September Thoughts

Cozy sweaters, tea in the evening, cool walks, and falling leaves. Just a short note to ask who else loves fall? Being a writer is a weird thing. Outside the leaves are turning colour and the air is cooler, but the story I’m writing takes place in springtime. Both are transition seasons. Spring is bright and loud and hopeful. Autumn is quiet and contemplative, fostering a sense of gathering up what we started in spring. One is a time to recover from the winter and the other is a time to prepare for the harsher weather to come. At least, on the Canadian prairies that’s the case.

Until next time…

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Robin Hood: Tell Me Your Favourite Movie Version

Robin Hood is one of my favourite folk heroes. Who could resist stories of an outlaw that steals from the rich and gives to the poor? Displaced, cast out, with a price on his head, the idea of Robin Hood, a rebel for the ages, has infinite appeal. At least, for me!

But I love myths and legends. King Arthur, Templar Knights! Tell me all your medieval favourites. I used to read a lot of medieval romances, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, Jude Deveraux. Writers with “J” names are very good at this, it seems. Castles, ladies of the keep, witches, knights, villainous villains, swords and poisonings. Oh my gosh, those books have the best bad guys!

Back to the movies and which were my favourite versions and which one was a huge disappointment.

We rented the newest Robin Hood version on the weekend. I was excited! I love Jamie Foxx! I wanted it to be good. It was not. It was terrible. Mine boggling terrible. The costumes were ridiculous. The plot holes were large enough to drive a team of horses through. At one point, my husband asked if we were actually going to finish watching it. We did, but once was enough. More than enough.

I’m not a huge Russell Crowe fan, but I love him as Robin Hood. Sigh. Almost as much as I love Cate Blanchett as Lady Mariann. I love that they are mature characters, in both temperament and age. There’s also a great cast of secondary characters. And I love that the legend begins when the movie ends. This is my favourite version, so far. It’s one of those movies I watch when I’m in need of comfort. It hits all my buttons. Every time.

Followed ever so closely by Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Despite his abysmal attempt at an accent, Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood will forever have a place in my heart. But ahead of him, is Alan Rickman’s Sheriff Of Nottingham and Morgan Freeman’s Azeem. This is another version I could watch over and over again.

My love of the legend probably began with this movie version that I saw in the theatre as a young girl in 1973. It might have been the first movie that I remember seeing in the theatre. I was enchanted by the legend, the characters, and the music.

Until next time…

If there are other versions of the Robin Hood story that you’ve loved, let me know. I’d love to check them out!

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Introducing Jana Richards (Love At Solace Lake Series)

I’m so happy to be able to tell you about my friend, Jana Richards‘ newest releases. Her Love at Solace Lake Series is available this month. All. Three. Books! Can you believe it? No waiting months to see how the story ends. Part of me is very unhappy with you, Jana! It takes commitment and organization to be able to deliver three books in one month. Lies and Solace, Book One was available March 14. Secrets and Solace, Book Two is available today. The final instalment of the trilogy, Truth and Solace, is available for pre-order and will be delivered to your ereader on March 28.

Jana Richards

Love is worth the risk…

When their grandfather dies, the Lindquist sisters, Harper, Scarlet and Maggie, inherit the northern Minnesota fishing lodge that had been in their family for three generations. The inheritance is bittersweet. They were raised at the lodge by their grandparents. The natural beauty of the place hasn’t changed, but the building itself is crumbling and desperately in need of repair. The lodge also reminds them of what they lost. Twenty-two years previously, their parents died there in what was ruled a murder/suicide.

As the sisters struggle to breathe new life into the failing lodge, old fears and questions rise to the surface even as new love presents itself. Why did their father murder their mother? What truths did their grandparents keep from them? The sisters must fight to keep the wounds of the past from putting their futures, and their fledgling relationships, in jeopardy.

Five Things you need to know about Solace Lake

  1. It’s based on a real place in Minnesota. Sort of. North-central Minnesota is a lovely place with lots of trees and beautiful lakes. My husband and I have golfed in the area a couple of times, and we stayed at a very nice golf resort. I used that resort as the model for Miller’s Golf Resort, the neighbour to the Solace Lake Lodge, and the place of employment for Harper, the heroine of book 1, LIES AND SOLACE. However, Solace Lake and the fishing lodge that Harper is trying to save are entirely products of my imagination.
  2. A murder/suicide took place in Solace Lake. Twenty-two years before book one begins, the Lindquist sister’s parents died in the lake in what the police called a murder/suicide. The sisters, then aged ten, eight and sixteen months, were raised by their maternal grandparents at the fishing lodge.
  3. Their parents’ deaths leave scars on each of the sisters. Harper is left with feelings of abandonment. Scarlet feels guilty, somehow responsible for their deaths. Maggie never knew her parents. Everything she knows about them came from someone else’s remembrances. She feels cheated.
  4. The Hainstock brothers come from a dysfunctional family. Their father was an alcoholic and their mother an enabler. Their childhoods were chaotic, and both of them, especially Cameron, have vowed that they won’t do that to their own children.
  5. Luke and Maggie have a history – They first fell in love when Maggie was fourteen and Luke eighteen. But too many years, and too many secrets have put a wedge between them that’s going to be difficult to overcome.

Jana Richards

She can’t live with one more lie. He can’t tell the truth.

Harper Lindquist is convinced she’s found the answer to her financial prayers. Unless she pours cash into crumbling Solace Lake Lodge, she’ll lose her family’s legacy. Her would-be savior arrives in the middle of a Minnesota blizzard and she’s determined to prove to her reluctant, and trapped, financier the lodge is a sound investment. But Harper isn’t completely honest with him. And she has no idea the lake is hiding secrets of its own.

Ethan James is a liar, but his money is very real. He isn’t convinced a broken-down inn is a smart investment opportunity. But the more he understands Harper’s dreams and desires, the more he wants to be the man to make them come true. The trauma in both their pasts means neither can fully trust the other. They must find the courage to love, to trust, and to accept, or yesterday’s sorrows will keep them apart.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079TDDSY4

UK:https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079TDDSY4

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079TDDSY4

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079TDDSY4


Jana Richards

No matter how deeply buried, secrets rise to the surface.

Scarlett Lindquist has agreed to help her sisters rebuild the dilapidated fishing lodge in Minnesota they inherited from their grandparents. Although the lengthy restoration is bringing the three sisters closer together, Scarlett’s support is temporary. Her leave of absence from her job in Chicago is temporary and she has no intention of staying at Solace Lake Lodge, where the lake holds dark secrets. When frightening childhood memories resurface, they are tempered by her fascination with an irritating contractor. If only she could trust her feelings for him. If only he could trust her.

Cameron Hainstock meets Scarlett at his brother’s wedding to her sister and their attraction is instantaneous. But Cam avoids the beautiful marketing executive. All his efforts are aimed at battling for custody of his only child. When the unimaginable happens and Cam faces the biggest challenge of his life, he’s reluctant to accept help to halt his downward spiral. Can they learn to trust each other and fight for a future together or will they go their separate ways?

US: http://www.amzn.com/B079WGSNWD

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WGSNWD

CA: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WGSNWD

AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079WGSNWD

Jana Richards

The truth could destroy them. Or set them free.

Maggie Lindquist left Solace Lake determined never to return. Circumstances have pulled her back and she’s helping to restore her family’s dilapidated fishing lodge. When she agreed to the plan she didn’t expect to have to work side by side with the man who abandoned her ten years earlier. She didn’t expect to like him, or want him ever again. But can she trust him as she once did?

Luke Carlsson rushes home to tend to his ailing mother. Her lengthy illness means he needs to stay, at least temporarily. And to stay, he needs to work. Solace Lake Lodge offers him a job and an opportunity to work with the woman he’s never stopped loving. But the restoration is unleashing secrets hidden for decades and no one is left unscathed. Especially not Maggie and Luke, whose love needs to be resilient enough to forgive, and strong enough to build a future together.

US: http://www.amzn.com/B079WFZXV2

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B079WFZXV2

CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B079WFZXV2

Au: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B079WFZXV2

Congratulations again, Jana! Book One is next up on my ereader! I can’t wait to learn more about the Lindquist sisters and Solace Lake!

Dear Reader, do you love romances set in remote communities? Small Towns? or Resorts? I know I do!

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When Listening Is The Answer

“More than any inheritance, more than any sacred item, more than any title, the legacy he left behind is this: as one that day in the sundance circle when he lifted me from the depths, he taught us that during our time on earth we ought to love one another, and that when our hearts are broken, we ought to work hard to make them whole again.

This is at the centre of sacred ceremonies practised by Indigenous people. This is what so many of us seek, no matter where we begin life.

This is the reason you walk.”

The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew

writing

I’ve spent considerable mental energy the past couple of weeks trying to figure out how to deal with the fact that’s I’m white. That’s very strange thing for me to type out – I’m a white woman. When I think of all the words I would use to describe myself ‘white’ wouldn’t even hit the top ten. Quite possibly not the top twenty. I’m not sure it would occur to me at all.

I guess that’s a case in point for white privilege.

“an invisible package of unearned assets”   Peggy McIntosh

There has been considerable talk, especially in light of Black Lives Matter, asking others to listen to what needs to be said, no matter how hard it is to hear it. It reminds me of the time my son travelled to El Salvador in high school on what was essentially a mission trip. Not to build home or schools, but to spend time with the people of El Salvador in their homes to hear their stories of their country’s violent civil war and the impact it had on their lives.

Hard, harsh, cruel stories of death, loss, and violation from people who wanted their stories told and heard to than be retold and heard again by people who knew nothing of that kind of violence. Stories that were incredibly moving and very hard to read. That process also involved decompressing at the end of each day, because that kind of intense listening needs an outlet.

We cannot simply listen and listen and listen some more and at the end of the day be silent too.  But first we must hear what others have to say.

Or read what they have to say. Hence my book choice and reference to the quote above. I’ve wanted to read this book for a while now and finally picked it up as one of my summer reads. Then I thought maybe I’d wait for the fall to read it in favour of a more ‘beachy’ type read. The kind of books I write! Then people died. And more people died. And the call to action was listening to what people of colour have to say about systemic racism, inequality, and ignorance .

Reading The Reason You Walk by Wab Kinew is my response to that call to action. To read a book by a First Nations politician, broadcaster, musician and activist, who’s also an Honourary Witness for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. I will read his words.

Because we need to do more of what my son did in El Salvador right here at home. We need to listen, absorb the words, without prejudice. Without defence. Or defiance. The words of the people of this country who have stories of oppression, reconciliation and redemption to tell. Because we do better when we know better. But first we must listen. Read. Or both.

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Christmas Couple Time

Christmas couple time? God bless you if you can fit that in. As a romance writer you’d think I’d be better at ensuring my husband and I enjoy some quality couple time during the season of Christmas craziness. But let’s face it, things like movie date night turn into…

movie watching

A nap. I blame the sugar.

I hope it’s the little moments that count. Our annual trip to Tim Horton’s dressed in our pajamas (thank goodness for drive-thrus, cuz otherwise – awkward) for hot chocolate. We drive around looking for the best Christmas lights. Taking a few minutes to sneak some treats and cuddle in front of the Christmas tree. Fondue night.

I’m the planner. Because I don’t consider watching hockey with the fireplace on a date. On the upside, if I fall asleep I won’t miss anything. And naps are important. See above.

I mean I love the idea of building a fort with blankets and pillows and lights and having a picnic in there but all I can think about is who is going to put all that stuff away? Me. That’s who.

But if you’re looking ideas give these links a try!

My Name Is Snickerdoodle – Don’t Be A Grinch Family Night (Okay, not a date night but you could tweak it a bit. But picking a favourite family movie and turing it into a night sounds like a cute idea to me, in a make more work for yourself kind of way.)

The Dating Divas – Christmas Light Scavenger Hunt Date Night (This is a group date night idea which again I found cute! And they’re the Dating Divas. They should know what they’re talking about. And also not a lot of work involved. Invite another couple, or two. Print out the sheet and off you go.)

5 Amazing Things – 5 Amazing Date Night Ideas For Home (besides watching TV) (If you try the Vodka tasting night idea make sure to hide the elf, and not among the vodka bottles, before you start, because…there are a bunch of different kinds of vodka out there. Just saying…)

What’s your favourite way to enjoy some quality time together.

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Some Days…

All you need is love.

all you need is love

The Beatles.

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Happy Hump Day

It’s Wednesday. Even if I refused to believe it first thing this morning. I was sure it was Tuesday.

Good Will HuntingSo true!

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Baton Blog Hop

I’ve been invited to the Baton Blog Hop by JB Lynn, who writes laugh-out-loud suspense and mysteries, along with goosebump-raising thrillers. Sounds good, eh?  The extra great news is she usually has a contest running and now is no different so check out her Contest Page and enter to win!

Time to answer a few questions!

1) What am I working on?

I’m working on my second Aspen Lake novel. Life is small town Aspen Lake is heating up again, on the streets and between the sheets. Kate Logan, boutique owner, is fighting to get her life back on track. Seth Stone, starving artist and carpenter, is leaving reality behind to start again. But when a extremist religious group move to Aspen Lake and make it their mission to shut down the annual Gothic Revival Festival Kate is organizing, trouble brings them together.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I guess it differs because it’s my voice telling the story. Hopefully, what you’ll find is everyday men and women who don’t have all the answers and are looking to find their place in the world. Along the way they find their happily-ever-after. Also, Aspen Lake is a small town in the province of Saskatchewan, Canada. Not many of those around, LOL.

3) Why do I write what I do?

I write romantic suspense because that’s what I love to read. I love torturing my characters. I love strong male leads, and smart female heroines. But I also love a good villain. I not sure what that says about me…

4) How does your writing process work?

Gosh, it’s all over the place. I fit it in when I can, but I try to write everyday. Therefore, I write in chunks. My writing groups holds three or four writing challenges a year. I love those and writing long side and being inspired by writers I admire.

Passing the baton.

Meet Elizabeth Lang, who I have privilege of knowing! Elizabeth is a science fiction and fantasy writer and author of The Empire series. Lucky you, you can check out some free stories and other things here.

Happy Reading Everyone!

 

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My Favorite Viking

travisfimmel3

 

That’s it. That’s all I’ve got. A picture of Travis Fimmel.

I’m busy revising while the laundry pile grows and the dust gathers. Not sure what’s for supper as there’s precious little in the fridge. But I can’t stop. I’m on a roll.

Until next time.

 

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What Doesn’t Kill You…

If there is one quote that seems to be a favorite of many which I can’t relate to, its: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

I don’t know why this quote rubs me the wrong way because there’s some truth to it. I think it’s the fact that it’s voiced by people who are searching to give comfort when there simply isn’t any you can give. They fall back on the old tried and true. It’s become trite and over used.

I prefer this instead.

strengthI saw this on Pinterest and thought I’d share. Have I mentioned I’m addicted to Pinterest. Today for instance, I spent many happy minutes (way to many) gazing at North West Coast Native Indian art in the name of research. Somehow that led to pinning ideas for great office spaces which lead to reading quotes.

So, yeah…that’s how my Friday is going. How’s your day going? What is your least favorite quote?

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