Going Back to the Beginning

Years ago, when I first began writing what would later become The Cammie Series, I knew that Cammie was a survivor of the Ideal Maternity Home, a place that really existed in Nova Scotia during that time. Of course, this information didn’t actually come out until Cammie finally learned a bit about her past in the sequel, Cammie Takes Flight.

Babies born at the home became known as survivors because there so many babies (numbering in the hundreds) that were born there ended up buried in butterboxes. The true story of the Ideal Maternity Home is a tragic one and there have been non-fiction books written about it. If you want to learn more, I’d suggest you check out Bette Cahill’s book, Butterbox Babies. There is a lot of important information in her book.

My latest book in The Cammie Series, The Family Way, is set at The Ideal Maternity Home where Tulia’s mother works and of course the place where Cammie was born.

Years ago, the survivors of the home had a monument placed in the area where the home once stood. It burned many years later. A picture of the The Ideal Maternity is on the cover of my book. The home was expanded over time to become what you see on the cover of my book.

On the weekend we drove out to the monument in East Chester again. I had been there before when I was writing the book to get a sense of the location and the area in general. This time, I wanted to take Cammie back to the place where it started.

My writing takes me on many adventures into the lives of the characters I create. My interest in local history and local settings is always present in the stories I write. I happen to think that our own backyard is just as interesting as stories set in exotic locations.

As with writing any series, the story can either continue or else come to a conclusion. I haven’t yet decided if book 3 will bring Cammie’s story to a conclusion or not as I do see the potential to continue. I suppose much of it will depend upon Cammie and if/when she’s ready to let the cat out of the bag. I’ll be sure to share it with you when I know, but for now I’m as much in the dark as what you are.

The Making of a Book Trailer

My daughter has created trailer for three of my books, most recently, The Family Way. While we were checking through a royalty-free sight for music to set to the book trailer for that one, we both commented that one of the other songs we’d listened to would be perfect for a trailer for my book coming out in September.

Which got us thinking. Hmmmm.

Would there be a trailer for A SURE CURE FOR WITCHCRAFT?

You bet!

A lot of work goes into a book trailer, even one that is only 1-2 minutes long. Sifting through appropriate music, finding the right words to tell the story, checking out sites for video clips and pictures that are royalty-free (because you don’t want any copyright infringements.) Once all those things are selected, then it has to be put together.

My daughter is meticulous when it comes to matching the photos and video clips with the music, and figuring out when the images need to change with the music.

Right now, we’re figuring out which images and videos to use. I’ve seen small snippets as she works at it, but I’m excited to see the end result. I am so in love with the music.

Having two books published in one year is a little strange, but strange in a good way. No complaints here. In fact, it’s a wonderful feeling. I have already had several people tell me that they are anxiously waiting to read the new one.

The new book is slated for publication in September. I am hopeful that if all goes we’ll be able to have an in-person book launch this time. Could it be? Could it really be? In the mean time, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed. September is not that far away.

I want to quickly thank all the people who have read THE FAMILY WAY and especially to those of you who have rated it and wrote reviews or gave shout-outs on different platforms or even took the time to share or retweet. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. Please know that what might only take a few seconds of your time means the world to this author.

In the meantime have a wonderful weekend.

PS: Watch this blog in the upcoming weeks/months for when the trailer is finally uploaded to Youtube.

A First Review

Did I say first review? Make that first and second.

Months before a book is published Advanced Reading copies are sent out to reviewers, to help build some buzz before publication day. The hope is that early review will be favourable and others will want to see what all the buzz is about.

As many of you know, my next book is due to be released in September. What started out as an idea of a story that would follow two characters across time, finally developed into a book that I’m excited to see released into the world.

The book already has a few ratings on GoodReads and a very first review has come in. You can read it HERE. As I was preparing this post another early review came in as well. HERE.

The cover was finalized a few weeks ago which means all that is left is for it to go off to the printer.

I’m excited about this book for a number of reasons. First and foremost because it was quite some time in the making, which I think I mentioned here already. But it is also about the belief in witchcraft that people had centuries ago, and when my German-speaking ancestors came here to Nova Scotia in the 1700’s, they brought many of those beliefs with them. Even in my lifetime, I have known people who believed a certain individual was a witch. That is something that has always fascinated me.

So now, as another book is about to make it’s way into the big scary world, I hope it will be welcomed with open arms. Of course, it doesn’t mean I can just sit back and wait for this to happen. I’m hard at work on a more contemporary YA novel, but I also have some other stories on the go. Hopefully, none of them will take over ten years to come to fruition.

Author in a Small Town

Does that title actually say small town? Okay, so that is a total and complete exaggeration on my part. I remember when the year I went to Toronto when Cammie Takes Flight was nominated for a Silver Birch Award. I was talking to one of the other nominated author who said they were from a small town of only 20,000.

I thought wow, 20,000. That many? I looked at her and said “Try 200.” Yes, I did say 200. Now, that’s not an exact count. I really don’t know what that number would be. It could be a little more or a little less

I’m not really sure how many full-time residents we actually have, but we’re small. No doubt someone out there has that information. Yes, there are plenty of cottagers who are here on a part time basis, some for only a few weeks through the summer. I see their cars go by and on busy weekends my husband often expresses displeasure at seeing three or four cars, unknown to him, go by all at once. Oh the traffic! Traffic in small community is never thought of as a good thing unless there’s an event going on at the community centre. And that’s when you know you live in a small town place.

I finally got my shipment of my new book, THE FAMILY WAY. It was a big order, thanks to all those who ordered through me because they wanted an author signed copy. Being an author in a small town place doesn’t make me specially in anyway, but rather it makes the people who support me special. Many people write books, we see new books being published all the time, but believe me, not all of them have their family, friends and neighbours rally around them each time a new book comes out.

And as I announced on social media that the books had finally made it to my house, I was thinking how this is so typical of a small community. I really can’t say enough good about all the supportive people in my life. And while I couldn’t have an in-person launch again this time, this really is the second best thing.

So here I am, just your typical author in a small town place, looking over my shipment of books and hoping, so very much, that when my next book comes out in September we’ll be able to have a real small town place book launch. PS: There has been talk about cheesecake. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Year Twelve–Another Anniversary

Thinking back over the years since I started this blog, I realized it had been twelve years ago today. I was a soon to be published author and I needed some kind of web presence. Twelve years is a long time to keep posting on a blog.

Many of the people I got to know through blogging have long since abandoned the blogs they had. Everyone once in awhile I will check back only to see they haven’t updated in years. Blogging is a big commitment. I don’t update on a regular basis, just whenever I have something to say.

Today marks my 673rd post. That’s a lot of words to come up with on a fairly regular basis. I am now preparing to see my sixth book in print this September. I can remember wondering once the first one came out if there would ever be a second. Someone even told that “Everyone has one book in them.” Back then, I thought maybe they might be right.

Well, since the fall of 2022 will see the publication of my seventh book, I guess I had more than one.

So Happy Anniversary to my little blog. I hope you’ll continue to visit me in my little corner of the web.

Book Creativity

I wanted to post this photo on my blog that was sent to me in a tweet when the Atlantic Book Awards were on. I thought it was very cool, and something I’d certainly never think to do.

I am not at all sure who this mysterious woman is, but I do find this photo intriguing and am grateful to the one/ones responsible for setting it up and for sending it to me. I also want to add that anyone is welcome to send me their own version of my cover if you’d like… Just for fun!

Just to mention that Good Mothers Don’t is part of the Read Atlantic ebooks that can be downloaded from the library with no wait list from June 15-July 15th. This LINK HERE will provide more information. So it you haven’t yet read it and would like to, this might be your chance!

How Long Does it Take?

Some dreams seem to happen over night, others take many years to come to fruition.

The Advance Reading Copy of my upcoming book this fall, A Sure Cure for Witchcraft arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

Isn’t that the same book I just finished the edits on and weren’t the ARCs just sent off to the printer a few weeks ago?

Yup.

Wow!

And didn’t I just launch my latest book The Family Way last month?

Yup.

Did I mention I have another book due to be published next fall?

Probably so.

Sounds like I’ve been writing up a storm lately.

Um nope. No more than usual. In fact, I’ve got plenty of things taking me away from writing these days.

Here’s the thing. I wrote the first draft for A Sure Cure for Witchcraft in the summer of 2009–eleven years ago and the book that’s coming out next fall, I started back in the 1990’s.

But stories are like that. Sometimes I work on one for awhile and then I need to give it space. I go back again and again. Sometimes I decide they’re not worth continuing. Other times, I decide to change the tense or the POV. And almost always, the things I think are going to happen change as the story goes off in a totally different direction from what I expected.

But then there are all the years of writing before that first acceptance came. During that time, I was learning with each word, sentence and paragraph I wrote and rewrote and rewrote. It took time to find myself on the page and to learn how to write a story that I was ready to share with others. And there is always more to learn as I discover each time I work on edits for a book. My first published short story was way back in 1993. That was a long time ago! My first book didn’t come along until 2009.

I guess what I’m saying is that the book people read has been written and rewritten, smoothed and polished as much as possible before it ever sees print and sometimes that can take years or decades. The fact that I’ve had several books come out in a relatively short time is because I’ve been jumping back and forth between stories rewriting and rewriting over the course of many years.

Right now I’m working on a YA novel and I have a couple adult fiction novels on the go. The YA novel I’ve been working on for a couple of years now, the other two novels for over twenty and if I’m being honest I have a couple of Middle Grade novels thrown in there too. Will they soon see publication? That I have no idea about. I hope, but time will eventually tell.

What I do know is that I’ll continue writing as often as I can for as long as I can. The stories that need to be told, will end up being told. There are some things a writer has no control over.

I will say that there’s a certain satisfaction in finally holding that finished book for the first time, knowing that I stayed determined and focused, and worked damn hard to make it happen. Of course, if it was an easy thing to do there would not be that same feeling of accomplishment I have when I finally get to hold another baby in my arms.

A Time for Everything

Since my first book was published nearly twelve years ago, my life has been filled with a lot of firsts. Today, I had my very first virtual book launch for my fifth book. It was an interesting experience. This pandemic has given us many opportunities to do things in a whole different way. While I love being able to see people in person, it just wasn’t meant to be this time. I feel fortunate to be launching another book– pandemic or no pandemic. When the things we want come our way, we shouldn’t be choosey.

I can well remember all the years I longed to be the published author of a book. While I’d had many short stories published, something inside me said there had to be more. So for many years, I wrote stories, and tried to improve upon my writing. And for a lot of years the “big prize” seemed to be so far off in the distance.

But then the right time came, and things fell into place and my first book came into the world. All was right in my little writing world.

But one book left me longing to have another book. What if that first book was just a fluke. You know what they say about everyone having a book in them. Maybe that was my one book.

I kept writing. Four years later my next novel was published. I started to believe that first book wasn’t my one and only book. Now my fifth book is here, the sixth comes out this fall and number seven in 2022.

I wanted to share this YouTube video with you all from way back in the sixties–The Byrds.

I love this song. It causes a very nostalgic feeling to stir inside me. I remember it from when I was a kid. If you’re of a certain age ( or if you were a Forrest Gump fan) you probably know this song. I wanted to share it because it’s my favorite verse in the Bible and because it’s something I do strongly believe. There is a time for everything. There are times when we need to wait and be patient for that right time to come.

I feel the same way when I’m writing a book. I always know when the right time comes, I’ll start writing the story that’s been circulating in my head for weeks or months. And when that story tells me to pause for a time and start work on another project, I do. Even when I’d feel a need to complete a certain project.

Can’t rush the story, I always say. And you can’t force creativity–or at least I can’t. Every writer is different. For me, trusting in the story to come to me when the time is right seems to work well. At least for the moment. I’ll acknowledge the fact that all that could change in time because there is a time for everything and everything in it’s own time.

Launching The Family Way

Saturday May 22nd is the official launching of THE FAMILY WAY. The event is on the Nimbus Facebook page but anyone on or off Facebook can join us. So, that means even if you aren’t a Facebook user you can tune in.

I’m a bit disappointed not to be having an in-person event this time but there’s not a lot that can done about that. Hopefully, in the fall, when A SURE CURE FOR WITCHCRAFT is launched, things will be different. But that is something we won’t know until fall.

I’m reminded of my very first book launch at the community centre here in East Dalhousie, (HERE) and how different this one will be. But different just means that– different, and all I can hope for is to have the best darn virtual launch I can have. I have no idea what to expect and I don’t consider myself particularly savvy when it comes to this online world we’ve been pushed into thanks to the pandemic. But I’ll do my best. That’s all I can do.

Hopefully, some people will tune in to hear me read and maybe even ask a question or two. I hear there are two free copies of THE FAMILY WAY up for grabs and Nimbus is offering a 15% discount if you order one of my books through them. Sweet!

Guess it’s not proper to say I hope to see you there (because I won’t actually see you)–but you know what I mean. Right?

And the Winner is.

As I mentioned in my last post, the Atlantic Book Awards were held last Thursday and GOOD MOTHERS DON’T was nominated for The Dartmouth Book Award. While I didn’t end up with the prize that evening, I still ended up feeling like a winner when these arrived on Saturday afternoon from my publisher.

So, the actual winner of the award was Lesley Crewe and her book THE SPOON STEALER. I’ve met Lesley and she’s so nice and funny, and I’m happy for her. Coincidentally, we both have the same publisher.

Today, I sent off the ARC queries for A SURE CURE FOR WITCHCRAFT to my editor. This means, the ARCs will soon be going off to print. It’s been a crazy busy time with two books coming out in one year and with last year’s book still getting some attention.

This Saturday, I’m set to do a virtual book launch for THE FAMILY WAY which is another first for me. It’s something that anyone on or off Facebook can attend. I’m not sure what to expect but I guess I’ll be soon finding out.

Now, it’s off to work on my next book. I’ve a few in the works but so it’ll be a race to see which one makes it to the finish line first.

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