I Have A Release Date For EXPOSED!

I have a release date for EXPOSED, Book 2 in my Aspen Lake Series!

September 11th is the day.

I’m so excited to be sharing Kate Logan and Seth Stone’s story with the world. Their happily-ever-after has been a long time coming. I wrote the first draft of this story for NaNoWriMo in 2009. I know, right? Yikes. But it’s almost here! And I love how Kate Logan and Seth Stone’s story turned out.

Coming on September 11th!

Coming on September 11th!

Someone’s always watching…

Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.

New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.

Sneak Peek!

Kate put a hand to her throat. She was here. She was sober. She was going to stay that way. “Thank you.”

She sighed with relief and avoided searching the dull sky for signs of worse weather. No need to add more drama to an already crappy day. Not when she was expected to spend the evening at the local bar with a group of people who knew it was the last place she should be hanging out. But she’d chosen the location to prove a point. She was in control, temptation be darned. She could handle this. Had handled it for the last two years.

Seth shook his head. “No need to thank me. You give me a chance to design a new display case? I’ll be the one thanking you.”

Against her will, her lips twitched and she nodded. “Why don’t we see how the door goes first?”

“I’ll do my best to amaze.” He grinned. A heart-stopping, slow-spreading, deadly kind of grin. A slight lift of the corners until it gradually widened to reach all the way to his eyes. Eyes that hid a hint of jungle cat in them. The kind of smile that took forever to get where it was going, but when it got there you felt like someone had forgotten to yell “Clear!” before they used the paddles.

Exposed Postcard Kate Logan v2 (1)

I’m still deep in Aspen Lake antics as I’m editing Grace Bighill and Constable Michael Davenport’s story. And these two…they are turning up the heat!

More to information to come on contests and prizes and other good things!

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The Big Book Theory

Book buying theory: you get the one that fits your mood, your life really, at that moment in time. It’s not incredibly complicated. (Or you buy it because you need to read it for book club.) We all have a method of choosing what book we need. A system we use to whittle down the choices. Stories come in all shapes, sizes, and styles. We might go big, It might be small. Slow moving. Or rocket fast. Spicy or sweet. Happy. Sad. True. Or complete fantasy.

I need at least one book on the go at all times, for sanity sake.

So…I was in the bookstore the other day looking for some epic reads for our camping holiday. As I scanned the tables of books at Chapters (my local bookstore) I noticed a book I’d seen on Twitter by an author I follow. A suspense kind of book, which I love. Very interesting title. Attractive cover. I picked it up to read the blurb and goodness gravy the thing had to weigh 5 pounds. Not quite, but close. but it was Big. BIG, I tell you.

Not even Stephen King’s reassurance that it was a fantastic read and one should not be put off by the sheer number of pages convinced me to buy it. And it turns out it was the second in a trilogy so I need to read the first book, well…first.

Still, I feel kind of wimpy for basing my decision on page length instead of whether I’d enjoy the actually story in those many pages. I mean I read big books. Because hello, Kristen Ashely. She writes long stories and it’s kind of nice knowing you’re in it for the long haul. That you’re going to be engaged for awhile and you don’t have to worry about the story ending too soon. I’ve read Exodus by Leon Uris. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugnenides. I read Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follet. Heck, I was probably qualified to build a catherdral after that one. And I thoroughly enjoyed every one of them. I love picking up a Nora Roberts’ book because I know I’m going to sink in, relax, and enjoy.

big books

I just don’t like them all the time. I’ve gotten into the habit of reading shorter books. Past paced, moving quickly, lots happening all at once kind of books, which I also love. And some big stories come in shorter books. I wasn’t in the mood for lengthy. I was looking for something else.

I made my selections that day and here’s what I ended up with: a romantic suspense (I think it was – warning; there is a lot of sex in this book. A LOT. Just so you know.); a colouring book which I adore; and 2 young adult books, one of which I’ve started.)

IMG_1169Do you read big books? Do you care how long the story is if it’s something you think you might want to read? How do you pick books?

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Holidays, Inspiration, and The Best Of Times

We all need to fill that creative well so I guess it only makes sense that being on holiday inspires creativity. We absorb inspiration in through sight, sound, taste, and touch. We make memories. Have good times. If we’re lucky, the best of times. And sometimes the rough ones when things don’t turn out as planned make the most memorable holidays.

Back in 2010 we camped at Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. Hauling our trailer around has been one of our favourite ways to holiday. And I would call camping at Writing-On-Stone one of our best times. The Milk River runs through the campground. I guess, for us, that was unique because we’re used to camping by lakes. The Milk River was given its name by Lewis of the Lewis and Clark Expedition who described it like this:

“the water of this river possesses a peculiar whiteness, being about the colour of a cup of tea with the admixture of a tablespoonfull of milk. from the colour of its water we called it Milk river.”

Milk River is a slow moving river that you can raft lazyly along. There’s a beach and the mixture of clay and sand makes for awesome sandcastle building. There are sandstone cliffs called hoodoos to climb all over. It’s peaceful and quiet with a first class interpretive center/museum that gives a wonderful look at the history of the area. The perfect holiday.

It’s a beautiful spot, where people have been camping there for 3,000 years. For centuries native people camped along the Milk River, where they found shelter, water, and an abundance of food. They also found inspiration here. They believed this wide, lush valley with its hoodoos was charged with supernatural powers and was home to powerful spirits with the ability to help the people who journeyed to this scared place to pray.

They were so inspired that they documented the importance of this place. Writing-On-Stone park is home to petroglyphs (rock carvings) and pictographs (rock paintings) that tell explain their history, beliefs and way of life on the sandstone cliffs.

If ever there was a place to inspire a story…

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Where have you found inspiration? What are some of your favourite holiday locations?

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Fictional Settings: More Than Time and Place

Setting transports readers to a different time and place. I recently saw an article on what reading does for anxious people. That’s me. I’m a worrier. Reading transports me to another place in the blink of an eye. The setting can be familiar or exotic. But it always has to be meaningul to the characters, which in turn makes it meaningful to me, the reader.

As a writer setting is a tool used to enhance characters and their actions and reactions. It drives suspense. It supports the political and social environment of the story. Setting creates a mood or a feeling in the reader. Or I should say this is a continuing work-in-progress.

My fictional setting of Aspen Lake is that of a small resort town on the prairies. It is modeled after a real-life resort town. A place that is near and dear to my heart. I spent many sunny beach days there as child. I worked in the park for a couple of summers as a teenager. I met my husband there. Have camped their with my own family. It is important to me.

But in BACKLASH, Book 1 of my Aspen Lake series, that isn’t the case for my hero, Constable Chase Porter, who grew up with an abusive father and couldn’t wait to leave. Now he’s back and picking up the trail of wanted gang leader and living next door to the girl he left behind.

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And damn his scheming excuse of a realtor to hell. A quaint, post-Victorian home, his ass. Unless crumbling and broken-down constituted quaint. In that case, he’d nailed the description. Fine by him, he didn’t have forever in mind. A couple years tops, unless he hit the transfer to anywhere else lottery. He hated tranquil and quiet. He preferred noise and movement. Life after nine in the evening. Anonymity.

EXPOSED is Book 2 in the Aspen Lake series and will be released sometime this autumn. Seth Stone is the new guy in town. He’s downing a good job of keeping his head down until Kate Logan, boutique owner and head of Aspen Lake’s annual Gothic Revival Fair (which includes the Mad Man’s Ball), becomes the target of a fanatic.

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More lights, more candles, more pumpkins decorated the impromptu ballroom. Tables covered in white linen with bronze runners held vases bursting with fall flowers. Swags of purple hung down from the roof. It should have looked cheesy, but somehow it all came together with enough shadow to be mysterious and enough light to cast a spell. Seth focused on the nooks and crannies and the plenty of places to hide and countless ways to make trouble.

MIKE and GRACE’S story is the third book in the Aspen Lake story and a work-in-progress. Their pattern of avoiding each other is broken when a cold case pushes local Grace Bighill and Constable Michael Davenport together. Rumors threaten secrets which in turn tests the loyalty of all involved.

Her head swivelled owl-like. The rest of her was scared to move in case any dust escaped her person and landed on any one of numerous pristine surfaces. He seemed to have a thing for beige. Beige furniture. Beige lamps. Beige carpet. Okay the carpet probably came with the place so technically not his fault. But still…Grace made a mental note to clean her whole house which at the moment looked like a yarn factory and pastry shoppe had a war to which there was no clear winner.

I had a hard time narrowing my favourite fictional settings down to three. But this post is long already. If you’ve made it this far – thank you for sticking with it. I decided to pick a book from my childhood, one book pre-kids, and one I read with my book club and is also one of my all-time favourite books.

I can’t think of a book in which the fictional setting impacted me more than Room by Emma Donoghue. Told from the point of view of five-year-old Jack. I was captivated from page one.

I flat the chairs and put them beside Door against Clothes Horse. He grumbles and says there’s no room but there’s plenty if he stands up really straight.

We’ve all met at least one five-year-old along the way. They’re not the most reliable of narrators. But seeing things through Jack’s viewpoint, his thought process, his dialogue, is what makes this novel the incredibly moving and dramatic work of fiction.

In The Mists of Avalon Marion Zimmer Bradley takes us back to Camelot and the Knights of the Round Table. The Arthur legend is a favourite of mine and has been since forever.  But Bradley’s version is very different and told from the perspective of the women of Avalon. it is a powerful look at double standards, male dominance, and the idea of predicting the future.

And then, in one great act of Druid magic, to protect the last precious refuge of their school, they had made the last great change in the world; that change which removed the Island of Avalon from the world of mankind. Now it lay hidden in the mist which concealed it, except from those initiates who had been schooled there or those who were shown the secret ways through the Lake.

It’s tempting to think of adjectives holding the power when describing setting, but in the above it’s the verbs that grab your attention and hold it.

It was Canada Day yesterday and I can’t think of a more Canadian setting than Green Gables as found in Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. One of my most beloved stories.

To the west a dark church spire rose up against a marigold sky. Below was a little valley and beyond a long, gently-rising slope with snug farmsteads scattered along it. From one to another the child’s eyes darted, eager and wistful. At last they lingered on one away to the left, far back from the road, dimly white with blossoming trees in the twilight of the surrounding woods. Over it, in the stainless southwest sky, a great crystal-white star was shining like a lamp of guidance and promise.

It’s a panoramic look at what Anne, an orphan, thinks is going to be her new home given to us through Matthew’s eyes. The beauty is in the details.

What are some of your favourite fictional settings?

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Me! Standing on the spot that inspired Lover's Lane!

Me! Standing on the spot that inspired Lover’s Lane!

 

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