Thursday, August 22, 2013

Wolfe Island Wrap Up

Pam’s done a great recap of the time spent on Wolfe Island this past Saturday for Scene of the Crime and I've just read Gloria Ferris’blog with her perspective – be sure to check it out as well.

So I won’t go over similar ground except to say how much I enjoyed the day’s activities, the discussions and conversations over delicious meals and of course adding to my “must read” list –rumour has it summer is drawing to a close and that means more time for reading doesn't it?  Hard to make a choice – so many great books by favourite, and destined to become favourite, authors.  Between Pam and I, we managed a good cross section, all duly autographed to “Jamie Tremain” of course.

Pam met me at work on Friday afternoon and we headed east via the 407 toll highway by 3:30.  Within half an hour we’d reached the easterly end of the road at Pickering – what a lovely drive (mind you I haven’t paid for it yet).  But then it took an hour to clear Oshawa.  We straggled into the motel at 7:00 Friday evening.  After a quick settle in, it was time to find somewhere for dinner.  The desk clerk, when asked, provided simple directions to a variety of eateries.  But neglected to mention the detours due to road construction.   Finally found a suitable restaurant and enjoyed a tasty meal.  Now to find our way back to the motel!     Note to self – pick up map of next city stopover! (Yes I prefer an actual paper map to a GPS).  Thankfully my inner compass seemed to be in working order and we were soon safely back at our temporary lodgings and within minutes fast asleep!

Fast forward to early evening Saturday – having spent a lovely day on the Island we took a leisurely stroll to catch the 7:30 Wolfe Island Ferry back to Kingston.  A perfect summer's evening, we decided to spend the twenty minute trip on the upper deck, rather than in the stuffy confines below.  Not the most comfortable seating for the trip – I don’t mind a bench, but I do like to at least have my feet touch the ground. The last car aboard, the ship prepared to depart and we looked forward to some picture taking along the way.  But wait a minute – the engines have reversed?  We’re backing up?  Yep, barely two minutes from shore and we were returning.  An announcement of some sort came over the PA but with the sound of those powerful engines, it was lost.

We watched as the ferry crew instructed three vehicles to back up and off the ferry.  While a cleared spot on the car deck stood empty, more foot traffic was allowed to board and it soon grew quite crowded.  All the more reason to be outside in the fresh air.  A rumour was heard that the ferry was waiting for an ambulance.   We’d been told earlier that although the last scheduled ferry run is at 2:00 a.m. the crew sleeps on board in the event of an emergency on the island – looked like this would be an early evening emergency run.  So we waited, and waited.  The sun sank lower over the beautiful water and the giant wind turbines of the island began to blur into the dim light of evening.  A fellow passenger commented that in all the years she’s used the ferry service she’d never known this to happen.

Eventually, at 8:30, an ambulance did arrive, and within minutes we were on our way once more.  All the while wondering about the passenger in the ambulance.  No lights or sirens accompanied its arrival.  Would the trip to Kingston be too late, or had the emergency been downgraded? Speculation was all we had and once docked in Kingston, we were impressed with how quickly the crew had that ambulance free of the deck and on its way.

So an intended evening of catching up and discussing the day fell to the way side and it was once again lights out shortly after arriving back at the motel.

Next morning a four hour drive awaited, but breakfast first and the need to push back a booming headache with some serious coffee!  After some unplanned sightseeing through Kingston we found a welcome breakfast venue – the Jiffy Grill – and enjoyed a leisurely meal.  Back in the car and I planned to exit the plaza where we had come in.  I detest left turns and traffic lights ensured I’d be able to make my turn on the green.  But uh oh…halfway through the turn I noted a sign beside the traffic light.   

And almost before I could put the pieces together there it was – the flashing lights of a Kingston police cruiser behind me. Pam was busy discussing plot developments of our next story and was blissfully unaware of the reason for my blanched face and clenched hands on the wheel.

The officer made his way to my window, “Good morning,” he greeted me.  And before he could ask me if I knew what I had done, I confessed that I thought I knew what had happened. He patiently waited for my explanation.  While digging for my licence – why is it so awkward to get out of the wallet when you need it – I explained we'd stopped for breakfast and left the plaza the same way we entered.  But I had noted when advancing on the green light a sign which read “Transit Turning Only”…and there’s no way my little Caliber would pass for a Kingston Transit bus. He smiled, in that way authority figures can do so well. “And if that light had been red would you have noticed that?”

“Oh tell me it WASN’T red,” I tried for some levity.

 He agreed it wasn’t red.  “You know that’s a $150.00 fine.”

What could I do?  Explained we were out of town as I handed over my licence, and hoped he’d be understanding.

“Don’t worry,” he finally reassured. “I’m going to jot down your name, but will let it go.  I’d be more concerned at someone who lives here saying they didn't see the sign.”

With my sigh of relief as he walked back to his cruiser, my adrenalin lowered back to normal.  At this point all I wanted was to find the 401 West.

Fortunately the rest of the drive home was uneventful – it was a beautiful day for a drive and we seemed to be ahead of the returning weekend traffic.

So all in all it was an event-filled weekend and Pam and I are both glad we were able to attend Scene of the Crime.  Good memories and encouragement and inspiration for the months ahead!

And that’s a wrap – Cheers!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Mystery and Crime at Wolfe Island

Jamie Tremain had a fabulous week-end on bucolic Wolfe island . The largest island of the Thousand islands on the St Lawrence River. We were greeted warmly after a twenty minute ferry ride and escorted to the local school for a terrific workshop given by Barbara Fradkin.She even made us work. A short walk to our next venue and we settled into the United church for readings from a varied group of authors.

Picture on the right /left to right is Gloria Ferris, Barbara Fradkin, John Moss,Pam Blance, Vicki Delaney and Liz Lindsay. Pictures in no particular order.

Question and answer time with Barbara Fradkin moderating. A very elegant Violette Malin to the left of the picture. Andrew Pyper, next to Barbara is either deep in thought or has nodded off. Ian Hamilton had an urgent call and the ladies would never miss a photo op.

Gloria Ferris.
Erika Chase

Janet Bolin

Ian Hamilton
Vicki interviewing Andrew Pyper.

Erika Chase with Andrew Pyper

Andrew Pyper, the recipient of the Grant Allan award for his contribution to Canadian writing.

Liz had a date with Alfred Hitchcock before we left the island. 

Lovely w/e at Scene of the Crime. Met old friends and made some new that we had a giggle with. They know who they are. Well organized event and the planners and volunteers are to be commended.

If you don't hear from me in a while I will be busy reading the books I bought. Our trip home took three hours so we had lots of time to chat about the new book. If I'm not reading I hope to be writing.


Monday, August 12, 2013


Began yet another email promising something really funny on my computer screen if I forwarded it to at least seven other people including the person who sent it to me. ***Sigh***  Really?  The email had come as a forward from one of my co-workers and I quickly skimmed through it – and then went back and read it again – carefully this time.  How refreshing to find this was actually a message that was positive and – dare I say it – age appropriate.   I did return it to her with my own comments and then cleaned it up and forwarded it on.   If you know me at all, you’ll find that if I like what’s expressed in an email, I'm not going to forward it to you with dire warnings about being sure to send on to everyone you know, or be one of the 30% who will ignore and suffer the consequences.  Phooey on your warnings I say.    If I like it and think it’s worth sharing, you’ll see it, minus the ‘extras’.

Depending on your current age, see how you measure up against the message of the email – the author is unknown and I wish I knew who to give the credit to, perhaps it’s a compilation of several voices

"As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with ageing.

Whose business is it, if I choose to read, or play, on the computer, until 4 AM, or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 50, 60 &70’s, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.

I will walk the beach, in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves, with abandon, if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set. They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody 's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength, and understanding, and compassion. A heart never broken, is pristine, and sterile, and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver. As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself any more  I've even earned the right to be wrong. So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day (if I feel like it).


The co-worker who sent it to me this afternoon – thanks Carmela – is my age and we both had to agree with the sentiments of the message.   And now I can share it with you – uncut and unedited, except for the admonitions to forward and see something funny.   I don’t need those incentives any more – the significance and lesson contained is my motivation to share.   I hope you enjoy and with Pam’s permission  I'm including her comments on the email.

“Thank you for that. A good message and a lesson.
I’ll become my own best friend.
I remember the important things.
I know the joy of being imperfect.
I've earned the right to be wrong.
No more wasting time with what could have been.
I’ll maybe even eat dessert every day. Oh, I do that already

We reach a certain age – not always the same for everyone – but it’s a time of “Aha”, or “Eureka”, or just the gentle dawning that life is still good and once we take the pressure from ourselves to measure up to other’s expectations perhaps it is then that we can really be ourselves, relax and breathe.  The phrase “Youth is wasted on the young” has more meaning to me now, than it did twenty years ago.  May we all come to this realization while we still have the years and friendships to enjoy!

Cheers! – oh and feel free to pass it on – no strings attached.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Interview day with author Vicki Delaney

Let’s hear it for Vicki Delany. Jamie Tremain welcomes one of the busiest authors in Canada. She juggles two different series; the Constable Molly Smith series and my favourites the Klondike mysteries. Her gothic thrillers are stand alone books and will raise the hairs on your neck.

 More than Sorrow -published by Poisoned Pen Press.  Atmosphere as chilling as the subtle roll of mist across a field”–Susanna Kearsley, New York Times bestselling author
 “6th in her critically acclaimed Constable Molly Smith series, A COLD WHITE SUN places Vicki Delany’s marvelous storytelling on full display.  Delany’s formidable Canadian sleuth, Molly Smith, pits her skills against an ice-cold killer, just as her personal life heats up.  I love this series!”
Julia Spencer-Fleming,
 New York Times bestselling author.
To be launched August the 6th. Published by Poisoned Pen Press.

Welcome to our blog Vicki.  Liz and I have been fans for a number of years. We each have our favourites. Liz leans toward your psychological suspense books while I love your characters in the Klondike mysteries, set in Dawson City, Yukon.
Fans of Molly Smith are eagerly awaiting this sixth book in the series. How do you manage to keep her fresh and exciting? Can you see many more books with Molly in them?

First, Liz and Pam and Jamie, thanks so much for having me. I look forward to interviewing Jamie Tremain one day.

A Cold White Sun is the sixth book in the series, and the seventh is almost finished. It’s called Under Cold Stone, and will be released in April.  As for keeping Molly herself fresh, the fact that she’s very young when the series begins gives me plenty of room for her to grow.  In the first book, In the Shadow of the Glacier, she is 26 and a probationary constable.  By Valley of the Lost, she’s a Constable Third Class. She’s moving through time, although slower than in real time, and I am trying to give her experience and maturity in her life as well as in her job as the books progress. So I have a lot of material left to keep Molly around for a good time still.  Even the co-protagonist, John Winters, although he is at the height of his career and approaching 50, is learning things and slowly adapting to life in this unfamiliar small mountain town.

When you are not travelling to promote your books, you are either making visits to South Sudan, on tour to the Yukon and NWT, holding writing classes and carrying on your duties as VP of Crime Writers of Canada. Oh, and your commitment to “Scene of the Crime Festival’ taking place August 18th on Wolfe Island.
Do you set yourself a writing schedule or is writing something you’re always doing?

I have a strict schedule, and I have to stick to it.  Here’s my deep dark secret: I don’t actually like writing.  I am not compelled or driven to do it.  I like the end product. So, if I didn’t get up every morning, seven days a week, and write for the pre-determined three or four hours, nothing would get done. Because there would always be something I’d rather be doing.  I don’t write when I’m travelling. That’s probably because of the aforementioned disruption to my schedule, and the excuse not to sit down and write. The exception is when I visit South Sudan.  There is literally nothing to do in Juba, South Sudan when my daughter and her friends are at work, so writing is my only recourse.

You live in bucolic Prince Edward County surrounded by fields of sunflowers and vineyards. The beach is close by and small towns and villages dot the landscape around you. You travel extensively for family visits or for your work as an author. In all your travels have you found another place you could live, as idyllic as where you live now?

Vicki:  My favourite place in the world is Nelson, British Columbia.  Trafalgar, the location of the Molly Smith books, is Nelson not-at-all-thinly-disguised. I’d love to live in Nelson, but my mom is in Ontario as are two of my three daughters.  One of my daughters lived for 18 months in the Turks and Caicos.  I could see myself living there for a while at least.

You came from corporate Canada as a computer programmer and systems analyst to the writing life. Has your old livelihood and work experience influenced how you go about planning a new book?

In the great to outline or not to outline debate, I fall somewhere in the middle. I usually have a rough idea of what I want to accomplish before I begin a book.  I something think it’s a result of my computer experience. If I was going to design a new programme for a bank, I needed to know before I began if it was going to debit or credit your account.

You were in South Sudan earlier in the year visiting your daughter who works there. Notwithstanding the culture shock and a much different way of life, did you find the time to write about your experiences or can we look forward to a new mystery series set in the Sudan?

Vicki:  I blogged a lot about my time in South Sudan, because not many people go there. I like to say that I am the first tourist. Here’s one of the posts:
My next book for Rapid Reads is titled Juba Good (Spring 2014) and is about an RCMP officer with the UN in South Sudan.  But that will probably be the only book I set there. I would have to go to the dark side, I think, to do a realistic portrayal of the country.  Juba Good is the darkest book I have written.

I find the writing community is very helpful in promoting each other and Liz and I have received valuable assistance from you and others in our writing journey. This paying it forward is a movement I like and is so different from the big brother attitude of many corporations I’ve worked for. Is this a trend that is here to stay or is it a by product of the social media sites we communicate on today?

Vicki: The Canadian mystery community is extremely close, as you know.  It always has been, at least in the twelve or so years that I’ve been part of it.  I like to say that when I decided to write a book the last thing I was thinking of was so I’d make new friends.  But that’s been the best part of it.  I’d argue that not only does social media have nothing to do with that, it might even be detrimental to those close links.  I know Pam and Liz from meeting you in person, right?  I think I first met Pam at the book launch for Gold Fever, and Liz at Bloody Words. Tomorrow, I’m going to the cottage of one of my CWC friends, and a couple of other writers will be there also.  These are all people I met at various crime writing functions or conferences. We’ll drink lots and eat well and talk about books and book people.  Social media, on the other hand, is about LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME NOW!!!! Oh, sure people will occasionally drop in a quick reference to someone else’s new book on their Twitter feed, but it really is all about “me”, not about making real meaningful friends, getting to know colleagues, and then giving and receiving advice and encouragement.  My friends and I and fellow-CWCers promote each other because we like each other’s books: we even critique manuscripts and put on joint events.  But these are real flesh and blood friends, not virtual friends. I travel a lot for promotion, as you said, in the US as well as Canada, and so I meet many crime writers. Often we hit it off and are happy to exchange guest blog slots or post a link on our FB page or drop a Tweet.  But the personal relationship has to come first.  No, social media if anything is getting in the way of that sort of thing.  Beginning authors who think it’s all about dropping a few auto-Tweets are missing the point. 

What do you have in the works for your many fans to look forward to?

Vicki: Gold Web, the fourth Klondike book, will be released in December.  Then Under Cold Stone, Molly Smith #6, will be out in April.  Juba Good sometime in the spring.  Wow, seems like a lot.  I am currently working on a new gothic thriller for Poisoned Pen Press. No title as of yet, but it will be set on a winery in Prince Edward County, with a ghost-story from WWII. 

All work and no play.....What do you do in your down time?

Vicki: I read. A lot.  I am going to be interviewing Andrew Pyper at Scene of the Crime, and although I’ve read all of his books, I am reading them again, so hopefully I can come up with some good questions.  I have a small property in the country, and in the summer I garden and swim. I also travel a lot, which I really enjoy.  I’m hoping to go to Spain next year.  Promotional stuff takes up a lot of time, such as this interview. But I do it because I enjoy it.  If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t do it.

You are known for the different hats you wear. The first time I met you at the Bloody Words Conference in Ottawa you had on a very smashing hat that was reminiscent of what your character Fiona MacGillivray of the Klondike series would wear.
Is this all very necessary to help sell and promote books today or is this a personal Vicki-ism? 

Vicki: I love wearing hats, but it is pretty much my promotional shtick.  In the summer, on a hot sunny day, I might wear a nice sun hat, but the fancy hats and fascinators are only for book promotion. It started with me buying a big Victorian hat to wear to book signings for the Klondike books, and kinda grew from there.   By the way, I have the honour of being the Canadian Guest of Honour at Bloody Words 2014 ( and I will be putting some thought into suitable millinery.

Are you a lone wolf when it comes to writing or would you consider writing with a collaborator?

Vicki: Total lone wolf.  I can not imagine how you too can work together. And so effectively, I must say.  But then again, I am a pretty solitary person.

Thanks Vicki for speaking with Jamie Tremain today. We’re both looking forward to many more books in your series.

“It’s a crime not to read Delany,” so says the London Free Press.  Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific and varied crime writers. Her newest novel is A Cold White Sun, the sixth book in the Smith & Winters police procedural series for Poisoned Pen Press. She also writes standalone novels of psychological suspense, and the light-hearted Klondike Gold Rush books which are published by Dundurn.
Her Rapid Reads book, A Winter Kill, was shortlisted for the 2012 Arthur Ellis Award for best novella.
Vicki is a member of the Capital Crime Writers, The Writers Union of Canada, and is on the board of the Crime Writers of Canada and the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival. She is proud to have been chosen as Canadian guest of honour for Bloody Words, the Canadian mystery conference, in 2014.
Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki enjoys the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario. 

Visit Vicki at, on Twitter @vickidelany 


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