Friday, April 22, 2016

Arthur Ellis Award Finalist

And the finalists for Best Crime Novella are...

Jeremy Bates, Black Canyon, Dark Hearts
M.H. Callway, Glow Glass, Carrick Publishing
Barbara Fradkin, The Night Thief, Orca Book Publishers
Brian Harvey, Beethoven’s Tenth, Orca Book Publishers

and me...
Alison Bruce, Deadly Season, Imajin Books

Tough competition, but great company to find myself in.

For more of the 2016 Shortlists, check out the Shortlist Page.  (It's been an exciting evening and now I need to sleep.)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What have I forgotten?

On the evening of April 21, the Arthur Ellis Shortlists will be announced. As I write this, it's two sleeps and many checklists away.

There's the media checklist, the presenter checklist, and the I am an author doing a reading checklist. Then there's the everyday work checklists because not everything is about the Arthurs.

Add getting a hair cut to one of the lists. And I mustn't forget I have an appointment with the kiniseologist... kineiseo... the guy who makes sure I exercise properly.

Oh, and there was something else. I wrote it down somewhere. What was it?

Of course...

Imajin Books is having a big sale. 
  • All single titles will be on for $0.99
  • Trilogy bundles will be $1.99 (and a couple of longer books)
  • Other bundles & anthologies will be $2.99

Monday, April 4, 2016

Time for Coffee

One day my mother was grumbling about the cobbler's children. I was a child myself at the time and wondered who the Cobbler's were and what their children had been doing at my house without my knowledge.

My mother further mystified me by pointing to the cracked window pane in the dining room.

"The cobbler made shoes for everyone but his own children went barefoot."

Cobbler equaled shoemaker. One mystery solved. Then the other proverbial shoe dropped. My father was in the glass business, but our window was broken and had been as long as I could remember. (I think it finally got taken care of when my parents sold the house... or maybe not.)

When it comes to writing my blog, I'm the cobbler and it's my barefoot child.

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned. It's been one month since I last posted on my blog.

As you can see, I'm relying on coffee to help write this post. It's midnight and I need something to keep me going. Decaff gives me a headache, but coffee art can keep me going for a while. Okay, coffee art on the screen and a very dark roast beside me... but how else can I espresso myself?

I've been on a run of coffee art. You might have noticed if you follow me on Facebook. I've been combining my characters with their favorite brew and a quote about how great they are in hopes that you'll go read about them (books available online at Amazon and Indigo, and via your public library if you request them.)

Now I the coffee is done and so am I.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


... That's what I need: FOCUS

Ever seen the movie UP? I'm the talking dog who is very clever but easily distracted... at least by squirrels. It doesn't help that I have multiple jobs:
publications manager
awards administrator
freelance writer/editor/designer
web consultant
crossing guard 
and last but by no means least

I'm constantly having to change focus and that doesn't include research.

I'm not complaining, no matter what it sounds like. I know from experience that I'm not a one career gal. I need to be able to move from one job to another to keep myself from getting stale, frustrated and ultimately BORED TO DISTRACTION. However, I do recognize the need to focus on the job at hand. It's just so difficult some days.

Deadlines help.

Keeping track of when things have to be done and allocating time for different tasks is the only thing that makes being a freelancer and contract employee possible. As for writing, there's the best lain nothing like a looming deadline to motivate one.

Unfortunately, best laid plans of schedules and deadlines are upset by family crises. That's when you have to prioritize. Tasks that keep a roof over your head and feed your children tend to come first.

Stress does not help.

There have been many times in my life when writing fiction has kept me from going off my rocker in the real world. It has been a stress reliever. What I write, I have control over. The rest of life? Not so much.

However, when the stress comes from the pressure to produce my next book. Writing doesn't help. At least, the writing what I'm supposed to doesn't help. That's when I turn to graphic illustration. Art therapy. Oh, and I catch up on my blog writing. 

Activities that reduce stress make it easier to deal with what stresses you. I also find that any creative activity fuels my writing. It's like warming up for singing by doing stretches. The activities may not look related, but they compliment each other.

Traveling Music
When I'm driving, I find music a good way to stay focused on the road without falling asleep. Audio books are even better, but not when you have to pay attention to where you are going. When it comes time to find my exit off the highway, the audio book goes off or who knows where I will end up.
 There are some tasks that work well with audio books too. Writing isn't one of them, of course. I don't even like listening to vocal music when I write. The wrong style of music can be distracting too. That's why I have a play list for every book I've written or am working on. (The Deadly Season playlist, for instance, has a combination of jazz and Christmas music. A Bodyguard to Remember, on the other hand, includes military band selections as well as folk, rock and light jazz.)

But, in the end, I just have to do it. In fact, I should get back to it right now.

Friday, February 19, 2016

How to Make an Author Happy

A lot of things make an author happy...
  • a good writing day
  • an interested publisher
  • a helpful but not brutal editor
I could go on, but at the top of the list is positive reader feedback. We want to be appreciated. Heck, we want our books to be loved.

Most authors work alone, at least for the writing part. By necessity we try to ignore all distractions including non-critical family interaction. Read the acknowledgements of the authors you enjoy. Whoever else they thank, most of them will express heart-felt gratitude to their family for being so patient and supportive.

 Family members and friends can be a wonderful support, but they aren't usually the people authors write for. We enjoy their pats on our backs, but what we really crave is our readers' applause. There are two ways we "hear" that applause: book reviews and fan mail.

Fan mail prompted this post.
Really enjoyed this book. Keeps you guessing when someone is going to find out about Marley being a girl,the characters are strong the story is strong, grabbing onto your imagination. I didn't want to stop reading until I found out how the story ended.
Loretta Webb
This is the kind of mail that really makes my day. I hope Loretta also posts this on Amazon. A good review sells books. That's the other reason we love them so much. Review = Sales = Coffee so we can keep writing. (Well, that's how it works for me.)

 So, do your favourite authors a solid and review the books you enjoyed. You'll make their day and you might make the difference between a medium brewed coffee and an extra large espresso beverage next time they're in their local coffee shop.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

7 Free Books - Rowena Through the Wall and Fire and Shadow

“Is that a broadsword on your belt, or are you just glad to see me?”

Book 1 in the bestselling 
Land’s End Time Travel trilogy

When Rowena falls through her classroom wall into a medieval world, she doesn't count on being kidnapped - not once, but twice, dammit. Unwanted husbands keep piling up; not only that, she has eighteen year old Kendra to look out for and a war to prevent.
Good thing she can go back through the wall when she needs to...or can she?

The Toronto Sun called her Canada’s “Queen of Comedy.”  Library Journal compared her to Janet Evanovich. Melodie Campbell has over 40 short story publications, 9 novels and 10 awards.  Rowena Through the Wall was an Amazon Top 100 Bestseller, putting her ahead of both Nora Roberts and Diana Gabaldon for a magical time.

The entire Land’s End Trilogy was a top 50 Amazon bestseller in January 2015!  You can read more of Rowena’s adventures in Rowena and the Dark Lord, and Rowena and the Viking Warlord.

When the dead need to speak, she must listen…

Artist and Egyptologist Lily Evans struggles with her newly discovered psychic talents, while trying to get her life back to normal now that her mother is in a mental institution and the man Lily loves is far away in England. But "normal" is the last thing she finds.

When her best friend Katy takes her to a Celtic Faire, Lily meets a druid fortune-teller, who warns her that she can “never escape the Other.” Frightened and angry, Lily ignores his dire warning and stumbles across an eerie old portrait of a beautiful woman, who has something to tell her.

Susan Jane McLeod has been writing since she was seven years old. At age eleven she won a county-wide essay contest and her professional career was launched.

Susan believes strongly in several causes and has raised money for the American Cancer Society, Foodlink, and the House of Mercy homeless shelter.

Monday, February 15, 2016

7 Free Books - Under A Texas Star

Half-time look at the FREE books and what comes next

“She set out to catch a con man and lost her heart to a Texas Ranger.”
The Bridgeman 
by Catherine Astolfo
This is the first in a seven book series. Also check out Cathy's other books.

Under A Texas Star 
by Alison Bruce
Alison writes History, Mystery and Romance and you don't have to look further than the blog sidebar to see what's what.

Rowena Through the Wall 
by Melodie Campbell
This is the first of the Lands End Trilogy, but just the tip of the iceberg for Melodie's books.

Chasing Clovers
by Kat Flannery
Kat is a true-blue historical western romance author. Check out her series.

Fire and Shadow
by Susan MacLeod
This is the first in a trilogy. Find the others on Susan's Imajin page.

Deadman's Hand
by Luke Murphy
Luke writes it gritty and detailed. If that's your poison, check Luke out.

Blonde Demolition
by Chris Redding
Chris obviously likes it hot because after this book she has Incendiary.

Disguised as a boy, Marly joins a handsome Texas Ranger in the hunt for a con man and they must bring the fugitive to justice before giving up the masquerade and giving in to their passion.

Under the Texas stars, Marly and Jase are drawn together by circumstances beyond their control, yet fate plots to tear them apart. Will Marly finally get her man?

"Bruce's narrative has a lightness of touch that is all too sadly rare in romance novels"

"Bruce is a talented storyteller" 

Copywriter, editor and graphic designer since 1992, Alison is the author of mystery, romantic suspense and historical western romance novels. Three of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

In addition, she is the Publication Manager of Crime Writers of Canada, Arthur Ellis Awards Administrator, Adult School Crossing Guard for the City of Guelph, and tech guru to the technologically challenged.