My 2016 Word Of The Year

One Word To Guide Me!

Discipline

Discipline! My Word For 2016.

This is a photo of Peggy’s Point Lighthouse, Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia which we visited in the summer of 2014. It literally sits atop rock. As in granite. I have no idea how it hasn’t been washed away. One of the most recognizable lighthouses in the world, it’s now operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. The original lighthouse was built in 1868. The keeper lit a kerosene oil lamp at sundown every night shining a red beacon on the eastern entrance to St. Margaret’s Bay.

One Word To Keep Me On Track!

Discipline! I didn’t have to think very hard to come up with my word for 2016. Organization was my 2015 word and I actually felt I achieved some measure of success. Choosing discipline seemed a good way to compliment the work I’ve already been doing. Unlike last year’s word, this year’s choice of discipline is geared towards my writing life. As in setting aside specific times to write and guarding and enforcing it. Working at keeping the distractions to a minimum. And in the end, upping my production.

One Word To Bring It All Together!

That’s a lot pressure to place on a single word. But I find it easier to keep one word front and center, rather than a list of resolutions. Compounded by the fact I’ve never succeeded at keeping one past New Year’s resolution. Ever. And it gives me leeway to set monthly goals and revise ones that aren’t working.

And In The Darkness…Wait! What?

Never mind that. Hopefully at the end of 2016 I’ll have finished one book and written another. All with the help of one ten letter word.

Do you pick a word of the year? One that describes what you want to achieve in the upcoming year?

2015 – Photo Diary Style

2015 In Photos

I took a lot of photos in 2015. If there’s one thing I love almost as much as writing and reading, it’s taking photos. I love trying to capture a feeling, a moment, a bit of the story. Photographic evidence it really happened. Proof you’ve been there, done that. The need inside of me to want to look back and remember. By no means am I professional photographer. I have no tips or tricks for you, but taking a photography course is on my Wish List. So maybe…some day. Soon.

2015 – Life Was Good To Us!

2015 was a huge year in the Good household. We travelled, we came together, we celebrated. All of it. Milestones. Challenges. Rough terrain. Smooth sailing. We kept old traditions, started new ones. We cried, thrived, and lived it. 

Here goes!

25 years of wedded bliss facing whatever came our way together, as a team.

25th Wedding Anniversary

Were we really that young?

We drove all the way from Saskatchewan, Canada to Oceanside, California! That’s a total of 2,832 kilometres, or 1,759 miles. Give or take. And I’d do it again!

Oceanside, California

Toes in the Sand. Oceanside, California

21 years old! How did that happen? Now he’s legal everywhere! I’ll bury my head in the sand about that whole business.

21st Birthday

Look out! He’s 21! Legal everywhere!

Our Hundred Mile Dinner. A new summer tradition? I hope so. Don’t ask to pass the salt and pepper, there won’t be any on this table. Only things found on the prairies. Except for the wine. Because, you know…there has to be wine.

Hundred Mile Dinner

Hundred Mile Dinner. Summer. 2015

Last year we drove to the Maritimes and this year we hiked all the way to Tofino, British Columbia on Vancouver Island. From Canadian coast to Canadian coast. We’ve put our toes in both the Atlantic and Pacific.

Tofino, Vancouver Island. 2015

Tofino, Vancouver Island

I celebrated my 50th birthday in Tofino! In a little cabin by the sea. Oh yeah, it had a hot tub and was walking distance to great seafood.

Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island, 2015

Crystal Cove, Tofino, Vancouver Island

She turned 19! Legal in Saskatchewan. Good thing she could care less, because God help us…

19 years old!

Oh geez, she’s 19!

And I published a book. EXPOSED is Book #2 of my Aspen Lake Series! What started out as a NaNoWri project in 2009 released in September.

Exposed, Book #2 Aspen Lake Series by Karyn Good

Exposed, Book #2 Aspen Lake Series

There you have it! My 2015 in review photo style. Go ahead and share a favourite memory of yours! Are you a shutterbug? Like taking pictures?

My Top Five Books of 2015

 My Top Five List

The last days of December always lend themselves to reflection. Everyone’s posting what topped their lists in 2016. My top five is books, of course! I read a lot of new-to-me authors and interesting books this year because of free book offerings and book sale sites. A lot. I have to say I enjoyed quite a few of them, but I wanted to keep this list manageable. These five stood out!

12 Rose Street by Gail Bowen (A Joanne Kilbourn Mystery #15) 

This is no cozy mystery and Joanne Kilbourn is not your warm and fuzzy type of heroine. Not that there’s anything wrong with cozy or fuzzy when it comes to characters and books. But Joanne Kilbourn is a strong female lead who isn’t afraid to make decisions and take action. LOVE. I also loved how Bowen crafted a story about an inner city area and made it about the greed and avarice of the wealthy. And, of course, politics. Well written, well plotted – well done!

12 rose street

Cold In The Shadows by Toni Anderson (Cold Justice Series Book 5)

Anderson’s Cold Justice Series was new to me this year and it all started with a free book, the first one in the series. But Cold In The Shadows, number five, is my favourite of the series. Again, love her characters, who are strong, intelligent and driven. It’s short on angst and the over-the-top emotional introspection which seems to be very popular these days. You get the sense Anderson knows her stuff and has done her research.

cold in the shadows

Deep by Kylie Scott (Stage Dive Series Book 4)

How I adore this series! Which is strange because I’m not usually a fan of New Adult or rockstar romances. But Scott’s got a great voice and a wicked sense of humour. And once again, it’s full of strong, independent female characters, who aren’t perfect and make questionable choices, but they’re smart, honest, and real. There are depth to the characters and each one is unique. This series is fresh, smart, and appealing.

deep

Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

These two! I loved the banter between these two guys and the internal dialogue which was just the right kind of not-too-over-the-top. Again, not a New Adult fan, but here I am picking another one. In fact, I don’t read sports stories either. But hello…the writing! And it’s super sexy and super sweet with no alpha males in sight.

The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

Read this one for book club. I’ve read a lot of good books for book club. While I enjoy literary works of fiction they don’t comfort or intrigue or whisk me away like genre fiction. But I do love it when an author presents you with a story that makes you question what you would have done in the characters place. Makes you question how noble you really are?

the husband's secret

There you have it! My top five picks for 2015. I’m sure many great books will find their way into my to-be-read pile in 2016. What was you favourite book(s) of the year?

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.

Shades of Red

Today’s photo challenge theme is RED.

 

In the house of words was a table of colors. They offered themselves in great fountains and each poet took the color he needed: lemon yellow or sun yellow, ocean blue or smoke blue, crimson red, blood red, wine red.  Eduardo Galeano

 

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Red is said to be the first color perceived by man. Are black and white colors? I never remember. It means stop. In Russian the word for red means ‘beautiful’. Is the most common color found on national flags. It can signify love and passion, also hatred and passion.

What’s your favourite something red?

Holiday Movie Favourites

It’s Holiday Movie Time!

If you’re into the holidays you probably have a favourite holiday movie. And goodness gravy are there ever a lot of them out there. I swear they’ve been on since the middle of November. Hallmark has a whole trove of them. They’ve been redone, reworked, re-everything. I have to confess I don’t watch many of them. I also don’t start watching any of them until mid-December. But I have my favourites!

My Top Five Six Seven Favourite Holiday Movies!

  • Love Actually
  • The Holiday
  • Elf
  • A Charlie Brown Christmas
  • The Santa Clause
  • Die Hard
  • Muppet Christmas Carol

Christmas doesn’t usually dissolve into chaos like National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Thankfully, we’ve never left anyone Home Alone. We’ve never had to deal with Gremlins. And we’ve never been the stressed out parents in Jingle All The Way. So, I guess I can safely say real life is nothing like the movies! Thank goodness.

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I cuddle under a blanket, sip hot chocolate, and nibble on gingerbread while laughing at Colin Firth learning Spanish, swooning over Hugh Grant as Prime Minister, heart breaking for Liam Neeson. Emma Thompson is one of my favourite actors. And what’s a holiday movie without porn star stand-ins. It’s got it all. Love’s delightful twists and turns. And that airport scene? And the reunions of real people? Sigh.

What are some of your favourite holiday movies?

December Has Arrived!

December Is Upon Us!

With the first day of December comes the first day of Advent. The first day of Elf on the Shelf. There’s only a few flakes of snow on the ground and the temperature is on the plus side. Life is pretty sweet!

I don’t really have a plan to conquer the madness of December, but I do have a gift giving and baking list on the go. I’m also trying to keep my calendar up to date. And, as always, I’m determined not to let the idea of holiday perfection rule my days.

There are many things I love about December. The holidays, of course. The first snow fall. Using the fireplace. Drinking hot chocolate. Reading books while cuddled under a blanket. Sweaters. Boots. Holiday music. Holiday movies! And generally settling in for the long winter ahead.

There are a few ways I’ve simplified over the years. Less decorations. I used to think it wasn’t Christmas without a few somethings in every room. Less gifts. This year my husband’s side of the family decided to pick names. On my side of the family we decided to buy gifts for the kids only.

My Tips For A Guilt-Free December:

  • Decide which traditions still work and which ones to ditch and keep in the memory banks.
  • Find a way to give and/or volunteer.
  • It’s okay to say NO to an event, a gift exchange, baking exchange, dinner party, or whatever it is you do not have time for or do not want to attend.
  • Giving up the notion of buying the perfect gift. Put some thought into it, but don’t stress over being the one to buy THE gift.

My holiday mantra:  It’s supposed to be fun, it doesn’t have to be perfect.

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December Planning

I’m also doing a December photo challenge. Today’s theme is Your View Today. The above is mine.

What are your tips for organizing the month of December?

Who Doesn’t Love a Party!?!

TRR End of Year Party poster

The Romance Reviews YEAR END SPLASH!

With over 300 participating authors and publishers and therefore over 300 prizes up for grabs along with a Grand Prize of a Kindle Fire HD7, it’s one party you don’t want to miss!

Registration is free and easy! But necessary to play the games. Once you’re logged in you are good to go.

Did mention there would be games!

I’m happy to talking about my latest romantic suspense release, EXPOSED.

If Kate Logan wasn’t careful, Seth Stone could become another addiction. One that could break her heart. 

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.

The Party begins November 1st! Join us at The Romance Reviews and play along!

 

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?

What I’ve Been Reading…

No surprise I love reading. I’m somewhat of a varied reader. How’s that for vague? I wouldn’t say I read all over the place, because I do prefer certain types of stories over others.

  1. Happy endings. Please, please, please let it have a happy ending. I have read books for book club where only one person is left standing. I just…don’t even… want to go there. I recently had coffee with a rather new friend. We had a lovely time discussing many things including books. We’re both avid readers which made us instant friends who will never be at a loss for conversational topics. But I mentioned my love of happy endings and she looked at me in surprise, and said, “But not every story can end happyily.” To which I replied, “I know, and I don’t want to read those stories.” Which led to another discussion.

That’s it. That’s all I have. One requirement. Which, I think, still leaves a lot of open road. To that end, I’ve been reading.

a paris apartment

When April Vogt’s boss tells her about the discoveries in a cramped, decrepit apartment in the ninth arrondissement, the Sotheby’s continental furniture specialist does not hear the words dust or rats or shuttered for seventy years. She hears Paris. She hears escape.

Once in Paris, April quickly learns the apartment is not merely some rich hoarder’s repository. Beneath the dust and cobwebs and stale perfumed air is a goldmine and not because of the actual gold (or painted ostrich eggs or mounted rhinoceros horns or bronze bathtub). First, there’s a portrait by one of the masters of the Belle Époque. And there are letters and journals written by the woman in the painting, documents showing she was more than a renowned courtesan with enviable décolletage. Suddenly it’s no longer about the bureau plats and Louis-style armchairs that will fetch millions at auction. It’s about a life. Two lives, actually.

With the help of a salty Parisian solicitor and the courtesan’s private documents, April tries to uncover the secrets buried in the apartment. As she digs into one woman’s life, April can’t help but take a deeper look into her own. When two things she left bubbling back in the States begin to boil over, April starts to wonder if in this apartment or in this life, she’ll ever find what she’s looking for.

I liked it! Because hello Paris! An abandoned apartment. A hoarder. Of cool stuff. Expensive stuff! If you love antique furniture, you’ll love this book. I also adoring this contemporary/history story mix idea right now. One taking place in the present and one in the past. I loved reading about Paris too! So win!

They don’t play for the same team. Or do they?

Jamie Canning has never been able to figure out how he lost his closest friend. Four years ago, his tattooed, wise-cracking, rule-breaking roommate cut him off without an explanation. So what if things got a little weird on the last night of hockey camp the summer they were eighteen? It was just a little drunken foolishness. Nobody died.

Ryan Wesley’s biggest regret is coaxing his very straight friend into a bet that pushed the boundaries of their relationship. Now, with their college teams set to face off at the national championship, he’ll finally get a chance to apologize. But all it takes is one look at his longtime crush, and the ache is stronger than ever.

Jamie has waited a long time for answers, but walks away with only more questions—can one night of sex ruin a friendship? If not, how about six more weeks of it? When Wesley turns up to coach alongside Jamie for one more hot summer at camp, Jamie has a few things to discover about his old friend…and a big one to learn about himself.

Loved this book! Which surprised me because I’m generally not a fan of the New Adult genre. Or sports stories. I can’t remember what influenced me to read it. But oh my gosh! It was super sexy. And super sweet! No alpha males in sight. So double win. 

a cold dark placeJustice isn’t always black or white. 
Former CIA assassin Alex Parker works for The Gateway Project, a clandestine government organization hell-bent on taking out serial killers and pedophiles before they enter the justice system. Alex doesn’t enjoy killing, but he’s damn good at it. He’s good at dodging the law, too—until a beautiful rookie agent has him wondering what it might be like to get caught.
FBI Special Agent Mallory Rooney has spent years hunting the lowlife who abducted her identical twin sister eighteen years ago. Now, during an on-going serial killer investigation, Mallory begins to suspect there’s a vigilante operating outside the law. She has no choice but to take him down, because murder isn’t justice. Is it? 
Sometimes it’s cold and dark.
When Mallory starts asking questions, The Gateway Project management starts to sweat, and orders Alex to watch her. As soon as they meet, the two begin to fall in love. But the lies and betrayals that define Alex’s life threaten to destroy them both—especially when the man who stole her sister all those years ago makes Mallory his next target, and Alex must reveal his true identity to save the woman he loves.

The last couple of months I’ve been reading Toni Anderson’s Cold Justice series. I’ve really enjoyed these books! I’m on No.4! Smart, chilling, and very realistic. The characters are intelligent and respect each other. The plotting is awesome sauce! 

So, that’s what I’ve been reading. How about you? What has you turning the pages these days?