What’s news?

This week marked my blogging anniversary. That’s right! I’ve been hiding out on WordPress for seven years now. The number seven seems significant in that it’s always been said to be a lucky number and aren’t the cells in our bodies all replaced in seven years? I always wondered how they can know this. Regardless, I’ve been here in the blogging world for seven years. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. Maybe I deserve a pat on the back for making it this far. Also it’s been seven years this fall since Bitter, Sweet came out–just saying.

It’s berry season in my part of the world. Wouldn’t you love to have a field full of these beauties to pick? We’ve been helping some friends with their berry crop for a few days. It’s always a challenge to get them harvested.DSC07511A few weeks back we took a trip to Centreville and stopped off that the Cement Museum which was the home of Charles Macdonald. Unfortunately it wasn’t open for the season, but we took some pics of the statues outside. Quite amazing to think it is all made of cement.  I’m looking forward to seeing the inside once the museum is open.

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These cottages were also built by Charles Macdonald in the 1930’s and are in Hall’s Harbour. I think they’re absolutely charming. Some describe them as fairy homes and I can understand. They look so enchanting.

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This one is called the Blue Cottage for obvious reasons. I understand that it can be rented!

 

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Outside the museum there were other statues all made by Charles Macdonald.

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Love this mountain lion. He looks to be on the hunt. Maybe for the deer that are hanging around the property.

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I’m curious about this lovely lady, how and why she ended up here, naked, in the garden. Perhaps there a story there and maybe, just maybe, the answer can be found within the museum itself.

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Okay, to many, none of this is earth-shattering news, or even news at all, but just a few things that caught my attention this past while. I’m so glad to say that summer is finally here. I’ve been looking forward to it and hoping I’ll squeeze in some writing time over the next few months.

Do you have any special plans for the summer months? I love to hear about it!

The Eagle Has Landed

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As the eagle was killed by the arrow winged with his own feather, so the hand of the world is wounded by its own skill. ~~ Helen Keller

So sad and so true. Some quotes leave me a bit in awe. So much packed in so few words.

The eagle in the photo is often sitting on some old dead snags a few miles from home. Sometimes, we’ve even seen two. I find it interesting that, as a young girl, the sight of an eagle was a special occasion. In my memory, I remember only seeing one during my childhood, now I see them quite often. One occasionally flies over our property.  It’s wonderful to know that their numbers are increasing. In fact, a few months ago, we nearly hit one that was feasting on some road kill. We actually heard its wing feathers brush against the truck. It was one of those times you give a silent thank you as you look out the back window and see that it made it to the other side. Things can happen so quickly.

So what’s new on the publishing front?

I’ve a few stories accepted for publication in upcoming anthologies, one to be published in 2016, the other in 2017.  Then of course you all know about the upcoming publication of the sequel to Flying With a Broken Wing in Spring 2017. I expect the edits for this will soon get underway. I really enjoy the editing process. That’s where small miracles happen. I’m quite anxious to meet the editor I’ll be working with, and can hardly wait to see what the cover will look like. Don’t expect to see that for quite some time, though. And it could possibly be the end of the year. In fact, you’ll likely have it long forgotten before I’m ready to have a cover reveal.

Other than that I have a few stories I’m working at and, hopefully, will be submitting somewhere in the not to far future.  That’s if all goes well and no distractions come along. We all know how life has a way of throwing a pickle or two into the mix. As my friend, Gail, would likely agree, it keeps life interesting!

Personally, I prefer baby dill. How about you?  ;)

 

All You Need is Love

resized August 2011 181Back in the sixties The Beatles sang, All You Need is Love. While it might have been a bit simplistic an idea I think they were really onto something big. Love is something the entire planet, not to mention the people on it, could sure use more of. Especially during these times. I keep hearing this message again and again in my life.

Some days you find a quote that speaks to you. Today, I found this one by Emmett Fox and decided to share. Because I do believe that, no matter how simplistic it sounds, love can conquer all.

“There is no difficulty that enough love will not conquer. There is no disease that enough love will not heal. No door that enough love will not open. No gulf that enough love will not bridge. No wall that enough love will not throw down. And no sin that enough love will not redeem. It makes no difference how deeply seeded may be the trouble. How hopeless the outlook. How muddled the tangle. How great the mistake. A sufficient realization of love will dissolve it all. And if you could love enough you would be the happiest and most powerful person in the world.” Emmett Fox

 

Finding Water

DSC07359After a long, cold winter most of us are anxious for Spring. It’s that time  of the year when the earth springs back to life.  (Hence the name–spring.) Original, don’t you think? From the bright yellow heads of dandelions pushing their way out of the grass (yes, I’m one of those people who actually like dandelion flowers) to mayflowers, trilliums, daffodils , new spring buds, and the emerging of leaves, things are about to get green. Very green.

Like any season, this one has had its ups and down. Fine weather, cold weather, windy weather, black flies and wood ticks. I hear people grumble about the ticks and the flies. And I’ll agree maybe they’re not my favorite part of Spring, but we don’t get to pick and chose. Kind of like taking the good and the not so good. Like it or lump it, it’s all part of life. I’m into acceptance, meaning I believe in accepting what life sends our way. It’s much more productive (not to mention peaceful) than trying to change things that can’t be changed…like black flies and ticks.

Yesterday, we found a duck’s nest in the middle of the tree lot. Nesting ducks amaze me, the way they’ll DSC07368go inland to lay their eggs without a body of water in sight. I’m not even sure where all these babies will have to waddle to( and through) to dip their little webbed feet. Let’s just say we’re talking a long ways, people. Imagine being a duck and taking your babies on such a journey. They can’t fly, so they’d have to dawdle those little feet of theirs for miles perhaps. The funny thing about ducks is they don’t look at the challenge ahead as impossible, they just take what’s ahead of them and do the work that’s asked. They find water.

Seriously, there’s something so enchanting about finding a nest with eggs inside, such a marvel. Magic isn’t just something that’s pulled from a magician’s hat. It’s everywhere. Even on the days when we’re sure there’s nothing at all to marvel over. But you’ve got to look, and you’ve got to pay attention because it’s out there. All around us.

This Spring I’ve been working on a story I started about seven years ago. I’ve picked at it from time to time, trying to capture the story the way it appears in my mind’s eye. And I think I’m getting there. I might not be the fastest writer on the block, but I get there sooner or later.

So as we journey through Spring and life, I hope we’ll all remember to be like that duck with her babies. Just keep your heads down and keep plugging along. Eventually, you’ll find water.

 

Going to the Fair

As a kid going to the fair always meant the East Dalhousie Fair where you could enter exhibits and win prizes, buy an ice cream cone, dunk your neighbour in a tank of water and watch the parade. While I didn’t see anyone getting dunked today, and there weren’t any ice cream cones circulating, there were plenty of books and authors at the book fair in the Kingstec Campus in Kentville to celebrate children’s literacy.

I love taking part in book events, meeting people and chatting with fellow authors. Jan Coates and I shared a table. We seem to do that a lot. I made sure to get a photo of the two of us together since, in all the years we’ve been friends and have gone to different events, I didn’t have one.

Jan’s new picture book Sky Pig is hot off the presses and she’ll be launching her book on May 7th at the Box of Delights. Love, love, love this one so much I had to get my very own copy. I know, I know, I’ll get the grandkids their own copy later cause some things you just can’t share even with grandkids.

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So who else was at the fair?

Bet you know this gal from her Live at Five days. Starr Dobson‘s second book in the Gertrude Series came out a few years back. You might remember a few years back when I attended her signing at the Dempsey Corner Farm. You can read the post here if you  missed it first time around. For any of you wondering, she’s friendly and SO down to earth. And even though she’s no longer on Live at Five, she’ll always be a celebrity to Maritimers.

DSC07282Carolyn Mallory was there with her book Painted Skies. I’ve read this one and you should too. It’s really a delight. It’s about the Northern Lights. I mean, who isn’t fascinated by the Northern Lights? I love the art work. Carolyn is also an artist and her work is just wonderful!

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Jackie Halsey was at the fair. Explosion Newsie is her latest book.  Lovely illustrations and, as an added bonus, it’s about the Halifax Explosion. I did read it to my oldest grandson over Christmas. He’s just two and I didn’t have my glasses on that night but I was able to improvise and Levi seemed pleased.

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Lila Hope-Simpson and I traded books which is something I’ve done a time or two in the past with various authors. I’m really looking forward to reading her book Stepping Out. Sorry I didn’t get a photo of Lila. Sometimes my brain is on pause. It happened a second time today when I picked up Fox Talk by Lindsey Carmicheal for Miss Charlotte. She quite enjoys non-fiction and I’m sure she’ll enjoy this one.

I met Meghan Marentette who brought along her book The Stowaways. She seems quite lovely. Hopefully, I’ll get to know a bit more about her in the future.

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We popped by Melanie Mosher’s table to chat a bit…Again no photo (That makes three brain pauses).

So this is who I saw at the fair. There were other author’s there but I didn’t get around to everyone’s table. We also had a visit from blogger Lynn Davidson. It’s always lovely to see Lynn. I think she’d agree with me that it was a very productive day for her! She found a few goodies to take home in her bag.

If you ever get a chance to go to a book fair I urge you to do so. It’s a great way to find out about books and to meet and chat with some of your favourite authors. We’re an interesting bunch if I do say so myself!

And now, I have some reading to get caught up on!

Don’t Die With Your Story Still in You

Many years ago I was sitting in a doctor’s waiting room waiting on my mum who had an appointment to have her eyes checked. There was an older gentleman there, a retired teacher, who struck up a conversation with me. He asked where I was from and I told him. From there he asked what it was I did in East Dalhousie. I replied that I was a writer. He admitted to me that he’d always wanted to write, that his stories were “up here,” he said, tapping his forehead. I encouraged him to take the plunge and start writing his stories out. What did he have to lose?

“Don’t die with your music still inside you. Listen to your intuitive inner voice and find what passion stirs your soul. When you do this, you’re also tapping into another face of intention: love.” – Dr. Wayne Dyer

I love this quote. Whenever I read it, it reminds me of why I started writing in the first place. It wasn’t to DSC00753prove I could do it or to rack up a bunch of publishing credits that I could wave like a victory flag. I started writing as a matter of survival, that little voice that one day reminded me of how important writing had been to me in my younger years. Back then I didn’t care about publication, I only cared about writing a story and expressing whatever it was inside me what needed to be said. Growing up as a middle child sometimes left me feeling stifled. It was difficult for me to communicate my feelings verbally. I was often shushed. But the written word offered me a safe place to fall, a way to communicate without making too much noise. Plus it felt right.

My mother bought me a diary when I was nine. I hadn’t a clue what to write and I’m sure I didn’t update it with any regularity. I was young, words hadn’t yet found their way to me in the way they do a writer today. That would come a bit later. Yet, I was the only one in family who ever had a diary. Perhaps my mother saw something, or sensed something in me even then. I’ll admit I did love to write stories. I wrote plays in elementary school at an early age. My friends indulged me by playing along. We did it because it was fun. As the years went by, I discovered a great sense of contentment upon the page and writing stories felt so right, so natural, so good—like music to my soul. But what if I had resisted that urge to write? What if I had said, I don’t have anything important to say,  I won’t be good enough, or  People will only laugh at me?

I wonder sometimes how many of us ignore the nudges we receive for fear that we won’t be good enough. Good enough for what? How good do you have to be to write? All you need is an idea and some words. Now, being good enough to publish—that’s a little different. But we don’t all need to be THAT good. If writing fulfills some longing in you, if it brings you joy, that’s what counts. If in time you decide that your work is good enough to be published take it further. But nothing, nothing, should stand in the way of you writing if that’s what you want. I used to think that everyone who writes should do so for publication, that it would ultimately be the goal for anyone who writes. But I’ve since changed my mind about that. Writing can free us by allowing us to express the things that make us happy, angry or sad. Sometimes we don’t even know how we feel about a particular thing and can discover new truths about ourselves.

The people I write about might be fictitious but inside each and every one of them comes a sliver of truth, a small piece of someone I know, something I heard, everything I’ve every experienced either directly or indirectly.

Not everyone is a writer, but I’m willing to bet that most of us have something we do, some way of expressing ourselves. I’m sure there are people right now saying, “No, no, you don’t understand. I’m not creative in ANY way.”   You know what I say to that? Fuddle-duddle. Maybe you don’t write or paint, but what about crafting, card-making, sewing, gardening, baking, or twiddling your thumbs? Maybe you’re the best thumb-twiddler on the planet. And if that’s so, that’s wonderful. But seriously, we all have something. Maybe you’re a good listener, someone who volunteers their time, someone who makes time for someone else who’s lonely or in despair. We all have/do something of value.

It doesn’t matter what your story is because maybe your story isn’t a story at all, but something you’ve been called to do yet you chose to ignore. Wayne Dyer said, “don’t die with your music still in you” which is really the same as saying don’t die with your story still in you. If, at the end of you life, you had to write an essay about yourself would you end it all by saying you followed your heart, your inner guidance, or would you end the story by saying there was more you would have liked to have done?

I sometimes wonder about that older gentleman in the doctor’s waiting room, if he finally got up the courage to write down all the stories he’d been keeping in his mind for years. I hope, I pray, he did not come to the end of his life still thinking of those stories he wanted to write, that he did not die with his story still in him.

The Luck of the Irish

St. Patrick's Day PostI’m not sure I believe in luck even though it might seem that some people have their fair share of good fortune in life while others seem to go from one pickle to the next. I like to think that we’re all capable of bringing good into our lives and we all do. I guess sometimes we overlook the smaller things, looking, instead, for something truly miraculous to land in our laps. They say good things come in small packages and I think that’s true. Some of the most wondrous things in this world are things that money can’t buy and can be as “small” as a smile from a stranger, a kind word, a cup of coffee, or a sympathetic ear. All good fortune in my book!

Seeing how tomorrow is St Patrick’s Day, this idea of luck, and just what it means, has been playing on my mind this evening. I did a little digging to see just where this term, “Luck of the Irish” came from. One source tells me that it doesn’t actually mean good luck, but rather bad luck and is mean ironically as it is used to describe the sad and tragic history of the people of Ireland. According to this, the Irish people were actually unlucky since they had to leave Ireland in order to survive. Another theory is this: The phrase originated in the US and was used by the people of America to describe the Irish emigrants who found their ‘Pot of Gold’ in the Gold and Silver mines. So there you have it, two totally opposite theories which enforces my idea that there are always two sides to every story.

So whether you’re Irish or not, and whether you feel your lucky or unlucky, I wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

A Book—How Long Does It Take?

DSC07192The other day someone asked when I’d last written a book. I quickly replied last year. But that’s not really accurate. Yes, I finished a book last year, but I worked on it for several years before declaring it completed. Even then, I only ever refer to it as a manuscript. (Not a book until it’s published.)  I have several manuscripts in various stages of completion, ones that go back many, many, many years. It’s the nature of writing, I think; the ability to simply pick up and start or stop or even change directions. I don’t wear blinders when I write. Sometimes my eye wonders. I see a potential story some place else and I quickly jot things down—a paragraph, a sentence, a page—for a later date.

I’m not an organized writer. And I have periods when I’m not nearly as productive as others. I get in slumps. I procrastinate and often wonder what’s stopping me from writing more. Exactly why do I procrastinate when writing is something I absolutely love doing, something that’s a part of me? I’ve asked myself that question a time or two. But then I remind myself that creativity isn’t something that can be rushed. It comes in its own good time, the same way a story idea or character suddenly arrives right out of the blue when I’m washing dishes or stirring pots.

I don’t produce outlines or write character sketches. I don’t decide what my characters likes or dislikes are before heading into a story. In fact, it’s more like they tell me. This is the place where some people start looking at me a little strange. Characters tell you things? They might even suggest an evaluation of sorts—just to make sure everything’s okay. They might even pat me on the head. But yes, with every book I’ve written, every short story, I feel a connection to a character who then leads me through their story. Occasionally I have a certain topic I want to write about, even then I have to wait for some character to show up and guide me through to the end.

I know one author who wrote a book in eighteen days. I’m still in awe of that feat although she told me she wouldn’t recommend it to anyone. I’m willing to bet she didn’t get a whole lot of sleep during those eighteen days. While I’m not expecting to write a novel in anywhere near that time I’ve learned to never rule anything out because, really, who am I to say what will and won’t happen. I don’t like putting restriction on life. I like to stay open to any possibility. Who knows, a character might show up one day, a character so strong and insistent and impossible to ignore and I’ll be at their mercy to write, write, write. I’m sure this certain author didn’t decide she’d write a novel in a few weeks, it probably just happened. When you’re open to all possibilities anything is possible.

So, how long does it take to write a book? It takes as long as it takes—at least for me.

What kind of writer are you? Do you write with an outline or simply fly by the seat of your pants? How long does it take you to write a book?

Century Old Valentines

I live in what was once the Dale Post Office. Sounds impressive to anyone who enjoys a bit of local history, but what was called the post office was actually just a room in the house. (That room is now my bathroom–a good-sized bathroom as many people make mention.) Having a post office in someone’s house  was common in rural areas. I’m not sure how long the Dale Post Office was in operation but I believe it was still operating in the 1950’s. I love these old fashioned Valentines and the fact that people actually sent them through the mail at one time. I’m not sure how many people are sending valentines these days but what I do know is that these cards from a century ago cannot be duplicated.

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The Valentine post cards that I’m sharing with you came through the Dale Post Office over a century ago, postmarked from 1912 and 1911. I find that kind of neat!

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Happy Valentine’s Day.❤

The Answer to Your Question

In the two and half years since Flying with a Broken Wing was published I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “When’s the sequel coming?” To be honest, some of you have been relentless in you pursuit of an answer, even trying to trick me into telling. (Smile because you know who you are!)

Many of you would agree with me when I say I’ve been a bit annoying vague about it all, dodging the question as best I could, not even willing to let you know how the writing was coming along. I’m not a fast writer. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m not a writer who gets to the end as often as I’d like. I typically have several projects on the go. That was the case when I started writing the sequel to Flying with a Broken Wing.

And then I started another novel.

And then I went back to one I’d started right after Bitter, Sweet was published.

I went back to the sequel again…

You get the idea?

Things went along slowly.

Then I lied. Well, maybe not an out and out lie. Let’s say I withheld certain information from y’all. (Did I just say y’all?) Seriously, writing a story doesn’t necessarily mean that story will see publication. I mean what if the publisher hated it? What if it just wasn’t what they wanted? Doubt sets in.

But now all that doubt is gone. I’m here to confess that the sequel has been finished for some time now. Yay! Do you forgive me for leading you astray? Hope so.

BUT WAIT….

There’s more.

I just signed a contract with Nimbus Publishing for the sequel to “Flying with a Broken Wing.” Yup…signed …sealed and delivered. And I’ve been dying to tell y’all.

For now, the title of the book is “Cammie Takes Flight,” but as I’ve explained before this could end up being changed. I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens.

So, do you think I’m excited at all? You betcha. I can hardly wait!

Speaking of waiting, I assume y’alls next question will when when’s it going to be published?

Well, my sources are saying Spring 2017. That’s just around the corner in the book publishing industry.

So, there you have it. The answer to the question you’ve been asking me for years now. And well, me, I’m just walking around with my head in the clouds.

And if all that isn’t enough Darlene Foster , author of the Amanda Series, posted a lovely review of Flying With a Broken Wing posted on the Children Writer’s Guild. You can read it here. Again, thank you Darlene for your generosity!

 

 

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