Today our blog puts the Spotlight on Ev Bishop. She is the author of the cozy sweet contemporary romance series, RIVER'S SIGH B & B.
Fiction, Contemporary, Chick Lit
Check Out Goodreads
Check Out Facebook
Amazon Author Profile
Ev Bishop lives and writes in a remote small town in wildly beautiful British Columbia, Canada--a place that inspires the setting for her cozy sweet contemporary romance series, RIVER'S SIGH B & B.
Ev also writes under the pen name Toni Sheridan (The Present, and Drummer Boy, White Rose Publishing).
In addition to writing novels--her favorite form of storytelling!--Ev is a long-time columnist with the Terrace Standard and a prolific scribbler of articles, essays, short stories and poems. To see her ever growing body of work, please visit www.evbishop.com.
When Ev's nose isn't in a book or her fingers aren't on her keyboard, you'll find her hanging out with her family and dogs, or playing outside with friends, usually at the lake or in some garden somewhere. . . .
SPOTLIGHT Questions and Answers with the Author
Congratulations on your book: Reeling. What do you have on the drawing board next? Can you tell us the timeline for its release and give us a little tease?
I’m busily working on THE CATCH, River’s Sigh B & B, Book 7–and I’m totally caught up in it. If a reader is familiar with the series, pretty much all I have to say as a tease is . . . It’s Aisha’s story! For folks not familiar with River’s Sigh B & B, you should give the books a try and see what all the fuss is about. (Just kidding . . . There’s no fuss at all. River’s Sigh B & B is where you go to avoid fuss and to enjoy cozy romantic getaways and dream cabins. And while you will get to know characters and look forward to what’s next for them, each book is a satisfying standalone story that can read in any order. THE CATCH will be yours to catch Valentine’s Day 2019–so not too, too long to wait.
You have a good following on twitter. How important have your social media relationships been? How did you build your following in your niche? Do you see a carry over to your writing success?
I have a love-hate relationship with social media and the Internet, in general. I love that Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. allow me to connect with kindred spirits all over the world and share my stories—and I am very grateful. And as to how I built my following . . . just very patiently over the past few years. Every book it gets a little larger. It’s not an exaggeration to say that without the Internet and my social media relationships, I would not be doing what I feel so unbelievably fortunate to get to do: write fiction for my living.
So, what’s to hate you ask? Just that I’m a terrible procrastinator and my social media friends and followers are a great temptation to stay online and chat or share for just one more minute, then one more, then . . . You get the picture. So really, it’s not hate at all, LOL. It’s too much love. I work hard to find the balance between maintaining relationships with author friends and connecting with reader friends and making sure I get new words in every day.
You have great covers. They carry a theme and your brand with them. How does your book cover creation process work? Do you hand over the basic theme or do you have more of a hands-on approach? Do you get your readers involved in its development?
Thanks so much! I love my covers too and can’t rave enough about—or express enough appreciation for—their designer, the fabulous Kim Killion and her amazing team at The Killion Group. Kim and I, especially the first cover or two, did quite a bit of back and forth, trying to get the covers to express the feeling and mood (and genre, of course!) of each book and the overarching series.
To date, my readers haven’t been involved in my cover development, but *spoiler alert* that may change. I’m going to keep writing in the River’s Sigh B & B world, indefinitely I hope—but I will be taking a break after THE CATCH comes out to start a new series. My plan (so far) is to have a couple of “series look” options and to let my newsletter subscribers vote on which one they like best.
You have converted Wedding Bells into an audio book. What has been the impact on your regular sales? Has the audio books gained a new audience for you?
Yes, WEDDING BANDS, River’s Sigh B & B, Book 1 was (is!) my first foray into the world of audio books—or, I should say, since I’m a long-time audio book addict, it’s my first foray into the world of having my books presented in audio. It was an exciting milestone.
The initial response has been really positive and it has gotten great reviews. That said, it hasn’t reached the number of listeners I was hoping for (yet). I suspect audio books are like other formats of books, however. It’s easier to get traction and have people discover you when you have more books out. I look forward to getting the rest of the series “out there” for readers who prefer to devour their books by ear.
You have written a novella called New Year's Resolution: One To Keep. Can you tell us if it has had an impact on the sales of your novels? Are shorty’s one of your styles of writing or are they created to give readers a sample of your work? Do you feel short reads are a product of our email and smart phone age?
One to Keep was super fun to write and seems popular with readers, too. For some reason, Amazon resists showing that it belongs with the River’s Sigh B & B series, but readers are smart, thankfully, LOL, and figure it out. I definitely feel it generates sales for the rest of the series, much the same way any of the full-length books do.
And no, I didn’t write it to merely be a sample of my work (not that there would be anything wrong with that approach; it’s just not mine). I just find some stories need more pages and others require . . . less.
I actually have two novella length books in the River’s Sigh B & B series—One to Keep and Silver Bells. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that they’re also both holiday-themed because I also have two Christmas novellas published under the pen name Toni Sheridan, and A Sharla Brown Christmas, which appears in the Love, Christmas 2 box set is an even shorter novella. As a reader, I crave short, cozy reads at Christmas—stories that can be enjoyed in a couple spare hours—because December is super busy and gives me less reading time than usual. I guess that preference for short feel good Christmassy reads carried over into my writing.
Living in British Columbia, Canada creates a unique selling and marketing situation. Where is your biggest audience? Does marketing online help in this situation?
90% of my readers live the US and hail from almost every state, I’m thrilled to say. So, yes, living in my tiny, remote neck of the woods means that marketing online/selling online is absolutely critical to my career.
What is your primary genre? What has been your best marketing approach to this group?
I primarily write small-town contemporary romances these days—and the more I work in the genre, the more deeply I fall in love with it. Readers sometimes compare my work to women’s fiction, as well, however, because my stories often explore other relationships—between family, friends, siblings, etc.—in addition to romantic love.
My “best marketing approach” has been writing stories I care about instead of trying to cash in on trends or what’s supposedly “hot” any given year and to have patience and faith that my unique readers will find me. I’ve been fortunate to have my readership grow steadily larger with each book I release, and I definitely treat my writing life as a marathon, not a sprint. (Except that analogy doesn’t really fit me because I love storytelling, and ugh, can’t imagine anything more awful than running if someone’s not chasing you. My apologies to those of you who love to run. I do kind of get where you’re coming from—just in a different activity. I like lifting weights, something a lot of people consider torture.)
Okay . . . Sorry. Got a bit weighty and ran off track there.
What has been your experience in giving your books away free? Have you been involved in any other type of giveaways and how did that work out? What was your main goal in doing this? Did you run into any obstacles
Not every book is for every person and sometimes a book you least expect to like turns out to be one you totally love, love, LOVE. And all that is just my long-winded way of saying I’m super happy to have Wedding Bands, Book 1 in River’s Sigh B & B as a perma-free introduction to the series. Having it free creates a zero-risk incentive for people who’ve never heard of me or read my work to give me a chance and see if my books are their cup of tea. Happily, enough people think, “Hey, this is pretty fun,” and go on to read the next ones that I can pay my Hydro bill and keep collection officers at bay.
To get the word out, I’ve also done the occasional BookBub Feature Deal and regularly do promos with reader newsletters like Fussy Librarian, eReader News Today, and Robin Reads (to name a few).
The only “obstacle” is part blessing, part curse. It is an amazing time to be a reader—of which I count myself first and foremost. There are so many great books out there, more than there have ever been in all of history—and at prices that are affordable on almost any budget. It’s actually difficult to decide where to jump in, what to read next. . . . For writers, there’s never been a better era to make your living doing what you love—writing stories. There are so many ways to share them, and you can literally connect with/find readers world-wide. The “curse” side to all this glorious abundance is how does an author stand out? How does a reader even find your books to give you a chance when there are so many vying for their attention?
I think the answer is both really simple and really difficult. You just keep being your truest self and writing the stories you’re passionate about, as authentically and with the highest level of skill you can, and you keep, book by book, working to find new readers, through events online or face-to-face, through word of mouth, through paid advertising, or through *whatever new tactic or strategy you can dream up.*
Do you maintain a reader list? What are the methods you use to find your readers and create the list and the relationship? Do you use social media, forums, newsletters and/or support groups to build your list?
Yes, I have an e-mail list and for anyone reading this (if you aren’t sick of me yet, LOL), I’ll be thrilled if you sign up for it:
Ev’s News. Most of my newsletter subscribers come from links in the backs of my book or from Facebook or from my website—but I sometimes participate in “list builder” promotions.
I like the idea of Author bundles. You are a part of a novel collection called Love, Christmas 2 with twenty-five other authors. What a great group of outstanding people. (Many have been interviewed on this blog). What was your main objective in bundling your works with other authors? What blogging, newsletter and social media promotions have you done to promote the collection?
I love author bundles too, for a variety of reasons. As a reader, they’re a fantastic way to discover new-to-me authors and possibly find brand-new favorites. As an author, it’s lovely to work on a group project with people who are enthusiastic, geeky and nerdy about the same things I am. The writing life is, by necessity, a pretty solitary one. You’re by yourself, in your own head, a lot. It’s wonderful to spend time with—to have—colleagues. (And you’re totally right, by the way, James. The other authors in Love, Christmas 2–the whole Authors’ Billboard collective, actually—are amazing. I am so excited—and honored—to get to work with them/be a part of them.)
My primary goal in bundling my work with this group of authors was purely for the fun of it. I loved the premise of the box set (stories inspired by favorite Christmas movies) and the instant I heard it, a movie prompt popped into my head and Sharla Brown immediately started talking to me. (But I’m not crazy, I promise—or not crazy in a dangerous way, at least!)
Then someone expressed the possibility—with such a fun premise behind the collection—that we might hit the USA Today Bestseller list and a fire was lit.
As for what I—and the rest of the group—have done to promote the collection . . . a better question might be, what haven’t we done? LOL. Seriously, you name a strategy and we probably employed it. We all have fairly large newsletter subscriber lists, consisting of loyal readers, and we each sent out newsletters sharing our excitement and the amazing deal. We each promoted the set on our author pages on Facebook, Twitter, and/or on our individual websites. We took turns doing blog posts on the Authors’ Billboard website—something we each do monthly anyway, but for the past two months we each shared specifically about our individual stories in Love, Christmas 2. We hired someone to do some targeted Facebook ads—and also used Amazon ads.
Sorry, if I’ve blabbed too much about the topic. What can I say? I’m still excited. Both my goals were met or exceeded. I had a blast working with such talented authors and enjoyed the immense pleasure of seeing other people love our collection as much as we did. Plus, we did hit the USA Today bestseller list—and in our very first week of sales!
I know that I can safely speak for each of the Love, Christmas 2 authors and say we’re blown away by the wonderful reception Love, Christmas 2 has received and touched by all the lovely reviews. If you’ve already purchased and started reading Love, Christmas 2, thank you so much! And if you haven’t, we’d be honored if you choose to make us part of your holiday reading this year. Thank you!
Author's Book List
Love, Christmas - Movies You Love
- The Holiday Series Book 2
Sprinkle a little Christmas magic into your life with 26 ALL-NEW, never before released romances. Each title - exclusive to this set - is inspired by a favorite holiday movie, spun into a fantastic love story by a NY Times, USA Today, and/or award-winning, bestselling author and delivered to you in this wonderful collection full of cheer for the coming season.
Mimi Barbour – A Wonderful Life - Though Mary works with troubled teens, can she and an angel help a man living a nightmare?
Leanne Banks – A Royal White Christmas - Can a secret prince be a Christmas wish-come-true for a small-town girl?
Joan Reeves – Brianna’s Season For Miracles - Her seductive persona hides what she's ashamed of... What will happen if the man she's fallen for discovers her secret?
Mona Risk – Jingle With My Princess - The doc and the princess... He saves lives, but she may save his heart.
Rebecca York – Can She Get Home for Christmas? - Will a killer stop her from getting home for Christmas?
Jacquie Biggar – Mistletoe Inn - A grieving man finds the greatest gift is love.
Alicia Street – Miracle on Christmas Tree Street - A single mom discovers her business partner is more than he seems.
Nancy Radke – The Holiday (Christmas) - Jodi's house-swap to Maui came with a small dog and a shipwrecked sailor.
Katy Walters –Letters from the Snowman – The snow revealed a precious love.
Stephanie Queen – Holiday Affair - Melissa goes from riches to rags but will she find gold in a holiday affair?
Aileen Fish – Almost Christmas in Connecticut - Can a wounded warrior learn to trust her celebrity chef crush after discovering his secret?
Rachelle Ayala – A Christmas Creek Carol - A reclusive writer is given a one-star review on her life by characters from her past, present, and future.
Dani Haviland – The Polar Xpress - She prefers dogs to men…until she rescues the doctor.
Traci Hall – Love, Actually (By the Sea) - Two strangers. One intimate night. Reunited a year later, can it actually be love?
Taylor Lee – The Ref-er-ee - With a family this discombobulated, it will take a referee to save their Christmas.
Donna Fasano – Her Mr. Miracle - It’s Christmas Eve and Veronica is stuck in a nearly deserted seaside town... She needs a miracle.
Cynthia Cooke – A Christmas to Remember - A Christmas storm. Wedding plans in peril. Has a lost love been found?
Susan Jean Ricci – A Joyous Holiday Inn - Can Twigg restore the joy of Christmas to Chloe’s indifferent heart?
Tamara Ferguson – Two Hearts Home for Christmas - Can a long ago promise of love bring two lonely wounded warriors home for Christmas?
Suzanne Jenkins – Christmas with the Clouds - Tracy isn’t interested in love until an unexpected Christmas visitor changes her heart.
Natalie Ann – How Gavin Stole Christmas - Can Jolene help Gavin find the Christmas spirit when he’s the epitome of Mr. Bah Humbug?
Ev Bishop – A Sharla Brown Christmas - For single parents Sharla and Jake, Christmas is the loneliest time of the year…until it’s not.
Alyssa Bailey – In the Spirit of Christmas - Chase can protect Tara from danger, but can he protect his heart?
Stacy Eaton – Finding Love on Christmas Vacation - Christmas isn't the same for Lucy without her father...until she meets his friend Maverick.
Jen Talty – The Christmas Getaway - A mix-up in reservations leaves a mother and her son to share a cabin with a broken-hearted stranger.
Melinda De Ross - Boyfriend Wanted for Christmas - A thirty-something singleton’s desperate yet humorous quest to find a boyfriend in the seven days before Christmas.
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
- River's Sigh B & B Book 6
Mia Grant, a one-time pop star, still bears emotional scars caused by a stalker who terrorized her for years—a person she inadvertently welcomed into her inner circle. She has come a long way in learning to manage the crippling fear and anxiety his savage attack left her with, and she books into River’s Sigh B & B to begin the grueling task of what she hopes will be the final step in her recovery. Determined to reclaim her old independence and sense of adventure and possibility, she vows to never let anyone get close enough to fool or injure her again.
The disfiguring scars on Gray Robertson’s body are nothing compared to those marring his damaged heart and psyche. A loner by nature, the brutal murder of his young wife and son made him a hermit. He lives off-grid in the wilderness of northern Canada with only his dog for company, finding isolation far easier to survive than loving people and having them torn away.
When his closest neighbor, Jo at River’s Sigh B & B, ropes him into giving self-defense lessons to some washed up musician, Gray figures it’s a safe way to make a bit of cash to see him through winter.
As Mia and Gray get to know each other, neither are prepared for the tumultuous, conflicting emotions that leave them reeling. In him, a convoluted mix of desire, protectiveness, and misplaced fury. In her, a complex stew of appreciation, longing, and apprehension.
Then a foolish decision puts Mia's life in peril and forces questions she and Gray are both scared to answer. Can love heal old wounds, or are they too damaged to risk further hurt?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
- River's Sigh B & B Book 5
Christmas, wonderful as it is, can also be a time when losses, failures, and secret hurts hit extra close to home. It certainly is for Bryn Hale and Sean Carson, two strangers traveling a lonely stretch of highway in a brutal snowstorm.
Divorced by her husband because of her inability to have children, and devalued by her family who sympathize with her ex, Bryn believes all the negative things she’s been told about herself. She decided long ago that love and marriage are permanently off the table.
Special event organizer Sean Carson is mourning the loss of a dream. Officially separated for six months, he finally knows beyond doubt that the woman he was with for ten years doesn’t love him and maybe never has. All he wants is to love fully, totally and forever—and to have someone love him the same way. But does that kind of relationship even exist?
When a car accident forces their introduction and lands Bryn and Sean together at magical River’s Sigh B & B, Sean finds himself smitten. Bryn feels the attraction too, but her desire for self-protection runs deep. Plus, Sean has tipped his hand. He wants kids. It only makes sense for them to go their separate ways, but matters of the heart don’t always follow logic. Bryn musters her courage and lets herself fall for Sean.
Then Sean gets terrible-wonderful news from his ex: he’s going to be a dad. What will he do? Be the loyal, stand-by-your-woman man he’s always thought he was and go back to her—or keep his promise to Bryn?
Their love was an unexpected gift. Can it last?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
Hook, Line & Sinker
- River's Sigh B & B Book 4
Brian Archer, lawyer and infamous playboy, returns to Greenridge after a long holiday to find his life in ashes. Literally. His condo has burned to the ground, and with it, his delusion that he’s a footloose, fancy-free guy who doesn’t secretly crave a home and a place to belong.
Staying with his lovebird brother and sister-in-law at River’s Sigh B & B proves unbearable, only rubbing in his deep loneliness. As does getting to know one of the other guests, a damsel determined to get herself out of distress, without any help from him. What is it about sweet, troubled Katelyn that makes Brian want to go all knight-in-shining-armor? And why is he suddenly longing for things he doesn’t even believe in, like true love, marriage . . . ?
Single mom and wannabe entrepreneur Katelyn Kellerman needs to escape from Greenridge. Her safety, and that of her children, relies on it. Plus, she knows the hazards of trusting someone all too well. So why, after meeting Brian Archer, does she wish she could just stay put and build a home? With him.
No matter how they fight their feelings, Brian and Katelyn fall for each other hook, line and sinker—but life isn’t a fairy tale. Brian can’t live in limbo forever, Katelyn’s ex is increasingly threatening, and she needs to secure a future for her and her kids. Can they beat the odds, salvage the ashes of their pasts, and risk everything for love, or are they just fishing for trouble?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
- River's Sigh B & B Book 3
There’s an extreme heat wave at River’s Sigh B & B, but things have never been colder between Noelle Archer and her husband Cade.
Dragged there for a reunion with Cade’s screwed up family, Noelle is confused, resentful—and considering divorce.
Noelle never would’ve predicted she’d be trapped in a loveless marriage, but Cade’s more distant and aloof than ever, plus she’s sure he had an affair. What other choice does she have? Husbands who cheat don’t become faithful, and wives who put up with it become bitter and lonely. She won’t have that for herself, and she won’t model that for her children.
Cade has always clung tightly to Noelle, his beloved daughters, and their life together. He’s not good at expressing himself, but he’s been confident, even cocky, that if he’s strong enough, works hard enough, provides well enough, Noelle will know how he feels. But now one moment of stupidity that wasn’t what it appeared has wrecked everything. He wants her to believe in him the way his parents and brothers never have, with no explanations necessary—but maybe that’s unfair.
He’ll swallow his pride. He’ll find the words. He’ll do anything to fix their relationship. But what if it’s too late? Can shattered love ever be restored?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
New Year's Resolution: One To Keep
- River's Sigh B & B Book 7
It’s been two years since Sophie was dumped at the altar, and she’s scarred, but wiser. She has a career she loves, good friends, and a caring family. It should be more than enough, and she wants to vanquish the part of her that still craves something more.
This year, unable to bear one more “festive” get together where everyone gives her sad eyes and asks how she’s doing, she heads to River’s Sigh B & B, a picturesque spot she discovered online. It will be a New Year’s celebration for one, a place to unwind and kick off her new resolution: to embrace single life as a permanent choice.
Jesse Ales has found the perfect way to avoid the world this holiday season. He’ll be the caretaker at River’s Sigh B & B and enjoy a break from well-meaning friends who think he should be over his ex-wife. The whole place will be deserted, except for some eccentric old woman holidaying alone in the wilderness. Even after making her breakfast every day, he’ll have plenty of time to plan his new life: committed bachelorhood.
When chance throws Sophie and Jesse together in a pub, a night of alcohol, food, and laughter-infused lunacy almost leads to a one-night stand. They’re both shaken, but doubly resolved to remain single.
And then they meet again at River's Sigh and realize they’re about to spend a week alone together—twenty miles from their nearest neighbor. They’ll each have to face their worst fears: their own unacknowledged yearnings for a love that lasts.
Can love tempt them to commitment a second time around?
Maybe. If they’re brave enough .
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
- River's Sigh B & B Book 2
Knocked around by life—and then knocked up by a man she won’t speak of—Sam Kendall gives her baby for adoption.
Envisioning herself a lone cowboy, she avoids any relationships that might risk her heart or cause pain. There’s wonderful fun to be had if you don’t fall prey to the ludicrous notion of true love!
Lately, however, Sam is niggled by doubts. She’s not as content as she was. Plus her daughter Aisha has tracked her down—seventeen-years-old and pregnant. Despite misgivings, Sam checks into River’s Sigh Bed-and-Breakfast to meet her.
Then widower Charles Bailey, Aisha’s adoptive father, shows up, and Sam can’t control her outrage. What was her sacrifice for? She could’ve raised the kid to follow her stupid footsteps all on her own. And topping it off? Charlie’s a neurotic, stodgy jerk—even if he is ridiculously hot.
The longer Sam stays at River’s Sigh, exploring the wild outdoors—and her own inner desires—the more her terror grows. Maybe Charlie isn’t so terrible after all. Maybe his approach to life is actually refreshing. Maybe all this family stuff is something she could get hooked on.
Yet they’re opposites in every way, and worse: he’s her biological child’s adoptive dad. A romance between them would be too weird, wouldn’t it? Every part of Sam screams play it safe, run.
But what if, in spurning Charlie and Aisha, she’s turning her back on everything she never knew she wanted?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
- River's Sigh B & B Book 1
Ditched by her high school sweetheart, Callum Archer, on the night they’re supposed to elope, Jo Kendall casts out on her own, brokenhearted.
Over the years, Jo reels in a life she loves, centered on the outdoors, fishing (favoring a lucky wedding band lure), and her fine dining restaurant—a life that crashes away when her husband and business partner cheats her, leaving her bankrupt and alone.
Then her uncle dies, bequeathing Jo and her sister, Samantha, his rural property. Jo returns to Greenridge, determined to build a new business and permanent home—without the help of a man. Unfortunately Samantha wants her inheritance in cold, hard cash and hires a lawyer to get it for her, a lawyer who turns out to be none other than Jo’s long-lost love, Callum.
Jo’s fledgling plans—and her heart—are at risk once more.
If Jo can fight her insecurities, she might end up with a wedding band that doesn’t come with a sharp hook. But should she risk everything she’s worked for, yet again? Before she can decide, she needs to know: can a lost love truly be reclaimed?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
Best friends since childhood, Jen, Chelsea and Kyra know everything about each other. Or think they do.
Jen should be celebrating her whopping 121-pound weight loss. Instead she feels like she’s betrayed fat girls everywhere. Will anyone love her for who she is inside, fat or thin? More importantly, will she?
Chelsea appears to have it all—a husband, a family, a beautiful home—but plaguing memories threaten to destroy everything. In her desperation to maintain control, will she succumb to a compulsion that costs her life?
Kyra is sick of the superficial persona she’s worn for so long. It’s exhausting to pretend to be an airhead while running a successful business. But if she sheds her life-of-the-party façade, will she ever find the boyfriend she thinks she needs?
When a nervous breakdown leaves one of them fighting to survive, all their secrets are laid bare. To stay friends, they need to battle personal dragons, confront the past, and embrace change. But can they break free from the roles they’ve played so long? Or must they leave one another behind in order to move forward?
Order the Book From:
Barnes and Noble
A Sharla Brown Christmas
Christmas shouldn’t be the loneliest time of the year…
Finding herself in a run-down apartment in a bad part of a new-to-her town, where she has no family and no friends, single mom Sharla Brown is down in the dumps and thoroughly discouraged. Hoping to cheer herself and others, she decides to throw a community Christmas Eve party—and receives a heartbreaking initial response.
Author Recommended by:
Publisher of ebooks, writing industry blogger and the sponsor of the following blogs:
Indie Author’s Corner and
HBS Mystery Reader’s Circle