Monday, April 25, 2016

Home Again, Home Again

I have done it again. I went west and spent 10 days away from home so I could see my girls, my daughter and my son in law. I also attended a nieces wedding, visited family and had a book signing. A very busy 10 days away and this morning I am looking at a long list of getting back home tasks. The sun is shining despite the cold wind and I am thinking back to a year ago. Happy 1st anniversary Meg and Cody. So I will do laundry, put clothes away, rearrange my kitchen(just because I can) and get back to work with the goal to finish the book I'm working on before garden time. It was wonderful to be a part of Emma and Paige's lives. I loved walking Em to the bus and meeting her after school. I loved taking Paige to her playschool. I drove Emma to a birthday party , took her to gymnastics and took her to see The Jungle Book. Busy fun days of being their grandmother. Louisa and I also had a getaway and visited Mary and Elias for two nights in Castor. Mary organized a book signing in Castor at her pie shoppe. It was great. I met several loyal readers as Mary and Elias have been selling, pushing and giving away my books for several years. I met three lovely ladies that have bought books and borrowed books from the small library in Castor. They purchased one more each and we had a lovely chat. They told me about the Castor Reading Club that has been in existence for 85 years. Ardeena has been a member for 60 years . She holds the status of being the oldest and longest standing member. She went on to tell me that W. O. Mitchell was her high school English teacher. " He didn't like me ",she said. "I was too blah, like melba toast. But I did write an essay that he said was good." She was a beautiful 88 year old woman who was far from blah. She was elegant, well spoken and a jem in the small town of Castor. A jem shining her beautiful light and reading hundreds of books in the sixty years of being a part of a small town reading club. This author is thrilled that the club is now reading my books. I sold five books in Ben and Simon's Pie Shoppe in Castor Alberta signing them to Mel, Mary, Kaye, Ardeena, and Lorriane. Thank you so much Mary and Elias! My brother in law then donated a copy of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried to the principal of the nearby Donalda K-12 School.I signed it for the school library. As April comes to an end I now look ahead to May. I will enjoy each day as the sun warms and the season blossoms. Caleb has harrowed and ploughed the gardens. The earth will warm and welcome seeds and my daily focus will go from writing to gardening. Another cycle will turn and for that I am thankful and emotional. I have been given this life to live and I will do my best to truly embrace it. I have strong memories of the hugs ,kisses and smiles my two beautiful granddaughter gave so generously. (until I had to leave)Emma refused to go to the airport as she does not like the goodbyes and Paige withheld hugs and kisses at the airport as her way of containing her emotions. They look forward to coming to NB in June and seeing all the people they love so dearly .So now I will happily get to work.

Monday, April 11, 2016

What April Is

I just got a blog alert from my blog coach. I had thought for a moment this morning before I started working that it was time for a blog entry but chose instead to get right to work. I am really enjoying where I am right now in my WIP. I foresee limited writing time ahead. April and May are both going to be fairly busy and I don't usually write much in June. I would really like to have this book finished by the time I wind down for the summer. As I wrote all day I kept jotting things down on my to do list which clearly indicates to me what is simmering beneath the surface. April is many things for me. Birthdays, and anniversaries to mention two big ones. Birthdays include my daughter's, my sister in laws, my brother in laws, nephew, daughter in law to be, friends. Anniversaries both sad and happy. Sad anniversaries include Zac, Stewart, Columbine,Boston Marathon bombings, David Greenslade. Happy ones Meg and Cody's ,my friend Karen and her husband Brian, Burton and my wedding anniversaries. Every month holds all those kinds of dates but April speaks loudly to me. For the first few years the dread of this month approaching was almost debilitating. The mention of the date was torture for me. Kredl's sign announcing it's Spring opening could trigger anxiety and bring me to tears. Every year it seemed some event would fall on the 18th and for weeks ahead it would be advertised on nightly commercials always bringing a jab of pain with it. Seventeen years later this has become easier and facing the month of April less difficult. So this afternoon I will take a good look at this month in 2016 for me . I will leave Wednesday and go visit Meg and Cody , Emma and Paige. I am so anxious to hug my girls. I will enjoy every minute with my precious granddaughters , my daughter and son in law. On Saturday I will pick my sister in law up at the airport and the girls , she and I will drive to our niece Esther's wedding. I look forward to celebrating the day with family. Two years ago Louisa and I went to Alberta for two other of Elias and Mary's eight children when they were married. I will attend the Atlantic Book Awards ceremony in Moncton toward the end of the month. Four years ago I was honored when The Year Mrs. Montague Cried won the Ann Connor Brimer award at the ceremony in NFLD. I will take joy in seeing other authors given the same honor and am rooting for Valerie Sherrard. At the end of the month I begin my weekly market mornings where I get to meet readers and sell books. I am looking forward to that. I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary on the same day we celebrate Ashlie's 25th birthday. We will accept the good with the bad, the joy with the sorrow. April showers will bring May flowers and I am getting closer to my first lake swim of the season. In all we are given I am thankful for another April.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Building a Career Thirteen New Readers at a Time

Writers need readers just like doctors need patients, singers need listeners, actors need movie goers,and teachers need students. I could keep going but I think you probably get my point. I love writing and I might possibly do it even if I had no readers. It is a challenge sometimes when writing is personal and the ego is fragile . It sometimes takes courage to let your work go out there and find its own way. It is similar to raising children. You do your best, they grow up and you hope they will be accepted and loved in the way that you have loved them. A writing career hinges on readership. You have to write them and someone has to read them to make the circle complete. There are authors who get the fast track to success. Millions of readers means millions of dollars and notoriety .I am not opposed to that but for now am perfectly content with the slow and steady growth my writing career appears to be taking. I am so thankful for the positive accomplishments that have come about since the publishing of The Year Mrs. Montague Cried in 2011.Yesterday I set up a table at the St Andrews Winter Market. This morning I will recount the success of that endeavor and expand on the theme of my blog. My success comes one reader at a time. Yesterday a woman named Debbie came to the table, picked up The Year Mrs. Montague Cried, read the front and back , set it down saying she would be back. She was and she bought the book.A girl named Emma looked at each book and then came back with her mother. They had made the deal Emma would buy one with her own money and Mom would buy one for her as well. They left with Ten Thousand Truths and The Memory Chair. A woman who I often see at the Kingston market bought The Memory Chair for her husband, Calvin. A lovely older lady named Ruth, who says she loves to have a good book to read at night,(but nothing scary) bought The Memory Chair. A lady named Helene bought The Year Mrs. Montague Cried and The Memory Chair. Jane came along and chose The Year Mrs. Montague Cried. I must add that if my books are like my children my poor forgotten child 'The Sewing Basket' was left out yesterday.However I have many readers that say it was their favorite. Twin hockey players, between games stopped at my table for a few minutes then returned with their grandparents. Hailey chose Ten Thousand Truths , Hannah chose The Year Mrs. Montague Cried and the grandmother chose The Memory Chair. The grandfather paid for them all. I made a trade with Steve from Touch of Spice,a book for him and his daughter Marla in exchange for Samosas. An elderly woman stood awhile and thoughtfully picked out a gift for her great niece Kendall. She chose The Memory Chair and asked me to write a personal message from her when I signed it. Thirteen new readers, each unique and special in their own way accepting my writing into their lives. That is the gift I am given and whether the readers come in a trickle or a deluge I am honored. My readers and the opportunities I have been given to meet them and share my work ,are the building blocks of my career and I am thankful for each and every one of them.