Bigger Things = Exciting Things!

I’m so excited to report: Bigger Things by Ev Bishop is coming July 2014. And I’m freakishly thrilled to give a sneak preview of the novel’s gorgeous cover, complete with back jacket blurb. Whaddya think?

BiggerThings_POD

I’ll post Bigger Thing’s actual release date when I have one. ‘Til then . . . Yay, I’m bouncing off walls! Please feel free to share my news and if you’re so kind as to read my book, I hope you enjoy it and spread a good word. :)

Ms. Bishop. In the Library. With the Coffee Mug.

Photo by Ev Bishop

Photo by Ev Bishop

I started to spring clean. I got as far as my library shelves and office cabinet.

I’m prone to flights of daydreaming and distraction at the best of times, but when I’m supposed to be tidying books? Heaven help me! All those ideas, all those adventures, all those life-changing worlds and words . . .

I’ve been known to box up books, only to go back and rescue select titles. I keep doubles of some novels—because they’re that good and because it is a truth universally acknowledged that if you loan books, you rarely get them back. (Of course that fact means I rarely lend in the first place, but I like doubles in case, you know, I start.)

Anyway, armed with fresh coffee, a multitude of multi-sized cardboard boxes, and a belly full of steely resolve, I headed to my miniature library.

I’d just gotten through my writing-related books (mostly keepers), when the biggest killer of productivity, house-cleaning wishes, and de-junking desires hit me: an interesting thought. My brother had been sorting my Dad’s books and commented that you can learn a lot about people from their bookcases.

I found his theory interesting. So interesting that I lost several hours to perusing titles with an eye to what secrets my books might tell about my psyche, obsessions, and beliefs, instead of focussing on whether or not I would ever actually read or refer to them again.

A deer skull (complete with lower jaw and teeth) sits atop one row of books (Christianity and other faith and religion texts). I’m not sure what that says.

A bottle of wine lounges on its side, coming of age in the lofty company of modern literary fiction greats like Joy Kogawa, Barbara Gowdy, Wally Lamb, and Eden Robinson. Why am I storing a bottle of wine there? To make the classic authors a shelf above and a shelf below jealous? Perhaps. Also, it looks kind of pretty.

I have a lot of science fiction—Orwell, Bradbury, H.G.Wells, Asimov and Silverman, Heinlein, Robert J Sawyer. . . .

A full shelf homes titles by authors who are also personal friends. And another carries autographed works. And I have a small (but growing!) section with books that carry stories by me.

I have gads of Stephen King, almost the full Merrily Watkins series by Phil Rickman (highly recommended, by the way), Diana Gabaldon’s wonderful genre-bending Outlander series, and a myriad of other scary or scintillating tales. They hulk in the shadows, balancing the sweetness and light of my Jan Karon and Maeve Binchy books.

As my children grew, I parted with any kids’ books that were lame—but as children and YA writers are top storytellers in my books (Ha ha, pun intended!), I still have one full five-shelf case of “must keeps.”

My collection is roughly 1/5 non-fiction (but within that, a full shelf is devoted to poetry), with a higher concentration of writing craft and religious texts—but lots of history, social sciences, and philosophy, too

What fascinated me most circles back to my original goal of pruning my collection. Weirdly, it’s not the best books I have the hardest time parting with. The story between the covers isn’t my only consideration—nor the information relayed, nor the style, humour, or power with which the author writes. Not even my firm “Will you ever read this again?” question actually determines whether I cull or not. No, what really hampers my ability to part with a book is the story within the story.

I bought this for Marriah and Christopher at that little bookstore when we were on holidays on the Island.

My aunt and I spotted this book at the same time. She let me have it, but I “owed” her.

This was the first book I read after my mom died.

Aw, this is the one Chris read to Christopher all the time!

Breaking Smith’s Quarter Horse! My dad was obsessed with this forever.

And that—the notion that the story within a book is only part of the reason it keeps its spot when another, arguably far superior, might be pulled—was eye opening. I’ve long fought junk collecting because I know what a trap it can become. I had no idea that the psychology behind why I hold onto some books is similar to why some people can’t get rid of broken toys, old clothes, or boxes of knick-knacks they haven’t looked at in years.

I’m happy to say I did complete my library/office weed through. I now have space to justify new books.

The shoe closet and the kitchen cupboards are next. I’m a little scared. If you think I build sentimental, unrelated attachments to books easily, you should see what I can associate with old mixing bowls or a pair of satin slippers!

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“Ms. Bishop. In the Library. With the Coffee Mug” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, March 27, 2013 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

Annual Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day!


I just learned about this new “annual” day and I’m stoked! As my own kids are getting to the age where they’re often busy (though my daughter at least would never say no to a trip to the bookstore with me), I’m using it as a great excuse to hang out with my two of my sweet little nieces. We’ll each buy a book, then go for a coffee shop treat—and after that, I think we’re heading to my sister’s to make Christmas cards all afternoon. They’re almost as excited as I am!

How about you? Had you heard of this day before and are you planning to celebrate it? I’m definitely planning to make it an annual tradition (because I don’t go to bookstores enough, lol) because it’s fun, yes, to have a special day, but also because bookstores are important and I don’t want them to disappear from our towns and cities. Buying books online is great, but you tend to shop already knowing what you’re looking for. Browsing bookstores (and libraries), you discover stories and authors absolutely brand new to you. If going to bookstores isn’t something our kids do now, it’s not something they’ll do as adults—and the chances that they’ll only read what’s “popular” will be all the greater. And did I say it was fun?! ;)

Find out more about Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day at http://www.takeyourchildtoabookstore.org/

Your Package Will Arrive in the Mail

When I was a kid I was addicted to Scholastic Book Orders. Remember when your teacher would walk desk row to desk row, peeling off six or seven brightly-coloured multiple-page flyers at a time, handing each set to the person at the head of the row, instructing them to please take one and pass the rest back?

I was tall for my age Grades 3 through 7 so inevitably I was near the back and had to wait, wait, wait as head of the row enjoyed the power of having all the book orders, person number 2 had the co-ordination of a stone and fumbled trying to separate just one order from the next, person number 3 or 4 was somewhere else entirely and had to be yelled at ten times before finally—FINALLY!—saying, “Huh? What? Oh!” and passing the remainders on.

I don’t know what I enjoyed more: the hours (literally) scanning and rescanning each offering, then carefully checking off the appropriate boxes and tallying the price making sure it fit the amount my mom had given me permission to spend or the weeks of heady anticipation. Someday not soon enough the teacher would walk in with a large box and distribute plastic bags with the books each student had ordered!

I tried book clubs for adults as I got older, but they weren’t the same (I don’t like being automatically sent selections of anything. I like to choose, darn it!). But hello—then came Amazon and the like. Ordering books online is pretty fantastic. I love, love, love having books on order and checking the mailbox all too frequently for my latest parcel.

In the quest for perfect summer reads, I’m currently I’m waiting for two short story collections, 100 Stories for Queensland and Nothing But Flowers: tales of post-apocalyptic love  and Leigh Russell’s latest novel Dead End.

I’ve yammered on about Leigh (and her previous novels, Cut Short and Road Closed) and interviewed her before, so imagine my extreme delight when she contacted me and asked if I wanted a review copy of Dead End. Did I!

Dead End has been receiving rave reviews, as evidenced here, and her publisher (No Exit Press) sums the story up, thus: “When the corpse of Abigail Kirby is discovered, police are shocked to learn that the victim’s tongue was cut out while she lay dying. Shortly after coming forward, a witness is blinded and murdered. Detective Inspector Geraldine Steel’s flirtation with the pathologist on the case helps her to cope with the distress of finding out she was adopted at birth. Abigail Kirby’s teenage daughter runs away from home to meet a girl who befriended her online. Too late, she realises she has made a dreadful mistake – a mistake that may cost her life. Detective Sergeant Ian Peterson uncovers a shocking secret about the serial killer who has been mutilating his murder victims. Does the sergeant’s discovery come too late to save Geraldine Steel from a similar dreadful fate?”

I’ll give my thoughts on Dead End, especially whether I feel it lives up to all the high praises (heh heh), once I’ve read it, but if you want to beat me to the punch and read it first, you can snap it up for your e-reader. For Kindle readers in the States and the UK, it’s part of a summer promotion, selling so inexpensively you should grab it now, even if you plan to read Cut Short and Road Closed first. For us Canadians, it still hasn’t been officially released so pre-order it or put it on your wish list and get cracking on the first two novels (that’s if you’re a crime fiction fan, of course).

I love bookstores, but I’m stoked to have two parcels to fanatically watch for in the mail. What about you? Do you buy primarily through shops or online? What are you waiting for in the book department for this summer’s reading?

p.s. And for all you blossoming Leigh Russell fans and/or writers who adore listening to other authors talk about writing, check out Leigh’s author channel on youtube. She has about five posts up now, sharing on topics like the inspiration for the Geraldine Steel series, the importance of research, and how to get published, with more to come.

Dark Corners by Liz Schulte

One of my favourite things happened yesterday! An author friend of mine, Liz Schulte, celebrated the launch of her new novel, Dark Corners, a mystery-suspense with paranormal elements that keeps you turning pages and constantly second-guessing who the villain is (or are!).

Ella Reynolds knew from the first moment she walked into the old house that someone or something was watching her. Waiting. Her husband’s violent murder sent her spiraling into a world of grief and isolation, but Ella isn’t alone. Who or what is responsible for her husband’s death is still with her. Every day reality slips a little more between her fingers as she struggles to break free from her memories. A string of uncanny events takes place and practical explanations run thin as Ella follows the terrifying road to closure. As the past and present come to a head, Ella must decipher who or what the murderer is before it takes her as well.

Watch the trailer!

Dark Corners is available through Smashwords and on Amazon.

If you’d like to read Liz Schulte’s own words about Dark Corners’ launch, or just want to congratulate her, pop by her blog, http://enteringbatcountry.blogspot.com/, or click here. Liz is also a friendly, fun person to follow on Twitter: @LizSchulte

HUGE congratulations, Liz! Dark Corners is great and I’m already looking forward to your next novel. Write fast.

And same to all of you: happy, prolific writing this week!

The Pedastal Magazine

I was checking out the latest issue (61/Ten-Year Anniversary) of an e-zine I read in regular binges, The Pedestal Magazine, and I had to bring the editor’s letter to his readers to your attention.

I’ve written before about why I write, why I read and the value of the Arts to me, personally, and to Society as a whole. John Amen’s articulations on the subject so closely mirror my own, I confess I got a little misty: “. . . art saves lives. It saved mine when I was a teenager. If I had not somehow believed in the importance of creative expression, I would not have had anything tethering me to life itself. That I could write (or paint or make music) was paramount to me; it was everything, in a way. It was a redemption.”

I want to quote his next paragraph too–and the next. Instead, however, I refer you to the Readers’ Message in its entirety. I hope you find it as inspiring, affirming, and challenging as I did.