Get Hooked! :)

Hooked by Ev BishopWow, it’s been a super fun, super busy few days! Huge thanks to everyone who purchased Hooked this week (I hope you love it!), and to all those who left such kind reviews. It’s very exciting and I’m incredibly grateful. :)

For those of you who haven’t gotten Hooked yet, bump it up on your to-read list, will you? (Hee hee, just joking–though I’m serious that Hooked is a perfect weekend read.)

Here are the first two chapters, just to whet your appetite.

Hooked by Ev Bishop

~ Chapter 1 ~

Sam was fresh from the shower, barefoot and dressed only in a robe. She wrapped her arms around herself and turned in a slow circle. Five stars or not, a hotel room was always just a hotel room, wasn’t it? It was beautiful with its teak four-poster bed, matching highboy and desk, and snow-white linens, but generic nonetheless.

She settled into the leather wingback chair, the room’s best feature in her opinion, and put her feet up. A niggle of surprise tickled her as she uncapped a pen and reached for her spiral bound notebook. Who’d have thought? Samantha Kendall using a diary. But she couldn’t help it. The movement of her hand across page, the scent of the paper, the process of filling the sheet with the mess in her head—slowly at first, then so fast her hand cramped—soothed her and helped her see more clearly than she had in a long time. Her life, once so beautiful and busy, felt empty. Come to think of it maybe that was the appeal of the journaling. She filled something. Created a tangible mark that she was here. That she lived.

The coffee pot on the desk across the room sighed and sputtered.

“Ah, my faithful friend,” she whispered, then got up, doctored herself a mug of the dark espresso blend, and settled down again.

She sipped her hot drink and drummed her fingers on her notebook. What to say, what to say?

She paused, drank more coffee, and ran her fingers through her damp hair. Finally she began to write.

Sheesh, three pages minimum is going to take hours today.

But it didn’t. By the time she had two cups of caffeine in her, she’d churned out her minimum, plus another three pages—yet she wasn’t calmed. She was edgier than ever. She scanned the last page, bit her lip and barely resisted the urge to tear the sheets loose and throw them away.

There’s nothing I hate more than my sister being right about anything, but I have to hand it to Jo. She is right about this, and the pros and cons I wrote yesterday confirm it.

I always figured Aisha would reenter my life at some point, if only, like seems to be the case, for medical information and “closure.” (How I hate that damn word!) I just thought I’d be at a spot in time, personally and professionally, that I could be proud of—or at least not a bloody embarrassment. But at the same time, I guess it’s not about me, is it? (Ha ha, quick, someone tell Jo I actually said that!) I would’ve done anything to have someone to talk to, when I was stuck in the same boat Aisha’s in, so how can I refuse her request to meet?

My two biggest fears: that she’ll ask about the asshole who fathered her. (What can I say about him that won’t just be a huge ugly shadow over her?), or that she’ll hate me—which is pretty hilarious because I definitely don’t want her in my life permanently.

That was the line that stopped her. She shook her head, crossed the last line out, drew an arrow, and scribbled furiously.

That she’ll hate me, which I’ll totally understand, or worse, want something I don’t have to give her. All of my love for her went out the door with her the day I gave her a chance for a better life. (Not that it seems to have panned out—but don’t even get me started!) And what if she does want a relationship? I have no frigging clue what I’ll do.

Samantha closed the book, and stashed it in her suitcase.

She paid special attention to her outfit and did her makeup and hair just so, but it wasn’t until she sprayed a light mist of perfume in front of her and walked through it that she admitted she’d made up her mind.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. She’d return to Greenridge. She’d see if she could be of any help to Aisha and answer any awkward questions her biological daughter had.

And then, so long as Jo and Callum were willing to let her monopolize one of their B & B cabins—and why wouldn’t they? Her cash was as good as anyone’s—she’d spend some concentrated time figuring out what exactly she wanted next and why her life, which she’d always enjoyed, wasn’t enough for her these days.

She cocked her head, smiled at her reflection in the mirror, and nodded approval at both the image she projected and her new thoughts. She was an excellent planner and there was no reason she couldn’t get herself back on track. And once she had a new direction, she’d leave Greenridge in the dust and never return. The place was a black hole. In lieu of a welcome sign at the beginning of town, there should be a plaque that read, “Abandon all hopes of having a life, ye who enter here.”

And if Jo wanted to visit now and again? Well, she’d have to sojourn out of her hobbit village and head for the city. Sam was done with the ghost town of bad memories. She was sick of the family-focused “great place to raise kids” motto that everyone in town seemed to spout. Not everyone had kids or even wanted them. And she was beyond weary of how the place reminded her that except for her one solitary sibling, Jo, she had no family. Everyone was dead. There’d be no TV movie worthy reunion or redemption scene. Greenridge was like one big beer commercial for all the things she didn’t have. And didn’t want, she reminded herself.

~ Chapter 2 ~

Charles tripped over the stuffed-to-bursting rucksack he’d stowed by his office door and stared at the ringing phone like it might bite. The call display showed T.C.O. Literary Management all too clearly, and unfortunately his agent Theresa, the “T” in T.C.O., knew he was home. After all, he’d just sent an e-mail seconds ago admitting it. He sighed heavily and picked up.

“Theresa, hi. Good to hear from you.”

“Don’t bullshit a bullshitter, and get real. You knew that e-mail wasn’t going to fly.”

“But—”

“And no buts.” Her voice softened. “I feel for you. You know I do. And I’m on your side even if it doesn’t feel like it, but it’s time, Charlie. Past time. And if you can’t see that, maybe it’s time to rethink your career.”

Charles sank into his office chair and rolled back and forth across the room. He didn’t want to “rethink” his work. He loved what he did, what he wrote. Or he used to. And anyway, it wasn’t like he hadn’t considered doing something else. Just absolutely nothing came to him that didn’t sink him even more deeply into the mire of apathy and disillusionment he seemed unable to pull himself from. And now, with Aisha living only God knew where and insisting she was staying there to have her baby, he didn’t even have the occasional bright spot of her presence.

“You’ve used up all your reserve books, even your earliest ones that were previously unpublished for pretty good reasons. It’s just a good thing some readers don’t care what you write as long as the story says Jax Bailey on the cover.”

“Thanks a lot.”

“Oh, you know what I mean. Don’t get pissy. I love your books. You’ve earned reader loyalty, but even diehard fans are starting to grumble on the Interwebs. You can only play the dead wife card for so long before people start to think you need to get over it.”

Charles managed to not throw the phone across the room, but only just.

Theresa seemed to sense she’d crossed a line. “Sorry, that was crass. Obviously, healing isn’t an easy one, two, three process. I know you’re doing the best you can, just barely hanging on, and I know it will take time—but I’d hate to see you lose everything you worked so hard to build.”

Too late. Everything he’d worked for died when Maureen did. Still, Theresa wasn’t the enemy and she was on his side. He knew this. He also knew he’d probably exhausted every possible extension. He made a decent living, and Maureen’s life insurance had paid off the mortgage and left a little besides, but not enough to see him through life—and definitely not enough to provide ongoing stability to Aisha and her little one, should she decide to keep it. And he was a young(ish) man still. Forty-four was nowhere near the time to retire even if it felt closer to eighty these days.

“They need a new book, or, and it’s pretty nice of them, almost human in fact, they’ll forgive the contract without penalty, but if you ever want to write for them again, it’ll be like starting new.”

Perish the thought—and no, that wasn’t melodrama. “How long?” he asked.

“I got you six months, but that’s it, final offer, last extension.”

“Okay,” he said.

“Okay?” Even though their connection was a little static-filled, the surprise in Theresa’s voice was loud and clear. “Just like that you say okay?

“Do I have a choice?”

“No, but I still thought you’d be a harder sell.”

They wrapped the conversation up quickly from there, and Charles was careful to sound more positive than he felt. Six months, if he was his old self, was more than enough time to get a solid book to his publisher. But he wasn’t his old self, and didn’t think he ever would be again. Maureen had been gone three years, yet in some ways it was like she’d passed away yesterday, the grief would hit so fresh and raw. In other ways, however, it was like she’d left a lifetime ago, which, hard as it was, was sort of the truth. Neither his nor Aisha’s lives were the same. They had new existences altogether, as if their time on earth had been divided into separate realities: Life with Mo. Life without her.

He stood up, scooted his chair under his desk and turned off his computer, then grabbed his laptop. He was sick of himself and the endless woe-to-me pool he wallowed in. Even his self-pitying thought about everything he’d worked for dying when Maureen did wasn’t fully honest. Only half of what he worked for and lived for had passed on when she did. He still had their daughter, and who knows, maybe a grandbaby too.

He hit the lights and hefted his bag. Soon, with any luck, he’d be in a better writing space and headspace. For a moment he wondered if he should’ve told Theresa his plan, then shook his head. Where he spent his time wasn’t her business and she’d just worry. Besides, though she’d be skeptical, he could write—or not write—just as easily in the boonies as he could at home.

And if Aisha was intent on setting up a temporary home in Greenridge, wherever that was, with this aunt whoever she was, in the hopes of connecting with her birth mom—who back in the day had seemed level-headed, but now he worried was a callous flake . . . well, he wasn’t going to just abandon her to the wolves and wilds. He’d take up residence in one of the cabins that were “so far beyond cool that he couldn’t possibly imagine how cool they were,” to quote Aisha, and support her in whatever ways he could. She was the only family he had left, and if anything came between them, damaged their relationship, or hurt her, it would be over his dead body.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Buy Hooked, River’s Sigh B & B Book 2, today:

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Barnes & Noble

Paperbacks coming soon!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

I hope you’ll give Hooked a try, and if you’d be kind enough to share word of it to your friends or family in case it’s just the type of story they love, I’d be thrilled and very appreciate.

Have a wonderful weekend, filled with (I hope!) some uninterrupted reading time.

:) Ev

p.s. If you buy Hooked–or have already bought it–don’t forget to play in the contest! Hooked_Contest

Bigger Things by Ev Bishop – nominated for a RONE award. Please vote!

biggerthings_ThumbnailEeeiii and yay! I’m thrilled to announce that my novel Bigger Things has been nominated for a RONE award by InD’tale Magazine because of the high review rating it received. Now it’s entering the second phase of the contest: where you come in. Please vote for it! If it makes this second cut, it will go on to be critiqued by a panal of judges. Should I win I’ll be off to Palm Springs, CA in September. :)

It’s an honor to have even received the excellent review, but of course I’d love it if readers show they enjoyed it too. Please vote for Bigger Things!

How  you ask? It’s easy.

1) Click here to register. (InD’tale won’t spam you; they just need to know that you’re a real person and/or not the same person voting over again.) **After you register, go to your e-mail inbox to confirm your registration.**

2) Click here to enter the voting room. Scroll down and click on Chick Lit / Women’s Fiction. The list of nominees will open up. Vote for Bigger Things by Ev Bishop. :) (If the list doesn’t open, it just means you need to sign in again–look for the sign in box in the right of the screen. OR click on InD’scribes/RONEs at the top of InD’tale’s homepage, then on 2015 RONE Awards, then on Week Four – May 4 -10, Novella, Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction, Young Adult: Paranormal.)

**Very important** Bigger Things is only open for voting from May 4 – 10, 2015, so please don’t delay. Follow the above links and vote for me today. Thank you so much! I’ll be sure to post updates when/if I get them.

Also (I know I’m asking a lot, sorry! :D), but please consider sharing this post. It would really help get the word out and I’d appreciate it very much.

Have a wonderful week and happy reading,

:) Ev

Cover reveal . . . HOOKED by Ev Bishop

AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! <Shrieks excitedly and does a really strange and awkward but extremely happy little jig around her office!>

After a week of awful computer issues that, phew, phew, PHEW AND YAY are all taken care of now, I finally got into my e-mail and what did I find? The cover for my upcoming book, HOOKED, Book 2 in the River’s Sigh B & B series. I’ll post an official blurb in a few days too–but in the meantime, I couldn’t wait to share. Doesn’t it just make you want to hike into the pages and never come out? :)

Hooked by Ev Bishop

If you haven’t read Book 1, WEDDING BANDS, no worries. HOOKED completely stands alone–then again, it’s always fun to jump into a series right at the beginning and there’s plenty of time to read WEDDING BANDS before HOOKED hooks you in June. :)

EvBishop_WeddingsBands_200px(1)WEDDING BANDS is available in paperback online and at Misty River Books and in digital through a wide variety of online vendors, including:

Amazon.com ~ Amazon.ca ~ Amazon.co.uk ~ Amazon.co.au

KOBO ~ For your NOOK at Barnes & Noble ~ Apple/iBooks ~ Page Foundry ~ Scribd ~ Smashwords

Wishing you adventure in and out of the pages this weekend. Happy reading!

Start Already

Journal2Sometimes ideas, chores, and plans energize and invigorate me. Other times, they’re paralyzing. All the stuff that needs doing wars with all things I want to do, and I never know what to begin with. Stymied by indecision, I can waste hours worrying and overthinking instead of being productive. 
 
Our house and property have a lot of potential (Beware of that danger-laden euphemism for “work intensive, never ending project” when you buy!), but prioritizing the seemingly insurmountable work sometimes feels impossible.   
 
In my work life, there’s always so much to do that my brain hums a constant refrain of where to start, where to start.
 
And then there are all the annoying household tasks. Toilets need cleaned. Meals need prepared. (Hopefully not at the same time.) Laundry breeds the minute you turn your back. (Tell you something you don’t know, right?)
 
Contemplating my latest struggle to get down to work, however, I realized something encouraging. As much as I bellyache and feel in over my head at times, I also tackle a lot and get a lot done, so long as I remember the secret: Tackle one piece at a time.
 
When I was a kid, I was incredibly messy (much to the despair of my poor, clean freak mom who had a houseful of chaos-lovers.)
 
Even though we all did chores regularly, my room always looked like I’d never sorted, organized or picked it up in my life.
 
When ordered to clean it, overwhelmed by the looming work, I’d do what seemed most sensible to me: waste a ton of time, crying, whining, and/or playing with things I was supposed to be putting away. (You’d think that at some point in my childhood I would’ve figured out procrastination didn’t help, but no. . . .)
 
My mom would wait, hoping if left to my own devices I’d finally incorporate the strategy she tried so hard to drill into me, but as minutes turned to hours and she saw my whole day being frittered away, she’d intervene—note I did not say “do it for me.” She never did it for me. (And wow . . . it really would’ve been so much easier for her if she had. Kudos to her for her long-suffering patience!)
 
“Just pick up one thing at a time.”
 
“I can’t. There’s too much.” (Whine. Wail!)
 
“Pick something. It doesn’t matter what. Start with the biggest things—like your bedding. Put it back on your bed. It’s not rocket science.”
 
She’d watch from the doorway to make sure I didn’t get sidetracked. “If you make your bed during this step—don’t just jumble everything in a heap—it will save work later.” (Again, this always seemed like brand new wisdom every time I heard it.)
 
Fine.”
 
“Now pick up all your stupid stuffed animals.” (They weren’t really stupid but I understand her frustration.) “No, don’t just throw them willy-nilly. Line them up.”
 
And once Raggedy Anne and Co. were all arranged: “That’s a good start. Now the Barbie stuff. I’ll be back shortly.”
 
Barbies. Check. Blocks (without being prodded—go me!) Check.
 
Mom in the doorway again. “Good. Now the Fisher Price—and you know, every time you play with one thing you don’t have to dump out every other single thing you own all at one time.” (Ha! Good one, Mom. You’re such a kidder.)
 
Next, groan, all the Lego. Then—voilà!—vacuum time. Once I was finished I was always happily surprised. It really hadn’t been that difficult. 
 
Final check and advice: “Good job. Now don’t you think it’d be easier to tidy as you go instead of waiting ‘til your whole room is a pigsty?” (Well, duh, Mom . . . but having a pet unicorn would also be nice.)
 
After ten years or so, I didn’t need constant nudging to apply my mom’s step-by-step breakdown and conquer approach. And today, yes, I still get overwhelmed and whine occasionally, but eventually I remember to just pick something and start—and there isn’t a pet unicorn in sight.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

“Start Already” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, March 25, 2015 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

Bad form? Good form? Either way—a newsletter!

newspaper_bwWhew, that was a busy, fun morning! (Oh, wait . . . it’s 1:35 p.m. I guess “morning” is shot! :D)

Anyway, no new words yet (they’re pending, hopefully), but I do have new business cards ordered, the chickens fed and watered, dinner in the oven, and plans-in-motion to launch a newsletter. Yay!

The first issue of the oh-so-cleverly titled Ev’s News will hit your inbox (should you desire it, of course, heh heh), mid-November.

I wish I could just add all you kind folk who have agreed you don’t mind hearing from me now and then via my blog, but it’s kind of bad form. So in good form: Please sign up to receive my newsletter. I promise it will be a fun and worthwhile read (bimonthly at most, quarterly at least), sharing details about my forthcoming works, upcoming events (my own and other writers’ and readers’ too), a recipe or two for dishes whatever current character I’m writing about is enjoying, plus book recommendations and other fun tidbits.

And if you know anyone who might want to hear from me, please spread the word!

Misty River Books + Bigger Things by Ev Bishop = dream come true

DSCF1564

Okay, okay . . . I fully admit the title of this post is a tad corny (or perhaps more than a tad!), but seeing BIGGER THINGS—a novel by me!—in the window of my long-time favourite bookstore, Misty River Books, did made my insides jump and skip like a playground full of happy six-year-olds!

I adore my e-reader as my friends and family will attest, but a paper book, one with a comforting weight and presence in your hands and a papery ink and daydream-delicious scent, one that you can snuggle with on the couch or lose yourself with in the tub, is a sensory delight that never gets old. I still do at last half my reading, if not more, the old school print book way.

But it’s not just seeing BIGGER THINGS in paperback that’s so special to me. It really was its placement in the window of the shop that got me. Many, many years ago now, Misty River Books opened its doors in its first home on Lakelse Avenue in Terrace, BC (one street and one block over from where it resides now), and my first visit impacted my life forever. Sounds dramatic—but it’s true.

I had just launched from my childhood home and was enjoying a day off from the Grand Trunk restaurant (now the Bear Country). I remember how I felt perfectly, even think I can recall what I was wearing, and I’d just purchased a to-go coffee, was planning to window shop, and was feeling terrifically adult and a bit heady with my new freedom.

It was a brisk autumn day with lots of crispy red and gold leaves and a brilliant blue sky, and as I walked down the pretty 4600 block of Lakelse I spotted the window display of the new bookstore everyone was talking about. I felt ridiculously cool and grown up, entering the store unaccompanied, coffee in hand. (I moved out of my house really young, hence the continuing awed feeling of being sooo “mature.” :)) Anna was super cool and friendly (as she still is today) and after affirming that I was “just browsing,” I perused the shelves with delight. Terrace had become a real town. It had an independent bookstore!

The day wasn’t just a lovely moment in my coming of age, however, it was a huge turning page for my writing self. I had wanted to be writer since about second grade, I took all and any writing projects in school seriously, participated in any writing classes available, and had I suspect, though I can’t quite remember Misty River’s inaugural year, just signed up for Creative Writing 101 at NWCC. Yet deep down I still worried I was kidding myself. How on earth could a kid hailing from Nowhere, BC (those were my thoughts then; I’m fonder of my hometown now) ever make it as a writer?

But what did I discover in Misty River Books that day? A magazine that did huge things to grow and give feet to my dreams: Writer’s Digest, a treasure trove of craft advice, inspirational articles, and information about how to sell stories. I was hooked. It really was a pivotal find at a pivotal time, the first thing to ever truly help me see that my “pipe dream” might actually be able to be a practical reality. And Misty River Books facilitated that.

Throughout the years, Misty River Books continued to feed my love of books (and that of my children’s and anyone else I could foist books onto as gifts), but they also nurtured my writing dreams, with kind words and genuine interest in whatever I was up to writing-wise, and speedy-quick willingness to order in whatever magazine or book I decided was a must-have if they didn’t already have it in stock.

And I’m not the only writer who feels a debt of gratitude to her bookstore. I attend SiWC every year, and I’ve heard dozens of stories from well-published “big” authors who laud a bookstore from their childhood or early writing years as being a font of inspiration and support. (Michael Slade’s tale of Duffy’s is a particularly fun and poignant one.) But talking about bricks and mortar bookstores always seems to bring e-books back to the table. Yes, bookselling is changing. Change—in all things it seems—is inevitable. But I don’t believe bookstores have to be a thing of the past. Nothing pulls people together—or helps people in their everyday life—like a good story, a great yarn, or a wonderful, wise book. E-reads are lovely for a quick escape or for hefting twenty books with you on holidays in a mere eight ounces of weight . . . but you don’t peruse shelves of e-reads. Visitors don’t pick up your e-reader and page through it—or they better not! Kids don’t lose themselves—and find themselves—in the pictures and texture of stories on tablets. Paper books foster literacy and an appreciation for stories, and they’re not reliant, thus at risk, when technology changes or crashes. There’s not only room—there’s a need—for both e-reads and print books.

And yes, while I love my digital versions of BIGGER THINGS very much, seeing a physical book with my name across its cover resting on my favourite bookstore’s shelves? Well, it really is seeing a dream come full-circle-true.

:) Ev

p.s. In case you’re wondering, yes, I still feel terrifically adult and a little bit heady with freedom when I walk through Misty River Books’ door, inhale the gorgeous scent of possibility and adventure, and peruse its packed-to-the-rafters shelves.

DSCF1567

 

To Capture the Moon –

apr_7_2012_moon8
We had a gorgeous full moon last night, and in honour of it and the thoughts the moon always triggers in me, here is today’s Déjà vu Thursday. Enjoy, and good luck in your own attempts to capture the moon, or whatever else you’re seeking. :)
– – – – – – – – – – – – –

The yellowed-ivory moon rose over the snow topped mountains in the near distance. Huge bellied and magnificent, she sat heavy in the periwinkle sky of the early spring evening, queen of all she surveyed. And I, a peasant beneath her, awed by her visage and her serene scrutiny, deserted my leaf-raking and flowerbed cleaning and ran for a camera—completely taken in: this was the night I’d capture the moon.

I fetched my camera, and . . .

Completely failed in my quest. I have seen gorgeous photographs of the moon. The people who take them are magicians. Or perhaps they too think, You call this image beautiful, breathtaking, magical? No, you should have seen the moon that night. I didn’t even come close.

I know in seeking that illusive picture of the moon, concepts (magic spells!) like aperture, ISO, and EV 1 or 2 units come into play, along with tools like telephoto lenses, tripods, and the like. I have heard that I can master them. And perhaps I will. Strive. Try.

My first pronouncement—“completely failed”—softened under her encouraging glow as the night darkened around her. I emerged instead with a lesson, applicable to my writing and so many other parts of my life. The attempt is the joy, is the success, is the purpose. The moon will never be captured fully, but she can be suggested, alluded to, conjured, imagined, dreamt. . . .

And as if to affirm that truth, I discovered that two of the twenty or so shots I took turned out . . . not bad. Though nowhere close to how beautiful the moon actually was on April 6, or how she overtook the horizon and my imagination, I hope they hint. . . .

So the aftermath of my night’s chase? Most often with words, but sometimes using picture, paint or other, I’ll keep seeking to express the beauty and mysteries that sometimes surprise us in the day or wait and appear only fleetingly at night. And most often I’ll miss the mark, not accomplish what I’m shooting for, but that’s okay. I accept the quest. I revel in it. I delight in it. And who knows? Sometimes I might come . . . close.