Define Death

What is death?

I can only imagine the vast majority who walked the trails of Earth have asked this question at least once in their life. Yet there seems to be no real answer found.

Should we greet death with open arms or run from it as fast as our feet will carry us? Should we fear it or rejoice? People throughout the centuries have done all these and more.

But what is death?

Is it simply the death of the host body we call Earthling? Or does something more tragic happen? Do our souls die, cease to exist and do our screens go black?

More than a dozen years ago, my sister and I were driving on the highway. She mentioned that she feared death because there was nothing there. It all just ended in nothing. I asked her, “How do you know it ends and there is nothing there but nothing?”

Continue reading “Define Death”

2016 Goals

Another year to dreamI keep thinking I should be making a list of things to do or setting goals as we look down the barrel at 2016, but I’m not sure what they would contain other than what I already have on the wall behind my laptop.

Back in October, I spent several weeks rewriting my business plan. This is something every self-published, freelance writer should have. Writing is a business, and creating a plan puts things into perspective and helps plan for the future.

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All I Want for Christmas

A wonderful feature about WordPress is you can schedule posts days and months ahead of time. Posts like this one. It’s Christmas day, and although I might check my email or Facebook to see what family members are up to, I don’t have to worry about my blog. It will take care of itself.

So don’t worry. I didn’t type this today. I typed it and posted it on Monday, long before the big day arrived.

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The Power of Three

Laura Best is a Nova Scotia author. Her two books, “Bitter, Sweet” and “Flying with a Broken Wing”, can be enjoyed by both youth and adults.

Laura Best

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…

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Women Able to Vote for Almost 100 Years

I wrote the following genealogy column in 2013. Since a federal election is taking place in Canada today, I thought this was fitting. Did you know that many–but not all–women won the right to vote in Canada in 1918. That’s less than 100 years ago.

Could Your Ancestor Vote?

If someone had asked me, “Was your great-grandfather able to vote?” I would have said, “Yes.” As a Canadian citizen in the 1800s, there was no reason he’d be disqualified. He was a white male, and I assumed all white Canadian males—unless they were in prison—could vote. I was wrong.

It turns out my ancestors first had to own land or possess assets of a certain value to vote in municipal and provincial elections. If they didn’t, they could pay a poll tax and vote, but if they were too poor to own land, then they might not have been able to afford this tax.

My ancestors were more likely to have voted if they were Protestant. If they were Catholic or Jacobite, they couldn’t vote until 1829, and then they had to swear an allegiance to the King and his Protestant heirs. If they refused, they gave up their right to vote.

Continue reading “Women Able to Vote for Almost 100 Years”

Pig on Trial

Darlene Foster has just released a book, one that is very different that what we’re used to seeing. Check it out on her blog and leave a comment for a chance to win a copy.

Darlene Foster's Blog

These past six months have been quite crazy. Moving to another country is not for the faint of heart. There is so much to learn. Since travelling around for the first month, we have lived in three different places. It feels good to be in a more permanent place now. It goes without saying that my writing has taken a back seat. I´ve been working on the fifth book in the Amanda series, but it has been slow going.

However, I was fortunate to be introduced to Pablo Solares Acebal, from Ediciones Camelot, by Mary Barr, a fellow writer from Canada.  Pablo agreed to translate and publish my story, Pig on Trial, as a bi-lingual book called Cerdito a juicio. I am very pleased with the final result.

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The book is written in English on one page and Spanish on the opposite page.

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The Blurb:

What is Sebastian to do?…

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Author Solutions and Friends: The Inside Story

David Gaughran

ASandfriendsweboptAuthor Solutions has forged partnerships with a long list of famous names in publishing – from Simon & Schuster and Hay House to Barnes & Noble and Reader’s Digest.

Recent disclosures in various lawsuits, along with information sent to me by a Penguin Random House source, detail for the very first time exactly how these partnerships work and the damage they are causing.

Since a second suit was filed at the end of March, Author Solutions is now facing two class actions, with the new complaint alleging unjust enrichment and exploitation of seniors on top of the usual claims of fraud and deceptive practices. It also has a wonderfully precise summary of Author Solutions’ operations:

Author Solutions operates more like a telemarketing company whose customer base is the Authors themselves. In other words, unlike a traditional publisher, Author Solutions makes money from its Authors, not for them. It does so…

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Farewell But Not Goodbye

Milk-SpiritYou died on a warm, windless, sunny winter’s day, a day boxed between a blizzard and the promise of thirty centimetres more in snow. A black bird sang a solitary song on a birch branch nearby. Three crows watched atop one of the great evergreens lining the garden. The donkey peeked around its shelter, looking forlornly towards your bed. The occasional rooster call echoed across the frozen ground, and the cloudless sky swathed the earth in a bright blue canopy.

If there was a peaceful day to die, this day, a breath away from spring, was a good day. The sun shined down on you, making your coat warm and cosy as you lay in the hay. Your barn mate walked around you, checking you or perhaps saying goodbye, one more time. No more would you both ram heads together in play, in challenge or in silliness.

Huge mounds of snow surrounded us, cradled us as we waited, for it did seem we simply waited: waited for the last breath, the last heartbeat, the last goodbye song by the bird, feathers glistening in the morning sun.

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Barnes & Noble’s Dirty Little Secret: Author Solutions and Nook Press

David Gaughran

NookPressAuthorSolutionsNook Press – Barnes & Noble’s self-publishing platform – launched a selection of author services last October including editing, cover design, and (limited) print-on-demand.

Immediate speculation surrounded who exactly was providing these services, with many – including Nate Hoffelder, Passive Guy, and myself – speculating it could be Author Solutions. However, there was no proof.

Until now.

A source at Penguin Random House has provided me with a document which shows that Author Solutions is secretly operating Nook Press Author Services. The following screenshot is taken from the agreement between Barnes & Noble and writers using the service.

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You will see that the postal address highlighted above for physical submission of manuscripts is “Nook Press Author Services, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, Indiana.”

Author Solutions, Bloomington, Indiana. Image courtesy of Wikimedia, uploaded by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0 Author Solutions, Bloomington, IN. Image from Wikimedia, by Vmenkov, CC BY-SA 3.0

There’s something else located at that address: Author Solutions US headquarters in Bloomington…

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Nimoy was a Timeless Vulcan

There are individuals we ‘meet’ in our lifetime that we believe will always be there, like the sun behind the clouds. We think them invincible, immune to death, exempt from leaving this world even though we are led to believe they were not from here to begin with.

These heroes are timeless. They entertain us decade after decade, from one century to the next, across the universe and beyond. Their respect for life rubs off on us, and we take on some of their values because we believe them to be true.

We respect their logic even if at times we don’t fully understand it. We raise our hands in greetings—two groups of fingers splint in the middle, thumb thrust to the side—because we have been taught that this is the way things are done…in their culture. We silently delight in showing our knowledge and our ability to perform this simple gesture.

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Year End Review

animation_candle_flameMy year in 2014 doesn’t quite feel like twelve months long. Somewhere amongst the full moons, I missed seven of them because of working mega hours outside the home and away from the homestead.

So, while I could offer up the excuse of not enough time, I’ll just note the things I did accomplish during the year.

Writing Projects I Hoped to Complete

*Stories that are started, but not finished

**Stories that are not started (except perhaps a chapter or outline)

*Fowl Summer Nights: Humourous Novella: COMPLETED/PUBLISHED

Completed Writing Projects I Hope to Edit

Scattered Stones: Traditional Fantasy Novel: WORK IN PROGRESS

Stories I Hope to Publish

Fowl Summer Nights: Humourous Novella

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The Story behind NORAD and Santa

I was lucky enough to grow up when there were no computers, cell phones or cable television. I know many won’t think that’s lucky, but looking back, I feel I was very fortunate. What we did have were two English channels that showed great Christmas specials on Christmas Eve and a radio that tracked Santa’s every move.

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Fowl Summer Nights by Diane Lynn McGyver

See what happens when empty nest syndrome and retirement are taken to their “Nth degree.” The exchanges between the main character and her neighbors make this work into a light-hearted romp. Diane spins a great humorous tale filled with comic believability laced and with a healthy dose of outlandish circumstances.

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Despite the humorous, I think McGyver is also giving us a lesson about aging, family, and society in general without a heavy hand.

…to read more, visit San Giacomo’s Corner blog.

Potential High School Drop-out

When I was in grade nine, my English teacher Mr. Nauffts assigned an oral presentation. I can’t remember the topic, and I can’t recall any formal oral presentations before this time. I do however remember reading sections of a story while seated in my desk, and the joy of answering questions and even going up to the board to show off my math skills.

Formal oral presentations were a new thing though. If we did have them, I know I would have bowed out (aka stayed home ‘sick’). This particular one in grade nine however was the first one I remember vividly because of what transpired on the day I was to give the talk.

When my name was called, I walked over to Mr. Nauffts and gave him the written assignment. He said that I now had to present it. I told him I wouldn’t. I didn’t say in a snarky way; I simply stated I did not do oral presentations. What I didn’t tell him was that I hated them, that they made me feel too paranoid and self-conscious. I’d rather jab a pencil in my hand then stand up in front of my classmates and talk on a subject.

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Supporting Your Author Friend

Laura Best

This post could have been written by my family and friends. It’s all about how to support your authorly friends out there, and since my friends and family have been awesome enough to support me through the publication of two books I wanted to let others in on their tips for supporting an author friend. (I bet most of them didn’t even know they had such tips!) Through the years my friends and family have come up with some ingenious ways to put the word about my books “out there.” I thought I would share these with everyone else out there who would like to know ways to support a certain author but are a bit uncertain about how to do that. Believe me there are plenty of ways, and my friends have done a super, stupendous job.

1. Buy the book-— A lot of my friends bought the…

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Kitchen Counter Radios

Apparently I’m a dying breed. I’m one of the dwindling few who want a radio with a built in CD player for the kitchen counter. I visited several shops one day last week and all had one or two machines available. And they weren’t cheap…in price.

I asked a salesperson if I could hear the speakers of $65 unit, and he plugged his phone (or other gadget from his pocket) into the machine. The unfamiliar song sounded horrible, and I told him so. I asked him if the sound was that horrible on his device. He said the quality might not be that great.

He asked for a song or singer I’d prefer to hear, and I told him. He called up Keith Urban in seconds—he must have a direct line to the man—and a sweet voice began to sing. I turned it up, but still the speakers sounded ‘airy’ to me. There was no solid sound.

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A Promise of Spring

The rain predicted for Friday afternoon arrived as snow. The low temperatures meant it stuck around, and Saturday’s showers were flurries.

Freezing temperatures aren’t entirely horrible. They turn mud into solid ground, which translates into less slipping and sliding and dirty boots.

Below zero Celsius temperatures also mean those nasty parasites that dwell on top of the soil and in short grass will die, making the pastures safer places for our goats. Goat safety is high on our priority list.

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In the Village: EBSNS supporting young artists

Libby Schofield

“Think of the long trip home. Should we have stayed home and thought of here? Where should we be today?”
― Elizabeth Bishop

Elizabeth Bishop is one of those poets few people know about, but there’s no particular reason she isn’t a household name. A writer who went on to earn international acclaim, she spent some of her childhood living with her grandparents in Great Village, NS. I’m not entirely sure why every Nova Scotian isn’t yelling her name from the rooftops, but Great Village is one place where Bishop is praised and raised proudly to the lips of many of the people I’ve talked to.

I first became involved with the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia (EBSNS) three years ago when I entered their writing contest for the Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Festival, celebrating the poet’s 100th birthday in 2011. The contest revolved around the theme of home, an homage to…

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The Great E-book Pricing Question

Pricing is always something self-published authors must give great thought to. David does a great job of explaining how you should go about it.

David Gaughran

soulsale There’s more guff written about pricing than almost anything else, resulting in an extremely confusing situation for new self-publishers. I often see them pricing too low or too high, and the decision is rarely made the right way, i.e. ascertaining their goals and pricing accordingly.

Price/value confusion

Before we get to the nuts-and-bolts, it’s time to slay a zombie meme. Much of the noise on this issue springs from conflating two concepts, namely price and value.

Authors often say something like, “My book is worth more than a coffee.” Or publishers might say, “A movie costs $10 and provides two hours of entertainment. Novels provide several times that and should cost more than $9.99.”

Price and value are two different things. From Wikipedia:

Economic value is not the same as market price. If a consumer is willing to buy a good, it implies that the customer places a higher value…

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