My Summer Reading List

Yesterday on Instagram I shared a summer reading list I compiled of books I want to read. Hopefully I’ll get to more than a few of the books on my lists this summer. My Instagram list, however, is comprised of books I have yet to purchase. I have a stack of books I ready own that I need to read first.

Summer to me means books! Lots and lots of books and reading. My goals are always ambitious. But that’s what goals are for, right? To push one’s self.

I’m currently reading The Romance Writer’s Guide To Life by Sharon Pywell. I’m enjoying this one even though I prepared myself for some serious stereotyping of romance readers. That hasn’t happened so far. But I’m still kind of holding my breath.

Summer Reading List: Books I Already Own:

  • The Break by Katherena Vermette. A finalist in Canada Reads and a recommendation from a trusted source.
  • Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel of Letters by Mark Dunn. This one sounds really intriguing and given to me by another trusted source. I love it when that happens!
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena. I’ve had this one for awhile now and I think I’m scared to start it. Here’s hoping the sunny days and summer heat make me less shy about this one.

Summer Reading List: Books I Have Yet To Purchase:

I hope you check out a few of the books and links listed. Most of these authors are new to me and I’ve picked these books for a reason. Not only do I feel like they will make my summer a better one than it’s already promising to be, but I’m hoping to get some insight to where I want to go from here with my own writing. As I rap up my fourth romantic suspense story, I more and more wonder if the romance genre is the right place for me. I will always love romance, but more and more I find it doesn’t fit my writing needs. The more I learn about my process and my strengths and weaknesses, the more I want to write women’s fiction. But more on this in the months to come.

I want to hear what’s on your summer reading list?

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Memorable (To Me) Mothers in Fiction

I love being a Mother! But I’ll be honest, lots of days I fail at the job of mothering. Being a mother is hard. There have been many times I’ve wished I was in possession of a psychology degree or was, at the very least, was a mindreader. There are so many fierce, wonderful mothers out there that have provided me with inspiration. My own Momma included. I love her to the moon and back.

Me and My Momma

I’m thinking of my favourite books and who the mother characters were or weren’t in those stories. Although, in most of these stories the protagonist is often motherless. Take Anne Shirley, from Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter. And of course, Disney is in love with the storyline of motherless children and animals.

Mothers Are Like Buttons

The lack of mothers, the search for mothers, the importance of mothers is an far-reaching theme in books, movies, art, etc. Everyone, regardless of their origins, needs the warm, loving, protecting embrace of a mother.

In my own writing, for instance, motherhood is often a theme. In BACKLASH (Aspen Lake Series, Book 1), Constable Chase Porter and young Jason McCarran are both motherless and victims of abusive fathers. In EXPOSED (Aspen Lakes Series Book 2), recovering alcoholic Kate Logan’s own mother passed away when she was a teenager. In Gone (Aspen Lake Series Book 3 Work-In-Progress) Grace Bighill’s mother disappeared when she was 12. In OFF THE GRID (The Downtown Eastside Series) Sophie Monroe feels responsible for her older sister, Marnie, and is more of a mother to her than their own mother. Another character, Kellie Andrews, a young woman alone and afraid about to give birth.

Mothers in Fiction

Other books come to mind when I think of various mothers defending their family, their property, or their life. And other books depicting mothers who struggle or fail to give their children what they need. And women who adopt the role of mothering. Mothering isn’t necessarily a main theme of all of them, but these books all included mothers I’ve never forgotten or women who survived neglectful relationships with their own mothers or women who had no mother’s at all. I’ve listed a few of them in the order that I read them.

  1. Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
  2. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
  3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  4. The Pearl That Broke It’s Shell by Nadia Hashimi
  5. Room by Emma Donaghue
  6. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  7. We Were The Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates

Mothers in Fiction

I’m beyond thankful for my own mother who’s wonderful at mothering. I’m thankful for books who tell the stories of mothers and mothering. What are some of your favourite fictional mothers?

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Reading Improves Your Mental Health

“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.”  Joyce Carol Oates

May 1st to 7th is Mental Health Week here in Canada, not sure that holds for the rest of the world but it doesn’t really matter. Mental health is a subject for all 52 weeks of the year anywhere on the planet. I’m only just realizing how important a well rounded self-care regimen really is to one’s continued mental wellbeing. And seeing as my mental health isn’t always within the optimal range you could be fair to say I’m a slow learner. Good thing it’s never too late to start taking care of yourself.

Three websites listing MANY resources for those who are suffering or who know someone that is:

I wish I could list links for the planet, but hopefully the links above give you an idea of what information and resources you can search out in your own country or region.

But most importantly: Ask for help or seek advice from a professional – give your mental health the attention it needs and deserves.

I can say from personal experience, you won’t regret it. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy gave me important tools to manage my symptoms of depression and anxiety. But in reality it’s of benefit to everyone as we all have to deal with life’s challenges, stresses, and demands. Learn how to manage negative thinking or inaccurate thoughts. Learn the difference between positive thinking and realistic thinking. Make your mental health a priority!

We all need and deserve breaks. But we can’t all jump on a plane or boat and spend a month in Bora Bora. There are numerous ways to relieve stress that won’t put you in the poor house.

One of my favourite ways to relieve stress? Reading. Of course, reading has many benefits, but it’s also a way to reset and recharge. Six minutes of reading can reduce your stress levels by 68%. In the last few months I’ve taken to reading print books again, after having all but given them up. It was a craving really, a desire to hold a print book in my hands. There’s a term for this – slow reading. I guess it’s no surprise that I’m back to reading print (I haven’t given up ebooks!) as I’ve embraced a more mindful life style. Science has proven slow reading reduces stress, increases your ability to concentrate, and improves your sleep.

I’ve just started a wonderful (so far) book: The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware! Good thing because this month promises to be a busy one.

When travel journalist Lo Blacklock is invited on a boutique luxury cruise around the Norwegian fjords, it seems like a dream career opportunity.

But the trip takes a nightmarish turn when she wakes in the middle of the night to hear a body being thrown overboard – only to discover that no-one has been reported missing from the boat.

How do you stop a killer, when no-one believes they exist?

Funny how reading about murder allows me to relax! What do you do to relieve stress? And please, offer book recommendations! I’m always in need of a great book to read.

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Be A Grinder!

I’m not the most coordinated person on the planet. I’m also not the strongest or the fleetest of foot. But I’m learning that doesn’t matter much in the grand scheme of getting healthy. I’m also realizing that my exercise self can learn a little something from my writing self. Determination and the desire to improve are everything.

Karyn Good Blog

I’m a grinder.

Merriam Webster’s definition of a grinder: athlete who succeeds through hard work and determination rather than exceptional skill.

I’m not sure about the athlete part, but as someone who started at the bottom of the fitness rung, I’ve definitely made progress during my five month strength and fitness training journey. Heck, as a person who hadn’t done a squat or a lunge (never mind a plank, because WHAT!) in literally decades, I’ve come a LONG way. I’ve learned being slow, methodical and clumsy doesn’t matter. By showing up and doing the work, even when I’d REALLY rather not, my physical strength is returning and my mental health is improving. I’m increasing my flexibility, balance, endurance, and coordination. So, win!

My writing is following the same path at the moment. The words aren’t flowing and the path forward is often foggy. But I’m determined to get this project done so I will sit my butt in my chair and I will work through my roadblocks. I will grind away until I get where I want to go.

But back to exercising! Here are a couple of things I use for inspiration and motivation.

Harder To Kill Podcast by Steph Gaudreau. Steph is also the force behind Stupid Easy Paleo which focusses on nutrition, fitness, and mindset. Steph’s philosophies also jive with the things I’m learning from my personal trainer (Yes! I have one of the those and more on that in another post).

Nerd Fitness Blog. An excellent resource.

Run, Selfie, Repeat – Kelly Roberts. Kelly is on a mission to help others become the strongest version of themselves. She’s honest and open and lots of fun. She also just ran the London Marathon (it didn’t go well) and got a selfie with Prince Harry.

You gotta be who you are. Own your starting point. Set a goal. And grind away at it until it’s met.

Are you, like me, a grinder?

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Learning New Things! And a Giveaway!

*************THE WINNER is Lorrie!******************

A reminder that from now until the 28th of October I’m hosting a giveaway! Sign up for my newsletter and be entered to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo, Barnes and Noble. The winner will be announced on October 29th!

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I promise not to overwhelm your inbox! You’ll receive cover reveals, release date announcements and be eligible for member only giveaways.

Learning New Things

I’m also fooling around with Canva and trying my hand at designing some of my own marketing graphics. It’s a relatively straightforward process, but still involves a learning curve and takes some practicing. I love taking photos, thus my love of Instagram, so I have a fairly sizeable supply of images. Although Canva has some very easy to follow tutorials, I went searching tips and tricks.

20 Tips & Tricks For Making Awesome Canva Graphics

25 Epic Graphic Design Tips for Non-Designers

Canva: An Easy How To Guide

I’m not sure what happened with the formatting above. WordPress sometimes stymies me. I wish I was a whiz at this kind of thing but I’m not, but I do like playing around. Often to the point of using it as a distraction. Like bullet journalling which I love but am trying to develop a system for using.

Bullet Journaling

Who knew I would develop and deep and abiding love of stickers at this age! And then there’s my addiction to washi tape. And markers. The good news is I’m no longer surrounded by bits of paper and sticky notes. My desk is neater and tidier than it’s ever been. Hallelujah!

Here’s to learning new things! What are you learning these days? What are you thinking about attempting?

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Giveaway and September Wrap Up!

Giveaway Announcement

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From October 11th until October 28th, 2016, sign up to receive my newsletter and be entered for a chance to win a $25.00 gift certificate to one of the following: Amazon, Kobo or Barnes and Noble. Winner announced on October 29, 2016!

Choose the Newsletter tab at the top or the Subscribe to Karyn’s mailing list option on the sidebar!

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Signing up means receiving news of future books, cover reveals, deals, contests and giveaways!

Top Three Images of September

www.karyngood.com

My revamped office!

I’m back in my revamped office after a two month writing break! It feels great to be back writing in a space that inspires me.

Queen City Marathon #yqr

That time I walked 20.1 km.

On September 11th I walked a half marathon and checked a major item off my Life Goal List.

Prairie Inukshuk

The Inukshuk we found on our Sunday drive.Top Book I Read

I don’t know about you, but for me fall Sunday’s are meant for drives in the country and discovering hidden gems.

Top Book I Read!

I read one book in September which is very unusual for me. Thank goodness I really enjoyed the one I finished. Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase is our October book pick. If you’re interested, you can even try a sample of either the book version or audio version at Eve Chase’s website!

writing

Writing Life

Now that I’m back in my office and in a neat and organized space, I need to get back into a regular writing schedule. I do better with schedules.

How about you? Do you like the freedom of winging it? Or are you most productive when adhering to a schedule? Or do you enjoy a little of both?

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Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, on Sale for 99 Cents!

EXPOSED, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series, is on sale for 99 cents (in the US and about $1.30 in Canada)!

Exposed, Book 2 Aspen Lake Series

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.

* AMAZON * KOBO * BARNES AND NOBLE * THE WILD ROSE PRESS * iBOOKS * ALL ROMANCE eBOOKS *

EXCERPT:

His eyes flashed. Kate didn’t imagine it. Didn’t think either. She simply reacted, leaning in with the certainty he’d meet her halfway. Instead, he withdrew a fraction of an inch. Not far but undoubtedly a retreat.

Oh, God.

“I…” Kate closed her eyes in horror. Or denial. But no, it was happening. She knew this because she opened her eyes and he was still there. Close enough to smell the sweat of humiliation pooling out of her pores. He was staring at her in ear shattering silence. With nowhere to go, she stood up. Wiped her hands down the side of her skirt.

Pull it together, Kate.

She refused to gasp out an apology like a fish. “I shouldn’t have done that. I crossed a line. I’m sorry.”

“Kate.” He got to his feet. “It’s not that I don’t want to—”

“No need to explain.” Please, do not explain. “It won’t happen again.” So, so, so not happening again. “I promise.”

Why was he moving in closer? He smoothed a knuckle over her cheek. Her skin tingled in response, proving humiliation didn’t kill desire. It was merely trampled and ready to rear its ugly head again. Then he shoved his hands in his pockets. “It’s not that I don’t want to kiss you. I’m just not in a position to right now.”

“You’re involved with someone.” Relief washed through her. It wasn’t that she was a horrible person. He had a good reason. One she could live with. “I understand.”

He shook his head. “I moved here with the intention of concentrating on my art. I can’t afford to get involved with anyone right now. No matter how beautiful or appealing. You don’t seem like the sex and forget it type. And that’s all I have in me right now.”

Wasn’t that the story of her life? Men wanting to have sex with her but not interested in getting to know the real her? All they saw was the face.

She knew how to deal with men like that. She froze them out. “Well, thank you for being honest with me.”

Really, it was for the best. Did she want him to get to know the neurotic, insecure woman she’d become in the last six years? Did she want this beautiful man to see the real her? She should back away. Put more than two feet of distance between them.

“Tell me I’m wrong.” His Adam’s apple bobbed. “Then ask me to stay and I will.”

“No, you’re not wrong.” Kate looked away. Too tempted by far to risk being carefree enough to sleep with him. To kiss him goodbye afterwards. To work with him the next day like nothing had happened. Wished she didn’t believe in consequences. Or guilt.

“I should go.” He ran a hand over the stumble forming along his jawline before retrieving his shirt. At the door, with his back to her, he said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
She nodded, but he didn’t see it. He was out the door. His boot treads fading as he jogged down the stairs.

Then silence.

The kind that stretched to fill the four corners of a room. A quiet that left little doubt you were utterly and completely alone.

Exposed Postcard Kate Logan v2 (1)

I loved writing these characters, their story! I hope you enjoy it too!

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Summer Reading and A Chance To Win Prizes!

It’s a party! And a chance to win prizes!

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The Romance Reviews Sizzling Summer Reads Party!

Check out the games for chances to win prizes like gift cards and book giveaways! The Grand Prize is a $100 Amazon gift card! Log in at The Romance Reviews to play along.

Exposed by Karyn Good

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.

Here’s a sample of my summer to-be-read pile!

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What books are you looking forward to reading this summer?

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Spring Projects In The Good House

Here we are and it’s almost June! This spring seemed to be our month for projects and some spring cleaning. I’m guessing it’s the same for lots of people who usher in spring this time of year and have projects in need of doing after a long winter.

And it’s true that physical activity promotes brainstorming, even if I’m not aware it’s happening in tandem with carrying out my other responsibilities. I’m happy to say I’ve had a few ah-ha moments this spring. Little bits I can’t wait to incorporate into my work-in-progress. I love revising! It’s one of my favourite parts of writing – adding in the layers and little details. And the satisfaction of tying all the plot threads together. Sometimes you have to get out of your own head to make that happen. And although I feel like I haven’t gotten much actual writing done lately, I’ve done a lot of thinking.

It’s also raised some important questions about my next writing project. I have an idea in mind for my next endeavour but whether that will be a romantic suspense or suspense with romantic elements is a surprising question I’ve found myself asking. Which has led to thoughts about branding and how I want to move forward.

It’s also helped me figure out which direction my Downtown Eastside series will take. In the beginning I had planned on three separate stories (because trilogies are my favourite) with three separate sets of heroes and heroines. But it’s really Sophie and Caleb’s story. If When I proceed, the next two books will continue with the intended plot lines and new secondary characters but the lead roles will be played by Off The Grid’s hero and heroine. I love those two and I’m not ready to be done with them and I don’t think they’re done with the story. Each story will continue to be a standalone book although the theme of the story will continue through to the next book.

The best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. —Agatha Christie

It might be the dishes, which I don’t do by the way, or it might be something else. She who cooks does not clean around here. And I do most of the cooking. But here’s a bit more on the major and no-so-major projects happening around the Good household. Projects that very much needed to be done!

Culling and decluttering of closet!

Closet Reorganiztion

Also, new his and her hangers. Colour coding makes me happy.

New Hangers

Culling and decluttering of garage. Much bigger job! Not quite finished by it’s more than on it’s way to being done.

Before:

Garage Makeover

After:

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Finally, the rest of the old fence has been replaced with new PVC fencing.

Fence Complete

And lastly spring planting has begun and the flowerbeds are filling with colour! Fingers crossed the plants actually survive. While I love flowers, I do not have a green thumb!

Spring Flowers

There were a couple of painting projects we hired the professionals to do. More on that later. Maybe. Unless you’re bored senseless!

What are some seasonal projects you’ve tackled lately?

 

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Books, Mothers, and Memories

I remember trips to the library to pick out books with my kids. Me pulling them along in our wagon. Loading up on books and coming home to read. Cuddling up and turning the pages. Maybe we’d read the story before, or maybe it was a new to us story. Those times are among my fondest memories. I still remember their favourites: Something Out Of Nothing by Phoebe Gilman, Have You Seen Birds by Barbara Reid, Arthur books, Franklin books, Berenstain Bears books. Matthew and The Midnight Pirates by Allen Morgan and Michael Martchenko. Okay, maybe that was one of my favourites. And every time I read Love You Forever by Robert Munsch I tried not to cry.

“Goodnight stars,

Goodnight air,

Goodnight noises everywhere.”

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

I remember going to the library with my mom, who is also an avid reader. Our small town had a cozy little library but it seemed huge to me. And full of possibilities. I’m so very glad she introduced me to the idea of a room filled with books for the borrowing. Thank you, Mom!

Another memory. We lived in a farmhouse on a mixed cattle/grain operation. In the winter, we kids often ended up downstairs playing games or watching television. My mom stayed upstairs. You could usually find her sitting over a heat register on the floor reading a book. That was her escape time. Because we moms need those.

The Gift of Reading

My sister takes the Adorables to the library. And when she comes to visit it’s one of the first places my mom takes her. Bedtime means story time or reading time depending on the age and ability of the child. I hope that’s one of things my kids will remember when they get older. All those trips to library. All the books. The words. The pictures. The love that went into reading them. The time spent.

Some of you might enjoy this article: The Simple Practices to Nurture the Motivation to Read. Whether you’re reading to your kids, your siblings’ kids, the neighbour kids or your grandkids. Maybe you volunteer at a shelter, a community centre, or a library.

Book Recommendation

I’m wrapping up reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, which is our May book club pick. And what a fantastic read it is! If you find yourself in need of some respite, this is the book for you! An engaging delight for the senses in the form of a captivating story with intriguing characters.

Reading

Marie Laure lives with her father in Paris within walking distance of the Museum of Natural History where he works as the master of the locks. When she is six, she goes blind, and her father builds her a model of their neighborhood, every house, every manhole, so she can memorize it with her fingers and navigate the real streets with her feet and cane. When the Germans occupy Paris in June of 1940, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure’s agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall.

In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, grows up with his younger sister, Jutta, both enchanted by a crude radio Werner finds. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent that wins him a place at an elite and brutal military academy and, ultimately, makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure’s.

There are many things about this novel that are wonderful. That make reading it an experience to be savoured. One of the small things that I took away from it is the importance of creativity. Of books, of music, of art. And how those things can soothe, even for a moment, a tortured soul.

Happy Mother’s Day on Sunday. What’s a treasured book memory of yours?

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