Thursday, June 21, 2012

What’s a girl to do?

I left my air conditioned house and ran to my air conditioned car. It’s 34 degrees and the humidity makes it feel like 40+. I am not a happy camper in the heat but the garden centre has a 50% off sale on bedding plants and baskets. I still need a few flowers to complete my tiny patio and garden. So, what’s a girl to do? Did I tell you 50% off! I grabbed my reusable bags for groceries and if I remember them in the car it’ll be a miracle.

So the plan was... select a few plants for a song and hit the grocery store where I might stay for the rest of the day as its usually cold enough to hang meat.

1 hanging basket; 1 clematis to plant under my Corkscrew Hazel tree that has died, and a large container of Basil. The plants and I were wilting after twenty minutes in the sun so the garden centre watered them before I stashed them in the trunk. To cool off I walked the 50 yards to the mall where I knew I could cool down and have a drink.

Sufficiently refreshed I started to wander when I noticed signs that said...Sale 50%off. So, what’s a girl to do? One can always find something at 50% off!
So I wandered some more and tried on a few things but everything I liked was not on sale. When I had satisfied my retail appetite I had some lunch in the food court and then made my way home.

My husband helped me unload the car of plants and then asked....Where are the groceries?

Well, what’s a girl to do? I mumbled something about.. it would be better to do one thing at a time in this heat. It’s now after six pm. The groceries have been put away and as I write this in my office I watch out the window as the trees begin to bend. Yes, yes, a storm is on the way. Liz has just reported thunder in Guelph so we won’t be far behind. I’m not cooking dinner in this heat, so, what’s a girl to do?

As I post this the rain is lashing the windows and I feel like taking a walk outside just to feel cool.Perhaps a walk to the fish and chip shop is in order?

Talk soon,



Thursday, June 14, 2012

We're off to see the World!

We didn’t get any further than Toronto. It was June 16th, 1966 and 12 days married. We were full of the first throes of marital bliss. After spending our honeymoon in Burntisland, an 11km train ride from Edinburgh; we said our goodbyes to friends and family and shipped our worldly belonging to arrive by ship after the boat strike. Hugely disappointed we would not be sailing, Peter had to drag me across the tarmac for my first plane ride.

As I recall it was a Boeing 707 with a Rolls Royce engine. Not that I paid much attention as I cried for the first two hours but perked up when the ‘stewardess’ offered me a Manhattan. Not knowing what it was but liking the exotic name, I managed to quaff a couple before I fell asleep much to the relief of my new husband. We arrived in Montreal tired and excited to brilliant sunshine. Before long we were on the train travelling west to Toronto and our new life as husband and wife.

Culture shock hit us like a blast of heat. Just like the temperature at Union Station. It was in the mid twenties and humid. We felt it even more as we were both wearing wool suits! One did not Google the temp. or traffic problems in the dark ages. My cousin and his wife, suitably dressed for the weather, were there to meet us in a large white ’57 Chevy with red terry cloth covering the seats. No air.

We oohed and aahed over this and marvelled at the overpasses and the wide lanes of traffic. It was all so different. We made our way through the city and arrived at the Golden Mile and soon arrived at my cousin’s apartment in Scarborough. They had been in Canada for ten years so we chuckled at them when they mixed Canadian slang with a Scottish accent. We stayed with them and their children for a few weeks until we managed to rent our own place.

June 1966 : Lynden Johnson was president of the USA and Lester B Pearson was prime Minister of Canada.  So many changes but how prophetic is this song written and recorded by the Beatles the week I arrived in Canada. Here are some of the lyrics. It’s just taken me forty six years to get here!!

Paper back writer (paperback writer)
Dear Sir or Madam, will you read my book?
It took me years to write, will you take a look?
It's based on a novel by a man named Lear
And I need a job, so I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

It's a thousand pages, give or take a few,
I'll be writing more in a week or two.
I can make it longer if you like the style,
I can change it round and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.

If you really like it you can have the rights,
It could make a million for you overnight.
If you must return it, you can send it here
But I need a break and I want to be a paperback writer,
Paperback writer.


Liz and I met yesterday and found it to be rather frustrating. A few changes have to be made but it has put us out of sinc with how we normally work. However we’ll persevere and will have the manuscript ready in a few weeks to be sent out to publishers.


Don't forget that the book launch of the year happens tonight in Toronto.  VickiDelany and CB Forrest are launching their latest books, Gold Mountain and The Devil's Dust at Dominion on Queen, 500 Queen St, East, Toronto. As an added treat their editor, Allister Thompson will be providing some fabulous music.  Hope to see you all there.


Saturday, June 9, 2012

One Week Past Bloody Words

Hard to believe just a week ago Pam and I were at Bloody Words. I’ve been enjoying all the Facebook chatter this week from attendees – all in all it seems as if everyone had a terrific time.

 We’ve managed one quick get together since then and are getting ready to have another look at the opening of Body Perfect, as well as watching for some other pointers throughout the story to continue the polishing and perfecting progress.  

Pam has read a couple of well-written and timely blogs this past week.  She forwarded them to me and I agreed that they needed a mention. The links for these blogs will go up, but the specific posts are what caught our interest:

Of Bodies and Beginnings by Barbara Fradkin is very apropos for Jamie Tremain and offers encouragement for us, and others writers.

Tuesday Brings Trouble highlights the use of marketing via the electronic tools we have available today.

So its back to the drawing board in a way, but thanks to Bloody Words and the information gleaned there, in addition to making some new connections, we are energized and anxious to get on with it.  My personal challenge is balancing writing (which I love) against work (which is a necessity, but I also enjoy).  Anyone know where I can get a clone?

A muggy damp weekend is in the forecast – perfect for writing don’t you think?



Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Lesson Learned..

****** Correction******

Lesson learned. Always double check your work. I had the link to Vicki Delany's site wrong. Please use the following. My apologies.

I have a few pictures from Bloody Words.
Liz AKA Jamie Tremain
Pam AKA Jamie Tremain

Lorie Lee Steiner and Vicki  Fife
Laughing Buddha

No, the Buddha was not at Bloody Words but was a present from my husband on our 46th wedding anniversary yesterday. He is so happy. Buddha that is, not so sure about my husband!

Terrific review for Deryn Collier for her new book   Confined Space in the Toronto Star. Check it out.

Liz and I are going to try a few new things with our blog so watch this space. We love to get comments good or bad and if you have not added yourself to our friends and followers list please join us.

Talk soon,



Monday, June 4, 2012

The Day After

I second all that Liz has to say on her last post. Bloody Words /2012 was awesome. Putting a face to a name from either FB or a book you had read was neat. The panel discussions were great and one of my favourite sessions was the three hour’s we spent with Cheryl Freedman on self –editing. The subject matter was just what we need to get our book ready to roll. It helped that I could hear what was being said. I use a personal microphone and receiver that doesn’t always cooperate. Sitting through three hours at the banquet was difficult but I just laughed when everyone else did and smiled a lot. I could hear Linwood Barclay’s jokes and stories but I missed most of the punch lines from Rick Bletcha who was a super MC.

I was going to add some pictures here today but for some reason I can’t get them attached from camera to computer. I only took a few at the conference, so another time. I intended to add a picture I took this morning of a white resin Buddha. He is about 5 inches high and laughing his head off. He has plentiful breasts and a large stomach. How he manages to cross his legs in the lotus position is beyond me. My husband Peter gave me this .....token this  morning to commemorate our forty sixth wedding anniversary. Yes, forty six years of wedded bliss! Never a cross word or argument. And if you believe that....
So what is the significance of this object d’art you might ask? Was he thinking of me as he gazed upon this Buddha with his ample physique? Or was it the laughing smiley face? I think I’ll assume that he liked it and thought it would give me pleasure. Phew... Another crisis aborted.

We did meet another couple of women at the conference that collaborate as we do. Mary Anne Wollison and Michelle Cooke. They’ve just finished their first book together and we wish them well with it. It was probably the most asked question for us at the conference. “How do you write together?” The writing is still the lonely act it always is but we do get together face to face to iron out any ideas or problems with the plot line. Once we have decided on a general story the characters emerge. We are nearly always in agreement with the characters. Some characters Liz owns and some are mine but we can both write using them. It’s just that; a collaboration (The action of working with someone to produce or create something) We also trust and respect each other. That helps.

Look for these authors new books.

C.B Forrest - The Devil’s Dust-  Dundurn

Mary Jane Maffini – The Busy Woman’s Guide to Murder- -  Berkley Prime Crime

Erika Chase-A Killer Read- Berkley Prime Crime

Janet Bolin- Threaded for Trouble-   Berkley Prime Crime

Deryn Collier- Confined Space- Simon & Schuster

Vicki Delany- Gold Mountain-  Rendevous Crime

Happy reading,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bloody Words 2012

Home again after attending Jamie Tremain’s second Bloody Words conference; the first being in Ottawa in 2009.  And true to form it was another great weekend – a wealth of information and networking packed into three days.  Terrific panellists and guest speakers; Linwood Barclay and Gayle Lynds were in fine form.  Enjoyed listening to Dr. Peter Collins, whose degree in forensic psychiatry has involved him in many areas of law enforcement and criminal behaviour – it was fascinating and the time went by far too quickly.   My LinkedIn and Facebook contact list has now grown after the weekend.

Pam and I arrived in the middle of a torrential rain Friday afternoon – so much rain that Union Station had been evacuated due to flooding. And then a tragic shooting at the Eaton Centre in downtown Toronto (just blocks away from our hotel) on Saturday brought home the fact that any of us can be affected by random violence – although this appears to have been a gang related shooting with one death, innocent lives are changed forever when caught in the crossfire.

Our manuscript evaluation was done by Deryn Collier which was extremely helpful and will keep us on track.  She had some great pointers and was very positive and supportive and we are more than grateful for her advice.  Needless to say you know what that means.....Draft 6 will be started before long.

Thanks also to Jim Shephard for some insight and tips discussed this morning – I’ll be adding his  P.E. Eyes to my reading list.  Along with Deryn Collier, Gayle Lynds and the new Linwood Barclay book due out later this year – just to name a few.

I can’t even imagine how much work and planning went into producing another successful conference and my hat’s off to all who were involved. Pam and I will start saving our nickels (pennies are soon to be extinct) in order to attend the next Bloody Words, which is skipping a year and will be again in Toronto in 2014. 

So after a very tiring but satisfying weekend, I now have to switch gears for returning to work tomorrow.

Have a great week and stay tuned for some new ideas coming to this blog in the near future!



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