The Power of Harmony—Book Launch

Last Saturday we headed off to Wolfville in the beautiful Annapolis Valley to attend the book launch for my good friend, and writing pal, Jan Coates’ new book, “The Power of Harmony.” Okay, so the weather could have been nicer that day, but many great events happen in the wake of some nasty weather.

 DSC03724I’d never been to this charming little bookstore, and I have to say it was a real treat. It’s called “Box of Delights.” What a  wonderful name for a bookstore. Don’t you think? Look, there’s Jan’s book in the window. Cool!


As you can see, Jan’s book is in good company, finding a spot on the shelf right beside “The Hunger Games.” I take this as a sign of good things to come. Let’s not forget, her last book, A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk, was short listed for the Governor General Award. How mind boggling is that?

 DSC03716Here’s Jan looking all authorish and serious while discussing her new book.


 Happy birthday to The Power of Harmony, may this book live a long and prosperous life.  To find out more about Jan and her books you can check out her blog right here. 

Time was Flying While I was Chasing Spies

There was something suspicious going on at the Dempsey Corner Orchards more than just your usual Saturday afternoon goings on. I got wind of it a few weeks ago when a very suspicious email arrived in my inbox from, one, Allison Maher. Well, curiousity killing the cat and all, I decided to take a drive out to the Annapolis Valley and case the joint out, see what all the hub-bub was about. I’d been there previously, last November, when Star Dobson had a book signing,  (I blogged about it here) so I had a pretty good idea of what I was in for. Still, I figured there’d be a few spies in the bunch, and I’m not just talking about apples.

Saturday was the book launch for Allison Maher’s second juvenile novel, “Time Flies When You’re Chasing Spies.” It has the same characters as her first novel, “I, the Spy.” Okay,  so I guess that’s spy talk for sequel. It was held right at the farm where Allison lives. Now, you have to see this place to appreciate it to the fullest. For those of you who haven’t been there before, I’ll give you a quick tour of the building where the launch was held, but there’s plenty more outside to tickle your fancy. Really, a great place to take the family if you’re looking for a place that fully appreciates life on a small farm in Nova Scotia.

I arrived early and quickly located the building where I figured all the spies would be hanging out. They’re a close-knit bunch so I figured they’d be swarming the place. I looked in every nook and cranny. If there were any spies about I aimed to flush them out.

I went incognito. Sometimes you’ve got to. When spies are involved you can’t take any chance. Here’s my disguise. Snazzy, don’t you think? Hmm, maybe snazzy isn’t quite the word.

I checked the loft. The coast was clear. Not another living soul in sight, but plenty of interesting things here..

 Still, I had the feeling that I was being watched. It was kind of a baaaaad feeling. That’s when I discovered something I hadn’t expected.  Lamb Chop of all people…People?  Hmmmm.. She was playing it kind of cool if you asked me, hiding amongst a bunch of Lamb Chop clones.  Clever indeed!

I questioned the hobby horse. If anyone in that loft was in the know, I figured it had to be the horse. No luck. I was back to square one.

Once I determined there were no spies in the loft I went back down to where the books were displayed. I got distracted on my way past the kitchen. Check out these Mile High apple pies. They’re big enough for spies to hide in I wager, but I wasn’t about to do anymore digging.

Around about this time I was starting to get anxious. When you’re dealing in the world of spies, crime and under-cover work you can’t be too careful. I decided to track down this Allison Maher, this writer of fiction, this perpetrator of book launches, just to hear her side of the story. I mean it was her gig after all, the rest of us just came along for the ride, and to get a signed book I might add. I caught up to her seconds before she ducked behind a whole stack of books. She thought she’d lost me. This is one sneaky author, folks. She’s got all the right moves, got them down mighty pat for someone who says she simply writes about this world of spies and crime.  To tell the truth, I was starting to doubt her story a little. Hmmm, could be she’s been up close and personal about some of the spies she’s been writing about way late into the wee hours of the morning. Slippery, that one is but, I’ll tell you, she met her match.

So there you have my statement of the  events from last Saturday’s book launch , others might very well have their own story to tell. Does time really fly when you’re chasing spies? You betcha.

All jokes aside, it was a lovely afternoon, and Allison is certainly a good sport. Not to mention entertaining as old heck. I’m looking forward to reading her book and wish her all the best.


Revisions are moving right along, and I’m happy with the progress I’m making. I have another week before I start back to work so I’m hoping to make good use of my writing time. The story I’m working on has surprised even me. But I’ve got a good-sized shovel and I’m digging in deep.

In the meantime I’ve had a few distraction. As I mentioned we had company over the July 1st weekend.

And yes they each caught a fish in that mess of reeds.

Made a trip to the Look Off in Scott’s Bay. What a beautiful view looking down into the Annapolis Valley.

A writer friend opened up her garden to the public over the long weekend. She also lives in Scott’s Bay so we stopped into her open house. What beautiful gardens.

Had a barbeque with friends, saw a deer standing in the field. Even managed to fit in a trip to town for groceries and a stop off at the nursing home.

In between all these things I’ve been stealing a little reading time— not as much as I’d like to be I’m getting there.

I do have a bit of a beef with this book though. I can’t get in as much reading time as I’d like.I want to get to the ending, and see what’s going to happen. If you like reading YA and adventure chances are you’ll enjoy Reckless Endeaver. There’s more about Dave and his books on his site. Congratulations on your new book, Dave. May you will find as much success with this book as you did your first.

Now back to Dave’s book revisions.

Something to Talk About

This week has been a busy one. Yesterday I spent the day out in the beautiful Annapolis Valley with two friends. We did some shopping, had lunch and spent the day laughing and being silly. Days like that usually remind me that I really need to get out more often. During the winter months I tend to live like a hermit. So thanks Judi and Bonnie for your gift of friendship. It means a lot to this hermit!

Of course a day out would hardly be complete for me without a trip to the bookstore. I had a pleasant surprise yesterday as we were entering the mall for the second time. I ran into someone I hadn’t seen for many years. She wanted to show me that she had just bought two copies of my book for her kids. So I ended up signing them for her. She asked me about a character in the book, if he was so and so, who would have lived in the community years ago. Apparently she had already read the book, and she and her sister were curious about it. I guess it caught me of guard because I never dreamed anyone would see any resemblance between my fictitious characters and real people. (The story happened years before I was born.) I assured her, I had made everyone up, but I thought it was interesting that it had kept them wondering and thinking. She was also curious as to who the “busybody” in the story was. Nothing wrong with having folks discussing your book, I say.

I’ve had many adults contact me to tell me they’ve read the book. It’s something that all authors appreciate hearing. Earlier this week, I received an email from a young adult who was reading the book—the first feedback from my target audience—so it seemed like a noteworthy event. I was thrilled! It was one of the signed copies I’d left behind at one of the bookstores I visited last fall, and was purchased as a Christmas gift.

So I’ll end this post with a thank you to those who take a moment to send along their thoughts on my book—young or old or in between. Your comments are a welcomed addition to any day!!

Some Things Just Don’t Change (and sometimes that’s a good thing.)

Some of us think of change as a bad thing because we like things to stay just the way they are. Some of us, however, look upon change as growth and the opportunity to enrich our lives. Sometimes the process of change is darn uncomfortable but once we finally get the end result we see that all the things that happened were indeed for our own good. It helped us become the people we are today. It’s just that sometimes the getting there sucks….plain and simple.

But some things never change and that’s what I’m posting about today. I wanted to share some photos taken from our library.

I hope you’re not claustrophobic!

It’s a bit small but it still holds plenty of books. What I’m most amazed about (and this will sound silly to most of you) is that I can go online and search for a title and have it delivered. And if I wanted to put in a request for my book? Well, they’d bring it along, too. (Maybe I’ll just stick to my own copy!!)

The bookmobile has been coming to E. Dalhousie for nearly forty years. For those of us with a love of reading we don’t have to go very far. Mind you, the bookmobile only makes a trip out from the Annapolis Valley once a month but there’s no limit on the amount of books you can sign out. Sometimes they’ll even send your request via Canada Post….How cool is that?

So, welcome to the library here in East Dalhousie!

May it remain unchanged for a very long time because books are a good thing…A very good thing.

The question of self publishing

Earlier this week I met a gentleman and his wife at a luncheon in New Minas. He was both charming and articulate. The conversation eventually turned to writing. He’d published a book! Having retired from farming a few years back, he told me he needed something to do and it turns out that something was novel writing. Like me, he also had a great show of support from the community when he had his book launch. I guess that goes to show that rural Nova Scotia is VERY supportive of its own.

Over the course of our conversation he mentioned that his wife always carries three copies of the book with her wherever they go. And since I’m a push over for local authors I ended up buying one. I don’t expect I’ll get around to reading it until this winter as I have a lot of books on my TBR list. Before the luncheon was over I believe all three copies were sold. I laughed and told his wife she’d have to get a larger purse.

So the author’s name is Glenn Ells, from Sheffield Mills, a self-proclaimed “old coot.” Yes folks, that’s what it actually says on the back of his book!! Since March I believe, he told me he’s sold 1200 copies of the book—a  feat he is more than proud of. This is with no advertising, just word of mouth. I do believe he had someone from the local paper write a review of it, however. He told me his wife has sold 800 copies out of her purse alone.

The name of the book is “Starting Over.” It’s set in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley in 1760 and is based on the Planter years between the expulsion of the Acadians and the influx of Loyalists following the American Revolution. That’s about all I know except someone at the luncheon mentioned that it was a love story….What do you know? I guess even “old coots” can write about romance.

After meeting Glenn I started to wonder how many people out there are self publishing. My guess is it’s a fairly substantial number. It’s not something I’ve ever considered for myself for a number of reasons but I’m sure for someone like Glenn this has been a very rewarding experience. I’m wondering how many people out there have given thought to self publishing and just what your ideas on the subject is.

One thing that can’t be denied is the fact that Glenn is having one heck of a great time promoting his own book and meeting new and interesting people. I wish him all the best.

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