In the soup at River’s Sigh B & B

I’m a bit of a soup addict. Whenever I’m stressed or feeling blue about something, I make soup. Whenever I’m happy, expecting a crowd for dinner, or am feeling especially homemakery (That’s a newly invented word! Like it? 😁), I make soup. Chopping and grating, bringing to a boil, simmering . . . tasting. The steamy aromas of mingled garlic, onion, ginger . . . Mmmm!

There’s something Zen about cooking in general, and about making soup from scratch, especially. And like my aunt says, even if you can’t cook, it’s hard not to make great soup, so long as you use quality ingredients. It will sound corny, but I think she’s right only to a point. Something of yourself has to go into the pot too—your love, your affection, your hope, your well wishes . . .

My newest obsession is homemade wonton. (And yes, I make a whole ton of the little wrapped delights, freeze them on cookie trays, then dump them into freezer bags, so I can pull them out by the handful whenever I want that particular delight—ready in just ten minutes!) This is a wonderful site I’ve been using for inspiration: https://omnivorescookbook.com/recipes/wonton-soup (But I fold my wontons like Nagi describes on her fabulous website: https://www.recipetineats.com/wonton-soup/)

Another favorite is salmon chowder. Whenever I make it, I impress even myself, LOL. I use this recipe from Allrecipes.com, then modify it (as is my style) ‘til the concoction in my pot could never be recreated using the recipe card sitting on my counter.

As I cook (and taste!), my mind wanders all over the place, but generally settles on whatever novel I’m currently working on. Most of my main characters, in pretty much every one of my stories, at some point or another, make soup—yet my books aren’t the type that get marketed to foodies, with recipes in the back (though I do love those). In fact, the scenes are very brief. I don’t know if readers would even consciously remember them, but they are, I think, symbolic.

Soup is the epitome of comfort food, belonging and home. Every culture has its own variations of the dish, and while soup can be whimsical, there’s nothing trendy or passé about throwing things in a pot to simmer and blend all together into something, always a bit different, always good. Soup, regardless of its name, is as old as the human race.

And what do each of my main characters, despite how different from one another they initially appear, all have in common when you first meet them? In some way or another, they all yearn for and crave—but somehow lack: Family. A sense of belonging. A home.

Food of all kinds (not just soup!) has weighty (pun intended!) positive and negative connotations for us as individuals and within our relationships—and it does for my characters, too. What they eat or don’t eat, and the way they eat—standing over the kitchen sink, or with wine and candles even when alone—says a lot about their personality, their desires, their family background, their financial situation, and so much more.

Even if you’re not a fellow soup addict, LOL, I hope you’ll enjoy the sensory details in my stories, but even more so, I hope you’ll find my books food for your soul. A celebration of the simple good things in life and the power of finding, at last, that place you fit, with people who love you for you.  

Wishing you a lovely June, full of good eats and wonderful reads! 

😊 Ev

 

Spring is sprung!

Happy May!

Can I get a big, “Ahhhhhh, spring! It’s a lovely thing?!” 😍

It’s super gorgeous in my little green niche of the world right now, and I’m busy planting flower boxes, cleaning perennial beds, and getting my garden ready to plant. The weeding is unending, but I’m not complaining because A) I love it, and B) all the hard work is the perfect precursor to (justification of, LOL?!) evening treats of wine and reading.  

Also, I have no doubt much-needed rains will come soon (though it’s strange to say “much-needed” living where I live, where normally so much wet stuff falls), so I need to make hay while the sun shines, as the saying goes.

I hope this note finds you well and that you, like me, are enjoying maximum outdoor time. 

If, however (also like me!), you need a break from time to time (I mean that’s why you’re reading this right now, right?), I’d be honoured if you relax with one of my River’s Sigh B & B novels.

Until next time, wishing you much sunshine, peaceful shade, and great reads,

😊 Ev

P.S. Make sure you enter this month’s fabulous contest! Good luck!

AMAZON ~ KOBO ~ iBOOKS ~ NOOK ~ GOOGLE


Happy – cough – New Year! Load your eReader and snuggle in. #mgtab

I was going to write a peppy post to celebrate 2019, something that started off with something like, Hey, we’re two weeks into our New Year, how’s it going? Fabulously, I hope!

And then I was going to share some of the dreams I’m dreaming for the next twelve months, some of the goals I’m aspiring to, some of hopes that I have (because I am one of those people—the list-making, journal-filling, overthinking types. ?)—but then I got sick.

No sympathy needed, as it was just a bad cold and I’m well on the mend now. However, it did remind me that sometimes, yes, you want to cheer and yell, “Go me!” and make copious plans on piles of bright colored sticky notes—but other times you want to burrow into the couch, wrapped in blankets, your well-stocked eReader on your lap, a furry friend snuggled close, and a mug of soup or tea in hand. ‘Tis definitely the season for that!

And on that note, especially since we’re going into a weekend, I thought I’d help you load your digital bookshelves, so you’ll be prepared for some lovely “shut in” nights—though hopefully without sniffles or a bad cough. ?

Read all the books? Challenge acceptedHere we go! As most of you know we Author’s Billboard authors have a treasure trove of box sets under our belts—with memes and themes and romance tropes to fit any mood. The wonderful Suzanne Jenkins has put them all in one place for your perusing and buying pleasure. They’re a great way to discover new-to-you authors and genres—but also just to stockpile the types of stories you already know you love. Have fun!

 

 

If you’re craving immersion in a whole new cozy world and longing for the fun of a connected series, I’d be honored if you give my just-released River’s Sigh B & B Vol. 1 – 4 collection a try. It contains the first 4 novels in the series (which are all full-length, standalone novels with HEAs) and offers all the fun of revisiting old characters you love (or hate, LOL) while you fall in love with new ones.

Amazon ~ iBooks ~ Nook ~ Kobo ~ Google 

 

Last but not least, for any of you kindred resolution-making, goal-oriented spirits who, while perhaps sympathizing that I was sick, were simultaneously disappointed that I didn’t share goals or resolutions in this post or provide an inspiring, motivating call-to-action, One to Keep will be right up your alley. Sophie always has lots of goals, too, and she’s especially full of determination and resolve this year, so much so that she has a special holiday planned to celebrate her newest resolution. A holiday for one, thank you very much.

 

 

Okay . . . that should keep you busy for a while. (I hope you stocked up on tea and easy snacks too!)

Wishing you a lovely, book-filled, germ-free weekend,

? Ev

Until next time . . .

River's Sigh B & B box set. Stay cozy!

The Sweet Dregs of Summer #mgtab

The last mouthful of a glass of iced tea is sweeter than the rest because the sugar settles to the bottom. Summer is like that too. The first weeks stretch, long and leisurely, full of lingering golden light. At the beginning of the season, eons of time seem to lie ahead.

Then August hits. Then the end of August. The light is still glorious, but it fades earlier and earlier each night. The air is still warm, even hot, in the afternoons, but a crispness beneath the heat whispers rumours of fall. The days are sweeter, more poignant because they’re the last sips of summer.

And just like I tend to slow down midway through a drink, not wanting to finish it before I absolutely have to, I find myself trying to fend off September, spending as much time as I can outside, and allowing myself more breaks to soak things in, knowing—hating—that the bright months will be over soon.

This year I had the treat of houseguests to help me squeeze extra juicy goodness from the month. They stayed a few weeks and while I worked every morning because hey, we gotta eat and pay the bills and all that, I took off big chunks of time, too. We went on more than one day trip and stopped to look at things that I’ve always meant to, but hadn’t got around to yet. (That’s why you should always invite summer guests. It forces you to stop taking the place you live for granted and to get out and play in your home terrain with new eyes.)

As ever, I marvelled at the things to see here. We drove the crazy-bumpy, jungle road down into the Kitimat River where an expanse of round white stones stretches along the brilliant blue-green river as far as the eye can see. I posed by a fallen tree whose roots alone made me look miniscule.

We went to the fish hatchery and saw a mind-boggling amount of chum—so many, so close together, that the aqua river looked black where they huddled and churned, fighting to get up a pipe so they could spawn.

I finally explored an ancient looking set of moss covered stone steps out near Alcan. Apparently they once led to some now-no-more Hudson Bay Company building. I prefer to think they mark the entrance to a long forgotten castle.

Me, the wood nymph! Photo credit: Vello Sork

We camped at Furlong Bay and if there’s a more beautiful campground anywhere, I don’t know where it is. The light playing through the dense, mossy trees was amber and magical. I saw a massive Great Horned owl. The beach was practically empty. Best of all, however, were the huge, rotted out tree stumps we discovered. They were like doorways into other worlds.

We meandered along the highway to Prince Rupert and got lost in the varying shades of blue, blue, blue—blue water, blue sky, blue mountain vistas. Then we were dizzied by all the greens. We daydreamed about the tiny islands. We oohed and ahhed over fresh halibut and salmon being cleaned on the dock and savoured the fishy-salt scent of the ocean.

And one evening, I came across this quote from Henry David Thoreau: I think that I cannot preserve my health and spirits, unless I spend four hours a day at least, and it is commonly more than that, sauntering through the woods and over the hills and fields, absolutely free from all worldly engagements.

I don’t usually get four hours outdoors per day—I wish—but I so relate to his sentiments. Even as I type, the sun’s dipping lower. And as you read this, the days are growing shorter once more. Quick! Pour one more iced tea and head outside. Drink up every last sweet dreg of our gorgeous summer.

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“The Sweet Dregs of Summer” by me, Ev Bishop, was originally published in the Terrace Standard, June 25, 2014 as my monthly column “Just a Thought.”