Thank You Post

As a child I was brought up to say, “Thank you.” It was an important word. I can actually remember being prompted by my mum whenever someone gave me something when I was very small. (Just in case I would forget.) Over the years, it became so ingrained in me that it’s become a natural thing, but more than just saying the word is the meaning behind it. The feeling of gratitude is actually pretty awesome and it brings me so much joy. I love this quote by Rumi that goes like this: If you say only one prayer, make it, Thank You. 

I believe these words and so I’ve decided to make this a thank you post from me to all of you.

This year has been an amazing year for me as a writer. I have so much to be thankful for—big and small. First and foremost are my husband, children and grandchildren who support me through all of this. They listen to me talk about writing and books and publishing and never once tell me to quiet down, even when I know I’m repeating myself and talking about things that aren’t nearly as relevant to them as they are to me.

I also have some amazing friends, some are writers and others aren’t but, regardless, they’re with me every step of the way during this writing journey I’m on. I wish you all could have been to the book launch of Cammie Takes Flight. You’d have seen the work that went into preparing for it. My community, my friends and family are amazing. And I was so very gratefully to everyone who was able to help out, and for those who came to wish me well or helped in any way. I know I’ve said it many times but “Thank you” bears repeating over and over.

Thanks to all those who have bought my books, read my books, borrowed my books from the library; and to those who took the time to rate or review my books on GoodReads and Amazon or any other site. And thanks to those who emailed or phoned or wrote or told me in person that they enjoyed reading about Cammie’s latest adventure. To be truthful many people will tell you they read your book but many never tell you if they liked it. That is why it is such a joy to hear when someone tells you they enjoyed the book you spent years working on. A writer invests so much time into their craft. It’s not simply a matter of whipping up a story and having the words all fall into place. It’s special to hear praise for your work and something writers never take for granted.

Thank you to those who offered word of encouragement, who shared my book posts on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media site or told others about my book the old-fashioned way. Thank you to my publisher for investing in me and my stories and for helping Cammie find a readership. Thank you to the editors who have worked with me over the years. I’ve been very fortunate. A big thank you to the Ontario Library Association for nominating Cammie for the 2018 Silver Birch Award.  That was a pretty sweet moment when a call came all the way from Ontario to tell me the news. I was kind of at a loss for words, which maybe isn’t a good thing for a writer.

Most of all I say thank you to The Powers That Be for allowing me the freedom to explore life through the written word, to create stories, and to have the opportunity to share what I’ve written with the rest of the world.

So as 2017 winds down for this writer, I look forward to what lies ahead in 2018 with a big old “Thank You” ahead of time.

 

September Catch-up Post

Oh wow, where did summer go? Seriously, I want to know what happened to this entire season that only began a few short weeks ago. Is it hiding? Did it get lost? Did someone steal it? Did it disappear all on its own? Abducted by aliens? Come on. This is simply ridiculous.

I’ve been busy working and writing and gardening and editing and grand parenting and knitting. The edits for the sequel to Flying with a Broken Wing are moving long. I finished two rounds with my editor Penelope Jackson who is really wonderful to work with. I worked with her on the edits for the last book and was really pleased to have her as an editor again. From what I’ve been told the advanced reading copies (you know, the ones that get sent out early to reviewers and the like) will be ready to send out early winter. I expect there will be some small changes to the manuscript once the proofreaders go through it and who knows maybe I’ll see a thing or two I might want to change. (But just minor changes at this point.)

So with the edits done (for the most part) I’ve been working on a few other writing projects. Again this summer, I took my books to the Heritage Blueberry Festival in Parkdale and I also took part in the Rural Arts and Life Tour. I met a lot of people and sold some books, but most importantly I had a great time. I picked up a few gifts at the gift shop in the Parkdale/Maplewood Museum. They have a great little gift shop and museum. If you’ve never been there plan to check it out sometime.

Despite having the lack of rain this summer, the garden managed to grow. We weren’t overrun with zucchini or pumpkins this year which was a bit of a relief. Luckily, hubby cut back on how many seeds he planted. You really don’t need ten + zucchini plants. Those buggers multiply like rabbits. This photo of dsc07829the LaHave River was taken in early August.  Many of our rivers are nothing but beds of rock. We’ve recently had a bit of rain but no where near enough to bring the water levels up. I read this morning that this is the driest summer on record and that we can expect more of the same in  the years ahead. Wells are going dry. Serious stuff.

Work…what can I say? Work.

Miss Charlotte got in a visit to Nova Scotia this summer which was nice even despite the fact that we had to work. She’s headed into to grade one this year and really loving it! The twins turned one in September. I’m not sure where that year went either. Hmm, seems to be that time is dwindling everywhere I turn. I think that happens as we age. But don’t quote me on that. Little Levi is a going concern and talking a blue streak these days. He’s filled with “whys” and other questions. He’s a boy on the go.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to share the cover of my new book with all of you soon. They’ll want it finalized to put in the spring catalogue. Not sure when that gets put together but I believe it will be relatively soon. So keep your fingers crossed. I’m getting pretty excited to see it. As you’ve probably noticed publishing is a mighty slow business. Of course they’re planning ahead all the time so they are always very busy getting their titles ready for publication. It just seems slow to all of us.

Oh yes, knitting. If you’re on Facebook with me you might be aware that I’m knitting a few pairs of slippers for a friend’s mother, trying to squeeze that in during my spare time. I’m having coffee with her next weekend so I need to be all ready for then. Three of us , friends since high school, get together once a year to catch up on all our news. It’s always a fun time.

So, that was just a bit of what’s been happening in my little corner. Nothing exciting. Just every day. The exiting life of a published writer!

The Power of Three

You know how they say that good things come in threes, well it was certainly true for me last week. Three new books in as many days, three totally delightful books that I just have to tell you about. Am I lucky or what?

1.The first book came via Joss Burnel, a poet/blogger I met through WordPress a few years backDSC06655 when she showed up at a craft fair in the Annapolis Valley to meet me with a copy of her book of poetry, If God Was a Woman. I’m truly looking forward to reading this as I’m sure Joss (the Crowing Crone) has many insights to share. She has such a warm, friendly spirit I believe we could have talked all afternoon and not run out of words to say. What a thrill to meet a blogging buddy. I might be a little partial, as well, since Joss gave my book, Flying With a Broken Wing, a ringing endorsement in her review a few years back. You can check it out  HERE if you missed it. When I said she was a warm friendly spirit I certainly meant it!

2.From the Heart is an anthology that I’m a part of. It is the third anthology in the Inspiring Hope series. As with the other two books, Inspiring Hope: One story at a Time, and Fly Like an Eagle, the proceeds from this book will also go to charity. Profits from this latest book compiled by Gary Doi will go to the Cmolik Foundation. The foundation “supports post-secondary scholarships for high school graduates who are financially challenged and have demonstrated character, good work ethic and persistence in achieving their goals.” How about that! The books are available for order through Amazon just follow the link here I like knowing the profits will go to charity!

3. And last but not least, I was totally excited when an unexpected package from Diane Tibert came in the mail. The book is titled Throw Away Kitten and was penned by Candy McMudd. a.ka. Diane Tibert. As I told Diane over email, this book is my new favourite and not only because I’m mentioned on page 42 (yes, I’m totally serious. She mentioned me in the book. Cool or what!))  It’s a story for kids 6-11 and I can hardly wait to share this with Miss Charlotte. But I’ll keep the surprise of her nanny’s name being mentioned in the book until she finds it herself. I wonder what her reaction will be. You can order Diane’s book here. 

I hope you’ll check out some or all of these books. I tend to think they’re all pretty special, after all, they have the power of three behind them!

 

Guest Post—Darlene Foster

Today, it’s my pleasure to welcome Darlene Foster to my blog. Brought up on a ranch in southern Alberta, Darlene dreamt of travelling the world, meeting interesting people and writing stories. She is the author of the exciting adventure series featuring spunky 12 year-old Amanda Ross who loves to travel to unique places. Her books include: Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting, Amanda in England – The Missing Novel and Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. Darlene and her husband divide their time between the west coast of Canada and Orihuela Costa, in Spain. She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true.

So without further ado, here’s Darlene!

                 

                                                                     The Joy of Writing for Children

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Writing for children is important to me because I want children to develop the same love of books I had as a child. A love that doesn’t fade with time. Children’s books create lifelong readers; readers who eventually buy adult books. Without children’s books there may be no market for adult books.

I began my love affair with words many years ago. Some of my fondest memories are being read to as a child, visiting the library, and discovering the ability to read by myself. I still have worn copies of favourite childhood books, such as The Bobbsey Twins, Little Women, Black Beauty and Anne of Green Gables; and revisit these old friends from time to time. Books and children go together like toast and jam, in my opinion. Since I never show up without a book as a gift, my grandchildren call me, The Book Gramma. It´s not surprising that I love to write for children.

One grandmother purchased a set of my Amanda travel/adventure books and sent me this email which made my heart sing:

My 12 year old granddaughter just finished your books. She loved them. We were camping and we kept telling her to put the books down and come and play. This is the first time I have seen her get so excited about a book. Your books have given her a love of reading. Thanks for the good reads.

While writing for children can be fun, it isn´t easy. You have to remove yourself from the adult world and think like a twenty-first century kid. Fortunately, I like to hang around kids, listen to the words they use, observe the gestures, the looks, the trends. I also enjoy reading current, middle reader books to see what sparks the interest of today’s young readers. Children notice things adults wouldn’t and could care less about things adults think are important. It’s necessary to get into their head space. And guess what? While I’m writing, I get to be a kid again – and I love it!

The main character in my first book, Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask, is a Canadian girl who wishes for travel and adventure on her twelfth birthday. The next day she gets a ticket to fly to the United Arab Emirates to visit her aunt and uncle. There she has an adventure of a lifetime. One young reader said, “I want to know where Amanda will travel to next.” That motivated me to write Amanda in Spain-The Girl in The Painting.

I had so much fun writing about Amanda, her travels and escapades that I continued by writing Amanda in England-The Missing Novel. One day, while doing a presentation at a school, a student asked me, “Why doesn´t Amanda stay in Alberta and have an adventure?” I said, “That´s a great idea,” and wrote Amanda in Alberta – The Writing on the Stone. Kids are always giving me ideas. I am currently working on book number five. I have to, my young fans are expecting it.
It brings me much joy to write my books as these fans will grow up and buy adult books soon. Writers of children’s books are creating readers for life. It’s an important job and one I am happy to take on.

 

Thank you so much, Darlene. It was a pleasure to have you visit.

If you’d like to learn more about Darlene and her books check out her website blog Amazon

Some Days I Just Want to Quit

Some days I want to know what it would feel like to abandon the page for more than a day, a week, or a month, or a year. I want to know if the longing to produce words would consume me or if I’d move onward without ever looking back. Would I choose a different way of expressing myself or would the need to express myself dissolve into the Universe never to be thought of again. Would anyone look back one day and say, “Hmm, Laura Best,  she used to be a writer, didn’t she? I wonder whatever happened to her?” Would it matter if they didn’t?

Some days I want to just quit and spend my time not thinking of that next sentence or the story that’s waiting to be written— perhaps the story that will never be written— because I’ve run out of time.

Some days I want to know what it feels like to not think about my books and whether or not anyone is reading or even caring about my work because in all honesty I know most of them don’t.

Some days I want to go in a totally different direction and forget the fact that I’m a writer. I want to play with my grandchildren, see the world through their eyes with only acceptance and love. I want to feel that love, be that love, unconditionally.

Some days I don’t want to face the fact that my writing is mediocre and not even second, or third, or fourth best. I want to throw away the numbers and simply see my writing as a gift, something to be shared with no strings attached to anyone. Sales figures won’t matter.

Some days I want to know what it would feel like to wake without that first thought being a new character, a new plot line, a new word that titillates the tongue when spoken. I want to drift off into dreamland without a story churning in my mind and just sleep. I wouldn’t be faced with the burden of getting the story right and the knowledge that no one else could tell my story. If someone else could take that same story, and mold it in their hands, would anyone even notice the difference? Of course they wouldn’t.

Some days I just want to quit, sit on that pity pot and show the world that I’m ready to give up. But the Universe doesn’t feel pity. I’ve known that since I was a child, and ended up picking myself up again and again because I finally realized that no one else would do it for me.

Some days I don’t want to be a writer at all. I just want to quit. Who cares? What difference does it make?

The answer to that is simple. It wouldn’t make any difference if I quit writing. The world would continue to spin. People would live and die. Day and night would come and go. Because you can’t miss what you’ve never known and there would be no one to grieve those unwritten stories. BUT ME.

Some days I just want to quit writing. But something won’t let me.

I won’t let me.

Tomorrow I will write. Again.

 

Amy’s Marathon of Books—Guest Blog Post

I’m so excited to announce that Amy Mathers has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog today. Perhaps you’ve already hear of Amy and her Marathon of Books. She’s been getting quite a bit of media covering and, yes, she even appeared on Canada AM a few weeks back! The buzz around Amy and her “Marathon of Books,” began back in December and continues to grow. If you care about books, teen books in particular, I hope you’ll support Amy and her quest to raise $100,000 dollars to endow a Canadian teen book award. I know you’ll be inspired by Amy’s story and her determination to help promote teen fiction in this country. To date Amy has raised $10,000 dollars toward her goal. I think that’s an amazing feat in itself. If you’d like to support Amy, why not pop on over to her website HERE and find out how. 
Dear Laura Best Blog Readers,
AmyMy name is Amy Mathers and Laura has kindly invited me to write a guest post for her website. I am currently reading my way across Canada with Canadian teen fiction books. My Marathon of Books is a year-long venture and I have been reading a book a day since January 1st. I started my reading journey in St. John’s, Newfoundland by reading books either set in St. John’s or written by authors either born or living in St. John’s. I’m going province by province and territory by territory, and after 90 days of reading I am now reading my way through Quebec.
The goal of my Marathon of Books is to raise money to fund a Canadian teen fiction book award to be given out on a yearly basis by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Currently they award six cash Canadian children’s book awards at a yearly awards gala, but none of them are specifically for teen fiction.
As a volunteer for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and an avid fan of teen literature, I felt not having a specific teen award to support the efforts of our incredibly talented Canadian teen fiction authors was a real gap, and one that I hoped I could do something about.
You see, books have played an important role in my life. I was born with a genetic illness called Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD), type 3A. It’s considered to be a metabolic disease, but also a type of muscular dystrophy. My type affects the liver, heart, and muscles, and my case was so severe that I needed and received a liver transplant when I was five, and then a heart transplant when I was 27. I am now 31 years old.
Terry Fox is my hero, and I love the message he sent to Canadians through Marathon of Hope that people dealing with disabilities and illness could still live the lives they wanted to live despite their limitations.
But having a muscular dystrophy made me different than Fox, and even different than Rick Hansen. I use an electric wheelchair for mid to long distances and while dealing with chronic illness my whole life long has given me the fortitude of a marathon runner, I am not physically able to be one.
Instead of being a runner, I am a reader, and I realised that I could be like Fox and Hansen in a different way, by reading my way across Canada instead of running or pushing myself in a manual wheelchair. It’s a journey of the mind through literature, and I am experiencing everything Canada has to offer.
A typical marathon day starts with me reading a book that can range from just under a hundred pages to over 400 pages. I take the rest of the day to think about and write a review to prove that I’ve read the book and hopefully promote it, and also a daily Tumblr post to let my followers know about my reading experiences.
Some nights I’m up pretty late finishing my writing, because depending on how my body is doing that day and if I had other events going on, my brain can take time to work things out. Also, while I had figured out that I could read about 10 pages in six minutes, I didn’t take into account page size, spacing, and font size which affects my reading speed on a daily basis. Terry Fox could run a kilometre in about six minutes, and so every ten pages I read counts a kilometre across Canada in my Marathon of Books. I’m up to 19,532 pages of reading, which translates to 1953.2 kilometres travelled across Canada.
My favourite part about my Marathon of Books is that I’ve had tremendous author support. I’ve heard from the likes of Deborah Ellis, Eric Walters, Vicki Grant, Gordon Korman, and, of course, Laura Best. I’ve read so many books that I probably would have never heard about or picked up before my journey, and I love getting to review each one and brag about the talent our country has. Also, with all of the books that helped me through my life, letting me experience what I couldn’t physically and providing me with the mental strength I needed to face my situation, not to mention my profound love of Canada and its health care system, I can’t help but feel that my Marathon of Books is a wonderful way for me to say thank you for all that I have been given.
I hope you’ll visit my website, www.amysmarathonofbooks.ca, to read my reviews and for more information. I’ve already reviewed Laura Best’s Bitter, Sweet which you can read here: http://amysmarathonofbooks.ca/bitter-sweet/. Also, I encourage you to take the 13 Book Challenge and read your own way across Canada through reading one teen fiction book from each province and territory. If you do take the challenge, I hope you will get in touch with me and tell me about your reading journey.
Warmly,
Amy Mathers
Thank you Amy. It’s been such a pleasure to have you visit my blog. I wish you all the best and will continue to watch your progress in the coming months!
You can follow Amy on twitter,  Goodreads Facebook, tumblr and Youtube.

Author Unknown

Have you ever wondered who Anonymous is? Now, I’m speaking about Anonymous in the literary sense. You know, those  people who penned the perfect poem, the absolute sublime quote that gets to the heart of our very existence. The internet is filled with these lyrical expressions that all go under the name of Anonymous or Unknown, or Author Unknown. But that is impossible of course. Someone somewhere knows, or knew, who that unknown scribe was, the scribe themselves if no one else. Words do not miraculously appear into the world all on their own. There has to be someone behind them.

A bit of poking around and I quickly discovered mountains of anonymous quotes. Here are a few that I kind of like. Seriously, the list could go on forever.

“Everyone is entitled to be stupid, but some abuse the privilege.” 

 “Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” 

 “Life is not what you live but what you love” 

 “A wise man can see more from the bottom of a well than a fool can from a mountain 

 “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.” 

I’m sure there are instances where the writer didn’t start out as “Anonymous” but somewhere along the way someone used their quote without remembering who the author was and, presto, they suddenly became “Anonymous.” But for the most part I think of these anonymous writers as people who perhaps wanted to draw more attention to their words of wisdom then themselves.

I do think there is something to be said about the anonymous writer, who can set their inner most thoughts down without fear or judgment of those around them. Writing is one of those professions that really puts the writer out there under public scrutiny. You only need look at some of the book reviews on Goodreads to know what I’m talking about. I’ve read some pretty despairing comments about some of my best beloved authors and books that I absolutely loved.

Expressing oneself though the written word is a little tricky by times— words of course being as powerful as they are whether spoken, written or thought. It is our way of communicating, of showing others another way of viewing the world. While some try to force their idea onto others, many people use words as a vehicle to put their ideas, believes, values, and thoughts about life into the world, and hopefully, others will appreciate what the author has to say. Some writers do this by creating people, places and events, and if we take time to examine the words within those stories we’ll often find some hidden treasure. Other writers don’t shy away from what it is they wish to express. They can get down to the real nitty-gritty of what’s on their minds. And thank goodness for that since not everyone is interested in treasure-hunting nor do they have the tools to unlock those buried nuggets. Some of us simply read for the love of a good story, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I have wondered from time to time what words would surface in my writing if I were anonymous. I do think that it would make a difference in the stories, or even blog posts, that I might produce. I’m sure there are times when many writers pull back, even a little, for fear of what others might think or wonder about them. I’ve had people say, “I don’t know what thoughts go through your head” or that my thoughts even scare them. Honestly, I think we all have our share of scary thoughts that go no farther than our own minds. Writers put these thoughts on paper for everyone to see, and that’s where the difference comes in.

Anonymous brings freedom with it, the shedding off of people’s judgment of our words and perhaps we’d be more willing to share the thoughts of “Anonymous”, hand down those precious words though the ages than, say, some writer with the last name “Best.” That’s just an example, I’m not insinuating that my words are profound or at all inspiring, but you know what I mean.

Have you ever given thought to the “Anonymous” writer? If you were “Anonymous” do you think it would change the way you express yourself in the world?

It’s an Illusion

I recently read “An Illusion of Trust,” by Linda Cassidy Lewis. Check out her site HERE.I won the ebook in a promotional contest Linda had when her book first came out. I was thrilled! I’d read her first book, “The Brevity of Roses,” and wondered what had happened to some of the characters. FYI— “An Illusion of Trust” is the sequel.

ait_welcome_14When Renee Marshall locked the door on her dark past and married Jalal Vaziri, she hoped for a quiet life in a California coastal town. Now, with a sexy, adoring, wealthy husband, one beautiful baby and another on the way, Renee dares to believe happily ever after could be her future. But doors don’t always stay locked. As the stress of living in Jalal’s high-society world increases, the traumas of Renee’s past begin to poison the present and threaten to destroy everything she treasures. Is it Renee’s imagination or is Jalal keeping a secret that will end their marriage and rip her children from her life? And could it involve Diane, the woman who reminds Renee too much of Jalal’s beloved first wife?

Here are a few quotes from the book that I wanted to share, words that kind of left a lasting impression. There were others but these two seems rather poignant.

“On the worst nights, with exhaustion picking at the seams of sanity, I imagine myself erased from the picture.”

 “It’s time to accept marriage for what it really is—just two imperfect human beings trying to find a little happiness together.”

I have to be honest. It took me many months to settle down and read this book, but that had nothing to do with the writing or the story. In fact, I’ve been feeling down right crummy about not settling down to read it before now. One of the worst things an author encounters is waiting for someone to read our books, wondering what their thoughts are on the story we’ve pour our heart and soul into. Often times, when we hear nothing from a reader, we tend to take that as something negative. Authors are kind of fragile that way. Only those who write can truly understand that. There always seems to be that tiny place within us that allows doubt to wiggle through from time to time. We tend to forget that people have other things going on in their lives besides reading our books. Who knew?

Since I don’t own an ereader the book was downloaded to my laptop—-the laptop I do all my writing on. This created a real problem for me since I use my laptop for writing not reading and it was very difficult to take laptop time to read.

I do quite a bit of reading in the car since we live far out of town. In that way I like the convenience of books. Not only that I sometimes walk while reading in order to get a little activity into my day, and I’ve been known to use the treadmill while reading as well. In others words, I rarely sit down and read since I also sit to write. Can’t spend my days with my derrière plunked down on a chair. That’s just not good.

I’m not sure I’ll ever be comfortable reading from a screen as apposed to books. Could be I just don’t like the change. Or could be a Kobo or Kindle would be more to my liking. I’m just not sure. For me, it feels as though these reading gadgets are simply an illusion, finding their way into our lives the way all technology does. They still aren’t books and never will be. I can’t deny I like reading from a book, holding it, feeling its weight in my hands, physically turning the pages, marking the pages with bookmarks, closing the cover when I reach the end, looking through the stacks in the bookstore. If we ever come to a place where printed books no longer exist I’ll be more than a little sad. I hope this never happens.

Thank you, Linda, and I apologize for taking so long to read your lovely book.

What do you prefer printed books or ereaders? Have you ever read a book from your computer and if so how did you find the experience?

“Flying” to France and Germany

I’m travelling vicariously through my books, and I’m really getting around. These beautiful photos are compliments of Scott Haggerty who recently travelled to Germany and France with my books tucked close to his heart.  How’s that for a devoted fan? I like to think he planned his trip for the sole purpose of showing my books to the world, but alas that would be a bit presumptuous of me.

France

Taken in La Clayette, France.

Taken in La Clayette, France.

Taken in Chauffailles.  Scott says that both these places are about 400 km from Paris.

Taken in Chauffailles. Scott says that both these places are about 400 km from Paris.

Munich, Germany

The airport in Munich, Germany.

The airport in Munich, Germany.

Audi showroom outside the airport in Germany. (Munich)

Audi showroom outside the airport in Germany. (Munich)

 

Wow! love these photos, and the thought that my book is an international traveller. And thank you Scott for sending these along. I’ll be adding them to the album on my facebook page, along with some photos of Bitter, Sweet that were taken in the same locations. Got to keep it fair, right? Wouldn’t want to show any favouritism among my books.

Where will my book “fly” to next? I really can’t be sure, but I’m certainly excited to find out.

 

Local Fiction for the Adult Reader in you.

Last week I made a few suggestions of books to buy for the young (at heart) person on your list, but I really think it’s only fair that I mention some homegrown adult fiction books this time.

Syr Ruus Devils Hump cover July_2013_proof (1)1.Devil’s Hump by Syr Ruus. I have my own signed copy of this book that I shall treasure forever. The book can be purchased at Coles in Bridgewater, the Lahave Bakery, the Riverhouse in Petite Reviere or directly from the author- Syr (at)eastlink.ca . The winter of 1921 turned bad for all the Islanders, bringing one unexpected thing after another… beginning with the -quarantine, then the discovery f the deaths of the entire Ross family, followed by the fire and the acquittal of the Turnbull brothers. The storm of talk hadn’t even reached full crest, when a new development ensued. Devil’s Hump depicts the unique and disappearing culture of a maritime island community. It tells the story of Aaron Ross who, in spite of devastating circumstances, is able to survive alone on a small secluded island. But more than this, it celebrates the power of the human imagination which can shape our lives and make even the most difficult situations bearable. 

41B-l6NKWgL._AA160_2.The Deception of Livvy Higgs by Donna Morrissey. I also have a signed copy of  Donna’s book . For two traumatic days, Livvy Higgs is besieged by a series of small heart attacks while the ghost of her younger self leads her back through a past devastated by lies and secrets. The story opens in Halifax in 2009, travels back to the French Shore of Newfoundland during the mid-thirties and the heyday of the Maritime shipping industry, makes its way to wartorn Halifax during the battle of the Atlantic in World War II, then leaps ahead to the bedside of the elder Livvy. Caught between a troubled past, and her present and worsening living conditions, Livvy is forced to pick apart the lies and secrets told by her greedy, prideful father, Durwin Higgs, who judges her a failure, and her formidable Grandmother Creed, who has mysteriously aligned herself with Livvy”s father, despite their mutual hatred. Tending to Livvy during her illness is her young next-door neighbor  Gen, a single mother and social-work student. Overnight, a violent scene embroils the two in each other”s lives in a manner that will entwine them forever. In The Deception of Livvy Higgs, the inimitable Morrissey has written a powerful tale, the Stone Angel of the East Coast.

Virgin cure3.The Virgin Cure by Ami MacKay  Set on the streets of Lower Manhattan in 1871, The Virgin Cure is the story of Moth, a girl abandoned by her father and raised by a mother telling fortunes to the city’s desperate women. One summer night, twelve-year-old Moth is pulled from her bed and sold as a servant to a finely dressed woman. It is this betrayal suffered at the hands of her own mother that changes her life forever. Knowing that her mother is so close while she is locked away in servitude, Moth bides her time until she can escape, only to find her old home deserted and her mother gone without a trace. Moth must struggle to survive alone in the murky world of the Bowery, a wild and lawless enclave filled with thieves, beggars, sideshow freaks, and prostitutes. She eventually meets Miss Everett, the proprietress of an “Infant School,” a brothel that caters to gentlemen who pay dearly for “willing and clean” companions—desirable young virgins like Moth. Moth also finds friendship with Dr. Sadie, a female physician struggling against the powerful forces of injustice, who teaches Moth to question and observe the world around her. The doctor hopes to protect Moth from falling prey to a terrible myth known as the “virgin cure”—the tragic belief that deflowering a “fresh maid” can cleanse the blood and heal men afflicted with syphilis—that has destroyed the lives of other Bowery girls. Ignored by society, unprotected by the law, Moth dreams of independence. But there’s a high price to pay for freedom, and no one knows that better than a girl from Chrystie Street.

4.Nova Scotia: Life Near Water by Diane Lynn McGyver . So you all know I’m a littl partial to the short story, having penned  few in my day.anthology01 Life Near Water is a collection of short stories that transports readers to locations across Nova Scotia and on a short vacation to the coastal waters of Newfoundland. McGyver’s love for the sea shines in The Ocean Between Them, and her keen interest in genealogy and history plays interesting rolls in The Man Who Reads Obituaries, Dancing in the Shine and War on His Shore. McGyver’s quick wit takes centre stage in Miss Tuttle’s Lemon Tarts where neighbours bond over a cup of tea. Mutated Blood Lines beams readers into the future to a time when high water levels transform Nova Scotia into an island. Nova Scotia – Life Near Water is McGyver’s first anthology. For information about where you can order this book click HERE

510MRkqaUiL._SL500_AA300_5. Kiss the Joy as it Flies by Sheree Fitch. Oh yes, this beloved children’s writer also writes for adults. Panic-stricken by the news that she needs exploratory surgery, forty-eight-year-old Mercy Beth Fanjoy drafts a monumental to-do list and sets about putting her messy life in order. But tidying up the edge of her life means the past comes rushing back to haunt her and the present keeps throwing up more to-dos. Between fits of weeping and laughter, ranting and bliss, Mercy must contemplate the meaning of life in the face of her own death. In a week filled with the riot of an entire life, nothing turns out the way she expected.

 

Again, I’ll ask for any suggestions you might have to add to my list. My hope is that these two posts will encourage you to check out these books and to think about supporting the local authors in your area. Many of us talk about “buying local” it’s only natural that it should apply to books!

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