The Blind Mechanic

For anyone who has any preconceived ideas of what blind people are capable of accomplishing they should read  The Blind Mechanic.

Long before this book came out I heard about this remarkable man from my step-father. Like my mum and step-father, Eric went to the Halifax School for the Blind. Eric was blinded in the Halifax Explosion when he was two and went on to live a long fulfilling life. Eric dreamed of being a mechanic and despite the obstacles he encountered he did just that. He was a man admired by many for his accomplishments, especially those within the blind community.

I just finished reading this book and would highly recommend it. The book was written by Eric’s daughter, Marilyn Davison Elliott. Having grown up with a mother who was born visually impaired I felt an immediate connection to Marilyn and her book. Children who have a parent or parents who are blind or visually impaired recognized the strength and determination their parent possess. We also realize that being blind or visually impaired doesn’t have to stop anyone from achieving their goals. It was why I created the character of Cammie. Having grown up seeing  how blind and visually impaired people were often underestimated, it was important for me to write about a feisty, 10-year-old determined to make a better life for herself.

Even if you don’t know someone with vision problems The Blind Mechanic is a truly inspiring story. Lots of interesting information about the aftermath of the explosion as well.

The Book:

Eric Davidson lost both eyes in the Halifax Explosion when he was two years old. Against all odds, he taught himself to become an auto mechanic and had a successful decades long career as “one of the boys.”

Eric Davidson was a beautiful, fair-haired toddler when the Halifax Explosion struck, killing almost 2,000 people and seriously injuring thousands of others. Eric lost both eyes, a tragedy that his mother never fully recovered from. Eric, however, was positive and energetic. He also developed a fascination with cars and how they worked, and he later decided, against all likelihood, to become a mechanic. Assisted by his brothers who read to him from manuals, he worked hard, passed examinations, and carved out a decades-long career. Once the subject of a National Film Board documentary, Eric Davidson was, until his death, a much-admired figure in Halifax.

This book does not gloss over the challenges faced by Eric and by his parents. Written by his daughter Marilyn, it gives new insights into the story of the 1917 Halifax Explosion and contains never-before-seen documents and photographs. While Eric Davidson has been mentioned in previous Explosion accounts, his story has never been told in such fascinating detail. Davidson overcame such odds that his life story might not seem believable if it had not happened.

The Blind Mechanic is in bookstores and can also be purchased through amazon.ca HERE.

Guest Author–Kayla Hounsell


Photo: Alex MacAulay

It is my pleasure to welcome Kayla Hounsell to my blog today to talk about her book,  First Degree: From Medical School to Murder. Kayla is an award- winning journalist who covered the murder trial of Will Sandeson. She is now the CBC’s National Reporter for the Maritimes. Based in Halifax, she has worked in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Rwanda, South Sudan, and Liberia. This is her first book.

Book Blurb:

A murder, a missing body, and a sensational trial that shocked the community. Will Sandeson seemed like a model son. A member of the Dalhousie University track and field team, he was about to start classes at Dalhousie’s medical school. He had attended a medical school in the Caribbean; he worked at a group home for adults with disabilities. “There’s times for whatever reason that things don’t go quite as planned,” a Halifax police officer told Sandeson shortly after he was arrested for the first-degree murder of Taylor Samson, who also, on the surface, seemed like a model son.

Samson lived in a fraternity house near Dalhousie, and when the six-foot-five physics student disappeared without a trace, the focus eventually turned to Sandeson. Sandeson’s trial, blown open by a private investigator accused of switching sides, exposed a world of drugs, ambition, and misplaced loyalties. Through interviews with friends and relatives, as well as transcripts of the trial and Sandeson’s police interrogation, award-winning journalist Kayla Hounsell paints a complex portrait of both the victim and killer, two young men who seemed destined for bright futures. First Degree includes previously unpublished photos and details never made public until now.

First Degree: The Story Behind my First Book

It was May 2017 when I was asked to write First Degree, although it didn’t have a title then. My first thought was, “Of course I want to write this book. This book has to be written!” But my immediate second thought was, “But what will Taylor’s mother think?” It was a question that would follow me through every step of the process, every line I wrote, every social media post I made, and every public appearance since. (I even asked her to read this blog before it was published. She told me it was not necessary and that she wouldn’t want to edit my feelings.)

First Degree: From Med School to Murder: The Story Behind the Shocking Will Sandeson Trial is ultimately about two promising young men whose families were destroyed after one plotted to kill the other. Taylor Samson, a Dalhousie University physics student, is now dead. Will Sandeson, a Dal medical student, is serving a life sentence for first-degree murder. Samson’s body has never been found.

So it was that I was live-tweeting from the murder trial in my role as a reporter, when I received an email from Elaine McCluskey at Nimbus Publishing asking if I’d consider writing a book about the case. It quickly became clear that my employer was not willing to work with me, so I quit my job. It was shocking to everyone in my life. After all, it was a great job that I had held for many years, the people I worked with had become family, and now I had what? A book deal, great. But then what? I had no idea and it was terrifying.

But there was no way I could not write this book. So that was that.

Next, I had to tell Taylor’s mother and humbly ask for her participation. By that point I had been covering the case for nearly three years and felt I had developed a positive relationship with Linda Boutilier, but I was well aware committing to an interview for a TV story that would last less than two minutes was far different than agreeing to participate in a project of this scale. I had no idea what she would say. I invited Linda and Taylor’s childhood friend for lunch. On a break from the trial at Nova Scotia Supreme Court, I went around the corner to Stayner’s Wharf Pub & Grill, my heart pounding.

To my absolute astonishment, Linda gave me her full support. I went so far as to point out that there would be parts of the book she might not like to read. I knew even then that parts of it would be graphic, and I would have to point out that her son was a drug dealer. I had no intention of shying away from the truth of the matter and I certainly did not want that to be a surprise to her.

“That’s okay,” she said in that downtown Halifax restaurant, “I know if you write it, it will be fair.”

Again, astonishment.

For a journalist, there is no greater compliment. That level of trust cannot be matched when you build everything you do on trust, balance and fairness. It also came with an incredible amount of pressure and it played on me over and over as I wrote lines, deleted them, and rewrote them.
Since then there have been multiple conversations, endless text messages, and even words of encouragement from Linda for me.Imagine.

You may think you know a little about Linda Boutilier by now, perhaps you’ve seen her on TV. You might think that she seems tough, you might even judge her because she knew her son was selling marijuana. But you do not know what I have come to know over the last three years. Linda Boutilier is fierce. She is fearless in the face of unimaginable adversity. She is her son’s defiant defender. She is also rational and compassionate and she has my utmost respect.

As she says in First Degree, “I am who I am. If you judge me because I’m honest, well then you’re going to judge me because I’m honest.”

Linda Boutilier has welcomed me into her home, shared her family photos, allowed me to look through her private text messages and shared her grief.

She has done all of this so that you might come to know her son as more than a drug dealer, so that you will have a full picture of what happened to him, what Will Sandeson did to him, and so that you might have a rare glimpse into the Canadian justice system unlike any you have seen before.
It’s because of her that this is the first page of First Degree:

Dedicated in memory of Taylor Samson. May we not forget that wrapped up in the pages of this crime thriller, a mother and father lost a son, a brother lost his protector, and a young man lost his life.

And as for her words, “I know if you write it, it will be fair,”they played in my mind like a mantra as I wrote, and I did my very best to be fair.

My great thanks to Laura Best for the opportunity to share a little of my writing process.

First Degree is available at Amazon.ca. and Chapters.ca as well as independent book stores.

Thank you Kayla for sharing the story behind your first book. I’m looking forward to reading it. Best of luck to you and your book. 

As the Pumpkin Grows

There has been a new development in the ongoing saga of Laura and the Giant Pumpkin that I haven’t yet revealed. Perhaps you recall that a few weeks back I mentioned that our pumpkin seemed to have stalled. Turns out I was right. Upon further investigation we discovered that our precious pumpkin had met an untimely demise. It died and we didn’t know. We didn’t even get to say goodbye as it slowly began to rot. I know, I know… poor Pumpky.

But…

New life sprung up out of the ashes..or the vines as the case might be. Much to our surprise, a second pumpkin began to grow, and we watched while it grew in excess of the first one. This was one of the clues that there was something amiss with the first one. Sadly, Pumpky ended up in the compost heap. It was all we could do.

So…

We started again and here we are. Already bigger and better than our first. Last weekend the son used his formula to calculate the weight and told us it was around 90 lbs. It would, of course, be heavier by now. I know his urban pumpkin is bigger but, chin up, we’ll persevere.

While we long ago accepted that we’re not going to end up with a thousand pound pumpkin, (Good Lord what would be do if that happened?) this has been a learning experience for us and, who knows, maybe one day…..

Hmm…I wonder how the son’s urban pumpkin is doing.  Perhaps he’ll send a photo  for me to share..

Next weekend is Halifax Word on the Street at the Halifax Central Library on Spring Garden Road; Sept 16th to be exact. Here’s the schedule. I’ll be reading from Cammie Takes Flight at 10:00 in the BMO Community Room. If you’re in the city that weekend and would like to visit the new library, it would be wonderful to look out and see a familiar face. I’ll also be signing at the Nimbus Publishing table, although I’m waiting for confirmation on a time. Less than a week. Time is closing in.

              Urban Pumpkin Update:

Since the son just sent a photo of his urban pumpkin the other night, I’m going to tack it onto the end of this post. The estimated weight is 177 lbs. He says it’s three weeks ahead of where his pumpkin was last year this time.

Book Launch: A Behind the Scenes Look.

The other week as I was going through some book launch photos, I found a few that made me giggle just a little. Most of these were candid shots taken by the lovely Dawn Alexander my official photographer for the day. Dawn showed up the night before while were setting up for the big day and she stayed pretty close by all through launch day. Now that’s dedication!

So, just for fun, I thought I’d post some of the behind the scene photos no one ever gets to see.

Setting up for the launch the night before was great fun. Of course it helps to have a few silly friends to take charge.  I’ll be the first to admit that decorating is not my forte. I’m more about the written word. Therefore, the decorating I leave to those more qualified.

Hard at work. Recreating the book cover was a little tricky since the vision of it only existed in Bonnie’s creative mind prior to setting up. Judi made all the silhouettes. It was a pretty cool idea. Wish I could take the credit but, as I said, I’m more about the words.

The end result kind of speaks for itself. I loved it. So did everyone at the launch. I warned you that I have some talented friends. They added all the extras they knew would make me happy: dark chocolate, Mars, beautiful white roses and my books. The tea pot of flowers was a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter.

There’s always someone in charge of the ironing. All those little details count. Thanks Barbie.

The look on my face suggests surprise, doesn’t it? You’s almost think I was expecting something to jump out of the box when, in fact, I knew there was a cake inside courtesy of the Monday Craft ladies. Seriously, they went above and beyond to make the day special. These ladies know how to show some author love. I don’t know what I’d do without the help and support from my friends and community.

And here’s a much better view. Just so you know it did make it out of the box It was delicious!

Launch Day: I could have told Bonnie it was a little late to be playing shy. Dodging the photographer isn’t as easy as it might seem when you get to be our age. Dawn was relentless in her mission to gets photos, but Bonnie using me as a human shield just doesn’t cut it! Oh Bonnie, oh Bonnie, when will you learn?

When the Nimbus publicist, Jeff Arbeau showed up, author friend Jan Coates offered to help him sell books. I love this photo taken when our MLA Leo Glavine showed up. Now there’s the look of a woman who can hardly wait to get her hands on some money. The next photo in the series (that I decided not to post) shows Jan actually prying the money out of his hands.. Okay, I’m just kidding about that! Seriously, Jeff said Jan was a huge big help!

There you have it, just a few of the candid shots from the launch of “Cammie Takes Flight.” Life is not just about the perfect moments that get capture on camera, it’s more about the moments that go unseen, but it’s all those silly, imperfect moments that create the best memories.

Book Update

It’s hard to believe that July is coming to a close. We’ve had some pretty warm days, lots of humidity but, I’ve got to say, I’ll still take that over an avalanche of snow any day. July scooted on by without me having written a single blog post. I didn’t mean for that to happen but….

Edits for Cammie Takes Flight are about to get underway. I found out last week that I’ll be working with Penelope Jackson again. Penelope and I worked on Flying with a Broken Wing together. She’s marvelous! Can’t express how fortunate I’ve been to have such great editors to work with  at Nimbus Publishing and how very thankful I am for their expertise. Having that second set of eyes always opens my own eyes up and allows me to see things that previously weren’t there. My imagination soars. Right now, the plan is to have the edited manuscript back to Nimbus for layout by mid-September and to have the Advanced Reading Copies available for media by early winter. The book is to be released in April 2017. (I think I mentioned that in an earlier post.)  I’m expecting to see a cover sometime in August or early September. I’ll share it with you as soon as I can. It’s always exciting to see a new cover, and with this being a sequel it’s even a bit more exciting.

Also in July, it was brought to my attention that Flying with a Broken Wing made the Bank Street College list for Best books in 2015. I know many of you saw this on Facebook so please indulge me. The college is located in New York!  Here’s a bit about the list in case you’re not familiar.

One of the most comprehensive annotated book lists for children, aged infant through 16. The Committee reviews over 6,000 titles annually for accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children. The best 600 books published each year, both fiction and nonfiction, are listed with annotations, according to age and category.

I’m also working on a new project at the moment, but July’s been busy with family visiting (yes, Miss Charlotte was here for a few days!) and gardening, work  etc….etc….But writers find a way to work around the everyday. We squeeze in time for writing whenever we can. There’s no way we can resist!

So, there’s a bit of an update for now. I’ll keep you posted as more news come in. I hope you’re all enjoying your summer.

 

The Answer to Your Question

In the two and half years since Flying with a Broken Wing was published I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked, “When’s the sequel coming?” To be honest, some of you have been relentless in you pursuit of an answer, even trying to trick me into telling. (Smile because you know who you are!)

Many of you would agree with me when I say I’ve been a bit annoying vague about it all, dodging the question as best I could, not even willing to let you know how the writing was coming along. I’m not a fast writer. Or perhaps it’s more accurate to say I’m not a writer who gets to the end as often as I’d like. I typically have several projects on the go. That was the case when I started writing the sequel to Flying with a Broken Wing.

And then I started another novel.

And then I went back to one I’d started right after Bitter, Sweet was published.

I went back to the sequel again…

You get the idea?

Things went along slowly.

Then I lied. Well, maybe not an out and out lie. Let’s say I withheld certain information from y’all. (Did I just say y’all?) Seriously, writing a story doesn’t necessarily mean that story will see publication. I mean what if the publisher hated it? What if it just wasn’t what they wanted? Doubt sets in.

But now all that doubt is gone. I’m here to confess that the sequel has been finished for some time now. Yay! Do you forgive me for leading you astray? Hope so.

BUT WAIT….

There’s more.

I just signed a contract with Nimbus Publishing for the sequel to “Flying with a Broken Wing.” Yup…signed …sealed and delivered. And I’ve been dying to tell y’all.

For now, the title of the book is “Cammie Takes Flight,” but as I’ve explained before this could end up being changed. I’ll be sure to let you know if that happens.

So, do you think I’m excited at all? You betcha. I can hardly wait!

Speaking of waiting, I assume y’alls next question will when when’s it going to be published?

Well, my sources are saying Spring 2017. That’s just around the corner in the book publishing industry.

So, there you have it. The answer to the question you’ve been asking me for years now. And well, me, I’m just walking around with my head in the clouds.

And if all that isn’t enough Darlene Foster , author of the Amanda Series, posted a lovely review of Flying With a Broken Wing posted on the Children Writer’s Guild. You can read it here. Again, thank you Darlene for your generosity!

 

 

Interview With Daphne Greer

photoToday, it is my pleasure to welcome author Daphne Greer to my blog. Daphne’s here to talk about her latest novel, Jacob’s Landing, which was published by Nimbus Publishing this past spring. Daphne says that never in a million years did she ever picture herself being a writer. She admits that she was not a good student in school and couldn’t spell. She spent her summers working at camps, with children always being the center of her attention.  She eventually  made her way to University and graduated with a Bachelor of Child Studies from Mount St Vincent University. Daphne is the author of Maxed Out (An American Library Association Nominee for best quick read) and her latest book,  Jacob’s Landing,  a Silver Birch Nominee.  She lives in Newport Landing with her husband and four daughters.

About Jacob’s Landing : Coping with the recent death of his father, twelve-year-old Jacob Mosher is !cid_7288C98B-A0D0-4073-A8F3-A908F0874800@Nimbussent to spend the summer with his aging, estranged (and strange!) grandparents in rural Newport Landing, Nova Scotia. Reluctantly, he trades the security of his foster mum in “Upper Canada” for a blind grandfather, Frank, who dresses like a sea captain and conducts flag-raising ceremonies, and a quirky grandmother, Pearl, who sometimes forgets her dentures and has Jacob running in circles. Jacob has two short months to figure out how to deal with his ailing grandfather, the surging Avon River tides, and the family secret that’s haunting his newfound grandparents. He didn’t expect so much danger and mystery to be lurking in tiny Newport Landing.

1.Can you tell us a little about your writing career, how and when the writing bug bit you?

14 years ago I pretty much stumbled into writing. My cousin’s son was struggling with his older brother with special needs and I was trying to figure out how I could be helpful. I initially went looking for a picture book that might help him understand his brother better. When I wasn’t successful I decided to write him a picture book myself. I called it, ‘The Boy Who Smiled.’ At the time I was working full time managing group homes for adults with special needs. I was also a busy mom of three girls until I became pregnant with our fourth daughter and landed in the hospital on bed rest for three months. To fill the time I started writing picture books. Fast forward to deciding to be a stay at home mother. I decided that writing would be my second career. Little did I know how difficult that would be. I quickly realized that I had to learn the craft of writing – loving to write was not enough. So, I joined the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia and trotted off to my very first class with Noreen Smiley with my little picture book in hand, where it quickly morphed into a chapter book and took on a whole new life. Many moons later it was published with the title, Maxed Out, as a quick read geared towards reluctant readers. I also wrote a short story called, Christmas Dinner at Wallace Point, which appeared in A Maritime Christmas (which is when I first met the lovely Laura Best, as we both had stories published in the collection.)My writing has lead me to be involved with Writers in the Schools where I give presentations to school age children – hopefully inspiring them to believe anything is possible.

2. You recently had a new novel published can you tell us a bit about it and where the inspiration for this novel came from?

I love stories about families and how they overcome hardship. Bits of stories that I might be privy too or hear about linger in my brain and slosh about until something perks my interest. In this case my Dad suggested I write about Newport Landing and the rich history of the area where we live. At the time I was working with elderly people so they were front and center in my mind. One morning I woke up early and pictured a young boy sitting across from his grandmother who he’s never met and all he can concentrate on is the fact that her false teeth keep slipping out of place. Jacob and Pearl were born and the story unfolded on its own. To my delight I was able to sneak some historical facts about my community into the story.

3. Your latest novel is set in Newport Landing. Why did you chose this location?

Newport Landing lends itself to a story as the scenery is breath taking. The area is rich with history and my husband and I have raised our four daughters here. It just felt right for the story.

4. How did you choose the title for Jacob’s Landing? And can you tell us a bit about the cover?

The title describes the main character who goes to stay with his estranged grandparents for the summer, where he ultimately lands on his feet. My writing group was instrumental with the title. I took the photo at the Avon River Heritage Museum near our home. In the story a telescope figures prominently. I had wanted to take the photo from the widows walk from one of the mansions across the street from my house, but it has seen better days and isn’t safe. The boy featured on the cover is Oliver Mitson a neighborhood boy who was the same age as Jacob in the story. Nimbus did a fantastic job with the cover. The compass is a neat symbol that represents Jacob finding family.

5. Jacob’s grandparents are both colourful characters. Did the inspiration for these characters come from real life?

I never really know my characters until they appear on the page, but at the time I was surrounded by many different colorful elderly people whom I’m sure made their way onto the pages of Jacob’s Landing in various ways, but no one character is based off anyone in particular.

6. How long did it take you to write Jacob’s Landing and can you describe the process from submissions to publication?

It usually takes me the better part of a school calendar year to write my first draft. I focus on producing a chapter per week to take to my writing group where we provide each other with feedback. The process from submission to publication is basically a big fat waiting game. A few sample chapters along with a letter to the publisher gets sent out. Because most editors read the submissions on their own time it can be anywhere from 3- 9 months before you hear back. Once you’ve been accepted with a publishing company the editor gives you and overview of what they like and don’t like about your story. The writer is then asked to do a re- write, taking everything into consideration. Once the editor is happy and you’re happy, things move rather quickly to line edits where the editor goes through every line with a fine tooth comb, making everything sound tighter. Words get deleted and questions get asked that the writer might not have thought about. I personally love the editing process. I don’t mind someone pointing out things I have missed or not thought about. At the end of the day the editor wants your story to be the best it can be. Trust is the name of the game.

7. With so many people choosing to self-publish these days, have you ever considered it as an option or do you prefer working with a publishing house?

I admire authors that have gone the self- publishing route, but I’m not as brave or confident enough to know that at the end of the day my work would be the best it could be. I’ve heard too many horror stories of self -publishing miss haps. For me I feel a great sense of comfort in knowing that certain things will be taken care of by the publishing house that I’m not so great at. I am not an editor for a reason.

8. Are you working on anything new and, if so, can you tell us a bit about it?

I’m a conflicted writer at the moment as I have three stories I want to write and I’m having trouble picking one to focus on. I have been given the extraordinary privilege of telling a story from the point of view of a young man with Asperger’s. I’m very excited and nervous about this project as it’s a huge undertaking. Another story is about a young girl in middle school who struggles with middle school stuff J and the third is a sequel to Jacob’s Landing. At present I’m waiting to hear back on two stories that are out in the ‘publishing universe.’   One is a sequel to Maxed Out and the other is story set in Belgium at a Convent run by Ursuline nuns – inspired by a friend in England who was raised by nuns after her mother died. When I was fourteen I was sent to a convent in Brussels while my dad was working overseas. The convent was rich with writing material.

9. Do you have any advice to pass along to writers who are not yet published?

Patience. Patience. Patience – is the name of the game. Writing is not for anyone who wants things to happen in a hurry or on your own time. If you’re willing to work hard, never give up, never get side swiped by the word NO – and if you love to write, then jump in and tread water like the rest of us. Learn everything you can about the craft of writing, join the Writers Federation of Nova Scotia, take courses, meet like- minded people, get feedback on your writing, enter competitions, put yourself out there and NEVER GIVE UP. You need to have thick skin and not take things personally. Keep a note pad with you at all times because your ideas will come to you in the strangest places, but most importantly enjoy the process of writing.

10. Is there anything else about Jacob’s Landing that you would like readers to know?

I’m thrilled to announce that Jacob’s landing is a Silver Birch Nominee by the Ontario Library Association. This is a huge deal in the ‘children’s writing world.’ It’s like getting nomination for the ‘People’s Choice Award,’ in TV land, except it’s for books and the children decide which book they like the best. Jacob’s Landing is one of ten books nominated and I feel incredibly blessed to be among the writers in this category.

Tanita Davis (YA blogger from California) summed up Jacob’s Landing so beautifully – I’ll give her the last word. : Like a perfect summer day – warm, but with just a kiss of breeze – Daphne Greer’s book celebrates the best things about foster care, family, friendships, and bridging the generations to make our own truths. This is a book you’ll want to hug.

!cid_7288C98B-A0D0-4073-A8F3-A908F0874800@NimbusJacob’s Landing  is available at  Amazon.ca,  Amazon.comChapters as well as Woozles in Halifax, the Box of Delights in Wolfville and most independent books stores.

To find out more about Daphne check out her website Here  

twitter: @daphne_greer

instragram : daphnegreerr

 

I Just Can’t Like You Anymore

Lately, I’ve been having a lot of problems liking people, which is new for me since I generally get along well with others. Here’s the scoop. I’ll start with Facebook. I love Facebook, don’t get me wrong, but this past while I’ve noticed, I no sooner “like” something then I notice that “like” has been taken away, disappeared into the great wide world of the Internet. Zappo! Poof! I don’t think it’s just me and my slow connection since others seem to agree with, but not everyone. Some say it hasn’t been a problem for them. And it’s not just the likeability thing. I’m sometimes told I can’t comment or else the comment I make disappears too. Well, okay, I’ll accept that, but when I want to comment on my own status it’s a bit annoying to be told I’m not allowed to.

Is it fair to knock these free services? I’m not sure. Do we have a right to certain expectations? I kind of think so since the whole idea is for us to interact with one another. Free or not, it’s difficult not to find yourself grumbling a time or two when these things mess up so frequently.

Since were on the subject of likes:

Now onto WordPress. I love the “like “ button we now have, because let’s face it sometimes we just don’t have time to think up a comment or sometimes we just have nothing to add, but still want to say, “Hey, I liked your post!” It’s a support thing and it’s great. However, most of the time my “like” button won’t load. This, I’m fairly sure is because of my connection and not a whole lot I can do about it. Every now and then I’m surprised when everything loads properly. So, it’s not that I don’t “like” you all anymore. Really it’s not you…it’s me.

The last of the proofreading for my book was done over the long weekend. I swear no matter how many times something is proofread, by yourself and others, those nasty little typos are bound to appear from out of nowhere. It’s seems inevitable. Yet we all hope. My editor says it’s impossible to catch them all. It’s soon off to the printers! I’ve been in touch with the Publicist from Nimbus and we’ve discussed launch dates although at this point it’s a bit tricky since there’s always the chance that things will get tied up at the printers. Can’t have a launch if the books have been delayed, right? For now, I have a tentative date since I needed to book the community centre ahead of time. No official announcement yet.  It’s all moving straight ahead.

Today Miss Charlotte comes to visit and we’re pretty excited. She hasn’t been down since Christmas. Hopefully, she’ll find lots to do and the weather will be great.

So, that’s my bit of news for the week. What are you all up to this week? Are any of you are having a problem “liking” people?

Finally, A Little Book News

Comparing your first born to your second child is sometimes a bit difficult not to do. When that second little one comes along we start right away by comparing their sleeping patterns. At least I know I did. Often times your first-born is more advanced when it comes to language because they have more of your undivided attention. But that doesn’t mean your second child is any less special. All children bring their own special gifts to the planet. It is what makes all of us unique. The fact that we sometimes compare the development of our children doesn’t make it right, but it doesn’t make it any less so.

I know, what does this have to do with my upcoming book? Nothing. Well, maybe something. Maybe just the fact that it’s difficult not to compare my first book to this next one, and even the whole process of publishing. For instance, Bitter, Sweet was relatively short even though, during the editing process, 5,000 words were added to the story. My upcoming book is a tad too long which means I have to make cuts this time. When my editor told me I had to add 5,000 words to Bitter, Sweet I cringed. I thought it was nearly impossible. However, editors don’t get to be editors by not knowing their stuff. Caitlin made suggestions as to where scenes could be added and slowly but surely the word count came up to where it needed to be. It wasn’t nearly as bad as I’d originally thought.

But cuts feel like, I don’t know, like an amputation of sorts. I’m mulling the idea of getting rid of a few very minor characters as well as a few small scenes. Writers often refer to it as “Killing off your darlings.” Might sound a bit extreme, but this late in the game it does feel extreme. I blame myself for being too wordy during the first edits. (I had an inkling this might be the case.) But laying blame doesn’t change what is. I still need to decide what can go and what can stay. Luckily, I’m not talking about 5,000 words this time, but still….

Work on the fall Nimbus catalogue is about to start. That means I’ll soon have a cover for my book. Contrary to what many people think, I’m not responsible for coming up with a cover, and thank goodness for that! You really wouldn’t want to see what I’d come up with. This doesn’t mean I won’t have any input. Once they come up with a cover, it’ll be sent my way for approval. If I hate it they’ll keep working at it. The day Caitlin sent me the cover for Bitter, Sweet I was afraid to open the file, wondering what I’d do if I absolutely hated it. Luckily, that wasn’t a problem. I loved it right away. I can’t imagine it being any different.

As for the title.

The title of “Bitter, Sweet,” was originally, “Bittersweet.” I remember when the comma was suggested. I immediately thought it looked weird. The concern with the title was there were so many other books on the market with bittersweet in them, and they wanted this one to stand out. They also thought the comma gave the book a more literary feel. The comma certainly seemed to do that. I mulled the idea over for a few days and then decided that the compromise didn’t feel that horrible, and really wasn’t all that different from the original. Of course, now I couldn’t imagine the title without a comma.

So what about the title of this book? During discussions with my editor, we’ve decided to make a slight adjustment to the title. Instead of “To Fly With a Broken Wing,” We’ve decided to change it to “Flying With a Broken Wing.” Just a small change, but I’d originally titled it, “Fly With a Broken Wing,” until it was pointed out that images of “a fly” were difficult to get past. Hadn’t thought of that when I originally titled it. Now it makes me giggle.

So yes, the book is making progress. We’re working toward publication. I know it feels really slow, and a lot of people have been telling me they’re getting anxious. I’m sure you can appreciate how I feel being the author and all. But patience is something all writers learn. In fact, it’s a must. As soon as I have a cover I’ll post.

So I’m off now to start making some cuts. Wish me luck!

Let the Edits Begin

Seems as though the things we often expect to happen a certain way end up going off in a totally different direction altogether. Life is funny that way. This month I thought I’d have time to devote to my new writing project, but low and behold I received an email from my editor at Nimbus Publishing. It is time to start editing my new YA novel, “To Fly With a Broken Wing.”  Yippee!!

“If you could have the edits done by January that would be great,” she said.

“No problem,” I replied.

No problem! Oh right, there’s this thing called Christmas coming up this month. I forgot all about Christmas mere seconds before I fired off the email. *gulp*

Okay it’s really not THAT bad. My editor is understanding and did add that if I needed more time it was fine, just to let her know. And truthfully, edits seem a bit overwhelming at first until you actually start addressing each comment and suggestion as you go. Personally, I’m just happy to be working on it and gearing up for the book’s release next fall. The exciting part is, the book is making progress. Edits have begun and, Christmas or not, I’ll get the work done. Authors are funny that way.

But it hasn’t been all work. I’ve been balancing things out as I go. A little shopping, a little gift wrapping, a lot of editing, a little decorating. If I play my cards right I’ll even get to watch an episode of “Grimm” this evening.

DSC02991A big thrill this week was meeting up with Donna Morrisey at a book signing. Donna’s new book is “The Deception of Livvy Higgs.” If you remember, I mentioned in an earlier post that she was on my list of authors to meet. Little did I know at the time our meeting would happen so soon. Yes, life certainly does throw in a surprise or two. This month has been busy with lots of authors doing book signings and I’m heading out again for one tomorrow. I’m sure I’ll either post about it on Facebook or my blog.

I’ve also had a disappointment this week. I’d been planning for months to get high speed Internet service, but it just wasn’t to be. I know this is difficult for many of you to understand, but here in rural Nova Scotia we don’t necessarily have the option for High Speed and that sucks. One company put up towers and many people can receive a wireless signal, but I happen to live in an area where too many trees are blocking that signal. I’ve got to say, dial-up makes life very challenging, and many times I have problems with pages loading, especially those blogs that have lots of photos posted on them. Then again, it can sometimes be impossible to comment when it does load. But I’m dealing with this challenge the best way I can. Some things are out of my control. I sometimes think the thought of something better makes us less tolerant for what we have. So perhaps now, I’ll accept what is and feel grateful to have Internet service at all.

Anyway, despite Christmas and the edits for my novel, I’m hoping to be around Blogland a bit more this winter. I have a lot to catch up on.

Has life given you any unexpected surprises lately?

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