Eileen Cook Author, Writing Consultant, Editor

Friday Five- Some of My Favourite Things

Most of these will come as no shock to those who know me.

Shoes: I have a passion for good shoes. Fluevog’s are a favorite as they tend to be a bit quirky. (like me.)
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Knitting: This is my go-to relaxation activity. If I can watch a movie (or hockey) while knitting then life is pretty good. knit

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dogs: No need to comment on this.
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Art: Having beautiful things makes life feel more beautiful. This horse we bought in Italy. I adore him.
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Writing: But of course! Few things are better than the chance to make things up for living.
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Friday Five- Why I like dogs

I am a bit dog crazy. You know that person who crosses the street to catch up someone to meet their dog? Yeah- that’s me. As I kid I nagged my parents endlessly until they got me a dog. I believe the argument was won when my grandma said “Get the girl a dog or she’ll turn out weird.” Alas- the weird had already arrived. This does not mean that I dislike cats (or ferrets, or parrot or pet of your choice) just that I find dogs to be the pet of choice. A few of the reasons include:

1) Dogs are Always Glad to See You: I can leave the house for five minutes and when I return the dogs greet me as if I was gone at war for years. It makes coming home extra special.

2) Dog Snores: I find this to be an irresistible sound. I would also include dog dreams here too when their wee paws spin about in the air.

3) Always Up for Adventure: Dogs are always up for something new. Walk? Why yes, they would love to! Try something that just fell on the floor? Don’t mind if I do! Anyone up for a nap? Why indeed! Dogs are eternally optimists.

4) Emotional Sidekicks: Dogs make great therapists. If I’m ever down for some reason my dogs immediately sense this and snuggle up. Or they dig a whole in the ground- but most of the time they are great in the comfort department.

5) They Remind Me of What’s Important: Dogs don’t worry about what other people think of them, they aren’t cruel because someone else is different. They focus on the important stuff- love the people/pack close to you, enjoy a good walk, take a nap in the sun when you get a chance, celebrate a good meal and when you have a chance to play- take it.

Friday Five- My Office Essentials

My office is in what used to be the porch of our house that before we ever moved in was winterized. Considering I spend so much time in here- I thought you might find it interesting to know my must-haves.

1) Tea: First thing I do every morning is fire up the kettle and get a cup of tea going. No mug of tea? No writing. My go to favourites are from Davids Tea. At this point I feel like they should give me a kick back as I’ve hooked dozens of people on their teas.

2) Office Supplies/Good Pen: I have a pen addiction. Who am I kidding? I love all office supplies. Few things make me happier than a Staples run where I can load up on Post-it Notes, markers, and index cards. I have a couple of really nice pens by Visconti (Italian of course) and they are the ones always by my side.

3) My Mac: I should admit I’m not exactly technically savvy. I lucked out when I married DH because he’s a computer engineer and so far has managed to fix every problem I’ve created for myself. He got me hooked early in our marriage on Apple products and I’ve never turned back. Currently I write on an MacBook Air. I love it for being portable and when at home I can add a wireless keyboard and giant monitor.

4) Moleskin Notebooks: While I write my books on the computer- I am addicted to having a notebook close by. I buy Moleskins in bulk. I use them to make notes, to do lists and when I get stuck in a book I find handwriting is the way to get things moving again.

5) Vintage Typewriter: I love typewriters. There is something about them that I find beautiful. I have a Corona from 1918 that sits on the shelf next to my desk. When I’m feeling wild and crazy I also like to have fresh flowers around.

What may surprise some people is that generally I keep my office pretty tidy. Clutter messes with my brain. I need a relatively clean space to write. I know the cliche is that writers are surrounded by stacks of paper, but that doesn’t work well for me. Not that it doesn’t get messy- just that I try to keep it organized when possible.

Books, Besties and a Contest!

The only thing better than a good book is sharing one with a best friend! Help me celebrate the release of WITH MALICE by telling your friends about the book in a Tweet, Instagram, Facebook post, or via an email.

Every time you share the news of WITH MALICE you’ll be entered to win one of five gift packages which will be given away between May 10- June 7.   Gift packs include:

  • Signed postcards
  • $25 gift card to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or Chapters/Indigo
  • Vancouver chocolates
  • Bath and Body Works treats

How to enter:

Tweet or Instagram using the hashtag #summerofmalice. Feel free to share that you are looking forward to reading the book, your love of thrillers, a link to your favorite bookstore that sells the book, link to a review or your Goodreads page showing it is on your list- or any other ideas you may have!

I look forward to seeing how you spread the news and hope you enjoy reading the book!

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Friday Five- 80’s movies

I am going to admit a bias, but I do love a good 80’s movie. John Hughes was a hero of mine. I secretly wanted to be Molly Ringwald. I perfected my Pretty-in-Pink mix of lace skirts and boots. To this day I still have a thing for fancy shoes and hats- which I blame her for. If you are looking for some great 80’s flicks be sure to check these out.

1) Breakfast Club: A classic. I remember thinking that movies couldn’t get better than this. I also adored 16 Candles (oh Jake Ryan- how I loved you.) Ferris Beueller’s Day Off and Pretty in Pink.

2) Raiders of the Lost Ark: Ever since his Han Solo days I had a thing for Harrison Ford. When this one shows up on TV I can still watch it over and over. I also have to give a tip of the hat to The Empire Strikes Back, which in my humble opinion was the very best of the Star Wars original trilogy.

3) Aliens: This movie scared the daylights out of me. Other great action films included Terminator and the original Die Hard.

4) Princess Bride: I am still capable of quoting huge sections of this movie. I also give the book a big thumbs up if you’re looking for a good read.

5) When Harry Met Sally: Nora Ephron was an AMAZING writer and this was one of her best.

Fire up your Netflix for the weekend!

Friday Five

I’ll be doing a random Friday Five each and every Friday. Tune into to find out my latest and greatest.

This week my Friday Five: Favourite Baked Goods

I was lucky enough to grow up with a mom who is an amazing cook. This has resulted in a life long love of baked things.

1) Bread: There are few things better than the smell of homemade bread coming out of the oven- other than of course the taste of fresh hot bread spread with real butter.

2) Chocolate Chip Cookies: Cookies are pretty much nature’s perfect snack food. Tasty and portable. I like pretty much all cookies- but if I have to choose only one the classic is where I’m going.

3) Pumpkin Bread: This was a recipe I stole from my mom. Think pumpkin instead of banana and you’ve got the idea. I load in the fall spices, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg and bake these up like crazy in the fall.

4) Blueberry Pie: When I got married DH declared this to be his favourite of all desserts and he’s rubbed off on me over the years. I am also not adverse to a good apple pie- if you’re feeling wacky add some chopped dried ginger.

5) Guinness Chocolate Cake: I came across this recipe a year or so ago and fell in love. I’m not usually a cake person, but this one is worth it. It’s become my default for birthdays and random celebrations. If you want to try it the recipe is here.

Happy Birthday to me….

Thanks to everyone who sent kind birthday wishes. I plan to spend my day surrounded by things I love, friends, good food, puppies, books, knitting, and hot tea. The best celebration I can have is taking the time to realize how truly fortunate I am. Here’s to 2016 kicking butt.

Cover Reveal and Sharing the Shelf

Writing is awesome. Publishing can be a challenge. I encourage every writer to celebrate and support their fellow writers. It’s too easy to fall into the game of envy and comparison. I believe that writers do well when all writers do well.

This week had two reminders of this. First I had a chance to have lunch with Kristen Adams. We met through the Surrey conference and I’m excited to share she’s recently signed with a shiny literary agent and her novel is on submission. It was a good excuse for a celebration. You’ll want to remember her name because you’ll be reading her on these days.

I also have the opportunity to do a cover reveal! Good friend and writing student Lisa Voisin has her latest book, The Watcher, out now! I’ve had the opportunity to see Lisa’s progress from her first novel in this series to this very satisfying conclusion. So if you haven’t had a peek- be sure to check out her latest!

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What Not To Say About What Not To Wear- subtitled: why I would never diss Reese Witherspoon if she were my best friend

It’s award season. Movie and TV stars lined up on the red carpet. A time of year when we celebrate their work and for reasons that are unclear to me- shred other women for what they choose to wear.

Imagine that you had a work party where you were being honoured for (insert job title here) of the year. You get all dressed up. You’re nervous and excited because this is a big deal for your career. Then before you even walk all the way inside you are assailed with tweets and posts about how you look horrid. Not about your job, or if you deserved the award, but instead we reduced you to simply how you looked. Isn’t it enough that they picked the outfit because when they put it on-it made THEM feel good?

Friends of ours came over once with their daughter. She was about five at the time. She showed up in a velvet dress from the previous Christmas. It was the middle of the July. Her mom shrugged and said: “This is what she wanted to wear.” She sweated up a storm in that dress- it was impractical and likely fit better six months before, but dammit she felt pretty and she was the only one at the BBQ who took the trouble to dress up.

I suspect part of what makes us feel comfortable tearing down celebrities is due to the fact that because we watch their movies we feel we somehow know them. That we’re entitled to weigh in on their appearance. Let’s take Reese Witherspoon. I’ve long believed that Reese and I would make great friends. We like many of the same books, I love her work (Election is one of my fav movies of all time) and she comes across as darn nice on Instagram where I stalk follow her.

If Reese was my real friend and she invited me over for a chance to weigh in on what she was pondering wearing to the Oscars I’d hustle right over with some cupcakes and wine. If she tried someone on and it looked horrible I would tell her. I would watch her in the mirror and declare a particular cut made her butt look like wrestling squirrels trapped in a silk hammock. ***

You know what I wouldn’t do? I wouldn’t call her AFTER the awards and say now that it was too late to do anything other than make her feel bad: “damn, you looked horrible.” You know why? Because that would make me a lousy friend. One who was likely saying mean things simply because I was jealous I hadn’t been invited to the party.

So I’m putting forward the idea that this year we don’t tear other women down based on what they look like. Maybe it’s a look we like, maybe we think we wouldn’t be caught dead in that outfit- but we don’t need to tear them down for their choice. It’s not like they’re going to call you and force you to wear it your next Christmas party. Celebrate the awards and raise a glass if your favourite wins.

*** Should Reese Witherspoon read this please know that I can’t imagine anything you would wear would make your butt look like fighting squirrels and I’m not just saying that because we’re imaginary BFFs. Also call me- want you to be in my bookclub.

Random Monday

There has been some exciting book news around here for WITH MALICE.

You may have seen it was selected as a Buzz Book for 2016. If you are interested to check out a sneak peek of the book (along with 19 other great titles) you can find it here.

I also heard that the book will be published in Turkey which is rather nifty.

I don’t have travel plans yet- but be sure to check back and I’ll keep you posted on what they are as we get closer to the release date.

If you live in Vancouver (or plan to visit) I can’t recommend enough the restaurant Cinara. We went there for a seven course chef’s choice tasting menu and it was so good I practically licked the plate.

The East Coast was recently hammered with a snow storm which called for people to make sure they were well stocked with wine and good books. In solidarity (there wasn’t a flake of snow here) I’ve been hunkering down and reading. I just finished The Orphan Train for my book club and an now ready to discuss the heck out of it. Hope you’re reading something fun.