Edits and Relish and Leaves

I’m interrupting my edits to give you zucchini relish…

DSC07839

This is one of two batches I made over the weekend as well as dill pickles. Sorry, no photo of the pickles. Hubby already took them to the basement.  He’s so efficient that way.  ;)

And coloured leaves…

DSC07838

We’ve been seeing leaves of various colours along the roadside. It’s only the middle of August. What’s up with that?

Okay, so I’m on a tight schedule here with the edits but sometimes you’ve got to live life. Do I need to be writing a blog post. Nope. But I am just the same. Why? Because I feel like it.

Yesterday, we went to a 50th Anniversary party for friends of ours. I snapped the leaf photo on the way home, ground up the veggies for relish to sit overnight, and took a dive into the edits. This morning I cooked the relish and sealed them in jars with the help of Hubby who’s pretty helpful in that department.  As I said, my schedule is tight, what with working five days a week and making pickles and relish, but a part of me likes having a date looming over me. It makes me determined to get things the way I want them. I love working on edits and my editor has asked some challenging questions about the the story. I’ll have to turn to my mum to clarify some things about the Halifax School For the Blind because she’s my expert in that department. It’s great having an inside source.

Okay, so time to get back into the edits. When things slow down, I’ll let you know a bit more about the book. Maybe even give you a peek at the cover. Gotta go. Wish me luck!

 

Stepping Back in Time

Yesterday, I took a step back in time, just like the advertisements told me too. (Hey, I’m easily persuaded. What can I say?😉 )This year marks New Ross’ 200th Anniversary and that’s something to be celebrated. What’s my connection to New Ross? New Ross is actually my next door neighbour and I have lots of friends, and some family, living there. I love this little community and the people in it. It even got a mention in my last book!

Since I’m a supporting-local-kind of gal, I couldn’t imagine not being at the parade. Coincidentally, I’d heard a few stories about the 100th parade from my friend Oran. I wrote a blog post about her awhile back because she was such an amazing person.  If you didn’t already read it you can by clicking this link HERE. I wish now I’d asked her more about the celebration in 1916.

Here are a few highlights from the parade. Keep in mind that New Ross is a community that relies on the agriculture and forestry industry and this was certainly reflected in yesterday’s parade entries.

You can’t have a parade without a marching band. Well, you can but…..

DSC07662The New Ross Historic Society had a float in the parade with people decked out in period costumes.

DSC07674Nothing says rural Nova Scotia like the 4-H club. I’m pretty sure most everyone in New Ross belonged to 4-H sometime during their youth.

DSC07677

The Christmas Tree Industry was well represented. J& M Reeves Christmas Greens. Hey, there’s Jeanette, Matthew, Rylie, Barb, Gracie and I think I see John’s arm in the background. Hmm sitting down on the job, I see.  ;)

DSC07680

The Christmas Tree Festival. An entire weekend in December to celebrate this industry that is so important to this area. If you drive through New Ross during the festival you’ll see these carolers everywhere.

DSC07690

 

The logging industry was well represented with floats from Murray A. Reeves Forestry Ltd. and Colin Hughes Enterprises Ltd.

DSC07697

DSC07707

The final float I’m posting was from Gina’s Hairstyling . It was one of my favourites. Even had a barbershop quartet singing.

DSC07692

So there are a few highlights of the parade as I saw it. I couldn’t possibly post photos of all the floats in the parade, but for those of you who are not familiar with New Ross perhaps this will give you a small glimpse into the culture and lives of those living in this small community that was first settled in 1816. Congratulations New Ross for continuing with the traditions of rural Nova Scotia.

If you took in the parade yesterday, what was your favourite part?And  have you ever been in a parade?

Book Update

It’s hard to believe that July is coming to a close. We’ve had some pretty warm days, lots of humidity but, I’ve got to say, I’ll still take that over an avalanche of snow any day. July scooted on by without me having written a single blog post. I didn’t mean for that to happen but….

Edits for Cammie Takes Flight are about to get underway. I found out last week that I’ll be working with Penelope Jackson again. Penelope and I worked on Flying with a Broken Wing together. She’s marvelous! Can’t express how fortunate I’ve been to have such great editors to work with  at Nimbus Publishing and how very thankful I am for their expertise. Having that second set of eyes always opens my own eyes up and allows me to see things that previously weren’t there. My imagination soars. Right now, the plan is to have the edited manuscript back to Nimbus for layout by mid-September and to have the Advanced Reading Copies available for media by early winter. The book is to be released in April 2017. (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post.)  I’m expecting to see a cover sometime in August or early September. I’ll share it with you as soon as I can. It’s always exciting to see a new cover, and with this being a sequel it’s even a bit more exciting.

Also in July, it was brought to my attention that Flying with a Broken Wing made the Bank Street College list for Best books in 2015. I know many of you saw this on Facebook so please indulge me. The college is located in New York!  Here’s a bit about the list in case you’re not familiar.

One of the most comprehensive annotated book lists for children, aged infant through 16. The Committee reviews over 6,000 titles annually for accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children. The best 600 books published each year, both fiction and nonfiction, are listed with annotations, according to age and category.

I’m also working on a new project at the moment, but July’s been busy with family visiting (yes, Miss Charlotte was here for a few days!) and gardening, work  etc….etc….But writers find a way to work around the everyday. We squeeze in time for writing whenever we can. There’s no way we can resist!

So, there’s a bit of an update for now. I’ll keep you posted as more news come in. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer.

 

What’s news?

This week marked my blogging anniversary. That’s right! I’ve been hiding out on WordPress for seven years now. The number seven seems significant in that it’s always been said to be a lucky number and aren’t the cells in our bodies all replaced in seven years? I always wondered how they can know this. Regardless, I’ve been here in the blogging world for seven years. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. Maybe I deserve a pat on the back for making it this far. Also it’s been seven years this fall since Bitter, Sweet came out–just saying.

It’s berry season in my part of the world. Wouldn’t you love to have a field full of these beauties to pick? We’ve been helping some friends with their berry crop for a few days. It’s always a challenge to get them harvested.DSC07511A few weeks back we took a trip to Centreville and stopped off that the Cement Museum which was the home of Charles Macdonald. Unfortunately it wasn’t open for the season, but we took some pics of the statues outside. Quite amazing to think it is all made of cement.  I’m looking forward to seeing the inside once the museum is open.

DSC07509

These cottages were also built by Charles Macdonald in the 1930’s and are in Hall’s Harbour. I think they’re absolutely charming. Some describe them as fairy homes and I can understand. They look so enchanting.

DSC07477

This one is called the Blue Cottage for obvious reasons. I understand that it can be rented!

 

DSC07466

Outside the museum there were other statues all made by Charles Macdonald.

DSC07501

Love this mountain lion. He looks to be on the hunt. Maybe for the deer that are hanging around the property.

DSC07502

I’m curious about this lovely lady, how and why she ended up here, naked, in the garden. Perhaps there a story there and maybe, just maybe, the answer can be found within the museum itself.

DSC07494

Okay, to many, none of this is earth-shattering news, or even news at all, but just a few things that caught my attention this past while. I’m so glad to say that summer is finally here. I’ve been looking forward to it and hoping I’ll squeeze in some writing time over the next few months.

Do you have any special plans for the summer months? I love to hear about it!

The Eagle Has Landed

DSC07373

As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill. ~~ Helen Keller

So sad and so true. Some quotes leave me a bit in awe. So much packed in so few words.

The eagle in the photo is often sitting on some old dead snags a few miles from home. Sometimes, we’ve even seen two. I find it interesting that, as a young girl, the sight of an eagle was a special occasion. In my memory, I remember only seeing one during my childhood, now I see them quite often. One occasionally flies over our property.  It’s wonderful to know that their numbers are increasing. In fact, a few months ago, we nearly hit one that was feasting on some road kill. We actually heard its wing feathers brush against the truck. It was one of those times you give a silent thank you as you look out the back window and see that it made it to the other side. Things can happen so quickly.

So what’s new on the publishing front?

I’ve a few stories accepted for publication in upcoming anthologies, one to be published in 2016, the other in 2017.  Then of course you all know about the upcoming publication of the sequel to Flying With a Broken Wing in Spring 2017. I expect the edits for this will soon get underway. I really enjoy the editing process. That’s where small miracles happen. I’m quite anxious to meet the editor I’ll be working with, and can hardly wait to see what the cover will look like. Don’t expect to see that for quite some time, though. And it could possibly be the end of the year. In fact, you’ll likely have it long forgotten before I’m ready to have a cover reveal.

Other than that I have a few stories I’m working at and, hopefully, will be submitting somewhere in the not to far future.  That’s if all goes well and no distractions come along. We all know how life has a way of throwing a pickle or two into the mix. As my friend, Gail, would likely agree, it keeps life interesting!

Personally, I prefer baby dill. How about you?  ;)

 

All You Need is Love

resized August 2011 181Back in the sixties The Beatles sang, All You Need is Love. While it might have been a bit simplistic an idea I think they were really onto something big. Love is something the entire planet, not to mention the people on it, could sure use more of. Especially during these times. I keep hearing this message again and again in my life.

Some days you find a quote that speaks to you. Today, I found this one by Emmett Fox and decided to share. Because I do believe that, no matter how simplistic it sounds, love can conquer all.

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open. No gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down. And no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seeded may be the trouble. How hopeless the outlook. How muddled the tangle. How great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.” Emmett Fox

 

Finding Water

DSC07359After a long, cold winter most of us are anxious for Spring. It’s that time  of the year when the earth springs back to life.  (Hence the name–spring.) Original, don’t you think? From the bright yellow heads of dandelions pushing their way out of the grass (yes, I’m one of those people who actually like dandelion flowers) to mayflowers, trilliums, daffodils , new spring buds, and the emerging of leaves, things are about to get green. Very green.

Like any season, this one has had its ups and down. Fine weather, cold weather, windy weather, black flies and wood ticks. I hear people grumble about the ticks and the flies. And I’ll agree maybe they’re not my favorite part of Spring, but we don’t get to pick and chose. Kind of like taking the good and the not so good. Like it or lump it, it’s all part of life. I’m into acceptance, meaning I believe in accepting what life sends our way. It’s much more productive (not to mention peaceful) than trying to change things that can’t be changed…like black flies and ticks.

Yesterday, we found a duck’s nest in the middle of the tree lot. Nesting ducks amaze me, the way they’ll DSC07368go inland to lay their eggs without a body of water in sight. I’m not even sure where all these babies will have to waddle to( and through) to dip their little webbed feet. Let’s just say we’re talking a long ways, people. Imagine being a duck and taking your babies on such a journey. They can’t fly, so they’d have to dawdle those little feet of theirs for miles perhaps. The funny thing about ducks is they don’t look at the challenge ahead as impossible, they just take what’s ahead of them and do the work that’s asked. They find water.

Seriously, there’s something so enchanting about finding a nest with eggs inside, such a marvel. Magic isn’t just something that’s pulled from a magician’s hat. It’s everywhere. Even on the days when we’re sure there’s nothing at all to marvel over. But you’ve got to look, and you’ve got to pay attention because it’s out there. All around us.

This Spring I’ve been working on a story I started about seven years ago. I’ve picked at it from time to time, trying to capture the story the way it appears in my mind’s eye. And I think I’m getting there. I might not be the fastest writer on the block, but I get there sooner or later.

So as we journey through Spring and life, I hope we’ll all remember to be like that duck with her babies. Just keep your heads down and keep plugging along. Eventually, you’ll find water.

 

Going to the Fair

As a kid going to the fair always meant the East Dalhousie Fair where you could enter exhibits and win prizes, buy an ice cream cone, dunk your neighbour in a tank of water and watch the parade. While I didn’t see anyone getting dunked today, and there weren’t any ice cream cones circulating, there were plenty of books and authors at the book fair in the Kingstec Campus in Kentville to celebrate children’s literacy.

I love taking part in book events, meeting people and chatting with fellow authors. Jan Coates and I shared a table. We seem to do that a lot. I made sure to get a photo of the two of us together since, in all the years we’ve been friends and have gone to different events, I didn’t have one.

Jan’s new picture book Sky Pig is hot off the presses and she’ll be launching her book on May 7th at the Box of Delights. Love, love, love this one so much I had to get my very own copy. I know, I know, I’ll get the grandkids their own copy later cause some things you just can’t share even with grandkids.

DSC07278

So who else was at the fair?

Bet you know this gal from her Live at Five days. Starr Dobson‘s second book in the Gertrude Series came out a few years back. You might remember a few years back when I attended her signing at the Dempsey Corner Farm. You can read the post here if you  missed it first time around. For any of you wondering, she’s friendly and SO down to earth. And even though she’s no longer on Live at Five, she’ll always be a celebrity to Maritimers.

DSC07282Carolyn Mallory was there with her book Painted Skies. I’ve read this one and you should too. It’s really a delight. It’s about the Northern Lights. I mean, who isn’t fascinated by the Northern Lights? I love the art work. Carolyn is also an artist and her work is just wonderful!

DSC07285

Jackie Halsey was at the fair. Explosion Newsie is her latest book.  Lovely illustrations and, as an added bonus, it’s about the Halifax Explosion. I did read it to my oldest grandson over Christmas. He’s just two and I didn’t have my glasses on that night but I was able to improvise and Levi seemed pleased.

DSC07288

Lila Hope-Simpson and I traded books which is something I’ve done a time or two in the past with various authors. I’m really looking forward to reading her book Stepping Out. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of Lila. Sometimes my brain is on pause. It happened a second time today when I picked up Fox Talk by Lindsey Carmicheal for Miss Charlotte. She quite enjoys non-fiction and I’m sure she’ll enjoy this one.

I met Meghan Marentette who brought along her book The Stowaways. She seems quite lovely. Hopefully, I’ll get to know a bit more about her in the future.

DSC07286

We popped by Melanie Mosher’s table to chat a bit…Again no photo (That makes three brain pauses).

So this is who I saw at the fair. There were other author’s there but I didn’t get around to everyone’s table. We also had a visit from blogger Lynn Davidson. It’s always lovely to see Lynn. I think she’d agree with me that it was a very productive day for her! She found a few goodies to take home in her bag.

If you ever get a chance to go to a book fair I urge you to do so. It’s a great way to find out about books and to meet and chat with some of your favourite authors. We’re an interesting bunch if I do say so myself!

And now, I have some reading to get caught up on!

Don’t Die With Your Story Still in You

Many years ago I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on my mum who had an appointment to have her eyes checked. There was an older gentleman there, a retired teacher, who struck up a conversation with me. He asked where I was from and I told him. From there he asked what it was I did in East Dalhousie. I replied that I was a writer. He admitted to me that he’d always wanted to write, that his stories were “up here,” he said, tapping his forehead. I encouraged him to take the plunge and start writing his stories out. What did he have to lose?

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. When you do this, you’re also tapping into another face of intention: love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. Whenever I read it, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t to DSC00753prove I could do it or to rack up a bunch of publishing credits that I could wave like a victory flag. I started writing as a matter of survival, that little voice that one day reminded me of how important writing had been to me in my younger years. Back then I didn’t care about publication, I only cared about writing a story and expressing whatever it was inside me what needed to be said. Growing up as a middle child sometimes left me feeling stifled. It was difficult for me to communicate my feelings verbally. I was often shushed. But the written word offered me a safe place to fall, a way to communicate without making too much noise. Plus it felt right.

My mother bought me a diary when I was nine. I hadn’t a clue what to write and I’m sure I didn’t update it with any regularity. I was young, words hadn’t yet found their way to me in the way they do a writer today. That would come a bit later. Yet, I was the only one in family who ever had a diary. Perhaps my mother saw something, or sensed something in me even then. I’ll admit I did love to write stories. I wrote plays in elementary school at an early age. My friends indulged me by playing along. We did it because it was fun. As the years went by, I discovered a great sense of contentment upon the page and writing stories felt so right, so natural, so good—like music to my soul. But what if I had resisted that urge to write? What if I had said, I don’t have anything important to say,  I won’t be good enough, or  People will only laugh at me?

I wonder sometimes how many of us ignore the nudges we receive for fear that we won’t be good enough. Good enough for what? How good do you have to be to write? All you need is an idea and some words. Now, being good enough to publish—that’s a little different. But we don’t all need to be THAT good. If writing fulfills some longing in you, if it brings you joy, that’s what counts. If in time you decide that your work is good enough to be published take it further. But nothing, nothing, should stand in the way of you writing if that’s what you want. I used to think that everyone who writes should do so for publication, that it would ultimately be the goal for anyone who writes. But I’ve since changed my mind about that. Writing can free us by allowing us to express the things that make us happy, angry or sad. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about a particular thing and can discover new truths about ourselves.

The people I write about might be fictitious but inside each and every one of them comes a sliver of truth, a small piece of someone I know, something I heard, everything I’ve every experienced either directly or indirectly.

Not everyone is a writer, but I’m willing to bet that most of us have something we do, some way of expressing ourselves. I’m sure there are people right now saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m not creative in ANY way.”   You know what I say to that? Fuddle-duddle. Maybe you don’t write or paint, but what about crafting, card-making, sewing, gardening, baking, or twiddling your thumbs? Maybe you’re the best thumb-twiddler on the planet. And if that’s so, that’s wonderful. But seriously, we all have something. Maybe you’re a good listener, someone who volunteers their time, someone who makes time for someone else who’s lonely or in despair. We all have/do something of value.

It doesn’t matter what your story is because maybe your story isn’t a story at all, but something you’ve been called to do yet you chose to ignore. Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with your music still in you” which is really the same as saying don’t die with your story still in you. If, at the end of you life, you had to write an essay about yourself would you end it all by saying you followed your heart, your inner guidance, or would you end the story by saying there was more you would have liked to have done?

I sometimes wonder about that older gentleman in the doctor’s waiting room, if he finally got up the courage to write down all the stories he’d been keeping in his mind for years. I hope, I pray, he did not come to the end of his life still thinking of those stories he wanted to write, that he did not die with his story still in him.

The Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick's Day PostI’m not sure I believe in luck even though it might seem that some people have their fair share of good fortune in life while others seem to go from one pickle to the next. I like to think that we’re all capable of bringing good into our lives and we all do. I guess sometimes we overlook the smaller things, looking, instead, for something truly miraculous to land in our laps. They say good things come in small packages and I think that’s true. Some of the most wondrous things in this world are things that money can’t buy and can be as “small” as a smile from a stranger, a kind word, a cup of coffee, or a sympathetic ear. All good fortune in my book!

Seeing how tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, this idea of luck, and just what it means, has been playing on my mind this evening. I did a little digging to see just where this term, “Luck of the Irish” came from. One source tells me that it doesn’t actually mean good luck, but rather bad luck and is mean ironically as it is used to describe the sad and tragic history of the people of Ireland. According to this, the Irish people were actually unlucky since they had to leave Ireland in order to survive. Another theory is this: The phrase originated in the US and was used by the people of America to describe the Irish emigrants who found their ‘Pot of Gold’ in the Gold and Silver mines. So there you have it, two totally opposite theories which enforces my idea that there are always two sides to every story.

So whether you’re Irish or not, and whether you feel your lucky or unlucky, I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 230 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • my novels

  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 69,671 hits
  • Add me

    Facebook Buttons By ButtonsHut.com