Author Interview: Barbara Carter

Today is launch day for Barbara Carter’s 5th memoir Joined – a memoir of marriage. It’s part of the Barbara by the Bay series. Shortly after I read the book, I interviewed her about the book, her memoir series and writing memoirs.

Joined – a memoir of marriage by Barbara Carter

1. This is the 5th book in your memoir series, now called Barbara by the Bay. Has your perspective on how to write a memoir changed since sitting down to write that first book? In other words, do you feel more liberated to write the truth without sugar coating it? Or is there still a voice inside that says, “That’s harsh. Let’s soften it a little bit?”

My perspective has changed a lot since writing my first book. That book took sixteen years to write and was a major learning curve!  One learning curve was to slow down and learn how to tell a good story.  To learn all the techniques of fiction writing, especially dialogue.

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Book Review: “Joined” by Barbara Carter

On September 15th, Barbara Carter releases the next book in her memoir series, Joined – a memoir of marriage. Barbara sent me a copy of the book in February to read and review. February? I know. That was a lifetime ago. Who plans seven months ahead? More over, how can she wait seven months to release the book after it’s ready? I couldn’t. That’s why I’m horrible at pre-launch promotions. She must have the patience of some religion legend whose name I can’t recall.

Description

Falling in love is easy.

Creating a life together is another story. . .

JOINED is a real-life read, a true confession, a compelling story of life’s many challenges and its few choices. It is the fifth in Barbara Carter’s memoir series, Barbara by the Bay (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia).

It stands well on its own, not requiring the reader to have read any of the earlier books, although certainly knowing about her earlier life will enhance the experience of travelling with her into marriage and motherhood.

This is a story of the perseverance a woman needs while trying to make marriage work through a surprising barrage of adversity. Dealing with issues that could end their relationship.

My Review (written the day I finished the book on March 25th)

We all make mistakes in life. Some of us are addicted to making mistakes. Yet we can’t let past mistakes define who we are today. I’ve lived long enough to know the past is the past and if we dwell on it, we limit our future.

This philosophy I’ve developed over the years kept coming to mind while reading Joined – a memoir of marriage. I also kept reminding myself the early 80s was a different era. What we understood as normal and what we tolerated was different than today. I knew people who were living similar life styles as those in this memoir. Today, I don’t.

Joined is the story of young Barbara, who endured many ups and downs in life, some brought on by her own actions and some by others in her life, including the man she marries in this chapter of the memoir saga.

Readers will be met with thoughts like, “I remember doing that,” “I knew someone who did that,” and “I’d never put up with that.” Though I really can’t speak for the person I was in my 20s, so I may have tolerated it.

As Barbara navigates married life with a husband who drinks way too much, she’s faced with complicated pregnancies, health issues, financial woes and the continued conflicting philosophy of her mother. One night, looking to relive a little freedom she had in her pre-marriage, pre-mother days, she makes a huge mistake. Yet, she endures. Isn’t this what warriors do?

Learning through experience is how we get through life. Learning through the experiences of others, gives us a boost we wouldn’t otherwise have to get ahead.

This memoir will appeal to readers who enjoy reading the raw human experience, one in which a turbulent childhood turned into troubled teen years delivers a woman into marriage, motherhood and deciding if her future will be that like many other women with alcoholic husbands in rural Nova Scotia or something different, exciting and one that will satisfy her soul.

Author Barbara Carter

Barbara Carter: artist and author. Born in Nova Scotia, Canada, December 25, 1958. Married, with three grown children and three grandchildren. Healing from past wounds is the focus of her work. She shares her life experiences and lessons learned, to connect and hopefully help others with their healing journeys. This is her fifth memoir.

Connect with Barbara Carter

Where to buy the book

It is available for pre-order at Amazon. Release date is September 15th.

“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

~ Hunter S. Thompson, The Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967

Working Season from September to June

I’m at a crossroads. There are several options on the table, and I’m not sure which to take.

The question that has badgered me all summer is: What do I focus on between September and June?

More clearly put: What do I focus on in these 10 months to either deliver me to or reduce the distance between where I am and where I want to be?

Part of getting there is increasing my income. Writing alone won’t do it, so I’m looking for a full time job. Apparently, everyone is looking for workers because workers aren’t returning, so getting a job shouldn’t be too much of a hassle.

Working 20 to 40 hours a week reduces my computer time, so that means focussing on what is vital to my writing and publishing.

Setbacks

We all have them. It’s how we respond to them that matters. On the morning of Sunday August 21st, I turned on my computer and received this message: I am dead.

Okay, it wasn’t that exact message, but the meaning was the same: the hard drive was dead. My last major backup was in late April. However, I backup current files I’m working on, such as the novel I completed only two weeks earlier, through other means, so that and a few other files were saved. But the book covers I was working on were lost.

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New Marketing Idea: Podcast

Just over a week ago while posting to my McGyver blog, I saw a button that asked if I wanted to turn this post into a podcast. I had never seen this in the hundreds of posts I’ve published. Looking for new ways to promote my books and in particular my upcoming fantasy novel, Dragons in the Dungeon, I took the plunge. Clicking the button transferred me to Anchor.

Once at Anchor, I found my way around quickly. The learning curve wasn’t that steep. There were only two confusing aspects of it.

1) All my posts for my Diane McGyver blog were imported. I don’t know if there was an option to avoid this, but there they were. That left me searching for my newest one. Thankfully, there was a notice at the top that said if I couldn’t find my post, it was on the last page, and there it was.

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Book Review: “The Druid Magic Handbook” by John Michael Greer

Book Description

The first and only Druidic book of spells, rituals, and practice. The Druid Magic Handbook is the first manual of magical practice in Druidry, one of the fastest growing branches of the Pagan movement. The book breaks new ground, teaching Druids how to practice ritual magic for practical and spiritual goals within their own tradition. What sets The Druid Magic Handbook apart is that it does not require the reader to use a particular pantheon or set of symbols. Although it presents one drawn from Welsh Druid tradition, it also shows the reader how to adapt rites and other practices to fit the deities and symbols most meaningful to them. This cutting edge system of ritual magic can be used by Druids, Pagans, Christians, and Thelemites alike!

The first manual of Druidic magical practice ever, replete with spell work and rituals.

John Michael Greer is a highly respected authority on all aspects of Paganism.

My Review

I had high hopes when I started this book. Hopes of what, I didn’t know. Would I learn actual magic? The history of magic? More about druids and their part in history? Would I learn the secrets of the druid world?

Nope. None of that. Okay, a little bit of history about magic. That’s it.

I learned about the deliberate disenchantment of the world in the early 1900s and a bit of speculative history about druids. I say speculative because according to Greer, no one knows the true history of the druids or the magic they used. So everything is a guess, a possibility and imagined.

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“Northern Survival” Sales Update

Northern Survival

In September 2020, I launched Northern Survival. Unlike many other times when launching a book, this time, I had a marketing plan, and I had about $300 to operate it. My fingers were crossed that I’d recoup that money within the first three months. I’m not a gambler, but the risk paid off, and the money came back to me.

I’m closing in on the two-year anniversary of the launch, and I’m happy to say that the initial energy, time and money spent on Northern Survival is still paying off. Sales are not as brisk as when it was first published. However, it continues to sell. By the end of June, I’m predicting I’ll reach 100,000 pages read in KENP by Kindle Unlimited Members. To date, I have 96,073 pages read and 866 eBooks and paperbacks sold. I keep track of this monthly in the margin to your right beneath the Northern Survival ad.

My book is 251 pages, so dividing that into 96,073 pages is the equivalent of 382 books that have been read in this format. This brings the total number of books sold to 1,248.

Reviews

Reviews are extremely important to book sales, and I worked hard to get them the first three months of launch. Currently, at Amazon.com, there are 63 reviews. With a 4.5 average. There are also several on Goodreads.

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Book Review Coming Soon

Today, I finished reading The Druid Magic Handbook by John Michael Greer. Interesting. My review will be posted here by the end of the week.

Tomorrow, I start reading The East Coast Music Book of Fame – Top 50 by Bob Mersereau. It has a forward by Joel Plaskett. It was published by SSP Publications in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and I was sent a copy to review. When it was offered, I didn’t hesitate. I’ve been a music fan all my life, and I’ve met several of the people in this book, so I’m looking forward to reading it.

I’m trying to read more, but time is limited. I spend about 30 to 45 minutes reading each day.

Movie Review: “Mazes and Monsters”

Online Description

Despite their personality differences, Kate, Jay Jay, Daniel and Robbie are close college friends, bound together by their pleasure in playing a game called Mazes and Monsters. In order to keep it interesting, they decide to take the game from the board into a real-life setting. But soon the line between reality and fantasy becomes difficult to differentiate, and what started out as just a game soon becomes a nightmare.

My Review

Cheesy. It’s the first word that came to mind when I watched Mazes and Monsters. Others were: unrealistic, poor script, bad dialogue, silly. While Tom Hanks has developed into a great actor, he wasn’t as slick in 1982. But then maybe it was the script.

This movie was based on a novel of the same name by Rona Jaffe. She had jumped onto the cash cow that insinuated the roll-playing game Dungeons and Dragons, of which Mazes and Monsters was a substitute title for, would be responsible for people worshipping the devil. Her book and this movie spread lies and misinformation. It was obvious within the first ten minutes that this film was not about telling a good story. It was about sending a message. Since I hadn’t seen it before, I wanted to know if the stories I’d heard about it were true. They were. It was horrible propaganda.

Religious groups were the first to claim playing D&D would lead players to worship the devil and join satanic cults. Propaganda, such as this movie, were made to discourage people from playing it. In the United States, this era became the Satanic Panic of the 1980s. Here in Nova Scotia, I didn’t know how big this got in the States. I heard about religious groups there banning D&D, but we ignored it.

I started playing D&D in 1979 and played every Friday night for five years or more. We even had sleepovers, where two dozen people played all night. Incredibly, none of us went on to worship the devil, murder people or start a cult.

My parents ignored the hoopla as did the parents in my neighbourhood. All that matter was their kids were entertained and kept busy on Friday night at the Boys and Girls Club instead of running the streets and getting into trouble.

On a scale of 1 to 5 stars, I give this movie a one. The four main players did the best they could to work with a poor script. Robbie (Tom Hanks) was somewhat believable and as another viewer stated, this film was “more about a person’s decent into schizophrenia and mental illness” than an evil game. Robbie’s mother was an alcoholic, his parents fought all the time and his older brother had run away three years prior. JayJay’s mother was a loon in her own right, so when he started talking suicide, I traced that back to her, not the game. In reality, she was a cardboard character with no redeeming qualities.

The start is a little confusing because I was led to believe JayJay had returned home from being away at school, yet the next scene has him starting a new school year. Transitions were horrible. The ending was satisfying.

If you want a few good laughs and eye rolls, you can watch Mazes and Monsters on YouTube. That’s where I found it last weekend. Be prepared to suspend reality, or you’ll wonder how this film even made it to television.

Why I Keep My Books

The other day, I read Tim Covell’s post Books and Clutter. In it, he was commenting about an article he had read in a local publication that claimed it was okay to get rid of books.

Both the article and Tim note the trouble of getting rid of books left behind by people who die. That might be a family member or friend. One suggestion was to clean off the bookshelf before death, keeping only what is truly personally valuable.

I understand the philosophy, but I don’t agree with it. However, my opinion applies to the average person, not the extreme. The extreme being the ones who have tens of thousands of books. My view is for the average person who has less than 1,000 books, most having around 500 books.

When we cleaned out my mother’s house in 2019, I was glad I was there to save the books. Others in my family don’t give a hoot about books, so they would have thrown all of them in the trash. They care about books so little, they wouldn’t even have considered donating them. Into the trash they’d have gone without a second thought.

My mother was not the average book owner. She seldom bought books. In total, I believe there were around 40 in her house. Some were books I had written, and one was written by my daughter. A few were genealogy related with connections to our family, particularly her family in Newfoundland. One I had bought her while we were visiting her place of birth. It was locally produced, so copies were limited. I had a copy, too.

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It’s time for me to Celebrate me

That post title might sound self-centred but the fact is, I don’t celebrate me. I celebrate everyone else. Whether they write a book, have a birthday or get a new job. I stopped celebrating myself about two decades ago. It was one small thing at a time, telling myself, “It’s not that big. It really doesn’t make a difference. Anyone can do that. I’m no one special. Everyone has a birthday. What’s the big deal?”

Yup, I stopped celebrating my birthday years ago. It’s just a day. I don’t want anything, yet my family remembers. I get a cake and gifts, but if the day passed without any happy birthday wishes, cake or gifts, I wouldn’t think anything of it because, it’s only the day I was born, nothing special.

Perhaps it is because life is too busy, my children’s birthdays are more important or the world is too crazy. I don’t know how I slipped into the habit of not celebrating me. All I know is it’s wrong. I need to celebrate my birthday. I need to celebrate my accomplishments.

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Part II: Book Review: “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft” by Laura Best

This is Part II of my postings today. The first was Pagan Traditions, Witches and Beltane. It speaks about Walpurgisnacht, a day marked in A Sure Cure for Witchcraft.

“We become the thoughts we think each day,” said Alisz, one of the main characters in A Sure Cure for Witchcraft. “So think only happy thoughts…”

There is much to love about A Sure Cure for Witchcraft by Laura Best, but this line echoes what I have believed for many years. It walks along side, “Where you place your attention is where you place your energy.”

If one believed in magic, they’d understand how powerful our thoughts are. This is stressed in the novel and can be understood in real time by the power of the placebo. Given my attraction to magic and energy and my use of it in my fantasy novels, I was interested in seeing how these would play out in Best’s story.

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Part I: Pagan Traditions, Witches and Beltane

Today is a two-part day. I’ve never done this before, so let’s have a go at it. Below is the first post of the day. It will be followed three hours later (because three is a significant number) with Book Review: “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft” by Laura Best.

I’m posting the review for A Sure Cure for Witchcraft by Laura Best today because today is Walpurgisnacht, also known a Walpurgis Night and Burning of Witches. You’ll have to read the book to learn the significance.

While many sources claim information about this day, we truly don’t know when it started nor what it was all about. We have the impressions of what writers have provided over the centuries but as we know, everyone forms their own impression on an event depending on what they’ve read, people they’ve spoken to and what they’ve seen. Walpurgisnacht was so long ago, anyone who experienced the first inkling of the day is mere dust in the wind.

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Author Interview: Laura Best – “A Sure Cure for Witchcraft”

Author Laura Best

My guest today is Nova Scotia author Laura Best. Her latest novel, A Sure Cure for Witchcraft, was published by Nimbus Publishing Limited in August of 2021.

1. In a few sentences, tell us what A Sure Cure for Witchcraft is about.

It’s the story of two soul friends who become separated through time and their journey back to one another in present day. It is the story of hope and healing and a world filled with superstitions.

2. Every novel written involves a little research by the author. However, while reading A Sure Cure for Witchcraft, I was constantly thinking of the amount of research that must have gone into this story. While some authors might try to make up a lot with regard to the plants and their medicinal properties because most readers won’t know the difference between mugwort and feverfew, there are other readers like me who do know and who will search their herb books to see how accurate the information is, and, in some cases, add the herb to our garden for the sole purpose of using it medicinally.

Having studied herbs and medicinal remedies for some time, I have to ask: How much research did you do on plants and their medicinal properties for the book? Was it just enough for the story? Or did you get lost for hours discovering the wonderful things a plant can do?

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“Fluid of Life” Proof Arrives

It was a busy morning so when I heard a knock on the door, I wondered who was interrupting me in getting things done. Oh! A delivery driver. I remembered the proof for Fluid of Life was supposed to arrive today, but I had forgotten until I heard the knock.

Getting the first copy of any book is always exciting. I dropped what I was doing, opened the package and examined the book.

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Looking for Reviews for “Fluid of Life”

I announced earlier on this blog that I’m releasing my first non-fiction book, one under my given name: Diana Tibert. As launch day approaches, I’m hoping to have a few reviews ready to go either to be placed on Amazon when the book is launched or on its Goodreads page (which I have created yet, but will).

Fluid of Life is my experience with anemia. I never had a blood test until I was 29, yet I believe I was anemic since my mid-teens. Anemia is not life-threatening… unless it goes unmonitored and it lasts for decades. I didn’t know that until a friend ended up in hospital for treatment. Then I understood living with anemia wasn’t an option. I had to start living with the amount of blood my body needed to survive and thrive.

I’m looking for women age 25 and up. Why set the bar so young? I wish I had known this in my 20s, so I could have better monitored my blood and so I could have taken action sooner.

Why women? Because women have a unique relationship with blood. Our menstrual cycle draws blood from us monthly and if we don’t watch it, we could be down before we know it.

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