Author, Author

It never fails to amaze me how two people can go to the same event and have totally different experiences. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s good!. Seeing life from different perspectives gives us a broader picture over all. Sunday was this year’s annual Word on the Street, and what a beautiful day we had! When I read Diane Tibert’s blog post about her experience that day it was totally different from mine. She wrote about the sights she saw on the waterfront and her experience with some of the booksellers  and authors of the day. My time was spent sitting in on author readings, for me, a super big treat. I was in heaven.

I was excited to learn that Halifax author, Elaine McCluskey, was to read from her book of short stories. Elaine’s name I was well familiar with since our work has appeared in the same literary magazines over the years. Here she is reading from her latest book of short stories, “Valerie the Great.” It was an exceptional reading. Not only do I love her subtle humour, but her hair’s something else too. I’m a little jealous to tell the truth.

A real treat it was to hear Binnie Brennan read from her short story collection, “A Certain Grace.” Although I’d heard of Binnie, I wasn’t familiar with her work at all. I can tell you now, both authors are superb short story writers. Their work is well worth reading. Hmm, and just when we writers are being told that short story collections are harder to market! I love knowing these two women have collections out there. I guess the short story isn’t dead yet.

I stopped by the Nimbus table to have a look. Did you really think I wouldn’t? Come on– Nimbus is my publisher and a gal’s got to know where her loyality lies.  Lots of new and exciting titles. Some I’ve read, others are on my BTR list.

I sat in on a reading by Lisa Harrington. Lisa’s new YA novel, “Live to Tell,” is psychological  thriller and the reviews I’ve read have been great. This is a book I’m looking forward to reading.

 Cynthia d’Entrement read from her book “Oak Island Revenge.” If you remember I went to Cynthia’s book launch back in May.I met Cynthia and Lisa back in 2008 at the launch of “A Maritime Christmas,” the  anthology published by Nimbus that year. We’ve kept in touch –Facebook is a wonderful thing–which is kind of nice. It’s always good to see a familiar face at these festivals, and you never know who you’ll end up befriending one day.  🙂

Gary Blackwood read from his book, “The Imposter.” I quite enjoyed Gary’s story about how it took twenty years for this book to find a home. It sounded a bit complicated, and sometimes it’s just the way things work out. A lesson to be learned perhaps is that a book may be accepted for publication, but sometimes things are just out of our control. Sometimes the planets just don’t align properly. I’m sure after a wait like that publication is very sweet indeed.

Allison Maher entertained us with a reading from her book, “Time Flies When You’re Chasing Spies.” Allison has more energy in her baby finger than the rest of us have in our entire bodies. No exaggeration. If you want to be totally entertained do take time to drop in on Allison when she’s doing a reading. Allison’s book launch is coming up on the Saturday and I’ve been invited to go. Truth is, you don’t need an invitation to attend a book launch, they’re most always open to the public—the more the merrier.  You never have to worry about being turned away.

So there you have my account of WOTS 2012. I wish I could have stayed longer, but my chauffeur had to get a little shut eye before work later that night.

Oh, and as for what I did with the copy of my book that I snapped up from the library sale last Saturday, I found a school library I plan to donate it to, and that feels right.  🙂

Books, Books & More Books

When my daughter phoned to say the local library was having a book sale on Saturday my little heart went pitter-pat. As the previous year, books went for 5 bucks a bag– all you can stog. (Ah, the word “stog”. Isn’t it a dandy word? I think I discussed the word “stog” once before on this blog.) Used book sales are kind of like an all you can eat buffet for book-lovers. Don’t you think?

So while I was looking through the titles my hand stopped suddenly when I spied a copy of Bitter, Sweet. Talk about a surreal moment. I mean, I expected one day to come across a copy of my own book at one of these sales, but when it’s there on the table the reality of it kind of hits you.

A friend asked if I signed the book but I can tell you right now, that thought never crossed my mind. I was too busy stogging books into my bag, I guess. So here’s the silly part, I grabbed up my book and stogged it in the bag too. I mean, it was my book. Not taking it felt wrong in a twisted sort of authorish way. But have no fear; it’s not going to sit on my bookshelf. I’ll have you know I’m not THAT lame!  I’m actually planning to give it away, which is silly in itself because someone was bound to take it home. Yet I didn’t want to stalk my book to find out who.

So here’s the plan:  I’ll go off in search of someone to give the book to, someone deserving, someone kind, and trustworthy…Perhaps I shall scour the land for said person, over mountains and dry deserts.

Okay, so that’s way over the top and totally ridiculous, but sometimes ridiculous is kind of fun. Seriously, when the time is right, I’ll know exactly who to give the book to, unless one of you have a suggestion.

So the really big news on Saturday was meeting author Lesley Crewe at Coles in the Bridgewater Mall. Lesley was there to sign copies of her new book, “Kin” and I wanted to pick up a copy for my mum, who is a big fan, and meet Lesley. Lesley is a Nimbus author, like me, so that in itself gave us mutual ground, but she’s so down to earth and friendly we had no problem chatting it up. Best of all she made me laugh. I could have stalked spent the whole afternoon with her—that’s if she would have let me.  LOL!

So I’m an author groupie. I’ve met my share of authors over the years since my book came out. I can honestly say I’ve never met an author I didn’t like. It’s a strange business I find myself  part of, and as different as our lives are, all writers share our love for the written word. Through the writing journey I’m on I’ve met some truly wonderful people, some whom I consider close friends.

This weekend was all about writers and books. Sunday, was the annual Word on the Street event in Halifax, and I was glad to have made it in. I’ll be posting about it next time and sharing a few photos.

Do you go to book signing events or writing festivals in your area? Have you met an author who left a lasting impression?

Oak Island Revenge

Today we were city bound. A bit of a birthday celebration for our son, and to attend the book launch for Oak Island Revenge. The book was written by author, Cynthia D’Entremont, and is a mystery set on, you guess it, Oak Island. For anyone reading this who hasn’t heard of Oak Island it’s a tiny island quite literally a hop, skip and a jump off  mainland Nova Scotia. There’s reported to be pirate treasure buried there. People have been digging for this treasure for hundreds of years.

Cynthia was introduced to the crowd by children’s book editor, Penelope Jackson. For any hopeful writers out there submitting to Nimbus this is the lady you need to impress.

The launch was held at Indigospirit, Sunnyside Mall in Bedford. Here’s Cynthia reading from her book. Well, actually she was working up to the reading. She shines in front of an audience.

One never knows who they’ll run into at a launch. Here are three more authors, Daphne Greer (left) JoAnn Yhard(centre) and Lisa Harrington (right.)They belong to the same writing group as Cynthia.

Best of luck, Cyndy, with your new book. I can hardly wait to dive in and start reading.

One’s on the Way!

I never thought at age 51 I’d be announcing this but here ya go. There’s going to be an addition to the Best household in the not so distant future and I’m SO excited!!

I know, I know, you probably all think I’m nuts, but what can I say? I’ve been hoping for this for quite some time now, but doesn’t it always seem as though the stars have to align just so?

Many years ago I probably wouldn’t have expected this to happen so late in my life. You  know how it is. You start out young and full of ambition, with certain expectations and hopes, thinking that it’ll all unfold according to your plan. Most always you expect these things to happen when you’re much younger and better equipped to cope with all the stress involved. I guess this goes to show we never know what the Universe has in store for us, and surprises are good much of the time, even blessings in disguise.

 Not a whole lot of people know about this yet as it’s taking me awhile to get used to the idea myself, but I’m expecting the news to spread quickly. In a small community secrets are not so easy to keep. I’ve discussed it with my husband and my kids, and Miss Charlotte, she’s a bit too young to even know what’s going on. A few close friends are also in the loop. I mean what’s the sense in good news if you can’t share it with someone. And my mum, it only seemed fair that she be let in on the news first thing.

My mind has already begun to think of names for this new bundle of joy. We all know that names can be changed at the last moment when we suddenly decide that the name we thought would be perfect simply doesn’t fit, but I’m hoping this name will feel so right that the thoughts of making a change will be next to impossible.

It’s been awhile, and I’m sure there’s plenty I’ve forgotten since the last time around. But I will have a much better handle on what to expect during the entire process. Experience is a great teacher. We learn through our mistakes.

My head is a bit in the clouds these days. I keep thinking of the euphoric feeling that came over me when my first bundle of joy arrived, how precious a feeling it was to hold in my hands that first time.

But here I am, my 51-year-old, self writing about this stupendous news at the same time experiencing some self-doubt if I’m being truly honest here. Am I ready for the excitement and those sleepless nights? Am I ready to meet and greet all the visitors who’ll show up to help me celebrate when the big day comes?

Now if I add a Happy April Fool’s Day to you here, you’re going to think I made all this up aren’t you? But what can I say, it being April Fool’s Day and all? But here’s the real scoop.

My editor from Nimbus called and said she’d like to publish my next novel!!! That’s right my baby is going to be published. There have been times when I doubted this would ever happen again, but as I said earlier we never know when and how things will unfold in life. I haven’t been given an exact publication date but the possibility of 2013 has come up.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed. You can bet when I know more I’ll pass it along.

So there you have it. I’m proud and happy and even a tad bit giddy, just like any expecting mama would be. Now it’s back to the real world. There are many novel ideas floating about my head, now to settle down and start writing.

The New Nimbus Anthology

The new cover for the upcoming Nimbus anthology, Country Roads: Memoirs from Rural Canada has been finalized. So as promised, I’m letting you all have a gander–or should I say chicken?

The anthology includes pieces from over thirty different contributors, including yours truly, and was edited by Pam Chamberlain.

Just so you know, it will be available this coming May. That’s only two months from now!  Pretty cool!

By the way, if you want to see the various stages the book cover went through, and exactly what goes into such a decision, just click on the Nimbus link. While you’re there you can also enter to win a copy of Atlantic Canada’s Top 100 Books. Good luck!!

CM Magazine—An Excellent Review

Yesterday was a wet and windy day here in Nova Scotia. We experienced a power outage but it’s our first one this winter, and I refuse to complain, even though we didn’t get our lights back until the wee hours of the morning.

So while I was sitting in the dark, there was a bit of excitement going on. My daughter called to say that CM Magazine had posted a review of “Bitter, Sweet” on their site. I’ll admit I was a bit nervous as I listened to her read it to me over the phone. Turns out it was a very good review. I was on cloud nine!

I also received an email from my editor, Caitlin Drake(who is now with Penguin) to let me know about the review, and Nimbus emailed to let me know the good news as well. CM magazine in read by a lot of librarians and teachers so it’s kind of a big deal. Sweet!

So if you want to read the review, I’ve added the link to CM Magazine.

Pretty exciting!

The “Bitter, Sweet” Book Launch

I awoke Sunday morning to the sound of more rain. It wasn’t yet daylight so I laid there in the dark thinking how the day was going to be miserable—- weather-wise, I mean. I ended up reminding myself that at least we weren’t experiencing a fluke snowstorm as we did some thirty odd years ago in October. Rain may be nasty and cold but it can’t stop a book launch. Right? By late morning the rain had stopped and the sun broke though. It was beautiful, such a treat to see the sun as we’ve been having a wet rainy October.

I’m sure I must live the best community in Nova Scotia with so many caring people who chipped in to make this day special for me. The community centre was decorated beautifully, the lunch that was served I’m sure was delicious even though I didn’t have the chance to find out. One thing I do know for sure, I have to be the luckiest author in the world.

People began to arrive early. The hall kept filling up. It was crazy and exciting and more than I ever could have hoped for. 155 people signed my guest book but I know at least 14 who didn’t and there were likely more. In the end we had a nice turn out of about 170 people (or more for the launch)….Did I say NICE? I meant STUPENDOUS!!!!!

My editor, Caitlin Drake, was there from Nimbus and said some pretty nice things although I’m not altogether sure what. My brain was pretty full and not everything was making sense all the time. I may have been floating at some point..Who knows?  A good friend introduced me, I said a few things and read for a bit and signed a LOT of books!

Okay… here’s the truly scary part. I’m not so great at talking off the top of my head without having something prepared but I knew I pretty much had to do it. I ‘m not sure if I thanked everyone that I planned to but it’s too late now to change it.. The weird part of it all was, when I read an excerpt from the book, I wasn’t the least bit nervous. Don’t ask me why. I’ve been nervous in front of much small crowds. I have never read in front of a group this large. Maybe there were a lot of good vibes in the room and that helped. I have no idea.

It didn’t take long to realize that there wouldn’t be enough books, not the way people were buying four and five copies at a time. The bookstore had brought a supply and so had the people from Nimbus. I was asked at some point it I had any extra copies at home. I did. My husband made a quick trip home for my twenty copies and they disappeared. The only thing I regret about the day was the fact that there were people who weren’t able to get a book and that was unfortunate.

I’m not so great about adding photos however, I do plan to post some if I can figure out how to do it (if not, my wonderful daughter will help out. Thanks Mel!!) For all those who attended the launch, who bought book or who helped out in any way, not just Sunday but for anyone who has offered me encouragement along the way, who took the time to write me little notes, (One dear lady sent me some pickles and jelly on the day of the launch)…if you are one of these people I thank you. Without family and friends and community all this would be meaningless. And so I am happy to say that my book launch was pretty darn near perfect!

Checking Out the Bookstores Because That’s What you Do..Right?

On my way into town on Saturday my daughter called to say she had overheard someone at work mentioning my book. She of course spoke up and said the person who wrote the book was her mom. Although the lady won’t be able to make it to the launch she would like an autographed copy. This prompted me to drop into the local bookstore to see it by chance they had any copies in yet. I immediately headed for the children’s book section and there they were— copies of “Bitter, Sweet” for everyone to see— oh, and buy too. (Mustn’t forget that buying part!) A pretty cool feeling I have to admit! I wasn’t sure if Nimbus had sent any copies out yet but I guess they don’t waste any time and since the folks at the bookstore know me they would have put them out as soon as they arrived.

I also checked the local Coles store and wasn’t at all surprised to see that they didn’t have any copies in yet although I’m sure they’ll eventually get around to it. Hey, they have to go some place. Right? And no, I’m not going to check out all the bookstores from here to BC but if you happen to catch sight of my book by all means let me know.

Sunday we celebrated Thanksgiving as my husband and I both had to work today. I gave copies of the book to two of my three children and mailed one to my oldest daughter who wasn’t able to make it down for the weekend. She won’t get it until later in the week since today was a holiday. I love being able to share this with them. I don’t think I mentioned that my complimentary copies also had a small stack of bookmarks enclosed. As silly as it sounds the bookmarks thrilled me almost (I did say almost) as much as the books. I made sure to give the kids each one as well.

Well I guess there’s no denying it now. I’ve finally have a book published. Do I feel any different? Happy, yes. Satisfied, yes. Thrilled in every way imaginable. But to tell the truth I’m no different now then I was before. Just me, take me or leave me. Having a book published really doesn’t change who you are, although I have to say that I’m totally in awe over the fact that someone (other than family) would want to read my book. How cool is that?


It’s taken me awhile to unwind from Sunday. It was a pretty amazing day. I got to meet some interesting people, see some of my favourite authors and, I even had the chance to meet the children’s book editor who originally accepted my story for publication and the editor who worked on the book with me. They were nice and friendly and SO young that when I was first approached by them I honestly thought they were a couple of high school kids! No kidding. I’ve been told that’s a common misconception once you reach a “certain age.” Perhaps that is the case although I think somewhere in the back of my mind I have a preconceived idea about editors being older— shall I say– “more seasoned.” So much for preconceived ideas!! They apparently recognized me from the author photo I’d sent in for the book. Well, at least I look like the photo I submitted. I guess that’s saying something.

I ran into Syr Ruus a few times and we chatted a bit. It was her first time at Word on the Street also. I would have liked to have heard her read but I was listening to someone else at the time. Did I mention how nice she is? Yeah, I’m pretty sure I did in an earlier post. I went to the Nimbus table and saw the poster for my book. Pretty cool! There was a lot to take in and I know I didn’t get the chance to see everything. We were there for about four hours and by the time we left I was beat!

We started out early that day because it is a fairly long drive into the city. We went as far as our son’s apartment in Bedford and from there he drove us to the Cunard Centre. I can honestly say I was more frightened by my son’s “city driving” than I was doing the reading. No kidding! City drivers are so aggressive. I guess they need to be but… But wow! Give me a country road any day.

My reading went well and I didn’t have any nerves at all, especially once I saw where I’d be reading and we had a chance to sit in on a reading or two. Since WOTS is a two hour drive from East Dalhousie I knew there wouldn’t be anyone from home there except for my husband, but that was fine. I knew most of the people who came to hear me read, a few I didn’t but that didn’t bother me. Several times through the course of the reading I saw folks standing just outside the reading area listening in. I think I said in an earlier post I was under no illusions as to how many people would show up to hear me read, also there were five other readings going on at the same time in various places and let’s face it, no one knows me. My book isn’t even out yet. I had a few questions thrown at me afterwards which I handle as best I could. I’m not as a rule used to answering questions about writing, other than “When’s your book coming out?” and “When’s the book launch?” It was good practice and one that I felt was a valuable learning experience. I’m so glad I had the opportunity to go.

So what’s next? Time to relax and wait for the book launch day!

Author Questionaire

Early in June I was contacted by Nimbus’ marketing coordinator and given a questionnaire to fill out by the end of the month. No problem, I thought, I’ll have this whipped up in no time. The only thing is the end of the month was drawing near and I still had some questions to fill out. I was dragging my heals and I hate it when I do that.  Like many people, I have tendencies towards procrastination but I  can always be counted on to get the job done before any deadlines. So, yes my questionnaire was filled out and sent with several days  to spare. I guess that’s the important part. The questionnaire will basically gives them ideas  when it comes to promoting my book— who I know, were I’ve been published, that sort of thing.

So what’s the big deal you might ask? Simply that I  heard from the marketing coordinator today concerning the book launch for “Bitter, Sweet.”  I’m not ready yet to make any announcements yet but hopefully I’ll soon be able to let everyone know exactly where the book launch will be. There are several ideas on the table at this time.

All these little things help remind me that I’m not dreaming and that all the years I’ve worked toward this are finally paying off. For me, the greatest reward will come when I can actually hold a copy of “Bitter, Sweet” in my hands.

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