Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Celebration of British Columbia's History in Books

British Columbia Historical Federation Author's Gathering and Book Display

Please join us on Friday, May 10th from 3:00 to 6:00 pm and on Saturday, May 11th, 9:00 am to 5:00 pm as the British Columbia Historical Federation celebrates British Columbia's history in books. A book display and author's gathering will be held as part of the Federation's annual conference in the Ida Room at The Coast Kamloops Hotel & Convention Centre, 1250 Rogers Way.  Mingle with authors.  Talk about books.  Support the creation of new knowledge about BC's past.

A wide range of books about BC history will be included in this author's gathering and book sale.  Local topics such as Marie Laroche's reminiscences of educators of the Kamloops area, called A Passion for Sharing and A Passion for Teaching will be represented, as will Andrew Yarmie's Women Caring for Kamloops, 1890- 1975. Trelle Morrow's book, Cataline: Packer Extraordinaire, and Susan Smith Josephy ‘s Lillian Alling: The Journey Home. Morrow's biography of Cataline, the famed master of the horse pack train tells of a man born in France of Spanish and Mexican descent who left his name throughout central BC during a long and colourful career.  Lillian Alling walked from New York to Dawson City, Yukon crossing the North American continent on foot enduring the hardships encountered through the rugged Rocky Mountains and the wilderness of British Columbia.  Lynne Bowen will also be on hand to discuss her work on British Columbia's Italian communities called Whoever Gives Us Bread: the Story of Italians in British Columbia.  And for those history buffs interested in the Brigade Trails, Nancy M. Anderson’s book The Pathfinder: A.C. Anderson’s Journey in the West, all about the fur trade trails forged through the Okanagan and Thompson Plateau, will also be available.

The Kamloops Museum will showcase its history books, including Kamloops: Trading Post to Tournament Capital.  The book spans the pre-Contact years to the present age with each chapter covering specific historical periods and the significant events that impelled history ever forward.  The North Shuswap Historical Society will have their 9 Volumes of The Shuswap Chronicles available and a representative of Friesens press will be on hand to answer questions about printing and book production.

Other BC writers participating in the celebration and book display will be, Lynne Stonier-Newman, Elenore Hancock, Danda Humphreys, Dave Young, Anne Switzer, Jay Sherwood, Frances Wellwood, Ron Hyde, and Neils for Mona Saemerow.

We look forward to seeing you there.

If you would like more information about this display, or to schedule an interview, contact Mary Campone at 250-374-1509.  For more information about events that are part of this year's BCHF conference, Historic Grasslands, see www.bchistory.ca .

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Calling all British Columbia history lovers

Just a few more sleeps! I'm very excited because on May 9 I'm heading down to Kamloops for the British Columbia Historical Federation 91st provincial conference. This year's conference title is "Historical Grasslands."

I'm especially interested in this year's guest speaker, local rancher and recently appointed Lieutenant Governor, The Honourable Judith Guichon who will be speaking on  “History of Ranching in BC.”  

Other speakers include: Dr. Wendy Gardner on the “History of the Changing Grasslands,” Ken Favrholdt on “The Brigade Trails,” Andrew Yarmie on “Women Caring for Kamloops” as well as Dr. Ron Ignace and Ms. Elisabeth Duckworth providing opening remarks at the Opening Reception.  

The conference will also include tours of the Lac de Bois area, the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park, and a sightseeing trip to Tranquille on the Lake, the site of the old Tranquille Sanatorium.  Informative workshop presentations during the first day of the conference include:  Land Titles Office Tour, From B to W: Blogs and Wikis - Writing History in the Digital Age, Copyright for Print and Digital and Developing a Tour Guide Program.

This year's conference will be held from May 9 to 12 at the at Coast Kamloops Convention Centre.  The public is welcome to register for the conference.  Full day and half day options have been made available to encourage local participation.  

A Book Display, providing local authors the opportunity to display/sell their books is also planned. YES! I will be there selling my book, "Lillian Alling: the journey home."

For more information about the conference or projects of the Federation, visit www.bchistory.ca or contact the Chair of the Kamloops Planning Committee, Mary Campone at 250-374-1509 or by email at director1@bchistory.ca
It is not too late to take advantage of the opportunity to take part in the Conference.  Registrations close on April 28th, 2013.  You may register on line at www.bchistory.ca

The BCHF was founded in 1922 and is a charitable organization representing almost 27,000 individuals through the many historical societies and museums across the Province.  The simple purpose of the society is to stimulate interest in the study of British Columbia history.  The BCHF publishes “British Columbia History” quarterly, presents the Lieutenant Governor’s Medal for Historical Writing Award each year and maintains two scholarships for studies in BC history.

Hope to see you there!

Monday, April 22, 2013

A posting on behalf of my Twitter friend, Anna Meade

iStock photo

Author: Susan Smith-Josephy
Title: Trotting Toward a Life of Happiness
Ebook? YES!

The meadow was dotted with wildflowers. A gnarled fence in the background opened into a gate, and above the gate was a trellis crawling with red roses.

White tablecloths were spread out, a picnic ready for the hundreds of guests that had arrived for the wedding of Anemone and Mykonos.

Colored flags flapped in the summer breeze, and yellow butterflies and bluebirds flitted.

It was quiet, only the buzzing of a few bees and chattering of naughty squirrels could be heard.  The guests were keeping as quiet as possible, awaiting the bride and groom.

“I hear something.”

“They’re almost here.”


Clip clop, clip clop went their hooves on the dry earth path, kicking up dust. The bride looked down at the hem of her veil. Was it dusty? She’d chosen a traditional one-shoulder silken wrap for her covering. Mykonos was bare-chested, of course. He’d been freshly waxed for the occasion.

Mykonos cleared his throat, did some deep breathing and flicked his tail a few times.

The couple approached the gate, stopped. Camera’s flashed, clicked and whirred. Anemone turned to smile at Mykonos.

“Kiss! Kiss!” shouted the guests.

“Were not married yet,” said Mykonos, with great seriousness.

“Well, let’s get on with it then,” said Anemone.

The minister, resplendent in a purple robe which enhanced his glossy black coat, beckoned them on.

Mykonos and Anemone shared their vows, thus pledging themselves together forever.

The guests thundered their hooves in appreciation. Kentauroi always do love a romantic wedding.

"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Anemone leaned in towards Mykonos, he pulled back her lacy veil, and they kissed. Long and hard.

The minister nodded his approval, his shiny black tail whisking back and forth.

Kentauroi were getting restless, they wanted snacks and dancing, and at a centaur wedding these things happened simultaneously.

Champagne was served, plates passed around, and the band started up.

"I hope they play Gangnam style," one adolescent girl whispered to another.

"Save a horse, ride a cowboy."

"His flanks are glistening, aren't they?"

The centaurs made a wide circle, the bride and groom would need a lot of room for their first dance.

Anemone and her gorgeous bridegroom clasped hands, and swayed to the music, tails sashaying in unison. Then, they bowed their heads, took three steps back, and waved for guests to join in.

I'd like to say it was a beautifully coordinated folk dance. But, to be honest, it was an awkward, muddy free-for-all. The hooves trampled the wildflowers, the tails swished the hors d'oeuvres, and Uncle Ralphus had to much mead and kicked a hole right through the bass drum.

As dusk settled in, and the fairy lights twinkled, the raucous partying continued, and Mykonos and his beautiful bride Anemone bad everyone a fare well, the moon slid north to light their way.

Breaking into a slow canter, the newlyweds, their shiny tails flowing out behind them, took their first steps as a married couple.

Godspeed, my friends.


Hey readers! Confused? Don't be. This blog post is in honour of Anna Meade's wedding.

For ALL the info, click here or here

Toast. Let us raise a glass to Anna and Michael, wishing all the best on this day and on all days forward.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

An interview with the tenacious and curious author, Eve Lazarus

SSJ: Welcome! Tell us about yourself
EL: I’m originally from Melbourne, Australia and I’ve lived in and around Vancouver for over 25 years. 
For most of those years I’ve worked as a business reporter, a freelance journalist and feature writer. I’ve worked in the business, city and feature sections of the Vancouver Sun, as the Vancouver correspondent for Marketing Magazine, and as a researcher for CBC-TV. 

I’m also a mother with a passion for history and heritage houses and I’ve managed to parlay those interests into four books: Frommer’s with Kids Vancouver; At Home with History: the untold secrets of Greater Vancouver’s heritage houses; co-author of The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen; and Sensational Victoria: bright lights, red lights, murders, ghosts & gardensSensational Victoria is a book about the city’s famous and infamous, the ordinary and the extraordinary, filtered through the houses in which they lived.

I just finished reading Sensational Victoria
I loved the book! How did you get starting writing it?
In many ways the book is a follow up to a series of magazine and newspaper articles about the histories and mysteries behind various houses across Canada; and At Home With History, published in 2007, and my blog. A book on Victoria with its history, gorgeous houses and eccentricities seemed a natural next step.

What did you learn during the writing process? Can you give us any tips?
When I first started writing about houses I’d pick these gorgeous mansions—on Vancouver’s West Side, Shaughnessy, New West, etc. I’d spend weeks researching them, only to find that nothing very interested ever took place there. I now start with the story and it doesn’t matter if the house is a 100-year-old heritage mansion or a humble cottage—it’s all about the story.

Tell us about your previous books.
I wrote Frommer’s with Kids Vancouver in 2001 and part of the appeal was that I could include my children then aged, two, five and eight in the research. We road-tested everything—from kid-friendly restaurants to parks and gardens, hiked trails and visited dozens of attractions. 
After the book was finished I don’t think we left the house for about a year!

At Home with History is a collection of real life stories designed to bring to life the glamorous and not-so-glamorous social histories of various heritage homes in Metro Vancouver—stories of brothels and bootleggers, secret rooms, ghosts and Shakespearean-style murders.

The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen is the second in a series on the Unheralded Artists of BC. I profiled Frank Molnar, and the book is filled with gorgeous reproductions of the artist’s paintings and sculptures, personal photographs and previously untold stories.

Sensational Victoria: bright lights, red lights, murders, ghosts & gardens  is a follow up to At Home with History in some ways, but the stories are structured in themes such as legendary women, celebrities, artists, brothels and murders, and we have included mapsone has a walking tour with Emily Carr around James Bay in 1913—and hundreds of photos designed to (hopefully) appeal to visitors interested in history and heritage houses and wanting something a bit different than the typical guidebook or tourist brochure.

What is it that you like about British Columbia history?
To discover that it’s more than gold mining, white males and railways. That once you start digging there are amazing women that have carved out their place in history and helped change our world. There are adventurers and fascinating stories from visible minorities—the Chinese, Indo Canadians and First Nations to name a few—which give an entirely different point of view, as do the ordinary immigrants—the Italians, the Japanese and the black community--ordinary people with extraordinary stories that often go untold.

I concur! What books are you reading right now?
I usually have more than one on the go and my tastes range from popular fiction to long-out-of print non fiction. By my bed at the moment is Where’d you go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple; Fred Herzog Photographs, and Aaron Chapman’s Liquor, Lust, and the Law.

Tell us about your next projects.
I’m juggling a couple of different projects. Instead of printing more copies of At Home with History we’ve decided to do an update. I want to make it more appealing to visitors, offer lots more photos—both archival and present, and restructure it so that it’s thematic rather than geographic. As well, there are about 10 of us (including John Belshaw, Aaron Chapman, James Johnstone, and Lani Russwurm), collaborating on a book about the seedier side of  Vancouver’s history.

I look forward to both the update of At Home with History and the book about seedy Vancouver, both projects sound marvellous. Anything else you’d like to say to our readers today?
Writing about history for me is all about the thrill of the chase. It’s uncovering connections that you never knew were there, it’s finding descendants of people who lived a century or more ago to tell you their stories, and it’s finding that nugget of information that no one knew was there.

How can people buy your books?
Sensational Victoria should be easy to find in any major bookstore, on the ferries, and Munro’s Books in Victoria  have been really supportive. You can buy it online through Amazon or Chapters/Indigo or through my publisher at Anvil Press.  At Home with History may be a little trickier to find, but there are still copies circulating, and The Life & Art of Frank Molnar, Jack Hardman & LeRoy Jensen should still be in bookstores or available through Amazon and at Mother Tongue’s website.

How can people find you on line?
Website:         http://evelazarus.com/
Blog:               http://evelazarus.com/blog/
Twitter:           @evelazarus

*Editor's note: Here's a nice piece by Eva Lazarus in which she discusses her book Sensational Victoria: