Emergency Book Signing–Sometimes You Have to Go That Extra Mile or Thirty

Yes, I did say emergency book signing! Sounds strange, I know, but life is filled with strange and unusually things. Some days even the smallest thing can miraculously turn into an emergency especially when there’s a book involved.

Sometimes the really cool things about being an author are the strange things that can happen on an ordinary day. Monday was such a day, ordinary and plain as white bread, not even toasted and buttered. But then I checked the messages on my phone when I got home from work. There was one from the local bookstore. (Bear in mind when I say “local” I mean it’s still about a 45 minute drive from where I am.) The owner said the most bazaar thing had just happened. A customer came in and bought the last copy of “Flying With a Broken Wing,” and the very next customer in line wanted that same book. She was calling to ask if I had books on hand and if it was possible to make some arrangements to get them. Apparently, the customer was quite disappointed to learn that the last copy ( a signed on at that) had just sold as she’d wanted it to take it to her daughter in Ontario— her daughter, as it turns out, was someone I had gone to school with. Now, there’s a bit more to this as it just so happens that this very same lady taught one of my daughters, actually shared a birthday with her, and always gave my daughter a birthday card all the while she was in elementary school. Nice, huh? I always thought so.

So here was the dilemma, the lady would really like signed copies of both my books but was leaving for Ontario in a few days. This meant the books wouldn’t arrive from the publisher, certainly not in time for me to come out and sign them, before she left. The bookstore owner suggested that I mail out the copies. I explained that I was 20 minutes from a post office and I work through the day. I chewed the situation over the next day at work and decided I’d take a drive out. The bookstore owner was going to buy my copies and keep the ones she had on order for her store. So that’s what I did. I made a quick trip out and delivered the books inscribed with a little message.

Now I know some people might think that it was silly of me to go out of my way to make sure this person got signed copies. She would have taken the books anyway (her husband was going to meet her in Ontario a few days later and the copies would be in from the publisher by that time), but sometimes you’ve just got to do what feels right and this felt like the right thing.

Have you ever noticed that Karma has a way of coming back, sometimes years later, and often in a good way? Many times, it’s those little things that make up for the disappointments we feel along the way. Having people specifically ask for my book, and to have it signed, is really an amazing thing. In the grand scheme of things, I believe all those little things add up to a great deal, at least in this author’s life!

Has anything small made your day recently? I love it when you share your stories.

The Reader Behind That Review You Hated

My last post was about the author behind the book you hated, but in order to make this issue a bit balanced, I decided to write a post about the reviewer. When a bad review comes along, authors probably don’t stop to think about the person who actually took the time to put that review out there and what their purpose was in writing a bad review.

Right now, I’ll tell you that I don’t rate or review books and I’m sure some of you may think I have no business writing a post about the reviewer. Luckily, this is my blog so what I say goes!

Sometimes, I’m completely confused about some of the reviews I’ve read online, especially those reviews for some of the books I absolutely loved. Is that the same book I read? Nope…couldn’t possible be. But it is!  People see things in totally different ways. Just as all writers bring something different to the page so do all readers.

A friend of mine told me she had a difficult time with my last book because she grew up in a home where alcohol was a really big issue and, like the protagonist, Cammie, she didn’t know who her father was. I totally understood why she might find, “Flying with a Broken Wing” a difficult read. Cammie’s aunt Millie is a bootlegger, after all, but I never would have thought of this book as being “difficult” for anyone to read. Many people have found it funny, in fact.  Still, her comment opened my eyes a little bit to the experience that each reader brings to a book. There could be many reasons why someone disliked a book or even wrote a bad review that might not have a thing to do with the story or the writing itself. Perhaps there was something in the book that reminded them of a bad experience they had or one of the characters reminded them of someone who made their lives miserable and they just couldn’t get past that.

We can’t know what all makes up that reader’s life experience, who they are and where they’ve been. Did they grow up in a loving household? Maybe they’re unwell or feeling unloved or lonely. There are so many factors that could go into this. Perhaps the only way they have of expressing their negative feelings is to lash out in words. Perhaps again, they feel an obligation to warn other readers that they’re about to waste their valuable time reading that 500 page book that they determined was gibberish.

One thing I have come to understand about this world I live in and my experience in it, my opinion, and my expression of that opinion, is only important to me (and perhaps the sacred few who value what that opinion might be.) I have lived long enough to know that, while opinions are sometimes important, many times they really are not. What I like or what I don’t like makes absolutely no difference in the big scheme of things. We won’t all like the same book, any more than we’ll all like the same clothes or food or cars or people. Thank goodness!

I’m all for responsible reviews where a reviewer is able to give their opinion about a book, maybe even point out some obvious flaws if they feel so inclined, hopefully in a constructive way. It’s important. Diversity makes this world a better place to live.

Any writer will agree that expressing yourself through words is important. We were born to communicate, but communicating in a responsible way only makes you look classy and maybe earns you some respect along the way if you care about those things. Truthfully, those things aren’t important to everyone. I know that.

I love what author Sue Harrison had to say about my last post. If a novel is too horrible, I simply don’t review it. Why break somebody’s heart because of my (perhaps erroneous) opinion!?!”   Smart lady!

Have you ever given consideration to the reader behind the review? Has your own life experiences ever influenced your reading experience when it came to a certain book? Have you ever wondered about the reader behind that bad review?

Book Giveaway!

Lynn Davidson is giving away a copy of “Flying With a Broken Wing,” on her blog. Hey, that’s my book! If you’d like the chance to  win a copy head on over. Here’s the link.  In the meantime I’ll share this photo with you. I just love it. I know it’s early for Peonies but I don’t really care. It seems that spring has finally arrived and I can hardly wait for them to bloom. With the winter we had who can blame me? Oh, and Happy Easter!

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“Flying” to South Africa

A few weeks back this photo arrived in my inbox from Madelyn Bowers of New Germany. I love it when you all send me photos of my book in other locations. Not only does my book get to travel, but it shows me that there are so many thoughtful people in the world who are indulging this author’s travel fantasy by  taking my book with them around the globe. Now THAT’S really special.

GEMadelyn, and her husband, Peter, were in South Africa visiting their daughter recently. Madelyn writes, “I took along your book (she is a journalist and writer so I try to keep  her in touch with local authors as she grew up here) and it went to Cape Town with us.  We did a bus tour and stopped at Table Mountain.  Unfortunately it was foggy on the mountain so we didn’t go up, but at lower cable station you have a good view of Cape Town.  Apparently it is
about 302 m above sea level.  So that is where the picture is taken.”

This is SO cool. Keep sending the photos. I love sharing them. Thanks Madelyn.  🙂

Author! Author!

Writer, Sandra Phinney has a series on her website called, Author! Author! You’ll find an interview with me there if you pop on over. Find out about how, “Flying With a Broken Wing” came into being. Oh, and Sandra says to feel free to post question! Here’s the link.  Sandraphinney.com.  Hope to see some of your there!

 

 

What’s up?

Despite the many snowstorms we had this winter, time seems to be flying. And so is my book—- minus moi, that is.  Here’s a photo that came to me from my Facebook friend Kitty Zinck on a recent trip she made to Jamaica. She assured me that she and my book had an “awesome time.” Nothing like rubbing it in, Kitty. But I’ll forgive you since you found room in your suitcase for Cammie and Aunt Millie. 😉

"Flying " to Jamacia.

“Flying ” to Jamaica.

Also, you can read my short story, “The Old Queen Rains that has been published in the winter issue of Understorey Magazine. While you’re there you might want to check out the rest of the magazine. It features the work of women from across Nova Scotia, and I think that’s a truly great thing.

Tomorrow is the first day of March. Just typing that out makes me want to say “What?”   Yet, there are hints of spring around us and a noticeable difference in our daylight hours. I’m excited for spring. I’m sure you all are, too. Spring always fills me with a sense of hopefulness. I immediately want to start new projects and plant things in the ground. March will also see the official release of “Flying With a Broken Wing” in the US. I can hardly wait!

So here’s to spring— new life, new hope, and warmer weather!

 

“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.

 

When Readers Get What We Do

In a Facebook status last week, one author made the comment that it really feels wonderful  “when someone actually gets what you do.”  The comment really resonated with me. While I understand that many people read books simply for the entertainment value (which is absolutely acceptable, in fact it’s wonderful!) some of us gather much more from the story than what lies on the page.  And there are people out there that really get that.

From the very beginning, I’ve known that there is more to the writing of a story than the story itself. I saw it in the short stories I wrote, felt it while I was in the midst of writing. I’m not someone who analyzes the works of others, nor do I analyze my own writing for that matter. Yet while I’m writing, I’m often aware of these underlying meanings that run through-out my writing. It’s not something I consciously set out to do, but something that develops on its own.  I’m sure it’s that way with many other writers as well.

I loved the mother in Bitter, Sweet for her wisdom and understanding about life. The line where she says, “There are all kinds of wisdom in the world, Pru. It’s in everything from a sunrise to a dewdrop. It doesn’t have to be complicated. Complicating things is our own doing. We’re handed life on a platter. It should be so easy.”  Love that line! And no I didn’t purposely set out to write it. Mama came up with that one all one her own. Do I believe it? Darn tootin’ I do.

While Flying With a Broken Wing is a totally different story, Cammie is one of the brightest ten year old I know. She doesn’t come out with any of Mama’s profound wisdom, but you can be sure it’s there.  One thing about Cammie is, she’s not one to sugar-coat things. She just outs with it. “Talking with Evelyn was a lot like picking your nose. You had to do a little digging around, but once you hooked a big booger it would slip out like nobody’s business.” One of my favorite lines from the book, because admit it, we’ve all known people who take a bit of prodding before they finally open up. But rather than wisdom, in Cammie’s case, I call it smarts. Smarts—Cammie would definitely like that!

We all have our own way of seeing the world, and we’re all much wiser than we realize. Often time we don’t express that wisdom, but I believe it’s something we all have. Writers are lucky in that we have an entire blank page at our disposal and we can express to our heart’s content. I’ve always felt that writing was a combination of brain power and heart power. While our brains come up with the premise of the story our hearts lead the way through the telling of it. I’m sure there are many writers out there who would disagree with this, but I can tell you when Cammie came out with that nose-picking line I didn’t have to stop and think about it. She said it. I wrote it. It was a done deal. And I loved it.

I really have to agree with the author’s comment about people getting what we do. One of the greatest rewards for any writer is creating characters and world that others can readily relate to. Not everyone will love our stories, and of course we’d wish that wasn’t so. But there’s a book out there for everyone. We all have such different tastes.

 Yesterday, one person wrote that “I felt so involved, like I was {Cammie’s} best friend.”  For a writer, it doesn’t get much better than that. As an added bonus this week, fellow blogger and writer, Darlene Foster, wrote a wonderful review of my latest book. You can view it here if you haven’t already seen it. Thanks Darlene. I’m so glad you enjoyed the book! As an added thought, you might think of letting a writer know when you’ve read and enjoyed their book. It means that all those hours we spend writing and rewriting means something to you, hopefully something good!

This winter I’ve been working at a few projects that I’m really enjoying, and when all is said and done that has to be one of the greatest rewards for a writer. It’s actually one of the greatest rewards period. I feel so fortunate.

There time for you to enter a draw over at Lynn Davidson’s blog for a copy of Shadows in the Stone by Diane Lynn McGyver. Click on the link and leave a comment and you’re entered to win. The draw is Feb 4th at 6:00 pm. Good luck!

“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.

Books for the Young and Young at Heart

I like supporting other authors, especially local authors. If you’ve been reading this blog for awhile you’ve probably clued into that. Whenever possible I try and pick up local books in the bookstore. They make wonderful gifts. Then again, I’ve been known to order books written by some of my blogging friends as well. It’s kind of a nice feeling to support those we have some connection to. I mean, why not?

Here’s a list of books for the young readers on your Christmas list. I’d mention “Flying With a Broken Wing,” but that would be a little obvious.  😉  So I’ll leave it off, but instead will list some of the local books I’ve recently read, or have purchased as gifts for Christmas.

1. The Power of Harmony written by my friend Jan Coates. Don’t forget to check out her Governor General nominated book, Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk as well. Power of Harmony - cover Jennifer’s best friend has moved away and she has become the sole focus for the mean-spirited teasing from the “mean girls” and the “bad boys”at school. But when the new girl, Melody, joins their class the bullies have a new victim. Melody is native and has moved from the recently closed residential school to join the fifth grade class at Summerhill. At first Jennifer is nervous about becoming friends with Melody. She has heard what people (including her grandmother) say about “those people.” But as she gets to know her new classmate, she discovers that they have more in common than she first thought – both of them find sanctuary amongst the books in the town library and both of them love music and being outdoors. Set in a small town in the coal mining regions of Nova Scotia during the late 1960s, this story of discovery and friendship perfectly captures time and place through the voice of its young narrator, Jennifer.

2. Buried Secrets At Louisbourg by JoAnn Yhard. Fred has had a 1771080183rough summer. His secret crush on Mai is going strong, his mother has barely recovered from a battle with cancer, and his unreliable father’s diving business has gone completely underwater. Now Fred, Mai, and Grace, extraordinary fossil hunters, are at the Fortress of Louisbourg hunting a different kind of treasure. They are secretly excavating the historic site, trying to find a mass of jewels Fred’s ancestor may have buried there-jewels that could save Fred”s family. But Fred uncovers far more than he bargained for, including a dangerous plot that could leave Fred”s family in even more serious trouble. The young detectives from the bestselling The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines shine in this fast-paced mystery for middle readers.

3. OakIsland Revenge by Cynthia D’Entrement. Jonah is fourteen 1551098997and lives on the Western Shore of Nova Scotia in 1958. He and his best friend, Beaz, have figured out a way to get to the forbidden OakIsland to seek treasure. They find a gold locket down one of the treasure shafts and can’t believe their luck-until they realize that the locket is not pirate’s booty but possibly evidence in a current murder investigation, one which Jonah already knows more about than he can handle. Beaz is in danger from his abusive mother if she finds out he’s gone to OakIsland, so Jonah keeps the secret even though there is a killer at large in his small community. OakIsland Revenge is a coming-of-age story, with much higher stakes than most teenagers have to contend with.

18948389984. The Sewing Basket by Susan White. (I bought this one the other day for myself but don’t tell anyone!) Dealing with a parent’s illness can be difficult at any age It is 1967 and twelve year old Ruth Iverson’s world pretty much revolves around her friends, a boy she likes, the Monkees and spending time with her Dad doing special stuff like watching the Toronto Maple Leafs win the Stanley Cup. But she is soon to realize that her mom’s strange behaviour which has become an embarrassment, are symptoms of a disease that will affect the family’s life and possibly Ruth’s future. While she watches major events like the marriage of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, the birth of Priscilla Presley, the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy and Neil Armstrong walking on the moon, Ruth faces some major life events of her own and struggles to come to terms with the changes they bring.

18970097395. Trapper Boy by Hugh R. Macdonald. I read on stage with Hugh at Word on the Street this year. Set in a 1920s coal-mining town, Trapper Boy is the story of 13-year-old JW Donaldson, a good student with a bright future. As school ended for the year in 1926, JW was looking forward to summer. Sure, he would have chores – feeding the horse and milking the goat, tending the garden, that kind of thing – but he would also have lots of time for fishing, building his cabin and reading. Lots of reading. But there is something worrying his parents. His father works in the mine, and there is a lot of talk around town about the mines. JW doesn’t know the details – Adults had a lot to worry about, and he was in no hurry to become one. Slowly, JW’s parents reveal the truth: his father’s hours at the mine have been reduced and they face difficult decisions to try to make ends meet. One such decision will have a previously unimagined impact on the young man’s life.

6. Me and Mr. Bell by Phillip Roy      Alexander Graham Bell, Baddeck’s most illustrious resident, and one of the 1927492556world’s greatest inventors, is also famous for the greatness of his compassion. It’s 1908, and ten-year-old Eddie MacDonald shares the friendly inventor’s passion for solving problems and for taking long walks in the fields above Bras d’Or Lake.
But whereas Bell is renowned by many for being the smartest man in the world, Eddie is just a local farm boy who struggles to learn to read and write. After a few chance encounters, the elderly Bell befriends the young boy, and takes an interest in his struggle – encouraging Eddie to celebrate his successes and never give up.
When Bell’s long ambition for manned flight culminates in the Silver Dart soaring over Bras d’Or Lake, Eddie is inspired to find solutions to his own challenges.

While any of these books would make a great gift for that young person on your list keep in mind that adults might enjoy them as well.  Of course there are plenty of great books out there for young people that I haven’t mentioned. Do a little digging around. Find out who your local talent is. Here’s hoping you find the right book for the right person on your list. Drop in next week to find out what books for adults I have on my list. Lots of loca

Now it’s your turn. What books for young people would you recommend? If you’re an author, it’s okay to mention your own book, after all we’re looking for book suggestions!

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