Friday, December 31, 2010

And a Happy New Year

My children and other family members have all left, back to their own homes and lives. I'll be alone for New Year's Eve but that's never a problem for me. I'll nibble on cheese and baguette and drink champagne and look foward to a brand new year. Here's to 2011 and may it be a good one for you and yours and provide you with plenty of good books! Happy New Year.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

If you celebrate Christmas I hope you have a good one. And a very happy New Year to everyone. My family is all here, friends came over last night for games, the turkey will soon be in the oven, the mince tarts are made (and mostly eaten). For a change we're having our big Christmas dinner tonight (Christmas Eve) becuase Daughter #3 has to work first thing on Boxing Day so will be leaving early on Christmas evening. As well as having all of my children here, I had a couple of great Christmas presents already. A contract with Orca Book`s Rapid Reads programme to write a short easy-read adult book. Ì`m very excited about it, because it will take my writing in new directions. (Fear not, I`ll still be publishing with Poisoned Pen and with Rendezvous Crime). A great article in the London (Ontario) Free Press today that has the headline, I`ts a crime not to read Delany and my children and my mom are all sitting aorund reading ARCs of Among the Departed.

Life is good here at Chez Delany and I most certainly hope it is in your home also. Merry Christmas and may you have much happy reading in 2011.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Trying to Find Winter of Secrets

Listen to any writer these days and they'll be complaining at how in the modern publishing business it isn't enough that the writer write the darn book, they have to then be the promoter, the marketer, the sales person. All of which is, of course, extremely time consuming.

Case in point: I recently discovered that the paperback edition of Winter of Secrets has disappeared from The book is out in paperback, it is in stock at Amazon, but it isn't on my author page or on the list of editions of Winter of Secrets. The reader has to go to some considerable trouble to find it. And I don't want them to have to do that.

Back and forths between me and the publisher and her and Amazon is generating a lot of bites and bytes but no improvement.

These days, Winter of Secrets is showing up on a lot of lists of Christmas mysteries and there is a big review set to come out in a California magazine, so I would like people to be able to find it quickly and easily. Right now, the best I can do is provide the exact link:

The book, BTW, is easily findable at,, and other sources.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Nutcracker and Me

Last night I performed in the Nutcracker. Yes, performed. As in on stage. In front of the audience. Now before you check my photo, no I didn't actually dance. I was invited by the Quinte Ballet School to be the guest celebrity at last night's performance in Oshawa. My role was to read a story at the beginning to my 'daughter' that would introduce the ballet. I was on stage for about two minutes tops. But it was so much fun. I loved going to a rehearsal and seeing those wonderful young people practice. I loved being backstage watching the excitement build. And, ham that I am, I loved having my own small part.

Unfortunately I don't have any photos as photography was not allowed and I was just wearing my own clothes so not much point in taking a picture off stage. However there was a photographer backstage, and I will try to get a copy of the pictures with me in them and some others to post here.

I snuck into the theatre after to watch the performance and just loved it. I can't say I've ever been to a ballet before. I'd love to go again. The costumes were just fabulous and the dancing superb. These students were on the verge of adulthood and going professional and the quailty showed. (Plus, of course the beginning students had small parts - so cute).

Earlier in the day I had a hugely successful booksigning at Books and Company, the Independent bookstore in Picton, Ontario. It's nice to live in a small community and to feel part of the community. One lovely woman said "I love you!" to which I replied, "Oh. I love you to." She'd read all my books and didn't even have to buy Negative Image because she had it already.

So all in all, a very nice day. But I'm glad the book tour is now over and I can try to remember that I am supposed to be a writer - not just a book promoter.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Silence of the Mid-List

Thinking about big chain stores and the detremental effect they can have, even unintentionally, on small companies I wrote about the issue of product placement for Type M for Murder. What do chocolate bars and bestsellers have in common? Quite a lot, it would seem. Click here.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Update to Below Post

Further to my post about the warehousing of new Canadian crime novels, Barbara Fradkin and C.B. Forrest wrote directly to the CEO of the bookstore company and, to everyone's considerable surprise, got a reply in an hour. They promise to rectify the situation immediately. That's just great, and we're really pleased. Now lets see how long it takes for the books to arrive.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Book tour almost finished, and a plea for Canadian crime writers

Two things to write about today. First, I'm finished with my marathon of booksignings at Chapters/Indigo stores. Shoes off, wine glass in hand. I had fun, met a lot of eager readers, sold tons of books. Many many thanks to those of you who came out to meet me or ran into me accidently. When I'm doing a signing, I'm kinda hard to miss. I'm in your face, but I hope in a friendly cheerful way.

Next weekend it's my two favourite stores: Books and Company in Picton and Novel Idea in Kingston.

My signings were great, as I say, and as always the staff at Chapters/Indigo were so welcoming and friendly, that I just hate to say but.. And then go on with a complaint.

Now this complaint has nothing to do with me, or with the fabulous sales staff at Chapters/Indigo but I've found out that several of the very best Canadian mystery writers who have new fall books are not getting their books in the stores. Come on guys, the books have been printed and shipped. And are now stitting in the Indigo warehouse. Where they have been since OCTOBER! While the shopping season passes them by. Barbara Fradkin is among the very top of Canadian mystery writers. I bought her newest, Beautiful Lie the Dead at an Indy weeks ago (Great book!). C.B. Forrest wrote one of the best books I read this year (Weight of Stones) and I am so looking forward to the new one, Slow Recoil. It will, apparently, be a slow day when I can buy the book in Canada's one big chain bookstore.

If you're a fan of great Canadian mysteries it seems that in some cases the store that has about 90% of the market can't serve you. Oh, but if you want to read the latest Sarah Palin, it's in stock.

Please ask your local big book store where these books are or shop at an independent.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


I am not much of on for doing major revisions. Once I have finished a book I can make changes, for sure, add bits tighten up plot lines, drop a couple of red herrings, maybe strengthen a characters motivation or even add a minor sub plot.
But doing a major revision is something that strikes terror into my feeble heart.

My agent and I have decided that a standalone novel titled Child of Mine needs a substantial shift. I did not write this book to be a mystery, but a suspense. There is no mystery about who done what and why. The bad guy has a point-of-view throughout the book as he plots his evil ways. Hiss boo. The suspense is intended to be whether or not our heroine figures him out in time.

The response we got from the publishers she submitted it to was that they felt this didn’t work. They want a more traditional mystery with a whodunit element and a surprising reveal at the end.

Now, I’m not one to stand on my art and insist that my vision can not be tampered with. Tamper away!

I’m a bit nervous about doing it, as I said major rewrites are not something I’ve attempted before. But I’ll give it a go. It might work, it might not.

But if I don’t try, guaranteed it won’t work.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In Store booksignings and me

A lot of authors hate nothing more than the dreaded booksigning.

Being a writer is an introverted profession, perfectly suited for those who like to sit in their study, surrounded by papers, typing away. They might come up for air once or twice a day, and blink nervously to notice that the sun is out or that the rain is pouring off the trees, and get up to fix something to eat. Then it’s back to the keyboard, dripping bagel crumbs into the keys.

And then, once the book is finished and published, it’s time to promote it.

A seemingly endless round of visits to boookstores and libraries and book clubs. Where you meet with people and smile and chat happily about your book.
It seems unfair somehow: I know writers for whom the whole meet-the-public thing is a nightmare. Some writers just can’t do it. Their sales suffer accordingly.

For some reason, unknown to me, I love it. And I am pretty good at it. Sure, sometimes you feel like a total smuck standing there with a stupid smile on your face while everyone rushes past, eyes averted. And you meet some pretty rude people.

But all-in-all you meet a lot of interesting people who love books and would just LOVE to give yours a try or think it would be PERFECT for Great-Aunt-Alice’s Christmas present.

I am very very good at in-store signings. Don’t take my word for it – I’ve been told several times that I am the best author they’ve ever had in. No kidding. One bookseller told me I could give classes in how to do it.

It’s not rocket science – all you have to do is engage the potential readers. Smile, say Hi, ask an opening question and if the response to that is good, then ask if you can tell them about your books. You definitely need something to hand them – bookmark, postcard, flyer - not only does it begin a relationship, but if they really are too busy right now you want them to have something to remind them to come back, don’t you?

My number one rule for bookstore signings: NEVER NEVER sit down. It creates a distance between you and the potential buyer and restricts your ability to move around the store or the immediate area.

We all have different ways of approaching this. Just a couple of tips about what works for me.

Want to see me in action?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Technology - the good and the bad

I spilled coffee into my laptop a couple of days ago. Modern electronics don't much care for water, and that was the end of that computer. Thank heavens I bought a Netbook last month to use when travelling and thank heavens I loaded all my current projects onto it to take to Las Vegas. So I was cursing and swearing about modern technology that has us so dependent. I pretty much live my life on the computer - not only my writing, but all my guest blog postings, I organize my book tour, I communicate with friends and family, look at pictures of my vacation. I even went onto Facebook to ask advice about getting a new computer.

Yup, we're tied to the darn things and those ties are getting tighter and tighter.

And this from someone who doesn't even have an iPhone or any other iDevice. I just have a common-or-garden cell phone. In Vegas in my group of 14 (11 Delanys) I was the only one with an ordinary phone.

And then last night the other side of the technology revolution hit me. I looked at the fridge, saw my notice to get my car licence sticker renewed, and hit myself on the head. When was I going to get the time to have that done? Then I saw the instructions to do it online.

And so I did - took two minutes tops.

It's a crazy world to be sure.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Blog tour and real tour

I'm in the midst of a blog tour for Negative Image. It's been a lot of work, but also fun. I'm posting the links on the left side of this page. I'm starting off on my big bookstore tour tomorrow. I'll be all over Eastern Ontario and the GTA. The schedule is here: So please come out if you can.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Louise Penny's guest at Lipstick Cronicles

I was delighted to be asked by my friend Louise Penny to be the guest blogger at her group blog, The Lipstick Cronicles. I wrote about my adventures with the police. I've written some of it here before, but I trust you'll find some of the article new and interesting.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Amazon has jumped the gun on Negative Image

The official release date of Negative Image is November 2nd. But Amazon (both .com and .ca) and have jumped the gun and the book is now available from those sources. So, if those are your choice of store hurry on over and grab a copy.,, BN.COM And, don't forget, Kindle

What would you do if you believe the person you trust most in the world has betrayed you? What would you do if you discover that the person you trust most in the world believes you capable of betrayal?
Negative Image by Vicki Delany

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Much excitement

Well that was an interesting start to the day. I got up bright and early this morning because I am trying to get Gold Mountain finished by the end of October when I will be too busy with booksignings for Negative Image to get much done. I usually spend all morning in my pyjamas, but today I had a shower and dressed before coming downstairs. I made my coffee, booted up my computer, read about one e-mail message when there was an enormous THUMP from outside the house. I looked outside to see - a car in the lawn. Not just on the lawn, but down the hill and wrapped around the hydro pole. A woman was trapped inside. It was quite the scene as firefighters, paramedics, police arrived. They had to cut the car apart to get to her, get her neck stabilized and boarded to get her out of the car. The woman is probably going to be okay, but she was so shook up. (No kidding). Nice touch when someone said, "The gas tank is leaking". Anyway, the woman was taken to hospital, the car dragged out of the ditch and taken away, and everyone packed up and left. Here is a couple of pics.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The best interview ever

How to ensure you get the best interview possible? Do it yourself. Vicki Delany asks me the tough insiteful questions today at Sea Minor by Nigel Bird. First question: Why does the phrase murder mystery make your hair stand on end?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Signed copies of Negative Image

Thanks very much to everyone who entered my contest. The response was just great. I’ve chosen and notified the two lucky winners. In the meantime, if you are a member of Goodreads, I’m having a giveaway there, so pop over and put your name down.

Today I’m off to Rochester, New York (International travel!) to sign copies of Negative Image for Poisoned Pen. These are books that have been sold (or hopefully, will be sold) as signed copies. All I will do is sign them, put them back in the box and mail them off. Going to the U.S. means that the books don’t have to go through customs twice.

As an added bonus, I get to see my good friends Charles and Rose Benoit. Charles is the author most recently of the huge new YA novel YOU. If you have a young adult on your gift list have a look:

Monday, October 4, 2010

Contest Time! Win an ARC of Negative Image

With just one month left to go until the release of Negative Image, the fourth book in the Constable Molly Smith series, I'd like to give away two Advance Reading Copies.

First, a word from our sponsor:

When his wife’s former fiancé is found dead of a single shot to the back of the head, Trafalgar police Sergeant John Winters is forced to make the most difficult decision of his life: loyalty to his job or to his wife. Meanwhile, tragedy strikes the heart of Constable Molly Smith’s family.

Now: go to my web page and read the first two chapters (link is posted on the main page) and send an e-mail to me at vicki @ vickidelany dot com telling me what colour are the eyes of the woman in the old photograph. I will draw two winners from the correct entries. Contest closes Monday October 11th. Bonus points for knowing what special day that is in Canada (although that won't help you win the contest).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Word on the Street

I just love Word on the Street. Imagine, tens of thousands of people gathering to celebrate books. So many little kids as well. As I have done before this year I was in charge of the Crime Writers of Canada booth. I like the event, I like going, and I'm happy to be able to do something for the CWC. We had authors rotating all day, everyone from relative unknowns to a couple of big names. We had a huge basket of books donated by our members to raffle away and plenty of people signed up for Cool Canadian Crime, our newsletter. This picture is of Mel Bradshaw and me. Mel is a great writer and he is published by Rendezvous Crime, my Canadian publishers. The event is held in cities across Canada, alwasy on the last Sunday of September. Mark your calendars for next year.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Four Crime Writers and Nine Bottles of Wine

The pictures pretty much say it all. Barbara Fradkin, Mary Jane Maffini and I ventured into the woods of Quebec for a couple of days at R.J.(Robin) Harlick’s cabin. Food, wine (and lots of it), laughs, dogs, walks, book talk, publishing-industry talk.

I’ve said before that what I like best about being a crime writer is the other crime writers. I have made so many great friends.
Weather was good except for a downpour the second morning. We were able to both sit outside for lunch, and have a fire in the fireplace in the morning and evenings.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Open Farms Prince Edward County

I had just the best day today. As regular readers of my various blogs know, I am very interested in food and where it comes from and how it is produced. I worry about cruelty to animals and also about the sustainability of fossil-fuel based agriculture. (That steak you ate last night was almost certainly raised on corn fertilized with petrochemical products and it is quite possible your vegetables were shipped half-way around the world, or at least across the continent).

Today was a perfect early fall day here in Prince Edward County, Ontario. And it was the first year of Open Farms. What that means is that farms across the county (and other parts of Eastern Ontario) opened their doors to the public.

I visited a dairy goat farm (where I had to protect my T-shirt from nibbling goats) to see the goats that produce the milk that is used at the cheese factory about a half hour drive away.

At another farm, I ordered my Christmas Turkey after viewing the turkeys in their barn and bought two cartons of eggs produced by the chickens I’d watched scratching in the weeds and dirt.

I went to a very experimental organic farm where they produce all of their own electricity. So experimental, they have avocados and kumquats and papaya growing in a geodesic dome to see if they can be grown in Canada.

I also visited an 83 acre organic vegetable farm worked by a RETIRED couple on their own. (The retired bit blew my mind). Now part of that 83 acres is wetland and bush, but they probably have about 30 acres under cultivation. And they make maple syrup from the bush.

Perhaps the farm I enjoyed best was an animal farm very close to my house. A one-family operation, they raise turkey, meat chickens, laying hens, pigs, sheep, and cattle. They grow feed for their own animals and also have a sugar bush from which they make their own maple syrup. The turkeys and meat chickens are kept in cages out in the fields but the hens wander the property, scratching and pecking. Laying hens, the farmer told me, are smart enough to return to the safety of the coop before dark. Broilers and turkeys are not, so they have to be kept contained. Cows and sheep came up to investigate me when I approached the fence. The barn is open and cows and sheep come and go as they please. The pigs were in a pen, but they had plenty of room to run about (and they bolted when I arrived) and clean straw beds.

I am going to a friend’s cottage tomorrow for a couple of days with a group of good friends (R.J. Harlick, Barbara Frankin, and Mary Jane Maffini) and will arrive loaded down with greens, heirloom tomatoes, fresh eggs, goat’s cheese, yellow carrots, tiny colourful sweet peppers. And wine. Can’t forget good PEC wine.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

They Spelled my Name Wrong !! - Negative Image for Kindle

I have been wondering why the Kindle version of Negative Image isn't showing up on Not wondering too hard mind, as I assumed it wasn't ready yet. Fortunately I found it today following a link from someone else. My name is spelled wrong. Thus if you search on "Vicki Delany" you don't find it. If you search on "Negative Image" it brings up the hardcover and then you can search the various other versions of the book. But no Kindle. Anyway, here it is. For some reason the book seems to have been released this week on Kindle, but the actual release date is Nov. 1st. I'm trying to find out what's happening.

Also, I'll take the opportunity to let you know that Negative Image will be released in paperback at the same time as the hardcover. Before the paperback didn't come out until the next book was released.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Creating a Book Cover

I am very pleased that Francois Thisdale is going to do the book cover for Among the Departed. He has done all the other Smith and Winters covers and they look just great.

We were talking about the design (he kindly asks me what I’d like to see) and throwing around a few ideas. I suggested an old photograph for the foreground image, as the story is about a person who disappeared 15 years before. Then I wrote the piece on Monday about the police dog experience and included that photo and BINGO what a great image for the cover! It suits the story as well as Norman, the RCMP dog in the books, has an important part to play in the beginning. The dog in the picture BTW is just an Internet image, not any dog in particular.

(Reminder: Negative Image is the next book: November 2010. Among the Departed will be out in May 2011.)
Here’s a link to Francios’s web page where you can see the other sort of work he does.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Four Cops, Two Paramedics, and One Crime Writer

That's how many people it took to wake one man up to go to work. There is humour in the police officer's job. That's one thing I'm learning from the ride-alongs I've been on over the past two years. It's a tough, often unpleasant, job and they put their lives on the line every day. But boy, do they get a good laugh some times.

One time, the car I was in was called to a home where a man wasn't answering the door to his friend who had come to take him to work. It was the usual time and the usual routine, and the friend was worried because the man had a medical condition.

When we got there, the officer banged on the door, and bellowed, and peered in windows, and banged and bellowed again. He called for an ambulance. Reinforcements arrived. Someone crouched down and yelled into the cat door. (And took a sniff - ug). Eventually there were four cops, two paramedics, and one crime writer at the top of a rickety set of stairs leading to the upstairs apartment. Permission to knock down the door was given, the door was kicked in, and everyone rushed in. Save me, who hung behind not wanting to see anything ucky. Then I heard a shout, "XX, what are you doing in bed. Aren't you going to work?" Yup, the guy was tucked up in bed. Didn't feel like going to work, didn't bother phoning in, and didn't particularly want to get up and open the door.

Out we all trooped, one crime writer, two paramedics, four cops, leaving XX in bed and a broken door.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Police Dog – theory AND practice

As I wrote yesterday, I met with the police dog handler for a city near where I live. We went to a coffee shop and he was nice enough to give me an hour of his time talking about his job, the training, the dog, and telling some good stories.

I try really hard in my B.C. police procedural series to get the policing right, but I don’t have any experience in law enforcement at all. I don’t trust TV or movies, and I can’t rely on the vast majority of books, which are British or American, to tell me how Canadian police operate. So I reply on real police officers to tell me.
They have been very, very generous with their time.

Anyway, back to yesterday. The main thing the police dog does is track. Track the path of a lost child or Alzheimer patient, search for a suspect who has fled the scene – on foot obviously. The training to get the dog to do that, and to stay on course once found and not be distracted is considerable. For both handler and dog, I might mention.

After learning all about the theory and training of police dogs, I went home. That evening by pure co-incidence, I had been invited for a ride-along by another police force. AND THE DOG WAS CALLED OUT.

Cool! The office shed at a salvage yard had been broken into. The dog arrived, with tactical support as is the norm. Because the dog is intent on the trail, and the handler is totally focused on the dog, they need someone to protect them if such is needed.

The patrol car I was riding in was assigned to set the perimeter. The point is to try to contain the suspect so that the dog can catch up to them. Set the parameter too narrow, and the suspect might be outside of it before it’s in place; set it too wide and the dog has too big of a trail to follow. So we sat in the woods, lights flashing red (you want the suspect to know you’re there and be frightened – creates a better scent) and watched as the dog and officers came out of the woods following the trail.

I’m sorry to say that the dog lost the trail but I was just thrilled to be able to watch him in action.

It was a good night. I can say that the curse of BatVicki has been broken. And as an added extra: A great scene just popped into my head. Want to see something spooky? Try a scrap yard at night. Throw in some swirling mist – and voila.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Working with Police Dogs

Quick blog post before I head out for the day.

Lovely end of summer week. Hot and sunny. I love closing off the summer this way, with one last blast.

I have a meeting this morning with a police dog handler. Hopefully I can get the inside scoop on working with dog. With all the help I’ve had from various police officers, I’ve had trouble really getting familiar with the dog-thing. In the Molly Smith books one of the characters is a police dog handler for the RCMP. I’ve had to skirt over that a bit, because I didn’t have a feel for the relationship between human and dog. I’m really looking forward to my morning chat!

Then this evening, I’m off for a ride-along with the O.P.P. Will this be another night for BatVicki? When the criminal elements flee in terror at word of her approach.

Which seems to be the norm when I’m riding-along. The police end up apologizing for how quiet it has been.

I’ll report in tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Agony of Waiting

You work on a book for months, years for some people. You have friends and critiquers read it, you revise it. You send it to your editor. She makes suggestions. You revise it. Then it's finished and put in the queue for publication. And you wait. For a whole year. Sometimes you even wonder if that book was a figment of your imagination. Finally, release date approaches. Then you get the first review.

There is something pretty nerve-wracking about reading that first review. Will they say it's at least okay, or will they say it's the worst piece of dreck ever written?

Reviews, to be honest, come and go. I've had good ones, including a starred review by PW for Winter of Secrets, and I've had some not-so-good. I had one where I wondered if the reviewer had mistaken me for someone who stole her boyfriend back in highschool, it was so viciously personal. So I know not to take them toooooo much to heart. But that first review... Gulp.

The online review site Paperback Dolls loved Negative Image, I'm relieved to say. Here's what they had to say in a very well written review that manages to be comprehensive without giving away any plot points.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


If you've been wondering what I've been up to for the last little while, these before and after pictures should explain. I've been in the woodpile. I had two cords delivered. The person who was supposed to help couldn't make it, so I stacked it all myself. I decided it would be best to spend one hour a day shifting wood. That way I wouldn't strain myself and I also wouldn't keep putting it off. I am rather proud of myself, if I do say so myself. My ex-husband suggested I use the money I saved by not paying the helper to buy a good bottle of wine. If you need me, you can find me out on the deck, with my feet up, book in hand, wine close by.

My good friend Anthony Bidulka, author of the wonderful Russell Quant series, says that getting wood in is a very positive thing. We are planning ahead, preparing for the future in a practical way.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

More this and that

In my list of blogging recently I forgot my six word post for Jen's Book Thoughts. Yep, my life in six words. Not easy.

Bit of this and a bit of that

I’ve been busy getting my fall book tour organized and am just about done. I’m mostly going to be in Southern Ontario at Chapters/Indigo stores. If you know of a store that might like to have me, please send me a note and let me know.

Busy blogging week. I was at Mystery Kitchen ( with my blueberry pudding cake recipe, at Fatal Foodies ( to talk about how badly my tomatoes are doing this year (Is it a lack of bees and someone suggested?) and for a change of pace at my regular Monday spot at Type M for Murder ( talking about Conrad Black and the prison-industrial complex and Linwood Barclay and invisible criminals.

Friday it’s off to Scene of the Crime Festival on Wolfe Island ( Can’t wait, it’s going to be just great.

Also talked with the publisher at Rendezvous Crime and Gold Mountain will be released in Fall 2011. Don’t have a date yet for Among the Departed.

Hope to see you on Wolfe Island.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Planning the book tour.

I love going on book tour. I love standing in bookstores trying to get people interested in my books (really). I love meeting people and talking about books (mostly mine). I also love to travel and I like to drive. And I love going back to stores where they know me and like me!

On the other hand I absolutely hate organizing the book tour. E-Mails, phone calls. Follow up e-mails. Follow-up phone calls. Balancing dates and locations. Ug.

Anyway, can't be helped. Right now I am signing up stores for November/December for Negative Image which comes out Nov. 1st. I'll be doing mostly stores in south-eastern Ontario, where I live, with a visit to Oakville/Burlington/West Toronto and one to Montreal for an event called Fusion Fiction, which sounds like fun.

The big trips will come next year. Today I registered for both Left Coast Crime in Sante Fe and Bloody Words in Victoria. Both of which should be just great.

If you know of a store or library or festival that might like to have me, please do pass the info on. I'll go almost anywhere.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Short film from Bloody Words

Spencer Barclay (son on Linwood) filmed this year's Bloody Words conference and has put together a great four minute film of the highlights and an introduction by the founder of the conference, Caro Soles. You'll spot some well-known writers. Have a look, perhaps it will entice you into coming next year to Victoria, B.C.

I incidently, am changing into my Constable Molly Smith persona at 44 seconds; giving the Boney Pete Award for best short story at the 1.33 minute mark, and attempting to spar with a policewoman, and not looking too sure about it, at the 3.23mintue mark.

The photograph above is by Iden Ford, husband of Maureen Jennings.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

When books start piling up on top of each other.

As you probably know the publishing industry works long ahead of time. Today I have finished the Molly Smith book #5, Among the Departed. It is scheduled for publication Fall 2011. I will be sending the manuscript off to Poisoned Pen tomorrow, and I am sure there will be editorial comments and changes, but for now - fini.

Negative Image, the fourth book in the series will be out on Nov. 1, 2010. Meanwhile the latest book on the shelves (in the Molly Smith series) is last year’s Winter of Secrets.

Which means that I have finished two more books and am still out promoting Winter of Secrets. Sometimes I can hardly remember what happened in that book. It’s hard not to give away spoilers, too, because I just assume everyone knows what happens in Negative Image. Although the mystery or the adventure in each book is completely separate from the others, the characters lives do move forward and things change.

Of course to add to the mix, I also write the Klondike Gold Rush series, of which book #3, Gold Mountain, is underway (publication late 2011). And I have written the first in a new series that is now with my agent.

Fortunately I don’t get the different series or the standalones mixed up. The styles are very different, as are the locations.

Here is a first look at the cover for Negative Image. Hope you like it.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Isn't this a neat picture? Poisoned Pen Press is working hard to get all our books onto the latest platforms. This picture is for Playaway, which I think is an audio format. You don't need a CD player or anything, just buy the package and it comes with everything including little headphones. It's expensive, but if you are interested: click here

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival

For those of you living in or visiting the east next month, I wanted to drop a mention of the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival.

The Festival is an annual affair, this will be the tenth year, held on Wolfe Island, the largest of the Thousand Islands (just off Kingston Ontario). The Festival is small and I think unique, held in honour of one Grant Allan, Canada’s first crime writer. Allan was born on Wolfe Island and became a friend and contemporary of the writers of his age including Sir Arthur Conon Doyle.

Registration is limited to 100 attendees so everyone gets a chance to talk in a casual setting with the authors. The day is full of readings, interviews, panel discussion, a lecture, book sales and signings, and good-old-fashioned meeting and schmoozing. This year the Grant Allan Award recipient for her contributions to Canadian crime writing is Gail Bowen. The other authors are Michael Blair, Susanna Kearsley, James Nichol and ahem... Vicki Delany.

The setting on Wolfe Island is perfect. It’s a very small island, only accessible by ferry from Kingston Ontario or St. Vincent New York. If you take the Kingston ferry everything is easily walkable (from St Vincent you would need a car). The morning’s events are held in the beautiful United Church and in the afternoon we move to the historic Anglican Church where Grant Allan’s father preached.

Did I mention the meals? Your registration gets you a coffee and muffin breakfast, lunch put on by the congregation of the United Church, and a traditional church supper from the Anglican Church women. Like pie? They make pie like you would expect Church ladies living on an Island to make!

For an additional small fee, a morning workshop is also being offered. This year the topic is Point of View and the workshop is being conducted by Barbara Fradkin.

This year’s date is Saturday August 14. Note that in order to guarantee your meals, registration must be received by July 31st.

Information and registration is at

Friday, July 9, 2010

Need to cool down - read a winter book

It's hot hot hot here in Ontario. Not just the heat, of course, but the humidity. A/Cs are churning all over the east. Fortunately there is one cheap, easy, convenient way to cool down. Read a book set in winter. Winter of Secrets, (Poisoned Pen Press) the third Constable Molly Smith book, begins in a snowstorm on Christmas Eve and ends on New Years day. Here are a couple of scenes to start the cooling process.

Something soft, gentle and cold landed on Molly Smith’s cheek. She looked up. Snowflakes drifted down from the heavens. She put her hand to her head. She’d lost her hat long ago, tossed into the back of the truck, hopefully, although she didn’t remember. Her hair was soaking wet from snow melting against her scalp. Her boots were good, but even so her feet were getting cold. She wiggled her fingers inside her gloves.

A tree groaned and let loose its full weight of heavy snow. A substantial portion of which found its way down the back of Smith’s neck. Involuntarily, she yelped.

Smith stepped into the night. Snow was still falling and the wind was still blowing. The street was deserted, everyone at home with their loved ones.
She pulled her collar up around her neck and dug in her pockets looking for her gloves. Light from the streetlamps was dim in the falling snow. It was only two blocks to her apartment, and she walked through deserted streets, enjoying the sound of snow crunching under her feet.
The wind was a problem, but all this snow promised great skiing.

The full first chapter of Winter of Secrets is available on my web page: as is information about where you can find the book.

Stay cool.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Book Clubs and Book Lovers

Don't you love book clubs? Last night I was the guest author at a mystery book club in Toronto which discussed Gold Fever. I had a nice dinner, met new people, enjoyed fun conversation, and got to talk about the book and my writing. My friends Janet and Helen are book lovers extraordinare. Helen has put a third story on her house which she, only half-kidding, says is to store her TBR pile. She had a pile of new books that she'd bought earlier at Sleuth of Baker Street to show the club. A fabulous mix of bestsellers and little-knowns, hardcover and paperbacks. All mysteries of course.

Summer is here with a bang - hot hot hot. This time of year I am particuarly glad I was able to retire. I'm out of the hot city and here in the pleasant countryside, working on the deck, the pool at hand if I get hot. Heaven.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Back to the Klondike - On Canada Day

Happy Canada Day to all. I am just back from a Canada Day Pig-Out in Picton. Put on by Buddha Dog it was an attempt to create a world record of people eating hotdogs all at the same time. About 300 people showed up and we were all given one of the lovely little Buddha Dog hotdogs with an absolutely delicious mustard sauce prepared for the event by Jamie Kennedy. We stood around with hot dog in hand waiting until everyone was served and then all bit in at once for the official photograph. Great fun. And in support of local agriculture.

Edward County is done and off to Patty Moosbrugger, my agent. Without missing a day, I am now deep in the Klondike. Before I start the next Gold Rush book, I need to immerse myself in the time period again, so spent this morning reading my reference books. I am fascinated all over again by what an incredible time it was. Part of the story this time will be flashbacks to Fiona and Angus's arrival in Skagway. Where Fiona meets the infamous Soapy Smith and decides she's better off moving on.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Scare the Light Away and book titles

Off to critique group tonight. I will absorb their comments about Edward County and hope to have the book finished and ready for my agent by the end of the week. Wish me luck. My daughter was here on the weekend and I was telling her about the book. She hates the title Edward County, thinks it says nothing. I have my thinking cap back on. Speaking of titles, my first novel from Poisoned Pen Press was Scare the Light Away. I have come to realize that is a poor title. Several people at booksignings said that they wouldn't read it - they don't like horror. Oops. It's meant in the psycological sense as in not wanting to know the truth about your past. I blogged today at Type M for Murder about a look back at Scare the Light Away, which is a standalone suspense.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Value of a Critique Group

I am almost finished Edward County. It’s been a year, and that’s a long, long time for me to spend on a book (of course I did take a break to write an entire Molly Smith book). Right now the MS is with several of my writer friends for critiquing and is due back in a couple of days.

I am a firm believer that no writer can judge their own work. The author is just too close to it. Certainly no one can edit their own writing – you see what you think is there, not what is there – but when writing fiction the author can be too close to the work to see what’s missing or what isn’t explained. When my crit group began reading Edward County they said they didn’t know if the first-person narrator was male or female. That’s pretty important. I didn’t bother to mention it because to me it was perfectly obvious.

The most important thing about a critique group is that it has to be a GOOD group. A bad critique is worse than none at all. You need to work with writers you respect and whose own writing you like. Most readers who aren’t writers or editors can’t usually give a proper critique. They can say what they don’t like, or what they think is missing, but they can’t usually say WHY they don’t like it. (e.g. Too much telling not showing). There are exceptions, of course.

I’d advise very strongly against joining a critique group online, of people you don’t know. If you don’t know them, or their work, how do you know they are a good judge of what works? You don’t know if they have an agenda of their own, such as the need to crush other people to lift their own ego or the need to praise in order to get approval back.

Where, then, do you find a good critique group?

Probably the best place is your creative writing class. If you are a beginning writer, you are taking classes, right?

Monday, June 14, 2010

What's Next?

I’m taking one whole day off.

I finished Among the Departed, the fifth Constable Molly Smith book, last night. It will now sit and percolate for six to eight weeks and then I will read it again. I find that giving myself a long break means I can go back to it with a fresh eye. It will then go to the editor at Poisoned Pen Press who will suggest changes large or small, so more work will be required.

So far it took 2 ½ months. Probably a record for me.

Tomorrow I dive back into Edward County. The Edward County break has been more like 2 ½ months because I’ve been slow to get the critiques back, plus I wanted to finish up Among the Departed.

Edward County will then go to my agent, Patty Moosbrueger, and she will no doubt have suggestions large or small. So the work might be days or it might be months.
Then it will be time for the next Klondike Book. I have a title already – Gold Mountain. The book will not be a mystery, per se, but an extended chase novel. Stay tuned.

What else is on my plate? Whew, isn’t that enough?

I am going to take a break from Molly Smith and John Winters for a while (fear not, they will be back) and my next book for Poisoned Pen will be a standalone. I am going to stick with the format of Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory, and have a back-story of something that happened in the past that is effecting events of today. It will be set in Prince Edward County, Ontario, where I live now.

I think that’s enough for now.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Mysterious Writers: The Many Facets of Mystery Writing

I have just found out that an interview with me is part of an exciting new book titled Mysterious Writers: The Many Facets of Mystery Writing. . The book is only available as an e-book (so far) and the link above is to Amazon, but it will be out in other formats soon. I know that lots of people are interested in the writing process, in how writers first got published, in getting advice from experienced writers etc etc. The book interviews something like 70 crime writers who answer those questions, and many more. It's edited by Jean Henry Mead, and many kudos to her for doing it.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Website pictures

I posted some new pictures of the tea party at my web page. If you are interested, run on over and have a look. There are also pictures of my visit to Dawson City and scenes of "Trafalgar" including the view from Molly Smith's apartment. Click on Photo Gallery in the bottom right.

Monday, June 7, 2010

I haven’t got a clue.

Yesterday I wrote all day. This is unprecedented for me, but I was finishing the first draft of Among the Departed and was getting the scenes sorted out and polished off. I always work in the morning, over a pot of coffee, for three to four hours. But yesterday I went almost all day, with just a break for a walk and a bit of necessary housework. Instead of taking a glass of wine out to the deck to read in the evening, I brought it to my desk and kept on writing.
This morning I read over what I did yesterday. Generally, I was pleased with it. However I found this, at the very end.

He waited outside the bakery. In one hand he held a bag bulging with chocolate croissants, almond pastries, raspberry tarts. In the other, a bottle of wine.
He shifted his big feet, feeling exposed, awkward.

I do not have a single clue as to who ‘he’ is or why he’s waiting outside the bakery, and why he would feel exposed on the street. I must have meant something by this.

I bet it’s brilliant.

I only wish I knew what.

Thursday, June 3, 2010


I have written recently about trying to cut out the clutter from the Internet by switching off the modem when I'm writing. It seems to be working. I always have a single boiled egg after about an hour of writing time. Twice over the last two weeks the pot has boiled dry and the egg exploded. That's concentration.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Afternoon Tea for Gold Fever

I wanted to do something different for the launch of Gold Fever: A Klondike Mystery in Oakville. I don't live in Oakville any more, but have many friends and relatives still there. I decided to host afternoon tea for the launch party. As Gold Fever takes place in 1898, and many of the characters including Fiona MacGillivrary, are British, at several times in the book they hop into a restaurant for tea or host tea in their hotel rooms. Now tea in the Klondike might not have been quite what they were used to in the Savoy Hotel in London or a drawing room in Belgravia, but they made do. I did not have to make due and had a lovely event. It was held at the Tea Room on Marine Drive in Oakville, Ontario.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Digging through the Past - Burden of Memory

I spent this morning sitting in the sun on the deck, working on my laptop. Lovely. My back is quite a bit better today so might get the lawn cut this afternoon.
I wrote an article for Mystery Lover’s Journal on paranormal in mysteries. My second book for Poisoned Pen Press, Burden of Memory, has the trace of a ghost story. The question throughout the book is, is there a ghost? Or an over-active imagination.

It was fun to scan through Burden of Memory looking for some parts to include with the article.

Writing standalones is funny in that way – you spend a year, maybe more, intimately involved with the characters. Then another several months out promoting them and their adventures. And then they’re gone. You’re onto another book and these characters are never to be thought of again.

Burden of Memory concerns an elderly, wealthy lady named Moira Madison who hires a biographer, one Elaine Benson, to come to her cottage on Lake Muskoka, Ontario, to spend several months writing Miss Madison’s memoirs of when she was a Canadian Army Nursing Sister in World War II.

It is only when Elaine arrives at the cottage that she realizes she was the second biographer hired. The first drowned in the lake her second day on the job. Elaine begins to suspect that someone in the powerful close-knit family does not want the memoirs to be written.

Family loyalty and betrayal. Flashbacks to the idyllic summer of 1939, London during the Blitz, the Italian Campaign.

Something is moving in the woods.

Or is there?

Nice to have a trip down memory lane with these characters once again.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Day of Rest

I have hurt my back. Poor me. I must have slept crooked the night before last. It was bad yesterday and I was hobbling around the house, but today seems to be a good bit better. I had planned on working in the garden for a good part of today, but had better not as I wouldn’t want to chance damaging the healing muscles any more.

So here follows the planned activities for a writers day of rest.

• Read newspapers and newsblogs online. Check e-mail, Facebook, and Twitter.
• Three hours work on Among the Departed. Cst. Molly Smith book #5. Big fight scene outside a bar.
• Write blog post for Type M for Murder.
• Write blog post for One Woman Crime Wave
• Work on costume for next weekend’s Bloody Words. (I am on a panel discussing writing several series at once and will come suitably attired).
• Read MS evaluation I have been assigned for Bloody Words
• Type up report and prepare for meeting with writer of MS evaluation
• Make certificates to be handed to Bony Pete short story contest winners at Bloody Words.
• Send changes to Scene of the Crime web page to web developer.
• Start article for Mystery Readers Journal on paranormal mysteries.

Anything else?

(Type M for Murder blog post was inadvertently posted here first. Oh, well, keep it up.)

Fight! Fight! Trying to get it right.

Three hours work today on Among the Departed, Molly Smith #5. I worked on an action scene, which I find difficult to write. Difficult meaning trouble getting the words down and the action described properly. In this scene Smith is called to a fight outside a bar. Probably a typical Saturday night fight: drunken louts swinging at each other, drunken onlookers cheering them on. Smith arrives and the fight breaks up.

But one of the fighters pulls a knife on her.

She’s come alone, her backup is delayed, the bouncer nowhere to be seen.

I myself have never been in a fight in my life. I’ve never even seen one – other than on TV or at the movies. How does Molly Smith feel? Is she frightened? Is she calm? All I can do is try to write the scene as I would expect a person in that situation would feel.

I try to play the scene over and over in my mind, using what I’ve read in books or seen on the screen. To watch the characters moving so I can describe it – how she turns, faces the guy, how he comes in towards her, the look on his face, how he’s holding the knife, the swing of the knife, light flashing on the blade, someone calling out a warning.

I get to my feet and stand in the living room, pretending someone’s coming at me. (I am hoping none of the neighbours are peeking in the windows). What do I do? How do I move? Yes, yes, let’s pretend I won’t scream at the top of my lungs and run for the hills. Let’s also pretend that I don’t say “ouch, ouch,” when I swing my hips because I’ve pulled a muscle in my back.

This scene isn’t the climax of the book, and in the overall plot it isn’t all that important. It takes place somewhere in the middle, and is only used as an illustration of what Molly Smith does on the job. She's a beat cop remember. Young and new and very green. She is not a detective, and I try hard to show the ordinary street cop going about a shift. Police officers have a lot more things on the go at any one time than just that one mystery to solve, you know.

An action scene takes a lot of work, and it takes more time, for me, than most other parts of a book. It’s important to get it right, or at least believable.

Even if most of my readers are people just like me – mild-mannered middle-class women who would clutch their pearls and have the vapours if someone threw a punch at them – we all, me as well as the reader, want to believe that we’re in Molly Smith’s head and standing in her shoes and we are watching her go through her moves.

Incidentally, I learned what little I know about fight techniques from observing O.P.P. in-service training. Thanks, as always, to the many police officers who help me with the books.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

It's working!

For the last three days, I have switched off my modem and wireless router, moved the laptop to the dining room and settled down to work. I am delighted to report that the book is back on track and going well. It is really making a difference. Mostly I suspect because when I am stuck on a sentence or an idea, instead of clicking on my e-mail inbox to see what nuggets of wisdom have come my way, I lean back in my chair and actually THINK about what to do next. And then, I type what I have thought.

Sounds so simple doesn't it? It's taken me a very long time to get to this point. Hopefully one day I will be able to return to my home office where the router is and actually sit beside it and leave it off.

Makes me think though - I grew up without e-mail. I had a computer when I started writing, so have never had to type it out on a typewriter or, horrors, by hand. But it's only over the last say two to three years, that the internet has been so ubiquitous in my life. What does the future hold for those who are growing up with it. Will they ever know that sometimes you have to be disconnected?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Curse of the Internet

My name is Vicki and I am an Internet addict. There - I've said it.

I have been thinking lately of the way the Internet has taken control of my life. Sure it is great for following news stories, keeping in touch with my daughters and mother, doing research for books. I wouldn't give it up. But I do find that I almost never get deeply into reading a book anymore. That sense of falling into another world and being transported there for hours on end - gone. I keep hopping up and down to see if anything important has popped into my in-box lately. It's the same with my writing. I am struggling right now with the first draft of Molly Smith #5 - Among the Departed (due date: fall 2011). I'm in the soggy middle where it can be difficult to keep the story interesting while working towards the end. I've had several bad writing days where I spent far more time on the Internet than writing. Somehow my fingers just gravitated towards that e-mail icon.

Today, I decided that serious measures are called for. I switched off the router and took the laptop to another room. It worked. At first my fingers started to move but they soon realized that clicking on facebook would only bring up an error message. I allotted myself 1 1/2 hours and then plugged the router in and checked e-mail. Then off it went again for another 1 1/2 hours.

And I think I had a good writing day.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Afternoon Tea Party

I lived in Oakville, Ontario for many years and still have a lot of friends there as well as my mother and an aunt. So I wanted to do something in Oakville for my new book, Gold Fever. What better to celebrate a book set in 1898 than that most Victorian of all meals: afternoon tea. Please join me at the Tea Room, 2417 Marine Drive, Oakville on Sunday May 16th. 2 - 4 PM.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Writing Round-up

I did a guest blog stint at Cozy Chicks yesterday on the Klondike Gold Rush series as an anti-noir. Today I discussed a booksigning I went to in Picton, Ontario for the book Locavore that was a celebration of local food at Fatal Foodies ( and I am happy to say I have an article in the current issue of Mystery Scene magazine. It is not available online, so you will have to rush out and buy a copy. The article is on adjusting historical facts to fit historical fiction.

Also, I am on Twitter @vickidelany and you can click the Facebook icon opposite to friend me on Facebook. Talk to you soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Malice Go-Round with Louise Penny

I'm home from Malice Domestic and the Festival of Mystery. Had a super time at both events. Here's a picture of Louise and I at the Malice-Go-Round I talked about in the last post. I was very pleased that Louise won the Agatha award for her book The Brutal Telling. Great book and the award was well deserved. The Canadians did pretty well this year - Best first novel went to Alan Bradley for The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie and the Malice Grant for unpublished writers went to my good friend Patricia Gouthro.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Malice Domestic

Having a super time at Malice Domestic. The weather has been just great and it’s so nice to see spring accelerate as we came further south. I drove down with my good friends Mary Jane Maffini and Robin (R.J. Harlick). An easy comfortable drive. I’m rooming with Mary Jane who can always be relied on for a good laugh.

Yesterday I participated in something quite unique – Malice Go Round. Fill a room with 20 tables, ten places per table. Pair up two authors and let them loose, speed dating with authors. Each pair has four minutes to pitch to their table and then the bell rings and they leap up and rush to the next table. By the end my poor throat was starting to close up – not only are you talking fast but also trying to project in a packed room.

I was lucky enough to pair up with Louise Penny, the hugely successful Canadian author and genuinely nice person. I felt a bit like a guppy trailing after the big fish in Louise’s wake, but she is so kind that she put in a plug for my books at every table. Louise’s book The Brutal Telling is nominated for an Agatha Award at Malice Domestic and she received word yesterday that The Brutal Telling was chosen as one of Booklists top 10 mysteries of the year.

Tonight is the banquet and I am sponsoring a table. I was relieved to see that people signed up for my table quickly and it wasn’t left as the last resort for those who couldn’t get anything better.

We writers really do lay our egos on the line sometimes!

Off to enjoy the sunshine in Washington and talk in the National Art Gallery.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Malice Domestic

Are you going to Malice Domestic? If so, come up and say Hi. I'm driving down with Mary Jane Maffini and Robin (R.J.) Harlick so I know that just getting there is going to be fun. After Malice, we're bouncing down the road to Oakmont, PA, to the hugely popular Festival Of Mystery put on by Mystery Lovers Bookstore. That event is Monday May 3rd. Joining us for that leg of the trip will be Joanne Dobson, who has just brought out a book from Posioned Pen Press. I've never met Joanne, but have read her Karen Pelletier books and loved them. I am hosting a table at Malice for the Saturday night dinner, and I have some prizes. Hint: so popular and so hard to get that Oprah wore them on her show. Second hint, different prize: when I found out that this item is all the rage in New York, I phoned my daughter in Toronto to get me one.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Canadian Mystery Writers in Picton

This picture was taken in Picton, Ontario last week at a mystery authors night at Books and Company. In the picture, Violette Milan, me (in the hat), Rick Blechta, Janet Kellough, Michael Blair, J.D. Carpenter, Mary Jane Maffini.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Police Training

I'm really looking foward to today and tomorrow. I am going to a secret location to watch police training. I've been invited by a police department to sit on on two days of training. This is one of the things I love most about being a writer, the chance to experience things I wouldn't do in the normal course of my life. I blogged a while ago about a police officer friend who came to my house to teach me some fighting techniques. What she called Close Quarters Combat. Not that anyone needs to quake in fear when they pass me, I was doing more writing down what she told me than doing it, but it gave me plenty of much-needed material for my books.

If you're still only thinking about coming to Bloody Words, the Canadian mystery convention that starts on May 28 and need some incentive: My friend will be giving a workshop and demonstration titled "Close Quarters Combat: Keeping Police Officers Safe." She might even be demonstrating on me.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Talk at Toronto Reference Library.

On Monday April 19th, I will be speaking at the Toronto Reference library at 7;00 PM. My talk will be followed by a tour of the Conan Doyle Collection. Beeton Auditorium. The Library is at 789 Yonge Street Toronto, 416) 393-7131. That's at Bloor Street.

My topic is:

Tradition and Today: Making the Detective Novel Your Own. Canadian author Vicki Delany writes both modern police procedural novels and historical mysteries. She discusses the joys and perils of each with emphasis on the pleasures, and limitations, of writing historical fiction

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Contest for Twitter Users

If you got here from Twitter, let me explain. I am trying to learn Twitter and decided this might be a good way to have something to say. I have already chosen the winners of last weeks contest and their copies of Gold Fever: A Klondike Mystery are on the way. So here's another one. Read the paragraph below and tell me what is the name of the love-struck ex boxing champion. OR you can go to my web page and read the first chapter of the book and tell me from what river Angus saves the woman. Send me an email to vicki at vickidelany dot com, or use the contact link on the web page. Many thanks. Contest ends on Tuesday April 6th.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Win a copy of Gold Fever: A Klondike Mystery

On Thursday (yes, April Fool’s Day) my newest book, Gold Fever, will be released. This is the second book in the Klondike Gold Rush series, the first of which was last year’s Gold Digger. Here is a little teaser:

It’s the spring of 1898, and tens of thousands of people, from all corners of the globe, are flooding into the Yukon Territory in the pursuit of gold. The town of Dawson welcomes them all, except for the people who had been there first. When young Angus MacGillivray saves the life of a Native woman intent on suicide, he inadvertently sets off a chain of events that offers his mother’s arch-enemy Joey LeBlanc, the Madam with a heart of coal, the opportunity to destroy the Savoy Dance Hall once and for all. Unaware of impending danger, Fiona has other things on her mind: among the new arrivals are Martha Witherspoon, a would-be writer with far more tenacity than talent, and her nervous companion Euila Forester. There’s something familiar about Miss Forester’s cut-glass accent, and Fiona MacGillivray is determined to keep the newcomer as far away from Angus as possible.

Twelve-year-old Angus, however, has a better idea.

Meanwhile, Mrs. Mann, the landlady, fills the yard with steam and men’s underwear in her new laundry business; Ray Walker, co-owner of the Savoy, a tough little Glasgow street fighter, spends most of his day mooning over Lady Irenee, the most popular dancer in town; Irene carefully guards her secrets; Sergeant Lancaster, the love-struck, ex-boxing champion, pursues his hopeless quest for Fiona’s hand; Journalist Graham Donohue digs the dirt looking for stories; Barney, one of the few successful miners, holds up his corner of the bar; and Constable Richard Sterling guards the morals of the town with steely determination and the occasional glance at Fiona’s ankles. And – joy of joys – a seamstress of unparalleled quality opens for business.

All the while percentage girls and drunks, croupiers and gamblers, prostitutes and clients, bar hangers-on, Bishops and newspapermen, cheechakos and sourdoughs, and the infrequent respectable businessman walk, or fall, through the doors of the Savoy.

Then a killer strikes and the Mounties are determined to get their man... or woman.

To celebrate the release of Gold Fever, I am having a contest and two lucky readers can win a copy. Please go to my web page at, read the first chapter, and send me an e-mail at Vicki at Vickidelany dot com (you know the drill) and tell me the name of the river from which Angus saves the woman. Contest closes Saturday April 3rd.

Friday, March 26, 2010

FINISHED! Kinda. On the importance of taking a break from your manuscript.

It’s always a great feeling. A book is finished.

Well, not actually finished. More like finished for now.

I have finished Edward County. The book is done to my satisfaction. It comes in at about 94,000 words. I’ve been working on it for nine months.

Today I sent it to people for critiquing. Which means that in about a month I will get it back with all the problems pointed out. Sigh, and I’ll get back to it.

I try to take Stephen King’s advice, as told in his book, On Writing. King says you have to take at least a six-week break from the book and then go back and look at it again. I find that is long enough that you can then regard the MS with a slightly different eye. The problem with any book you’ve been working on for almost a year is that you know the story so well you can’t see the problems. Did X cause Y, but in the manuscript Y comes first? Is the character’s motivation clear to the reader, or is it only clear to the author?

So now Edward County is out the door.

Time to start the next Molly Smith.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who was Your Victim and Why did he have to Die?

That was the subject I was given by Pamela and Terri at Mayhem and Magic. It was interesting to sit back and think about that. Read the result at

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Gold Fever!

Rendezvous Crime has created a very nice web site for Gold Fever. It includes the first chapter, so have a look.
Gold Fever by Vicki Delany

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Gold Fever, Final Edits and chocolate

The final edits for Gold Fever have arrived, and I plan to spend today working on them. The cover looks just great. I think we might be taking a risk having pretty much the same cover as Gold Digger, but in a different colour, but it works for me. Not only the colour is different, but the small pictures around the central image are different from those on Gold Digger, and there have been some changes to the size of the font. April 15 is the release date.

In honour of Valentine's day, I have written about chocolate, and real value, over at Fatal Foodies, and today's guest blogger at Type M is offering a contest to win a copy of the anthology, A Box of Texas Chocolates.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Winter weather and action scenes

It is a lovely -18 C here in Southern Ontario today. As you know, if you read Tony Bidulka’s interview with me that I linked to below, I really love winter. I actually just love weather. I like summers to be hot and winters to be cold. I like long warm summer nights and dark cold winter nights. I like to sit out in the deck in the hot sun in the summer and cuddle up beside the fire in the winter.

Today is brilliantly sunny, as it only gets on a very cold day, and I am planning a walk later. I will bundle up so that only my eyes are showing and head out to the snowmobile paths in the woods. There is no wind today, so the walk should be pleasant.

I am struggling a lot with the climax of my new book. It is very action-oriented, much more than I have done before. I am having a hard time getting the characters in place; getting the gun away from the bad guy so the heroine can grab it (I guess he can’t just drop it, eh? Oopsie). Then once the sub-bad guy has been disposed of the super-bad guy appears and we have to do it all again. Plus the house is set on fire and there are people trapped inside, so after disposing of the super-bad guy, we rush off to save the trapped innocents.

I am having a lot of trouble visualising all of this. Perhaps I need to go to more action movies.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Speechless (Cross-Posted from Type M for Murder)

I have nothing more to say today. I have been struck speechless. My dear friend and wonderful mystery novelist Anthony Bidulka is running a series of interviews with Canadian crime writers he is calling "Ten Silly Things You Didn't Know about..." Today, it's my turn. An unusual intervew? That's putting it mildly. The picture above illustrates the lengths Tony has gone to to get my silly things on the record. Have a peek, and while you are there, have a look at Tony's web page. I think it's one of the best author pages going. Anthony Bidulka

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cornbread and Lost Symbol

As part of the Great Cornbread Challenge, I have put my cornbread recipe up at Fatal Fatal Foodies.

I have been reading The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown. Oh. My. God. I thought it was awful. I know a lot of people have liked it, but really. It's badly written - the constant use of italicizing everything you NEED TO KNOW BECAUSE THIS IS REALLY IMPORTANT - the plot is ridiculous - when we finally found out what the great plot is to destory civilization as we know it, I said "So? - the bad guy is so over-the-top he's a comic figure, and the last 50 pages which supposedly reveals the secrets of the ancients are just pure nonsense.

If the ancients are so wise and all-knowing how come they died at 35 and lost 3/4 of their kids?

For a better look at the mysteries of the ancients, read the Instance at the Fingerpost by Iain Pears. Using the wisdom of the ancients one of the characters attempts of rid himself of an eye infection by covering it in dog poo (likes attract, see, and the poo will draw out the infection). No amount of failure of his method will convince him it isn't working. After all, the ancients were wise.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Where do you get your ideas?

Writers are always being asked where we get our ideas.

Sometimes it’s an unanswerable question: the idea just comes.

Sometimes it’s easy – the subplot of In the Shadow of the Glacier is about a spate of bike thefts. That subplot was added after I had my brand new bike stolen and I needed to get some revenge on the thief.

What brings this to mind is that I had minor day surgery on Thursday. I woke up in the recovery room and looked around and immediately had an idea for my new book. I am about to write the scene where someone attempts to set the protagonist’s house on fire. They will be unsuccessful. But then I thought that it would add to the drama if she is injured, maybe just slips on a patch of ice while running to the fire and ends up concussed and in the hospital. It will be a good place for the police to question her, because she has been avoiding them, and will put her in a very vulnerable position. Great idea, and I probably never would have thought of it had I not been flat on my back in the recovery room.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!