Saying Good Bye to THE FAMILY WAY

Just moments ago I said goodbye to THE FAMILY WAY. Honestly, I breathed a sigh of relief. This means, of course, that the files have now been sent off to the printer and we are coming into the home stretch. The April 13th release day is not that far away .

The Family Way is book #3 in the Cammie series. The first two books were of course FLYING WITH A BROKEN WING and CAMMIE TAKES FLIGHT.

Soon, I’ll be holding all our hard work in my hands. Yes, I did say “our hard work” because it takes many hands to get a book to publication. Can’t say enough good about the entire Nimbus team. Hard to believe this is my fifth book with them. I well remember when the publication of a book felt like an unattainable dream, one that I kept working toward even those times when I didn’t believe it would ever happen.

Here is the final cover, front and back. Call me silly, but I’m quite partial to the little pram on the book spine.  Some of you might recognize the building on the front as The Ideal Maternity Home. The Blurb on the back was written by Hadley Dyer, a writer I admire greatly. We met many years ago when her book, JOHNNY KELLOCK DIED TODAY was published and she later gave me some wonderful advice that I never forgot. And the fact that she’s a “Valley girl” is an added bonus. We actually attended the same high school–in different centuries of course.

The Family Way can be pre-ordered right now directly from Me, the author (Yes, I’ll take pre-orders too if you’re in the area! Simply message me on Facebook or through the CONTACT page of this blog. )You can also pre-order from your local  Independent bookstore,    Nimbus Publishing. Indigo  Amazon.ca  Amazon.com

I Read Canadian

The second annual I Read Canadian Day is on February 17th. Hey, that’s tomorrow! 

For those of you who have not heard of it until now I read Canadian Day is a nationwide celebration of Canadian books for young people.  Kids, teens and even adults are encouraged to read a Canadian book for 15 minutes on that day. Quite simply, it’s a day to shine a light on all the wonderful kids’ books in Canada–and there are SO many of them. 

BTW– you are allowed to read for longer than 15 minutes if you want!

On February 17th, I’ll be reading from Lindsay Carmicheal’s wonderful non-fiction picture book, The Boreal Forest and illustrated by the brilliant Josee Bisaillon, but there are plenty more books to choose from. I’m sure you won’t have any problem finding one.

Happy I Read Canadian Day!

If you’d like to give a shout-out to Canadian children’s book (or books) please feel free to in the comment section of my blog.

 

Valentine’s Day 2021

In keeping with the spirit of Valentine’s Day, a very creative friend of mine sent me this photo of her work and I loved it so much that I just had to share it with all of you. Her world is filled with images, arrangements and colour, while my world is filled with words. 

Creativity has many faces and it’s a amazing just how many. Creativity adds balance to our lives, an outlet to express what we might not necessarily be able to say in words. It springs from our very being, a thought, a feeling, that can’t be silenced. I sometimes wonder if we ever come to the end to our creativity or if it changes along with us.  and if we stop being creative do we stop being who we are?

I have read that we all came to the planet to create and I believe that is true. We only have to look at the world around us to understand that. People have always been creative from the very beginning of time. Thank goodness for that.

I found a quote by Sylvia Plath that seemed quite fitting for this post and it reminded me that, while many of us will experience self-doubt, especially when it comes to our creative endeavors, we mustn’t let that stop of from expressing who we really are. 

“The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” Sylvie Plath

Please do not let self-doubt stop you from creating in whatever form or forms that feel right for you.

Happy Valentine’s Day–May you find some way to express the creative you today and every day! 

Feel free to share in the comment section what form you have found for expressing your creativity.

Sweet Covid Dreams

January is gone, slipped by when I wasn’t watching and now here I am holding February in my hands. It’s a good feeling.

I recently saw an interview on CBC with Margaret Atwood. Among the things they talked about, Margaret asked the interviewer if she’d had a Covid-dream yet and then admitted to having had one herself. I thought that was interesting. I had heard about people having Covid-dreams before, but I hadn’t had any myself. It made me start wondering if this was a big thing for people. I wasn’t sure if I should feel fortunate or a teensy bit left out.

But then low and behold, I had a dream of my own just last night. I’m pretty sure this whole interview with Margaret Atwood was playing on my subconscious and, who knows, maybe I’ve had them in the past but just didn’t remember them. Dreams are like that.

So here’s the dream:

We were visiting my son and his family. We hadn’t seen them for quite some time due to restrictions. In the dream, I noticed that my daughter-in-law’s sister was also there. I immediately began counting to see if we were under our number of 10 for gatherings, and as I counted, I came up with 11. (Not sure how, as that still would have only added up to 8, but strange things happen in dreams, right?)

I was getting a little agitated at that point but then suddenly the house had more people and I knew we were WAY over the 10 person limit. I told my son we would leave, but as we stepped outside there were people sitting on the grass and lounging around. I mean really? Why did he invite so many people over, the twerp? I was getting really upset at that point. Once again I took count. There were over 30. I knew someone would report them for having a large gathering, but not only that, I worried about our chance of exposure to the virus. He had put us all at risk.

What was wrong with this son of mine? He’d been so sensible in the past

But then I woke up, as people often do in dreams, before finding out what the conclusion was. Think I’m going to track down that son of mine and get to the bottom of this covid-dream, find out who he thinks he is having a house full of people over during a pandemic. Sheesh! he is in trouble.

I’m curious to know if any of you have had a covid-dream yet. I wouldn’t mind hearing about it if you have.

A Sure Cure for Witchcraft—Cover Reveal

I’m so pleased to be able to share the cover of my next novel, A Sure Cure for Witchcraft. The official publication date is September 7th, 2021. I know that probably seems like a long wait but this is the publishing business. Things tend to move along quite slowly for anyone on the outside looking in, but believe me, a whole lot of work goes into publishing a novel.

In the months ahead I’ll share some  pre-order information with everyone. Yes, that’s right books can be pre-ordered, not just on Amazon or Chapters but at your local Indie bookstore as well. Don’t forget your local bookstore!

I’m really excited about this book as it was a long time coming. I actually wrote a very early version of this story before Bitter, Sweet was published. (For anyone who might have forgotten that was back in 2009.) Over time I kept coming back to it, determined to get it to the place where I felt it was ready to be submitted for publication. I suppose this book is my reminder that some stories need time and determination and the ability to recognize when a story is worth my time going back to it again and again. 

 

 

Tracks in the Snow

I spent much of this snowy day writing and as I became aware of the mounting snow outside, I found myself remembering a winter poem from my childhood.

“Tracks in the Snow” by Marchette Chute.

In my memory I’m in grade one, and it’s winter, and the poem is something we’re required to memorize. Unfortunately, that is where the memory ends for the rest of the poem eludes me and I am left with nothing but a title and the author’s name. Thus is the reality of our memories, for many of them are vague and distorted, filled with gaps that we sometimes fill in ourselves with whatever seems to make sense at the time. Forget the fact that we do not always remember things the way they happened, to us the memories feel very real.

So, unable to remember any of the words to the poem in question, I turned to the all-knowing Internet and spent some time searching for this beloved poem. Eventually, I had to admit that I was wasting valuable time chasing after a memory over half a century old.

I went back to juggling edits for the final interior of The Family Way and work on A Sure Cure for Witchcraft that needs to ready for the ARCs to be printed in April.

And as we finalize the edits for my next book, I can’t help thinking how grateful I am for this journey I’m on and how. for so many years, it felt as though I was chasing an impossible dream.

I look out at the snow hanging heavy on the trees outside my window and I quickly remind myself that dreams do come true.  I may never be able to track down this beloved poem from my childhood, and quite possibly the memory is not all what I remember it to be. But who knows, perhaps one day someone who has the words to Tracks in the Snow by Marchette Chute will stumble across this blog post and reach out to me, because dreams to come true and I refuse to give up even on snowy winter days in January.


How are you spending this wintry January Day?

Butterboxes and ARCs

Back in the  early 90’s Bette Cahill broke the story of the Butterbox Babies. Until that time it had been a well-kept secret. While people nearby knew of The Ideal Maternity Home, many of them had no idea of the atrocities that were taking place there.

It was while I was writing FLYING WITH A BROKEN WING, the story of a visually impaired girl who is determined to find her mother, that I realized she was, in fact, a survivor of the Ideal Maternity Home. While this fact is revealed in CAMMIE TAKES FLIGHT, we still do not discover who Cammie’s mother is or the circumstance surrounding her birth.

But all that will be revealed in April when my upcoming book hits the bookshelves. I hope readers will continue the journey with Cammie as we go back in time to when Cammie was born. While the book will answer many questions for readers, it’s important to know that THE FAMILY WAY is also what we call a stand alone novel, meaning that you don’t have to have read the first two novels in order for this one to make sense. It can be read on its own.

I want to give a shout-out to Sue Slade manager of the Dartmouth Book Exchange for sending along this photo. In case you are wondering, that is a butterbox in the background, similar to the ones that came from the LaHave Creamery and served as small coffins for the newborns that died at the home.

Thanks, Sue.

The Christmas Miracle

I’m so very happy to say that two days before Christmas high speed internet came to the Best household. As Cammie might say, “A real Christmas miracle through and through.”

Lines were being run late in the fall and everyone in our little Nova Scotia community were anxiously awaiting the day when they were ready to start installing it into people’s houses. Seriously, I used to think this day would never come.

Many people don’t realize that high speed internet just isn’t a thing for a lot of people in rural areas—still, even now, in 2021. They assume that everyone has it and that’s just not the case. I can’t tell you how many opportunities I’ve had to miss out on, or how difficult it’s been for me as a writer to do research. Or the time, my internet screwed up and I ended up spamming my editor by sending out the same manuscript to her no less that seventeen times. Good thing I figured out that something wasn’t right and disconnected! Yup, I kid you not–seventeen times! 

But no more. All that has changed because of the Christmas miracle of 2020 and it’s as if a light has suddenly been lit and I can see what’s going on in the rest of the world. 

For now that’s my news, and for me, it’s pretty big. I’m hoping to be able to give some updates soon about my upcoming books for 2021. But right now I must head out, I have a date with Google. 😉

So Long, Farewell 2020

Many people have expressed how anxious they are to see an end to 2020, and I can’t really blame them. This year has certainly challenged us in so many ways. I could list them all, but that would be depressing. We’ve lived the challenging parts once, no need to keep rubbing salt in the wound.

BUT 2020 has also allowed us to turn inward and appreciate the people in our lives and a host of little things that we had perhaps been taking for granted. We started baking and working on projects we’d been putting off, going for walks and rediscovering what it was like to have a phone conversation with someone you haven’t seen for awhile. It gave us the opportunity to show gratitude and kindness and understanding. It forced us to spend more time with the people closest to us, to nurture our relationships and to appreciate nature. 

For this author, 2020 saw the release of, not only my fourth novel, but my first novel for adults. It had been a dream of mine for many, many years, one that seemed so very impossible the first time I decided that writing was something I needed to do.

I was thrilled to see my book make several CBC lists and also the Globe and Mail’s list of Hottest Summer Releases. That was an absolute thrill.

I thank all of you for the support you’ve shown me over the years, and during this year especially. I am so very grateful for so many of you who shared my newly published book on Social Media, and to those who wrote reviews and rated it. 

While 2020 didn’t allow for book launches and readings the way we would have normally seen, I did hold my NO-LAUNCH-BOOK-LAUNCH  here on my blog in July. Thanks to so many of you for dropping by and for supporting this local author. 

2020 also saw me retiring from my day job and spending more time at the keyboard. In early 2020, I was deep in the edits to my next middle grade novel, The Family Way, that will be published in April 2021. As I’ve mentioned previously, it’s the prequel to the Cammie novels and I’m so excited to introduce readers to Tulia May Thompson and Finny Paul, the main characters of the book.

So to sum it all up, so long 2020, I’m ready to release you into the Universe and invite 2021 to visit for the next twelve months. My hope is that 2021 will be a gentler lady than her predecessor. But, in the words of Tulia May Thompson, “….life doesn’t offer guarantees.”  

I’ll leave 2020 with this song from the Sound of Music and welcome 2021 with open arms. Happy New Year to you all!

 

Special Delivery, Unveiled.

Days before Christmas I mentioned  here on my blog that Miss Charlotte had received a special delivery from my awesome publisher, complete with a special note. I was feeling a little down that she wouldn’t be able to come to our home for Christmas this year, something she’d been doing for the past ten years. So, it was such a wonder gesture on my publisher’s part.

 

Needless to say, she was one happy girl. Miss Charlotte likes the cover as it is but it has yet to be finalized at this time, so we may see some changes when the book actually comes out.

What’s the book about? Well, for those of you who are familiar with the Cammie series, this book is the prequel to those.  Readers will finally find out who Cammie’s mother is.  Much of the book is set at the Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, the infamous home of the Butterbox Babies. Here’s the back cover blurb.

Set in 1930 and based on true events, this middle-grade novel explores family secrets, set at the Ideal Maternity Home.

Tulia May lives in rural Nova Scotia with her mother, who works in the laundry of the nearby Ideal Maternity Home. It’s a place where unwed mothers can discreetly give birth, a place where adoptions by rich Americans can be quickly arranged. Tulia doesn’t think about the workings of the home much; mostly she hates being roped in to helping scrub the endless diapers. Her friend Finny Paul has suspicions that the home is holding sinister secrets — the worst being that unadoptable babies are being buried in butterboxes — but Tulia thinks he’s being ridiculous. When Tulia’s sister Becky ends up in the home, Tulia truly starts to consider Finny’s concerns. And when she and Finny discover what’s really going on there, she knows she has to act quickly to keep Becky’s baby safe.

Based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies, The Family Way is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of family and of Nova Scotia’s history. A stand-alone middle-grade novel, it also serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Cammie novels, Flying With a Broken Wing

Release date for The Family Way is April 2021. That’s only four months  from now. I’m so looking forward to sharing the rest of Cammie’s story with you all. In the mean time, I’ll be hard at work on the edits for my next novel, A Sure Cure for Witchcraft.

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