Basil the Bootlegger

IMAG2423Years ago people used to comment all the time on what a small world we live in. That was back in the days before social media and the Internet, when you could travel to another county in the province or even a whole other province and cross paths with someone who knew a relative or neighbour from your little community. It seemed a big deal. A little serendipitous, a little uncanny that you should stumble across someone who shares that connection with you—enough to make someone declare what a small world it is. Usually here in Dalhousie, you’d meet someone who was acquainted with an old fellow who used to bootleg. Seemed no matter where you went in Canada, and mentioned you were from Dalhousie, his name would come up. I swear he’s East Dalhousie’s most famous person which is exactly what Cammie had to say about her aunt Millie in Flying With a Broken Wing. But seriously, that’s the truth about these little communities in Nova Scotia—the bootlegger holds near celebrity status. And now just look, there’s a blog post even named after the bootlegger from Dalhousie. Yup, people still remember him from back in the day. I should only hope for the same recognition with my books. Hmmm, maybe I need to rethink this writing career of mine!

These days our world has been made even smaller via the Internet and social media sites. Now, we’re stumbling across people from all over the world. I can promise you though, not one of them has heard tell of Basil the bootlegger. Well, maybe now if you’re reading my blog. With all the social media sites out there we’re privy to information we’ve never had before and our world just keeps getting smaller. Some of you might remember that I was contacted last winter from someone in the US who wanted a picture of an ancestors tombstone here in Dalhousie. I snapped a photo and sent it off…Super cool. I was happy to oblige.

If you’re an author, the world has also become smaller with all the different sites at your disposal. A Google search of you or your book will bring up reviews as well as all the sites your book is listed on. You can read what others have to say about your book on GoodReads and what rating they give it. A site called WorldCat.org will show you the libraries around the world where your book (print and digital) is available. How cool to know that “Flying With a Broken Wing,” is in a library in Perth, Australia, and that someone in Singapore can sign out a copy of “Bitter, Sweet” and read about life in little old East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia—my backyard yet a totally different world for them.

An author can even track their book sales (print and digital) on a site called NovelRank that allows you to track your book on any Amazon site around the world. Novel Rank tells me that someone in France downloaded a digital copy of Flying With a Broken Wing. Tell me you don’t think that’s cool! There’s also a site called “Author Central” that tells you areas in the US that reported sales of your books, as well as the number of copies and how your book sales rank. Copies of my books have sold in Ohio, Colorado, New York, Minneapolis, Washington and Boston. (I believe this site keeps track of, not only Amazon sales, but other sales as well.)

And if all that doesn’t have you falling over with adulation for the Internet, you can become involved in promoting your own book through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or by starting your own blog through WordPress or Blogger. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing this. Some might say we really don’t need all these tools at our disposable, and that might be true, nonetheless they’re here. Like it or lump it. I prefer to like it, but also to pick and choose how much time I’ll devote to any one of these sites. Let’s face it, if your book makes a peep anywhere in the world you have the ability to know about it. Wonder why some days the Internet can make us feel like a spy?

To prove my point about how small the world has become I just did a Google search on Basil the Bootlegger and a whole page of links came up. Seems he’s more world famous that I previous thought! Okay, so I’m just joking with you, but I bet I had you fooled for a second.

So, I’m sure you’re curious to know—was Basil actually related to me or just someone from the community? You bet he was a relative, a distant cousin a few times removed. Wow, never thought I’d be boasting that fact. When all is said and done my claim to fame might not be the books I write at all, but the fact that I have a connection to the once infamous bootlegger of East Dalhousie. Go figure!

The only thing now that could bring Basil world wide recognition would be if this post went viral. Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

What are you thoughts on the small world we live in today? Is it good, bad, scary or do you fully embrace it? More importantly, do you know who Basil the bootlegger was or were you related to him?

 

Reflections: One Year In

This past year has been exciting for me. It’s been a year of many firsts; first novel, first book launch, first book signings, and(most importantly) first grandchild.

Tomorrow it will be exactly a year since my daughter set up this site for me. My intentions were to have a place where people could come find me once Bitter, Sweet was published should they be interested in learning a bit more about me as a writer.

I have heard from quite a few people after the publication of my book, and it’s been so nice to hear that my little book has somehow touched their hearts. In this respect, I consider that my site has certainly lived up to my expectations.

I never expected to be writing regular posts. Other than what might be happening in regards to my upcoming book I didn’t think I’d have anything to write about, certainly nothing that anyone would care to read.

I don’t kid myself into believing that I’m a blogger by any means. I know some of you are probably thinking that sounds a bit silly. Yes, I write blog posts, and I do have a blog, so technically…..

But, when I visit other blogs and read their posts, I find myself thinking— now they really know what blogging is all about. The posts are informative, not to mention entertaining, and so, so inviting to read. I visit them whenever possible. But to be honest it is all very time consuming.

Most of you who read my blog are not bloggers, and likely don’t read other blogs on a regular basis. You are my friends and family, and I SO appreciate you dropping in to read what’s on my mind. Thank you for leaving comments from time to time to let me know you’re out there. When my book came out you were right there to offer support. Many of you helped out the day of my book launch. I will forever be grateful for you support, and will never take you kindness for granted. You have been MY cheering section! Give yourselves a well deserved pat on the back.

I’ve met some really wonderful bloggers during this last year as well. Most of you are listed on the sidebar to the left. If you’re not it’s just because I haven’t got around to adding you. You’ve all been supportive and friendly, you’ve made me laugh, you took the time to leave comments, you’ve made me feel welcome. And I thank you!

To be truthful, I’m not very affluent when it comes to the workings of this site. Many times, in the past, I depended upon my daughter to lend a helping hand. (Thanks Mel!) But I’m slowly learning the ropes. I’m figuring things out as I go. I don’t have to bug my daughter so often.

So now, with one year into this, I find myself asking many questions and wondering in what direction this site is heading. I still haven’t figured that one out. I don’t offer writing advice. I’ve never taken a writing course, and I can’t imagine what writing advice I’d have to offer someone other than to write as often as you can and stay persistent. Don’t let rejection stand in the way of finding publication for your work. If your writing is good, someone somewhere will see it and recognize it for the gem that it is. If it’s not good enough it will get better, guaranteed.

Somedays I wake up and think I’ll never write another post again, other times I can hardly wait to hit “publish.” I’m starting to realize that this blog is just as much for me as it is for those who come to visit. It’s been a lot of fun!

Often I find myself struggling to figure out just where my own writing is headed, and for that reason I don’t feel anywhere near qualified to advise others. But one thing I will always, always do and that is offer encouragement to anyone who needs it. I will cheer you on. If you need a pick-me-up, I’m your person. I do firmly believe that we need a cheering section along the way; people who can genuinely share in our accomplishments and maybe even help pick us up when we’ve hit that brick wall again.

One year later, these are the thoughts that are on my mind. I can’t believe just how quickly this year has gone by.

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