English Boy, Cole, Loves His New Books

The Secret of the Golden Orbs is successfully launched. It has traveled across the Atlantic to be read by a young English boy named Cole. His mom sent me the photo with a short note that touched me, as that is the reason why I am writing children’s books.

Thank you to all of you who have bought my books. I appreciate it very much. Now… please be so kind and leave a review on Amazon.ca, on Amazon.com, and on my website. Your reviews will help the future reader in deciding whether to buy the books.

Note from Cole’s mom:

Hope you have had a wonderful Christmas. Cole’s books arrived a couple of days before Christmas and he was super excited to receive them. We started reading straight away and couldn’t put the book down. You are an amazing writer and storyteller, no wonder your children loved having you make up stories for them at bedtime. When we have finished I will be sure to pop up some reviews on Amazon for you.x

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Young Authors Short Story Writing Contest Prize Presentation

On Sunday, November 13, 2016, I had the great pleasure of presenting prizes to the winners of the 2016 Writers’  Ink Young Authors’ Short Story Writing Contest. Nine winners, in three age categories between 10 and 21 years of age, received certificates and prizes that had been donated by the Recorder and Times newspaper, The Boneyard, and Coles Books. The winners read their stories to the audience of more than 70 people, who responded with  heartfelt applause. It was a great afternoon filled with theimg_4167 promise of a new generation of Canadian writers emerging in our community. Among the young authors were two who had collaborated on a story. While they did not win a prize, they received Honourable Mention. A special award was presented to the most promising writer in memory of Writers’ Ink’s founder, Mrs. Bunty (Anne) Loucks who died this year.

 

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The Secret of the Golden Orbs is at the printer’s now!

I am glad to finally announce that, after almost four years, the second book in The de la Montagne Trilogy has gone to the printer’s in the USA. As my previous Canadian publisher closed doors, after 45 years in business, it was difficult to find a new publisher.
the-secret-of-the-golden-orbs-front-cover the-secret-of-the-golden-orbs-back-cover

 

Meanwhile, the readers of the first book, The Princess on a Cloud, are four years older, as are the two protagonists, Cordelia and Emma. A third character, Jason Birdwing, has joined the two princesses in their adventures and plays an important part in the story.

I would have preferred to announce the imminent arrival of The Secret of the Golden Orbs via a publisher’s wine and cheese launch, as was usually done, before the arrival of self-publishing, podcasts, and e-books forced many traditional publishers out of business.

While the The Secret of the Golden Orbs will be available at Amazon.ca and via my publisher, New Author Publishing—starting in December—you can pre-order your book directly from me to ensure having it for Christmas. It has 205 pages, and several excerpts from Book III of the trilogy, plus six full-page illustrations, created by Gary Fredericks, who also illustrated Book I. If you would like the book(s) you order to be signed and inscribed to a specific child , I gladly do so. If you wish to give the book as a Christmas present, please let me know ASAP. The price is $20 plus postage, or $35 for the set of Book I  and Book II. However, Book II can also be enjoyed without having read  the first book.

This second book in the trilogy is as much suited for boys as for girls between eight to twelve years of age. Here is Maggie Wheeler’s, author of the bestselling Farran Mackenzie “Lost Villages” mystery series, review of the book:

R. Patricia Capitain has crafted another engaging story for the pre-teen reader. Princesses Cordelia and Emma’s and their friend Jason’s adventures continue, laced with mysterious flying creatures, natural disasters, threatening strangers and defenseless children. Balancing royal expectations and youthful inexperience, the girls take the reader through more lively twists and turns as they take on responsibilities for their actions and face the greatest adventure of all—growing up!Maggie Wheeler

The first book in the trilogy, The Princess on a Cloud, is not available via Amazon.ca at this time, but is expected to be back in 2017. If you don’t have it, you may purchase it from me. The book is the story of two girls, from opposing backgrounds, learning that the grass isn’t greener on the other side. They have to overcome social challenges, emotional hurts, mental tests, and physical tasks to convince those in control to allow them to remain together. It is a story of learning to put trust in others, and to trust one’s own convictions and strength, to form bonds of true friendship, and to use one’s creativity to conquer life’s trials and tribulations, even at such early age as the protagonists’.

001-copy

 

You can contact me at: rpcapitain@gmail.com  613 659 2683  www.rpatriciacapitain.com

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2016 Gananoque Literary Festival

On Saturday, April 30, 2016, I attended four sessions of an excellent literary festival in Gananoque, a small town in South-East Ontario, on the St. Lawrence River. I have lived in the area for ten years full time, plus five years part time, plus sailed here during summer holidays for more than thirty years, but did not know that Gananoque once had (I have been unable to confirm this) an opera house on the premises where the TD bank is located now. Apparently it burned down and was never rebuilt, which is sad as François and I are opera lovers and would have delighted in attending a performance of La Traviata by performers from the New York Met Opera. But back to the books!

Twelve authors presented in an eclectic mixture of venues: library, brewery, living room, coffee shop, church, curling club, our local book shop and, at the end  of all  sessions, authors and the public met for a  Literary Quiz in the pub of the Gananoque Inn & Spa.

I attended Terry Fallis’ workshop “Building an audience for your Writing” which was well attended by over twenty aspiring writers. Terry talked about how he became the well-known writer he is today by doing a Podcast of his first book, with a new chapter read each week. When that resulted in many inquiries for the book, he self-published it. The books sold like hotcakes, and he was offered a contract by McClellan and Stewart… the rest is history, e.g. translations into different languages, a CBC TV series, a Vancouver-based Musical that may be seen in other Canadian cities in the future.

Terry Fallis and I 2016

Terry Fallis at Pub Quiz

I remember seeing Terry for the first time (he was at least 30 lbs. heavier than he is now), after he received his first Leacock Medal for Humour (he’s won a second one since). At that time, he gave us a sample of his humour by talking about adventures during his early childhood and young adult years and by reading from his books that are often quite hilarious, having us rolling on the floor with laughter… so to say!

On Saturday, Terry showed us the more serious (business) side of his: he provided us with an insight into the workings of Facebook, I-Tune, U-Tube, Podcasts, Blogs, etc. By explaining how each of them works, he removed the fear of the unknown in the almost all middle-age and plus female participants. There was one male present who didn’t think Facebook was for him.

In the afternoon I attended sessions with other authors at the Presbyterian Church. A moderator asked prepared questions, and the authors answered them in turn. There was ample time left for a Q & A period which the public made good use of. The following authors were present:

Denise Chong, The Concubine’s Children

Allison Pick, Between Gods

Carolyn Abraham, The Juggler’s children

Shane Peacock, The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim

Elly Mackay, Butterfly Park

Frances Itani, Tell

Craig Davidson, Precious Cargo

The last three authors, apart from Frances Itani, write and illustrate children’s books only. Frances writes novels for adults as well. Elly talked about the difficulty of having to keep the text of her books to a maximum of 500 words, as per her publisher’s request. She said that she does the illustrations before she writes the text in some cases.

Craig Davidson uses pen names (Patrick Lestewka and Nick Cutter) when he writes horrors and mysteries. His agent and publisher requested it. He talked about his experience driving a school bus, in Calgary, transporting mentally and physically challenged children for one year. During that time he collected enough material, just by listening to the children, to use as basis for his much acclaimed memoir Precious Cargo from which he read to us. The small sample of his writing was enough to make me want to read the book. I don’t know if I have the stomach for horror stories, but I may give it a try as Craig really impressed me (he also reminded me of one of our sons… also a writer of scary things… whose often gory drawings in Grade 4 and 5 scared the living daylights out of me and worried me—unnecessarily, as it turned out—about his emotional stability).

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Craig at the Pub Quiz

Saturday night was fun time at the Gananoque Inn and Pub. Authors and the public joined in a Literary Quiz over a glass of wine, beer, and/or food while wracking their tired brains finding answer about Shakespeare, Dickens,  Tiny Tim, Anne of Green Gables, Stephen King,  dogs owned by U.S. Presidents’ wives, Musicals based on a books, and so many more tough subjects!

All in all, it was a great success, this 2nd Gananoque Literary Festival. It reminded me of the little engine that said:  I think I can, I think I can and made it over the mountain top. Gananoque has certainly succeeded in creating a little jewel of a festival that did not pretend to compete with those held in big cities. The organizers as well as all the sponsors must be congratulated for having succeeded in a big way to bring readers and aspiring writers together with twelve Canadian Authors in a charming surrounding at an affordable fee.

Thank you to everyone!

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Happy New Year 2016

The second book in the de la Montagne trilogy

The second book in the de la Montagne trilogy

The new year often incites people, perhaps you, too, to make resolutions. I just read the blog entry of a fellow writer who promised to spend more time on actual writing instead of marketing her books.

It is unfortunate that most authors now have to do so much of the work that used to be done by established publishers. The world of publishing has changed. Traditional publishing has been replaced largely by several new ways of getting authors’ works to the reader. There are electronic-, self-, and co-publishing, as well as publishing on demand. These are new industries that have grown at a fast pace. Due to their arrival, many publishing houses have closed their doors and left contracted authors on a limb.

GSPH, the publisher with whom I was under contract for writing the de la Montagne trilogy , folded a year ago. My readers have waited with bated breath (their words) for the 2nd book in the trilogy. The book is called The New Adventures of Cordelia and Emma. I had promised its publication for Christmas 2015. It did not happen, despite the fact that the book is ready to go to print, i.e. it was edited and illustrated. I am now in the process of finding a new publisher who will not only take on the publishing of the second book but also agree to redistribute the first book. It is a challenge, and I hope to be successful soon.

While Princesses Cordelia and Emma have grown older in the storyline of the book, the readers of The Princess on a Cloud have done the same, and I had better get the book to them before they are too grown-up to enjoy it. Though I must say that many parents have told me they enjoyed the first book as much as their children did.

A new character is introduced in The New Adventures of Cordelia and Emma: Jason Birdwing, the Royal Physician’s son. He is a boy with a secret and a tough challenge for Princess Emma’s tomboyish enthusiasm and Princess Cordelia’s curiosity. Both girls are challenged in different ways. Emma takes on Matron Ruth at the orphanage and Cordelia must find a way to escape from kidnappers. Both girls must rely on themselves to solve problems in difficult situations. At the same time, they learn to work together and accept support from their peers.

Dr. Birdwing and Jason conduct a secret science project. Its outcome causes havoc in the de la Montagne Kingdom. It opens the princesses’ eyes to the possibilities of creating living beings from the DNA of what seemed to be dead matter before.

Here is an excerpt from the book: 

Jason grabbed a big flashlight off the table. “Come with me,” he said and led her down a narrow passage Cordelia had not noticed before. An unpleasant smell forced her to pinch her nose shut. Two incandescent discs glowed in the almost dark back of the cave.

               “That is it,” Cordelia yelled. “Those are the golden globes I saw the other day. I want to get out of here, before it attacks me again!”

               “For goodness’ sake, Cordelia, calm down; you’ll scare him. I’ll turn on a light now, so be ready. Phoenix has never seen you before. It might scare him, and he could become frantic. I don’t know if he remembers your scent from the time you were here before.”

               When the light came on, Cordelia could hardly believe what she saw:  a creature that looked like a bird in the front and a dinosaur in the back. He was the size of an eagle. His body was covered in long and short feathers. His claws were sharp, and his tail was long. When he saw the princess, he began to cluck and move around nervously.

               “Speak to him,” Jason encouraged her. “He reacts to the human voice.”

               “Hi there Phoenix,” Cordelia said softly. Immediately, the creature stopped moving about and hopped closer. He cocked his head at an angle as if he wanted to listen with only one ear. Then he lifted one foot and used his long claw to scratch behind his wing. Some kind of thread hung off his claw. Cordelia noticed it first.

               “What is he pulling around with him?” she pointed at the thread in the creature’s claw.

               “Looks like a piece of rope,” Jason said. Then he slapped his forehead: “That’s how the kidnappers got away! He must have scratched at the rope until it came apart. He probably scared them, and they ran off thinking the devil was after them! Who knows what else he did?”

               “I hope he scared them half to death and gave them a few scratches and bites, so they will never come back!” Cordelia added.

               “Yes… of course… it makes perfect sense, now. What a clever thing to do. He must be quite intelligent.” Jason’s eyes sparkled. Cordelia let out a big sigh. “Incredible,” she nodded.

 

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Meeting with young readers of The Princess on a Cloud

The Brockville Public Library invited me to meet with Grades I, II, and III of one of the Upper Canada District School Board’s elementary schools. The children had been reading The Princess on a Cloud, the first book in the de la Montagne trilogy I am writing.

It was delightful to listen to the students talk about the book and to answer their questions. The most amazing thing for me was how they listened when I read certain passages from the book and asked questions. Even the youngest students had answers, often followed by new questions.

One Grade II boy asked me how a book becomes a book. When I told him the chronological order of an idea that’s put down on paper, developed into a story which gets edited and sent to a publisher, he said he knew all of that. What he wanted to know was how it changed into a book… what happened after all the writing stuff was done. So I explained the job of the publisher and printer, and he nodded and smiled. I had passed. This time I had answered his question correctly!

When I asked them if they knew the difference between a criticism and a critique, a Grade III boy answered: “Criticizing makes somebody sad, and a critique tells somebody how to do it better.” Amazing, coming from a nine-year old.

At the end of the 90 minutes, about forty students brought out a slip of paper and asked for my autograph. They also asked when the next book will come out and if I will write books for boys as the one they were reading now was for girls. I assured them that the second book would come out for Christmas and would be for boys and girls.

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Sad News – Good News

I am sad to write that my publisher—General Store Publishing House (GSPH)—with whom I had a contract for the de la Montagne trilogy,  has closed its doors after almost forty years in the business.  GSPH has fallen victim to the ever-growing  changes in the publishing industry. E-book publishing, self-publishing, and publishing-on-demand are the new modes used to get books to readers.

It is not all sad news, though! The illustrator, Gary Fredericks, who created the lovely illustrations for the cover and inside the first book of the trilogy, The Princess on a Cloud,  has finished the cover design for the second book,  The New Adventures of Cordelia and Emma. You are allowed a sneak preview of it below. All that is left for me to do, now, is find  a new publisher so that my young readers can have the sequel by the end of this year. I am busy writing the third and last book of the de la Montagne trilogy in which Cordelia and Emma will  encounter new challenges and adventures. I will keep you in the loop about the progress. Check-in, every now and then, for further news.

 

The Sequel

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Happy New Year 2015

It’s been a year in which I took time off from writing for children and wrote a few more chapters of my novel for adults. I know that there are many readers out there who are waiting for the sequel of The Princess on a Cloud. It is written and will come out some time this year. While  my  readers have grown two years older, so have Cordelia and Emma. They are teenagers now and have many new things to share with their friends. I will let you read just one page of somewhere in the next book.

 

The next morning Cordelia was awoken by Emma’s screaming in her sleep. She jumped out of bed, tumbled over her slippers,  and ran to her sister’s side of their room.

           “Emma… wake up! Do you hear me, Emma? Wake up, you are dreaming!” She shook her sister until Emma opened her eyes and sat up in bed.“Goodness me, you are crying, Emma! What on earth happened? ” Cordelia  snuggled into bed with Emma. “What were you dreaming about?” she asked  pulling up the bedcovers to cover her shivering sister.

            “It was horrid, Cordey. I thought I was back at the orphanage, and Matron Ruth was chasing after me with a hot frying pan.  It felt totally real, Cordey, and I was terribly  scared. I wanted to run away, but I was stuck in one spot and couldn’t move. I hate that woman!” Emma’s voice was hardly audible.

            “Poor you, I know what you mean about being scared of Matron. That lady scared the dickens out of me, too, and I was only there for less than a day,” Cordelia said.

            “Don’t you ever call that witch a lady again!” Emma slapped her hand down so hard that the bedcovers quivered.  “We’ve got to do something about how she treats the poor kids; they didn’t ask to be orphans. I bet you that’s why the Forest King talked to us. He wants us to do something for them.” Emma’s voice sounded normal again. 

            “No, Emma, he wanted to warn us about the thieves, don’t you remember?”

            “Of course I do,  but think back:  he just added the bit about the theft after he told us about the new rules the matron installed  after we switched places… and then you left.” Emma looked fierce squinting her eyes into narrow slits.

            “But what can we do for them? Let’s face it, we are just children ourselves,” Cordelia said.

            “Oh, come on, Cordey… we aren’t children anymore, we’re teenagers now! The least we can do is tell Mother and Father about the orphan’s plight. We simply must do something for them!”

            “But the Forest King said not to talk to Father,” Cordelia reminded Emma.

            “Yeah,  sure, but he didn’t say we couldn’t talk to Mother! Besides, we only promised not to talk about the stolen skeleton. So, talking to Mother about nasty Matron is okay, then, right?” Emma had thrown off the bedcovers and sat up in bed as straight as an arrow. Cordelia sighed deeply and nodded.

            “Alright, we will talk to Mother about the orphans tomorrow.  And what about the cave and the thing inside?  Seriously, Emma, I must find out what it was that attacked me. You do remember the scary thing with the glowing globes, don’t you?,” Cordelia said.

            “Yeah, sure, but there’s no rush; the cave won’t change for a billion years. After that wet and scary night we’ve spent in there, I  wouldn’t mind waiting a bit before we go back there.” Emma pulled a face and rolled her eyes—this morning’s nightmare was forgotten already.

            “Alright, we can forget about the cave for now, but promise that we will go back to it  soon,” Cordelia said.”  Emma nodded and slid down in her bed, ready to go back to sleep. 

 

 

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A New Writing Experience

From left: Myself, Bunty (Anne) Loucks, Dorothy Bush,  Marike Harris


From left: Myself, Bunty (Anne) Loucks, Dorothy Bush, Marike Harris

 

Last year I had a lot of fun participating in writing a collaborative murder mystery novel with six other writers from Writers’ Ink. The project entailed the re-writing of a previously written murder mystery In a Rosedale Garden which Anne  (Bunty) Loucks had written more than thirty years ago. At that time it was serialized in a daily newspaper. It is a story of intrigue and deceit that begins with one generation and concludes with the next.

The project was an exercise in working together to create a new ending while sticking to the original storyline. Chapter One remained unchanged. The six of us took a chapter each and re-wrote it in consecutive order. We were free to delete parts from the original text and add new material as we saw fit. In the process, the book grew from 71  to 184 pages, plus ten pages of biographical notes about each author. The new book is titled Through a Glass, Darkly.

 

I wrote Chapter Seven in which I created an episode where twin brother pilots flew bomber planes during WW II. To make the scene believable, I had to do a bit of research and learned much about the RCAF’s contributions toward stopping the bad Krauts from succeeding to rule Europe.

 

Marike Harris, one of the contributing authors, designed the cover pages for each book— making both stories available under one cover. On the cover of the collaborative novel, Marike captured the looks of each contributing author. Bunty, with her ever present energy, sits high up on a tree wearing one of her signature hats. I am wearing my favourite colour, blue, and have a head of give-away blond frizz! The book is available as e-book on Amazon.com.

 

 

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Christmas Book Fair

I was invited to participated at the 2013 Christmas Book Fair, together with many other authors, to present The Princess on a Cloud: A Fairy Tale of Suspense. I met a slew of fellow writers and many kind supporters of our line of work. Among them was a little girl, six-year-old Claire,  who had been reading chapter books since her fourth birthday, her mother told me. She was a precocious child who said that my chapter book was very different from all the others she had read before. When I asked her how it was different, she said: “Yours has coloured illustrations. All the ones I have at home have grey pictures in them that aren’t as nice as yours.” I was very, very pleased as I had had to insist on the colours with the publishers. They had thought it would make the book too expensive! But when you consider that children read their books over and over—at least I hope they will do with mine—the price is a down right give-away, right? Two days after the event, I received an email, with the photo below attached, from Claire’s mother who wrote that Claire had been reading my book from the moment they arrived at home that night. She declared it to be:  “awsome”! Can there be any better critique than the one from the mouth of a child?

 

Claire and her brother at the Christmas book fair

Claire and her brother at the Christmas book fair

 

The book fair was also the venue for the launch of a book In a Rosedale Garden and Through a Glass, Darkly which I  have participated in re-writing.  It was originally written by Anne (Bunty) Loucks some 35 years ago. It’s a murder mystery that was serialized in a Whiarton newspaper. Six Writers’ Ink members took up the challenge of rewriting one chapter each by adding to, or removing from, the original story to create a different tale with a surprising, new ending. It was a fun project everyone enjoyed working on. We learned much about the process of creating a book —from A to Z—until it was ready to be marketed. In short, we all took a  Publishing 101 course and passed! The book can be ordered by going to the website of Anne (Bunty) Loucks.

From left to right: Muyself, Bunty Loucks, Marike Harris, Dorothy bush

From left to right: R. Patricia Capitain, Anne (Bunty) Loucks, Marike Harris, Dorothy Bush

 

I wish all of you a prosperous new year filled with many happy moments, good health, and the time to read enjoyable books of your favourite genre.

R. Patricia

 

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