New Year, New Start

Happy New Year 2019 To Reach Design New Year 2018Happy New Year! How’s your year going so far? Those who’ve followed my blog for a while know that I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but I do have ongoing writing goals and household projects that manage to get done, more or less.

I’m reluctant to project the completion of any writing projects in 2019, due to my mother’s serious health issues, but I am turning a new page and trying to focus on all the positive things coming up in 2019.

My daughter’s wedding in September will be one. A vacation in Mexico in a few days is another, and then there will be the completion of my daughter and son-in-law’s newly built house. Can’t wait for all of that!

I’ll write every day this year, as I have in previous years, and monitor my mom’s situation and that of my nineteen-and-a-half-year-old cat, who appears to be in his final year as well.

Needless to say, 2019 will be full of ups and downs and I’m mentally preparing as best I can. These past 2-1/2 months of day-job leave have been extremely helpful to tend to family needs and responsibilities. I have one month left before returning to the daily grind. We’ll see how it goes. No matter what, I’ll learn a lot this year, try to do what I can for others, and hopefully a year from now won’t have too many regrets.

I wish all of you a happy, peaceful, prosperous, and creative new year. We’ll do our best, right? What more can we ask of ourselves.

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Compartmentalizing My Life

mujerdetective-841x1024[1]I have a part-time secretarial job at a university. I’ve worked in a couple of different departments over the past five years, yet only a handful of colleagues from each department know that I’m a mystery writer who spends her free time plotting crimes and coming up with intriguing ways to kill people. You can see why I don’t advertise this fact, right?

Marketing-savvy folks will likely be aghast at my reluctance to discuss my books, and tell me that I’m throwing away plenty of selling opportunities. But the truth is I simply don’t feel that comfortable talking about writing while I’m being paid to do other things. And when you only work four hours a day, you don’t get lunch breaks to sit and chat.

 

Occasionally, on quiet days, someone will ask me a few questions, and I’ll answer them, but I don’t encourage these types of conversations. This week, a colleague asked to purchase a couple of books for birthday presents. While I certainly obliged, I handed the books discreetly to her while no one else was around.

Everybody has a private life and personal challenges, or hobbies…important parts of their lives that they don’t spend much time, if any, yakking about at the office. It seems only natural to compartmentalize our lives. There’s a time and place for each of those boxes to be opened and explored. I’ve learned to pick and choose my times wisely.

Meet Guest Author, Alison Bruce

2013-Bruce-BW-200I’m delighted to host author Alison Bruce today. I had the pleasure of meeting and working with Alison when I was on the Crime Writers of Canada Board a few years back. Alison writes history, mystery and suspense. Her books combine “clever mysteries, well-researched backgrounds and a touch of romance.” Her protagonists are marked by their strength of character, sense of humor and the ability to adapt to new situations. Four of her novels have been finalists for genre awards.

Check out this fascinating piece on Ghost Stories:

When I was six years old, I woke to find my grandmother standing at the bottom of my bed. She wore her habitual expression of worry blended with faint disapproval. Her eyes narrowed and I waited to find out what I had done this time to annoy her. Then she nodded and disappeared.

In the morning, my mother came to tell me that Grandma Allard had died. She had a heart attack in the evening and my father had been called to the hospital shortly after my bedtime. I could stay off school if I wanted, which of course I did. It wasn’t that I was shocked or particularly grieved to learn my grandmother was dead, but a day off school was not something you turned down. I wasn’t even worried that I had apparently seen a ghost.

This is the opening of Ghost Writer. Except for changing the name Bruce to Allard, it is autobiographical. Although I haven’t seen nearly as many ghosts as my character Jen Kirby, this story was inspired by the ghosts I have experienced.

I’m willing to accept that I was dreaming that night. If that’s the case, my dream was prophetic because, in the case of Grandma Bruce, her death came as a shock to everyone else. She had a sudden heart attack. I didn’t know anything about it until after the fact. I didn’t even know my parents had left the house. No doubt my Nana Nash was asked to watch us while they were gone. But I slept through it.

I used to have horrible nightmares when I was a child. None of them were about ghosts. The idea of ghosts has never been particularly scary for me. That may be the reason I underestimated how much I could scare other kids with ghosts stories. There’s another bit in Ghost Writer where Jen talks about getting into trouble because of her stories. That is also autobiographical.

Did I sense my friend Allan at his funeral? Did my mother-in-law, who died before I met her son, really check me out to make sure I was taking good care of her only child? Maybe it was all in my head. As Dumbledore said, “Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?”

In any case, it’s all grist for the mill.

She has to deal with two kinds of spooks: spies and ghosts.But which one is trying to kill her?

Jen Kirby has seen ghosts since she was a teen, but she can’t talk to them or help them cross over. And, after a violent death in the family, she doesn’t want to see them anymore.

In her role as ghostwriter, Jen joins a Canadian Arctic expedition to document and help solve a forty-year-old mystery involving an American submarine station lost during the Cold War. The trouble is, there are people—living and dead—who don’t want the story told, and they’ll do anything to stop her.

Now Jen is haunted by ghosts she can’t avoid or handle alone. That means confiding in the one man she doesn’t want to dismiss her as “crazy.” But can he help? Or is he part of the problem?

Bruce-GhostWriter-400Buy Link for Ghost Writer: http://getbook.at/GhostWriterAB

ADVANCE REVIEWS

A compelling mystery with a unique setting and skillfully handled supernatural twist.

Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times Bestselling  Author

A maritime mystery full of twists and turns, heart-pounding suspense, and ghosts!

Ghost Writer plunges you into the icy depths of the Arctic Ocean with breath-stealing twists and turns, maritime adventures, page-turning suspense … and ghosts. A great read!

Ann Charles, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

Alison Bruce weaves a masterful mystery set in the Arctic that will have you reaching for a hot cup of coffee and a blanket as you feel the cold water splash up off the pages and into your face. With equal parts of paranormal and practicality, Ghost Writer will keep you up all night as you work your way through this addictive page-turner.

Sheryl Nantus, award winning author of HARD RUN

GHOST WRITER is a must-read for fans of Barbara Michaels, AKA Elizabeth Peters. In GHOST WRITER, Alison Bruce provides it all—sly humour, a feisty yet vulnerable heroine, hunky romantic interests, believable characters, a carefully researched and unusual setting, and page-turning suspense.

Janet Bolin, author of the Threadville Mysteries

Links

Website: www.alisonbruce.ca

Blog: alisonebruce.blogspot.ca

Twitter: @alisonebruce

Facebook: www.facebook.com/alisonbruce.books

Amazon Author Page: amazon.com/author/alisonbruce

 Professional Affiliations

Crime Writers of Canada – www.crimewriterscanada.com