Launch in 2 days

A Superior Crime and other stories, a collection of five Anne McPhail Dangerous Journeys shorts plus seventeen others, launches on Feb. 13, 2018. This is the sixth publication of my company, From The River Publishing. For new readers, the others are:

Murderous Roots

The Facepainter Murders

No Motive for Murder

The Child on the Terrace

The Jewelled Egg Murders

See all of them at Amazon world-wide.

I’m re-editing all but The Jewelled Egg Murders. Murderous Roots is done, reissued and available on Amazon. It is enrolled in Kindle Unlimited as are all the others except The Jewelled Egg Murders. I’ll enroll it when a NetGalley subscription runs out in March.

In the early summer, From the River Publishing will bring out Painting of Sorrow, the story of a young woman hiding a brutal past who discovers a Caravaggio painting, long thought destroyed in the bombing of World War II Berlin. That discovery resurrects her past and brings both danger and love into her life.

This autumn, if all goes well, Stolen Children, the story of a young woman who exposes a criminal enterprise that kidnaps children and feeds them into the illegal adoption trade.

We’re expecting freezing rain today so indoors it is. That’s about all for a snowy Sunday in the Kawarthas.

To Press: The Jewelled Egg Murders

Done! The Jewelled Egg Murders, book 5 of Dangerous Journeys available for pre-order on Amazon and many other e-stores through Smashwords. Smashwords is an aggregator that sends the book out to Kobo, iBooks, Barnes &Nobel and many other sellers.

The editing process included an Autocrit Review, a Grammarly review, Word spell check, a Quality Mark review at Books Go Social where The Jewelled Egg Murders achieved a Gold Mark after another Autocrit review and a human perusal of the manuscript.

 

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On to marketing. Amazon and Smashwords both have a pre-order function, so the book is now online and can be purchased ahead of the release date of December 1.

I’m waiting for the paperback version to arrive from Create Space. The online review copy seems to be fine, but one never knows what errors might have occurred in the printing. Release date also Dec. 1.

I decided against Kindle Select for the launch as some of the marketing I want to do isn’t compatible with Kindle Select rules. I plan to enrol in 2018, likely in January.

What’s next:

I’m working on a collection of the short stories that I have written over the years. Some are published, some not. Several of them are Anne McPhail adventures, including Homicide in Haliburton.

That’s it for an overcast morning in the Kawarthas.

 

 

 

Publishing Journey: Boxed Set

Summer’s over, unless we get a spell of warm weather in September. Like so much in 2017, it came and went so quickly we almost missed it.

I’ve been writing and editing my next Anne McPhail novel, The Jewelled Egg Murders, these past few months and the end is now in sight. At least, I hope it is. My projected date for publishing is November 1, 2017 and I need to get advanced reading copies out before then. This business of working for yourself is great but the deadlines loom regardless of who sets them.

Before I publish The Jewelled Egg Murders, I’ve gathered my first four books to form a boxed set of e-books at Amazon.com, .ca, etc. Look for it as Dangerous Journeys Vols. 1-4.

Dangerous-Journeys-KindleI used Vellum for this task as well. This was amazingly easy and no rejects from Kindle Direct because of formatting or other issues. I can’t say enough about this programme. Tasks that took as a long as a month to get through, now take minutes. Well worth the cost.

Marketing, as always, must be done but I enroll my books at Books Go Social, Laurence O’Bryan’s terrific business in Dublin, Eire. Reasonable rates and terrific results.

That’s about it for today. Do check out Dangerous Journeys Vols. 1-4 and let me know what you think. Cover art as always by Karen Phillips of PhillipsCovers.

A May Morning

Spring: the leaves popped on the Manitoba Maples along the creek back; serviceberry bushes bloomed white together with the spirea;  daffodils, mine at any rate, ended yesterday; the hummingbird returned last weekend, a few days early; the red-breasted grosbeaks returned to the feeder.

A long, harsh winter left some ornamental bushes bereft of leaves. My gorgeous Vibernum “Shasta” has growth only at the base, but the branches are green when I scrape them so I have hope. No hope for the Purple Smokebush and the Blue Mallow, I’m afraid.

Most of the roses and clematis have survived except for a little beauty—Blue Sprite clematis—that appears to be gone. But one’s never sure with clematis and it was buried deep so it may come along.

At the local nursery—Hills—I found two hybrid tea roses on their own root! I couldn’t resist and bought four: 2 dark red Royal William and  2 pink Royal Kate. They are supposed to be disease resistant and have a strong fragrance.

Writing: I’m within sight of the end of my first draft of my new Dangerous Journeys mystery with Anne McPail. This time she’s in Spain, her life endangered by her concern for a mysterious little girl.

Ontario is in the midst of an election. I see the Conservative Party is trying to position itself as the party of hope. Hope, as demonstrated by planning to eliminate 100,000 civil service jobs. A mythical number, neatly dissected by an editorial in the Globe and Mail. Hudak appears to pull these numbers from an imaginary hat. How many civil servants do you know? I can count at least three, not including the teachers, hospital workers, doctors, nurses, firefighters, police and whomever else the party fears to cut. That leaves social service, and labour and the environment, all unnecessary from its collective point of view. The ones I know are not at the top, not even managers, but workers who are on the wrong side of senior and likely to be cut first. Hope? Not too much. Read the editorial here. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/can-tim-hudak-win-election-by-100000-job-cuts/article18629579/#dashboard/follows

That’s about it for this Sunday in May.

 

 

Queen’s Quarterly

Queen’s Quarterly, the magazine of Queen’s University Alumni Association, was established in 1927 and continues publishing today, articles of interest both to alumni/alumnae and to the general public. The current issue includes

Eight years after his first visit to China, PROF. JOHN P. SMOL, PHD’82, one of the world’s foremost environmental scientists,returned to that country to deliver a series of lectures. The Review invited him to report his impressions of China.”

The principal purpose of the Quarterly is to keep alumni up-to-date with the news from the university and each other.

Brian McFadzen an alumnus and friend wrote an article about me and my books that appeared in the latest issue as well.

You can find it here: http://tinyurl.com/qhsxorq

PMO and the Mounties

I grew up with tales of the Mounties, of their bravery and determination in facing criminals in the early years of Canada’s expansion into the West. Now, in several provinces, they are the community police as they were then.

Maintiens le droit. Defend the law.

In High River, Alberta, homes lay unlocked and unguarded; weapons, mostly, I presume, the long guns that people in farming communities keep for ridding themselves of groundhogs and coyotes. What did the people of Alberta want the Mounties to do? Leave the guns there for anyone to take and perhaps use?

Not according to Premier Alison Redford, quoted in the Globe and Mail: RCMP officers who removed guns from evacuated homes in High River were doing necessary work to secure the flood-ravaged town in a crisis, Premier Alison Redford said in response to criticism.

But the PMO(Harper) knows better. The same article: “We expect that any firearms taken will be returned to their owners as soon as possible,” PMO spokesperson Carl Vallée said in a statement on Friday. “We believe the RCMP should focus on more important tasks such as protecting lives and private property.”

In my view that is what the Mounties were doing when they removed the guns, protecting lives.

Apparently, playing to the hard-core Conservative voter trumps common sense in the PMO.

That same article in the Globe talks about the increasing tendency of the Harper government to interfere in policing decisions.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/pmo-says-the-rcmp-should-have-better-things-to-do-than-seize-guns/article12882952/#dashboard/follows/

University of Ottawa professor Philippe Lagassé, who is an expert on defence and security matters, quoted in the above article:

However, Mr. Lagassé said the PMO was walking a fine line by criticizing the RCMP’s activities, even though it clearly avoided giving a specific directive to the Mounties.

“This is not the norm,” he said. “We can say that we are starting to get into a zone where it is less legitimate for the government to tell the RCMP to follow other priorities,” said Mr. Lagassé.

Does anyone believe the PMO makes its pronouncements without Harper’s hand all over the script. Not our micro-manageing Prime Minister. Where will this need to control end?

Closing ELA: An international disgrace.

Scientists, both national and international, politicians inside and outside the House of Commons, patriotic organizations and ordinary concerned citizens like me line up to defend the importance of the Experimental Lakes Area. Who works there? The people who told us about acid rain and the dangers of detergents in our waterways, among other facts.

Who doesn’t want them to work there? The Harper government in the shape of the Fisheries minister Keith Ashfield. Read about it i todays Globe and Mail: http://tinyurl.com/csrz2lr

We are saving money, the Harper government cries. It costs 2 million dollars a year, folks. The new Office of Religious Freedom(Whose?) costs 5 million. How much did they squander on those jets. How much are they spending to promote the history of a war no one cares about? And what about those ads about the Action Plan that isn’t there any more.

They aren’t saving money, but I wonder who’s going to make some. Who has those logging contracts?

Replace the ELA with cleacut! What a disgrace.

What’s with Fantino?

Fantino’s CIDA letters cause a stir – The Globe and Mail.

First Julian Fantino decides that he can to cut off future aid to an impoverished nation, devastated by years of corruption, without a word of warning and without asking us, his employers, if we are the kind of people who demand some sort of quid pro quo to help the poor. One trip to Haiti and he was an expert. Even the United States and the UN regretted his remarks.

“Canada’s foreign aid agency should play an active role in promoting the country’s economic interests abroad rather than limiting its scope to poverty reduction alone, International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino says.” Globe and Mail, Dec.3/2012.

And here all the time I thought the purpose of aid was first to save lives and then to help a country improve to the point that it could feed and care for its people itself.

I wonder how the Prime Minister liked getting rapped on the knuckles by both the United States and the United Nations. Or was this a trial balloon, the Prime Minister’s plan, floated by yet another minister who took the heat for the boss.

Now Fantino, or someone in his organization is using a government web-site to post letters that the Globe and Mail calls vitriolic and partisan. Perhaps, like Mayor Ford in Toronto, he hasn’t read the playbook, in his case for Ministers of the Crown, who are held to a higher standard than a candidate for election in an affluent suburb of Toronto.

If the letters were indeed posted by staff, without his knowledge, than he has an even bigger problem, that of having lost the respect of the civil servants who work for the department of which he is, currently, head.

Newtown

A police spokesman, struggling to find the way out of his own grief and confusion, said, “I support the second amendment but I think anyone who wants to buy a weapon should have to go through the same testing that we do, like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality, and training.” That would be a start and cut back dramatically on the number weapons purchased at legitimate gun stores(like the ones the mother of this man owed) and pawn shops. What about gun shows, a major source of weaponry? Thousand attend and buy.

Illegal weapons abound. In this country the guns flow in from the USA. We send them marijauna and they send us weapons of destruction. Millions and millions of handguns and assault weapons are manufactured by companies around the world, enough to outfit thousands of armies and security forces. Are these companies the driving force behind the NRA and their incomprehensible rhetoric? Follow the money.

After the last tragedy, the number of guns purchased increased. “If only someone on the scene had a weapon, he could have been stopped,” they cry. Or more would be killed by the untrained blazing away at the uncaring.

It is the culture of the country, the myths that have to be changed. The worship of a constitution written, not by saints but by flawed men of the eighteenth century. Sensible people recognize that the second amendment refers to what was then the need for a volunteer militia to defend the fledgling country. Other countries, like Switzerland and Israel continue to have that system, but they have conscription and individuals are trained, and the psychotic and unstable are weeded out. Their murder rate is a small fraction, relative to population, to that of the USA.

I fear no change will come out of this tragedy, but I hope that President Obama, no longer facing election, can use this to help the country turn their weapons into lumps of metal.

Turning Leaves and other lovely things

Just got back from Writescape’s Turning Leaves retreat at Fern Resort. What a gift to spend a weekend with old friends and new, writers all, concentrating on projects and the writer’s craft. I learned valuable lessons in characterization, especially the Sunday morning session with Gwynn Scheltema and Ruth E. Walker.

Back home, it’s Monday, snow is falling and the carryover from the weekend had me spending it on my work-in-progress. The voices of my characters are  distinct and clear in my head, less so on paper(or the computer screen).

I just started reading Russ King’s Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven. A giant Black Willow at the river’s edge, the black water, dotted with a gaggle of Canada Geese who seem to be practicing take-off and landing this morning while working on their group harmony, ice forming, and in the distance a row of white—seagulls resting on a half-submerged log— turn the view from my kitchen window into a Group of Seven landscape.

I’ve started “pinning” to a few boards on Pinterest, a process I didn’t understand until recently. Several writers I know are using it as a sort of giant white board, pinning portions of their wip or research or clippings, to private boards. I am using one for clippings, but the rest to collect and share books and paintings and photographs that I especially like. http://pinterest.com/virginiawinters.

A true tragedy this: the mayor brought down by his fatal flaw, his apparent inability to understand that the rules apply to him.