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

Blurb:

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

Excerpt:

“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.

Excerpt:

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.

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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.

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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.

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Next the veggies!

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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?

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

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

 

The Act May Seem Random, But Kindness Is Purposeful

It’s true, don’t you think?

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“Practice random acts of kindess and senseless acts of beauty.” Anne Herbert

Kindness is considered a virture. In that it is defined as being “helpfulness towards someone in need, not in return for anything, nor for the advantage of the helper himself, but for that of the person helped”. Or so Wikipedia insists. But I don’t think anyone would dispute it.

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” Lao Tzu

But when I got out of bed this morning my first thoughts weren’t how can I be randomly kind today. They ran more along the lines of the huge rash my daughter has, the dishes from the Father’s Day celebration held here yesterday that are still spread all over my kitchen. I remembered I had to pay the Weed Man. Make a doctor’s appointment. That I have a another appointment later on today. A meeting tonight.

And random acts of seneless beauty? What is that even? I thought I should be checking Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. And how I really needed to write a blog post. So people will notice me and like me and I’ll sell more books.

Me. Me. Me.

Good gravy, marketing is exhausting.

Sounds a tad whiny, doesn’t it?

It’s okay, you don’t lose points for agreeing. Then I saw something about kindness. A light bulb went on and I was all “Thank you, Universe. For providing.” I needed to work some kindness into my day. For others. And myself. Attitude adjustment time.

I scrolled through websites and Pinterest, in the name of research of course, and I came across what I thought was a gem of an idea from a 30 Day Kindess Challenge. It suggested you “Leave a funny note or a little bit of cash in your favourite library book.”

Isn’t that the sweetest idea? Perhaps not the cash bit. A little bit of cash would probably be considered a dollar or two. I’m from Canada, we don’t have one dollar bills anymore. We have one dollar coins we call loonies and two dollar coins we call toonies. I don’t think that would work, nor would the library police enjoy coins taped to the inside of their books. And call me cheap, but leaving a fiver or a ten seems a bit much. But a note? Or a quote? Or why this particular page is your favourite? Or if you like this book you should try this other book? Or just a scribble. I think that’s an awesome idea. You could slip a note in books you loan out. I could slip them in books I sell. In fact, I think I will.

Kindness doesn’t have to be complicated. (Unless your Miriam Toews and your novel is called A Complicated Kindness and the story has to have conflict and be, you know, complicated. AWESOME book by the way!) It just has to be heartfelt. It has to be about the other person. And maybe that’s what marketing myself should be about, with the focus being the reader. What helps them? What would make their day better? Make them smile? Feel engaged. Connected. Important.

In case you’re wondering where to begin you can go here: How to Practice Random Acts of Kindness.

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Taking Safety Seriously

I came across this article on Pinterest. You can check out the article here: Ten Self Defense Tips For Women. I’m not going to talk about all ten, and if you do check out the article there may be some points you agree with, some you may not. For example, I have a huge issue with No. 9. Some of you may not. That’s fine. But there is one I want to talk about.

So…let’s talk about No. 7, shall we.

7. ANSWER THE DOOR

Typically, we’ve been told, “If you’re home alone and someone knocks, don’t answer – they’ll go away.” Recent events, though, are showing that more and more, burglars are doing home invasions assuming that if no one answers, it’s safe to go in. Locally, we’ve been told by our police department to answer with a call for who it is, and let them know you’re on the phone or won’t be answering the door or other ways to let the person know you aren’t going to be opening the door. Never actually answer the door even for a service person you are expecting until you’ve been able to confirm that they are actually who they say they are.

Do not invite a predator in.

I have a little bit of personal experience with this one. One day the doorbell rang. I was a little slow to answer it. The door knob rattled but didn’t open because for once it was locked (which didn’t happen a lot). Weird, I thought. You have to know at this point that at the time I lived in a reasonably safe neighborhood of my city. I wasn’t thinking anything bad. I was just thinking strange. Possibly, I’d watched too much television. Because, hello, don’t criminals case a joint before they rob it. Make sure it’s empty? And who would rob our house. We had nothing worth stealing. This was in the days before huge televisions that weighed next to nothing, computers, cell phones, iPads, etc. We were young, had a young family; all our money went to food and shelter. We had one small 15 inch television.

And it was the middle of the day.

But I digress, so what did I do. I OPENED THE DOOR. Wide open without a ‘Who’s there?” or “Who is it?” And there stood a young man in a track suit over six feet tall, looking quite presentable, and clean cut if a little shocked. He eventually smiled when I looked him in the eye and said, “Hi there, can I help you?”

That’s me. Still not having a clue. Did I mention that I’m a very trusting person?

He fumbled around for something to say. And finally settled on, “I’m looking for Broad Street.”

So…Broad Street is a VERY major street in my city. And it’s nowhere near my house.

Now I’m starting to get suspicious. But I still explain to him where Broad Street is just in case he’s actually lost. I know! Polite to the bitter end. Which thankfully it wasn’t.

And he said, “Okay, thanks for your help.”

Because he was polite too. This is Canada after all. Those rumors are true.

I shut the door. They drove off. Yes, there were more men in the car outside. It’s okay to think what you’re thinking. I have more sense now.

By then I’m thinking maybe I should call the police. Because that was really, really weird and obviously he wasn’t looking for Broad Street and they were scouting out empty houses. The police took my call very seriously. They took down my information and checked to see if a car similar to my description had been stolen recently. Probably not a good idea to go about robbing houses with your own vehichle.

They called back not fifteen minutes later asking more specific questions and looking for more details because apparently they just drove further down the street and found a house where someone wasn’t home and broke in. A neighbor spotted them.

Now, I didn’t invite him in. But, if he’d have wanted to come in without an invitation, he could have pushed his way in. Easily.

And that was a humbling thought.

I like to think I’m more careful now. Better at keeping the door locked and asking who it is if they’re unexpected. But I did get a scolding in the grocery store the other day for leaving my purse unattended in my cart. By a well meaning guy who said I really shouldn’t walk away and leave my purse, wide open, for anyone to snoop through or steal.

I thanked him. What he said was true.

So…just remember, stay safe.

Monday, June 1st we’re hosting a Facebook Party (my first one): Romance: Past, Present and Future from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm MST.

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The Grand Prize is a $30 gift certificate. There will be prizes, trivia, games, snippets and lots of laughs. There’s a little bit of something for everyone, romance and some stories with romantic elements. Everything from historical (1940s), to contemporary, suspense, paranormal/urban fantasy, and science fiction. Join us!

Backlash PC 1

BACKLASH

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?

Available Now

Available Now

Do you have any safety tips you’d like to share?

My Efforts to Declutter My Office and My Life

Sexy Suspense

I’m this close to getting a release day for EXPOSED, the second book in my Aspen Lake series. I can’t wait. I love this story.

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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.

While that’s happeing, I’ve been on a mission to declutter my office. It’s working. Things are looking good in here. I even dusted. Threw more stuff out. I seem to need to do this in stages. I can’t do it in one big surge of elimination. It’s too traumatic. Especially with the amount of things I still have in here of which of my kids had a hand in creating. But as they grow older, and I grow more mindful of being in the moment, it’s easier to celebrate the people they are right now. Even if it means they are seperating from our nest and that makes me want to hang onto their childhood memories harder.

The other part has been deciding what works for me in terms of organizing my very day life. I tried desperately to use my iPhone to organize appointments and make lists. That doesn’t work for me. I need to use a paper and pen to do these things. Old school, I know. But something about writing it down versus typing it in helps me to remember.

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Important papers have been filed. Systems created to keep track of stuff. Now to remember to use them!

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But there’s still work to be done. I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret. In my basement are two GIANT bins of my kids’ art, schoolwork, and various projects. HUGE. I’m going to go out on a limb and say they don’t want to keep their math worksheets from elementary school. And most of this stuff is elementary school age. In high school at the end of the year, my son took all his papers out to the firepit and burned them in celebration of the year being over. Yeah, that’s my kid. My daughter’s high school story is a whole different book I’ll write someday.

But I found a blog post that address this in a simple, clear, reasonable way. How To Decide What School Papers to Keep from 365 Organize. It also doesn’t involve spending a lot of money.

Another little gem of advice I found –  Keep it if…It’s sentimental gold. “The more memorabilia you have, the less emotionally valuable each individual item becomes,” says Emily Wilska, an organization consultant in San Francisco. Instead of saving every card your beloved uncle ever sent, pick the one that captures his spirit best.

And the cutest decluttering advice: Toss: Yarn and string scraps in your yard. Bits of leftover twine and yarn are perfect liners for a bird’s nest or robin roost. Place these bird goodies on bushes in your yard as the weather begins to warm, and odds are that you’ll be keeping a feathered friend and her brood a bit toastier this season.

 

What are your decluttering tips? What is one of your favourite momentos?