ONE TO KEEP can be yours to keep!

EvBishop_OneToKeep_1400pxMy latest River’s Sigh B & B novella is coming, and I can’t wait to share it!  

Buy it online Tuesday, December 15, or sign up for my newsletter and get it as a free gift! Please spread the word. :)

New Year’s Resolution: ONE TO KEEP

It’s been two years since Sophie was dumped at the altar, and she’s scarred, but wiser. She has a career she loves, good friends, and a caring family. It should be more than enough, and she wants to vanquish the part of her that still craves something more.

This year, unable to bear one more “festive” get together where everyone gives her sad eyes and asks how she’s doing, she heads to River’s Sigh B & B, a picturesque spot she discovered online. It will be a New Year’s celebration for one, a place to unwind and kick off her new resolution: to embrace single life as a permanent choice.

Jesse Ales has found the perfect way to avoid the world this holiday season. He’ll be the caretaker at River’s Sigh B & B and enjoy a break from well-meaning friends who think he should be over his ex-wife. The whole place will be deserted, except for some eccentric old woman holidaying alone in the wilderness. Even after making her breakfast every day, he’ll have plenty of time to plan his new life: committed bachelorhood.

When chance throws Sophie and Jesse together in a pub, and a night of alcohol, food, and laughter-infused lunacy almost leads to a one-night stand, they’re both shaken, but doubly resolved to remain single.

And then they meet again at River’s Sigh and realize they’re about to spend a week alone together—twenty miles from their nearest neighbor. They’ll each have to face their worst fears: their own unacknowledged yearnings for a love that lasts.

Can love tempt them to commitment a second time around?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Haven’t read my other River’s Sigh B & B novels? No worries, like all the books in the series, ONE TO KEEP is a perfect standalone. That said . . . You can always get a jump on your cozy winter escape reading and check out WEDDING BANDS or HOOKED today!

EvBishop_WeddingBands#2_200px Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ Barnes & Noble




EvBishop_Hooked_800px Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ Barnes & Noble




p.s. Did you notice it’s snowing on my blog? How perfect! :) :)

To Friendship


"Coffee Break" Photo by Berit Watkin

“Coffee Break” – Photo by Berit Watkin

Water bottles. Check. Audio book. Yay and check! Overnight bags. Check. My friend’s car—her behind the wheel—gassed up and ready to hit the road. Check and check. First stop: Drive thru for coffee. Last stop? Destination Prince George.

It was a lovely mini vacation. Three friends and I decided to meet up for a day of shopping, followed by dinner and a late night gabfest in PG. It was one of those spontaneous breaks you don’t know how much you need until you take it.
We each visited our different shopping priorities then met up at a hotel where we shared a suite. We drank wine and munched appys in said suite, then devoured a fantastic meal at North 54. After that we partied up a storm—old-friends-who-don’t-get-to-see-each-other-enough style, meaning we taxied back to the hotel after dinner, chatted for a few more hours, then went to bed, woke up, had coffee in our room and talked some more, then had a lovely breakfast and went our separate ways.  
As you know from last month’s column (and from your own life, no doubt), some seasons in life are harder than others, and what kept coming back to me over and over again was the famous Beatles’ refrain, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” (Ohhhhh, ooooooh!)
I have been incredibly blessed with enduring friendships: some formed as an adult in the midst of raising children and trying to find myself career and creativity wise, others that predate meeting my husband, having kids, or graduating high school—or, in one case, even having permanent teeth. A couple friends are related by blood. Others are more the kind Anne of Green Gables spoke of: “Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think. It’s splendid to find out there are so many of them in the world.”
Over the years and depending on the busyness and cadence of our various lives, we see a little or a lot of each other, but something interesting struck me the other day. I appreciate, need, rely on, and revel in my friends with the same intensity that I did as a teenager—maybe more because we’re not all so rottenly insecure.
I wouldn’t have predicted this in my twenties and early thirties when things were so hectic that long deep visits or casual just hanging out times were rare—but I also wonder if it has something to do with the life stage I’m at. In my twenties and thirties, I knew what I was doing, what I was focused on. I still appreciated and enjoyed my friends, but my small children and family took most of my energy and time. Here at 43, I feel like I’m 18 again, in terms of wondering what’s up next, who will I be, how shall I live? And some of the grief and hard things feel similar too. Why do we exist? What’s the meaning of life? Why is our world like this? (I know, I know . . . you’re feeling sorry for my friends having to put up with me. What can I tell you? They really are amazing. And they drink a lot to cope with me. Heh.)
My husband and I often joke that I’m a hermit, and that’s partially true. I can enjoy light socializing, but it wears me down. I don’t do small talk well. And I require a lot of alone time—yet I also need my friends, deeply.
It’s not the quantity of friends that counts, nor the amount of time you spend together. In both cases, it comes down to quality.
I hope you, like me, have found (or find) your people—or person—that keeps you from feeling alone on this small planet. After all, “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” ~ C.S. Lewis 
Love and feel extremely grateful for my friends. Check.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
“To Friends” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, November 25, 2015 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

One To Keep by Ev Bishop – yours free!

EvBishop_OneToKeep_1400pxHappy news for all my newsletter subscribers, new and old, plus any and all River’s Sigh B & B fans. :)  New Year’s Resolution: ONE TO KEEP, a holiday novella, set in River’s Sigh B & B, is coming out to help you celebrate this winter – or hide from it. :)

ONE TO KEEP hits digital sale shelves December 15, but to thank all you who read my books and subscribe to my newsletter, I’ll be giving it to you as a free gift and sneak preview early December, so watch your inboxes!

Haven’t signed up for my newsletter, but want to enjoy a free River’s Sigh B & B getaway? What are you waiting for? :)  Sign up for EV’S NEWS today by clicking here! (I fully admit I’m trying to seduce you into reading all the books, LOL. I hope you do and that you love them.)

And please spread the word to any friends or family you think might enjoy my world. I’d love to give them ONE TO KEEP too, so get them to subscribe. The more the merrier!


Get hooked on Hooked!

EvBishop_Hooked_800pxIt’s promising to be a windy, rain-soaked, cold and dreary weekend, which is perfect, perfect, perfect–if you’re a reader that is! ;) Dig out your coziest blanket, round up snacks and warm bevvies, get yourself a good book and snuggle in for the next few days. Enjoy!

p.s. In case you’re in between reads or want something new, considering visiting River’s Sigh B & B. Here are the first two chapters in Book 2. I hope you get Hooked. ;)

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.”


“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.

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Get Hooked today!

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ iTunes ~ Barnes & Noble

Paperbacks available at Misty River Books in Terrace, Eddie’s News in Prince Rupert, online pretty much everywhere :), and libraries across northern BC.

Have a fantastic weekend! I hope it’s filled with good food, comforting thoughts and company, and great reads. (All things I’m hoping for today too! :D)

Free contest – easy to enter. Win free books, small gifts and maybe, just maybe, the $200 PayPal grand prize!

Winter Wonderland Book Giveaway!


Over 50 authors participating, offering fantastic prizes:
Free Books! A myriad of gifts and presents. A $200 PayPal grand prize!
Fill every entry to increase your chances of winning!
Click the picture below & Go to the giveaway now. Have fun! :)

Winter Wonderland Book Giveaway

Out of the Dark

Photo copyright Ev Bishop

Photo by Ev Bishop

When the long kind days of summer leave and fall and winter set in, my house is extremely dark at night. Set on four acres in a rural area, away from streetlights and shrouded from neighbors by forests, unless you turn something on, the hallway, staircase, and basement are pitch black. And it doesn’t matter how familiar I am with my home, every so often this deep darkness catches me by surprise.

The other evening, I started downstairs, not realizing someone had killed all basement lights. I was fine at first, but on the landing just before the final flight of stairs, the thought hit: Wow, it’s really dark. And just like that I lost my place and froze.

Eventually, since there was no other viable option, I moved forward again, prodding for solid ground, one foot at a time. Every so often, feeling empty air, my heart would race. Was this the spot I’d fall? And then I was safely on smooth floor once more, familiar with my surroundings again, relief flooding through me.

The small lesson felt like a gift.

I’ve had a difficult five or six months. There have been lovely times and moments, but there have also been terrible, wrenching events. The deep contrasts between life’s good and bad have been . . . harder than usual. I’ve been struggling to cope with the things other people suffer, and angry at the unfairness and randomness of so much of life. Plus I’ve been uncomfortably aware of the pettiness of some of my problems compared to bigger issues (personally and within the larger world) and frustrated with my inability to do much of anything to help.

And I’ve felt guilty for such negative feelings because even in the toughest times I’m poignantly aware of all I have to be grateful for—and I am grateful. Truly. But sometimes my blessings make the questions I have harder to stand up under, not easier. Why am I spared? Or blessed? Why is anyone?

During this dark time, my faith and core beliefs have taken a hit and I’ve been very, very sad—to the point that I’ve worried what if my resilience gets so battered I can no longer bounce back? What if one day I just can’t muster energy, or keep putting myself and my heart out there?

And then I had the stairs-in-the-dark incident, followed closely by a chance stumble into this Kurt Vonnegut quote:

Be soft.
Do not let the world make you hard.
Do not let pain make you hate.
Do not let bitterness steal your sweetness.
Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.

I found the simply worded admonishment comforting. And challenging.

Pain can make us hate. I have to fight that in myself. Other people’s behavior can tempt us to harden ourselves. I need to resist that inclination. I have to let go of bitterness. It poisons and sours the sweetness that co-exists with the awful.

The world is a beautiful place—or can be—and that’s why the hard things are excruciating. We know how good things can be, should be, so we chafe against the bad. That can be beneficial if it gives us courage to change the things we can. It’s destroying when it keeps us focused on what we can’t change or prevents us from recognizing and taking joy from the things we have that are good.

I don’t think we’re ever prepared for the familiar to suddenly become alien or to find ourselves in times of utter darkness, but perhaps it’s unavoidable. Yet if we can somehow keep feeling our way through those times, eventually we’ll make it back to, or will create, a safe place. And meanwhile, maybe we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for feeling bruised and aching occasionally. That’s what happens when you’re soft. And softness is good.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

“Out of the Dark” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, October 28, 2015 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

I have long been obsessed . . . plus a 99 cent sale!

EvBishop_BiggerThings2_800pxAbout a year and a half ago I published Bigger Things, a novel very near and dear to my heart. I think every book or story resonates with its author (or I hope it does!), but in the case of Bigger Things, it really was a personal story—complete fiction, but fiction where the characters confront, question, laugh and cry over, obsess and get pissed off about things I’ve experienced (or do experience)—most specifically, body issues and fatism, abuse and/or the sexualization and objectification of young girls, and the way food and body image issues aren’t, unpopular as it is to some folks’ opinions, just “fat girl” issues.

It’s always a nerve wracking, anxiety inducing, cold sweat producing thing for me to release a new story out to the world. (Will people hate it, hate me? Does anyone else relate or “get” any of this? Am I totally alone? And on and on nag the inner voices.) Bigger Things was no exception; I was nervous. As readers found the novel, however, responses and reviews, online and in person, were very affirming. And many, many women and girls ended their comments with statements like, “I might not be fat, but I’m a fat girl too.” And that was one of my hopes in publishing it, that maybe someone out there somewhere would read Jen, Chelsea, and Kyra’s stories—and Fat Girl’s too—and feel encouraged or heard or seen. Would know that whatever their head is doing/saying, they’re not alone. That kind of response, even from a tiny few, was all that I had hoped for.

Then early this spring I was notified that Bigger Things was nominated for InD’Tale Magazine’s RONE Award (Chick Lit/Women’s Fiction category)—then made the finals.
I didn’t end up winning, but I don’t mind. I was (am!) honored Bigger Things made it that far. I did, however, ponder what I would’ve said if I had won and had to go up to the podium—probably some amalgamation of the above and this:

When my kids were little, they and I adored a story written and illustrated by Janell Cannon called Stellaluna.

Stellaluna is the story of a little fruit bat who gets separated from her mother and ends up taken in (grudgingly) by a mother bird who raises her alongside her baby birds. The book is rich with themes about being lost, or losing your home, searching for belonging and what constitutes family, friendship, etc. It’s both heartbreaking and hilarious to watch Stellaluna try to relate to the birds—and to witness the birds try to enhance Stellaluna’s “birdlike” behavior and curb her bat tendencies. They, bat and birds, are all frustrated and a bit mystified that they can have so much in common, yet be so different in such critical ways.

For me, the most poignant part of the story comes near the end when the baby birds and Stellaluna have finally forged a friendship despite their differences, and Stellaluna is musing on this very topic: “How can we be so different and feel so much alike? And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?”

For my children, the most touching part was a tiny story outside the main narrative. The whole book is gorgeously put together and its illustrations are purely wonderful. The primary tale is riveting. It needed no embellishment—yet the top corner of each page holds a tiny drawing revealing a separate-but-related ongoing saga.

All the while Stellaluna is struggling with her identity and trying to figure out where she truly fits, her mother has never stopped searching for her. It’s this search that’s detailed in tiny pictures, no less impacting for their small size or lack of words.

Within these elements of the story—Stellaluna’s musing about differences and similarities and her longing for meaningful connection and in the mother’s quest to bring her baby back to the fold—lies the impetus behind not just my writing of Bigger Things, but behind a lot of my stories and writing in general.

I have long been obsessed with how we humans can be so similar, yet feel so different—and how we can be so different, yet feel so much the same. And I think most of us, regardless of race, gender, socioeconomic status, education, religion, geography, past history, etc. seek similar things to varying degrees: belonging, companionship, a sense of who we are in the context of other people, a reason for why we exist and a desire to know how we’re supposed to live. And I also believe, as lonely as human existence sometimes feels, there are usually other people searching for us whether we—or they—are consciously aware of it or not. We are, despite so many obvious, glaring, often conflict-causing outer differences—mostly the same under the skin. This notion (and longing and hope) fuels a lot of the ideas I explore.

To celebrate my conviction that Bigger Things is (and bigger things are) important, my novel has just been re-released with a brand new cover and for one week only it’s at a spectacular sale price, just 99 cents!

If you’ve already read Bigger Things and enjoyed it, please share and encourage other people in your life to read it too. And if you haven’t yet indulged, I hope you’ll give it a try. (And please know, despite my blathering here about what it may or may not be about to me, most of all Bigger Things is a just a great story about three lifelong friends and the things that weigh them down—and that eventually, hopefully, also have the power to free them.) ~ ~ KOBO ~ iBooks ~ Barnes & Noble (Nook)

Thanks, as ever, for reading and thinking and just being.

~ Ev

Bigger_Things_Pins_2p.s. I’d love to give away some Bigger Things pins! How do you get your hot little hands on one you ask? Easy! Share this post, comment here that you shared, then e-mail me your snail mail address and I’ll send you a pin. (ev_bishopATSIGNyahooDOTcom)