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.

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“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

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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.

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To Capture the Moon –

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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. :)
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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.

Spring Stinks

"Early Spring Daze" - Photo by Ev Bishop

“Early Spring Daze” – Photo by Ev Bishop

Spring stinks. No, seriously, it does. All the dead plant life from fall, frozen all winter, finally thawed and rotting. The sopping wet fields and lawns release an icky, sweet, almost manure-like scent as organisms in the dirt decompose. But it’s a stench I love. It smells like possibility.

Like, regardless of whether my new year’s resolutions have already fallen by the wayside or whether I’m already behind in my yearly goals whatever they may be, it’s okay because it’s spring. Time for new growth. For planting. For milder weather and easier times.

And this year, thanks to our gentle winter, the promise of spring has come earlier than usual. (And I say this despite the fact that as I write this, snowflakes as big as my fist are falling from the sky. That’s the kind of optimism spring brings! The kind that makes me smile at the crazy, cold sky and say with great confidence, “Oh, it’s okay. It’s not ‘staying’ snow.”)

I think everyone feels it—or I hope they do: a rush of hopefulness and happiness as plans about what they want to do in the warmer months in beautiful Terrace unfurl in their minds.

I’ve been poking about my perennial beds with glee. Things are going to take off early this year—but not too early. (Nothing’s so developed that I’m worried everything will be killed if we have a late cold snap). I’ve noted that I need a new roof and my house is desperate for a paint job. (The past four or five years it was just in want of a paint job. The desperation is new.) I even contemplated an old-fashioned spring-cleaning as I looked at my walls, but thankfully came to my senses. There’s no need to get too crazy now.

But whether the walls get scrubbed or not, spring always feels like it harkens a new season of industry, one where I’ll get to all my chores—and enjoy doing so.

And this year spring is more exciting than ever because I feel like thrilling new growth abounds beyond my own yard, small gardens and personal aims. Wherever I venture in town, development is afoot.

After years where it seemed like our shops and merchants were just struggling to hold on and keep the rent paid, parking lots are filled with cars. Long empty retail spaces are filling up. And the Skeena Mall . . . well, holy Toledo, it actually looks like a mall. Maybe it’s weird to be grateful to contractors you’ve never met, but every time I look at the lovely Skeena Mall logo with its swirl of green pine, that’s what I feel.

And equally weirdly, I’m thrilled by the big signs on the corners of the mall parking lot that will one day advertise the stores that fill the mall. Finally! I never understood why mall merchants weren’t permitted to have outdoor signs. Kudos to those who enabled the change.

New restaurants have opened up and will hopefully thrive, including our very own sushi bar. Shops and companies that started out small are expanding, buying or renting bigger office spaces, building new, larger shops. Oh, Terrace, after years of dormancy, we’re growing again!

Spring. It’s the perfect time to muck in the mud, figuratively and literally—but it’s also a great time to clean up and go walk about and window shop (and also to shop shop!). In winter, we (or, at least, I) tend to bundle up and run from one place to the next on a mission to do whatever I need to do quickly. In spring, it’s time to meander and daydream.

I hope whatever you’re up to this spring finds you inspired and motivated—and that when you smell that hint of stink under the sweet fresh breeze that’s soon to bring us warmer days, you’re filled with a sense of anticipation and promise. On small and big scales, in personal and public matters, it’s going to be a great growing season.

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“Spring Stinks” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, February 27, 2013 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”