Into the Fire

Bernice Ramsdin-Firth, Author

Bernice Ramsdin-Firth, Author

Last book of The Other side of Magic series

Last book of The Other side of Magic series

The last book in the Other Side of Magic Series—The Night Visitors, Return to Lolibran and The Witch’s Lair and Out of the Frying Pan—Into the Fire has been published. Those of you who have been enjoying the adventures of twins Lynn and Lyle, Mr. Peter and their animal companions, will be anxious to read Into the Fire.

Find out how, after Mr. Peter disappears, Lynn and Lyle, Rob and Riquet, manage to foil Solvieg, the cannibal witch. Her attempts to catch them sends them across Canada on a wild car chase, with Solvieg stealing one vehicle after another, even a train. It is a madcap adventure, with Mrs. Bagge, the twins former uncaring caregiver, coming back into the picture, plagued by the Faerie who had been left behind when the main group left for Lolibran to fight the war against Solvieg. After many adventures the exciting ending brings the series to a close. Or does it?

Below is an excerpt from a judge’s commentary on The Night Visitors.

Judge, 22nd Annual Writer’s Digest Self Published Book Awards

In the Night Visitors, the author has an excellent sense of setting, and you can tell throughout that she has researched her subject. From the Faerie to the Gaelic writing to even the fantastical hints at the land beyond the rainbow, all the small details are accounted for, making the novel breathe with a sense of authenticity.The story structure is completely solid. I was drawn in from the inciting incident in chapter one and enjoyed so many of the descriptive and lively scenes throughout as the author ramped up the stakes and the intrigue. The dialogue is also rich. The characters each take on their own life by their unique variants of speech, which is a treasure to read in a novel for this age group.The author also did a stellar job of making the novel’s scenes move at a brisk pace. The ending is surprising and surely leads to another book as children will WANT to know what happens with Lyle and Lynn now that they’ve traveled through the rainbow.

Reading by author in Chemainus

Book Poster

Book Poster


Mrs. B. and The Really Big Book Launch

Mrs. B. likes to write and she mostly likes to write stories for children, but specifically for the child in herself. Stories for children have happy endings, or at least endings that give one hope. And so with the urging of Brad, her graphics designer-cum-slave-driver, she decided to launch her Other Side of Magic series, and after e-mailing notices to the local papers, she found a venue in a nice little café in town. Her slave-driver made the posters and she tottered about on her dicky knee and a developing bursitis in her left hip, putting them up on any empty walls that presented themselves, pinning up yet another notice that purported of great things in store for the reader—if only they would take advantage of the opportunity. She also placed them in store windows, (where allowed) libraries and other venues that were willing to take them. She hated this part, she felt like a shill, promoting goods of dubious value; but she did her best, feeling the lash of her slave-driver on her back if she faltered in her quest for that elusive fifteen minutes of fame. She would then run home to give solace to her partner Gord, struggling with the damage a double snow-storm had wrought on their big willow trees.
In her daily meanderings, after picking up new book-marks and business cards, she had come upon a small notice in a book store of yet another short story competition and she decided to enter. With only four days, to go, she spent hours on the computer trying to send her story and pay the required fee through PayPal. But due to a frustrating lack of PayPal savvy and other iniquities with the entry form, she gave it up and begged the people in charge that she be able to send the tale by snail mail, though the deadline was now only three days away, (two of them week-end days with the post-office closed). They agreed. That taken care of, she turned to her book launch—what to read from her books? And once that decision was made, to read them aloud to herself; and what if everyone was bored to death?
The Big Day came. It came but without a word of the book launch in the newspapers. It came while her partner loaded boxes of her books in the car and left, at her urging, for the Bonspiel in Duncan. It came with Jehovah’s Witnesses, (while she, still in her dressing gown, was reading a chapter aloud) determined to convince her that she needed God, their own particular God, in her life. It came with rain. It came with rain that did not rain mainly on the plain, it came as if it wished to wash out any thought or ambition of the populace to attend a book launch, let alone chance their children being washed away in a flood. But she carried on regardless, committed to stand before, she now believed, a non-existent audience and offer her childish ramblings to the dead air.
Debating the merits of God was a lot more fun.

She arrived at the café to find nearly all the parking spaces filled and so she parked some distance away. The owner suggested she park at the back: but confused as to what the back of the café looked like, she drove too far. In a hurry, as time was getting on, she backed up—into a post, crunching the car’s light and bumper. Stomach sinking but with the kind help of the owner, they carried in the boxes of books she had hoped, (when she foolishly started this enterprise) that the milling hordes of fans would rush in to buy. She also brought wine and cheese and cookies, only to find she had neglected to tell the good people of the café she would be providing food. They, unfortunately, were less than impressed at this, expecting that she would buy these goodies from them. Mrs. B. relented immediately and they made up a lovely plate of cakes for said hordes of people.
Unexpectedly, out of the rain, umbrella upraised and blowing in on an East Wind came dear Eliza to help Mrs. B. set up. Writing colleagues and friends, Tom and Sharon arrived. Then came Mrs. B.’s slave-driver, Brad, and his long suffering wife Peggy. Another dear colleague, Carol, brought her mum, and then, with a— ‘Here I am and you had better believe it!’— Sylvia blew in, determined to sit on anyone who gave even a hint of causing Mrs. B. any trouble. All during this time a young person sat at a table, as if there just to eat café food and leave; but she stayed, apparently for the reading.

Watching everyone have a good chat and wishing she were one of them, Mrs. B. decided it was time to bite the bullet. She began the reading, attempting to give life to her characters, to make a case for them, entering the lives of people who hopefully would like to know more. Gord arrived from the Bonspiel and she shook to her toes, aware she would have to tell him about the crunched fender. But she read on, aware that this was, after all, the Ides of March.
Her partner forgave her immediately, though the cost for the car is high. Added to the cost of books, posters, book marks, business cards and food, the day may or may not have been a success, but it certainly was a day she would remember, and only repeat if her slave-driver has no mercy.

It is with love she writes this, and thankfulness for the support of her partner, her friends, and the urgings of her slave-driver to keep going, even while all this marketing business turns her brain to mush.

Grey Whale

This is a sculpture of a mother Grey Whale rushing north to her feeding grounds

This is a sculpture I made of a mother Grey Whale as she rushes north to her feeding grounds with her calf, while trying to avoid Killer Whales who would try to catch her young one.

A Fantasy

Here is a poem I wrote many years ago when my children were small and I didn’t get out much. I was looking out the upstairs window one breezy sunny day and a spider went sailing by, its silky thread stretching up into the blue. I sighed as I watched and then these lines flew through my head and I wrote them down. Perhaps others who have also experienced this feeling will enjoy it as well.

Spider, spider
in the air
Hanging from a cloud

Silver thread
filled with light
A fallen moonbeam
stolen from the night

Please stop, cried I
but she can’t stay
I’ve diamonds to gather
fore morning. Good day

With sails set
and breezes blowing—
Oh, I wish that
I were going

A Grandpa Bill Story—or idle thoughts on why we call everything ‘Joe’.

I was walking along through a field one day and there was this cat crouching low looking for mice. I said “hello Joe Cat,” but when I walks over to him, he stiffly walks off with a look of, ‘what’s eating you?’ I stood there for a moment thinking, why do we call him Joe cat? It took me a while but I think I figured it out.

A long time ago, everyone was called Joe, but this wasn’t very satisfactory, no-one knew who was who. As times were getting more civilized a meeting was called and it was decided to give everything a different name. A committee of one was formed, headed by Joseph J. Cat. He put a bunch of names in a bag and then he would pull a name from the bag and eventually gave everything a different name, until he had only one animal and one name left. Now this animal loved to hunt mice. He also liked to eat grasshoppers and even crickets and spiders. But the only name left in the bag was Owatta Punk and that’s the name he got.

As time went on everybody found mice all over the place; cheese shops were folding up as all the cheese was disappearing and everyone who loved cheese would hang around mouse holes looking for a few leftover crumbs. There were so many grasshoppers they ate every leaf of grass and even covered the ground. Trains going into towns would skid past them into cities and trains coming from cities would skid into the ocean. Spiders would run up ladies’ legs and build webs in their hair. This made the ladies scream. What had happened to the animal who ate mice and grasshoppers and spiders, they wanted to know? Things got so bad they called in Mr. Joseph J. Cat to find out what was wrong. Where was their mousegrasshopperspider catcher? What did he say to him?

“Well,” said Mr. Joseph J. Cat, “since I only had one name— ‘Owatta Punk’—left, I gave the name to him.”

Now it turns out this animal couldn’t stand being called ‘Owatta Punk, so he just went away and hid. But the rest of the animals said, “This cant go on! You will just have to give him your name and you will have to take his!”

So that is how my litle friend in the field came to be known as Joseph J. Cat, or Joe for short. (The J. stands for Josephine in case he’s a girl). And the animal he traded names with was Man, or otherwise now known as Mr. Owatta Punk.

And I think that is the nuttiest story you ever heard—Love Grandpa