Sunday, 30 October 2011

First Snow!

mix of sun and cloud. temps 3.

We woke up to snow on the ground. the forecast earlier in the week had called for it, then said we wouldn't get any, but New England would get hammered. I was sorry to hear both. I love the first snow, and the first snow long as we don't have to travel. So it was great to get back to Sutton from Quebec City in beautiful sunshine - then wake up to a little bit of snow. you can see by the photos, it's not much...more a suggestion, really. But pretty. The photos were taken this morning when Trudy and I were out for our walk.

Then Michael and I headed into Sutton for breakfast at Le St-Patrick. He had it with three other guys...Jack, Peter and Chris. And I have breakfast with Cheryl. Oh, how it filled my heart to be with a close hear about her life. And to tell her about mine. Not so much our external lives (though there's a bit of that, of course), but the invisible life....that is so real....the emotional life. Our interiors. Being on tour is a funny sort of thing. Never lonely because there are always so many people around - and that's wonderful and exciting and stimulating. But, of course, they're not friends. And while I do a lot of talking - it's not about my deepest thoughts.

Lovely to be home with Michael - and with friends. And feel that embrace.

What I consider the last event of the tour happened Friday night in Quebec City. But first, the Ikea kitchen arrived 7:30 Friday morning....and with it, four men, who burst out of two trucks and barely said hello. Within minutes they'd set up a sort of command post, with our plans - and benches....and off they went.

I was terrified that I'd mis-measured and nothing would fit. As it turns out, I had mis-measured....but apparently that happens all the time...and they just adjusted to it. I had to leave about 11am for the drive to Quebec City, which takes about 3 and a half hours. By then we'd discovered most of the problems and come up with solutuons.

Such a relief when there's no drama. I love being around people who say, 'No problem. We'll fix it.' I try to be like that too.... calm, constructive, positive. Because I know how much it means to me when others are like that. I'm running short of patience with people who make heavy weather of everything.

Ikea - at least these installation guys - worked like Trojans, and were cheery and adaptable and never tired of saying, 'pas de probleme madame.' It's not a problem.

Though I did get a mnessage from Michael when I arrived in Quebec City asking why I'd ordered a dark wood cabinet in the middle of a white kitchen. I blanched. And explained that I hadn't. And took a deep breath, repeating to myself, 'pas de probleme, madame....pas de probleme.' And sure enough, when it was explained, the Ikea people realized it was the company mistake - they installed it just to make sure the measurements were right, but said they'd be back next week to do an exchange.


QuebeCrime on Friday was a blast. Stayed in a fun little hotel in downtown Quebec City - the old city. Hotel du vieux quebec. One of the terrific 'real' quebecois restaurants - a real bistro - is on the main floor, but not part of the hotel...les freres du cote.

I immediately went to the Literary and Historical Society - to just sit there and gather my thoughts....and who should come through the door but many of the other writers on the agenda for that night. Here's the worst photo ever taken, of the library of the literary and historical society. You see, from left to right - Guy Dubois, who owns La Maison Anglaise - the english bookstore in Quebec and who helped create QuebeCrime, Ian Rankin, me, Simon Jacobs, the exec director of the Morrin Centre which houses the Lit and His, Anne Emery, a crime writer from Halifax and Denise Mina, a crime writer from Scotland.

After this Anne and Ian and I went off for drinks and french onion soup to the Maritime bar of the Chateau Frontenac. I have to say, it was a wonderful experience, to sit there, in that company.

One of the many unexpected events in an unexpected and very blessed life.

The readings that night, Friday, at St Andrew's Presbyterian church (right beside the Lit and His) were wonderful. So in awe of the other writers. Brilliant and funny and searing. And such great company.

And then...headed home. tomorrow I'm meeting a fellow crime writer and neighbor for coffee and conflab. And on Tuesday Propane de L'estrie shows up to hook up the new gas stove. I, of course, am worried that they won't be able to do it. There is no reason I should feel like that....(c'est pas un problem, madame, I need to tell myself) - but seems the worry factory is still in operation.

But I have to say - the kitchen is lookign great. yesterday, when I arrived home and Michael took me right over to show me, we spent a good half hour just opening and closing drawers....and marveling at the design. Honestly, PVR is lost on us. Give us a good drawer to open and close and we're happy for hours.

Speak soon - I hope. Sorry it's been so long between posts....but I do think of you, you know. And carry you with me, when I think of how lucky I am.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011


clear skies - etc...

OK I know you know the weather - because it's only been a couple of hours since my last post - but there was something I'd wanted to tell you in the last post - and forgot! So I decided to post twice today. I go days without being able to write anything, but today - after doing 100 pages on the next book - I find myself blogging twice.

Go figure.

But I wanted to tell you about an event I'll be at later this week. On Friday (after the Ikea kitchen is delivered) I'll hop in the car and drive to Quebec of my favorite places on earth. Because of this amazing crime writers/readers festival that's going on. The first annual (we hope) QuebeCrime! Most of it, over the weekend, will be held at the Literary and Historical Society, in the Morrin Centre, in Old Quebec. The setting for BURY YOUR DEAD.

I can't tell you how thrilling it is to know that magnificent anglo library will be the scene of this great celebration of crime writing.

And QuebeCrime has the most wonderful line-up. For instance, my event at 7pm on Friday night (at the nearby St Andrew's Presbyterian Church) will also feature Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Anne Emery and John Brady. Lawrence Block will also be at the festival, for an event on Saturday, at the Lit and His - and some of the other crime writers are Andrew Pyper, Hilary Davidson, Ian Hamilton, John Farrow and others. Very exciting!

It's a great excuse to come to Quebec City! If you'd like tickets you can call: 418-654-9523 or email:

It's going to be wonderful. So looking forward to it. Hope to see you there.

Debut Dagger

mainly sunny - temps 10- breezy

One of those classic late October days....a wind that goes right into our bones. Buuurrrr.

We spent a wonderful weekend in Toronto, celebrating Doug's 50th birthday. Went for dinner to this great new Italian restaurant in a part of the city called Cabbagetown. I used to live there, when I first graduated college....with two friends. Guys. Brian and Bob. We lived on Seton Street in an old victorian. Amazing fun. Goegeous place. I'd just started at the CBC - which at the time was in an old red stone building within walking distance.

As so often happens, I had no idea how lucky I was.

It was such fun to be with Doug - and fun to be back in Cabbagetown. And the food at this restaurant was fabulous. The place is called F'Amelia. Great name.

We also had Indian food, for lunch that day. Doug loves Indian food and it's not exactly a hardship for Michael and me either. Yum.

So strange to be celebrating my younger brother's 50th. but I think we;re all so happy with where we are in life, that birthdays and age are almost meaningless. We're all far happier now than when we were in our 30s. A lovely, peaceful, place to be.

Now we're back in Montreal. Have a doctor's appointment tomorrow so that Michael can have his eye looked at. Conjunctivitis, he says. I call it 'pink eye'. Either way, it doesn't hurt him, but since his eyes are fragile, we want his doc to take a peek.

I also, though, wanted to let you all know that the Crime Writer's Association in Britain is now accepting entries for this year's Debut Dagger award. It's for the Best Unpublished if you have a manuscript for a crime novel and haven't yet found a publisher - this is your chance. It's the contest that launched my career - and Alan Bradley's and a whole lot of other people. Just google CWA or Debut Dagger...I'm sure you can find it.

And, speaking of the fabulous Alan Bradley - his latest book is about to come out. It's called I am Half sick of Shadows and is amazing! Long live Flavia!

Hope you're well - speak soon!

Friday, 21 October 2011

Editing Book 8

overcast, some showers, mild, temps 14

But wow, was it cold last night. Instead of our regular duvet, we have at the cottage layers and layers of blankets....and flannel sheets (love flannel anything - if I could have had a flannel wedding dress, I would have). Very snug and cozy under the layers. we always leave the windows open to get a cross draft and awoke this morning almost seeing our breaths! Agony getting out from under the snug, warm sheets. I whispered to Michael a few times...'You have to use the have to use the bathroom'. Eventually it worked and he got up, and once up, he closed all the windows.

I rolled over, Trudy got up on the bed, and we snoozed. Until Michael came back and practically sat on top of us.

Time to get up.

Besides, we had to scoot out of there and headed into Montreal. Appointment to get the car 'winterized'. A term I still use, though the dealership assured us that was now long passed. No longer necessary, with all the improvements. Now it simply means putting the tires on. Left the car there and grabbed a lift back to our apartment in Montreal.

We love it here. Like having a vacation in a city we adore. Will head out for lunch soon. We walk everywhere when we're in Montreal. It's such an old city, by North American standards - and a fairly compact least the core is. We can walk almost from one end to the other....but most of what we want is within an easy walk. Off either to the bistro or the terrace for lunch.

then will spend the afternoon working more on the editor's notes. Such a joy to be back at the monastery with Gamache and Beauvoir. To be among the humble, though murderous, monks. To hear their chants, and smell the scents of the wilderness and the rituals. It's called The Beautiful Mystery.

Someone, who heard the title, wondered if it had to do with Williams Disease. I'd heard of this disease - and actually saw a documentary about it....but my book is about Gregorian chants and the beautiful mystery that is music, and what it does to our brains, and our spirits. Williams disease is something else, but can also be very I understand it (and forgive me if I get it wrong, this does come from a position of some ignorance) Williams Disease describes certain children who seem to be born perpetually happy and trusting. Sometimes with developmental issues - but their main characteristic seems to be overwhelming trust and delight. this, you'd think, would be a very good thing. Imagine seeing the world and others like that? But it can lead to terrible abuses by others - and great distress when the children find themselves inexplicably hurt.

Apologies if I've oversimplified (which I'm sure I have) - and to those who have more intimate experience with it.

but, as I say, my Beautiful Mystery really explores music - and communication. And a few other issues.

Am now 200 pages into the manuscript, looking at the editors notes. As I've said, at this stage it's a wonderfully creative and collaborative process. We all want the same thing - for this to be the very best book it can be, and the best book I can write. And it gets that way with the help of the keen eye of editors, who know the books and characters, who know me, and who only want the books to be a huge success....and for you to absolutely love it as much as we do.

So, as with most things, it's a process. Often painful, often difficult, often an outright joy as something good becomes better. Which is what I hope and trust is happening here. Still, whatever happens, there is great comfort in knowing we have all done our very best. No matter what happens.

Off to Toronto tomorrow to celebrate my brother Doug's 50th birthday. Such fun! We had one celebration over Thanksgiving, when the whole family was there. And now another one on his actual date. Then home - to see how far the construction will have gone in our absence.

Hope you're thriving, and warm, and comforted. Speak soon.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


overcast, cool, spitting rain - temps 10

Another fairly typical fall day - though we've been going through a very rainy spell. The renovations are going wonderfully. The fireplace went in yesterday. Regency, propane fire place. I'll take a photo. My fear was that it would look fake and horrible one in, but in fact, it looks great. Except, the Regency people forgot to send a part, so all the insides are visible. Not very aesthetic. But they say they'll send it. And the propane people agreed to send a horizontal tank - so that it's less visible and therefore less of an eye sore - but they sent the upright one. But again, they agreed to send the right one.

So - all was well.

until - this afternoon.

Michael and I went off to breakfast in Cowansville - then did some errands - then went to Sutton to meet the man who will almost certainly be writing the script to adapt Still Life into a TV film. Very exciting. He'd flown in for the meeting, then drove down. We had lunch at Le Cafetier. My concern was whether he was reading the same book I believed I was writing. Not a cozy mystery, but a psychological mystery, that appears cozy on the surface. The perfect village - that isn't so very perfect. As I've said before, the books are really about many things, the least of which is murder. Though that is significant and not at all trivial, and they're definitely murder mysteries, they're also about belonging, and love, and friendship, and betrayal, and festering feelings. About, in effect, duality. Appearance vs reality. The happy facade vs the darker interior. Some never get beyond the facade of the books - some immediately 'get' them.

The books really are most meaningful if you're able to read them not just with your head, but really with your heart. If the story and the characters enter through the chest.

So I was curious, and a little stressed, to hear how this man saw the books. Now, he's only read the first three and is reading book 4...and early on in our conversation he mentioned Miss Marple (whom I adore but don't see as a template for the series). So I was a little concerned....but then it became clear that he is indeed reading the books I was hoping to write. The ones about human beings and emotions. Where setting and food and the seasons are also characters...but so are feelings. Where murder is never trivialized or made a joke or a hobby - but is seen as the tragedy it is. For everyone. But that there's also friendship and humour and love and kindness explored.

Soooo - fingers crossed. It seems a fit.

After lunch Michael and I returned home to the construction site to find out that one of the workers has severed the gas line to the fireplace! Thank God he realized quickly what had happened and shut off the valve and turned off the fire (which was on to heat the place). When I think what might have happened.... but didn't.

We're now in the process of trying to get it fixed. Always something on a construction site....thank heaven so much has gone right, and even this, despite being a problem, could have been so much worse. We consider ourselves lucky. And the poor guy clearly didn't mean to do it - not his first choice of events either.

Look at the time - must make dinner, and sit in front of the fireplace with Michael and Trudy.

Hoping to start on the editor's notes tomorrow. Bring on the pastries!

Sunday, 16 October 2011


windy, cool, leaves swirling off the trees, temps 11

A real autumn day - threatening, strong wind - it's raining leaves. But actually, a wonderful Sunday. Took Trudy for a walk and roll - Michael and I then drove to just outside Bromont and met Cotton for brunch at this wonderful place - bistro and bakery called Canael. To be honest, from the outside it isn't the most charming place, but don't be fooled. Inside it is wonderful. Especially the food. The brunch was a set plate with all sorts of small 'tastings'. Like a french tapas for brunch. Sausage, bacon, scrambled eggs, croissant aux amandes (killers!!!), thinly slices potato and cheese pie, a strawberry/custard tarte. But all bite sized, so it was this riot of flavours. Yummy.

and just about the best cafe au lait we've ever had.

Good thing too, since I broke the Nespresso machine this morning. Well, it was already malfunctioning - half the coffee was going in the cup the other half into the reservoir. So we were losing half the coffee. So I started pressing buttons - at random. And the machine started fighting back. Blinking and winking. a little concerned it might be code, and could just imagine what it was saying. Probably much the same things I was thinking.

So we did the only reasonable thing. Unplugged it and left. Had two huge cafe au laits over brunch and just returned home. Called Nespresso, not expecting much - and got just the most charming young woman, who walked me through it, and fixed not only the winking lights (she didn't even make me feel silly) - and the missing coffee (seems one of the spouts might have been clogged up). She was a wonder. I envy her children. Such good humour and patience.

Lise dropped by, as did Daniel, who clears our snow - so that we could make arrangements for this winter too. Pat is on her way up. Not sure why. Then will relax by the fire.

The editor's notes for book 8 - which is set in a monastery and is called THE BEAUTIFUL MYSTERY - arrived friday night. Thankfully there are very few suggestions - but a couple. The editors, Hope and Dan, without fail make my books stronger. It's such an interesting process - both strongly individual (the creation of the stories and development of the characters) and collaborative (the editing, where I need to be open to their thoughts and suggestions).

The trick is to know which suggestions to take, and which ones not to. But to always have an open mind. Not always as easy as it sounds! Especially with one of my 'babies'.

Off to make some hot chocolate for michael and tea for me. Enjoy your Sunday!

Friday, 14 October 2011


overcast, misty, rainy

Most of the fall colours gone - but fun to swish through the fall leaves. I finally was able to send myself the autumn photo that I took a few days ago on a walk with Trudy.

Am reading Deborah Crombie's amazing new book (out in Feb in North America) called NO MARK UPON HER. Wow!!! You're going to love it - not just a great story, but I just love what she's doing with Duncan and Gemma. Absolutely her best and you just know how great that makes this book.

speaking of crime fiction (for a change) - I wanted to mention, to give you time to get there - that there's an amazing crime writers/readers festival happening in Quebec City at the end of October. It's called QuebeCrime.

I'll be there - doing an event on Friday night - but far more exciting are the other writers.

Ian Rankin!
Lawrence Block!
Denise Mina!
Andrew Pyper!
Ian Hamilton!

and lots more - and it's in Quebec City!! And most of the events take place in - wait for it - the Literary and Historical Society in the Morrin Centre in Old Quebec. Honestly, this is just wonderful. You'll need tickets, of course...if you go to you can get all the info.

See you there -

Back to Deborah Crombie.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

home - quiet days

overcast, rainy and windy temps 12

perfect day. Rain - and therefore quiet. Absolutely wonderful to sleep beside Michael - feel Trudy sneak up onto the bed and curl up at our feet into a tight ball of golden retriever. Thanksgiving was amazing - but it's sure great to be home. took a fall photo out by the pond and wanted to show you before we lost all the leaves (which happened today in the rain and wind - definitely past peak now) - but then the Blackberry network crashed. I'm quite relieved to hear it - I was wondering why our messages suddenly wouldn't send, and we hadn't received one in 6 hours.

Odd feeling. Both relieved and mystified. Nothing that needed responding to - but suddenly felt sort of bereft.

Will post the photo when I can. Strangely enough I just tried to re-send and it wouldn't go. Oh well.

The renovations are going brilliantly - thank god. We had just enough sunny , dry weather that they were able to rebuild both roofs - and finished yesterday. Today the rains came. Wow. Perfect.

Now they're working indoors - and I hope going like stink since the Ikea kitchen comes next week, as does the gas fireplace. I'm praying to the construction gods - Mercury perhaps, with his little helmet? Thor with his hammer. I think the Gods of Construction must have a sense of humour - and feed on money.

Still - no flights, no drives, no speaking. Just loving being home and even working in the kitchen. I missed cooking, can you believe it. Lunacy, I tell you - book tours bring on lunacy - though hardly a big transition from my normal state.

Michael's just left for the main house to check on construction...the hole for the fireplace was put off about half a foot - just enough to slightly annoy. And now the stained glass window Kirk found from an old Quebec nunnery, has also gone in off centre. Apparently there was no choice - and I believe them. They're really very good. It's just sort of funny that suddenly everything is just off centre.

Can't possibly be a message. From the Gods of Construction? Don't worry about such details, when so much is perfect.

Got it.

Loving being home. I think you know how I feel - but I just need to keep sighing and saying that. Though, interestingly, Michael and I have decided to plan an around-the-world trip to celebrate his 80th birthday. We'll do it a little early, but might as well. Perhaps in a year or so. So I find myself at home, googling 'around the world flights'.

How strange life can be. And delightful.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

sunny, hot, temps 30

An absolutely unbelievable Thanksgiving weekend. spectacular weather - and loving being with the whole family! We've rented a home very close (walking distance) to the main street in Niagara-on-the-Lake. Five bedrooms....almost enough for the 11 of us. Only young Roslyn needs to sleep on the floor. We made her a bed of cushions....then last night her cousins found a rubber chicken in the garage, that squeaks, loudly, when squeezed, and put it under her bed. Then filled her with ghost stories.

You can imagine the result.

Having just a blast. We decided to have Thanksgiving dinner last night - saturday night...we'd normally do it Sunday or Monday - but we wanted Sunday to eat leftovers and my older brother Rob cooked the turkey...Michael and I helped with the stuffing and did sweet potatoes - Doug did the regular potatoes and brussel sprouts. Mary did the pumpkin pie. We don't describe what Buttercup (the hound from Hell) contributed - but if we ever had to reassemble the turkey there'd be some bones missing.

It was wonderful. You can see our 'Official" thanksgiving photo.

And the weather was so glorious we went for long walks and chats and sat outside. And just visited.

Then today, we all decided to head to Niagara Falls and do the Maid of the Mist - the boat the goes under the falls. It was amazing!!! Absolutely breath-taking. We took lots of photos - and you can see, it was another splendid day.

they gave us the blue Smurf rain wear - and we still got absolutely drenched. But so fun. We laughed the whole time. The boat ride was about half an hour - and unforgettable. I had a memory of Niagara Falls being unbelievably tacky - and deeply unattractive....but I realize it wasn't (thank goodness) the falls themselves....those have been kept pristine, with lovely walks and parts and trees...but it's the least the parts we saw. Very unfortunate. But at least the falls have been protected and are just amazing.

As I write, sitting outside in the garden, I can hear Rob and Doug and Rob's wife Audi preparing dinner for tonight (I've already joined them and did my chopping - but must get back before they decided to put the rubber chicken in our bed!). So lovely to hear them just talking, comfortably. Michael's upstairs having a little lie-down....probably just quiet time. The kids are off at a 'haunted' pub.

Michael and I are heading out at 5am tomorrow - back to Quebec. Doug and his kids heading out mid-morning. Rob and Audi and their kids leaving on Tuesday.

Hope you're enjoying your Thanksgiving - as Canadians, or honourary Canadians. Eh?

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Cheryl Long

sunny, clear blue day - gorgeous autumn day in Montreal - temps 10

Frost warning last they got some in the townships. We're in Montreal, as you can perhaps tell....came in for an interview (taped) for CBC Radio's All in a Weekend. Then have an event at Paragraphe Books on McGill College street in downtown montreal tonight. 6pm. In english.

Then off tomorrow morning - 5am - to drive to Niagara-on-the-Lake. About a 7 hour drive from Montreal. But very pretty - and we can take our time. This is for our annual Thanksgiving weekend family reunion. Since our mother died - eleven years ago - my brothers and I realized if we didn't make the commitment to have have an annual family reunion, we run the risk of drifting apart. Not on purpose, but because we all have hectic lives, and it can just happen. So every year we take turns hosting the event.

Last year it was at Rob and Audi's new home in Regina. And this year we've decided to do something different...we've all hosted the event several years - so we wanted to change it up a bit. So Doug - whose turn it was to host - found a wonderful big old home in the gorgeous region of Niagara...and rented it for the long weekend. Rob and Audi coming from Regina. Kim, Adam and Sarah coming from Edmonton. Doug, Roslyn and Charlie from Toronto and Brian from Virginia. And us from Quebec.

It's been a few years since I visited Niagara region - but I know it is just beautiful. It's where a lot of fruit is grown - very temperate. And terrific wineries, apparently. Really looking forward to seeing everyone. Rob will cook the turkey, we've volunteered to do the vegetables (what are those, again?) And I suspect someone will manage an apple and a pumpkin pie. I love pumpkim pies. Yum.

Saw the sad news about Steve Jobs. What a visionary. I'm writing this on my MacBook. So sad to lose him. But what a legacy he left. And while it was a short life, he seemed to live it to the fullest, and on his terms.

I've slugged this post Cheryl Long because I wanted to tell you about my wonderful friend Cheryl. If you follow the blog you'll know her - we often meet for breakfast. She's Gary's wife, and Joan's aughter-in-law. but way more important, she's her own woman and a brilliant artist and writer. She's combined those two with an illustrate book for children. It's called Dragon Dreams and is just amazing. We love it so much, we bought one of the original works from the book.

Anyway - I thought you might like to see her other here's the link to her website:

And to her page on Amazon -

Hope that works...looks strange to me, but it worked when I tried it. As you might know, I've never done this before with other authors or friends...but i feel so strongly about Cheryl's books and her abilities, I just felt more people should see her work.

Hope you enjoy it too.

and maybe Michael and I will see you tonight at Paragraphe books. Hope you're thriving!

Monday, 3 October 2011


rainy, cool, temps 12


We finally got here Saturday at about 3:30. Did the event in Sutton, as part of the Cultural Day in the town. Lou Nelson organized it and it was wonderful. Wretched weather - teemed down. Michael and I drove up from North Conway, after the event the night before at White Birch books.

rainy, but still beautiful drive through the White Mountains. At one stage we were driving through cloud. And as we made our way further north, the leaves turned more and more, until finally, in Northern Vermont, it was just breathtaking. As much as it was beautiful seeing so many other parts of this glorious continent, this is surly home. I could feel it in my DNA. It was as though my bones sang as we got closer and closer.

then finally, after the event, Michael drove us home. And before I entered I paused, one last time. To take that photo. Through that door was home.

And then we went in - and unpacked - and lay on the sofa and drank hot chocolates and talked and talked.

I'm so grateful for your company, your comments, your support with the book - always saying such kind things. And telling others. Almost everyone I met on tour said they'd heard about my books through a friend. I believe you're that friend.

And now, we can sleep.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

My hero

overcast, rainy, temps 65

We're in North conway, New Hampshire! More or less where we began the tour for A TRICK OF THE LIGHT five weeks ago. Wow. What a circle....and so much in the middle. So much happened. so many people, so many beautiful events - book related and otherwise.

A five week book tour is an intricate, complex thing, involving, in my case, 15 flights, buses, ferries, lots of cars and lots of wonderful people willing to drive me, sometimes for days. Lots of hotel meals, and bags of chips and diet cokes for dinner. And lots of lovely dinners with generous bookstore owners, librarians, readers.

I went from Prince Edward Island to victoria, British Columbia. From Phoenix, Arizona to Detroit, Michigan. And a whole lot in between.

And now - it's all but over. Had my last US event last night at White Birch books in North Conway. Drove down from Montreal yesterday.

I have to's a VERY good thing the tour is ending now. for all those days and weeks, everything worked perfectly! I dodged storms, not a single flight canceled or even delayed. Hotels worked, people showed up when supposed to. it was almost inconceivable that nothing would go wrong.

Until about four days ago in Winnipeg, when the wheels started coming off ...

The scourge of a booktour had found me. A scratchy throat. the dreaded cold. Then I lost my dark glasses. A couple other minor things happened, which frankly I can't remember now, but little alarms started going off in my head....things were fraying. But I knept thinking...just get to North Conway - then get home. Saturday, Saturday. Have a 2pm event today in Sutton in the library as part of the Quebec Cultural Day....then home....

Got up in Montreal yesterday, packed...loaded the car....put the key in the ignition...and nothing. Dead. Not even a click or a clunk.

Oh oh.

I had a four hour drive through Quebec and Vermont to reach New Hampshire. This was an event I'd had to cancel due to illness last year, and when I felt the cold coming on earlier in the week all I could think about was....just get to White Birch Books, then you can die. For God's sake, you can't get sick enough to cancel. Drugs. Drugs.

it never occurred to me the problem would be the car! But of course, it had sat unused, unstarted for 5 weeks.

Luckily this was at the apartment building, and Raymond and two other wonderful maintenance people came to my rescue, as you can see. Trying to boost it. Which has always worked in the past. You don't live through 53 Canadian winters without some expertise in boosting dead cars.

It didn't work.

The car engine didn't even turn over. Nothing.

They tried for half an hour.

Time was running out. How was I going to get to the event. And then I knew what I had to do. I got on the cell phone and called...

'What're you up to?'
'Just sitting down to coffee and a toasted bagel. You?'

He should not have asked.

I told him the sad story and without a pause he said, 'I'm on my way.'

He jumped in his car (after arranging for Pat to look after Trudy) and was in montreal two hours later. In the meantime, I'd had the car towed to you can see.

then Michael and i headed off.

Can you believe how lovely he is? Not a hesitation - no groans. No moaning. Just a smile.

The drive, through vermont, was magnificent. Leaves just turning - mountains and rivers. Twisty roads. Beautiful. And then reached North conway...Sarah at Minotaur had gotten me (us) a beautiful room in an Inn. We did the event....and the lovely people there at White Birch books began the event by standing and singing O Canada.

I was almost in tears.

What a glorious way to end the tour. singing o canada in New Hampshire, with Michael.

Now, into the car again - event in sutton - then home.

When we drove down yesterday Michael realized he's left his passport in the cottage, so we swung by there....but I stayed in the car. So close to home. Twenty feet. But I didn't want to go in. Too emotional. it wasn't the going in I was worried about - it was having to leave again. I don't want to walk through that door until I can get into my sweats, crawl into bed, and never, ever leave again. Or at least, not until I choose.

That happens at about 3:30 today.

Thank you, thank you - for your company. This would have been a lonely road indeed without you. And now, just a few more miles.