On Holidays, Canadian Writers, and Books


Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! And right after that, Happy Islander Day, a.k.a. Family Day in the rest of Canada. In a way, I think it’s great that we call it Islander Day on PEI because that includes everyone and not just those with families. Not everyone has a family to be with on Family Day, so Islander Day is a great way to celebrate everyone. It’s funny that the holiday was created just so there would be a break in an otherwise holiday-less stretch between Christmas and Holy Week, because February happened to be the only month in the year without a public holiday. Not that it matters to me, because I’ve got my very own personal holiday in February! Yay! That said, we can always declare our own holidays, but we don’t always get paid for them. Of course, if you’re unemployed or a freelancer or own your business, then holidays become moot, because you can take any day you want off as a holiday. Believe me, that’s not the way it works because you end up working odd hours and just about any day of the year, because it’s always ‘no work, no pay’ for you. When you answer to an employer, you get paid for public holidays because the law requires it. Why am talking about holidays? Because I’m back working at full time job and will get paid for the holiday! Woohoo!

Holidays aside, a large group of island writers showed up at the PEI Writers’ Guild Winter Social to find out who won bragging rights for the first ever PEI Battle Tales week-long writing contest and to duke it out at a literary trivia contest for free beer and a handful of gift cards, but really, to duke it out. What I found so revealing is that we Canadians know so little of our literary history! My excuse is I didn’t grow up here and I didn’t attend school or university here. Still, the information we have about Canadian literature is so meager, it surprised me. Canada is the only country I am aware of, at present, that emphasizes reading and books so much, particularly through the CBC’s Canada Reads program. I have to admit I do not know how long it has been running–it will take a bit of research and I’m sure there are those of you who know when it started. My point is that even in the study of world literature (and I mastered in literature), Canadian literature never featured prominently. Probably because there never was as much Canadian literature contributed to the corpus of World Literature. In fact, I had been familiar with Stephen Leacock, who seems to be the earliest writer of note on record who has been anthologized worldwide, but he had never been touted as Canadian. Alice Munro was another name that gained international prominence; ater on, I discovered Margaret Atwood, and much later, Michael Ondaatje. Determined to learn more about writers in my chosen new country, I found Guy Gavriel Kay, re-discovered L.M. Montgomery, and Mordecai Richtler, as well as a few others I am still getting acquainted with. I can’t say I know my Canadian authors well enough and I have a great deal of reading to catch up on.

On another note, I just learned tonight that, according to UNESCO*, Canada published 19,900 books, but also discovered the information is from 1996; but more recent data published by Canada Business** puts the number at over 10,000 books annually, mainly because of an increase in the number of publishers or publishing houses in Canada. I would consider that information skewed and not reflective of the actual number of books written by Canadians, because many Canadian writers are actually published in the US and the UK. The rise of self-publishing in the new millenium probably adds much more to that number. That said, we rank 20th in the UNESCO list, which listed total books published in different countries over a broad range of years, from 1990 to 2014. It’s certainly a long way from Oman’s 7 books published in 1996, but nowhere close to China’s 440,000 in 2013, the US’s 304,912 also in 2013, or the UK’s 184,000 in 2011. Taken viz the population, in 1996, Canada published a book for every 1491 people; which is much better than China’s 1 book for every 3084 people; surprisingly close to the US’s 1 book for every 1038 people; but nowhere near the UK’s 1 book for every 344 people, which I pretty much expected. (By books, I mean book titles and not physical copies.) I think that’s a pretty decent ratio, all things considered.

*Book publishing numbers from UNESCO were sourced from Wikipedia

**Jason McBride, “It’s Alive! Canadian Book Publishing Stirs.” August 30, 2013. From http://www.canadianbusiness.com/companies-and-industries/its-alive-canadian-book-publishing-stirs/


Guest blog interview!

I’d really appreciate it if you’d all check out my guest blog interview and share the link!


 Thanks, Leanne Dyck! Much appreciated–it was my pleasure, truly, to do this interview!

FILIPINA-CANADIAN Publishes Breakthrough Fantasy Novel


FILIPINA-CANADIAN Publishes Breakthrough Fantasy Novel

Filipina-Canadian Cindy Lapeña recently released her first novel, The Lost Amulets, online through Amazon and CreateSpace in both paperback and digital versions. The novel is an exciting and masterful fantasy written for young adults but sure to appeal to all ages, in the same way J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series did. Already, she is being compared to best-selling authors Lloyd Alexander and Cornelia Funke.

“…your tone and content reminded me of the Lloyd Alexander books. I’ve always been big on folklore and mythology from around the world, so this was fun to read…I liked this very much. You have all the pieces in place for an epic bestseller for your target audience. It’s already better than Cornelia Funke, and she sells like hot cakes.”

                                                                                                                                                       – Paul Bowersox, Pennsylvania


The Lost Amulets is the story of four teenagers who are drawn into the magical world of Dapit-adlaw, where mythological and supernatural beings live. They join a party of Littlefolk and Otherfolk, consisting of dwarves, elves, gnomes, and a kapre to seek lost amulets that are instrumental in the controlling natural elements so that they can restore some balance to nature. Their adventure takes them all over the islands of Dapit-adlaw, where they encounter other supernatural beings and mythical creatures, including aswang, sigbin, buwaya, siyokoy, kataw, and more.

What makes The Lost Amulets an important and significant addition to the corpus of Philippine and World Literature is how it integrates classical and ancient Philippine myths into an urban fantasy adventure. It introduces a vital aspect of Philippine culture to the world and presents it in a thoroughly enjoyable manner. It is a refreshingly new concept that is more than welcome as it provides a unique replacement for the tiresome vampires, zombies, and werewolves that are the current mainstay of urban fantasies.

The Lost Amulets is the first book in Cindy’s upcoming trilogy, The Amulets of Panagaea.

Besides being a first-time novelist, Cindy Lapeña is also a past-winner of the prestigious Carlos Palanca National Awards for Literature. She received the 3rd place award for a full-length play in English in 2007, her first entry to the annual Awards. She is the author of the reference series 101 Fun Games, Activities, and Projects for English Classes (also available on Amazon and CreateSpace), which draws on her extensive experience as an English teacher and training consultant in the Philippines. She currently resides in Prince Edward Island, Canada, where she is an arts and teaching consultant, a practicing artist and writer, and owner of Art ‘n’ Words Studio & Gallery.

Cover Design by Cindy Lapena Cover Art by Kitt Lapena

Cover Design by Cindy Lapena
Cover Art by Kitt Lapena


Online launch of THE LOST AMULETS by C.P. LAPEÑA


You are all cordially invited to the online launch of the brand new novel,

THE LOST AMULETS by C.P. LAPEÑA on OCTOBER 14, 2013 in celebration of THANKSGIVING DAY in Canada!

Be among the first people to own a copy of this exciting new fantasy adventure set in the mythical world of Panagaea.

Mix and mingle with mythological creatures while discovering the land of Dapit-adlaw!

Available on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, and Amazon.uk starting October 14, 2013.

Reserve your copy in advance and be part of a bestseller in the making!

Cover Design by Cindy Lapena Cover Art by Kitt Lapena

Cover Design by Cindy Lapeña
Cover Art by Kitt Lapeña