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?



One Does Not Simply Read a Happy Ending…

One indulges in it. Like a soak in a hot bath. Or sipping a perfectly chilled glass of pinot grigio. It’s that first bite of chocolate, followed by the second, and the third. The wrap of a blanket on a chilly night. Likewise, a good book.


If you’re not savouring, you’re doing it wrong.

We know what that hot soak will do for our bodies. Hell, our psyche. Chances are we’ve tasted wine, felt the comfort of a blanket, and used chocolate to get over a hump or two. How those things taste and feel are no surprise.


Those long walks on the beach, or the trail, or the streets? The paths you’ve walked many times? And will continue to walk? Are enjoyed because we know where we’ll end up back home, safe and sound. The pleasure is found in how it makes us feel. The surprises we encounter along the way. The things we learn about the world around us and ouselves.

Somehow in the world of books we’ve gotten into the habit of trivializing happy endings. And happily-ever-after books? Scoffed at. Disparaged. And belitted. Many will not admit to enjoying them in their many forms. Yet book sales suggest that the opposite is true.

This happens for many reasons, I suppose. The most quoted is the lack of a surprise ending. But like that soak, or walk, or trip to the spa, it’s what we figure out about ourselves during the experience that counts. It’s the need for relief. Or sanctuary. It’s a pause in a busy life. A reset. A chance to forget about what needs doing on the morrow.

One type story is not superior to another. They are simply different.  And one should not be made to feel inferior because one prefers one over the other.

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway! And let me know you’re favourite thing about fall?

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Getting Ready to Release EXPOSED, A Small Town Romantic Suspense

I can’t believe I’m getting ready to release my third book. EXPOSED will be available on Friday, September 11th!

A small town romantic suspense and the second book in my Aspen Lake Series.

Find it at:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon * Kobo * Barnes and Noble * All Romance Ebooks * BookStrand

Kate Logan and Seth Stone. These two…

One of them likes shoes and one of them likes grunge rock. I’ll let you gues which is which.

But the real story isn’t their shoe or music perferences, it’s about deciding where to draw the line and then having to cross it.

isabeli fontana


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.

Enter to win one of two signed paperbacks at Goodreads!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Exposed by Karyn Good


by Karyn Good

Giveaway ends October 15, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

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My Romantic Suspense, Backlash, On Sale for 99 Cents!

BACKLASH, Book 1 in my Aspen Lake series, is on sale for 99 cents until September 3rd!

Available Now

Available Now

 At all the using places, including:

Amazon  .  Kobo .  Barnes and Noble  .  TWRP


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?

Backlash PC 2


“What can you tell me about the confrontation in the parking lot?” asked Chase.

Lily didn’t want to tell him anything. “Shouldn’t we wait for one of the officers before getting into that?”

“Right now, I’m it.”

“I don’t understand.” Her fingers tightened around her cup, and the resulting pop from the pressure filled the small space. She glanced back at the door, all confusion, and he knew she was hoping for some kind of intervention. For someone else to join them, anyone else. “What do you have to do with all this? Why are you back here?”

Stalling, he settled his arms on the tabletop. She didn’t trust him. He also got that he was the last person she’d want dropping back into her life. The file between them held some of her answers. The rest were buried so deep inside him, it made ignoring them all part of the routine.

He offered her an anemic look of confusion. “Here?”

“Yes. Here. In this room. In Aspen Lake. In the parking lot of my school.” She spread her hands out and motioned around her. “Here!” She averted her gaze and inhaled a deep breath before spotlighting him, apprehension darkening her eyes, deepening the blue color.

“My job.” To him, it was that simple.

“Your job?”

“I’ve been transferred to the Aspen Lake detachment.”

“You’re a cop?” Her look of skepticism said it all.

The air of disbelief pricked at his ego. He shifted in his chair. Like all the times in fifth grade when his teacher, Miss Carlisle, had asked him why he had no lunch. Had asked questions about his father.

“Is that so hard to believe?” He had worked his ass off to get where he was, and he was a damned good cop. The work he did with the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit, and his reputation, proved his dedication to his job. None of which she’d be aware of, or care about if she did. When he burnt a bridge, the only thing he left behind was ash.

“Yeah, kind of. But then, how would I know? You didn’t feel the need to let me in on all your plans. Remember.”

“So, we’re going to do that here? Now? Rehash the past?”

“You’re right. There’s absolutely no need. Feel free to skip ahead to the part about why you’re back now.”

“Among other things, I’m part of a collective task force targeting organized crime.”

“Which doesn’t explain why you’re back in Aspen Lake.”

“Doesn’t it.”

She crossed her arms. “You think we have organized crime in Aspen Lake?”

While it had never been his, he needed to remember this was her place, her town, and her sanctuary, as well as a police matter. He kept his response brief. “Yes.”

“And the attack this afternoon? You think it was gang related?”

“And you don’t?”

She didn’t react, didn’t deny, which told him a lot. He sighed. “We know gangs are recruiting in the area. One gang in particular is increasing its presence, the Prairie Brotherhood. They run the gamut from drugs to money laundering and everything in between.”

“What’s any of this got to do with Jason? He’s a thirteen-year-old child.”

“That would be the question of the hour. Because one of the men who attacked him this afternoon, the one with the web tattoo, is a prominent member of the Prairie Brotherhood.”

She frowned as she uncrossed her arms and leaned forward. “But that doesn’t make sense.”

“Why?” He asked, because he needed all the facts, all the information on Jason he was able to gather, and figured his best bet was sitting in front of him.

“Because it just doesn’t.”

“You’re going to have to be a little more specific.” “How would Jason even know this person?”

He tapped a finger on the file folder between them. “This person goes by the name Raphael Tessier. On the street he’s known as the Enforcer, that’s also his job description, by the way, and he’s the number three man for the Prairie Brotherhood.”

Her palms settled on the table, and her chest expanded with the long slow exaggerated breath she drew into her lungs. “But what could he want with Jason? I can’t imagine Jason knowing this Enforcer person.”

“Or how the Enforcer knows him?”

“No.” She shook her head. “No idea.”

“How well do you know Jason?”

“Well enough to know he’d never get mixed up in this kind of thing.”

“Then apparently you don’t know him as well as you think. The Prairie Brotherhood doesn’t send out Raphael Tessier to terrorize kids. He has foot soldiers for that. He comes out when there’s a very heavy score to settle. When all other options have failed. When only the most brutal tactics will do.”

Hard to believe her skin could get any paler, but it did. He squelched the wave of pity and braced his arms on the table, ready to push back his chair. He needed distance. She reached across the table and laid a restraining hand on his arm. Before he knew it, memories got the drop on him. Of their special spot, of fogged over windows, of fumbling fingers and stubborn buttons. He set his butt back down in the chair. He didn’t have a choice. Standing wasn’t an option.

“So, you think…” She paused, collected herself. “You think they’ll be back. Looking for him again. Don’t you?”

He glanced down at her hand, registered the burn of his skin underneath hers. A four second time delay occurred before he stabilized enough to reply. “That’s what we have to find out.”

Her eyes squeezed shut for a couple of seconds. Her fingernails cut into his arm. “All right, you say you know your stuff. Tell me how to help him. I can talk to him. I can help.”

He carefully and methodically removed her hand from his arm and placed it on the table. “You can let the police do their job.”

She blinked, and the faintest flush of pink painted her throat and cheeks. “I need to do—”

“No, you don’t.” He gritted his teeth as she tucked her hands into her lap.

Her chin went up. “I’m involved whether you like it or not, so let’s skip past all the crap and move on to what I can do to help him. Because the one thing I will not do is stand aside and leave him to be terrorized by these…these people.”

Damn right you will, he thought. “Let’s not pretty it up. These people? These people are killers, thieves, drug dealers, and pimps. The police will handle it. The police will keep him safe.” He knew what happened to the people caught in the Prairie Brotherhood’s headlights, and she was the very last person he wanted trapped there.

“No offense, but from everything you’ve said, it might not be enough.” A true teacher, she held up a hand as soon as he opened his mouth. “He is in my classroom five days a week. I can help keep him safe. You can concentrate on the bad guys and put every effort into finding them. I, on the other hand, will be concentrating on my student.” She let her hand drop, took aim and fired her parting shot. “He’s all alone. His father couldn’t care less. You, of all people, should be able to relate.”

He closed his eyes at the low blow. Then he moved, made his way around the corner of the table, and came to stand beside her chair. “Still collecting lost souls, Lily?”

Her top teeth snagged on her bottom lip, and heat swept under his skin. She pushed her chair back and stood. “I don’t need to justify my actions to you.”

“You will if those actions put you, or anyone else, in danger.”

“You seem pretty sure of yourself.” Her hands went to her hips. “That’s new.”

“I do what it takes to get the job done.” No matter what.

“And when the job’s done? When there’s nothing left for you here?”


Hope you enjoyed the excerpt and take a chance on the whole thing. And if you’ve already read Backlash – thank you! Book 2, EXPOSED, will be out on September 11th!

EXPOSED Is Available For Pre-Order!

EXPOSED, Book 2 in my Aspen Lake series, is available for pre-order! 

Coming on September 11th!

Coming on September 11th!

Find it at:

The Wild Rose Press

Amazon * Kobo * Barnes and Noble * All Romance Ebooks * BookStrand

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.


Kate Logan pushed aside the yellow crime scene tape. She didn’t waste time pondering her options. Not many to consider. Her fingers tightened over the shattered wood frame of her boutique’s backdoor. It was going to take divine intervention to make things right in time for the festival. She didn’t need the nasty splinter stabbing into her thumb as confirmation.

“Darn it.” Finger in mouth, the metallic taste of blood on her tongue, she navigated the destruction in search of the tissue box. Files, catalogues, and broken shelving units littered the floor. Her desk was a ruined mess. Hacked apart. By an axe.

An. Axe.

Nothing terrifying about that. She shuddered. So was the thought of paying to fix it all. With her bank account sitting next to zero and her line of credit tapped, repairing the break-in damage was an expense she didn’t need and couldn’t afford. Sure, she had insurance but collecting took time, hassle, and energy she didn’t have. Tissues found, she ripped one free and pressed it against her fingertip.

An axe.

Aspen Lake was a small prairie resort town, a treed oasis in the middle of farming country boasting three thousand year-round residents. During the tourist season, the numbers swelled due to the influx of cottage owners and seasonal campers. Break-ins happened, not frequently, but often enough. But this? This was extreme. And big news.

This was tasty enough to coax any small-towner out of his or her comfiest lazy-chair. They would come. The curious and well meaning. The gloaters. The haters. The ones certain she was a designer handbag short of a full closet. All with a varying degree of poor, poor, pitiful Kate plastered on their faces. Here’s hoping the gawkers were also spenders. So long as they walked out with a black plastic bag emblazoned with her string of pearls logo and the words Kate’s Closet what did she care? Respect wasn’t a purchase requirement.


Pre-order your copy today!

Exposed Postcard Kate Logan v2 (1)

Our Hundred Mile Dinner Party

When my sister, mom, and I get together, look out! Let the adventure begin. We planned a treasure hunt and weiner roast for my nephews (7 and 4) and a Hundred Mile Dinner party. Tuesday night we’ll be talking about the book the female portion of this zany group read called The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin! Later still we’ll be trying our hand at making stepping stones. And last night we watched Woman in Gold with Helen Mirren. Despite the torrential rainstorm the night they arrived, the weather has been lovely; not too hot, not too cold, but just right.

But I really wanted to share the scoop on our Hundred Mile Dinner party, which was a success. Not that we didn’t learn a thing or two for next time, which is good because my sister-in-law has proclaimed it is now tradition. And not that we didn’t cheat, just the tiniest little bit. Particulary when it came to the booze.

We did some planning of what we wanted to eat (and what people would eat). We had an age range of four to seventy-seven and we wanted everyone to enjoy the experience. There is no use going to all the effort if no one is going to eat it!

The idea of a Hundred Mile Dinner is to use only ingredients produced or grown within a 100 mile radius. These means no salt, pepper, or sugar, and only locally ground flour. No vinegar. No to a lot of other things as well. But now that I have a better idea of what we can buy locally I’ve got some excellent ideas for the next one.

First off, a trip downtown to the Regina’s Farmers Market on Saturday morning with my Mom, my sister, and the Adorables. Defnitely within a hundred mile radius.


We already had potatoes, two types of lettuce, basil, dill, carrots, and nastrusms from my mom’s garden! So, it was stops for beets, more carrots, tarragon, more dill, and feta cheese. Wine, of course! Tomatoes, cucumbers, and honey. I managed to get a few other things that weren’t on the list. Then it was off to Butcher Boy Meats for the fresh fryer chickens.


We bought four 3+ pound fryers (from one of the Hutterite colonies found around Regina) but only roasted three. The product that saved us was the Three Farmers Camelina Oil. It is bottled in Saskatoon, which is a little further a field than 100 miles, but still Saskatchewan. After a sprinkling of tarragon, the chickens turned out great.


Next the veggies!


We roasted the beets with some camelina oil and then drizzled them with honey and sprinkled on a bit of feta cheese.


The salad consisted on two types of lettuce, tomatoes, basil leaves, feta cheese and tossed with camelina oil.

IMG_1255We boiled the carrots and potatoes. We splashed the potatoes with some cream and dill. We added a dish of cucumbers and a side of feta cheese. That was one of our cheats as I’m sure the cheese people didn’t find the salt in their backyard.

IMG_1253Dining al fresco! Wine from Living Sky Winery. Another area we cheated a bit, okay a lot, was the drinks. We thoroughly enjoyed the bottle of Apple wine from Living Sky Winery but at $25 a bottle it was a risk to buy three or four bottles of a wine we’d never tried before. Turns out it was delicious, especially if you don’t like super dry wine, which I don’t. But we served beer and other wine, plus ice tea for the kids. And all of those drinks, whether produced in Saskatchewan or not, contained ingredients not found in Saskatchewan.

IMG_1248Even the center piece contained nastrusms, carrot leaves, and dill from my mom’s garden! We used folding tables and hauled out all the dining chairs from inside the house. Spread out some tablecloths and with a mishmash of plates and glasses we dined out under a twilight sky that turned into a night illuminated by a blue moon.

I think it was right up there in my top favourite meals. A beautiful evening, comfort food, family, and conversation. What is one of your favourite food experiences?

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!

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?

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…







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

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.


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.


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?


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

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