Archives for posts with tag: Kathleen’s Cariole Ride
A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920

A tiny 2-inch pop-up Valentine, circa 1920 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Come with Kathleen as a Valentine’s treat

Because her story is so sweet.

Kathleen was a British high school girl in 1917 when her father brought a Canadian sailor home for tea. The suspenseful excitement of falling in love, marrying and then living amongst the Swampy Cree in Canada’s northern wilderness is captured in Kathleen’s Cariole Ride: A True Love Story from over the Ocean and in the Bush after WWI. Their daughter’s loving book takes you deeply inside the raw emotions of their own letters. The highlight of their (and their foetus’) adventures was a five-day sub-zero winter trek and a difficult birth.

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Final Proof of a paperback edited with phone help from Createspace

Remember! A book makes a heartwarming, non-fattening, long-lasting gift for Valentine’s Day. It’s a joy for me to meet and chat with people in the friendly, creative atmosphere of the Russell Flea Market on Sat., Feb. 10th, while signing copies. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could join us?

Does this story remind you of an event in your family’s history? If so, we’d love to hear about it in the comment box.

Thank you for dropping by Cozy Book Basics. You may find other stories you like by clicking above on ‘Home’ and scrolling down to browse through the archives. My writing grew out of a paradoxical parsonage childhood being nurtured by incongruous parents. To find out more, follow this Amazon link to A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void,  Kathleen’s Cariole Ride and Eating at Church. Please join me on Goodreads or check out my personal author page also.

Happy Reading & Writing from Cozy Book Basics!

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com   margaret@kell.ca

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How to choose books for your unique avatar

What would  you choose if you wanted to take a picture of  a few of your favorite books, not more than seven inches wide when stood together? The names of two websites I like,  ‘Books ‘R Us’ and ‘Books Tell Us Why’, gave me the seeds of this idea for a new avatar. It would be right for the task, less random and superficial than a mug shot.

My books are shelved up- and down-stairs all over the house so it was a good exercise. Digital,  thumbed-over, dog-eared, faded, curled, moldy, soiled, frayed, ripped, incomplete, taped, sagging, spineless specimens wouldn’t do. I needed color and titles that would be attractive. What photogenic line-up could be readily assembled ?

After I’d made my choices and taken the shot, there seemed to be some categories and sense to it all. If you want to show who you are  by presenting a few books, for an avatar or any other reason, here are my tips. You have to love them because they are all of these things:

  • Useful: An indispensable reference book for your favorite passion or hobby
  • Fun: An entertaining, exciting novel or fantasy book that carries you away to another world
  • Shocking: A nonfiction exposé that stimulates your curiosity and thirst to get at the truth about what really happened
  • For the mind and soul: A book that is a mentor and idol to give you an intellectual boost and spiritual understanding
  • For social identity: A biographical history of a person or group  who align with your  own career path, background and type of  companions
  • From your family: A history or autobiography written by you or a relative

My books in the photo above are, from left to right:

  1. A collection of recipes which reflect my childhood and perpetual delight in good food, especially when cooked by loving people and served at communal events like harvest suppers, strawberry socials and silver teas. Someone suggested to me that ‘Who Cooked the Last Supper?’ might have been a better title than ‘Eating at Church.’
  2. The Black Tulip by Alexander Dumas. Hundreds of others would have done but only this one had a red cover, gold lettering and the sentimental value of having been a gift from my son when he was a boy.
  3. The Pagan Christ. As a willful (but good) minister’s daughter, I was always interested in the pagan customs and natural images unsuccessfully squelched but peculiarly integrated into Christianity.
  4.  Northrop Frye Myth and Metaphor: Selected Essays 1974-88. My class notes of his lectures are included in those now appearing online for public access at http://www.fryeblog.blog.lib.mcmaster.ca/, Robert D. Denham library collection.
  5. Sweet Sixteen, the story of the 16 irrepressible woman journalists who formed the first Canadian Women’s Press Club while on a privileged train trip to the St. Louis World Fair in 1904. I  belong to their renamed club.
  6. A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00440DQNA), the 20th century family memoir I wrote about my parents and me.

Are you books? What favorites would win your book contest? We love to get comments and browsers so please make yourself at home!

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

 


rabbitfur2

The magic of writing a memoir is like pulling a rabbit out of a hat, only in reverse. That’s my new theory. When my mother posed for this picture in 1928, just after marrying, coming to Canada and starting life on an Indian reserve, she had no idea I’d write a book from her love letters and adventures some day.

Imagine my joy at receiving these emails from two of the first avid readers of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride in its paperback edition. They’re from Catherine and Fred Dunlop, my second cousins who have a beautiful farm and family.

Here’s what Catherine says about the book, so eloquently:

“Margaret – I have just finished reading this wonderful book and I still have tears in my eyes, it is so well written. Mental images appear with the flow of your words and they transport me, it seems, right into that setting.
I am not a writer, but I am a voracious reader and I so enjoy how you can make a scene come to life with just descriptive passages. I laughed, I shook my head in disbelief many times and, as I said, cried when I had finished. I cannot say enough about this wonderful gift of love to your parents. I am going to order several today. I want to put one in our local library and I also want to give each of our children a copy. Uncle Jack baptized all three of our children.
I often called Uncle Jack ‘the oldest teenager I know’ and he seemed to enjoy that. We also had many discussions around theology topics. He was a man thinking unlike many of the ministers of his time. Aunt Kay was always so quiet and reserved but, once, she and I were talking out in my kitchen as I was cutting meat and she seemed vitally interested in my life, asking me questions about how I was coping with motherhood and a busy husband. Her way of saying “I know exactly what you are going through”?
Anyway, thank you for writing this story, THEIR story, so beautifully.

Catherine”

And here’s what Fred, who sent the photos, had to say:

“Good morning Margaret – we found this picture of your parents in a family trunk that mom had put away. The picture is in a frame made of rabbit skin. Mom has written on the back of the picture Rev Kell, Aunt Kathleen, Oxford House. Manitoba, 1925 (about)
love
Fred”

Some people just have all the luck when it comes to parents and cousins, so I have a grateful heart I wanted to share with you.

Thank you for dropping by. This blog for all lovers of life and language aims to be useful and entertain. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, please click here.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics!

 

tanisbotties

These booties made by Cree living on the Oxford House Reserve in northern Manitoba were for my sister Tanis. She was born there in the winter of 1929 and her name means “daughter.” You can see by the handmade toys how much the Cree love children. My mother, a British war bride, wanted to have her baby in hospital. My father, a farmer/sailor/missionary, found this a challenge. As soon as the Christmas services were over on the reserve, he rigged up a horse attached to a cariole (big toboggan) to get her there in time. The thermometer sank to minus 30 and it took them five days and four nights. With a dog team it would have taken a day longer. It was a preposterous, glorious trip with a happy ending, the highpoint of their lives. It inspired me to write a book. In the name of Jack, Kay and baby Tanis, Cozybookbasics wishes all the love, joy, peace and happiness of this festive season. I am very thankful for all good people who love their families and the adventures that having one entails. Greetings to you and thank you for reading their stories and my books. www.margaretvirany.com

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Cookstownchurch

Watercolor by Cookstown artist Jay Kirk-Young

On May Day I fled my computer to go sit in the pew where my grandfather sat when he was raising a family in the early 1900’s in Cookstown, ON, north of Toronto. I was not alone. We were a flock of 200, the size of church needed in 1825 by a tiny rural village of 500 (not counting the animals) which had only three churches.

  • We sang the old hymns. We listened to memories. We seized this last inspiring moment. We and the old building with its organ pipes and choir loft harmonized and rode into the sunset with the Churchill Boys country music group. We squirmed during a too-long yet relevant sermon. We knew after two hours it was time to say the closing prayer’s “Amen”. We lingered over the last potluck in the basement. We hugged our relatives and new friend, the funeral director, whom we will meet again.
  • My grandpa (a speaker had reminded us by citing ‘A Tribute to Our Parents‘ written by my father) read the Bible every morning at the breakfast table.When hushed, everybody in the family, even the two hired men, got off their chairs and knelt to pray.
  • I wonder if I was sitting in the pew where grandpa sat before he died when he fell from an apple tree, where father sat the day he was sponsored as a candidate for the ministry, where mother sat on her first Sunday in a strange country as part of a family she didn’t know, or where I was held the day I was baptized.
  • We say thanks by celebrating occasions like the decommissioning of an old church, or by writing books about our families. The Cookstown United Church people, now comprising only 25 families, will continue to worship with the Countryside United Church people in the town of Thornton just up the highway. The building will not be destroyed because the core of the village, still of 500 but just about to be developed, has been declared a protected zone.
  • This is the heritage I celebrate in A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void. Then I wrote a second book, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, singling out my mother’s winter bush adventures in northern Manitoba and including pictures.
  • Like the Lady of Shalott in my avatar, my creative efforts died while I fled from my writing web but now they are alive again.

On June 4 I will join other authors selling their wares at Prose in the Park, a wonderful, free outdoor family literary event in the market on Parkdale Avenue in Ottawa. I will be with friends from the Media Club of Ottawa and Ottawa Independent Writers.
What will really make it special is if you can be there too (in spirit, if not body).

www. cozybookbasics.worpress.com
www.amazon.com/author/margarevirany

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

Canadian sailor Jack had come courting, was rejected and felt banished. It would be a long, lonely journey back 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.

  • You can now read in paperback form the compelling story of what happened to Jack and Kathleen. It is a true love story from over the ocean and in the bush after World War 1.
  • To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride  for Christmas giving, or to find out about e-book and paperback versions of A Book of Kells: Growing Up in an Ego Void and Eating at Church, click on the link to Amazoor my website.
  • You might just love coming out to see Old Aylmer. Ottawa’s most bilingual suburb on the Quebec side is always festive, with its replica of the old Symmes Inn at the bend in the river where Champlain rested and its British Hotel to which where D’Arcy McGee’s murderers fled.
  • The Art & Artisans’ Sale at the Galeries d’Aylmer takes place on Nov. 25 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stevie Szabad, ‘army brat’ and I, ‘preacher’s kid’ promise not to fight or pray while we chat and offer to sell and sign at our book table. We hope you’ll consider our memoirs a real ‘find’ to put in your Christmas shopping basket — something enjoyably cozy now and possibly forever.

Happy Reading from Cozy Book Basics

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

martycat

Marty is a very intelligent cat. Anyone can see that.

Sometimes real things happen that are very mysterious.  You can call it extrasensory perception (ESP), if  you like. When my mother Kathleen Kell, a very intelligent woman,  heard these family stories she just said, “I wonder,” with a faraway twinkle in her eyes. They’re from the lives of the characters in A Book of Kells and Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

A Grieving Sailor in a Lucky Port

As 19-year-old Jack Kell left for war in 1916, his tearful father told him he would never see him again. Six months later, Jack got the sad news aboard ship in the English Channel, where he was manning guns and minesweeping, that his father had died. An apple tree limb he sat on broke; he lurched forward and a sharp tip pierced his lung. Kind souls consoled Jack at Portsmouth Methodist Chapel’s Christmas At Home for servicemen, where fatherly Walter Ward also invited him for tea with his wife and family.

A Nervous Mother-to-Be with Good Instincts

Pregnant Kathleen Ward Kell felt a little nervous her first Christmas in Canada in 1928. She told husband Jack she thought it would be best for their baby to be born in a hospital, not a teepee on the isolated reservation where they were missionaries. Her instincts were right. Even the trained nurse and doctor were challenged.

reindeer

Only startled wild creatures saw the threesome of man, woman and guide pass by in an ingenious, unconventional fashion

It was well worth having made the 180-mile trek that startled only wild creatures as a threesome of man, woman and guide passed by in an ingenious fashion rigged up by Jack.

A Midnight Summons to Duty

One winter night in 1936 Rev. J.A.C. Kell, in a Toronto duplex doubling as a parsonage, woke with a jolt. His mother was calling — she had no phone on the farm — and summoning him. Jack woke Kathleen; they bundled the three little girls up and into their 1929 Ford. His brother Clifton had never recovered from war wounds but, this past Xmas, had got up off the sick couch to give the girls a one-horse, open sleigh ride. From afar, Jack saw the porch light on and his mother’s silhouette at the window confirming him in his worst fears. Now she had only Jack left out of her four men.

A Doomed Captain’s Last SOS

On Nov. 19, 1941, His Majesty’s Australian Ship HMAS Sydney was mutually destructively engaged with the German cruiser Kormoran and lost with all 645 crew members on board. As he went down in the South China Sea, Capt. Joe Burnett sent a mental message to his wife saying he loved her. Enid Ward Burnett got it, and then the official, tragic news. The Toronto Star knocked on Kathleen’s door to ask for her brother-in law’s picture. She sent a Xmas parcel to her bereaved sister, niece and nephews who carried on heroically.

Reader Mary Groome of Wakefield, QC writes, “Thank you so much for writing Kathleen’s Cariole Ride. I enjoyed the history and the examples of courage and love these people exhibited.”

Season’s Greetings & Happy Reading from CozyBookBasics!

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

http://www.cozybookbasics.wordpress.com

http://www.amazon.com/Book-Kells-Growing-Ego-Void-ebook/dp/B00440DQNA/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/Kathleens-Cariole-Ride-Margaret-Virany-ebook/dp/B006NFSYV8/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

 

pancakes

Pancakes (Photo credit: Shoot into the Sun)

You may want to run out and buy some pancake mix, not just because stormy blizzards are coming but also because tomorrow, Feb. 17th, is Mardi Gras, aka Pancake Day, Shrove Tuesday or Fat (Gras) Tuesday. If you do, you’ll be taking part in the revelry of  Carnival (carne levare) , a last fling before putting away fleshly things like meat and sex during the sombre days of Lent leading up to Good Friday. In  medieval Christianity, you had just until midnight on Tuesday to splurge!

Here are some quotes from Mark Twain:

Mardi Gras is a relic of the French and Spanish occupation; but the religious feature has pretty well been knocked out of it now.”

“The very feature that keeps the Mardi Gras alive in the South — girly-girly romance — would kill it in the North or in London.”
From Life on the Mississippi, 1869

They’ll make good conversation pieces if you decide to celebrate the bad weather by having a pancake party (assuming you still have power.) You could even make them ahead of time and serve them cold with syrup.

Thank you for spending some of your time reading this post. Please browse around and, if you like, write some comments.

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

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book signing cartoonLike many authors, I used to hate selling but a few easy techniques have made me love it and have fun. This can happen to you too, once you’ve mastered the moves that clinch a sale when your real book meets a live customer. Last Sunday copies of my new paperback flew out the door with almost one-third of the traffic that shopped at Ottawa’s Perfect Books bookstore between 1 and 3 p.m. (20 loners or couples, six books sold.) Here’s my advice; I hope it works just as well for you:

  1. Prepare for your event with a phone call, follow-up visit to the store and a query  just before you come. By the time you get there, you will know the easiest way to drop off your books and the best place to park your car. The owner will have consignment copies of your book on the shelves, posters in the window and a table and chair for you to use. Get there early enough to hang up your coat in the back room and set up your display before you start work.
  2. Begin by making eye contact with the first customer you see. A man held the door open for me and my big box, I thanked him and had sold a copy of my book even before my coat was off! More often, I watched a customer enter the store from a few feet away, while I stood (not sat) at my table in the line of view in a conspicuous spot.
  3. Greet the customer or nod immediately with a friendly smile, before they turn away to browse among the shelves or address the cashier. If they come closer to you —
  4. In an inviting, confident manner hold out your book towards them slightly and say, “This is my new book I am introducing today. Will you take a moment to find out about it?” Most say they will. Your next steps depend on your unique book. I plunge in and tell them the subtitle is ‘A true love story from over the ocean and in the bush after WW1’. I point to my name and say “I’m Margaret”, point to the title word ‘Kathleen’ and say “This is my mother” and let them look at the picture, which explains the title word ‘cariole’ (a fancy toboggan).
  5. Pause. By now, the customer is probably ready to talk to you or ask a question. Be prepared to carry the conversation wherever it may go in order to find common ground in fact or feeling between you two and your book.
  6. Remember the time-honored way of buying books is by browsing and taking time to decide. If the customer says nothing, hand them the book with the back cover turned up and say, “Here”, so they can take their time reading the blurb and quotes from reviews. (My new paperback had already been reviewed in its parallel life as an e-book).
  7. Have a sample copy you don’t mind having fingerprinted by people who’ve been eating a hot dog. Make a written note if it is taken off wandering around the store so you don’t lose count.
  8. Be aware of any other customers who have been eavesdropping on your conversation while they are browsing and make eye contact with them too.
  9. Have an attractive display on your table so it can engage customers on its own. When you are busy talking to someone, stand free of your table so others can look at it. Ingredients of my theme and information display are (1) Tablecloth and decorations in seasonal colors (2) Framed rave review (3) Framed announcement of the day’s event and price (4) Paper scroll of key words (5) Copies of book (6) Signing pen (7) Book marks and (8) Business cards.Authors and independent book stores help each other thrive with events like this book signing at Perfect Books in Ottawa, Canada
  10. Get to know the cashier and establish a relationship that will make you a recurring fixture in the store If, like me, you are not yet a celebrity, the person on duty may be a part-time worker. Signings are held on weekends and your appearance gives the owner and regular employees relief from their duties of informing, entertaining and chatting with customers.
  11. You may or may not have signed a contract and find the cashier is not authorized to pay you. In this case, give the owner a call Monday morning to report how it went and find out when your check will come. Usually the store keeps 40% of receipts. You may have written other books, and want to arrange to put some copies of them in the store too. If you can’t sell one, you may be able to sell another.
  12. Give the store information on how they can order more copies of  your book. My books are printed on demand by CreateSpace, which also provides distribution channels to all major outfits. The bookstore owner looks at a website such as The Book Manager to see if your book is available from a distributor they use, likely Ingram. Since my paperback is new, it will not be listed for six or eight weeks. In the meantime, I will order an inventory of 50 books at a time and retailers can buy them from me. However, CreateSpace will not pay me any royalties until I have accumulated $100 in their account. They do not pay me royalties on the copies I buy, so I am anxious to have the stores enabled to buy them directly.

The few remaining book stores in my city are using authors as a strategy to keep their stores lively. Several ‘Book Events’ are allotted two-hour time slots on Saturdays and Sundays. Readings work well in some locations but only if there is a good group of bodies. More elaborate parties, complete with martinis, may also be held in stores after closing hours to launch books.

I used to waste countless, frustrating hours trying to sell my books to listless shoppers at book fairs or bookstores. Meanwhile, bookstore proprietors stared out their windows, praying for somebody to come in. But when the store-owner and the author get together to have live events like signings and readings, it can be a different story.

Thank you for dropping by. To order a copy of Kathleen’s Cariole Ride  for Christmas or Valentines giving, please contact V&V Publishing, editingexcellence.virany98@gmail.com. To find out more about all 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, CreateSpace or my website. 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!