Happy Thanksgiving to My New Best Friend

I’ve been enjoying this past little while with my newly published book. We’re good buds, don’t you know—my new best friend. It’s good company, never talks back, and I can tell it to go get lost anytime I please. It never gets offended. And if I don’t feel like talking it just sits there quietly, patiently waiting to hold my hand if need be. Books are like that. A friend to one and all. A little more so if you’re the author. But that only makes sense. Don’t you agree?

Word on the Street was great fun, the book launch totally terrific, and all the wonderful little notes and comments from folks about the book has been divine to say the least. And through it all, my book has stayed by my side. I’ve got a few interviews and book signings coming up in the next few weeks, a planned literary night in New Germany, which I’ve been invited to participate in, and a local radio station will be hosting a book giveaway (stay tuned I’ll let you know when the contest is on for anyone local and interested in getting a free copy of the book. You can never have too many books. They do make good gifts!)  Busy, busy , busy. But it’s a good busy. One I don’t mind in the least. I have to say people have been most generous and I appreciate it immensely. And so does my book, my new best friend.

Tomorrow we’ll be having a few people in for an early Thanksgiving. Monday isn’t a holiday for everyone so we celebrate a day early. I’d like to say I have so much to be grateful for, and it’s true, regardless of my newly published book. I sometimes think we don’t stop to consider all the simple things in life we have to be grateful for, that we sometimes mistakenly think that we only need to show gratitude for the big things that come our way. But that’s not so. Life is filled with simplistic moments that give us so much to be grateful, and I believe all those little moments add up to so much more in the long run. Am I grateful to have a newly published book? Of course, but there are so many “bigger” things I have to be grateful for, ”bigger” smaller things that can’t be touched or held or read, but need to be felt, and experience with the heart.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Doing the Street

I was doing the street on the weekend.—Word on the Street, that is–down at the Halifax waterfront. I was on stage at the Vibrant Voices tent with Hugh R. MacDonald, and I apologize to Hugh for the lack of photo. My cameraman seemed to be preoccupied and only took two shots of me as it was. This one turned out the best. None of Hugh, I’m afraid. Hugh read from his ya novel, “Trapper Boy,” of which I am now the proud owner of a signed copy. Hubby is reading it at the moment and when things die down a little in the Best Household –post book launch—I’ll be diving i next

DSC04152This year was a bit different being on the author side of things, even though I also love being a spectator at these events. I got there in time to see friends, Jan Coates, JoAnn Yhard and Jill MacLean, all super great YA authors, at the Vibrant Voices tent. If you haven’t checked out their books yet, you really should. I was amazed at how these ladies can speak so fluently in front of a crowd, something I one day hope to achieve. But for now, I have a long way to go.DSC04134

Kathy Stinton was also there. I love Kathy, but only had a few moments to listen in. I discovered Kathy about 30 years ago when my second daughter was born. A copy of her book, “Big or Little” was included in a hospital pack they gave new moms back then. Little did I know I’d get to see her in person. Wish I would have had time to say hi. But I was too busy doing the street.

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Unfortunately, I didn’t get to meet Jackie Halsey, either. It was a busy day for me with book signings at both the Nimbus Publishing table and Woozles  table—and  doing the street.

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Did I mention I got a really neat Nimbus Publishing T-shirt? I probably would remember if I had mentioned it already. I’m in heaven! And yes, a few people even wanted me to sign copies of my book for them! I met up with Lesley Crewe at the Nimbus table and got to personally congratulate her on the movie deal for her book, “Relative Happiness” which will be filmed in Hubbards starting in November. Lesley has even promised me a small part in the movie. Just kidding, but I bet I’d be in there if Lesley had any say in the matter.  😉

I also met Patti Larson at the Woozles booth when she popped in to sign copies of her picture book.

I had a bit of time to listen to Susin Neilson talk about her new book, “The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larson.” So proud to say that my niece was part of the TD book club who interviewed her for the CBC. Yay Emma!

DSC04150I’m trying recap everything and remember all that happened. It could be some time before I’m invited to do the street again. I do have to mention meeting Patrick Murphy, managing editor of Nimbus Publishing. We had a nice little chat while I was at the Nimbus table. I saw him again while he was on the panel for  “Pitch the Publisher.” I could’t get over all those brave souls pitching their books in front of three editors. I never would have done that, coward that I am.

The coolest moment of the day was meeting blogger, and now author, Libby Schofield.  I had no idea she’d be at Word on the Street. Made my day.  🙂 Thanks for stopping by Libby. I hope you enjoy the book. So there you have a bit of a rundown on my day at Word on the Street. Wish you all could have been there to see the local talent. I know you would have enjoyed it.

Shopping Dilemma

I wanted to call this post “Shopping Sucks” but decided against it. A title with the word “Sucks” in it would pretty much suck. It would be a whiny, miserable post that would likely put me in a lousy mood.

Maybe I’m the one who sucks when it comes to shopping.

The truth is, I’m shopping for something to wear to a few public appearances, Word on the Street and my book launch, both of them a week apart. It’s not that I haven’t been looking. I have, honest, I have. But the truth is when you’re “petite” there’s not a whole lot to choose from. The petite section is VERY small in the ladies shop. Kind of ironic, don’t you think?

Today , I was out and about in the rain, trying to find something I like, something that looked good on me. I didn’t have much luck. I’m a sorry excuse for a shopper. My sense of fashion is pretty much non-existing. The girls in the shops were exasperated with me. I was exasperated with me. I don’t like patterns. When you explain that horizontal stripes do not look good on a “petite” woman, they roll their eyes. So sue me. I don’t like stripes. I don’t like polka dots. I don’t like colours all smeared together like some finger painting Miss Charlotte would do. I don’t like the patterns my mother wore when I was growing up. I don’t like large flowers. I don’t like frills. I don’t like baggy. Nor am I looking to show any cleavage. I don’t like certain colours on me. Does this make me fussy?

So what do I like? Something simple, but tasteful. Solid colours are good. I like red, and blue, and purple, and burgundy, and green. I like black. No, do not suggest orange to me. Orange is nice, but it’s not my colour. Some pattern would be okay under the right circumstances. What circumstances you might ask? Ah, that’s the tricky part. I’ll know it when I see it. And yes, some of the things I looked at were nice in their own way, but would look much better on someone who wasn’t five feet tall in heels.

Anyway, tomorrow’s another day. I’ve not been defeated. I’m heading out again. This time I’m Valley bound. I’ll take off in a totally different direction. I won’t stop until I’ve found the outfit for me. Surely, there is something out there I like and will look good on me.

Wish my luck!

 Do you have as hard a time shopping as what I do? Do you have any tips to give me? I could sure use some advice.

JoAnn Yhard on Writing a Sequel

It’s my pleasure to welcome Nova Scotia, author, JoAnn Yhard to my blog. JoAnn is the author of “The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines,” as well as “Lost on Brier Island.” Her latest book, “Buried Secrets at Louisbourg” came out this spring and is now due to be released in the US on September 1st. That means all our US friends will be able to order. One lucky person can win a signed copy of  JoAnn’s book. Check the bottom of this post to find out how.

Buried secretsSo what’s Buried Secrets at Louisbourg about?

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

You can check out JoAnn’s Facebook Author page here for signing events.

Without further ado , here’s JoAnn .

Thanks so much, Laura, for inviting me to do a post on writing a sequel. I am sitting on the deck with our wild backyard groundhog, Sam, sitting on his rock keeping me company as James paints. It’s been a hectic summer with the move, but we are settling in and the words are starting to flow again.

Buried Secrets at Louisbourg, my new book, is the 2nd with the same characters as The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines.

A book with the same characters. Should be easy, right? I mean, so much is already established: where they live, their history, their likes and dislikes. No agonizing over character traits. Will she have blue eyes or brown? It was also nice slipping back into that world again after Lost on Brier Island, my 2nd book, which had all different characters and was aimed at a slightly older audience, YA. I was back visiting with old friends and I’d missed them.

But it turned out that the 2nd book had some major challenges I hadn’t expected.

Initially, my plan was to do a mystery series with the same protagonist, Grace. She was the main character in The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines. However, for those of you who’ve read it, Fossil Hunter, while a mystery, had lots of emotional drama for Grace as well. It wasn’t about a neighbour with a missing cat. It was deeply personal to Grace. Her dad was presumed dead and the story centered around discovering what happened to him.

So, when doing another story, I was left with the puzzle of how to achieve the same intense emotional stakes? Her mom dies? Dog? Best friend? The answer is, I couldn’t. If sticking with a mainly plot-driven mystery series, like Nancy Drew, you can have the characters basically suspended in time (not aging), and solving crime after crime. Not that I’m criticizing my beloved Nancy Drew books…they were glued to my hands growing up. But there was not much depth to the characters in those stories. So, because I had intentionally added an emotional and personal layer for the main character, I had inadvertently created a major hurdle for book two.

I did try it, though. I wrote several chapters. But it was hard slogging – the words were not coming easy. I also found myself trying to bridge the time from the last to the current book. If it’s not a continuation of the first book’s plot, you don’t just pick up where you left off. It has to start with something interesting and relevant to the current plot. What’s this book about? I was finding it hard to jump into the action. In other words, it was boring. I thought maybe I was being too hard on myself. We writers tend to do that to ourselves at times (always). But I read it out loud to my writing group and…it was still boring!

So we rolled up our sleeves to brainstorm this crisis. I love my writing group! And out of that session came the solution. Why don’t you try another point of view? There it was. The missing link. This wasn’t Grace’s story – it was Fred’s, one of her best friends. It was Fred’s mom who was sick, his dad who’d lost his job, and it was Fred’s treasure to find. Telling it from Grace’s point of view was watering it down. So I unraveled it like bad knitting back to the first stitch. A few key strokes. Painless, right? Not at all. Watching the words disappear, I mourned all those wasted hours. But in the end, they weren’t wasted. I had direction and purpose. And the story flew with new wings.

I also got to see what the other characters looked like through Fred’s eyes. He has a crush on Mai, so everything she does is golden. He finds Grace bossy, where from her point of view she came across as self-confident. And Fred is not a fan of Jeeter, so Jeeter doesn’t get as much air time. Sorry in advance to Jeeter lovers. I found this aspect fascinating!

I definitely grew as a writer through the experience. I’m currently working on the third in the series, this time from Mai’s point of view. Danger in Iceberg Alley is set in Twillingate, NL.

A little plug for Buried Secrets at Louisbourg. It’s the 300th anniversary this year and The Fortress of Louisbourg is the #1 vacation destination in Canada. I will be there for signings August 24th 3-5 pm and August 25th  12-2 pm. It is one of their main event weekends.

Thanks JoAnn for agreeing to guest blog. Congratulations on your new book and best of luck with the other books in the series. I’m looking forward to reading them!

Now, to win your very own signed copy of JoAnn’s book you simply leave a comment on this post. To help get you started here’s a question. What’s your favourite summer vacation destination? Have you ever been to Fortress Louisbourg?  The contest is open until Friday August 23. Good luck! 

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?

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?

I Heard the Word, and it was on the Street

Word on the Street was held on the Halifax waterfront this year. It’s the annual celebration of book and magazine publishers, authors, anything to do with the written word. Two years ago I read from my manuscript as my book wasn ‘t yet back from the printers. This year I went to be part of the audience, brought along my camera and enjoyed the day as a spectator. Okay, so I hung out around the young adult stage for much of the time we were there. It only seemed natural. Plus, I was hoping to get some photos with some of my favourite YA authors.  I’m putting together a scrapbook, one that I hope Miss Charlotte will adore when she is old enough to be reading these authors for herself. Hopefully, she’ll be impressed to see that her Nanny Bee actually met these incredible authors for real.

We arrived in time to hear Jan Coates read from, “A Hare in the Elephant’s Trunk.”  I’m not sure why I didn’t make Jan pose for a picture with me. Maybe it was because she was in a hurry to get over to the Woozles booth to sign books. As many times as what Jan and I have had coffee together it makes me wonder why there isn’t one single shot of the two of us together. Why is that Jan?

 

 

 

We checked out the various publishers who were set up. Got a few pictures of the books on Nimbus Publishing’s table.

Look, there’s JoAnn Yhard’s books Lost on Brier Island and The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines. Sorry that I missed JoAnn’s reading, I blame the chauffeur, although I can’t complain because he does a darn good job of driving the old folks around the city. Thanks, Matt!  Not to worry, we took him to have his photo snapped with Theodore Tugboat. It was all good.

When I asked for a photo with Sheree Fitch, she pulled out her glasses from her big Mary Poppin-sized bag and asked me to put them on. Well, you don’t say no to Sheree Fitch.

What do you think? Do I look any taller in these?  Hmmm, I’m kind of wondering now what all she keeps in that purple bag of hers.

So listen up, I learned a valuable lesson while talking to Sheree yesterday. Never, ever tell an author, such as Sheree Fitch, that you loved her book. You’ll be sure to get a somewhat polite but confused response when they ask you “which book?”  Duh! Like Sheree’s been published a gazillion times and I have read a number of her books, but I don’t think she’s yet mastered mind reading. Always remember to mention what book you’re talking about. It just makes it  SO much easer for the author.

We listened while Sheree, Jill MacLean ad Don Aker read from their books and answered the audience’s questions.

I chatted with Jill MacLean later. I met Jill last year at at the book launch for author Cynthia D’entrement’s book  Unlocked . Jill even wrote me a lovely note  last year to congratulate me on Bitter, Sweet’s nomination for the Bilson Award. So it’s obvious that I could have used Sheree’s glasses this time too., or would you believe I was sitting down for this shot?

 

 

 

I was excited to meet Valeria Sherrard. Valerie’s latest book, The Glory Wind, won the Ann Conner Brimer award this year. Yay Valerie!  I’m SO looking forward to reading it. It was remarkable to watch as Valerie answered questions from young readers. Seems to me, those young readers had some well thought out questions. Glad it was Valerie on the hot-seat and not me.

I ran into Syr Ruus yesterday as well. She was off to sign copies of her book, Lovesongs of Emmanuel Taggart. Okay, so Syr scrunched down a bit for this photo to make me appear a bit taller. How’s that for friendship, I ask?

Before heading back out of the big city, we listened to Steve Vernon read from his YA novel, Sinking Deeper.        Having already read the book, I knew what to expect. My son did not. I do believe by some of the chuckles he quite enjoyed Steve’s sense of humour, and his lively writing which comes out quite nicely in this book.  Steve’s a great story-teller and very entertaining. A real pro.                                                                                                                                                                                

So, I think I covered just about everything. Of course, there is so much more to Word on the Street than what I covered, but I can’t be in every place at once . If you have never gone it’s well worth going to. We have some truly remarkable and talented authors in our area.

Just Being Human

I am a human being, not a human doing. Don’t equate your self-worth with how well you do things in life. You aren’t what you do. If you are what you do, then when you don’t…you aren’t. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

When I came across this quote by Wayne Dyer, I immediately thought I don’t want to be a human doing all the time. It is so easy to become caught up in life, always working, never feeling able to take time to relax and simply enjoy life. When it comes right down to it, family and friends should always be at the top of our list. As important as writing is to my life, it can’t be all there is. Suppose for some reason I was no longer able to write, I would like to think that some other area in my life would replace that void, but I do know for a fact that my family would never replace it because they are far more important.

I sometimes think we can become so consumed by following our passion that we forget there is much more to life. Sometimes it’s as if we wear blinders, keeping our eye on that one goal in life. We hunger for it. We forget the more important things in life. This past week spent with Miss Charlotte helped put things in perspective for me yet again. Since my daughter and her husband live in another province being grandparents is a bit of a challenge. I only hope that Miss Charlotte will come to know us in a way that our kids knew their grandparents who lived quite handy. Not as easy to do with the distance between us, but luckily the Internet makes it is much easier.

One of the nice things about having Miss Charlotte home was having our other children visit during that time, and knowing that, they too, are building a relationship with their little niece despite the distance. It may not be a prefect situation, but we’re making the best of it. With any luck Miss Charlotte will come to think of “Ant Grub” and “Uncle Mutt” as two very important people in her life.

Tomorrow we’re off to Halifax Word on the Street. We’ll spend the day with our son, say hi to some authors who will be reading, and hopefully get some great pictures to share.

The really best things in life simply happen when we pause for a time and stop being human doings and allow ourselves to simply be human beings.

Do you ever find yourself becoming caught up in “doing” instead of “being?” What helps to put life in  the right perspective for you?

Meet JoAnn Yhard

Say hi to JoAnn  Yhard

JoAnn is one of the newest Nimbus authors whose book, “The Fossil Hunter of Sydney Mines,” has just hit the book stores. She’s a resident of Halifax and says she “writes mysteries and other stories on her yellow laptop, Bumble Bee.” Sounds like a fitting name for a yellow laptop. I quite like the sound of that. Don’t you?

I met JoAnn back in September when she attended my reading at Word on the Street and we’ve kept in touch since. JoAnn’s book won top prize in the Atlantic Writing Competition back in 2006. Way to go!!!

So what’s the book about you ask?

Well, for starters it’s a middle grade novel —8-12 years. So that means you adults can read it, too.

Thirteen-year-old Grace already has too much going on — grieving over her father’s mysterious death, dealing with her distraught mother’s erratic parenting, and evading her creepy nosy neighbour, Mr. Stuckless, just for starters. She and her friends Fred, Mai, and Jeeter like to get away from it all by hunting for fossils near their secret hideaway, the abandoned mine they’ve nicknamed The Black Hole. But when Grace receives a strange note regarding her father’s death, it sets off a chain of events that sees Grace and her friends turning into detectives to solve the mystery behind his suspicious accident. As the clues and suspects start piling up and the investigation becomes more and more dangerous, Grace and her friends find themselves racing against time through treacherous sinkholes and abandoned mine shafts to figure out what really happened to her father.

If you’d like to join her facebook fan page I’ve added the link.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/edit/?id=103530719681714#!/pages/The-Fossil-Hunter-of-Sydney-Mines/103530719681714?v=info

You can also check her out on the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia site if you want to get the real dirt, I mean scoop….Just kidding, JoAnn!

http://www.writers.ns.ca/Writers/jyhard.html

So if you like mysteries and dig fossils (that was supposed to be a lame joke) check out JoAnn’s book. I know I will.

Congratulations, JoAnn. I wish you all the best.


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