World Read Aloud Day

Being on break from social media, I wasn’t aware that today is World Read Aloud Day. But then, a message came to me from The Author Fairy (a.k.a Sue Slade) that the awesome folks at The Dartmouth Book Exchange had chosen, This is it, Lark Harnish to celebrate for World Read Aloud Day and I was sent the link of the lovely Amy McIsaac reading from my book!

If you’re interested in hearing Amy read a snippet from the book, I’ve included the link HERE.

The first World Read Aloud Day was back in 2010 and “celebrates the power of reading aloud to create community, amplify stories, and advocate for literacy as a foundational human right.” Since its beginning, it has grown into a global movement of over 170 countries. How awesome is that?

I hope you were able to celebrate World Read Aloud Day, and if this is the first time you’re hearing of it, you might want to check out the link I provided above.

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

Facebook Hiatus

I’m soon heading into the first month of my Facebook hiatus and decided to let you all know how it’s been going. I am still on messenger, as I mentioned I would be, since I do want to stay in touch with family members and friends. (I’m not becoming a hermit. Please don’t worry!) And of course, I welcome any messages at this time, especially if there’s something you feel I just need to know!

So, how has the month been, you might ask?

Truthfully, it felt a bit strange in the beginning but the longer I’m away, I find I think about it less and less.

An added bonus is that I’m not being bombarded with Facebook ads filling my newsfeed and I’m not seeing the negativity that is out there. For the time being, I’m kind of in my own little world and I find it quite pleasant.

I do miss some of the silliness and I do know there are some awesome posts I’m not seeing. But for the moment, that is kind of balancing out for me. I’m looking for more peace in my life and it seems to be working!

I thought I’d spend hours writing during this time, but I’m surprised by how little time I’m presently putting into my creative work. However, that is not a bad thing. Honest.

Ideally, I’d like to write every day, but I’ve changed my routine to include some other activities that I feel are equally important to me, and it’s leaving me less time in my day for writing. I do expect that to change going forward as I’m often struck by a strong urge to create, that could strike at any time. Inspiration is like that for me and while I did set a daily writing goal last summer and stuck with it until I’d completed the first draft to a novel, I haven’t yet revisited said novel. I want to give myself a good long break from that first draft until I’m ready to tackle revisions. Coming back to a story with fresh eyes often lends itself to some pleasant surprises along the way? Did I really write that? Yes, sometimes we writers surprise even ourselves.

So, with one month into my self-imposed hiatus, I’m in no hurry to return. I have no idea when that will change as I continue to follow the ebb and flow of life. I’m busy learning how to settle into the changes that have come my way over the past few years. It hasn’t always been easy but I’m getting there slowly.

In my last post I wrote about a writer evolving over the course of time, in much the same way that we change and evolve on a personal level.

I think of these days, for me, as a personal evolution and I expect there will be others periods of evolution along the way.

So, the break has been good but I’ll be back at some point. Hopefully, I will be welcomed back into the Facebook community with open arms, but for now, I’m enjoying this hiatus.

Have you ever taken an extended break from social media? I’d like to hear how the experience was for you?

The Evolution of a Writer

Life is constantly evolving. Things change and morph as time goes by. That’s nothing new. Few people would argue that we are living at a time in history where the planet seems to be evolving on so many different levels and at a speed we’ve never experienced before. The Internet has played a huge role in that. Suddenly, thoughts and ideas can be shared in seconds, instead of what once took days or even weeks. Does anyone write letters these days or does it take too much time for them to arrive?

As a writer of historical fiction, I find myself even more aware of how much faster life is then in years gone by.

I was thinking, the other day, how just as writers evolve, we are all constantly evolving on a personal level as well. The person we were a decade ago, for instance, is not the same person we are today. It doesn’t mean we changed dramatically, although that change could be dramatic. Sometimes change happens so slowly we’re not aware of it until we have reason to reflect back and think “Hmm, I never would have done this or that a few years ago.” I’m sure we’ve all experienced these moments.

A writer evolves as well. It’s made clear in the stories we write and themes we choose to tackle. Over time our style evolves as we work toward finding our true voice. Sometimes, in the beginning, self-consciousness can prevent us from exploring a certain theme or character, stifling our creative flow. We’re not sure what others will think. and so we might shrink into the background, opting for a safer route, the one most expected of us.

There are also those critics out there who’s opinions might matter much more to us than they should. Writer or not–we all have these critics in our lives who never seem to tire of trying to force us into following the path they’ve deemed more appropriate. They are the people who often think they know what’s best for others.

There is also our own “inner critic” who has absolutely no problem crushing our dreams and demanding we be more realistic.

Me? A Writer? Who would read something I wrote? Who would pay money to read something that came from my imagination?

Sound familiar?

Putting work out there for others to scrutinize can be scary, no doubt about it.

For a writer, the stories we create are often very personal for many different reasons. But I would argue that we are the only ones who can write these particular stories because we view life from our own unique perspective and wouldn’t it be a shame if we gave that all up because of own fear? There is nothing more satisfying for a writer than having someone connect with one of our stories. Or maybe we shed a different light on a particular subject for someone or maybe even give them a new concept to consider.

So, if you’re a writer and if you choose to look at life as a means of evolution, perhaps you’ll be more gentle with yourself and come to the understanding that just as life continues to evolve, all writers evolve. This means, your writing will change, as will the themes and the complexity of your characters. And perhaps as your writing evolves you will learn to trust in the knowledge that you’re included in that evolution and simply allow your creativity to flow.

Maybe what you write won’t find a publisher immediately, maybe it never will. But f you stick with it, your writing will evolve over time and you’ll eventually find a place where you are comfortable with the act of creation.

Personal Pride in the Act of Creation

Most of us are creative in one form or another, whether we admit it openly to the world or keep it to ourselves. In fact, it is in our nature to be creative. It is how we’ve evolved to where we are today in terms of technology.

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I was a closet writer for many years who then turned into a closet author. Yes, even after I was published only a small circle of people in my life knew about it. For me, it felt like a private thing and I was happy to feel that pride and keep it to myself. Believe me, for a writer, when an email or letters arrives saying, We want to publish your work, there is no better feeling of accomplishment. Means all our hard work is paying off and for some of us, that can literally mean years of sending out manuscripts and collecting rejections.

For me, the journey of publication is one that continually fills me with personal pride which was why I didn’t feel the need to shout it from the rooftops each time I had a new short story published. It was enough for me to know that someone deemed my work worthy of publication. Super cool.

Of course, it was easier to keep a low profile in the years before my first book hit the bookshelves. Literary magazines are often read by a select few and available only through subscription, meaning you find very few in bookstores. But once a publisher puts your book out there, an author is expected to promote that book. When all is said and done, publishing companies expect to make money or else they wouldn’t be in the business of producing books. Like it or not, that means the author, doing what they can to promote that book.

I sometimes wonder when others see the efforts put forth by authors when it comes to promotion if they understand fully that we’re not tooting our own horn and saying “look at me” but rather “Here is my book that I’m so proud of.” We refer to them as our baby because we were responsible for it’s creation. So, for an author, it’s really not a “look at me” moment but more of a “I’m so proud of this book” moment. I’ve heard authors says they’d do just about anything when it came to their book, in the same way we would do for our child. It’s important to understand that an author is proud of their published book. It is a really huge big accomplishment!

Personal pride, in anything we play a part in creating keeps the creativity flowing and when creativity is flowing many wonderful things come about as a result.

What creative project are you working on at the moment?

Kicking off the New Year

The new year has always filled me with hope, from the time I was young. I’m not sure why. Turning a calendar page seems like a simple act. We do it twelve times a year. But starting out with a whole new calendar feels special.

I know not everyone shares this feeling with me and it will certainly be lost to those of us in the future who have no use for such things as calendars or even wrist watches, for that matter—things that keep track of time. Personally, I’d be lost without a watch on my wrist. I’ve always worn one. And as well, I’m sure I will always have a calendar in my house.

I picked up a monthly planner for 2023 the other day while in town and I’ve been jotting down little things, like the weather and temperature. It’s been fun and will hopefully, give me something to look back on and compare when another year rolls around.

So far, the weather here in Nova Scotia has been exceptional with temperatures mostly above freezing. We’ve leaves on the ground instead of snow. That changed today, however, as we’re experiencing some ice pellets and a bit of snow. While the ground is now white, there really isn’t much at all. I am not complaining. The weather will be what it is regardless. And with so many places in Canada and the US being bogged down with snow at the moment, I consider us lucky.

I’ve been spending some time writing, as was the plan, and trying to settle into one story to work on. I think I mentioned earlier that I have several on the go at the moment. When the story finally speaks to me, I will know which one to dedicate my time to.

Edits for my next book will get underway sometime this year. I have no idea when. It’ll be interesting to see how this one is received as it is very different from all my others. The young protagonist, a boy, is fourteen and this book has a contemporary setting.

I’m happy to report that I’ve been taking those baby steps I mentioned in a previous post, taking some time for myself each day in a number of little ways that might seem insignificant to others but kind of important to me. Part of this is being consistent, not skipping a day because I run out of time, but making these little things a priority. Carving out, even small amounts of time for ourselves each day can be very challenging but not impossible.

So, this is me kicking off the New Year in fine fashion. I’m filled with optimism and hope and back to singing every day. 🙂 While a song makes no promises, (as I once wrote in a short story) it can sure help keep your spirits up.

I hope your New Year is starting off on a good foot as well. Here’s hoping 2023 turns into a much nicer year than we’ve experienced for awhile.

Farewell and Happy New Year

I am going away…

where you won’t see me.

No big deal, really. I’m not leaving town.

I’m just taking a break from Facebook and Twitter for awhile. I’m not sure for how long. I guess I’ll figure that out along the way.

And that is good news! I’ve several writing projects I want to concentrate on and I need don’t need the added distract– as entertaining as what social media can sometimes be. Along with writing, there are also a few other places where I’d like to focus my attention as well. I will still sign into messenger from time to time, checking email, answering my phone and actually speaking to people I know when I meet up with them!

I’m actually a bit excited about taking this little break and hoping to see what all I’ll accomplish during that time.

So I’m wishing you all a safe and prosperous new year and I’ll catch up with you a bit later in the year. I intend to keep updating my blog from time to time and you can even subscribe and receive an email notification whenever I write a new post if you’d like, or just pop onto my blog from time to time—or not.

In the words of C.S. Lewis—You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.

Happy New Year!

A Christmas Day Promise

I have to admit, it’s been challenging to get into the Christmas spirit this year—well, really, the past three years if I’m being completely honest. With so many changes, not only in the world, but in my life in general, there have been times when hiding from the world has seemed a more desired alternative than what is out there waiting for me on any given day.

But life is not about hiding. It’s about doing the best we can, sharing our light in the world and meeting change head on and deciding how best we can step up to the challenges that life gives us at any one moment in time. While I may not be able to do many of the things I’d like to these days, and in the way I’d like to, I can still accomplish something. Baby steps are better than no steps.

So, I have made myself a promise to do better in the year ahead, to take time to do some of the things that are important to me and not push my own needs aside. I promise to be more direct with people. We sometimes think that others should instinctively know what we’re thinking and feeling during certain situations and then become disappointed and frustrated when they don’t. That is not realistic. Communication takes practise and I promise to make an effort to communicate more clearly.

Between now and the new year I will set down a list of intentions for 2023 of some of the things I would like to see manifested in the year/years ahead. (Some things take more time than others, you know.) Intentions don’t have to be large in order to be effective. I’ve been putting things off for a few years now but vow to do better.

So, that is my Christmas day promise to myself. I have also decided to make an attempt to update my blog more often and spend less time on social media like Facebook and Twitter. We shall see how that goes!

So, to all of my readers out here in blogland, may you all do better in the year ahead! I think as we travel though this journey called life that is one thing we can all work toward.

Until next time!

This is Fruitcake, Lark Harnish

It was suggested to me by a friend (Thanks Sue) that posting a fruitcake recipe on my blog might be something that readers would enjoy and since we are coming up to the Christmas season, I say, “Why not?”

In my latest MG novel, This is it, Lark Harnish, Lark helps make fruitcakes one day with the McMaster family.

“We gathered the ingredients for the fruitcakes while Mrs. McMaster searched through her recipe book. I measures out the flour while Mrs. McMaster added the molasses. Sylvie helped break open the eggs while Martha added spices and raisins.”

This is it, Lark Harnish

Years ago, my dear sweet mother gave me a recipe for “Cheap Fruit Cake” that I make every year. It was in a cookbook put out by the Barbour Company with recipes from the Atlantic provinces. I’m not sure how old this cookbook is but I’m willing to bet it’s at least from back in the late seventies. I can remember cooks of the day, mailing their $2 to the Barbour Company and receiving this gem in the mail some weeks later.

I did a quick search and found that the Barbour Company in Sussex New Brunswick is over 150 years old. There’s a link to their Facebook page if you’d like to check it out: HERE.

As in years gone by, cooks added their own twist to many of the recipes they used. Which is exactly what I do with this fruit cake recipe when I’m making it. It’s really, the only one I make. Cherries are never “optional”–they are added, sometimes candied fruit and currents; anything I might have on hand.

“Your mother was an excellent cook, always perfecting her recipes; an extra pinch here, a dash there. There are some who would have done just about anything to have her recipe for dark fruitcake.”This is it, Lark Harnish

The other day, I took out my recipe and got to work. Fruitcake is one of those things that you either like or you don’t. It’s also one of those recipes that are usually only made once a year.

“Once the cakes were baked and cooled, Mrs. McMaster sealed them away in tin cans to ripen and then hid them in some remote part of the pantry, and no one but she knew the location. This added to the mystery and excitement of the upcoming season.”-This is it, Lark Harnish

So, this is fruitcake–perhaps not the same recipe that Mrs. McMaster would have used but this is the one that has been handed down to me.

Do you have any special family recipes that have been handed down to you? What special foods are a must for you and your family at Christmas?

Guest Author Anne C. Kelly

Today, it is my extreme pleasure to welcome Nova Scotia author Anne Kelly to my blog to tell us a bit about her first published novel, Jacques Escape. If you are not familiar with her work, here’s a bit about Anne.

Anne Kelly’s first published novel is Jacques’ Escape, released by Trap Door Books in 2019. But she has been reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She got her first taste of sharing her writing in grade four, when she wrote a class newspaper with a friend. Anne is an avid reader, and especially enjoys reading historical fiction, crime novels and stories from Atlantic Canada. As well as being a writer, Anne is an English teacher at heart. She taught English-as-an-Additional-Language (EAL) to adult newcomers to Canada for over twenty years, and loves learning about different cultures and traditions. She currently works as a language assessor with Learn English Nova Scotia.

Without further ado, here’s Anne.

My novel, Jacques’ Escape, is the story of a fourteen-year-old Acadian boy, Jacques Terriot, whose family is deported in 1755 from Grande Pre to Massachusetts. I first learned about the Grand Derangement (or the Expulsion of the Acadians) when I was in Grade Four. I began to wonder what happened to the families after they were put on the ships and sent away. Most of the Acadian stories and histories I read focused on the time period before and during the deportation. So I decided to dig a little deeper. With the help of the Centre D’Etudes Acadiennes at the University of Moncton and the Boston Public Library, I began to piece together what life was like for the Acadians who landed in Massachusetts. I spent a week on the ground doing research in Boston, including a visit to the Massachusetts Archives. It was both exciting and touching to hold in my hands actual letters and documents written by real-life Acadians in the months following their arrival. And to finally find the answer to the question asked by my nine-year-old self!

Thanks so much for sharing this with us Anne and so interesting to read about how this stayed with you from childhood. I am looking forward to reading it and have added it to my TBR pile. Jacques Escape can be purchased from

NevermorePress– (https://atlanticbooks.ca/books/jacques-escape/

Nimbus Publishing– https://nimbus.ca/store/jacques-escape.html)

Atlantic Books.ca—https://atlanticbooks.ca/books/jacques-escape/

A Rainy November Day

The soft sound of rain reaches me on this November morning as I sit working at the kitchen table on another novel while waiting for Mum to wake. It is within these quite early morning moments that I often block out the noise from the radio and turn my thoughts toward my computer screen. But today, the rain persists, competing with the music coming over the airwaves, both of which I am able to block out while writing. I know, I know, it seems weird to be able to create in a noisy room. I am not one of those writers who must have silence in order to write. I learned to block out sounds when my kids were small.

November is a rainy month and, for me, a good time to spend in quiet reflection. November skies have always me interested me, their yellows and grays merging with the textures and shapes of the clouds.

It seems that I spend much more time these days reflecting upon my life, and the direction it is presently taking, than I ever have in the past. Perhaps it is my changing role from working five days a week to now being a fulltime caregiver.

There have been some challenging times over the past three years, but so too, have I had many moments of gratitude for all the good things that found their way to me–spending time with my kids and grandkids, completing a YA novel and signing a contract for publication, the publication of my latest middle grade novel, a morning spent discussing my writing with a book club recently, the thoughtfulness of the friends who continue to keep in touch , moments sitting by the lake, quiet midnight conversations with my husband and so much more.

Life is not perfect. We all go through challenging times that may last a short time or a very long time. It is one of the many things we have in common with others. While we will all face hard times, those challenges will be different for all of us. I have learned a lot about myself these past few years and the people who support and love me, and even the ones who don’t. I have no doubt that some aspect of these experiences will be integrated into my writing in one form or another. It is what we writers do, how we make a story our own.

One of the themes my current WIP explores is friendship (an important topic in MG novels) and I’ve been reflecting upon some of the friendships I’ve had over the years. Some of which I continue to value to this day. I’ve had friends I could count on, friends who counted on me, friends who lifted me up when I needed, friends who listened, friends who never listened and the list goes on. I expect that, in the writing of this story, I will learn more about human behaviour, about forgiveness and caring and loyalty and what friendship is all about.

I will leave you with these thoughts and head back into my work in progress. Although I have not heard a weather forecast, I am hopeful that we will be back to having sunny skies tomorrow. There is always that hope.

Enjoy your weekend.

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

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 99,969 hits