This Sunday is Grey Cup. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the CFL (Canadian Football League), that means this weekend is the final game of the season. Now normally I don’t care about the sports. Sorry, not sorry. But my city is hosting this year, which means there are all kinds of events happening. None of which I’m attending, by the way. But it’s fun to absorb the atmosphere from enough degrees of separation.
However, Globe Theatre is back and this year’s first reproduction is paying homage to football in Saskatchewan.Yes, ’tis the season for theatre going. That I can get excited about. Last Sunday was our first time back and the Globe is putting on #34 by Munish Sharma which highlight’s the incredible, groundbreaking career of George Reed. Reed was a running back who played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders for 13 seasons from 1963 to 1975. So, if you’re here to watch the Grey Cup, you might like to buy a ticket to the show.
I found it interesting. I really loved the last fifteen minutes of the show. There was deeper level of depth there that I felt was maybe missing from the rest of the production. Although, that is probably because of my lack of interest in the game of football. I still found it very entertaining and I learned some things about the early days of the CFL and what life was like for the players. I came away with even more reasons to love George Reed, like his support of Special Olympics Saskatchewan.
Me and my Momma! Who knit the sweater she is wearing, which in my unbiased opinion is a piece of art!
Until next time…
What’s everyone else out and about doing? Or are you keeping close to home?
Sundays seem like a good time to talk about the books I’ve read! I don’t give ratings, or stars, or gold crowns. Just offering a few of my thoughts. This week I’m talking about Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin.
AYESHA SHAMSI has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.
Ayesha Shamsi has no time for a relationship, and even less interest in an arranged marriage. She’s busy adulting, putting aside her passion, and accepting a job that will allow her to repay her uncle and aunt for the financial and emotional support her family received since immigrating to Canada. Her younger cousin is on a different path. One slightly more self-absorbed and flightier. Ayesha is enlisted to encourage Hafsa to make a success of her latest career adventure. Hafsa is busy collecting marriage proposals. Enter ultra conservative Khalid, who becomes engaged to Hafsa, sort of…
I loved everything about this modern Pride and Prejudice retelling set in a Muslim community in Toronto. It’s full of interesting and complex characters who bring the setting to life. The main characters, Ayesha and Khalid have very differing views on arranged marriages and I wondered how the author would bring these two together. I knew very little of how arranged marriages look in contemporary times. But the book is full of relationships, both past and present, that give insight into all the different ways people find each other.
I felt an immediate connection to Ayesha, much like I did with Elizabeth Bennett. And Khalid was a challenge at the beginning, much like Mr. Darcy. So, it shouldn’t be surprising to say Khalid turned out to be one of my favourite romance heroes. But before that happened, I had to work through some perceived misconceptions of how I thought arranged marriages work and what the power dynamic looks like within an arranged marriage.
This book is full of humour and witty, charming dialogue. The plot is perfect. The writing is rich and generous and the author managed to make me laugh while also tugging on my heartstrings. Highly recommend!
When it comes to creating a character’s personal style it’s not only fun but necessary to use imagery to emphasize personality. Style is a very visual representation of a character’s personality. Just as a character’s style can change to enhance the advancement of their character arc. Like us humans out in the real world, characters have their good days and their bad ones, often in extremes. How they dress or put themselves together can help reflect their state of mind.
Besides the obvious fact of characters having to wear clothes and having those clothes be appropriate to the story and setting, there is something to be learned from costume designers who provide that imagery in movies and on television. There are incredible examples of costuming in television right now and I have a couple of absolute favourites.
Did anyone else binge watch Bridgerton on Netflix as soon as possible? It’s so lavish and decadent and the costuming is an incredible example of what it takes to build a swoon-worthy period drama for television. Lord have mercy, this show!
Bridgerton features approximately 7,500 costume pieces!
The Netflix series Bridgerton costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick, explained to Vogue that “each family and character tells a story through their clothes. Given the sheer number of people on camera, the Bridgerton costume department had to create elaborate outfits complete with headpieces and gloves. Quickly numbering in the thousands, the show had an entire warehouse dedicated to wardrobe and 238 people in the costume department.”
She also explained why we didn’t see bonnets and the linen dresses authentic to the time period and why the costumes are a contemporary nod to the regency era. I love the fresh approach, the diversity, and the entertaining and witty nod to women in positions of power in an era that worked hard to restrict the advancement of women.
My second favourite is The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. When is the next season of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel coming? We need you Midge!
It’s funny, it’s profane, the clothes in this show. Are. The. Best. And how can we not love Midge as she pursues her passion in spite of overwhelming odds.
“Why do women have to pretend to be something that they’re not? Why do we have to pretend to be stupid when we’re not stupid? Why do we have to pretend to be helpless when we’re not helpless? Why do we have to pretend to be sorry when we have nothing to be sorry about? Why do we have to pretend we’re not hungry when we’re hungry?” – Midge Maisel
Donna Zakowska, costumer designer for The Marvelous Mrs. Masiel who’s stunning way with colour says, “These sort of elements really assert the character’s personality. In a way, Midge is a character that never gives in, even if something terrible is going on. It’s always about putting your best foot forward and an optimism that runs in the character.”
I love Midge’s undaunted spirit and her need to speak her mind, to be heard, and stubborn when confronted with a world that means to keep her inside the box it designated for her. And her clothes tell that story. The colour she wears as she goes about her daily life and the black dresses and pearls she wears on stage when she performs her stream of consciousness comedy act. It is, indeed, marvelous.
“I take my cues from the characters and their surroundings as written in the play, as well as from the stylistic choices of the production. In the same way that an actor builds upon the framework of traits and actions of his or her character in the story, I read what the character does and says for clues about what they might wear. I also need to think about how best to reflect a character’s evolution through the development of the story. Sometimes the character is best served by creating contrast between how a character behaves and what he or she looks like.” Judith Bowden, Canadian Designer
It’s something to think about when creating characters and that it can be much more than adding in interesting bits and quirks. We need to think about style in terms of character development. We all know Eliza Doolittle undergoes a transformation in My Fair Lady. Usually a character’s evolution is not that obvious in terms of wardrobe. Nor is usually as lavish as in Bridgerton or as bold as in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. But using subtle changes can make an impact, too.
Do you love a certain TV character’s style? Have a favorite costume from a movie? Use wardrobe changes as a tool in your own writing?
If you’d like another month of summer, raise your hand. I know I would. For a couple of reasons. One: another month before September, and flu season, are once again upon us would be awesome, as COVID-19 continues to take a toll. Two: I’m not ready for summer to be over.
Our Saskie mermaid! She’s a strong swimmer and even though it’s an incredibly cute product I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who is not a strong swimmer and very comfortable in the water. I am not! Putting this tail on causes me all kinds of no-thank-you-I-prefer-not-to-drown-today.
A Saskatchewan summer usually means hot, dry weather and our province averages the most sunshine of any Canadian province or territory. Which is a good thing because I’m fuelled by sunshine. I don’t mind the odd rainy day, but otherwise I’m solar powered. Much like the summer cereal crops we grow here. Or the pulse crops. Or the oilseeds.
What I’m reading:
SOMETHING ABOUT YOU
FATE HAS THROWN TWO SWORN ENEMIES…
Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends in bloodshed. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and nearly ruining his career…
…INTO EACH OTHER’S ARMS
Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke: the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension…
I’ve been exploring new romance authors in July and August and I’m really enjoying Julie James. Someone To Love is an older book. You can read a sample here. Generally, these cutesy covers send me running in the other direction. But I took a chance on this book because of the blurb. It appealed to my suspense loving nature, and I’m enjoying that part of the book although it’s definitely lighter on the suspense and heavier on the romance.
Until next time…
Is anyone else enjoying the heck out of the August? Or are you a Autumn person? Let me know what you’re reading?
I’m a day late because Wednesday was Canada Day, which means Wednesday I thought it was Friday and Thursday I thought it was Monday. Now I have no idea what the actual day is. Welcome to summer!
Back to Canada Day. All I have to say about the 1st of July is I’ve yet to appreciate the whole and very complicated history of my beloved country. I’m listening and learning and reading and I like to think I’m more knowledgable today then I was yesterday.
I live, work, and love on traditional lands referred to as Treaty 4 Territory, which is the traditional lands of the Cree, Ojibwe (OJIB-WE), Saulteaux (SO-TO), Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and on the homeland of the Metis Nation.
The first day of July was a beautiful summer day. The perfect kind. With sunshine and birdsong and dips in the pool. There was also food. There’s always food. My husband smoked ribs and I made a rhubarb/strawberry/nectarine galette. It all turned out mighty fine.
The only thing missing was ice cream, which I forgot to buy, but we did have whipped cream and that was delicious too. Also, I may have baked it too long as I wasn’t sure how to tell if it was done and the last thing I wanted was to dig in and find a soggy crust at the bottom. But I’ve learned baking takes practice and that practice makes better. Just like writing.
One of my favourite recipe books for desserts is All The Sweet Things by Rene Kohlman who is a Saskatoon chef and food blogger. She’s busy working on a vegetable cookbook. Follow her blog or on Instagram as Sweet Sugar Bean.
12 Canadian First Nations Recipes: an across the country sample of recipes from First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people. The list was put together by Sharon Bond-Hogg and it makes me think I need to take a trip to Kelowna, British Columbia and the Kekuli Cafe! If you’re in the area this summer make sure and check it out.
Until next time…
Have a favourite summer dessert recipe? I’d love it if you’d share!
I grew up in a small town. Or, to be exact, on a farm outside a small town. And I’m talking small. Not city small. But with a population that numbered in the hundreds. Like under five hundred, if you counted dogs and cats. And I couldn’t wait to leave. I’m a city girl at heart. It’s where I feel the most comfortable and relaxed. But that doesn’t mean I don’t love small towns or appreciate the people who live in them. Because, I do!
As a writer, I think the fascinating thing about small towns is the sense they are small and big at the same time. Small because they take up less geographical space and have far fewer inhabitants than their urban counterparts. Big because that small space hosts people with the same big hopes and dreams as city dwellers. And they go about creating opportunity without the resources a more urban centre provides.
Creating a fictional town gave me the opportunity to explore the romantic notion of small towns with their famous unlocked door policy and their famed resilience. In my fictional town of Aspen Lake, everyone is looking to make a fair living wage, to fit in, and to protect those they love. A rural setting is also an opportunity to delve into the less than ideal aspects of living in a fishbowl. Because no place is exempt from struggle. There is no prefect paradise. No one’s life is devoid of conflict.
I hope in Aspen Lake you’ll find both the ideal and the unsavoury. Big city violence invades the quiet steadfastness of Aspen Lake in Backlash. Exposed has more of a snake in the garden vibe. And Gone is all about secrets.
Until next time…
What are some of your favourite fictional small town settings?
FYI: the following maybe too much information, but here I go, anyway. I can’t think when I’m in my pyjamas. I know some writers spend the day in their sleep clothes and are productive and go about slaying the universe, fictionally speaking, of course. But, me? Not so much. I put my pyjamas on when I go to bed, or possibly at some point during the evening, like if I’ve worked out and I need to shed my sweaty workout gear.
Right now I’m sitting at my desk, in front of my computer, in my pyjamas. And it just feels…wrong.
It might be that I need new pyjamas, but, I think for me, day clothes signal productivity. Although lately, some days I’m not exactly setting fire to my to-do list, even when wearing my day clothes. I blame winter!
I’ve read all the lists on how to ease a winter malaise. I know I’m supposed to eat healthier, exercise, take Vitamin D. And those things work! But the cold winter still makes me want to hibernate in a pile blankets with a good book. Luckily, there is an endless number of good books out there to choose from.
I’m eagerly awaiting the release date of GONE, Aspen Lake Series, Book 3!
I’m open to suggestions on how to survive the rest of the winter! Or your opinion on pyjamas! Comment below on some of the ways you battle the winter blues, or any kind of blues, to be entered to win a $25 Amazon gift card.
Until next time…
No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn. ~ Hal Borland
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.
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.
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.
Welcome and happy to see you here! It’s so much fun getting to know other authors and having a look-see into their books or what they’re working on next. Make sure and check out the other great offerings or continue on down the list @ The Weekend Writing Warriors.
I’m happy to share another 8 sentences from my romantic suspense, OFF THE GRID.
Caleb let her go but took her hand. Her nails short, her fingers long, they curled around his. He brought her knuckles to his lips.
“You’re going to dream of me. Nothing sweet. Those dreams are going to make you toss and turn.” His other hand brushed her cheek. “There’s heat between us and making excuses not to feel it isn’t going to satisfy either of us.”
A committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary and claiming the baby’s father is one of the city’s most influential businessmen. Sophie is in over her head and thankful when aid shows up in the form of an attorney who’s a little too confident and a lot too sexy.
Family Law expert Caleb Quinn just wants a date, a chance to prove he isn’t the elitist jerk Sophie assumes. Helping deliver a baby is not what he has in mind. But before long protecting a traumatized teenager and her son become his first priority. Even if saving them pits him against the baby’s father, a childhood friend. A man who will do anything to keep his dark side private.
But justice never comes cheap. Will doing the right thing cost Sophie and Caleb their reputations? Or their lives?
Another Sunday, another eight lines to share. This weekend it’s all about attraction and that first tumble into love.
From my new romantic suspense, OFF THE GRID.
A committed doctor to Vancouver’s inner city, nothing fazes Sophie Monroe—until a pregnant teenager shows up at her clinic on Christmas Eve requesting sanctuary.
No soft music played. The dim lighting was courtesy of an unlit dingy hallway. The smell of antiseptic and desperation laced the air. It didn’t matter. Sophie wanted to meet his challenge. She didn’t want to dodge. Or object. She wanted to kiss the hell out of Caleb Quinn.