Tag Archives: Margaret Kell Virany

S.O.S. Animals And Other Short Stories



Short Stories by Fiza Pathan


How did the animals aboard the Titanic save themselves?
Fiza Pathan gives readers answers to questions, such as: How did a lion save Christians in distress? Can dolphins pray for the dead and can a snake solve a riddle? Do last wishes come true and is there really a Santa Claus? Can animals lie like human beings? Why did barn animals enter a mall? Can Tigers long for peace? Can a giraffe be self-conscious of its looks and is the strayed lamb saved by the shepherd?. All these and other questions are answered in the book “S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories” in a manner never narrated before.

“Beautifully written, touching and original.” 
Fiza Pathan writes: “‘S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories’ was the first book that I wrote, a book of short stories which can be read by people of all ages, and I am delighted and humbled that the stories were appreciated and reviewed by Margaret Kell Virany, who said:
“beautifully written, touching and original.”  And I might add: the ideal bedtime stories to read to your children and talk with them about the stories’ content.

Fiza-PathanFiza Pathan is a teacher for History and English to the Senior students. Being literary minded from a young age, she participated in and won many competitions at College in essay writing and short stories. Fiza now lives with her maternal family and writes novels and short stories which includes almost all genres, Religious writings being her forte. She has been ‘adopted’ by two stray cats who answer to the names of Lopez and Brownie.She can be followed on her website.
She published two other books besides S.O.S. Animals and Other Short Stories: CLASSICS: Why we should encourage children to read them and Treasury Of Bizarre Christmas Stories

Review ‘S.O.S. Animals And Other Stories’ by Margaret Kell Virany
Review by Br. Joshan Rodrigues

“SOS Animals and other Stories is a beautiful expression of faith through the eyes of a believer, in a manner both different and unique. The language is simple and lucid, yet enticing and appealing at the same time. The book can be used as a veritable resource book for catechesis and for moral development. The stories in this book can also be used as a simple read for daily reflections.”
Br. Joshan Rodrigues- The Examiner Issue, date 03 November 2012.

Digital version: $0.99
Paperback: 110 pages $5.65





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6 Bullets on How an Author and Book Find a Community

Experiences of a Writer in Print and eBook Publishing

Margaret Kell-Virany, one of the authors you can meet at the Ottawa, Canada, Book Fair this coming weekend (October 26 and 27 at the RA Center, free admission) writes about her path to becoming a self-publisher, both in print and digital. 





BigSpider_National GalleryOttawa.


Writing books is all about community so beware of self publishing.

Having read the above blog, I’m more excited than ever about being at the upcoming OIW Book Fair on Oct. 27 with fellow authors and readers. As for debates over whether to self-publish or with a traditional publisher, or as an e-book, I’d like to add these bullets from my 15 years of trying. As you will see, I come down on both sides of the fence, depending on where I’ve been able to find ‘community’:

  • Good, practical advice came in the otherwise-depressing rejection letters I got from traditional publishing companies. I had a maximum of a thousand dollars to put into my book and this advice was free. Structure, length and target audience were some of the trouble spots. I was angry and wanted to prove them wrong in rejecting me but, at the same time, I had to…

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7 Steps for Using Euphoria to Boost Your Success

nice flower bouquet


Author Bouquets: When you shower a new book writer with bouquets, you risk assisting at the birth of an infamous author’s ego. But praise and feedback are vital to a sensible author who learns to assemble them into a tool for later sales. Here are ways I have used – you can try them too:

How to Make a Readers’ Comments List

1. Just say thank-you and smile until you have something in writing from someone you know who has read the book.

2. Don’t destroy any messages that come in from or via your first buyers. These will be from family, friends and others they lent their copies to.

3. Open a readers’ comments file in your computer. Enter all email messages and scans of letters that contain solid feedback.

4. Acknowledge all messages and include the phrase, Do you mind if I quote you on that? People don’t mind, as long as they are quoted exactly and with no gaps. They are glad to be helpful and supportive. (If you absolutely must omit something in mid-sentence, insert three dots in its place: “. . .”)

5. Delete salutations and personal sentences from entries, keeping the most articulate, focused excerpts. Here’s an example of the format I use: “My flight out to CA was made all the more enjoyable because I read A Book of Kells on the way. I thought it was very well done – a very good read. It has real potential for a wider audience.” Chris Delmar, Westport, CT. For clarity, I substituted the name of the book for “your book” in the original.

6. Let readers submit a few of the comments to your Amazon page, under “Create a Review”. This must be done by someone other than the author. The review on is honestly entitled ‘Comments Received Directly by Publisher’. These are serious, freely submitted opinions from legitimate sources. For whatever reason, the writers were not able to send them in on their own. To take a look at what I’m referring to, click on this link and scroll down to the second review:  This review has been a placeholder until I received independent reviews. Now I can remove it, as I did the ones on and

7. Print out a copy of your review list and bring it when selling at book bazaars or book fairs. Browsers will enjoy its gossipy interest.

Guest blog by Margaret Kell-Virany
Author of “A Book of Kells”


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Looking for the Perfect Gift for Your Mother?

FREE at the Kindle store in the UK and USA 

May 11-13 (Friday to Sunday)

A Book of Kells – a story of a war bride from Great Britain, marrying a minister who lives in a very remote northern Cree reservation… ebook/dp/B00440DQNA/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325308566&sr=1-6

Your mother doesn’t need an e-reader, she can also read it on a tablet or on a laptop.

Read some of the reviews:
Sigrid Macdonald: “A Book of Kells is a fascinating account of the early lives of the author’s parents – how they met, the nature of their courtship, and what they did with their lives before and after they had children. Margaret Kell’s father, John, was a farmer turned minister. Her mother came from England and together they became missionaries of sorts, being one of the first people – if not the first – to bring the Word and the Bible to the Cree Indians. These parents were strict and devout, living through the Great Depression and the days of the milkman’s wagon.

The book is a wonderful historical account of hard-working, devoted Canadians, with powerful scenes such as the parents kayaking and logging for 40 miles in the brutally cold northern Manitoba wind: so cold that the father’s nose froze.”

Diane Beckett: “This is a wonderfully personal tale of one family that sweeps through Canadian history from the 1800’s onwards. The descriptions of the ordinary details of life, as well as the big events and traditions, puts the reader into every scene. But the strength of the story is a grown woman searching her family’s past for an understanding of her parents’ and her egos and souls. It’s both a historical and a psychological story.”


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5 Helpful Tips: How to Format an e-Book

Margaret Kell Virany

Guest post by author Margaret Kell Virany
From Paperback to Kindle: Five Problems & Five Solutions
When I decided to publish my paperback book as a shorter Kindle with a new theme I had a lot to learn. Luckily, I found places to go to solve my problems, and I didn’t even go broke.

Problem # 1
I thought I could upload a PDF created in Open Office and it would be as good as using Microsoft Word. That was how I self-published my paperback in 2008 and, for all I knew, Amazon Digital Services had used the same PDF without doctoring it when they turned it into a Kindle book in 2010. I didn’t know I was on a wrong track.
Solution:  I consulted the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) website.  A PDF file contains hidden html formatting codes which are not accepted by the Kindle publishing platform unless converted. I had wasted time, for example, by using the tab bar and a variety of fonts, sizes and headings. KDP warns against using  tab-spacing, since it won’t convert to Kindle. I corrected that by setting  the ‘paragraph’ formatting to indent automatically, then deleted my manual tabs.

Problem #2
I downloaded a conversion program, Mobipocket, which didn’t work so I was stuck. KDP had said this would put my PDF into a Kindle-friendly format. However, it rejected my Internet Explorer 7. Should I buy a more expensive converter program? Was a new browser necessary?
Solution:  I clicked on ‘Community’ in the KDP page’s top menu and found out I wasn’t alone. Other authors were having similar, or worse problems than I had and were seeking or giving advice.

Problem #3
I had resisted getting a new word processor program
Solution: I spent $138.00 for a Microsoft Word10 program and installed it.  I saved my manuscript in it and created a picture file.

Problem #4
I still had no idea how to do the finishing touches
Solution:  I discovered jtbigtoad , a forum participant, was offering the best advice. He is experienced, goes into minute detail and keeps things simple. He explained how to put in the Table of Contents, links, page breaks, headings, etc.

Problem #5
Creating a good cover
Solution:  At you can hire a graphic designer who will do a book cover for $5.00.  Mano, a true professional, did the cover for my book, Kathleen’s Cariole Ride.

I uploaded the book with Jtbigtoad’s instructions in front of me, showing the commands that would appear on the computer screen and where to click. No converter was needed and the actual publishing took 25 seconds!

Margaret Kell Virany





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Review by Bestseller Author Ellen Tanner Marsh

Kathleen in Portsmouth

“When Margaret Kell Virany subtitled her family memoir A Book of Kells with “Growing Up in an Ego Void,” readers could well get the impression that this is just another tell-all tale written by the bitter survivor of a dysfunctional family. The elements are all here: an undemonstrative Methodist minister for a father, a high-strung, humorless mother and three impressionable daughters who must live up to their parents’ expectations of “devoting their lives to being a good example to others” and “not taking credit for themselves but giving it to God.”

Yet Virany’s affection for her remarkable and rather famous parents is evident throughout the book, and if she still wrestles with lingering confl icts stemming from the way she was raised, she has evidently learned to live with them well. Not that growing up in the Kell household of pre-WWII Ontario was easy. A sign in the church basement where Jack Kell preached warned, “Christ fi rst, others next, self last,” a dictum Virany forever struggled to live by, even if it meant subjugating her natural exuberance and fierce intellect, and living with the secret guilt of resenting her cool and occasionally critical mother.

Virany recounts her litany of church functions and crises of faith with all the charm of the willful child she used to be, but it is in the telling of her parents’ early lives, taken from the diaries and letters left to her when they died, that her narrative soars. Virany’s father, Jack, was born in Cookstown, Ontario in 1897, a descendant of William and Mary Kell, who immigrated to Canada from Europe in the 1850s. Even as a boy, Jack knew he wanted to be a minister, and at a surprisingly young age he left civilization for the great wilds of the Canadian north to aid in the Methodist Church’s mission of evangelizing the Indians.

Blizzards, biting cold and hunger mark Jack Kell’s early years of ministry, yet he seems to have thrived on the challenge. The Cree Indians, fur trappers and other hardy souls who comprised his fl ock welcomed his ministrations, while a budding transatlantic courtship with a young Englishwoman soon proved successful, providing him with the wife and helpmeet he so desperately yearned for.

Kathleen Ward Kell, Virany’s mother, embraced the hardship of wilderness life with admirable courage for a sensitive young woman raised in the more genteel environs of Portsmouth, England. Virany’s account of their adventures, particularly the trek by sleigh through a blizzard to bring the pregnant Kathleen to a distant hospital, are riveting. When the Kells finally return to civilization the pace of the narrative doesn’t fl ag; Virany has the natural gifts of a born storyteller who keeps you caring about the characters no matter where they are.

Even as the story moves to her parents’ later years, when adulthood allows her to see them with a more discerning eye, Virany tends to treat them with the same exasperated affection, bringing their very human shortcomings to light with admirable clarity. Her own struggles to come to terms with her religious beliefs as well as her battle with the depression that seems to run in her family, are given equally honest scrutiny.

The real Book of Kells, Virany reminds us, is the earliest known illuminated manuscript known to western civilization. Produced by ninth-century Catholic monks in Kells, Ireland, it is perhaps one of the most beautiful works of illustrated Holy Scriptures. “It would be a stretch for me to claim lineage from them,” admits Virany at the end of her book, “but my family did try to illuminate the gospels by the way they lived their daily lives.” And by all accounts, they succeeded.”


Ellen Tanner Marsh, New York Times best-selling author 




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Writing a Book from Love Letters

By Margaret Kell Virany

I can’t give advice about falling in love, but I can tell you how to write a book that shows readers how it’s done. If someone’s old love letters fall into your hands, and you wish to write, look at them as coupons to be redeemed.

Take them to the store of your memory which is open 24/7, even while you sleep. Work at your computer every day during the hours when you are at your brightest.

The onionskin love letters I had were in two file folders, half in my mother’s handwriting and half in my father’s, 72 in all. I say “had”. After my book was done, they were burned by a beloved, trusted family member silently succumbing to Alzheimer’s.

1. Don’t ever think the letters can be published as is.

2. Sit down and be their first patient, receptive reader.

3. Open separate, numbered chapter files in your computer under “Love…”. The order of the letters is already chronological, so each chapter is a time span.

4. Consider what genre you are writing in – Nonfiction or Fiction? History or Personal Memoir? Biography or Autobiography? Confession? Love Story?
This is important. It gives your material a theme, a slant, an organizing principle, and eventual title.

5. Judge what’s most interesting in the letters and type quoted segments into the appropriate chapters. The continuity will come later, as you are inspired in your sleep.

6. Make a note of things to be checked or researched on the Internet, in photos, from surviving friends and family members. Find out more about well known people or events cited, unanswered questions, contradictions, intriguing assumptions, contrasts to today, etc.

7. Pin down the facts. Return to the drawing board. If you misconstrue one thing, your whole story will become skewed and false. Even a work of fiction must be convincing.

8. Start back at the beginning each day, always looking for a better word and making sure you keep up the pace. If your attention droops you are boring the reader and that’s the worst sin.

My personal memoir based on love letters is read around the globe, always to high praise. Its shorter companion has been as high as #77 in the Kindle store.

If I market it well it will stay a bestseller. The hard copy of the memoir sells like hotcakes at book fairs, malls and through word-of-mouth. Meeting readers is a source of my writer’s joy.

A Book of Kells, is free March 13-17 as a St. Patrick’s Day promo in the Kindle store. 

Kathleen’s Cariole Ride, is free in the Kindle store March 18-19

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Perils of e-Book Publishing

Our annual Christmas letter to family and old friends had big news wrapped inside the good wishes. “Ho, ho, ho, Margaret is entering the revolutionary post-Gutenberg world by publishing an e-book!”

Margaret Kell Virany

Margaret Kell Virany

They all knew my parents’ romantic story and had lavished praise on the print version. I couched this as a genuine seasonal message but must confess visions of five stars beside my title in the sales catalog were dancing on a hidden agenda inside my head!

My connections are not pushovers; they are mostly hardy, elderly folks, not intimidated by Amazons and they expect to get into heaven without a password. Still, I needed to line up reviewers even before my book was published so I made a polite suggestion and gave simple instructions on ‘how to submit a review to Amazon’ in a straightforward way.

Two months later my book is in the hands of 4,593 readers who likely made their final decision after they saw the 4+ star ratings. The Internet-savvy on my list (a niece, a second cousin-in-law once removed, a new friend and the 85-year old Wilderness Wanderer) immediately submitted five-star reviews.  Several octogenarian college friends, one of them almost blind, struggled or got help but managed to do me this favor.

  • R. called himself Accountant’s Vision, in case he made typos.
  • J-M invites her unemployed engineer son-in-law for breakfast every morning and is still hoping this will lead to a review-writing moment.
  • B. said she was glad she had friends who were keeping up with the Internet and thanked me for nudging her into the e-book era.
  • J. is so proud of her new skill she’s eager to do it again.

A Christmas letter requesting reviews may be a little out of order, but my friends who used it as a chance to update their brains found some joy.

Guest post by author Margaret Kell Virany
see her books at:

or here:







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