What’s news?

This week marked my blogging anniversary. That’s right! I’ve been hiding out on WordPress for seven years now. The number seven seems significant in that it’s always been said to be a lucky number and aren’t the cells in our bodies all replaced in seven years? I always wondered how they can know this. Regardless, I’ve been here in the blogging world for seven years. I’ve met some wonderful people and I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. Maybe I deserve a pat on the back for making it this far. Also it’s been seven years this fall since Bitter, Sweet came out–just saying.

It’s berry season in my part of the world. Wouldn’t you love to have a field full of these beauties to pick? We’ve been helping some friends with their berry crop for a few days. It’s always a challenge to get them harvested.DSC07511A few weeks back we took a trip to Centreville and stopped off that the Cement Museum which was the home of Charles Macdonald. Unfortunately it wasn’t open for the season, but we took some pics of the statues outside. Quite amazing to think it is all made of cement.  I’m looking forward to seeing the inside once the museum is open.

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These cottages were also built by Charles Macdonald in the 1930’s and are in Hall’s Harbour. I think they’re absolutely charming. Some describe them as fairy homes and I can understand. They look so enchanting.

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This one is called the Blue Cottage for obvious reasons. I understand that it can be rented!

 

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Outside the museum there were other statues all made by Charles Macdonald.

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Love this mountain lion. He looks to be on the hunt. Maybe for the deer that are hanging around the property.

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I’m curious about this lovely lady, how and why she ended up here, naked, in the garden. Perhaps there a story there and maybe, just maybe, the answer can be found within the museum itself.

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Okay, to many, none of this is earth-shattering news, or even news at all, but just a few things that caught my attention this past while. I’m so glad to say that summer is finally here. I’ve been looking forward to it and hoping I’ll squeeze in some writing time over the next few months.

Do you have any special plans for the summer months? I love to hear about it!

The Power of Three

You know how they say that good things come in threes, well it was certainly true for me last week. Three new books in as many days, three totally delightful books that I just have to tell you about. Am I lucky or what?

1.The first book came via Joss Burnel, a poet/blogger I met through WordPress a few years backDSC06655 when she showed up at a craft fair in the Annapolis Valley to meet me with a copy of her book of poetry, If God Was a Woman. I’m truly looking forward to reading this as I’m sure Joss (the Crowing Crone) has many insights to share. She has such a warm, friendly spirit I believe we could have talked all afternoon and not run out of words to say. What a thrill to meet a blogging buddy. I might be a little partial, as well, since Joss gave my book, Flying With a Broken Wing, a ringing endorsement in her review a few years back. You can check it out  HERE if you missed it. When I said she was a warm friendly spirit I certainly meant it!

2.From the Heart is an anthology that I’m a part of. It is the third anthology in the Inspiring Hope series. As with the other two books, Inspiring Hope: One story at a Time, and Fly Like an Eagle, the proceeds from this book will also go to charity. Profits from this latest book compiled by Gary Doi will go to the Cmolik Foundation. The foundation “supports post-secondary scholarships for high school graduates who are financially challenged and have demonstrated character, good work ethic and persistence in achieving their goals.” How about that! The books are available for order through Amazon just follow the link here I like knowing the profits will go to charity!

3. And last but not least, I was totally excited when an unexpected package from Diane Tibert came in the mail. The book is titled Throw Away Kitten and was penned by Candy McMudd. a.ka. Diane Tibert. As I told Diane over email, this book is my new favourite and not only because I’m mentioned on page 42 (yes, I’m totally serious. She mentioned me in the book. Cool or what!))  It’s a story for kids 6-11 and I can hardly wait to share this with Miss Charlotte. But I’ll keep the surprise of her nanny’s name being mentioned in the book until she finds it herself. I wonder what her reaction will be. You can order Diane’s book here. 

I hope you’ll check out some or all of these books. I tend to think they’re all pretty special, after all, they have the power of three behind them!

 

Starting Over

I’ve moved. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for a long time now. It was hard to get the time to set things up, and I’m still working at it. It’s a slow process. I hope you’ll be patient with me. Moving is a lot like starting over. You’re shaking your past, leaving it behind, saying adios amigo, see ya later alligator…

IMAG2341But wait a minute…I’m not really going any place. I’ve moved my Dalhousie blog to WordPress. A slow Internet connection played a big role in this decision. Blogger was simply impossible for me to deal with. It’s why I stopped updating. It just wasn’t worth the hassle. Okay, so now some of you are saying Dalhousie Blog? What the heck is that? Some of you know as I continually get clicks from the “way out here in Dalhousie ” tab on this blog. But the Dalhousie blog is a simply blog about life in rural Nova Scotia.

So if you’re interested you might want to check out my “other” blob. I have to be honest, this move has left me a little lonely without a single blog stat. I have one blog follower (Okay, apparently that’s me!) I inadvertently subscribed to my own blog and it simply won’t let me unsubscribe. Kind of pathetic, isn’t it? All well….I’ll start the slow climb upward. And really it’s not about the stats. A blog is an extension of ourselves, a way to express who we are. Who knows perhaps in time I’ll find a way to merge these two parts of my life and bring them together into one. One thing I did notice when the new posts were imported that some of them are a bit off in alignment. I tried moving things around but WordPress was stubborn. It just didn’t happen. So I’m going forward, turning my back on past posts. Full steam ahead!

Anyway, the “other” blog is mostly for photos, usually a quote, and written post. Quite simply for the time being. Perhaps as time goes by I’ll write some longer posts, but that will depend upon how inspired I feel.

So, if you’re ready, willing and able, here’s the link to the brand-spanking new …way out here in Dalhousie blog. I hope you’ll drop in from time to time and I hope I’ll feel much more comfy here with WordPress.

Basil the Bootlegger

IMAG2423Years ago people used to comment all the time on what a small world we live in. That was back in the days before social media and the Internet, when you could travel to another county in the province or even a whole other province and cross paths with someone who knew a relative or neighbour from your little community. It seemed a big deal. A little serendipitous, a little uncanny that you should stumble across someone who shares that connection with you—enough to make someone declare what a small world it is. Usually here in Dalhousie, you’d meet someone who was acquainted with an old fellow who used to bootleg. Seemed no matter where you went in Canada, and mentioned you were from Dalhousie, his name would come up. I swear he’s East Dalhousie’s most famous person which is exactly what Cammie had to say about her aunt Millie in Flying With a Broken Wing. But seriously, that’s the truth about these little communities in Nova Scotia—the bootlegger holds near celebrity status. And now just look, there’s a blog post even named after the bootlegger from Dalhousie. Yup, people still remember him from back in the day. I should only hope for the same recognition with my books. Hmmm, maybe I need to rethink this writing career of mine!

These days our world has been made even smaller via the Internet and social media sites. Now, we’re stumbling across people from all over the world. I can promise you though, not one of them has heard tell of Basil the bootlegger. Well, maybe now if you’re reading my blog. With all the social media sites out there we’re privy to information we’ve never had before and our world just keeps getting smaller. Some of you might remember that I was contacted last winter from someone in the US who wanted a picture of an ancestors tombstone here in Dalhousie. I snapped a photo and sent it off…Super cool. I was happy to oblige.

If you’re an author, the world has also become smaller with all the different sites at your disposal. A Google search of you or your book will bring up reviews as well as all the sites your book is listed on. You can read what others have to say about your book on GoodReads and what rating they give it. A site called WorldCat.org will show you the libraries around the world where your book (print and digital) is available. How cool to know that “Flying With a Broken Wing,” is in a library in Perth, Australia, and that someone in Singapore can sign out a copy of “Bitter, Sweet” and read about life in little old East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia—my backyard yet a totally different world for them.

An author can even track their book sales (print and digital) on a site called NovelRank that allows you to track your book on any Amazon site around the world. Novel Rank tells me that someone in France downloaded a digital copy of Flying With a Broken Wing. Tell me you don’t think that’s cool! There’s also a site called “Author Central” that tells you areas in the US that reported sales of your books, as well as the number of copies and how your book sales rank. Copies of my books have sold in Ohio, Colorado, New York, Minneapolis, Washington and Boston. (I believe this site keeps track of, not only Amazon sales, but other sales as well.)

And if all that doesn’t have you falling over with adulation for the Internet, you can become involved in promoting your own book through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or by starting your own blog through WordPress or Blogger. Whew! I’m exhausted just writing this. Some might say we really don’t need all these tools at our disposable, and that might be true, nonetheless they’re here. Like it or lump it. I prefer to like it, but also to pick and choose how much time I’ll devote to any one of these sites. Let’s face it, if your book makes a peep anywhere in the world you have the ability to know about it. Wonder why some days the Internet can make us feel like a spy?

To prove my point about how small the world has become I just did a Google search on Basil the Bootlegger and a whole page of links came up. Seems he’s more world famous that I previous thought! Okay, so I’m just joking with you, but I bet I had you fooled for a second.

So, I’m sure you’re curious to know—was Basil actually related to me or just someone from the community? You bet he was a relative, a distant cousin a few times removed. Wow, never thought I’d be boasting that fact. When all is said and done my claim to fame might not be the books I write at all, but the fact that I have a connection to the once infamous bootlegger of East Dalhousie. Go figure!

The only thing now that could bring Basil world wide recognition would be if this post went viral. Now wouldn’t that be a hoot?

What are you thoughts on the small world we live in today? Is it good, bad, scary or do you fully embrace it? More importantly, do you know who Basil the bootlegger was or were you related to him?

 

Hitting the Big 500

I just gave myself a pat on the back because we can all use one from time to time and sometimes there’s no one else around to do it for us. This seemed like such an occasion.

For some reason hitting the big 500 feels like a big deal. When I started my blog back in 2009 I wasn’t sure what, if anything, I’d find to write about. Now look. 500 times I found something to post about and some of you kept coming back for more! As my father used to say, “You’re gluttons for punishment.” It took a long time before I understood the meaning of that expression. But truthfully, you’re awesome and I can’t begin to tell express how much your dedication means to me.

A lot has changed for me in the past four years since I began this blog. Some of it wonderful, some of it not so wonderful. But through the ups and downs I continued to post. Sometimes I hit “publish” with a sense of excitement, other times with a sense of trepidation. But hit it I did. I’m determined that way. If I wasn’t I’d never have found a publisher for my books plus a lot of other things I never imagined I’d be doing at this point in my life … Blogging being one of them!

I nearly quit blogging on a few occasions, (bet you didn’t know that!) feeling that it was a pointless gesture, that no one actually cared enough to read and the faithful ones who might weren’t into reading blogs. While WordPress lets us know how many hits we get with each post it’s easy to feel as though our words are not having the desired effect since we can’t see any of our readers. That’s why the comment section is such a wonderful and appreciated thing. It lets us know that someone is out there, watching and reading, maybe even caring just a smidge if we’re lucky.

The comment section is always open on my blog, and I don’t have to tell other bloggers how nice it is to read what others have to say about something we’ve written. Most people won’t bother to comment. They remain anonymous, invisible, silently reading. It’s okay. We understand. It still means you’re taking the time to read. Time is precious. While comments are not required, or expected, they’re always appreciated. No one writes a blog post expecting others to tell them how wonderful it is. Most of us just hope we that our words will strike a cord, perhaps make someone stop and consider an idea they might not have otherwise considered or else make them think in shades of grey instead of only black and white.

So in honour of my 500th post I want to thank all of you for dropping in to visit from time to time. It’s wonderful to have others to share the highs and lows with. Five years and I’m still hanging in there thanks to all of you. And who knows, maybe some of you “invisible” readers will one day get up the courage to leave behind a comment to let me know you’re there. 🙂

Here’s to the next 500.

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?

WordPress, Wayne Dyer, Summer, Book Releases, and Grandchildren

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. ~~Oprah Winfrey

Funny how time slips away from us as we watch the seasons come and go. Time slowly unravels–a little here and a little there— and before we know it those seasons have turned into years. Over time we laugh, we cry, we grit our teeth. We grieve the passing of people in our lives, our youth, and every other loss that comes our way. For some, the grieving takes over their lives and finding reasons to celebrate take an enormouspic_0092 amount of searching. Like everyone else, I’ve faced my share of grieving and loss, but through those times I’ve tried to see the good. Life is to be celebrated, a journey of our souls, an adventure that takes us far and wide.

This weekend is a celebration of sorts for me in more than one way. First, WordPress informed me that this is my four year anniversary for blogging. Not so shabby considering I’ve seen many bloggers come and go. Some I still miss and wish they would suddenly be struck by the blogging bug.

Also, I’m celebrating the fact that I’m off to hear Wayne Dyer speak in Halifax tomorrow. Some of you might remember me mentioning him from time to time on this blog. I’ve been a big fan of his for years and never dreamed I’d ever get to hear him speak. A once in a life time opportunity I’d say!

There’s also the beginning of summer to be celebrated even though the days are now growing shorter. I’m looking forward to the warm weather, and all the work involved with the release of my book in September. I also recently learned that I’m to be a grandmother for the second time!

So many things to be celebrated.

How about you, do you have reason to celebrate?

Celebrate Good Times

Hey, look at me I’m celebrating—nothing outstanding, mind you, just the fact that this is post number 400.  Impressive, don’t you think? Why not have some dessert with me as part of the celebration?

So if I figure an average post of about 500 words (give or take) that means I’ve written 200,000 words for you, WordPress.. You ought to be a little proud. That’s a couple of novels I’ve sacrificed, maybe even three or four depending upon the length. So what do you think, WordPress, am I ready to be freshly pressed anytime soon? Be honest, I’m used to being rejected by editors, I can take it.

Hehehe..But on a serious note, when I first began blogging I wasn’t sure what I’d even write about or if I’d even write on a regular basis. Now, look at me 400 posts in. That’s kind of cool and a reason to celebrate I should think. But the biggest reason I have for celebrating is all of you for stopping by and reading what’s going on in my mind. I do appreciate everyone’s visits and the comments you leave that sometimes make me giggle, sometimes make me think, and are always entertaining.

Here’s to another year of blogging!

Facebook Update

Since I blogged about facebook a few posts ago, I just thought I’d let you all know that I decided to go with an author’s page. Right or wrong, the decision’s been made. I know some of you are already aware of this because you’re on my personal facebook account. If in time I realize it’s a pain to keep up and serves no purpose, I’m sure it won’t be the first page that’s fallen to the wayside.

Truthfully, it was a difficult decision to make. I wrestled with feelings of: are people sick of me at this point and would just roll their eyes? (I’m sure some have. For goodness sake I have a time or two or three…lol!) What I’m planning now is to eventually stop posting anything writing related on my personal account unless it’s something important that I’ll then share from my author page. I’m sure it’ll take time to figure this all out. Eventually I’ll come up with a system that works well and one I’m comfortable with. For a time I’ll likely post my blog updates (although I never post every blog update on facebook anyway.) Truthfully, I struggle with this as well and feel that people who aren’t familiar with the blogging scene probably aren’t interested in reading blog posts unless I have some news to share. I’m sure it seems self-indulgent to them. Maybe that’s just me being self-conscious, but it’s kind of how I feel at the moment.

On another note some of you have already seen the new theme on my blog. A session of high speed over the weekend at my daughter’s house enabled me to check out some of the new themes that wordpress is offering. When I came across this one, it caught my eye. I don’t, as a rule, think of myself as a “pink person” but I told you a few posts back that I was looking forward to some changes.

On the drive to New Brunswick this weekend I finished reading The Hunger Games even though Goodreads said I’d already read it. (Guess I need to learn a bit more about updating on Goodreads too.) I wouldn’t as a rule choose a book like this, but I’m glad my son-in-law passed it along for me to read. I really enjoyed it, which goes to show, we should never enter a book with any preconceived ideas. Not only is it not fair to the book, but it’s not fair to us.  It pays to have an open mind.

I also want to say to those of you who were brave enough to write a few lines to accompany the photo I posted in the last post, you all amazed me with your creativity.  Thanks for taking part.  🙂

So now I’m wondering, for those of you who have facebook accounts do you share any or every blog post with your friends? Are you ever afraid that your non-blogging friends will get tired of you if you do? If you’re reading this and you’re a non-blogger do you get a bit tired of seeing blog updates on facebook? Be honest. I’ll still love you if you say yes.  🙂

Creepy Messages From Blogland

Every so often I get an email that says, “Someone is now following, Laura Best, author.”

Sounds a bit creepy, right? Someone is following you..

I mean, should I be checking over my shoulder? You know, just in case some weird little guy with big eyes, stringy hair, and bad oral health is after me?

Na, afraid not,there’s nothing sinister or vile about these emails. In fact, it’s all good. WordPress so kindly lets their bloggers know who out there in blogland is following their blog. But what if the person following your blog isn’t a blogger themselves or a wordpress blogger for that matter? Since WordPress doesn’t know you, the email sent simply states— “someone.” So take heart, if you’re not a wordpress blogger you’re still someone. If you’re someone following my blog, then I happen to think you’re an extra special someone. So take a bow or maybe even do a little dance to celebrate your specialness.

I’ve got to give credit to all my non-blogging friends who drop in to read my posts. You’re all pretty special and I appreciate your visits. Although I don’t publish every post I write to Facebook, I can pretty much count on the fact that if I do, many of you come on by to read what I’ve got to say. Just so ya know this writer/blogger appreciates those visits.

I’m always astounded when my non-blogging buddies get up the courage to leave a comment, especially that first time. I try and put myself in your place, wondering if I would be so brave. Of course to do so, I’d have to get in my time machine, and go back in time before I ever had a blog of my own, back when a blog was this mysterious and scary thing that I would never dream of commenting on.

Maybe that doesn’t sound like such a big deal to all the bloggers out there, but I know it takes courage to post a comment, at least for the first time. It can be just as scary as hitting “publish” on your very first blog post.

Quite a few of my non-blogging friends have subscribed to my blog, which simply means they receive an email every time I update. Since I added that little feature to the sidebar of my blog a decent number of you have signed up, and I just want to say thanks. I really do appreciate the support. I sometimes think that those of us in the blogging community forget about all the non-bloggers out there who stop by our blogs. Don’t worry, we all appreciate the support we receive. To us you’re all “someone,” regardless of those creepy little emails informing us that we’re being followed.

* Oh, and by the way, that creepy little picture of Gollum was sketched by my son, Matt, back when he was in high school. I wanted to add a caption below the picture but wordpress kept saying no. Anyway, I think it was the first sketch he ever drew. Pretty darn good I’d say. Wouldn’t you?

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