Char Bishop’s, Crumbs from the Edge, is an eclectic, beautifully written collection of short stories that range from a ‘you go girl!’ theme in Dancing on the Other Side to a young girl’s heartbreaking thoughts on her wedding night as she waits for her much older bridegroom to come to their bedroom in The Rag Doll.
Crumbs from the Edge gives us eleven tales, each with something unique to offer, and I thought I would touch on three of my favorites.
Letting Go is an endearing, sometimes humorous account of a woman’s conversation with her dead ex-lover’s ashes as she hikes along the bluffs of the Pacific coast trying to decide where to scatter them. She doesn’t seem that surprised that he begins by criticizing the red tights she’s wearing. I never would have allowed you to wear that. You always looked beautiful for me, and I enjoyed showing you off. Their conversation opens a window into the volatile, but loving relationship they once had. And how he sets her free.
Wheeling through Life is the tale of one woman’s love affair with her cars and how that love affair came full circle. I’ve never been a car person, but Wheeling through Life was a total blast from the past for me, taking me back to the days when my dad drove a pearly pink 1957 Chevrolet and my older brother had a 56 Ford that got 6 miles to the gallon when he could get it started. I love the way the story opens. I disagree that a passion for cars is the exclusive right of the male; I’ve loved the cars I’ve owned. Granted, I wasn’t as interested in what was beneath the hood as I was with the look of a car, how it made me feel, and where it could take me. You don’t have to be a car fanatic to love this story.
Powder Burns, my hands-down favorite, is the story of an unpleasant retiree who gets his comeuppance while on an early morning walk. Char’s description of his pre-dawn jaunt along a local golf-course trail is stunningly told, taking us from his unease… As he walked, the sound of his muted footsteps on the trail was magnified by the intense quiet… He suddenly heard howling on the far side of the course and felt a spike of adrenaline prickle in his arms. Coyotes… to a delicious moment of horror that would do Stephen King proud.
The Oasis Circle series is Char Bishop’s latest project and I had the pleasure of critiquing the first book in this three-book cozy-mystery series. By the end of the book, this little neighborhood of fun-loving, retired women and their comical dogs were my best friends. If I could figure out where they live, I’d move in.
Char’s gift for prose has been honed by experience. Before she decided to focus on contemporary romance for mature women, she was ghost writer for the nonfiction book, A Professional Treasure Hunter, has published and illustrated two children’s books, and written magazine articles, personal histories and professional newsletters. Her past writing experience also includes monthly columns and freelance material for independent Northern California coast newspapers and magazines.
You can find Char at http://www.charbishop.com