The Reason I Took off my Wedding Ring

Someone recently got up the courage to ask me why I haven’t been wearing my wedding ring. After all, a wedding ring is a big deal to a lot of people. It symbolizes marriage and deep devotion. It says, “Hands off you’re mine.”And to take off that wedding ring might mean something is going on.

To be honest, I’m sure this person had noticed months ago but was only just working up the courage to ask. It may even have been the topic of conversation on several occasions with speculations made as to what was going on with the Bests. (Okay, I live in a tiny community; I know how these things work.)

People notice things, small things. They talk. They whisper. They wonder. They become concerned for their neighbours.

For the record, I’m not a noticer of these small things. I would be the last person to notice what someone had, or didn’t have, on their finger. Most times, I couldn’t describe someone’s jewelry to you or even what they were wearing. So if you’re ever in a line-up and I’m there to point you out for a crime, you can breathe easy. Just saying.

But you’re a writer, you might argue. Writers should notice details.

To this I would say: I do notice details, just not your details.

Let me explain.

I’ve always found long descriptions in books a little tedious and even struggle to picture these things in my mind if they are totally unfamiliar to me. But I can describe in detail what a character is feeling when they lose their best friend or when someone close to them dies or betrays them.; breaks their heart, or makes them laugh. You get the picture. Those are the details I notice—emotional details. As a reader, these are the things that will get to me in the end.

So, to end all the speculation as to why I took of my wedding ring off, I’ll post this picture. It’s a dandy as you can see, with plenty of detail.

Last fall, I got into a little trouble when my knuckle decided to swell. A real pickle as a friend of mine would put it! I had been working outside in the cold and wet for days, and by the time I noticed that my finger was swelling, (Didn’t I tell you I don’t notice things?) well, there was no way that ring was coming off. (Strangely, the previous winter, my ring was so loose I was afraid it was going to fall off.)

So with little or no room to spare, my finger started to get claustrophobic—yes, you read that right—and even I had to stop thinking about the fact that the little gold band I’d been wearing for nearly 40 yrs was becoming increasingly tighter. Each morning I checked to make sure I could turn it and that the blood was still circulating. And, each morning, I’d take a bit of comfort in the fact my finger wasn’t purple or gangrenous and was probably going to live another day.

But regardless, that ring wasn’t coming off.

Now, the thing about a ring that won’t come off is this: when you tell others about your woes, they know they’re the one who’s going to get that frigging thing off regardless of the fact that the ring is a size 4 ½ and your knuckle, at this point, is about a 6+.

I showed my oldest sister, the nurse. She was going to take charge. Older sisters do that, you know. She rolled up her sleeves and declared that if I could stand the pain she could get the dang thing off. Okay, so right there, I’m not liking the sound of that. I mean, who likes pain? You? Cause I sure don’t. She marched my finger (and me) over to the sink and proceeded to dump dish washing liquid over it making a slippery path. That sucker was coming off. She was sure. And while my size 4 ½ ring slipped around and around my finger, it came to an abrupt halt when it crossed paths with my size 6+ knuckle.
I was never very good at math (writing was more my thing) but even I knew that a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle, no way, no how. Still, she pressed on—literally.. She was going to do it no matter what. I wasn’t actually screaming at that point so I guess I was still “standing the pain.” More dish detergent and running cold water—that would do the trick! Now, I’ll give credit where credit is due. She did get it about half-ways over my knuckle but as I said 4 1/2 won’t go over 6. Needless to say, the ring didn’t come off.

Meanwhile Hubby took a less painful approach. He went to the drugstore and brought home some supplies, specials creams that would take away the swelling from arthritis. We greased the finger and, saying a silent prayer, I went to bed expecting that by some miracle the promises written on the bottle was going kick in and miraculously take away all the swelling. That ring would be off come morning.

Or not.

Next up, I mentioned my dilemma to my son. He was going to take charge. (Son’s do that, God bless their hearts.) Being, well a young person, he took a more contemporary approach. He watched some Youtube Videos that described an easy foolproof method of painlessly removing a ring. He rolled up his sleeves. Like my sister before him, he was going to get that sucker off.

Following the Youtube video instructions he cut off a length of dental floss. All you do is slip a piece under the ring and start winding the floss around it and voila the ring pops off. Sounds great in theory and worked quite slick on the video but you can forget the fact that (listen to me people) a 4 ½ size ring WILL NOT go over a size 6 knuckle.

I did say painlessly, didn’t I? I was screaming even before the ring reached my knuckle. Childbirth had nothing on this! To tell the truth, I was screaming the second he started wrapping that thin piece of floss around my finger.( Boy doesn’t know his own strength.) But he didn’t stop. He was going to get it off.

My finger was bright purple by that time and Hubby had to turn away because he gets a little squeamish in these situations. To tell the truth, even I couldn’t look.

Hubby stepped in then and told my son to stop. At least I think he did. I couldn’t hear much over the screaming at that point. Shortly before the floss sliced off my finger, he was forced to give up. That sucker definitely wasn’t coming off because regardless of how hard you try– a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle.

My daughter, who worked as a ward clerk for years at the hospital suggested my sister again. “The nurses have a way to get rings of fingers,” she said. Of course, what she failed to tell me at the time was, the reason they have such success taking off rings is because the fingers belong to corpses. Believe me, I had a ways to go before I reached that point.

The day of my book signing last November, I went into the jewelry store to see if it could be cut off. (FYI the ring , not my finger) It could. But of course I didn’t want it cut off. The jeweler was nice and told me that if the skin under the ring turned white my finger was in trouble and I would have to get it removed right away. My finger wasn’t white and I could still move the ring which seemed like good signs. I decided to wait. Cutting it off would be a last resort. Perhaps this ring just wasn’t meant to come off.

And then a miracle happened!

Maybe not a miracle, but you’ve got to admit that sounded kind of cool. Didn’t it?

So the day of said miracle, I came home from work and noticed that there was a bit more room under my ring than there was previously. Dare I? I thought as I gently turned it around while inching slowly toward my knuckle.

“I think it might just come off,” I said to Hubby as I went for the dish washing detergent. And low and behold that sucker finally came off! Somehow my size 6 knuckle had shrunk down to a size 4 ½ . I was in bliss.

And the moral of the story is—other than a size 4 ½ ring won’t go over a size 6 knuckle—be patient. Don’t force things. Sometimes your body has other plans. and if your ring-finger starts swelling, for the love of God NOTICE IT!

And so here I am, coming up to my 40th Anniversary tomorrow, bare finger on my left hand for all the world to see but I’m not concerned. While a ring is a symbol of marriage, it isn’t the marriage. If the ring is gone, the marriage doesn’t disappear.

I haven’t tried to put the ring back on. My knuckle still seems to be a bit swollen. To tell the truth I may have to get it enlarged. (The ring, not my knuckle.)

 

My Deserted Island

Across the lake from where I live there’s an island. Plenty of trees but nothing else, it’s basically deserted, if you want to use that term, although we have seen the remains  of human activity left behind on the shores from time to time while out in our boat; the remnants of small camp fires and some empty bottles.

I was thinking today how writing is sometimes like being on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere, where your only thought is of survival—survival of the story, that is—with little contact with the outside world. You’re in hermit-mode—thinking, eating and breathing the story you’re working on. You can’t keep your thoughts on anything other than that dang story which can become kind of a convenient excuse for your own forgetfulness with those in the outside world. Things like not remembering what you were going for in the refrigerator or even the next room, the phone calls and emails you forgot to return. I like to call it author-brain, kind of like mommy-brain when all you think about is that little bundle of joy( or story) you’re suddenly responsible for. Don’t bother the author, her mind’s on her writing.

These past few weeks have been kind of like that; kind of, but not quite.( I’ve still had family time that I wouldn’t trade for all the stories that are circulating in my author-brain.)

I’ve started edits on my adult fiction novel recently and have just sent round one back to my editor. I’ve got to be honest, it’ always difficult to hit that *send* key and resist the urge to keep making changes, some so tiny that no one would ever know, except the author. But eventually you have to let go, the same way you let go of your child when you send her/him out into the big scary world. And it’s been pretty scary out there as of late.

All authors want their books to be perfect, and if not perfect, then as near to perfect as is humanly possible. Still, the typos pop up, the missing commas or periods, the misplaced words—all these things, regardless of how many proofreaders go through it with a fine tooth comb. Still, it’s something to aim for.

As many of you know, this is my debut adult fiction novel which doesn’t mean I won’t be writing for kids anymore. It just means, I’ll be doing both. I’ve several other adult novels that need to be resurrected after years of neglect. It was more like I got side-tracked. I’m really hoping to get back to them soon. But…I’ve also a few more ideas for children’s books as well. Why can’t there be more time in the day?

As of yet, this next novel of mine is titleless which isn’t really a word but I felt like using it. Titles are important but can sometimes be SO difficult to come up with. I was lucky with my first three book but this one has been a bit more challenging.

Another snippet I can share with you is that much of it is set in the Forties Settlement which, as many of you know, is right next door to good old E. Dalhousie. I like to give my stories local settings or use local name places. It’s important to me to share my part of the world with readers from far and wide.

I’m hoping I’ll find time to blog a bit more often, although it seems I’m forever promising that. It’s not as if I purposely ignore that promise but I’ve been putting more time into my actual writing these days which is probably more important. Perhaps when I’m fully retired I’ll make more time.

So that’s it for now. The edits are back in my editor’s hands and I’m getting ready to work on a project I started about nine years ago. I’ll be off on my deserted island at least for a little. They say that publishing is a slow business. It takes plenty of patience, but then so is writing sometimes.

I hope you’re all having a wonder summer and are enjoying this beautiful Nova Scotia sunshine. I’d love to hear what you’ve been doing this summer.

Guest Author Alison DeLory

Today, it is my pleasure to welcome author Alison DeLory to my blog. Alison has written a special post to commemorate Canada Day 2019 and talk about her newly published book, Making it Home.  So without further ado, here’s Alison.

 

Like many of you, I’ve been uplifted by stories in the news in the past week about Syrian-Canadians graduating from high school—like Batoul Hadhad, the daughter of Peace by Chocolate owners in Antigonish, N.S., and the three Hendawi brothers in Shelburne, N.S. They all came to Canada as teenagers who knew no English and who had missed years of schooling in Syria because of the war there. Once arriving in Canada, they worked hard to recover their lost education and create future opportunities for themselves.

Certainly as we acknowledge Canada Day, many of us proudly think about how our great country makes space for refugees and other immigrants. Yes, Canada should be celebrated for this, but let’s not forget to also acknowledge all that Canada gains, too, from welcoming newcomers. The benefit is two-way. Tens of thousands of Syrian refugees who have come to Canada in the most recent wave have already contributed to the Canada economically and culturally, plus in less measurable but equally (or more) important ways, like expanding our capacity for empathy.

My new novel Making it Home (Nimbus 2019) tells this particular migration story from both angles. While it’s been documented through news stories, I wrote it through a fictional lens. I drew heavily on actual events that took place between 2014 and 2016 as loss of industry was forcing young people off Cape Breton Island, as Alberta’s economic boom began to bust, and as people spilled out of Middle Eastern refugee camps into variously tragic and hopeful circumstances. But fiction allowed me to delve deeper into the lives of imagined people most directly involved in these events.

I wrote the opening scene, involving a mass beaching of pilot whales in Cape Breton, as an assignment for a writing class I was taking in 2015. Once drafted, I thought about the symbolism of the whales, and how they could be a metaphor for being thrown out of one’s natural environment and feeling displaced. Pushing them back into the ocean was a community (epitomized by one family) struggling with an economic imperative to leave Cape Breton, and a desire for things to stay as they were. I saw the potential in the story and kept writing.

A second story line transports readers to Syria where they meet a family forced to flee Aleppo as bombs drop around them. The two families’ situations are on the surface quite different: one is a white, Christian family living in a sleepy rural Nova Scotian village, the other is an Arabic-speaking Syrian Muslim family whose lives are at risk. But at their core the two families are more alike than they seem. Like families the world-over, both share common desires for security, comfort, work and belonging. I wrote this book to discover how these particular characters could affect and possibly help one another heal.

These two parallel migration stories highlight how similar people’s plights are despite their cultural differences. And connecting the stories is the common thread of searching for home. I hope this novel gives readers an opportunity to consider our shared need for home—not only the physical place, but where we feel most secure, valued and ourselves—and to what lengths and distances the desire for home will take people. This journey toward ‘home’ can be physical or emotional, and helping others find their ‘home’ may allow our best selves to emerge.

 Thank you Alison for sharing this with us. I really enjoyed reading about what inspired you to write you book. I’m looking forward to reading it . All the best as you go forward.

 Alison DeLory is a writer, editor, and teacher living in Halifax, currently working at the University of King’s College. She has been writing stories for newspapers, magazines, and digital platforms for 20 years. She’s also written two children’s chapter books and contributed to several anthologies. Making it Home is her first novel.

Making it Home is available now on Amazon, Chapters and bookstores near you.

Ten Years in Blogland

My, how time flies—seems we only say those words once we’ve reached a certain age of maturity.

I’ll soon be coming up to my tenth year of blogging. Yay me! I may not be posting often these days but

I’m still here in blogland. A lot of the bloggers I met over time have abandoned their blogs and I’ve lost touch. Let’s face it, it’s not always easy to come up with content, especially content that others might want to read. It also takes persistence to set aside time to write posts. There was a time when I put more time into my posts than I did actually writing—or at least it felt that way—and that didn’t make sense. So these days, I blog less and write more.  And while I’d like to be blogging a bit more than I am now, at the moment I’m okay with it. Perhaps when the time is right I’ll get back into it a little more.

My daughter set up this blog in the beginning because I hadn’t a clue about any of it. It all seemed so foreign to me. Slowly but surely I started to figure it all out.

In ten years I’ve written 614 blog posts, counting this one. I wonder how many words that would be? enough for a few novel no doubt. 614 feels like a lot, although I know there are many more bloggers out there that would put this number to shame.

This photo was the original header for my blog back in 2009. It was taken at Lake Torment in East Dalhousie.

I believe when many of us start out blogging we think that people will sit at their computers in anticipation of our next published post, that they long to devour our words, our wisdom because what we have to say is just THAT profound. But then reality sets in and we begin to realize that there are a few kind souls out there who regularly read –some out of interest and others perhaps out of pity. I think many of my readers might fall into the pity category—family who feel obligated to read Mum’s blog posts for fear that they may be quizzed at a later date as to what’s new on lauraabest.wordpress.com/. But hey, I’ll take those “pity hits” and say thank you because I know that it’s not always easy to find time to read and I’m always very appreciative of anyone who does.

So, here’s to the first ten years (Well, not quite yet, but hey, I wanted something to blog about.)

Thank you to all those faithful readers who stop by from time to time and especially to those who take the time to leave a comment. I’m really grateful for your support. 

The End of Hibernation

Oh wow! I fear I have been neglecting my blog this past winter and the three people who faithfully read my blog posts. (Well, hopefully, there are more than three of you, although sometimes I do wonder!)

Winter seemed to fly by, not that I spent the time hibernating. I was busy writing most every day and avoiding housework, I mean, the icy world outside. The only way a story gets written is by faithfully returning to your computer and writing. Alone. Keep your butt in the chair, as some writers will tell you. Well, I can attest to the fact that my chair was well-used these past months.

Writing is such a solitary venture for authors. Some days I wish it wasn’t so. Some days I want to sneak out into the world and see/talk to other people.

But I can’t always do that because the story won’t get written if I do. By the time I get well into a story it keeps me awake at night. It’s my first thought when I wake in the morning. I hear dialogue in my head and wonder: will I remember these bits of conversations between my characters when it comes time to write? I experienced all these things this winter. I call it falling in love with the story all over again.

But…

I’m not writing this post to lament being a writer. It’s who I am. I can’t change that. Take it or leave it, things aren’t going to change in that respect. I love writing.

Now, for some news:

I recently received word that Penelope Jackson will be working with me on the edits for my adult fiction novel, due out in spring 2020. I can’t tell you how that news makes my little heart sing. I worked with her on my last two novels and she’s absolutely wonderful. Although, I’m not sure what to expect with this being my first novel for grown-ups, I’m looking forward to the edits. It will be a busy summer. My publisher wants the ARCs (advance reading copies) ready for early 2020. I’m sure we’ll get there on time. I’ll share the cover when the time is right.

Let’s not forget there’s another book coming in the fall of 2020 as well.

Of course all that doesn’t mean I don’t have other stories I’m working on. In fact, I’ve several that are in various stages of completion. Right now, I need to decide which one is crying out for the most attention. Since story ideas can come at the drop of a hat, I have bits of stories sprinkled through my computer files. Hopefully, they will transform into full-fledged stories in time. There also comes the realization that a writer can only write so fast, produce so much. We’re all individuals in that respect. And there is life beyond writing…There I said it.

So, this post is really just to let you know that I’m around and kicking. I didn’t freeze up during the winter, but I am crawling out into civilization a bit more now that the weather is warming up. Hibernation for this author is officially over.

What have all of you been up to this past winter?

 

Confessions of a Word Hoarder.

Look at me, finally writing a blog post on this holiday Monday—Heritage Day. I haven’t been hiding, well maybe a little. But I’ve been hiding out at my computer, working on my next book. Knowing that the edits for my spring release in 2020 is coming up I really wanted to get the story I’m working on ready for submission. That takes a lot of writing and revising and deleting. It also takes discipline which isn’t always an easy thing. Working at home there are so many distractions.

Being a writer I’m a self-professed lover of words. Nothing makes me happier than rearranging sentences and paragraphs during the writing process, sometimes it’s a matter of finding the right place for a particular word. I know, I can be a little anal that way.

What I am finding with my current WIP is that the story I originally began with has taken some unexpected turns, making some of what I’d previously written not relevant to the plot.
So what to do? Well, if it doesn’t move the plot along it has to go. Simple to say, not always simple to do.

After some deliberation I determined that a lot of these scenes/chapters needed to go. There was no way around it. It was the right decision to make.

Here’s what I wrote in a recent Facebook post about it.

I deleted two whole chapters today. It’s like going on a diet. I suddenly feel so much lighter. Whee!!

And here’s what a friend’s comment was:

Now, if that were me, I would have to save it in another file “just in case.”

Her comment made me laugh. We were more alike than she knew. Being a word hoarder–you heard me right, word hoarder–I knew right where my friend was coming from.

I can’t throw away my words. As my friend said, “Just in case.” My computer files are full of folders with such titles as: The cut Parts from: Cammie Takes Flight or Flying with a Broken Wing and this new untitled one. I also have files with different versions of the same story. You know, you start out telling the story one way but then suddenly have a change of heart and start all over.( Maybe you’re beginning isn’t the beginning that needed.) I save all those different versions as well. I mean, what if I decide I want to go back to an earlier version, maybe experiment a little more with it?

Parts I cut from the edits of Flying with a Broken Wing found a place in Cammie Takes Flight. Glad I didn’t delete those for good. I have to admit sometimes those deleted words have come in mighty handy. No, I agree with my friend, deleting something forever is not an easy thing to do and as I write that, I feel as though all hoarders have similar excuses.

Of course there are drawbacks from being a word hoarder. Since I tend to have several stories on the go at one time ( Yup that’s right, I have at least half a dozen stories I’ve started over the years and plan to one day get back to) it can be difficult to find the version you’re looking for.

What the heck did I name that file? I know it’s here somewhere. Not in my documents on the computer, how about one of the dozens of thumb drives I have?

You get the picture?

So this is my confession on this holiday Monday. I know there are far worse things to hoard than words. At least it’s something I can hide from the prying eyes of others. There’s nothing messy about a thumb drive in a drawer.

I hope you are enjoying Heritage Day here in Nova Scotia. I spent much of the day at my computer. And you guessed it; I saved this blog post in another file.

Happy Heritage Day or whatever day your province celebrates!

The Blind Mechanic

For anyone who has any preconceived ideas of what blind people are capable of accomplishing they should read  The Blind Mechanic.

Long before this book came out I heard about this remarkable man from my step-father. Like my mum and step-father, Eric went to the Halifax School for the Blind. Eric was blinded in the Halifax Explosion when he was two and went on to live a long fulfilling life. Eric dreamed of being a mechanic and despite the obstacles he encountered he did just that. He was a man admired by many for his accomplishments, especially those within the blind community.

I just finished reading this book and would highly recommend it. The book was written by Eric’s daughter, Marilyn Davison Elliott. Having grown up with a mother who was born visually impaired I felt an immediate connection to Marilyn and her book. Children who have a parent or parents who are blind or visually impaired recognized the strength and determination their parent possess. We also realize that being blind or visually impaired doesn’t have to stop anyone from achieving their goals. It was why I created the character of Cammie. Having grown up seeing  how blind and visually impaired people were often underestimated, it was important for me to write about a feisty, 10-year-old determined to make a better life for herself.

Even if you don’t know someone with vision problems The Blind Mechanic is a truly inspiring story. Lots of interesting information about the aftermath of the explosion as well.

The Book:

Eric Davidson lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion when he was two years old. Against all odds, he taught himself to become an auto mechanic and had a successful decades long career as “one of the boys.”

Eric Davidson was a beautiful, fair-haired toddler when the Halifax Explosion struck, killing almost 2,000 people and seriously injuring thousands of others. Eric lost both eyes, a tragedy that his mother never fully recovered from. Eric, however, was positive and energetic. He also developed a fascination with cars and how they worked, and he later decided, against all likelihood, to become a mechanic. Assisted by his brothers who read to him from manuals, he worked hard, passed examinations, and carved out a decades-long career. Once the subject of a National Film Board documentary, Eric Davidson was, until his death, a much-admired figure in Halifax.

This book does not gloss over the challenges faced by Eric and by his parents. Written by his daughter Marilyn, it gives new insights into the story of the 1917 Halifax Explosion and contains never-before-seen documents and photographs. While Eric Davidson has been mentioned in previous Explosion accounts, his story has never been told in such fascinating detail. Davidson overcame such odds that his life story might not seem believable if it had not happened.

The Blind Mechanic is in bookstores and can also be purchased through amazon.ca HERE.

Things for 2019

I’ve made a list for 2019—me, the person who is not by nature a list- maker.

Will wonders never cease?

What’s on the list, you might ask?

Well, things.

What kind of things?

Things I want to accomplish during the year, things I’d like to see happen. Things like hopes and wishes and dreams. You know –all that important stuff deemed not so important by some, but extremely important to this writer. I’m a dreamer, a hoper, a wisher–what can I say?

Not all of these things are of a writing nature, mind you. Even though I often feel that my life is lopsided and I’m too immersed in this world of words and sentences and pages for my own good. But then I remind myself that I do things other than write.

Family–always number one, even before writing. Family are the people who support you though the good and bad. They accept you, not only at your best, but our worst. They are the people you laugh with and cry with and share with. They are your safety net when life gets tough.

I knit. Sometimes, but not often. There just doesn’t seem to be the time.

I garden—in the summer months—but not as regularly as I should. Much of that falls onto Hubby’s capable shoulders.

I grandparent—not as often as I’d like, distance being the primary reason. Is that a hobby? I don’t think so. That’s just life. Little people rock!

I’m not going to claim to be a cook. I gave that up when the kids all moved out. Cooking now feels like an inconvenience at the best of times. I now have a daughter-in-law who can cook circles around me, and I just love that!

Okay, I do housework…sometimes. While matters of sweeping and laundry and dishes don’t invite me to use my imagination to the fullest they are sometimes a necessary part of living. Dust bunnies do not rock!

I have a job—for about eight months of the year I get up early in the morning and spend maybe ten or eleven hours away from any kind of technology. If I must write, I “head write” then wait for a break, or lunch time, to jot down all those clever thoughts. Did I say clever?

I have friends. Having friends means putting effort into that friendship, taking the time to have coffee or just phone to say hello. Sorry, a like or a comment on a Facebook status just doesn’t cut it so far as I’m concerned. I need real contact of some kind. I know it’s time consuming, but isn’t friendship worth it?

Maybe 2019 will be the year I try something new, or even a plethora of new things. Why stop at one?

I’ll be working on the edits for my two books due out in 2020. I’m a so excited about this. I love working on edits. It’s where the magic happens.

If all goes according to plan, my list of things for 2019 will continue to grow. It’s not simply a January list but one that will evolve over the weeks and months ahead.

Happy New Year to all my readers. I hope 2019 has something truly remarkable in store for you.

Are you a list-maker? All the time, some of the time, never or just occasionally?

Season’s Greetings

As  I watched the snow from inside my house today, it seemed like a good day to write a short blog post–my last one for 2018.  It also seemed like an even better day for decorating the Christmas tree and wrapping prezzies. Christmas is only a week away and yet I find myself, once again, scrambling to get everything done. Big surprise!

And all the while I’m preparing and thinking Christmas, there’s this nagging urge within me to start writing. Some days are like that, it seems that new ideas are prodding me, begging me to pay attention. Not to mention some stories that have been lurking in the shadows for some years now, following me around like the ghost of Jacob Marley. Oh… but then that would make me Scrooge, wouldn’t it? No, no, no. I’m not feeling like Scrooge today. Perhaps I’m more of a juggler, with several stories still up in the air. I like the thought of being a juggler of new ideas, new stories not yet told.

I always welcome New Year’s, knowing that I’ll able to spend more time writing, and hopefully finishing up some projects I began during the year. Winter is my official time to create. There is just something so new and special about a new year. I find it difficult to describe, and it’s not that I’m even a big fan of winter. Perhaps it’s the sense that, with a brand new year comes brand new hopes and dreams.

Earlier, I found a few very old–like 100 years old–postcards I wanted to share since Christmas and New Year’s are just around the corner.

I love the images on the old postcards, so nostalgic. (Not that I was around back then, but still…..)

 

Wouldn’t you just love to climb inside this image?

Wishing all my readers a wondrous and magically New Year. I hope to see you all in 2019, and hopefully I’ll continue to find new things to blog about!

 

 

Recap – 2018

I don’t usually do a recap of the previous year in my writing life, but this year was an exception. So many great things happened; most of it had to do with the Silver Birch Nomination for my middle grade novel Cammie Takes Flight.

I really can’t begin to express what this nomination meant to me AND to Cammie. Knowing that so many kids would be reading your book is a dream come true for any author.

When word of the nomination came in October of the previous year I knew I was in for an interesting year. I’d heard stories about the Festival of Trees held in Toronto each year at Harbourfront Centre, and while I never dreamed I’d ever be so fortunate to get such a nomination, I knew one way or another I’d be going to that festival.

I was SO grateful to my publisher, Nimbus, for making the arrangements for me to go.

As many of you already know I’m not the travelling kind. This was going to be my first time flying, add to that, the fact that I come from a tiny place of about 200 full-time people. Well…I’m sure you get the picture.

But I had plenty of help getting me there. Truth be told, I couldn’t have done it without them. As soon as the nomination was announced I had offers of help from other authors who had previously gone through the experience. (It’s always helpful to have some idea of what to expect ahead of time.) Then there was Hubby, who swore he’d never fly, but he got on that plane with me and off we went.

We stayed much of our time with one of my oldest friends and her husband, and she was certainly a God send. Were it not for her we might be roaming the streets of TO (See how I’ve picked up the lingo?) to this day. I was about as pampered as any one author could be! She picked us up at the airport, took us out sight-seeing, drove us into Toronto for the reception and festival, then out to Oshawa for another event. Can’t imagine having done all that without her, plus it was really great catching up on old times. I’m so glad that I was able to share the experience with her. Thanks again, Darlene!
So, a few other things happened this year as well.

First this… (I already mentioned it in an earlier post.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And then this….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m most excited about the second contract as it’s for my first adult novel and is due to be published in spring 2020! The second book, for children, is due in the fall of 2020. It should be a busy year. I’ll be sure to keep you up to date with the progress of these as it comes along–such as covers, blurbs, etc.

As for the rest of 2018, I’ll be trying to squeeze in some writing time before Christmas. It’s not always an easy thing to do. I’ve a few stories I’m working on and I’m hopeful that I’ll make good progress this winter. And who knows, 2018 isn’t over yet. Perhaps there will be more news before it’s over.

I can always hope…..

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