Tag: good books

Neighbourhood Cast List

A few readers said they had some trouble keeping such a large cast of characters straight while reading the original NEIGHBOURS Series. To help alleviate that issue, I have added a ‘cast list’ to the second series at the back of each volume. I want to thank Violet, one of my beta readers, for making this suggestion. Here is what it looks like:

Cast List From the Neighbourhood

The Malloys:

Jed Malloy: 32 – back woods boy from Newfoundland is the head of the ‘clan’.

Zeb Malloy: 30 – rough around the edges; likes to party, and likes his ‘freedom’.

Bo Malloy: 27 – quiet and more sensible than the rest. Works at the Urban Cowboy.

Will Malloy: 26 – into sports, the outdoors, and anything fun!

Reba Malloy: 24 – fiery redhead with a stubborn streak.

Pip (Steve) Malloy: 22 – the ‘baby’ of the family and a bit of a ‘ladies’ man’.

The Rest:

Andrea Carravagio: identical twin to Angela. Owns Gemini’s Beauty Salon.

Angela Carravagio: identical twin to Andrea. The ‘wild one’ of the two.

Jacques Marcett: manager of the Urban Cowboy, originally from Quebec.

Lester Tibbett: former cowboy and Jed’s friend.

Patsi Tibbett: Lester’s younger sister back from the country.

Brett McMillan: Patsi’s former boyfriend and one of the ‘elite’.

Marigold Reynolds: artist and environmentalist. Her parents own a campground.

Ophelia Stanfield: rich California girl visiting her relatives, the McMillans.

Cory Roberts: owns the Urban Cowboy; likes dreadlocks and DJing.

Viann-Patrice Marcett: Jacques’s step-sister from Montreal.

Sherri Chan: college professor who goes with Lester Tibbett.

Tiffany Yuen: Martial arts instructor visiting from Toronto.

Lily Chan: Sherri Chan’s cousin who also works at the family restaurant.

Some Minor Players:

Tamara Spence: owner of the Brew café where Patsi works.

Carmen Lamont: owner of the Brew café where Patsi works.

Sherman Chan: Architect. Sherri’s brother. Goes with Carmen Lamont.

Rocky Carravagio: Scary looking brother of Andrea and Angela.

Jeremiah Reynolds: Will’s boss. Owns a campground.

Maizy Reynolds: Jeremiah’s wife.

Buck Stone: First Nations man who works at Jeremiah’s camp with Will.

Tad Roberts: Cory’s father and financier of the Urban Cowboy.

Dr. Lawler: has a brief relationship with Viann.

Crystal: waitress at the Urban Cowboy.

Millicent Peacock: nosy neighbour who lives in the apartment building.

Ma and Pops Malloy: The parents who started it all.

   (The three sisters still in Newfoundland):

Fanny: 33  – married to Joe with 3 kids

Mary: 29 – married to ‘Dr.’ Trent with two kids

Sissy: 28 – married to Hank with four kids

Characters from Neighbours Series I referenced in Series II:

Megan McMillan: Patsi’s friend and sister to Brett.

Emmanuel Fernandez: Megan’s boyfriend whom she eventually marries.

Elaine and Bruce McMillan: Brett’s lawyer parents involved in a scandal.

Steve Russell: Newspaper columnist who dates Tamara Spence.

Matonabee Spence: Tamara’s young son.

Goldie Harper: Lives in the apartment and goes with Tad Roberts.

Jason Harper: Goldie’s son.

Vinny Kirkpatrick: retired newspaper reporter.

Renee Tucker: Carmen Lamont’s niece, who used to date Cory Roberts.

Pre-sales of Volume 2 – NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – BO are on now! 

Accountability Progress Report

If I was in business, I would say that the first quarter of 2017 has come and gone. In fact, we’re two weeks into the second quarter. But wait… I AM in business. I’m a writer, and I set some pretty lofty goals for myself at the beginning of this year. In fact, my ‘word’ for 2017 is ACCOUNTABILITY, so this post is one way of maintaining that focus one quarter in.

While I’m not one hundred percent up to the mark with all of my writing and publishing goals, I feel like I am making very good progress. In fact, you may already know that Volume 1 in the NEIGHBOURS sequel released on Saturday.

NEIGHBOURHOOD TANGLE – Volume 1 – JED is now available on Amazon. It is the first novella length instalment in the continuing series. (There are seven in all) I shared the blurb in a previous post 

Here is how the rest of the series is shaping up:

NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH – Volume 2 – BO – release date April 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD REBEL – Volume 3 – REBA – release date  May 15

NEIGHBOURHOOD UPSTART – Volume 4 – PIP  – release date May 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD FREEDOM – Volume 5 – WILL – release date June 15

NEIGHBOURHOOD CUPID – Volume 6 – ZEB – release date June 30

NEIGHBOURHOOD WRAP  – Volume 7 – FINALE – July 15

KEEPING UP WITH THE NEIGHBOURS COMPLETE SERIES 2 – release date July 30 (paperback and ebook)

Please stay tuned for more details on the final launch. I am releasing each novella separately, but hope to make the final book launch of the complete series a bit more ‘splashy’.

 

Legacy of Words

Why do I love words?

I often cite the time as a young mother I borrowed my mother’s old typewriter and thus began my love affair with writing. I’ve also written about the time I wrote my first play back in Grade Four and how that impacted me to write and direct in the future. Or I’ve mentioned my high school English teacher who encouraged me to write and gave me that small seed of hope that I really could be a writer some day. But I think the love of words and beautiful language goes much farther and deeper than any of these incidents.

My grandmother loved reading and could quote long passages from the likes of Longfellow and Shakespeare. She was the ‘go to’ person when any member of the family needed a poem to recite for public speaking. (We did that in those days…) I can still see her, eyes closed, as she recited the first lines of Evangeline, Longfellow’s epic poem.

'Evangeline'

‘Evangeline’

“This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pine and the hemlock, bearded in moss, in garments of green, indistinct in the twilight.” 

The words were haunting and beautiful. She would then go on to tell the rest of the story in her own words, for it was a tale too long for little children.
The impact was profound. I read the poem to my own children one year when we homeschooled and were studying Canadian history. Then, a few summers later, we visited Nova Scotia and the fabled site of Evangeline’s tragic tale. I now have a granddaughter named Evangeline – not by coincidence, I suspect. (Here is a painting I did entitled ‘Evangeline’ which I gave to my daughter.)

Reading books to children and telling them stories has a huge impact. Never belittle the bedtime story or the importance of sharing words with your children and grandchildren. It has lasting effects.

Getting Better at Telling Lies

I couldn’t help the reference to a book I read over the holidays called Telling Lies For Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block. It made me think about amping up my own productivity this year. Not that last year was a total dud. I did manage to republish my NEIGHBOURS Series, and I did a lot in terms of revamping my website. (Attested by the fact that I am posting here in the first place.) Other than that, many of my best laid plans went by the wayside.

I’m a person who enjoys setting goals, and I usually do it a couple of times a year. New year’s is the obvious one, but I also tend to re-strategize before summer hits and then again in the fall. Sometimes my goals are vague, more like ‘suggestions’ than anything specific or measurable. Sometimes they are quite detailed, which often then leads to more restructuring when I don’t meet my deadlines.

This year I’ve decided on the ‘one word’ theme, something I’ve tried in the past with marginal success. However, I have faith that this year will be different. Why? Well, the word I’ve chosen will help answer that question, I think. The word is ACCOUNTABILITY.

I’ve thought about it long and hard and this is the word that keeps cropping up. I want to become more accountable for my time, more accountable for following through with my goals, and more accountable for all the unfinished ‘business’ that I want to move into the finished column this year.

I have found in the past that I work well under pressure or when faced with deadlines. Somehow I manage to get things done. Contrast that with not having deadlines, and I find I can just as easily fritter away the hours watching mindless TV. (A terrible motivation suck!) But its time I became accountable for my own actions,

So, here’s to a year of ACCOUNTABILITY. I’ll let you know how I fare… 

Read my review of Telling Lies For Fun and Profit on amazon.

Read Widely

I am a teacher by profession and one year we tried a literacy initiative at our secondary school that divided part of the student population into small reading groups based on reading level, comprehension, and fluency. Each small groushutterstock_307383305p was assigned a different staff member (even those that aren’t in the English department) and for thirty minutes three times a week, the groups got together to read and discuss books. That’s it. No tests. No questions. Nothing but the enjoyment of good literature.

At first, skeptics wondered at the practicality of such a project. It was obviously taking time away from other subjects. As well, how would the students respond? They were being put into multi-age, multi-grade groups. Wouldn’t those at the lower end of the reading scale feel embarrassed to be reading with students up to two grades younger than they were?

As it turns out, the project was a huge success. Test scores done at the end of the year showed a dramatic increase in all areas of reading competency. The vast majority of students loved the experience, saying it helped them gain confidence as readers. Many even reported that they were doing more reading at home and spending less time playing video games. Now if that isn’t success, I don’t know what is!

It just goes to show that reading is a worthy activity for so many reasons. So keep on reading, folks!

 

 

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