Some Inspirational Quotes for the New Year

I try to stay upbeat as much as I can. I’ll be honest, that’s been a challenge this past while. However, getting down and staying down is not a good place to be. Contrary to what some people around me think, I don’t always succeed at remaining 100% positive all the time. I mean, that’s a ridiculous notion. There isn’t a person out there who doesn’t find themselves in the pit of despair from time to time. S**t happens in everyone’s life from time to time; it’s what we do with it that makes the difference. But please, don’t ever think for a moment that everyone out there does not suffer from time to time. It’s so easy to look at someone else’s life and think they have everything altogether and you don’t.

Personally, I love reading positive quotes from time to time. Other people’s wisdom inspires me even more when I’m feeling positive but and also makes me take a step back when I’m feeling low and survey the situation I might presently be in.

Below are some uplifting quotes to help kick off the New Year.

1. 1.“You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” —Mary Pickford

2. “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide you’re not going to stay where you are.” —John Pierpont “J.P.” Morgan

3. “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

4. “It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

5. “No, this is not the beginning of a new chapter in my life; this is the beginning of a new book! That first book is already closed, ended, and tossed into the seas; this new book is newly opened, has just begun! Look, it is the first page! And it is a beautiful one!” — C. JoyBell

6. “Your life does not get better by chance. It gets better by change.” — Jim Rohn

7. “Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It’s the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

8. “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.” – C. S. Lewis

9. “Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.” — Robin Sharma

10. “Every day is a new beginning. Treat it that way. Stay away from what might have been, and look at what can be.” – Marsha Petrie Sue

11. “Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go. They merely determine where you start.” — Nido Qubein

12. “Realize that if a door closed, it’s because what was behind it wasn’t meant for you.” ― Mandy Hale

13. “Never underestimate the power you have to take your life in a new direction.” ― Germany Kent

14. “Sometimes we can only find our true direction when we let the wind of change carry us” ― Mimi Novic

15. “We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.” —Joseph Campbell

16. “Even the greatest was once a beginner. Don’t be afraid to take that first step.– Muhammad Ali

17. The start of something new brings the hope of something great, ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. —Author Unknown

18. The bad news is that most people give up; they settle for second best; they don’t start over; they stay stuck. Please don’t allow that to be you.– Doug Fields, Fresh Start

19. “Asking is the beginning of receiving. Make sure you don’t go to the ocean with a teaspoon. At least take a bucket so the kids won’t laugh at you.” Jim Rohn

20. Just wishing does nothing for your life, but when you actually commit to taking action to make that wish come true your life takes on new meaning. Catherine Pulsifer, May Is Not Just For Flowers

Hopefully, you will discover some pearls of wisdom that will inspire you or give you a bit of a lift if you’re in need of one at the moment. 2020 is filled with 366 days (that’s right, it’s a leap year) I hope you find the courage and strength to find more positive days than negative. Just never give up (at least not for long.). There’s always sun somewhere behind those clouds.

Reading Local–Part Two

Next up on my reading list are two collections of short stories. The first one was written by Ian Colford. While I’ve never formally met Ian, he was the editor of the Pottersfield Portfolio many years ago when my second short story, Wild Geese, was published. I’m really looking forward to reading this collection. The second one is from an author right here in Kings County, practically my back yard. Christy Ann was a guest on my blog a few years back when her book the Memento was newly published. You can read that interview HERE.

A Dark House: & Other Stories

In Ian Colford’s latest collection, people get themselves and those they love into situations awkward and sometimes dangerous, doing what they think is best for all. A man kidnaps his young son from his ex-wife and the road trip west quickly spirals out of control; a destitute mother makes a risky alliance with a neighbour; an almost comically wrong-headed older brother has a detective follow his sister; a retired shop-owner in north end Halifax reflects on his life before making a snap decision to change the course of his sunset years. Colford depicts his characters’ shortcomings with wit and generosity, in a plainspoken style that belies deeply nuanced portrayals of the questions of fortune, inevitability, and self-preservation.

About the Author: Ian Colford lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. His stories, reviews, and commentary have appeared in Canadian literary publications from coast to coast and in journals published online. From 1995 to 1998 he was editor of the literary journal Pottersfield Portfolio. He has served on the Steering Committee of One Book Nova Scotia, the board of directors of the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, and the board of the Atlantic Book Awards Society. He has completed residencies at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers and Yaddo, an artists’ colony in Saratoga Springs, New York, and is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers Summer Workshop where he worked with Isabel Huggan, Alistair MacLeod, and Wayson Choy. Evidence, a collection of short fiction, was published in 2008 by Porcupine’s Quill and won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award; Evidence was also shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, the Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize and the ReLit Award. A novel, The Crimes of Hector Tomás, followed in 2012. Published by Freehand Books, it won Trade Book of the Year at the 2013 Alberta Book Awards. Perfect World, a novella, was published by Freehand in 2016 and shortlisted in the book design category at the 2017 Alberta Book Publishing Awards. In September, 2019, a collection of short fiction, A Dark House, was published under the Vagrant Press imprint of Nimbus Publishing.

Watermark by Christy-Ann Conlin 

In these evocative and startling stories, we meet people navigating the elemental forces of love, life, and death. An insomniac on Halifax’s moonlit streets. A runaway bride. A young woman accused of a brutal murder. A man who must live in exile if he is to live at all. A woman coming to terms with her eccentric childhood in a cult on the Bay of Fundy shore.

A master of North Atlantic Gothic, Christy Ann Conlin expertly navigates our conflicting self-perceptions, especially in moments of crisis. She illuminates the personality of land and ocean, charts the pull of the past on the present, and reveals the wildness inside each of us. These stories offer a gallery of both gritty and lyrical portraits, each unmasking the myth and mystery of the everyday.

About the Author: Christy Ann Conlin’s debut novel, Heave, was a national bestseller and one of the Globe and Mail‘s top books of 2002. Her second adult novel, The Memento, will be published by Doubleday in April 2016. Her first YA novella, Dead Time, will be come out with Annick Press in 2011. Her fiction has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Best Canadian Stories. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of British Columbia where she wrote and studied fiction, stage and screenplay writing. She also holds a Bachelor of Education from Acadia University, and a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from the University of Ottawa. Her essays have appeared in numerous publications including Canadian Geographic, Geist and Chatelaine. Christy Ann is also a regular book reviewer for the Globe and Mail and is an online instructor with the University of Toronto. She lives in Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

If you’re a short story fan the way I am, I’m sure you’ll find some gems in these two collections. I’m personally, quite excited to read them.

Reading Local

I’ve always been a believer in supporting local authors. Luckily, we have a lot of wonderful authors here in the Maritimes and I like to give their books a shout-out from time to time. I’ve decided to post two local books at a time for the next little while instead of posting ten or so all at once.

Here are my first two picks. They were both books that my mother received as gifts over Christmas.The first book was written by a former student from the Halifax School for the Blind which, as many of you know, my mother also attended.

Mrs. Beaton’s Questions by Robert Mercer.

Robert Mercer’s life could have been very different. He was born with very low vision and, as a youngster, struggled in school. But through the intervention of a caring teacher and the support of his family, he found his way to the Halifax School for the Blind and into the classroom of Mrs. Beaton. It was there that he discovered his voice, a voice he uses to recount his remarkable journey from a shy little boy to a community leader.

About the author: Robert Mercer was born visually impaired and for nine years, he attended the School for the Blind in Halifax. Upon graduation and a Bachelor’s Degree from St. Mary’s University, he joined the staff of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). At the age of thirty, he was appointed National President and CEO for the Institute, responsible for the work of three thousand staff and a hundred thousand volunteers, coast to coast. In a second career, Robert worked for 25 years in the Federal public service, retiring as Assistant Deputy Minister at Veterans Affairs Canada in Charlottetown, where he now enjoys writing books, mostly fiction for children and adults, and is still very much young at heart.

Silver Linings by Janice Landry is a book about gratitude, something I truly believe in. Gratitude in our lives helps us to see all the positive things we should focus. I believe our own thoughts play an important role in out own well-being.

Silver Linings: Stories of Gratitude, Resiliency and Growth Through Adversity

Author Janice Landry asks the very tough question, “What are you the most grateful for?” to fifteen inspiring Canadians from five provinces and two esteemed guests from the United States. One of seventeen is Dr. Bob Emmons, considered to be the world’s pre-eminent expert in the study of gratitude.

Gratitude and resiliency are key cornerstones in the field of mental health. Science-based evidence, discussed by Dr. Emmons and others, underlines the importance of developing and practising gratitude. Research proves being grateful is good for us, both mentally and physically. Gratitude can improve our resiliency before challenges occur in our lives, which they inevitably do.

Let’s face it: it’s easy to be grateful when things are running smoothly. The people in Silver Linings have discovered that gifts may actually emerge from life’s toughest challenges. Landry’s own gratitude practice was shaken to its core when both her mother and a close friend, assisted-death advocate Audrey Parker, died within weeks of one another while she was writing Silver Linings.

About the Author: Journalist Janice Landry received a 2017 national media award and, in 2018, the prestigious Canadian Resiliency Award for The Legacy Letters. Silver Linings is her fifth book. It is dedicated to her mother and Audrey Parker.

Perhaps you’ll consider adding these books to your TBR pile. No better time to catch up on your reading than winter!

Come on, Write That Book in 2020

Be honest, how many of you want to write a book but it just hasn’t happened? Maybe you had your plans made, a start date picked, an outline written, a schedule prepared. It was all perfect. You were set to go. Maybe you even made a New Year’s resolution to get serious and start writing that book you’ve been planning all your life.

But then something happened.

You got busy, life distracted you (silly life), or maybe—and here’s a biggie– you became afraid that you just couldn’t do it, even convinced yourself that it was a dumb idea in the first place. Write a book? Who are you trying to kid? I mean what if you fail? What if you never get to those two little words THE END. What if you actually do finish it and it sucks?

These are all questions many prospective writers ask. Believe me, I know from experience. Sometimes even published authors have these same doubts. A writer’s ego can be fragile. We put our work out there for the whole world to see and judge. Many people are kind, but not everyone.

I won’t lie to you. Writing a book takes a lot of time and a lot of creative effort.

A lot of hopeful writers start out great, but then lose traction. That great idea suddenly seems to be not so great. The excitement you felt when you first started, fizzles away to nothing. This can also happen to published authors as well. Again, I know this from experience.

Authors don’t just write books while our publisher waits with hands out to snap it up and publish it. It still has to be a good story, something the publisher can get behind, something they believe in. If it’s not, it doesn’t get published. It’s that simple.

Nevertheless, these things shouldn’t stop us from pursuing our dream of writing a book, if that’s what our dream truly is. I say that because there are people who like the idea of writing a book far greater than the actual doing because, really, the writing part ain’t all that glamorous. You spent a lot of time alone, researching and writing and writing and rewriting, sometimes crying and wailing. You start and stop and start again, you walk away but later come back.

But see, that’s the key–you come back, as many times as you have to in order to get it done.

I think many times, we put our expectations onto the end result instead of enjoying the journey. What I am discovering is that the journey will have its bumps and potholes but try to relax and put those expectations aside. Who cares if what you write isn’t very good? First drafts are often horrible, even for published authors. Believe me, we don’t just write one draft; we write many drafts. We tear apart scenes, change our entry point, points of view, you name it, we’ve changed it. And I know this might seem contrary to what I said about setting writing goals for myself, but I set these goals at a time when I know that the book I’m working on is near to completion. (By near, I still mean a few months away.)

So, if you’ve always wanted to write that book, make 2020 the year you begin. You don’t need to whip up chapters at a time. A paragraph, or even a sentence will suffice, whatever feels manageable at the time. Don’t worry about how good it is or who, if anyone will read it. Be creative. Express yourself. We all here on the planet to create in one form or another. If something inside is urging you to write than you should follow that urging. I like to think that we all have an inner wisdom, that little voice that helps direct us by times. So if there is indeed a hidden voice inside you that is dying to be heard then what are you waiting for? Get out there and start writing. Honestly, that’s how I became published.

Here’s hoping that 2020 finds you taking steps toward accomplishing some long-held dream.

Happy New Year.

Looking Forward to 2020

I have to admit, I’m feeling rather anxious for 2020 to arrive. I’ve said several times on this blog, over the years, that I always look forward to the new year coming and this year is no different. Not that a new year offers any special solutions to the challenges we might have encounter during the year, but it still fills me with a sense of newness for life as I anticipate what the year ahead will look like.

2019 had its challenges, but I came through the other side with my sense of humour and a love for life, and that’s the important part. Don’t get me wrong, there were plenty of great moments these past 365 days. I finished two books and signed book contracts for them both which, believe me, is something that every author loves to do. I worked on the edits for my first novel for adults, got to see the cover and read the blurbs written for “Good Mothers Don’t “ by authors whose work I admire. (I hope that’s a good sign that other will like the book as well.)

2020 will see me working on more edits, first for the Cammie prequel and then for another middle grade novel as the advance reading copies (ARCs) need to be ready for the fall as well even though it will not be out until the fall of 2021. (Seems confusing, doesn’t it?) That novel will be a bit different as it’s written in third person, something I don’t often do, only because I tend to enjoy first person novels for reading as well as writing. That particular book, however, seemed to call for a different approach. I also have several books I want to get back to writing in 2020. Plus there will be the usual book launches and signings that always go along with the publication of a new book. It’s sure to be a busy year. But I’m looking forward to it.

Last year, I made a promise that I’d complete the Cammie prequel and gave myself a deadline. I did the same with the next novel. Seems like something I’ll carry with me into 2020 as it worked out well this time. For now, that’s my writing goal for 2020, to finish another manuscript I’ve been working on.

I hope 2020 is good to all of you. I hope you make good memories and share some special moments with those you love.

Happy New Year and I’ll be back blogging in 2020. What are your plans for the year ahead?

Those Special Moments

When we’re going through difficult times, there are some times special moments, however small, that come along to lift our spirits and maybe even warm our hearts just a little. While it doesn’t make everything right in your world, it does bring some comfort and even a small measure of joy. The moments I’m talking about are often spoke of as coincidences , but I’m not so convinced that things in our world are just a bunch of random circumstances that haphazardly fall into place at just the right time, producing some amazing outcomes.

On the weekend I experienced one of those special moments that, really, just gladdened my heart and made me happy.

Last Saturday, I was at the Christmas Festival in New Ross with friend and author Jan Coates. We’ve had a table at the festival for the past five years or so and look forward to going each year. You just never know who you’ll meet and it’s always fun to chat with the people who drop by.

late morning, a woman stopped by my table and asked if all my books were in large print. (She’d seen the large print edition of Cammie Takes Flight on my table.) I explained to her that my publisher had the large print edition printed especially for that book as it was set at the Halifax School for the Blind. The older woman with her spoke up and said that she’d gone to that school. I was immediately intrigued, and told her that my mother had also gone to the school there! Since the school would have had approximately 150 students at the time my mum attended, I knew there was a good chance that they would have at least heard of one another other. And of course this woman did remember my mother. We chatted for a little and I told her a bit about Mum and what had been going on lately in her life. She asked for my mother’s phone number, and left with a large print copy of Cammie Takes Flight. As she was leaving, she said to the woman with her, “This just made my coming here worth while.” I can’t tell you how her words warmed my heart.

The real surprise came when, during our conversation, I asked this woman where she lived and discovered that she lived in the very same community as Mum, and had lived there for twenty-five years. I mean really? I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited.

When I got back to Mum’s I told her about the woman I’d met, and of course she remembered her. She said that she and my step dad often wondered about her and had no idea of how get in touch. While they’d kept in contact with many of the people at the school, they hadn’t a clue where this particular woman had been living all these years. But really? What are the chances she’d be living in the same town?

And in case you’re wondering, Mum received a much welcomed phone call two evenings later from her old school friend and I can tell you after 65 years they had plenty of catching up to do. In fact, it will likely take a lot of hours for them to truly catch up.

They’ve made tentative plans to get together once the holidays are over and I can’t tell you how much this chance meeting with a friend from my mother’s past has meant to her, especially at this time.

I’m a firm believe in the wonders of the Universe. At this stage in my life, I consider myself old and wise enough to accept the fact that there are things in life that cannot be explained, nor should they be. When I think of how so many things worked together to help reunite these two friends, right from the fact that I hadn’t been absolutely sure I’d be able to go to the festival this year, I can’t help thinking that it is one of those things that was meant to be.

As I said earlier, it did my heart good, and I’m so glad that a large print edition of Cammie Takes Flight played a small part in it all.

Not Another Book

It’s been a very busy time for me with my first novel for adults about to be published in the spring and the ARCs soon going to print. While I’ve had three books published for kids, this one feels a bit different in some respects with a different audience. And while a lot of adults do read my kids book, I’m sure kids will not be reading this one. Just so you know, this doesn’t mean that I’ll no longer write for kids because I will. As many of you know I also have two books for kids coming out. The prequel to the Cammie books is scheduled for publication next fall, plus I have another book due out in Fall 2022, but wait….there’s more.

yes I did say more.

I just signed another contract for a book, set in Germany in the 1700’s that is due to be published in the Fall of 2021!

So it looks as though I’ll be quite busy for the next little while with edits and book promotions, and four books coming out in the next three years. I’ll continue to keep you in the loop, though. I’m sure the time will fly, and I’ll continue to work on new projects. I’ve got several books simmering along as we speak, which is nothing unusual for me, and hopefully, one day they’ll all see publication.

Today is the first day of December. I, for one, am glad to see November over and done with. I hope this month goes well for all of us as we make the first steps into December.

Thanks for reading!

Good Mothers Don’t–Cover Reveal

I’m excited to be able to show you all the cover to my first novel for adults. And guess what? It finally has a title, which is a good thing, too, because now I know what to call it! ( If you read an earlier blog post, you likely know that for a time the novel had been nameless. But no more.)

Good Mothers Don’t will be released on April 30th 2020 by Nimbus Publishing & Vagrant Press, which still seems like a long ways away, but I promise you, it’ll come quicker than you think.

If you’d like to read a quick blurb to get an idea of what the book is about, just click on the link HERE and it will take you to the Nimbus site. I’m not sure when it will be available for pre-order (people have been asking) but as soon as I have that information, I’ll pass it along.

 

Another Day to be Thankful

Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t. ~~Annette Bridges

It’s Thanksgiving weekend here in Canada but this post is not only for my Canadian readers but for readers from no matter where you are. It’s all about gratitude and gratitude knows no boundaries.

It seems no matter what we’re going through in life, there are always things to be thankful for if we look closely enough. Family and friends come first to mind for me. Without these two, the rest might feel meaningless. But even without family and friends in the equation, gratitude can be found in so many of the little things in life. The fall colours we’ve been seeing this past while, for instance. Our world is filled with beauty with each season we enter. I wonder sometimes if we don’t take the passing seasons for granted. I’m sure there have been times in my own life when I was just too busy to take time to be grateful for all the colours in our world.

Sometimes gratitude can come to us in the form of an email or  phone call from someone just checking in with us to see how things are going. I also have a few friends who still use the telephone, (yay them!) who take a moment every so often the call me and I can’t tell you how grateful I have been for these calls over the years. And yes, I return the calls from time to time as well, except with on particular friend who is long distance. But we both know and understand that. Right, Darlene?

So along with my family and friends, I am so grateful at this moment for my upcoming books, all the beautiful fall colours that surround us, and for those people who take just a moment from time to time to find out about what’s going on in my world! But there are so, so many other things, big and small. I couldn’t possibly mention them all!

I’ll leave you with a few gratitude quote that I found online.

“The more grateful I am, the more beauty I see.” – Mary Davis

“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel

“This is a wonderful day. I’ve never seen this one before.” – Maya Angelou

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy

“Gratitude unlocks all that’s blocking us from really feeling truthful, really feeling authentic and vulnerable and happy.” – Gabrielle Bernstein

“Gratitude helps us to see what is there instead of what isn’t.” – Annette Bridges

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust

“Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms.” – Alyssa Knight

For all my Canadian readers, I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving.

What do you have to be grateful for in your life at the moment?

Exciting Cammie News!

I was planning to write a quiet post about how quickly summer is passing by but heck, I’m just going to throw all that out and make this super exciting announcement.

I recently signed my third book contract in less than a year. Yup. You read that right—three!

This recent book, that BTW I finished writing last winter, is the prequel to the other two Cammie books. Making it, I guess, a trilogy. Who knew? Well, me, but that’s to be expected.

The book is set in East Chester around the time Cammie was born and it fills in a lot of the details of Cammie’s life—who her parents really are and just how she came to be living with bootlegging Millie Turple in Tanner. We also learn some more about Evelyn and his father Jim Merry; lots about the Ideal Maternity Home, as well.

It’s due to be published in the Fall of 2020 which means the book that was previously scheduled for that slot had to be bumped to Fall 2021. Just a little shuffling as it seemed to make sense to bring this book out sooner rather than later, seeing how Cammie Takes Flight was published back in 2017.

So there’s my late summer news and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. I’ve been sitting on this for awhile and was just bursting to tell!

But eventually, we all have to come back down to earth. Right? Even authors who have signed three book contracts in less than a year!!

I’m back writing again, looking through some material I wrote years ago and trying to decide if it still has value. This could take some time.

In the meantime, if all goes according to plan, the second round of edits on my still untitled adult fiction novel will be underway sometime in September. And as soon as we find the perfect title I’ll be sure to share it with you.

I hope you’re all having a spectacular summer.

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

    Join 238 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Publication date April 30, 2020. Available for pre-order NOW.

  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 83,211 hits