Bye Bye Sagors

“It is better to spend one day contemplating the birth and death of all things than a hundred years never contemplating beginnings and endings.” ~~Budda

I’m always anxious for the new year to start. For me it represents beginnings. Beginnings are usually exciting and fresh, filled with so many promises I can’t close my eyes at night. Beginnings have the ability to tantalize, surprise and delight. With all that, do you wonder why I love beginnings so much? I have to admit, however, 2012 doesn’t see me beginning anything new on the writing front. I’m actually reworking a story I wrote some time ago, one of those stories that keep creeping back, begging me to keep working at it until I have the story told just so. Once that is finally done to the story’s satisfaction, I have a few new ideas I’m anxious to get started on. But all in good time. The wonderful thing about beginnings is that they can come to us at anytime not just when a new year begins.

Of course with every beginning there are also endings. It’s the way life is. Endings are sometimes as welcomed as what beginnings are, but not always. This post is about an ending to something that I only wish would never have had to end—at least not for a good long while.

In early December I received an email from the good folks at Sagors’ Bookstore in Bridgewater informing their customers that they would be closing their doors at the end of the month, and it made me SO sad. I hadn’t been expecting this, at least not just yet. Over the years I’d come to think of Sue and Ron as good friends, and their store a great place to stop by and chat when I had some time to spare. Sue and Ron helped me launch Bitter, Sweet, and I think they were almost as excited as I was that day! I did say almost. At any rate I was delighted to be able to share the day with them.

Sagors’ Bookstore has been on King Street since 1972. That’s a very long time. It’s hard to believe that the new year won’t find me browsing their selves for some of the latest YA Fiction. And in most cases, when I wanted a book ordered in they were able to do so. My mum also ordered many of her books this way. King Street has seen the loss of many small business over the years and it’s a real shame. Times change and people are often forced to shop in the larger stores where they can get the best deals. It’s the reality of the world we live in today. Some of us accept it willingly while others do not.

We are slowly losing our little bookstores and I can’t seem to put a positive spin on this. I wish it didn’t have to be so. I wish that people were able to support our small, independently owned bookstores instead of buying online from the larger distributors.

I can only wish for a future filled with nothing but the very best for Sue and Ron. I hope great things await you both.

Are there any independently owned bookstores in your area? Do you support them or do you purchase your books from a larger retailer that often has better buys, or do you buy your books online?

Popping In

I’m in here quickly this evening to let you know that author, Dave Ebright, a.k.a. Jaxpop, will be here on Friday to do a guest post on my blog. I know you’ll all drop in and help make Dave feel welcome because the readers of this blog are totally awesome and supportive. Dave’s going to tell us how someone who had never thought of writing before ended up writing YA fiction, about his first two books, and just what he has planned for the future. You won’t want to miss what Dave has to say.

While you’re here, I’ll post this really cool photo of a spider’s web I snapped the other day and a lovely quote by Virginia Woolf about fiction and spider webs.

“Fiction is like a spider’s web, attached ever so slightly perhaps, but still attached to life at all four corners. Often the attachment is scarcely perceptible.”~~Virginia Woolf

Enjoy the rest of the week. See you on Friday.

Pirate Daze

My husband and I drove though the little town of Mahone Bay this past summer only to find ourselves knee deep in pirates.

There were pirates everywhere.

The streets were swarming with them. Folks were parked on both sides of the main road. Music was blaring, pirates shouting out as we passed. Should we see what all the fuss was about? But where to park? Parking was impossible.

“Do you want to stop?”

“No way!”

We kept on driving, crawling our way through town. I was a bit timid, a bit overwhelmed. I had my camera.I snapped a few photos.

It was Pirate Days.

I hadn’t planned on being involved in a drive by pirate shooting.

Then, earlier this fall, we took a trip to Oak Island. Now, for anyone who doesn’t know about the whole Oak Island thing, let’s just say that if there’s treasure really buried out there, it’s probably buried for good.

We took the tour. Didn’t see any pirates or treasure, but at least I can say I was there. If you ask me we were a few hundred years too late.

Personally, I’ve got nothing against Pirates. I love Johnny Depp“Pirates of the Caribbean.” I even liked Captain Hook in Disney’s Peter Pan. I mean, what a character.

But, not all my encounters with pirates have been positive. I’ve been known to read the occasional book with pirates in them. I read one this summer. I have to admit, I didn’t get it. I felt a bit dumb. It wasn’t pretty.

So despite a few unfavourable experiences with a pirate, I sent for blogger friend, Dave Ebright’s book, “Bad Latitude.” Dave’s a great guy and I believe in supporting “good people.”

Guess what? I read it, and I got it!! I didn’t feel the least bit dumb.

Bad Latitude was written with boys in mind, but there is no reason why girls wouldn’t read this, as well. This book even won second place in the Royal Palm Literary Award for YA Fiction. Way to go Dave!

It’s filled with plenty of action, a bit of history from the St. Augustine area (that’s in Florida) and well, you know how I like history. There are some nasty dead pirates, a boy named Jack, and even a treasure if you’re into finding treasure. Who doesn’t like treasure?

I’ve got to say, Dave, you really had me going with that ending. I felt it all, sad, mad, glad, confused and finally relieved. But now there’s another one looming in the distance, a sequel titled, “Reckless Endeavour.” I don’t think we’ll have to wait too long for this one.

You can find Dave over at Jax Pops right here. and he’s just started a new blog Jack Rackham Adventures. Click here to take a gander.

Congrats, Dave and all the best with your next book!

I’m In A YA State Of Mind

Earlier this week I turned 50—half a century. Sounds bad when I put it that way. Doesn’t it? (It’s okay if you have some “over-the-hill” jokes to insert here. I can take it. Give it your best shot!)

I’ve never been one to get hung up on my age. Age has always seemed a bit irrelevant to me. We are who we are regardless of age. There are some things that age cannot change or erase.

In a conversation with a friend we both commented over the fact that we found it difficult to wrap our heads around this whole aging thing and how difficult it was to believe the age we are. (One of those, where-have- the-years-gone? moments. I told him I thought that we all had a set idea of what age we are in our minds. He quickly agreed. When I asked how “old” he was, his answer was eighteen. I laughed and said, I thought I was probably somewhere between twelve and thirteen.

I think I chose this age because, when writing, I find it a very comfortable age to identify with. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just in a YA state of mind. Maybe that age was pivotal in my development. Did something earth-shattering happen a way back then? Darned if I know.

I usually prefer to write a story from a child’s perspective. It wasn’t always that way. I’ve written many short stories from an adult perspective, but as time went by I began to notice a pattern evolving—many of my characters were children often around twelve or thirteen

You might say, “But you write for kids of course your characters are young,” and that would be true. I think, however, since I didn’t start out writing solely for children I still haven’t figured out if I should be classified as a children’s author or simply author. (Perhaps this is a topic for another post somewhere down the road.)

So who knows, while the protagonist in my current WIP is twelve (yet again), I might decide to make a concerted effort to change this in the future. There’s only one problem. My stories all start with the character first. The story follows. It’s very rare that I would have a plot already decided upon and then create my characters. When writing Bitter, Sweet I had a bit of a plot in mind for many years, but until a character made herself known to me I wasn’t able to write that story. It’s certainly something to think about.

I’m not worried, though. I’ll eventually figure out who I am as a writer. A writer’s journey will take us down many unexpected paths but none of them will lead to the sign saying wrong way. The only thing we can do is relax and enjoy the scenery.

But for now, for the time being I’m definitely in a YA state of mind.

How about you, what age are you in your mind?

A Writer’s Life

Plenty of wind and rain from Hurricane Earl at the moment, and for some reason writing that makes me feel as though I’m a weather forecaster.  Still, it is my truth at the moment.

Our power was gone by 9:30, which isn’t a big surprise. The wind is fairly strong. Hopefully it will be back on sometime today. So glad I can use my laptop to do a bit of writing to help pass the time. Already, I’ve finished reading one book and read another, and am now into chapter three of yet another one. In case you’re wondering I’m not a speed-reader. I’ve been reading some YA novels.

They say it’s important to read books in the genre that you write in and I happen to think this is good advice. It helps keep our heads in that space, and helps to inspire us in our own writing. It gives us fresh new ideas.

Many moons ago, when I first started to take my writing serious, I was not reading fiction at all. In fact, I was reading plenty of non-fiction books until one day it dawned on me that hey, maybe I should be reading fiction since fiction is what I’m trying to write. I needed to get myself into that place where fiction happens. So I started reading plenty of fiction. At the time I was concentrating on adult short fiction as I worked at learning my craft. It had only been these later years that I have settled into writing from a child’s perspective. And yes, I am still very much in the learning process. For a writer, I’m not sure that it ever ends.

A few weeks ago, I happened upon a used book sale while in town. All the books you could stog (Is stog a word? My word program says no, but  in my world the answer is yes.) into a  grocery bag for 5 bucks. There was an entire box of YA and middle grade readers, many of them written by Canadian authors and published by Canadian publishing companies. Sweet! I didn’t have to think twice. So I grab up quite a nice selection and put (stogged) them in my bag. I was smiling all the way home. But now is the time to start reading through them. A writer’s life cannot consist of all writing. Reading is also important.

So while the wind is still blowing and the power is off, I’ll be reading and writing. Just part of a writer’s life. Hope you’re enjoying your weekend wherever you are!

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