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!  

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