Posts filed under ‘books’

Piece by Piece book signings

Piece by Piece.cdr

 

Please note that I have several book events already set up for Piece by Piece

 

April 13th, at Family Home Health Care Centre in Palmerston ON, from 11 am to 3 pm

May 11th, at Tavistock Public Library, Tavistock ON, at 11 am, reading and signing books

And I will be at the Tavistock Fall Fair in September. More news on that one later. All of my books available at this event.

More in planning stages

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March 14, 2019 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

Piece by Piece

Having a new book is very exciting. A lot of work goes in to getting it this far, including years of writing,  then editing, revision and even more editing.

Once the book is about to be released comes the task of letting people about the book and when it’s printed, getting it into other people’s hands. That can be fun or it can be daunting.

My book contains many stories about experiences, both good and challenging or sad. Everyone has those times. I share how it’s been for me.

Go about life as positively as you can. Gather the support of friends who can help you get through the tough times, know who you can lean on. And remember to celebrate the joys and achievements no matter how small. And know that God cares about you in all those circumstances.

 

Piece by Piece Book Cover

My book published by Angel Hope Publishing, Drayton, Ontario. Book events coming up. I’ll list them in a follow-up post.

March 6, 2019 at 1:59 pm Leave a comment

Poetry from a childhood place

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Me as a 6-year-old at home, ready for my first day of school

 

I was thinking on awakening this morning of stories in my first published book—stories of home and among them the poetry that spoke of those places.

We had an attic—which many older houses do—a space at the top of the house where things to go to sit awhile or be stored. For some items, not the best place but out of the way of a busy family and all its related belongings and conundrums.

My sisters and I went up there to play the old phonograph, dress up in old clothes, sort through old school papers that became yellowed and brittle in time in that warm place. Where we could look out to the road and over the fields at our farm. This was a place we retreated to now and then for short periods of time.

The poem came much later as an adult looking back and no longer living there. And now our home belongs to someone else. But in memory, it’s still ours.

 

Attic Playhouse

Under the roof is a playhouse

with its familiar odour of heat and yesterday

leather skates lean against each other

like fallen dominoes

March through December

 

outgrown Sunday shoes wait for the next pair of feet

castoff clothes crammed in a crumbling cardboard box

yellowed notebooks   -lined with ancient scribbles

 

crank the gramophone

inside its heat blistered  black box

 

it warbles a tune

in symphony with buzzing flies

hypnotized by the light of one window

and too dazed to find another exit

 

 

© Carolyn Wilker

published in Once Upon a Sandbox, 2011

 

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My first book, a collection of stories of family and community

February 20, 2019 at 12:27 pm Leave a comment

Writing our stories

My mother once called me the historian of the family and I wasn’t sure why. Was it that I asked more questions about events and people? Was it that I displayed keen interest in the stories of my grandparents? Wherever it began, it has most definitely become true, and that’s one development I’m glad about.

The year of my parents’ 60th anniversary was upon us—2009—and my mother and father wanted to leave a legacy for their family. Mom wasn’t speaking in dollar values  when she shared their wish with us, but of stories and values they’d shared. What would it mean to us after they were gone?

 

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farm home where my siblings and I grew up

Mom had gotten in touch with a writer she knew who was doing family stories for other folks. She engaged the woman to help them get started. The challenge became how to tell the stories. What would be included? What would be left out?

Each of my siblings and I wrote some pieces of what it had meant to us growing up in the country, of where we were at the time in terms of our immediate families and our employment. In the end what my parents shared of their stories, and what we added, is of great value.

 

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The first copy was ready for their anniversary day and more produced later. Sister Kim was the layout specialist and we all agreed she did a wonderful job in arranging the photos with the text. Her layout experience with her day job and a computer program capable of handling graphics and photos was a great asset.

Nine years later, Dad has died and the family has further blossomed with more great grandchildren for Mom and another great granddaughter about to be married this summer. In between those years, I published my memoir, Once Upon a Sandbox, of growing up on a family farm in the 50s and 60s, and then last year, in memory of Dad, Harry’s Trees, my picture book was published, which is not about me, but my Dad’s passion, beyond his family (always very important to both my parents).

 

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https://www.carolynwilker.ca/

July 16, 2018 at 12:52 pm 2 comments

Book Promotions

This season I’ve been busy promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees. When I take those books to places, I’m also taking along several others.

Recognizing the connection between trees and plant nurseries, I decided to contact plant nurseries. Several were glad to be asked and accommodated me and a few other places had already booked sufficient activities to fill their spaces at an extremely busy time of year. Fair enough. I’ll check back in with those later when their pace is a little less harried.

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This little doll will have my book read to her as she grows. And one day she’ll read it herself. At Belgian Nursery, Breslau.

For the nurseries where I did  go, I had a variety of guests come to see me, some I had invited and others who came to the nursery for plants, albeit on a cold May day, and wandered in to see what was happening in the classroom area of the building.

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Invited guests who travelled a distance, and of course my illustrator, Maja, on the left. At Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener.

 

Sheridan Nursery, the first to accept my idea of shared promotion, gave me the space and opportunity to read part of my book to children, including four of my own grandchildren.

It seemed most of the children, if given a preference, liked the spring and summer seasons best, but a few liked the colours of fall as well. Maybe it’s that they could be outdoors then.

All children coming to my table with their parents get a colouring sheet to decorate in their favourite season, but only the first location provided opportunity for hearing part of the story.

 

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I was glad I had brought along markers so these two girls could colour their tree picture while their mom shopped.

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See the birds flying to and from the tree? And the new leaves sprouting on the tree?

 

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Another young reader in the making. For now, it’s the colours in the book and this little one already loves trees and the out of doors.

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And long-time friends (since 4-H days) coming to celebrate with me and taking pictures for me.

Sheridan offered opportunity on Earth Day weekend for advance promotion of my book, Harry’s Trees. As my calendar was already filled, Judy, a friend of mine, was willing to read my book at the event. She reported some interesting conversations, especially one with a girl who was interested in the art in my book.

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And Amanda, my helper at two of my events thus far. Thank you.

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Thank you, Amanda, for taking such a great photo for me. You’ll see this one on my new website very soon.

Belgian Nursery generously provided maze pens that I could give out to people, especially children, coming to my table. There were engaging conversations and people admiring Maja’s art in my book and getting to choose a bookmark, hand stamped or decorative ones created by my illustrator. And a colouring page too. One of the employees told me that the children were delighted with the page to take home.

 

Then there was the turtle pond and the fish pond at St. Jacob’s Country Gardens and Plant Nursery.

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And the fish pond with a small waterfall too, because they also have a pond specialist.

 

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And here I was stationed between the two. It’s a lovely place to sit and chat with people.

Thus goes my book promotion for this spring. I’ve been offered the opportunity to return to this third place as often as I wish, and I will take them up on the offer.

Thank you all who came or helped, and for purchasing a book. I hope you will enjoy reading it to your children or just to share with others who you know.

May the children who hear the story come to understand the value of trees to humans and nature. When they do, I know my father would be smiling because he loved them too.

 

 

 

May 14, 2018 at 1:12 am 2 comments

Garden in Bloom and More

After what seemed like a long cold winter, then a late ice storm here in Ontario, our gardens are erupting with colour.  First the narcissus, then the hyacinths. It seemed like they were patiently waiting for the snow and ice to disappear. The stems were up and the blossoms ready to open when the sun warmed the air. Spring has finally arrived.

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My garden stone, made at a women’s retreat, is back in place for the season

My granddaughters wait to set up the fairy garden again. We need to wait for some of the plants to emerge to give the fairies shade when they make their appearance. This year when we plant, we’ll have a new addition to the gardeners when another small one gets to help with planting. She’ll have her own fairy too, of course. Guess she’ll need a shovel as well, for digging holes.

 

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fairy home last year

 

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Our snow shovels still out last week when my husband put up the window box

 

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I love the yellow daffodils in spring. They bring such a burst of colour. Then the little grape hyacinths around them give a purple backdrop.

 

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And now the tulips are opening too. Such a riot of colour

 

These past few weeks, I’ve been busy writing content for my new website. Things are shifting and so is my blog, Storygal, back here at WordPress. The posts at my current site are backed up and may appear at this site from time to time. The new website will be launched soon. I’ll announce when it’s ready.

Meanwhile, I’ve been promoting my picture book, Harry’s Trees, at local plant nurseries. Tomorrow at the St Jacobs Country Gardens and Plant Nursery. I launched the general market version last fall after initially starting the story as a family project after my father died in May 2011, two years ago today, as I write.

 

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

Harry’s Trees, a children’s picture book dedicated to my father

My garden beds are dug up and raked, ready for the plants. After my book event this weekend, I’ll purchase plants. I have a date with three granddaughters to help me plant. First will come a conversation with the two oldest about what we’ll grow this year. Perhaps there’ll be a request for something new.

Enjoy the spring weather and don’t plant those annuals too soon. They don’t like frost.

 

May 11, 2018 at 3:33 pm Leave a comment

Harry’s Trees, the picture book

 

Carolyn's Book Front Cover layout

 

Nearly two years ago at my  father’s funeral service, I looked around at all the preschoolers in our family and realized, though they’d been here this day, most of them wouldn’t remember their great grandfather and what was important to him. Family was topmost, but there was another significant interest in his life, as an individual, as a father and grandfather and farmer, and that was his care and concern for environment and his respect for what trees mean to us. They provide fruit, shade, they hold the soil together and they put oxygen into the air we breathe.  And they’re beautiful to look at when they’re full of blossoms in spring and as the leaves open. I love to watch that process too.

As a young boy, he’d climbed many of the trees on his parents’ farm—the farm that he would manage one day with our mother. There are more stories than I can share here in one post, but one I will share. When one of our black walnut trees was struck by lightning, it had to be cut down. Using his skills and tools, he used wood from that tree and lined a space in the kitchen wall as a china cabinet for some of Mom’s special plates and dishes and anything else worthy of showing off. That space is still there though the farm has been sold.

Back to the funeral day and my thoughts. That following week, I began to write a story for those small children. I didn’t know how it would evolve, but it did. It went through many versions and I submitted it to my critique groups, both the Revision group online with The Word Guild and my face-to-face group. I received so much helpful guidance for my revision. I named the book after my Dad and called it Harry’s Trees.

When my story neared completion, I got in touch with a young woman I’d met at a writer’s event. She was a trained artist and she was definitely interested in illustrating my book. The process took several months. In early January 2017, I had a book to distribute to my family. Then, of course, several friends who saw it wanted one too, and cousins and people outside that circle too.

With great thought, I decided to put out a general market version. The story and the art are the same, but the dedication is slightly different. and I had some help with the packaging by Angel Hope Publishing in Drayton, Ontario. In this version, my artist and I would be featured on the back cover, as on any picture book.

I had help promoting it by a journalist, Helen Lammers-Helps who wrote about it in Ontario Farmer and Oxford Review. But also the Tavistock Gazette, our hometown weekly editor who got first chance at spreading the news.

In June, when I received that shipment of books, I thought my heart would burst with happiness. (The first order was emotional.) There also rested some recognition of my father and respect for what he had taught us, and many memories. And a bit more grief too. But it was good grief and honouring.

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As of this month, three plant nurseries in Waterloo Region have welcomed my promotional efforts of Harry’s Trees in their location and willing to host a book signing there. I’ll be at Sheridan Nursery, Kitchener location, this Saturday, April 28th, from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm. Two more events will follow on Saturday, May 5th and Saturday, May 12th and I hope several more. For spring is a time of growth and renewal.

My book was also a feature of Earth Day events at Sheridan Kitchener this past weekend. My friend Judy read the book as part of those events since I was already committed elsewhere.

So, Dad, if you’re checking on us, know that what you taught us has had great effect and  is going out to many other readers beyond your family. In your humble way, you would not have asked for recognition, but it’s there all the same.

 

 

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April 25, 2018 at 12:26 am Leave a comment

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