One Fictitious Moment: Self-Editing

A new episode of One Fictitious Moment and it’s about how to self-edit your work. Hope you enjoy it!

You can Subscribe to my new channel here by the way:

Review of Mr. Holmes

mrholmesWow, this is turning out to be a review week for me – first Asp of Ascension and now the movie Mr. Holmes.

I was invited to see a screening of the new movie with The Bootmakers of Toronto (the local Sherlock Holmes group).

Suffice to say we LOVED it. What a great story, and what a fantastic actor at the perfect time in his life to take on such a role.

I won’t fill this space with spoilers because I respect a good mystery too much but I will tell you that the story respects the original canon and still manages to give us a side of Holmes that we don’t often get to see – the emotional side. It’s like in removing Watson (who only shows up from the neck down in walk-bys) Holmes had to fill in that role of both writer and emotional character.

Not surprisingly Sir Ian McKellen handles both with aplomb and the supporting cast add to the screenplay in the best way – not taking away from the mystery or the man, but truly supporting an aging legend.

I give this movie the full five sensible heels:


N.B.: Also, the movie is set in 1937 which is right in Portia’s wheelhouse – which was also a lovely treat!

Review from CanLit for Little Canadians

CanLit for Little Canadians!

This review of Thrice Burned over at the CanLit for Little Canadians blog is so glowing and lovely, I’d like to just transcribe it word-for-word (but I won’t!).

Here is a sample:

Reading A Portia Adams Adventure, whether it be Jewel of the Thames or Thrice Burned, is like revisiting the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Just as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle often chose to recount several of Sherlock Holmes’ cases in a single tome, Angela Misri follows suit, extending the authentic and complementary nature of the series to those of the famous detective.  Thrice Burned is like having new Sherlock Holmes mysteries to read, only now starring an inquisitive and astute young woman (without the Asperger’s Syndrome tendencies) and in a London of the 1930s.  And it works so, so well.  Elementary, wouldn’t you say?

And you can read the full review (and enter to win a copy of Thrice Burned) on the CanLit for Little Canadians blog.

Plot Ladders and such

Sometimes when I’m writing mysteries I find that I lose track of who knows what when and I find it useful to write out a simple plot ladder based on character. Do you guys ever do that? I find that if I temporally line up one character’s plot ladder with another’s I can more easily ‘see’ the order of the scenes and revelations.

Plot ladders
Spoiler Alert!

Hear, Here Salon Toronto

Hear, Here Salon Toronto

I’m very excited to be a featured author at the inaugural Hear Here Salon in November!

WHEN: November 20th
WHERE: Toronto (more location details to be released closer to the event – it’s a surprise!!)
WHO: Myself and a whole bunch of other artists – check out the full list here
WHAT: Here is the description from their website:

Welcome to Hear Here, Toronto’s premier Salon! For our inaugural event on November 20 2014, we will be holding an artistic gathering in Toronto with the greatest influential artists in Canada.

Poets, novelists, short story writers, essayists, fiction or non-fiction, professional or novice – all are invited to come to share or just listen. We’re creating a communal event for writers, the lovers of spoken word, literature, visual arts, music and all things creative. But we can’t stress it enough that ANYONE who wants to attend can do so.

Our first event will be only $30 which includes the exquisite culinary tastes of Toronto and the chance to rub shoulders with the greatest artists in Canada. If you’re unable to afford the entrance fee, you’re in luck. We’re looking for a limited number of volunteers to help with set up and clean up for the night. If you’re interested, send us an email with Hear Here Volunteer in the subject line.

Travelling Sale-Author: What I’ve learned so far

Photo Credit: Steve Rabbe
Photo Credit: Steve Rabbe at the infini-T Cafe in Princeton, NJ

I think I have now done enough of these book events to plan better for my upcoming events AND give advice to those of you about to head into your first bunch.

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

1. You are a Travelling-Sales-Author. Wrap your head around it and get comfortable with selling yourself, your brand and your books.

2. Bookmarks are a great reminder to people who don’t have the time/cash to buy your book right there, and the more fun the bookmark, the more likely you’ll be remembered!

3. If you’re reading from your book as part of your event, I suggest having two readings ready. For my own part since my book is being read by both children and adults, I have a few pages that are more action-oriented, that allow for more gestures and drama for the kids, and a more Sherlockian-tease for the adults. In both cases I have those readings as PDFs on my iPad (as you can see in the image above).

PayPal ‘Here’ VS the Square

4. If you’re selling your book yourself, keep lots of change on hand, and maybe look into getting a Square™ for people’s credit cards (I’m researching the options myself now). There’s nothing worse than having someone who wants to buy your book but can’t for those two reasons.

BTW: here’s a great review of Square VS the Paypal ‘Here’ device for reading credit cards
UPDATE: The Paypal ‘Here’ is only available to a ‘select number of Canadian businesses’ right now, so it is not an option for me or my fellow Canucks!

5. A few days before an event (especially one you didn’t set up yourself – maybe your publisher or your agent arranged it) call/email the venue and ask if there’s anything they need. Every single venue I contacted asked for something – from some details about the book, to a physical book to put up in their window to some graphics for their Facebook Events pages. Get in contact and follow through because you BOTH want the event to be a success.

My template

6. I didn’t believe this until I tried it, but posting physical flyers can help bring in walk-by traffic, so do yourself a favour and create some graphics for your events. I have a template I reuse by changing up the location and dates (see image to the left).

Then talk to the venue about the best places to post the flyers (every town is different). If you get the chance to post it in a local library, take the time to speak to the librarian because they will talk the event up to your potential fans as they come through the library.

7. Don’t be shy. A Book Event is no place for a shy violet my friends. You’re there to sell yourself, your book, your series and your brand. Do it with grace and humility, but do it. Sell it.

8. Leave lots of time for the author questions from other people who want to follow in your footsteps. Pay it forward! You didn’t get where you are on your own – so be THAT person for the next author struggling through the debilitating rejection letters or imposing edits.

Any others you would add Blog-o-sphere?

Tips: Writing a Series

Knock one over and…

I’m working on a new episode of One Fictitious Moment (check out the first four episodes here) and the topic I’m researching is how to write a series.

Here are some of the tricks I keep in mind when writing a story that is part of a series:

  1. Always remember there is a larger story-arc and try to keep pushing it along at regular intervals.
  2. You have to give people a reason to read the next book. It doesn’t always have to be a cliff-hanger, but there has to be a reason to come back.
  3. You don’t have to retell the stories prior to the one your writing right now, but you may need your characters to ‘remember’ certain events if they are significant to the current story. A flashback or a quick memory written on the page can work.
  4. Remembering all your little details is really important as is all the foreshadowing you need to drop in so that by book 4 your reader smacks their head and goes “Ohhhhh!” – thanks for these two tips Amy from Inkcouragement!

What are some of your best tricks for writing a series?


One Fictitious Moment: Writing a Great Villain

Second episode of One Fictitious Moment and it’s about how to write a Great Villain. Hope you enjoy it!

You can Subscribe to my new channel here by the way:

One Fictitious Moment: Writing Detective Fiction

I’ve been writing a few articles for various publications recently and as part of one of those assignments, I decided to create some YouTube videos about writing. This is the first episode, and it’s about how I construct a detective story. Hope you enjoy it!

You can Subscribe to my new channel here by the way:

Off topic on my own blog

As I am writing this post that title is exactly how I’m feeling. Jewel of the Thames just came out day before yesterday, and the book launch is on Friday, so most of my attention and writing have been focused on promoting it and the events around it. Thing is though, I had to share a bit about the new casebook I started while in France two weeks ago.

My husband has a thing for World War locations, so the first four days in France were spent travelling all over Normandy, from Vimy Ridge to Juno Beach. Suffice to say, as much as I enjoy museums and such, climbing into trenches and imagining the bloody warfare is not so much my cup of tea.

The stairs leading up and out of the mines and into the surprise attack!

That is until we got to Arras. If you don’t know the story (and don’t be embarrassed, I didn’t know it either), Arras was a key battlefront for the British/Allied forces. The Brits decided to take advantage of the chalk mines beneath the city to tunnel their way into the German’s backyard and catch them unawares. Yes, I believe it was as crazy as it still sounds.

What this meant was that a crew of mostly New Zealand miners tunnelled under Arras, linking up chalk mines for six months, averaging 80 metres a day. Their amazing hard-work eventually allowed for 24,000 troops to amass under Arras waiting patiently until they emerged in the early morning of April 19th, 1917 to begin the battle of Arras.

I got to thinking about these mines and all those men down there, and a story started to form in my mind about Brian Dawes finding himself trapped down here almost 14 years later in the abandoned passages. I’ve tentatively called it ‘The Constable’s Case’ and it’s told from his point of view.

In the order of casebooks, I’m placing it after casebook 10: Clear as a Bell.