Thursday, 30 October 2008

an apology

brilliant sunny sky, cool, temps 8

Stunning day - our hotel room looks out across Lake Ontario it's absolutely gorgeous this morning.

Had a wonderful time yesterday. Went to the matinee of The Sound of Music, to see Michaela Snoyer in the role of Louisa. She was fabulous - as were all of them. For the first half hour or so I watched Michaela everytime she was on stage, then I got so caught up in it I forgot!

I hadn't heard the songs since I was a little girl and I found myself crying more than once. Can't really explain why, though it was a beautifully performed show and clearly that helps convey all the emotions. But I wonder if part of it wasn't simply nostolgia.

The place was packed - mostly with older people, and I heard quite a few sniffled. And Michael brought out his hankie more than once too.

The only disturbing point - intentioanlly - was near the end when the Von Trapp Family gives their concert. The set suddenly became a Nazi hall - and more than the set. Soldiers with guns appeared in the aisles of the Princess of Wales theatre and Nazi banners unfurled and it felt suddenly claustrophobic and frightening. I felt myself very unsettled and begin to squirm, and I wondered how some of the elderly people in the crowd might have felt who actually lived through that era. Still, it didn't last long and it was meant to be evocative. And it sure made you cheer when the Von Trapps did what they did...

Then Michael and I scooted up to Sleuth of Baker street, on Bayview Ave in Toronto, for a signing with Mark Billingham. Tons of people. Mary and Charlie (sister-in-law and nephew) showed up on their way to Charlie's hockey game. Then brother Doug and the other two, Roslyn and Brian came...Brian with a big bag of gummi bears for auntie Louise (to keep me quiet) and Roslyn with a bouquet of flowers. How lovely and kind is that? We put the gummi's in a bowl and everyone enjoyed them.

If you came out to Sleuth, thank you! It was such fun...a marvelous mix of old friends, family and new readers. And gummi bears and wine. What could be more perfect?

Then JD, Marian, Ann Ledden (of McArthur of Co), Mark, Michael and I went out for a terrific Indian dinner. Then home.

Today Ann is picking me up at 12:30 and we're driving to the Thornbury Public Library for a 3pm talk and reading. Then dinner. then a 7pm event at the Collingwood Public Library. It would be fun to see you there.

Home by 11.

You know, I was thinking this morning about the events, and talking to other authors and something occured to me. I realized I was feeling tired and a little stressed and even put-upon by all the publishers events - cocktails, dinners etc.

And I suddenly felt ashamed of myself. How odd - how spoiled. To feel somehow hard-done-by because I have a cocktail party to go to at 10pm. That I need to put on a nice dress and talk with fascinating people. That I need to read from my own book in front of a crowd of people who've paid to hear me.

If I've come across like that I'm deeply sorry. I apologize. It is possible, I suppose, to build a bubble around me and somehow develop the warped world view that parties are difficult. It suddenly came crashing home that most people have real jobs, hard jobs, demanding and often thankless jobs.

Mine is to be wined and dined.

To be fair, it isn't always easy...especially given my temperment where I'd always much rather stay at home or in my hotel room. But you can't always just do what's easy. I tried. Got me no where - and sure didn't make me happy in the long run.

So, I'm thrilled you're reading this blog - and have come along for the ride... things are always easier when I'm not alone.

So, off into another day!

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

is that a gorilla I feel?

partly cloud, occasional snow/rain mix. temps - cold

What a weather mess. Huge amounts of snow in Ottawa. Lise wrote to say it was white, white, white in Sutton with more on the way. Very pretty. But these late fall snows are treacherous. Very wet, heavy. Hard to drive. Snows like this cause a lot of grabs the tires and makes steering almost impossible. And since leaves are still on many trees the snow sits on them, weighs them down and often snaps trees in half, to takes limbs off. Like so much else in Canadian weather, it's beautiful and dangerous.

Had fun last night. Did the Harbourfront reading with Dennis Lehane, Mark Billingham, Leonie Swann and Adam Sol. The room was packed. Very atmospheric. Candles on the tables. Everyone read brilliantly. I always think I'm the dullard of the group. And I find readings the most difficult - very stressful. Apparently most authors do, so that's comforting. Always a relief to find I'm not alone.

There's an analogy a former boyfriend told me, decades ago. he described gorilla behavior and said when threatened the gorillas will advance toward the threat, glaring at it, howling and thumping. But every now and then they'll reach out and touch the gorilla next to them. Just to make sure they're not out there alone.

Before the event there was an authors dinner at an Indian restaurant. Traveled over with Ronald Wright and sat beside David Bergen. After the reading and signing we went off to a publishers party put on by McArthur and Company. Started at 10pm and went to 2am. There's at least one party, often two or three, every night before and after the events. It feels a bit like a battle (not that I've ever been in a battle) but as authors at this festival we all take turns 'going over the top'. The authors who have events that night are treated as 'special' or different - as slightly braver, slightly marked - heading into the line of fire. The other authors commisserate, and count their blessings their number wasn't called for that night. But there's a foxhole mentality in that eventally we all get called. A genuine comradery develops. Baptism of fire. We're all bloodied.

Last night was my turn, along with a number of others, of course. But we all came through it - having summoned the courage to get up, do our very best, and take what's coming.

Today's a fun day. Michael and I are off to the 1:30 matinee of THE SOUND OF MUSIC at the Princess of Wales theatre in Toronto. We're actually going to see Michaela Snoyer, the daughter of friends of ours. She auditioned and was chosen to play one of the Von Trapp family kids. We're so excited for her. Apparently she's just having the BEST time. So we're off to see her and applaud.

Then at 6pm I'll be signing at Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto, along with Mark Billingham and John Brady. My brother Doug and nephew Brian are coming along with Michaela's parents Rob and Lynda and her older sister Megan who is reading STILL LIFE. Amazing me that a kid reads at such a high (and exalted) level. I think Megan must be something else. Looking forward to meeting her. And a number of other friends will be there too.

Then we're off for another literary dinner.

Tomorrow Ann Ledden, of McArthur, is picking Michael and me up at the hotel and driving us to Collingwood for two events - 3pm at the Thornbury Public Library for a talk and reading then 7pm at the Collingwood library for another talk and reading.

Talk to you tomorrow!

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Snow storm???

mainly sunny, but clouding over tonight. cold

There're 30 centimeters of snow in the forecast for the area between Toronto and Montreal tonight! 30 centimeters...that's alot. Fortunately Toronto will get far less. And happily I just need to walk to my 8pm reading at the IFOA tonight, though we do have a dinner before that to go to.

Had a hoot at the festival cocktail party last night. It was sponsored by Hello Magazine Canada, and they took our picture and did a mock-up of a cover, with Michael and me pretending to throttle each other. I've email the editor and asked her to send us the photo, so we can use it on the next newsletter.

Speaking of which, I had a terrific conversation with the head of marketing at St. Martin's Press in New York about really promoting A RULE AGAINST MURDER. We're going to be doing a whole lot of book give-aways through the website beginning in December, so tell your friends and check it out!

Back to the cocktail - met Colin and Justin know, from Colin and Justin's Home Heist...they're a Scottish pair who had a few really popular shows on BBC TV - decorating and design shows. Then they moved to Toronto and now have a popular show here. We discussed cross-promotiong - and putting a body in one of the homes they're re-decorating. Or perhaps they could come to Three Pines and try to tart up Ruth Zardo's place. Or the B&B. Can just see the clashes with Gabri.

Rehearsing the readings for tonight and co-ordinating some marketing issues.

Teresa emailed from London to say the deal's in place for the audio book of THE MURDER STONE, so that's nice.

I need to write the the way, if any of you reading this happened to have been at one of the launches in Knowlton or Hovey Manor, could you please email me any photos you have? We'd LOVE to use them for the newsletter and the website. You can send them to the Contact email through the website.

Thank you!

Wish me luck for tonight - will tell you about it tomorrow. Maybe we'll get snowed in.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Michael's Arms

partly cloudy, have no idea of the temperature, I'm happy to admit!

Michael and I are together in Toronto, at the International Festival of Authors. If there's one HUGE perk to being a writer, this is it. We get put up in a luxury room at the Harbour Castle Hotel, all expenses (even spa treatment's, drinks, food) paid. We get to hobnob with some of the best writers on the planet, as well as publishers, agents, editors. And all I have to do is a 20 minute reading tomorrow night and a panel discussion on Saturday.


Had a fab time in Muncie. Yesterday morning was the last panel, and a lunch. And it was Jim Huang's 25th birthday (or something like that - he's preternaturally youthful). Then JD and I drove back to Toronto. Or, he drove, I did nothing. But we had a great time. I don't know him well - or didn't. But I feel, after 9 hours together with him in traffic jams and other stuff, that I know him fairly well. It was the sort of 'intimate' experience that can be intimidating. But I decided to think of him as a brother - and that worked very well. We were both relaxed and the hours flew by - until JD asked me to choose a line for the Canadian Customs and I chose the one with the car broken down. It was already packed, and we were stuck.

Oh well. But what a nice man JD is - he's one of the owners of Sleuth of Baker Street in Toronto - a marvelous bookstore.

Arrived at the hotel about 9:30 pm - and there was my Michael. Oh, it felt so great to be in his arms and hold him in mine. We had dinner (though Michael had already been to a cocktail party at Random House) then went to bed. Spent this morning at the breakfast buffet (everything you could want and more) then crawled back in to bed.

Had a wonderful message from Teresa - My agent in London. She's read the Brutal Telling and is over the moon - adores it. Thank the Lord. Hope she isn't drunk.

And a message from Hope Dellon, my US editor, to say A RULE AGAINST MURDER is one of Sarah Weinman's Pick of the Week on her site, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind. Amazing review.

So great news all around.

Now, I must run...there's the Opening Party for the IFOA (the festivsal I'm at) and I need to get into my party frock.

What a great day - made great the moment I awoke in Michael's arms.

Sunday, 26 October 2008


mostly clear, windy, cold

a long but very fun day at Magna Cum Murder, here in Muncie. Started with an 8am breakfast - where different authors hosted discussions at their tables. Mine was: Resolved: That character development slows pace amd plot. Some very interesting ideas. Clearly both character and plot are necessary. One of my favorite contributiuons came from a man named John who said that plot might get him to the end of the book, but character will make him buy the next one.

Then had a TV interview at 10:15, and at noon, over lunch, was the feature interview with me on stage. A wonderful author named Beverle Myers did the interview, and people were very kind. At 2:30 I had a signing, then at 5:15 I had another round table. Then the banquet at 7 and another signing. The other guest of honour, Sharon Randall, is a newspaper columnist and gave a fabulous after dinner talk. Lovely woman. Very funny and touching.

Then back to the hotel to sleep -

Michael drove in to Montreal today and is catching a train to Toronto. I was supposed to fly out of Indianapolis at 7:30 tonight - arriving at 9:20pm - but JD, who runs Sleuth of Baker Street said he's driving back to Toronto right after lunch and maybe I'd like to hitch a ride. The only problem was that I thought someone from the literary festival I'm going to in Toronto was going to meet the plane - but I spoke to Michael and he said when he arrives in TO he'd cancel that.

So will hop a lift with JD. 8 hour drive. That's not bad. Should arrive before the plane. Very kind of JD to offer. I actually have an event at his store in Toronto this Wednesday.

Oh, that reminds me - Mari emailed to say THE MURDER STONE made the beststeller list it's first week out! I'm thrilled. Thank you all who bought it!

Must run. Need to pack, check out and get to the convention. Have a panel this morning, another signing and need to report on our round-table discussion.

Tomorrow we have off in Toronto. Plan to sleep, and just be with Miuchael.

But a huge congratulations to Kathryn Kennison, Jim Huang and everyone else who organized this year's Magna Cum Murder. A fabulous conference.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Muncie Cum Murder

heavy rain, cool, temps 55

loads of rain today - had a quiet morning reading more of Josephine Tey's Brat Farrar, which I'm loving. Dick Kennison picked me up at 11:30 and we went off to Ruby Tuesday for burgers. Then to the convention centre for the start of Magna Cum Murder. they've set up a coffee bar with flavors to add ourselves - like vanilla and raspberry and caramel. I did a praline flavour with whipped cream on top. Yum.

then I was asked to interview an author with a debut author - Wilfred Bereswill. the persdon who was supposed to be involed showed up late, so I agreed to step in...20 years of CBC Radio interviewing paid off...and it's always a pleasure to help out a new author.

Then there was the author dinner and after that Jim Huang, who owns and runs The Mystery Company bookstore in Indianapolis and Ronald Tierney another author and I ran a discussion with all the registered guests and authors about the state of mystery reading and writing today.

By 8:30 tonight I was ready to come back to the hotel - pooped. My sessions start at 8 tomorrow morning and end with a signing at 9pm tomorrow, after dinner. including being the feature interview over lunch and a TV interview somewhere in there. Might need to carb up.

But this is an extremely well run conference, and that makes a HUGE difference. No stress about whether things will be ready, or I'll be picked up, or if something isn't going to work. Unexpected things always happen, but here I know they'll be taken care of. Someone is paying attention. A massive difference to my enjoyment of the event.

Sleep well - probably won't blog tomorrow but will try on Sunday.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Magna Cum Muncie

clear, mild, temps 60

We're in Muncie! Flights were terrific, of course good weather helped as did my asking for and getting the bulkhead seats on both flights. what a difference.

met at plane by the amazing Kathryn Kennison who created and runs Magna Cum Murder. Last September (07) she organized a tour of this area for Michael and me, so we got to know Kathryn and her husband Dick quite well, and really enjoyed their company. As we were about to leave I got a call from Kathryn asking me to be the Guest of Honor at this year's Magna. I couldn't say, yes' fast enough.

So here I am in their lovely and generous company. We also met two other Magna Cum Murderers (as kathryn calls people who come to her conference at Ball State University) at the airport, Billie and Kay, from Texas - two women who became best friends when they were neighbors 35 years ago, and have remained best friends. I envy them this loving relationship. Their husbands died within 10 days of each other, and when Kay sold her big home and build another she moved in with Billie. Then didn't want to leave. They lived toigether for 8 months- 3 months after the home was completed! Kay's now 81 and Billie's in her 70's.

We had an hour in the hotel this afternoon to relax then along with the other Guest of Honor, Sharon Randall, the six of us went out to dinner. Marvelous. They all had scallops and I had grilled tuna. Then we shared two desserts.

And now I'm back in the room, ready to crawl in to bed and call Michael and call it at day.

Sleep tight.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

First snow

rain, sleet, yuck. temps 3

Michael called this morning to say Good Morning, and to report that there was a layer of snow at home. He took the puppies around the pond, tossing the tennis ball, which quickly disappeared. But he found a bright orange one, and they all had fun with that. Our Golden's adore the snow. His plan is to stay home, light a fire, and read.

I'm worried that he'd beginning to deeply appreciate the peace and quiet when I'm gone. Well, God knows, he deserves it!

While he was relaxing by the fire, watching the snow, stroking the dogs, I was at the dentist. Cleaning. I hate it. Not because it hurts, but because I'm always afraid they'll say, 'Tsk, tsk. They'll all have to come out.'

They've never said that - except in my head. And once again I appreciate that nothing I've ever feared has actually happened. Except in my head.

Had huge fun last night at the library in Pierrefonds. Terrific audience, which included some aspiring writers, and that's always fun. The librarian, Julie, is young and energetic and funny. A real pleasure.

Have an event tonight at the library in Pointe Claire...7pm...along with a number of other Montreal crime writers including NAT Grant, Robert Landoori and Michael Blair. Looking forward to that, if not to the drive. As I walked back from the dentist it started to sleet - mix of rain and snow. Fortunately not freezing rain. And I'm sure it will clear up by tonight.

Must go. Have to beg the superintendent of the building to allow me to leave the car in the outside lot for 10 days.

Am off to Muncie early tomorrow morning, but will try to blog when I arrive tomorrow afternoon. Am there for Magna Cum Murder.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

The roast has left the building...

rain, cool, temps 7

They were calling for wet snow this morning but fortunately we only got rain. Am in Montreal now. Have an event at the Pierrefonds library at 7:30 tonight. And the Pointe-Claire library at 7pm tomorrow.

Just spoke to Michael (who is waiting in Sutton for the NY publishers - Minotaur - to deliver 300 books to sign) and he says Tony finally managed to dislodge the pot roast. Both it and I have left the building and Michael (Dear One) is left in peace.

Need to spend the afternoon reading Brat Farrar. It's the book featured at this year's Magna Cum Murder, this weekend in Muncie. Wouldn't you know it? They chose the one book to study by Josephine Tey I hadn't yet read. And I'm an excrutiatingly slow reader, as I've mentioned. But what a brilliant book. Am alternately awe and cowed by her. Still, I need to finish by Friday.

Will leave you now and get back to the divine Miss T.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Honestly, it's a pot roast...

overcast, cool, temps 6

Turtleneck and sweater day. Fire laid about to be lit. Wonderful late autumn day. Trees almost bare. When they decide to lose their leaves it doesn't take long.

Had breakfast in Knowlton this morning...wonderful. This afternoon need to pack, do laundry and have another recording session. I'm doing the narration for a film on literacy. Hope to finish it this afternoon. Have to, actually. Am off to Montreal tomorrow morning, an event at 7:30pm at the Pierrefonds library in Montreal, then another one Wednesday evening at the Poite Claire Library, then an early morning flight to Chicago then on to Indianapolis, for Magna Cum Murder.

I'm actually the guest of honor there, and am really looking forward to it. It's a wonderful conference for mystery readers and writers. Quite academic, since it's sponsored by Ball State University. But also organized by the amazing kathryn Kennison and Jim Huang. Jim runs a fabulous mystery bookstore in Indianapolis.

From there, next Sunday, I fly to Toronto for the International Federation of Authors festival at Harbourfront...and a series of events in and around Toronto - including a couple of fun ones in and around Collingwood.

So plan to hop into a bath, relax, and enjoy. And take it one event at a time.

Gary's back working on the place and had to give him the embarrassing news that late last week I tried (important word there...tried) to flush a pot roast down the toilet.

When he'd finished laughing - which was dangerous since he was up on our roof - he said he'd bring the 'snake' back this afternoon and de-roast us.

Oh, and had a fabulous review of THE MURDER STONE in this weekend's Irish News. They named it a 'Hot Book', gave it 8/10. So that's good.

Will try to blog well.

Sunday, 19 October 2008

High Tea and Murder

misty in morning, then brilliant sun, cool, temps 10

What a magical time at Hovey. A dream of a launch...literally. For as long as I've lived in Quebec I've visited Hovey heal when things have gone bad, to celelbrate the great events. Michael and I had our wedding reception there, and we went there after my Mother died. And our home burned down. (Not related, thank God). In DEAD COLD/A FATAL GRACE there's a scene decribing a fire on a brutally cold winter's night. That's how it looked when our home burned in the middle of winter a number of years ago.

Anyway - back to Hovey and the launch. It was great. The people who were there for the High Tea were wonderful. Thank Heaven. We'd told the Inn there'd be a full house - 80 people. And they set up 68 seats. And it was packed at that! And people kept arriving, and we kept cramming people in - thank God everyone was in a good humour, and thank God for Debra Schram, the publisher's rep. who took charge and made sure everyone had a seat.

Of course, Danny and Lucy (of Brome Lake Books), Debra and her husband Peter, and Michael and I stood - no more seats. But it was worth it. People had come from all over. It was a gas.

I took along a map of Three Pines I'd made when I was writing STILL LIFE, and that I still refer to sometimes. As well as plans of Peter and Clara's home, and character sketches of the villagers. Stephen Stafford, one of the owners of Hovey, spoke for 10 minutes on the history of the Inn and then I talked for about 30 minutes, did a couple of readings including one describing a meal Armand and Reine Marie enjoy at the Manoir Bellechasse (inspired by Hovey). Answered a few questions, then signed.

People seemed to be having a blast - as was I. Gary and Cheryl were there, as was Lise, and Cotton, and our cousins Chris and Carl came all the way from Toronto. A bunch of us were staying a the Manoir over night so that was extra fun. Indeed some of the people stayed a few days, lucky ones.

After the launch the wonderful Jim Napier (reviewer for the Sherbrooke Record and a mover within the Crime Writers of Canada), and his terrific wife Roya came up to our room. We had ginger ales and Jim did an interview with me. Then we chatted for a while. We really enjoy their company. After they left we napped and relaxed.

We had dinner last night with Chris and Carl - the amuse-bouche was an oyster, then they and Michael had seared scallops as a starter while I had grilled wild mushroom salad. Then we all had filet mignon with blue cheese rissoto. Carl had a chocolate cake for dessert, Chris has a mango, pear tarte and Michael and I had a blueberry thing with blueberry ice cream, some cream, some whole berries and other yummy things. Then over def-cappuccinos the staff brought home-made chocolates.

Lord, take me now.

Had a wonderful room with a fireplace (which we used) - woke up to mist on the lake, but by breakfast it was clear and sunny. Met Debra and Peter for a working breakfast - Michael and Peter had the special of the morning - crepes with apples and raspberries, with english cream and sausages. Debra had porridge (poor one had a cold!) and I had eggs benedict, with a side order of sausages.

Then signed some more books and left.

Peter runs the New England Culinary Institute and is a chef himself, having had many amazing restaurants including one in Montreal. He met with Stephen Stafford to see if a placement could be arranged between Hovey and their school - which is the third largest in North America and is based in Vermont.

We just had a riot.

Picked up the puppies on the way home - gave Pat 10 bags of homemade Hovey granola! - then made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, got in a bath and vegged out.

Great, great weekend. And I feel The Murder Stone is on her way. A fabulous coming out party for this 'child.'

Hope you enjoy reading it - and for those of you in the States, don't forget - it's called A RULE AGAINST MURDER in the US, and will be coming out in January. I can hardly wait for that - what fun that will be!

Talk tomorrow, be well.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

The Murder Stone has arrived

mainly sunny, cold, temps 2

Hard frost last night. But a wonderful launch!!! Yay. More than 100 people, a chocolate fountain and amazing food (thanks to Lucy and Danny) loads of wine and punch. Really, Danny and Lucy and Brome Lake Books are incredible.

It just felt so warm, so enthusiastic. I was moved almost to tears when Danny introduced me and I looked out at all those happy faces. Many I knew - some were close and loving friends - but many were strangers as well. And I really loved seeing that. One woman came from Tennessee, a couple came from North Carolina. There were people from Ontario and Vermont and all over the Eastern Townships.

The place felt electric - but at the same time very warm. I think it was the best launch yet!

Joan came and gave me a single white rose - beautiful. And Cotton sent a bouquet...she'll be at the Inn this afternoon.

I spoke for a couple of minutes (mostly trying not to cry) and then read from THE MURDER STONE.

Oh, and Danny and Lucy invited a good friend of ours, Mike Stone, to set up a display there. He does - wait for it - stone work. He built some of our dry stone walls, and laid our stone paths. It was a riot to see him there, with his lovely stones!

Debra Schram and her husband Peter were there too. She's the publishers representative, and she took Michael, Danny, Lucy, our friends Kirk and Walter and me out for a celebratory dinner afterward. Debra and Peter stayed in the guest cottage last night.

At noon we're all heading off to Hovey Manor for launch #2. High Tea. Another talk, and this time I've chosen to read a couple of passages that describes the Manoir Bellechasse (inspired by Hovey). And I'll be taking a board I made up when planning STILL LIFE. It has a sketch of Three Pines I drew, a plan for Peter and Clara's home, as well as post-it notes stuck on the board with characters names (some crossed out and new ones added) with personality traits. It's a sort of see the village and the characters as they were born.

Must be off. Need to get into party frock #2 - pack the car. Will stay overnight at Hovey. Gary and Cheryl stayed there last night and will be at the tea. As will our cousins, Chris and Carl from Toronto.

Deep breath. Talk to you tomorrow, and tell you all about it.

Friday, 17 October 2008


mainly sunny, cool, temps 10

Wonderful day for the book launch. I remember the launch last year, which we healf in a small theatre in Sutton and was sponsored by the Quebec Writers Federation and the local bookstore, Livre D'or. It was teeming rain...a real deluge. Frankly, I wouldn't have gone to the launch, if I didn't have to! Anna Asimakopolous drove all the way down from Montreal through the storm. Horrible.

Happily, and surprisingly, the place was packed.

I'm all dressed, showered, have the party frock on, the perfume (because that always helps at book launches...perfume and deodorant). Have Michael. We're heading out in about 5 minutes.

Don't know why, but I always get nervous at launches...even the local ones.

I'll tell you how it goes in tomorrow's blog. Wish me luck.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Yes, we have no bananas

rainy, cool, temps 10

Classic autumn day...perfect for sweaters and tea and hot baths. Can't write long - the dogs need to be fed and since this is the highlight of their day I don't want to make them wait too long.

This was going to be the last quiet day before the storm that is a book launch and the swirl of promotion. But somehow, it got away from me. Michael and I had breakfast with Cotton in Knowlton, then met with Danny at the bookstore to discuss the events of the next two days.

The dropped Michael at home and headed in to Sutton. Picked up a printer at the loft and arranged for the last three things to be taken away...then to the post office to mail, among other things, the manuscript for book 5 to my agent in London. THE BRUTAL TELLING is now out of my hands.

Then to the grocery store for tonight's dinner of roast chicken.

Got home, walked the dogs, had a bath, then needed to start dinner...we cook it in a claypot. As I chopped the veg Michael came in and shyly asked about the chicken, and whether I'd seen it. I couldn't figure out what he meant. Then he told me. He'd unloaded the groceries and while I had a whole lot of things I hadn't intended to buy - what I didn't have was a chicken.

Back to the village and the grocery store.

In the meantime, I'd stripped the bed and done a couple loads of laundry. So have spent the past hour preparing the claypot, folding laundry and making the bed. And now it's the dog's dinner.

You know, one trick I've learned, and when I remember my life is calm and fun and peaceful and often joyous.

One day at a time. What wisdom. I can get stressed out if I think of all the things I need to do in the next 2 months. All the travel, the readings, the speeches, the signings.

But if I just take it one day, one event, at a time life is simple and lovely.

I just wish I could remember that...I also wish I'd remembered the chicken.

The big launch is tomorrow night at Brome Lake Books in Knowlton at 5pm - then High Tea at Hovey Manor Saturday at 2pm. It's sold out, which is great. 80 people booked early.

I'll let you know how it all goes. Such fun to have you along for the ride...most of you've been with me this whole year as I've written THE BRUTAL TELLING, and gone on tour, and lived out lives.

Now's the payoff. Hold on.

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Goodbye, loft. Thank you

partly cloudy, cool, temps 11

Perfect day for moving out of the Sutton office/loft. What a great space that's been! After writing DEAD COLD/A FATAL GRACE I really didn't want to write at home again. It was too stressful. I love my home. My environment is quite important to me. Doesn't have to be big. In fact, I adore intimate, cozy, inviting spaces. But it does need to be my nest...a safe place. Writing at home caused me to feel quite stressed about the home.

So we rented this magnificent loft space in the village. And wrote two books there. It was bliss. We'd get cafe au laits every morning, and go for lunches. See people on the street. But also have a space dedicated to writing...where I did nothing else. And Michael wrote too.

Cannot tell you how thrilling that was.

But then as the books took off we found ourselves traveling so much...and discovered that when we were home all I wanted to do was stay at home. We barely made it into the office at all for a year or more. I wrote all of book 5 at home, and realized I no longer felt antagonistic toward the space. Infact, I loved it. What could be better than sitting in front of the fireplace in my sweats or flannel pajamas, with a tea and cookies, and write? Then take a bath?

So we've decided to give up the loft. Not at all sad about that. Just deeply grateful we had that fantastic space when we needed it. And we have this fantastic space at home now.

Spent this morning with Anthony helping, schlepping boxes and some furniture. It took far less time than we expected. Yay. And now we're finished...just need to unpack. That should take about a year.

Off to meet Kirk at the loft. He's an antique dealer and friend. We have a couple of nice pieces we can't use at home and thought he could sell them on to someone. We'll see.

Canadian election last night. Conservative minority. No huge surprise. The Conservatives hoped, of course, for a majority government. They just had a minority and didn't much like it. It demands being able to build concensus.

The Canadian system is wonderful. We often have a majority government, but because we have three strong parties, it sometimes happens that no single party wins the majority of the seats. The other two parties can combine and defeat the government.

The Liberals didn't do so well last night, but the NDP (New Democratic Party) did very well. They're social democrats, with a strong bent toward social justice. I wish they were stronger on the environment - but they're not bad there. The Green Party didn't elect anyone, but they did well in the popular vote. Have a wonderful, dynamic leader named Elizabeth May. I think we'll be hearing more from her, and the party, in the future.

Now our eyes turn (never really left) to the American election.

Off for to you tomorrow.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Election Day in Canada

overcast, warm, temps 23

Unseasonably mild. Even warm, but the wind has been picking up all afternoon and now I see black/blue clouds heading this way. A storm, I expect.

Great day - relaxing. Heard from Sherise, the UK editor. THE MURDER STONE was reviewed in The Guardian newspaper this past weekend. here's the excerpt she sent:

'The red herrings are expertly deployed, and the solution is ingenious and unexpected’.

So that's very nice.

Had breakfast in Cowansville, dropped Michael back home so he could work on his book while I went into the loft/office to fill the car with stuff to bring home. Then to the post office - had tons of books to mail out - internationally. The went to a local cafe with the manuscript of book 5 and a red pen and went over some sections that needed a little more fine-tuning.

Heard from my brother Doug last night. He'd spent the weekend reading the manuscript and called to say it was the best yet. I know him enough to know he's very kind, but he also knows it's no kindness to not be honest at this stage. So I choose to believe him.

What an amazing thing Doug did for me. Imagine spending the whole weekend reading this manuscript because he knew I'd be worried. Like me, he's a slow reader, so it's work. I'm just so lucky to have a brother like him. Especially since I spent most of our childhood telling everyone he was adopted, and wishing he was dead. I think it was mutual. As is our love for each other now.

I'm very relieved. I'm so close to this book it's very, very hard to know if it's any good. I think it is...but then sometimes.....

So I had a cafe au lait, a raisin scone and made some changes. Then came home. Tony was bringing wood in for the winter, Gary was working on the downstairs bathroom, Michael was writing. So I unloaded the car (with Michael's help) and came upstairs to put the changes into the computer.

Then sent it off to Bob to be printed out. Will mail it to Teresa, my agent, by Friday.

Dear God. This is a terrifying part of the process. But it's also quite freeing. It is, literally, out of my hands.

This is Federal election day in Canada. We have a Conservative government - with a strong Liberal and NDP (social-democrats) opposition, and a Green party that's gaining strength. Here in Quebec there's a separatist party that has been extremely strong for many elections called the Bloc Quebecois.

We voted in an advanced poll a couple of weeks ago. As I drove past the Canadian Legion Hall in Sutton I saw the cars and the long, long line-up. So happy to have already cast a vote. Won't tell you for whom, but perhaps you can guess.

Will make a pizza for dinner and watch the poll results.

Talk to you well.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Overcast, cool, temps 13 - this is exactly the weekend when STILL LIFE is set!

Back home! Does it ever feel great. But what a wonderful time I had at Bouchercon in Baltimore. Everyone seemed to have a fabulous time - Congratulations to Ruth and Judy for their amazing organization.

The flight back yesterday was smooth, easy. Stunning countryside...brilliant, clear skies. As we flew north we could see the colours changing below. Until it was a mat of reds and oranges, up and down mountains and into valleys and thick, flat forests. Broken only by lakes.

Hoped into the car and did the 2 hours home. Got to Canada Customs a milli-second ahead of the rush. Behind me there must have been 20 cars. Sutton was packed...never seen it so crowded. Fun, though. It was sunny and warm and everyone was walking, and talking, and buying breads and cheese and going into shops.

Turned into the driveway and felt my spirits lift even further. What a beautiful home we have. And - even better - as I walked in I could smell turkey! And Michael had set the table with such creativity.

The UK publishers, Headline, had sent a beatuful bouqet of autumn flowers, and they looked fabulous in the kitchen. We have a large country kitchen (not unlike Clara and Peter's in the books) and we mostly entertain there.

Michael and I hugged and kisses and hugged again, then got softdrinks and sat and yakked away at each other, with news. Then Bal, Linda and Bethany Mount arrived for Thanksgiving dinner, with their 3 dogs, Tara, Trevi and Ivy. It was a mad house - perfect. Linda, wonderful woman, had made a salad and the dessert - of fruit and chocolate to melt for a fondue.

What could be better?

We know them so well, and love them - it was like family. Everyone helping out, and helping thmselves, and doing the dishes and cutting fruit. Bethany, who's 13, is brilliant. A writer. We tried to take the 5 dogs around the pond, but they kept playing, and running away we ended up just talking. And she told me all about the stories she's writing. For fun! Had I known it was possible to have a child like her I'd have order three of them.

After dinner we all divided the left-overs, chatted some more, then the Mounts returned to the guest house and we went up to bed, to laugh and talk and read. It feels so great to be home.

Spent today doing the smoothing out of the book - making the changes Michael found necessary when he read The Brutal Telling. Mostly grammatical and spelling mistakes...and a few names that changed suddenly and needed to be consistant. My brother Doug is also reading the manuscript. Doug - if you're reading this - hurry up!!! Doug reads about as quickly as I* do - which is about 2 pages a day. I write faster than I read. don't tell my editors.

Must be off...a ton of emails to respond to, and mailings to prepare. But life is good. Must take the dogs out - Trudy is clawing at me. Be well - talk tomorrow.

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Louise, the Goddess of Pooped

sunny, warm, temps 75

A glorious day in Baltimore. Just got back from lunch with Bonnie and Joe. They used to run the Black Orchid bookshop in New York City - fabulous place. They closed it almost exactly a year ago - but we've kept in touch. Lovely people. We met at a seafood restaurant at the harbor. I was late - hard to get out of the hotel, so many people to talk to. But finally managed it. What a lovely walk to and around the harbour, though I was hurrying.

Spent 2 hours over lunch - had great seats looking onto the sparking waters. I'd had crab cakes last night at dinner with Rhys Bowen and Lynn. So decided to have the lobster penne for lunch, and we shared an apple pie with cinnamon ice cream. As good as it sounds!

Had breakfast this morning with the St. Martin's Minotaur team, including publicists Hector and Sarah, and the president of the imprint, Andy Martin. The president of the paperback division joined us...Matthew Shearer. We discussed sales (excellent) and strategy.

The Murder Stone (UK/Canadain title for book 4) continued to be the bestseller in the Bouchercon bookroom, which made me happy, but the US publishers less happy since it was the Canadian version everyone was buying. The US doesn't come out until January and will be called A RULE AGAINST MURDER.

Am getting worn out. Yesterday was exhausting - thrilling - but exhausting. Had breakfast with Dan Mayer, who's become a friend but also happens to be the person who buys Crime/Mystery books for all 700 Barnes and Noble stores across the US. We had a riot - both being dog people. After breakfast we went to the B&N at the harbour and signed. Then back in time for lunch with Julia Spencer Fleming, her husband Ross, Robin and Jamie Agnew, of Aunt Agatha's Bookstore in Ann Arbor, and the amazing Jim Huang, one of the organizors of next year's Bouchercon in Indianapolis. Then at 1:30 I met Lee Ann for a coffee. Don't know if you remember, but I had a message from her last month. She lost her son, Thomas, in the Iraq war and wrote to comment on a passage in The Cruelest Month that had moved her. Well we arranged to meet for coffee and she brought an album she and her friends made up after Thomas's death...of him from birth to the very last picture of him. I think you can imagine how that coffee felt, for her, and for me.

She's a lovely woman and she'd signed up for the conference...I'd see her after that every now and then, deep in conversation with her favorite authors, having a great time.

Then had to run to make my panel, with Rhys Bowen and Deborah Crombie. It was called Three Goddesses Talking. No moderator. Just us. This format is extremely unusual. But it worked. Turned out to be a riot. I think it helped that we all have real affection for each other and respect, at least I have that for them, and it seemed to be mutual. It was a genuine honour to be grouped with these two amazing writers. And generous women.

The room was packed...and afterward, in the signing room, the line up for autographs went all around the room. That felt good. As you know, I've sat behind desks when no one wanted my book or my signature. so when this happens I really savor it!

In fact, it was so successful the organizors of next year's Bouchercom have asked Rhys, Deborah and me to do The Three Goddesses at the Indianapolis convention, and we've all agreed. In the meantime we will take mortal form.

By the time the panel and signing was over it was 4:45. At 5:30 I had a party called Authors Without Borders to go to, then at 6pm the Minotaur Party at another hotel. Fabulous party - everyone there. Then Lynn and Rhys and I walked back to our hotel and had a quiet dinner. We all looked like zombies. Met Donna Andrews in the lobby and she looked like she couldn't get out of her chair!

Quiet night tonight, by choice - then head home tomorrow in time for Thanksgiving dinner with Michael, Linda, Bal and Bethany. Big week coming up. We officially launch The Murder Stone.

Right now I just want to curl up and read People Magazine. But, if anyone asks, I'm reading The Economist.

I might not blog tomorrow, but will Monday. Take care of yourselves.

Thursday, 9 October 2008


sunny, temps 70

Baltimore! Bouchercon. Such fun. Left home (and Michael) at 9am - drove to the Burlington Airport. First time using it. There are two huge advantages to using it over the Montreal airport - especially for trips to the US. I pass through customs on the road, don't have to do the awful Mtl customs, especially coming back. a nightmare. And it was hundreds of dollars cheaper. Flew AirTran. Direct from Burlington to Baltimore. What are the chances there'd be a direct flight, but there was.

Was a little concerned about AirTran, never having heard of it before. Expected it to be like AirBob or AirLouise. Some guys former cropduster or bush plane. But it's a wonderful airline. Big 717 jet. I got to upgrade to Business for 50 dollars. Which, of course, I did. Also upgraded my hotel room to Club level.

Ah, luxury. Anyway, the flight was smooth, fun. Relaxing. Only took slightly over an hour. Then waited an hour for the luggage. But it finally arrived and I wasn't in a hurry. Didn't have anything until the book signing at the Mystery News desk at 4pm.

The Sheraton hotel seems good. My room is wonderful. Big corner King...21st floor. Windows on two sides - great view. very bright.

I only had time to drop the luggage, register for Bouchercon and head to the dealers room. For those of you who've never been to this convention, it's a riot. Thjousands of mystery readers and hundreds of mystery authors. The authors are put on panels, then sign their books afterward. There's a dealers room filled with mystery booksellers from the US and Canada. It's like a candy store. For anyone who adores mysteries it's heaven. And, of course, being surrounded by people who also adore the books is wonderful.

Did the signing - met up with the wonderful Chris and Lynn who own and publish Mystery News, a real agenda setter in the crime writing community. They also sponsor and organize the annual Barry Aards, given out tonight. Lynn and I are having dinner together tomorrow night. She's a wonderful woman, and someone I'm glad to call a friend.

Next door at Mystery Mikes they managed to get in hardcover copies of The Murder Stone, so I signed three cases for them and they said The Murder Stone was far and away their bestseller today at the convention. I'm thrilled to hear that.

I should be going to the ceremony tonight to open Bouchercon and give out awards but I'm a little tired and tomorrow's a hectic day - so have just ordered a burger and key lime pie.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Literacy Video

sunny, mild, temps 14

Again, another cold morning. Minus 2. But warmed up to 14. Beautiful day. Drove in to Montreal. Did a taped interview for All in a Weekend, with Dave Bronstetter, on CBC Radio One. Met a bunch of friends...Catherine, Anna, Shawn and Mike. It always feels a little odd being back - but a relief not to have to be on air doing a daily show. Had had enough of that. For everything there really is a season.

Got back in time to meet the man producing the literacy video. We set up a make-shift studio in our dining room and recorded. I hadn't had a chance to read the script, and it's quite hard to read something out loud, cold. A few stops and stops, but it went quite quickly. About an hour of script. Took about 1 1/2 hours. The hardest part, I found, was keeping up my energy level. You can really tell when a person isn't really 'there'.

Then responded to a bunch of emails. Poor UK publishers have been trying to send me flowers to celebrate the publication of THE MURDER STONE and the florists seem challenged. We actually stayed home - one of us - for two days, waiting. And now the florists have told the publishers they tried to call and deliver, but no one was here.

Quite maddening. There is actually a wonderful florist in Sutton who does spectacxular arrangements - just a little shop but a very gifted woman. Have suggested perhaps they could use her in the future. But it seemed heavy-handed to micro-manage the delivery of my own flowers.

But, this might be for the best, with Thanksgiving coming we'll have fresh flowers. If they can find us. I can't believe they've even tried. Between Michael waiting and the dogs who bark when a car even passes... but still.

Drive to Burlington Vermont airport tomorrow, (about 2 hours) then fly to Baltimore. Not far..about 1 1/2 hrs. Have a signing at the Mystery News desk at Bouchercon at 4pm tomorrow...and have given myself the evening off. Will order up room service, and read. Heaven.

Hope you enjoy our trip to Baltimore. Take your party frock.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

A hard and magical frost

brilliant sunshine, mild, temps 15

When we woke up there was a hard frost. It was gorgeous. Like a very fine layer of snow on everything. Had to scrape the car windshield. Michael took the dogs around the pond and it was beautiful (he reports).

Deanna came in today to clean so we skiddadled off to Cowansville for breakfast. As we drove I noticed something I'd never seen before. It was a brilliant, sunny morning. And the sun quickly melted all the frost, except where there were shadows. We'd drive by fields that were frost-free...except in the shadow of a tree...and the frost made the perfect outline of the tree, or the barn, or the post... It was magical. As though there were giant frost cut-outs everwhere, surrounded by sun.

In Cowansville we had breakfast - French toast with fruit and bacon for me. 2 eggs over easy, bacon and french toast for Michael. Then off to the grocery store for some Thanksgiving food.

This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving. Our friends Linda and Bal Mount and their daughter Bethany are coming out for the long weekend and we'll have Sunday Thanksgiving turkey together. I'll be in Baltimore, arriving just in time to eat. How did that happen???

Fortunately Linda volunteered to make a few dishes...and Pat said she'd make a sweet potato casserole and Michael will make his signature cranberry sauce... and put the turkey in.

I suspect the dishes will fall to me. But, it seems only fair. Unless I can pay Bethany to do them. How much could it cost? But I think she's too smart a kid to fall for that. I can remember having to do the Christmas dishes with my brothers...and walking into the kitchen to do them and practically bursting into tears. There were so many!

After Cowansville we headed into the office in Sutton. We've decided to give up the space as of the end of October. We just weren't using it any more. But now we need to move all the furniture and boxes. Lise - wonderful woman - packed most of it up. And today Tony and Joe came over and moved most of the heavy furniture for us.

Thank God for friends.

Tomorrow I head in to Montreal to tape an interview with Dave Bronstetter on the CBC radio weekend show. Great show. And really like Dave. Funny, smart guy. Then tape the narration for a film on literacy. then do laundry and pack for Bouchercon in Baltimore.

My life swings wildly, as you can tell, from the privileged and glamorous to the mundane. Not sure which I prefer. Oh, wait. Did I mention how much I like luxury? Yes, that I definitely prefer. Though, I think I love it because I don't have it all the time. What a treat when I do.

Talk to you tomorrow.

Monday, 6 October 2008


partly cloudy, cool, temps 14

Heavy dew this morning. Am tempted everytime I take the dogs out to check on the mouse, but afraid it'll still be where I left it. Then what? So I keep myself and the dogs away and trust it found little mouse friends and is making a little mouse home for the winter.

Rented and watched my new favorite movie. Miss Pettigrew Lives For A Day. Wonderful. Frances McDormand is brilliant, as is Amy Grant...very fun and funny. And warm. Loved, loved, loved it! Am planning to buy it now.

But the real revelation was the man who plays Joe. As soon as I saw him I thought - there's Gamache. His name is Ciaran Hinds. And my friend Sharon (who also has a crush on him) says that he was in the mini-series Rome.

In Miss Pettigrew he plays a character much like Gamache - it was quite eerie. But lovely too.

Am doing odds and ends still not fixed - Nancy coming about 3:30 this afternoon. Sshe's an avid golfer and I suspect she might be taking advantage of these last days before the snow.

More tomorrow - be well.

Sunday, 5 October 2008


started sunny, now clouded over. temps 14

Turns out, it's a mouse. Feel almost as stupid as when we called the electrician because a lamp wasn't working and he put a new bulb in and turned it on. To be fair, I'd also tried a new bulb and nothing had happened - so perhaps it was an old bulb I'd put in. Either way, he gave me 'the look'. I shrank.

I wonder if that's what gives women osteoperosis? Years of 'that look'. Diminshed.

I got it again today from Tony. He and Pat came up for tea. He also checked our mouse traps and announced we'd caught one. So we had a dead one in the basement (killed by us) and a live one in the mudroom - saved by us.


Made Michael a pot roast using the slow-cooker the other day. First time I'd (or anyone) had used it. Put it on then went to Knowlton for breakfast - this was Friday. Tried to banish image of it bursting into flames while I was gone. Happily the pear, melted brie and spiced blueberry crepe banished all bad thoughts. It was a transcendental experience. I'd like to buy the world a crepe.

Have to release the mouse into the wild. Preferably far enough from the house so that it doesn't come back and we end up doing something terrible to it. Strange how we bond with things we save...or imprison. This is sort of the Stockholm syndrome, in reverse.

Nice, quiet day. Reading by the fire and having tea with friends. Tomorrow Nancy comes to fix the computer - it will receive but won't send emails...have an interview with a newspaper and I think that's all so far. Trying to settle a time to do narration for a film on literacy. They want to do it this coming week but I have to do a CBC interview Wednesday then fly to Baltimore early Thursday, so will see. Perhaps Wednesday afternoon.

Michael's reading THE BRUTAL TELLING. So far so good.

Saturday, 4 October 2008

I see a gerbil in your future...or is it a mouse?

sunny, then cloudy, now sunny again. temps 14

Cool, autumn day.

We seem to have a new family member. But I wish I could tell you what it is. It might be a gerbil. Or a mouse. It's definitely neither a fish nor a moose. But I can't completely rule out deer.

Either way, it's now living in a delux cage in our mudroom.

Here's what happened. Michael came back from his morning walk with the dogs around the pond singing Trudy's praises. Apparently she had something cornered and was playing with it (read:tormenting) prior to doing the dirty deed. Michael saw this and called her off. And, miraculously, she stepped back.

He went up to her and walked her away and saw the poor little creature. he thought maybe it was a vole.

Then we went off for breakfast with Joan in Sutton and when we got back I let the dogs out for their walk and Trudy takes off like lightning across the yard and out into the field. I remembered the vole and thought, 'That's going to be one disappointed dog.'

then I see something small and brown leaping (or being tossed) into the air. Now, there's always a chance it's poop, but I was taking no chances. I ran out there, calling for Trudy to get back. Which (second miracle) she did.

There on the ground was a small, round, brown thing. Too big for a mouse, too small for a moose. Not poop (that I could definitely rule out). It was exactly where Trudy and Michael had left it three hours earlier. I figured the poor thing must be injured. I got a little stick and prodded it, and it moved off. Didn't seem injured at all. But neither did it seem inclined to run.

I was flumoxed. Still am, frankly. Maybe it was still in shock from that morning, but my experience was that rodents and other animals might freeze for a while, but that wears off. And it had had three hours of peace. It was absolutely amazing no bird or other predator had picked it up.

I decided it still might be injured and it was our responsibility. Can't leave an animal in pain. So I got a box, put grasses in the bottom, seed and water in little containers, put gloves on and went back. Fully expecting - indeed hoping - it would be gone.

It was still there.

I picked it up, it didn't fight, and put it in the box. And put the box in the screen porch. It was just strange. It really didn't seem injured.

Michael and I began to wonder if it might somehow be a gerbil, escaped from a cage, or let go by idiots who no longer wanted it.

Of course, it might still be a mouse. But we've seen so many of those this sure doesn't look like one. Maybe a Bull Mouse. Or Queen Mouse. Alpha Mouse. Anyway, it's our mouse now.

After the psychic reading, where he said a whole lot of great things (apparently you're going to LOVE this book, and the next even more!) but failed to see this event, I went off to the Pet Store in Cowansville for gerbil supplies. Cage, shavings, alfalfa, food, water bottle.

I hate pet stores. Never go near them. They're outlets for puppy mills. Perhaps not every store, but in my opinion pet stores should carry pet food and supplies - maybe some fish - and that's all. If people want pets they can go to a reputable breeder or better yet, the shelter.

But I had to go into this store. I needed the gerbil stuff. So I averted my eyes from the cages because if I actually saw puppies I'd have to go ballistic on them. And storm out. Without the stuff.

As you see, I have situational ethics.

Happily, there were no signs of cages - and I got the stuff. And now the gerbil (do you notice the more I say it the more it actually seems likely to be a gerbil and not a mouse, or rat?) is asleep in it's brand new, safe, home.

I check every now and then to make sure it's a) alive b) still there.

Had great fun with the psychic. Michael and I will live long, healthy lives. I will know success beyond my wildest dreams (already happened, actually). A few clouds - but nothing big. It's fun. And Michael did his best not to roll his eyes when I reported all this.

But, yes, I think I saw a couple of you roll your eyes just now. It's OK - I probably would too. But have to say, I loved the experience. And I choose to believe it...who wouldn't when told a string of good things?

Friday, 3 October 2008

Pears, melted brie and spiced blueberry crepe

cloudy, some rain, cool. 14

Went to Knowlton for breakfast. Ahh - I'm beginning to appreciate that Book 5 - The Brutal Telling - really is done. I can feel myself creak back to place. I feel my heart lighter. Though, not perhaps the rest of me. Had the most amazing crepe. Pear, melted brie and spiced blueberries. Mother of God. Take me now. Perfect. I think I'll have to add it to the Bistro menu in Three Pines. Such fun having a restaurant, without actually having to cook.

Ran a few errands today - and then, to celebrate finished THE BRUTAL TELLING and the launch of THE MURDER STONE, we made reservations to spend 10 days in Paris!

It's been a few years since we were in Paris. We're staying in St Germain, just off the Luxembourg Gardens. In a friend's flat. I'm almost giddy with excitement.

Have a couple of manuscripts people have sent me to read, and this afternoon I got started on them. In front of the fireplace. Today for the first time this season I put on a turtleneck. It was almost cold enough to snow this morning.

We continue to be worried about Maggie, but we find when we take her painkillers we feel much better.

Will call Joan to see if she's available for breakfast tomorrow morning. As you might have noticed, I adore breakfasts out. It's a total indulgence...I guess because it more than anything really signals 'vacation'.

Talk to you tomorrow. relieved to have finished this stage of THE BRUTAL TELLING

Thursday, 2 October 2008

the end - of the editing (yay!)

cloudy, light rain, cool. temps 9

Started off cloudy and cool, then got cold. temp dropped through the day. And it's raw. Windy, damp. A cold that goes right through you.

My cold still isn't gone and I ended up coughing most of the night. Finally got up at 4:30 - figuring I could finish the edit on The Brutal Telling (book 5), then go to the walk-in medical clinic in Knowlton, which starts at 8am. And meet Cheryl for lunch at noon.

So I got up, let the dogs out, Michael dear one (am thinking of having his last name legally changed to Dear One), got up and made me a cup of tea - then went back to bed while I worked a couple of hours on the manuscript.

And finished!!!! Yay. So this stage of book 5 is done! We sent it off to be printed and bound so that Michael and my brother Doug could read it and comment, then it's off to Teresa, my agent in London. It was necessary to send it off quickly to be printed before I decided on more fine-tuning. I've learned at some stage it really is necessary to say, 'Good enough. Time to let it out of my hands.' It's like tearing off a bandage.

Then got to the clinic (in cold and rain) at 7:40 - with Michael (Dear One). Already 7 people waiting. More people came after us and we all chatted and waited for the receptionist to open the door and give us our numbers. It's an honour system - we know who arrived first, last and the order in between. Has worked everytime.

Until this morning.

perhaps because it was so cold and miserable, or maybe most of the people were just miserable, but when the receptionist came to open the door at 8am - there was a stampede. The poor guy who was there second, at 7:15, and had waited 45 minutes in the drizzle - ended up with Number 7. People squeezed in a head of us - but not bad. Instead of 8 we got number 9. But further ahead there was chaos.

Finally the real Number 2 (perhaps not the way he'd really like to be remembered) stood up and demanded to know who had his number, as he waved his number 7 around. The woman next to him admitted she did. He demanded her card. She said she'd give it to him, if whoever had number 3 gave it to her (her real place). And so on. It was clearly not going well.

So I stood up and said it sounded fair to me. That I didn't want to change my number. It was higher than we'd come in, but I could see that people should be seen in the order they arrived. So I took cards from people's hands and re-organized them. I think people were too stunned to notice. I think it also helps to be 6 feet tall. And not to have an agenda of my own.

Anyway, it all worked out... Not sure if I didn't become the common enemy, but at least there was no riot. And, wouldn't you know it, when it came time for me to see the doctor (almost 2 hours later) my cough had gone and he seemed confused about why I was there. I tried coughing...haph, haph. But he seemed unconvinced.

But I did get him to cough up a perscription for an anti-biotic.

I just don't want to be ill at Bouchercon, which is the mystery readers and writers version of the Iron Man Triathalon.

Had a muffin and cafe au lait in Knowlton with Dear One, dropped him at home, drove to Sutton in time to pick up the printed and bound manuscript from Bob (photocpy guy), fill the perscription, get a tortiere for dinner, rent The Color of Money and meet Cheryl for lunch.

Amazing what gets done if you get up at 4:30!

Wonderful lunch with Cheryl. We both decided to get sessions with a visiting psychic on Saturday. What fun! Will tell you all about it.

Then spent the afternoon in a bubble bath watching Paul Newman and a very young Tom Cruise.

The leaves continue to fall from the trees. Our lawn now looks as though tens of thousands of monarch butterflies have landed. Still loads of leaves on the trees though.

Hope you're well - talk tomorrow.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Nearing The End

heavy rains, mild, temps 20

torrential rains today. Loads of leaves fell so that our lawn now looks like amber. Quite stunning in itself.

The October newsletter went out. Just spent some time responding to the kind people who wrote me after recieving the newsletter. Not actually sure how much longer I can keep that up, since the numbers are increasing as is the time it takes - b ut I feel it's rude not to. And I know the only reason I have the life I have is because of the readers.

Made dinner tonight - a pork paprikash (sp?)...Hungarian dish...wonderful.

Nearing the end of the editing. the re-write for the new facts took quite a while this morning, but it made the section even stronger, and I'm thrilled about that. I adore this stage in a book. More problem-solving than creation. Less frightening.

Am off...quite tired after a very long day at the computer. But a very good day. Hope yours was too.