Just a couple of weeks ago, my family was in Europe, hopping on and off trains and travelling from Paris to Copenhagen to London in a journey that, despite the decidedly modest nature of our accommodations (the first thing the kids now ask before we go to a new hotel is “Does this one have its own bathroom?”), still cost a lot more than we probably should have spent.
(sadly, the only pic from this year’s trip that includes all four of this is this not-very-good selfie in front of Lego Mount Rushmore, but what can you do? One of us is always holding the camera)
I am a big believer in family vacations. And I recognize that not everyone has the ability to take their kids to Europe. But to my mind the benefits of family vacations are the same whether you’re skiing in the Alps or setting up the pop-up trailer at Butterpot Park. And it can sometimes be much easier not to take a family vacation — travelling with kids poses its challenges, not just from an economic point of view but from sanity and time-management and energy points of view too. I believe there are two unique benefits to family trips that you can achieve no matter how far you go or how much (or little) you spend — two things you can’t achieve by staying home.
1. You experience something new. The opportunity to try, taste, do or see something completely outside the range of their everyday experience is a precious gift to give your kids. Yes, you do valuable and fun and useful things with them all the time at home, and so do their teachers at school, but both home and school fall into routines and there are certain things we and our children will never get to experience if we don’t get outside our comfort zones. And again, this is not dependent on budget or on your ability to travel someplace exotic. Whether it’s a Canadian kid who gets to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower, or a city kid who gets to bait a fishing hook with a real live worm for the first time, the important thing is that your family is doing, seeing or trying something they wouldn’t normally do as part of their everyday lives. That’s how we learn. That’s how we grow. And unlike experiences they might have on a school field trip (which are also great, of course), on a family vacation kids get to do these new things with their parents and siblings. Which brings me to my second point …
So, I kind of fell down on posting the Women’s Suffrage Trivia Questions here on the blog. I ended up posting five photos with trivia questions on Facebook, and had many readers playing along there, but I fell behind here on the blog. It turned out that having your new book come out the same week that you start teaching classes at school is … kind of a lot to have happening. And now that we’re into the third week of school, and the book is more-or-less out there (still on its way to some bookstore shelves), things are still, well, kind of hectic. But the main thing is, the book is out there. Ish. And I apolog-ish for letting the blog fall a few days behind, but I did have a contest winner, and Edwina now has her free copy of the book, and I’m hoping a lot more people will be reading and enjoying copies of it very soon.
I’ll post book-related updates here as I’m able, but an even better place to look is on my official website, www.trudymorgancole.com . If you click on “Events” you’ll find out when and where I’m reading from and signing the novel, and I’ll post links to reviews and interviews under the “Press” tab. I’ve also created this page which has links to a lot of information about the historical background of A Sudden Sun, so you can check that out too!
Here’s today’s WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE TRIVIA QUESTION (I can’t really call this a Fun Fact):
NAME THIS FAMOUS SUFFRAGIST! She is probably best known for the circumstances of her death in 1913, when she stepped in front of the King’s horse at Epson Derby, sustaining injuries that led to her death four days later. The reasons why she did this have been debated for, well, a century now, but the consensus seems to be that she was attempting to disrupt the event and draw attention to her cause — possibly by throwing a “Votes for Women” sash around the horse’s neck, though this theory, like everything else about the incident, is controversial.
It’s the last of my summer series about books I love and what I’ve learned from them, and I filmed this one in Amsterdam (where the book is partially set).
All this week I’ll be posting trivia facts and questions about how women won the right to vote, in honour of my novel A Sudden Sun coming out later this week. I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to work it out but there will be some free books involved for at least some of those who participate, so check either here on the blog or on Facebook if you have me on Facebook for a daily trivia post/question about women’s suffrage. Here’s today’s trivia question:
This woman, Kate Sheppard, fought for women’s right to vote in the country which in 1893 became the first self-governing country in the world to give ALL women the right to vote in parliamentary elections. NAME THE COUNTRY!!
Yes, it’s that time again. I have a book coming out. Books, in fact. Which is great. But also awkward, from a social media point of view, because it’s such a difficult line to walk — how, and how much, to promote your own work.
On the one hand, you have to do it. No writer can exist in the social media world today without talking about his or her own work: helping to promote it to readers is part of your job.
On the other hand, nobody wants to be Todd Manley-Krauss. And every writer is secretly afraid that they are — afraid of being the one whose self-promotion is so shameless that people start unfriending you. If you don’t think it’s a difficult balance to strike, then you’ve probably never tried to promote your own work, in any field (or else you actually are Todd Manley-Krauss).
So here’s the deal: I’ll be talking about this stuff here on the blog a little bit over the next few weeks — here on the blog, and on Facebook (amidst my vacation photos), and on Twitter. I have a new book coming out next week. And an old book of mine has just been re-released in a new format. And as a writer, it’s my job to make sure that if you are interested in either of those, you know that they’re out there and where to get them. And if you’re not, to avoid boring you so much that you stop hanging out with me in cyberspace.
Today I want to talk to you about Kingdom of the Heart, because with all the promotion I’m going to be doing for A Sudden Sun over the next few weeks, Kingdom might get a little lost in the shuffle. So here’s the story:
Back about 1989 or 1990, I wrote what was, for many years, my favourite thing I’d ever written. This was before I started writing historical fiction about Bible characters; this was almost the opposite. I tried (not the only writer to do so by a long shot) to imagine Jesus coming as an everyday person in today’s world, doing and saying the things he said and did the first time, but in a modern North American context. I loved that book, and it was published in 1991 under the title The Man from Lancer Avenue. Some people read it and also loved it (presumably others read it and didn’t like it, but I didn’t hear from them) and in due course, a few years later, it went out of print. End of story.
Awhile back I was contacted by Pacific Press Publishing Association about re-issuing The Man from Lancer Avenue as an e-book. I thought that this would be a great way to make an out-of-print novel available to new readers in the digital age — in fact, I did it myself by self-publishing The Violent Friendship of Esther Johnson as an e-book re-release — so I was eager to do the same for Lancer Avenue. The idea grew with time, and it ended up involving somewhat of a rewrite — I wanted to bring the story and characters into the twenty-first century. Also, Pacific Press asked me to create a condensed version of the book for a print release. This is the book that’s currently available under the new title Kingdom of the Heart — the e-book of the whole story will be out in a few months.
The complete book tells the story from the point of several characters who more-or-less correspond to modern-day versions of Jesus’ disciples. The condensed print version focuses on just two of those characters — Marie Castillo, a contemporary Mary Magdalene, and Pete Johnson, my updated apostle Peter. Marie and Pete, along with their families and friends, both meet up with an unconventional street preacher named Chris Davidson who allegedly has the power to heal the sick, and who invites ordinary people to leave their jobs, homes and families behind to follow him.
Kingdom of the Heart is a short book, novella-length, and it’s available for only $2.99 (US) at this link. I also have some copies to give away, and I’ll gladly send them to the first five people who post here or email me at email@example.com and tell me why you’d like to have this book.
If you’d like to read the whole story, look for the e-book, which will be out later this year. I’ll let you know … and I’ll try not to be too annoying in the process!