A new year, a new book, and a blurb!

Weddings Bands by Ev BishopHappy New Year!

I hope this post finds you enjoying the first week of 2015. (Wow, 2015!) If you still haven’t rested up and recuperated fully from the holidays, or if you’re less than motivated to head outdoors and brave the wintery winds and chill, do I have a solution for you . . . well, in four more sleeps anyway!

I’m beyond delighted to share that my latest novel, WEDDING BANDS, hits digital shelves Tuesday, January 13th, kicking off a brand new series called River’s Sigh B & B. It’s the perfect excuse (not that we ever need one!) to curl up on the couch with a blanket and while some time away.

Here’s a sneak peek into the storyline:

Ditched by her high school sweetheart, Callum Archer, on the night they’re supposed to elope, Jo Kendall casts out on her own, brokenhearted.

Over the years, Jo reels in a life she loves, centered on the outdoors, fishing (favoring a lucky wedding band lure), and her fine dining restaurant—a life that crashes away when her husband and business partner cheats her, leaving her bankrupt and alone.

Then her uncle dies, bequeathing Jo and her sister, Samantha, his rural property. Jo returns to Greenridge, determined to build a new business and permanent home—without the help of a man. Unfortunately Samantha wants her inheritance in cold, hard cash and hires a lawyer to get it for her, a lawyer who turns out to be none other than Jo’s long-lost love, Callum.

Jo’s fledgling plans—and her heart—are at risk once more.

If Jo can fight her insecurities, she might end up with a wedding band that doesn’t come with a sharp hook. But should she risk everything she’s worked for, yet again? Before she can decide, she needs to know: can a lost love truly be reclaimed?

I so hope you pick it up–and that if you do, you enjoy it immensely. :)

Wishing you a year full of love, laughter, and great reads!
Ev

*Haven’t taken to e-reading yet? Don’t worry! Print books are lovely things, and WEDDING BANDS will debut in paperback toward the end of the month. I’ll keep you posted.

Happy New Year!

Don't end up like this on New Year's!

Don’t end up like this on New Year’s!

I used to always stay up extra late, past the time all my reveling friends and family went off to bed, light some candles, have a cup of tea or something stronger, and journal about anything I was happy, sad, angry about in the past year, write out my hopes for the new year, and generate a huge list of resolutions.

In recent years, the timing changed, becoming a few stolen hours on the first or second of the month. The journaling remained, but the huge list of resolutions morphed into a sheet of more specific goals, with tangible steps on how to attain those goals.

This year to celebrate 2015 (Wow!), I’m going to dedicate most of January 2nd to recounting, dreaming and planning. I’ve already filled in the days of each month on my erasable year-at-a-glance calendar, created and installed a huge cork board to serve as a wall of inspiration and reminders behind my new standing workstation, and I have task sheets pinned up for my next three novels. The 2nd will find me—journal, Polestar planner, new gorgeous pen, and wine close at hand—on the couch, mapping out the months ahead.

I realize this all might make me sound a little OCD, but I find the acts of looking back, considering the present, and contemplating the future very helpful. Sometimes it’s a little bittersweet, but mostly I find a lot of joy and rekindled ambition and motivation. I tend to be someone who beats myself up for never doing enough. Taking stock of accomplishments and met goals helps me shut the mean voices up.

So what about you? How do you plan to ring in 2015? If you’re going to some big bash or having a cozy house party, I’d love to hear about it . . . but what I’m really asking is what you’re going to do alone, on your own, involving your head, heart, and thoughts to celebrate a brand new year? Are you a resolution maker? Do you journal and/or do some sort of reflection on the year past and what you’d like to see in the twelve months to come? Is there something specific you’re planning to tackle this year? Please share a line or two. Hearing other peoples’ hopes and plans often helps clarify and motivate my own.

And whatever you’re aspiring toward or pursuing—and however you’re celebrating—I wish you the patience, strength of conviction, and sense of humor to see it through. May 2015 be wonderful for you in every way.

HowEm_bare_essing

And don’t go out looking like this. You have to smile, at least!

p.s. This my 200th blog post. Crazy, hey? And a wonderful thing to celebrate in its own right. :)

Merry belated Christmas!

The following was originally published in the Terrace Standard, December 24, 2014 as my monthly column “Just a Thought,” and though Christmas day has passed, I hope you still find my words appropriate. After all, the good parts of the holiday season–and maybe some of the hard aspects too–remain, as a brand new year looms bright and close, shiny with potential!
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Christmas CatI’m supposed to be writing a Christmas column, and I have the room’s mood and atmosphere just right. The tree is aglow. Tea light candles light every dark corner and make the shadows cozy. A tiny Victorian village rests on a mantle beside me, while a lovely, ancient-looking nativity scene takes the place of honor on our buffet. I even have a festive beverage.

But words and ideas are slow to come. I just want to daydream or putter about my house—a sure sign I have a deadline looming! Practically the only time I want to do housework is when I’m supposed to be writing something.

It’s not that I’m not feeling merry; it’s just that my thoughts are a jumble this month. I’m feeling that weird Christmas mixture of mingled joy, gratitude and excitement and sorrow and longing that seems to be part and parcel of the season.

My dad’s passing feels official now, and in a lot of ways I miss him more now than when my grief was fresh. It’s like it has finally sunk in after two years. He’s really gone, not just on an extended holiday or work trip, gypsy-ing around like he loved to do.

The anniversary of his death and my mom’s and my mother-in-law’s hit bang, bang, bang this time of year. It’s a cliché that you miss people more during the holidays—a cliché, I guess, because it’s true. And in another cliché, I find myself wishing desperately that I could talk to him, to them, even one more time. I have so much I want to say, so much I want to ask. . . .

On the other hand, I’m struck by the wonderful juxtaposition and celebration of life—and all its loveliest elements—anew this time of year.

My youngest niece turned one. So fun! A nephew has learned to read fluently and loves it (so, of course, I’m over the moon, as reading well is one of the greatest joys, most valuable teachers, sweetest of comforts, and strongest creators of connection to other people, ideas, and cultures that we can possess). One of my siblings has a baby on the way!

Other young relatives are growing from childhood into young adulthood and while it’s challenging for them and their parents sometimes, I love catching glimpses of the grown-ups they’ll be.

My daughter and her husband are full of Christmas plans and festive surprises for each other. So cute to watch. I often laugh as I take in their interactions and silly banter and feel a sense of wonder. Were C and I ever so young? And, of course, we were. I mean, we are. Heh heh.

My son, always good for holiday cheer, had almost every game we own out on the table the other night. No truer sign exists that the holidays are upon us than that!

And I guess those details hint at how I’m feeling as Christmas 2014 approaches, fortunate and blessed that even while my thoughts are filled with people I miss, I am simultaneously surrounded by family and friends I love so much. We don’t know how long we get to keep and enjoy our loved ones, so amid the fun, games, food and noise—and inevitable moody times or stress, mine and theirs—I aim to appreciate and treasure every minute with them.

Whether this year finds you happy or sad, stressed out or excited, lonely or pressured, mourning or joyful, may good memories warm you, and may you feel God’s presence and peace in 2015.

Book News and a Podcast for the Merry Month!

Goldilocks and the 3 Cares feature BIGGER THINGS.

Goldilocks and the 3 Cares feature BIGGER THINGS.

Hello and happy December! It’s my favorite time of year here on my olde blog spot, as lovely WordPress makes it snow across the screen each and every day. Fun! :)

As ever, the merry month is already busy, but I’m carefully treasuring time aside each evening for reading, TV and a bit of knitting. You gotta have priorities, right?

I just finished BEFORE I WAKE by Robert J Wiersema and can’t recommend it enough, a beautifully written, heartbreaking and spooky story that also manages to contain a lot of hope and moments of intense joy and beauty. I couldn’t put it down and actually played hookey from my own writing yesterday morning to finish it.

In other news (which all seems to be story related – yay!), my alter ego Toni Sheridan has another Christmas novella just out: DRUMMER BOY, a sister story to last year’s THE PRESENT. They’re both on sale now, cheap, cheap, cheap, so snap them up and enjoy a bit of sweet romance and an escape from the winter chill. (And if you end up needing to play hookey so you can see what happens in the end, I won’t tell a soul. I’ll just be flattered. :))

And speaking of flattered, last but not least, I was contacted today by Crystal Bourque, an author, speaker and reader that I met at SiWC this year (exemplifying just one of the many reasons I think the conference is so great, the people you meet). We hit it off and have stayed in touch. Recently she gave BIGGER THINGS a read and decided to use it for her Podcast, Goldilocks and the 3 Cares.

It was fascinating and a little bizarre to hear other people (Crystal and her co-host, Andrew Gaudet) discuss my book. To my relief, though yes, there was an element they found too hot and one they found too cold, they mostly considered it just right. Yay!

The more people read BIGGER THINGS and talk to me about it or review it, the more interesting I find the variety of opinions people hold. Very fun! You can listen to the Podcast here. And do make sure to check out some of their other offerings as well, or subscribe to them. They always make me laugh, provoke thought, and give me new titles to add to my to-read list–as if I need more!

And since we’re on the topic of BIGGER THINGS, I have a promotion for any of you looking for gift ideas for book-loving friends or family members. For the month of December, if you buy a paperback directly from me, I’ll sign it to whomever you say, gift wrap it and mail it FREE OF CHARGE directly to your intended’s address (Canada addresses only). Contact me on or before DECEMBER 10th if you want the present to arrive in time for Christmas (Canada Post’s cut off for guaranteed pre-Christmas delivery in Canada is Dec. 11).

I can take payments via PayPal, Visa, Mastercard, or you can do an e-mail transfer from your bank. Books, including GST and FREE SHIPPING within Canada, are $17.84 each. E-mail me at evbishopATSIGNevbishopDOTcom for more info or to order.

And well, I think that’s it for me today: stories, stories, and more stories on the brain. I hope you’re in a similar delightful state.

Enjoy the merry month!

Wooly Thoughts

Purple Haze. Photo credit: Ev Bishop

I’m learning to knit. (Emphasis on the learning—though my very patient, good-humored instructor/friend may laughingly, kindly—but mockingly nonetheless—question if I’m actually learning anything. I might have to post a picture to Facebook to prove that I have mastered, er . . . managed, the knit stitch and the purl stitch now.)

When I told her, pre-first lesson, that I was a complete beginner I don’t think she realized that meant I had never knitted a stitch in my life. People downplay their abilities all the time. Not me. It took me a full hour to grasp how to make the slipknot needed in order to cast on. I even had to be shown how to hold the needles, for crying out loud—but I digress.

“You’re overthinking it,” she said. I couldn’t argue. Overthinking is what I do. In fact, I’ve made it an art, not merely a way to procrastinate. Over the next few weeks I thought a lot about my overthinking while I knit row after row after row—only to take out every stitch and restart from scratch multiple times.

I really like knitting. It’s incredibly soothing to sit, mug of tea close at hand, repeating the same stitch again and again, watching as a lovely (in my current project) swath of deep purples, plums, and blues—like a night sky over the ocean—grows in a gentle swell beside me. I haven’t quite reached the phase where I can knit without looking (though I can glance up, hold a conversation, etc.), but I can let my mind roam—or my mind insists on roaming all on its own. And with my hands busy, whatever topics I dwell on, even not-so-nice stuff and “hard” things, seem more manageable somehow.

As a culture, we’ve benefited a lot from automation and the invention of a bazillion machines and tools to replace work previously done by hand, free time being our biggest gain. Yet in losing those types of chores, I find myself wondering if we also haven’t lost something important—an age-old way our brains used to cope with worry, stress or sadness.

When doing productive work that engages my brain just enough to keep me attentive to my surroundings, but not so much that I can’t think about separate things, solutions to everyday problems seem to arrive out of nowhere. It’s like moving through the rows of a project causes my thoughts to move forward too. I can’t stay stuck on one track or dwell too obsessively.

And unlike so many other parts of life where there are no easy answers, perfect solutions, or quick fixes, there’s something very satisfying and rewarding about this type of tangible-results task: I worked for this long; I accomplished this.

North American culture, one of the wealthiest and most pleasure-orientated of any society, ancient or modern, is also one of the most unsettled and discontent. We’re bombarded by noise, images, and information constantly—at work, at school, and, ever-increasingly, at home too—and all too often we have no outlet, no avenue to deal with the sensory overload.

Enter knitting—or some other wooly-brained pursuit. I don’t think the majority of us will ever make all our own clothing, blankets and bedding again, but we can all benefit from reclaiming some of those old skills. Learn to knit, even just to make your own dishcloths. Darn socks and sweaters (and teach your kids). Bring back the mending basket—where shirts or pants with torn seams sit, then get repaired on a wet afternoon, instead of being thrown out. It’s healthy for the pocketbook, environmentally responsible—and good for our heads.

I suspect I have many, many scarves in my future, and that’s, well, perfect. I like scarves. And so does my brain. Never felt a minute’s stress or mental overload? Lucky jerk, ha ha—knit anyway. It’s also just plain fun.

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“Wooly Thoughts” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, November 26, 2014 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”

Celebrate BIGGER THINGS! (And please share. ;D)

Well, I’m freshly back from SiWC 2014 and it feels absolutely perfect to round off my wonderful conference experience and kick start new project enthusiasm with an official launch party for BIGGER THINGS.

I’m beyond touched that Misty River Books and The Terrace Public Library are throwing this event, and hope you’ll join me tomorrow night (Wednesday, October 29) at 7:00 p.m. at the Terrace Public Library. The more the merrier! It will be fun. :) Please spread the word.

Bigger Things Launch Party

Hello Pulp Literature 4 and SiWC 2014 road trip!

Pulp Literature 4It seems lovely and fitting that the day before I embark on a road trip (Yaaaaay, one of my favourite things!) that will culminate in my annual enjoyment of SiWC, I get a treat in the mail*: Issue 4 of PULP LITERATURE, a fantastic gem of a reading treasure and the brainchild of, you guessed it, a lovely group of author-editors who frequent the conference regularly.

As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of short stories (as I discuss here), and I’m super stoked about the work Pulp Literature brings into the world, the treat that it is for readers, and the way it supports and nurtures writers of short tales. I can’t recommend it enough, and to wish its creators and team of editors, designers, proof readers, etc. a very happy 1st Anniversary, I entreat you: please buy your own subscription, gift it to someone in your life who loves to read (or receive mail, lol), and/or support their Kickstarter initiative.

And while you do that, I’m outta here. I need to gas up my car, pick up a few things, and make sure I’ve stowed my latest Pulp Literature along with a myriad of other book-goodies for road trip reading.

I’ll be gone a few weeks, so until I’m back, happy reading and writing. May you enjoy a surplus of uninterrupted hours of book bliss!

Warm regards,
Ev

*And have I said before how much I like to receive things by post that aren’t bills? Yes, I believe I have, but seriously getting my copy of Pulp Lit every four months has been sooo fun. Totally makes the subscription price worth it. I haven’t been so stoked about mail since I was a member of the Columbia House Record club and would receive new rock cassettes every month. (Oops, my age is showing! :D)