Sensational Secondary Characters

The Girly Girl Blog Hop

It’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it. After all, every protagonist needs backup, be they crazy neighbor, quirky best friend, or stranded alien. But it’s a tough gig. Your character file is smaller. And frankly, your odds of surviving are greatly reduced depending on the type of story you turn up in. But while the job may come with less perks, if you do it right, you might just win recognition as Best Supporting Secondary Character.

So, in honor of secondary characters everywhere, let the Sensational Secondary Characters Blog Hop Begin.

Where would King Arthur have been without his Knights of the Round Table? Where would Calvin be without Hobbes? Can we even picture Robin Hood without his Merry Men?  I met one of my favorite secondary characters as a teen while reading Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Diana Berry becomes Anne Shirley’s bosom friend on first sight. She’s privileged, pretty and amiable. The perfect kindred spirit for an orphaned girl with an overflowing imagination and talent for finding trouble. Adorable Diana is the perfect foil for Anne. But it is her immediate acceptance and steadfast loyalty to Anne that makes her special.

Minor characters can be playful, vengeful, fussy, or any number of others things as long as they remember their place. No novel can survive without them, but they’re not allowed to steal the show. In my romantic suspense, Backlash, my heroine Lily Wheeler has her best friend Kate Logan. She’s nothing if not loyal.

Here’s a sample. Kate is grilling the hero, Chase Porter.

“Is this the part where you ask me what my intentions are?” (Chase) returned the once-over glance. Spectacular from head to toe and born for high heels.

(Kate) ignored him. “I’d rather know how much trouble Lily’s landed in?”

“Nothing is going to happen to Lily.”

“And you’re basing that assumption on what?” She cocked a hip.

“On the fact that it will happen over my dead body.”

Her eyes stayed cool. “As reassuring as that statement is, I’d feel better knowing you have an actual plan.”

He ground his teeth together. “You’re going to have to trust me.”

Musical laughter filled the air. “Be thankful we have a history, and know if I didn’t think I could trust you, believe me, we’d be having a very different conversation right now.”

Because they did have a history, and because Kate loved Lily, he attempted an explanation. 

I’m giving away one ebook copy of Backlash to a commenter. All you have to do to enter is tell me your favorite quality in a secondary character, leave your email address, and be entered to win. Click here to continue on your way! Thanks to Libby Mercer for bringing us all together.

What he’s sworn to protect, she’s willing to sacrifice to save those she loves…

When dedicated teacher Lily Wheeler interrupts a vicious gang attack on one of her students, she vows it won’t happen again. But her rash interference puts her in the path of a cold-blooded killer and the constable tracking him—a man she has little reason to trust, but can never forget.

Constable Chase Porter returned to Aspen Lake to see justice done, not renew old acquaintances. But when he rescues the woman he once loved from a volatile situation, he realizes his feelings for Lily haven’t lessened over the years.

Now, the dangerous killer Chase has sworn to capture has Lily in his sights. Can Chase and Lilly learn to trust each other again before it’s too late—or will old insecurities jeopardize their future?

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Inspired By History

I’m guest blogging today at the Regency World of Author Lesley-Anne McLeod today and having a blast. Even though I’m a contemporary writer, I love history. Stop by and check the history of the area that was the inspiration for my fictional town, Aspen Lake. Hear about fox hunts and cricket matches on the wild, barren 19th century barely civilized prairies.

Lesley-Anne is also a co-collaborator on The Storytellers’ Bouquet which you can download for free here. It includes four free short stories, including mine titled Waiting for Mason.

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The Storytellers’ Bouquet

Marketing and promotion is an interesting challenge. Especially, when no one knows your name. Writers are always looking for ways to sell more books and create that word of mouth buzz that gets the whole ball of words rolling.

In that spirit, I’ve teamed up with three wonderful authors: Jana Richards, Lesley-Anne McLeod, and Annette Bower to put together a free promotional giveaway called The Storytellers’ Bouquet. It includes links, excerpts from books and four short stories for your enjoyment.

You can find this free download offering on my HOME page or BOOKS page. Just scroll down the page until you find it.  Happy Reading!

Please, pass it on.

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Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Joanne Brothwell

Hi Karyn! Thanks for inviting me to share my favourite recipe on your blog! I’ve chosen a dish that best represents the relationship between Sarah and Evan, the main characters in my book, Stealing Breath.

Sex in a pan.

Joanne: I’ve chosen a photo that isn’t actually the recipe, but a very interesting photo, nonetheless, because it is so damn hilarious to me. This is a cake baked by a local book club, celebrating their first meeting of the season. Gee, do you think they like the book, Fifty Shades of Grey? So funny.

Karyn: I”ll have to pass this photo on to my book club’s September host because we just happen to be reading Fifty Shades. I think either cake would be the perfect dessert: the cover in cake form or Sex in a Pan. I wonder if Judy (our host) could make a table center piece of Christian Grey out of modeling chocolate?

So, without further ado, here’s the recipe. Enjoy!

Sex In A Pan Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
4 cups frozen whipped topping, thawed
1 (3.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 (3.4 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
3 cups milk
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, melted


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
To Make Crust: In a medium bowl, mix together margarine, pecans and graham cracker crumbs. Pat into a 9×13 inch baking pan. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned; allow to cool completely.

In a medium bowl, beat together cream cheese and confectioners sugar until smooth. Fold in 1 cup of the whipped topping. Spoon mixture into graham cracker crust.
Prepare chocolate and vanilla puddings with milk as per package directions. Allow pudding to set before pouring on top of the cream cheese layer. Spread remaining 3 cups of whipped topping over pudding layer; swirl melted chocolate throughout whipped topping.

Cover and refrigerate for about an hour. For leftover pie, keep frozen in a tightly covered container. When ready to eat, just cut off a piece and allow to thaw; keep rest frozen.

Nutritional Information  (Even though it’s sometimes best not to know)
Amount Per Serving  Calories: 463 | Total Fat: 30.6g | Cholesterol: 25mg

Recipe from All Recipes

Karyn: Well, that’s pretty self-explanatory! Thanks for stopping by, Joanne! What recipe or meal or drink best represents your favorite hero and heroine?

Author Joanne Brothwell



Joanne Brothwell 


Twitter @JoanneBrothwell

An ancient evil has resurfaced, the soul of the Indigo Child is at stake. Beware those with the Stealing Breath…

By Joanne Brothwell

Deep in the backwoods of North Dakota, twenty-one year old Sarah Ross is searching for a missing child when she is attacked by a glowing-eyed, transparent… creature. Sarah survives, destroying the monster by using mysterious abilities she didn’t even know she had.

Bloody and bruised, Sarah flees the scene and runs directly into Evan Valente, a handsome, charismatic stranger who helps her back to safety. But what is Evan doing out in the forest at five in the morning?

Turning to a healer, Sarah is shocked to learn her eyes bear the mark of the Indigo Child—an evolved human with the ability to feel the emotions of others. But her indigo aura also makes her an easy target for those who wish to consume her powerful essence.

Soon, Sarah is falling deeply in love with Evan and wants nothing more than to follow her heart and trust that he is the man he says he is. But she can’t ignore the lingering feeling that Evan is hiding a terrible secret. The deeper she digs, the more danger she faces, leading her on a course that will force her to face the darkest, innermost parts of her soul.

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Book Club Friends

You can find me guest blogging today at the home of Silver James. I’m talking about my book club and giving away an ebook copy of Backlash!

In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer

you can learn a bit about Silver James and her Moonstruck Series on Amazon starting with Blood Moon.

On Sunday I’ll be attending Word On The Street, Saskatoon. It’s a Canadian magazine and book fair that is taking place in several major cities. Here’s the link in case you happen to live in one of those cities.

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Carnivalesque: Dressing For Your Author Brand?

It’s Thursday and we’re officially back! It’s Carnivalesque, the Travelling Blog Show time once again. Join Jana Richards, Hayley Lavik, Janet Corcoran, Joanne Brothwell and myself. Every week, we discuss various hot topics and share our unique opinions.

Today it’s Joanne’s turn to ask the question:

With Word On The Street (a Canadian book and magazine festival happening in several cities on Sunday) happening this weekend, I’ve been thinking (more like obsessing!) about what to wear. Do you think it’s important as an author attending public events to dress in a way that reflects their platform? If yes, what does that mean for you? Drop by here and join the conversation!

Word on the Street – Saskatoon

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Are We Happy Yet?

Camping makes me happy!

Our September book club pick was a departure from the norm for us. We read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Or, Why I spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun. Her words, not mine. We usually read fiction. I can’t say as I’m a fan of self-help books or non-fiction, but it was interesting to delve into the idea of being purposefully happy.

I mean, hey, who doesn’t want to be happy? Or happier, as the case may be. I didn’t finish it (which means I pay a $10 fine to the pot), but it was an awful lot of information to take in. It was a twelve month project for the author and each month she created a list of resolutions she wanted to work on. Daunting. Yes. Yet, it did raise some interesting questions. And I learned happiness according to Gretchen Rubin takes a lot of work. I’ll enjoy finishing this book, I found Rubin’s voice and style to be appealing and very easy to relate to.

“Happiness depends upon ourselves.”  Aristotle

This I know to be fact. However, sometimes it takes me a couple of think-throughs to realize I’m unhappy because of my own state of mind. It’s so easy and simple to set the blame elsewhere. On the state of the economy. Or the price of peas.  But really, I’ve got to look at what’s happening with me to figure out why I might be ‘off’. You know, a little on the sour side.

“Act the way I want to feel.” One of Rubin’s Twelve Commandments

I actually found this advice to be helpful. If you want to be happy, act happy. And it makes sense, right? Smile more. What’s that saying? It’s the second best thing you can do with your lips. Be happy for someone else. Laugh. Watch The Big Bang Theory. That always works for me. Work at at.

Howard: Are you planning on kidnapping a woman?
Sheldon: Sarcasm?
Howard: Yes, but mixed with genuine concern.

I mean, come on, how can you not find that hysterical?

“There is no duty we underrate so much as the duty of being happy.” Robert Louis Stevenson

Five Little Things That Make Me Happy! Because it doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be mindful.

  1. Pretty flowers.
  2. Fresh peaches.
  3. Sitting around a backyard fire.
  4. Autumn leaves.
  5. Cuddled in a fuzzy blanket.

“The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.” James Openheim

Oh, one more thing.

6. Chocolate Flavored Vodka. (As with all good things:best used in moderation.)

How about you? What five little things make you happy?


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Tuesday’s Table Welcomes Author Kate Austin

I’m very happy to be hosting the lovely Kate Austin. A wonderful writer, she also happens to be a fellow Canadian, but from an entirely different part of the country.

I live on the ocean, write women’s fiction, love to read so much that it’s an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it’s a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.  Kate Austin

I’m a foodie so this is a tough blog for me to write. I love good food, whether I’m cooking a meal at home for friends, eating out at one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants (I live in downtown Vancouver so my neighborhood has more restaurants than you can count), or when I’m traveling. But meals for me–the great ones–are all about companions. A bowl of rice and vegetables with a good friend I haven’t seen for a while is a great one; a burger and a beer with a couple of pals is a great one; crackers and cheese and a bottle of wine while talking on the phone with my best friend (who now lives right across the country) is one of the best, although seeing her in person is even better.

So I could talk or write (my books are often about food and meals with friends) about food and great meals forever–the one I had in Rye, England after three weeks of miserable weather and food, or the pizza I had in Bellagio on Lake Como, or the best ever food and service I had in a small hotel in Calais–but I don’t want this blog to on forever (which it could), so I’ll tell you about the nicest meal I’ve had in the past couple of weeks.

Our friend Patrick–my partner also works in the hospitality industry–works at one of my favorite places to go. It’s one of the most beautiful places in Vancouver (which is really saying something) – the Cascades Lounge at the Pan Pacific Hotel. Here’s a picture of the view from the window.

And here’s a picture of the amazing meal we split –

The meal was fennel and lavender dusted halibut (and I love halibut), with corn succotash and asparagus. It was full of flavor, each taste–sweet and salty and tangy–complementing the others perfectly. Add to that the gorgeous basket of bread we also ate, chatting with a good friend, and looking out at the amazing view (and, oh, did I mention the Prosecco and Rolling Rock we drank?), it was one of those perfect meals.

I love evenings like that. How about you?


You can find Kate at:

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My Thoughts on Jane Eyre

I don’t claim to be a lover of classic literature, more intrigued by it than anything, as my time spent with it has been brief. But I am an advocate of expanding the reading experience. If you can do it with a group of other readers I figure all the better. I’ve always wanted to read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and now I can claim I have thanks to our Carnivalesque Summer Reading Challenge.

Hayley, Jana, and I are sharing our final thoughts over at Hayley‘s blog.

However, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts here as well. Let me start off by saying it was a slow go. It took me literally the whole summer. Although, that largely has to do with our house being in a state of chaos due to main floor renovations. My favorite reading spot was dismantled for two months and…

Okay, enough with the excuses.

I still don’t know what I think of it. Having said that, I did enjoy it and most importantly it made me think.

Setting:  The mid 18th century is not a time period I’m familiar with nor read in. I’m assuming Charlotte Bronte lived in the time period she wrote in. So, contemporary for her and historical for me. I don’t know if that makes a difference or not.  It’s an interesting thought, though. Authors write historicals, but is it the same?

I don’t know. It’s something I’m going to have to give more thought to. I do know Bronte’s style and voice struck a cord with me. I had no problem envisioning the various places Jane found herself in. Bronte’s way with description has inspired me to think even harder about how I use words.

Jane:  I wonder how ‘feminist’ this literature seemed at the time? A story about a young woman who largely succeeds due to her own ingenuity and strength. She’s no shrinking violet. Even though she receives an inheritance that gives her the power to greatly better her circumstances I like to think she’d have succeeded without it. I admired her strong sense of faith, and her steadfast sense of right and wrong. I wondered where she managed to amass all her courage. For someone who has received little to no affection, she manages to be very together. There were times I found it impossible to believe she was eighteen years old. However, I found it impossible not to root for her. Damn it, I wanted that happy ending for her so bad and I’m so glad she got it. Without losing any of the qualities that made her so special and that set her apart: her wit, her common sense, and her values.

Mr. Rochester:   I’m a contemporary romance writer. I love my modern day heroes. I’ll say this: he was very human. The best thing about reading books with others is sharing opinions. You can read some of ours here. This proved helpful and I was very interested in what others had to say about Rochester. There were times when I didn’t know what to make of this guy. Did I like him? I’ll say this, by the end I saw him differently then when we were first introduced. I’m now a fan of redeemed heroes. I believe he loved Jane with his whole heart and that she was the one woman for him. I saw a man who tried to do the right thing and then was burdened by the force of those choices. There were times when I wish he would have kept his mouth shut. Then again, the story would not have the power it does.

Am I glad I read it? Absolutely.

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Introducing Tuesday’s Table

The only time to eat diet food is while you’re waiting for the steak to cook.”  Julia Child

I swear that is one of my favorite quotes. Whatever your relationship with food, everyone has to eat. Indeed many of us have very strong feelings about food. We have experiences around food. Some of our best discussions happen over food. Our thanks, our welcomes, our condolences are often accompanied by food. We travel to experience new places and different cuisines.

I grew up on a farm outside a small prairie town. We gathered together at fall suppers, after church lunches, banquets, and buffets. This time of year lunches and suppers are packed up and driven out to the fields to feed hungry harvesters. My Dad would have been up early and late coming in, working hard at getting the grain in the bins.

When I was a kid sometimes my mother would make bread. She would cut off the heel of a still warm loaf, smear it with butter, and give us a taste. Delicious. When I smell of baking bread I think of my childhood kitchen. Another thing about my mom? She loves to bake. She usually follows up an invite to come and dine with an offer to bring something. We always, always, request dessert. You can trust my son to ask, “Is Grandma bringing dessert?”

Memories and food go hand in hand.

And food and romance? How many first dates take place at a restaurant? I had a friend who went out on a supper date with a guy who made the unfortunate mistake of ordering spaghetti. Not only was that first swirled fork full messy, it was piping hot. What’s a guy to do but spit it back out? That whole date was a gong show. I’m pretty sure it was also their last. Good thing she ended up with an entertaining tale to tell.

There are all kinds of stories out there revolving around food. That’s what Tuesday’s Table is about. You’ll find those stories, maybe a recipe, some pictures, guest bloggers and the books they write. Starting next Tuesday you can find them here.

Sometimes, you get to dine with princesses in a Disney castle.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find a Knight in Shining Armour.

Our character lunch at Disney World was one of those memorable kind of meals. As soon as we stepped into that castle and saw Cinderella in all her finery I felt eight years old again. The meal was excellent and afterwards we spent time with Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Ariel, and Belle. Again, it took me back to my childhood. We ate all our meals at the kitchen table, except on those occasional Sundays when CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Channel) aired a Disney movie. Out came the TV trays, we filled out plates and headed to the family room for a treat. With access to only two channels, you made the most of those opportunities.

Have a memorable meal in your past? One you’ll always remember?

Dining with one’s friends and beloved family is certainly one of life’s primal and most innocent delights, one that is both soul-satisfying and eternal.”  Julia Child

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