The Power of Three

You know how they say that good things come in threes, well it was certainly true for me last week. Three new books in as many days, three totally delightful books that I just have to tell you about. Am I lucky or what?

1.The first book came via Joss Burnel, a poet/blogger I met through WordPress a few years backDSC06655 when she showed up at a craft fair in the Annapolis Valley to meet me with a copy of her book of poetry, If God Was a Woman. I’m truly looking forward to reading this as I’m sure Joss (the Crowing Crone) has many insights to share. She has such a warm, friendly spirit I believe we could have talked all afternoon and not run out of words to say. What a thrill to meet a blogging buddy. I might be a little partial, as well, since Joss gave my book, Flying With a Broken Wing, a ringing endorsement in her review a few years back. You can check it out  HERE if you missed it. When I said she was a warm friendly spirit I certainly meant it!

2.From the Heart is an anthology that I’m a part of. It is the third anthology in the Inspiring Hope series. As with the other two books, Inspiring Hope: One story at a Time, and Fly Like an Eagle, the proceeds from this book will also go to charity. Profits from this latest book compiled by Gary Doi will go to the Cmolik Foundation. The foundation “supports post-secondary scholarships for high school graduates who are financially challenged and have demonstrated character, good work ethic and persistence in achieving their goals.” How about that! The books are available for order through Amazon just follow the link here I like knowing the profits will go to charity!

3. And last but not least, I was totally excited when an unexpected package from Diane Tibert came in the mail. The book is titled Throw Away Kitten and was penned by Candy McMudd. a.ka. Diane Tibert. As I told Diane over email, this book is my new favourite and not only because I’m mentioned on page 42 (yes, I’m totally serious. She mentioned me in the book. Cool or what!))  It’s a story for kids 6-11 and I can hardly wait to share this with Miss Charlotte. But I’ll keep the surprise of her nanny’s name being mentioned in the book until she finds it herself. I wonder what her reaction will be. You can order Diane’s book here. 

I hope you’ll check out some or all of these books. I tend to think they’re all pretty special, after all, they have the power of three behind them!


Interview With Daphne Greer

photoToday, it is my pleasure to welcome author Daphne Greer to my blog. Daphne’s here to talk about her latest novel, Jacob’s Landing, which was published by Nimbus Publishing this past spring. Daphne says that never in a million years did she ever picture herself being a writer. She admits that she was not a good student in school and couldn’t spell. She spent her summers working at camps, with children always being the center of her attention.  She eventually  made her way to University and graduated with a Bachelor of Child Studies from Mount St Vincent University. Daphne is the author of Maxed Out (An American Library Association Nominee for best quick read) and her latest book,  Jacob’s Landing,  a Silver Birch Nominee.  She lives in Newport Landing with her husband and four daughters.

About Jacob’s Landing : Coping with the recent death of his father, twelve-year-old Jacob Mosher is !cid_7288C98B-A0D0-4073-A8F3-A908F0874800@Nimbussent to spend the summer with his aging, estranged (and strange!) grandparents in rural Newport Landing, Nova Scotia. Reluctantly, he trades the security of his foster mum in “Upper Canada” for a blind grandfather, Frank, who dresses like a sea captain and conducts flag-raising ceremonies, and a quirky grandmother, Pearl, who sometimes forgets her dentures and has Jacob running in circles. Jacob has two short months to figure out how to deal with his ailing grandfather, the surging Avon River tides, and the family secret that’s haunting his newfound grandparents. He didn’t expect so much danger and mystery to be lurking in tiny Newport Landing.

1.Can you tell us a little about your writing career, how and when the writing bug bit you?

14 years ago I pretty much stumbled into writing. My cousin’s son was struggling with his older brother with special needs and I was trying to figure out how I could be helpful. I initially went looking for a picture book that might help him understand his brother better. When I wasn’t successful I decided to write him a picture book myself. I called it, ‘The Boy Who Smiled.’ At the time I was working full time managing group homes for adults with special needs. I was also a busy mom of three girls until I became pregnant with our fourth daughter and landed in the hospital on bed rest for three months. To fill the time I started writing picture books. Fast forward to deciding to be a stay at home mother. I decided that writing would be my second career. Little did I know how difficult that would be. I quickly realized that I had to learn the craft of writing – loving to write was not enough. So, I joined the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and trotted off to my very first class with Noreen Smiley with my little picture book in hand, where it quickly morphed into a chapter book and took on a whole new life. Many moons later it was published with the title, Maxed Out, as a quick read geared towards reluctant readers. I also wrote a short story called, Christmas Dinner at Wallace Point, which appeared in A Maritime Christmas (which is when I first met the lovely Laura Best, as we both had stories published in the collection.)My writing has lead me to be involved with Writers in the Schools where I give presentations to school age children – hopefully inspiring them to believe anything is possible.

2. You recently had a new novel published can you tell us a bit about it and where the inspiration for this novel came from?

I love stories about families and how they overcome hardship. Bits of stories that I might be privy too or hear about linger in my brain and slosh about until something perks my interest. In this case my Dad suggested I write about Newport Landing and the rich history of the area where we live. At the time I was working with elderly people so they were front and center in my mind. One morning I woke up early and pictured a young boy sitting across from his grandmother who he’s never met and all he can concentrate on is the fact that her false teeth keep slipping out of place. Jacob and Pearl were born and the story unfolded on its own. To my delight I was able to sneak some historical facts about my community into the story.

3. Your latest novel is set in Newport Landing. Why did you chose this location?

Newport Landing lends itself to a story as the scenery is breath taking. The area is rich with history and my husband and I have raised our four daughters here. It just felt right for the story.

4. How did you choose the title for Jacob’s Landing? And can you tell us a bit about the cover?

The title describes the main character who goes to stay with his estranged grandparents for the summer, where he ultimately lands on his feet. My writing group was instrumental with the title. I took the photo at the Avon River Heritage Museum near our home. In the story a telescope figures prominently. I had wanted to take the photo from the widows walk from one of the mansions across the street from my house, but it has seen better days and isn’t safe. The boy featured on the cover is Oliver Mitson a neighborhood boy who was the same age as Jacob in the story. Nimbus did a fantastic job with the cover. The compass is a neat symbol that represents Jacob finding family.

5. Jacob’s grandparents are both colourful characters. Did the inspiration for these characters come from real life?

I never really know my characters until they appear on the page, but at the time I was surrounded by many different colorful elderly people whom I’m sure made their way onto the pages of Jacob’s Landing in various ways, but no one character is based off anyone in particular.

6. How long did it take you to write Jacob’s Landing and can you describe the process from submissions to publication?

It usually takes me the better part of a school calendar year to write my first draft. I focus on producing a chapter per week to take to my writing group where we provide each other with feedback. The process from submission to publication is basically a big fat waiting game. A few sample chapters along with a letter to the publisher gets sent out. Because most editors read the submissions on their own time it can be anywhere from 3- 9 months before you hear back. Once you’ve been accepted with a publishing company the editor gives you and overview of what they like and don’t like about your story. The writer is then asked to do a re- write, taking everything into consideration. Once the editor is happy and you’re happy, things move rather quickly to line edits where the editor goes through every line with a fine tooth comb, making everything sound tighter. Words get deleted and questions get asked that the writer might not have thought about. I personally love the editing process. I don’t mind someone pointing out things I have missed or not thought about. At the end of the day the editor wants your story to be the best it can be. Trust is the name of the game.

7. With so many people choosing to self-publish these days, have you ever considered it as an option or do you prefer working with a publishing house?

I admire authors that have gone the self- publishing route, but I’m not as brave or confident enough to know that at the end of the day my work would be the best it could be. I’ve heard too many horror stories of self -publishing miss haps. For me I feel a great sense of comfort in knowing that certain things will be taken care of by the publishing house that I’m not so great at. I am not an editor for a reason.

8. Are you working on anything new and, if so, can you tell us a bit about it?

I’m a conflicted writer at the moment as I have three stories I want to write and I’m having trouble picking one to focus on. I have been given the extraordinary privilege of telling a story from the point of view of a young man with Asperger’s. I’m very excited and nervous about this project as it’s a huge undertaking. Another story is about a young girl in middle school who struggles with middle school stuff J and the third is a sequel to Jacob’s Landing. At present I’m waiting to hear back on two stories that are out in the ‘publishing universe.’   One is a sequel to Maxed Out and the other is story set in Belgium at a Convent run by Ursuline nuns – inspired by a friend in England who was raised by nuns after her mother died. When I was fourteen I was sent to a convent in Brussels while my dad was working overseas. The convent was rich with writing material.

9. Do you have any advice to pass along to writers who are not yet published?

Patience. Patience. Patience – is the name of the game. Writing is not for anyone who wants things to happen in a hurry or on your own time. If you’re willing to work hard, never give up, never get side swiped by the word NO – and if you love to write, then jump in and tread water like the rest of us. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing, join the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, take courses, meet like- minded people, get feedback on your writing, enter competitions, put yourself out there and NEVER GIVE UP. You need to have thick skin and not take things personally. Keep a note pad with you at all times because your ideas will come to you in the strangest places, but most importantly enjoy the process of writing.

10. Is there anything else about Jacob’s Landing that you would like readers to know?

I’m thrilled to announce that Jacob’s landing is a Silver Birch Nominee by the Ontario Library Association. This is a huge deal in the ‘children’s writing world.’ It’s like getting nomination for the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ in TV land, except it’s for books and the children decide which book they like the best. Jacob’s Landing is one of ten books nominated and I feel incredibly blessed to be among the writers in this category.

Tanita Davis (YA blogger from California) summed up Jacob’s Landing so beautifully – I’ll give her the last word. : Like a perfect summer day – warm, but with just a kiss of breeze – Daphne Greer’s book celebrates the best things about foster care, family, friendships, and bridging the generations to make our own truths. This is a book you’ll want to hug.

!cid_7288C98B-A0D0-4073-A8F3-A908F0874800@NimbusJacob’s Landing  is available at,  Amazon.comChapters as well as Woozles in Halifax, the Box of Delights in Wolfville and most independent books stores.

To find out more about Daphne check out her website Here  

twitter: @daphne_greer

instragram : daphnegreerr


Writing Out the Crap

I know, I know, I know. It’s been awhile since I’ve written a post. Or maybe you didn’t notice, which is okay. I still love you. Why wouldn’t I? You’re my people!

All week long I’ve been mulling over ideas of what to write. The ideas seemed to ebb and flow with my moods as disappointment and challenges kicked in during the week. Some days I was ready to  dig in my heels and write an uplifting post, still other days I wanted to get up on my soapbox and spout off a little. You see, I have a real problem with all the unfairness in the world, of people behaving badly, or simply not having a thoughtful bone in their body. It bugs me and, honestly, sometimes makes me want to retreat from the world and pull the blanket up over my head.

But I have a secret weapon, one that allows me to work through the crap in my life. Yeah, you’ve got it—writing. I know that’s what you’d expect me to say—me being a writer and all—but I believe that we all need to give voice to some of the things that are troubling us from time to time. Some people are verbal and can articulate what’s on their mind very well. Other people are verbal and well…Maybe they need to give writing a try because it just gets a little messy otherwise.. You don’t have to be a fiction writer and make up stories, just writing down the everyday can often help. I don’t mean the I did this and went here and did that’s. I mean really, you’ve got to get into the meat of things, the stuff that bugs you, the people who ticked you off, the ones who broke your trust or were mean or simply haven’t got time for you.

I mentioned this to a teacher friend recently, this writing out the crap thing that I do from time to time. It helps, really it does. It frees me to come to a clean page and start a fresh new writing session when I’ve got things bugging me that I just can’t shake. I mean, how can you allow the words to flow when you’ve got a swell of emotions damned up inside you? Many times we keep churning that crap around in our heads all day. Some people do it at night. Some people do it all day and night. For me, there’s something powerful about writing out what I’m feeling when I’m encountering life’s disappointing times. And since no one is ever going to read it, I can whine and complain and lament to my heart’s content. Because seriously, if you live in the world, you’re going to experience some crap in your life. I don’t care who you are. Even if you appear to be the most happy, bubbly person in the world. And remember, when crap happens in your life you can have a secret weapon too! Try writing out that crap and see how you feel.

While I think of it, I love the lyrics to the song “Bleed Red” by Ronnie Dunn.  I’ve added them below. It reminds me to keep other people in mind as I go through my day, good or bad, and that I’m not the only person who’s having a crappy day. “We all bleed red–the words get stuck in my head from time to time when I’ve got things on my mind. I hope they resonate with you in some way, too.

Bleed Red

Let’s say were sorry, before it’s too late, give forgiveness a chance
Turn the anger into water; let it slip through our hands
We all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way,
We all say words we regret, we all cry tears, we all bleed red

If we’re fighting, we’re both losing; we’re just wasting our time
Because my scars, they are your scars and your world is mine
You and I, we all bleed red, we all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way
We all say words, we regret, well cry tears, we all bleed red
Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes we’re weak, sometimes we’re hurt and it cuts deep
We live this life, breath to breath, we’re all the same; we all bleed red

Let’s say we’re sorry…
Before it’s too late…

We all bleed red, all taste rain, all fall down, lose our way,
We all say words we regret, we all cry tears we all bleed red,
Sometimes we’re strong, sometimes we’re weak; sometimes we’re hurt
It cuts deep; we live this life breath to breath; we’re all the same
We all bleed r-e-e-e-d-d-d

Oh, and to my Canadian readers, Happy Thanksgiving. If you’d like to share something you’re thankful for in the comments that would be great.

The Pumpkin Patch

Okay, so there are more than just pumpkins in the patch, there are also squash and, if you look closely, you’ll even see something that has us a little puzzled–zucchini that seem to have crossed with pumpkins. Is that even possible? Yeah, hubby thought the plants growing in the compost this spring were unique. Turns out they were. We even ended up with a couple of gourds.

We haven’t done a head count of the pumpkins and  squash, and have already given some away. I remember how much my son loved squash as a baby. Maybe we can give a few dozen to Levi!

And zucchini…oh, we still have zucchini looking for good homes. I just didn’t add them to the picture.


We’re near the end of September and that means harvest time. I absolutely love this time of year. I feel inspired in so many ways. Not only that, I have a character in my head who just doesn’t want to shut up. Most of the time it’s when I’m no where near my computer. Sheesh! Sometimes you’ve just have to let them rumble around your head and get all that ugly stuff off their chests.. How was I to know she had so much to say? But truthfully, I can’t imagine I was going to leave her out.

Funny, the things that come to us when we feel inspired. Speaking of inspiration, I’ll leave you with this inspiring quote by Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

With every deed you are sewing a seed, though the harvest you may not see. 







Guest Post—Darlene Foster

Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Darlene Foster to my blog. Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene dreamt of travelling the world, meeting interesting people and writing stories. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring spunky 12 year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include: Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene and her husband divide their time between the west coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, in Spain. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

So without further ado, here’s Darlene!


                                                                     The Joy of Writing for Children



Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books. Without children’s books there may be no market for adult books.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam, in my opinion. Since I never show up without a book as a gift, my grandchildren call me, The Book Gramma. It´s not surprising that I love to write for children.

One grandmother purchased a set of my Amanda travel/adventure books and sent me this email which made my heart sing:

My 12 year old granddaughter just finished your books. She loved them. We were camping and we kept telling her to put the books down and come and play. This is the first time I have seen her get so excited about a book. Your books have given her a love of reading. Thanks for the good reads.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. You have to remove yourself from the adult world and think like a twenty-first century kid. Fortunately, I like to hang around kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading current, middle reader books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young readers. Children notice things adults wouldn’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their head space. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and I love it!

The main character in my first book, Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask, is a Canadian girl who wishes for travel and adventure on her twelfth birthday. The next day she gets a ticket to fly to the United Arab Emirates to visit her aunt and uncle. There she has an adventure of a lifetime. One young reader said, “I want to know where Amanda will travel to next.” That motivated me to write Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting.

I had so much fun writing about Amanda, her travels and escapades that I continued by writing Amanda in England-The Missing Novel. One day, while doing a presentation at a school, a student asked me, “Why doesn´t Amanda stay in Alberta and have an adventure?” I said, “That´s a great idea,” and wrote Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Kids are always giving me ideas. I am currently working on book number five. I have to, my young fans are expecting it.
It brings me much joy to write my books as these fans will grow up and buy adult books soon. Writers of children’s books are creating readers for life. It’s an important job and one I am happy to take on.


Thank you so much, Darlene. It was a pleasure to have you visit.

If you’d like to learn more about Darlene and her books check out her website blog Amazon

Next Time

I’ve got to admit, the passing of Wayne Dyer earlier this week had me feeling a little sad. I’ve most of his books and loved what he had to say. I surely looked up to this man.

A few years back, I went with a friend to one of his talks when he came to Halifax. I would have liked to have gone to meet him after the show, but we didn’t. We left with me longing to have met him on a more personal level. Afterward, I promised myself if I ever got the chance again, I wasn’t going to let it pass. Even if it was just to say “Hi” and get a close up photo. My mind was made up. Next time, things would to be different.

See where that thinking got me?

There’s something to be said about seizing the moment and not letting opportunities pass because, seriously, we never know when our encounter with someone is going to be our last. I should have learned that lesson many years ago on the day my father died. I was at the house when he left to go to town and I don’t even think I took time to say goodbye. (The day was busy. He was just going in to town and I’d likely see him later that day. If not that day, the next.) He never made it home.

We put too much dependence of these “next times” in life, giving ourselves and easy out. (No problem… I’ll just do it next time!) While that thinking is fine and dandy so long as we get that “next time”, but what about the “next times” that never materialize? Think of all those missed opportunities.

So, I’m going to try and change this. If I have something on my mind to tell someone I’m not going wait until the “next time.” No more “next times” for me if it’s at all possible. From now on “next time” has been wiped from my vocabulary. I’m going to be a “this time” kind of gal. If I have an urge to meet someone, to say hello, or to stop and talk a few moments, even when I’m in a hurry, I’m going to do it. This may not work all the time, I mean, sometimes we do need these “next times” in our lives, but I can almost be sure that many of my “next times” won’t be filled with regret later on. That’s all I can do.

I hope you’ll join me on Wednesday when author/blogger Darlene Foster pops in for a visit to talk about why she writes for children. Darlene’s the author of the Amanda Adventure Series for young readers. Hope to see you next time. Oops there’s that “next time” again!

Catch Up!

I chose this title thinking of a writer from Ontario whose work appeared in some of the same publications as mine over the years. She was a retired schoolteacher when we became acquainted. She often sent out emails to the people on her contact list with the title “Catch up” and she’d tell us all the news from her corner of the world.

She once sent me a photo of the farmhouse she lived in. It was beautiful. Over the years she moved several times as she downsized. She sent me some of her books in the past and shared her poetry with me, although she wrote more fiction that poetry. She’d tell me about the trips she went on, which sounded so remarkable to me for she was over 8o at the time. I was impressed by her stamina and her ability to try new things, her sense of fun and spirit. I came to value our friendship.

Overtime the emails became less frequent and I couldn’t help but notice that she seemed a bit confused–sending the same thing several times. Eventually, the emails  and letters stopped. I have no idea if she’s still with us in mind or body, but I appreciated her encouragement over the years and all her little “catch up” emails.

So, here is the “catch up” at the Best household this time around. Hold fast to your britches this is exciting stuff!

Zucchini…zucchini…zucchini. But if you’re on my Facebook you already know that it’s a zucchini jungle here in East Dalhousie as an influx of the green beasts are arriving daily to my garden. I’ve been slowly finding homes for these wayward …Ummm…souls doesn’t sound appropriate here, but you know what I mean. Here’s the scoop when it comes to zucchini. You either love them or loathe them, and when you loathe them you REALLY loathe them to the point where you don’t even want to hear the word zucchini mentioned in your presence. I have shuddered in the past over people’s rendition of the “I hate zucchini and don’t even mention the word to me” ballad. These people need some serious help! On a positive note, I’ve been discovering some new recipes that incorporate zucchini.



5 weeks to T-Day (That’s twin day for those of you out of the loop) although I won’t be surprised if they come a little ahead of schedule as they’re growing like zucchini …um make that weeds. Did I mention we’re having a girl and a boy? Exciting times. Speaking of twins, it seems there are twins everywhere I look. These twins were in the backyard yesterday nibbling away. No doubt a hint that the lawn could use mowing again.


Miss Charlotte has her backpack ready and will heading off to school on the 8th of September. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone. Wasn’t it just a year ago she started walking and talking and reading? Oh my!

Some sad news for us this month as well. One of my mum’s childhood friends, who went to the School for the Blind with her, isn’t doing so well. My mum and stepfather got down to visit her in the hospital yesterday to say their goodbyes. The last time I saw her was at Mum’s wedding last fall. She was anxious to know when my next book was coming out. Growing up, I heard so many stories about Mum’s friends from the school and many of them have stayed in contact with her over the years. It’s a strong bond they all share.

That’s what friends are for—I’m reminded of this in so many ways. A late night email from a friend, who sent along some words of encouragement, for no particular reason, not only gave me a much needed boost, but impressed upon me the importance in lifting one another up. We can all use encouragement, not just during our low times, but all those times in between—writers especially. So a big thank you to my friend who understands that the little things really do mean so much.

We were to a beautiful wedding at the end of July at Sainte- Famille Wines in Falmouth. So happy for these friends who go back all the way to elementary school if we’re being technical.


I’ve a few book events coming up in September and will be part of the Arts and Life Tour again this year. I’ll be at the Parkdale/Maplewood Museum  the same as last year.  You’ll even see my name listed! Drop in and say hello if you’re taking in this tour. I’ll be there with my books and we can talk about writing or zucchini—you choose. I’m versatile that way! Seriously, sometimes people shy away from speaking to authors at these events, feeling that they’ll be expected to buy a book. That’s not true.  While authors love it when someone makes a purchase, we also love meeting people and having a good gab!

Also, before I go, I’d like to mention to any of the writers out there who would like to be a guest on blog during the month of September feel free to contact me through the “contact me” or my regular email if you have it. If you have a book you’d like to promote we’ll mention that too. I’ve declared September the “lifting up my fellow author month.” 


Now it’s your turn. What do you have to share as part of this “catch up” post?


Waiting on Inspiration

I’ve been waiting on some inspiration for the past couple of weeks, hoping for some idea for a blog post. Then it hit me—like inspiration does. I’ll write a post about inspiration because, at the moment, I feel inspired to do so. Inspiration often hits us like the shot from a gun. Bang! She kind of blind-sides us at the strangest, most inconvenient times. We’re waiting in traffic, sitting in the dentist’s chair, fixing dinner for a hungry crowd. She doesn’t give warnings. Oh no, that would be too easy for inspiration. She’s cagey, a bit of a trickster, but no matter what her terms are we welcome with her open arms. IMAG0574AShe comes right out of the blue when we least expect her. Dropping what we’re in the midst of, we hurry toward our computer, or if our computer isn’t handy we whip out a notebook, and scribble down that brilliant thought, paragraph, sentence, or word. Satisfaction forms a smile on our face as a comforting feeling wraps a warm arm around our heart. Finally, the waiting is over. We’ve found the very inspiration we’ve been longing for. Most times when we weren’t even looking. One thing is for certain we can’t rush inspiration—nope, not at all. Like an apparition stepping through the mist she comes to us in her own good time. She can be illusive, sometimes shy, other times she appears in her party dress, classy and down right sassy, ready to entertain us with her flamboyant moves. She can dance for hours if we’re willing to watch. No sense in letting our frustration build as we wait and wonder when she’ll appear. There’s no point in sending her a gold embossed invitation or attempt to serenade her in the evening hours beneath moonlight and stars. We can’t coax her out of hiding like a kitten that’s crawl under a doorstep the moment a little hand reaches out for it. She’s a free spirit, who comes and go as she pleases. What’s most amazing is the way she can appears to us in so many different forms. No two people will ever see inspiration in the same way. Just as we are one of a kind, her relationship to us is unique, therefore everything we create, even though it may come from that same place of inspiration, is totally different. How cool is that? IMAG0581AIt has taken me quite some time to realize that no one will write a story the way I do, about the things I do, in the way I do it. Some people will like it, while others won’t. It’s that simple. I can’t/ won’t please everyone, but that won’t stop inspiration from seeking me out. She’ll come to me in spirit, in truth. She’ll touch me with moments of insight and send me in a direction that has never before held the weight of footsteps on its path. Do you often find yourself waiting on inspiration or is she a constant companion?

Working For the Weekend



Early this morning my brain kept singing “everybody’s working for the weekend,” and I thought how true that is–for me at least. I wish it wasn’t so, but until my dream of signing that million dollar book contract come true I’m doomed to work a Monday to Friday. You know you have a seriously boring life when you find yourself getting excited over a new pair of work gloves–just saying. Maybe that’s why I write.

I wanted to pass along the link to Christi Corbett’s blog. Christi invites authors to her blog to tell their “Path to Publication” story. This week’s story is about little ole me! Here’s the link if you’d like to read my story. Oh, and have yourself a great weekend. I’ve a wedding to go to and I’m planning to see my little grandson. Yup, I love my weekends. Believe me, they’re much more exciting than a new pair of work gloves!

The story of my friend Oran

Have you ever thought about living to be 100? What it would be like to see all the changes in the world over a span of one hundred years? Would you even want to live that long? A lot of people say they most certainly wouldn’t want to, although I wonder if it’s because most of us really don’t expect to live that long so it’s an easy judgment to make. Some people look at old age as a disease of the body and mind, and I suppose for many it is. But I’m just not sure it has to be that way. I’ve heard about some pretty remarkable centurions. I can’t help thinking that much of it had to do with their attitude and their determination to age yet never grow “old.”

My next-door neighbour lived to be 100. She was a remarkable lady. She’s been gone for about 7 years now, but I think of her so often. She was a feisty lady with a twinkle in her eye and a fierce determination to do things one way or the other. Many times it was that “other” way, but it never made a difference in the end result.

I spent many hours at her house being entertained by her stories of long ago, totally enthralled in that way of life she so vividly described in her yarns. There was so much for someone like me to learn and my love for local history deepened with each story she told. I loved hearing her stories about the first time she remembered ever seeing a woman smoke (probably a big deal at the time!); her days in a one-roomed schoolhouse; the very first doll she ever had that she won in a raffle but ended up giving it away to a little girl she thought wanted it more; and even her memories of the rumble they heard the morning of the Halifax explosion in 1917 and when word finally reached them in the Forties Settlement that “Halifax blew up.” I once asked her why she didn’t write down her stories but she told me she didn’t want to because there had been so much sadness. She often spoke of her father’s death during the flu epidemic after the First World War and how she went to work as a hired girl shortly afterward. She never complained about any of these things or the sadness she spoke of, but simply stated them as fact.

More than her stories, as if they weren’t enough, she helped teach me that I was capable of doing things I normally wouldn’t even have attempted on my own. I like to think that a little of her determination kind of rubbed off on me over the years.

cupOne spring she decided we’d paint her bedroom. She’d chosen a soft lavender colour for the walls. It was her favourite. Painting I can do… no problems there. But while I was in the middle of rolling on the lavender I heard a strange sound coming from the kitchen. I went off to investigate only to find that my friend had her skillsaw out and was cutting a piece of wood to make a shelf for her newly painted room. Just so you know, she was about ninety at the time.Together we put up the shelf. Now, I’m not a shelf-putter-upper person by any stretch of the imagination. When I need a self put up in my house I get Hubby to do the job. But not that day. That day I was a shelf-putter-upper. While I put up brackets for a brand spanking new shelf, Hubby was nowhere to be found.

Meanwhile, as I painted the walls and put up the shelf, my friend kept speculating on who would lay the cushion floor she’d bought. (Yes, she wanted the room to have a complete makeover.) Did I know anyone who could do it? she asked. While I couldn’t think of anyone, apparently she had someone in mind. And really, I should have known better. I really, really should have.

I’m not sure if my face gave way my surprise when she handed me a pair of scissors and told me to start cutting but it certainly should have. I stared down at the scissors, took a deep breath and started. There was no question about it. I was in for the whole deal. Cushion floor does NOT cut easily with scissors, but skin sure blisters easily—just so you know! And now that I think of it, she probably had me pegged for the job right from the start. She could be cagey that way …but cagey in an endearing way that always made me smile. Thank goodness the room was small with no strange and unusual cuts to make. It was no good for me to say I can’t do this, she’d have just said to give it a try anyway. She never worried that her expectations would not be met.

Like so many women in her time she was a quilter. I helped her with a few quilts one winter. I’d didn’t know how to use a thimble let alone quilt, but I did it. I love quilts, absolutely LOVE them. “Have you ever seen an ugly quilt?” I asked her one day as we stitched away. “Yes,” she said quite seriously, “this one.” But “ugly” or not, it keeps me warm, and I absolutely love it. Yes, she gave it to me when we were done. Of course it’s more than just a quilt, it’s pieces of coloured fabric stitched together with heart and soul and laughter and love and memory—and all those things makes it absolutely beautiful.

One thing I loved about doing things for my friend was she never expected perfection. (Good thing for that!) She was always just happy to have it done…and always grateful to have company.

IMAG0584One summer, when she was further into her nineties, she decided she wanted to finish one of the bedrooms upstairs in her house. Ignoring what others said about why she would decide at her age to tackle such a job, she went ahead. Her niece helped her. Saturday mornings we could hear the tap-tapping of hammers from down the road. “Oran must have got a pet woodpecker,” my husband would joke. It used to make us giggle as we imagined the two of them working away. But you know what? She got ‘er done. And I’m not sure if I’m more impressed that they did it, these two women with no carpentry skills, or the fact that at 90+ years she wasn’t too old to hope or wish or want or dream. And while I’m not absolutely sure, I think that her “I can” attitude had much to do with her longevity.

There is so much more to this story than I could possible post here, more than a lifetime if I were to dig deep enough. But more importantly, I think this story, this story of my friend, Oran, who lived to be 100 years young, is a story we can all learn from. Life is so much more than the number of years we’ve lived but the number of years we’ve filled with love and laughter and memories, not only for ourselves but for others.

Have you ever thought about living to be 100? Has anyone in your life made it that far?

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