Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Criminal Minds at Work: The Drug Dog and I - Part I

Criminal Minds at Work: The Drug Dog and I - Part I

You know you are a crime writer when... the top-most thing on your mind when pulled over for a border security baggage search is to
watch where the officers DON’T look so you know exactly where the smuggler in
your next novel is going to stow his stash.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Katrina Buckhold: Fall under her spell

I was mesmerized by her the moment we met. Like many before me and everyone after, I fell under the spell of her blue, blue eyes. It would not be until much later that I’d realize how dangerous that could be.

She’d go on to topple North America’s most notorious biker gang, run circles around the media. Almost take down an entire police department. Out-maneuver the Supreme Court of Canada. She was exceptionally wealthy. Conniving. A genius. She was fourteen when I first met her. Katrina, the young heroine of my BackTracker Series.

She came to me during the witching hour when I ought to have been asleep but when troubles were keeping me awake. I saw her there, tiny and trembling on an autumn ridge—her belly pressed to the ground, listening. Watching. Below her in the valley, tattooed men in leather jackets with THE TRAZ biker gang patch  moved slowly between rustic cabins and Harleys, M16’s slung across their backs, unaware that off on the horizon a tactical team was moving in.  However, she could see the police vehicles careening into the compound, safely making it past the perimeter sensors she’d surreptitiously disabled just hours before.

She was listening for the thud of the police chopper. She was going to be rescued. Leave the gang life behind. Forget everything bad that had ever happened to her. Except...

Except what?  I had to find out. I had to get out of bed, pop open my laptop and begin typing this story that was unravelling in my mind. I had to.

As dangerous as Katrina was, as obsessed as I became with her, as powerful as she was to prove—the most important thing to me about Katrina is that she opened the door for me to fulfill my childhood dream. Because of her, I became a published novelist.



Her story, her secrets, her desperation filled my cold and lonely night times for months. It was her, who she’d been and what she might become, that kept my fingers pounding the keyboard. It was her incredible tale that forced me to eventually concede that she hadn’t dictated me THE TRAZ and six sequels simply for my own benefit during that tough, very tough winter.

She made it clear that her story was meant to benefit the world.

Known on the street only as Sarina, she’s Katrina Buckhold and later on, under Witness Protection, she’s Constable Felicity Randal. She’s powerful, manipulative, grieving, intelligent. She’s young, vulnerable, a millionaire twice over. She’s stubborn and arrogant and abrasive. She’s alone. She’s hurting.

She’s the main character in THE TRAZ, FATAL ERROR, and FIREWALLS. She’d love to  have you, too, helplessly fall under her spell.


Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The New Year: Looking back, looking forward

New Year’s Day is a great time to look back on the previous year and take stock of where one’s been. Life looks quite different in hindsight. When one is going through an experience, the immediacy of the moment holds one’s attention, concealing the broader aspects of the event and the overall pattern of one’s life.

Able to now to ignore the moment-by-moment challenges and worries of the past year, career-wise 2013 was an impressive one for me, and a fairly smooth trip on the personal front as well.

The year opened with me promoting FATAL ERROR Book 2 in the BackTracker Series as my latest release. This included a visit with the kids at the St. Paul Alternate Education Centre (SPAEC). I began working on Book 3 FIREWALLS and also polishing the SciFi novella I’d been working on for a couple of years.

I crowd-sourced the titles for both books on my social networks and the overall favourite for the SciFi was DISPASSIONATE LIES. WolfSinger Publications, who offered me my first-ever publishing contract three years ago for SCHRÖDINGER'S CAT, noticed the online discussion and solicited the manuscript for consideration. Once thoroughly edited and proofed, I submitted it and soon had a contract in my inbox.
With that work-in-progress taken care of, I proceeded with revamping FIREWALLS and preparing it for self-publication. This meant hiring my own editor, cover-designer, proof reader, formatter... It meant soliciting my own reviews and blurbs for the cover. My intent was to have the novel ready for the Christmas sales season and everything was moving along smoothly toward that goal when I got that phone call...

Extensive author tours are usually reserved for New York Times Best Selling authors, for authors signed on with big publishing houses, authors with agents. So you can imagine my feeling of unreality when the Northern Lights Library System (NLLS) phoned with an offer to sponsor an author tour throughout their system.

NLLS is one of Alberta’s largest library system, encompassing 52 communities within a 250 km radius of my home. Many of the libraries in the system operate as both school and public libraries, enhancing my opportunity to speak to teens about my young adult BackTracker series.
In November, with FIREWALLS in the final stages of production, I visited twenty-three of those 52 communities. Before it was all over, FIREWALLS eBook edition was up on Amazon and Smashwords and shortly thereafter, available in paperback. 

Then came December and Christmas—always a lively, busy time for our family. 

The New Year is also a good time to look forward. And with one of the coldest winters ever gripping my neck of the woods, a brief January respite in Jamaica to attend a friend’s wedding will be a great start. Then I must work on revisions to DISPASSIONATE LIES and help with cover design and such as we work toward a summer release of my thriller near-future SciFi.

There’s some more touring I want to undertake—revisit my SPAEC kids and introduce them to FIREWALLS and perhaps another visit to the children at the North Slave Young Offenders Facility.  Writing-wise, I’m not set in my plans as to what I want to work on in the second half of 2014. I’m tossing around ideas—perhaps find an agent, market my middle-grade novel, revise and edit the next book in the BackTracker series. Perhaps submit my adult novel that runs parallel to that series to potential publishers.

Maybe even start something brand new—like another SciFi...

Whatever I end up doing I know I’ll be happy doing it!

All the best to you and yours in 2014!