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Thursday, December 24, 2009
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
My other excuse for not writing is that I did not back up my work for the last three months and appear to have lost it into cyber space. Needless to say I am very frustrated with this turn of events and need Liz to come for a visit to try and sort me out. I have been trying to restore things tonight but no luck. Thankfully Liz always backs up everything and can send me what I need. I did get one query letter sent out last week but need to be more consistent and send them on a more regular basis.
I am on vacation this week until the 28th and I am decompressing from a busy couple of months at work. I feel as if I am doing everything in slow motion and if things are not done ,well, thats just too bad. I still have most of my shopping to do and will get started tomorrow. I know, the stores will be busy and the parking lots full but I am not in a hurry.
Christmas Eve is to be spent at friends for a wonderful dinner ( She is a fabulous cook) and Christmas day will just be my husband and son for dinner. Christmas day without a baby in the house will seem strange but we will all get together soon.
What does 2010 have in store for Jamie Tremain? I wish I had a crystal ball and could see an agent in the horizon. Staying positive and not giving up with our writing is the plan. I don't want to set a time to finish but our hopes are to get "Body Perfect" finished by the Spring. When we are up and running again in the New Year Liz will have our Web site going.
For those of you that follow our blog thanks for the support. Please feel free to make a comment any time.
I wish you a Merry Christmas and health and happiness for the New Year.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
On the home front my house is under renovations.I have finally got my office back with lovely new floors. No excuse for not writing.
I am having problems with my laptop tonight as I have to keep rewriting. It is skipping. Will try again tomorrow.
Monday, November 9, 2009
Let me explain.
Driving from Oakville to the city has never been a problem for me and for years I have made the trip on business and pleasure without any mishaps. Well, I am not sure why I should suddenly feel so disoriented. I made the highway and took the appropriate cut-off for downtown. Weather was fine, traffic light but as I searched for a sign to lead me to the parking for Harbour Front I made my first mistake. I made a right turn instead of left and to my amazement this guy was waving his arms and trying to tell me something. This is the big city after all and there are lots of kooks around. It turns out that I was the kook and was now on the tram tracks . The beads of sweat and heart palpitations not withstanding, I did what every good driver would do.. I jumped the median and got into the right lane.
I know , I know, not a good idea especially for the car . There was a sickening scraping of metal and lots of bumps but I just kept going and went around the block.
That should have been the end of it as I finally went in the right direction, off to the left and I could now see the signs for the parking.
Now I have been driving for 42 years and have a clean record , except for a couple of parking tickets so what happened next was beyond my ken. yes , you guessed it. I was on the tram rails again!!! This time I panicked properly and went over the curb and beetled it to the nearest parking lot and sat and wondered about the damage to my car.
I decided to venture into the theatre where the readings were and said a few prayers that I did not puncture my exhaust or anything else for that matter. This episode rather took the wind out of my sails but I was determined to listen to Ian Rankin and Denise Mina and a few others.
The place was packed and I met a nice guy by the name of Fergus who must have been Ian Rankin's biggest fan. He was born in Canada but knew more about Edinburgh , Scotland my home town than I do. Ian Rankin's books are based in Edinburgh with his Inspector Rebus series. This young fellow knew every pub and street name and had visited the scenes of the crimes many times. A true fan.
I enjoyed Denise Mina as she is very funny. I think I blanked out any others reading as I kept worrying about my car. I did not stay to do any smoozing. Finding my car drivable was my goal and I did not hang around.
I made it home with no mishaps and the car seems neither the worse for wear. I can't say the same for me. I probably aged 10 years overnight.
Liz and I are still revising Body Perfect. Slow but sure. We have had some positive feedback from co-workers who have read the manuscript. That is always encouraging. Now we just need to find an agent that enjoys the story as much.
Check back in a few days and I will let you in on my journey to Bruce County to the beautiful Georgian Bay.
Monday, October 26, 2009
Denise Mina http://www.denisemina.co.uk/is a wonderful Scottish author from Glasgow. Her writing is quite dark but.... gives me shivers. Ian Rankinhttp://www.ianrankin.net/ is the moderator of the group I want to see. You may know him by his Inspector Rebus books. He is from the "Kingdom of Fife" but I believe he now lives in my home town of Edinburgh. Looking forward to that.
Not started into any poetry reading yet but it is on a todo list. Reading a book by Vicki Delaney www.vickidelany.com a Canadian writer that I am enjoying. It is called the "Burden of Memory".
I am still working on my character list for Body Perfect and both Liz and I are filling out the characters more to our liking. As we delve into their psyche they tell you what you want to know about them. Uncanny.
Fall colours are at their height and everything looks glorious. Saw some ads for snowblowers the other day. I hope they are jumping the gun.
Well I will do some smoozing tomorrow night and report back of my journey to the big city and my adventures with all these smashing writers. Maybe some of their success will rub off.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
As Liz is on vacation this week and I am waiting on chapters to revise..Well that's my excuse for not working on the book and I am sticking to it. Truthfully, when I was not at work I was busy reading. I have just finished "The Brutal Telling" by Louise Penny. I have mentioned her books before and this is the absolute best. I was on the last chapter and still was in doubt as to who the murderer was. Wonderful story and of course Armand, as in Chief Inspector Armand Gamache,well, I have been in love with him since book one.
Are we sure that Three Pines is not a real place? I would move there tomorrow.
Louise and many others have inspired my writing and I will read The Brutal Telling again, but as a writer. There were some powerful parts of this book that I just loved and some new characters... Can't tell you any more.
The use of poetry throughout her novels is very well done. I am not a reader or a writer of poetry but will start to. My father, Alister William James was a much published poet and would write in the Doric. The term "Doric" was used to refer to all dialects of Lowland Scots as a jocular reference to the Doric dialect of the Ancient Greek language. I had to look that up. His poetry was about family and friends .Many of his poems were about his four years in India during WW11 and every day happenings. I could quote a few lines of Rabbie Burns and of course I learned of Robert Louis Stevenson and Sir Walter Scott at school but unfortunately did not pay much attention.
Don't expect me to start quoting poetry but I will educate myself on a medium that I have ignored.
Not sure if I will make the Festival of authors at Harbour Front this week. I would love to see Denise Mina again but its quite a drive in and I am too lazy to make the connections for the train. I really should be a lady who lunches and then I might have the energy to do all those things on my agenda.
Monday, October 12, 2009
Today has been a day for catching up as we are in the middle of a Spring/fall/summer and winter cleanup. We never seem to get on top of things. Hoarding is a specialty in my house and giving up things we no longer need causes real pain. I recently gave up my office that has seen many reincarnations and is now a much needed bedroom but my desk will not fit in the TV room so.. What to do? I think I will move myself into the closet. Have some shelves built and change the doors. Check back here for an update on my latest hairbrained scheme.
When I was not trying to reconfigure the placing of furniture I would sit down with a java and laptop. Two agents now have Madelaine after Liz made some formatting changes. Then we just wait and wait and wait. That seems to be the nature of the beast.
Liz is busy with chapter six of Body and I will work on the synopsis to have it ready to go when the revising is done. She is on vacation this week so we may not hear from her until next week.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Let me explain the new picture. Last week we attended the annual Gala with our bank colleagues. No, we did not win a cruise or any door prizes for that matter. We were wearing those name tags that say “Hello, my name is……… and did not want it in the picture. I took mine off but Liz decided to just cover hers up. She is not pledging allegiance to anything!!
It takes me 30 minutes to drive to work and I never take the highway. Preferring the secondary roads to avoid traffic it also gives me an opportunity to observe the changes in the landscape with the seasons. Autumn is my favourite time of year and I love the colours. I find even the grayness of November with frosty fields first thing in the morning just as beautiful. I can’t say the same for the deep of winter as the driving can be very hazardous, but equally as picturesque. Sitting by the fire watching the snow is preferable to me.
Time being at a premium I will start to use my small tape recorder when I am driving to record all the random plotting I do while driving. Who said I can’t multi-task?
I am working on Chapter three of the third draft of ”Body Perfect” and not finding a great deal to change. Liz did a super job of Draft two. Enjoying the characters especially Dorothy who is the main protagonist. We can now see how to move this story forward into a series. Lots of ideas brewing with “ Del Rio Investigations “.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
But my vehicle of transportation has changed as well. My faithful Sebring, which has seen me through 4 full winters, one ice-storm smash up and over 143 km which I have put on it, will now be semi-retired and passed on to my daughter. Once the mileage (a much easier word than kilometerage!) passed the 200 km mark, I knew it was time for a change. And so last week I made the move up to a newer vehicle, a very peppy 2008 Caliber, which so far I am quite pleased with.
The last hour has been spent cleaning out the trunk and all the nooks and crannies where odds and ends accumulate. I hope to get it vacuumed out before the hand off next weekend, but right now the weather is not cooperative. Only a material object, made of metal and rubber, but funny how we get emotionally attached to the darn things…it won’t be without some sadness that I pass over the keys to my daughter.
Autumn is well upon us now - trees are rapidly gaining glorious colours and we have had our typical rainy days, with much cooler temperatures. Oh how I wish the season would just switch from autumn to spring as I dread the thought of winter. In reality its only the driving I suppose, that causes me anxiety, but I can dream can’t I?
Nothing new to report on the publishing front with Madelaine, but we continue to persevere. And I am tickled to be back meddling in the lives of Paul and Dorothy and really want to focus on how the future may unfold for them.
And in the continuing theme of change, I’m also job hunting. The position I currently have is a mat leave coverage, which will end in a couple of months, with no guarantee that I can stay with the department that has been home for almost a year. So amidst revisions of Body Perfect, I cope with sending out resumes and scanning Workopolis!
Its true, the only constant in life is change, and we can’t avoid it.
Enjoy the weekend. Oh, and note that we’ve added 2 new links for favourite authors – John Moss and Vicki Delany
Monday, September 28, 2009
I have been going to this festival since it started in 1990 and only missed a few. This was the best year yet. I don't know how many thousands were there but the setting is great at Queen's park and very well organized. Tents were in abundance with workshops and readings. Booths of booksellers and magazines and signings. Lots of music and I saw oddles of different breeds of well behaved dogs.
A large area was taken over by the folks at Sony who were promoting ebooks. I know, I know, technology is with us but... and there is a place for them. But how do you take one of those things to bed and get comfy? Or when your friend wants to borrow the book you have been raving about... and what about the feel and smell of books. and what would I do with my lovely bookcases? I have a better affinity with Audio Books as they are perfect for a walk or run or in the car.
One of the busiest tents and booths were the children's readings and the selling of the phenomena of graphic novels. Not comics but whole novels with some of the most amazing drawings and the kids were loving them.
The jury is still out on those but as long as they are reading... My grandsons read them but also read regular books.
Did I mention food! I ended up with a Malaysian....... Not sure what it was. Watched it being made but had a problem eating it.
Met up with John Moss, a super mystery writer and his wife Beverley Haun.
http://johnmossmysteryblog.blogspot.com/ Check his latest "Grave Doubts" a Quinn and Morgan mystery.
and also Vicki Delaney a very prolific writer with her Constable Molly Smith books and her latest is "Winter of Secrets" out fall 2009.
Of course my main objective was to hopefully meet an agent who could not wait to get their hands on our manuscript but alas.. I did attend a workshop with a very prominent agent from Toronto so I will be doing as she suggested and she will be hearing from us soon.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
It could not have been a more glorious day. The readings took place at different venues but the authors I wanted to see were beside an old mill. The were placed on a small island with a moat seperating them from the audience. Most were sitting on blankets or lawn chairs and Glory be! I could hear everything. Before I settled down with my lawn chair I wandered down Publishers way and checked out all the books for sale. I am glad they only took cash and as I don't have any ... well just enough to buy one. I bought Louise Penny's latest book that has not even launched yet. Yipee!. It is called The Brutal Telling and I can't wait to get started on it. She of course signed it and put, To Pam, the third signed book in the whole world. She also read from the book so that was the start of the launch. http://www.louisepenny.com/
The other author I really enjoyed was John Ralston Saul. Very good speaker and funny.
http://www.johnralstonsaul.com/menu_en.html Check out his website.
There were many more and I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon in the sun, relaxing and listening to my favourite authors. Of course no afternoon in the sun is complete without an icecream but this time I had it in a cup!!.
I ended my day by getting lost on the way home. I must invest in either a compass or one of those GPS thingies. All the countryside looks the same to me but I was going in the right direction , I think ... but why do I keep seeing these beautiful horses in every field. Amid wonderful horse farms and winding roads with trees starting to turn golden and orange I finally came to a road that I recognized. I enjoyed the trip but it might have been different at night.
Liz has sent me two more revised chapters of Body so she has been busy tonight. Think I will have an early night with my new book.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
The three of us had the Vanilla/caramel. The boys in a cup but I enjoy a cone. One of those big waffle thingies. Yummy. We had only gone about 5mins towards the lake when the sharp edge of the cone pierced my bottom lip. Now you need to know that I have absolutely no pain tolerance and the boys thought I was over -reacting. Not much sympathy there. I managed to eat the rest of my ice cream amid my whimpering and after 20 mins of skipping stones and a cursory look at the yachts I had them back in the car and brought them home.
I now have a fat lip and an ache in my teeth,imagining that I have blood poisoning. We have had an invasion of wasps this year and my husband, who loves to give graphic details of things I would rather not know, suggested it was probably a wasp stinging me before he died!!! If that was the case, where did the wasp gooooooooo. Right now my tongue feels swollen too.
Before you start to send the sympathy cards let me tell you what I accomplished before my adventure today.
Trying to find the right agent is a job in itself. By the right agent I mean that the criteria that they insist on has to match your book. When researching different agents I would go off on a tangent on suggested sites and before you knew it three hours had past. Not time wasted as I organized my favourites to suit me better and my list is getting longer of the agents I want to zero in on.
Sent said list to Liz for approval and this week we will get a few more queries sent out.
Hope you have enjoyed the super weather and stayed away from the wasps, or ice cream cones.
Monday, September 7, 2009
September and October are my favourite months. Within driving distance we have loads of fall festivals and fairs and I love fall clothing. I am not one for showing off my lily white skin to one and all and like nothing better than a cosy cardy and sitting by the fire with a book and tapping away on the laptop. The fall colours should be super this year with all the moisture we have had.
One of the festivals I am looking forward to is the Eden Mills Writer's Festival on September 20th. Eden Mills is about 15 mins from Guelph and is Liz's home turf. Lots of publishers so we can do a bit of smoozing and networking while taking in the readings of some favourite authors.
This summer both Liz and I have had many different commitments and the writing slowed down but we are both raring to go and I have finally got my groove back. It's back to revising "Body Perfect" and the exchanging of chapters. I am working on the ending while Liz is wading through the earlier chapters to beef up omissions and do an edit. It won't be long until we have a flow again.
This is "Homecoming Scotland 2009" and is a series of events put on for all those making the trip to the "Homeland" from distant parts. My sister Rosemary lives in Peterborough, England and my sister Caroline lives in Allmere in the Netherlands.
Both of our brothers Raymond and Alister live in Edinburgh. So the clan gathers without me.!! I know they are meeting with the "cousins" and nieces and nephews and hope they all have a wonderful time. I will be thinking about them.
I brought ten books back from the conference "Bloody Words" and I am now finishing the tenth. I am definately stuck on this genre...mystery, crime, police, thriller,PI and some romance. So we will write what we like to read as Liz and I enjoy the same authors.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 16, 2009
14th birthday we took a sail on one of the tall ships leaving from Bronte Harbour. It was called the Empire Sandy and perfect weather for the trip. Slow to start as of course you need the wind to get up any speed.Never having sailed before it was a lovely experience.
This blog is being created on my new PC. I have not transfered my email over but I am cautiously reading and trying new features I did not have on the other. My files and writing are on the other so.... That's my excuse for not writing this week and as liz is on holiday, well, who would I get to proof my work.
There are lots of festivals coming up in the fall that I would like to attend but one I especially want to go to is the Eden Mills Writers Festival http://www.edenmillswritersfestival.ca/
My absolute favourite writers are going to be there so it will be worth the trip. It is only 12 kms from where Liz lives in Guelph so this is a must.
Peter Robinson, Giles Blunt and Louise Penny on the same panel. I can't think of a better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, learning from those at the top of their field.
Well my deck chair in the shade is calling me and after I pop in some laundry I am off to finish a book by John Moss . Quite different for me reading about his headless corpes. I will review it when I am finished
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Spent an hour at my local Chapters bookstore pouring through the magazines and picked up a couple. "Poets and Writers" and one I have not read "The Strand Magazine". Some good interviews and article reviews from Michael Connelly and Ray Bradbury. I was going to buy the new Linwood Barclay novel but I could not justify it as I have a pile of books by my bed to get through first.
Liz has fwd to me the formatted first ten pages to be sent to and agent and now I have to finish the synopsis and get it sent off.
Liz was whining in her last blog about the lack of time.I agree with her, but we all have the same 24hours in the day. I guess its just a matter of prioritizing and deciding what's important to you. You will have to stay out of the casino's and bingo parlours Liz!!
My priority is having a computer that won't keep breaking down one me. I know , we should not blame the tools. I could write by hand!!!I do scribble in a notebook from time to time but cannot read my writing later.
I need to catch up on some emails from friends and relatives and then it's down to business again.
Tonight I just watched a movie called "The Shipping News". Excellent. I read the book years ago by Annie Proulx. Judy Dench, Jullianne Moore, Kate Blanchett and Kevin Spacey. Great cast.
Now who will we cast as Madelaine??
Thursday, August 6, 2009
So on an ideal day when traffic doesn’t jam up; and there are no errands to run, there should be a good couple of hours left for writing – but wait. Another meal is needed, perhaps some laundry and minor day to day chores. And, oh selfish of thoughts, a little down time to just unwind? Well as you can see, that’s probably why week days are not productive writing days! No worries, I am not going to dissect the weekend in a similar fashion – doesn’t take a genius to see that the biggest block of time is spent at work, or sleeping (and the challenge is not to confuse the two), and so which one can be sacrificed? Apparently neither right now, so the juggling will continue.
I think both Pam and I feel the frustrations of demands that encroach upon our preferred vocation of writing, but we will persevere. In the meantime, another copy of “Madelaine” is in the hands of a friend. One who is about to go on a week’s vacation, and she is anxious to read our tale, so I will await Anne’s comments by month’s end.
As for the aforementioned “down” time, I am trying to spend more time reading and have recently finished Linwood Barclay’s “Lone Wolf” – great read, and a lot of fun - I love it when a book can make me laugh out loud - even in the midst of serious stuff like a gruesome murder. I truly believe Canadian humour is quite distinct and it comes through nicely in this book. Following up on the heels of “Lone Wolf” is ”The Delicate Storm” by Giles Blunt. Again, another very well written crime story, with enjoyable characters. Characters, who like most of us, are flawed, but yet still struggle to do the right thing.
And now that I’ve spent almost half an hour on this entry (multi-tasking while eating dinner I’ll have you know!), it’s time to turn my attention to the re-formatting of a sample of “Madelaine” we are preparing to send out for review.
So as the allotted hours in this particular day are fast fading, I’ll just close and say
Monday, August 3, 2009
I have been struggling with a new synopsis of Madelaine. We are finding that more and more agents are asking for submissions online. Each agent has a different criteria and this particular one has asked for a one or two page synopsis. Must be a secret to condensing a 300 page novel. Maybe I should research that!!! I will send what I have to the other half of Jamie Tremain and see what she can come up with.
Sending out queries online is certainly easier and cheaper than snail mail but if I have to receive a rejection I want a hard copy!!
On Saturday my family drove to Barrie for Grandson #4's birthday. On a normal day the journey would have taken 1-2 hours. 4&3/4 hours later we arrived stiff and hot as my husband is not in favour of air-conditioning!!My argument is that in the cold we would have the heat on. No? Nice lunch and present opening and then back to the car for the drive home. It only took 90 minutes. Go figure.
Saturday evening we visited friends where I picked the brain of our friend Walter. He is sourcing a new laptop for me and giving me a few pointers along the way.
Sat outside sipping wine until the bugs started eating my ankles. Our hostess Claudia had just finished saying that the bugs had not really bothered them this year. Hated to burst her bubble.
Yesterday was reading, napping, some revising and more napping. My kind of day.
Leftovers for dinner, and a good movie at night.
Today the weather is beautiful. Sunny , warm with slight breeze.
We are off to "Art in the Park". The local artists and artisans are showing their wares at the waterfront.
Not sure what JT is up to. Hope she has had a restful and maybe prolific w/e. Should hear from her this evening so look for her blog.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Last w/e when I was visiting my children and g kids in Peterborough , Peter and I went off to the Lakefield Literary Festival. This was a three day event and some wonderful authors were there reading from their books and having panel discussions. The session we went to was at Lakefield College in a beautiful auditorium. It was very well attended-about 200 people were there to listen to Andrew Pyper,http://www.andrewpyper.com/ Pat Capponi and our favourite lady of the mystery genre Louise Penny. http://www.louisepenny.com/contact.htm. Pat Capponi is a Toronto activist for the homeless and mentally ill. She has recently written two mystery novels. Great question and answer period and learned some more about the publishing business and how to plot a novel. If I can manage it I will put some pictures on here.
Louise and I had a lovely chat but not for long as she was leaving to drive for five hours back to Quebec. I did have a few words with John Moss http://www.johnmoss.ca/and his lovely wife Bev who live in Peterborough. They were our dinner companions at the "Bloody Words" conference. Check his website for his books. Very interesting man.
The Canadian writer Margaret Lawrence lived in Lakefield at the time of her death in 1987. Her most famous book being "The Stone Angels". Another very interesting character.
The Festival was great fun and I am always learning something new. Realize that I need to spend more time just writing. I now have my computer back as you may have gathered but it is slowly fading away and is ready for the big computer graveyard. My nearest and dearest has said I had better price another as I need it for my work. What a nice man. I was going to tell you about how we got lost on our way back from the College but perhaps I had better not!!Especially as I was the navigator.
Liz continues to be swamped at work while I have been seeking out work and when it is quiet I want to get onto Word and start typing more story. For some reason the bank frowns on that!.
I believe my partner's plans for the weekend are to continue draft two of "Body". I have some revising to do about chapter eight and get some agent letters written.
It has been forcast to rain so it is perfect writing weather.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really complaining as the cooler temperatures are more what I enjoy, but it would be nice to have some sunshine to sit out in and enjoy.
This weather report has been brought to you by the creators of Body Perfect – yes that story has not been forgotten! Pam has been able to re-read what we have written from start to finish, making notes and suggestions. And now I’ve started…FINALLY…on Chapter One. I think the experience we gained in writing and revising Madelaine will be of great benefit now.
I’ve done about 8 pages of the first chapter and am looking forward to make some progress each evening – we’ll see how that goes! A dentist appointment and attending my grandson’s soccer game this week are on the agenda as well.
And of course demands of work have not lessened and continue to leave me feeling pretty depleted by day’s end. But Body is my favourite of the two stories we have so I hope that will be the inspiration I need to devote some time each evening to getting this first revision completed.
On a side note, I finished reading a novel by Denise Mina (whom we met at “Bloody Words”) – Garnethill. Excellent story – didn’t want to put it down. While the murder, and investigation, the story revolved around was grisly, the main protagonist – Maureen O’Donnell – garnered my affection by story’s end. Set in Glasgow, the scenes of the story portrayed some of the gritty side of psychiatry, dysfunctional family issues, and seamier characters of that city – although I’m sure they could be transported to most any major city with some changes.
More of a write up can be found at Denise’s web site.And I’m glad to know Maureen O’Donnell has survived to be the centre of at least two more novels!
Pam’s weekend plans were to take in a writer’s event in nearby Lakefield and hopefully she will be able to provide a recap of that within a day or two.
As for me, now its getting on towards the end of a Sunday evening and I must turn my thoughts to getting ready for work tomorrow. Regardless of the weather, work continues!
Thursday, July 9, 2009
I was on vacation that week and had plans to do all sorts of writing but it was probably a blessing in disguise as I read five of the books I brought home from the conference in Ottawa.
I gave up ironing after the the second basket was finished and as it rained almost every day it was perfect weather for curling up with some of the best mystery writers around. Having met them at the conference and listened to them in panel discussions I had preconceived ideas about how they would write and what they would write .
Each book was entirely different. All mystery/thriller/crime/suspense and each with a dead body or two that the protagonist would eventually find out "whodunnit". This was a good exercise as Liz and I are still trying to put our finger on genre. Madelaine-Shadows and Light is of course a romance/suspense or a kiss-kiss/bang bang as it was suggested to me. I would agree with that but we are more inclined to our characters in Body Perfect. Private Investigators. I will list the books that I read at the end of this blog.
We have a list of readers that we gave the manuscript to and we want to thank them for their valuable feedback. Jane,June,Rose,Joanne,Heide,Kim, Peter,Bob,Christine, Wendy and Claudia. Your suggestions and advice were invaluable to help us polish the book before we start the round of agents again. Your feedback was similar to our critique from Ottawa so everyone was all on the same page. We did get the feel that you all enjoyed the story. Thanks again. You will definitely be amongst those that will receive a signed copy. I told you I was optimistic.
Liz and I are super busy at work, Liz even more so than I. She also has tennis elbow that is keeping her from the computer at night after a long day tapping away. Lets hope it heals soon. She has a few days off next week so she will be up and running again.
I had an email from an old friend tonight. In fact she was my manager when I worked in other industry. We lost touch and I look forward to being reaccquainted.It has given me an idea for an other story......
Here is the list I promised.
TO CLOSE TO HOME BY LiNWOOD BARCLAY---This is what they call a thriller and he is at the top of my list of favourites.
SIX SECONDS BY RICK MOFINA----Also a thriller- His blurb says .. filled with thrills and chills. It was hard to put down.
TO HOT TO HANDLE BY MARY JANE MAFFINI---- HER BLURB SAYS... Will Canada's most reluctant sleuth stop a killer before her own goose is cooked?
Absolutely hilarious. Loved it.
SCARE THE LIGHT AWAY BY VICKY DELANY--- HER BLURB READS..."An evocative account of the tenacious grip the past holds over us, and the pain and the joy of reclaiming it."
This was Vickie's first book and she has gone on to write another three. Well I loved this one so I will have to pick up the others now.
The fifth book I have not finished yet.
If you look back in the blog my picture was taken with the author Anthony Bidulka
at the conference,and what a personality he is! Goodlooking , charming and great taste in clothes.
Oh dear I am supposed to be talking about his book. OOPs.
I started with his latest book. Aloha, Candy Hearts...a Russell Quant Mystery. What a wonderful way of writing and so full of life. I can see why he was a winner of the Lambda Literary Award. So after I have finished this one I will look for his others in the series.
It is important now to read as a writer. When I find something I particularly like I will read it a few times and examine the structure of the words and try and figure out why they choose to use certain phrases etc. Learning the craft of writing and informing ourselves of the publishing business is now an ongoing proposition and we are having a great time learning.
Must go as it's past my bedtime. Promises to be a hot one tomorrow. Glad I am not in Toronto with the garbage men out on strike.
Hope to post more often now that I have my PC back. Must read Russell Quant for 15 minutes before lights out.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
We are carefully re-working the opening pages of Madelaine, thanks to the critique we received at Bloody Words, and it does seem to now flow so much better. But at this time of year, so many business and personal events seem to cut into our writing time its difficult to get the task completed!
For me, some recently discovered, and diagnosed, aches and pains are a mild interference to the writing at times as well. Will just have to work around them!
And now another morning's commute beckons; while it is lovely to be able to drive in daylight each morning now that I leave later the drive has lengthened from 50 minutes one way to well over an hour. Obligatory summer road construction and blinding sunshine contribute to the delay - I thought most people would be on vacation by now!
Enjoy the day & Cheers!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Pam, Louise Penny, Liz
Lots of great memories and a wonderful time had by all.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
We did the tourist thing and walked to the Rideau River. Took pictures of the beautiful buildings and the famous ByWard market. I never saw so much jewelery in my life. It must be an Ottawa pastime in the cold winter months. We did enter a Spark Street Mall jewellery store. Not a market type store, but one with loads of beautiful semi-precious pendants and rings and also the real thing. We were most attracted to the Amber and Jade and Black onyx. It gave us, or I should say Liz an idea for the books but I am not at liberty to say what it is as it is still in the planning stage. The manager at the store was delightful and we had a lovely conversation about jewelery and then about books. www.alyeasjewellers.com .
But of course we were there for the convention and the books and it lived up to it's reputation. As Liz mentioned the mystery and crime writers were out in force and we were like kids in a candy store soaking up as much information as we could.
Friday night was a meet and greet over a glass of wine and buying books in the bookstore so that we could get them signed if we just happened to bump into our favourites. No stalking allowed. I am quite shameless when it comes to talking to complete strangers so I scored in that direction.
I found that my new microphone was invaluable to me and just before the panel discussions started I would go to the head table and as if I could leave my personal mic there. It was a wonderful icebreaker and usually it started lots of conversations. I told you I was shameless.
Linwood Barkley whom I have mentioned in a previous blog is a neighbor of mine as he lives in the next town. Thursday night he won the "Arthur Ellis" award and I managed to waylay him to sign his latest hardcover. Lovely man and thoroughly enjoyed his panel discussions.
Liz and I are in agreement about who we enjoyed the most and she gave you links so that you can peruse them at your leisure.
Saturday from 9am-6pm, with an hour for lunch, saw us in classes one after the other. Never a dull moment. The subjects were varied and very interesting. Some were interviews with the guest speakers. The lovely Louise Penny gave a wonderful interview and she made a speech on the Saturday night at the banquet. Denise Mina from Glasgow,the International guest of honour, another excellent interview. Looking forward to her books as they are supposed to be quite dark and very different from Louise. I met and talked to quite a few authors that I have not read so you can imagine how many books I brought home. I think it was ten!!
Vicki Delany, Anthony Bidulka, Rhys Bowen, Rick Moffini, RJ Harlick, Dr Brad Kelln to name but a few and of course the irrepressible Mary Jane Maffini.
Saturday evening we had enough time to Gussi ourselves up and joined the crowd for drinks and then we went in for the speeches and a lovely dinner. Seats were not assigned so we just joined a table that had empty seats and were very lucky to be sitting with a new mystery writer called John Moss. Add Master scuba diver trainer to his accomplishments. He was with his lovely wife Bev who is also a writer. Very interesting couple and good company. The other person at our table was Mario Bolduc. Mario is a screenwriter and author and writes in French. He has about 20 years experience in the business and teaches writing workshops.
Very good dinner partners.
Sunday morning we had the buffet breakfast. Wonderful.Then we were off to a class with a thriller writer named Dr Brad Kelln. The subject was... How to write about emotionally disturbed persons. EDP's. His qualifications go on for ever and is a Canadian expert in negotiations and dealing with violence and phycopaths. Just what everyone needs on a Sunday morning.
I am glad Liz takes good notes as I can't read my own hand writing .
Then we met with Kay Stewart for our critique. Some very good points she made and we have started revising the suggestions she made for our manuscript.
I look forward to my next conference and maybe next year we will be published authors. Wouldn't that be nice. I still haven't figured out how to get the pictures on but soon.
Monday, June 8, 2009
The flight to Ottawa was less than an hour, or equal to my daily commute to work on the highway each day. We flew with West Jet and it was a good experience - nice to see a company live up to their advertising!
Ottawa weather was sensational and Pam and I took to the streets on Friday. Wandered the Sparks Street mall - with an unplanned visit to a local jewellry store which Pam can tell you about, and then over to the ByWard Market, http://www.byward-market.com/ which was established in 1826.
Stopped into a tea shoppe and enjoyed a delightful pot of Earl Grey and sinfully delicious scones sitting outside in the sunshine, watching shoppers and tourists (hard to tell the difference) pass by.
As we wound our way back to the Marriott we strolled the grounds of the Parliament Buildings, enjoying the scenery and appreciating the fact that we could even get that close to our icon of government and political history. No barricades or guards to impede your walk.
Back to the hotel to get ready for the registration and the start of workshops and panels, but lamenting the fact that we seemed doomed to the Starbucks facility within the hotel, not finding a Tim Horton's coffee shop within easy walking distance! (We are SUCH java connoisseurs!) As well, the hotel was situated in the government area of Ottawa so there is not much business activity after 5 pm...in fact the Starbucks in the hotel closed up at noon on Sunday!
The weekend found us mingling with established authors, newly published authors, and those like us who have finished their work and seek the means and venue to get it published! We received a valuable critique of Madelaine and agreed that the points and concerns raised need attention. So we will need to do some rework and polishing.
Our favourite Canadian author, Louise Penny, had an amazing interview which we sat in on. At the end of the interview Pam went up to Louise, who reached across the table to give her a hug, and then Pam mentioned that I was with her. Louise immediately rose from her seat and came off the podium to give me a hug and say it was wonderful for us to meet! She is a very classy lady...throughout the conference we often ran into her and her lovely husband Michael - in the lobby and the elevators, and she was always quick with a greeting and warm smile.
Other authors we met and listened to on panels include Anthony Bidulka , http://www.anthonybidulka.com/home.php from Saskatchewan. I definitely will be looking for his Russel Quant series! Rick Mofina, http://www.rickmofina.com/ from Ottawa, was also a treat to listen to and I have purchased one of his books, "Six" to read.
And so many of these wonderful writers are also incredibly funny....we attended a "Liar's Panel" first thing Saturday morning and I have not laughed so much in a long time. Great story tellers (of course), their task was to answer questions posed by the moderator and then the audience had to determine if they were telling the truth or not...all in aid of fundraising for literacy awareness. If their story was true, the attendee had to cough up a loonie ($1 dollar coin), but if the author had been rightfully deduced to be fibbing, their penalty was $5 or more. Great fun moderated by another wonderful and very funny Canadian author, Mary Jane Maffini http://www.maryjanemaffini.ca/
The international guest speaker was Denise Mina http://www.denisemina.com/index.htm- again I purchased one of her books. She is from Scotland and was an absolute riot to listen to...can't wait to start reading her work as well. Pam will likely tell you more about Linwood Barclay http://www.linwoodbarclay.com/ and Vicky Delaney to mention a couple.
Saturday evening was the Gala Dinner, good meal, and even better conversations.
The time went far too quickly and as we were checking out of our hotel room, I took one last look out of our 16th floor window. As my gaze wandered over the streets below, I called to Pam and asked her to look at the scene below. "Tell me what you see" I said. Puzzled Pam did so, but wondered what she was looking for. So the first clue - "Look for something red" resulted in her seeing a red car parked on the street. I asked her to look just past that red car; she still wasn't sure what she was looking for....until I pointed out the familiar red and yellow of a Tim Horton's coffee shop! All the time just up the street from the hotel! Obviously our attention to detail needs some fine tuning.
What a wonderful time we had, far too much information to even scratch the surface here, but it was well worth every penny (and lack of Tim's coffee) to be there.
I'll leave room for Pam to add more and look for more links to favourite authors to be added soon.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
But even more difficult than deciding what to pack is deciding which items on the agenda we want to attend. Saturday has been booked in blocks, with 3 topics and/or speakers running concurrently. And so many of them are of great interest…how to decide which is of more benefit?
No question though about wanting to hear Louise Penny, that’s a given!
Hard to believe its June 1 tomorrow, the weather has been sunny but definitely cool. Not that I’m complaining, for I do not suffer gladly the humidity our Canadian weather produces starting anytime now. Don’t get me wrong, I love sunny days and warm temperatures, just keep the energy-sapping humidity away please.
And only three days of work this week. Fly into Ottawa Thursday afternoon and return Sunday evening..and THEN I can enjoy a whole week away from work.
My granddaughter will be 4 in a week’s time, so a shopping/lunch trip is planned on her special day with her mum to see what Nana can buy for the birthday girl.
The afternoon is winding down and there are still chores I need to attend to, so I probably won’t post until after Bloody Words, or if Pam has her laptop with her and we can get it connected, perhaps we will blog from the hotel.
Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Liz and I had a very emotional moment this week when I picked up the manuscript from the printers of Madelaine, all bound and looking like a book. Next month it will be two years since we started our journey in storytelling. I can honestly say that it has been so much fun and a great learning experience for both of us. Long may Jamie Tremain continue.
Madelaine is being read in the bound form by two friends at work whom we really feel will give us an honest critique. So far so good.... No we didn't bribe them.
Last night I finished the first draft of editing and revising Body Perfect. It is 20 chapters but not quite finished. After the conference we will sit down and see where we want to finish up and where we will go from here. We have been throwing ideas around when we manage a coffee break together but nothing concrete yet.Liz is still very overloaded at work so she is especially looking forward to the break.
Pouring over the program for "Bloody Words" has us dizzy. We are in for a jam packed three days and there are some super speakers and events. It will be hard to cram them all in as there are three events going on at a time.
Will keep you all posted about the latest in forensics and police procedural. At least Liz will tell you all about the Forensics as I am not sure if that is my forte.
Will write soon.
Saturday, May 16, 2009
This is Canada's Victoria Day holiday week-end. I think there are more Royalist in Canada than in Britain. Of course in Quebec it is Patriots Day not Victoria Day. Any day away from work is a good day for me.
I have been banished from my office as my eldest grandson uses it as his bedroom when he is here and I am sitting in my bedroom looking out at our cherry tree in full bloom. The sun has just gone down and I should be inspired, but I am not. The wind is very strong tonight and the trees are bent over. I love to watch this spectacle as it changes every minute. The garden is filling in nicely and the clematis looks very strong. So do the weeds. Too much rain.
I have been asked to watch "King Kong" with my grandsons but no, I will pass. I have a book I want to finish. I have read lots of mysteries but not thrillers and I picked up a book by Linwood Barclay. "No time for goodbye". He is one of the authors that will be at" Bloody Words". I am halfway through it and can't wait to find out the who , what, why and how. It is so well paced and very exciting. It's a genre I did not think I would like but I am now a fan.
Talking of genre. Liz and I have many discussions regarding this subject, trying to figure what genre we should write in. We hope lots of things will become clear to us at the conference.
Some black clouds have just rolled in and it is getting dark. I thought I would just curl up with my book now but noticed the bed does not have the clean sheets on it . Don't you hate that? But maybe you don't procrastinate like me.
Enjoy the rest of the weekend and I will talk soon.
Sunday, May 10, 2009
As Pam mentioned my computer is in a non working status, and is currently in for repairs...thanks to my good friend Rebecca for the loan of her computer to check my email and to quickly post a brief blog.
Spent a lovely afternoon yesterday for Mother's Day with my oldest son and his family. My other son and his family joined in along with my daughter. A barbecue had been planned, but the weather was too unsettled to sit outside. However barbecued meats taste just as great indoors!
Friday evening saw my oldest son, William, and I take in the new Star Trek movie..what a treat!! Its something we share in common and have made it our special time to share in any new premieres, This one was AWESOME! I have fallen in love with the early Star Trek all over again..the new "young" Star Trek cast have nailed their characters perfectly and the whole movie was a wonderful ride from start to finish...bring on more!!!
Well as I said, this would be brief and I must not take advantage of the time loaned to me, so need to attend to other outstanding email.
I'll be glad to be back online - hopefully no later than Friday - and finish getting ready for our Bloody Words in less than a month!
Have a great week.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Since receiving my new hearing aids a few weeks ago it is a lovely surprise to notice the outside noises. When I sit on the deck I have noticed woodpeckers, mourning doves and loads of grackles making a terrible racket. I thought I could hear traffic but my husband assured me that what I was listening to was the river rushing through the ravine. The spring run-off. I try to look for the positive in situations and it is a pleasure to take them out (hearing aids) and just listen to the quiet.
I have to admit I need quiet when I am revising. As I speak out the sentences to myself to make sure it sounds right as well as written, it is best done in a room by yourself. Body Perfect is getting the line by line editing that is necessary but it is so slow. Just started on chapter two but I will persevere. Liz has been finishing up Madelaine but her computer crashed a few days ago.
She is one frustrated lady. Hope she is back soon.
You have all heard of our friend Louise Penny whom we admire very much. Her latest book, "The Murder Stone" won an "Agatha" at the conference" Malice Domestic"on the week-end. Don't you love that name?
We are just thrilled for her and it is much deserved. If you have not read her work I suggest you do as they are beautifully written. Her fifth book is due out in October.
When we go to "Bloody Words" next month we will be meeting with Louise. I can't wait to pick her brain and hopefully learn lots about the publishing world from her along with a slew of other authors and editors.
We have our plane tickets so now we have to pack a suitcase. I just can't pack light. It is only three night but..... Who knows what one wants to wear the next day.
and we need lots of room for all the books we will be bringing back!!.
Talk again soon.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
What a learning curve this has been for both of us. I subscribe to oodles of magazines on writing and search the internet. Of course my library is full of help from different authors and editors but I find I learn the most from the books that I enjoy and now try to emulate.
The nominations for the Arthur Ellis Award. (Arthur Ellis is the nom de travail of Canada's former official hangman.) These awards are for the best crime novel in Canada and I am excited about three of them as I have met them personally at one time or another.
Louise Penny who we hope to chat with at the conference. She is nominated for her latest book " The Murder Stone". Wonderful book in the Armande Gamache series.
Linwood Barclay is a former Toronto Star humorist. He has been nominated for his second stand alone thriller called "To close to Home". His previous work was called "No time for Goodbye"and was the best selling novel in Britain in 2008. I will try and read his latest book before the conference. He was a speaker at the Elora Festival where I first met Louise Penny.
The other author is Maureen Jennings. I met Maureen at "Word on the Street". A super festival that they hold at Queens Park every summer where you can listen, meet and greet all your favourite authors and find all things literary. Maureen was manning a table with a slew of books all with her name on them. I bought one that looked interesting and asked some inane questions like, "How long have you been writing". Well it should have been obvious as she was very prolific. I was not familiar with her work. When I was at home that evening settling down to watch some television a series came on I had not seen before. It was the "Murdoch Mysteries".
Maureen is their creator.
Good luck to all of them.