Not A Snow Day, But A Crow Day Corvid Tea

What is a Corvid? Corvid is a family of birds that includes: Crows, Ravens, Magpies, Jays, and Nutcrackers. Our event on Saturday, April 20th focused on Ravens and Crows. We served Edgar Allan Poe’s Nevermore Inspired- Buttered Rum Black Tea made by NovelTea. NovelTea is a female-owned (mother-in-law and daughter-in-law team) in Truro. This is just one flavour out of the 18 black labeled loose teas that Dartmouth Book Exchange now carries.

Sue Slade, Nicola Davison, Cindy Campbell-Stone, and Vernon Oickle

While everyone was enjoying their tea, we enjoyed listening to storyteller Cindy Campbell-Stone recite Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven published in 1845.

Sue read the beginning paragraphs of Nicola Davison’s award-winning novel Decoding Dot Grey, published by Nimbus Publishing, introducing Toby, a crow hit by a car injuring his wing, and how Dot, the lead character rescues him. She then introduced special guest Nicola Davison.

Nicola gave us the rundown on how Dot’s story came about, and the various animals featured in her story. She also mentioned that not only did she work in an animal shelter like Dot, but Dot’s apartment was a combination of a few places she rented in her early years. She also read us a selection of her novel about when Toby was released back into the wild after his wing had healed.

We then talked about how smart crows were and some attendees contributed their own stories. One attendee shared that a crow had said hello to them on their morning walk. Another shared stories of how her father has fed his local crows for years. We talked about the differences between ravens and crows, and learned that their feathers can have varying degrees of pigmentation, as one of our attendees shared their experience with grey crows.

Sue then read the prologue of Vernon Oickle’s One Crow Sorrow to introduce Vernon and his Crow series. We are the very first stop on Vernon Oickle’s launch tour of his latest book Eight Crows a Wish published by Moose House.

Something wicked and dark has descended on the small town of Liverpool, Nova Scotia. On its weather-beaten surface, it is like most small Maritime towns, but life is not what it seems on in this quaint seaside community. Behind the facades of its seemingly ordinary and unassuming residents, are hidden lies, deceptions and secrets — secrets both dark and sinister that protect untold horrors of suffering, pain, and sorrow. The truth, however, is something the locals believe is best left alone but oftentimes, the crows have something different to say about that, sometimes protecting and sometimes handing out their own brand of just. And since they rule the roost, whenever the crows appear, the locals take notice.– One Crow Sorrow

Vernon spoke about how his series started, and his inspirational role models. He told us of his worries about setting his fictional series in his small town of Liverpool and how its citizens would react. As it turns out, he had nothing to worry about, and that many of its residents were very pleased that Vernon chose their community. Vernon then favoured us with 2 short readings in his new novel that featured the crows.

Note: There was no coordinating of outfits before the event.

To conclude the night Sue recited a bit of folklore, the poem that Vernon’s Crow Series is outlined around.

One crow sorrow; two crows joy; three crows a letter; four crows a boy; five crows silver; six crows gold, seven crows a secret yet to be told; eight crows for a wish; nine crows for a kiss; ten crows for a time of joyous bliss; eleven crows for good health; twelve crows for improved wealth; thirteen crows beware for it’s the devil himself.

Everyone’s reaction after we asked Vernon’s wife, Nancy, how she sleeps at night.

The consensus from the night is that everyone who attended the event will no longer look at crows the same way again. Here is what others said about the evening:

Had a terrific time last evening with a large and enthusiastic crowd at the Dartmouth Book Exchange where we celebrated all things crows and I officially kicked off the launch of my new book, Eight Crows for a Wish. It was especially wonderful to share the spotlight with organizer Sue Slade, fellow author Nicola Davison (Decoding Dot Grey) and storyteller Cindy Campbell Stone. Thanks to everyone who came and to everyone who helped to make this event happen. Hope you enjoy the books!- Vernon Oickle

I really enjoyed it and loved all the variations on the rhyme (One Crow Sorrow). I never knew it went past seven. My seven was “a secret that must never be told.” I actually used that rhyme in my next book Joe Cracker.- Jackey Halsey

Very entertaining event!! Great authors & readings!!- Sylvia Mannette

This was so much fun!- Cindy Campbell-Stone

Fantastic evening of tea and crow-themed readings.- Ronan O’Driscoll

Dartmouth Book Exchange’s events are always worthwhile, but the Crow Tea was the best yet. A storyteller read Poe’s The Raven as we enjoyed Nevermore tea. There were readings from novels by two local authors whose books have crow characters, and an active question and discussion period helped make the event entertaining and educational. Lots of laughter attested to the fun had by the audience, and the appreciation we had for the delightful participants. Thank you DBEX- Lyn Thomson