Thursday, March 15, 2012

2nd Edition - March 15, 2012

Reminder: E. T. Barton's name was drawn as the lucky winner of our Kindle giveaway, however, Canyonland staff have been unable to make contact for delivery. So if you're out there E. T. Barton please email us ASAP. If the contact has not been made by April 1st we will pick another winner. 
"Ask An Author"
By Marie Higgins

Welcome to the first segment of "Ask An Author". I have received two questions.

**The first one came from Luke Albertson a 16 year old who is very interested in writing. His question is: I have my plot figured out, but I don't know how to end the story. Please help! Well, Luke, the writing world I came from believes in 'happily ever afters', so if your story has any kind of romance in it, a HEA (happily ever after) is a MUST! But make sure you have closed all the loose ties in your story even if there is a sequel or series, there should be some kind of closure. And if boy falls in love with girl and they want to ride off into the sunset - let them. Bring a smile to your reader's face!! This will make them want to keep reading more of your stories.

**The second question is from Melissa Blue. She is a reader and a writer, and she asks "Do your characters ever talk to you?" Melissa, in my early years of writing, I worried that I would be put in a padded room because of the voices in my head. Actually, in my case, it's not really voices as much as it's a movie playing out. But yes, my characters do talk to me. They let me know when they want their story written - and they especially let me know when they don't like the way the story is going because then they stop talking. I have realized that I need to let THEM write the story for me. So my advice to you is let your characters talk! And Melissa...several other authors tell me their characters talk to them as well, so don't think your crazy. Most writers have this problem, and so far, none of them have been put in a padded room - that I know about... (grins)

READERS - if you would like to ask a question, please go to the main page and find the picture on your right and follow the link. THANKS!!

Finding Treasures at the Library Part II
By Mary Martinez
Just a refresher: Last month I wrote about our library's reader's choice award, which of course prompted us to have our very own award. So don't forget it's up to you to read each book nominated so come September, you can vote for the best.

On to the other treasures I found the day I visited my library. Kid stuff! So many resources for our kids that I didn't have growing up, it was amazing. They had brochures of every color, entitled 'Kids Booklist' and these consisted of everything from Caldecott Awards to Scared Witless.

I'm sure you have already guessed what the scared witless was, scary stories for older kids. Inside it had a list of spine tingling chills and thrills for the youngsters. An added two sentence blurb and the location in the library where they could find each book to check out.

The Caldecott Medal winners and Honor books is basically a list like all the others, but the books were nominated as their adult counterparts were for the Reader's Choice awards. The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of 19th-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott.  This award has been around since 1938, and in this treasured list are the winners from 1938 through 2011. What a list of finds for your child. What am I saying, some of the winners on this list I am going to check out myself.

The other booklists were brochures targeting age groups from Babies Love Books, Toddler read aloud, preschool, First Chapter Books (transition to from easy readers to chapter books) to 6th grade. Happy reading for all ages. I'm sure every library has something unique. Visit yours and share with us what is available in your area.

I know that the new age of technology has come and many of you no longer read an actual book with pages to turn. Most of us have our Kindles, Nooks or iPads (with the apps) for our reading enjoyment. So why am I so excited about finding treasures at the library? Because, I don't know about yours, but mine has gone digital. I can check a book out on my Kindle app if I'd like. More and more books are being made available to everyone through the libraries, in all formats.

No matter what though, a visit to the library to find a treasure map to discover new books is a MUST!

What do you Read?
By Anna Sugg

I can’t remember where I heard it, but someone, somewhere, said that in contrast to all other earthly animals, we humans have an unquenchable desire to continually make changes to better ourselves.

So we read.

What do we read? Self-help books.

There are dozens of self-help books on how to improve your health, your happiness, control your depression, your impressions, anxiety disorders, build confidents, self esteem, motivational help, behaviors, spiritual, success, self-hypnosis, quiet your critic – ok, my gosh, the list goes on. If you’re a parent, how many self-help books on parenting are there?

I don’t think you’ll find a book on how animals have improved parenting, at least I don’t think so, not since Noah released them two by two; they just go on decade after decade doing their parenting thing. But, you’ll find shelves packet full of how to be a better parent for the human race. If you don’t believe me, go to Amazon and check out all the self-help books, or check the library shelves.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I don’t have anything against self-help books. We all need to read them once in a while. But, to spend your life reading only self-help books, IMO, you’re missing out on some terrific reads.
My mother-in-law, bless her soul, read every self-help book she could get her hands on. But it didn’t help. I won’t go into her problems, which could be a book on its own, but she thought she would be happy if she just could read and learn to apply all the information in one self-help book after another.

Once I suggested she read a romance novel. Well, she thought like lots of other people, that romance is not real writing. I just said, try a few, you might like them. Several months later, with a sheepish expression she told me that she had bought a Danielle Steel book and read her first romance. She was hooked. I must say, she even seemed to be a happier person, maybe because she wasn’t focusing on herself so much.

Okay, I’m not a psychologist. I just know how incredible it is to read fictions, whether it’s suspense, romance or women’s fiction, or any of the other creative fictions out there. These stories can lead you down roads of adventures where one can get lost in other worlds, living a factious life through wonderful, imaginative characters during an enjoyable read.

So what  are you reading?

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1st Edition - March 1, 2012

Grand Opening Kindle Giveaway
Thank you to all of you who participated by 'spreading the word' about our new venture. It has been very much appreciated. It's time to announce our winner... Congratulations to E. T. Barton

Author Spotlight--Lois Winston
Lois Winston is Canyonland Press’ first spotlight author of our librarian book recommendation, not to mention our first nomination for our Canyonland Press reader’s choice award coming up in September, a lot of first’s today for everyone!
Canyonland:  Lois, first we’d like to congratulate you on receiving a book recommendation for your Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun. Great title for a book, it entices right off the get go. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Lois: Thank you! Let me say how honored and thrilled I am to be chosen as the first spotlight author and to have Assault With a Deadly Glue Gun chosen as the first Reader’s Choice nominee.
Read the rest of the interview....

Reading E-Books is Easier Than You Think
By: Amy Durham
I remember when Sony E-Readers and Amazon Kindles were new and expensive, and were pretty much the only way you could read an E-Book, other than directly from your computer screen.  Now, with the price of E-Reading devices lower than ever, reading electronic books is easier than ever.  In my day job as a middle school teacher, I see lots of kids reading on Nooks, Kindles, etc.  However, the lack of an E-Reader doesn’t have to keep a kid (or anyone else for that matter) from reading E-Books.

For every student I see at school who has an E-Reader, there are at least 10 others who have an iPod touch or a smart phone.  Well, guess what?  In addition to iBooks, which is available on Apple devices, Kindle, Nook, and other devices have free apps that can be downloaded to iPods and smart phones.  This means that without any initial investment in a device devoted solely to reading books, digital reading is possible.

From personal experience, this has proved very useful for me. My son is 13 years old, and it’s difficult to find books that interest a teen boy at our local department store. Before installing the Kindle app on his iPod Touch, finding a book for him meant driving out of town to shop at a large bookstore or ordering online. Either option involved more expense than just that of the book. The Kindle app on his iPod allowed us to shop for books and download them immediately!

Many public and school libraries are now participating in E-Book lending programs, which allow readers to check out E-Books in much the same way they could check out physical library books.  Purchasing E-Books is many times far less expensive than purchasing a physical book, making E-Reading a very practical prospect for those who read a lot and read often.

No iPod or smart phone? No worries. There are still other ways to take advantage of E-Books. allows book downloads in multiple formats, including Plain Text and PDF, which are view-able on most computers.  Amazon’s Cloud Reader allows for the purchase of E-Books, which are stored in a reader’s “Cloud” and can be read directly from the computer.

E-Reading offers many options today, and several do not require the initial investment in an E-Reading device.  It’s easier than ever to take advantage of the benefits and simplicity of purchasing and reading digital books.  For people in small communities without the benefit of a large bookstore, or for people who are busy with no time to browse the bookstore aisles, E-Books offer a quick, economical solution!

3 Quick and Dirty Steps to Research 
by Sarah Baker
When I released my first book, which was a biography of two silent film stars, a lot of people asked me the same question, "How did you ever get started? I wouldn't even know how to do something like that." And yet many of my friends, family, and readers have subjects near and dear to their hearts—subjects they'd like to know more about.  Whether you want to compile your family's genealogy or just want to learn more about one of your heroes, you can do research. All it takes is some patience, some perseverance, and a trip to Staples.
Step One: Get Organized
This is the most fun part, because you get to go shopping. This is also the stage in your research when everything is color-coded, bright, and shiny new. (This stage won't last and eventually you WILL end up scribbling notes on the back of a business return envelope for your electricity bill, but enjoy it while you can.) I always start with a few of those big plastic file boxes and some hanging folders to file all of your articles and clippings in. I also grab some big 3 subject spiral notebooks for jotting down a timeline, notes, and other information.
Keep in mind that if you are researching anything old (read, anything from the era when telephones were still tethered to cords), most of your work will be done on paper. Although many archives are digitizing their collections, you will find most records, newspapers, and magazines still in print. And most archives and libraries don't have the manpower to scan these for you. So plan to do a lot of filing and a lot of writing to start.

Step Two: Begin at the Beginning

OK, so now you are ready to dig in. But how do you get started? I always start at the beginning—you know, birth--and follow my research in a linear fashion. So, when I started researching Janet Gaynor, I read everything I could about her childhood. Where she was born, where she lived, her family, etc. is an excellent resource for birth and death certificates, marriage certificates, military records, ship manifests, and census records. You can literally piece together someone's life bit by bit just by seeking out these old files.
Step Three: Fill In the Details
I like to sketch out a timeline about what I know about each person's life.  I write it down by hand and go year by year. This is where those records come in really handy—they're the milestones you follow as you do your research. Once you have this timeline pieced out, you'll see a lot of gaps. This is how you will see which details you need to fill in. For example, for Janet Gaynor I knew that her mother remarried, but I didn't know much about her stepfather. So, it was a given that I'd have to do some digging to find out about him, and I did—through magazine interviews with Janet and a telephone interview with Janet's son, Robin.
Once you get started, research can be addictive. It's actually quite fun to chase down rabbit trails and see where you end up. And who knows? You may end up with enough information to write a book. J

Don't forget that next issue is our Debut of Ask and Author!