Wednesday, 31 August 2016

New Release by Kait Nolan!

Guess who has a new release?

Louise Penny!

No, seriously, as excited as I am for this book (Three Pines! Gamache and everyone! The Bistro! The duck! The emotion and tension and philosophy and humour and... Anyway, just waiting on delivery), there's another new release I'm really referring to:

Kait Nolan's Turn My World Around, which comes out tomorrow!

The road to redemption...

Struggling single mom Corinne Dawson doesn't have time for fun. She's too busy making a new life for her son and trying to avoid being dragged down by the ghost of who she used to be. But when an accident knocks her boss out of a local dance competition fund-raiser, she finds herself face-to-face with the worst mistake from her past.

Attorney Tucker McGee has always seen past the prickly exterior of this former mean girl. He knows there's more to the story than simple spite. When they get partnered for Dancing With Wishful, he finally gets the chance to act on the spark he's felt since she moved home. But getting past her regrets just might be the biggest challenge he's ever faced.

As the competition heats up, so do the feelings between them. Will Tucker be able to convince Corinne that she's more than the sum of her mistakes? Or will she be forced to leave town to find a new beginning without him?

I got an advanced copy to read for review, and if I hadn't needed to be fully alert at work this week, I'd have stayed up all night the day I got it -- it's so exciting to read a book that's sweet and yet has you on the edge of your seat (or, er, pillow), wondering how the hero and heroine are going to manage to come together.

The story weaves effortlessly between the hero and heroine's points of view, and gives that great sense of characters you're sure you've been friends with for ages. I've got two left feet and have never watched Dancing With... anything, and even I was swaying to rhythms in my head as Tucker led Corinne across the stage. And then there're one or two scenes... Let's just say they made me wish I could tango!

Small town stories that are part of a series really strike a chord with me -- it's a good feeling to know that even when two characters have found their happily ever after, the reader doesn't need to let them go entirely. Love spotting couples from the previous stories set in Wishful (which is also southern -- damn skippy!) each time I read a new one (the writer in me also gets excited by the thought of how much fun it must be to name all the spots in town and discover all the links between the various families). And I adore the tiny moment that links them all together -- that bit at the start involving a coin, the fountain in the town centre, and a wish...

You don't need to read the series in order; each book is also a standalone. Two of them also cross with Kait's other series, the Meet Cute stories. Those are exactly what they say they are -- short bites of romance for when you need a pick me up, a little spark, the beginning and promise of something great.

Not kidding -- I was between books this afternoon and started Once Upon A Coffee on the train ride home. I read the last line just as the train pulled into my station! Of course, now I'm hoping to see some more of Dillon and Avery, wandering round Wishful, maybe at Speakeasy or the coffee shop or the diner...

Here's a list of them by hero and heroine (I only have one left to read!):

"Couples By Series Wishful
Dillon Lange and Avery Cahill: Once Upon A Coffee
Cam Crawford and Norah Burke: To Get Me To You
Brody Jensen and Tyler Edison: Be Careful It's My Heart
Liam Montgomery and Riley Gower: Know Me Well
Myles Stewart and Piper Parish: Once Upon a Setup and Just For This Moment
Reed Campbell and Cecily Dixon: Wish I Might (in the Virtually Yours anthology)
Tucker McGee and Corinne Dawson: Turn My World Around

Speaking of Kait, she's the one that started the brilliant ROW80. And here I am, another week with no update on the writing front. Work is crazy busy -- I didn't even get to write up this post at lunch like I usually try to do. On the other hand, I have tried something new: this is my first post using the Blogger app on Android, and so far it's been very easy to use. I just need to learn my way around adding links and formatting (notice all the missing italics for the titles?)... It's nice to have this new option for days when I can't get to the blog in the daytime!

What apps and shortcuts do you enjoy using?

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

ROW80 and Nairobi! Part 2

So glad visitors seem to have enjoyed my Nairobi photos from last week, because I have the final batch to share today!

But first... Last week I was so busy sharing photos that I forgot to share any ROW80 updates!

It's not all good news: I haven't finished the latest round of edits on Druid's Moon at all. I have finished knitting a blanket, though! Photos of that to come when I've collated another knitting-related post.

And I finally got caught up on blog commenting. There are quite a few interesting bloghops happening, especially the Write...Edit...Publish flash fiction challenge for August, to write a story on the theme of gardens.

Meanwhile, ROW80 -- the writing challenge that knows you have a life -- is moving! Not to somewhere entirely new, but the blog will be closed to further entries, and the community will shift to the ROW80 Facebook page, to create more dialogue and make updates and interactions easier. Come visit us and join in!

Now for more photos:

I like the acronym MICE


View over the business district

Statue of former President Mzee Jomo Kenyatta

Thanks to a colleague for this evocative photo!

Cod liver oil!

I took a photo of myself taking a photo... That's me on the right in the red skirt.

This guy walked into my photo -- I was trying to get a shot of the Swiss Cottages sign

And here, from our shuttle bus windows, are the Swiss cottages themselves!

I wasn't able to check Twitter for 10 days, we were so busy, but I did manage to post once -- yes, it really was 4 a.m.

...and here's someone I was missing while I was away

Back to regular posts next week!
Which interesting photo-filled blogs have you visited this week?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Last month I was in Nairobi, Kenya!

For ten days, for a work-related conference -- my first time on a work trip and my first trip to the Southern Hemisphere!

I've got a few photos to share, but apologise in advance for the terribly amateurish quality of photography engendered by the age and physical limitations of my camera (that is to say, it sucks, and more than once I was tempted to pitch it against the wall. However, I have just gotten my first ever smartphone! Photos around here will improve exponentially, I hope).

Kenya -- cradle of civilization...

Holy Family Minor Basilica:

A prayer in English and Kiswahili

Holy water from a spout

The local beer, brewed since 1922

Goat meat and ugali

Each night the hotel staff drew our curtains, turned down the blankets, arranged our slippers and bath towels, and left a delicious treat by the bed (a macaron, or a chocolate truffle, or strawberries dipped in chocolate...)

I found a Turkish restaurant -- Bobos Bistro -- that makes some awesome pide!

Waiting for a manicure-pedicure at the hotel spa, on our only early evening back from the office...

Oldest family-run restaurant in Nairobi, which is, oddly, Italian!

Another version of Tusker

Laki Laki -- which sounded like ayran (the Turkish drink that's a blend of natural yogurt, water, and salt), but which I was afraid to try for fear it would taste like the grocery store kefir I tried one time, which tasted like what I imagine an accidental swallow of Dead Sea water might taste like...

The Kenyatta International Convention Centre

Looking down from the fourteenth floor...

Downtown crossroads with City Hall (I think) and the bell tower of the Holy Family Minor Basilica in the background -- and a Turkish Airlines ad in the centre!

Old-time Coca-Cola paraphernalia... (photos of me courtesy of a colleague!)

This was on the flight out -- view of Geneva from above

The peak on the right hand side is the Matterhorn!

Ooh, Greek islands...


The Sahara!

Still wondering what these circles are

We flew over Abu Simbel, Wadi Haifa... All these names I only know from, ahem, Agatha Christie novels...

Greenscapes reappeared on the edge of Sudan and Kenya


Four views from the rooftop helipad and the fourteenth floor (guess which floor our office was on?) of the convention centre (my colleague's photos)

Dancers at the opening day ceremonies -- looking down from the fourteenth floor, as we were hard at work...

I got to visit the Sarova Stanley hotel for about five minutes -- the one Hemingway-related spot I was able to visit. Apparently the original acacia tree, on which everyone used to pin notes to each other back in the '20s and '30s, died a long time ago, and the current tree is the third one in the cafe. Nowadays they have a corkboard for messages...

Sarova in the 1910s

I liked this bench, which says "I refuse to just sit here / I will make a change",
and which has a job opportunity ad pasted on it...

What exciting places have you recently travelled to?

Books I'm Reading and Finished Books

  • The Making of Outlander by Tara Bennett
  • Testament of Experience by Vera Brittain
  • Zoom sur Plainpalais by Corinne Jaquet
  • beta read! (JB)
  • ***Reading At Intervals***
  • Sophie's Choice by William Styron
  • The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins
  • Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  • The Young Lions by Irwin Shaw
  • Burning Sky by Lori Benton
  • 12 Anne and Avonlea books by L. M. Montgomery (skimming/reread (this was free on Kindle!))
  • Parade's End by Ford Madox Ford
  • Istanbul Noir (Akashic Books anthology)
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien manuscripts edited by J. D. Rateliff
  • The Jerusalem Bible
  • ***Finished Books***
  • The Children of Men by P. D. James
  • A Daughter's A Daughter by Mary Westmacott (Agatha Christie)
  • A Girl From Yamhill by Beverly Cleary
  • Sunlight by Margaret Rucker (poem; floating in a cocktail glass)
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyder
  • Preface to The Hobbit, by Christopher Tolkien
  • Ilk Defa... by Beste Barki (essays)
  • Gaudy Night by Dorothy Sayers (essay)
  • The Moon and I by Betsy Byars
  • The Road to Little Dribbling by Bill Bryson
  • Rogue Warrior by Regan Walker
  • Beauty and the Beast by Villeneuve
  • Black (what was this? I don't remember!)
  • Dance of the Jakaranda by Peter Kimani
  • Thomas the Tank Engine by Rev. Awry (26 book collection)
  • beta read (Born to Run by RB)
  • The Little Turtle by Vachel Lindsay (poem; reread)
  • The Kraken by Alfred Lord Tennyson (poem)
  • Android's Dream by John Scalzi
  • The Mysterious Tadpole by Stephen Kellogg (reread)
  • Yashim Cooks Istanbul by Jason Goodwin
  • Miniatures by John Scalzi
  • Testament of Youth by Vera Brittain
  • Kitty-in-Boots by Beatrix Potter (illustrated by Quentin Blake)
  • All or Nothing by Rose Lerner (short story)
  • Merry Christmas, Emily (board book)
  • Extra Yarn by __ and Jan Klassen
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  • The Outlandish Companion II by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Outlandish Companion I, Revised by Diana Gabaldon
  • MacHinery and the Cauliflowers by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Dileas by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • The Gold Watch by Alistair MacLean (short story)
  • betty, butter, sun by Monica Byrne (short story)
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay by J.K. Rowling
  • The Very Cranky Bear (Scholastic)
  • various haiku by R. Wodaski
  • ongoing rereads of most board books listed last year!
  • see the 2016 list and statistics at
  • see the 2015 list and statistics at
  • see the 2014 list and statistics at
  • see the 2013 list and statistics at
  • see the 2012 list and statistics here
  • see the 2011 statistics on
  • see the 2011 list at
  • see the 2010 list at
  • see the 2009 list at
  • also in 2009 at
  • see the 2008 list at
  • also in 2008 at
  • also in 2008 at