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.