Interview with Jan L. Coates & book giveaway

Interview with Jan L. Coates & book giveaway.


I hope you’ll take time to drop over at Lynn Davidson’s blog and read her interview with author, Jan Coates. Jan’s book “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk” has been recently nominated for the Governor General’s Award. Yay Jan!!


Home Renovations

I’m posting a few photos of Miss Charlotte’s cardboard house that Guppy made for her when she was here for her last visit. You might remember it from a post I did awhile back. In the Box, out of the Box.

The box has undergone a few renovations since Guppy made it. I wouldn’t mind being this creative myself, but alas I seem doomed to create only with words.

Needless to say Miss Charlotte just loved it. Oh the things we can create with a little imagination. I’m with Miss Charlotte. I just love it, too!

Hope Whispers

When the world says, “Give up,”
Hope whispers, “Try it one more time.”~Author Unknown

This quote hits home for me. I often hear hope whispering, even those times when I hear my practical side telling me otherwise. I’m one of those people who hang fast to hope by the tiniest thread. If it were not for those glimmers of hope in my life, I’m sure I would have stopped seeking publication many years ago. Hope is what urges me to pick myself up each time that I vow I’ll never write another word, never put myself through the pain of another rejection, never struggle to find the proper words. I sometimes think it would be much easier to simply walk away from the writer’s life but I can’t. At least not yet.

Where would we all be without hope in our lives? Today, I’m over at a Hopeful Sign. Please pop on over and say hello.


“That proves you are unusual, returned the Scarecrow; and I am convinced the only people worthy of consideration in this world are the unusual ones. For the common folks are like the leaves of a tree, and live and die unnoticed.”

 Lyman Frank Baum

We missed the scarecrow festival in Mahone Bay the other weekend because of the rainy weather. It was one of the events I had wanted to take in this year, but sometimes things in life don’t work out the way we plan. Still, there were plenty of scarecrows hanging around this weekend when we took a drive to the shore. Here’s a peak at a few of them.

I hope you are enjoying the fall season where you are.

Don’t Argue with a Bumble Bee

Aerodynamically the bumble bee shouldn’t be able to fly, but the bumble bee doesn’t know it, so it goes on  anyway.  ~Mary Kay Ash

I’m not sure if any of you have ever heard this myth, or if some of you have heard it and believed it to be true, but according to Wikipedia it’s a myth. Sorry to burst your bubble. If we were to pretend that this myth were actually true, I think the quote by Mary Kay Ash is rather thought provoking.

Think of the little bumble bee going about its business, having a grand old time, not even realizing that it’s not supposed to be able to do the very thing it’s doing.

How many of us in life have defied the impossible? There are many people out there who have. They’ve done what others said they could not, despite adversity, social or economical challenges, despite the fact that not one other person believed in them, they succeeded in what they set out to do. These are the people whom we need to take our hats off to. These are the people we can learn some of our greatest lessons from.

Determination and patience, something we writers are told we need to have if we want to defy the odds and get published (and if we don’t have it now, we best be getting ourselves some) applies, not only to those of us clacking away at the keyboard, but for all of us who set out to achieve goals in life. We’ve all heard that things worth having are things worth waiting for. Well, I tend to go along with that thought. If we were magically given everything our little hearts desired, the instant we desired them, our homes and lives would be cluttered and muddled to the point where we wouldn’t know which way to turn. Mind you I don’t want to have to wait and wait for that mama burger at A&W when I’m half starved out of my mind, and I wouldn’t mind getting that next publishing contract….But I’m sure you get my meaning.

Do you ever feel like that bumble bee? Some days I do. Everything falls into place for one reason or the other, and I’m on top of the world. I’m doing what others said couldn’t be done. If I’m working on a story I love, and the words seem to fall into place, there’s no reason for me not to feel this way.Right? But I’m not there every day. If I stopped to think of what all I want to achieve but have not yet, I could probably talk myself into believing that, like that bumble bee, it is impossible for me to fly. But I’m not going to do that. I’m going to keep flapping my little wings. When I get tired I’ll stop and rest for awhile because no one’s going to tell me it’s impossible. How about you?

The Secret Lives of Writers

“If a story is in you it has to come out.” William Faulkner

I’ve heard many times that we all have a story inside us. I’m sure you have, too. When my very first short story was published, and it came up in a conversation with  a friend months later,  my friend said, “They say we all have a story inside us.” I guess she wasn’t very impressed or else thought it was a one time thing that would never be repeated, that it was my ONE and only story. At the time I shrugged the whole “ I’ve been published” thing off, made out that it was no big deal. But guess what? It was a big deal to me.  Although I was secretly pleased with myself, I was certain no one else gave a flying fig. My friend’s reaction was proof of that. The whole truth was I felt very self-conscious about the fact that I was writing.

Yes, I was a closet writer for many years. I’m sure some of you are as well. I remember those days when I could not speak about writing to anyone without feeling a bit strange. Today, I know that strange feeling was caused by not truly believing I was a writer. I thought I was following a dream that would never become reality because truly great things would probably never happen to me. I was just too ordinary. I remember feeling as though I was keeping some well-guarded secret from the rest of the world, protecting my privacy, holding fast to who I was because no one would even care or understand my need to write.

But the secret finally came out as most secrets do, especially those secrets that niggle away at you, never letting you quite forget that you’re a keeper of a secret that will eventually become known.

I often wonder what my life would look like today if I had not let that first story out as Faulkner says. Would I have found some other outlet for my creativity? Or would I have become a cranky middle-aged woman who despises her life and everyone in it?

I believe that we all are here to bring new creations into the world. We shouldn’t think that our contributions are any less important than someone else’s. We will not all paint a Mona Lisa, or invent a telephone, computer or write a Harry Potter series.

Surprise! I’m not J.K. Rowling. I’m Laura Best. I can only create what is inside me to create. I can only use the talents and skills that have been given me. I can only write the words are in me to write, express myself in a way that only I can. Bitter, Sweet will never sell a million copies (nor, I’m sure, will any of my future books and that’s okay) but that won’t stop me from letting my stories out into the world. Because the secret’s out, and now that it’s out I don’t care who knows.

If we create for creativity’s sake then what is there for us to lose, what is there for us to keep secret?

In the box, out of the box

There’s nothing more fun and exciting than a brand new cardboard box to play in— just ask my kids, they’ll tell you. The day their father built them a house from the big old box the new washing machine arrived in, made for some pretty fun times in the Best household. Of course it took up a lot of space in the house but I knew it was temporary. I could put up with a little inconvenience for the sake of my kid’s pleasure, (Okay, I’ll be honest here)  that and the fact that it kept them out of my hair for hours on end.

Over the years the kids in my family have played in Carnation milk boxes, banana boxes, the aforementioned washing machine box, and in general any box large enough for a toddler to sit in without breaking the sides. Here’s a Cornfake box Guppy brought home form the store for Miss Charlotte.  It was a real hit.  She even took her “wittle house” home and now has it set up in her own living room. I’m telling you, these things are great. You could say I come from a long line of cardboard box enthusiasts. They’re fun, they’re free, they’re even biodegradable. What’s not to love?

Now, as much as the kids in the family love to play in boxes, and no doubt I was one of them back in the day, today I’m not so enthusiastic about boxes.

Today, when I got to thinking about that washing machine box, I started to think how ironic it is that, while kids love to play in boxes, most adults will do just about anything to stay out of the box. Being placed in a box is constricting, and leaves little or no room to move. Being in the box finds us labelled as this or that, people begin to predict our movements, there is nothing left for the imagination.

Last year when my book was short-listed for the Bilson Award the news came over facebook and twitter. Some of the tweets referred to me as kidlit author @ laura_a_best. I gotta say it sounded a bit weird. Felt a bit like I’d been suddenly placed inside a box and right away I knew I wasn’t happy there. Before that tweet I’d considered myself a writer, one who happen to have written a young adult novel. That day I felt the walls come up around me. I’d been labelled a “kidlit author.

Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a writer and you’re happy calling yourself a kidlit writer, children’s writer or any other classification of writer, without feeling any restriction, that’s perfectly fine. But what if, like me, you do not write exclusively for kids, would you mind be labelled then? If I only wrote children’s stories I can’t say I’d mind. But I also write for adults.

I’m sure some of you are thinking what difference does it even make, you’ve been published? Stop whining. You’re probably also thinking that each author needs to have their own brand. I’ve had some time now to think about all this. While I still do not personally like the term “kidlit author,” I’m slowly coming to terms with who I am as a writer. Lately, I refer to myself as a YA writer, and that feels okay. Most of the projects I’m working on at the moment are in the genre. Just so you know, I don’t mind being in the box from time to time, but I reserve the right to come out and look around whenever I want.

Sorry, there are no photos of me in the Cornflake box for you to feast your eyes upon.. Maybe next time Miss Charlotte is home.

How do you feel about being labelled? Do you think it is a good thing or do you find it restricting?

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