Publishing and the Supply Chain

We’ve all been hearing about disruptions in the supply chain and it’s no doubt going to effect most of us in one way or another. We’re in the middle of a global pandemic that has changed life as we know it.

A few weeks back my publisher sent out the same warning in a newsletter, letting us know that it might be hard to find the books we’re looking for. The letter also said, it’s very possible that we’ll even see empty shelves at our local bookstore or out of stock listings for certain books when ordering online. We were also warned that if and when titles run out, there could be “significant” delays in publishers having them reprinted. *Gulp*

There’s a great article on the Nimbus Blog —LET’S TALK SUPPLY CHAIN if you’d like to read more about it and exactly why and how this could effect the book industry and you.

According to this, if you’re looking to give books this year you might want to shop early. I know I’ve had a book on order from my local bookstore for several months now and it’s not come in, but I’m hopeful it will arrive for Christmas.

I can’t quite wrap my head around the fact that we’re heading into the Christmas season again. But I’m seeing brightly lit Christmas trees in front of people’s windows and lots of other hints of the holidays. I have a friend who sends me lovely photos of her decorations. I’m sure at some point I’ll be struck by the Christmas spirit and will be anxious to start some preparations myself. I am hopeful that this year we’ll actually be able to celebrate Christmas with our families, which wasn’t the case last year. But I have family in New Brunswick as well. We’re not sure what will happen there since they are having problems controlling the virus at this time. It could be possible that travel will be restricted. But that will be a wait and see situation and there’s no point lamenting the reality of what’s going on in our world now.

My hope is as you head into the holiday season, you don’t encounter any shortages for the items on your list. Let’s all keep out fingers crossed.

Book Giveaway

Author Sue Harrison is giving away a copy of GOOD MOTHERS DON’T on her Blog. Follow the link HERE to find out how to enter. Draw date is Wednesday, Nov 24th.

A huge big thank you to Sue for being so supportive and for the lovely things she had to say about my writing. Please take time to check out her blog and her books. You are amazing, Sue!

I continue to be amazed by all the support that has come my way since my very first book came out back in 2009. The journey continues to warm my heart and spirit, and has helped me get through some tough times. I continue to feel gratitude.

Enjoy your weekend.

In my Opinion

Don’t make someone else’s opinion more important than you own. What I mean by that is, someone else’s opinion should not carry more weight than your own… for you. Here’s the thing. The world is filled with opinions and people voicing those opinions. More so these days than any other time. What’s more, we have a broader platform now. We can give our opinions on all the social media sites and reach countless people. Don’t get me wrong, I think if you have a need to express your opinion on a certain topic, you should by all means. (That’s what I’m doing here!) It’s the sharing of opinions and ideas that helps us look at things in a different ways. I happen to think that considering other options can have plenty of benefits.

BUT having an opinion on something doesn’t necessarily make that opinion right. Right?

Right for who? Just the person who has the opinion.

We’re a society of opinionated people. Some might argue that people have always had and given their opinions. This is true. It just seems to me that suddenly we’re expected to look at something in terms of good/bad, yes/no, pretty/ugly—I could go on. Instead of accepting that green shirt your spouse picked up at Frenchy’s last week you might feel the need to tell them you think it’s a piece of puke and they should never wear it in public. I might argue what your intent in giving your opinion would be.

Some of us ask others for their opinion on something. It might very well be because they’re looking for someone else to prop them up, tell them their opinion is right, to validate what they already know. Most of us have likely done this in the past. It’s usually an indication that we want others to agree with us. But here’s the thing, if you like something, make that be good enough. Make your opinion important to the most important person–you!

These days there are rating systems everywhere we turn, we’re told we have to give our opinion on pretty much everything in our world. Sometimes we let those ratings sway our own opinion, other times we don’t.

Does this mean, we’re allowing the opinions of others to dictate what we buy and what we think? I don’t know.

I get that ratings could be helpful if, for instance, we’re looking to make a big purchase and we see that a particular product has a large number of 5 stars. It would make sense that if many thought this product was the cat’s pajamas, it’s probably safe to make the purchase. BUT what about those 1 and 2 star ratings amidst all those 4 and 5 stars? Because there are always people out there with the opposite opinion to be sure. Do you ignore those who thought the item was crap? Do you accept the opinion of the majority because that’s how our society operates? But no one wants to spend a bunch of money on an inferior product. I get that, absolutely. However, I also get that just because the “majority” thought it was great, there might be those who end up getting a “lemon.” For as they say, there are lemons in everything.

So all of this makes me wonder do we accept the opinions of others, people we don’t know, or do we gather information and form our own opinions. Looking at the ratings for something is just one of those tools, but truthfully, we know nothing about these people whose opinion we readily accept as being right.

I find this all so interesting.

So, this if what’s on my mind today and it’s just my opinion. I’m wondering how many readers out there look at the ratings of a product when making purchases. If you do, have you found it useful or have there been times when it let you down and you ended up with a lemon? I’m asking for your opinion here people!

Sentimental Me— and You?

Are you sentimental? Like ridiculously sentimental? And if you are, do like being sentimental or do you sometimes wish you weren’t quite that attached to things? Do you hang onto objects simply for their sentimental value?

These are all questions I’ve been asking myself lately. I’m sure it has to do with the fact that I’m readying my mother’s house to be sold, deciding what to keep, what to give away and what to throw out. It’s a big undertaking– physically, emotionally and sentimentally. Decisions have to be made. It’s that simple. Hanging onto things that serve no purpose, other than to cause clutter, makes absolutely no sense. A situation like this requires you to be tough. Moving objects from one local to another only produces clutter in that other location.

What I am coming to understand is that, sometimes, you need to ignore the sentimental feelings that are churning inside and just say enough, it needs to go. The only purpose it serves is to satisfy your need to hang onto the past and to feed those feelings of sentimentality.

I find it interesting that some of us condemn those who are too sentimental, but some of us also condemn those who are not sentimental. So, which is it? Good or bad? Or does it depend upon the degree of sentimentality or the complete lack of?

What I’m discovering is that, whether you’re too sentimental or not sentimental enough, it is really a personal thing. If you’re happy with whatever those feeling are, and see no need to change, then so be it.

For me, I’m rethinking the usefulness of my own sentimentality and deciding, for me, if I want to make changes.

And as I’m nearing the end of my task of cleaning out my mother’s house, I’m now considering the things of my own that I’ve collected through the years. I recently spent half a day in my attic, going over the things I’d saved in boxes these past 40+ years.

Do I need a highchair? Did I say “a highchair”? I did say a highchair. Make that two. Yes, two. Bedding that’s been sitting in boxes for decades? Flyers from the 1980’s. (Sad, I know.) Projects my kids made in school? (My last child graduated high school close to twenty years ago.) Stuffed toys? My own report cards? Yes, MY report cards. God help me–my report cards! I looked through them and realized my marks weren’t nearly as good as I’d remembered them being! WHY AM I KEEPING THEM? WHY oh WHY? I like to think that it was a mistake. I didn’t intend to have them in my possession this late in my life.

I asked my children if they would want these report cards when I croak. They did not. I think about those decades those bits of paper sat there in the dark, undisturbed, with me not once thinking about them. Nothing about their existence have enriched my life. Nothing. What’s more, having them “living” in my attic can in no way bring pack the past. It’s just not happening. I’m not back in high school anymore and I won’t be going back. Life doesn’t work that way.

I know you’re wondering–will I go back to my attic and continue the decluttering process? You bet. While I think being sentimental is not necessarily a bad thing, I plan to make some changes in the way I look at those packed away items from the past. And when/if I find myself ready to toss those report cards of mine, I’ll be sure to share that here on my blog.

Confession time…Are you hanging onto things from the past? Are you okay with that or do you plan to one day declutter? Do you still have your report cards?

Mysterious October Raspberries

So what’s going on? Is it magic? Something supernatural?

I’ll admit, it’s a bit strange picking wild raspberries in October when they ordinarily ripen in July, and it was most likely caused by the warm fall we’ve experienced here in Nova Scotia. The truth is, I kind of like seeing these quirky little things. They make me smile as I’m reminded that unusual things happen in nature all the time. One thing about nature, she never disappoints. As for mysterious, I hardly think so. There’s really nothing mysterious about these raspberries, except maybe the appearance of them this late in the season.

This got me thinking that an oddity like this in years gone by might have been one of those things that some people might blame on witches. It could be because Halloween is only a few days or maybe because “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft” highlights many of the old superstitions that once circulated, but I’ve been thinking a lot about superstitions. While writing the book, I was surprised to discover how prevalent superstitions actually were. It seemed as though there was a superstition surrounding so many things. Interesting.

I grew up hearing superstitions as I’m sure some readers out there did as well, but I’m almost willing to bet that my kids have heard very few, if any of them. Obviously these things are dwindling away as these new generations come along. Superstitions/old wives tales are dissolving into the background. I can recall kids I grew up with recounting superstitions on the playground, and were seemingly frightened by them. Of course, I’m then forced to admit the reality of how many years ago that would have been.

It makes me wonder how many people today still hold fast to some of these old beliefs. I’m sure fewer and fewer. It is 2021, after all, and really, remarkable to me to think of how many superstitious people there were a mere fifty years ago and how these beliefs became passed down through centuries. That’s a very long time.

So, I ate the raspberries. Wild berries are much sweeter than tame. No witchcraft or superstition involved. Just a pleasant surprise to find them here in October.

Are you a superstitious person? Does the sight of a black cat crossing your path give you cause to pause and wonder?

Happy Halloween. I’ll catch up with you in November.

Being Present

Are you old enough to remember back when teachers took roll call every morning (Is that a thing these days?) where the teacher called out your name and you’d reply by saying “Present” and they’d tick your name off for the day. Being present meant you were there for the day, to learn the lessons and do the work; to pay attention.

But how many of us were truly “present” the entire time? Did our minds wander out of the classroom and onto other things?

I was guilty of that on many occasions, and more so as I aged, for my imagination had much more to offer than the reality of that stuffy classroom. I had no idea that all the thoughts that were freely flowing through my mind had anything to do with imagination. Imagination was something saved for the blank page during creative writing class–if only I had known.

Being and staying in the present moment is not an easy feat. It’s something that takes practice, and gentle reminders each time our mind meanders off into another direction. I think the ability to be truly present is far easier for small kids. I have only to watch my grandchildren at play to recognize that.

What does that have to do with anything now? Lately, I’ve been trying to stay in the present moment as often as I can. For a writer, this is doubly challenging, as our minds are often far away during the run of a day, when anything and everything that touches our senses can send us down the path of imagination. Sometimes, we only become present when we actually sit down to write.

For the past 42 years I’ve lived on our property beside Black Duck Lake. The leaves are absolutely gorgeous these days. I thought the other day of how many years I didn’t take the time to enjoy the colours and the quiet of the lake during the fall. Fall was always my busy time, but one I always proclaimed to be my favourite. Yet, if I had time to make it to the lake shore, there was always some purpose, the least of which was to admire the fall colours and just spend time being in the present moment, not thinking of what next had to be done, and enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.

But I’m attempting to make changes in the way I’ve done things in the past and, hopefully, finding and enjoying those present moments during my day will be part of it.

Staying in the present moment is not as easy as it sounds and not something that is realistic to expect one hundred present of the time. My aim, at the moment, is to enjoy as many present moments as I can and leave behind the worry of the day–past, present, and future.

Life is to be enjoyed.

Welcome to the Real World

My last post saw me reflecting about the use of social media in our lives, and even questioning the reality of it all. Since then, I’ve been taking a bit of a breather from Facebook and Twitter. I’m basically checking things out in messenger each day, but that’s about it. What I was finding is that I wasn’t being as productive as I wanted to be. It was far to easy to get caught up reading posts and comments, keeping up with those on my friends list just to see what they’re doing. Have I used it as a stall tactic to keep me from dealing with some of the other things in my life? Maybe. I’m sure most of us have found ourselves caught up in that a time or two. Procrastination has been my friend on more than one occasion.

And so for some of those reasons, I’ve decided to spend more time in the real world. I think, many of us can benefit from a break every now and again. Who knows perhaps I’ll have more time to devote to my blog, certainly my writing. And, this is big– I may even devote more time to doing housework.

I’m not saying that social media is all bad, because it isn’t. As one person pointed out in the comment section of my last post, social media is what helped her get through the pandemic. I agree with what she had to say. I’m sure many people had that same experience during the pandemic when we were holed up in our houses for weeks and months. It did help me stay connected to my kids during that time. Some days, I lived for those video chats and photos of what the grandkids were doing. It was a pretty scary and solitary time for most of us.

I also agree that there are some lovely people out there to be met, people we would never have connected to without social media. Some people I then went on to meet in real life. Right Sue? And it is the very people we encounter who help enrich our lives on many levels. The world around us is changing. There’s no denying that.

So, as I take some time to reflect upon the direction I want my life to go in, I plan to enjoy the beautiful fall colours and spend more time in nature. Fall is my absolute favourite time of year for a variety of reasons.

I believe life is a balance. Exactly what is that balance? That’s up to each of us to decide. There’s no right or wrong. Truthfully, I think whatever that balance is for us, it can change from week to week, month to month, or maybe even day to day. If you’re feeling the way I am, it’s probably time to take a bit of a breather from social media as well. If you’re feeling totally good about the time you devote to social media, then that’s wonderful. You’ve found what that balance is for you.

I’ll leave you with this lovely rose blooming in my garden. An October rose–how about that?

Too Much of a Good Thing

I’ll be honest, lately I’ve been feeling tired of social media, tired and disappointed. It’s not a new thing for me. I’ve felt it coming on for some time now. The pandemic might be playing a big role in this–all the negativity out there, all the misinformation that sometimes helps fuel that negativity.

These days, anyone and everyone has an opinion about pretty much everything, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. What tires me out is the way some people choose to express that opinion. I’m tired of the anger and frustration that I see, people lashing out, determined to be angry at others. Sometimes people are simply downright mean. They will say hurtful things about people they don’t even know. I’ll be honest, I’ve never understood why. Well, I do understand that it’s far easier to type words than to face a real person. Social media is renown for that. What I mean is, I don’t understand why anyone would purposely want to be mean–what is the purpose, the reason? It actually says much more about the person lashing out then the people they’re attacking.

People have always had a difference of opinion. I don’t see that as a bad thing. Different opinions and different ideas can help us keep an open mind and maybe help us consider something we’ve never thought of before. That can be exciting. It’s how we find out about new things. One thing I am certain of, that as a society we will never all agree. It’s impossible. Nor should we all agree.

Social media outlets have us clamouring to collect “LIKES” and comments for the things we post, to seek that instant validation from others. Most of us lap that up. I think that deep down all many of us want is to feel as though our lives matter, that we matter as a person and we look for that outside ourselves. We allow the opinions of others to carry more weight than our own. But this is the thing–those likes are not real. We often forget what we’ve hit the “LIKE” button for. We read so many posts in one day our brains go into overload.

I’m sure many of us have fallen into that trap from time to time. But social media isn’t real life. It’s artificial to the extent that we even have to question the sincerity of some of the comments we see. Yet many of us buy into it. We’re allowing Internet communities to replace the real people in our lives. That frightens me on many levels. When I was a child, a big highlight for me was the pie sales and dances held at what we called “the hall.” The hall would be filled with people, real people, who talked and laughed. They shared the latest gossip. You could feel the energy.

Remember when people called to have a chat, they dropped in for coffee, wrote letters and sent cards, they gave hugs, real hugs, not just a word encased in asterisks in the comment section? Remember that? Now we drop a few words on their social media posts. We text. Forget the use of proper sentences, that’s all gone. Now we leave behind a string of words for others on our “friends” list to decipher. Forget punctuation. What the heck is a comma, a semi-colon, a question mark, capital letter, a period placed at the end of it all? But this is our new reality.

We live busy lives, at least that’s what we tell ourselves. But people have always lived busy lives. Modern conveniences have freed up more time in our days, time that many of us choose to replace with social media.

I think probably the main thing is to find that balance in our lives and not allow the internet to dictate to us. Unplug from time to time and spend time with real people.

While I didn’t intend for this post to come out as a rant, it seems to have rant-like qualities and I apologize for that. I’ve just been reflecting upon some things as I take time to appreciate the REAL people in my life this Thanksgiving weekend. Perhaps my next post will about the positive aspects of social media–yes there are some positives.

Happy Thanksgiving Day. I hope this will be a day for you to pause and reflect upon all the people in your life that you have to be grateful for.

Launching of A Sure Cure for Witchcraft

Last Saturday was the launch for my brand new middle grade novel, A SURE CURE FOR WITCHCRAFT. The weather was perfect, which is always an added bonus for any event. Things went well as only a few people were allowed in the community centre at one time. It’s always tricky trying to figure out a way to do things safely during this pandemic. I was simply pleased to be able to have an in-person launch this time around. But things went far beyond my expectations. They really did. We didn’t have the crowd that had turned out for previous launches but I knew it wouldn’t be. People are still trying to navigate through this pandemic and keep themselves, and others safe–myself included. No one knew what to expect anymore than I did. I went into this fully aware that this would not be a launch like my other ones. It wasn’t widely advertised and actually came together in less that a week. One of the many reasons for this was, I didn’t want to wait until proof of vaccination was required which was coming in to effect the following Monday. It just seemed as it would make things more complicated and add to the confusion.

But I have a few photos for those of you who were not able to make it.

Here I am with my two cohorts all decked out for the event. Judi and Bonnie lent their talents for the day and were responsible for all the decorations and for actually figuring out a way to make the day safe for everyone. We had all kinds of witchy decorations and I absolutely loved it. Every author should have a Judi and Bonnie in their corner–just saying.

The good people at Nimbus Publishing were on site for the day. Having a launch in a rural place has it’s challenges as many of these small centres do not have Internet access. But things went along smoothly regardless. True professionals!

This beautiful potted Mum was a gift from my son.

The area was petitioned off so that people were able to social distance. They came in, got their book, followed the arrows, stopped off to have their books signed and a quick chat, continued on, grabbed a cookie or brownie along the way and then proceeded out the exit door. Smooth.

Here’s hoping that when my next book comes out in Fall 2022 all this COVID business will be behind us.

Launch Day

Today is launch day and I just wanted to write a short post. I have no idea what to expect in relation to the pandemic. What I do know is that this will not be like any of my other launches for obvious reasons.

I already know that many won’t be attending as they’ve already indicated and I completely understand that. We also have the added challenge of only being allowed to have a small number inside the community centre at one time. Because of that people can’t hang around talking and mingling. Talking and mingling is really what these events are about. That and getting a signed copy.

I have friends who have decorated the centre. ( I haven’t seen it yet.) I really don’t know what I’d have done without their help. I’ll post some pictures later.

At least it appears as though it will be a gorgeous fall day. Whatever happens I can least be happy about that.

See you on the other side of the launch–hopefully with some photos to share.

Enjoy your day!

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