Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Art in Nelson, B.C.

I've arrived in Nelson for a week.

I have a few book events ( but am mostly here to soak up the atmosphere. Like the pew auction to benefit Grans for Grans, an organization in support of the Stephen Lewis Foundation. Several promient Nelson artists (including my good friend Carol Reynolds) were given a pew bench from an old church and told to have at it. The art work they created will be auctioned off on Saturday.

Carol broke the pew in two to makea garden bench and a chair, and created a painting on each back section - ie four full paintings - of a birch forest. It's beautiful. A woodworker took his pew and created a desk and a metal worker made an enormous and elaborate swing set.

Several youth from the Youth Centre got chairs and created art work from their chairs. The chairs will be auctioned as well.

Over at the Oxygen Art Centre there's another art auction this week to benefit the centre to which Carol donated a painting.

There's always something fun and interesting and community minded going on in Nelson, B.C.

To see more of Carol's art (such as the painting above):

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Some pictures from the road

I'm spending tonight in Pincher Creek, Alberta. I loooove Pincher Creek. It's a tiny little town with nothing of merit except that it sits right at the end of the prairie and the beginning of the Rocky Mountains. So, if you look east you see flat open prairie. Turn around and face west and it's towering mountains. Tomorrow I pass into the mountains, which is one of my very favourite moments in all the world.

It's been a wonderful trip so far. A great combination of work (booksignings) and fun (touristing). Here are some pictures of the Alberta Badlands, the Royal Turrell Museum in Drumheller, Alberta, and just driving across the praries. Oh, and of a NWMP Sergeant in full regimental dress uniform as displayed at the NWMP Museum in Fort McLeod.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Visiting the RCMP heritage centre

Even when we writers are on vacation, we're working. I'm between engagements in Winnipeg and Saskatoon and have come to Regina for a couple of days for sightseeing and relaxing. On my way to the museums this morning, I stopped at a Chapters store for a drive-by. Just popped in, announced myself, and asked if they'd like me to sign books. It's always fun. The store staff are delighted to meet you, and happy to let you sign books. Helps give the books a bit more visibility with a signed by author sticker and a bookmark poking out of the top.

Then I went on to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, which is small but very very good. They have great exibits on the geography of the province and the lives of the First Nations peoples. Plus the museum is in a beautiful garden setting by the river.

I spent the afternoon at the RCMP Heritage Centre, which is a museum for the history of the RCMP. As you know (I hope) Corporal Richard Sterling in the Gold Rush books is with the NWMP and Constable Adam Tocek of the Molly Smith books is with the RCMP. The history of the NWMP in particular, how they peacefully opened the west, is fascinating.

I bought a couple of items in the shop, things to bring with me next year to Left Coast Crime or Malice Domestic if I host a table. I think you'll like them.

A reminder: I'll be speaking at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon on Thursday at 7:30 PM. It should be a fun evening, so I hope to see you all there.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Do you like to read a series in order?

Today I was the guest at Whodunit mystery bookstore in Winnipeg. It's a fabulous little store and Jack and Wendy, the owners, are just full of knowledge about mystery books, past and present. Despite the fact that today was the first nice day after weeks of cold rain a nice number of folks came out to eat cupcakes, drink tea and talk books with me. We got onto the subject of series books. I tell readers that you don't HAVE to read the Constable Molly Smith books in order, because each plotline begins and ends in one book, but if you like character development, then you might want to start with the first. Which in this case is In the Shadow of the Glacier. The Klondike books can be read in any order as they take place within a very narrow time frame.

Jack, the owner of Whodunit, and a man who has read just about everything, was most insistent that he strongly disapproves of books that require the reader to have read something else first. Every book should stand and fall strictly on it's own merits. An interesting point, I thought. Today's readers, I think, do like character development in a series. They like to follow the main characters as people come and go in their lives. Can that be overdone? Can you give so much character development that you end up spoiling a latter book for someone who hasn't read an earlier one?

I think in particualar of Susan Hill's Simon Seralllier series, unquestionly one of my favourites. You have to read those books in order, particuarly the first three. I did read the second book first, and when I read the first one I knew what was coming and so the shocking ending was no shock at all.

Then there is Steig Larsson's series. If you haven't read the first and second, don't even bother picking up the third.

Contrast this with Peter Robinson's Inspector Banks novels in which Banks grows and changes and his life changes but it is done so slowly that the order of the books really doesn't seem to matter. At least in my humble opinion.

I'd love to know what you think? Do you want a series that has to be read in order? Or, like Jake, does it annoy you?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Win a Box of Chocolates with Among the Departed

My Facebook friend Martha is very kindly having a contest for readers of Among the Departed. You could win a box of chocolates from Martha and a signed bookmark from me by answering the following question: There is an inside joke in Among the Departed. When John Winters comes home at the end of the book he finds his wife Eliza reading. Can you tell what she's reading, and why it's an inside joke? If you know, you can friend Martha on Facebook and send her the answer. And then you win! First ten correct answers win. Her name (so you can friend her) is Martha Paley Francescato. Enjoy your chocolates.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival

I am on the board of the Wolfe Island Scene of the Crime Festival and am just in from a board meeting. It's looking like we're going to have another fantastic year. The festival is held every August on beautiful Wolfe Island, Ontario. The Island is about a 1/2 hour ferry ride (and free!) from Kingston, Ontario. There is also a ferry running from Cape Vincent, New York. One of the features of the festival is the annual short story contest. There's less than a month left to enter, so if you are considering it, don't leave it much longer. Contest closes on June 1st. All details of the contest are up on the web page. You don't have to attend the festival to submit a story to the contest, but you do have to be Canadian and you do have to be unpublished.

This year's festival is on Saturday August 13th. Registration includes author readings, panel discussions, guest lecture and THREE meals including our famous church supper. Can't be beat. We're on facebook, to get updates just look for Scene of the Crime and friend us.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fun with Blog Posts

As I mentioned yesterday, I do enjoy doing guest blogging slots. There are some that are particuarly fun to do. I had two of those this week, when the blog-owner asked one specific question. That caused me to think outside the box, as they say, and look at things from a completely different point-of-view. First I was asked to cast a movie of Among the Departed. Hard for me to do as I don't watch TV and rarely go to movies but I consulted far and wide and came up with a good list, I think. And then there was the page 69 test. Turn to page 69 and talk about what that page reveals about the book. More challenging than you might think.

My book: The Movie: Click here.

Page 60 Test: Click Here

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Among the Departed Blog Tour

I love doing guest blog posts and the release of a new book is the best time to do them. Here are some links to the things I've written about lately.

Jungle Red Writers on the Appeal of the Villiage Mystery: click here

Omnimystery on Standalone vs. series: Click here

Mystery Maven Canada on Writing What you want to Know: Click here.

Crime Writers of Canada on Writing the Villain: Click Here

Remember that all authors love comments on their postings. Agree/Disagree? I do want to know.

Stay tuned for a few more as the month continues.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Home from Malice Domestic and Festival of Mystery with a free offer

I had an absolutely wonderful book tour. North Carolina with Molly Weston was a blast. Fun and friends and good food and lots of book sales. I even ate grits for the first time Just loved them in the shrimp and grits (see picture).

It was great getting to know Elizabeth Duncan better. A lovely woman and great writer.

I took lots of pictures for this blog – and left the camera in Mary Jane Maffini’s car. I’ll get it back, I hope, on Monday at our book launch in Ottawa, and will post pictures later. Speaking of Mary Jane, sometimes we laughed until the tears ran and our sides ached. At one point I actually couldn’t see. Good thing I wasn’t the one driving.

We then went to Malice Domestic, where Mary Jane won an Agatha Award for best short story. Yeah!!!! Then on to Oakmont PA for the festival of mystery. Who knew (not me) that I was just down the row from an elusive writer named K.C Constantine who never appears in public. Here’s a pic (courtesy of Janet Rudolph) of K.C. I am standing in the background in a grey sweater. The other picture of me in the hat was taken by Louise Penny.

Home now for a short rest before the big book tour to B.C.

A reminder that Among the Departed was released yesterday. It is available everywhere in hardcover and trade paperback. Also large print and audio version. There has been a delay with Kindle and I am hoping it will be out soon.

Free Offer: If you would like a signed bookplate or a postcard for Among the Departed or one of my bookmarks, please send me an email to vicki at vickidelany dot com. I'll pay the postage!