No- Launch- Book- Launch

Welcome to the No- Launch- Book- Launch of Good Mothers Don’t,  brought to you compliments of Covid 19 and Rural Internet Service. I’m so glad you could make it. I know, I know,–it’ just not the same, right? But hey, I’m not about to let the fact that I can’t have a regular book launch at the community centre, or even a virtual launch, get me down. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade, right?

We tried, we really did, to come up with a way to help celebrate the release of my new novel but there was that uncomfortable feeling lurking in the background, that sinister pandemic pointing it’s ugly finger like the grim reaper waiting to catch us off guard. We thought about ways to make it safe and fun like all the other launches we’ve had here at the community centre, but mask-wearing isn’t fun, neither is physical distancing, neither is allowing only a few people in the community centre at one time. And we wouldn’t have been able to offer a lunch. Well, you may as well forget having a gathering in East Dalhousie if there isn’t going to be a lunch. I’m serious; it’s almost mandatory in these parts.

So, I got thinking that if I had a No-Launch-Book-Launch, how could I make it fun and interesting. I thought about all the people I would invite, figuring on how the sky’s the limit when you’re hosting a No- Launch-Book- Launch. So here’s my guest list.:

Patrick Murphy—It was Patrick’s suggestion that I write this novel, so of course I’m going to invite him. I’ll be honest, I might have cursed a time or two in the beginning, I can’t be sure now, but I do remember that I made him promise to tell me if I was writing monkey crap. Yup, monkey crap–those were my exact words to him. Thankfully he didn’t tell me that or I would have stopped working on this novel years ago. I think he just felt sorry for me at that point. Honestly, I ‘m pretty sure neither of us thought I’d be able to pull this thing off—it was THAT bad. But I persevered—I’m small but stubborn. I think the turning point for me came when Elizabeth said, “I am well now. When the pink dawn draws near to my bedroom window I take comfort in those words.” That’s when I really started to “get” her and when I knew that, come hell or high water, I would write this novel.

Whitney Moran—Whitney was the first one to read the book when it was just a bunch of loose pages. She liked it and wanted to publish it and I wanted to give her a big hug, but you can’t really hug over email. Whitney has acquired five of my book (three more to come) and we haven’t once met. I know—how is that possible? I can tell you that she seems pretty down to earth, very kind and patient, so VERY patient. So, I’d definitely add her to my No-Launch-Book-Launch invitation list.

Penelope Jackson—I’ve worked on my last three books with Penelope. She probably knows me, as a writer, better than anyone else, meaning she knows how to bamboozle me into digging deeper and finding a better alternative for all of the awkward sentences I might have written, without her actually telling me how awkward some of my sentences are–see what I mean about awkward sentences? She also knows how I dislike it if I use the same word in too many places and will point that out to me. (Just so you know, I wanted to throw that word “bamboozle” into this post because it’s presently one of my favourite words. I just love the way it rolls off the tongue—bamboozle.)

Since this is my non-existing book launch, and I’m the host, and get to make up the guest list, I thought it would be really great to have Carol Bruneau, Christy-Ann Conlin and Linda Little pop in to say hi. These three wonderful writers blurbed my book–early praise, the publisher called it. (Please check their work out!) They said some pretty amazing things about Good Mothers Don’t which you’ll see when you open the cover. I’d really like to thank them in person. Such a generous thing for these writers to do for little old me—maybe scratch that word “old.”


I’m inviting our Prime Minister this time around–for sure. I think Good Mothers Don’t would make a great gift for Sophie, don’t you? Whether you like him or you don’t, I figure he’d draw a crowd once word got out that he was coming. There’s even a field near the community centre perfect for landing a helicopter, but that’s not even an issue with this No-Launch-Book-Launch. really, he has no excuse for being a no-show. I’m so excited.  If this was a regular Launch, I’m sure he’d want to speak to the audience, however briefly, (not moistly, although he would be wearing a mask I suppose) Just a suggestion here, but he could always pose for a selfie with my book. Bet that would go viral!

Leo Glavine—The Minister of Communitites, Culture and Heritage and our MLA out here in East Dalhousie—yes, that Leo Glavine. Many East Dalhousians know that Leo and I go back a LONG way. He taught me Geography when I was about fourteen at good old West Kings High. He comes to all my launches (which, oddly enough, usually coincide with an election year.) And while he’s there schmoozing with all of you, I hope he has a darn good explanation as to why we don’t have high-speed internet for an author who is trying to launch a new book and how a virtual launch is out of the question because of it. Believe me, I’ve asked him the High-speed question more than once over the years….. But, since this is a celebration of my new book, and not a debate about rural internet, he’s not likely to give an adequate answer. You know what politicians are like. (PS: I hope he’s reading this.)

Maria Panopalis and Jayson Baxter–obviously I’m going to invite the media. This is MY launch after all and that means I get to make up all the rules. These two gifted hosts entertain me over the supper hour. They’re a staple in our household. Can’t miss CTV News Atlantic every evening at 5:00 pm, I just can’t. I love all the heart-warming stories from around the Maritimes, especially during this pandemic. They constantly renew my faith in the human race with the stories they present. That’s exactly what we need during these times. Way to go Maria and Jayson!

Jann Arden–Who wouldn’t want the multi-talented Jann Arden at their book launch? Not only does she sing, she acts and she writes and she’s just so darn funny. I tweeted her book, “Feeding My Mother” after I read it and she even thanked me. That was a thrill! I wonder if her book sales soared after I tweeted it? 😉  I’m not expecting her to perform, that wouldn’t be fair but, if she insisted, she’d be more than welcome to sing “Good Mother” to keep with the theme. I love that song.

In the words of Michelangelo — The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.’ That is why I’m aiming really, really high by inviting my next guest. Please don’t think I’m off my rocker, just think of me as the author who dared to aim high. I’ve given it plenty of thought. And if for some reason I could only have one person at my No-Launch-Book-Launch it would be Ellen.–yup, THAT Ellen, the Ellen who doesn’t need to have her last name uttered because everyone just knows. It seems to me that she’s one of the kindest and most caring people on the planet. She does so much good in the world and right now the world can use as much good as we can get. And who knows, maybe when she’s able to film in front of a live  studio audience, she’ll give everyone in the audience a copy of GOOD MOTHERS DON’T. In fact, I’m pretty sure she will because she’s just THAT nice. Like I said, I’m aiming high, really really high. 😉  What we do know is that I won’t be a guest on the Ellen Show anytime soon, since I don’t have high-speed and she’s filming virtually these days. Guess we’ll just have to wait until this dang pandemic is over. Hope that’s Okay, Ellen.

No No-Launch-Book-Launch would be complete without my family and friends. Of course my family and friends are invited. What’s a celebration without all those important people in my life showing up? Besides, they’re also the ones most likely to come bearing gifts—yes, gifts. I know—they are spectacular.  I’ve receives flowers and potted plants, special mugs, Mars (FYI–the bar, not the planet), homemade jam, cards and one person even gifted me some Arnica at one of my launches. That’s why I love them! My mum will be there with bells on. You can be sure. She was the first person to read the book and she’s been spreading the word. It could be monkey crap, but she’s still talking it up like all good mother do

I’m also inviting the good people of the Forties Settlement where I set much of my novel. I love the people of the Forties, such a friendly bunch. I also have family ties there. And I love the landscape. It’s such a beautiful little community.

I’m inviting all of East Dalhousie, of course I am. East Dalhousie is my heart and soul. It’s where so many of my good friends live. It’s the place I wrote about in the Country Roads anthology many years ago.

So there’s my guest list, and since it’s my No-Launch-Book-Launch I can invite as many people as I want, no worries about crowd control or social distancing. We have plenty of space  on my blog. No mask-wearing at my No-Launch-Book -Launch because I would have had to insist that everyone wear one if this had been your “run of the mill pandemic book launch.” (Bet that’s something that doesn’t get uttered often. )


If you can think of anyone I left off my list or someone you think who’d love to come to my No-Launch-Book-Launch please feel free to add them in the comment section of this blog and remember the words of Michelangelo about aiming high. Invite anyone you’d like, even yourself, especially yourself..

And, because I put a lot of thought into this, I decided that it would be really great to have Margaret Atwood introduce me at my No- Launch- Book -Launch. She does have ties to Nova Scotia so no doubt she’d be anxious to come out to East Dalhousie. I mean, why wouldn’t she? I’ve gone to several of her events over the years and I kind of figure she owes me, not that I’m a tit-for-tat kind of person, because I’m not. Still, it would be really swell if she were to introduce me before I do a reading from the book. We writers need to stick together, right? And just imagine if she actually tweeted my book. $$$$$

After a grand intro by Margaret Atwood, and I’ve thanked all of you for coming, I’ll read an excerpt from my book. I hope you enjoy it. It’s the best I can do with under these circumstances. I hope you can appreciate the hoops I had to jump through to pull this reading off. Just click on the link.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xv0wkDjZKp8

You can’t have a launch in East Dalhousie, even a No-Launch-Book-Launch, without serving a lunch; you just can’t. Ask anyone here. But then I already explained that.. Someone once told me that when people come to East Dalhousie they expect to be fed well. Here’s a sample from our last launch. Spectacular, right? That’s only half the table and I’m pretty sure the food was replenished a few times. Can’t say enough about the way people in this community come together on launch day. They’re the ones responsible for this spread, and really I couldn’t do any of this without the many helpers I’ve had over the years. 


Since sales are a part of any launch, even a No-Launch-Book-Launch, you can contact me if you’re in my area and we can make arrangements for a safe book sale. Just call or email ahead of time, maybe even stop me on the road. I have books. I can even sign one for you! You do want an author signed book, don’t you?

You can also order a book through your local Indie book store. Good Mothers Don’t is also available at  through Nimbus.ca,  at Coles and Chapters, and can be ordered on line at Chapter.ca and Amazon.ca.

Despite the circumstances surrounding the release of my book, I’m going to think positive thoughts. The book recently made the “Hottest Summer reads” list in the Globe and Mail and that was an absolute thrill to have my book be recognized in that way.

When all is said and done, saying thank you is the most important part of any launch. I thank all for coming to my No-Launch-Book-Launch. It has meant so VERY much to me. I hope you weren’t disappointed that we couldn’t have an in-person event. No one wanted this pandemic to happen but we’re all making the best of it under the circumstances. And think of all the famous people you’ve had the chance to hobnob with. It’s not as if that would have happened at a regular book launch.

If you’d like to leave a comment for me or if you have a suggestion of who else we should invite or if you want to add your name to let me know you’re out there, please do. One tiny thing you can do to help spread the word about my No-Launch-Book-Launch and the publication of GOOD MOTHER DON’T is to share this post on social media: share it, tweet it, shout it from the roof tops because when Margaret Atwood tweets it, and this thing goes viral, I promise, you’re going to want to be a part of that.  😉  

Thanks so much for coming and helping me celebrate today. All jokes aside, I’m making the best of the situation. I’m just so grateful to have my novel in print  and that some of you have already picked up a copy and even told me how much you’ve enjoyed it. I love seeing the pictures my Facebook friends have been posting  to let me know they have the book and helping to spread the word. That means the world; it really does. Thanks so much to all the wonderful people at Nimbus Publishing for believing in me and my  book!

And remember that no matter who you are, or where you’re from, whether you’re famous or just YOU (because I’m just me) you’re always welcome in East Dalhousie, not only on launch day –or No-Launch-Book-Launch Day as the case may be–but any day. Please know how very special you all are!

This Social Isolation is For the Birds

Someone forgot to tell our weekend visitors that all flights to East Dalhousie have been cancelled for the foreseeable future–government orders. But like some others who refuse to follow the rules, they showed up unexpected.  With the distance they’d come from, we hadn’t the heart to send them flying. I’ll admit, we were a bit apprehensive but they did practice social distancing for the entire visit even if they didn’t wear masks. So what if we broke the rules this once. I mean, you tell me, what did it hurt?

 

 

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.

 

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