Archives for category: History

 

10186066The radish had its moment as a symbol of Canada even before the Maple Leaf flag.

The radish is a reliable, tasty quick-growing snack, often the first vegetable in Canadian gardens to be ready to eat by the July 1st national holiday. It is annual proof that we have vanquished winter. Canada Day is celebrated in various, inventive ways, always with the flag with a red leaf on it being waved vigorously. But only once on record did the humble radish ever get any such glory.

For a moment on July 1, 1927 this sidekick at every summer feast reigned supreme.  It was Canada’s Ronald Reagan moment, when Americans chose Hollywood’s most gifted supporting actor to be their president. This was supposed to happen only to maple leaves. Usually the height of a radish’s success is to be carved into something resembling a rose that blossoms when set out on a tray of ice. Joy for a radish is to be nibbled as noisily as possible. 

It happened on the diamond jubilee of Dominion Day ninety years ago. The Spirit of Saint Louis landed in Toronto as Parliament Hill in Ottawa groomed itself to greet guest of honor Charles Lindbergh. Due to miraculous radio technology, Canadians from sea to sea tuned in simultaneously to a nationwide church service with biblical passages selected and read by federal members of Parliament.

Meanwhile, thousands of miles to the northwest, JACK (John Ambrose Campbell Kell), an Ontario farm boy assiduously cultivated into a missionary, was brimming over with patriotism. He wondered how he could create a feeling of joyous belonging in his charges on the Swampy Cree reservation at Oxford House, MB.

He represented a Church that strove to evangelize the ‘Indians’ (as Canadian law called them) and a Government that wanted to make its citizens more homogeneous and had to fulfill treaty obligations. He was preacher, spiritual guide, welfare officer, medical officer, justice of the peace and teacher (if the real one fell sick, as happened, and had to leave the reserve.)

It was a lot for a 29-year-old to handle, but not too much for one energized by good faith and the potential of Canada’s youthfulness, beauty and exuberance. All he needed was a few practical tools:

Proclaiming a holiday

  • JACK gave the men a day off with pay from their work of building a fence around their community garden. When he had arrived at Oxford House he immediately saw the people didn’t have enough to eat yet never grew food in their fertile soil.  They were semi-nomadic hunters who ate meat and baked bannock made from fat and berries. JACK got them to plant four gardens: one for the missionary, one for the teacher, one for the chief and one for the community.

A guest of honor with a connection to royalty  

  • The old guide who had led the Duke of Connaught from Norway House up to York Factory many years ago lived on the reserve. JACK got him to tell the young boys about his adventures and what their lives might be like too.

Educating the Indians in Canadianism

  • ‘Dominion Day’ had to be made relevant to the Indians so they could feel included in this strange thing called ‘Confederation’. JACK told them the word ‘Canada’ was from the Iroquoian word ‘Kanata’, meaning ‘village.’ He reminded them that they were already familiar with the word ‘Dominion’ from Psalms 72: v 8 in the Bible. He told them he dreamed of the day when they would be full citizens of the country and have a vote. (This did not happen until 1960.)

Preaching a Pearsonian vision of Canada’s role

  • JACK told them the Jewish people in the Bible had a vision of what God expected of them. In the same way, Canadians were chosen to show how a nation may be built in peace, righteousness and sincerity. It would be an example of how people of varying religions and races may live together in one nation with tolerance and honor. Nobel peace prize winner Lester Pearson was JACK’s history tutor at the University of Toronto.

Conspicuous shiny, glittering or red objects as symbols

  • Gold ore, not diamonds, lay buried near Oxford House but JACK had an even better idea. The first vegetable of the season had ripened and what was the Indians’ surprise when JACK dug beautiful red radishes out of the soil and gave one to each person. Anyone who really knows radishes knows how good they taste when they don’t get too much sun so aren’t too hot. My old blind Aunt Suzy discovered that if you want them to taste even better, you should eat the wormy ones. Not only that, they are a health food nut’s delight, full of good vitamins and minerals.

O Canada ! If JACK’s story had been revealed in time, what competition the Maple Leaf flag might have had when it was adopted!

Happy 150th anniversary of Confederation this Saturday, Canada!

This and other colorful incidents from Canada’s past are recounted in A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and Kathleen’s Cariole RidePlease press the Home button above to see my archive of blog posts or take a look at www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany or www.margaretvirany.com

www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com 

 

HBC Carriole

Source: Canada’s History – HBC Carriole

A Canadian Pacific Railway freight eastbound o...

A Canadian Pacific Railway freight eastbound over the Stoney Creek Bridge, British Columbia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is easy to assume that Linda Kay’s book The Sweet Sixteen is about women’s rights. Instead, it is about camaraderie. The 16 journalists on board the luxurious, private coach provided to take them to the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, MO bonded closely. However, they did not all agree, for example, that it would be a good thing if women got the vote.

Although they led lives different from the traditional pattern, the 16 were unanimous in believing the role of the housewife and mother was sacrosanct as the underpinning of society. In their writings for newspapers, magazines and religious publications, they used pen names and became revered as fountains of sound advice and views.
The housewife was commander-in-chief in  the areas of  child-raising, morals, education, health, charity, the arts and much more. If well informed, she  could influence her man’s decisions on political and economic issues. Beneath the facade of home, family, cooking, fashion and etiquette was a social theme of facilitation, empowerment and national sentiment. 
Col. Ham, the first public relations man for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), was aware these working journalists had big jobs to do. A reason for granting their request for a free trip, a perk routinely granted to male journalists, was the CPR’s aim to populate Canada’s western and northern expanses. What better way to influence a major family move than to get the message out to the housewives?
After the Fair, when the women had formed their club and made Ham honorary president, the CPR underwrote travel expenses and free rail tours of the northwest for delegates to the CWPC triennial conference.
The personal lives of many of the 16 were difficult and fell well short of ideal. If Kay had chosen to, she could have highlighted juicy morsels, such as Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s mutual feelings  for one of the 16. But this is a work of scholarly discipline, research and fact.
This club lives on today, under the name of the Media Club of Ottawa. It has retained its original basis of a bonding of women who want to improve their writing craft and see the working  journalist as having a literary function and a role to play in building a good society.
As a member, I was present at a meeting in 2003 where a professional facilitator was present to ask each person’s views. His role was to nudge us to the sensible, inevitable decision that the time had come to fold. Instead he found this club still had a strong will to live and attract younger members working in the new media.
We celebrated our centennial in 2004 with an offstage re-enactment of the trip to St Louis at the National Arts Centre. Linda Kay, Chair and Associate Professor of the Journalism Faculty of Concordia University, attended and was inspired to write The Sweet Sixteen
It is a fascinating account of the accomplishments of extraordinary women and I hope it will not be the only  book Kay writes on the subject. The last of the 16 died in 1963, and the club has preserved a  mound of archives since then. A sequel about more extraordinary lives is waiting to be written.

Thank you for dropping in. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertaining. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Author’s tips are offered by word and writing advice by example.

If you can, come to Prose in the Park, Ottawa’s major new literary festival, on June 6. I’ll be at the welcoming desk in Parkdale Park, Hintonburg from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is free. See yo

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

 
www.margaretvirany.com  www.cozyboookbasics.wordpress.com  www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany
My father wore a Canadian sailor suit and my mother wore her English high school lab coat when they met in the middle of WWI and preserved love letters we can now read.

My father wore a Canadian sailor suit and my mother wore her English high school lab coat when they met in the middle of WWI and preserved love letters we can now read.

Patricia Zick of  Author-Wednesday interviews Margaret Kell Virany whose books include A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, the love story of an English young woman and a Canadian young man set during World War I. Kathleen’s Cariole Ride is set during the same time period.

Q. How do you envision yourself in this role of writing romantic historical books based on your life and that of your parents?

A. Lover of life, language and literature. Note-taker, journalist, editor, author. I write. Little things turn me on, like scraps of paper in a keepsake box and the memory of strawberry socials, harvest suppers and silver teas. The act of being a witness, a record-keeper, a storyteller, and the one who remembers has always excited me.  I feel like I am part of a wider community. My ideal is to help others “see eternity in a grain of sand” (William Blake) and gain access to the best truth we have. As the historian, Sallustius said in 4 A.D, “What happened is what always happens.”

Q. I love that. It’s very poetic, which is very fitting based on your style of writing. Do all your books have a common theme or thread?

A. Yes. Love is my theme. It comes in various specialties: the romantic love of a young couple, parental love, filial love, family bonds, charity, love for other human beings, and the all-embracing divine love brought to earth and presented as an ideal by the Gospels. For me, it was a personal pilgrimage of going home to my parents after finding their love letters had been left in a keepsake box, surely for some purpose.

Kathleen Ward let her lover sail home after he came back to court her after WWI. Later they married and their daughter wrote their story, based on love letters (A Book of Kells).

Kathleen Ward let her lover sail home after he came back to court her after WWI. Later they married and their daughter wrote their story, based on love letters (A Book of Kells).

Q. What a wonderful and powerful perspective. Why has it been so important to explore this theme of love?

A. If people don’t get or give enough love they go searching for it, and a good book can be their voyage. When I was coming of age in the fifties, it was still a bit of an anomaly for a woman who had children to work outside the home. Women like my mother came out of a world, both deprived and romantic, that had untold, inestimable influence on the direction of children, husbands, and society. Such love practices inspired the line, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.” (William Ross Wallace, 19th century Indiana poet)

Q. That’s a perfect quote to express what you’ve done in your writing. What’s the best thing said about one of your books by a reviewer?

A. “Virany’s account of their (her parents’) adventures … is riveting. (She) has the natural gifts of a born storyteller who keeps you caring about the characters no matter where they are. When the Kells finally return to civilization the pace of the narrative doesn’t flag.” From a review by Ellen Tanner Marsh, New York Times bestselling author.

Here's the picture of my mother I used on the cover of Kathleen's Cariole Ride.

Here’s the picture of my mother I used on the cover of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

Q. I’d be very proud of that review as well. Very nice and I’m sure rewarding. How did you choose the title, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void?

A. In my years spent studying English literature at the University of Toronto, I noticed certain things about classics. I wanted to do things that would identify my memoir as that category of book. Fortuitously my family name, Kell, is the same as that of the most famous manuscript of ancient western civilization, The Book of Kells. Millions of tourists go to look at it in Dublin each year, so it would have a familiar ring even for those who couldn’t pin it down. Beginning the title with “A Book of …” gave it a serious, nonfiction tone. My literary background also led me to load my title with words that had multiple meanings and associations which would give clues to the type of content inside. My parents lived their married life as if it were a book. There is an ancient concept of life being one’s “book of days.” For dates and events, I leaned on my parents’ daily diaries. The title could also refer to the Bible, the book that most guided my ancestors and parents. I hit the jackpot, I felt, when I disovered that the root of the name Kells was, according to some scholarship, a synonym for all Celts or Kelts, the dominant tribe who inhabited the region north of the Mediterranean Sea in 500 B.C. This was generic; anyone with a name with the Kell prefix is one of the tribe so the word should have wide appeal. Another meaning for “kell” was a hair net or covering and that was an appropriate symbol for my upbringing as a minister’s daughter. My title might make people think it was a family history, which it partly was, at least for the most recent four generations.

It would be a long, lonely journey for my father from the white cliffs of Dover back to the Indian reserve in Oxford House, MB. But he was not one to give up hope too easily.

It would be a long, lonely journey for my father from the white cliffs of Dover back to the Indian reserve in Oxford House, MB. But he was not one to give up hope too easily.

Q. That’s fascinating. I’m always interested in the creative process, so how did you decide to write this book?

A. I wanted to write it as a romantic novel while sticking rigorously to the facts as I knew them or was able to reconstruct them by careful logic. It should have a beginning, middle, climax and end but these should not be superimposed. They should emerge from what I could find out; the story must be allowed to tell itself. It was a test to see whether the literary structures I had been taught really worked. I had to discipline myself not to make things up. I already had on my hands a self-described knight and lady who had rubbed shoulders with real prime ministers and princes. They courted and treated each other accordingly. I did not have to manufacture their raw emotions because I had their seventy-two authentic love letters from the 1920s. I had been blessed by a bonanza in a keepsake box; I just had to call forth my muses to elicit it and do it justice.

Here is a beautiful quote I just received as a comment on my “About” page of my blog. “Memories are a nursery where children who are growing old play with their broken toys. Kells is an extraordinary book, presenting the extraordinary story of extraordinary people living in extraordinary times.” John W. Bienko

Q. That is lovely. I’m so glad you stopped by today, Margaret. Yours is a unique story and one worth telling. Won’t you tell us  more about yourself?

Oceanbound to a Family Reunion in 1937 (illustration from A Book of Kells)

Oceanbound to a Family Reunion in 1937 (illustration from A Book of Kells)

A. About Margaret Kell Virany: Born on a farm on the northern fringe of Toronto, I got a degree in English Language & Literature and married my Varsity heart throb. Early employment was at the Toronto Telegram, Maclean-Hunter and freelancing for the Globe & Mail, Toronto Star, Montreal Star, and Montreal Gazette. My most fun jobs were as professional public relations secretary first of the Montreal YMCA and then of the Toronto YMCA, and as a program organizer of CBC-TV’s first live nationally televised conference The Real World of Woman (1961). Following a move to Canada’s capital region, I became editor/co-owner of the weekly newspaper in my home town of Aylmer, QC and had the busiest, best career of a lifetime. Upon discovering the keepsake box full of love letters, journals and photos my parents left, I published A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void. It records my family’s lives and my uneasy coming of age as a minister’s daughter. Then I wrote Kathleen’s  ariole Ride recounting my parents’ transatlantic courtship and adventures living on a Cree reserve in the north. At the 2012 Centennial Conference honoring the literary critic, Northrop Frye, I learned that my notes of his lectures would be among those posted on the fryeblog, available for public download. This success brought me back to the day when I dropped out of college for a year and learned shorthand on my very first job, as a receptionist at the ‘Tely’.

Thank you for dropping in. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertaining. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Author’s tips are offered by word and writing advice by example.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics! http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany  www.margaretvirany.com

I’ve just finished reading a book given to us by our son at Christmas and it has made me feel like it’s Easter.

Peace of Westphalia artwork by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-77) from the University of Toronto digital collection

Peace of Westphalia artwork by Wenceslas Hollar (1607-77) from the University of Toronto digital collection

Ninety-year-old Henry Kissinger’s 14th book seeks and answers questions on how we can face the greatest, most consequential issues of the human condition in our time. Entitled World Order, it is dedicated “to my wife, Nancy, who is everything to me”. In seven chapters he analyzes how chaos was prevented in the past and what must be done to create order in the future. He hardly mentions himself although he has played a huge role as a U.S. statesman, political scientist and history professor. If his book is widely read and acted upon, he won’t be forgotten.

  • He reminds us that the impact of the Westphalian treaties has fallen apart in the 20th and 21st centuries. They were signed in 1648 after Europe was exhausted by the Thirty Years’ War . We must seek some sort of underlying unity to replace them.
  • We take for granted things made possible by the Westphalian system, such as national identities, the eventual growth of democracies and national competition. After it was signed, there were fewer countries and each was loyal to a national prince instead of a prince of the Church. Not only the religious differences between Catholics and Eastern Orthodox or Muslim and Christian divided peoples; language identity and borders did. For example, Britain would choose whom to support in conflicts on the basis of preserving the balance of power instead of on the basis of religion.
  • Here is the 5-star review we posted on Amazon after finishing the book: “One of the best books we (M. & T. Virany) have ever read. Mr. Kissinger’s chapters covering the last few years and up to the present are excellent. His chapter about the period following the 30-year war and the Westphalia treaties and their consequences is outstanding. As a former history teacher (T. V.) and journalists (both), we particularly liked that. The book is concisely written and edited yet takes time to quote from T.S. Eliot and ancient wisdom.”
  • Index Research Tip: If you would like to look up or quote a specific topic or phrase but don’t have time to read the entire book, go here and click on ‘Look Inside’ above the cover image. Enter the word or words that interest you (e.g. ‘technology’, ‘internet’, ‘terror attacks’, or ‘Chou En Lai’  in the search box provided.

www.amazon.com/author/margaretvirany

www.margaretvirany.com

The UPS store on the other side of the Prescott-Ogdensburg International Bridge helps some Canadian authors save on shipping costs.

The UPS store on the other side of the Prescott-Ogdensburg International Bridge helps some Canadian authors save on shipping costs.

If you want a successful book launch, stay organized while awaiting your order from the printer and getting ready to sell at events you’ve already arranged.  These tips may help you avoid the blunders and adopt the time- and money-saving techniques I acquired in past launches, as well as the one I’m doing at present.

  1. Learn how to add a sticker to improve the sales appeal of your front cover. Even if your book hasn’t won a gold-star award badge, it is legitimate to put a sticker on it to attract customers. After having stared at the cover of my proof copy for days, I saw that the lower third was bare and needed ‘oomph’. It is easy to learn how to do this and not too time-consuming if you just apply stickers on the number of copies you need as you go. I found that the local Staples stores sell colored or white labels of various shapes, sizes and finishes made by Avery. Never having done this before, I made all sorts of mistakes. I tried to cram too much text into each 1 1/2″ x 2 1/2″ label and wasted a lot of hours and stickers trying to center and control the layout inside six rows of three oval shapes on a sheet. In desperation, I turned to the Avery website. Believe it or not, they provide a free, blank template for download to use as a guide. From there on I was able to print my stickers out perfectly, ready to be put on my books.
  2. Now is the time to make sure you have a good supply of updated business cards on hand. You can also buy a packet of blank business cards, download a template to your computer and compose them by a method similar to the one used for sticker labels.
  3. Try to find out the precise ‘where’, ‘when’ and ‘how much’ of your book order delivery, or else pick it up. An author can lose money by having to pay a  heavy warehousing charge, for example, or missing a lucrative event because an order of books didn’t arrive. Get all the precise information you can over the phone in order to track your books, if they are coming a long distance, and be in the right place at the right time with the right payment method. A tip for Canadian authors (many of whom live an hour or two’s drive from the border and have their books printed in the United States) is to look at the UPS website for information on their $5 fee for a service that provides their depot as a U.S. delivery address for Canadian customers. Sometimes my printer, CreateSpace in Charleston, South Carolina, offers free shipping but only for books delivered within the continental U.S. My books always arrive promptly and we enjoy the scenic drive down to Ogdensburg, N.Y. to fetch them.
  4. Calculate what your total expense has been to produce your book and save your receipts. For me, this included $21 spent three times over to get successive proof copies from CS via the fastest mail; the cost of the 50 books I ordered, shipping, sales tax and UPS fee; and the cost of the stickers. I threw the receipts for more general business expenses such as lunch, mileage, business cards, computer paper and ink into my income tax file. You need to know what your books cost you so you can estimate such things as ‘What share of the money from each book sold can I to donate to the church or charity who is sponsoring my book launch?’ or ‘Does this book store retain too big a percentage or ask me to leave too many books on consignment?’
  5. Satisfy the Government’s legal-deposit  requirement to immediately provide two copies of your newly published book to the national library. You will then be listed in its catalog, available to distribution agencies, book stores and library branches wanting to locate or order copies of your book. In my case, this means dropping the copies off at Library & Archives Canada on Wellington Street, Ottawa. I talked by phone to Rachel in their office who remembered me from when I applied for my ISBN years ago. She said I should attach a note requesting my copies be brought  to her attention. She would post the Amicus cataloging information on the LAC website asap and from there I could unload it to the inside front cover page of my book, to appear in future print runs.
  6. Take copies around to the book stores and event sponsors who have invited you to sell and sign copies. The stores can start selling your book and put up a poster to advertise and stir up interest in your upcoming signing. Give your proof copy to the person who is sponsoring your book launch so she will be inspired to help promote it. Fulfill any other promises of advance copies you have made — in my case to a radio host who interviewed me when my paperback was published as an e-book and has now invited me back.
  7. Every day, update your calendar with the time, place, exact location, contact name, email address and phone number for all the events you are planning.
  8. Set goals for how many books you aim to sell within what period of time. You cannot make a person buy a book or predict how many events you will need to sell enough books to make your goal. What you can do is make a realistic estimate based on your past experience and that of author friends. Ask the book stores’ owners how many copies of their books other local local managed to sell in their shop on a certain day at a certain time.
  9. Enjoy being an author as you visualize and assemble what you will need to go public with your book. Ruminate in your mind on your sales themes (eg. war centennial, Christmas), your sales pitch, your book’s price at different locales, what  you will wear, your table’s covering, and conspicuous novelties to attract buyers to your table. It’s a great way to have fun meeting people!

Next blog post: How to accomplish live sales of real books

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertaining. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon, CreateSpace or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Screenshot of a paperback edited with phone help from CreateSpace

You can do a near-perfect job of self-publishing a paperback, or converting an e-book to print. Here are last-minute tips about how I made use of phone calls:

 1. Help! My pictures are blurry. They don’t have 300 dpi (dots per inch)!

Answer: If you want to have images in your book, CreateSpace guidelines ask you to go back to your original photos and save them at a resolution of at least 300 dpi. I did this but CS sent a message saying that, except for one, they were only from 75 to 176 dpi. What was happening? By Googling around, I found out many authors have this problem. If you are typing your manuscript in Microsoft Word, the final step before submitting it is to change it into a pdf. At this point, apparently trying to be helpful, MSW ‘compresses’ or ‘resamples’ the file to save space and that means they reduce the dpi. After a long discussion with the CS representative who answered my phone call (a 24/7 service), he finally suggested I could submit my manuscript as a docx instead of a pdf. It worked and my old, authentic pictures came through clearly.

2. Help! This is my second book cover design (on right below) but it still looks terrible!

My first and second front cover design attempts

My first and second front cover design attempts

Answer: I phoned to talk to one of the ever-helpful CS representatives and told him that my cover proof was a big improvement over my first one, with the horse’s head chopped off, except for one thing. I would like them to superimpose a black and white photo of my mother on the landscape. That would make it engagingly human, and give an inkling of the kind of authentic, historic tale that lay inside. He said “No”. I would have to search through the pre-designed templates and images they offered and find another one. It seemed like a hopeless task until I found something very simple (photo at top). From the huge palette of background colors they offered, I chose sea-foam for the background and midnight blue for the font — both of them just right for my content and theme! The quirky font was one of the immutables in the template. I like it because a cariole ride is a bumpy, incongruous thing, like my mother’s life.

3. Help! No imprint logo appears because there’s no spine and no space provided for it on the back. This looks unprofessional!

Answer: Patient as always, the CS rep at the other end of the line (in some faraway part of the world) told me my paperback had no spine because it was no more than 120 pages. What other authors do, he said, was to insert their logo on page two beside the copyright and ISBN information. He assured me it would look very professional, so I did it.

4. Help! I’ve received the new-covered proof in the mail but I still see inconsistencies in the interior copy.

Answer: Obviously the dozen or so times I and others had proofread the book were not enough, so I went through it carefully two more times. The mistakes I found were often things I thought had been corrected by using the ‘Find’ and ‘Replace’ options in MSW.  However, when I changed ‘JACK’s name (it’s an acronym) to ‘Jack’ for easier reading, it didn’t always do it. Also, I had decided at one point to write out numerals up to 100, instead of just up to ten, and had missed some of them. I was shocked to find a mistake that had not been caught in the e-book version. In places I still referred to ‘Mother’ instead of  ‘Kathleen’ as I had called her in my original book about my parents. Another error was that the capitalization and italics lacked consistency. As an author, I believe in being fastidious because your mistakes are multiplied with every copy and every buyer so you might as well be your own best friend and get a reputation for being smooth and accurate.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertaining. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon, Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

(Next week I will write about how I plan to promote and sell the paperback.)

The beautiful Saguenay Fjord on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, Canada

The beautiful Saguenay Fjord on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River at Tadoussac, Canada. Image courtesy of Saguenay Fjord National Park

While I vacationed on the beautiful Saguenay Fjord this month my baby, otherwise known as A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, was in the hands of Dunlop House Books. Their background in teaching English and History, and their expertise in writing prehistoric fiction was turned to reviewing my work and accepting me as a member associate. Here’s what they have to say:

“A unique story, all the more compelling because it is true.  A young seaman marries an English bride and carries her off to his preaching and teaching Mission at God’s Lake, a community of 328 Swampy Crees located six hundred miles northeast of Winnipeg, Canada.  The reader is swept along with them, paddling the fur trade routes and keeping tabs on a mission, establishing a church and a farm, suffering terrible winters and thriving on northern summers. They find themselves alone in a frozen universe trying to find a place for their baby to be born.

The story does not stop there. The Great Depression and World War II intervene.   The missionaries’ grown child must find a delicate balance between ego and soul. The adults, away from the romance of the North must live a difficult life and perhaps it is only in the future that their daughter will rescue her parents’ lost egos.

This is not just a northern adventure, it is a journey into the souls of its characters.”

Written by Donella Dunlop

http://www.dunlophousebooks.com/

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon, Goodreads or my website. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride  for Christmas or Valentines giving, please contact V&V Publishing, editingexcellence.virany98@gmail.com. Bookstores selling my books in the Ottawa area are Black Squirrel, Books on Beechwood, Brittons, Michabou, Octopus and Perfect Books.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

100 Years Ago Some of the Young Thought World War Was Fun (An excerpt from A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void by Margaret Kell Virany, based on the diaries of her father, an Ontario farmer’s son)

JAC Kell in WWI cadet uniform

JAC Kell in WWI cadet uniform

Students debated whether the liquor trade was worse than war The First World War broke out in 1914 when JAC was in his last year at Barrie Collegiate. He was boarding with the family of his friend, Ezra Parkhouse, and busy with math, history, sciences, English, Latin, literary society, school newspaper and debates. (One topic was “Resolved that the liquor trade is worse than war.”)

The cadets marched to the railway station to see their teacher off Social life revolved around the church, picnics and skating. All male students were issued the khaki uniforms of the Cadet Corps and drilled regularly. Then came the day when they marched to the railway station to see “the boys” off, including their favorite teacher.  

JAC  signed up but his father said “No” JAC and his older brother, Clifton, signed up at a patriotic meeting but John said “No” to JAC; he had to stay on the farm. For nineteen months, while the Parliament Building in Ottawa burned and Clifton fought overseas in the trenches, JAC hayed, hoed, hauled, chopped trees, sawed wood, shoveled manure, repaired fences, dug up potatoes, took cattle and pigs to market, picked beans and plowed with four horses at a time.

Trying to stomach being humble and getting no glory He told himself that a man in the most humble place could be a credit to the worth and dignity of the human race. A work horse got no glory but was just as valuable as a race horse who made the headlines at Fort Erie. ‘The Runt’ grew into a strong, 163-lb, five foot ten inch man.

Finally free and off with his buddies  JAC and his pals, Bill Orchard and Ezra Parkhouse, saw a poster-sailor looking them in the eye, pointing and saying “Help Britannia Rule the Waves.” They took a train to Toronto to enlist in the Royal Navy Canadian Volunteer Reserve (RNCVR.) Never mind that news of fatalities was pouring in, their teacher had been killed or that farmers were exempt.

It was the sporting thing to do and a real deal It was the sporting thing to do and quite a deal. No experience was necessary. You just needed to be the son of a natural-born British subject and between the ages of eighteen and thirty-eight. You got a free kit, free uniform, free trip abroad, sweethearts kissing you good-bye, military bands playing and $1.10 a week in pay.

The Kaiser was barring the seas and cutting England off  The brutal truth behind the posters was that German submarines had sunk one-hundred and sixty-nine British ships, including merchant and combat ships, in one month. The Kaiser was barring the seas and cutting England off from the rest of the world and all her allies.

Eager to go to the aid of a motherland in distress The British responded by building forty-eight trawlers and one hundred drifters for anti-submarine work and put out a call for volunteers. Seventeen hundred Canadians came to the aid of a motherland in distress.

Sad, enigmatic send-off When they parted, John told his son he would never see him again. “Oh, I’ll be all right,” JAC replied.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. Topics vary from how to build a canoe to how my mom moved from “prince to preacher and fog to bog” as a war bride after world war one. Writing advice is squeezed in between. Find out more about A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church on Amazon,  Goodreads or my website.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

I’ll be at Britton’s Glebe, 846 Bank St., Ottawa on Sat., Aug. 9, 2014, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to honor the WWI 100th anniversary. Please drop in if you would like to chat and pick up a signed copy of my book.

Kathleen’s Cariole Ride is the perfect book to upload for your vacation, Amazon customers say.  #love story #Canadian landscape #adventure http://wp.me/p2dNT0-md

“It is a beautiful love story, quick read with meaningful pictures that really capture your heart. I’m not familiar with the Canadian landscape, but this makes me want to research more! ”Stephanie Brown Aquino, San Dimas, California. 

“This book on the author’s parents and their short sojourn in Northern Canada 90 years ago breathes life into a picture of native relations, missionary fever, and northern living some 90 years ago. I found the story to be captivating and enjoyable – the story line is clear and focused, and it is written with a sense of excitement and involvement that captures the reader’s attention. The fact that the author is writing a brief history of her own parents in rough living conditions and with a different set of cultures shows how much the background of our north has changed in less than a century.”  Robert D.  Brown, Toronto, Canada

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com,  www.margaretvirany.com,http://www.amazon.com/author/margaretviranyhttp://www.amazon.co.uk,http://www.amazon.ca

This and many other colorful incidents from Canada’s past are recounted in Margaret’s family histories, A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and its abridged e-book version Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

Thank you for spending some of your valuable time as my guest. Please press the Home button above to see my archive of 86 blog posts.

http://www.margaretvirany.com

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