Yesterday I had the official launch of my novel, Megiddo’s Shadow. It was held at the Armoury in Moose Jaw, SK and over 400 grade seven and eight students attended the sessions about the book. The launch started with a short overview of the history of the Armoury by Gerry Carline, the honorary CO.
Here's Colonel Carline talking to the assembled students.
I then did a half hour audio/visual presentation about the novel itself, including photos of my grandfather (who was with the British mounted infantry in Palestine during WWI and the inspiration for the movie). One of the great things about projectors and Keynote (the program I used) was that I could show actual interactive maps, photos and even film footage of WW1. I even made the students listen to some of the music from that era (“Oh what a Lovely War” was the song). I read two chapters from the book, too. Edward, the main character of my book, was trained in the Armoury so the chapter I read was about his first experiences there, being outfitted as a soldier. It was very moving to be reading about him in the actual place many WWI soldiers were trained. Even more moving to know that at the other end of the Armoury, the Saskatchewan Dragoons, were packing up to go out on maneuvers, practicing for their deployment to Afghanistan.
As part of the launch the students were divided into groups and taken to different stations. One station was a tour through the Armoury’s museum. The second station was to meet Trooper, the mascot for the regiment.
He’s a Burrowing Owl, small, tough and he can stare right through you. He also likes blondes. Well, at one point he flew off his trainer’s hand and landed in a girl’s blonde hair. She didn’t panic and soon Trooper was extricated and back on his perch. Next the students were given tours of some of the vehicles that the army is currently using, including jeeps and armoured SUV type vehicles made by Mercedes-Benz (And only $250,000 each! The horses from WWI are looking pretty cheap now).
And the final station was just a Q&A time with me, where I signed postcards (that have the cover of my book on the front, not just any postcards).
I had a thoroughly wonderful time and it was especially good to be presenting this book in Moose Jaw because that’s where my grandfather had lived the rest of his life after the war.
Next I went down to the local book store, the Oak and Rose, for a signing. It was nice to sit down and the time passed quite pleasantly. Readers trickled in and bought copies and trickled out. At one point an elderly friend, Marion, dropped by, sat down in front of my table and asked me to read a bit from my book to her. At this point she was the only customer in the store. I read her the first chapter and she was very appreciative, It was really quite sweet to just be reading to a friend.
In the evening there was an event for the general public in the Officer’s Mess at the Armoury. Some fine finger food was accompanied by stories from several officers about their experiences. And do they every have some funny stories. Uh...some of them I shouldn’t mention, they were all top secret. I presented my slideshow again to this audience, read from the book, and answered questions. I do admit to feeling a little out of my league having so many experienced military men and women there, but they seemed to enjoy the presentation and had lots of questions about the battles in Palestine during WWI.
Here I am with Colonel Carline, who helped plan the whole launch.
Finally I went back to my aunt’s for pizza and wound down. The very last thing that happened before I went to sleep is that my football team, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, kicked a field goal in the last few seconds of their game and won. A perfect day! Or as the British would say, “A bloody good day!”
Cheerio and keep the home fires burning,