Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Laura Secord: The Secret is Out

The Secord homestead, Queenston, Ontario
Laura Secord never boasted of her heroism. For years after her 30 km walk to warn a handful of British soldiers at their outpost at Beaver Dams that they were about to be attacked by an army of five hundred Americans, Laura kept silent about it. She and her husband, James, feared reprisals, and the War of 1812 was long over before it was spoken of, even within her family circle.

Laura did remind the government of her deed in three personal petitions when, years later, the Secords struggled financially. They hoped that James or herself might be given some form of employment by the lieutenant-governor.

In 1860, the Prince of Wales, the future King Edward VII, was to visit Canada and pay homage to the veterans of the War of 1812 and the Rebellion of 1837. Laura, who was then 85, insisted that she be allowed to add her name to an address that the vets were presenting to the royal visitor.

At first, she was refused. But the Niagara Mail and Empire took up her cause in the press. As a result, permission was given for Laura Secord to travel to Niagara-on-the-Lake where she added her signature to the page. She also wrote a petition for the prince where she asked him to tell his mother, Queen Victoria, the story of Laura's service to her country and the Crown.

Whether or not the prince ever saw Laura's personal petition we can't be sure. But someone drew his attention to the lone woman's signature on the veterans' address. The prince was intrigued and began asking questions about Laura Secord.

A year after his visit to Canada the Prince of Wales sent Laura 100 pounds in gold. It was the only remuneration she ever received for her bravery.

For more of this story, please read my newly-released biography, Laura Secord: Heroine of the War of 1812

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Launching Laura Secord

In the past, I've had books released without any type of launch, but never have I had a book with two launches. I feel very privileged that this is going to be the case for my latest, Laura Secord: Heroine of the War of 1812. 

The following invitations are for everyone, but depending on where you live, one venue might be better than the other. For those in the part of Ontario where I live — the Quinte, Northumberland, or Prince Edward Country regions — the Prince Edward County Library and Archives is hosting a launch of the book at the Wellington Library, 261 Main St. in Wellington on Sunday, May 27 at 2 p.m. There will be a reading, book signing, a chance to chat, and some light refreshments.

For those who live in the Brockville, Prescott, Ottawa area the Spencerville Mill Heritage Fair is hosting the launch at the ArtScene Gallery at 11 Spencer St. in Spencerville on Friday, June 1 at 5 p.m. The organizers are calling it a launch and soiree. There'll be a meet and greet, a short reading, a book signing, and some light refreshments.

My launch here is part of the Spencerville Mill's Bicentennial Heritage Fair, June 1–3, a whole weekend of activities on a War of 1812 theme. Here is the link: http://www.spencervillemill.ca/bicentennial-heritage-fair.html  Click on "Schedule & Map" for more information. On Saturday, June 2 , I'll be signing books at the mill on Water Street from 1–2 p.m. 

Everyone is welcome to come to these Bicentennial celebrations. Come in costume and you'll fit right in. I'll be wearing a Regency period "everyday" dress, a style that Laura herself might have worn.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On Talking to Students in Wellington

I recently had the privilege of giving a presentation to the Grades 4, 5, and 6 students at C.M.L. Snider Public School in Wellington, ON to celebrate Literacy Day. My visit was sponsored by the Rotary Club of Wellington.

I read a few short selections from one of my novels, Trouble at Turtle Narrows, and shared some stories and slides of my writing life.

The audience of about seventy students, their teachers, and a few parents was enthusiastic and attentive. Best of all, they had plenty of questions for me!

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Mary Pickford Party

You are cordially invited to come to the party! All things Mary Pickford, including some tempting desserts.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In the Down Times

A fellow writer, who happens to be a young friend of mine, writes a blog that I've been following for some time. She has graciously granted me permission to share a link to a recent posting of hers.


This one struck a chord with me, now that I am finished my latest book and wondering what's next. Why do we writers feel guilty if we're not writing, or if we're writing for the joy of it and not thinking of publication? Jessica reminds us that it's okay to just be still, quiet for a while, because in that quiet we find our voice, connect to our deepest selves.

I'm sure you'll enjoy this post.