Let’s Play Favourites!

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Let’s do that thing we aren’t supposed to and play favourites for just a moment. No, I’m not going to ask you to choose your favourite child or favourite pet, don’t worry.

Who is your favourite character? (Writers, this could be one of your own, or someone else’s)

Readers, and I hope all of us here today consider ourselves readers…who is your favourite character?

Let me know in the comments below!

A River, A Soccer Ball And An Elderly Woman Walk Into A Bar…

https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/author/carolyn-mcbride/

Adelaide put another stick of wood in the stove and closed the door, feeling every one of her 80 years. She filled the kettle and set it on the flat blacktop. Tomorrow, she would not have her evening cup of tea here. 

Hit the link to read the rest!

Or maybe this is more your style;

When she’d expressed an interest in retiring, Mack had laughed at first. At least until he realized she was serious. Then he’d peered at her through narrowed eyes and shook his head.

“People in our business don’t retire. You know that.”

“I don’t want to be someone else’s loose end, Mack,” she’d told him. “I want to live long enough to have silver hair and grandchildren.”

“Then you’re in the wrong business, Dante. You know that.” As if they’d not even had the conversation, he sent her out on another job….

Or maybe you prefer bodyguard tales;

Only an arm-length away from the first female president, a flash in the crowd caught my attention.

“Gun!” I screamed. “Down, down!” I dove for Alexis, felt she and Harper go down beneath me and wondered why Harper had punched me in the chest…

Three short, entertaining short stories that might surprise you. I’d love to hear what you think!

Tea With Kory Shrum

I’ve always wondered about other authors. What do they enjoy? What makes them tick? So not too long ago, I got the idea to reach out to a few authors I admire and see if they would be willing to answer a few questions for us. Thankfully, they’ve been generous with their time. In a perfect world, I would be sitting down having a cup of tea with these talented folks, but with distance and a raging pandemic, email is safer.

I have been a fan of Kory Shrum for a few years now. She’s a brilliant author and a creative soul that is both entertaining and inspiring. She is the author of sixteen novels, including the bestselling Shadows in the Water and Dying for a Living series. She has loved books and words all her life. She reads almost every genre you can think of, but when she writes, she writes science fiction, fantasy, and thrillers, or often something that’s all of the above. This past year she launched a true-crime podcast “Who Killed My Mother?” under the name K.B. Marie, sharing the true story of her mother’s tragic death. You can find it on YouTube. When she’s not eating, reading, writing, or indulging in her true calling as a stay-at-home dog mom, she loves to plan her next adventure. She’s written both paranormal mysteries and now mysteries set in the future, and every book she writes is more gripping and compelling than the last! (Trust me on this, I spent all night reading her last book and got NO sleep, but it was SO worth it!) Pop over to her website and check it out. 

Kory was generous enough to answer a few questions I had for her about writing, comfort food and reading. If paranormal mysteries or science-fiction mysteries are your reading-jam, pop over to her website and check it out!

What do you think the most compelling elements of your current story are? 

Probably the characters. I don’t have clear good guys and bad guys most of the time. They’re just people, with a good mix of virtues and faults, but this makes them seem more real and compelling on the page. I hope the plot isn’t too bad either! 🙂

What is your favourite genre to read?

Oh gosh, I don’t know! It’s like naming a favorite child! I read everything from nonfiction to comics, to fantasy, and mysteries. To really weird stuff like how to lucid dream, which is on my bedside table right now 🙂

If you could give your younger writing-self a piece of advice, what would it be? 

**clears throat** This is going to take a lot longer than you think it will. Getting the first book published is only the start, so settle in. Get comfortable. And start thinking about what stories really matter to you—which ones will you regret not writing if you were to die this year. Focus on those.

Who are the authors who have made a difference in your life?

If not my life, certainly my writing… For fiction: Ruth Ozeki, Margaret Atwood, Stephen King, Robert Galbraith, Anne Rice, Laurell K. Hamilton, Neil Gaiman and many others.  I also owe a debt of gratitude to the poets Mary Oliver, Maya Angelou, Wislawa Szymborska and Lucille Clifton and more. And to the meditation/dharma books of Pema Chodron as well.

What occupies your time when you’re not writing? 

Right now, it’s producing my podcast! For every 20-25 minute episode, it’s about thirteen hours of work. I also like to read, paint, play piano, study French, travel – though none of us are doing much of that at the moment.

How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

Just two. 🙂 A werewolf novel and a novel about an 18-year-old demon-hunting witch.

What is your go-to comfort food?  

Macaroni and cheese. I also like a good hot tea.

What was the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

Well, the one that comes to mind, probably because I wrote it not that long ago, is from Episode 8 of my “Who Killed My Mother” podcast? In it, I was recounting a traumatic story of a doctor’s visit I had when I was six or seven, and it triggered some pretty intense emotions for me.

How do you choose the names of your characters? 

Usually they come to me along with the character, but then I check them using a baby name book online to make sure the meaning of the name matches the character.

 What challenges you the most about writing?

Showing up, honestly. I’ve published sixteen books and I can attest it hasn’t gotten any easier with time! But it’s important to show up and put words on the page every day, so I’m certainly trying my best.

Anything else you’d like us to know?  

I love interviews! This was fun. Thanks for having me! 🙂

Thank YOU, Kory!

What Comes Around

I adore all of the Louie Thorne books by Kory Shrum, but I think this one might surpass the first as my favourite in the series. There is tons of character growth along the way, and damn if I haven’t become fond of Jabbers… There is a variety of well-written settings here, some new and some familiar from the other books in this series. As always, the author has placed us so firmly in these settings that we can smell the mustiness of the catacombs and feel the cool lick of water in La Loon.

I thought I knew who the killer in Paris was, but holy crap was I wrong! I love it when a book can surprise me that much. This book, like the others in the series, is re-read worthy. So many times over. There is angst, fear, confusion, new fondness that might be called love, there is loyalty, hope and justice. All the things that make a story relatable and binge-worthy. This one has it all and might just be Kory Shrum’s best yet.

I was so thrilled to be granted an ARC (thank you, Kory!), but I love this series so much, I’ll be buying it.
(We really should support our favourite Indie authors, don’t you think?)

You really need to get the others in the series and read those first. This is not a stand-alone. But if you like supernatural fiction with a cast of kick-ass characters who take no crap, well written stories that will keep you reading all night…this is your series!

Why are you still here? Go get it!

A Woman To Treasure Review

Another hit out of the park for Ali Vali!!

While I could see shades of Cain Casey in Levi, Dr. Montbard certainly carved her own space out in this reader’s mind. She is the kind of person…ahem…character…that I would be proud to number among my friends. Honorable, dedicated, driven, respectful and caring. She has a big heart and it shows.

The author has once again crafted memorable characters that live on long after the book is finished. Ali Vali’s gift is not only transporting us to her world(s) but also populating those places with people that almost seem to breathe and stumble as we do.

This story had everything I hoped for – adventure, love, danger and a mysterious quest.
I hope Levi and Yasmine (and her sister) have even more adventures, because I cannot wait to see what’s next for them.

This heart-warming novel will be available May 1st from the publisher, Bold Strokes Books, and May 11th everywhere else, but I suggest cutting out the middleman and getting it direct from the publisher.

An Honour And Big Shoes

Once in a lifetime, some folks are lucky enough to be the recipient of a life-altering gift. As far as I know, I’ve never been able to count myself among them.

Until this week.

Back in late autumn of last year (2020), I joined the Golden Crown Literary Society, a leading literary organization for editors, publishers, readers, writers, and friends/supporters who celebrate books about women loving women. A couple of months later, I applied to their writing academy. I was tickled pink when I got an acceptance letter! Their writing academy has educated, bouyed, supported and kick-started the careers of many authors. But as with quality education in anything we’re passionate about, it wasn’t free. They offer payment plans, so I wasn’t worried. Too much.

Just a couple of days ago, I was thrilled beyond words (which is saying a lot!) to find out that I’d been chosen to receive the very first Erica Abbott Mystery Scholarship! Erica Abbott was beloved and cherished by the lesfic community and when she passed away, she left a void that can never be filled. She was a friend to many and an accomplished and gifted writer as well. It is an unfathomable honour to be the first recipient of a scholarship in her name.

I have very large shoes to fill.

The Golden Crown Literary Society has apparently seen merit and potential in my writing, and it’s a mind-blowing opportunity to be accepted into the writing academy. I have a responsibility not to waste this moment…this gift. At the same time, I am reminded of the power the written word can have. Empires have been crumbled, or fortified with words. Swaths of wilderness and the animals that live in them have been saved or brought to ruin with a written word. The environment, and we ourselves can be saved with a series of words.

The pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

Tell me about a gift you recieved that changed your life, or the way you viewed something.

I Am Chris~A Review

I’ve been a big fan of R. Kent since their debut book The Mail Order Bride

This book is a little different though.

This tale is set in current times and focuses on the battle Chris wages to both be true to themselves, and win money in bull riding at local rodeos. But the town is run and controlled by a corrupt, cruel bastard with a badge who has warped reasons for being who he is. In his mind, anyway. He is enabled and assisted by both the local social services worker and the person in charge of the boy’s home. So Chris has to survive everything those adults throw at him, as well as make a name for himself in the competitive and bone-breaking sport of bull riding, and navigate new friendships and a growing attraction to one of those friends. Whew, that’s a lot!

Chris is an honourable young man born into a body he doesn’t feel reflects who he truly is, and yet manages to rise above his circumstances. He has a big heart that he, unfortunately, wears on his sleeve. He’s a true survivor that lets love lead him, no matter the crappy world he’s been dragged into. The secondary characters all breathe true as well. Every one of them have secrets and motivations that have affected their little town in ways we don’t see until close to the end of the book.

The pacing of the story is great, and the world R. Kent has created, the characters that populate the small town and the hurdles that threaten to keep Chris from the life he wants…all of it kept me reading far past bedtime.
The book is well-peppered with true human strength, bravery from even the most unlikely characters, fear, uncertainty and the capacity to reach for dreams that shouldn’t exist. The closing chapters will have you cheering for more than just Chris.

I Am Chris is one of my favourite books. It is the story of courage, redemption and hope, and there’s a lot to love here.
Read it for the people you’ll meet in the book’s pages. Read it to be uplifted and shown what courage can achieve.
Just read it. Get a copy from the publisher Bold Strokes Books. You won’t regret it!

#transvisibilityday

What’s She Hiding?

She lives alone beside a lake – a middle aged homesteader with an old dog for company. But she’s got a secret…a BIG one! What’s she trying to hide?

Here’s a bit of an excerpt;

Ruger stretched out at my feet with a sigh. I pored over the paper slowly, skipping only the articles on the financial condition of the country. The country’s economic state doesn’t matter to me out here. But toward the back of the paper, tucked between a piece on the next Governor-General and a book review, was something that did catch my eye.

A short article on a hunter, missing somewhere in Northern Ontario for a little over a year.

A man I had been far too close to, a little over a year ago.

My gaze travelled without intention to the willow tree a few feet away. I’d planted it a year ago, but it was already as tall as a two-year-old tree. Obviously, it liked the soil there.

I read the article again and hoped no one would look for the missing hunter again.

After I read the paper, I went about my chores. I took wood in the house and piled it near the door, but far enough away from the woodstove to be safe. It had come from a tree blown down by the biggest storm of the previous year. Thankfully, it had been a good solid oak, without any hives or nests. I tossed a piece or two in the woodstove, pushed them down into the embers and shut the stove door tight. That would keep it going while I split more wood. 

It was a never-ending need, wood. It provided my heat and fuel for cooking. In the summertime, I cooked more in the outdoor oven I’d built from stone and clay, but it was wood-fired too. This past spring, Anne and I had agreed to split the cost of a load of wood. She had a friend who sold entire tree-length logs by the tractor-trailer. He delivered and she cut them up to the right length from there. She had offered to split the load, proposing a generous price and payment plan. I didn’t refuse. It was better than cutting down all the trees around my cabin. Over lunch, she had told me to expect my half of the wood any day this week.

I took a break from splitting to catch my breath and once again eyed the willow tree. Perhaps it was time to start building a woodpile there. I set my maul down and walked over to the tree, studying the ground at its base. The ground was starting to cup. I nodded to myself and went back toward the cabin. I cut a thick five-foot pole, shaped the end into a point and paced four feet away from the willow. With my mallet, I pounded the pole as deep as I could. That would hold one end of the wood-pile while the willow provided support at the other end. Then I retrieved my wheelbarrow from the shed. It didn’t take long to lay out the first layer of wood splits between the willow tree and the pole.

Far less time to hide my secret than I had been living with the existence of it.

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