Eileen Cook Author, Writing Consultant, Editor

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 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!


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.

This is an addiction I know ALL too well


The World’s Most Boring Person

Have you ever seen the beer Dos Equis’ ad campaign with the World’s Most Exciting Man? I am the exact opposite of this- possibly the world’s most boring person.

I came to this realization a couple of weeks ago. DH and I had gone to the fireworks competition. We were excited because a) we were out for a big night on the town and b) we were awake past ten pm so we felt like rebels. We sat near a group of people, one of whom had just moved here. She asked up what kind of exciting things we could recommend to do on the weekends. Before thinking about it I spit out that I like to spend the weekend reading. I managed to avoid mentioning that I also like to nap.

That’s when it occurred to me that I’m boring and upon reflection I found more evidence to support this theory:
– I am a huge fan of oatmeal for breakfast
– The color I wear most often is grey
– It’s possible I have more imaginary friends than real ones
– I actually get a shiver of excitement when I hear from the library that a book I requested is in for pick up
– My wild hobby is knitting.

I think I am going to embrace my new status as world’s more boring person. Maybe have a t-shirt made. Add the line to my business cards.

I am beginning to think it is a lie

A little over a year ago DH realized that despite our best attempts to remain immature forever, we were alas, getting older. We decided that rather than grow old gracefully we wanted to go kicking and screaming so we have made a concerted effort to become healthier. We already ate fairly decently, and given that we both think kale tastes like a weed, we knew that to make a change what we needed to do was exercise.

I’ve never been an athletic person. My parents who gave me several good things (an ability to cook, a love of reading, sense of humour) did not provide me with a single athletic gene. I was the person you knew in high school who forged notes to get out of gym class. When forged notes did not work, I was the one who was constantly hit in the face with a ball, who fell, who twisted something, and generally would always be chosen last when making teams. I do not like the gym. Or sweating. It is not a case of not “finding just the right activity.” I have tried all most all sporty things. The truth is that my idea of a good activity is reading on the sofa followed by a nap. When I’m feeling really wild and crazy I like to knit. If reading burned calories I would make super models look like hippos. Alas, it does not.

So I started running. That’s a lie. I started walking and then slowly added in periods of running. People around me told me that there would be some kind of runner’s high. I have come to accept the truth- they lie. It’s been close to a year now and the only high I have is when the treadmill beeps indicating that I can stop.

I share an office with a lovely woman. T is incredibly bright, a great critical thinker, funny, kind. She is also an amazing athlete. Some days she talks about how when she doesn’t get to run she really misses it. I can honestly say this has never happened to me. Nada. Not once. She also looks great when she runs. I haven’t looked in a mirror, but I’m pretty sure I look hideous. At the very least I feel hideous and I’m never smiling.

My good friend J became athletic later in life. She used to be a couch potato like me. She told me once that she was intending to run for about an hour- but she was having so much fun that she just kept going. She “didn’t even realize how much time had passed.” This has never happened to me. Much more common is that I think surely the time must be over only to realize that time has slowed to crawl and that I still have forever to go.

On the upside I’ve lost some weight and my cardio is way better. So I’ll live longer. Or it will just seem like longer. I’m not sure which it will be yet.


There are good days and bad days

So those of you who follow me on Twitter (and if not, why not? @eileenwriter) or on Facebook already know that this past week had it’s challenges at Chez Cook. Our dog, Cairo, managed to somehow rupture a disc in his spine. This led to a trip to the emergency vet, a CAT scan, and a visit by a canine neurologist. (yes, my dog has his own neurologist now.) Emergency surgery was the option on Wednesday and we were lucky enough to get him home after a few days at the hospital.

Pets in pain is never a good thing and having to make life or death medical decisions has a way of sucking the joy out of an otherwise perfectly good day. Cairo would point out that having surgery and a row of medical grade staples holding your back together, along with needing to re-learn how to use your back end isn’t any treat either. We’ve had to re-jig schedules as Cairo can’t be left for long periods. We moved our mattress to the floor so there is no risk that he will jump in or out of bed. He can’t walk without a leash and if you aren’t supervising he has to be in his crate. (Don’t ask how he feels about it- it will have him singing the song of his people all over again.)

Oddly despite all of this I was reminded of some silver linings. First off that I’m married to the best guy ever who left work early and rushed home so he could drive me and the wee guy to the emergency vet. We’re fortunate enough to be able to pay for the surgery- it means giving up a planned vacation, but not giving up things like rent money or food. We were able to find humour in the situation and when we couldn’t we were okay with just holding hands. I’m grateful that my primary job is being a writer- which thankfully can be done at home while holding onto a dog leash so that someone doesn’t try and run and jump. I’m grateful that I’ve had this dog in my life at all, as his joy in the most simple things is a good reminder for me that anything can be an adventure. I am so very grateful that he and I will have more days together.

In the meantime my dog is going to have a bitching scar down his back. Our plan is to tell people he fended off a shark attack. Or took out some terrorist. Maybe a terrorist shark.

It’s weird in my brain

I have weird dreams. Always have. Maybe it’s my creative nature. Or some kind of sign that all is not right in my head, but as long as I can remember my dreams are vivid and odd. Here is a prime example from last night.

In my dream there are a rogue group of vegetarians who are consumed with the idea of making everyone swear off meat eating.*

In order to get people to swear off meat they decide they must convince the younger generation so they are stealing stuffed toys from small children and then cooking and serving them to the kids to cause trauma. Picture here tiny Molly being served the head of her stuffed bunny Beatrix in an orange sauce, or wee Tommy finding the side of his stuffed pig Oliver served up crispy on a side of eggs. This is causing mass panic.**

For reasons that are unclear in the dream, the police and authorities seem to be unable to address this violent stuffy massacre so DH and I decide that we alone must right this wrong. ***

The dream then had a montage of various crime fighting/ninja like scenes where DH defending small innocent plush toys from being made into sausage, fondue or a roast.

Then I woke up. I have zero idea what type of interpretation a psychologist would put on this dream other than I might be in need of heavy psychotropic medication.

I told DH about the dream. He summed it up as: “you’re weird.” then again what would he knows- he rarely remembers dreaming at all. His are probably so weird that his brain won’t even let him remember them in the morning.

How about you- do you remember your dreams?

* Let it be said I know many vegetarians and while enthusiastic about their lifestyle they have never tried for world domination or to my knowledge even thought about it.

** I think you do want to get people to swear off meat this is not the way to go about it. Rather than getting young kids to embrace a healthy plant based food source it seems to me this would make them potential serial killers.

*** Given that DH and I have trouble motivating ourselves to do beyond the basic home chores (Back yard overgrown garden I am looking at you) I find it implausible that we would take up a life of crime fighting as it would break into our regular routine of knitting, reading and making robots.

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