Sunday, November 25, 2012

Celebrate by Pippa Middleton

Browsed this book out of curiosity and surprised myself by buying it. Celebrate is a combination of well-thought out recipes, crafts and ideas for family fun. It is set with some of the best illustrations and photos I've seen in a book of this genre. 
Not being British, I was charmed by customs and recipes which were unfamiliar. Some will be added to our own family traditions. One I will try this holiday season  is Stir-up Sunday. 
The book set- up is easy to follow,and  centres around the seasons and their special days.; Robbie Burns,  picnics, camping, Hallowe'en....
I am an indie author/publisher and pay close attention to ratings on Amazon.
After I bought Celebrate, I checked the rating and couldn't believe some of the nasty remarks and low scores. They were clearly undeserved and made me wonder about the motivation behind  some of the malicious comments. 
Celebrate is a book about home and family and traditions, a book I will be using for years to come.
 I could see Celebrate turned into a  weekly tv show or  a tv special for each season! 

Pat Cher 
Author Mi'kmaq Song

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Mi'kmaq Ancient Lecture Hall

Mi'kmaq - Ancient Lecture Hall

Picture an open space around a campfire where the breeze mingles the smell of smoke with the sweetness of the forest beyond.

The walls are the trees and perhaps a river rushing by, the roof an open sky, the background music, the chirping of squirrels interspersed with the sweet song of the woodland thrush or the harsh cry of the crow.

Picture a circle of people, sitting on grass provided by Mother Earth, a circle of equals where no one's word  is greater than his brother's.

Listeners all, the people gathered sit for hours or even  whole days listening without interrupting the speaker. 

Breaks would happen often, for the Mi'kmaq are a people who take pleasure in humor, and the stories incorporated tales that  brought laughter. The laughter would usually begin with a small chuckle and petty soon the forest would be filled with merriment.

Laughter the best medicine.... The Mi'kmaq lived to over 100. Membertou, the great Mi'kmaq Sagamaw, is reported to have lived to  one hundred ten. Of course, they were  a very disciplined people, stoic, pushing themselves to the utmost in all areas of their lives.

The early explorers considered the Mi'kmaq to be a very intelligent people. Perhaps this emphasis on storytelling was one of reasons. 

The Mi'kmaq listened to hunting  stories, war stories, stories of what they believed in...Glooscap, legends of the stars and of animals, stories of ancestors and lineage. Always these were tales that taught and amused for the storyteller was always a great entertainer.

The novel Mi'kmaq Song explores the ancient Mi'kmaw customs. It's available as an ebook readable on any computer and most tablets. It can also be purchased as an ebook.

There is a road in the hearts of all of us, hidden and seldom traveled,
which leads to an unkown, secret place.
The old people came literally to love the soil,
and they sat or reclined on the ground with a feeling of
being close to a mothering power.
Their teepees were built upon the earth
and their altars were made of earth.
The soil was soothing, strengthening, cleansing and healing.
That is why the old Indian still sits upon the earth instead of
propping himself up and away from its life giving forces.
For him, to sit or lie upon the ground is to be able to think more deeply
and to feel more keenly. He can see more clearly into the mysteries of
life and come closer in kinship to other lives about him.

Chief Luther Standing Bear, Lakota

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mi'kmaq Song Readers Favorite Book Review *****

Received this today! So Happy !
Mi'kmaq Song  5 Stars*****

Book Review
Reviewed by Tamera L. for Readers Favorite

Newly divorced, Maggie lives a pretty mundane life. She learns the old customs and language of her ancestors, the Mi’kmag people, through her grandmother Maggie and they linger in her memories. After her grandmother’s death, Maggie finds solace in her dreams where her grandmother still regularly visits and guides her. Maggie depends heavily on her own special song – something her ancestors relished. But Maggie’s life takes an unexpected turn when she takes a canoe ride and finds herself face to face with a ghostly ship from the past. Escaping from the pirates, she finds herself back on the coast only to discover that things are no longer the same. Stuck in a time warp, Maggie comes face to face with a new terrifying reality as she struggles to escape the bounds of slavery. But all is not lost, for Maggie meets Abtatuk, a special warrior who aids her through her perilous battle for survival and fills the empty void of her heart.

"Mi'kmaq Song" by Pat Cher is a spectacular book filled with historical prowess and a breathtaking view of the Mi’Kmag people. Maggie’s adventures weave magically throughout each page as she battles for existence using her wits, courage, a few modern gadgets and of course her special song. I enjoyed taking this wild roller coaster ride with Maggie and Abtatuk. The writer did a great job of creating this distinctive world, which I felt firmly a part of. I look forward to reading more books from this talented writer. This is one of the best books I have read in a while. Great job! 

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Elizabeth Wilder-The Spruce Gum Box

One of the joys and unexpected pleasures of self publishing is meeting fellow authors. We don't for the most part meet face to face but we do get to know each other, in some cases better than if we'd met at a gathering or party.

For me, one of these special people is Elizabeth Wilder, author of The Spruce Gum Box

Elizabeth writes about the Mi'kmaq and the Penobscot as I do, but from a totally different perspective. She writes in the years of the pioneers when the lumber trade was in its infancy and about how it affected the native people of the time. She emphasizes the generosity of a people, not only to their own but to everyone they met. 

My grandfather used to whittle and carve as did Jed in this novel. The spruce gum box was new for me, but it did make sense that there would be such a box. Abtatuk and Panonias in my story, Mi'kmaq  Song use spruce gum to survive when the are captured. 
I liked Elizabeth's portrayal of the Maine woods, much like the scenes  from my own story years earlier. I could almost smell the spruce, the pines, the cedars and the campfires as I read this very entertaining and informative story.

A coinsidance that I liked her story so much ? Probably not, we both write about the Mi'kmaq but in different eras. Other coincidences would appear that we are in the same age group; Elizabeth paints watercolors, so do  I ; she worked as a teacher, surprise, surprise, I did too. Of course, The Spruce Gum Box is a beautifully crafted story, the kind that lingers a long time after you've read it, a keeper kind of story, that you want to revisit time and again.

I haven't met Elizabeth, but feel that should we meet we would find we have much more in common. 

Elizabeth writes a blog and I find her ideas and stories refreshing. The posts contain nuggets of wisdom which stay with you, much like the characters who appear in her novel, The Spruce Gum Box

It's a pleasure knowing you, Elizabeth, let's keep in touch.

Pat Cher 

Author Mi'kmaq Song

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ghost Ships True or False
Pat Cher

Numerous sightings of ghost ships along New Brunswick's Bay of Chaleur are part of the oral history of the area. Most people are skeptical about this unusual phenomena. Historian, W.F. Ganong suggests that it was merely a version of St El;mo's fire. Others have come up with similar explanations. 

The ships usually engulfed in flames are usually witnessed during a storm. It could happen in winter or summer. Former Bathurst mayor, Kevin Mann has seen it on two separate occasions. He even managed to take a picture of the burning three masted ship. The picture of the burning ship were featured in the local newspaper, the Northern Light.

In  Mi'kmaq Song,  I use my own experience with the Bay of Chaleur Ghost Ship. 

Many years ago, more than I want to admit, I was on a first date with a sweet acadian guy, Yoland. It was a foggy autumn night, made a little spookier by the fact that we lived across the street from the graveyard.

 He picked me up in his little panel truck and we headed away from town. I asked where we were going, but he wouldn't tell me, said it was a surprise. 

After about half an hour of driving, we turned down a lonely beach road. The fog lay low on the open fields on either side of the track. At the end of the road we reached a grassy bank which had been carved  by the vagaries of the sea. Below was the beach, and to my surprise, about twenty or so people gathered or walked about. Some talked in groups and others gazed out to sea.

My eyes went to sea to find what the source of what mesmerised a good group of them, and I was amazed at what I saw.

The outline of a galleon loomed not far from shore. No, it wasn't burning. It didn't move but seemed to be at anchor. It was too close to shore, too shallow, to anchor where it stood silent, not moving. 

Yoland and I went down to the beach and watched for awhile. It was a three masted ship, the prow raised slightly as it hovered majestically about forty yards from where we watched. Nothing else really happened. Some of the folks spoke to Yoland, they knew him, but there was nobody I knew. 

As we bumped along the road going back to the main highway, I asked him if anyone had ever tried to reach the galleon. He answered that yes they had, but when they rowed out, they found nothing there.

Since then, I've often wondered, what would have happened if I'd been alone when I found the ship. What might have happened had I rowed out to it? In Mi'kmaq Song, I explore the possibility of time travel. Why? I believe in ghost ships, how could I not? This sighting wasn't a fire, explained by gases and other phenomena. 

If the ghost ships visit from another time and place, what happens when they go back to their own time?

There are explanations, stories as to why the ghost ship appears. I chose to personalise the story of Blanche, a  young girl who was on her way to  her fiance. Her ship was captured by pirates and everyone was killed except Blanche ... In Mi'kmaq Song, I use the story as an entry point for Maggie, the heroine of my story. 

The first chapter of Mi'kmaq Song can be found here.

Self Publishing and Vanity Presses

           Pat Cher

vanity press or vanity publisher is a term describing a publishing house that publishes books at the author's expense. "Wikipedia"
The traditional publisher, edits, prints the author's book, and looks after the marketing. The author gets paid a percentage of the book sales. The percentage can be as low as 5% and  sometimes as high as 15%. 
Consider that in Canada, a best selling author sells in the region of 5000 books. If the book sells for 19.95, and the author gets 10% of the sales,he/she will receive $9750. The royalty might be a little high if you consider that discounts may apply and the author might get less than the 10%.

That doesn't sound like much for someone who has spent years writing a book. I researched Mi'kmaq Summer for 10 years. I wrote and rewrote the book. I put most chapters online to be critiqued. Since other people were critiquing my book, I  had to return the critique. How many hours did I spend on this book? I can't even begin to guess. All that time and to maybe earn $10,000, if perchance it becomes a best seller.

I must admit to not having the persistence of Stephen King who sent his book to countless publishers before his first book was accepted. I sent my book to two Canadian agents who didn't want to represent it, and to one publisher who has yet to reply. 

Maybe I'm lazy or maybe, I just don't want the frustration, but I've decided not to go that route.

I'm also very frugal, and don't want to spend money (Vanity Press) to get it published. The answer appears to be Print on Demand (POD). I've been exploring this concept for a while and in my next post will be looking at two avenues which seem more appealing. Stay tuned. Be back soon!

Please post questions if you would like me to expand on some of the above. Thank you for reading.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why Write?
Pat Cher

I've often been asked, why I write, and when did I start. The first story I remember writing was one about a cat who used a mouse's tail for a toothpick. I was in grade one or two. I liked poems, and early on wrote one about this boy who lived in the next village. Wish I had kept those, it would be fun to look at and reminisce. I started with short stories and poems and over the year has grown to include different genres.

On my computer I have a number of children's books; picture books, early reader chapter books, middle reader novels, and a story in verse. I also have an adult historical fiction, complete and ready to publish.

Over the years, I've shared these with family, but other than a few queries have not attempted to have any  published.

Last July, I sent my novel, Mi'kmaq Summer to a Canadian publisher who publishes native fiction.

My submission has yet to be acknowledged. I have emailed them requesting status, but received no response. One wonders if they are in business solely to receive the government subsidy.

Maybe they didn't like the story, but they could have responded.

It took me over ten years to write and research the story. I joined writers' groups (Writers' Village University and Critique Circle) and had it critiqued a number of times. The writers' group experience proved invaluable. I not only learned by my mistakes but by what others wrote as well.

In the past four years, I've been researching Print on Demand (POD), internet marketing, and the different avenues offered by the web for those who want to self publish. I've reached the point where I feel I'm ready to plunge in.

(In my next post, I'll be writing about the different options, and the pros and cons of each. Along the way, I'll let you know how the journey is developing. I'll also post my web site with excerpts from my stories.  I plan to be here at least twice a week. Stay tuned!)