Archives for category: Book Events

 Here’s an event to stimulate finding about your old roots in the British Isles.
“Walk in for online registration to join in the 23rd Annual British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa’s Family History Conference. It starts at 5 p.m. on Sept. 29 at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa and runs until Sunday, Sept. 31 at 3:30 p.m. Simply drop by 501 Centrepointe Drive, Nepean, Ottawa to register and pay.
The  conference brochure describes program details and rates and says, “Come for one or two seminars, one day, two days – or all three days.
“Learn about English and Welsh family history and genealogy research methodology. Read about our speakers, seminars, lectures, and activities.
Browse, shop, and chat with vendors in our Marketplace that is open to the public with no admission fee.”
I’m proud to take part as a vendor and will be launching a new editing service especially for writers of family history manuscripts who have submitted them to traditional publishers but been rejected.

BIFHSGO is a wonderful network with over 600 members from all over. I’m looking forward to chatting with many congenial people and hope to see you among them. I’ll be there from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sunday.
http://www.margaretvirany.com  www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

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Public domain image of a page from The Book of Kells, courtesy of Wikipedia.

1. My father John Ambrose Campbell Kell once introduced himself to a stranger who asked if he was an aborted Irishman. The aborted (cut off) part is true. The name is more often a prefix than a surname.

2. Sixty-eight variations of the name are recorded in Cowlitz County, WA, US and the province of Ontario, Canada alone:
Kellaby, Kellachan, Kellackey, Kellahan, Kellam, Kellamaki, Kelland, Kellar, Kellard, Kellas, Kellatt, Kellawag, Kellawan, Kellaway, Kellebrew, Kelleby, Kelledjian, Kellers, Kellen, Kellenburg, Kellendonk, Kellep, Keller, Kellerher, Kellerhouse, Kellerman, Kellers, Kellery, Kelles, Kellesis, Kellessis, Kellestiine, Kellet, Kelleway, Kellewill, Kelley, Kellefeltz, Kellia, Kellie, Kellegan, Kellicutt, Kelliher, Kelling, Kellingbek, Kellinger, Kellington, Kellins, Kellio, Kellip, Kellison, Kellman, Kellner, Kello, Kellock, Kellogg, Kellond, Kellop, Kellough, Kellow, Kelloway, Kellows, Kellroy, Kells, Kellsey, Kellum, Kellway, Kelly, Kellys

3. It is not true every Kell is an Irishman, in spite of the famous relic at the University of Dublin, The Book of Kells. It is not the name of an Irish clan or tribe.

4. The Kell prefix comes from the Greek word, keltoi, which means Kelt or Celt. They were the “barbarians” (according to the Greeks) populating the land north of the Mediterranean Sea in ancient times.

5. Here are dictionary and encyclopedia meanings and etymology for “kell”:
English: The caul. That which covers or envelopes, like a caul; a net; a fold; a film. The cocoon or chrysalis of an insect. A kiln, kale, spring or river, trowel
Norse: a cauldron or kettle
Breton and Cornish (from Latin): testicle, cell of a prisoner or monk
Estonian (from Swedish): clock, bell
Hungarian: to be necessary, need to, must, be obligatory

6. Kells is a place name in the Rhineland of Germany and Ireland. As an Anglo Saxon surname it was first found in the county of Hampshire and then a hamlet in north Yorkshire, England. My father’s great grandfather came from there.

7. Second cousins of mine have done a great job on the family genealogy and farms. More research is on the way. A Farming Life (Life Stories — Memoir Writing) by William J. Kell and Farms of Innisfil (Innisfil Heritage Society) edited by William M. Kell are excellent resources. They recount the lives of the descendants of William and Mary Kell from Yorkshire who emigrated to Yonge Street, Ontario, north of Toronto, in 1850.

8. At our annual family reunion, co-president Dr. John Kell wore a “Book of Kells” T shirt. It is our rallying cry. It is the 9th century manuscript which preserves the elements of Western culture from architecture to zoology and has been the pride of Ireland since it was found buried in the mud there without its gold cover in 1868.

To sort out my identity and write about my parents I grabbed the whole bag of clues and ran with it. My family is a people whose achievements were illuminated and buried by a community of monks and who miraculously sprang up and became famous centuries later.

A trowel symbolizes the digging up of our book. Our strong Protestant faith protected us, like a caul or cocoon. The cell and testicle imagery represent the fertility of great uncle William who produced seven sons to continue the name. We work hard, aware that the clock is clicking and the bells will toll. My Hungarian husband was attracted to me because, in one of his native tongues, my name meant “I have to have Margaret”.

An upcoming event is the 23rd Annual BIFHSGO Family History Conference, September 29 – October 1 at Ben Franklin Place, 101 Centrepointe Drive, Ottawa, featuring England & Wales & Research Methodology. A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and I will be at the book table. We’re eager to share our communal story and interested in learning how other family scribes record their past.

Happy Reading, Writing & Family Story Telling from Cozybookbasics!

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaret virany  www.margaretvirany.com  www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com

margwrong

Authors often bemoan their lack of marketing ability. If you do go out to sell your books, just don’t act like a bumbling disoriented fool like me in this pic. I had a bad first hour at the Byward Market in Ottawa. Once I sat down behind the bright red tablecloth, arranged my most attractive wares, smiled and pivoted my head so I was ready for all comers, I had five hours of fun, sociability and sales. Here’s my advice to help  you get off to a faster start than I did:

  • Don’t be shy.
  • Don’t climb out of your booth.
  • Don’t look at your feet.
  • Don’t put your hand in your pocket
  • Don’t let your hat slide down over your eyes.
  • Don’t pose like a peddler of religious propaganda.
  • Don’t look in the other direction if someone is approaching.
  • Don’t just sit, making phone calls and looking as if you didn’t care if nothing happened either.

I’ll be back selling my three books A Book of Kells, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church at the Byward Market Tuesday, Aug. 2 and Wednesday, Aug.3 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and would be delighted to see you if you can drop by!

Happy Reading, Writing & Selling from Cozybookbasics

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany http://www.margaretvirany.com http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com

Prospects for selling my book at the Byward Market in Ottawa when I arrived at 10 a.m. Wednesday looked as dim as the thunderstorm forecast. Still, I bet myself I could sell enough copies (five) in the next six hours to buy tickets for a big treat. I defied the skies to clear in time for a picnic with our granddaughters and their parents before watching the preview performance of theater under the stars on the banks of the Rideau River that night. mmarket.jpgWork crews carrying partitions, shopkeepers rushing with arms full to set up for the day, twosomes and threesomes speaking languages other than English brushed past. Where were my buyers?

  • The atmosphere enlivened at lunch time, with music and dancing in the adjacent square attracting a noisy, lively crowd. A quarrel between someone not quite in his right senses and a big truck disrupted the self improvement, creative atmosphere I was trying to inject.
  • A dreary-eyed, homeless man with his bundles and bags slouched up against the bricks, heritage plaque and sesquicentennial posters on the market building facing me. Where were my readers?

It was discouraging and my devoted hubby of 61 years decided I was crazy and he might as well abandon ship and go home.  While he hesitated, I was ready with my elevator pitch to summarize my book in two sentences.

  • Anyone drawn to the table for a closer look at my framed newspaper article headlined “Call of Love in the Wilderness” got it. An old toothless man mesmerized by a 1904 picture of my mother as a child in a sailor outfit stayed because he wanted to hear her full story.
  • With a cheery “Hi Margaret!” up strode author Stevie Szabad, eager to buy two of my books and pick up advice from someone she perceived as having accomplished things she wanted to do. We plotted to sell together at the Galeries Aylmer Christmas market. 

Hubby stayed when I reminded him I was there to get my parents’ exemplary story out, not just sell the product. A take-out lunch of chicken sandwiches and smoothies fortified us both. 

  • Then a ray of sunshine, a tourist from Vancouver, suddenly appeared. He wanted to know more about why I called my book “A Book of Kells” and gave me advice on genealogy. He bought a signed copy as a gift and souvenir of Canada’s 150th.
  • A particularly friendly face came to the table confidently and I was able to engage her in conversation. For the next twenty minutes Tom and I found we had much to share with her and vice versa. Gale O’Brien is a lovely, avid reader who lives in Britannia by the Ottawa river. She now owns one copy of A Book of Kells and one of  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride which I hope she will enjoy reading.
  • When Kelly Buell turned up because she had been following me online, Tom was getting the car because it was 4 p.m., time for us to pack up. Kelly and I chatted and hope to help each other in future as writers so often do.

When I first met the organizer of the Byward marketing team and showed her my book, she told me she is a ‘Kell’ on her mother’s side. I was able to inform lovely, competent Megan Sartori that we are second cousins twice removed. 

By the way, the outdoor performance in Strathcona Park was superb. My granddaughters, aged 10 to 16 were absolutely thrilled with The Amorous Servant by Carl Goldoni staged by Odyssey theater. Grandpa and Grandma enjoyed its humor and sensible advice for all ages, too.

www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany  www.margaretvirany.com

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics until We Meet Again!

FeedingEnidSo this is what it had come to and, as always when we were together, the moment was sweet. The only game my sister, Enid (I call her ‘E’) and I could still play was my putting food into her mouth as she sat up in bed. It was a lucky thing I had come at the supper hour when she was awake and there was something we could do. 

  • When I was born, Enid Mary was twenty-eight months old and took her responsibilities of loving her living baby doll very seriously. She rocked my cradle, hushed my cries and poked me in the cheek (just a teeny bit) to make me smile. As we grew, E was always there to wipe my nose, dry my tears when I hurt myself falling, and pull up my saggy pants which had been hers.
  • This was the first time in seven months I had come to see her at Providence Healthcare. It is a long drive and I only go when I have other compelling things to do in the city of Toronto. She is always there.
  • After the visit I phoned my niece, Anne, to tell her we had a good time but I was shocked to see how E’s condition had deteriorated. Anne is very devoted to her mother, visits regularly and maintains close contact with the hospital personnel.
  • She said the Alzheimer’s was taking its expected, inexorable course of slow regression to infancy. Just after my last visit Enid had abruptly stopped walking, stopped responding, and continued to stop talking. The next step would be she would forget how to swallow.
  • In fact, it was time for us to start thinking about end-of-life arrangements. She was very glad I had called because she wanted me to read the online literature and tell her what I thought. Enid had said, some 18 years ago when the illness was first detected, she didn’t want any unnatural interventions.
  • When a patient can no longer swallow, nurses need to know whether the family wants them to start using intravenous feeding, or insert feeding tubes in the throat. If the patient stops breathing, does the family want them to administer CPR? What about rushing them off in an ambulance to another hospital for intensive care?
  • As I read the literature I thought about Enid’s eyes and what I could divine from their expression. I think she is fearful and bewildered. She is pleading for someone to understand that she has always been a very good girl and is still striving to do her best. How could she possibly do any better when somebody has been stealthily stealing her brains? Could you?
  • None of these questions has a good yes or no answer. You might gain an hour of life for prolonged setbacks and trauma. The literature is most clear and positive when it says the patient must be treated with comfort and dignity and I couldn’t agree more with that.
  • Those are the qualities of life E provided for me when I was a newborn and that is exactly the stage towards which she is regressing now. I read, “Capacity to feel frightened or at peace, loved or lonely, and sad or secure remains. The most helpful interventions are those which ease discomfort and provide meaningful connections to family and loved ones.”
  • Some few months on, I dread to think, I may find myself living in a poorer world, deprived of Enid. She is my compelling reason now to go to Toronto to stroke her forehead, lay my hand on hers, tell the world in her eyes that I love her and sing her a lullaby.
  • I pray she will die naturally in her sleep with comfort and dignity after suffering her prolonged tragic fate so courageously. She will always be my hero.

Margaret Kell Virany is an Ottawa-area author of memoirs based on the raw emotions of love and adventure found in generations of her lively, devout family. Right now she is usually glued to her computer loom, working on a novel about the journey of a 60-year marriage. On June 4th she will be at the Media Club of Ottawa‘s table under the tent at Prose in the Park. Try not to miss this stimulating, free, open-air book event. Impeccable, aristocratic host William tenHolder of Café Wim fame, and MCO president June Coxon who has written about Ernie, the most worthy cat ever, will be at the table with Margaret.

www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com

Count Leo Tolstoy and H. G. Wells are delicious sources of marriage counseling. They knew all about long-lasting marital love, the theme of the book I am now writing,  so I have gone to them to broaden my knowledge and get some new wrinkles.

Writing Secret # 6 from the Reclusive Lady of Shalott: Reading is a large part of writing, not to be neglected. You owe it to your readers to be informed on your subject. You owe it to yourself to know who your competitors are.

  • Tolstoy’s book, Anna Karenina, portrays the successful marriage of Konstantin Leven and his wife Kitty. The detailed ups and downs of a husband’s emotions come from the fact that Konstantin, the awkward landowner, resembles Tolstoy himself.
  • H. G. Wells’ book, Marriage, is a marvelous adventure story, full of confidence about what pleases women, and optimism. It was made into a movie in Hollywood’s pioneer days.
  • When the marriage breaks down and Rag is going off on his own to the most remote place in the world he can think of–namely, Labrador–Madge is persuaded by her mother-in-law to drop everything (even, figuratively, her young child) and goes along, too.
  • Also helpful is the role model of my parents’ 61-year marriage, portrayed in Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.
  •  Kay and Jack forge their happiness in Canada’s isolated north, with the earthy input of native wisdom. So do Wells’ hero and heroine.
  • They had to cope with giving birth while living in the bush, and that’s where the cariole comes into the picture. Kay insisted on having her baby in a hospital.
  • That might make sense to a British war bride but it was not easy when the temperature was thirty below and the hospital was five days by dog team away.
  • However, Jack was undaunted and his guide was all-knowing. Needless to say it was accomplished; the author is proof.

But after the birth what happened? Here are some quotes to show it wasn’t going to be so simple to retrieve mother and baby and bring them back to the Indian reserve (as it was called in 1929.)

” On March 9  they parted, since it was too cold to take the baby on a  trip … They would meet again, when the spring waters flowed.” 

“In late May, Jack and two guides started out for Norway House with a canoe tied to a toboggan…” 

“They got on a private motorboat…and were lucky they didn’t drown…”                        

From pages 110-111 of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

 

Kathleen’s Cariole Ride will be on sale at Prose in the Park, Ottawa’s young, famous, wide-open literary event, on June 4. It is a happy, optimistic story where you can laugh out loud as you watch other people struggle. You hope that, like most of us, these characters, with all their idiosyncracies, will somehow get out of the muck.

 

http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

 

Jack would be a long, lonely journey for Jack from the white cliffs of Dover back to the Indian reserve in Oxford House, MB

Jack had come courting, was rejected and felt banished. It would be a long, lonely journey to the mission field in Oxford House, Manitoba. But he was stubborn. As he looked toward the sea from atop  the white cliffs of Dover, he couldn’t bring himself to give up all hope.

Kathleen felt as miserable as the weather, but a nagging voice inside told her it would be too risky to marry a Canadian.

Kathleen felt as miserable as the weather. A voice inside told her it would be impossible for her to marry this Canadian; it was far too risky. So, she had to just let him slip away.

Now you can read the whole, compelling story of what happened to Jack and Kathleen in a new paperback, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride: A True Love Story from over the Ocean and in the Bush after World War 1. 

Thank you for dropping by. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride  for Valentines giving, or to find out about e-book and paperback versions of A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride or Eating at Church, click on these links to Amazon (.ca for Canadians, .uk for Brits) or my website. Bookstores selling my books in the Ottawa area are Books on Beechwood, Octopus and Perfect Books. Look for me at the Media Club table at book fairs, including Prose in the Park, too.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

Margaret Kell Virany

 www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com