Eileen Cook Author, Writing Consultant, Editor

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.

Welcome 2016

Let’s hear it for the start of a new year. I am excited for 2016 and all it may bring.

A few resolutions-

– Sending more handwritten notes to friends and family.Yes, it does require stamps, but the people in my life are worth it. There are few things nicer than receiving something in the mail that is not a bill, an advertisement or a plea for money.

– Avoiding the hate: Yes- I am talking to all those online hate-fests. If the only way you can feel better about yourself is talking about how poor people (or minorities, or refugees, or any one religion etc) are horrible and not worthy I will block you. Your negativity sucks- cut it out or I cut you out.

– Purposeful time: It is far too easy to spend hours drifting about the internet- which, while better than spending time on hookers and drugs, isn’t always what I want to be doing with my time. This doesn’t mean that I need to be more productive, but rather that I focus on spending time on things that add something to my life. More books, more knitting, more long walks with the dog and conversations on interesting topics.

– Read more, read widely: This is one of my goals most years, but it never hurts to push myself to try some things that I might not otherwise pick up and discover new authors.

– Write: I have a book to write this year so this is not only an aspirational goal, but also a deadline. Lucky for me- I actually like writing so this one shouldn’t be too hard.

– Take time to enjoy: This year has many new adventures planned. A new book out, a trip to France, time with friends, two dogs… I have much to be grateful for and want to be sure to make the time to appreciate all of it before it is over and simply a memory.

– Health: Taking care of yourself is never a bad plan

May your 2016 bring you much happiness!

2015 A Year In Review

I have zero idea how it is the end of the year already. I swear it was late September just a few days ago.

Here at Chez Cook we had a lovely holiday filled with lots of books, movies, naps on the sofa and good food.

It’s always nice this time of year to take a minute and look back. 2015 was a good one for me. There were a few highlight- I sold a new book, WITH MALICE (out June 2016– feel free to pre-order.) I’m really excited to share this book- it is a bit different from my others, but I’m proud of it and ready to show it off.

Our other big news this year was the addition of a new puppy to our house- Gimlet. She’s a very busy wee Westie and has kept us running since she moved in. She took to the concept of Christmas and a stocking filled with squeaker toys and treats right away. We were also happy that our current dog Cairo decided that she could stay. However, when she chews on his tail I suspect he may be rethinking it.

The rest of the year was made of quieter things- but no less enjoyable.
– I started teaching for the SFU Writer’s Studio and have loved the chance to mentor other writers. It could be because they have to listen to me, but I like to think my feelings are more noble.

– My parents came out for a visit and we had a chance to see a Seahawks game. Despite the fact the power went out for a day and a bit a good time was had by all.

– Lots of good meals with friends including several late night board game matches.

– Long walks with good friends and dogs. Sometimes both at the same time.

– Reading a lot. I read fewer books than last year, a mere 91. However I did have some favourites:
A Mad Wicked Folly, A Pleasure and a Calling, The Lake House, The Girl on the Train, The Kind Worth Killing For, Dead Wake, Luckiest Girl Alive and Furiously Happy among others.

– Writing a lot. I am lucky in that I enjoy the writing process. I know some writers that find it painful. While it is not always easy I am still aware that making stuff up for a living is about the best job ever.

– Conferences and School Visits. The Surrey International Writer’s Conference continues to be a favourite. I’ll be there again this coming October so if you’re free I hope to see you there.

– Having friends get good news. I had friends who were able to travel this year, some who found an agent, others who had a book come out, one bought a house and another was able to get a nanny so she could have time for herself again. I am always happy when good friends are happy.

– Skeptics Conference: We went to Vegas (in July) and attended the skeptics conference which was not only interesting, but also gave me an idea for a new book. There was also a lot of time spent at the pool which wasn’t all bad.

I’m looking forward to 2016 and all it will bring. Any favourite memories of 2015 you’d like to share? See in the new year.

Dog Update

IMG_1341As you can see Cairo and Gimlet are now fast friends. Cairo has enjoyed all the extra cookies (he tends to take them from her) and this makes up for the fact that she is constantly hanging off of him biting his ear, ruff or tail.

It amuses me how different they are in personality. For example, Cairo has always been terrified of the vacuum. He tries to play it cool now, acting like he would just rather be somewhere else when it comes out, but you can tell the thing freaks him out.

Then came Gimlet. She observed how the vacuum came out and Cairo exited stage right. Instead of following him, she instantly leapt onto the hose, digging in her teeth, wrapping her paws around it. I imagine if she could speak it would be: “DIE you evil sucking dragon! I shall vanquish you for terrorizing my beloved brother. Your death shall be slow and painful.” She has no fear.

This process makes cleaning up the house interesting.

Gimlet has arrived

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Gim peachland
So last Thursday we flew to Kelowna to pick up the newest member of our family.

So far it has been both easier than expected and more work. There is no energy like puppy energy. She goes goes goes goes goes and then falls over sounds asleep- then she snores like a wee truck driver.

Our other dog Cairo is not so sure about this addition. We wondered if he would be territorial with a new dog in his space, but he seems to have more wearied patience. Like she’s a drunk houseguest who showed up at his house, ate his food, ran around screaming “Look at me!!!!!” and then peed in the living room. Near as I can tell he’s still hoping she will go away. The fact that she follows him around and chews on his ears is likely not helping.

It will be busy around here at Chez Cook as we all get used to each other and our new schedule. Let’s hope for her stake she stays away from my good shoes.

Things my dishwasher has taught me

Some of you may remember that we got a new dishwasher about a month ago. The amount I love this dishwasher is hard to describe. When I put the dishes in, even if they are crusty with egg goo, they come out….CLEAN.

Now, you may not be impressed. Perhaps you’re thinking that the entire point of a dishwasher is to wash dishes. Technically you would be correct. Alas, our old dishwasher hadn’t been up to the task for a while. Instead of breaking down completely in a gush of water and steam- it just slowly, over a period of time, did a crappier and crappier job. First, it wouldn’t wash off the really crusty stuff. Then it moved to a stage where it didn’t so much wash dishes, as it sterilized all ready clean dishes. Then it didn’t even really do that.

I was in denial for a long period of time. It’s not that bad, I would tell myself as I scoured dishes before putting them in, or cleaning them as I took them out. Other things I told myself included:
– It will be a pain to get a new one.
– I don’t have time to go appliance shopping.
– It will be expensive
– I’ll buy a new one (insert random timeline here)

Then I finally bought it. And it was great. And I wondered why I waited so long. Why I settled for something that didn’t work that great. I think it’s a great reminder for life in general. What are living with that doesn’t really work? A friendship? A job? A living space? Something that you tell yourself is “good enough” when it really isn’t.

Imagine if your life wasn’t good enough- if it was just right. Then go out and make it happen.

Cue the Celebration!

imagesI am BEYOND excited to announce a shiny new book deal! It’s been on the down low for awhile, but I am now able to share the news. It’s a good thing too, because I’ve been ready to explode with happiness.

My agent, the divine Barbara Poelle, sold my novel WITH MALICE to the amazing Sarah Landis at HMH. The book sold in less than 24 hours of landing on Sarah’s desk and behind the scenes we have been hustling as the book will be out in JUNE 2016! Eep!

WITH MALICE is a psychological mystery. Think of the NPR Serial podcast meets YA thriller. Here is the description:

Eighteen-year-old Jill Charron wakes up in a hospital room, leg in a cast, stitches in her face and a big blank canvas where the last 6 weeks should be. She comes to discover she was involved in a fatal accident while on a school trip in Italy three days previous but was jetted home by her affluent father in order to receive quality care. Care that includes a lawyer. And a press team. Because maybe the accident…wasn’t an accident. Wondering not just what happened but what she did, Jill tries to piece together the events of the past six weeks before she loses her thin hold on her once-perfect life.

You can read more about the deal here at Publisher’s Weekly and also about it being featured at the Frankfurt Book Fair here. And for the record, hearing the term “Hot Title” makes me weak in the knees.

I owe a huge amount of thanks to all my friends and family who continue to support me in this wild decision to be a writer.

World, Meet Gimlet


Bob and Gimlet

We went this past weekend up to the Okanagan to pick our new puppy. World, I would like you to meet young Gimlet. So far she has shown top skills in areas such as chewing on things, peeing on things, and shoving her brother and sisters out of the way to obtain more food. We are hopeful she will also learn advanced skills such as sleeping on the sofa, chasing stuffed toys, and keeping our home safe from squirrel infestation.

Alas, Gimlet needs more time with her mum before she is old enough to come home. She’ll be joining the family end of next month and we’re already excited!

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Random Monday Catch Up

I have zero idea how it is already the middle of September. This summer, which was filled with lazy afternoons reading on the patio, long walks with the dogs and edits aplenty has FLOWN by.

If you are in the Vancouver area, on September 25th at 7pm I will be speaking at the North Vancouver City Library with a great group of YA writers. Hope to see you there. Details (and registration for the free event) can be found here.

If you are looking for even more time with me I’ll be at the Surrey International Writer’s Conference at the end of October. There is a great group of writers, editors and agents this year so be sure to check it out if you haven’t already.

I am also starting this week teaching at SFU for The Writer’s Studio. This is a ten month program where I’ll be mentoring a group of writers (my group is YA and Speculative Fiction) and hopefully we’ll all be learning a lot. It has also provided me with an excuse to buy new school supplies. There are few things I love more than office supplies.

Under the heading exciting news- we’re getting a PUPPY! (picture me dancing in circles here) The puppy has been born and is still with her mum and littermates. She’ll be joining us here at Chez Cook at the end of October. No doubt she is already looking forward to all the floors to be peed upon and shoes to chew.

I’m knitting up a storm these days as I try and get some of my Christmas knits completed in an effort to avoid that last minute freak out that I typically experience. We’ll see if I stay on target.

Highlights of the past summer include: Seahawks game and Seattle visit with my parents, lots of relaxation at home, new book project that I’m working on, going to the Whitecaps games with DH, Cairo getting better post surgery, skeptics conference in Vegas (and also margaritas by the pool while there), Canada Day BBQ with friends and lots of great meals with great friends.

Now I’m ready for fall. Bring on the fuzzy sweaters, thick socks, books read under a blanket with a cup of tea and pumpkin flavored everything.

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