Meet Red – my latest source of inspiration

IMG_4575This is Red

I’ve been sharing my quiet mornings with Red the squirrel for the last four weeks. Our relationship was contentious at the beginning. He would chatter to me, clearly unhappy that I had invaded his territory of the back deck. Now, he’s still a bully to the other squirrels and chipmunk, chasing them away whenever they venture close, but he’s accepted me. I’m sure the crusts of my toast helped!!

I’ve had countless people ask me about what my inspiration for writing is. Where do I come up with the ideas, the stories, the characters. For me, ideas come from everywhere and my little squirrel is a perfect example. I set a goal for myself to get a first draft of my second Dragon book finished this month. (I failed miserably – the book is coming but not until later this fall.) But I did come up with a new character- Jezualah (JayZ for short). He’s a talking squirrel who provides help for the kids during their adventure in Dragon Land. (I’m still working on coming up with the perfect name for the new world they visit). The sequel to The Dragon Under the Mountain will be more fantasy, with more powers and world building, and a talking squirrel will fit right in.

Why No WWW Wednesday Today?

For two reasons – one, I’m profoundly disappointed by the book I just finished and don’t feel like writing about it yet. Maybe next week I’ll feel that it deserves a mention.

And two – it’s nearing the end of the summer and like the kids preparing to go back to school, I’m readying myself for a fall full of writing goals and deadlines. I’ll be revising my marketing plan (or lack of one), learning about Instagram and other networks to get myself and my books out there. More blog posts, and more about me and my writing rather than just me and my reading.

I’m ready to jump back into things. I’ve been working steadily this summer and I have a few good chapters of The Best Worst First Date to show for it, but writing with a cottage/house full of kids, not to mention friends and family is quite different than being alone in my writing cave all day.

IMG_4668But that’s not until next week. Right now, I’m enjoying my second tea of the day and watching the waves crash onto the beach. I’m also waiting for Red to come back and finish his crusts.

 

Wavy, Windy Day

DSC_0469DSC_0439 DSC_0521It was wild wind that greeted on the shores of Georgian Bay yesterday morning. The sound of the waves crashing against the shore is one of my favourite things at the cottage and Sunday was no exception. The whitecap were the largest I’ve ever seen here and as soon as I could, I took the kids and the boogie boards down to the water to try our version of surfing on the waves!

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WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…What I’m Reading…

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted what I’m reading! I had no idea it had been so long. But I’ve got lots to report on, so keep reading!! I know I will be!! 

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

Truly-Madly-Guilty-by-Liane-Moriarty

I loved Big Little Lies and My Husband’s Secret so much that I grabbed this one off the shelf as soon as it came out. At the drugstore, no less!  Unfortunately, it’s starting out a little slow, but I have hope things will pick up shortly.

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Read…

bloodline

Did the Star Wars thing again. As much as I loved the character of Rey in A Force Awakens, this book reminds me that the world of Star Wars already had a kick-ass female character in Princess Leia!

 

 

 

 

 

Aftermath-CoverAftermath wasn’t as good but I’m hopeful that the series might give some hints about where The Force Awakens is going.

 

 

 

 

 

 

cursed childI thought this deserved it’s own post. Get out what I thought about the new Harry Potter here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

creamAlice Clayton’s second in the Hudson Valley series is just as entertaining as the first. Both sweet and sexy, the only criticism I have is that at times there’s too much Natalie, the main character who has a personality as large as her chest measurements. Still, a fun read.

 

 

 

 

lady janeI didn’t know what to expect from this. I love historical romance and I’ve always been interested in the short and tragic reign of Jane Grey. Adding magic and an alternate reality to that story – well, why not?

I wish this is how Jane Grey’s story really turned out. And I loved the magical element. Verities and edians (humans who can transform into animals) instead of Catholics and Protestants made for a nice change as well. Kind Edward was a much more likable character than anything else I’ve read about him, Queen Mary was as bitchy as you’d imagine and Elizabeth was the perfect saviour of the realm. And Gifford Dudley was the perfect horse-husband as any girl would want.

Suspend your beliefs and forget what you’ve learned in history class. This is the history I want to read!

first comes loveI was once revered Emily Giffen as a chick-lit goddess. Something Borrowed was perfection, Something Blue, just as good. But then something happened and I fell out of love with her. Still good books but…I had been disappointed with the football book (can’t even remember the name) but when I came across her latest, I thought I’d give it a try.

It’s an okay read. But while I was reading, I found myself amazed at the similarities between First Comes Loves and my books! For example:

  • Coming Home – a tale of a complicated relationship between sisters and how they deal with loss
  • Absinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder – 2 main characters named Josie and Meredith
  • Unexpecting – the whole plot about a thirtysomething woman trying to have a baby with a friend

This is the blurb from First Comes Love

Growing up, Josie and Meredith Garland shared a loving, if sometimes contentious relationship. Josie was impulsive, spirited, and outgoing; Meredith hardworking, thoughtful, and reserved. When tragedy strikes their family, their different responses to the event splinter their delicate bond.
 
Fifteen years later, Josie and Meredith are in their late thirties, following very different paths. Josie, a first grade teacher, is single—and this close to swearing off dating for good. What she wants more than the right guy, however, is to become a mother—a feeling that is heightened when her ex-boyfriend’s daughter ends up in her class. Determined to have the future she’s always wanted, Josie decides to take matters into her own hands.

On the outside, Meredith is the model daughter with the perfect life. A successful attorney, she’s married to a wonderful man, and together they’re raising a beautiful four-year-old daughter. Yet lately, Meredith feels dissatisfied and restless, secretly wondering if she chose the life that was expected of her rather than the one she truly desired.
 
As the anniversary of their tragedy looms and painful secrets from the past begin to surface, Josie and Meredith must not only confront the issues that divide them, but also come to terms with their own choices. In their journey toward understanding and forgiveness, both sisters discover they need each other more than they knew . . . and that in the recipe for true happiness, love always comes first.
 
I’m sure it’s a coincidence but to have your plotlines and characters copied by a bestselling author is both disturbing and exhilarating! It’s like Emily Giffen read my books. And liked them!

If only she’d write a review…

What about you? Read any good books lately? I’ve got two more weeks at the cottage, so expect me to have another list next week! I’ve got the latest Philippa Gregory and Colleen Hoover books waiting for me!

 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -What I Thought

cursed childHarry Potter and the Cursed Child – A Review

It’s been over a month since I’ve posted a WWW Wednesday and while I’ll be back into that this week, I thought Harry deserved his own spot.

If you didn’t know, I’m a big fan of the Harry Potter series.

The Cursed Child was the first Harry Potter book since the Goblet of Fire that I haven’t gotten on the release day. I even pre-ordered Goblet because it came out only a week after my son was born and I didn’t think I’d be up to heading out to pick it up at the store. When Cursed Child came out on July 31, we were at the cottage, without an Indigo in sight. When we were in town on the Tuesday, I immediately checked Wal-Mart to buy  copy, but there was nothing. I had to wait two more days until I could find the book in a toy store. (Apologies to the people of Midland, but don’t you read books?!)

So what did I think? It took me a few days to read it only because we had friends with us for the weekend and S was playing in a baseball tournament. I couldn’t keep my nose in a book all weekend but I certainly tried. Cursed Child begins nineteen years after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry is married to Ginny Weasley with 3 children – James, Albus and Lily. The story concerns the relationship between Harry and Albus whio has turned into a sullen teenager resentful of his father’s notoriety.

I didn’t really like Albus’ character but I loved Scorpios Malfoy and the friendship between the boys. The story didn’t start out that strong, but got better and I loved how they incorporated so many elements and characters from the previous books. Dumbledore makes an appearance, Bane the centaur and even the evil Umbrage. The writers – Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne – came up with the story for the fans and I’m glad they did.

I found it easy to get used to how the book was written in play form, not as a book. It’s lacking much of the unnecessary description that plagued the fifth and sixth books, making it a tight and concise and letting your imagination create your own images of the characters.

I really enjoyed returning to the world of Harry Potter and visiting with my favourites. I hope the play comes to Toronto because I’ll be first in line to see it.

Only one spoiler – Hermoine Granger ends up as the Minister of Magic!

Have your read it? Are you planning to? Let me know what you think!

 

Top Ten Tuesday – All About Me!

topten

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Things About ME!

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in Top Ten Tuesday. It’s a cool meme but since I’ve been trying shift my blog’s focus from books to me-as-a-writer-of-books, I stopped posting my lists. But since this week theme is all about me, I thought it might be fun to do. Everyone likes to talk about themselves, don’t they? 😉

10 Fun Facts about Me

  1. I’m an author of four chick lit novels, 1 middle grade book and soon-to-be 19 adult romance novels. I write under a pen name that I won’t mention here since my kids are at an age where they or their friends might discover it and I’m not ready to discuss details of those books with them!
  2. The three writers which I would love to meet are Joss Whedon, Stephen King and Hugh Howey. Also, JJ Abrams, even though he’s more of a director/producer these days, and Simon Pegg, depending on how much I enjoy the new Star Trek
  3. I am a huge Star Wars fan.
  4. I coach baseball/softball
  5. meI have a tattoo. My sister, who went with me to get thr tattoo, was very upset because it didn’t really hurt when I got it done. I’m thinking about getting another one but not sure what to get
  6. I grew up on a farm. I can ride horses, stack hay bales and if I’m driving by another farm, I can pretty much tell what kind of animals by the smell of the manure.
  7. Things I could spend hours discussing – Star Wars, Harry Potter, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Lost. Can we say geek? 🙂
  8. I  created my own imprint to publish my books – Three Birds Press 
  9. Dragon_printSo technically I am also a publisher, as well as an author. I published my husbands’ book – Barrier Free Real Estate – Achieving Freedom at Home. Someday, I’d like to add Editor to the list of things I do
  10. I’m writing another kids’ book for my children. But now my daughter is a teen, she wants something YA. I told her I’d see what I can do!

 

What about you? Give me some Fun Facts about You!

 

What is Top Ten Tuesday?

“Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish in June 2010. This feature was created because we are particularly fond of lists here at The Broke and the Bookish. We’d love to share our lists with other bookish folks and would LOVE to see your top ten lists!
Each week we will post a new Top Ten list  that one of our bloggers here at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All we ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post and, if you want to, add your name to the Linky widget on that day’s posts (typically put up midnight EST on Tuesday) so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don’t have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It’s a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.”

Happiness Tag

imagesI want to post something but I don’t know what to post…so let’s see what kind of tags are out there.

I found this…

The Happiness Tag

Perfect.

Happiness-Facebook-Cover-45 – oops 8 -Things that make me Happy (in no particular order)

  1. Clean sheets. So cool and soft when you slide between them…add in an early bedtime and a good book and you’ve made my night. (That’s kind of sad, isn’t it?!)
  2. Laughing. Whether I’m laughing at my kids, a movie, a book or even myself, laughter always makes me happy
  3. Connecting with someone who has read one of my books. Reading their review, getting an email, a comment or face-to-face; the tangible proof that someone read my words is an amazing feeling
  4. A day to spend by myself. Doesn’t happen a lot. Always makes me happy
  5. Being reminded that there are lots of people out there who care about me
  6. Being barefoot
  7. And wine. Some days a glass of wine can make me very happy! 
  8. My friends and family. Somedays

5 – make that 10 – Songs that make me Happy

quotes-happiness7This was fun, and I stopped myself at 10. These songs remind me of people, or places, or the person I used to be and listening to all of them never fail to make me happy.

  1. Small Things (Blink-182) and Bad Touch (Bloodhound Gang) May 2000, on Bus 20138, travelling through Europe, with hubby and bunch of awesome Australians and a couple of cool Canucks. I made friends on that trip that I will have for a lifetime
  2. Home for a Rest (Spirit of the West) So many memories of this song, and all involve dancing. Apparently dancing makes me happy too!
  3. To Be with You (Mr. Big)An 80s song we loved in the 90s. Mike, Cheryl, Jeff and I in Huntsville at Mike’s cottage, listening to the radio – the Moose: Large and in Charge!
  4. Learning to Fly (Pink Floyd) When I was 15, dancing with a boy that was not my boyfriend and never forgetting him
  5. Shut Up and Dance (Walk the Moon) Driving with a friend, the first time I sang along to the radio with anyone but my family
  6. Really Don’t Care (Demi Lovato) Perfect when I want a reminder that someone/something doesn’t matter
  7. Long Shot (Kelly Clarkson) always makes me feel like I can conquer the world
  8. C’mon (Kesha) Singing the line ‘Fun like a lollipop’ with my daughter and cracking up every time
  9. Calling You (Blue October)
  10. Little Bird (Annie Lennox) Just because they’re my favourite songs

7-Steps-To-Happiness5 Bloggers that make me Happy

I follow a lot of writing blogs, and while they are informative and interesting, they don’t always make me happy, so I’m not including any of them.

  1. Art and Soul These days Clare is my go-to for books and baking
  2. Mylittlebookblog Lizzie gave me awesome reviews on my books and I love her
  3. Hugh Howey Because he’s the king of indie writers and the pics of him in his bathing suit remind me that writers can be hot as well as amazing. Plus I have a little crush on him 🙂
  4. Parenting blogs that make me think I’m not screwing up my kids after all
  5. The Phantom Writer TPW and Ken Gusler More because they send me tweets every Friday! So nice to hear from them

images (4)I tag EVERYONE to take a moment and think about what makes you happy! And then tell me!

 

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

Queen by rightBlurb – History remembers Cecily of York standing on the steps of the Market Cross at Ludlow, facing an attacking army while holding the hands of her two young sons. Queen by Right reveals how she came to step into her destiny, beginning with her marriage to Richard, duke of York, whom she meets when she is nine and he is thirteen. Raised together in her father’s household, they become a true love match and together face personal tragedies, pivotal events of history, and deadly political intrigue. All of England knows that Richard has a clear claim to the throne, and when King Henry VI becomes unfit to rule, Cecily must put aside her hopes and fears and help her husband decide what is right for their family and their country. Queen by Right marks Anne Easter Smith’s greatest achievement, a book that every fan of sweeping, exquisitely detailed historical fiction will devour.

After reading YA, I find I need to get back into an ‘adult’ novel and historical fiction in one of my favourites. I’ve never read Anne Easter Smith, although I have 2 of her books on my shelf! Seemed a good time to give it a try and I’m glad I did. I’m already entralled by the character of little Cecily.

What I Finished Reading…

independent study graduation dayBlurb – In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor Cia Vale vows to fight. But she can’t do it alone. This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves – and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

Mmmm…amazing premise. There were a lot of similarities to Hunger Games. But mmm…

Didn’t do it for me. The first book in the trilogy was the best and by the end of the third I found myself skimming too much text to be enjoyable. The characters were two-dimensional, the writing was passive and all tell, no show. Lots of potential, but not for me. Too bad. 🙁

What I’ll Read Next…

IMG_4395Good question. I started a summer reading list so lots of choices. I’ve added the new Emily Giffin book to it already!! Any suggestions from my list or one of your own?

 

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Been Watching…

Finding-Dory-Disney-pixar-2016We went to see Finding Dory with the kids a couple of weeks ago. It was as good as I hoped. My eldest daughter has been in love with Dory since Finding Nemo and even though she didn’t want to bring all of her seventeen stuffed Dory’s to the theatre (she’s 14 now, so what do you expect?) she loved it.

GOT_Hall_of_Faces_S6_Poster_02I’m a little slow, but I’ve finally finished Season Six of Game of Thrones. The only reason I mention this here is because I was so impressed by the transformation of the female characters on the show. Finally, the women are taking control and I love it! Especially Sansa, changing from one of the weakest and most annoying characters on the show to one of the most powerful, finally taking control of her own destiny. I can’t wait until Season Seven!

Summer Reading List

What I’m Reading this Summer…
IMG_4395

I love reading in the summer. It’s my favourite time to stretch out with a book, probably because I spent more time able to stretch out with a book than any other time of the year.

I was tidying up the basement last week, which is where my bookshelves are. When I was stacking some new purchases and putting away some recently read, I decided to make a pile of TBR books to make it easy for me to choose when I’m in need of a book for cottage or vacation or just hiding from the kids.

And then I took it one step further and vowed that I would not purchase a book until this pile is completed. But then I saw a few new releases that are coming out in July (new Liane Moriarty and Alice Clayton, as well as Phillippa Gregory in August. I really liked Eleanor Brown’s Weird Sisters, so I should check out her next…)

Anyway, so maybe I can’t keep that vow, but I’m attempting to finish this pile this summer.

Wish me luck!!!

Also – HAPPY CANADA DAY to all you fellow Canucks and those who want to be!!

Since I’m a proud patriot, I’ve put two of my books one sale, just so you can have new books to read for your long weekend!!

Absinthe Doesn't Make the Heart Grow Fonder UnexpectingAbsinthe Doesn’t Make the Heart Grow Fonder and Unexpecting – both FREE until July 4th

 

 

 

 

The Secret Life of Charlotte DoddThe Secret of Charlotte Dodd – 99 cents

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Dragon Under the MountainThe Dragon Under the Mountain – 99 cents

Happy Reading!!

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW WednesdayWWW Wednesday…

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

independent studyBlurb – In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. InIndependent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

I’m not sure what to say about this series. On one hand, I don’t think this is the best YA dystopian series out there. Hunger Games and even Divergent was so much better. The Testing series has wooden writing, two-dimensional characters and a lack-luster romance going for it. But…

It’s one of the most ADDICTING books I’ve ever read!!! I seriously can’t put it down and I don’t know why!! I’ll be finished the series by the weekend

What I Finished Reading…

the testingBlurb – Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

I don’t even know if I like Cia! She’s smart and feisty but kind of monotone for a character. Give me some emotions! Maybe that’s what I’m waiting for. I could not stop reading it!

Court of mist and FuryOr maybe I don’t think the Testing was very good because this was awesome!  I don’t give many 5 star reviews on Goodreads, but this was one of them.

I didn’t love A Court of Thorn and Roses and because of that I almost didn’t pick up the second book in the series, but I’m so glad I did. ACOMAF is so much better than the first book, mainly because Feyre develops the personality that was sorely lacking for most of the first book. And there was a lot less of Tamlin, who I compare to Edward from Twilight. If you like the romantic, possessive brooding types, he’s your guy. If you’re like me, Rhys is the better bet for Feyre. And for me – I think I’ll make him one of my new favourite book boyfriends!!

Finishing it was bittersweet because now I have to wait so long for the next one. Write faster, please, Sarah J.!

What I’ll Read Next…

graduation day Has to be done. I have to finish the series. I’ve put together my summer reading list so check back on Friday for that.

 

What about you? What are you reading? And what are your reading plans for the summer?

If you’re looking for new beach reads, check out my Canada Day sale! Two of my books are free on ebook until July 4th and 2 are only 99 cents!!!