Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Monday Night Book Club

Monday night I met with my friend Karen's, Monday Night Book Club. Three sisters , a daughter/niece and three friends make up a delightful and chatty group that meet once a month and read fabulous and challenging books.This month they chose my book Ten Thousand Truths which I am not saying is fabulous or challenging but they were very complementary of it and we had a long and rich discussion.They asked lots of questions about the story ,the process and my writing life. My friend Karen who had suggested the book was monumental in launching my writing career. She was the one who in her careful perusal of the local newspaper ,came upon the small add for the Atlantic Writing Competition ,cut it out and put it on her fridge and later gave it to me encouraging me to enter my manuscript for The Year Mrs. Montague Cried which she had been hearing about from the first days of my writing it to the years of rejection letters that followed. On her prompting I did what needed to be done to send it in December 2009 and won first place in the Y/A category in August 2010. Following that I signed a contract with Acorn Press for the publishing of the Year Mrs. Montague Cried which came out in May 2011.Thank you Karen for believing in me then and still believing in me suggesting my second book to your Book Club. I now feel like an honorary member of her book club and will certainly keep up with their reading and goings on in the months to come.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hampton High Visit

Wednesday I braved the early morning hour and my frost covered windsheild and headed for a visit to Hampton High School. On my way while innocently eating my blueberry bagel I broke off one of my front teeth. Luckily the only pain it caused was one of vanity hoping that my audience would not be distracted by the gaping hole in my mouth and make the judgement that apparently retired teachers turned authors have no dental coverage if they are letting their teeth blacken and fall out. Putting my toothy concerns aside I proceeded to speak to two classes who filed in to the library in their early morning teenage manner but soon proved to be a very attentive and kind group. The next group consisted of one class and brought with them a series of prepared questions that I was happy to attempt to answer as best I could. Both groups held several former students which my mind struggled to quickly match names to their older faces only calling a couple of them by their siblings names .It was wonderful to see them and be standing there reading from the book I had read to them when they were in Grade five when the book was only a pile of typed pages.And then I read to them from my second book and was pleased to tell them the story of the how in six years I had made the transition from teacher to a published /working author. I then spoke to a large group of about 100 students in the theatre. I was a bit disconcerted to be standing in that venue looking out at a sea of faces ,some I recognized and quickly put names to. I talked a bit, read a bit and answered some of their prepared questions. Even in such a large group and in a more impersonal setting I still felt like I made a connection with the students. The time went quickly and our time together was over. A couple of students stayed behind with comments and questions. Thank you Rosalind and Grace , Nell and Ben (I think) for introducing me in such a generous manner. Thank you to the teachers Mrs. Donovan. Mrs Spurr McKay and Mrs Finnigan for inviting me and organizing the morning and thanks to the other teachers who brought their classes and supported my work. Thank you Mr. McMillan for buying my books for the library.I left the theatre and joined my friend Ruth in the Resource room and briefly helped two boys with their Science assignment. So I got a little teacher fix and it quickly reminded me what I loved about teaching and what I love about retirement.Then Ruth and I went to the Kosy Korner for a nice lunch together. The visit certainly reminded me of what I love about being a writer. Thank you Hampton High!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Another Book Club

October is winding down quickly and the week ahead is full and holds some challenges. Sitting in my office this afternoon with the sun shining again after yesterday's drenching rain seems like a time to reflect on the last week and prepare for the week ahead. My obsessive list making has now carried over to my new cell phone. My first cell phone ever by the way and like so much else that technology gives us we soon wonder how we managed without it. I now in addition to my slips of paper holding lists and jottings that are meant to ground me and keep me on track ,constantly check my phone and update my calendar.Whatever! As for reflections of last week. I met with a wonderful group of women who have been a Book Club since 2004 and actually read books and discuss them . The entire group of about 13 women filled the room with a warm and welcoming vibe right from the start of the evening and the bond they seemed to have with each other seemed very genuine. Meeting the group I was reminded of my own circles of women friends that provide friendship and support that is priceless in our busy and challenging lives.The book club had invited me after they read Ten Thousand Truths.They were brimming with questions and observations and as a writer it was a thrill to be given the opportunity to talk about my work with a group of such keen readers. Afterwards I signed their books and several of them bought copies of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried. They gave me a beautiful bouquet of flowers and a lovely bottle of green apple wine. It was a wonderful evening . Thank you Heather for suggesting the book, thank you Kim for inviting me and welcoming me in to your home and thank you to all the other members. Keep reading and keep connecting to one another in the wonderful way you have been doing for eight years.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

October Days

The second week of October has brought cold winds and a hint of the winter to come. Harvest is probably about half done with the tomatoes all picked, the squash bagged up and lots of pickles, jam and salsa made. The carrots and parsnips need to be pulled and the potatoes dug. The ground is covered with leaves after last night's high winds. Evenings require a fire and the darkness falls so much earlier and the mornings are dark.My month with Emma is over and the visit from her mom and little sister is almost over as well. I will miss those sweet smiles, the hugs and all the joy my granddaughters have brought to our home .I will probably not see them again until March and so much will have changed as a one year old and three year old have such a rapid growing curve. I will treasure the time we have had and hope that the memories of their time on the farm with Monkey and Toad will be firmly planted and cause them the desire to return to this place where they are so loved by great grandparents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends and neighbours. Last night I met with a book club made up of a group of enthusiastic young ladies at the Peddler's Creek restaurant in Quispamsis.Thank you Stephanie, Deborah, Melissa and Sarah. They had read The Year Mrs. Montague Cried and were full of questions and observations that were insightful and generous. It was the first of three book clubs I am meeting with this month and I am so thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with readers. I am taking a couple of hours to write this afternoon as Meg and the girls visit a friend. It makes me very anxious to begin a more disciplined routine next week.