poop and a family of skunks under the front porch. If we invited robbers in they'd decline.

We had breakfast this morning with Philip and Danny to discuss the upcoming Knowlton Literary Festival, this summer in July. If you can come it will be huge fun. I'll be doing something I almost never do. I'll be giving a workshop on mystery writing. It's free. I'll be giving you more info as it gets closer...but if you're interested you can get in touch with Danny and Lucy at Brome Lake Books.

On the way home we stopped by to see Markus. He is wonderful. Calm, gentle. He kisses carrots off our hands. Even Michael fed him some carrots. We are beyond relieved, and thrilled. And kinda amazed that anyone would not want him.

Gorgeous day - wonderful weekend ahead.