My Take Away

We had beautiful weather for the big book launch and sale outside Open Book Coffee yesterday. Simply gorgeous. Except for a book signing at LaHave River Books last weekend, this was my first public event for my newly published book. Dang pandemic. But it’s good to see that some of these events are beginning to happen.

I finally got to do my first public reading of GOOD MOTHERS DON’T. Look at that beautiful blue sky.

I signed some books with the help of managing editor Whitney Moran. (Sorry Hubby cut your head off, Whitney. He’s not the best photographer but he does come to all my events!) Someone told me they purposely came to the event to get a signed copy of GOOD MOTHERS DON’T. That was music to this author’s ears. I’ve said it before and I’ll continue to say it: I’m so grateful for the support I’ve received over the years.

I also came home with some great books I’m looking forward to reading. If you didn’t make the sale you missed out on some great bargains.

Finally, here’s my take away from the book launch and sale.  I’m taking it as a sign of good things to come!

I hope your Saturday was as fun as mine. Thanks for reading!

 

 

 

Reaching out to Readers

Have you read my book and enjoyed it? (Wait…maybe you shouldn’t don’t answer that… Just kidding…I think.) If you have read Good Mothers Don’t and would like to help out here’s something you can do.

I recently received this email from my publisher. 

We’re working really hard to find ways to get your books out in front of readers, and I’m reaching out with something that you can do to help. When you’re talking to friends, family and fans, encourage them to post a reviews of your book on places like Goodreads, Indigo and Amazon.

While reviews are important any time, they are even more so during this pandemic. I’ve got to be honest, this probably isn’t the best time to have a book released. With that said, I am so very grateful that it is finally out there in the world and finding its way into the hands of readers. Tomorrow, August 31st, the kindle edition will be released on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca .

My understanding is that you don’t have to have purchased your book on sites like Amazon in order to rate books and write reviews so long as you have an account there. If you’re reading this and know different, please share. I personally don’t purchase things online. My horrible internet plays a big role in that.

Some of you have already reviewed my book on GoodReads. Awesome! I really appreciate it more than you know. FYI you can also rate books without actually writing reviews, but if you want to write something even a one line review is fine. All these things can help gain attention for any book. Some people pay close attention to these ratings and reviews when deciding what they want to read.

To date, so many of my friends and family have shared the cover of my book with their friends on Facebook and that’s been really, really awesome. It’s put my book in front of people who might not have otherwise been aware of it. Word of mouth is a really powerful selling tool. I can’t say that enough.

So, I wanted to pass this message from publisher along to my family, friends and fans. If you have time and feel so inclined a rating or review on any of these sites would be very much appreciated. 

My Comfort Zone

Welcome to my comfort zone. It’s so cozy and safe here, all the things I’m used to seeing and having around me. My comfort zone doesn’t require a lot from me. It understands me in a way nothing else does. It’s known me since forever and that is such a comforting thought.
My family and friends are here, all the familiar faces I’m used to and places I have already seen, experiences I have already lived through, thoughts I’ve had many times over. Have I already said how comfortable it feels?

Oh yes, I have.

I never have feelings of anxiety or worry as long as I stay in my comfy zone–strange thing, that is.

But as comfy as all that sounds, after awhile it gets to be a bit boring and going through life forever bored seems like such a waste. As one of the characters in Good Mothers Don’t said, “too much worry can kill you, but a little worry at least lets you know you’re alive.” I do believe this is true. Sometime we need some worry in our lives as we begin to look outside that comfort zone of ours. I have a friend who has often reminded me in the past that staying in my comfort zone does not allow me to expand and grow as a human being. She is right of course, not matter how well-fitting that comfort zone of mine has been, there comes times when I need to step outside.

When I first began writing, I imagined a life of solitude as I filled empty pages with prose. Of course, for many years I wrote in private and no one but a few family members knew what I was doing behind closed doors. Slowly, that “secret” began to expand and close friends were let in on it. And then the first book was published, pushing me into unfamiliar territory. While book signings and public appearances are all part of an author’s life, it drew attention to me and my work and I’ll be honest, putting my work out there for the whole world to see was scary, especially the first time. Some people will like what you’ve written and some people won’t. People you know will either support you and your work, or else they’ll ignore you altogether. It’s just the way it is. Everyone is not going to care that you’re an author, nor should they. I’m still me. Some published books hasn’t change that.

What I didn’t know back at the very beginning when I first started writing was that there would be many many times when I’d be called upon the step outside my comfy comfort zone. All I ever wanted to do was write and see my words in print. I knew that would make me happy. I’ll admit that there have been times when I’ve not been able to take those steps and I’ve missed out on opportunities because of it and I’ve been disappointed in myself.

But each new day brings new opportunities to grow and learn. With that said, I have also taken those steps outside my comfort zone and it has been scary and things haven’t necessarily turned out the way I’d hoped, but that’s okay. It wasn’t the end of the world. Nothing terribly drastic has happened because of it and I eventually accepted the consequences of my disappointment. Life has to be that way sometimes. We learn much more though our missteps than when everything goes along smoothly. We are always harder on ourselves that we would ever dream of being on others, but we eventually learn to get over our missteps. We are all human and make mistakes.

I expect that in time to come I’ll become braver and more willing to leave the comforts I’ve come to know in pursuit of new experiences. These experiences might be good, they might be bad, but I’ll take the good with the bad. It’s all any of us can do.

No- Launch- Book- Launch

Welcome to the No- Launch- Book- Launch of Good Mothers Don’t,  brought to you compliments of Covid 19 and Rural Internet Service. I’m so glad you could make it. I know, I know,–it’ just not the same, right? But hey, I’m not about to let the fact that I can’t have a regular book launch at the community centre, or even a virtual launch, get me down. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right?

We tried, we really did, to come up with a way to help celebrate the release of my new novel but there was that uncomfortable feeling lurking in the background, that sinister pandemic pointing it’s ugly finger like the grim reaper waiting to catch us off guard. We thought about ways to make it safe and fun like all the other launches we’ve had here at the community centre, but mask-wearing isn’t fun, neither is physical distancing, neither is allowing only a few people in the community centre at one time. And we wouldn’t have been able to offer a lunch. Well, you may as well forget having a gathering in East Dalhousie if there isn’t going to be a lunch. I’m serious; it’s almost mandatory in these parts.

So, I got thinking that if I had a No-Launch-Book-Launch, how could I make it fun and interesting. I thought about all the people I would invite, figuring on how the sky’s the limit when you’re hosting a No- Launch-Book- Launch. So here’s my guest list.:

Patrick Murphy—It was Patrick’s suggestion that I write this novel, so of course I’m going to invite him. I’ll be honest, I might have cursed a time or two in the beginning, I can’t be sure now, but I do remember that I made him promise to tell me if I was writing monkey crap. Yup, monkey crap–those were my exact words to him. Thankfully he didn’t tell me that or I would have stopped working on this novel years ago. I think he just felt sorry for me at that point. Honestly, I ‘m pretty sure neither of us thought I’d be able to pull this thing off—it was THAT bad. But I persevered—I’m small but stubborn. I think the turning point for me came when Elizabeth said, “I am well now. When the pink dawn draws near to my bedroom window I take comfort in those words.” That’s when I really started to “get” her and when I knew that, come hell or high water, I would write this novel.

Whitney Moran—Whitney was the first one to read the book when it was just a bunch of loose pages. She liked it and wanted to publish it and I wanted to give her a big hug, but you can’t really hug over email. Whitney has acquired five of my book (three more to come) and we haven’t once met. I know—how is that possible? I can tell you that she seems pretty down to earth, very kind and patient, so VERY patient. So, I’d definitely add her to my No-Launch-Book-Launch invitation list.

Penelope Jackson—I’ve worked on my last three books with Penelope. She probably knows me, as a writer, better than anyone else, meaning she knows how to bamboozle me into digging deeper and finding a better alternative for all of the awkward sentences I might have written, without her actually telling me how awkward some of my sentences are–see what I mean about awkward sentences? She also knows how I dislike it if I use the same word in too many places and will point that out to me. (Just so you know, I wanted to throw that word “bamboozle” into this post because it’s presently one of my favourite words. I just love the way it rolls off the tongue—bamboozle.)

Since this is my non-existing book launch, and I’m the host, and get to make up the guest list, I thought it would be really great to have Carol Bruneau, Christy-Ann Conlin and Linda Little pop in to say hi. These three wonderful writers blurbed my book–early praise, the publisher called it. (Please check their work out!) They said some pretty amazing things about Good Mothers Don’t which you’ll see when you open the cover. I’d really like to thank them in person. Such a generous thing for these writers to do for little old me—maybe scratch that word “old.”


I’m inviting our Prime Minister this time around–for sure. I think Good Mothers Don’t would make a great gift for Sophie, don’t you? Whether you like him or you don’t, I figure he’d draw a crowd once word got out that he was coming. There’s even a field near the community centre perfect for landing a helicopter, but that’s not even an issue with this No-Launch-Book-Launch. really, he has no excuse for being a no-show. I’m so excited.  If this was a regular Launch, I’m sure he’d want to speak to the audience, however briefly, (not moistly, although he would be wearing a mask I suppose) Just a suggestion here, but he could always pose for a selfie with my book. Bet that would go viral!

Leo Glavine—The Minister of Communitites, Culture and Heritage and our MLA out here in East Dalhousie—yes, that Leo Glavine. Many East Dalhousians know that Leo and I go back a LONG way. He taught me Geography when I was about fourteen at good old West Kings High. He comes to all my launches (which, oddly enough, usually coincide with an election year.) And while he’s there schmoozing with all of you, I hope he has a darn good explanation as to why we don’t have high-speed internet for an author who is trying to launch a new book and how a virtual launch is out of the question because of it. Believe me, I’ve asked him the High-speed question more than once over the years….. But, since this is a celebration of my new book, and not a debate about rural internet, he’s not likely to give an adequate answer. You know what politicians are like. (PS: I hope he’s reading this.)

Maria Panopalis and Jayson Baxter–obviously I’m going to invite the media. This is MY launch after all and that means I get to make up all the rules. These two gifted hosts entertain me over the supper hour. They’re a staple in our household. Can’t miss CTV News Atlantic every evening at 5:00 pm, I just can’t. I love all the heart-warming stories from around the Maritimes, especially during this pandemic. They constantly renew my faith in the human race with the stories they present. That’s exactly what we need during these times. Way to go Maria and Jayson!

Jann Arden–Who wouldn’t want the multi-talented Jann Arden at their book launch? Not only does she sing, she acts and she writes and she’s just so darn funny. I tweeted her book, “Feeding My Mother” after I read it and she even thanked me. That was a thrill! I wonder if her book sales soared after I tweeted it? 😉  I’m not expecting her to perform, that wouldn’t be fair but, if she insisted, she’d be more than welcome to sing “Good Mother” to keep with the theme. I love that song.

In the words of Michelangelo — The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.’ That is why I’m aiming really, really high by inviting my next guest. Please don’t think I’m off my rocker, just think of me as the author who dared to aim high. I’ve given it plenty of thought. And if for some reason I could only have one person at my No-Launch-Book-Launch it would be Ellen.–yup, THAT Ellen, the Ellen who doesn’t need to have her last name uttered because everyone just knows. It seems to me that she’s one of the kindest and most caring people on the planet. She does so much good in the world and right now the world can use as much good as we can get. And who knows, maybe when she’s able to film in front of a live  studio audience, she’ll give everyone in the audience a copy of GOOD MOTHERS DON’T. In fact, I’m pretty sure she will because she’s just THAT nice. Like I said, I’m aiming high, really really high. 😉  What we do know is that I won’t be a guest on the Ellen Show anytime soon, since I don’t have high-speed and she’s filming virtually these days. Guess we’ll just have to wait until this dang pandemic is over. Hope that’s Okay, Ellen.

No No-Launch-Book-Launch would be complete without my family and friends. Of course my family and friends are invited. What’s a celebration without all those important people in my life showing up? Besides, they’re also the ones most likely to come bearing gifts—yes, gifts. I know—they are spectacular.  I’ve receives flowers and potted plants, special mugs, Mars (FYI–the bar, not the planet), homemade jam, cards and one person even gifted me some Arnica at one of my launches. That’s why I love them! My mum will be there with bells on. You can be sure. She was the first person to read the book and she’s been spreading the word. It could be monkey crap, but she’s still talking it up like all good mother do

I’m also inviting the good people of the Forties Settlement where I set much of my novel. I love the people of the Forties, such a friendly bunch. I also have family ties there. And I love the landscape. It’s such a beautiful little community.

I’m inviting all of East Dalhousie, of course I am. East Dalhousie is my heart and soul. It’s where so many of my good friends live. It’s the place I wrote about in the Country Roads anthology many years ago.

So there’s my guest list, and since it’s my No-Launch-Book-Launch I can invite as many people as I want, no worries about crowd control or social distancing. We have plenty of space  on my blog. No mask-wearing at my No-Launch-Book -Launch because I would have had to insist that everyone wear one if this had been your “run of the mill pandemic book launch.” (Bet that’s something that doesn’t get uttered often. )


If you can think of anyone I left off my list or someone you think who’d love to come to my No-Launch-Book-Launch please feel free to add them in the comment section of this blog and remember the words of Michelangelo about aiming high. Invite anyone you’d like, even yourself, especially yourself..

And, because I put a lot of thought into this, I decided that it would be really great to have Margaret Atwood introduce me at my No- Launch- Book -Launch. She does have ties to Nova Scotia so no doubt she’d be anxious to come out to East Dalhousie. I mean, why wouldn’t she? I’ve gone to several of her events over the years and I kind of figure she owes me, not that I’m a tit-for-tat kind of person, because I’m not. Still, it would be really swell if she were to introduce me before I do a reading from the book. We writers need to stick together, right? And just imagine if she actually tweeted my book. $$$$$

After a grand intro by Margaret Atwood, and I’ve thanked all of you for coming, I’ll read an excerpt from my book. I hope you enjoy it. It’s the best I can do with under these circumstances. I hope you can appreciate the hoops I had to jump through to pull this reading off. Just click on the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv0wkDjZKp8

You can’t have a launch in East Dalhousie, even a No-Launch-Book-Launch, without serving a lunch; you just can’t. Ask anyone here. But then I already explained that.. Someone once told me that when people come to East Dalhousie they expect to be fed well. Here’s a sample from our last launch. Spectacular, right? That’s only half the table and I’m pretty sure the food was replenished a few times. Can’t say enough about the way people in this community come together on launch day. They’re the ones responsible for this spread, and really I couldn’t do any of this without the many helpers I’ve had over the years. 


Since sales are a part of any launch, even a No-Launch-Book-Launch, you can contact me if you’re in my area and we can make arrangements for a safe book sale. Just call or email ahead of time, maybe even stop me on the road. I have books. I can even sign one for you! You do want an author signed book, don’t you?

You can also order a book through your local Indie book store. Good Mothers Don’t is also available at  through Nimbus.ca,  at Coles and Chapters, and can be ordered on line at Chapter.ca and Amazon.ca.

Despite the circumstances surrounding the release of my book, I’m going to think positive thoughts. The book recently made the “Hottest Summer reads” list in the Globe and Mail and that was an absolute thrill to have my book be recognized in that way.

When all is said and done, saying thank you is the most important part of any launch. I thank all for coming to my No-Launch-Book-Launch. It has meant so VERY much to me. I hope you weren’t disappointed that we couldn’t have an in-person event. No one wanted this pandemic to happen but we’re all making the best of it under the circumstances. And think of all the famous people you’ve had the chance to hobnob with. It’s not as if that would have happened at a regular book launch.

If you’d like to leave a comment for me or if you have a suggestion of who else we should invite or if you want to add your name to let me know you’re out there, please do. One tiny thing you can do to help spread the word about my No-Launch-Book-Launch and the publication of GOOD MOTHER DON’T is to share this post on social media: share it, tweet it, shout it from the roof tops because when Margaret Atwood tweets it, and this thing goes viral, I promise, you’re going to want to be a part of that.  😉  

Thanks so much for coming and helping me celebrate today. All jokes aside, I’m making the best of the situation. I’m just so grateful to have my novel in print  and that some of you have already picked up a copy and even told me how much you’ve enjoyed it. I love seeing the pictures my Facebook friends have been posting  to let me know they have the book and helping to spread the word. That means the world; it really does. Thanks so much to all the wonderful people at Nimbus Publishing for believing in me and my  book!

And remember that no matter who you are, or where you’re from, whether you’re famous or just YOU (because I’m just me) you’re always welcome in East Dalhousie, not only on launch day –or No-Launch-Book-Launch Day as the case may be–but any day. Please know how very special you all are!

A Whole New Wall

I recently saw a spot on the evening news drawing our attention to the Aylesford Wall which happens to have been painted by local artist Larry Lee back in 2013. I’ve posted photos of this wall a few times in the past, if you want to check them out they’re Here and Here. There are more photos in each of these posts and you can see more of the details of the artist’s work. FYI the second link had better photos as the first post had photos taken in winter.

 

If something good has come out of this pandemic it might very well be our rediscovery of the beauty in our own part of the world and our appreciation of what already exists in our own backyard. There is so much to see and enjoy. 

Have you had the opportunity to rediscover your world since the pandemic arrived? Please share if you have. I’d love to hear about it.

It’s Not You, it my Internets

You know how when someone says, it’s not you, it’s me they’re really trying to tell you to go take a hike, get lost, leave and never come back. You know that, right?

But I’m not saying that to my readers or anyone even though the title of the blog post might suggest something different. I love it when you all come to visit my blog.

BUT the reality of my online presence is that I struggle on a daily basis with rural internet woes. I’m surprised someone hasn’t written a little ditty about it as apparently 30% of us here in Nova Scotia do not have adequate high-speed. *sigh*

What does that mean someone who’s not in that 30% might ask?

Well, for me, it means that I’m not always present on Facebook or Twitter, and when I am there most times it’s in a limited capacity. Pages only partially load or fail to load altogether. I can’t always “react” to my friends posts or comment. Accessing FB messenger is sometimes impossible for days at a time. I can’t always create posts or upload photos. Just think of all that witty content you’re missing out on. (Okay, that last part is a joke but you know what I mean.) What I miss greatly is that I don’t get to see your photos or videos, do video chats or anything of that sort. Visiting blogs is a challenge some days and leaving a comment can literally take a half hour of attempting over and over only to have to give in and concede defeat. And simply not having the time to wait and wait which is even more frustrating than waiting for an editor to make a decision on a book you’ve submitted for publication. (Yeah, THAT bad!)

What I will say it that so many of you have been simply super at promoting my new book online in my absence, posting photos of the cover and putting the book out there, sharing MY posts to the people on you friend lists. What would I do without you helping me out? I can’t thank you all enough.

Needless to say, I’m beyond frustrated with my Internets situation, but it’s my reality for now.

So, please don’t ever feel that I’m ignoring any of you if I’m sometimes late to the party or don’t show up at all. It’s not you, I promise, it’s my Internets. I enjoy reading what you post on social media and the photos you post that I sometimes get to see, but not all the time because they don’t always load. And I thank you all for your help in promoting my books. It is something I’m forever grateful for.


BUT we’ve been given a small bit of light in this very dark tunnel. I’ve been told by our MLA that our community is on the list to receive high-speed and people in the community have spoken to workers in the are who are out “scouting” the area. Still, as I sit here this morning with my coffee, making several attempts to get into my Facebook messages, I have to wonder if this is all talk, all for show or will the seeming will impossible finally come to pass.

At Long Last–Good Mothers Don’t

After what turned out to be a challenging week, this was waiting for me on my doorstep when I got home from work. I’ve got to be honest, I was starting to wonder if June would actually be the month. Of course back when the world was normal, my book was to be out in time for Mother’s day. It just goes to show how things can change. But I am not complaining. Today, many business in Nova Scotia have opened up. There is a small light at the end of the tunnel and it is so very welcomed.


I am as pleased as can be with the books and so grateful to everyone at Nimbus Publishing. Having a adult fiction novel published has been my dream since forever. The books are absolutely beautiful. Hopefully, you’ll see that for yourself soon enough.

So, to update the update on the update. The books have arrived!!

Super Moons and Flying Squirrels

Sometimes life gives us a chance to pay more attention to the world closest around us. Despite what many of us have been thinking and feeling these past couple of months, pandemics are apparently good for some things. It’s forced many of us to stay close to home and appreciate what we have in our own backyard. I also think we’ve stopped taking life for granted, especially those people in our lives that we haven’t been able to see or spend time with for months now, with that ever looming question hanging over us : When? When will we be able to hug our friends and family? When will life go back to some sort of normalcy? 

Patient. We’ve been told to be patient. Let me assure you, writers are patient people. We have to be.

Thankfully, we’ve made some fun discoveries during our self-isolation. Yes, there have been times of uncertainty and many sleepless nights, not to mention how much we miss seeing the kids and grand kids, and wondering how long it will be before we can visit our granddaughter who lives in another province. But hope is out there and is something that keeps us going. The world is filled with many wondrous and beautiful things.

I’m not sure how many of you had the chance to see the super moon earlier this month. It was a lovely yellow as it came up across the lake. Quite breath-taking.

And while we were out discovering things in our back yard, Hubby found a flying squirrel in a dead tree on our property when he randomly tapped on it. He got a bit of a surprise when this little girl popped her head out. We’re thinking it’s a “she” as she appeared rather plumb and  a quick search on the internet told me they have their babies in May and June.

I was quite tickled to get a photo since they are nocturnal which means you don’t often see them during the day.

As we trudge through this pandemic, I hope you are making some wonderful discoveries where you live. With all the great weather we’ve been having recently, and summer not far off, I am looking forward to making many more discoveries in the weeks ahead.

Good Mothers Don’t–Guest Post

I’m not sure about you, but I was glad to see April come to an end. It was a challenging month on so many levels.

I’m looking forward to May and all that it brings. I’m also one month closer to the release of my first novel for adults which is very exciting. As many of you know, my original release date of April 30th was pushed ahead to June. Unfortunate, but it’s not the end of the world, and hopefully things in the world will be a bit better at that point.

In the meantime, I’m a guest of Darlene Foster’s blog today. HERE  Darlene has written a lovely review of Good Mother Don’t  from an ARC she received from my publisher awhile back and she’s has asked me a few questions as well. 

So what are you waiting for? Pop on over and say, hello! We will enjoy the company.

 

 

This Social Isolation is For the Birds

Someone forgot to tell our weekend visitors that all flights to East Dalhousie have been cancelled for the foreseeable future–government orders. But like some others who refuse to follow the rules, they showed up unexpected.  With the distance they’d come from, we hadn’t the heart to send them flying. I’ll admit, we were a bit apprehensive but they did practice social distancing for the entire visit even if they didn’t wear masks. So what if we broke the rules this once. I mean, you tell me, what did it hurt?

 

 

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