A little something for readers and for writers

Hello and happy post Valentine’s Day greetings,

I hope your belly is full of chocolate! Mine, sadly, is not. I only got in a few nibbles–but have no fear, I will treat myself tonight. My husband and I made our plans for this evening because we got to enjoy a brand new, first time ever experience this Valentine’s Day . . . grandbaby sitting. SO FUN.

I have two quick happy blurts today.

evbishop_hooklinesinker_200pxThe first (calling all readers): I’m excited to announce that I have a new book out – HOOK, LINE & SINKER (Book 4 in my River’s Sigh B & B series). I do hope you’ll grab a copy. 🙂  And no worries, if you haven’t read the rest of the series–though what are you waiting for, lol? Each book works great as a standalone.

Brian and Katelyn fall for each other hook, line and sinker—but real life isn’t a fairy tale. If they can’t solve the increasingly dangerous threat posed by Katelyn’s ex, they won’t get a chance to pick up the pieces from their pasts or to find out if true love is real.

Read the longer blurb and/or buy it today:


The second (calling all writers): Though it’s hard for me to believe, another year has passed and it’s time for Askew’s Foods’ Word on the Lake Writing  Contest. It’s a great contest and first prize includes a full conference package. I had the opportunity to go a few years back and it’s a wonderful event, featuring amazing presenters in a second to none venue. (The hotel is set on the banks of a gorgeous lake, near a bird sanctuary that you can explore in your down time.) Whether you enter the contest or not–and you should–definitely consider the Shuswap Association of Writers’ Word on the Lake conference. 


And that’s it for me! I’ll talk to you again in a few weeks and share my February 2017’s Terrace Standard column. In the meantime, happy living, writing, reading, being,

🙂 Ev

New Year’s Thoughts

"Coffee Break" by Berit Watkin

“Coffee Break” by Berit Watkin

Wow, February 6th already. Where does time go? I hope you’ll accept my (belated!) well wishes for 2017, pour a coffee, and take a minute to enjoy my thoughts on the new year, which were originally published in the Terrace Standard, January 25, 2017 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” Thanks for reading!

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Hello and happy new year! It is mind blowing to me that it’s 2017 already—that, in fact, we’re already through the first month. Mind blowing. 
On the 16th of January, someone close to me shared that it was Blue Monday. The term was unfamiliar to me at first. Apparently it’s a name given to a day in January (often, but not always, the third Monday of the month) that’s widely considered the most depressing day of the year because of a combination of “weather conditions, debt level (the difference between debt accumulated and our ability to pay), time since Christmas, time since failing our new year’s resolutions, low motivational levels and feeling of a need to take action.” (Thanks, Wikopedia. What would I do without you?)
But Blahuary isn’t getting me down this year. A sunny holiday to look forward to helped very much (and made me feel spoiled!), but an even bigger boost (reminder) came from an unexpected place—a back issue (May/Jun/Jul 2016, to be exact) of my favorite magazine, Where Women Create.   
In her wonderful editorial column, From My Kitchen Table, Editor-in-Chief Jo Packham reflects on the passage of time, contemplates her life, and describes herself thus:
“I am 65 this year, and I am having an identity crisis—please do not try to talk me out of it or off the ledge that I seem to be looking over. It is my reality and I am not the only one facing it, who has faced it, or will someday face it. Being 65 is humbling, terrifying, something worth celebrating, nostalgic, lonely . . . a list of adjectives that goes on ad infinitum. But think about it: you can use those same adjectives regardless of what age you turn this year.”
Those adjectives really do apply to every age, and although I’m twenty years younger than Jo, the whole article resonated with me deeply. Her insight and descriptions of the ages and stages of life—“mid-20s, 30-somethings, 40-and-counting, 50-and-wishing, 60-and-panicked, 70-and-reflective, 80-and-byond”—struck me as so . . . accurate.
What I took with me from the read (now these are my thoughts, not hers exactly) is that we are all dying. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.
And conversely:
We are all living. We should feel a sense of urgency to live better, to love truer, to forgive more generously . . . to say what we need and express how we honestly feel, to live how we want to live, to conquer our fears (or push on in the face of them!), to embrace new challenges and pursue our dreams.
(See what I did there? No matter what our perspective on mortality is, how far it seems or close it looms, we should be living fully now.)
To heck with “blue” Monday. Each day is new. Each day. We will all (I’m so sorry to say) go through bitterly hard times, but hopefully we’ll find the strength to persevere when perseverance is needed and the bravery to start anew when quitting or ending something is needed or inevitable.
We will have regrets, even in the future, regardless of how much we decide here and now to live without them. The trick is to not let them hold us back or keep us down. Make amends and apologize when needed (and it will be needed), but remember: Each day is new. We are dying. We are alive!
I wish you so much joy and energy this year—and fun, too. May you embrace life at whatever stage you find yourself and regardless of our ages, may it be true for all us: the best years are still to come.
Find activities that bring you pleasure or contentment and do them. Cherish the people you love and who bring you happiness and spend your time with them.
Warmest regards always,

Kick off the merry month with free books!

I love December for many reasons–including that for the whole month, there’s pretty snow falling across my blog. 🙂 (Seriously, it’s one of my favorite WordPress features, LOL.)

Adding to the fun this year, to celebrate winter and the holiday season–and a love of reading, in general–I’ve teamed up with more than 150 fantastic romance authors to give away a huge collection of novels, PLUS over $1,000 in prizes! You can download my novel ONE TO KEEP for free, plus books from authors like Marie Force, Zara Keane, Victoria Pinder, Ciara Knight, Mary Jo Putney–and too many more great ones to mention. Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/christmas-rom

Best of luck and enjoy a whole lot of cozy-on-the-couch reading this winter!


Thanks. No, seriously. Thank you. 

Photo by Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

Photo by Kitsilano Neighbourhood House

My parents used to encourage me to say thank you. A lot. When I was given a gift or present, after someone helped me in a store or checkout line (regardless of whether the “help” was particularly helpful or cheerful), in the classroom to my teachers, and when someone did anything for me, cooked dinner, helped with my chores, etc. Sometimes the results of this enforced gratitude were more robotic than sincere—but nonetheless, being polite, saying thank you, became a habit.

And my parents often took their say-thank-you lecture one step further. “It’s not enough to just say thank you,” they’d insist. “You have to feel thankful.” It sort of annoyed me. How the heck could I feel something I was being forced to say? But as my childhood and teen years progressed, I started to realize that speaking the words did focus me on what I was truly receiving and make me feel genuinely appreciative.

It wasn’t until I was an adult, however, that I learned of the notion of thankfulness or gratitude being a practice. Merriam Webster dictionary defines practice simply: “to do something again and again in order to become better at it: to do (something) regularly or constantly as an ordinary part of your life.”

Thinking of thankfulness as a practice made absolute sense to me. I absolutelywas more grateful when I took time to voice my appreciation to people or in prayer. And the more I acknowledged the beauty in the world and the abundance of ways I was helped and provided for, the better I got at seeing even more things to be thankful for.

I’m still growing my practice of thankfulness, of course (I suspect we never fully arrive!), and I’ve noticed other benefits of gratitude. Being thankful, and forcing myself to note and articulate things I’m grateful for, goes a long way to banish feelings of entitlement and self-pity. It’s easy to see all the things we perceive we lack, but when we flip our thinking and intentionally list the things we have and that people give us, materially or spiritually or whatever, it becomes almost impossible to not have a change in attitude. Being grateful doesn’t automatically remove hard times or change sad or terrible experiences, but it does help you cope because you see the good and the positive that coexists with the difficult. The Yang in the Yin, if you will.

So in that vein, here are just some of the things I’m incredibly grateful for: family, friends, food, health, home, books, nature. . . .

My list may seem obvious, perhaps—but sometimes it’s those “obvious” things that we forget to think on particularly and to say thank you for specifically. They can be the easiest to take for granted, and I don’t want to take anything for granted.

I regularly challenge myself to make lists of things I’m grateful for. The contents always change. Sometimes I make large sweeping generalities, like I did above. Other times I focus on the tiny details that sometimes get overlooked, so not family as a whole, but each individual person, then the unique particulars of their personalities that I so appreciate. Not nature as a massive entity, but the way frost forms crystal designs on golden leaves early the fall. Not food in one big gulp—but the first sip of coffee, perfectly creamed, when it hits your waiting tongue.

So I learned my parents were right, and I’m thankful for it. Saying thank you is important, but feeling thankful is even more so. May you always have eyes to see the good around you, and the willingness to do so, no matter how difficult it sometimes seems. And have fun! Taking the time to notice, really notice, all the things you have to appreciate is a joy-creating exercise.

p.s. To all my American friends, happy Thanksgiving in two days (and every day, of course)!
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“Thanks. No, seriously. Thank you,” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, October 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.” It’s part of a theme I’m exploring this year–“Things I want my children (and future grandchildren) to know.” Any you’ve missed can be found here: 

1) What do you know? (Jan. 2016)

2) Kindness Matters (Feb. 2016)

3) Beauty in the details (Mar. 2016)

4) Seasons Change (Apr. 2016)

5) Every Day Is Mother’s Day (May 2016)

6) Have Heroes (June 2016)

7) Love Can Last (August 2016)

We need to remember, lest we forget . . .

remembrance-dayIt’s an especially hard or poignant or painful Remembrance Day for me, as I’ve always been someone who wishes she could identify as a Pacifist, but who is all too aware that throughout human history, there have been times when pacifism couldn’t work (though arguably many things—impossible seeming things—have been achieved through non-violence and acts of peaceful protest). There is a certain kind of person, of evil, that will not be deterred or stopped by anything other than brute force—no appeal to a greater good, to wisdom, to mercy, to conscience, to human decency because there is nothing decent in them. Hitler is the primary example of that, of course.

He could not have been, would not have been, put down by anything other than military defeat—although, that wouldn’t have been the case if he had never been allowed to rise to power in the first place.

And I’m always beyond grateful to live in the country and time that I do (although the random, undeserved good fortune of it stirs up a lot of existential questions—but those are for some other time)—and I do not take the freedom I enjoy because of the sacrifice of so many brave souls for granted. I am very conscious of the gift they gave.

But why is this year’s Remembrance Day harder than others? Because I look to our southern neighbors and I feel afraid—for them and for us. What have we done? What have we allowed?

After every “great” war, there’s always been a pervasive hope that it was, finally, the war to end all wars. Yet that was never the case.

Einstein once said, “I know not with what World War 3 will be fought, but World War 4 will be fought with sticks and stones.”

I hated (still hate!) that he acted as if a third World War was inevitable, like we collectively, as citizens of earth, would continue to fail to learn to put hatred, racism, greed, selfishness and entitlement away. Or maybe what I hated was that I feared he was right.

Some people criticize Remembrance Day as “glorifying” war—and too many times in history, our soldiers have returned from atrocious battles, only to be shunned, marginalized, ignored or mistreated by the very governments who sent them out in the first place—as if the soldiers are somehow the ones to blame when a war becomes politically unpopular (Vietnam vets, anyone?). But it is the veterans—and the world’s current soldiers—who most fully understand the true horror and cost of battle—and I’m afraid that the sheer inability we people seem to have to grow in our ideas of how we treat and respect and even see other people as equally human will doom us to repeat our history’s darkest times.

“Lest we forget” gets chanted so often we almost don’t remember what it means: Lest we forget and thus repeat the same mistakes and horrors—and have another war. Lest we forget the massive casualties and stupid, horrific, meaningless deaths and get complacent, not remembering (or caring!) to extend the principles of human decency, respect and freedom that people died to provide for us—and condemn ourselves to another war.

There is this idea that floats around about “holy wars” or “just wars.” There is no holy war. There is no just war. And may there not be another unavoidable one. Please.

My thanks and deep gratitude to all those who fought to protect us from the worst elements of ourselves—those who gave their literal lives and those who came back, forever changed. My thanks also to the people whose lives were (and are) forever changed by living with the fallout from war, not just the death of loved ones, but the return of loved ones who were (or are) altered or damaged by what they saw, had to do, or had done to them.

Let us not forget. And please, please, let us not repeat. Perhaps, in fact, we should change the motto to, “We need to remember and be vigilant.” Hatred, conflict, and war don’t start in some far off, separate from us place. They start in our hearts and homes—in what we let ourselves overlook or justify, what we joke about, what we condone by our failure to speak out against—and they spread.

As Gandhi encouraged, we can be the change we want to see in the world. I truly believe it. For all our sakes, let’s do it.

Peace out,

p.s. I’m aware that my writing might sound as if I thought the last “real” war was Vietnam. I don’t mean to ignore the military conflicts, genocides, wars, struggles and “presences” that have gone on (and are still going), or to negate their impact. It’s just a massive topic and it’s hard to narrow it down.

Did you say 51 free books? I sure did! :D

november-free-for-allIf you’re one of my Ev’s News subscribers or you’ve popped by my Facebook page recently,  you may have already heard about this giveaway, but I just had to put the offer on my website too. It’s too good to not yell about, and I’d hate for someone to miss it!

50 authors offering 51 books = no winter blahs for you, only reading treats. Get your books here, now.

I’m sure you’ll find something to tickle  your fancy. Very happy reading!

🙂 Ev

Babies of Mine

ev-and-hugh-july-2016Shortly after my daughter was born, I came across Chris De Burgh’s song, “For Rosanna”—or maybe I heard it years earlier, but it didn’t resonate with me until I had my own child. He totally nails it, I thought (weepily, I admit). My life is completely and forever changed, to the point that I have difficulty articulating the words for what the change even is, but he has done it for me. I promptly changed his “Rosanna” to my daughter’s name, and it became my favourite lullaby.
When I had my son, again the song fit so well, it was as if it had been written for him. I changed a few words when I sang, and it became his song too.
“This is for—, sweet [child] of mine, A song for the baby who changed my life, I’ll never forget when I saw you first, I thought that my heart would burst, With the love that I have,” sings De Burgh in the opening verse.
He goes on to describe watching his child sleep and expresses that he can’t believe everything he feels—and, especially, the great love that he has. Still later, he sings that as he watches her grow from “baby to child,” he shares her sense of wonder.  
Most poignant to me, however, was his reflection on the things his child would experience when she was older—and how deeply he wanted her to know that he would always be there for her and that she was so loved.
It’s a song that still has the power to make me cry because I identify so much with all its love, hope, joy, yearning, pride and awe—and tiniest hints of trepidation and worry. And it gained new meaning and refreshed poignancy recently because I became a grandma this summer!
My husband and I were thrilled upon hearing we were going to be grandparents, and as the nine months progressed and the big birth day grew closer and closer, our excitement grew bigger and bigger, just as quickly as our daughter’s stomach. I knew, of course, we would love little him or her. And I knew we’d be surprised by how special it was. I was even aware that we probably wouldn’t have words to fully express our joy that well.
But even knowing that, I was not prepared for the crazy flood of . . . you name it.
I think most people understand that becoming a parent is a life-changing, forever-defining (and redefining) thing. I had no idea that in so many ways so is becoming a grandparent.
When my daughter called me for the first time after having her little son I’d already known he was born and that everything had gone well, but somehow hearing her voice undid me. When I got off the phone, I cried and cried. I can’t really name what the emotion behind my tears was. Definitely not sadness. Something the opposite of sorrow. Joy, yes. Relief, yes. Maybe though, to say awe or a sense of surreality would be the most accurate. My first baby had a baby.
And then I met Sweetest Guy and . . . I was just not prepared.
My husband, when pressed by my daughter, described his feelings for his grandson as being like all the love he has for her (our daughter), plus this all-encompassing new love that is just for our grandson. Was that hard to follow? Exactly. Some feelings, no matter how we struggle to describe them, will always defy our abilities to explain.
And every time I hold my little grandson, I feel . . . awe. I see something of my beloved daughter and a lot of my much-loved son-in-law in his little features and expressions, yet at not-quite three months old, he is already uniquely himself and is even beginning to have his own sense of humor. (He finds his grandma and his giraffe hilarious, just so you know.) There is something amazing about looking into the face of someone who carries your genes and your child’s genes, who is, as De Burgh says, blood of your blood.
Spending time with Sweetest Guy also triggers memories of little moments with my own kids that I thought I’d forgotten, which is very special. I could literally just hold him and watch him and enjoy him for hours and hours and hours. (Don’t worry. My daughter is very assertive. She doesn’t let me drive her too crazy.)
And maybe, just maybe, there’s the tiniest tinge of something bitter-sweet as every aspect of loving him reminds me of how much I delighted in being a young mom with young kids—and reinforces the sometimes-fought-against truth that my season for that is over.  But the dominant feeling is an overwhelming, deep joy and gratitude. It’s a new season.
The chorus to Chris De Burgh’s beautiful love song says, in part, “Oh how my heart it is shining, oh how my heart it is shining through—with the love that I have.” And maybe now, as when my own children were small, that is as close as I can get to explaining how I feel. My heart is shiny. There is a new person in our world and I—honour, responsibility, great fun and huge love that is—am his grandma.


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“Babies of Mine” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard in September 2016 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”