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 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?


Did You Buy My Book?

For any author who has only recently published a book there’s that awkwardness in the beginning as we wait to see if our family and friends are actually going to buy our book. I mean, it’s out there, we have friends and family, so…..shouldn’t they buy our book? How’s an author to make a living if we can’t expect all our family and friends to support us? So come on, people, we authors want you all to pony up the dough for our books, right?


Realistically, not everyone we know has money in their budget to buy books. Hey, I’ve been there myself, with a mortgage to pay and three kids living at home. It’s not always easy to find the extra cash for such indulgences, let alone go spending it on ourselves instead of the kids. Sometimes a person’s financial situation has them in a headlock and they just can’t squeeze that piggy bank any harder.

But where there’s a will there’s a way. Maybe you don’t have the money to purchase books at this time, but you most surely can put in a request to the library, and sign that book out. Big deal you might be saying! How’s that supposed to help an author in any way?

Don’t forget, not only are you showing your support by reading our work but, authors do make royalties on library sales. It adds up. Putting in a request at a library for a book can prompt them to add it to their shelves. Making sure our books are stocked in as many libraries as possible is a good thing. But there’s more.

Have you heard of the Public Lending Rights? No. I bet many of the authors out there have.

Now I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent to this in the US so I can only speak to what applies here in Canada. If there are any US authors reading this perhaps you know.

Traditionally published authors can register their news titles with the PLR, and each year, I believe it’s eight, libraries are randomly checked for your titles. If it’s found in any of these libraries the author receives a payment. So if it’s found in all eight libraries, then the author receives 8X, seven libraries it’s 7X…and so on. The more libraries a book is in the larger the payment for the author. If it’s in all eight libraries, that adds up to a nice little bundle especially if an author has more than one title. Now, I know it’s not all about the money, but realistically, authors have to make a living too.

As the old saying goes, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, well there’s more than one way to help support an author without actually buying their book.

I can tell you right now, that for any author, we’re tickled pink to have others reading our work. Whether it’s a library rental or a purchase from a book store, we love to share what we’ve written with others.

Have you ever felt guilty about signing a book out from the library instead of purchasing it? Have you ever thought of putting in a request for a friend’s book so the library would get it in?

Some Things Just Don’t Change (and sometimes that’s a good thing.)

Some of us think of change as a bad thing because we like things to stay just the way they are. Some of us, however, look upon change as growth and the opportunity to enrich our lives. Sometimes the process of change is darn uncomfortable but once we finally get the end result we see that all the things that happened were indeed for our own good. It helped us become the people we are today. It’s just that sometimes the getting there sucks….plain and simple.

But some things never change and that’s what I’m posting about today. I wanted to share some photos taken from our library.

I hope you’re not claustrophobic!

It’s a bit small but it still holds plenty of books. What I’m most amazed about (and this will sound silly to most of you) is that I can go online and search for a title and have it delivered. And if I wanted to put in a request for my book? Well, they’d bring it along, too. (Maybe I’ll just stick to my own copy!!)

The bookmobile has been coming to E. Dalhousie for nearly forty years. For those of us with a love of reading we don’t have to go very far. Mind you, the bookmobile only makes a trip out from the Annapolis Valley once a month but there’s no limit on the amount of books you can sign out. Sometimes they’ll even send your request via Canada Post….How cool is that?

So, welcome to the library here in East Dalhousie!

May it remain unchanged for a very long time because books are a good thing…A very good thing.

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