Sunday, November 29, 2009

Give a book for Christmas

As we all know times are looking dire for some part of the publishing industry, particularly independent bookstores, these days. At Type M for Murder we'd like to suggest that everyone think of giving books as gifts this year. To that aim, we are running our second annual Give a Book As a Gift Week beginning today. All week we will be recommending books that we have enjoyed and think would make great gifts. Please come on over and see what we loved and add your own suggestions. There are only two rules: the books recommended can not have been written by someone you know personally and they must have been published in 2008 or 2009.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

No Event Too Small.

I have often argued that you can never turn down an opportunity because it’s not big enough. If one person comes to your event, well it might just be the right one person.

Case in point. On Tuesday I was the guest speaker at the library in Fonthill, Ontario, a small town located near Niagara Falls. It’s a long way for me to go, but I combined it with a Monday night stop in Toronto to meet with my critique group, a night at my daughter’s place and then a shopping trip with her. I didn’t intend to buy anything for myself, I was just getting my Christmas shopping started, but picked up a sweater and jacket that went well with the pants I had on.

We arrived at the library with a bit of a sinking feeling. Very small town, very small library. Seven people showed up, which is definitely not good. But I gave my talk and they seemed interested and a few people bought books.

What made it all worthwhile? TV was there. The local TV station came. They interviewed me, filmed about half of my talk, and then took more footage of me talking to the audience after, along with a couple of shots of my books arrayed on the table.

And I was in my new clothes!

Apparently this was the first time the TV station had sent someone to one of these library events.

Christmas booktour continues - Burlington/Oakville/Etobicoke this weekend, Ottawa next. Click here for details. Mention you read this blog and you'll receive a FREE bookmark.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Massacre at County Road 10

One of the things about living in the country, I am finding, is that other creatures live in the country also. That is nice when you are sitting at desk writing and look up to see a flock of wild turkeys land in the field next door, or hear a coyote on a winter’s night night or cows lowing on their way to the barn on a long pleasant summer evening.

Not so nice when they decide to move in.

I was away for a couple of weeks and got home to find that mice had taken up residence. I am somewhat of a squeamish sort, so with great reluctance decided I would have to get rid of them. I went to the hardware store and purchased several of those little wooden mouse traps. Several days passed while I worked up the courage to actually use them. I guess I hoped that if I showed them to the mice, they would take the hint and leave.

The other night I set two traps, baited with cheese. One went on the kitchen counter, and the other under the sink.

That night I even dreamt about the darn things.

I got up in the morning and went downstairs with much trepidation. The trap under the sink had not been sprung, but the cheese was missing. The trap on the counter had been sprung and the cheese was several feet away. No mice bodies, but to my horror, there was blood all over the floor! With little mice footprints running through it.

So I now have a half-decapitated mouse dying somewhere in my walls.

What’s this have to do with writing? Nothing. If you are looking for some writerly chat, I posed this week at Poe's Deadly Daughters about the origins of Winter of Secrets.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Report from Capital Crime Writers Conference

I’m giving a workshop tonight in Belleville on writing character. I enjoy doing workshops, I like talking about writing and I like meeting people who want to be writers. It is at the Belleville Library at 6:00, in case you are interested.
Home from Ottawa.

I had a great booksigning at Chapters on Rideau Street, and thanks to Gary and Dan for organizing that. It is a strange store though. It joins one major street to another and I soon came to realize that a lot of the people passing my table were just walking through. Perhaps the highlight was when one man came up to me and asked “Where is the mystery section?” I was standing in amongst all the ridiculous fru-fru that now populates bookstores and waved my arms towards my table and said “Right Here.” He bought two books.

The CCW conference on Saturday was just great. It was very well attended, about 100 people I’d guess, and a lot of fun. I was on the panel on building your characters and moderated the cozy vs. Hardboiled. There were also readings by local celebrities and Linda Wiken from Prime Crime books was there selling books, and appearing to do a roaring trade. There was even a wonderful catered lunch. Free.

After a lot of us trundled down the road to Darcy McGee’s and then I went out to dinner with some of my friends.

A really great day.

Made even better by getting a good review in the Globe and Mail for Winter of Secrets. The Globe has reviewed most of my books, but never the Molly Smiths, so I wasn’t even expecting them to review the new one. She even recommended it as a gift.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Read an excerpt from Winter of Secrets

I'm all over the Internet this week, blog touring and guest posting. You can read an excerpt (not the first chapter, which is posted on my web page) from Winter of Secrets at I continue all week to answer questions from the gang at Criminal Minds at I'm very pleased with the way the release of the book has been handled by Poisoned Pen Press's new distribution organization Ingrams Publishing Services (the Manda Group in Canada). By the time I got around to sending out notices about the book to my contacts list, several people replied to say they'd already bought it. A couple had finished it! Under the old model if the release date of the book was November 1 that meant it would start trickling into the bookstores two or three or even four weeks later. Now November 1 seems to mean November 1. Which is just great for setting up booksignings. On Friday I am off to Ottawa for a signing at the Chapters on Rideau Street, but the big event is the Capital Crime Writers one-day conference. There will be panels and readings and signings and books for sale, and all for free! If you are in the area of our capital city, check it out at So far I am scheduled to be read by TBD. I hope he or she is good!

It is getting cold enough that my furnace has kicked it (and I keep my house plenty cold, let me tell you.) So this morning I laid a fire in the woodburning stove. I use the wood mainly because it is a lot cheaper than the propane that fuels the furnace, and because I like it. Except that the stove is in the same room as my office. I am soon going to be driven out by the heat. For the rest of the winter I'll be moving my laptop into the dining room when not using the table. Seems somewhat inefficent to me - a nice study that I can't use half the year!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Criminal Minds

All this week, I'll be the guest blogger at Criminal Minds ( Yes, that's a whole week with seven postings. So between doing that and working on the edits for Negative Image and sending out notices about the release of Winter of Secrets, and getting the garden ready for winter, I'll be busy. Oh, and today is my day over at Type M. So about all I can do on this blog is post a link to Criminal Minds. See you there!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Fatal Foodies

One of my favourite blogs to visit is Fatal Foodies. That picture on the top of their page is really something. They were kind enough to invite me to guest blog this week, and I wrote about how easy it was to create mood and atmosphere in Winter of Secrets because the book is set over the Christmas holidays. The book begins on Christmas Eve and ends on New Year's Day. Take a peek!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Editing Negative Image

Back and home and back to work. I got the editor’s comments on the newest Molly Smith, Negative Image. She likes the book – yeah! That’s always a relief! – but (there’s always a but) she wants some changes. In particular she doesn’t like the motivation for the major plot point. Keep the plot as it is, she said, but the character’s motivation isn’t convincing. Fortunately she doesn’t just say, don’t like it change it, she has suggestions. And I like her suggestion for this one. So back to work I go.

ALso, Andy Smith takes very ill. In my version he has a heart attack, and the editor doesn’t like that either, she wants a different problem. I have been investigating various diseases, but might stick to my guns on this one. Everyone knows what a heart attack is, why go running off in search of something else?

In the meantime I have several guest blogging posts coming up and have pieces to write for them. Generally I like doing those: it’s a different sort of writing than pure fiction and stretches some of my less-used mental muscles.

And then there is my W-I-P (work in progress) that I am anxious to dive back into. My goal for that is just to have the prologue and first scene ready for my critique group at the end of the month.

And, of course, the garden to look after. While I was away the trees dropped all their leaves and the plants all died so there is a lot of cleaning up to do. At least I got the vegetable bed turned over and prepared for next year before I left. I am wanting to plant garlic and that has to be done pretty soon, so I might not get around to it.

P.S. last night’s stew was fabulous. I have enough left over for tonight’s dinner.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beef Stew Tonight

Home, home, home. Thank Heavens. It’s cold and raining heavily and I am looking foward to a big pot of beef stew for dinner tonight. I’ve been eating in restaurants and grabbing meals on the road for two weeks - I’ve also been very tired and feeling sluggish, and I think the two things go together.

So tonight I’m going to do beef stew with mushrooms and carrots (the only time I can stand cooked carrots) and a couple of potatoes in the stew for thickness and a pile of mashed spuds on the side. When the stew has simmered for a couple of hours, I’ll stir in a big batch of Swiss chard and boil most of it down to add extra punch and nutrition to the dish.

Can’t wait.

On Monday I did an interview with Linda Faulkner at her Author Exchange Blog. You can read it at:

And by the way - the car was fixed quickly and we were able to get back on our way. We lost the half day we had planned for going to Peggy's Cove to see the ocean, but didn't miss any book events

Monday, November 2, 2009


Every book tour has its up and downs and this one seems to have had a lot more downs than usual. There were a lot of problems with getting books into the bookstores, the sales were less than stellar although our library and university events were quite successful. Then - car trouble. We are sitting in the waiting room of the Chryster dealership in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia at the moment, while the mechanics check out Robin's car to see what that noise is. Let's hope we can be on our way shortly. On the plus side - we had a super stay with Patti Gouthro and her husband Brian over the weekend and met a lot of very nice people in Halifax.