Green Spirits

“I’m stuck,” Betsy told her daughter, Laurel, as she struggled to pull herself free of the hedge without dropping the carton of her mother-in-law’s dishes that were destined for Laurel’s new apartment.

“Well, yeah.” Laurel held a black plastic bag in one hand while she hoisted the hatchback of her battered old Subaru with the other. “That’s not news, Mom.”

“Don’t be rude.” Betsy worked herself free of one clutching branch only to be hooked by yet another twig. It was almost like the blasted thing didn’t want Laurel to move out, but that was ridiculous. Plants didn’t have wills of their own and if they did, they would know that offspring had to establish new roots just as beloved elders had a lifespan. “Come and take Granny’s dishes before I drop them.”

“On my way.” Laurel shoved the bag in the back of her car, crossed the sidewalk in two strides and took the carton.

“I’ll get this opening widened before Rowan helps you move the furniture next weekend.” Betsy tried to be gentle as she wiggled her sleeve loose but seriously, this was happening way too often and she was fed. Right. Up. “We’ll never get Granny’s dresser through here as it is now.”

For the hundredth or maybe thousandth time in the last two months, Betsy’s eyes flooded as sorrow rose like a tide inside her chest. Her mother-in-law Adele had been a treasure, sharing Betsy’s house, business and whole family life for so many years, and Betsy wasn’t even close to getting a grip on her mourning.

But she had to. It was only a month until the Greening of the Cove festival that jumpstarted the tourist season and Betsy had a daughter to launch, a shop to prepare and a horror of a hedge to trim.

“I don’t know why you love it so much,” Laurel said. “Just cut it down.”

Betsy was shocked. “It was a gift from your dad!”
“You’ve got me and Rowan – I think we’re way better gifts than a monster hedge.” “Of course you are. But the gift wasn’t for me, it was for you.”
Laurel shrugged. “It takes up way too much time and space.”
“I’ll get it under control.” Betsy had been barely managing over the last twenty

years and now it was getting worse. But she would prune it.

Forever?

Apparently.

But Laurel is moving out. She won’t even be living here any more.

Betsy reflected that it would have saved a lot of time and rage over the years if she had simply refused to name her daughter Laurel.

But no-o-o-o. Betsy tugged her sleeve free. Back in her salad days, when she was green in judgment, she had gone along with Glen. He had planted rowan trees at each corner of the property when their son was born and that had seemed sweet. Also, the trees needed no maintenance. But this hedge was a different story. It grew so fast that every year, by the time she turned the final corner and hauled away the last rubbery leaf, it was time to start over. The hedge was the only thing she still begrudged, all these years after Glen had passed away and left her with a couple of small children and a hefty mortgage. But she was stuck with it. And often stuck in it, it seemed. Did shrubs have souls? And could this one be a bad spirit?

No. That was too fanciful, even for Corsair’s Cove.

Betsy sidled carefully through the narrowing opening in the shrubbery, emerging onto the quiet street. On the other side of the pavement, between the budding ornamental plum trees and houses was the view that had made her want to buy their little bungalow all those years ago. The land, with the town’s old wood-framed houses and brick Edwardian businesses, sloped down to the blue harbor which opened before her, promising wind and whitecaps, tides and currents.

Her sailing days were long over and she really didn’t want to revisit them. What she missed, though, was that part of her that had been willing to cast off, ready for new experiences. She missed her mojo. She’d love to get it back, one of these days.

To read the whole story, visit your favourite e-bookseller – you can pre-order now and you’ll be all set when it officially comes out on June 14, 2019.

Amazon| Kobo | Nook | Apple

Livening up book club

Here’s a nifty new activity to liven up book club!

This summer, we Corsair’s Cove authors had a blast creating character cards for some of our recent books, and it struck me that it would be a fun thing for a book group to do.

You can use sources like unsplash.com to find photos and Canva for layout templates, and spend a happy hour or two (or, ahem, a lot more) putting together a card for your favourite character or setting.

The possibilities are endless: the heroine, the villain, personality quirks, most riveting scene, best pets….

You can all agree ahead of time which character(s) to profile, and then compare your cards when you get together and see how different (or similar) they are.

Or each person can choose who or what they want to put on their cards, and when the group gets together, you can talk about your choices.

Just as examples, here are the cards I made for Siena Panati and Joe Johanssen of Secret Vintage:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I had so. Much. Fun.

Wishing you the same,

Rachel

Siena and Joe are finally here!

“A WARM SEPTEMBER breeze was picking up as Siena Panati balanced, barefoot, on the slackline she had slung a yard above the grassy central quad…
“A vibration against her butt distracted her from the future—always her favorite place. Still balancing three feet above the lawn, she pulled the phone from the back pocket of her bright pink jeans and clicked it open with one hand and then three things happened at once…”

Secret Vintage – the cork pops today!

I hope you love these people as much as I do. Plus…apples!

There’s a new story at the Cove!

The Pacific Northwest looks like a peaceful place. There are pretty towns like Corsair’s Cove and Victoria, beautiful parks, rugged green wilderness….

But once upon a time, in my grandmother’s lifetime, there was Prohibition and smuggling, rumrunners and corruption.

My new story is set in that post-Great War era, when women had new legal rights and the social rules were loosening like Edwardian corsets.

I loved learning a little more about that time and what my grandmother, a new bride like my story’s main character Hulda, might have done as a young farm wife. And I loved putting some of those things into my new Corsair’s Cove Companion short story, Good Spirits.

I hope you get the same pleasure reading it as I got writing it.

Wishing you a happy weekend,

Rachel

Freestyle Friday: in the library

Is there any place more exciting than a library? For me, they have always been like Smaug’s cave: full of treasure. But not so dangerous.

And now I can add to the reasons I love my local library system: its Emerging Local Authors program!

This year there are again more than 100 local authors whose works are available for anyone and everyone in Greater Victoria to read…and isn’t that amazing?

My friend Margaret Gracie’s novel in linked short stories is there. Check out Plastic for a thought-provoking, wonderful read.

I ran into Bonnie Hardy at the launch, too. She and her husband Norm Hardy put together a non-fiction book to help people caring for aging friends or family.

Marjorie Lindsay’s The Last Singer is there, and so is Glenn Lindsay’s The Shoebox Mystery.

And of course I was thrilled to see Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop The Complete Series there, and Kiss in the Wind is available as an e-book. Thrilled.

Can you tell?

Wishing you a happy and story-filled weekend,

Rachel

Freestyle Friday: books!

In case you haven’t seen my excited posts all over social media, I have a fun surprise that I’d like to share with you.

The Corsettes and I have teamed up with 25+ fantastic authors to give away a huge collection of sweet contemporary romances to 2 lucky winners, PLUS a brand new eReader to the Grand Prize winner!

Oh, and did I mention you’ll receive a collection of FREE ebooks just for entering? ;D

You can win Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop: The Complete Set, plus books from authors like Barbara Cool Lee and Andrea Bolter.

Enter the giveaway by clicking here: http://bit.ly/sweetrom-mar2018

Good luck and enjoy!

Rachel

 

Book prize!

Have you seen this awesome giveaway from BookSweeps? You can win Corsair’s Cove Chocolate Shop: The Complete Set, plus books from authors like Barbara Cool Lee and Andrea Bolter, and a brand new eReader – PLUS you get FREE ebooks just for entering. This giveaway ends soon, so make sure you hurry and enter!

Join the fun here! http://bit.ly/sweetrom-mar2018

When you’re done, tell me which books you’re most excited to win!

Good luck and happy reading,

Rachel

Freestyle Friday: The Jar of Awesome

Have you heard about The Jar of Awesome? Entrepreneur and author Tim Ferriss credits his ex-girlfriend for showing him the way to celebrate even small wins.

Instead of a jar full of slips of paper listing tasks waiting to be done (why would you even go there?), this jar is a vessel for holding reminders of awesome things.

Any time you want to, you can open up that jar and read about things you did, lovely things other people have done that you decided deserved a place in The Awesome Jar.

“It’s like a self-made fortune cookie of goodness,” Ferriss says.

I wanted one!

My jar is a little metal lunch kit that a friend gave me, and the slips of paper (so far) are postcards I picked up at the turn of the century at a writers’ conference on Prince Edward Island. The postcards themselves are beautiful, they remind me of a fantastic trip, and then I write that day’s or that week’s wonderful thing on one for a triple whammy of awesome.

I want to say, though, that it’s the reminders that are important, not the container or the kind of paper. When my wonderful PEI postcards run out, I’ll tear strips off my ubiquitous blue-lined looseleaf paper. The important thing is that awesome things happen All The Time, and I want to remind myself of them.

So far in 2018, I’ve added at least one Awesome Thing each week. This weekend I’m going to a couple of events with great people so I expect I’ll be adding more than one.

Isn’t that awesome?!

Wishing you a fabulous Friday and an awesome weekend too,

Rachel