The Year in Review

Lately, I’ve been in the habit of waking up in the wee hours of the morning to go to the bathroom. I hate it, because I often return to bed half awake, and by the time I get back to sleep the alarm is going off.

On the weekend it’s possible to sleep a little later, so when I woke up at 4:30 am, it never even occurred to me to stay up.

I almost wish it had.

In that pre-dawn blackness, and my groggy state, I tripped on some clothes on the floor by the bed. My hazy brain did the best it could and ordered my body to compensate, but I ended up stepping in a laundry basket instead of on the floor. The momentum of turning that upside down was enough to make me fall forward.

Towards an armchair in the bedroom.

With a wooden arm.

I cracked the side of my head right on the end of the arm of the chair.

I haven’t been reading much this weekend, or writing, and my head still hurts. Fortunately,
the golf ball that had sprouted up on my right temple has shrunk to the size of a few ball bearings.

In a way, this incident sums up my year. It’s been a year of stumbling in the dark, as a lot of things in my life changed and I had to learn to navigate through new situations. There have been a lot of obstacles, and I haven’t always known what things to look out for. I’ve spend a lot of time learning to adjust, and then readjust.

Although there have been a lot of challenges and bumps and bruises along the way, this has been a great year. When I first came to the U.S. to visit friends I fought homesickness and the frustration that sometimes comes with temporary displacement, but I soon discovered I wanted to stay. Being here has given me the opportunity to see a lot of old friends, and make new ones, and I’ve enjoyed exploring Maryland. We spent time at Ocean City, and are looking forward to an upcoming trip to Washington. (The kids love Obama and want to meet him, but we’ll settle for just seeing the White House for now.) I’ve developed an addiction to crab chips, but I have to say that Berger cookies are just too sweet for me in large doses. I can eat half of one, while Brian polishes off two.

On a professional level, WHAT BURNS WITHIN was released in May and received a lot of great reviews. The second book in the series, THE FRAILTY OF FLESH, was released this month, and it has also earned a number of glowing reviews. Both books have marked firsts, and helped kick the series off with a strong opening.

I also have a contract for the third book in the series, LULLABY FOR THE NAMELESS, which will be released in late 2009.

In conjunction with the release of FRAILTY there have been a number of contests, and right now there’s an ongoing contest to win the role of a character in the third book. It’s simple: e-mail me at Sandra@sandraruttan.com with NAME CONTEST in the subject line and tell me which police department Nolan, Hart and Tain work for before December 1.

On December 5, 2008 I’ll announce the name of the winner.

Why include a trivia question? Well, it doesn’t matter if people get it right or wrong  I never said I’d disqualify anyone if they got it wrong. However, I was curious to see how many people knew that Nolan, Hart and Tain work for the Coquitlam RCMP. This is one of the dilemmas of Canadian geography. Coquitlam is a city. However, the way many people might describe it is as a suburb of Vancouver. Particularly with the forthcoming 2010 Olympics, Vancouver is the recognizable name from BC’s Lower Mainland, and Vancouver isn’t far from Coquitlam. However, Vancouver has city police, not RCMP. I picked the Tri-Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam and Port Moody because I’ve spent a lot of time there, and even then, I took some liberties. Port Moody does have it’s own police force, although I happened to be in Port Moody the day of the shooting near the shopping center at Ioco Road, and I know that the police worked closely with the RCMP because of proximity to city lines, and because the Port Moody force is small.

I was curious to see how many people understood the geography, because despite my efforts to explain it in the books, many reviews refer to the series as happening in Vancouver…
And before we gang up on American reviewers, even The Globe and Mail referred to it as a Vancouver-based series.

I may have made the mistake of assuming that readers understood the geography well enough that I didn’t need to explain it again in FRAILTY, and I thought using this trivia question for the contest would help me determine whether or not I needed to add some information to my website. From the contest entries so far, I’ve decided to put a poll on my blog,
so please feel free to vote there or drop me an e-mail and offer suggestions.

Happy Thanksgiving and my best to all.

~ Sandra