Starting Over

I’ve moved. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time now. It was hard to get the time to set things up, and I’m still working at it. It’s a slow process. I hope you’ll be patient with me. Moving is a lot like starting over. You’re shaking your past, leaving it behind, saying adios amigo, see ya later alligator…

IMAG2341But wait a minute…I’m not really going any place. I’ve moved my Dalhousie blog to WordPress. A slow Internet connection played a big role in this decision. Blogger was simply impossible for me to deal with. It’s why I stopped updating. It just wasn’t worth the hassle. Okay, so now some of you are saying Dalhousie Blog? What the heck is that? Some of you know as I continually get clicks from the “way out here in Dalhousie ” tab on this blog. But the Dalhousie blog is a simply blog about life in rural Nova Scotia.

So if you’re interested you might want to check out my “other” blob. I have to be honest, this move has left me a little lonely without a single blog stat. I have one blog follower (Okay, apparently that’s me!) I inadvertently subscribed to my own blog and it simply won’t let me unsubscribe. Kind of pathetic, isn’t it? All well….I’ll start the slow climb upward. And really it’s not about the stats. A blog is an extension of ourselves, a way to express who we are. Who knows perhaps in time I’ll find a way to merge these two parts of my life and bring them together into one. One thing I did notice when the new posts were imported that some of them are a bit off in alignment. I tried moving things around but WordPress was stubborn. It just didn’t happen. So I’m going forward, turning my back on past posts. Full steam ahead!

Anyway, the “other” blog is mostly for photos, usually a quote, and written post. Quite simply for the time being. Perhaps as time goes by I’ll write some longer posts, but that will depend upon how inspired I feel.

So, if you’re ready, willing and able, here’s the link to the brand-spanking new …way out here in Dalhousie blog. I hope you’ll drop in from time to time and I hope I’ll feel much more comfy here with WordPress.

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?

 

Tweetless in Dalhousie

When it comes to twitter I’ve yet to understand what all the fuss is about. That could have something to do with the fact that I haven’t tweeted in months or my oh-so-slow dial-up connection that I’m helpless to do anything about. (No pity please it’s just one of the fallbacks from living in rural Nova Scotia)Tying up your phone line while you tweet your little heart out is annoying to those who actually want to speak to you in person. Just ask my kids. Not to mention you spend ridiculous amounts of time waiting for these sites to load.

Let me be honest: maybe I don’t understand what’s so fabulously great about twitter because I’m the lamest tweeter on the planet. Oh, yeah, I’ve thought about that a time or two.

But wait, I can’t be THAT bad. Twitter’s been trying to reel me back in for months now with little messages that arrive in my inbox. @_____________just retweeted @____________. I also get lists of people who are simply tweeting. So thanks, twitter, for pointing out the obvious. You’re twitter. People tweet. I get that. It’s how it was meant to be. Not to be mean twitter, but I’m not really interested in missed tweets—not to be confused by those who are mistweeted because mistweeting others is definitely NOT cool. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist!)

On the other side of the coin, with the little bit I’ve been on twitter in the past, I’ve actually met some pretty cool people. Some of them have gone on to become facebook friends. Imagine the potential if I was tweeting on a regular basis! I know people who absolutely LOVE twitter. When they’re home they stayed signed in all the time. The moment something happens they’re letting the rest of the world know.

I sometimes think I spent too much time in the world of make-believe. I’ve committed to spend more time writing this year in an attempt to increase my productivity. Right now that seems to be where I need to put my time. Some people seem able to do it all–tweet, blog, facebook all while churning out spectacular novels. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people, but I’m not. I’d have to stay up around the clock in order to keep up. There are SO many online sites these days, I’m simply not able to keep up with them all. But I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. That just wouldn’t make sense.

I’ve got to be honest though; those little reminders from twitter might actually be working. I’ve been thinking of logging in just to see what’s up. That doesn’t mean I’ll sacrifice my writing time. Maybe it’s a matter of finding the right balance if in fact that “right balance” even exists, but for right now you can be sure I’m still tweetless in Dalhousie.

Are you regularly on twitter? If you’re a writer do you find it a struggle to find the right balance between social media sites and writing? Or like me, are you tweetless for the time being?

Rising Up

But from this earth, this grave, this dust, My God shall raise me up, I trust. – Walter Raleigh

My son took two photos last year on Good Friday. (The other one I posted on my Dalhousie blog.) Everytime I see this photo I’m inspired by its deeper meaning.

 A few days ago I had lunch with a writer friend of mine. It was difficult not to feel inspired afterward. Her energy and passion for writing fuelled our conversation. We talked for a few hours. I honestly believe we could have talked longer. I came home vowing to make some positive changes, not only in my approach to writing, but in my life in general. The time feels right.

Have you ever sensed that change was coming, yet you chose to ignore the signs until you were suddenly forced into it? That’s kind of how I feel at the moment. I’ve been sensing a shift, yet holding onto the old even though it hasn’t been serving me all that well.

I like challenges. I really do. I like trying to figure out what needs to be done and then doing it.

Easter is all about change. It’s about hope and inspiration, opening our hearts and minds to all we can be. It’s about rebirth and rising up to meet the challenges that come our way, not simply giving in because we find things too hard. I believe Easter is also about being all we can be and then some.

Now is a good time make changes in our lives. I feel inspired just writing that. At this time, that’s exactly where I am.  🙂

Happy Easter!

I’m a SCAIPER

What, you’ve never heard of a SCAIPER?

That’s SCAIPER as in CANSCAIPER.

If you’re from Canada and you write for kids you have likely heard of this organization.

Let’s keep this simple.

CANSCAIP is a National Arts Service Organization dedicated to the celebration and promotion of Canadian children’s authors, illustrators and performers and their work.

You don’t have to be a published author to join. You can become a “friend” and still keep up with all the news. It’s also a great way to find out more about your favourite Canadian children’s author, illustrator or performer.

Here’s the link to the CANSCAIP site. If you click into members you can find my page. And if you don’t, well then, you won’t find it. Told you it was simple.

Today, I received word that the CANSCAIP site had added a list of the member’s book trailers. Many of you have already seen the trailer for Bitter, Sweet. My daughter and I put it together, about a year and a half ago on one of my visits, shortly after Miss Charlotte was born.

If you’re familiar with Dalhousie, the pictures we used  in the trailer are all from the area. Kind of “cool and neat” as Miss Charlotte likes to say. And yes, that’s an actual shot of the Dalhousie Road where the story is set. Now, I personally don’t live on the section of road that is unpaved, but yes, part of the road today is still dirt just like back in the 1940’s. Unfortunately, the deserted house featured in the video was torn down last summer. It had been empty for some years and I suppose there was no one to keep up repairs. Oh, and the little guy holding up the trout is my husband at about seven or eight. The joke in our family is that hubby loves to see videos of himself so it only seemed fitting that he’d make an appearance.

 If you’re interested in checking out some of the other trailers slip on over and have a gander. You’ll find mine there as well. This link will take you directly to page. Here. In the next while, I’m going to check these trailers out to get some “cool and neat” ideas for my next book trailer.

*Keep in mind if you’re on dial-up, as I know many of my friends from the area are, it’ll take awhile for these YouTube videos to upload. Be patient.

Oh and while you’re here, might I say, Happy Valentine’s Day to you all. May your day be filled with sunshine, roses and chocolate. If you’re one of those folks who doesn’t buy into the whole notion of Valentine’s Day have some chocolate anyway. Even the most mundane day can be improved with chocolate. Oh here, I’ll give you the chocolate myself.  Enjoy.

Way Out There

Earlier this week I was caught off guard when a blogging friend left a comment on my other blog…

Yeah, I know! I haven’t mentioned it on here yet, I was just trying it on for size before spilling the beans because it’s just that new! But when I tweeted some pictures I’d taken of the Super Moon with a link to this other blog the jig was up so to speak….Carol, you’re actually one of those tweeps who click on links. And we all know it’s kind of hard to hide on the internet..

Anyway, it’s basically a picture blog with photos taken in and around Dalhousie, perhaps some other rural locations in Nova Scotia. Whatever suits my fancy.There are a few photos on there a friend of mine sent along that are simple gorgeous. (Thanks again Ericka)

I added a tab at the top of this blog and I know a few observant people have noticed. Any who, here’s the link to my other blog if you’re interested in having a peek. ……way out here in Dalhousie

Keep in mind I’m not a photographer and I don’t pretend to be one. This is more about recording life in a small rural community in Nova Scotia.

The Moments That Make It All Worthwhile

I have to say that every day there seems to be some highlight that brightens my day, an email or phone call that brings a smile to my face and lets me know that this whole book publishing experience is definitely worthwhile. From having my book given away for prizes last week on the local radio station, friendly email from people telling me they enjoyed the book, to people dropping into the house to get a copy of the book signed. I’ve been very busy and enjoying it all immensely.

Today I had another book signing— this time in Bridgewater. A lot of people dropped by to chat, some of them had already bought books earlier and wanted them signed, some had heard about it on the radio earlier in the week and a few friends from Dalhousie even showed up purposely because they knew I was there and wanted to show their support. One lady came by to have four books signed for Christmas presents. She has connections to Dalhousie and she said the book reminded her of certain things. She mentioned a particular passage that touched her heart. As usual some people will stop by and chat but don’t end up buying a book but as far as I’m concerned they are every bit as important as those who do. Sometimes it’s just nice to have a little talk and forget for the moment what you’re there for. And who knows these very same people may decide to pick up a copy some other time.

My favourite story for the day is of a little boy, maybe eight or nine, who was sitting on a bench beside his mother, perhaps twenty feet from the book store. He watched me for a bit and before I knew it he ran up and asked me how much the book was. I told him and he ran back to his seat beside his mother. Some time later another lady showed up and she, along with the little boy, approached the table where I was sitting. The woman and I chatted for a bit and then she told me that her grandson wanted to buy the book for his mother but she was sitting not far away. Once he decided he wanted the book for sure he ran back toward his mom and sat beside her. I saw her take some money out of her purse and give it to him. He came back and got me to sign the book and proudly walked up to the cash register to pay for it—a Christmas present for his mom. How utterly sweet. I bet she’ll sure be surprised come Christmas morning!

I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

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