The Vancouver Writers Fest – Oct 15-21

In the heart of Vancouver, on Granville Island as well as at three off-island venues, lies an outstanding opportunity for readers and writers to immerse themselves in writerly conversations about books.

A massive number of authors attend this festival. Events are organized by genre.

Participants can choose from the following:

Adventure, Can Lit, Current Affairs, Film & TV, Feminism, Humour, Indigenous, International Authors, Interviews, Memoir, Non Fiction, On Writing, Performances, Poetry, Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Thriller/Crime and Youth.

School groups are encourage to attend and workshops are organized specifically for youth. Those events look fascinating.

If I had the opportunity to attend I would listen to:

Miriam Toews – internationally celebrated award-winning author, who always delivers poignant, personal writing.

Jodi Picoult – best selling author of twenty-five books who tackles provocative current issues.

Kate Atkinson – a master of many genres, evoking reflection, passion and intrigue.

Check it out. There’s something for everyone! Has anyone ever attended this event? Does it appeal to you?

 

 

Bonding on the fire line

Horrific fires continue to burn throughout North America. Courageous men and women, whether they are members of hotshot crews or smoke jumpers battle immense out-of-control blazes.

However, they pay a huge price. As the fire season progresses, they suffer mental and physical fatigue. Often they experience health issues because they don’t have enough time to rest and recuperate and eat properly.

It’s a culture where the participants tend to ignore their own issues. There is peer pressure to perform. Many want to protect natural resources and structures at all costs. Bonding is intense. Friends are made for life.

Quinn Cooper, my protagonist in Finding Quinn discovers that work on the fire line is addictive and satisfying. He cannot see a place for him in the world except for this occupation.

Until he meets Kelsey Malone. Quinn has to re-think his goals in life. Take the opportunity to read Finding Quinn and discover Quinn and Kelsey’s journey.

 

The only child. The middle child. The child in the crowd.

Families fascinate me. My mom was an only child. As the ‘one and only’ she had opportunities for travel, education and sports. She could have become very spoiled but she did not become entitled.

My dad had three brothers and three sisters. The children spent a lot of time sharing beds, arguing over chores and rushing to the dinner table to ensure they could fill up before the meal disappeared.

Two different childhoods. Two different experiences.

My parents had three children. I am the eldest and I have a brother and sister.

When I was growing up on various Air Force bases across Canada, many of the families that we knew had four or five children. That seemed to be the norm. Now, for the most part the only place you see large families is on reality shows.

As a writer, if I create a large family for a novel then I have endless possibilities. There’s always the high achiever, the kids that struggle, the loner etc. But above all of that, there is an opportunity for me to dig deeper. An opportunity to leap-frog over the stereotypes and create people that are intriguing and offer the reader something different.

I live for those moments when I’ve created a unique character who has a passion for something unexpected. I want to invent the hero or heroine who hears the different beat of a drum.

That’s why I’m having fun with ‘The Coopers’ my latest series. The Cooper clan consists of four brothers and three sisters. Lots of plot lines, lots of challenges and heartache.

What about you? Are you the only? Are you part of the crowd, as in many brothers or sisters? How has that shaped you and your life?

Would love to hear from you.

 

Embracing Joy

Joyful moments with children.

Parenting can be exhausting, complicated and stressful.  But it can also have stunning moments of pure joy. Kelsey Malone, the heroine of my latest novel Finding Quinn discovers that those special times can make her heart sing. She lives for these moments.

There is a lot of media that concentrates on the trials of parenting. And certainly those issues will never disappear.

Losing Joy

When we concentrate on the problems of parenthood and the cost of raising children and all of the difficulties, we tend to forget the pleasurable, happy times. I certainly don’t want to minimize the difficult moments.

Sometimes the problems never disappear. Financial issues plague most families. But in between the worry and concern, one must remember that these are adult issues. Hopefully, many children can be spared from embracing these concerns.

Kelsey Malone tries hard to shelter her two young boys from the harshness of life. But they’ve had to move constantly and she needs to address her own emotional needs as she transforms in widowhood.

My Approach

When I was writing this novel, I realized that this story could become very dark, even tragic. So, as the author, I made sure that I wrote scenes that were definitely child-centric. Noah and Zak became as real to me as my own grandson. And those boys were funny, active and compassionate. Hopefully, just like kids in real life.

Finding Quinn by Jodie Esch

 

The Law of Attraction

Finding Quinn by Jodie EschRhonda Byrne’s book The Secret (2006) created a lot of attention. Various  teachers contributed to this self-help book giving advice on money, health and relationships.

But the more we read about what works in relationships, the less we seem to understand. Two very different individuals meet and for some reason, there is that spark, that zing, that something that’s in the air.

It’s in the air

Kelsey Malone and Quinn Cooper feel it. They can’t define it, they don’t understand it, but that sensation is like an electrical current connecting them. The timing isn’t right. They’re not looking for a partner.

But that attraction begins on the dance floor. Here’s an excerpt from that scene.

Quinn was a natural, graceful on his feet. He definitely knew how to western dance. Kelsey couldn’t remember when she’d felt so free. The beat of the drums joined the rhythm of her heart as she swayed and spun in Quinn’s strong arms. 

His hands slid down her back and she looped her arms around his neck.

“How are you doing?” he said, his breath warm on her cheek. Speechless she couldn’t respond.

But she leaned into him …

For a limited time, Finding Quinn is on sale.

FINDING QUINN, The Coopers, Book 2
Amazon USA: www.amazon.com/dp/B07G2RYYD5
Amazon Canada: www.amazon.ca/dp/B07G2RYYD5
 

How do Kelsey Malone and Quinn Cooper deal with this staggering attraction? Have you ever been unexpectedly swept away?