Summer Reads by Lee Bice-Matheson

As summer approaches, we hear the sound of the birds more distinctly, breathe in fresher air, notice the trees and gardens in full bloom.

We love our lilac tree when in bloom. Notice the gazebo? I wrote most of Destiny’s Gate in there while J.R. Matheson and I dropboxed back and forth for edits and his input scene by scene. We love our sailboat. It  was a sponsored charity event. #OrilliaStreetsAlive

My fav flower when it’s in full bloom and there are many.

Ahhh, it’s now my favourite time of year. To seek inspiration, I’ve learned to unplug, literally, from all of my devices. And it works every time. Don’t be afraid to turn off your cell phone, your laptop, your home computer, and get outside and explore nature. Whether it’s a long hike through a redwood forest in California, or seeking an off-the-path waterfall in Algonquin Park, embrace turning inwards and listen to what your gut is telling you to do.

Nothing like the amazing Iris when they bloom.

Relax, unwind, let your mind wander. You never know where it will lead you.

For me as an author, I’ve had to make a very difficult decision to let go of Paige Maddison and all of her friends and family members. I loved writing about her experiences and writing with our son, J.R. Matheson, my coauthor of the series. J.R. is now in the hardest part of his PhD program at the University of Toronto and he cannot afford the time it takes to write another novel together. As a Mom, I couldn’t be prouder of him. As his writing partner, of course I’m sad. I loved the camaraderie working together and the bouncing of ideas off one another. We worked well together and he’s been quoted in many interviews saying the same thing,  “We always seemed to be on the same ‘Paige’ pardon the pun.” Now it’s time for me to create new characters and I have begun my creative journey doing so.

Turning away from one series to another is very difficult and it takes time to let go of characters already created to conjure up new ones. I have the name of the new character I’m writing about. And that’s how it began with the Paige Maddison Series. I knew the name first, and everything fell into place after that. Well, I am lucky in writing. I’ve created a new name and it all took place at my sister’s, after one of my book signings in our hometown of Sarnia. A very dear friend of mine, and one of our dear nephews, were discussing possible

Thank you to everyone who has invested in the Paige Maddison Series. Here we are at our 48th Book Signing at Indigo North London, May 5th, 2018.

names. And out of the mouth of my friend, she said a name that I knew would be ‘THE ONE.’ That’s how easily it can happen. Now, it is the name of a real person. What do I do next? Do I tell the person I’ve chosen to write a series based on his name? And that he will be  a she? Yes, I will. I never steal other people’s names without telling them, or asking a person if they mind if I borrow one of their personality traits for my next novel? I think it’s only fair to do so. I’ve begun creating the character in my mind. It can take months for this process to be completed before I can actually write it down. It’s the same way I created Paige Maddison. By the time I’m ready to write, the novel is almost done.

Summer reads. You must be looking forward to what’s out there to take away on a holiday or to read on the beach. The easiest way to find out the latest and greatest is by contacting your local library for their bestselling lists, or reading the newspaper … online for most of you … and see what’s recommended. How about trying Twitter or Instagram using hashtags … #YA or #SummerReads or #bestselling #novels? Also, don’t forget about Goodreads. Set up an account and search your favourite genre for what’s recommended. It’s a book lovers paradise and easy to join. What’s on my list to read this summer? Usually I read non-fiction, but this summer I’m going to read a few of my fav authors who’ve created fresh new worlds. It’s my summer to escape reality. Isn’t that what fiction is for?

I cannot wait to dive into the new worlds each one has created. Thanks to Mary Higgins Clark, Dan Brown, and Deepak Chopra, I think I’ve got a good start to summer reading. Enjoy your #SummerReads

I am finishing my writing course through Master Class with Judy Blume. It’s been a very thought-provoking course. She isn’t necessarily teaching us how to write as much as inspiring us on how to gather ideas and plot lines, and develop characters. Judy takes you back to your childhood. Truth be told, I couldn’t remember much of anything before the age of 10. However, the way she created her podcasts, I felt like she was telling my truth. Imagine having anything in common with the famous International Bestselling novelist?! She opened up memories from my early childhood. Some have been shocking, some have been sentimental, and some have been downright scary. It was disturbing to me to remember things from my past that I had deeply buried. I will think on it how I will proceed with these memories. I guess even author’s can surprise themselves. If you are a writer, author, or want to be, I highly encourage you to take a writing course and continue to do so every couple of years to hone your skills. It’s worth the time and effort.

And as summer approaches, I am rapidly losing my eyesight in my right eye. It makes me aware of my other senses. For instance, I burned my hand in the kitchen while cooking and I could smell my skin burning before I could actually see what happened. Luckily, I knew what to do and it healed well. While chopping veggies for Father’s Day I cut myself with a newly sharpened knife, and I couldn’t see that I did it,  but oh boy, did I see the blood oozing out. I ran to the bathroom to wash it and used Polysporin to help heal the wound. All of these experiences help a writer to be compassionate and in touch with life and how others live. I will channel these experiences into my novels, for sure. And my heart goes out to anyone with eye problems. They are most important to me and I know to so many. Not to worry though. I am on the list for eye surgery soon.

This summer I’ve decided to hone my skill at drumming. Years ago, I bought what I thought was a painting on a stretched circular canvas. I moved it the other day and remembered it’s actually a Peace Drum.

Beautiful drum by Mary Ann Tully, 2009.

I bought it from an artist friend, Mary Ann Tully, and at the time, she smiled a huge smile and said, “You’re exactly who should have this one. My friend died of cancer. It was her canvas and I merely finished it for her. Now you can learn to drum in her memory.” And that’s exactly what I’m doing … drumming on June 21st to help bring in a positive, light-filled summer for all.

The Paige Maddison Series is still available online in over 38,000 online bookstores, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo, FriesenPress, and many more. There are signed copies in store at: The Book Keeper and Coles Lambton Mall in Sarnia; Indigo North London; Indigo Stoney Creek; and Manticore Books, Orillia. They are also available at Matheson Chiropractic Clinic in Orillia.

Enjoy your summer everyone. Thank you so much for being a part of my community. You make me inspired! Thank you kindly for that!

Here we are with J.R. Matheson. He’s doing very well in his life: newly engaged, loving his PhD in Toronto, and currently away in San Diego & San Francisco at a research conference. J.R. recently told us, “I love my life.” That makes us very happy and proud parents. Keep going, J.R.


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