While I’m away, I wanted to give you a treat to tide you over.
The latest short in my story of Vee.
While I’m away, I wanted to give you a treat to tide you over.
The latest short in my story of Vee.
I’ll be travelling soon, so there won’t be as many posts. Never fear–when I return, there will be a ton of posts about my trip, plus some special goodies, and a secret!
I’ll give you a hint…you may have noticed that my website’s look has changed…
This was my third year attending the Expo, and as the three main stars of BBC’s Torchwood were coming, I decided to take the plunge and splurge on a ticket to the Torchwood ‘HUB’ reception. Usually I just buy the weekend pass to the Expo and leave it at that. But the chance to ‘mingle’ with John Barrowman, Eve Myles, and Gareth David-Lloyd was more than I could pass up.
I laughed so hard my cheeks hurt. JB is quite possibly the most extroverted person I’ve ever met. He kept the attendees entertained, telling stories (mostly dirty/smutty/silly, or a combination of all three), and he and Eve were quite the pair, egging each other on. Quite sensibly, GDL slipped away from the stage to get a drink, and spent more of his time in quieter conversations with fans. Just even due to space, he was far easier to approach — JB and Eve stayed near the stage and it felt a bit like a rugby scrum to get up there. But it was fun, nonetheless. I loved how JB singled out the cosplayers (and there were some good ones, including a woman dressed up, and in full makeup, as a Silurian.)
And, just my luck, a photographer with the local paper, The Calgary Herald, took a photo of me and GDL: Click here and scroll through the gallery.
My two seconds of fame? Maybe.
Saturday was far calmer in comparison, though I was still buzzed from the reception. JB’s energy seems to be a creature of its own. I met up with my friend Julie in line, and we headed to get JB’s autograph first thing. Then to Richard Dean Anderson, a must-have autograph for Julie (though I’ll be honest and say that I really had no idea who RDA was, or have ever watched Stargate). Then to GDL and Eve, who were lovely in a quieter environment. Told GDL about the photo in the Herald. I have lovely autographs from all three now, and I really ought to get them framed and up.
After autograph-gathering, Julie and I headed into the Corral for the Torchwood panel. 45 minutes of comedy and geekiness. GDL’s “Asparagus Man” had me laughing and almost in hysterics, and then JB had to drop trou and show off his Iron Man briefs. No pics of that moment. My apologies. You’ll just have to imagine it. (Or Google it–I’m pretty sure someone caught it on camera! …oh wait, here’s one for you, though not from this Expo…)
Then it was vendor and artist time, and I bought a really lovely teapot from Kamloops based sculptor Amanda Eccleston, owner of Clay Chimera. It was gorgeous, and holds about 2 large cups of tea, which is perfect for my everyday use. (If you don’t know already, I’m a total tea jenny. No coffee for this girl!)
As I was feeling the lack of sleep, I didn’t stick around till the day’s end. But I had a ton of fun, and I can’t wait till next year’s Expo!
Self-pitying golden boy trader Jay Novacek is having a bad week when he finds himself thrown into a race to save the world from a horrific conspiracy straight out of the darkest hours of history. Could secret human experimentations be carried out worldwide? Can it be stopped? This fast-paced thriller took France by storm when it was first published, reaping superlatives: “Spellbinding,” “exceptional,” “staggering,” captivating,” “brilliant,” “astounding,””fascinating.” Think a dash of Robin Cook, a splash of John Grisham and a pinch of Clive Cussler with a very distinctive voice all it’s own. The book catapulted its author, David Khara, into the ranks of the country’s top thriller writers.
I’ve been impressed with every translation put out by the digital-first publisher Le French Book. My favourite is still The 7th Woman (by Frédérique Molay), but The Bleiberg Project runs a close second. This is an excellent thriller that everyone should pick up.
From the present day, to the harrowing days of WWII, The Bleiberg Project is a fantastical story that kept me reading. Khara builds suspense by flashing back to events during the war, and giving the reader hints, and he adeptly moves between characters. As a writer myself, I was interested to see how Khara worked in a first-person point of view (Jay Novacek) and third-person point of views (Eytan Morg, et al). The switch from first to third didn’t bother me, and I thought it might. But using Jay as first-person narrator gives the reader an ‘in’ so we can more easily get into the story and caught up in the suspense.
However, I was most fascinated by Eytan Morg, the assassin for Mossad, and the twists in his story surprised me. I’m hoping that isn’t the end of Eytan’s character. I can’t really say more, for fear of spoilers, and I really wouldn’t want to spoil this book for you.
This is another great read from the team at LeFrenchBook — I am so glad that someone is intent on making translations of award-winning, impressive crime and thriller novels from French into English. I’m hoping that LeFrenchBook will bring more of Khara’s work into their upcoming catalogue.
My thanks to Le French Book for providing a copy for an honest review.
Before I disappear for a couple of weeks on my trip, I wanted to put up another short story to tide you over until my return.
Vee: Birdland (I)
We haven’t been dating long, and already Vee and I are sticking too close to home. It’s too easy for me to pick her up after work when the bookstore closes, too easy for us to make dinner and drinks here, watching late night TV, or having sex. Not that I mind. But I’m already a bit of a shut-in.
“We should go out tonight,” I say to Vee when she comes over, having had the early shift at the bookstore. She flops into the cracked leather chair in front of the small fireplace, putting her feet up on the arm.
“Where to?” She sounds eager, and I’m glad. Maybe she too has been feeling the urge for change.
“Do you like jazz?” I come out from the kitchen with a glass of water, and Vee looks at me upside down, her head on the back of the chair. She wiggles her eyebrows.
“Don’t know much about it. Punk’s more my style. And indie rock.”
“That’s settled then. Put on a nice dress-” she’s in her work uniform still, and it just won’t do- “and we’ll go.”
“A nice dress?” Vee sits up straight. “Not opera gloves too, I hope.”
Alyssa, when I saw your tagline I wanted to make plans to meet you for a café au lait and talk about all things French. Tout de suite!
Thanks so much for inviting me over for a virtual chat. I guess that will have to do for now ~ passing a plate of madeleines, hot out of the oven ~.
Since you and I share a love of all things French, I thought perhaps your readers would like to see a small sampling of why feel like we do. With your permission, I’m going to ‘focus’ on the south of France.
Apart from being surrounded by history that lives on amidst breathtaking vistas and vegetation, all of which I photograph with endless pleasure,
for me, it’s also about the windows …
And the doors …
The sparkling Mediterranean …
And the vibrant combination of colour and hues at every turn …
Do you take a lot of photographs when you travel? Is there particular subject matter on which you focus or do you shoot with joyful abandon? Don’t you just love digital photography?
After seeing your photos, Patricia, I really want to visit Provence, and the Mediterranean! But I’ll soon be going to Paris, and will have lots of photographs to post from my travels!
Surprise, shock, and a shift in life as she knows it tumble into Katherine Price’s world when least expected. The future she envisioned suddenly vanishes, leaving little to focus on beyond her career and the caregiving her elderly widowed mother might require.
Fate has other plans for Katherine.
June in Provence is full of promise when Katherine arrives from Canada, eager to feel renewed by her surroundings. Endless rows of lavender prepare to burst into pink and purple blooms. Fields of sunflowers flow in golden waves among vineyards and olive groves. Ancient hilltop villages beckon. It’s the postcard setting she envisioned, but is that all she needs?
After a year of heartbreak, Katherine has impulsively agreed to a home exchange in the south of France. Colorful locals, a yellow lab named Picasso, and the inspiring beauty of the countryside breathe new life into her days.
Seeking to shed the pain of betrayal and loss, she struggles to recapture her joie de vivre and searches for the answer to a haunting question: is it too late to begin again?
As Katherine explores the romantic cobblestone lanes of medieval towns, the beautiful boulevards of Paris and the sun-kissed Mediterranean coast of the Côte d’Azur, unimagined possibilities present themselves.
An enduring story of hope and change in life’s later years is woven through the author’s love-letter to France. Like a well-travelled friend, Patricia Sands invites readers into a world she loves and entices them to linger.
“Be prepared to fall in love with Provence! This is a story that will draw you in with its vibrancy in setting and characters. A must read for any woman with a desire for romance and travel.” Steena Holmes, author of Amazon bestseller Finding Emma
Visit Patricia Sands online: http://www.patriciasandsauthor.com
(My review of Patricia’s book is forthcoming.)
Stars David Beazely (Byron), David Patrick Flanning (Percy), Jamie Konchak (Mary), Ava Jane Markus (Claire), Graham Percy (Tom). Directed by Kate Newby. Written by Darrah Teitel.
Well. (*fans self*)
I’ve always had a bit of a thing for Lord Byron, so I knew I had to go see The Apology. And it didn’t disappoint. The first act was a slightly crazy, amorous yet philosophical romp, with an overabundance of sex. Actually, just make it an abundance, and not one I’d be complaining about. I appreciate that they didn’t shy away from the sexual content. Heck, it’d be hard to have any play about Byron & Shelley (particularly in 1814) that didn’t touch on the sexual antics.
In 1814, Byron, the Shelleys, and Mary’s sister, Claire Clairmont, took off for Switzerland, where they lived and created for several months. Most famously, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein. (Also, historically, Polidori wrote ‘The Vampyre’, but that wasn’t dealt with here.) And at that time, the Shelleys were polyamorous.
I found the first act the most interesting and entertaining. The second act was shifted into the 21st century (which took a bit of adjustment after just previously being in 1814), though I suppose it was the chaos and drama of the domestic issues, like Byron demanding custody of his and Claire’s child, that I found a bit tiresome after awhile. For me, this act dragged. It was good, but act 1 was more engaging, had some good comedy and one-liners that garnered strong audience reaction. But all the fun crazy times have to end, and real life crashes in.
It was thought-provoking, and it’s a play that I’m still thinking about several hours afterwards, which means in my book that it was a good one. I wonder what Byron’s life, Shelley’s, Mary’s, and even Claire’s, would have been like without that time in Switzerland? Would Mary Shelley have become the writer she became? And Percy Shelley, would he have written some of the poetry he did without Byron’s influence?
I’ll leave you with poems by Byron and by Shelley, and I highly recommend reading Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. (She wrote other books too, like ‘The Last Man’.)
My Soul is Dark (Byron – 1815)
My soul is dark — Oh ! Quickly string
The harp I yet can brook to hear;
And let thy gentle fingers fling
Its melting murmurs o’er mine ear.
If in this heart a hope be dear,
That sound shall charm it forth again:
If in these eyes there lurk a tear,
‘T will flow, and cease to burn my brain.
But bid the strain be wild and deep,
Nor let thy notes of joy be first:
I tell thee, minstrel, I must weep,
Or else this heavy heart will burst;
For it hath been by sorrow nursed,
And ach’d in sleepless silence long;
And now ’tis doom’d to know the worst,
And break at once — or yield to song.
Ozymandias (Percy Shelley – 1817)
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
This is the first recipe I’ve tried from TheFresh20.com, a site that provides a full week’s worth of meals and recipes, using 20 in-season fresh ingredients. It’s supposed to help you use up all that you buy, so that you don’t have any wasted food.
So far, I like it, and I like the recipes. My only problem is that I’m usually cooking for one, so I’m having to cut the recipes in half (I plan to take leftovers for lunch). But, it’s a small price to pay for having my whole week’s menu planned out. (Speaking of which, it’s a pretty cheap subscription price, too. And no, I’m not getting paid to say that.)
The chicken burgers had shredded onion, carrot & dijon in them (among other things), and the pesto was just right–tasty, and fresh. I love that there was lots of spinach in it. And, sweet potatoes were roasted with olive oil. Simple, and quick.
For almost two years, Amy MacArthur has mourned her husband’s untimely death, vowing to never love another. Now, after surviving a burglary, Amy welcomes a new man into her life, the handsome police officer who attended the B and E at her home.
Frightened by the intruder’s ugly threats, Amy adopts an abused rescue dog for companionship and protection while hoping to heal the animal’s damaged spirit. In turn, could her new pet help a depressed child recover from a devastating loss?
The new additions to her life are stirring a renewed desire to fulfill her fondest wish: a family of her own. But Amy is torn between preserving her husband’s memory and pursuing a new love. Is her heart willing to risk the devastating pain of losing a loved one again?
Or is she just one catastrophe away from losing it all?
ALP: Welcome, Brenda! Please introduce yourself.
BRENDA: Firstly, thank you for having me today, Alyssa. Well, we both live in Calgary, Canada so you know what a great city this is. My husband and a slightly spoiled Bichon Shih Tzu named Kelly live with me. I have two grown sons and three grandchildren. I write contemporary and western historical romance, and I love animals, especially small fluffy dogs.
ALP: You’ve chosen Calgary for the setting of Love To The Rescue. Was there any particular reason why?
BRENDA: As you know, this is a vibrant city and most of the population of North America has heard of Calgary, Canada due in large part to the world famous Calgary Stampede held every July in our fair city. Calgary is head office to innumerable large corporations and is a hub for business and commerce. Also there have been several movies starring big name Hollywood actors filmed around Calgary in the foothills of the Rockies. Mostly, my stories have been set in a U.S. location. Montana is a popular setting, and Calgary was a nice change.
ALP: Any other reasons?
BRENDA: I didn’t have far to travel to complete my research for the story. One of the people I interviewed was Tiffany Nelson, owner of four beautiful Irish setters—two adult dogs and two puppies. Those puppies had more energy than Planters has peanuts. But what beautiful dogs! Just like Rover.
Also, Calgary is a great place to live and to work and to write novels. Several scenes in the story occur outdoors in the summertime—grilling out in the backyard on a hot Friday night and a Labor Day party in the backyard. Of course, there is a devastating fire scene set in mid-December so our snowy season is mentioned as well. In fact, you would probably agree that for the most part Calgary winters are fairly mild. People enjoy skiing and skating and outdoor walks all winter long. And a lot of the fluffy white stuff melts between snowfalls and blizzards. This trail is in beautiful Fish Creek Park in SW Calgary, a favorite place for walks in both summer and winter.
ALP: In Love To The Rescue your heroine is a romance writer. Is there a bit of you in Amy?
BRENDA: A little bit, profession-wise, and Amy and I are not morning people! We both love the luxury of writing full-time which enables us to eat when we want, write when we want, and sleep when we want. We both love kids and motherhood and entertaining family during the holidays. But she’s a young widow whereas I’ve been married to the same guy for over forty years. Amy is a survivor and she’s overcome two devastating losses to drunk drivers in her lifetime. I can only imagine how difficult that would be. And we are both quite organized people.
ALP: Organized in what way?
BRENDA: My life must be relatively organized for me to function. I totally admit to being a list maker. In fact, my husband has teased me about this habit for as long as we’ve been together. I make lists for everything: trips to the grocery store, things to pack for a vacation, jobs to do for spring or fall cleaning. The list of lists is endless. And I firmly believe in goal setting, so every January I make a list of goals for the New Year.
ALP: Are you one of these New Year’s resolutions people?
BRENDA: Not so much resolutions as goals. Resolutions are too easily broken and then they’re done with. But there’s no absolute time limit on a goal. If you don’t attain the goal when you first hoped, revamp the goal with a new timeline. You can spend years reaching a goal if it is meaningful enough.
I believe in setting SMART goals. Something that is Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. If you haven’t a clue where to start, there is lots of information on SMART goal setting on the internet.
And don’t start only in January or after a huge upheaval in your life. You can sit down and write down goals anytime. In fact, today is as good a day as any if you’re so inclined.
ALP: What’s next for you? Could you share some of the goals you’ve set for yourself in 2013?
BRENDA: Everything I’ve published so far has been contemporary romance. In 2013, I’ll be releasing the first books in my Spirit Creek Series. I’m so excited to be working on my first love—historical western romance. Mind you, I have two more contemporary novels in the works, including Book Three of my Escape to Alaska Series to complete first.
And being a fellow author, you know we’re never finished learning. On May 4, 2013 our writing group CaRWA, the Calgary chapter of Romance Writers of America, is holding a Spring Workshop with the remarkable New York literary agent Donald Maass as our guest. He’ll be speaking on what it takes to be competitive and gain staying power in today’s market. I’m certainly looking forward to attending this event at the retreat-like venue in Redwood Meadows. (Any writers interested can find more details on this event at the CaRWA website http://www.calgaryrwa.com.) And in August I’ll be attending the When Words Collide festival in Calgary. Details for that can be found at www.whenwordscollide.org. I’m certain you’ll agree that we’re very fortunate to live in Calgary where there’s access to so many wonderful events for authors.
ALP: Yes, we are fortunate. It sounds like you have a busy year ahead of you. Thanks for coming today. Where can readers find you, and where can we purchase the book?
BRENDA: Thank you so much for having me. I’ve enjoyed this immensely. And anyone leaving a comment will be entered to win one of ten digital copies of When Dreams Collide, the sequel to A Bandit Creek Miracle. Winners will be drawn at the end of the blog tour on March 15th. And check out the special ‘Irish’ blog post on my website on March 17th.
Love To The Rescue is available exclusively through Amazon in both an ebook format and as a large print version, http://amzn.to/Si97FR and 50% of my author royalties will be donated to Humane Society shelters.
If anyone has rescued a dog or cat, please email me your pet’s story with permission to post it on my website to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please check out my website to read the rescue story of our family dog, Beau, and other stories at www.brendasinclairauthor.com. You can also find me on Facebook brendasinclairauthor and on Twitter @bsinclairauthor
On Monday March 11, 2013 I’ll be featured on the Women’s Book Review site www.womensbookreviews.com and then on Tuesday March 12, 2013 the next stop on the LOVE TO THE RESCUE BLOG TOUR will be at my website for a second Pit Stop. My heroine, Amy, lost several loved ones, and I’ll post an item on grieving. I hope you’ll drop by. And make sure to enter the giveaway for a free book, below!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Brenda Sinclair is a writer of historical American West and contemporary romance, a member of her local chapter of Romance Writers of America, a healthy lifestyle advocate and past leader of her TOPS weight-loss group, a gardening enthusiast and dog lover.
Brenda was raised on a farm in southern Manitoba and taught school on a semi-remote reservation in northern Manitoba where, during frequent visits to a nearby town, she met her husband, a Treaty Cree member of the local First Nations band. Brenda and her husband have been married for forty years and raised two sons. She is extremely proud of her three wonderful grandchildren.
Brenda worked in the accounting field for over twenty-five years. A few years ago, she retired and traded in numbers for words when she decided to be a writer when she grew up. The latter part of the previous sentence is still up for debate.