This and That

Today, I had the privilege of reading from, “Flying With a Broken Wing” to the Central Valley Homeschoolers Association at the Wolfville Library. It always nice to meet people who are supportive of local authors. I had a wonderful time, and to tell the truth it’s the first time I’ve read to a group of children and their mom’s. Usually my audience is made up of adults so it was wonderful to read for my target audience. Lots of questions were asked and we had a great discussion. I have to say I have such deep respect for homeschooling families. I’m sure it takes a great deal of dedication, discipline and commitment, not only for the parents (God love them to pieces) but the kids. I`m in awe!

The winter edition of TRANSITION magazine is now up. Yay! You can read my short fiction piece, “Preparations” by following the link HERE. FYI I’m on page 12. I ‘ve been a contributor to this magazine on several occasions. I think it’s a wonderful publication. To use the words from their website:

TRANSITION is a magazine which publishes two kinds of works: those directly about mental health issues; and those about the individual’s personal experience of those same issues. Both kinds of works celebrate lives in transit – lives of change, growth, and transformation.

Concerning TRANSITION, I’ll have a bit more news about this at a later date. So I’ll keep you posted with what’s going on there. Sorry, to sound so mysterious but I’ll share when I can. For any writers out there you can check out the magazine at the link provided.

And, since it was pointed out to me today, (thanks Maureen!) that my “about” page hasn’t been updated since  before “Flying With a Broken Wing” was published I figured it was long past due. I`m no longer awaiting the publication of my book, as you know.  😀

So, that`s this and that for today.

Advertisements

Hearing With a Broken Ear—the sequel

Life has a way of making us stop and smile from time to time. Today was one of those days for me. I just learned that Miss Charlotte has started reading “Flying With a Broken Wing.” She has a bookmark to keep her place and she told me it’s the first book she’s read without pictures. Remarkably, she’d been reading since she was three (something I would never have believed possible had I not seen for myself.) Her mother tells me it will likely be a long while until she gets to the end of the book since she starts back at the beginning with each reading session. I was also told that a certain porcelain deer with a broken ear caused Miss Charlotte to declare “That’s Hearing with a Broken Ear.” Perhaps that will be the title of a sequel. You really have to love some of the things kids come up with.

This evening I picked up a copy of In the Company of Animals: Stories of Extraordinary Encounters,” an anthology of animal stories by writers from across Canada published by Nimbus Publishing. It was edited by Pam Chamberlain, the same editor I worked with when I wrote a piece for the Country Roads Anthology a few years back. Seeing my name in the acknowledgement of this book was kind of cool, not to mention knowing a few of the writers. I picked the book up at the local Coles and got a bit of a surprise when the young man swiped my Plum Rewards Card and declared, “Oh my God, your Laura Best!” I’ve got to be honest, I don’t often get that reaction, in fact I never do. It seemed a little surreal. I was just surprised that he recognized my name.

Fall is my busiest time and I don’t expect to have much time for myself until later in December. I’m still squeezing in some writing time most every day. I’d like to finally finish the novel I’m writing and get back to some earlier work..and who knows, “Hearing With a Broken Ear,” might beckon to me… I have a few craft events to go to in December and of course December means Christmas and Christmas means, well, a lot of work. I hope to get back into blogging more after the New Year. I’ve missed not checking in with my blogging friends. It seems as though I’m saying the same thing over and over. There’s never enough time. I just need to learn how to stretch out my days. Perhaps that’s something to work toward in the new year.

Just for fun because hey, I’m as silly as the next person, what title can you come up with for a sequel to “Flying With a Broken Wing?” I vote for “Running With a Broken Leg.”

Amy’s Marathon of Books—Guest Blog Post

I’m so excited to announce that Amy Mathers has kindly agreed to be a guest on my blog today. Perhaps you’ve already hear of Amy and her Marathon of Books. She’s been getting quite a bit of media covering and, yes, she even appeared on Canada AM a few weeks back! The buzz around Amy and her “Marathon of Books,” began back in December and continues to grow. If you care about books, teen books in particular, I hope you’ll support Amy and her quest to raise $100,000 dollars to endow a Canadian teen book award. I know you’ll be inspired by Amy’s story and her determination to help promote teen fiction in this country. To date Amy has raised $10,000 dollars toward her goal. I think that’s an amazing feat in itself. If you’d like to support Amy, why not pop on over to her website HERE and find out how. 
Dear Laura Best Blog Readers,
AmyMy name is Amy Mathers and Laura has kindly invited me to write a guest post for her website. I am currently reading my way across Canada with Canadian teen fiction books. My Marathon of Books is a year-long venture and I have been reading a book a day since January 1st. I started my reading journey in St. John’s, Newfoundland by reading books either set in St. John’s or written by authors either born or living in St. John’s. I’m going province by province and territory by territory, and after 90 days of reading I am now reading my way through Quebec.
The goal of my Marathon of Books is to raise money to fund a Canadian teen fiction book award to be given out on a yearly basis by the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Currently they award six cash Canadian children’s book awards at a yearly awards gala, but none of them are specifically for teen fiction.
As a volunteer for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre and an avid fan of teen literature, I felt not having a specific teen award to support the efforts of our incredibly talented Canadian teen fiction authors was a real gap, and one that I hoped I could do something about.
You see, books have played an important role in my life. I was born with a genetic illness called Glycogen Storage Disease (GSD), type 3A. It’s considered to be a metabolic disease, but also a type of muscular dystrophy. My type affects the liver, heart, and muscles, and my case was so severe that I needed and received a liver transplant when I was five, and then a heart transplant when I was 27. I am now 31 years old.
Terry Fox is my hero, and I love the message he sent to Canadians through Marathon of Hope that people dealing with disabilities and illness could still live the lives they wanted to live despite their limitations.
But having a muscular dystrophy made me different than Fox, and even different than Rick Hansen. I use an electric wheelchair for mid to long distances and while dealing with chronic illness my whole life long has given me the fortitude of a marathon runner, I am not physically able to be one.
Instead of being a runner, I am a reader, and I realised that I could be like Fox and Hansen in a different way, by reading my way across Canada instead of running or pushing myself in a manual wheelchair. It’s a journey of the mind through literature, and I am experiencing everything Canada has to offer.
A typical marathon day starts with me reading a book that can range from just under a hundred pages to over 400 pages. I take the rest of the day to think about and write a review to prove that I’ve read the book and hopefully promote it, and also a daily Tumblr post to let my followers know about my reading experiences.
Some nights I’m up pretty late finishing my writing, because depending on how my body is doing that day and if I had other events going on, my brain can take time to work things out. Also, while I had figured out that I could read about 10 pages in six minutes, I didn’t take into account page size, spacing, and font size which affects my reading speed on a daily basis. Terry Fox could run a kilometre in about six minutes, and so every ten pages I read counts a kilometre across Canada in my Marathon of Books. I’m up to 19,532 pages of reading, which translates to 1953.2 kilometres travelled across Canada.
My favourite part about my Marathon of Books is that I’ve had tremendous author support. I’ve heard from the likes of Deborah Ellis, Eric Walters, Vicki Grant, Gordon Korman, and, of course, Laura Best. I’ve read so many books that I probably would have never heard about or picked up before my journey, and I love getting to review each one and brag about the talent our country has. Also, with all of the books that helped me through my life, letting me experience what I couldn’t physically and providing me with the mental strength I needed to face my situation, not to mention my profound love of Canada and its health care system, I can’t help but feel that my Marathon of Books is a wonderful way for me to say thank you for all that I have been given.
I hope you’ll visit my website, www.amysmarathonofbooks.ca, to read my reviews and for more information. I’ve already reviewed Laura Best’s Bitter, Sweet which you can read here: http://amysmarathonofbooks.ca/bitter-sweet/. Also, I encourage you to take the 13 Book Challenge and read your own way across Canada through reading one teen fiction book from each province and territory. If you do take the challenge, I hope you will get in touch with me and tell me about your reading journey.
Warmly,
Amy Mathers
Thank you Amy. It’s been such a pleasure to have you visit my blog. I wish you all the best and will continue to watch your progress in the coming months!
You can follow Amy on twitter,  Goodreads Facebook, tumblr and Youtube.

Dear Life—It’s Family Literacy day

Today is Family Literacy Day in Canada.   This year, ABC Life Literacy Canada   is encouraging families to take time each day to have “15 Minutes of Fun”.   “Time spent following a new recipe, playing a game, or reading a story together can focus on learning in a fun way. These teachable moments at home help children learn listening skills and language skills, and develop their imaginations and creativity — and are also opportunities for adults to practice their skills to keep them sharp.”  Now that doesn’t sound too hard.  It actually sounds like a lot of fun!  If you’d like to find out more click on the Family Literacy Day link above.

13530981Today, I started reading Dear Life by Alice Munro. It was a Christmas gift from my mum. I received two books for Christmas this year and have already  read the first one. I sometimes forget that once upon a time I wrote fiction for adults, so receiving these books  was a good reminder for me.

In the beginning, I started out by writing short stories, something that I absolutely loved. Along the way, my writing seemed to fit a younger audience (although there are some adults who would disagree with that statement as they seem to enjoy my stories.) But I’m not ready to turn my back on my adult fiction writing. The truth is, I hate categorizing my writing. I know, that’s a bit impractical. I much prefer thinking of myself as a writer of stories. Sometimes those stories will have kids as  a main character, and sometimes they won’t. *sigh*

But writers aren’t just writers, we’re also readers. ( That’s why things like Family Literacy day make us almost giddy. ) Most of us tend to read in the genre we write and, if we don’t, we should. I can’t stress how important that is. I’ve had people ask me how I have time to read so much, but the truth is writers have to make the time.  You can’t have one without the other. I promise. My time reading is not wasted. 🙂

I’ve made a commitment, to myself, to read more adult fiction in 2014 as I seem to have been focusing on books for young people. Truthfully, I like both. But at the moment it’s important for me to balance my reading a bit better than I have in the past.

In celebration of Family Literacy Day  I hope you’ll find that “15 Minutes of Fun” with your family. Remember, it’s not just for one day.

I’m open to suggestions for great reads in 2014. Let me know what you’re reading. You are reading something, right? I mean, it is Family Literacy Day.

Let the Excitement Begin

A friend recently asked if I was excited. She was of course speaking about the upcoming release of my new book and I knew immediately what she was referring to. Not that I’m physic or anything, it just seems that’s all I have on my mind these days. It’s kind of a big deal for me. My answer was something like, “not yet.”  Can you believe it? Truthfully, it felt so far into the future with still two months to go, and I was feeling kind of tired from the heat that evening. Really, it must have been the sweltering heat that sent my excitement scurrying for the corner. A rung out dishcloth would have had more enthusiasm in that heat.

But I want to change my answer. Yes, Torry, I’m starting to get excited! I’m soon hoping to see what the back cover copy looks like for my book and I’ll share it here once I do. I don’t expect any big changes to the cover as the image really is the focal point, and I love it more with each passing day.

At the moment a tentative date has been set for the launch, although at this point it’s a bit early. Apparently books can sometimes get hung up at the printers and we may have to change things around a bit. Can’t have a book launch without books!  I’ve also recently learned that I’ll be reading at Halifax Word on the Street, which I’m quite excited about. It’s always a bit unnerving reading from your book for the very first time in public, and you can believe I’ll be practicing like mad before September 22. I do a lot of readings in church and that really helps, and in ten days, I’ll be reading at my sister’s wedding. Can hardly wait for that (the wedding, not necessarily the reading!)

So even with all this going on, I still need to stay focused and keep writing. That’s sometimes the difficult part. Despite what other might believe, we writers often struggle to stay motivated, especially when we’re going as we try and smooth out any of the rough patches in our plot and bring our characters to life. I wish it wasn’t so. I wish I could say that words flow as smooth as silk all the time and all I need to do is show up at the computer. I’m half-way through a first draft on another novel and I’d really like to have that first draft finished by the end of summer. I’m keeping my fingers crossed. So many things can set our schedules off.

That’s it for the moment. I’m struggling to visit blogs these days and totally not liking Feedly. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t logged in enough times, or often enough, to become familiar with it. If I don’t soon warm up to it, I’ll have to come up with another system to keep track of you all.

 

I hope your summer is turning out to be everything you hoped it would be. What excites you this summer?

Who Are You Sleeping With?

DSC03197I posted this pic on Facebook some weeks ago. It’s actually a plaque I got for Christmas this year and thought it was kind of neat. But the truth comes out when I say I can’t remember ever taking a book to bed with me. While, I sometimes stay up late to read I don’t do it from beneath the covers. Not even once!

I know a lot of people read in bed almost every night. It’s part of their bedtime ritual. After a long day it’s a great way for them to unwind as they curl up in bed with one of their favourite authors. For some, it’s the only quiet time in the day when they can enter an imaginary world and become a part of it. And we all know how important it is to lose ourselves into the world of imagination, right?

These days I tend to read while using the treadmill. In fact, some days it’s the only time I find to read.(Ah the busy, busy life of an author!) Let’s face it, a treadmill can be pretty darn boring, aimlessly walking until you work up a sweat with no true destination in mind, not even a change in scenery. So, I decided to combine the two. I thought, why not?  I’ve got such a list of books waiting for me I try to cram in reading time anywhere I can.

I’m also one of those lucky people who can read while driving in a car and not lose their lunch in the process. FYI, I’m not the one doing the driving. (Wouldn’t want to scare any of you readers out there. ) Living 45 minutes out of town does sometimes have its advantages, and on shopping day I can squeeze in some reading as well. I’m also known to take reading material with me to work, and read on breaks or at lunch time. Hey, who says you can’t find time to read?

Reading is important to writers. It’s not an option, it’s a must. I know many people don’t get that, and that’s alright. I’ve been accused by some of  “always” reading or writing, like it’s a bad thing. But the truth is, if you’re serious about being a writer, you’ve also got to read. Writers are often inspired by reading the words of others. I can’t begin to say how many times a particular book has inspired me with my own writing even if that book doesn’t resemble what I’m writing at all. It’s kind of a strange and wonderfully weird thing that happens to many writers when we read a book we really love. It makes us want to rush out and write our own story. We are sometimes struck by a moment of clarity that brings everything into focus for us, and we have other writers to thank for that.

Okay, so I got a little side-tracked from my original post. I was talking about reading in bed, which I mentioned I don’t do. But how many of you read in bed— once in awhile, never, or almost always?

Brain Flatulence: How to Fight Back

It’s silent. It’s deadly. It’s down right embarrassing. It sneaks up on us when we least expect it–brain flatulence a.k.a the brain fart. If you’re under the age of forty you may have no idea what I’m talking about. If you’re over forty, or a premature sufferer of brain flatulence, keep reading.

Good old brain flatulence is what causes us to ask, what the heck am I doing here? after we enter a room. And those times when we catch ourselves about to put the salt and peppershaker in the refrigerator– chalk that one up to brain flatulence as well.  Don’t tell me you’ve never come to an abrupt halt in the middle of a conversation, just as you were about to make some truly profound statement, only to realize you haven’t a clue what you were about to say next.

Now, for the sake of politeness, and my mum, (who to my knowledge has only ever said the word fart once in her life) I’ve chosen to use the term brain flatulence for this post. But if you prefer to call it forgetfulness, brain fog, a senior’s moment, no one here’s going to stop you. It all amounts to the same thing.

The first step in overcoming a problem is always admitting the problem exists.

Yes, I’ll admit to three of the above. If it wasn’t for brain flatulence, I could likely cite more. Some days are worse than others. Truthfully, I shouldn’t complain. I know one person who tried to vote for a Canadian Idol contestant with the tv remote control. After several attempts she asked her daughter what was wrong with the phone. True story!  (I’m betting about now you’re not nearly as scared about your own brain flatulence, are you?)

But for those of you who just aren’t ready to admit to having a problem there are ways to cover up those momentary lapses of memory.

1.Saying things such as  “Not to change the subject, but……” when you suddenly haven’t the foggiest idea as to what the conversations is about is a good place to start. Of course you’ll need to prepare for this one ahead of time because even when your NOT changing the subject, you need to have a subject to talk about. Choose something you’re knowledgeable about. If need be, tie a string to your finger to remind you of what that something is. That way instead of trying to come up with something at the spur of the moment you need only to glance down at your finger. If all goes as planned, you won’t wonder why the heck you tied it there in the first place. Something you saw on Dr. Oz would work well and, since he’s the most quoted person on the planet these days, you’re not going to raise any suspicions.

 

2.If you’re caught putting the salt and peppershakers in the fridge swear up and down that you saw it on an episode of the Dr. Oz Show. You won’t really have to know why they belong there. The fact that you mention seeing it on Dr. Oz will be good enough for most people. They’ll accept it as law. Before you know it, your family and friends will be doing the same.

 

3. As for covering up the reason for entering a room, that one should be a piece of cake. Remember, you only have to worry about this if someone’s actually in the room. No one’s going to see that befuddled what-the-heck- am-I-doing-here look, when the room is empty, right? If there is someone in the room, that’s a different kettle of fish. Be inventive, ask them a question, “Do you know what was on Dr. Oz today?”

Fighting back

For all of you sufferers of brain flatulence I’m here to spread the good news. There’s a way to fight back. I’ve done a little research and here’s what I found. Roll up your sleeves. Let’s get serious for a moment.

Sitting in front of a tv screen day after day is a sure fire way of adding to the brain flatulence you’re already experiencing. Sorry Dr. Oz, but this needed to be said.. Your brain is a muscle, or should be, and like every other muscle in the body it needs a good work out. A great way to cut down on brain flatulence is to read my book. Okay not just my book, but any book. (Sorry, I thought I’d slip one that past you.)

Seriously, if books aren’t your thing try reading newspapers, magazines, even blog post. The written word is everywhere. There really is no excuse. It’s probably one of our best defences. I’m not simply saying this because I’m an author. The experts will back me up on this one. Keeping our brains active is important. My weekly visit to the nursing home these past four years is enough to convince me of that. While it’s fun to joke around, it really is important especially as we age. If we let our brains go to mush in our youth we can’t expect to make up for it later in life.

While reading is a great way to keep our minds active, the experts also say that trying new things will keep our brains energetic and healthy too. Learn a new craft, do crosswords or puzzles. Take piano lessons. Challenge yourself. Anything that requires you to use your brain will help protect you against brain flatulence.  Continue to do things you already enjoy that stimulate your brain. Often times older individuals simply lose interest, but this doesn’t have to be that way.

So there you have it, everything you no doubt already knew about brain flatulence, but likely forgot. Hopefully, down the road you’ll remember that your best defence is to stay active and challenge our brain. Keep reading. Keep thinking. Keep learning. Don’t just let your brain go stale.

Do you ever suffer from brain flatulence? Share your story. We’ll read it. Plus, we’ll be contributing to our brain health while we read it.

Inspirationally Speaking; I Like Change

Last post I wrote about how inspired I felt, how ready to embrace changes in my writing and personal life. I was excited to get going, still am. Each day I’ve been waking with a sense of optimism, a knowing that everything is exactly where it needs to be at the moment. This doesn’t mean I have to stay stuck in one place. On the contrary. It just means that all the previous steps I’ve taken in the past have helped get me where I am right now. It’s all right. It’s all good.  Only now I’m ready to make some changes.

It’s okay. I’m allowed. No one’s the boss of me.

Most times change doesn’t happen at the snap of a finger. It can if we want it to, (a change of attitude for instance) but, be honest; most times we have to work toward bringing whatever change we want to fruition. And so we inch our way along. Hoping it won’t be too painful a process. Maybe we even close our eyes.That’s okay, too. It means we’re still making progress. We can breath easy.

Staying open to the possibility of change isn’t a bad thing in my mind. Our truths today won’t always be our truths tomorrow. That warm wool blanket can sometimes get mighty itchy all of a sudden. Don’t you think?

Thank goodness we have the ability to change our thoughts and minds. We don’t even need an excuse. That’s the beauty of it. It’s just enough to know that we changed our minds about something because we wanted to. And no, you don’t have to justify a change of mind. Not if you don’t want to. Just seems like sometimes our minds have a mind of their own.

I’m reminded of a neighbour of mine who is forever bringing up a comment one of my children made in the past about a certain town where she didn’t want to live. Turns out that’s exactly where she’s living today. My neighbour is constantly perplexed. How can this be? I know, for some, it’s a hard concept to follow. Life circumstances changed for my daughter. She changed her mind about where she would live. Simple dimple. I’m not confused by it at all.

Ask any writer you know. This happens more times than we can articulate. Our writing is forever undergoing change. We change our minds about the story we’re working on. We suddenly realize the character we’ve create doesn’t like horses, not since being nearly trampled to death in childhood by a runaway steed. (The writer is sometimes the last one to know!) Maybe the entire story was written before we even knew this.

It’s as if a lightening bolt zaps us and immediately we know what we have to do to change that story. These lightening bolts can strike right out of the blue. We can’t stand around and argue the fact that there wasn’t even a cloud in the sky.

But get this— it’s allowed. That’s the truly marvellous part.

Now I’m off to revise a very old story. You see, I changed my mind about how I would write it. Much of it will remain the same. I’m just going to breath new life into it. I didn’t know until a few days ago that I was even going to make changes. That’s the truly exciting part. It had been sitting unchanged for many years, but as I was reading it over a bolt of inspiration suddenly struck me.

Nice to know that change can/will come when the time is right.

 

Hello Blogging Blahs

I’ll admit this past while I’ve been feeling a bit blah when it comes to blogging. Maybe I’ve simply been busy with other things and finding ideas to blog about has been taking a back seat. But today, I read a post over at Author Jody Hedlund’s that seemed to resonate with me. 6 Ways to Beat the Blogging Blahs. How the devil did she know what was on my mind?  I felt a wee bit happy to know that others go through this as well. Truth is I didn’t even have a name for it before.  Blogging Blahs….Who would have thunk it? Thanks, Jody.  🙂

Now, I’ve also found myself a tad bit bored with facebook lately as well. Oh dear, am I seeing a pattern here? And Twitter? Well, Twitter just doesn’t seem to speak my language. I’m just not a Twitter kind of gal.

Could be that I’ve just been spending more time reading and writing and the urge for social media just hasn’t been striking me all that often. It’s difficult to do everything, be everywhere. Yet I know some of you seem to be able to juggle it all and then some. By the amount of new posts I see each time I log into google reader I’d say most of you are doing a pretty good job of it. You amaze me. Not only that, you remind me of how far behind I am at visiting your blogs.

I’m not going to say that winter has had any effect on my mood because I really don’t think that’s the case. I’ve got plenty of energy for other things. I’m just feeling a little content to spend time away from the internet. But I’m going to try and get back into the swing of things. Hopefully I’ll be able to take some of Jody’s suggestions and come back even stronger. Hmmm. Time will tell.

If, like me, you’re finding yourself in the midst of the blogging blahs, I suggest you check out Jody’s post. Hopefully, you’ll find some helpful advice.

Have any of you experienced the blogging blahs and if so how did you get yourself back into the groove?

Family Literacy Day—January 27th

This coming Friday is Family Literacy Day in Canada.

So what is Family Literacy Day all about? Well, it was created back in 1999 by ABC Life Literacy Canada and is held every year on January 27 to raise awareness of the importance of reading and engaging in other literacy-related activities as a family. The idea is for parents to take an active role in helping to strengthen the reading and writing skills of all family members. It’s a great idea!  I’m not sure if there is any such program in other countries, but we hear plenty about it here in Canada.

In celebration of Family Literacy Day, the Canadian Children’s Book Centre in Toronto comprised a list a few weeks back consisting of 25 picture books and 25 works of fiction that “share in the joys (and struggles) of families of all sizes and combinations.” What was particularly nice about this, for me, was that Bitter, Sweet was included in this list. Feels kind of good to be a part of this especially since we’re talking about a subject that is near and dear to every writer’s heart.. Here’s the link if you’re interested in checking out all the great Canadian books on the list.

I think what’s important for us to understand about literacy is that creating a home environment where reading and writing is a priority doesn’t necessarily take oodles of time. I’m told that even fifteen minutes a day, reading, writing, playing a game, following a recipe or even singing a song will help to strengthen your family’s literacy skills. I know many of us are busy, especially those of us who work full time. One thing I found that worked well, when I was really busy after a day’s work, was to have my kids read to me while I prepared supper or did other chores in the kitchen. It was lots of fun when they were first learning to read. Reading was always an important part of our day, and while I can’t imagine a day going by without reading something, I know this isn’t the case in all families. So anything that helps raise awareness for this worthy cause if okay by me.

So even if you don’t celebrate Family Literacy Day where you live, perhaps you can help do something wherever you are to bring awareness to the importance of reading and writing in our every day lives.

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 239 other followers

  • Follow Laura Best on WordPress.com
  • Laura Best

  • Blog Stats

    • 78,823 hits
  • Advertisements