Filling The Creative Well

Just back from a trip to Toronto, Canada to see my sister and the Adorables. I’ve not spent much time in Toronto and I can honestly say it was a marvelous place to visit. Especially the Riverdale area where they live. Artsy, trendy, and culturally diverse. And the people I met were so friendly and welcoming. It was wonderful to have a break and spend some time filling the creative well which felt much depleted.

Let’s face it, we all need to regroup sometimes. We need to do the things that foster the creative process and ignite the fire that fuels productivity.

Some highlights and ways I refilled my well.

Trip to the Art Galley of Ontario! My sister is an artist. I’m a writer. We’re creative people. I LOVED it! It was impossible to not be inspired.

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Because, oh my gosh, Emily Carr. Her modern style was ill-received at the beginning of the 19th century but she went on to become a Canadian icon and a leading modernist known for capturing the spirit of Canada, particularly the Pacific Northwest Coast. A sculpture by Henry Moore. It’s huge! The vision required to complete a project like this always amazes me. I was also amazed by Lawren S. Harris, a founding member of the the Group of Seven. Who was also a mentor to Emily Carr. Very austere and lacking in detail, his landscapes just pull you in and make you wonder.

The Royal Ontario Museum. This is a favourite of my nephews. Of course, we had to go. We only managed to see a fraction of the place. It’s immense. Which means I’ll have to go back and see more of it!

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The Rotunda! Magnificent and part of the Stair of Wonders. Which we went past on the way to Earth’s Treasures. A favourite of my nephews! Every rock, gem, and mineral known to humanity. A collection guaranteed to fascinate anyone. The ROM is currently showcasing a beautiful and vibrant Mexican textiles exhibit. The blouse (not the proper name, my apologies) was embroidered by an award-winning artist, who’s name I didn’t write down, but the the flawless detail is exordinary. I can only imagine the length of time required to create such a piece. And finally a Tiffany lamp, which is about as close to a Tiffany anything as I’m likely to get, found in the Evolution of Style section.

That’s only a couple of the things that helped me feel inspired. There were many, not the least of which was spending time with a most adored sister and my nephews!

What inspires you? How do you refill the creative well?

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?

December News, Manicures and Leftovers

Sexy Suspense

It’s that time of year when we’re all running around in circles. Or maybe that’s just me. Some of you are probably organized and have tamed the beast that Christmas can become. Me? I’ve decided this is a go-with-the-flow year. Do what I can, skip what I can’t and see what happens. Hopefully, it’s not anarchy.

Might be a good idea to indulge in a little pampering to reduce stress.

Like maybe a home manicure?

Remove old color with polish remover and a cotton ball.

Trim,  cut and file nails to your length of choice. As for shape, there are two main options: square or rounded. And neither form will chip more than the other.

Soak hands in a bowl of warm water for five minutes. Add two tablespoons of a bath powder or your favorite liquid soap to soften nails. Make sure the water’s not too hot or it will dry out your hands and nails.

Soften by applying cuticle oil or lotion on dry hands.

Push back cuticles so they don’t get in the way of the polish. Leave the cutting of cuticles to the professionals.

Exfoliate hands with a body scrub or homemade mixture of olive oil and kosher salt or raw sugar. Scrub for two to three minutes, then wash thoroughly.

Moisturize dry hands by applying a rich moisturizer.

Polish. Apply a base coat first, then apply two thin coats of polish. Finish with a top coat.

I actually prefer home manicures to salon ones. And if you’re into making gift baskets there might be someone special on your list who would love a Manicure Basket.

I also know a lot of you will be cooking turkey this holiday season. I can’t wait. Roast turkey, gravy and mashed potatoes is one of my favorite meals. I won’t be cooking one this year as someone as already volunteered to do that duty. Lucky me, I get to sit back and eat with none of the prep work. It also means I won’t have to deal with leftovers. But if I did, the following is one of my favorite recipes, my Aunt Alma’s Creamed Chicken.

Aunt Alma’s Creamed Chicken

2 cups cooked chicken (or leftover turkey)
1 can of cream of chicken soup
½ cup of sour cream
½ cup Milk (or maybe ¼ cup) You get to decide on the consistency.
Dash of Pepper
A Few Peas (we use frozen and about a hand full)
1 ¼ cups of grated Cheddar cheese
Half your favorite biscuit recipe (we use Bisquick)

Heat to boil (on stove) soup, milk, sour cream, pepper, and some frozen peas. Put in a baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese, heat in oven until bubbles. Cover with ½ recipe of your favorite biscuit rolled thin in squares. Bake about 20 minutes at 350 F.

The secret ingredient in both recipes is the cheese. Cheese makes anything taste good.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays

Books make great gifts!

Available Now

Available Now

*  The Wild Rose Press  * Amazon  *  Kobo  *  Barnes and Noble  *  All Romance Ebooks  *  BookStrand *  iBooks

Off The Grid (Downtown Eastside Series, Book 1)

A committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary and claiming the baby’s father is one of the city’s most influential businessmen. Sophie is in over her head and thankful when aid shows up in the form of an attorney who’s a little too confident and a lot too sexy.

Family Law expert Caleb Quinn just wants a date, a chance to prove he isn’t the elitist jerk Sophie assumes. Helping deliver a baby is not what he has in mind. But before long protecting a traumatized teenager and her son become his first priority. Even if saving them pits him against the baby’s father, a childhood friend. A man who will do anything to keep his dark side private.

But justice never comes cheap. Will doing the right thing cost Sophie and Caleb their reputations? Or their lives?

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Suspense, SiWC14, and November News

Sexy Suspense

The last weekend in October saw me heading to my first ever writing conference!

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The SiWC (Surrey International Writers Conference) takes place every year in Surrey, British Columbia. Writers from all genres come to learn craft and pitch their stories. Presenters ranged from Diana Gabaldon (Outlander), Chuck Wendig (Author and Blogger: Terrible Minds), Sarah Wendell (Author and Blogger: Smart Bitches Trashy Books), Elizabeth Boyle (Regency Historicals) to Donald Maass (Author and Agent). And so many more!

I attended workshops from Hallie Ephron (Suspense) Kim Foster (Suspense), and Pam Binder (Romantic Time Travel) and more. My mind is brimming with ideas on setting, dialogue and murder. Keynote speakers, excellent food and entertainment. There is nothing better than being in a room of like-minded people. People who not only understand but encouraged the part of you needing to express your creative self on paper. Or in a word document in your computer. Or a cocktail napkin.

November also sees us ensconed in NaNoWriMo madness. I’ve only participated in National Novel Writing Month one time. That was in 2009. During that time I wrote the first draft on a novel, now titled EXPOSED, my second Aspen Lake story. I contracted that story to The Wild Rose Press in August and it will be released sometime during the first half of 2015. I’m not sure the NaNoWriMo style of writing is for me, but I encourage everyone to try it once. I will say it was a very valuable learning experience.

Latest News

Available November 7th!

perf5.000x8.000.inddA committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary and claiming the baby’s father is one of the city’s most influential businessmen. Sophie is in over her head and thankful when aid shows up in the form of an attorney who’s a little too confident and a lot too sexy.

Family Law expert Caleb Quinn just wants a date, a chance to prove he isn’t the elitist jerk Sophie assumes. Helping deliver a baby is not what he has in mind. But before long protecting a traumatized teenager and her son become his first priority. Even if saving them pits him against the baby’s father, a childhood friend. A man who will do anything to keep his dark side private.

But justice never comes cheap. Will doing the right thing cost Sophie and Caleb their reputations? Or their lives?

OFF THE GRID releases in five days on November 7th. I’m so excited. Here’s a look at some of the images I used as inspiration.

Diable Cody

Activist Dr. Sophie Monroe

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Family Law Expert, Caleb Quinn

the balmoralThe Balmoral Hotel

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Romantic Suspense Novel Excerpt, Off The Grid

Smart, Sexy Suspense

What are Sundays for if not reading? My romantic suspense releases on November 7th. Here’s a excerpt to entice you. 

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Her brows rose. “I’m smart enough to know you’ve got a conflict of interest. You need to decide whether you can proceed fairly and objectively. Because yes, I believe her. Why would she lie to us?”

God help him, her chin went up. Her eyes flashed with her need to take him down a peg. His fingers clenched inside his pockets. Her challenge, the heat of it, inspired absolute honesty.

“Because anyone who knows you or who’s familiar with your work knows you’ll do whatever it takes, go balls to the wall, to champion a victimized young woman from the Low Track. And if taking sides hands you a chance to take down the man who’s determined to clean up the Downtown Eastside, all the better. Jason Drummond is pain in your ass. Of course, they came to you.” And hell, since he was destroying any chance at a relationship he might as well go for it. “And I don’t know what your history is with Marnie, but you’re doing it as much for her as you are for Kellie. So maybe I need to be the one asking, how objective are you?”

“You see me as a do-gooder who doesn’t question facts, just reacts. Part of my job requires cutting through all the bullshit and believe me, I hear a lot of it. I’m a great lie-detector. Don’t confuse nonjudgmental with sucker. And, yes, Marnie is important to me. But I can be her friend and know she’s not perfect, far from it. I know even if I believe Kellie about paternity, I’ll need to double check anything coming out of Marnie’s mouth.” She inhaled a deep breath. Let it out. “Because…Marnie…she doesn’t have the greatest track record with the truth.”

The dejection in her tone tugged at him. He resisted moving in closer. She had scoffed Off the Grid postcard 1away all his attempts to explain Tiffany. She didn’t want to believe him. Or in him. “Just because Jason is a friend of mine doesn’t mean I’m not interested in getting to the truth.” He pointed at the door. “Or doing what’s best for that child in there. So let’s agree we both have agendas, but we’re most interested in the truth.”

Available for pre-order from Amazon.

Coming November 7th from The Wild Rose Press.

*If you’re interested in reviewing Off The Grid let me know and I’ll hook you up! karyngoodauthor at gmail dot com

Soup, Suspense and October News

Smart, sexy suspense

Tis the season for Halloween Blog Hops and a chance to win prizes and hook up with some great authors. Taking place from October 27th to the 31st. There will be a grand prize as well as prizes at the different stops!

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In other news the sun is shining and there is still an amazing amount of warmth left in the air. It’s the day after Canadian Thanksgiving and I’m stuffed to the brim. It’s all good.

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Time for cuddling up in blankets and making soup – one of my favorite things to do. Probably because you can fudge the recipe and it usually turns out. I have a butternut squash sitting in my pantry ready to be turned into a delicious soup. Creamy, Curry Butternutt Soup is one of our favorites!

Meanwhile I’ve received the first round of edits for my second Aspen Lake book, Exposed. Hard at work!

Latest News

Off The Grid releases November 7th.  In it Sophie Monroe, an inner city doctor and activist, and Caleb Quinn, a high-priced Family Law lawyer, join forces to save a victimized, pregnant teenager. Available for pre-order at Amazon.

Off the Grid postcard 1Excerpt:

A glimpse at Off The Grid’s hero, Family Law Attorney, Caleb Quinn.

Caleb Quinn was smart. His new letterhead, business cards, and prime parking spot proof of how hard he worked. He was ranked one of Canada’s top lawyers under forty. He’d made partner at the unheard of age of thirty-two. He was charming. Ask anyone. Women enjoyed his company. He was discreet. Generous. In bed and out of it.

He was attracted to Dr. Sophie Monroe, wanted to get to know her better. So what? Sexual attraction wasn’t a crime. It was the second decade of the twenty- first century, people hooked up. He picked up a scarf, tossed it back, tuned out the most annoying Christmas song ever recorded. An over-crowded department store at closing on Christmas Eve? How much lower could he sink? Like the gift of a scarf was going to improve her opinion of him. He’d probably have more luck if he showed up with a package of tongue depressors.

*If you’re interested in reviewing Off The Grid let me know and I’ll hook you up! karyngoodauthor at gmail dot com

Old News

A friend has been hard at work creating new postcards for Backlash! Since we’re talking heroes…

Backlash PC 1 Thank you Elizabeth Lang, who also happens to be an amazing author of Science Fiction thrillers and Science Fiction Romance! And fellow member of The Saskatchewan Romance Writers

Other News

I’m part of a incredibly talented writing group! I thought I’d leave with a look at their upcoming and current releases.

If Regency Romance is your thing: Mary Balogh‘s Only Enchanting, Survivor Club Book 4 releases October 28th!

This is Book 4 of the Survivors’ Club series, after The Proposal, The Arrangement, and The Escape. Hugo’s story has been told, as have Vincent’s and Ben’s. Now it is the turn of Flavian Arnott, Viscount Ponsonby. He is the Survivor who suffered a severe head injury as a cavalry officer during the Napoleonic Wars, with resulting memory loss, the inability to think or speak coherently, severe headaches, and sudden rages. He spent three years with the other members of the group at Penderris Hall in Cornwall, recovering and learning to cope with his remaining handicaps.

Flavian is handsome, witty, charming, and aloof. His heart was broken when his beloved fiancée broke off their engagement soon after he was brought home from the Peninsula and married his best friend. The double betrayal has left him cynical and apparently quite immune to the lures of romantic love.

Agnes Keeping, a young widow, lives in a small village with her elder sister. She is a water colorist and loves to wander about the countryside painting wild flowers. She had a relationship with her husband of very mild affection and believes herself to be too sensible and prosaic ever to feel the pangs of a romantic passion, though she recognizes that such love does exist. Her friend Sophia, Viscountess Darleigh, is in a deep love relationship with her husband, the blind Vincent, one of the other Survivors.

Women’s Fiction with Romantic Elements: Annette Bower‘s Woman of Substance is available now!

Robbie Smith tries walking a mile in another woman’s shoes to validate her master’s degree research. Even though her professor doesn’t approve, Robbie disguises herself and moves in the world as a large woman, because the women in her research group declare, “You will never know what it’s like to be fat.”

All Jake Proctor wants to do is to spend as much time as he can with his dying grandfather Frank, the only father he’s ever known.

While in and out of disguise, Robbie sees Frank and Jake. Robbie is drawn to the tall, dark, kind man in her neighborhood, but she can’t divulge the truth about her about her oversized self and jeopardize all the hard work she’s put into her research. She has to see her thesis through to the bitter end. Even if it means deceiving the man she’s grown to care about.

Jana Richards‘ One More Second Chance is coming soon from The Wild Rose Press and part of the Lobster Cove series.

Dr. Alex Campbell has an agenda —finish his contract to provide medical services in Maine, pay off his medical school debt, and head back to his real life in San Diego. But when he meets Julia Stewart, all his carefully laid plans are put in jeopardy.

Julia Stewart, Lobster Cove’s high school principal, swears she’ll never let another man drag her away from the home she loves. Her aging parents need her, and the Cove is where she wants to raise her daughter. When her mother’s illness brings her and the big city doctor closer together, panic sets in. Her marriage taught her that men don’t stay. Can she put aside the heartaches of the past and trust Alex enough to accept the love he’s offering? Or will her fear of abandonment mean she’ll send him away forever?

More from the works of The Saskatchewan Romance Writers coming next month!

See you later in the month for some blog hop goodness and chances to win!

 

 

Grouchy Pants

Ugh. Why are they always a perfect fit?

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What’s that? You don’t care? Come back when I’ve got it together?

Fair enough. No one wants to hear about my grumpy business.

But what to do when one cannot even tolerate one’s self?

  • First, acknowledge your grumpy! Okay, done that.
  • Get moving! Next on my list.
  • Smile!
  • Clear clutter! It’s easier to throw stuff away when you’re feeling evil.
  • Listen to (upbeat) music!
  • Talk to a friend! Hi, there!
  • Write down the good stuff! Like how it’s FINALLY sunny! Yay! Or how I went out to lunch and didn’t have to cook!

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Or

Read a book!

What a good idea! I’m busy reading through Vivian Arend’s Takhini Wolves series. Must say I’m enjoying them!

What’s your favorite method of getting rid of the grumps!

Latvia? Where it that again?

I love the Olympics! Even though I’m not a huge sports fan, there’s just something about these games. It’s…well, the Olympics. Anything is possible. There are plenty of magical moments.

There is inspiration to be found in the determination, dedication, and spirit of each competitor, whether they make it to the podium or not.

Here in Canada, we take our hockey seriously. VERY seriously. To lose out in the semis would be devastating. Kind of like it was for Russia yesterday, only that was worse…because hometown losses suck worse than others obviously. Like we almost did to Latvia. Because where is that again? Oh yeah, at the corner of Russia and Lithuania.

Yesterday their twenty-one year old back-up goalie, Kristers Gudlevskis, proved he could take on a team of NHL veterans and almost, but not quite thank you, God, shut them down. Although, the rest of his team did have something to do with it. He stopped 55 out of 57 shots. That’s, like, incredible. He’s Tampa Bay Lightening draft and plays on their farm team. Um…I think that’s about to change. He’s probably already filming a Visa commercial.

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He left it all out there as the cliche goes. Every drop of everything he had. This kid deserves Latvia’s version of a medal of honour. He certainly deserves our respect.

Greatness. It’s all around us. In every nook and cranny. Waiting to inspire us.

Cover Reveal For My New Romantic Suspense – Off The Grid

It’s official. Off The Grid, my next digital romantic suspense, will be available November 7, 2014. It will be available from Amazon with their Kindle Direct Program in late July or early August.

I am so excited to share this story. I’m so in love with these characters. From the hero and heroine to the villain to the secondary characters. I love the setting and thoroughly enjoyed researching the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, infamous for being Canada’s poorest postal code. I miss Sophie and Caleb. I miss their sparring and their loving. I could have happily taken this couple and developed a series around them, pitting them against all kinds of adversaries. Ah well, I’ll have to settle for the next installment of the story, Christine and Zach. I wonder what kind of trouble will spill over and mess with a socialite and the private investigator who’s tasked with keeping her safe. Away from the slums of Vancouver to the troubles of the rich and richer.

But first – Off The Grid

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A committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary and claiming the baby’s father is one of the city’s most influential businessmen. Sophie is in over her head and thankful when aid shows up in the form of an attorney who’s a little too confident and a lot too sexy.

Family Law expert Caleb Quinn just wants a date, a chance to prove he isn’t the elitist jerk Sophie assumes. Helping deliver a baby is not what he has in mind. But before long protecting a traumatized teenager and her son become his first priority. Even if saving them pits him against the baby’s father, a childhood friend. A man who will do anything to keep his dark side private.

But justice never comes cheap. Will doing the right thing cost Sophie and Caleb their reputations? Or their lives?

So there you have it! The cover has been revealed. The date has been set. Now I wait.

A Christmas Story – Open Hearts

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Merry Christmas! Here’s a sweet story I wrote one year as a Gift of Writing for my writing group, The Saskatchewan Romance Writers. This year I’m sharing it here on my blog. I hope you enjoy it.

 

Open Hearts

For Abigail Kelley working retail at Christmas equaled worst job ever. Small talk? With strangers? Not her strong suit. Even on a good day and good days were harder to find than Waldo. But a girl had to eat and she’d already proven she was a glutton for punishment. Besides it worked nicely with the whole ‘sucker’ theme she had going on this year. Broke, adrift, and one blinking engine light away from over and done.

She glanced at her watch. Ten minutes until closing time on December 23rd. The supersized big box store across the street was crammed to the rafters with late night shoppers. Not a soul crossed the street to browse at Adornments and Jewels with its swaying antique sign and out-dated window display. No one crossed the threshold where the dusty tiny bell waited to announce eager shoppers, or any shopper, and the scarred counters shined in preparation for inquisitive customers. Indeed, it was quiet as a mouse.

The quiet didn’t bother Abby, in fact, she preferred it. But noise equalled customers and paying customers equalled commissions. A pay check meant no more blinking engine light. No more blinking engine light meant the open road and finding her way back to the place she left her self-respect. She swiped her polishing cloth over the gleaming countertop glass as she leaned in and wondered over all the pretty baubles. Her mom would love the vintage silver locket. Maybe next year…

The tinkling of the bell startled her and she tripped as she turned to face the door. Clumsy as always. She stuck her dust rag out of sight and shoved a bunch of curls out of her eyes and got her first glimpse of the shoppers.

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