Busy, Busy April

Lots of things happening in April for me. With Cammie Takes Flight due to be released the last of the month I’m getting just a pinch excited. It’s always exciting when you bring a new book into the world.

Yesterday, I visited with the students at Via Vita Academy in Sackville to talk a little about writing and publishing. They had some great questions for me and I had a lot of fun.

I’ll also mention that there’s a giveaway taking place right now on Good Reads for  Cammie Takes Flight. Head on over and enter. You could win one of three copies if you’re lucky. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/230730-cammie-takes-flight . Hey, I’d be entering if it wasn’t my book. I mean who doesn’t want to win a book, right?

Of course there’s Easter coming up this month as well, not to mention Miss Charlotte’s birthday happens to fall on Easter Sunday this year. Seven years old—now how did that happen so quickly?

I’ve also been invited by the Annapolis Friends of the Library in Annapolis Royal to take part in a fundraiser on the 22nd in the former Annapolis Royal Regional Academy.

Saturday the 29th I’ll be at the LaHave River Books taking part in Author for Indies along with my friend Syr Ruus, Shelagh Meagher and Laurie Lacey will also be there. If you’re in the area that day drop in and say hello. I’ll be there from 1-2. There might even be some copies of my new book floating around that day.

On the 30th is the Family Connects Expo at the World Trade & Convention Centre in Halifax and I’ll be signing copies of my new book. I love meeting new people and having a chance to chat. Signing books is kind of cool, too.

The official book launch is scheduled for the 13th of May at 2:00 and if you’re in the area you might want to drop by to meet Prime Minister  Trudeau or the Queen. (That’s me still dreaming big.) And while that’s not an April event I’ll mention it anyway. Preparations are already underway and I feel so fortunate to have so many people offering to help out. Seriously, East Dalhousie is the best place to have a book launch. I couldn’t ask for a more supportive community.

So there you have it, a rundown of my busy April and then I mustn’t forget my regular Monday-Friday job on top of all that, plus the novel I’m working on in my spare time. But there’s nothing wrong with busy. Keeps me out of trouble.

FYI I’m still continuing to dream big. I hope you are too.

Cammie Takes Flight: Cover Reveal

At last, after weeks of promising, I’m ready to share the cover for Cammie Takes Flight with the rest of the world. Some of you have already seen a version of the cover because, let’s face it, you’re privileged and you know it!  The release date is April 30th and, for Canadians,  the book is available for pre-order on Amazon.ca  and Chapters.ca right now!

The launch for the book will likely take place in May but things are in the very early stages of planning so there’s nothing definite at the moment. As more info on the launch etc. come up I’ll be sure to share either here or on Facebook, possibly both.  The book launch is open to the public so anyone and everyone can come. Make sure to spread the word far and wide. No special invitation required. The more the merrier–that’s how we do things here in East Dalhousie.  For anyone flying in from out of the country, I’ll reserve you a room at the hotel here in East Dalhousie. (Okay that’s a bit of joke since we don’t have a hotel here, but I’m sure we can make some arrangements!)  I’d love to have the Prime Minister attend, but he’ll probably be too busy. Still, perhaps if I  sent out a special invite and if he’s flying by that day, maybe he’ll give a little wave. It would be cool if the Queen could come too, and I’d be really impressed if Margaret Atwood put in an appearance… but….Oh well, as Cammie loves to dream so do I.  Dream big; fly high-words to live by. The truth is I’ll be pleased to have my family, friends and community come out to help celebrate with me as Cammie finally takes flight.

And because all books have a front and a back cover, I’ll share the back cover as well. Love the quote they used on the back. It was a bit of a surprise to me, but a pleasant one , especially when I realized I was acquainted with the author of this review written for The Children’s Writers’ Guild. Thanks Darlene Foster– I thought this was kind of cool.

So finally, all the hard work of writing and revising and editing is  about to pay off and my book, my baby, will be going off to the printer very soon.  One day in the coming weeks I’ll receive a notice in my mailbox that a parcel has arrived with my complimentary copies. It’s been a long and exciting journey. But it doesn’t stop here. It is the hope of every author that their words will make a lasting impression on their readers. Now that would be a dream come true–for me and for Cammie!

 

Helloooo 2017

I always enter the New Year with a sense of excitement. It’s not so much that I’m anxious to see the end of the previous year, but it’s more the thoughts of what lies ahead in the months to come. I’m like a child in that sense. Who are we, if at times, we cannot see the world through the eyes of a child, but old and stale and far too grumpy for our own good.

I’ve often heard people express their thoughts on how horrible the old year has been and how they’re looking forward seeing it come to an end. While I can understand where they’re coming from, I’ve never had that feeling for some reason. It’s not that every year has been stellar because it hasn’t. Like everyone else I’ve seen my share of sorrow and sadness, but I’ve also seen plenty of joy and laughter. Hopefully, these things eventually balance out. There is so much for us to take delight in in our lives, but I sometimes think we dig too deep into the gory parts of life, ignore all those special moments we’ve experience through-out the year, simply because they aren’t grand enough or don’t sparkle brightly enough to warrant our attention when sometimes those tiny moments are what keeps us going.

With all that is going on in our world at the present moment, I’m sure some people are dreading what the year ahead will mean for us both personally and globally. Believe me, I’ve had those feelings myself. Much of what is to come is out of our hands. There’s nothing we can do to change world events. What we can do is to try and change our reaction to those events as best we can. We won’t always be able to stay positive. Sometimes we might become quite angry and depressed. But hopefully, that positive outlook will win out in the end as we remember to cherish those small magical moments that are peppered through our day.

Already this year seems special. This year Canada celebrates 150 years of confederation. And have I mentioned that 2017 marks East Dalhousie’s 200th Anniversary? Now that’s something that only happens every 200 years! Most of us won’t live to see it again. 😉 I’ve decided this year will be the year for adventure. I’ve a few things coming up that I’ll share as they unfold, but really, the true adventure will be all those things that are not yet in the planning stage. You know, the things that happen right out of the blue when you least expect it. Maybe some small things, maybe some big. Kind of like winning the lottery, only there doesn’t have to be any money involved. While lots of money is nice, welcomed even, it isn’t a requirement for living a happy life.

Last evening I sat down to write my list of intentions for the upcoming year and to look back on last year’s list. It’s just something I’ve been doing for awhile now. Of course not everything I intended to have happen happened, but I was pleased by what I saw. It’s just a different way to reflect upon life. I’ve never been one to make resolutions. There’s just something about it that seems too restricting, or maybe too forced. Whatever the case, I plan to focus on as many delightful moments through-out the year as possible. And I am hopeful they will outshine any of the not so wonderful moments that are bound to come along.

Wishing all my readers a happy 2017. May it be filled with many special moments along the way.

“Flying ” to Switzerland

You all know I’m not a traveller if you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time.  Interestingly enough, the same can’t be said for my books. You might remember that Bitter, Sweet was off gallivanting the globe, and now, Flying With a Broken Wing is doing the same. A Facebook friend recently posted these photos of my book travelling to Zurich, Switzerland. First this little book of mine went to Chicago now Switzerland. Me, I’m still in East Dalhousie!

Leaving Philadelphia on Dec. 25th.

Leaving Philadelphia on Dec. 25th.

"Flying With a Broken Wing" arrives in Zurich, Switzerland

“Flying With a Broken Wing” arrives in Zurich, Switzerland

 

"Flying with a Broken Wing" overlooking Lake Lucerne!

“Flying with a Broken Wing” overlooking Lake Lucerne!

This final picture was posted on the last day of 2013 with this caption. “Flying with a Broken Wing” in Engelberg, Switzerland, December 31, 2013. Laura’s newest book has had a great trip, and is now headed to Doha, Qatar!!!!

Leaving Switzerland.

Leaving Switzerland.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is pretty darn cool. Thanks, Sarah, for taking my book to Switzerland with you!

All these photos kind of gave me the idea of asking you all to join in. If you’d like to take a photo of my book in some location(with or without you) doesn’t have to be out of the country, or even out of the province for that matter, I’d love to post it on my blog or in my Facebook album. (Yes, I’ve created an album on my FB page just for such photos!) If you’d like to send a photo send me an email through the “Contact me” on my blog and we’ll go from there. Be creative. This could be loads of fun.

I Got A Postcard From Hell

So, yesterday I got a postcard from Hell. Wow! That didn’t sound weird at all!

And in case you’re wondering, nope the devil’s not out to get me. I haven’t done anything THAT bad, at least nothing that I know about. And you’d think I’d know, wouldn’t I?

I know many people claim to have been to Hell and back, but how many of them actually have the proof? Oh yeah, there’s proof out there. Why not? You go to Hell nobody’s going to believe you unless you’ve got some proof.

Little did I know when I opened my mailbox what was awaiting me. My sister hadn’t bothered to give me the heads up. I was totally in the dark. Oh she’d mentioned something about Hell when we spoke on the phone after she got back from her cruise, but I just figured she was exaggerating. I mean someone mentions Hell you have to humour them right?

So what do I know?  My sister really did go to Hell and back while on her cruise a few weeks ago. Apparently there is a place called Hell on the Cayman Islands. You might have heard of it. I think it’s quite a popular place—Hell yeah!

Hell’s not all that big. I bet you’re surprised to learn that. There’s nothing in Hell but a post office inside a gift shop. (And I thought East Dalhousie was small!)  Many of the tourists take their passports to get stamped while in Hell.

Look at that, it only costs about 20 cents to send a postcard from Hell. I say let’s all go to Hell where the postal rates are affordable. I mean Canada Post has been bleeding me dry for years. I wonder how much it would cost to mail a full manuscript from Hell? And wouldn’t you love to be the editor to make the claim that she just received the manuscript from Hell? On second thought that’s probably happened more times than we could collectively count.

The postcard my sister sent was to make up for the fact that she’d left Bitter, Sweet  behind on the cruise ship that day. That’s right, my book nearly went to Hell and back. But a postcard is better than nothing so I’m not going to complain. Nice to know that when little sis made her historic visit to Hell and back that she was thinking of me—Um I guess.

I think the postmark is absolutely divine. Is it okay to say divine when speaking of Hell? Just asking…

Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine

This year marks the 95th anniversary of Vimy Ridge. I’m betting, like me, you didn’t know that little bit of information. 95 years… Wow!

Some of the students from New Germany Rural High school will be going on a class trip this year to Vimy Ridge, and in an effort to raise funds for the trip they put on a dinner theatre at the Legion hall last evening.

The play, Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine, was written and performed by the students, and I have to say they did an excellent job. You’ve got to love the ingenuity of a group of teenagers who want to go across the Atlantic to visit the graves of fallen soldiers. For many of them, I’m sure, this will be the trip of a lifetime.

While it seems that East Dalhousie loves a good dinner theatre (I swear at least half the community took in the event) most proved to be a little camera shy.

See what I mean? Maybe it was the threat of ending up on my blog that caused these reactions. People, don’t you know you look sillier this way then if you just let me take your photo? Ah well. This is more entertaining.

Here I am having my photo taken to prove that I won’t dissolve into oblivion when the flash goes off.See that E. Dalhousie. Yeah I look weird, but do you really care? It’s hard to look natural with a mouth full of roast beef.

Now, I’ve got to mention the meal roast beef, which was delicious. My compliments to the chef or is that chefs?

Let’s not forget dessert, goodness gracious we can’t forget to mention the dessert. While a chocolate brownie with ice cream and chocolate sauce isn’t a substitute for a Mars, it does come in a close second.

Sorry, no photos of the actors, there were just too many heads in the way, and what with me being vertically challenged and all. You do understand don’t’ you? You’ll have to take my word on it that the show was entertainingly amusing. An excellent job.

So there you have the highlights of Dinner at Eight, Dead by Nine. Sometimes it’s nice for a writer to just sit back and be entertained by someone else’s words for a change..

Happy Easter

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there. ~Clarence W. Hall

St. Cyprian's Cemetery, East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia

photo--Matt Best

Wishing you all a Happy Easter!

This Easter weekend is shaping up to be a bit different than we’ve seen in the past. Our son was out on Good Friday for a visit. Both he and our daughter are working tomorrow and won’t be able to be with us. My mom, who has spent the past twenty-two years helping us celebrate Easter, has other plans this year. It looks as though it will just be my husband and I, and our neighbour. This isn’t meant to sound pathetic. It’s all good. Every year cannot be the same as the last.

How are you spending your Easter weekend?

Bitter, Sweet Anniversary

Today is the same kind of gorgeous fall day it was a year ago when my family and friends all came together for the launching of Bitter, Sweet on Sunday afternoon. A lot has taken place over the past year, release of the book in the US, some pretty super reviews of the book, shortlisting for the Bilson Award, not to mention having the book go into a second printing. The memory of all those positive vibes in the community centre that day continues to fill me with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all those who came together to help make this special, not only for me, but for the whole community of East Dalhousie.

Happy Anniversary, Bitter, Sweet!

Memories May Be Beautiful And Yet…..

Perhaps I should have called this post : Memories May be Beautiful and Yet Totally Inaccurate . Sound remotely familiar? Sure does to me.

My contributor copies of Country Roads: Memoirs From Rural Canada arrived late last week. You know the book, the one edited by the lovely and talented Pam Chamberlain with the funky chicken on the front. Before writing, The Place I Call Home —that’s my piece in the anthology— I’d never written a memoir piece. In fact, I’d never considered there was anything about my life worth writing about, certainly nothing that anyone else would ever want to read. That’s why I write fiction. But it was kind of fun to see the piece come together and even more exciting to see my words printed in the book. Thanks, Pam! You’ve been super to work with, not to mention very patient.

People who have only known me as an adult will learn a bit about my growing up years here in East Dalhousie when they read the book. It’ll all be news for most of them. But the truth is most of it will be news to the people who have known me my whole life, too.

I got to thinking about the human mind and our ability to remember events from the past. We’re all told to live in the moment and that’s good advice, but without our memories, those small random remembrances of our past, who are we really?

When my older sister read my piece in Country Roads she was surprised to learn that I was one of three girls who had made a mile long swim to an island in the lake we frequented as kids. It really shouldn’t have been such a shock since she was also one of the three. Talk about a memory malfunction! Okay, just so you know, she remembered making the swim. She just didn’t remember me being in on it. Sheesh! Thanks sis! Didn’t ya remember me being there, singing my head off, when we reached the further shore?

The headline in the local paper read, “Long Swim No Big Feat For Three Girls.”

My point is, had my older sister been writing this same piece, she’d have written an account with a headline that would have read, “Long Swim No Big Feat For Two Girls.” Heck, who am I kidding she wouldn’t have remembered there being a headline.

Memory is a tricky thing, no doubt about it. What causes us to remember some things while other memories are lost along the way? Just where do memories hide out? Ever find yourself remembering something right out of the blue, something you didn’t even know you remembered?  Sometimes it’s scary, other times it’s rather pleasant especially when the memory is a fond one. Dwelling on the past is unproductive. Reminiscing, however, is pleasant. It tells us who we are by where we’ve been. It gives us a sense of where we belong in the world.

I’ve always known that each person has his or her own recollections of events. And when two people tell two slightly different stories, I’m willing to accept the fact that they’re probably both right. That’s why memoir pieces can be so tricky. How much is the real truth and how much is the truth as we remember it? And does it really even matter?

So what are your thoughts about the mind’s ability to recollect memories?  Have you ever suffered from a memory malfunction?  If so, I’d sure love to hear that story.

From Fact into Fiction

In 2005 I wrote a short history of the Anglican Church here in East Dalhousie for our 100th Anniversary celebration. Little did I know, at the time, I’d be using that very same history when it came time to write a book. Once I realized that Bitter, Sweet would be set in East Dalhousie, I simply couldn’t resist.

So if you have read the book and was wondering, the original frame for the church really did blow down in a windstorm, and was then torn down by a bunch of drunken lumbermen. (Gosh, I love that part. So colourful, don’t you think?)

To show how determined the folks in Dalhousie were, and how passionately they felt about erecting this church, it took them nearly forty years to complete, with some major setbacks. I’m not altogether sure you’d see that determination today but maybe the folks back then were used to working hard and staying true to what they believed in.

Today I was thinking about how we often encounter setbacks in life. We set our goals, stay determined and yet everything does not always unfold in a timely manner. Sometimes I wonder if perhaps the journey is more important than the actually goals we set.

When I think about St. Cyprian’s I don’t just see a white building. It is so much more than that. It is the people who worked hand in hand to complete the church, all of those who came before me and those who will come after. History is like that. It tells us who we are and where we came from. It helps us to decide what is important in life, not by keeping us stuck in the past, but by giving us a sense of belonging.

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