Kim McDougall
Today, I have some fun and some not-so-fun pictures to share.
As I write this, an area of forest the size of Belgium is burning only a few hours north of me. Please don’t worry about me. We are all safe. There have been a few local fires, but they were put out quickly. Our only suffering is in the air quality, which you can see by this picture is very poor. 

This is our soon-to-be pasture. The yellow sky is disturbing and the air smells smoky (and not the comforting camp-fire smoky smell).
The news media (US and Canadian) seem fixated on the effects of this smog in the big cities to the south, with barely a mention of the thousands of people and possibly millions of animals displaced by the fires. The whole thing makes me sad. 
Canada is generally a lush green country, at least Quebec and Ontario, where I have lived most of my life. They are not known for catastrophic forest fires like some other, more arid countries. No one I talk to can remember fires as bad as this in our area. I just hope it isn’t a sign of a new normal.
They say that art imitates life. Sometimes, it’s the other way around. If you read Devils Don’t Lie (no spoilers ahead), you know that Kyra worries about some mysterious fires to the north of Montreal too. I wrote that almost a year ago. But the fires continue to plague the Inbetween in Book 8 (as yet untitled) that I am writing now. It's eerie to be writing about forest fires and look outside my window to see the sun eclipsed by smoke. At least you can be assured my descriptions will be accurate.
On a happier note, I set up my summer office in our little forest. Here’s a picture from before the fires. 

This is a little experiment to see if less distractions will improve my daily writing output. I go down there every morning to write (until the smoke became too thick). There’s no internet, no dog, no family always demanding my attention. It’s been fabulous. I feel like I’m lost in the Inbetween and I’ve doubled my daily word count average! Before you worry--yes, I'm safe from mosquitos, chiggers and ticks. And bears. We do have black bears in the area. I haven't seen them yet, but I carry bear mace with me just in case. And I bring a big thermos of coffee with me. It's all good.
The last picture is of the balloons I set up in our newly planted pasture. 

It was a long time coming, to get the field finally seeded, and we invested a small fortune in special horse mixture grass seed. 
Then we prayed for rain that didn’t come. 
While we wait, the crows are feasting on our fancy seed. Now, I love crows. I’ve been trying to befriend the few that frequent our farm. But I also really need grass if I want to finally bring my horse home. So I bought a bunch of mylar balloons and set them up in the pasture. My neighbors probably think I’m crazy, but so far, the balloons seem to be keeping the crows at bay. And they look very festive ;)
In the next couple of weeks, I have several outings planned. I’ll be learning from a master forager about finding things to eat in the forest in early summer. I’ll be taking a one-day beekeeping class and I’m taking a trip to a compost facility to learn all about composting. Cuz I’m just that fun. 
Never stop learning! And who knows, maybe Kyra will have to forage in the Inbetween or raise a hive of vampire bees or battle giant composting worms! No knowledge ever goes to waste.
Until next time, happy summer reading! I’d love to hear about books you recently read and enjoyed, especially if they are by indie authors. You can let me know right in the comments below.
If you haven't picked up your copy of Devils Don't Lie yet, I hope you'll give it a try. And don't forget to download your free eBook, Tales from the Inbetween. This won't be available in stores. It's only for you, my loyal subscribers. 




Book Fairs & Events

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Spotlight Books

Blade's Destiny
Ishtar's Legacy #3
Lisa Blackwood

A queen and a male courtesan must find their destiny together.

Decadence and depravity have long been hallmarks of the Gryphon Court and when a young king dares to bring change, his life is cut short by an assassin’s blade.

Tirigan, on the run from a life not of his choosing, makes a desperate bid for his future by seeking out the young king who is said to abhor slavery of any kind. But Tirigan is too late and quickly finds himself captured once more.

Asharru is still grieving her older brother’s death when the crown is thrust upon her. Intelligent and cunning, she knows none in her new court can be trusted. One of them is the mastermind behind her beloved brother’s assassination.

She needs help and there is only one place left for her to seek it.

The flesh markets of Nineveh.

There she plans to acquire a small group of humans and gryphons, free them, restore their dignity, and offer them positions as servants, royal guards, confidants, and spies.

She is soon drawn to one man in particular. To her horror and hope, she recognizes him as one of Ishtar’s sacred Blades, a warrior born to protect the royal line.

Tirigan has no love for gryphons, but they must put aside their differences and bond as Blade and Queen if they hope to save their kingdom.


Slivers of Memory
Chosen Legends Prequel
A.J Dasher & Kris Ruhler

Worker by day, volunteer at night. This is fifteen-year-old Arctic’s life. Except he’s far from ordinary, and the print shop he works at is just a cover, a safe base for Metas—people with supernatural abilities.

But when Metas start disappearing one by one, his trail of clues leads him into a web of danger. Trapped between the secrets of a hidden world and his turbulent past, he becomes the target of a treacherous hunt.

And that’s just the beginning.

His encounter with a mysterious girl makes him question everything he’s ever believed in. Together, with her as his only ally, he must risk it all to unearth the truth.

Even worse, his own forgotten past is coming back to haunt him.

Who is kidnapping the Metas? Why? And who are the Chosen Legends, with the strange marks on the back of their hands?

To find the answers, he may have to seek the same people hunting him down.
Before time runs out.


P.S. There are new blog posts from Book 7 up on the Valkyrie Bestiary Blog, just in case you wondered what a mammoth rat-eater looks like ;) 

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