Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Holiday Shopping

Click here for Imajin Books Winter Catalog
The Annual Gift Hunt

Every year it's the same story. As Christmas approaches I'm on a wild hunt for presents.The gifts I haven't bought are bad enough, it's the stuff I picked up on sale in August that really challenges me.

Where was that safe place I found? Did I really buy that? Who did I get that for?

Somethings get lost. I bought these cute salt and pepper sets for my nieces last year. I presented them on Thanksgiving. I'd found them while looking for a safe place to hide Halloween candy.

There's almost always one person who is super-easy to buy for. For the last few years that's been my son Sam. He loves books, games, clothes, toiletries (he's an Old Spice man at age 12) and he loves gift certificates. He's also not in the least bit shy about pointing out all the things he wants.

Then there's the person who is impossible. That used to be my Nana until I learned that the simplest thing was to buy her things you wanted because she'd almost always re-gift her presents back to you.

Now my daughter is the acknowledged toughest person to buy for in the family. Her birthday is just before Christmas, which makes it twice as tough.

The first rule is, no money or gift certificates for her birthday. She'll just spend them on Christmas presents.

The second rule is no clothes, with the possible exception of a T or night shirt. She's a teenage girl whose height and shape seem to change weekly.

Fortunately, it's perfectly fine to give her gift certificates for Christmas. Those she'll spend on herself--especially if they're for Amazon or Chapters. She's her mother's daughter.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Black Friday - Deadly Sale

Someday I'm going to murder someone on Black Friday... only on paper of course. Maybe I'll call it...

Chief of Detectives Igor Thorsen looked over the incidence reports for the weekend and sighed. The Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend - also known as American Thanksgiving - was always busy. You'd think with all the sales on, people wouldn't bother with robbery. It didn't help that it was almost the full moon. In addition to the INNOCENT LITTLE CRIMES (by C. S. Lakin), the crazies came out of the woodwork. It was enough for a pantheist like himself to call on DIVINE INTERVENTION, in the hopes of DIVINE JUSTICE (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif).

Speaking of the divine, one of his crazier reports was of a guy shouting "METATRON: THE ANGEL HAS RISEN" (by Laurence St. John) and a woman swearing she saw an ancient Egyptian named ASENATH (by Anna Patricio). He would have like to have seen the Viking appear along with ROWENA THROUGH THE WALL (by Melodie Campbell), but was glad he wasn't around for the guy who complained of hearing WHALE SONG (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif) and could he get the police to tell them to be quiet.

One report that looked loony turned out to be art theft. LANCELOT'S LADY (by Cherish D'Angelo) was stolen from a downtown gallery along with CHILDREN OF THE FOG (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif), and a diptych called SOUL AND SHADOW/ FIRE AND SHADOW (by Susan J. McLeod). Some out of town PI named HUDSON CATALINA (by Linda Merlino) was already on the case.

The SEVENTH FIRE (by Catherine Astolfo) set this week was only peripherally his problem. Arson was the Fire Department's bailiwick unless there was a VICTIM (by Catherine Astolfo) found in the ashes.

And of course there was murder. THE BRIDGEMAN (by Catherine Astolfo) was found down THE RIVER (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif) near an inn called SAFE HARBOR (by Rosemary McCracken). As usual, his detectives were turning up SKELETONS IN THE CLOSET (by Cheryl Kaye Tardif). A LEGACY (by Catherine Astolfo) was involved - no doubt a DEADLY LEGACY (by Alison Bruce).


Monday, November 12, 2012

The Next Big Thing

I was thrice tagged for this game...
Go check out the blogs of Paty Jager, Lyn Horner and Ginger Simpson if you don't believe me. For that matter, check them out anyway. It's the fun way to get through Monday.

I'm tagging  Melodie Campbell, Gloria Ferris, Kat Flannery, Charlene Radon and Diane Rapp. And they'll find 5 authors and so on and so on... Just like the shampoo commercial.

The Next Big Thing... we can only hope.

What is the working title of your book?
I have three works in progress. One of them has a firm deadline, so that's the one I'll pick to focus on. It's working title is That Civil War Christmas Story I Need to Start Writing Sometime Soon.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
Kat Flannery, author of Chasing Clovers, came up with the idea and invited me to work with her. We have two sisters, separated by the Civil War, and we're taking a sister each.
What genre does your book fall under? Historical Romance.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Since we decided to have twin sisters, we decided to cast our sisters first so we'd have common physical references.  Hilary and Haylie Duff got the roles. I haven't cast my male lead yet, but I have a soft spot for Hugh Jackman.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? Twin Christmas tales for twin sisters who leave home to work as servants to help support their mother and invalid brother, then end up on opposite sides of the American Civil War, and despite themselves, find love. (I get to breath now!)

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? Imajin Books has already shown interest in our project and given us that deadline I have to meet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I have three months to our deadline. In that time I need to stop researching, write the first draft and do the first rewrite.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? It's early days for comparisons. Because it's a Christmas story, it will have that heartwarming, poignant feel that you expect in a holiday tale. Then, because I'm writing it, expect a touch of quirky humor.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Kat and I brainstormed ideas for the common themes of our stories. We've been swapping research notes and hashing out familial details for the sisters. It's been very inspiring.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Men in uniform, a war torn country, gallantry and danger... what's not to like?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sorry Joey, I'm late again

Mum, me, Joey and Nana, 1961
That's me in the middle, holding my baby sister Joanne Frances Bruce. I was her big sister back then. Round about high school, she turned into my big sister. She was the confident one, stage manager of the school plays from grade 10 to graduation, the bossy one.

I loved my sister dearly, but it's a bit irksome being overshadowed by a younger sister.

I learned to deal with it. I would love to still be dealing with it but my sister is gone. Yesterday was her birthday.

Yeah, I'm late again, Joey.  Happy Belated Birthday.

Joey 2002

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Deadly Places

When I started writing Deadly Legacy, I was living in downtown Guelph. At the intersection of Wyndham and Macdonell (pronounced mac-doh-nell in Guelph) there's this creepy old building that I absolutely adore. It's the Petrie Building and is - or should be - a heritage site. Unfortunately, no one will put the money into it to restore it - or even make it usable

I decided that Joe Garrett and Papa Filandros would do that. It's not a big part of the story, but it speaks to the kind of person that Joe was - and is one of the many reasons he's a hard act for his daughter Kate to follow.

A couple of years ago I was staying at the Weston Harbour Castle in Toronto for a conference. The hotel is built on landfill, which explains why the Harbour Authority Building is a couple of blocks inland.

This is another building I fell in love with.

When I was designing The City's downtown, I decided to incorporate the Harbour Authority's architecture into that of the Justice and Emergency Services Building.

Again, it's not a big part of the book. Kate mentions the neo-classic facade on her way in one day. Except that the picture gets used in the book trailer, no one would know... except me.

By having concrete places in mind (marble and brick too) it's easier to maintain continuity. When I send Kate's partner Jake on a drunken ramble, I know where he's been and what he's seen, even though the geography is only loosely based on Guelph and owes details to Toronto (where I grew up) and other cities I have visited.

Even in the future, the past can kill you. 

On , and other Amazon sites 

On Create Space (coupon code HWVDU6SL)

(To check out the book trailer click here or go to the Deadly Legacy page of this blog.)