Five Summer Reading Tips

Night Owl Reviews wants to help you out! They are giving away a Waterproof Kindle Paperwhite (USA Only) and 119 $5.00 Amazon Gift Cards (Worldwide) in a Summer Fun Reader Scavenger Hunt.

We’re all busy. I think it’s likely safe to say we’re all stressed about something, too. But, if you’re like me, you have a pile of books waiting to help you relax. And we all know, at least we bookworms know, that summer is the best time for reading! Or that reading is a great way to leave life behind anytime of the year. But for those of us living in the northern hemisphere June is all about summer. Therefore, summer reading!

My summer reading list:

Five Tips To Tackle Any TBR Pile

Tip number one is to listen to more audiobooks! Fun fact: June is also audiobook month! My favourite place to listen to them is in the car, but I’ll also listen to them while doing some mindless chore, too. For some reason, fantasy and non-fiction are my go-tos with audiobooks. Confession: romance is harder because – sex scenes. I just can’t with the sex scenes in audio. In ebooks or paperbacks – heck yeah! But definitely check out how to access audiobooks from your local library, and here is Techradar’s Best Audiobook Sites for 2019. I’m currently listening to: The Candle and The Flame by Nafiza Azad.

Tip number two is to set a summer reading challenge. Or set a goal. Find a friend to read along with you. One summer our writing group read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. We all wanted to read a classic and it was fun to read along with others! So easy these days to set up a private Facebook group where everyone can chime in or you could get together every week to weigh in with your thoughts. Set up a group text. Then set some goals, like read this many chapters by this date, and away you go. Again, your library might have summer reading challenges to join.

Tip number three is a suggestion to sign up for Litsy! Book lovers unite on this social media platform. It’s like Instagram, only for readers. And with no advertising or promoting allowed. Great for book recommendations and for connecting with other readers. I also found a pen pal group. We’re called the #poutinepenpals. Because we’re Canadian, eh. This is also a way of keeping track of your reading. Disclaimer: there are some serious book lovers to be found there. As in some post monthly stats! And those stats are super impressive. Never thought I’d consider myself a slacker when it came to reading! Also, there are a lot of fun challenges to take part in, too.

Tip number four is to own your reading preferences! There’s nothing wrong with liking a certain type of book and sticking to that type of book. And don’t continue with a book if you don’t like it. That’s why the library is a great place to get books. You can quit a book and not feel guilty or pressured to continue to read it because you paid for it. Also, the library likely has some summer fun of it’s own happening and a good place to check out summer activities for you or any kids you might have in tow. Because we certainly want reading to be part of any child’s or teen’s summer activities. Let’s all be on our phones a little less and have our noses in a book a little more.

Tip number five is to branch out if you’re in a rut. Try something different. Again, the library is a great place to head to if you’ve lost your enthusiasm for reading. Ask for recommendations from friends. Or check out book review sites. Listen to a book podcast. Did you know that Reese Witherspoon has a book club called Hello Sunshine? Check out Modern Mrs. Darcy, who’s always ready with a book recommendation.

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading? Right this very minute? Or hoping to read this summer?

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Creating Secondary Characters

In every book I write there is a secondary character who’s tried to take over the story. In OFF THE GRID it was Sophie’s sister. I could have written a whole series based around Marnie’s character as a Finder in the infamous Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. In BACKLASH it was Jason, Lily’s student, a teenage boy who was targeted by gang members. In EXPOSED, Sunni, the mistress of Kate’s father, Bill Logan, drew me in and she could have had her own story, too. Ian Connelly in GONE stole my heart from the beginning with his silence and his gruffness.

They are essential in helping tell the story of the protagonists by either supporting or resisting them. They are a great way to drop hints, reveal information the reader needs to know but the protagonist might not, and to foreshadow events. They also represent the state of the world being created in the story. They have essential knowledge of the inner workings of your world, be it contemporary, paranormal, or historical. They have secrets, their own lives, and their own motivations but remain in the background. They are the stalwart mentor, the quirky best friend, the loyal confident, the cynical co-worker, or the jealous family member.  

If you’re a Harry Potter fan and I mention Dolores Umbridge, her snickering laugh and pink outfits will instantly come to mind and make you shudder. Large Marge in Kristin Hannah’s The Great Alone is a strong, resilient big-city transplant who represents the landscape of Alaska and what is needed to survive there. Often in romance, secondary characters are way to introduce the protagonists of the next book in the trilogy or series. They are a way to carry the theme or premise of the series to the next book and give us a delicious insight to what will happen next.

And, ultimately, they exist to help keep us entertained!

Until next time…

Who are some of your favourite secondary characters?

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Fictional Small Towns

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?

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Creative Morning Brain

Apparently, the best time to be creative is immediately after waking. The best time to edit and proof your efforts comes later in the day, after your brain has let all those creative juices flow and is warmed up, so to speak. Or so science says.

My brain hasn’t gotten the memo. I’m not one of those people who have inspiration hit in the shower, nor does it spark with the first bits of toast. My mind has already started making a list of every single thing I need to get done that day. And every item on that list is seemingly more important than making time for my creative process to emerge. To combat that I make sure I get up early enough to read a couple of pages in a book or of the paper while I wait for my tea to steep. I have breakfast, get dressed, and settle into my office chair. Then I look to inspiration to strike. As I’m usually checking Facebook or Instagram, this rarely happens immediately.

But I’m trying to spend less time on social media and more time fostering creativity. Doodling is one of my favourite things. And watercolours are my new favourite medium despite having a lot to learn. Doodling and playing with colour helps settle my mind. Then I generally take care of marketing and promotion duties. I write for an hour. Then I write again in the afternoon. So, the opposite of what science suggests.

Maybe on of these days I’ll actually get around to listening to Robin Sharma’s The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning, Elevate Your Life that is waiting patiently in my Audible to-be-read pile. But that day is not today.

Until the next time…

When do you fit in time to be creative? Or to read? Or do something that settles your mind or feeds your soul?

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Robin Hood: Tell Me Your Favourite Movie Version

Robin Hood is one of my favourite folk heroes. Who could resist stories of an outlaw that steals from the rich and gives to the poor? Displaced, cast out, with a price on his head, the idea of Robin Hood, a rebel for the ages, has infinite appeal. At least, for me!

But I love myths and legends. King Arthur, Templar Knights! Tell me all your medieval favourites. I used to read a lot of medieval romances, Julie Garwood, Johanna Lindsay, Jude Deveraux. Writers with “J” names are very good at this, it seems. Castles, ladies of the keep, witches, knights, villainous villains, swords and poisonings. Oh my gosh, those books have the best bad guys!

Back to the movies and which were my favourite versions and which one was a huge disappointment.

We rented the newest Robin Hood version on the weekend. I was excited! I love Jamie Foxx! I wanted it to be good. It was not. It was terrible. Mine boggling terrible. The costumes were ridiculous. The plot holes were large enough to drive a team of horses through. At one point, my husband asked if we were actually going to finish watching it. We did, but once was enough. More than enough.

I’m not a huge Russell Crowe fan, but I love him as Robin Hood. Sigh. Almost as much as I love Cate Blanchett as Lady Mariann. I love that they are mature characters, in both temperament and age. There’s also a great cast of secondary characters. And I love that the legend begins when the movie ends. This is my favourite version, so far. It’s one of those movies I watch when I’m in need of comfort. It hits all my buttons. Every time.

Followed ever so closely by Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves. Despite his abysmal attempt at an accent, Kevin Costner’s Robin Hood will forever have a place in my heart. But ahead of him, is Alan Rickman’s Sheriff Of Nottingham and Morgan Freeman’s Azeem. This is another version I could watch over and over again.

My love of the legend probably began with this movie version that I saw in the theatre as a young girl in 1973. It might have been the first movie that I remember seeing in the theatre. I was enchanted by the legend, the characters, and the music.

Until next time…

If there are other versions of the Robin Hood story that you’ve loved, let me know. I’d love to check them out!

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No Such Thing As a Guilty Pleasure!

It doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. It can just be pleasurable.

There should be no guilt attached to the things we choose to enjoy. I don’t know about you, but I need things like books and cupcakes and new shoes to balance groceries, laundry, work, and worrying about my kids. We’ve had more extreme cold warnings this winter then I can remember and the coldest temperatures in 80 years. Our daughter-in-law brought over cinnamon buns last weekend. I ate two. I’m not sorry. I enjoyed every delicious bite.

Also, books! Reading is a pleasure for me, as it is for a lot of people. We should be allowed to read anything we wish. We shouldn’t have to apologize for our reading choices. We shouldn’t be made to feel like we have to publicly reject the books we enjoy in private. The literary police can take a hike.

Books should be accessible, and in most instances they are. They are found in libraries, schools, bookstores, online, and a variety of other places. We can read paper books or ebooks. We can listen to audiobooks. We can stick to one type of book or enjoy a variety of stories. We can read memoirs or cookbooks, or DIY manuals. Newspapers. Periodicals. Magazines. But what we want to read must be available to us. The offerings must be there so we can pick and choose. No one has the right to restrict the access of books to others.

My Top Five Guilt-Free Pleasures!

  • Colouring my hair. Because I love my blonde hair.
  • My 80s playlist. Including but not limited to REO Speedwagon, Quiet Riot, Chicago, Laura Branigan, and .38 Special.
  • Watching Forged in Fire. Because modern-day blacksmiths making knives and swords is awesome.
  • Shoes. Do I really need to explain this one…
  • Keenau Reeves. Because Speed is the best movie ever made.

February 24th to March 2nd is Freedom to Read Week in Canada.

Until next time…

What little things make you happy?

“What we don’t need in the midst of struggle is shame for being human.” ~ Brene Brown

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Jana Richards’ New Small Town Contemporary Romance!

It’s Friday and you’re asking yourself: “What should I read this weekend?” If you like small town, contemporary romance, then I’ve have just the book for you! And if, like me, second chance romances are you’re absolute favourite, then this is the book for you! If you like tales of forbidden love, family conflict, and babies, then same! Bonus – you get a chance to enter Jana’s giveaway!

Five Things You Need to Know About the Masonville Series

  1. This small-town series is set in the fictional town of Masonville, North Dakota. I’ve given the town a population of 6,000 because I once lived in a town of that size. It’s big enough to have a lot of services, like a hospital and vet clinic, but small enough that everyone knows your business!
  2. In each of the books, the characters have a past trauma or unhappiness they must work through before they can be whole again. And before they can accept love into their lives.
  3. Right now I have four books planned for the series. Several of heroes and/or heroines in each book work in the town’s veterinary clinic. Two of the heroines and one hero are brother and sisters from the Saunders family.
  4. This is the fourth romance series I’ve written. I think I’m getting the hang of this thing! Each book in the series will be a stand-alone story, but as with every series, I think the reading experience is enhanced when read in order.
  5. I am currently at work on book 2 of the series, Garrett and Blair’s story. Garrett is Lauren’s brother, the heroine from CHILD OF MINE, book 1, and Blair works at the vet clinic with Cole, the hero from book 1. See? It all fits together!  

Lauren didn’t intend to sleep with her brother-in-law Cole on the day of her husband’s funeral. But now that she is pregnant, she’s not sorry. Cole’s given her a baby, a long-wished-for miracle. He’s been her friend forever, though she never told him or anyone else how unhappy her marriage to his cheating brother was. And she’s afraid to tell the small town that considered her husband a hero that the baby isn’t his.

Cole’s been in love with Lauren since he was sixteen. It kills him that everyone believes the baby is his dead brother’s. All he wants is to claim the baby, and Lauren, as his own. Though she marries him, will Lauren’s heart ever be his?

Lauren must tell the truth or risk losing Cole. Is her newly-discovered love for him greater than her fear of scandal in her hometown?

Amazon * B&N * iBoooks

You can find Jana Richards on Goodreads! Twitter! Facebook! Bookbub!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also have a giveaway happening, so if you want another chance at a $25 Amazon gift card visit HERE!

Until next time…

What’s you’re plan for the weekend?

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Battling The Winter Blues and a Giveaway!

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!

frosty mornings and toasty mugs
www.karyngood.com

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.

Comment to win $25 gift card. Closes February 27, 2019.

Until next time…

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips it’s turn. ~ Hal Borland

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Valentine’s Day Approaches!

I don’t know if it’s the brutality cold weather or the general malaise brought on by February, but I’m not exactly feeling inspired to make a big deal about Valentine’s Day this year.

Is it okay to want to stay home, drink tea, eat macarons, and play Scrabble? Of course it is! And it’s quality time together. Although, I don’t know if the person I’m married to is all that excited about word games. Then again, he married me. So, there’s that…

But all things being equal, it means I should figure out what he’d really like to do for Valentine’s Day. Something or some act that would really convey my feelings and to show I know what’s important to him. I’m kind of scared to try and figure it out because his idea of together time might involve watching sports. Ugh. To me, that is the worst kind of torture.

Apparently, someone wrote a book on how to deepen the connections in your relationships. (Okay, I’m sure there are several books out there on the subject of relationships.) I haven’t read The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman, but the idea of discovering my love language is intriguing. Here’s an entertaining summary I found on YouTube, that might be of interest.

If you’re interested in learning what your love language is or discovering what your partner’s love language is go HERE.

If you think that sounds like a bunch of hooey, here’s a couple of links instead!

Romance novels to check out in 2019!

Rom-coms in 2019!

Also, next week I’ll be announcing another contest! And next Wednesday my newsletter goes out and there’ll be a contest there, too!

Until then…

What’s your take on Valentine’s Day? Take it or leave it?

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Winner and My Friday Read

****** Trisha Rose ******

You’re the winner! Please contact me with your email address, and if you want an Amazon or a Kobo GC, and I’ll send that out to you!

So, January is over. Thank goodness! It’s the first day of February, it’s Friday, and, of course, I’m reading a book! I have to say, I’m really enjoying this one. Time slip novels are fast becoming a favourite!

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

Vermont, 1950. There’s a place for the girls whom no one wants-—the troublemakers, the illegitimate, the too-smart-for-their-own-good. It’s called Idlewild Hall. And in the small town where it’s located, there are rumors that the boarding school is haunted. Four roommates bond over their whispered fears, their budding friendship blossoming—until one of them mysteriously disappears…

Vermont, 2014. As much as she’s tried, journalist Fiona Sheridan cannot stop revisiting the events surrounding her older sister’s death. Twenty years ago, her body was found lying in the overgrown fields near the ruins of Idlewild Hall. And though her sister’s boyfriend was tried and convicted of murder, Fiona can’t shake the suspicion that something was never right about the case.

When Fiona discovers that Idlewild Hall is being restored by an anonymous benefactor, she decides to write a story about it. But a shocking discovery during the renovations will link the loss of her sister to secrets that were meant to stay hidden in the past—and a voice that won’t be silenced…

Until next time…

What’s everyone else reading these days?

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