Guest Post–Heather Wright

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome author Heather Wright to my blog. I’ve asked Heather to tell us a little bit about how she came up with the idea for her how-to writing books for teens and pre-teens.

Heather is a busy freelancer and children’s writer. As a freelancer, Heather has worked for educational publishers, non-profits and agencies. Her feature articles, profiles and promotional copy have appeared in local and national publications.  Her books for middle readers and teens include Sherlock Holmes and the Orphanage Mystery (for Caramel Tree Publishing), Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens, The Dragon’s Pearl, and The Dragon’s Revenge, all available at on-line bookstores. In late September, with co-writer Jean Mills, Heather launched an anthology of stories for middle school boys called Dude! Heather enjoys working with young writers and loves visiting classrooms to teach writing skills and to talk about the writer’s life. She runs teen writing workshops at her local library and at art camps, and has also created presentations for teachers’ conferences. Her website, http://wrightingwords.com, hosts resources for teen and pre-teen writers and their teachers.

 

IMG_4467.HeatherwrightWhen I was a kid, what I wanted to be more than anything else was a writer (Nancy Drew has a lot to answer for.) Later, when I taught middle school and high school English, I met students with the same dream. What I noticed, though, was a lack of creative writing resources for pre-teens and teens–resources that treated them like writers and not like students.

Around the same time, I got the opportunity to write a how-to-write column for a national magazine for teens called, What If? Canada’s Creative Magazine for Teens. By the time I had finished my four-year run creating a bi-monthly column, I had a lot of material that begged to be made into a book. So I wrote one.

Now there are other writing books out there for teens, but I wanted mine to be different. First, it had to be short. I’d taught enough creative kids to know that what they want is to be given the main framework for a concept or technique, and then go and run with it themselves. I also wrote my book writer-to-writer, not teacher-to-student. My book explains what published writers do to keep their readers turning the pages, and shows young writers how to make their own writing better. My book has no end-of-chapter homework questions or assignments, but there are 50 writing prompts included to help my readers get started if they don’t have an idea for a story.

Once I’d written Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens, my writer and teacher friends said that I needed to write a book for pre-BookCoverImageteens, too. That book, Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens was published at the end of July, 2014.

Reaching out to young writers and their teachers has been a passion of mine for a long time, and my website is dedicated to finding and creating resources for them to use. I want young writers to write the stories they want to write. I hope that, with good resources, they’ll learn how to write better stories every time they try. Because of my books, I get to visit classrooms and conferences, and I also run free writing workshops for teens at my local library. I’m definitely in my happy place—and that’s why I write what I write.

Thank you, Heather. How wonderful it would have been if such books existed when we were teens and pre-teens!

Listed below are some links where you can learn more about Heather and just where her books are available.

Heather’s website:http://wrightingwords.com

Amazon.ca link to Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens Second Edition http://www.amazon.ca/Writing-Fiction-Hands–Guide-Second-ebook/dp/B00I2MXH8U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1406810173&sr=8-1&keywords=Writing+fiction+a+hands+on+guide+for+teens+second

Amazon.ca link to Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens: http://www.amazon.ca/Writing-Fiction-A-Guide-Pre-Teens-ebook/dp/B00M3HFDFA/ref=pd_rhf_se_p_img_11

 

Reviews for first edition of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens are here:

Review of Canadian Materials (University of Manitoba) http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol17/no5/writingfiction.html

Canadian Teacher Magazine – the PDF of this review is no longer available (darn,) but a quote from the review follows:

“This guide to writing fiction speaks directly to young writers and provides tools to help them become successful in their writing endeavours and to have fun doing so … The author’s love of writing and enthusiasm for sharing her expertise with young writers shines through this guidebook, making it a wonderful resource for young writers.”

CANADIAN TEACHER magazine

This is an excerpt from Review of Canadian Materials (University of Manitoba) review for Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens:

Writing Fiction: A Guide for Pre-Teens follows in the footsteps of Writing Fiction: A Hands-On Guide for Teens and attempts to provide the same sort of how-to-write assistance, but for a slightly younger audience. Longer than the first resource guide—this one comes in at 66 pages, covering primarily the same ground from goal setting and tapping ideas to character-building and writers’ block. Wright’s explanations are clear, concise, and illuminating, without talking down to the user. The guide would be a useful resource even for adults.”

 

 

Reflection

The sudden passing of a friend in February kind of threw me for a loop. For a few days I withdrew into my thoughts to contemplate the things I would miss with this friend no longer here, and to honour the memories I had of her. Whenever we lose someone in our life it causes us to reflect upon so many things—the frailty of life being one of them, our own mortality as well as the mortality of those closest to us, the things we haven’t yet accomplished that we’d like to, the relationships we forge and so, so much more.

When we get to a certain age, we begin to understand that life doesn’t always make sense. Good things happen, bad things happen, and we have no idea why. We can become angry and bitter over the things we deem senseless in this world and yet delight when good things happen that also don’t make sense. (If that makes sense!)

I’m not sure that life is supposed to make sense. If it did make sense all the time, I think we’d lose a little of the wonder and the magic that exists in the world. And without the wonder and the magic what would that do to our hopes and dreams and wishes? Without magic I’m almost certain all those things wouldn’t exist. Why would we ever wish for something or allow our hopes to propel us into some crazy new direction, why would set our dreams on anything other than the reality we now have if there wasn’t some force out there capable of making our hopes, dreams and wishes come true? Wouldn’t we simply go through our days and wait for life to happen? How drab, how utterly mundane and ordinary, how sad.

Truthfully, I’m glad to live in a world that doesn’t always make sense, where strange, out of the ordinary things sometimes happen, where people overcome insurmountable odds, a world that fills us with delight and yes, sometimes, sorrow. My friend once sent me a link to a site about fairy homes. There are those who might say that a site like that doesn’t make any sense, and maybe it doesn’t, but so what?

If I was looking for things to always make sense I might have said a long time ago there’s no sense in trying to get published. I might have said it’s too hard to a thing to accomplish. I might have looked at the stats from some of the literary magazines I submitted to (we receive over 1200 submissions a year and publish 5%) and said the odds are not in my favour. I might have said, I have no one to show me the way. I might have counted the rejections (I had a few file folders filled) and said it isn’t meant to be. I might have said I’ve never once taken a writing course. I might have said I don’t know one single solitary writer in the entire world. But I didn’t say those things. I kept doing what I was doing even though there were times that it didn’t make sense to be doing it. (Seriously, some of my friends worried about the postage I was spending and if it was actually “paying off”) I kept wishing and hoping and dreaming…and writing.

And for those people who think life makes perfect sense, that if we dig deep enough we’ll find out exactly why things happen, I feel a little sad. I might be a Pollyanna, I might set my sights on things that seem an impossibility, but I’d rather live in a world of magic and wonder than a world that just is.

R.I.P my friend–the next time I find a fairy house in the woods I’ll think of you.

Do you believe in magic and wonder or in a world that always makes sense?
(Please drop in next time when author Heather Wright will be a guest on my blog. Heather will be telling us about her new book : Writing Fiction: A Guide for Preteens.”

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

Today, it is pleasure to welcome author Syr Ruus to my blog. As both a traditionally and self-published author, Syr has kindly agreed to share her thoughts on this with us.

37816_135253859838486_2745956_nSyr Ruus was born in Tallinn, Estonia during the Second World War. As a small child, she escaped with her mother to Germany and
subsequently immigrated to the United States. She has an MA in English and MS in Education and taught in the English Department of Illinois State University. She has lived in Crescent Beach, Nova Scotia since 1970, formerly working as an elementary school teacher while raising her three children and currently devoting herself full-time to writing. Her short fiction has appeared in anthologies and journals and in 2009 her novel “Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart” was published by Newfoundland’s Breakwater Press.

PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen

I have always loved books. I became a reader at three. More than thirty years later, I became a writer. Why did it take so long, you might ask? Perhaps because English is my second language, or maybe I felt that I didn’t have anything worthwhile to say. Once I started, however, I never stopped.

Publishing, of course, is another matter. People say it’s extremely hard to find a publisher these days with things being as they are. I know from personal experience that it has always been hard. It’s even difficult to find places to send a manuscript. Only small publishers accept unsolicited queries. If anyone does offer to take a closer look, it takes many months, even years, before a decision is reached. Often you hear nothing at all.

Not that this is altogether bad. It gives a writer a chance to reflect. After the first flush of enthusiasm, one can make some meaningful revisions. Sometimes, along with a rejection, there is feedback. I have read in a manual for writers that when you finish a novel, it should sit in a drawer for at least two years before you begin working on it again. A bit extreme, maybe. Yet often it sits that long in a slush pile on some junior editor’s desk. There does come a time, however, when a work is definitely ready. Finished. Done. Only a few final perks and tweaks could make it any better. Or perhaps not. Still no one has offered to publish it.

The wonderful news is that it has become more acceptable than ever to do it yourself. Even the Writers’ Union of Canada has recently voted to accept self-published writers.

321214_269317809765423_1682562519_nI was lucky. A smattering of my short stories appeared in Journals and anthologies. After my novel Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart received first prize in the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia annual competition, it was published by Breakwater Press in 2009. This gave me a much needed boost and sufficient confidence to actually begin referring to myself as an author.

But what of the two books I had written earlier? In 1999, Devil’s Hump was being seriously considered by a well-regarded publisher before being rejected. A few years ago, a new editor at the same company found the same novel (revised edition) “transporting, enchanting, strange, unsentimental, vivid,” but not fitting in with “what we’re trying to do with the fiction list at present.”

“I do think you should be able to find a publisher for this,” she added.

So, like The Little Red Hen, I did it myself. Devil’s Hump was published in 2013 by etc. Press, Halifax, N.S.10569081_810453168985215_2058664649597654044_n

The first novel I ever wrote also received an award from WFNS. In 1994, Edgar was the winner in the juvenile novel category. After some years, I decided to incorporate the original story which concerned a pet crow within an adult novel about the family which raised it. As such it was shortlisted for the Ken Klonsky Novella Award, yet despite positive comments from various publishers, no one was prepared to take it on. Just a few months ago, The Little Red Hen did it again. The Story of Gar was published in December, 2014.

Each of our voices is important to our collective humanity. Those that have spoken to me in the books I have read over the years have enriched me beyond measure. Our writing preserves a personal vision of a world which is constantly changing. The characters we have created with such loving care deserve a chance to sit on a bookshelf and perhaps come to life in someone else’s mind also. It’s every writer’s dream to be published, but you can’t wait around forever. Sometimes you have to do it yourself.

It’s exciting to prepare one’s work for print: to choose the paper, to select the font, to format the pages, to decide on a cover, to be in full control from beginning to end.
This includes promotion, of course, which these days is increasingly left up to the author, but which publishers certainly facilitate. Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart is available in bookstores all over the world (as I see when I Google myself). It was also reviewed in 10247462_880235172007014_1772275323027241970_nvarious newspapers and was submitted to contests which I cannot access as a self-published author. Since both of my independently published novels have a regional content (as does In Pleasantry, a collection of connected short stories, which I plan to publish next), shops in the area are willing to take a few copies on consignment. The books are printed in limited editions; the cost goes down as the number goes up. Being a diffident self-promoter, I am mainly depending on word-of-mouth for any future sales, and with luck, I may get back what I spent.

But as writers, we know that we don’t do it for the money—we do it for love.

Thanks so much, Syr, for sharing your thoughts and your wisdom. I hope that In Pleasantries will find the same success as your other novels. I am looking forward to reading your next literary offering.

To learn more about Syr, check out her WFNS page here. And her Facebook page. Her books are available locally at Coles in Bridgewater, The RiverHouse  and Lahave Bakery or by contacting the author directly: syr@eastlink.ca

20 Quotes to Inspire You

Because this has been one very long winter, I thought perhaps we could all use a shot of inspiration as we spring into March. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m excited to be leaving February behind us.

1.You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream. ~ C. S. Lewis
2. A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.~
Ayn Rand
3. Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.~ Norman Vincent Peale
4. Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.~ Samuel Beckett
5. Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.~ Og Mandino
6. It does not matter how slowly you go along as long as you do not stop.~ Confucius
7. Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead. ~ Oscar Wilde
8. You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.~ Christopher Columbus
9. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. ~ Henry David Thoreau
10. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.~ Maya Angelou
11. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover. ~ Mark Twain
12. The mind is everything. What you think you become.~ Buddha
13. You become what you believe. ~ Oprah Winfrey
14. If you can dream it, you can achieve it. ~ Zig Ziglar
15. I know you’ve heard it a thousand times before. But it’s true – hard work pays off. If you want to be good, you have to practice, practice, practice. If you don’t love something, then don’t do it.~ Ray Bradbury
16. Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.~ St. Francis of Assisi
17. Doubt who you will but never yourself.~ Christian Nestell Bovee
18. Every artist was first an amateur.~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
19. We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble
problems.~ John Gardner
20. Happy are those who dream dreams and are ready to pay the price to make them come true.~ Leon J. Suenes

I love the wisdom and inspiration in all these quotes. I hope you read something here that will inspire you to greater heights.

Speaking of inspiration, author Syr Ruus has graciously agreed to be a guest on my blog next time. I hope you’ll drop in to read her inspiring post : PUBLISH BEFORE YOU PERISH or The Little Red Hen.

It’s Not Always About Me

Long before I ever had a book published it seemed important to me to support other authors. So you can imagine my glee when little by little I began to meet and get to know some of them! I’ll admit that many moons ago it didn’t seem so important to me, even way back when I was writing and publishing some of my stories in literary magazine. But then something changed and I don’t exactly know what. I started to realize that celebrating the success of other authors is also a way of celebrating my own success. Once I figured that out I  really started to feel like an author. And when I started to feel like an author, more and more opportunities came my way. I began to have work published in those literary magazines that, in the beginning, seemed so far out of reach as I wondered if I’d ever write to their standards. Things were looking up.

I’ve got to tell you, life can’t be all about me…me…me. And it shouldn’t be. No one likes a self-centred author no more than a self-centred human being. And so, because it’s not all about me, nor should it be, it’s time for me to give a shout-out for some books I’ve either read or plan to read in the near future. It’s a combination of kids and adult books from authors I’ve met in real life or from the blogging community.  Hopefully, a little something for everyone.. Enjoy!

Rain Shadow - CoverRain Shadow by Valerie Sherrard
Bethany knows that she is special. She doesn’t learn things as easily as her classmates do and that sometimes makes them mean to her. They call her names — including the really “bad” name. Even her mom and her sister Mira say unkind things at times. But Bethany has friends like her neighbour Mrs. Goldsborough as well as happy times with Daddy when he gets home from work. And now, Mira has promised to protect her from the bullies when the new school year begins. Then tragedy strikes, tearing Bethany’s world apart in way she could never have imagined, and she starts to wonder if there will ever be a place that feels like home again. For fans of The Gory Wing , this book is set in the fictitious town of Junction, Manitoba (setting for The Glory Wind) in this story.

I love the cover of this book! To find out more about Valerie and her many book, check out her blog. Here.

 

tumblr_ndsrj3YMpD1rzzbp4o1_500Gertrude at the Beach by Starr Dobson

Everyone’s favourite goat, Gertrude Allawishes, is back! School is out for the summer, and Starr and her family—even Gertrude—are heading to the cottage. Starr’s mom is worried Gertrude will get into trouble. But it isn’t long before Gertrude proves she is one loyal goat and saves the day.

Many of you know Starr Dobson, co-host of Live at Five for a number of years. This is a follow up to her popular picture book, My Goat Gertrude. The illustrations for this picture book are beautiful. To find out more about the artist , Dayle  Dodwell check out her site Here

 

9781771082570MacLean by  Allan Donaldson

This book is a reprinting and was originally published a few years back. It’s on my TBR list simply because I enjoyed his book, “The Case Against Owen Williams” so much.

Twenty-five years after the Great War, John Maclean is still struggling to carve out a meaningful existence in his small New Brunswick hometown.

One late summer day he embarks on a seemingly prosaic search for a little money, a little booze, and a birthday gift for his mother. But he’s haunted by memories—of war, of his cruel father, of opportunities wasted and lost—and each moment is shadowed by his bleak history. Shell-shocked and alcoholic, Maclean is divided between a lonely present and a violent past.

 

FC COVER--smFollowing Chelsea by Shari Green

Walking in the footsteps of a dead girl isn’t easy.

After her social life flatlines, seventeen-year-old Anna Richards wants nothing more than to lie low at her new school. But it seems Anna looks an awful lot like Chelsea, the sweet and popular girl who recently died, and Anna finds herself stepping into the void created by Chelsea’s absence.

Anna is determined to make the awkward situation work in her favor, because Chelsea didn’t just leave a spot open with the in-crowd; she also left a gorgeous—and now available—boyfriend. But it turns out that following Chelsea might be a lot more complicated than Anna expected.

I met Shari a few years back through WordPress and am so excited for publication of her first book. You can check out her site here.

 

evbishop_biggerthings_200pxBigger Things by Ev Bishop.

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?

Click here to find out more about Ev and how to order Bigger Things.

alongthewayhome-christicorbett-453x680Along the Way Home by Christi Corbett

Kate Davis is intrigued when her father reveals his dream of starting a horse ranch in Oregon Territory. Settlers out west value a strong woman, and though she manages the financials of her father’s mercantile her competence earns her ridicule, not respect, from Virginia’s elite society. 

Jake Fitzpatrick, an experienced trail guide, wants land out west to raise cattle and crops. But dreams require money and he’s eating dandelion greens for dinner. So when a wealthy businessman offers double wages to guide his family across the Oregon Trail, Jake accepts with one stipulation—he is in complete control.

Departure day finds Kate clinging to her possessions as Jake demands she abandon all he deems frivolous, including her deceased mother’s heirlooms. Jake stands firm, refusing to let the whims of a headstrong woman jeopardize the wages he so desperately needs—even a beautiful one with fiery green eyes and a temper to match.

Trail life is a battle of wills between them until tragedy strikes, leaving Jake with an honor-bound promise to protect her from harm and Kate with a monumental choice—go back to everything she’s ever known or toward everything she’s ever wanted? Christi is also a blogging friend. Check out Christi’s WordPress site Here

downloadRocket Man by Jan Coates

If only Bob could go back to being the Mr. Invisible of his superhero days. Back when he wasn’t always being compared to his super-talented hardcore basketball god brother and perfect little sister. Back when Roy and Kyle didn’t know he existed. To make matters even worse, his dad is really sick and getting sicker.

When Bob begins planning a fundraiser basketball game in support of cancer research, things start to look up. With Roy being temporarily out of the picture after terrorizing some little kids, Bob finally gets a chance to play on the D1 basketball team and ends up helping Roy complete his community service. Maria seems to be becoming more than a friend, and even big brother James starts paying more attention to him, and gives Bob some pointers on how to become The Rocket Man. But cancer rears its ugly head again when a bad fall lands Dad in a wheelchair. Will he be strong enough to make it to the Hoop Heroes 4 Health game?

You can find out all about Jan  and her books by visiting her blog here.

buddyfordavidlargefront2Buddy For David by Carol Ann Hoel

I had the privileged of reading Carol’s book before it was published. Carol is another friend I met on WordPress. I’ve added a link to her blog here.

If you like Christian fiction you may want to give this a read.

Young David disappeared. The only clue was trapped inside the mind of his little sister Rachel. Experience the panic David felt, kidnapped and locked inside a cage. Delight in a Great White Pyrenees dog and a woodpecker playing their roles incidentally turning tragedy to good. If you have ever felt overwhelmed by grief or oppressed by a general sense of hopelessness, or discouraged by the trials of life, you will discover in the pages of this book a living, loving, and powerful God. Incidentally, you will be entertained. Read about this sweet family, the kind all of us might wish to call our own. Find out, immediately, that their lives are about to be molested by a tragic event. Meet the family, father, mother, children, and grandmother. Walk in the shoes of the sheriff and his staff, as they struggle to find and rescue David from his captors. Meet Buddy, a Great White Pyrenees dog, just a dog, not an angel, but a big, white, fluffy dog, that plays an integral part in this saga…

I hope you enjoy this  eclectic list of books. I wish each and every author all the best. Thank you for doing what you do. You’re awesome!

7 Ways to Sell Your Book in the Real World

While all writers live in a world of make-believe, a warm safe place where we go to plot our stories, there comes a time when all writers need to step out of world we’ve created and become a part of the real world of actually selling that book you put your blood, sweat and tears into.

Once that book is published a writer needs to get down to the business of promoting that same book that kept them hidden away in their fantasy world all those months. The truth is, many writers would like nothing better than to leave the promotion of their books to someone else. I mean, wouldn’t that be wonderful if we only had to spend our time writing and not have to bother our heads about book sales at all? Wouldn’t that be a writer’s dream? Realistically speaking, that’s not very realistic. Not in the real world. Whether you’re a self- published or traditionally published author you need to pitch in and do your share.

As a published author, you need to keep your eyes and ears open for opportunities to sell your books. You might not be able, or willing, to do everything I’m about to suggest, but don’t you owe it to yourself to give it a shot? As one author put it, “I’ll do anything for my book.” If we’re going to go though all the work to have our book published shouldn’t we do just that?

Here are a few ideas for opportunities to watch out for right in your own “real world” community.

  1. Craft Fairs: This year I made a commitment to take part in some craft fairs in the area where I live. It all started in May Fall 2014 117when I saw a billboard by a  local legion selling tables for their upcoming craft fair and it got me thinking. Books are crafts, right? And a little something different than what you’re likely to see at most craft fairs. Tables ranged from $10 -$ 20 depending upon the venue. Some can be even pricier depending upon how popular the event is so check before hand. Books don’t take up a lot of space and set-up time doesn’t take long. A few times an author friend of mine, Jan Coates, came along and we shared a table.  Not only did we get to chit-chat to the people who stopped by our table but we kept each other company during the slow times. The day flew by!
  2. Festivals: Keep your eyes open for any festivals that are planned for your area. Some of these festivals are very well attended. For instance, the local museum puts on a  Heritage Blueberry Festival every year. As part of the festival they have an area  designated for vendors to set up. That particular event attracts over 500 people. I  had a wonderful time at this festival. A friend of mine came to keep me company that day and was absolutely astounding when it came to “talking up my book.”
  3.  Farmers Markets: I know a few authors who regularly take their books to the local farmers market. While I’ve never personally         gone to a farmers market I’ve  heard some wonderful stories from other authors who have. Some of them go every week.
  4. Ask small business owners in the area to carry your books. If you’re lucky they’ll  say yes, and accept them on consignment for an agreed upon percentage. Chances are yours will be the only book they carry, so you’ll be unique. And sometimes unique is also eye-catching. My books are  available at the convenience store right in the community where I live, (how cool is that?) as well as the local museum in a nearby community, and several craft shops. You’d be surprised how many copies they’ve sold.
  5. Readings: What better way to interest people in your book than taking part in a public reading? Some of these events will also have copies of your book on hand. I  know, reading in public can be a scary thing. I can remember a time when the thought of reading my work in public was terrifying. But with lots of practise I no longer feel my knees go weak or my heart hammering out a strange tune.      I’ve now read at Word on the Street several times, as well as several library readings and a literary night held in a neighbouring community where I was also invited to sell copies of my book.
  6. Carry copies of your book with you wherever you go. I’ve been doing this since I  met a gentleman who told me his wife had sold 800 copies of his book from her purse. Wherever they went his wife took along three copies. I can’t begin to tell you how many people, once they find out you’re an author, will ask  you right on the spot if you have any copies on you. So be prepared!
  7. Fight the fear and be ready to say yes.  While saying yes can sometimes be a scary thing it’s always important to be willing to take part in as many opportunities as we can, when and if they arise. Reading in public, being interviewed by the local paper, radio, or TV station can be as scary as it gets. My advice is to say yes when opportunities arise unless you have valid reasons for declining. And no,“I’m too scared” is not a valid reason. My experience has been that the thought of things are always more frightening than actually doing it. Many of us are self-conscious and don’t really like being in the limelight. We’re writers and many of us are introverts. But sometimes even introverts need to come out of their shells and make themselves visible.

So I’ll leave you with seven opportunities to watch out for selling books in the “real world.” I’m sure if you keep looking you can come up with plenty of other opportunities for selling your book in the real world. You’re welcome to share any of your ideas in the comment section.

The Wall–Revisited

A few winters back while driving through Aylesford I stopped at The Wall and snapped some photos. I posted them here.

As you well know snapping photos along side a Nova Scotia road in winter doesn’t make for such wonderful photos, not when there are dirty snow banks in the way. But I promised myself I’d return one day and get some better shots. Today seemed like a good day to share the photos what with the weather we’re experiencing. I hope everyone on the East Coast is staying safe and warm today.

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May 2014 529

How’s that for taking a dull ordinary wall and turning into a thing of beauty? I think artist Larry Lee deserves a huge big thank you!

And since it’s January 27th I want to give a shout out for Family Literacy Day here in Canada. We all know how important literacy is! The experts say even 15 minutes a day can improve a child’s literacy skills dramatically and help parents improve their skills as well. So, with the weather being what it is, today seems like a great day to start flexing those literacy muscles.

What are your plans for Family Literacy Day other than staying in out of the storm?

Gratitude

“We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.” ~Cynthia Ozick

Today, the key word seems to be gratitude, gratitude for all the good things that are, that were, or will be. I’m sure every day we can find something to be grateful for, but do we always take the time to be aware of the good things in our lives? I hope so..

A lovely thank you card from the Homeschoolers group I read to last Friday arrived in the mail today. What a lovely added bonus to my day! It made me smile.

Today I’m over at Reading Recommendation. If you haven’t checked out Susan Toy’s site before you might want to give it a try. Hey, and you’ll even see yours truly. Find out how we connected years ago without my even knowing. Cool!

Earlier this week I had coffee with Jan Coates. We had some catching up to do as it had been awhile since we’d chatted. Jan’s new picture book “The King of Keji” is scheduled for release this spring. It’s in the spring Nimbus catalogue already! You can check it out HERE.I know some of you from Facebook have already seen it.

I also want to mention that Family Literacy Day is on January 27th. For those of you who need a gentle reminder:

Family Literacy Day is a national awareness initiative created by ABC Life Literacy Canada in 1999 and held annually on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family.

I don’t have to mention how important literacy is to us all, especially to the new generation growing up.

Lastly, since I began this post with gratitude, I want to give a shout out to those of you who follow my blog. I appreciate you signing up! I wrote a blog post back in December about Supporting Your Author Friend and things went a little crazy here for a day or so. So, thank you! Also, a big thank you to those of you who recently joined my Facebook page. Well, not just those who recently joined. Whether you joined in the beginning or just recently, I appreciate all of you. Oh, you know what I mean! Saying thank you is something that often gets overlooked and something we kind of take for granted. I don’t want to take any of you for granted. I happen to think thank you are two words that should be said every day. Gratitude should not only thought about but expressed.

So, since I’m ending on a note of gratitude for all the wonderful things in my life, maybe you’d like to share something that you’re grateful for with the rest of us.

This and That

Today, I had the privilege of reading from, “Flying With a Broken Wing” to the Central Valley Homeschoolers Association at the Wolfville Library. It always nice to meet people who are supportive of local authors. I had a wonderful time, and to tell the truth it’s the first time I’ve read to a group of children and their mom’s. Usually my audience is made up of adults so it was wonderful to read for my target audience. Lots of questions were asked and we had a great discussion. I have to say I have such deep respect for homeschooling families. I’m sure it takes a great deal of dedication, discipline and commitment, not only for the parents (God love them to pieces) but the kids. I`m in awe!

The winter edition of TRANSITION magazine is now up. Yay! You can read my short fiction piece, “Preparations” by following the link HERE. FYI I’m on page 12. I ‘ve been a contributor to this magazine on several occasions. I think it’s a wonderful publication. To use the words from their website:

TRANSITION is a magazine which publishes two kinds of works: those directly about mental health issues; and those about the individual’s personal experience of those same issues. Both kinds of works celebrate lives in transit – lives of change, growth, and transformation.

Concerning TRANSITION, I’ll have a bit more news about this at a later date. So I’ll keep you posted with what’s going on there. Sorry, to sound so mysterious but I’ll share when I can. For any writers out there you can check out the magazine at the link provided.

And, since it was pointed out to me today, (thanks Maureen!) that my “about” page hasn’t been updated since  before “Flying With a Broken Wing” was published I figured it was long past due. I`m no longer awaiting the publication of my book, as you know.  :D

So, that`s this and that for today.

Welcoming 2015 With Some Writerly Intentions

I love the start of a brand new year. I’m sure I say that every year around about this time, but it’s SO true. A brand new year is so full of possibilities, like a blank page just waiting to be written on or a field of unblemished snow where not a single soul has tread. Guided only by my imagination at this time of the year I feel as though anything is possible. It’s like starting all over again and there’s something most exciting about beginnings, especially for a writer.

I don’t make resolutions but I do like making a list of intentions, things I intend to accomplish, hopefully in the upcoming year, but if not, somewhere farther off into the future. For me, that feels doable without too much pressure, yet allows me to have some goal in mind at the end of it all. And I don’t fill my list up with far-fetched notions, dreaming only big dreams. While big dreams are wonderful, life is also made of up a lot of little dreams that in hindsight can prove to be just as important as the big ones. Aimlessly wandering through life can have its drawbacks. Applying just the right amount of pressure never hurts. At least that’s my philosophy!

So what are some of the things on my list? Below are a few of the writerly ones.

1.I intend to finish the novel I’m presently working on and start sending out submissions for it. There’s nothing more exciting that having several submissions out in publishing land awaiting a rejection or an acceptance, and nothing sweeter that having an editor email and tell you they want to publish your work. I recently had a short story published in Transition, a magazine put out by the Saskatchewan Mental Health Association. While it’s presently in hard copy it will be available on line and I’ll share the link on my blog when it’s available.
2.I intend to pen more short stories in the future. I’ve had several ideas come to me while working on this last novel and I’ve jotted things down just to make sure I wouldn’t forget. I’ve said before I miss my short stories so I need to remedy that.
3.I intend to say yes to writerly opportunities as they arise. Just recently I was offered the opportunity to read for a group in January. I’m excited about this and hopefully more opportunities will arise!
4.I intend to continue supporting other local authors. This has always been important to me. Nothing makes me happier than to help out a fellow author. I obviously can’t buy every book from every local author but, as I mentioned in my post here, there are plenty of ways to support our author friends.
5.I intend to continue blogging. Notice that I’m not vowing to blog every day or even every week, just that I will continue in some shape or form. I know there are some who say we should choose a schedule and stick to it, but that’s not realistic for me. It makes more sense for me to spend more of my time writing fiction than blogging. I’ve met some great people through blogging and made connections I otherwise would not have made so of course I plan to keep blogging.

So there you have a few of my writerly intentions for 2015. Perhaps it will inspire you to come up with a list of intentions yourself. I’m excited for all that 2015 will bring both on the writing front and on a personal note. The sky’s the limit!

Anyone want to share one of their intentions, writing or otherwise?

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