Monday, 28 July 2014

The Wishing Stone Book Tour: Day 12

It was day twelve of the Wishing Stone Book Tour, and the day before the Chevery Come Home Year Celebration.  From Blance Sablon a charter had been arranged by family and friends making their way to Chevery from 'up above' (communities North of it), because, with no highway to Chevery, air fees are high. Filling a plane with eighteen people cut those hefty dues by more than half.  With this extra cash in our pockets and a spirit that raised the already cloud grazed roof, our roots drew us closer, and our smiles grew wide.

It's difficult to describe the emotions which swept through me as we soared over the familiar land I hadn't seen in over twelve years. I was both elated and sad. I was sentimental. Below, the rock, the soil, and above all, the ocean of my youth awaited. God knew I'd missed it, and he knew I still loved it.  But I wondered, how much had it changed? What if those intimate spaces I'd grown to feel, no longer moved me? I'd no longer know who I was were that the case, because the Lower North Shore had shaped me.  But though my worry grew wings they did not have time to spread.  We landed in Chevery and the world once more shrank. Home again, tears stung my eyes, and my children were with me, my husband.  This was something new in memories which were old, and I'd embrace it.

We were welcomed by old friends and family with lobster and music.  The best sort of hug anyone could ask for.  Guitars, accordion, spoons, foot stomps, and an array of local voices carried us through the night, and my childhood heart reawakened.  It was magic in its real sense, and I silently thanked the Wishing Stone because in truth, it was what brought me home.  The book had granted a wish I hadn't known I'd uttered, and I'm glad it did.

There were a few things about returning to my childhood home after so long which proved hard to swallow. One being that all things change.  While the song of the sea rang the same tune and produced in me the same sense of longing it always had, I witnessed a great change in the land and its climate, and the effects of such difference.  Beaches I'd once walked are now reshaped and unfamiliar, and trees stretch higher in the sky, but it was the flies (Dear Lord), the flies, which were nearly unbearable.  Is it the new heat, or the (sorrowful) lack of bats and dragon flies? I don't know, but they were awful.  This, however horrid, was not the most difficult of changes.  It was seeing older friends up in age who I knew I'd likely not see again, and seeing one friend from my childhood ruined from drink, and nearly unrecognizable. But that, I suppose, is the way of things.

I can't possibly recap the entire trip, as the organizers of the Come Home Year Celebration did a great job of keeping us all quite busy.  But, seeing that this blog is supposed to reflect my writing, I will share with you the news of my Chevery book signing, the Wishing Stone's visit to Harrington Harbour, and my family's reunion with lovely Gull Cliff.

These things I will keep separate from this write-up, as this one has proved personal.  I hope you don't mind. The Wishing Stone's return home, coming up!

Friday, 18 July 2014

The Wishing Stone makes it home TONIGHT!

We've traveled all the way from Grande Prairie, Alberta, but tonight the Wishing Stone will return to its home.  To the town who's history it has been loosely based upon.  Tonight the Wishing Stone will fly to Chevery, Quebec for it's Come Home Year Festival.  There, the book will be reunited with its history, and later visit the island of it's title... Gull  Cliff.

Please keep posted for more!

The Wishing Stone Book Tour: Day 10

We at last made our way back to Quebec's Lower North Shore; first stop Blance Sablon.  We made our way to Middle Bay, making a stop at Bells Amour for mussels (of course).  What a lovely mussel farm!

Though the fog rolled in black on the day of our Middle Bay chapter reading event, we still saw a few brave faces, and sold many books besides!

Thank you to the people of CFBS radio for recording and then airing my reading that night. It generated a lot of interest and positive feedback, which is just what a young and green author like me loves and requires!

I was lucky to have had the opportunity to read and sign out of the Interpretation Center in Middle Bay Quebec.  The building, previously the Middle Bay school, is a treasure, and I'd recommend any who venture that way to take time to stop and visit. The history within is rich, and beautifully displayed. The antiques there, shared by the community, emanate tales from the past, and local folk art inspire.  A definite must see.

Middle Bay proves a place doesn't have to be big and busy to have character.  While the pretty homes here may appear at first glance secretive, once a door opens one soon discovers those inside have opened arms and smiles that shine.  Thank you Middle Bay for embracing the Wishing Stone!

The Wishing Stone Book Tour: Days 8 & 9

Unfortunately, time got faster on this leg of our journey, and we were unable to visit Pictou-Antigonish as we'd originally hoped.  The road stretched ahead and we had to catch two ferries, because the great ambition of the Book Tour was to get the Wishing stone home... and that destination goes by the name of Chevery...

While we could not visit libraries throughout our time
in Nova Scotia, we still had tonnes of fun, and took many snaps as we traveled.

Wishing Stone Book Tour: Day 7

The librarians of the Fredericton Public Library were wonderful hosts during our reading and signing there.
We enjoyed the children's section with its forest of books theme; I even got to read upon a toadstool!  Was very nice seeing a few fellow Coasters turn up for the visit, and just as lovely seeing the Fredericton faces that piled in.  Many children attended the event, and enjoyed crafting paper dolls just like Dot and Sara did in the Wishing Stone and Other Myths.

From Fredericton we made our way to the quaint Regional Library of Cambridge Narrows, where the librarians pampered us with homemade treats and local book talk.  So much volunteer work goes into this library, we were astounded by the many programs as well as variety of literature made available to book lovers.  It was a pleasure meeting new and old friends in New Brunswick, and we all wished we'd had more time available for touring.  Alas, the road called and again we were off, on our way to Nova Scotia...

The Wishing Stone Book Tour: Days 4, 5, 6

The Wishing Stone enjoyed visiting the Coaticook Gorge during our stay in the Eastern Townships of
Quebec.  The heights were exciting as well as breathtaking, the view thrilled, and the caves were damp and enjoyable spooky!  After achieving an adrenaline rush, Wishing Stone capped the day with a giant, Le Place soft ice cream, satisfyingly dipped in chocolate sauce; Oh My.

And nothing but the best for vacationing Wishing
Stone.  Day 5 found the read pacing the greens, golfing in Greenville with friends.

Day 6 brought a farewell BBQ which meant goodbye Quebec, and on to New Brunswick!

Friday, 11 July 2014

Wishing Stone Book Tour: Day 3

Last evening the Wishing Stone visited the North Hatley Public Library and enjoyed a great turn out of kids and adults alike. But receiving good company wasn't the sole joy of the evening. This library is an absolute dream, a gorgeous little abode. I fell in love with the place, and now have ideas for changes in my home back in Alberta.

To a room packed with friendly faces I read the Wishing Stone's first chapter. Once done, I then made my way to a lovely lit fold of the library where I proceeded to sign books upon a fashionable antique settee (so spoiled). While the adults purchased their copies of the Wishing Stone, those children in attendance shared their skill in the art of paper doll making, a great hobby of book characters Dot and Sara.

I'm grateful to all who made their way to the library last evening, and hope the Wishing Stone will be enjoyed by each.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

The Wishing Stone Book Tour: Day 2

After an entire day of travel, chilling by the pool was exactly what we all needed.  The Wishing Stone Book Tour:  Day 2 was one for the family, spent laughing, splashing, and enjoying BBQ treats. The hardest part of this leg in our adventure, however, was convincing the Wishing Stone to keep from the water... 

Tonight we will be visiting the North Hatley Public Library to do a chapter reading.  We will have print editions of the Wishing Stone, make sure to visit for your copy!  Check in tomorrow for more!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Book Tour Day 1: Grande Prairie, AB to Montreal, Quebec

Our Book Tour began with nothing other than a good old Tim Hortons coffee (Mocha to be exact), before heading to the Grande Prairie Airport. Everything ran smoothly, and the service, all around, was great! The Wishing Stone had quite the time...

Our airline of choice was WestJet,  and they were amazing.  Flying us from Grande Prairie to Edmonton, and then from Edmonton to Montreal, they ensured we were safe and comfy... including the Wishing Stone.
We had a great time flying with Westjet, but perhaps the best part about our travels yesterday, was meeting up with fellow MRP authors Jennifer Bogart, Heather Grace Stewart, and Nancy Beattie!  They were so fun to chat and hang out with, and the BBQ was delightful too.  Although the rain poured sheets and thunder and lightening ensued (keeping us from the pool), that didn't stop us from having a wonderful visit!

Bring on Book Tour Day 2...

Monday, 7 July 2014

The Wishing Stone Is Ready To Fly!

We've been packing all day and now we're ready to fly!  On Westjet wings from the Grande Prairie airport we shall depart, and you can follow our journey here, on twitter @authorJMLava #WishingStone, or on  Travel with the Wishing Stone and Other Myths Book Tour, and watch to see where the book will end up next...

Because we haven't picked up our hard copies yet, we've improvised and printed the book's cover to paper.  This sheet will fill in for an original copy until we hit Montreal, but will be pasted into the book we will later donate to Chevery's Netagamiou School. Friends we meet along the way will be invited to sign the paper, and take part in bringing the Wishing Stone home.

Watch the Wishing Stone move through the strides of Canadian travel, and feel free to offer suggestions for it's next pose.

We're off to bed now, to rest our sleepy heads; tomorrow will be a big and busy day (and we can hardly wait).

Sunday, 6 July 2014

The Wishing Stone Book Launch

I've been away some time and apologize.  June did not end up being the laid back, lemonade in the shade kind of a month I'd anticipated.  Instead, it was an exhilarating, nerve wracking, scatter brained month with lots to do while always remembering to be a good Mum first.

But after wrapping things up at school, writing letters until I could barely type my name correctly, and looking busy while my Mum baked tarts and steamed pudding, July 3rd rolled around and it was time to celebrate the release of the Wishing Stone and Other Myths: Learned on Gull Cliff Island.

With the help of my tireless family and friends, we rolled out the red carpet in the form of plywood and guitar strings, and the launch proved fit for an East Coast King.

The first step in any promotional event is to set the stage; and that's exactly what we did.  My brother, Justin Buffitt, alongside my husband, Ross Lavallee, pieced together the prefabricated backdrop they'd built to stand in as a sneak peek inside the Wishing Stone's main setting; Dot's home on Gull Cliff.

We were on a tight schedule, having only an hour and a half of prep time before the event would begin in the Grande Prairie Public Library, so my stress string was taught, but I had good faith in my crew. There were chairs to fold and stack, chairs to position, and food to lay out as well.  But all went without a hitch, and before long, we were making merry to tunes by some Downhome talent. Who rang the twang?  My father, Keith Buffitt, and a close family friend Clint Osborne. They drew a crowd that filled the room and soothed a nerved lady who was wearing checkered black and white.

And so the evening progressed, with two lovely Middle Grade readers greeting guests with two pails (NFLD beef buckets to be exact) filled with 'wishing stones'.  These young girls were dressed as protagonists Dot and Sara, and offered each individual joining the launch a stone for their pocket.  But not before whispering it a wish. I later announced before reading my sample chapter, "...don't count on your stone to grant your wish, however.  Instead, let it be a reminder of that wish, that dream.  Because wishes do come true, as long as we don't forget them."

We enjoyed words from the City of Grande Prairie Councillor, Chris Thiessen, who wished the novel well and spoke of the importance of community and family spirit, and from Penson Principal Jenny McAusland, who reminded all of literature's value, and the importance of keeping it alive.

And then, before returning to tunes which had brought our guests in, I stood before the crowd to speak, and read the first chapter from the Wishing Stone and Other Myths.

I was overjoyed to see people visit who were originally from the East Coast as well as from Alberta.  It was a perfect blend.  Because everyone knows a good book can be enjoyed by anyone, from anywhere, as long as that book can find its way to them.  Thank you Morning Rain Publishing, for allowing me to share Dot and Sara's story with Canada.