Louise Penny's Blog, page 30

October 28, 2010



mainly sunny, mild, 13

Do you notice how our perception and definition of 'mild' is shifting? In a month 'mild' will be minus 5. Today, though, it's mild at 13. yesterday, when we arrived in QC, it was about 16 and a pastel day. An Impressionist day. Glorious. Soft light, soft, still air. Michael and I checked into the Chateau, into a room looking over the St. Lawrence river and even the statue of Champlain (seen in the BG of the photo a above - I mention this statue in Bury Your Dead) - then went for a walk.

We both commented on how different it is to walk through the old city when it is a gorgeous autumn day than when the wind is howling and nesting in our marrow and it's not at all 'mild' at minus 20. Brrrr.

But yesterday was picture perfect. We strolled and chatted and visited old haunts - like Chez Temporel...which I also mention in Bury Your Dead. Gamache and Emile go there for breakfast. We once again had the table with the three leaf clover scored into it, and a dimple where we rub the tip of our fingers. Hard not to. So inviting. Michael had a bowl of hot chocolate, I had a double strength bowl of cafe au lait. We both had a warm croissant aux amandes. Yummy.

the photo above is me looking slightly impatient (Michael knows this look...it's impatience tinged with the promise of croissant but feet away.) just outside Chez Temporel. It's well off the beaten path, down a small street off rue St-Jean.

From there we returned to the Chateau Frontenac....the other photo above is Michael at the foot of the park leading to the Chateau...and the bar St-Laurent. There we met My Assistant Lise and her husband Del for drinks before dinner. Then we all walked back down, through the old city, past the basillica and the tiny old streets, to rue St-Jean and the restaurant - Les Freres de la Cote. Very relaxed bistro.

Then home to bed...to be woken up at 6:50 by a construction crane right outside our room!!! Ugh. I called down and they agreed this might not be the best experience. So now they've moved our room. Not sure where - and don't really care....as long as it's quiet.

The only unfortunate thing is that they're doing major excavation work on the famed Dufferine Terrace that runs the length of the chateau on the river side. Wide and gracious, it's a magnificent place to walk and enjoy the views. But they found the original fortress hidden below the terrasse! Imagine that. So the archeologists are digging. Waited for the low season (and before the grip of winter) to dig...which means, now.

Still, it's fascinating to look down into it and see the stone walls emerging.

Busy day. Have a 10:30 interview with an academic who flew in from Halifax to speak with me for her research into Canadian literature. Then a 12:30 french interview. Then meeting Donna who is arriving from Toronto today, and Lise, at the Literary and Historical Society to go over plans for tonight. Then meeting Jacquie, the host of the CBC Radio show Breakaway....they'll be broadcasting live from the launch from 4 to 6. So we need to go over the scripts and interviews and music etc. Jacquie is doing all the work, but she's kind enough to include me in some of the planning.

Then I hope to have time to scoot back to the chateau to change - otherwise I'll be at the broadcast and launch in jeans and a turtleneck.

The broadcast is from 4 to 6, at the Morrin Centre - the lit and his building in Old Quebec. Everyone is welcome!!! Then the cocktail party to celebrate Bury Your Dead at the place the 'murder' happens. You're all invited to that too....either in person or 'virtually'. I'll blog about it tomorrow.

We're driving back to Montreal tomorrow. Have an interview on CJAD with the fantastic Sharman Yarnell tomorrow between noon and 1pm.

Then sleep for two days before the next event in North Conway, New Hampshire.

Hope to see you tonight - and if not, I'll tell you all about it later!
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Published on October 28, 2010 07:09 • 19 views

October 26, 2010


mainly sunny, cool, temps 13

We're back in the Montreal apartment! Unpacked and immediately did a load of laundry. Then another. Then another. Our clothes practically have lives of their own at this point. You should see how we decide what to wear in the morning...but I will leave that up to your considerable imaginations.

What I think you won't have any difficulty imagining is our joy. To be not quite home, but at least in the apartment. With familiar things. Oh, what I wouldn't give to stay a week here...but we're off tomorrow morning to Quebec City. Not exactly a hardship! If any place could get me happily away at this point it's Quebec City.

We're off to do the Quebec launch at the actual Literary and Historical Society. Right in the library where Gamache found such peace and quiet. Shattered by the discovery of a body in the sub-basement. CBC Radio will be broadcasting the event live, and we'll be talking about all sorts of issues raised by the book, as well as speaking to the Chief Archeologist of Quebec about other Quebec mysteries.

That will be this Thursday, the broadcast (CBC Radio's Breakaway with jacquie Czernin) will be between 4 and 6pm - then there'll be a cocktail and nibblies and a party celebrating. You're all invited to both events. It should be loads of fun! Michael will be there, as will My Assistant Lise - and Donna, from Hachette Canada, will be flying in for the day.

But more about that tomorrow or thursday.

Today we took the train from Toronto to Montreal. 5 hours. Funny how a 5 hour train trip feels SO much shorter than a 5 hour flight.

Yesterday Donna and I drove north of Toronto to the Orangeville area - to a lunch event organized by Nancy Frater, of Booklore. The photo above isn't great (nancy's on the right) but the event sure was. Sold out - packed. Great food...wonderfully attentive and enthusiastic crowd. Thoughtful questions...no spoilers.
They even temporarily renamed Ray's Bakery to 'Olivier and Gabri's Bistro'.

Then back to the hotel. Packed - up by 6:30 am to catch train. Listened to music, stared out the window. Emptied mind. Thought a lot about the past month and meeting so many wonderful people. Being in so many interesting places.

Also made notes on the next book, as ideas floated by.

It does feel wonderful to be home in the apartment - if only overnight.
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Published on October 26, 2010 18:15 • 19 views

October 24, 2010


overcast, foggy, some rain, cool - temps 10

My Assistant Lise wrote to tell me it was snowing at home! Honestly? I love the snow. Don't love driving in it. Worse still, I hate knowing people I love are driving in it. Or worrying that they are.

But beyond that, I find snow very peaceful and beautiful. Except in April. Or May. Then it becomes something else entirely.

Am having great fun at the Harbourfront Literary Festival. Did the reading last night...those things are always nerve-wracking. Difficult to get up in front of several hundred people and appear composed and relaxed and happy to be there - as though this happened every night, in my living room. I went second. My preference is always to go first. Get it over with....still, second wasn't bad. And it's quite a bonding experience with the other writers. We support each other, slap each other's bum (figuratively speaking) when they finish. Congratulate each other. Like brothers in arms.


there is one huge difference which I'm sure you've appreciated....instead of lobbing grenades at us, the people we're facing are friendly and warm and kind. And only want the best for us.

So, the only enemy is ourselves. Our own fears and insecurities. But it's a mighty enemy, faced every day and night while on tour. The photo above is from last night's reading.

In the intermission this beautiful woman introduced herself. She's Ralph Cosham's wife! Ralph reads the American audio version of the books. And is, by all account, brilliant! Ralph had emailed and said his wife was visiting a friend in Toronto and might be there - so I was looking forward to meeting her. But afraid to get my hopes up that she'd actually show.

She is as lovely as you'd expect. Kind and smiling and warm. Such fun to meet her. And can hardly wait to meet him one day! I'm thinking maybe - since he lives in the Washington, DC, area - he could come to Malice Domestic in May and perhaps we could form a panel discussing audio books. Will have to talk to the organizers of Malice to see it that might fit. I know they get a lot of suggestions and it's very hard to accommodate everyone.

Today there was a noon panel, which I totally loved. Moderated by one of the finest Canadian crime writers, Andrew Pyper. the other members were all terrific writers, Anne Emery, John Lawton and Lisa Scottoline. And me. Very fun and funny and thoughtful. Andrew did an amazing job. Very hard to be a moderator.

then off to buy some new clothes. Between us, after more than a month on the road some of my clothes are ready to combust. Besides, I'm tired of them! Feels wonderful to have some new options.

Had some disappointing news about the Miami bookfair late in November. I was scheduled to go, but we'd told them I could only do an event on the Sunday, since Friday and Saturday I was booked for the Montreal Salon du Livres. But could hop a plane Saturday night and get there Sunday.

But, as often happens in the complex world of literary festivals and book fairs - our request was lost, so they booked me in for the Saturday of the Miami book fair. By the time the mistake was discovered it was too late.

So I've had to bow out of Miami. Upsetting too since I was looking forward to meeting a very supportive book club in the area. But I'm afraid that will have to wait until next year.

Life on tour. Actually, just life. So many unexpected events.

Off to Orangeville for a lunch event at a local bistro tomorrow, organized by Nancy Frater and the good people of Booklore. Maybe I'll see you there!
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Published on October 24, 2010 13:37 • 14 views

October 22, 2010

Partly cloudy, cool, temps 10

Terrific flight yesterday...air canada. got the emergency exit - three seats in a row and no one in the middle seat, so Michael and I were able to share the row, just ourselves. What a difference that makes on a long flight. Well, not that long. 4.5 hours. But long enough. Air Canada has upgraded most of it's fleet, so on longer flights every seat has it's own television. So I watched Entourage and Modern Family all across the continent.

Smart enough to buy sandwiches and soft drinks...then we had a nice picnic at 39,000 feet. Quite fun. Arrived to minus 4 degrees in Toronto and a minor snowstorm just north of the city. Snuck in just in time!

The International Festival of Authors is a magnificent literary festival. The current artistic director, Geoffrey Taylor, began getting crime fiction writers on the schedule a few years ago, and has quietly added to their importance. Sending the subversive message that good crime fiction is good literature. that there is no border between literary fiction and crime fiction. And this year, bless his soul, he's made Noir a theme!

the other thing I adore about Geoffrey is he's one of the few literary types who recognizes that my books are on the surface bright and shiny...but beneath that is a streak of darkness. But at their heart - hidden under it all - is hope. And kindness. That noir and blanche live together, naturally. And need each other.

It's a great pleasure to be here, and be a part of this revolution. Peter Robinson, Lisa Scottoline, Giles Blunt, Jeff Lindsay, RJ Ellory, Peter James and others standing up and letting our literary voices join those of Michael Cunningham, Emma Donoghue, Jonathan Frazen etc.

Besides - it's just plain fun.

Have a noon signing tomorrow with Lisa Scottoline at the Indigo bookstore at the Manulife Centre - then a reading at 8pm at the IFOA. Then a roundtable discussion on Sunday at the IFOA with Anne Emery, John Lawton, and Lisa - moderated by a terrific Canadian crime writer, Andrew Pyper.

It's funny, but as wonderful, magical, generous as San Francosco was - there's something special about being here. It has surprised me. I wonder if it's just being back in Canada - or being at the IFOA... a familiarity issue. Being this close to home.

I think it might just be familiarity. As much fun as this tour, and as kind as everyone has been, what gets tiring for me is never being anyplace familiar. Every place is new. That can be exciting...but given my personality, after a while I really just want home. or, if not home, then places I recognize. Like here.

Of course, I might just be nuts.

Speak to you tomorrow. Hope to see you at one of the events. Have a great weekend!
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Published on October 22, 2010 17:48 • 14 views

October 20, 2010

overcast, mild, temps mid-60s

Had two calls early this morning. 6:45 call from the French publisher, just to chat. Then 8am call from Teresa, my agent in London. To make more plans for the visit. Fun to lie in bed in San Francisco talking with editors and agents. Never would have believed it possible ten years ago.

We're having a VERY relaxed day. Getting caught up on some work. Some blogs and emails. Some planning and scheduling issues.

Off to Toronto tomorrow - mid-morning flight but with the time difference we don't arrive in Toronto until 7pm. Going to be doing the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) this weekend - then have a lunch event organized by the amazing Nancy Frater, of Booklore in Orangeville, Ontario. If you live in the area and want to be part of it, please call the bookstore and they'll give you information.

Hard to believe that one week from today Michael and I, along with My Assistant Lise and her husband will be in Quebec City! The big Quebec launch of BURY YOUR DEAD is a week tomorrow - Thursday, Oct 28th. Wow. Hope to see you there.

One thing that amazes me, and I suspect amazes other writers (in fact, I know it does) is simply the number of details involved in a writing career. Like so many others, I thought I'd just write, and maybe tour (using the publisher's private jet) and that would be it. Get to meet you, and enjoy it - then fly back home.

Seems there's more to it than that! Tons of emails, blogging, phone calls, organizing and co-ordinating meetings. Thank God for My Assistant Lise, who basically does everything for us. And still I can barely function for the details.

Having said all that - this is still the best job in the world!

I probably won't be able to blog tomorrow, but will try to write on Friday from the IFOA.

Be well. And thanks for the kind company.
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Published on October 20, 2010 11:47 • 13 views

October 19, 2010



sunny, warm, temps 70's

Ahhh - a day to ourselves. Woke up about 8. Breakfast about 9. Then decided to go for a walk.

Five hours later we got back to the hotel! Walked all over Chinatown, then Michael and I walked down to the waterfront. We were going to have lunch in chinatown, but we weren't hungry yet, and were yearning (against all our instincts and our nature) for exercise. So off we set for Embarcadero blvd. Lovely walk. Fabulous city.

We were aiming for Pier 39 - Fisherman's Wharf. Hoping to find a great, atmospheric seafood restaurant. What we found was overwhelming - and not in a good sense. Just lots of tourist traps. But we did pause long enough to see the sea lions, who make the waters off Pier 39 home. There's a photo of Michael, with the lions in the background...looking a bit like hors d'oeuvres.

Then we hoofed it off to Pier 7 and the Waterfront Restaurant. Had the BEST lunch - perhaps ever. Sat outside, looking over the harbour and the Bay Bridge. Michael had seafood linguine. It was amazing!!! And I had perhaps the best halibut I've ever tasted. Honestly, it was terrific.

Another magical time in San Francisco.

Yesterday, when we got back to the hotel room from lunch there was a beautiful bouquet sent from Minotaur Press and St. Martin's. How wonderful is that?

Oh, also want to mention that next week - on October 28th - we'll be in Quebec City for the Quebec launch of BURY YOUR DEAD. We'll be doing it at the Literary and Historical Society - where much of the action in the book takes place. And it will be broadcast live on CBC Radio Quebec. From 4 to 6 - then a party after. Everyone's invited!!! In fact, the Canadian publisher, Hachette Canada, has arranged for a special rate for rooms at the Chateau Frontenac, for those of you who'd like to come for the launch.

If you call the Chateau - at 1-800-441-1414 - just say you're booking for the Louise Penny book launch, and if they ask for the code give them, HACH1010. It would be such fun to see you there.

Quiet day tomorrow...wow. Feels wonderful.
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Published on October 19, 2010 17:23 • 13 views

October 18, 2010





mainly sunny, mild, temps mid-sixties

I'm still floating, and will be for quite some time, after yesterday. The shriek and maniacal laughter in my head has calmed to a smile of settled happiness. And people have been so kind, coming up to congratulate me. And sending messages. Had there been a long, dreadful silence after this great news that would have felt awful. But you are all so kind.

Thank you!!! And mostly thank you for keeping me company, when I win and when I don't. When things go well, and when they don't. That's the real trophy. Companions like you.

We've cancelled the event in Berkley tonight. I know a few of you were hoping to be there. I'm sorry about that, but it has just been such an exhausting time we thought it might be best. Just need to stare at a blank wall for a little while.

Indeed, the photos above show what I'll be staring at. One is our living room in the hotel room, the other is the view from one of the windows.

I've also included a shot of me holding the Anthony...before they took it away to be engraved. (ripped it out of my hands...I think there may be nail marks on it.) In most of the photos of me at the awards I look like a striped cow. But one holding a magnificent trophy - so, moooo!!!

What a surprising life. I will remember this always....but mostly I'll remember all the people who have been so kind to me. Thank you.
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Published on October 18, 2010 10:41 • 12 views

October 17, 2010


rain, cool, temps 65

The most beautiful day - THE BRUTAL TELLING has won the Anthony Award for Best Crime Novel in the United States!!!!

I was so totally unprepared that when my name was announced I just leapt up and kissed Michael - and didn't want to let him go because I knew it would mean going onto the podium and accepting...and I was literally speechless. Now, of course, I can think of all sorts of touching, wise, sparkling, clever things to say. And all the people I should have thanked!!!

But all I remember was thanking the readers - who have found the series - an unlikely success at best, given it's set in a tiny village in a little known province in a small (politically) country. And yet, there I was, standing in front of a thousand people, accepting the award. I was - and am - so deeply grateful.

And happy!!!!

I know I also remembered to thank Michael - and then was walking off the stage, still in a daze, but remembered (too late) that I needed to thank Hope Dellon and everyone at Minotaur Books - for making them better than I ever could. so I say it here.

Thank you!

Yay!!!! Especially given who else was nominated. I genuinely thought SJ Rozan would win. But I know everyone in that category deserved to win. And many who were not nominated.

After the awards brunch Michael and I hopped a cab to the hotel, then decided to walk and find lunch. Ended up at this fabulous little neighbourhood placed called the Nob Hill Cafe....Italian. There's a very bad photo of Michael, just raising his head from slurping up his pesto fettuccine.

Wonderful way to celebrate!

And thank you, for celebrating along with me. And thank you too, I know many of you voted for me. I wish you could crawl into my heart and hear the symphony. Yay... I can't seem to stop saying that!!!

Back in the room now, going to spend the afternoon relaxing and enjoying.
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Published on October 17, 2010 14:10 • 20 views

October 16, 2010




partly cloudy, windy, cool - temps 50s

Wow, temperature really changing...not really all that cool, but unexpected, so we didn't wear sweaters outside, then shivered all over.

Took the cable car yesterday afternoon- have I told you all this??? Can't remember - so much happening. If I have, please just consider me the mad aunt in the attic - escaped into the blogosphere. Loved the cablecars...stopped and hopped off at the Mark Hopkins hotel and begged our way into a room starting tonight - Saturday and running until Thursdya when we leave. We paid for a deluxe room and when we checked in today we discovered they'd given us a one bedroom corner suite.

Talk about a soft landing. The longer we stayed at the Hyatt Regency the more we were put off. Though for no particular reason. Everyone was very nice - and the location was great...certainly the view from the club lounge was exceptional. But it just felt so cold. Now, I've become a huge fan of modern design....but not the cold kind. I realize it's possible to be 'cool' without being cold. Some hotel design is spectacular. Modern, clean, functional, beautiful- thrilling. I can literally tremble I'm so excited by some of the design.

But others are just plain cold... and not particularly well thought out. some of you, quite sensibly, suggested we call down and ask for a bedside lamp - but the problem was the table they put on my side was just large enough for the phone they put there. I couldn't even get my book on it without putting both at an angle.

Now, the room would have been wonderful, for one person.

But I must tell you, at the Mark Hopkins the room (upgraded partly because we're InterContinental Ambassador Gold level - the perks of lots of travel) is amazing. A little like walking back in time...more classic than modern - but beautifully done. And not dreary or tired, as so many of the these older hotels are. We're thrilled and relieved. And excited to be here. And very grateful for the upgrade well beyond what we might ever expect. And so wonderful to have the extra room - given we're here for 5 nights.

Having a fabulous time at Bouchercon. Had drinks last night with a group of women Marjorie organized....Michael picked up the tab - lovely man. And thank you, Marjorie, for the wonderful licorice pipe bookmarks - and organizing this. Most are members of the Laurie R. King book club - Laurie is also the guest of honor at this convention. There's a photo at the top of Michael and me with some of the people.

Then at 8:30 this morning I joined Rhys Bowen and Deborah Crombie for the Goddess Panel - a sort of reprise of a panel we first did at Bouchercon in Baltimore. No moderator, just the three of us chatting. It helps that I am a huge fan of both these writers...and both these women. I genuinely like them - a lot. Indeed, Deborah and I are hoping to get together in a few weeks in London.

We had a blast on the panel...and thanks to all of you who showed up early to hear us. The place was packed.

There's a photo as well of the three of us after the panel.

Then I had breakfast with my friend Dan Mayer, of Barnes and Noble. Then Michael and I decamped to the new hotel. Phew. Having afternoon tea in the lounge and listening to the clanging of the cable cars. Magical.

Quiet evening - then the Anthony Awards brunch tomorrow. THE BRUTAL TELLING is up for Best Novel. I have not prepared a 'thank you' speech. And, honestly, to be nominated really is enough. I'd really love to win - but to be recognized for the nomination really is fabulous. last year I lost the Barry Award to Deborah Crombie - and I was thrilled to applaud!! She so deserved that win.

Hope you're well - will blog tomorrow and tell you how it goes. But how bad can life be when we're together in a suite in the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco?
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Published on October 16, 2010 15:58 • 8 views

October 15, 2010



Sunny, warm, temps 75

Gorgeous day. Here's the view from where I'm sitting right now. The Regency club level of the Hyatt. Magnificent. Had breakfast here at 7:30 with Marjorie. Here's a shot of us. Not, perhaps, the best photo (we sparkle more) - and you can't see the view in that photo.

Had such fun actually sitting with Marjorie - and Michael joined us. I met her for the first time at the event a couple weeks ago at RJ Julia, in Connecticut. But we didn't get a chance to do more than hug and say 'hi'.

What an fascinating person she is. She told us all about her time in the Turkish prison and as the leader of that biker gang...and of course, as a rockette. No, wait. That was someone else. Maybe...

We're here in San FRancisco for Bouchercon - this massive crime fiction convention organized by and for readers....and we lucky writers get to come and meet the readers - and each other. We flew in from Calgary yesterday and went directly to lunch with Andrew Martin - the publisher of minotaur and Matthew Shear the president of St. Martin's. Great restaurant - greek...huge open fireplace, amazing fish. And so fun to see these two people I so admire and like, whose company I honestly enjoy and don't simply endure. or get all nervous. We've known each other for 6 years now, and feel like brothers and sister. It's an interesting relationship. Publishing is still, in many ways, very old fashioned. Still so dependent on personal relationships. And yet we all know it's a business. They'd drop me in a moment if the Gamache books stopped selling (well, not a moment, but eventually, as they should) and I'd leave if I felt I wasn't valued or respected. But that aside, we genuinely like each other. And that means the world to me. I no longer choose to work with people I don't respect and admire.

Did the old hotel shuffle when we got back...trying to find a room we (I) liked. So far no luck - and since we're staying for a week we're considering leaving....any suggestions on great San Francisco hotels - in interesting, fun neighborhoods?

the view from this club level is magnificent, but the rooms are small, and dark....and there's no bedside lamp on my side. I find that so odd in a room that's been newly renovated. And disconcerting. don't people read in bed? Honestly, that's the big thing driving the move. Sounds so trivial - but I so love lying in bed after a long day, and reading.

Ahhh.

I can't do that here.

Poor Michael - dragged around again. The hotel tour of SF. I'm joking, actually. We don't spend all that much time trying to find a good room....this is way to magnificent a city to waste too much time doing that. Gives me the shivers.

And congratulations to the winners of the Macavity and Barry awards last night!!!

The macavity for best novel went to Reed Farrell Coleman and Ken Bruen. And the Barry for best novel went to John Hart. The Barry for Novel of the Decade went to Stig Larsson.

And my Lipstick's Chronicles sister - hank Phillippi Ryan won the Macavity for best short story. And the terrific Alan Bradley won for Best First Novel - both the Macavity and the Barry....what a year he's having - and deservedly so!

All so well deserving, everyone who won!

Have a small gathering tonight in the hotel Atrium bar, organized by Marjorie, of readers who might want to meet with me informally. As I say, it's a modest gathering - not everyone knows about it - but if you're here and would like to drop by, feel free. It's between 6 and 7.

Off for more San Francisco fun....will blog tomorrow.
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Published on October 15, 2010 10:20 • 15 views

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