Update on the Good Mothers Don’t Update

With all that’s been going on in the world, with the pandemic and all, it seems our lives are constantly being updated. We hear one thing and then suddenly that has changed. It’s no wonder. Fighting an invisible enemy, one we have never come up against before, makes it that much more challenging. We are all trying to do the best we can.

In an earlier post I mentioned that my novel, GOOD MOTHERS DON’T was scheduled for release on April 30th. But there’s been a change of plans…Sorry, I know how most of you dislike change. I’ve  received a new book update and I wanted to let you all know that the release date has now been pushed ahead to June 1st. While I know this might be disappointing to some of you, I feel that under the circumstances, with the pandemic still shaking up our lives, it’s for the best.

That means you’ll have several more weeks to wait but I hope you will consider the wait worthwhile.

In the meantime, in case you missed it, there’s a lovely article on the book, written by Allison Lawlor, HERE that appeared in the Chronicle Herald.

I will try to keep you in the loop if anything new comes along or if there are further changes to this. 

I should also mention that my Cammie prequel, originally scheduled for publication this fall, has been pushed ahead to Spring 2021. I can also confirm that the title is THE FAMILY WAY. I’m really excited for this book as we finally, finally learn who Cammie’s mother is. There are also a few surprises along the way, things even I didn’t initially know when I started writing the book.

That’s it for now: stay home, stay safe, stay well, stay reading..

 

Nova Scotia Strong

As a Nova Scotian it’s difficult for me to describe what these past few days have been like, except to say sad–extremely sad. With that said, I can’t begin to imagine what the families of all the victims from the weekend’s shootings are going through. Such senseless violence that really will never make sense to any of us. How can it?

We think that we live in a safe part of the world, that our little province couldn’t possibly be touched by violence of this magnitude. We’ve all heard about shootings in the US and even other places in Canada. But here we are, with at least 22 lives lost, the largest mass shooting in Canadian history. It can happen anywhere.

My heart, all of our hearts, go out to the families of all those lost.

Good Mothers Don’t Update

Remember me? I’m the author whose book is due to be published in April.

*sigh* 

Normally this would be a happy time for me, with my friends making preparations for my book launch. (You all know who you are!)

We’ve had some amazing book launches here in East Dalhousie which is due to all the wonderfully supportive people who live, not on my community, but in many surrounding communities. Not to mention the many hands that have stepped in to help in the past. You’re all so awesome.

It goes without saying that with every launch there’s a bit of apprehension for the author, wondering if anyone will even show up. In so far as my last three book launches went, I had nothing to worry about. So many people came out to support me and I can’t even describe what that meant to me.

But this time things are different thanks to COVID-19. The community centre won’t be filled with my family and friends. I’ll be home alone with Hubby and my author copies of the book. Maybe I’ll have a glass of wine.

Of course the book can be ordered through those independent bookstores that are still operating, also through Amazon.ca Here and Chapters. ca Here.

or it can also be ordered directly from Nimbus Publishing Here right now they have a special on: free shipping for orders over $50. Make sure that if you’re ordering through them online, there’s a shipping code you need to use that is at the top of the site to get the free shipping.

So while we won’t all be getting together to help launch Good Mothers Don’t into the world, in the meantime you might want to read this lovely, lovely review of my book that my editor sent to me over the Easter weekend. It really helped raise my spirits!

Good Mothers Don’t Review

I will continue to keep you updated if I have anything else to share. And for anyone of you who have ordered or are planning to order my book online in lieu of a book launch I thank you so much!  While these may be very uncertain times right now, and for the foreseeable future, there’s not a whole lot we can do about it. But there are always bright spots along the way, like the publication of my first novel for adults. Now that’s good news!

Please feel free to share your good news in the comments below, big or small or maybe just something positive that happened to you. I’d like to hear about it. Things may not be the greatest right now but we’re going to get through this eventually.

The Season for Birdhouses

When I was young people built birdhouses in the spring hoping to entice some feathered friends to move in. Most of those neighbours were swallows, but sometimes other birds would take up residence. Hubby still builds birdhouses and with all the extra time on his hands I’m sure construction will continue in the weeks ahead. Last year we had a family of chickadees as well as the swallows.

Here is the latest duplex that Hubby made completely out of recycled material. I hope the birds appreciate his efforts to reuse.

I realize that this house probably does not exemplify the meaning of physical or social distancing that is so important at this time, although I think so long as the birds don’t object they will be fine. In fact, I’m willing to bet on it.

In some ways I consider myself fortunate during these times of the COVID 19 pandemic as we have 7.5 acres to roam around on. Our property also boarders a lake. Yesterday, I sat by the water’s edge, felt the warmth of the sun on my face, and for a time I stayed totally present. I didn’t think about what all was going on in the world, the all the worries about the future and exactly what the world would look like when we finally come through to the other side. I didn’t fret about the launching of my book this spring which is obviously on hold. I pushed away my sadness of not being able to visit with our grandchildren in the coming months and the reality that rural living means poor internet access for many of us. We are not even able to set up virtual visit.

So I sat there yesterday, taking in the beauty and feeling totally grateful for the moment and the entire day which couldn’t have felt more perfect. The air was quiet and I could hear the sound of water trickling from one place to another. There was a trio of Canada geese peacefully maneuvering their way across the water. Ducks quacked and fluttered their wings. The geese honked.

As I sat there looking out across the water, I thought about the people who lived in our home before us. I thought about how much harder life was for them back then and how hard they had to work. They did not have any of the modern things we take for granted these days; washing machines, dishwashers, TV, computers. I wondered if they ever had the chance to just sit by the lake watching and listening or if they were just too busy to appreciate it all. I thought, what a shame it was if they didn’t.

As it is important for us to remain hopeful during these uncertain times, please remember that there have been many before us who have faced adversity and came through stronger. We will too. I will leave you with this wonderful symbol of hope.

 

Stay strong. Stay at home. We will get through this.

 

A Post About Hope

I wanted to write a post about hope because it’s something we can all use, now more than ever, as we adjust to this new reality we’re in with social distancing. Such uncertain times for all of us as we try to keep ourselves and others safe from this invisible enemy. 

I read recently that hope empowers us. While this is true, hope can be hard to hang onto. Yet hope is the very thing that keeps us moving forward during trying times. Here’s something you might not know about me but I’m hopelessly hopeful. I find it difficult to admit defeat. I hang in there till the bitter even when common sense tells me otherwise because you just never know. But there are times when even I find it difficult to feel hope.

We’ve seen a lot of changes in our world in a very short time. For many of us, hope is what will bring us through the weeks and months ahead. There is no magic formula for hope. You can’t hold it in your hand but we can sometimes find hope in the most unlikely places. Sometimes it’s the little things–a meaningful gesture, the sight of new shoots poking their way out of the ground, a rainbow arching across the sky after the rain, the sound of children’s laughter or acts of kindness that warm our hearts–that can give us a glimmer of hope during dark times.

Earlier today, I went searching for some quotes about hope. Thankfully, there are plenty out there. Below are some that resonated with me and I wanted to share them. While a few quotes about hope won’t make this situation go away, my thought is that it certainly can’t hurt. There will be days ahead when many of us will need a gentle reminder of the hope that is all around us. My hope, my wish for all of you is that we will all work together to keep each other safe. 

  1. Lord, make me an instrument of your peace; where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy.~~ Saint Francis of Assisi

      2. Hope is outreaching desire with expectancy of good. It is a characteristic of all living beings.

         ~~Edward S. Ame

      3. Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and     never stops at all.~~ Emily Dickinson

      4. If you are going through hell, keep going. ~~Winston Churchill

      5. For every dark night there’s a brighter day. ~~Tupac

      6. Hope is the last thing ever lost. ~~Italian proverb

      7. Hope costs nothing.~~ Colette

       8. Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. ~~Thich Nhat Hanh

       9. Hope itself is like a star – not to be seen in the sunshine of prosperity, and only to be discovered in the night of adversity. ~~Charles Haddon Spurgeon

       10. The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.~~ Will Durant

 I hope these quotes will give you something to think about as we all try to remain hopeful in the weeks and months ahead. May we all stay safe.

Mid-Winter 2020 Catch-up

I love it when we get to February and the lengthening days can be readily seen. Not only that, February 2nd (Ground Hog Day or Candlemas Day, whatever you want to call it) marks the half-way point for winter. Yay! And while I know there can still be plenty of winter snow and ice in the forecast, knowing that we’ve reached that half-way point always fills me with hope.

February also means that there’s only a few more months until Good Mothers Don’t hits the bookshelves. Many of you who follow me on social media are already aware that it made the CBC list of Works of Canadian Fiction to watch for in spring 2020 which of course is very exiting for me, this being my first novel about to enter the adult world and all.

The book has received some wonderful blurbs from Carol Bruneau, Linda Little and Christy-Ann Conlin and have been posted on the Amazon site. Here.  I can’t tell you what it means to get such great endorsements from these three remarkable writers. There is also an excerpt posted on the site if you’re at all curious.

Right now, Good Mothers Don’t is available for pre-order at Independent books stores across the country, Chapters and Coles, as well as Amazon. Pre-ordering just means you’ll be one of the first to get your hands on a copy, hot off the press. It’s already received a few ratings on GoodReads and has actually been added by some readers which I’m totally thrilled about since there are still two months before publication!! If you’d like to add it to your own reading list or even read the first review on Goodreads, the link is here  written by Darlene Foster, the author of the Amanda Travel Series. You can check out her blog and her books here.

January saw me back into the edits for my next middle grade novel about to be published in fall 2020. It’s the prequel to the Cammie books and I’m excited for the story of Cammie’s first year to finally be revealed so you all can find out how Millie actually came to have Cammie and exactly who Cammie’s parents are. There is also a bit of a surprise at the end, something even I hadn’t seen coming until quite late into the writing.

This book is set in East Chester and revolves around the Ideal Maternity Home, the place where Cammie was born. Many of you already know much of the story behind the infamous home that buried stillborns in butterboxes. It was widely reported on. The story of the Butterbox Babies effected many people in Canada but also the United States, since many of the babies were adopted out to people in the US. Many of the “survivors” as still looking for their birth parents and the story is very relevant today even after all these years. If you haven’t yet heard of it, or want a little more information I have a link onto my blog HERE.

I’ll keep you updated on the book and share the cover, etc. when it’s available. (Yep, still working on a title for it) All this is still several months away so be patient!

I’m presently working on a YA novel that I began several years back and I’m hoping to set a realistic goal on completing it. I say realistic because this will be a busy spring for me with an up-coming book launch that my friends already have in the works. I mean how great is that? I’m already booked for several book club discussions and of course there will be book signings, etc. I’m not, by nature a goal-setter, but it worked well for me in the past. But, as I said, goals have to be realistic or else you’re just setting yourself up to fail. Don’t want to do that.

While I have several other books simmering along, I’m not going to look too far ahead or set too many goals at this point.

So, there you have my mid-winter catch-up. Now, we just need more sunshine and less snow and before you know it spring will be here.

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?

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