Going Back to the Beginning

Years ago, when I first began writing what would later become The Cammie Series, I knew that Cammie was a survivor of the Ideal Maternity Home, a place that really existed in Nova Scotia during that time. Of course, this information didn’t actually come out until Cammie finally learned a bit about her past in the sequel, Cammie Takes Flight.

Babies born at the home became known as survivors because there so many babies (numbering in the hundreds) that were born there ended up buried in butterboxes. The true story of the Ideal Maternity Home is a tragic one and there have been non-fiction books written about it. If you want to learn more, I’d suggest you check out Bette Cahill’s book, Butterbox Babies. There is a lot of important information in her book.

My latest book in The Cammie Series, The Family Way, is set at The Ideal Maternity Home where Tulia’s mother works and of course the place where Cammie was born.

Years ago, the survivors of the home had a monument placed in the area where the home once stood. It burned many years later. A picture of the The Ideal Maternity is on the cover of my book. The home was expanded over time to become what you see on the cover of my book.

On the weekend we drove out to the monument in East Chester again. I had been there before when I was writing the book to get a sense of the location and the area in general. This time, I wanted to take Cammie back to the place where it started.

My writing takes me on many adventures into the lives of the characters I create. My interest in local history and local settings is always present in the stories I write. I happen to think that our own backyard is just as interesting as stories set in exotic locations.

As with writing any series, the story can either continue or else come to a conclusion. I haven’t yet decided if book 3 will bring Cammie’s story to a conclusion or not as I do see the potential to continue. I suppose much of it will depend upon Cammie and if/when she’s ready to let the cat out of the bag. I’ll be sure to share it with you when I know, but for now I’m as much in the dark as what you are.

Author in a Small Town

Does that title actually say small town? Okay, so that is a total and complete exaggeration on my part. I remember when the year I went to Toronto when Cammie Takes Flight was nominated for a Silver Birch Award. I was talking to one of the other nominated author who said they were from a small town of only 20,000.

I thought wow, 20,000. That many? I looked at her and said “Try 200.” Yes, I did say 200. Now, that’s not an exact count. I really don’t know what that number would be. It could be a little more or a little less

I’m not really sure how many full-time residents we actually have, but we’re small. No doubt someone out there has that information. Yes, there are plenty of cottagers who are here on a part time basis, some for only a few weeks through the summer. I see their cars go by and on busy weekends my husband often expresses displeasure at seeing three or four cars, unknown to him, go by all at once. Oh the traffic! Traffic in small community is never thought of as a good thing unless there’s an event going on at the community centre. And that’s when you know you live in a small town place.

I finally got my shipment of my new book, THE FAMILY WAY. It was a big order, thanks to all those who ordered through me because they wanted an author signed copy. Being an author in a small town place doesn’t make me specially in anyway, but rather it makes the people who support me special. Many people write books, we see new books being published all the time, but believe me, not all of them have their family, friends and neighbours rally around them each time a new book comes out.

And as I announced on social media that the books had finally made it to my house, I was thinking how this is so typical of a small community. I really can’t say enough good about all the supportive people in my life. And while I couldn’t have an in-person launch again this time, this really is the second best thing.

So here I am, just your typical author in a small town place, looking over my shipment of books and hoping, so very much, that when my next book comes out in September we’ll be able to have a real small town place book launch. PS: There has been talk about cheesecake. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Saying Good Bye to THE FAMILY WAY

Just moments ago I said goodbye to THE FAMILY WAY. Honestly, I breathed a sigh of relief. This means, of course, that the files have now been sent off to the printer and we are coming into the home stretch. The April 13th release day is not that far away .

The Family Way is book #3 in the Cammie series. The first two books were of course FLYING WITH A BROKEN WING and CAMMIE TAKES FLIGHT.

Soon, I’ll be holding all our hard work in my hands. Yes, I did say “our hard work” because it takes many hands to get a book to publication. Can’t say enough good about the entire Nimbus team. Hard to believe this is my fifth book with them. I well remember when the publication of a book felt like an unattainable dream, one that I kept working toward even those times when I didn’t believe it would ever happen.

Here is the final cover, front and back. Call me silly, but I’m quite partial to the little pram on the book spine.  Some of you might recognize the building on the front as The Ideal Maternity Home. The Blurb on the back was written by Hadley Dyer, a writer I admire greatly. We met many years ago when her book, JOHNNY KELLOCK DIED TODAY was published and she later gave me some wonderful advice that I never forgot. And the fact that she’s a “Valley girl” is an added bonus. We actually attended the same high school–in different centuries of course.

The Family Way can be pre-ordered right now directly from Me, the author (Yes, I’ll take pre-orders too if you’re in the area! Simply message me on Facebook or through the CONTACT page of this blog. )You can also pre-order from your local  Independent bookstore,    Nimbus Publishing. Indigo  Amazon.ca  Amazon.com

Butterboxes and ARCs

Back in the  early 90’s Bette Cahill broke the story of the Butterbox Babies. Until that time it had been a well-kept secret. While people nearby knew of The Ideal Maternity Home, many of them had no idea of the atrocities that were taking place there.

It was while I was writing FLYING WITH A BROKEN WING, the story of a visually impaired girl who is determined to find her mother, that I realized she was, in fact, a survivor of the Ideal Maternity Home. While this fact is revealed in CAMMIE TAKES FLIGHT, we still do not discover who Cammie’s mother is or the circumstance surrounding her birth.

But all that will be revealed in April when my upcoming book hits the bookshelves. I hope readers will continue the journey with Cammie as we go back in time to when Cammie was born. While the book will answer many questions for readers, it’s important to know that THE FAMILY WAY is also what we call a stand alone novel, meaning that you don’t have to have read the first two novels in order for this one to make sense. It can be read on its own.

I want to give a shout-out to Sue Slade manager of the Dartmouth Book Exchange for sending along this photo. In case you are wondering, that is a butterbox in the background, similar to the ones that came from the LaHave Creamery and served as small coffins for the newborns that died at the home.

Thanks, Sue.

Special Delivery, Unveiled.

Days before Christmas I mentioned  here on my blog that Miss Charlotte had received a special delivery from my awesome publisher, complete with a special note. I was feeling a little down that she wouldn’t be able to come to our home for Christmas this year, something she’d been doing for the past ten years. So, it was such a wonder gesture on my publisher’s part.

 

Needless to say, she was one happy girl. Miss Charlotte likes the cover as it is but it has yet to be finalized at this time, so we may see some changes when the book actually comes out.

What’s the book about? Well, for those of you who are familiar with the Cammie series, this book is the prequel to those.  Readers will finally find out who Cammie’s mother is.  Much of the book is set at the Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester, the infamous home of the Butterbox Babies. Here’s the back cover blurb.

Set in 1930 and based on true events, this middle-grade novel explores family secrets, set at the Ideal Maternity Home.

Tulia May lives in rural Nova Scotia with her mother, who works in the laundry of the nearby Ideal Maternity Home. It’s a place where unwed mothers can discreetly give birth, a place where adoptions by rich Americans can be quickly arranged. Tulia doesn’t think about the workings of the home much; mostly she hates being roped in to helping scrub the endless diapers. Her friend Finny Paul has suspicions that the home is holding sinister secrets — the worst being that unadoptable babies are being buried in butterboxes — but Tulia thinks he’s being ridiculous. When Tulia’s sister Becky ends up in the home, Tulia truly starts to consider Finny’s concerns. And when she and Finny discover what’s really going on there, she knows she has to act quickly to keep Becky’s baby safe.

Based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies, The Family Way is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of family and of Nova Scotia’s history. A stand-alone middle-grade novel, it also serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Cammie novels, Flying With a Broken Wing

Release date for The Family Way is April 2021. That’s only four months  from now. I’m so looking forward to sharing the rest of Cammie’s story with you all. In the mean time, I’ll be hard at work on the edits for my next novel, A Sure Cure for Witchcraft.

The Family Way

Just a quick blog post to bring everyone up to speed about my next book.. Yes, there’s soon to be a next!

The title of the new book is The Family Way and is due to be published in April 2021.

The ARCs have been sent off to the printer awhile ago. We still have to finalize the cover for the actual book but there’s still plenty of time for that. If you remember, ARCs (Advance Reading Copies) are sent out early to reviewers and book sellers in advance of the actually book. To, hopefully, get people excited about the book before it actually comes out.

The Family Way is what we call a stand-alone middle-grade novel, but is also the prequel to my other two Cammie novels, Flying with a Broken Wing and Cammie Takes Flight. What that means is that you don’t have to have read the other two novels in order for this one to make sense. Thus the term—stand alone. The book is set at the infamous Ideal Maternity Home in East Chester in 1939, the year Cammie was born. If you’ve heard anything about The Butterbox Babies, this is where that true life story actually happened.

Here’s the back cover copy and will give you a bit of an idea what the book is about.:

Set in 1930 and based on true events, this middle-grade novel explores family secrets, set at the Ideal Maternity Home.

Tulia May lives in rural Nova Scotia with her mother, who works in the laundry of the nearby Ideal Maternity Home. It’s a place where unwed mothers can discreetly give birth, a place where adoptions by rich Americans can be quickly arranged. Tulia doesn’t think about the workings of the home much; mostly she hates being roped in to helping scrub the endless diapers. Her friend Finny Paul has suspicions that the home is holding sinister secrets—the worst being that unadoptable babies are being buried in butterboxes—but Tulia thinks he’s being ridiculous. When Tulia’s sister Becky ends up in the home, Tulia truly starts to consider Finny’s concerns. And when she and Finny discover what’s really going on there, she knows she has to act quickly to keep Becky’s baby safe.

Based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies, The Family Way is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of family and of Nova Scotia’s history. A stand-alone middle-grade novel, it also serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Cammie novels, Flying With a Broken Wing and Cammie Takes Flight.

When I have a finalized cover, I will share it here on my blog.  In the meantime, edits for yet another middle-grade book A Sure Cure for Witchcraft  will be getting underway in the next month or so. I actually started that book many years ago and have worked on it  off and on since then, trying to get it to a place where I’m satisfied with the end result.  I’m so happy that it is now going to be published in fall 2021. The story is set in Germany in the mid-1700’s and at the time when Foreign Protestants were immigrating to this country. It was actually where my ancestors on both sides of my mother’s family came from, so this book is especially important to me.

So that’s sort of it for now. I hope you’re finding some positive things in your life these days. It has been difficult for so many of us with the pandemic on, but despite the pandemic, life still goes on. That means we have to learn to adapt, to search for the joy in our lives, no matter how difficult that joy may be to find.

Have a wonderful November.

 

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..

 

Those Special Moments

When we’re going through difficult times, there are some times special moments, however small, that come along to lift our spirits and maybe even warm our hearts just a little. While it doesn’t make everything right in your world, it does bring some comfort and even a small measure of joy. The moments I’m talking about are often spoke of as coincidences , but I’m not so convinced that things in our world are just a bunch of random circumstances that haphazardly fall into place at just the right time, producing some amazing outcomes.

On the weekend I experienced one of those special moments that, really, just gladdened my heart and made me happy.

Last Saturday, I was at the Christmas Festival in New Ross with friend and author Jan Coates. We’ve had a table at the festival for the past five years or so and look forward to going each year. You just never know who you’ll meet and it’s always fun to chat with the people who drop by.

late morning, a woman stopped by my table and asked if all my books were in large print. (She’d seen the large print edition of Cammie Takes Flight on my table.) I explained to her that my publisher had the large print edition printed especially for that book as it was set at the Halifax School for the Blind. The older woman with her spoke up and said that she’d gone to that school. I was immediately intrigued, and told her that my mother had also gone to the school there! Since the school would have had approximately 150 students at the time my mum attended, I knew there was a good chance that they would have at least heard of one another other. And of course this woman did remember my mother. We chatted for a little and I told her a bit about Mum and what had been going on lately in her life. She asked for my mother’s phone number, and left with a large print copy of Cammie Takes Flight. As she was leaving, she said to the woman with her, “This just made my coming here worth while.” I can’t tell you how her words warmed my heart.

The real surprise came when, during our conversation, I asked this woman where she lived and discovered that she lived in the very same community as Mum, and had lived there for twenty-five years. I mean really? I couldn’t believe it. I was so excited.

When I got back to Mum’s I told her about the woman I’d met, and of course she remembered her. She said that she and my step dad often wondered about her and had no idea of how get in touch. While they’d kept in contact with many of the people at the school, they hadn’t a clue where this particular woman had been living all these years. But really? What are the chances she’d be living in the same town?

And in case you’re wondering, Mum received a much welcomed phone call two evenings later from her old school friend and I can tell you after 65 years they had plenty of catching up to do. In fact, it will likely take a lot of hours for them to truly catch up.

They’ve made tentative plans to get together once the holidays are over and I can’t tell you how much this chance meeting with a friend from my mother’s past has meant to her, especially at this time.

I’m a firm believe in the wonders of the Universe. At this stage in my life, I consider myself old and wise enough to accept the fact that there are things in life that cannot be explained, nor should they be. When I think of how so many things worked together to help reunite these two friends, right from the fact that I hadn’t been absolutely sure I’d be able to go to the festival this year, I can’t help thinking that it is one of those things that was meant to be.

As I said earlier, it did my heart good, and I’m so glad that a large print edition of Cammie Takes Flight played a small part in it all.

Not Another Book

It’s been a very busy time for me with my first novel for adults about to be published in the spring and the ARCs soon going to print. While I’ve had three books published for kids, this one feels a bit different in some respects with a different audience. And while a lot of adults do read my kids book, I’m sure kids will not be reading this one. Just so you know, this doesn’t mean that I’ll no longer write for kids because I will. As many of you know I also have two books for kids coming out. The prequel to the Cammie books is scheduled for publication next fall, plus I have another book due out in Fall 2022, but wait….there’s more.

yes I did say more.

I just signed another contract for a book, set in Germany in the 1700’s that is due to be published in the Fall of 2021!

So it looks as though I’ll be quite busy for the next little while with edits and book promotions, and four books coming out in the next three years. I’ll continue to keep you in the loop, though. I’m sure the time will fly, and I’ll continue to work on new projects. I’ve got several books simmering along as we speak, which is nothing unusual for me, and hopefully, one day they’ll all see publication.

Today is the first day of December. I, for one, am glad to see November over and done with. I hope this month goes well for all of us as we make the first steps into December.

Thanks for reading!

Exciting Cammie News!

I was planning to write a quiet post about how quickly summer is passing by but heck, I’m just going to throw all that out and make this super exciting announcement.

I recently signed my third book contract in less than a year. Yup. You read that right—three!

This recent book, that BTW I finished writing last winter, is the prequel to the other two Cammie books. Making it, I guess, a trilogy. Who knew? Well, me, but that’s to be expected.

The book is set in East Chester around the time Cammie was born and it fills in a lot of the details of Cammie’s life—who her parents really are and just how she came to be living with bootlegging Millie Turple in Tanner. We also learn some more about Evelyn and his father Jim Merry; lots about the Ideal Maternity Home, as well.

It’s due to be published in the Fall of 2020 which means the book that was previously scheduled for that slot had to be bumped to Fall 2021. Just a little shuffling as it seemed to make sense to bring this book out sooner rather than later, seeing how Cammie Takes Flight was published back in 2017.

So there’s my late summer news and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. I’ve been sitting on this for awhile and was just bursting to tell!

But eventually, we all have to come back down to earth. Right? Even authors who have signed three book contracts in less than a year!!

I’m back writing again, looking through some material I wrote years ago and trying to decide if it still has value. This could take some time.

In the meantime, if all goes according to plan, the second round of edits on my still untitled adult fiction novel will be underway sometime in September. And as soon as we find the perfect title I’ll be sure to share it with you.

I hope you’re all having a spectacular summer.

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