Saturday, August 18, 2012

Work In Progress

Someone is apparently beating up a board outside my window. My son tells me it's the sound of a nail gun. Something is being built, not beat up. Work In Progress.

It's been a busy week. I finished one project, promoted Under A Texas Star, and hung out at a three-day Twitter Party for Imajin Books. My son came home from New Brunswick Wednesday - meaning a half day spent picking him up from the airport - and will be heading out to Music Camp Sunday. That will mean a half day or more on the road driving him there.

Today was to be my day to relax. Instead, the erratic staccato of the nail gun is fighting with the constant drumming of random story ideas in my head. When I try to focus on one, another jostles it out of the way.

On days like this, I want to be able to empty my mind onto a tray and sort it out. In this compartment, material for Deadly Season. In that compartment, material for Fortuna's Star. Over there, a catchall for the random ideas that are not yet attached to a story. I have files set up that way on my computer and accordion folders for hard copies related to each story. Why can't I organize my brain that way?

Maybe I can... but it's a Work In Progress.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Imajin Books: Meet Alison Bruce

Imajin Books: Meet Alison Bruce: Deadly Beginnings   It was a bright, sunny day. I sat under a beer umbrella in the square drinking Sleeman Cream Ale from a plastic cup....

Monday, August 13, 2012

Free Days and Anxiety Dreams

I just had my first interview anxiety dream. I've been expecting it for years.

Close your eyes and picture this.
It was supposed to be a studio interview before a small audience. Three local Imajin authors were being interviewed: Melodie Campbell, who used to do standup comedy; Catherine Astolfo, former principal and experienced public speaker; and me.
For reasons that can only be attributed to Murphy (or the fact that it was my dream) I was on first.

I was taken behind a curtain to a set dressed as a haunted house, told to lie down, but also keep my chin up for the camera. When the curtain opened, I was to get out of bed and put a large robe on... because of course I was in a nightshirt all of a sudden.

The curtain opens. The audience is huge. I grabbed the robe and it gets tangled on something. I have to engage in a tug of war before I get it loose, then I can't tell which way is up.

"Times like this, I am reminded of Maxwell Smart."

The audience laughs.

Someone helps me into the robe. I step out on stage. No host to interview me. Fine, I think, I can do this. I already made them laugh.

I woke up just as I was about to wow the crowd.  So unfair. Here's what I was going to say...

I'm Alison Bruce, author of Under A Texas Star and Deadly Legacy. My stories have been described as "complex and sophisticated," "fast-paced," and "well-researched."

Under A Texas Star was inspired by Louis L'Amour's westerns, Georgette Heyer's historical romances and Shakespeare's As You Like It. It has a feisty heroine, ruggedly handsome hero, adventure, mystery and romance.

But don't take my word for it. Pick it up and read it yourself, because it's ...


AUGUST 13-15, 2012

Available at: and other European sites

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Happy Birthday Mum

My mother Joan (Nash) Bruce introduced me to Hercule Poirot, Nero Wolfe and Lord Peter Whimsey. She talked shop around the dinner table, sharing insurance tales of decapitations, arson and dealing with 'legitimate businessmen.' And she gave me the motive for this murder. For all that, and in loving memory, I dedicate this book to my Mum. (Dedication from Deadly Legacy)

Joan Nash 1952
 In 1954, my mother and her mother set sail for Canada. I still have her steamer trunk and my Nana's drop-front desk - one of several pieces of furniture they brought with them and have been distributed among the grandchildren. And I have Mum's books. 

So far as I can tell, she must have brought at at least a couple of boxes with her. Cheaply-bound hardcover copies of Georgette Heyer's historical romances, her collection of John Buchan novels, original pocketbook editions of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie provided the core of a library she would add to right up to her death in 1999.

Mum worked for the Phoenix Insurance Company in England and was able to transfer to the Toronto office when she emigrated. A feminist to the core, Mum broke a few glass ceilings in her day. She was the first woman claims adjuster in England, then was the first woman claims examiner. In Canada, she got to be the first in each field all over again. (She met my father over the phone dealing with broken windshield claims.) Yet, when she was pregnant with me, she left the field to be a stay-at-home mother.

Joan Bruce 1964
My mother would have made a great model for an amateur sleuth in a period mystery. (An idea I'll have to put on the back-burner for now.) She was a highly intelligent woman who had to downplay her intelligence around my father's business associates -- a "housewife" who didn't fit in well with other housewives at the time. She was a heavy smoker that volunteered for the Canadian Cancer Society. She even had a troop of girls at her disposal (oh the things I could do with that) because she led one of the local Girl Guide companies. 

Kate's mother in Deadly Legacy is partly modeled on Mum. Her fashion-sense and relationship with her daughter is drawn from life... with a few significant differences. My parents' marriage remained intact, though my father (like Kate's) was a workaholic. My mother went back to school when I was twelve because she had no desire to live her life through her husband and children.

Joan Bruce 1980's
Although she studied to be a library technician, she ended up back in insurance. The skills she learned were put to use sorting and maintaining her own library. (I have a copy of False Colours by Georgette Heyer with a corduroy spine because Mum used material scraps from her sewing projects to repair binding.) If she had got a job at a library, I might have written "Death in the Stacks", instead, her shop talk inspired an insurance based murder mystery.

So, happy birthday Mum. Thank you for making me a reader and allowing me to be a dreamer. I wish you could have been around to see me become a published author -- but I like to think that you, Dad, Joey, Aunty Yang and Aunt Ruth are rooting for me somewhere, as the rest of our family are rooting for me here.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

August is for Authors

It's "Meet Our Authors Month" at

The story so far...

"What does every self-respecting amateur detective need? A sidekick." - Cynthia St-Pierre

"Most writers will tell you that they can’t not write. I know. Double negative. But it’s true. We can’t just stop writing." - Chris Redding

"Keeping all the clues straight requires an entire box of cue cards. Or a night’s worth of napkins from the pub. Or writing on the wall with washable markers. (Those were washable, right?)" - Catherine Astolfo
"Hardly anyone knows about Asenath, the Egyptian priestess who married Joseph the dreamer. Thus when writing my novel on her, I felt free to stretch my imagination to no end." - Anna Patricio

Book Sale

Deadly Legacy: "Deadly Legacy is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Characters are compelling, especially Kate Garrett. Suspense and intrigue are maintained throughout leading to a very satisfactory ending. Enjoy"
Amazon Review

$1 off the Kindle price for the month of August.

Other stuff going on in August at Imajin Books

1. Meet the talented authors at Imajin Books. Check out the blogs and ask our authors questions.
2. Twitter Party - for three days in August 15-17 Follow us at
3. 'Share the Imajin Books Buzz' contest  - see the website for details