Catching Up

Yikes. I haven’t written a blog post since last August. What have I been doing with my time?

1. Writing:

I finished my novel, Ten Days in Summer, the sequel to Deadly Fall, and am waiting for word from publishers.

While waiting for word, I’m revising a non-mystery novel that is into its fourth draft.

I polished a 12,000 word short story I wrote a few years ago and sent it to three contests. It made the finals in the Glimmer Train Fiction Open Contest. Within the next few weeks, I should hear how the story fares in the other two.

2. Travel:

In November, Will and I spent 16 days in Hawaii, on two islands we hadn’t visited before — Oahu (Waikiki-Honolulu) and Big Island. We loved them both.

Jungle Hike - me with the guide's machete

Highlights included a jungle hike (pictured here), swimming with sea turtles (usually not on purpose – to my surprise they appeared beside me on busy Waikiki beach), hiking Koko Head – the steepest hike in my life, Pearl Harbour; on Big Island driving to the summit of Mauna Kea volcano for an astronomical tour and viewing stars and the moon through a powerful telescope, hiking Kilauea Iki Crater backdropped by a spewing active volcano; beaches, pools, strolling the streets after dark without a sweater and good food.

In Calgary, memories of warm Hawaii quickly faded this cold, snowy winter. In late February, Will and I escaped for a week in Cancun, Mexico. Sunshine. Thirty-degree highs every day. Mostly we relaxed on the beach and by the pool, but we included two full day outings. One was was a ferry ride to nearby Isla Mujeres (Island of Women), where we rented a golf cart, saw the whole island in three hours and finished  with a swim in shallow, calm Playa Norte.  The other excursion was a bus tour to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, which we’ve wanted to see since our first trip to Mexico some years ago. It was a long drive through jungle, but the ruins were awesome. I’d love to return to spend more time there.

Me in Chichen Itza

Despite the hat I wore constantly on the trip and covering up on the beach, I still have my tan.

3. Teaching

Since September, I’ve been teaching A Novel Approach at the Alexandra Writers Centre. The class runs every second week and ends in June. It’s been a challenge for me to keep up with the students. I hope they’ve learned as much as have and go on to finish their terrific books.

The weekend after I returned from Mexico, I taught a two day intensive workshop on Novel Revision. It was inspiring and great learning for me, too, if a tad exhausting.

4.  Writing related activities

A surprisingly fun activity was working the AWCS casino in December. Will and I took a night shift in the counting room and somehow managed to stay up until 3:00 AM. We really enjoyed hanging out with other AWCS members and getting a glimpse of casino activity.

I organized the Crime Writers of Canada and Calgary Crime Writers tables at the Calgary Public Library Writers Weekend on February 1st. I spent the day at interesting sessions on publishing and writing humour in between my shifts (wo)manning the table.

5. All the rest of life.

Family. Reading. Walks in city parks. Friends. Snoe shoe trips to Kananaskis, Banff and Lake Louise. Zumba & Fit and Fab at the gym.

Life away from the blog has been busy and good, but I promise not to wait this long before I post again.