Launches and Marketing Hoops

I feel like my brain has been doing gymnastics. I am preparing for a couple of launches for Mother Nature’s Kiss and the panic is setting in with the hope that all will come together in time. So many moving parts are keeping me up at night. I know I’ll just (hopefully) relax and have fun when I finally share my new book with you!

Today, I created a freestanding banner and bookmarks from Vistaprint. Boy, that service is amazing! They are right there, at the end of the phone, with excellent customer service if you need it, and I am always pleasantly surprised by their great products.

If you have ever used them, you will know how many products they have available. It’s hard to stop when there are puzzles, tote bags, pillows, shirts, lip gloss – really??? – that you can have printed with your design.

Oh, the lipgloss was a hard one to pass up… Mother Nature’s Kiss – a natural, right?

Well, I resisted. I’ll make some sales and then…

I have been working with two major venues for my launches: McNally Robinson in Winnipeg, and FireRock Golf and Country Club in Fountain Hills, AZ. They are both so wonderful to deal with. I will be in the Travel Alcove (fitting, since the story is about a journey) at McNally Robinson and on the event lawn (complete with hanging twinkle lights and star cookies!) at FireRock.

I am blessed with a treasure of dear friends at both locations and can’t wait to share my book with you.

So mark your calendars!

April 2nd at 7:30, I’ll be in Winnipeg at McNally Robinson. https://www.mcnallyrobinson.com/event-17137/Lisa-G.-Shore—-Book-Launch/#.XH3V3VNKjOQ

May 1st at 7:00, I’ll be at FireRock CC.

I’m thinking of reading the book to music. Tracey Chattaway has a piece called Light the Night from her Nightsky album that is enchanting and I hope to figure out the timing so that I will be able to have her accompany me. Please check out her amazing music here. https://traceychattaway.bandcamp.com/album/nightsky

The book was ready to go in October but I had a couple of changes made, including a wonderful quote from a review. Now I hope the new books will reach me in time! That’s what is really keeping me up! As it is a story about a warm, starry night, I thought it would be fitting to hold the launches in the Spring when thoughts are turning to warmer weather.

Readers’ Favourite has awarded me 5 Stars and has overwhelmed me with a great review. I am so humbled by a complete stranger who loved my book and raved about it. I am so excited to have the 5 Star seal printed on the cover and an excerpt from the review printed inside! I was so frustrated when it was taking so long to do a couple of simple changes. When the review came in a couple of weeks ago, I thought I’d have the publisher add the excerpt and the 5 Star seal since they were fussing with it anyway. Everything happens for a reason! 🙂

You can read the review here. https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/mother-natures-kiss

Well, that’s about it for now. I have to get this tired brain to bed. Working on the launches has felt like launching through hoops but it is always fun.

I hope you will consider joining me at one of my events. I would love to see you there. Please bring your family and friends. This is all about a common love for a warm summer night and a sky full of stars.

“Inspired by true events, this dreamy bedtime story will change how we look at the summer night sky forever. Whisking us into the heart of the universe, the curious twinkle light unites us all with a wink and a kiss.”

Sweet dreams, dear ones.

Hold Onto Summer!!

I don’t know about you, but it feels like we never had much of an autumn. All of a sudden, snowflakes were flying! As Thanksgiving approaches, I would love to share the feelings, the love and the memories of summer.

Remember those soft, warm nights with a sky filled with stars? Or the touch of a silky evening wind on your face? How about the dazzling blinking of a firefly or the sparks from a bonfire? How many new friends did you meet? Were you ever lulled to sleep on a boat? Weren’t the sunsets amazing, and those Northern lights? How many times have we looked up to the night sky and marveled at the depth and beauty of the universe?

Well, Friends, my new book which is a bedtime story, Mother Nature’s Kiss, has all that and more! As our summer of 2018 closes, we can still grab those special moments. This book is for anyone who loves to look out onto a body of water and dream. The relaxation of letting your mind drift as you look out – no matter where I am – it is my happy place.

I wrote and illustrated Mother Nature’s Kiss with little ones in mind. It is a bedtime story that gently guides your imagination across a lake and into the possibilities of a twinkling night sky. We meet a firefly, a sleepy family on a boat, campfire kids, new friends, a lonely alien, a fanciful angel and, finally, Mother Nature! We feel the breath of a warm evening wind, silky across our cheek and the wisp of the magic of a good bedtime story.

Hold onto summer, with all the charm and memories of a warm, starlit evening. I invite you to a sneak peek at the images in Mother Nature’s Kiss.

 

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Coming soon to Amazon and a bookstore near you!

Warm wishes for a lovely Thanksgiving. xoxo

Gifts for the Irish

When an author, artist or musician sets out to create, it is usually a personal expression of something they hope to viscerally touch the masses. Because the end product is a personal expression, one can’t expect it to be understood by everyone, but hopefully, the impact intended will move many in one way or another.

I have friends who are artists and they pour themselves through their media, making themselves vulnerable to the expectations and judgments of the masses. Some like, some love, some don’t get it. That’s ok. It’s expected.

Recently, I went to Ireland and at the last minute, I threw some of my books, Gifts of the Crysnix, into my suitcase. I hoped that of all people, the Irish would “get” the story. Centered around a small seaside town, the story could be set anywhere in the world, and that is what I intended. I wanted it to be personal to many but to the Irish, I wanted it to be viscerally owned.

On our travels around the Ring of Kerry, we went by the beautiful town of Kells and its small cove. I turned to my husband and said it could be Galvin Cove! He smiled and nodded. With its cluster of houses overlooking the sea and the amazing Blasket Islands in the distance, this was the kind of place I envisioned as the setting for the book.

Emboldened by this, I took a few books under my arm and went looking for small bookshops to see if they would be interested in selling  Gifts of the Crysnix. To my happy amazement, I was well received.

In Dingle, there is a small bookshop called An Cafe Liteartha, which was my first success. It is an ancient (by our standards) shop where you can buy a book in the front and have a small meal in the cafe at the back and crack your new purchase. The place is tiny, homey and bursting with charm. The manager was so excited about my book, she immediately wrapped it in cellophane and displayed it in the front window! How fun for me to see it there as I walked on.

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The adorable gift and bookstore, Sweet Pea just drew me in! On a quaint corner in Dingle, it offers beautiful treats for the home and person. Jewellery, candles, books and gifts are displayed in the little shop that just brims with personality. I was so honoured to have my book welcomed there!

 

 

In Dublin, two gorgeous bookshops are now home to my book. True to the historical beauty of the storefronts in the Emerald Isle, Books Upstairs and Jewels and Gems can be found in age-old architecture. Books Upstairs is nestled in the heart of Dublin and has seen hundreds of years of history played out on its front street.

Jewels and Gems is a sparkly store offering jewellery, gifts, books and wait for it – chandeliers! My book’s front cover looked pretty nice in there.

There is a very special place called Moy House. It is a boutique hotel near Lahinch that boasts an amazing history, a view to die for, hospitality, service and food to make you think you have died and gone to heaven! Along with the many, many touches of old world charm, there is a library. I couldn’t help wanting to donate a book to it.

I am so happy that I have shared my story with a bit of Ireland. What a gift! It is a story of endurance, faith, honour, courage and being true to yourself to bring about your best life. Very much like the history of Ireland and all that the Irish people have endured.

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It may not appeal to some, but I think it is enjoyed by those who like a bit of charm and magic to help us on our way. I wrote it from the heart. After all, I am Irish. The town of Galvin Cove is named after my family name, Galvin. It is a fictitious place but hopefully will feel like home to all who read the book.

Cheers and Slainte (good health) to all. xoxo

P.S. Christmas is coming! How about purchasing Gifts of the Crysnix for the young dreamer in your life? Check it out HERE and HERE.

Connie and Lily’s Book Club

My book, Gifts of the Crysnix, is for people with big imaginations and big hearts. It is for people who feel compelled to root for a fallen champion and feel compassion for a lost soul. One who is in search for greater ideals and who is always willing to learn more about themself and be a better person can identify with the life-lessons that are gently persuaded from the pages.

When I wrote the book I targeted the message to young people at the brink of adulthood. I thought that reading a book with new heroes who are just trying to figure out the labyrinth of life would appeal to them. Although I have appreciated positive kudos from all ages, I had the immense pleasure of meeting six young ladies who I really wrote the book for. I was the guest author at a mother/daughter book club and got to meet my target audience up close and personal.

 

I have to admit, I was a little nervous because it was the first time I would have honest feedback from several people at once. You just never know how something like that will turn out! The girls were very organized with their questions and critiques. Exploring the origins of my inspiration and the depths of my research, we had a lively and spirited discussion. I was so impressed by the maturity of these 11-year-old girls and the intelligence of their questions and comments. All in all, the book passed with flying colours and I didn’t have to slink out of the room with my tail between my legs.

My young target audience is a group of people with literally the weight of the world on their shoulders. They are our leaders of tomorrow and they have a lot on their plates. I appreciate the steep learning curve they are on. The primary reason why I wrote the book is to remind the reader to fight the fear that holds them back, to advocate their moral compass and to realize that by just being your true self is enough to gain respect. I dreamed up the Crysnix to personify our inner voice. We all have to listen to it because somehow it knows the future and is always right.

If I can share a little wisdom to our future leaders, it is to trust our instincts, believe in ourselves and dig deep to create and live our best lives. These are heavy lessons and I used a beautiful world of fantasy and imagery to get the point across.

 

Thank you to Connie and Lily for an evening I will never forget. Thank you to all the girls and moms who were there that night. I absolutely loved the interaction! It was a real thrill for me to sign the books to the girls after they read it with them exclaiming to each other in the background about how much they loved it!

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What a treat for an author. For all those countless hours I spent conjuring up the story alone in front of my computer with only my imagination and hope for company, this night was a wish come true.

To see a video of me reading the Prologue set to the beautiful music of Thomas Newman, please click here

 

The View

On the back page of my book, my Bio mentions that I found my inspiration in the forest around my family island home. I have found a lot of inspiration in that forest and this summer I had the wonderful opportunity to go back and take a walk along the trails of my childhood.

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You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way. Walter Hagen

The occasion was the wedding of my son, whose marriage took place on an island on the lake where he grew up. We all grew up there, all six generations of my family, and it was the perfect excuse to go back.

The old “camp” has been renovated almost beyond recognition and the changes made were beautiful ones. However, the living room and a couple of bedrooms were the same and I inhaled deeply as I walked through the scents of six generations hidden in the fir walls. The verandah was gone. It was cool in every sense of the word. We would sit out there on a hot day shaded from the sun and on a warm evening, we could rock on ancient rocking chairs and look out at the view that seemed to go on forever. It was very cool, indeed.

We do not remember days, we remember moments. Cesare Pavese

The view is mesmerizing. Like a close friend, it was always there. I can’t count the times I would look out and feel a sense of calm overtake me. It wouldn’t matter if I was a small child crying from a bee sting, a hostess of many enjoying a large party, rocking a baby to sleep or quietly playing cards at night with my mother. Whenever I looked out, it was my happy place.

Walking through the camp, things definitely looked different but I would catch myself looking out at the view and the trees and the hill and be struck again and again at how little things had really changed. Fifty-five years separate these two pictures.

Life is very different for me now. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done when I walked down the hill for the last time. Now, years later, I walked up the hill again and marveled at the fortunes of time, how they twist us and turn our lives around. So excruciating at the time, we grit our teeth and endure only to find that life turns out for the better.

We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. E. M. Forster

The memory of the view will be with me forever. Although it pains me that I can’t see it readily, I have it in the picture of my mind always. It’s like the view we have of our life. We can pine for what we do not have or hold our head up and look out to the new opportunities that are around the next corner.

This week, I am incorporating a publishing company. Years ago, when I began writing for children, I was inspired by the beauty of the forest on Treaty Island. Why not name the company Treaty Island Publishing Ltd.? It’s appropriate, right?

Below, I have shared a couple of poems about the camp. Hold On To the Past was written while I still lived there every summer with my small family. Now, the words are bittersweet as I watched my daughter mother the sixth generation of our family. It is about holding on to the memories in our hearts.

I think Night Light will be a bedtime story very soon. I wrote it one night as I was looking out from my bed. It was the light of a new cabin across the lake belonging to friends I hadn’t met yet.

Night Light Lake view

Enjoy.

Night Light was recently showcased by Scriggler. You can read it here .

Hold On To the Past

 

A certain realm of comfort comes when living in this place.

Everywhere I turn, I can see my mother’s face.

Her decorating touches, nestled in the corners last

And I feel a reassurance when I

Hold on to the past.

 

My father’s vibrant voice still booms through the rafters.

I still can hear the residue of tinkling sibling laughter.

We were so young, all of us. The future seemed so vast.

Much too soon, all I could do was

Hold on to the past.

 

The memories in the pillows, bathtub, garden, pots and pans,

Mom’s favourite chair, playing gin at night — now I can see her hands

As I hold my cards or hold my child. Traditions have been cast.

I mother generation five as I

Hold on to the past.

 

The view, the hill, the summer breeze, the deer eating the flowers,

The bears, the storms — and more — create the Camp’s compelling powers.

The cool lake consumes me with a daily bracing blast,

When reaching deep into the green, I

Hold on to the past.

 

The feel of cool dew on my feet, or thigh-burn on the hill,

The sound of loons or smell of pine are what makes time stand still.

Gentle waves in rhythm tap a halyard on a mast.

Sensations of the ages help me

Hold on to the past.

 

A silent pang of sadness comes. I take it all in stride

And think of those who lived here once and swallow tears of pride.

We mark our time in summers as our lives slip by so fast

And measure our heights on the wall and

Hold on to the past.

 

Thanks for reading. Remember, life is all about the view. Cheers.

The Winnipeg Launch

Hello, Winnipeg! Welcome to my launch!

Lisa Book Launch  05McNally Robinson Booksellers … (cue dramatic music …) a mecca for any prairie author to give a reading and launch.

It is one of the most beautiful and HUGE independent bookstores that still remains in North America and is the largest in Canada. You can just feel the unique touches as you walk in – the children’s section built like a treehouse, complete with a full line of clothing and soft toys, the fabulous Prairie Ink Restaurant and the photos celebrating hometown authors adorning the walls like a frieze of accolades. This is a special place and I was so honoured to have my launch there recently.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a scene from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again! That expression was so false when I looked out at the many faces of the people who took time out of a beautiful summer evening to attend my launch.

Family, friends from my school days and friends of my parents, dear friends I can never see enough of and old friends I haven’t seen in years, all came to support me. I can’t thank them enough for their love and “being there” for me.

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My dear friend, Patty Christie introduced me. To give you the level of the bar of the people there, she came and stood at the podium to introduce me after a hip replacement two weeks before! Man, I have good friends!

 

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My best friend from high school, Ali Hanks came by and her husband, Bruce, (and by the way a huge shout out to all the husbands who attended!) took these pictures. Thanks so much, Bruce!

 

My readings were set to the music of Thomas Newman, lowland and Hans Zimmer. Quite an accompaniment! If you would like to hear the music again you can click here , here and here . The first selection was the Prologue and you can read along to the music for fun. It is very dreamy and dramatic and you just feel swept away into another world. I love reading to music and plan to create YouTube videos of me reading to these selections and more.

As I signed books and chatted with old friends, I felt so grateful for the reconnection to Winnipeg. True to the Crysnix magic, the whole evening’s success was a wish come true.

I just heard from John Toews, who is the Events Coordinator, that my book reached #1 that week! 

Here is a video I pulled together. Honestly, I need a resident high school kid to help me with this stuff! Just another reason why I miss my kids. Many thanks to my son, Lee for his amazing help through the evening and to him and his fiancee, Emily for putting me up and putting up with me! 🙂

A video of the evening and much love to all. xoxox

My New Fan

The students file into the library and I smile at the eager faces. I am at my old neighbourhood school and I marvel at how time has passed so quickly since my kids were attending Robert H. Smith School.

The familiar brick walls and corridors call out to my memories of when I was one of the moms who was a permanent fixture, helping out when and wherever I could just to get a glimpse of my kids during their school day.

This is from the letter I sent to the principal, to introduce myself:

I grew up in River Heights and brought up my family there. My three children went through Robert H. Smith in the ’80’s and I was very involved with the school. At the time, I had a video production company and I created a video about the building of the new school and the historic accolades of the original. It was a great fundraising project but also became a testament to the legacy of the presence of the school in the community.

Although I now live in Calgary, my son still lives in River Heights. When I visit him, I love how the memories flood in as I drive by the school. Memories of a very happy time in my life as I raised my young children as part of a loving and thriving community.

My book, “Gifts of the Crysnix”, is about a small community and the people trying to live with purpose. It is about choices and making the right ones to better their lives. Targeted to your middle-grade students, it promotes the message that they have tremendous power over their lives

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by trusting their instincts and believing in themselves. This is the gist of my presentation to them. I will talk about life choices, the science behind a wish and also the components of creating a good story. 

My presentation went well and I was thrilled to have the kids line up to buy the book. There were so many, I was struggling to come up with original notes to write alongside my signature!

As I was leaving, I realized I didn’t have a picture of the school. The children were all streaming out of the school, on their way home for the day. I asked one of the boys who bought my book if he would mind taking a picture of me. I asked his name and Daniel smiled and took this great picture of me. IMG_2001Thanks, Daniel!

I was loading my things into my car as Daniel and his mom came running up to me. Daniel’s mom asked if she could take a picture of Daniel and me. I was so touched.

After, as he was running back to his mom’s car, Daniel called out to me, “I’m your new fan!”

Wow, what a high point of the day! When I think of the years it took me to have the guts to publish this book, I wonder – honestly, why did it take me so long?

Old School

With a couple of weeks to go before school lets out for the summer, the students at Balmoral Hall School must have thought I was crazy when I exclaimed how GREAT it was to be back!IMG_2012

But, really, it was.

I began in Kindergarten and left in Grade 7. The memories are rich and textured and, although the school has changed quite a bit with brilliant new wings and lofty ceilings,

 

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the exterior of the old school is still there and the memories are visceral as I remember how it felt to push out the heavy doors and run down the stairs to the playground.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2007 I was struck by the feeling of belonging as I noticed the beautiful, bronze plaque from a capital campaign years ago, and chuckled at my name engraved on it. I felt proud of the connection

 

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My presentation in the beautiful Sifton Theatre Auditorium went off without a hitch as I reminded the girls to believe in themselves and to fight the fear that holds them back from living their best lives.

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After, I really enjoyed meeting the girls and hearing their DSC00675.JPGdreams of being a writer. There was zero doubt in my mind they would go places and have a significant impact on the world.

DSC00674It was an honour to put a note in a beautiful writing journal.

 

 

 

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I stood under the pictures of the Head Mistresses who were there so many years ago with me. There have been five more Heads of School since and I felt like I entered a time warp.

There is nothing left of the old senior school as I signed in at the new entrance. Complete with a buzz-in system and guard at the front, I wondered, what has the world has come to? as I clipped on my visitor tag.

 

Gone are the days when I used my crutches with my broken leg in Grade 1 and won at “Mother, My I?” under the glass passage. The old swing sets are gone and with them the original and all engrossing pastime of swing tag. The kilts are still there, though, and the prefects and Closing Exercises, and I am convinced the facilities, ethics and dedication toward our leaders of tomorrow are new and improved.

As I walked to my car, I glanced at the old Junior School. Still the tindlestone brick and the many windows we all looked out of, almost every day of our formative years. I paused and looked at one window in particular and a hilarious memory flooded in of when a schoolmate climbed out of it, causing quite a stir as she inched along the outside of the building and climbed in the next one. I remember telling my mom about it and she just laughed along with me. She was definitely NOT old school.

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Many thanks to Balmoral Hall for the warm welcome and the warmest of new memories. There is something definitely intriguing about going back … to the place of your foundation and the seat of your ideals and values and friendships and aspirations … to your old school.

My Hometown

 

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Sweeping, swamping memories flood in as I drive around the old, familiar streets. Anyone who knows River Heights understands when I say how the cavernous, verdant arches of the tree-lined streets whisper, “Welcome home, welcome home.”

I can’t help but drive by my old homes as my son now lives on my old street and as I go to visit friends, they live on another old street and as I drove into town and went to the car wash, I couldn’t help drive by another as it was on the way. Seeing the places where I once lived tugs at my heart as I remember the visceral details of switching on certain favourite light fixtures, the feel of opening a window in the spring or the heft of opening a front door, all insignificant at the time. All were just moments and motions in an ever-changing life that always moved too fast. Moments and motions that were torn and shoved into memory as life abruptly moved on. Now, as life is a little calmer and I am much more at peace with all the loss and change, I look at my old homes, not with sad nostalgia, but a reverence for the pace and resilience I developed in those years.

Winnipeg has a way of drawing old friends together as we all lived up or down the streets from each other. We have generations of tales of antics down the back lanes. “We trudged to school in minus 30 degrees up and downhill both ways…” was the joke of our parents and we laughed at the part about being in the hills, not about the temperature that earned Winterpeg its nickname. Close to the longitudinal centre of Canada and also on the pancake flat prairies, I actually have a lot of respect for anyone who can drive decently in snow. We played and grew and loved and lived in an urban forest and never realised how incredibly special the quality of air is from all those trees. Years ago an out-of-town  friend said Fess up – there are only five streets in Winnipeg and you have lived on all five! Pretty much.

My hometown is a place of constancy. Not a large city, it boasts beautiful women, bountiful nearby lakes, and culture to rival anywhere. The fans of the Winnipeg Jets are renown for their loyalty and that love and devotion just spills over into lifelong friendships.

I am here to share my book, Gifts of the Crysnix. This is big for me! It will be so poignant for me to look into the eyes of old friends and read my words – my heart – to them. I have chosen the biggest, most beautiful bookstore in town and it thrills me to think I will finally be launching at McNally Robinson Booksellers. If you would like to read more about it go here.

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A blurb about me from McNally Robinson was in the Winnipeg Free Press weekend edition. Out of the blue, I heard from an old friend, actually, someone I was never really close to but knew many years ago. She took the time to track me down through my website and say hello. It was so great to hear from her as she congratulated me and promised to read my book. An acquaintance from the past, in this harried, busy life, made the time to send me a lovely note. That is the kind of quality of people who live in my hometown.

I am so proud to be back in Winnipeg.