Camp NaNoWriMo Final Update

Well, well, well.
I set out a goal for myself of 30,000 words in the month of July, and I'm proud to say I came out slightly ahead of the game at 33,691.

It feels so good. I was worried it would be pretty nasty for the most part, but I am impressed with some of it - some chapters are pretty decent and will look even better when it's completely finished and edited. Alex is amazing, but he's got a few ghosts in his closet. Kelsey is unlike any character I've written, so this will be fun!

No timeline on this though. I need to get through final edits of If You Say Yes and get that off to an editor, get it formatted and a cover designed.
At this point not sure what will become of Teach Me How, maybe a series (since there is enough cast in there to warrant it), maybe just a standalone. Only time will tell.

Share with me your Camp NaNoWriMo successes? Even if you didn't achieve your goal, you still deserve to shine so tell me all about it. What genre do you write in? How many words did you get?

What About Us by Emma Tharp

Book 2 in the Bluff Harbour Series

Coming August 1, 2017

Pre-sale $0.99 until August 3rd

Torn between her desire for the guy who has her heart and her loyalty to her best friend, Kate Bergman knows she must break her own heart to give her fragile friend a shot at happiness. When Kate uncovers the truth about her best friend it's up to her to fight for the only man she's ever loved. But can she make River forget about the past to find a future together?

Isn't this cover gorgeous??

Pre-order for $0.99 on Amazon

Torn between her desire for the guy who has her heart and her loyalty to her best friend, Kate Bergman knows she must break her own heart to give her broken and fragile friend a shot at happiness.

But letting go of River McEwan is the hardest thing she's ever done. Moving on is even harder--especially when River doesn't want to let her go.  As the two resist their passion for one another, Kate uncovers the truth about her best friend. As the three of them forge a new path of friendship and discovery, tragedy strikes.  Now, it's up to Kate to fight for the only man she's ever loved.  But can she make River forget about the past to find a future together?

This is the sequel to What About Her? 

which really needs to be read before reading this AMAZING sequel. 

Follow Emma Tharp on: 





Teaser & Snippet - If You Say Yes #2

Fans of Duly Noted and That Summer  prepare for the final installment into Aurora and Nate and Lucas and Kaitlyn's lives. Previous snippet and teaser.

If You Say Yes will be coming out in the fall. Date TBA soon. Just waiting on cover design and editing.

And now a snippet from the story:

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author and/or publisher.

Copyright ©2017 H.M. Shander All Rights Reserved.

If You Say Yes
by H.M. Shander

Music! Yes, music would help her relax especially since she couldn’t find her purse. With the Xanax. Tomorrow when she found it, she’d be putting those pills someplace that didn’t change location all the time.  
Tiptoeing back into the living room, she knelt in front of the radio, and lowered the volume the instant she turned it on.
Ah, something soft. A love ballad. The two-part harmonies sang in tune about needing the other.
She stood and waltzed across the room, twirling and spinning as she danced in perfect synchronization with the beat. Light as air, she moved effortlessly, releasing her nervousness into the room. Each step, each tap of the toe, each movement of the arm calmed her as the words danced in her heart.
Every inhale soothed her, and every exhale released the anxiety. She danced, and moved, and spun, and even as the song ended, it didn’t slow her down. 
“I could watch you all night.”
His warm and husky voice startled her and she froze on the spot. He leaned against the wall. The only piece of clothing he wore––his pajama bottoms––hung loosely around his hips. In the low glow, he radiated sex appeal. “Oh, don’t stop.”
He crossed the room in a few steps and wrapped her up in his strong arms.
Another slow song whispered from the radio.
“May I?” he asked, his voice low as to not to disturb the soothing mood. With a subtle nod, he extended her right hand in his, and smoothly twirled her, dancing around the room. “How come you’re up?”
A small laugh escaped her as his whisper tickled her ear. “I couldn’t sleep.”
He pulled her close, and kissed her forehead before twirling her out to the end of his arms. Catching her hand, he squeezed it, reigning her in and holding her tight. “Nightmare?” Tenderly, he cupped her lower back with one hand and held her with another as he proceeded to dip her.
“Anxiety attack after the nightmare, or during it, I don’t know. But I woke from the nightmare in the middle of it.” A shudder interrupted her smooth motions.
“Are you okay?”
Her body pressed in closer to him. “Better now.” His musky scent comforted her as much as his strength.
“Well, if that’s the case, we’ll keep on dancing,” he said as the distance between them all but disappeared as their bodies merged.
Moving as one unit, they danced in the low orange glow, mirroring the other’s movements in time to the romantic ballads.
Neither spoke until Nate interrupted the interlude. “My favourite song,” he breathed into her ear as his hand inched against her lower back.
A familiar song. A song about falling in love in mysterious ways. She placed her head against his muscular chest, the drumming of his heart threatening to drown the melody. Each beat, each word resonated inside of her. It never ceased to amaze her how wonderful he was, and how she nearly threw it all away.
The pounding in her veins had vanished, and her breathing returned to a normal rate. The fear and anxiety she awoke to was long gone. But she didn’t let go of him. Needed to hold him close. To breathe him into the depths of her soul.
Coming down from the anxiety attack was almost as bad as going through it. Although the physical sensations had ceased, the emotional part held her captive longer. And the buildup approached. It pushed and pushed relentlessly, begging for escape. Unable to fight it anymore, the tears broke the threshold.
“Aurora?” His hold on her slackened.
Her body shook as the buildup peaked its crescendo. “Don’t let go.”
A tender kiss on her forehead. “I’m right here.”
His safety and security wrapped around her like a blanket, and she melted into his arms, allowing wave after wave of emotional instability wash over her. It was better to let it happen than it was to fight it anymore. She’d learned that lesson the hard way. The more the tears fell, the more drained she became until there was nothing more for her to do except completely depend upon him to hold her up.
He moved her to the couch where she curled up beside him. The silence punctuated by the sound of music and the occasional sniff. Her post-attack cry was always the strong, silent, body-shaking variety. Likely as painful to watch as to endure.

Want to read more? Want to read it all? I'm needing two more beta readers who are willing to read the entire manuscript and give me feedback. I'd need this feedback back within three weeks. Interested? Email me at

Canoeing Down the North Saskatchewan

Crossed off a major #summerbucketlist item - we went canoeing on the North Saskatchewan.

We had originally booked our trip for a leisurely Sunday afternoon paddling adventure on July 16th. We checked in with Edmonton Canoe at our starting/end point - Capilano Park (CP), signed the waiver, boarded the bus and arrived at our canoe starting point -- Emily Murphy Park (EMP). However, the weather had changed drastically between CP and EMP, and they cancelled. A little bit of a let down, but safety first. I didn't want my boys and I's first canoe trip to be disastrous due to poor weather, high winds and smoke.
It was easy enough to rebook, and Bianca slotted us in for the following Sunday.

My canoeing partners, my kids and I arrived to beautifully sunny weather, and light winds. Perfect! (Again) Signed waivers and boarded the bus. We knew we were going canoeing. Too perfect to not!
Arrived at EMP, given our life jackets and paddles, and with an inhale of courage (I can act all brave now, but there was a moment I really worried about what I was about to do.) But it was all fine. Split up my children (one with another adult, my youngest with me and another adult -- both the adults joining us had done this before, so we were in great, capable hands).

We set sail (or dropped paddle??) at 2:45 pm, and it wasn't long before we were approaching the LRT bridge - just as the LRT went across (high "cool" factor for my kids).

Even managed to see the High Level Bridge Streetcar head towards Whyte Ave
(also on our bucket list)

The paddling was fairly easy (at least in my canoe - there were two adults paddling). And we approached the old Walterdale Bridge and the beautiful new replacement - the arched Walterdale.

This is looking west, as you can see High Level Bridge below it.
We joined up the two boats and floated peaceful downstream and as we rounded the bend, we got an impressive view of south-east downtown, with the Chateau Lacombe, the Telus building, the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, and the tip of Canada Place to name a few.

Truly breathtaking to see downtown from the river. 
Here Canada Place in the background, and the 98 Ave bridge

Our halfway point was the Edmonton River Queen. She's now docked, permanently, but having cruised on her before, it would be great if the new owners got her up and going again.

We beached on the east side of the Queen, and my kids swapped boats. My youngest wanted to try paddling, as he'd been a passenger for half the trip. 

We paddled on. 
The downtown view (looking west). 

Hey, it's me! Proof I was there, and not just taking pictures. 

We battled some strong head winds, and the skies to the west of us were started to darken. Time to paddle more and take fewer pictures. As we approached the Wayne Gretzky Drive (75 street) bridge, we knew we were getting closer to the end. This bridge was the 7th one we went under. 

Almost there. Just on the other side of the Capilano Foot Bridge is our docking/end of the adventure point. We're paddling a little more consistently now (and better, once I figured out a rhythm to match my oldest in the bow). 

We docked just after 5 pm. 

Total time paddling/floating/enjoying the view: 2 hours 20 minutes
Distance: between 11 - 12 kilometres
Enjoyability factor: HIGH
Ease of use: Beginner
only 2 of 5 had done this before, now we all can (2 are children)
Cost: $80 for 2 people; $105 for 3 people
Recommend: YES!! Do it! My youngest wants me to book us so we can go again. :) 

I brought life-jackets for my two kids, but Edmonton Canoe does supply them for children (and adults of all sizes). Because there was three of us in one canoe, we also had an extra seat (thus the higher cost), but it was exceptionally comfortable for the person not paddling and it beat sitting on the bottom of the canoe.
They picked us up from our pickup point, provided transportation to the water entry point, and met up with us at the end point. Aside from the paddling, it was a leisurely way to see the city from a unique viewpoint. I dealt with the company both via the website and over the phone, and Bianca was pleasant and accommodating. Steve (?) at the pickup/drop off/launch site was great too. Informative and helpful, and puts safety first. Highly recommend. 

Next time, we'll be seeing if there is a different water entry point we can start at and see, because -- yeah -- we're going to do this again!

Oh -- somewhere in one of my upcoming books, one of my main characters is going to go on a canoe date. Wouldn't that be fun? 

Discounted E-Books - LAST CHANCE

To celebrate the new covers on my books, I had a HUGE SALE all summer long. Price goes up September 1st.

Run Away Charlotte 

   Amazon  $2.99  $0.99

Barnes & Noble  $2.99  $0.99

Kobo  $2.99  $0.99

iTunes  $2.99  $0.99

Smashwords  $2.99  $.99

Nineteen year old Charlotte Cooper knows she’s unworthy of happily ever after. Her troubled childhood leads to her inability to trust people, and without trust, how can she ever love?

Until Andrew Wagner walks into her life.

His charm and patience make her question if love might be possible after all. Despite the intoxicating pull to him, she pushes him away, believing he won’t handle her past shadows when he sees her for who she really is. When he doesn’t bolt at the first sign of trouble, her walls come crashing down. In it’s wake, she gives him the key to her heart.

He is her forever.

However, Andrew struggles balancing the needs of family and school, and tries to be everything he wants to be for Charlotte. When he admits to a mistake, Charlotte gives him an all or nothing ultimatum, and he begs for something in the middle. Devastated, Charlotte runs into the arms of Jack, an older man who can successfully balance what Andrew failed to do. He gives her everything... except Andrew.

Now, Charlotte must decide between the man her head tells her she needs, and the man her heart tells her she wants.

Ask Me Again 

Amazon $3.99 $0.99

Barnes & Noble $3.99 $0.99

Kobo $3.99 $0.99

iTunes $3.99 $0.99

Smashwords $3.99 $0.99

Hurt. Neglect. Scorn.  

Three qualities in Charlotte’s thirteen-year marriage destroying her spirit and her heart. To the outside world, her husband is everything a doting wife adores—a wonderful, generous man—but behind locked doors, he’s the nightmare she’ll never wake from. When he said ‘Til death do us part’ he meant every word. There will be no leaving. There will be no happily ever after.

She longs for peace and longs to be accepted. But most of all, her heart longs for the one that got away.

When a flood in her house brings the man of her dreams back into her life as project manager, Charlotte remembers what happiness is like. Their friendly banter; the way she can be herself; their intoxicating chemistry – it’s still there, even after all these years.

And this time he’s not leaving without her heart.

When a tragedy hits the only family she knows, Charlotte is pushed to her breaking point and she questions everything. Now, she must try to make sense of her life and decide whether to accept where her past choices have brought her, or jump at the chance for a new beginning.


If you buy from any of the retailers, thank you so much!
If you click but don't buy, hey, that's cool too! I appreciate you taking the time to check them out.
If you don't click, would you mind re-tweeting this blog (, or re-posting on the social media outlet of your choice. Just getting the word out helps me more than you know. :)
Thank you for reading this. Have a fantastic day. 😘

Teasers and a Snippet - If You Say Yes

Fans of Duly Noted and That Summer  prepare for the final installment into Aurora and Nate and Lucas and Kaitlyn's lives.

If You Say Yes will be coming out in the fall. Date TBA soon. Just waiting on cover design and editing.

Here are a couple of teasers:

And now a snippet from the story:

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of the author and/or publisher.

Copyright ©2017 H.M. Shander All Rights Reserved.

If You Say Yes
by H.M. Shander

Aurora linked her fingers behind his damp neck, and pulled him closer. A quick lick of her lips was all she got before Nate’s brushed across, tender and purposeful. She’d waited for this momentous night for days. For weeks. For what felt like a lifetime. His kiss was everything she desired, and everything she needed, all in one sweet package. She’d got her man, he’d got his girl and all was perfect with the world again.

A long finger of his tucked a wisp of hair behind her ear, his focus only on her. She inhaled every scented molecule of race fuel and rubber coming from him and in his arms. No place on Earth could be as satisfying. Except maybe at home, in her bed, naked in his arms. A perfect ending to the day.

“So, tell me, how do I get you home? Last time I tried this, it didn’t work out so well.”

“Many stops.” She sighed and unlocked her gaze as she searched the pit of racers and crew for his little brother, Lucas, who had all the answers.

Fans and pit crews and racers mingled around them, cutting a wide swath around the pair of lovers. Nate’s retirement speech forgotten the instant he spotted her against the crash fence less than twenty minutes ago. She’d stopped him from announcing what would surely harm him in the end. She’d saved him. Standing so close to him, it was hard to believe she’d succeeded in her goal of getting to the track. However, the best part of the day still lay ahead. If only she could find Lucas and they could all get the hell out of there.

“Lucas has the outline for you somewhere. He printed it out before picking me up.”

“There’s an outline?” His laugh infectious. “What were you two up to that warrants an outline?”

“I’ll tell you all about it someday. First, I want to get you home and peel this race suit off you.”

“I’ll remove it before we move.”

“Can I watch?”

“Anytime you want.” He bent down and kissed her again, the urgency and carnal desire pushing against her.

Inhaling a deep breath after the kiss that warmed her core and ignited the embers of lust deep within, she stepped back. Where is Lucas? In the sea of people surrounding them in the pit of the race track, Lucas was invisible, lost in amongst the cars, trailers, and hundreds of people.

Racing season was officially over until the spring, and celebrations were in full swing. Music blasted from a portable radio, sitting high on a stack of race tires. Laughter and cheers floated in from all around, and racers paraded around their trophies from the evening’s wins. Although Nate finished first in the final race, Aurora was sure he hadn’t placed top three for the season. He had a rough season in the second half, which had been completely her fault, even if Lucas tried to convince her otherwise.

Nate smirked, his dimple deep. “I still can’t believe you’re really here.” His eyes showed his disbelief as they took her in, making her feel naked and wanted to his stare.

She wanted to assure him that if he blinked she would not vanish, but... maybe in a minute. It had been too long since those eyes were hers. “Well it wasn’t without its challenges, that’s for sure.” 

Camp NaNoWriMo - Week Two Review

Last Week's Post

Week Two is well underway. 

I've got a good direction on where the story's going to go. Had to do some shuffling around with some of the chapters (yeah, I know editing while writing is a bad idea.). It was going to be a modern day story with multiple flashbacks, but since the switch up, it has become two distinct stories, and could be three, depending on the direction. Took away some valuable writing time to move everything around, but now it's much better. 
And I'm happier since it makes it easier to write when the story flows nicer.

Anyways, my word count goal for July is 30,000 words (or 968 words a day). Right now, I'm 'write' on target with a WC of 14,850 - just shy of where I should be by day's end (15,472). However, I haven't yet had a chance to get my words in yet - it'll happen after posting this blog post. 

A fun little thing I discovered this week. 

The internet is an evil time suck. 

I knew that, but still. This picture sums it up perfectly.

So while my kid was participating in a park-based program, I took my laptop to the park. My kid got to play hard with an instructor, and I got my words in. With no wi-fi in the gazebo I was working in (YES!!), it surprised me how easy the words came out as the distraction of the shiny internet was removed. Yahoo!! However, my manuscript is full of comments - add in info about this (as I need to do research), or describe this setting more accurately (need Google maps). But that's what editing is for. 
Right? Right!

For now, first draft is about getting the story down, even if it's ugly and full of errors, and meeting word count goals. And I'm reaching mine. So far. What about you? Are you achieving your goals?

For fun:
Thanks for reading!

Ever Wonder... Breo

 I was a little surprised by how many times our first Ever Wonder... post was read. Didn't think it would see those kind of numbers. I guess there are many people curious. So we found another brand of inhaler to take apart.

Ever wonder what the inside of a BREO inhaler looks like? Having dissected an Advair inhaler in curiosity, we waited until my son finished his newest brand of lung medication to see if they're similar or different on the inside. 
Thoughts? Predictions? 
Here's the packaging:

It took a bit of work to pry off the mouthpiece, but with some effort, it popped right off (and nearly hit me in the face.)

Getting the rest to separate proved challenging. The blue piece is what breaks the seal on the medication so it can be inhaled, and when it's used up its strip, doesn't want to open much, or at all. 
But with the aid of two knives, and four hands, it finally came apart like this.

A little more wiggling, grunting and maybe a swear or two-- these are really not designed to come apart. At. All. -- it happened. 

We're still not at the medication dosing part, but alas, we're making headway. We flipped it over and pried off the back piece and were a little shocked at all the gears and such (but I missed my chance for a photo as my oldest quickly snatched it and started pulling the gears off. Sometimes you just can't ask curiosity to wait a minute for mom to take a picture.)

We were a little shocked to see TWO rolls of medication inside, as opposed to one strip in the Advair. We pulled them out expecting the two aluminum sides to total the doses contained within, and it was double. Turns out, there are TWO different inhaled medications with this brand (which also explains the $149 price tag for one 30 day package), although there were some thoughts it was the designing of the package that also cost some major moola. 

One of the strips of medication.

So that's that. Pretty cool, eh? The oldest and I aren't sure what we'll take apart next, but we'll find something. It's too much fun.

Thanks for reading and being curious! 

Camp NaNoWriMo Week One review

Nine days into Camp NaNoWriMo, and I'm getting into the groove. What about you?

What is CampNaNoWriMo? It's a website where you can record your July word count goals, chat with other "campers" and be inspired to push on when the writing is a little harder to get at, because it's summertime, and if you're like me, easily distracted. Your word count goals can be anything you want vs when it's NaNoWriMo (which stands for National Novel Writing Month) in November, where the goal is 50,000 words in that month. It's can be done; it's hard but conquerable - I've 'won' NaNo three times in the past).

For me in July, with two kids home and a clipboard full of activities to cross off our bucket list, I picked a modest 30,000 words for the month. That's a little less than a thousand a day. Doable. As of this blog post, I've added 8100 words to my current manuscript (MS), bringing it over the 21,000 mark. I still need to write today, but blog posts totally count, right? LOL.

I'm carrying on, trying to get in a thousand words a day. I WILL succeed in my goal. :) I have to. There's nothing at stake but pride and bragging rights, and I'm all for that. Plus at the end of summer, my CP and I will be exchanging out stories and I want to make sure she's got something to read.

What about you? Are you partaking in #CampNaNoWriMo? Or are you supporting a 'camper'?

Ever Wonder ...

Have you ever wonder what the inside of an inhaler looks like?

My youngest has been using Advair brand inhaler for the better part of the year. My oldest, ever the curious one about how things work, wanted to take it apart when it was finished.  He's brought home a multitude of electronics and devices curious about their inner workings. This, with no electric parts inside, the temptation to see how it worked intrigued him (and me too!)

So, why not take it apart? We always take them back to the pharmacy for proper disposal, in case there is extra medication still inside and we have a few to return. Big deal if we're short one. So we studied it to determine the best way to start the de-construction phase.

The cover and mouthpiece came off easily enough. 

With a couple of lego swords (because why not?) we were able to separate the two halves and let our true adventure and investigation begin. 

It was neat to see how the medication rolled through the mechanisms. 

Each one of those blister packs contains one dose. As it rolls through, the covering is peeled back from it (and rolled around another wheel) and the medication is breathed up through the mouthpiece.
It was fascinating to pull out the strip of dosed powder and count. In a 60 dose package, there are in fact 60 doses, plus a starter near the beginning. We thought there maybe a dose or two more. Considering we pay over $100 per inhaler, I guess they won't give any away.

With the strip of medication disposed of--there was nothing left on the strip and thus, we're not harming our waste by tossing it in--my oldest enjoyed playing with the empty container and resetting the counter back to zero. Now he's really curious how his brother's new and different inhalers work, so when he's finished with that one, we'll take that apart and compare.
(ETA. We did. Click here to read about THAT inhaler.)
:) There's always a science lesson in our house.

Have you ever taken anything apart?

Thanks for reading!