Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Murder is served... by Cathy Ace

See below for what the numbers mean!

As requested, here I am in my workspace. Yes, I realize this looks very much like a dinner table, and that's because it is. I've written my last three books at this table, rather than in my office. Why? Well, I've written them between autumn and spring, and the view's much better at that time of year from the dinner table than from my office window. But, come May, the angle of the sun means I'm better off being in my office, until about October. 

That said, (and, unusually for me) I finished the first draft of this book while I was on a cruise ship in the Caribbean, which was a challenge (so many distractions!) but it gave me the perfect opportunity to do a bit of fact-checking with a couple of Jamaican chums I've known for years (yes, when you spend as much time as I do on a ship you get to know people for years...I first met Ansel in 2012 and have spent months on ships with him since then, and met Nicholas in 2016). This was where I was when I was working on those final chapters. Ansel and Nicholas were generous with their time, and let me double-check critical things like, "Does it still take forever to drive from the north coast to Kingston?" (it does) and "Does your mum put butter in her bammy, or not?" (You might have to read the book to find out what this means - and, no, it's not naughty!)

So, writing, by the numbers?

1. We have a small collection of Pacific Northwest art. These prints, woven, and carved items have been gathered together over time, and are all displayed on one wall, which happens to be behind me when I write. I admire the abilities of the artists who have created these pieces, all of whom reside/resided within a couple of hundred miles of my home. 

2. Copy of Admiral Sir Henry Morgan by Terry Breverton (pub. Wales Books). I'm working on final edits of The Corpse with the Crystal Skull (Cait Morgan Mysteries #9) which features the famed Panamanian treasure of Captain Henry Morgan. He's always fascinated me, and I got to weave a few threads about him into this new book, which is set in Jamaica and mixes treasure hunting with Fleming/Bond lore! It's been great fun to write, and the research has allowed me to reread all the Bond books and novellas and everything I can lay my hands on about Morgan, as well as write about Jamaican food and drink, which has made me crave it!

3. and 4. Draft #1 to draft #2, then draft #3 to draft #4 of The Corpse with the Crystal Skull. Lumpy, not pretty, but it's all a part of the process! 

5. Copy of Cait Morgan Mystery #8, The Corpse with the Ruby Lips, which I need to match for formatting. Now that I am indie-publishing this series, I decided to match what the original traditional publisher used for formatting the cover and interior, so the volume is close at hand for reference. 

6. My Filofax, lying on one of a set of table mats that mean a great deal to me. First up, yes, I do still have, and use, a Filofax. This is the one I used in the 1990s. It's lost one of its brass corner protectors, but does the job it needs to well enough despite that damage. During these weird times I am trying to stick to my normal working routine, but I'm also trying to reach one In Real Life Friend each day on the phone, for a check-in and catch-up. All their numbers are in my Filofax, and, yes, some have been there since the early 1990s. 

The table mats? They are sturdy and do the job they're meant to do extremely well. I picked them out in a little shop in St. Paul de Vence, not far from Nice, on a trip to the area in 2001. In the autumn of 2001 now-Husband and I got engaged in Amsterdam, had a celebratory dinner there with Dutch friends, then flew to Nice for a party with French friends, (sidebar lunch in Monte Carlo with some extra friends), then had another dinner with some British friends just outside Stratford-upon-Avon, before flying back to Canada to celebrate with family here. (Yes, I've always traveled a LOT!) Every day I touch these table mats and vividly recall the sights and sounds of the south of France, which I miss desperately...but at least it's always in my heart and at my fingertips :-) 

This is the view when I look up from my laptop and out of the window - taken 20th April. 

I've always believed I am the luckiest person alive...and being able to write this blog just confirms that for me. These are difficult times for everyone. Some, like me, have it so, SO easy. I get to sit here, writing, creating, connecting, and being supported by family and friends. I don't have to be out there risking my life every day in a frontline or support role. I don't have to wonder when I'll get to feel the grass beneath my feet again, or experience the joy of truly fresh air. I am the luckiest person alive. And I never, ever take that for granted. 

Stay safe, Cathy x

Want to find out more about my work? CLICK HERE to get to my website. 


Paul D. Marks said...

Cathy, that's a pretty nice view. I don't blame you for wanting to work in your dining room. And much as I like ships and the ocean, I couldn't work on a cruise ship. But I think if we did a freighter cruise where there's a limited number of passengers I could work then. Or if I had Johnny Carson's or John Wayne's yachts...

Cathy Ace said...

You're right, Paul, it's a lovely view. A private yacht would be just great, though I've now learned where all the quiet spots are on a cruise ship ;-) The photo shows the way that spot looked pretty much until about 11am each day...perfect!