I will head a few blocks north from my home to the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier at the National War Memorial today. Remembrance Day. I want to salute Pte. Dick Prashaw, my Dad, and veterans of all wars for their service and sacrifices. There may be a Legion visit too, to toast the men and women in uniform, and to hear a few more war stories.
Which reminds me to update you on new book projects.
I am sketching an outline for my third book which will be my first novel. This scares me in a good way---plot, characters, dialogue, etc. The working title is "Bless you, Father Joe". It's the story of a beloved Catholic priest with a terrible secret. No, not that one. Joe loved kids the way his God intended. Joe may be in even deeper trouble as his faith and relationship with his God is on the rocks. We follow Joe's flight from ministry, heart-warming, comical, and surprising to the last page: a final homily; a shocking knifing on the church steps as he departs; a redemptive chat with a sex worker who knows and loves God well; a visit to his old seminary prof to review the proofs of God; and an escape to a dream baseball job in Vermont where a pipe-smoking and foul-mouthed female assistant GM does her best to get Joe to at least second base in dating and romance. I've applied to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for grants that sustain writers for their book projects. Wish me luck!
The second book will be creative non-fiction, one part inspired by the true story on my Dad's WW2 Italy and Netherlands liberation. (He was a D-Day Dodger, Lady Astor's bad joke on the Canadians fighting in Italy who "dodged" the Normandy invasion). Significant research has morphed the scope of that book into embracing Dad and Mom's love story, played out in London, ON. and Europe before and duringf WW2. And, because the son has many unanswered questions his father dodged well, there may be a time travel for me back to the battle fields in Europe where I join his platoon, and discover more than I bargained for, surprises for my father, and for me too. I am keeping a close eye on the latest Covid variants, hoping for a 2023 trip that will put me in Europe to trace Dad's war story from Monte Cassino in the south of Italy all the way to Sneek, Holland, where the Fighting Perths sequestered after VE Day in May 1945.
Father Rick Roamin' Catholic Tour
Since my last blog in September, I have staged author storytelling sessions in Kitchener-Waterloo (Bestival), London (Chaucer's Pub), and Midland (St. Theresa's Catholic High School. It's on to the North Grenville Library in Kemptville next week, November 17, then Almonte for a Civitan Club craft sale on Nov. 19 and, passport finally in hand, Hyde Park, VT. Nov. 22. I"ll hang in there at my sister Jude's cabin, for the American Thanksgiving, football, and turkey. I am in a panic searching for the Canadian sour ju jubes she and her friends demand for my admission. It seems Bulk Barn and Farmboy have discontinued the sour candy.Their substitutes are disappointing.
That may be a wrap for 2022 events as I long for many winter mornings at the writing desk.
The Father Rick memoir is an indie book with no publisher, no publicist, nor agent to help market and sell books. It's all on me, aided by a gaggle of dear family and friends who greet and assist me at many stops. I told a recent panel for the Ottawa Independent Writers group that, with one book published by a traditional publisher, Dundurn Press (Soar, Adam, Soar, 2019), and this second book by a hybrid independent, Friesen Press, 2022, I"ll prefer the traditional publisher route nine times out of ten. That is, if you are fortunate enough to land a contract by even getting to an agent and publisher via your query letters. It's not easy. There are positives and negatives with both types. The bottom line is gratitude, holding my two books in my hand.
I've met authors who either are not into the selling part of the job or abhor speaking with media and going on tour. I am fine with all that. However, part of me only wants to write. The publicity and marketing side of writing can consume at least a year of your life after the book is published. I am proud of the two books, happy I wrote them. The pandemic and its bubbled and shuttered universe have been my Everest to climb this past year. I am stating a fact, not complaining. (There's so much worse suffering in many families because of Covid than my problems selling books). Sadly, the media is in a sorry state too these days as there are more newspaper chains and less local coverage. Consequently, it's a huge challenge drawing a decent audience without that local publicity. Crowds for this tour have been about half or less than the pre-pandemic 2019 book on my son. Still, I am so grateful for the friends and associates who share my news and my events.
A poignant moment at the London reading was Wayne Burrow from the London Gift of Life speaking about his late wife and this remarkable quilt they made depicting her and other faces of organ donors and recipients. My son, Adam, is on the donor side of the quilt. That was recognition of our Prashaw and Beaton ancestors from London. I commented on how the conversation changes when we move from labels or theoretical issues to talking about real people with a face and a story. That's true whether we are talking about organ donor registration or, for example, transgender folk. Adam is still a big part of my storytelling. The three chapters on Adam in Father Rick return to his story to celebrate a big God loving all.
Father Rick Roamin' Catholic is a great gift and Holiday/Christmas stocking stuffer, especially for Catholic friends, be they practising or recovering. Other readers from different faiths or no religion tell me they enjoyed the stories. Millenials tell me they appreciate much more their parents after reading it. It's been a treat on this tour seeing people buy Soar, Adam, Soar too.
Father Rick Roamin' Catholic is available in hardcover, paperback, ebook, and audiobook. You can order or find the paper back books at:
Tantor Media has both the audiobooks with a deep discount on now for Father Rick Roamin' Catholic.
Enough! As this glorious summer weather lingers into November, in Ontario at least, it's time for another bike ride aslong the Rideau Canal.