Wednesday, August 15, 2012

2nd Edition, August 15, 2012

Ask an Author
by Marie Higgins

The question was asked, "What does it mean when your characters talk to you?"

This is a good question, ML Blue. I have told so many people that I don't write my stories - but my characters do. If you have a friend who is a writer, you have probably heard them talk about 'voices' in their heads. Well...I'm quite sure some hear voices. Some see scenes flash in their head. Some dream about the story. When characters 'talk' to us, it means we (writers) are in touch with our muse - our creativity so much that we know what kind of story our characters want us to write. Most of us aren't crazy for hearing voices - or seeing scenes flash through our minds. (Now Stephen King...he's a different sort of writer. hahahaha)

When I sit down to write a story, I usually have an idea of what I want my characters to do. The more in-depth we write our characters, the more we'll hear them. I'll start a dialogue, and I can see my characters talking to each other... They are 'talking' to me so-to-speak. I once had a story 3/4 of the way written when an editor told me to change the hero's name. I took that advice, then I wished I hadn't because my hero was upset and didn't like his new name. For six weeks he didn't talk to me...which means my muse (creativity) didn't work. I couldn't see the story and I couldn't 'hear' my characters. Finally the name grew on him, and Damien started talking once again.

Please email your questions to me for next month's issue of "Ask An Author".

Book Titles
by Anna Sugg

I think book titles are a great way to hook a reader. What do you think?

Many times I’ve been drawn to a book just because of the title. I checked’s 100 lists of great titles, a few that you might recognize were Where the Wild Things Are, The Grapes of Wrath, A Wrinkle in Time, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (hmm, don’t recognize that one!), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Okay, that’s their opinion. A couple of titles that I like are Wuthering Heights, Charlotte’s Web, and of course, The Lord of the Rings. Actually, I could list more, but I’ll let you think of the titles you like the best. There have been titles that I really liked, but discovered the novel wasn’t for me, for instance, Eat, Pray, and Love.

Did you know the publisher has the last say for a title and not the author? For instance, would you be drawn to this title Trimalchio in West Egg? This was the first title of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Now, we all recognize that title. Would you have bothered to read it with the first title splashed across the book cover?

One of my favorite books that I read when I was young was Gone with the Wind (love the title). Did you know the original title was Pansy?

Authors spend hours pondering over what to name their novel and many times it’s changed by the publishers. Titles should be an overall impression of the novel, even create the tone of the book, don’t you think? It’s frustrating when you’ve read a book and wonder how they came up with such a title.

Maybe titles for well established authors aren’t as important as new authors looking to be discovered. When you hear the title Twilight, everyone immediately associated that title with Stephenie Meyers’ books. Or, how many of you have the Bourne trilogy? Did you read Hunger Games before the movie? Did these titles hook you?

To attract readers, titles as well as book covers, are highly important. Don’t you think? Please check out the list of book titles in Canyonland Press and let us know what you think about the titles our authors have on their books.

New fun things at the Library!
by Mary Martinez

Once again I've gone to the library, this time for a meeting. I asked the branch manager what she likes as a reader. As in, what does she find interesting about authors. You're going to have to wait for the answer. In the next few months we're going to do some articles based on her answers.

While I was there I browsed as I usually do. I love books. I have an iPad, which I have several Apps; for Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo and now I have a new one. It's called overdrive. What is it? I'm more than happy to tell you.

It's how you check out books from the library to use on any of your devices. I for one would love to be able to check something out at 2 a.m. instead of go to the cyber book store and pay $$ for a new book when I can't sleep. Or any time for that matter. Anyway...

Once you've downloaded the app (you can also get it from from the App Store on your device) it goes to a screen that has a Get Books option you can great a book shelf with libraries. You can add as many libraries as you'd like from New York to San Diego, all over the world, or as I've done, my local library. Any time, any place, as long as you have 4G or a WiFi connect on your device, you have instant books, for free.

There are some conditions, just like checking a book out does, you have to have it turned in, in time. It has some type of time code and after three to four weeks, depending on the libraries policy, it will automatically delete from your device. You can't horde books in otherwords. And you cannot have an overdue eBook, so no fees!

The library manager of my local library, you may notice she has recommended a few books for us, Trish Hull, was a guest on Studio 5, a local studio morning show if you'd like to view a video with instructions you can find it here...

Now go out and enjoy the wonderful world of books!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

1st Edition, August 1, 2012

Madam Librarian Recommendation
Liesl Seborg, Senior Librarian, Salt Lake County Library Services--Hunter Library

Some Sing, Some Cry. “This is an incredibly well-written story of the generations of Mayfield women and their connections and disconnections over lifetimes. Music and perseverance pervade this saga where richly crafted characters travel the world from South Carolina through wars in Europe and Vietnam to modern day France. Well worth a read or listen!”

Left - Ifa Bayeza, Right - Ntozake Shange
Authors Sportlight: Ntozake Shange and Ifa Bayeza
We were unable to reach Ms. Shange and Ms. Bayeza for comment, but the public link an bio can be found on the number one site for African American Literature,

“Award-winning writer Ntozake Shange and real-life sister, award-winning playwright Ifa Bayeza achieve nothing less than a modern classic in this epic story of the Mayfield family. Opening dramatically at Sweet Tamarind, a rice and cotton plantation on an island off South Carolina's coast, we watch as recently emancipated Bette Mayfield says her goodbyes before fleeing for the mainland. With her granddaughter, Eudora, in tow, she heads to Charleston. There, they carve out lives for themselves as fortune-teller and seamstress. Dora will marry, the Mayfield line will grow, and we will follow them on an journey through the watershed events of America's troubled, vibrant history -- from Reconstruction to both World Wars, from the Harlem Renaissance to Vietnam and the modern day. Shange and Bayeza give us a monumental story of a family and of America, of songs and why we have to sing them, of home and of heartbreak, of the past and of the future, bright and blazing ahead.”

Expanding Your Reading Experience
By: Amy Durham

Many times, after finishing a book I've thoroughly enjoyed, I find myself a little sad. Sometimes I even slow down the pace of my reading as I near the end of the book so I can draw out the experience. It's actually a rather sweet feeling, to have enjoyed a book so much that I'm sad when it ends.

If you've ever found yourself in a similar situation, I'd like to suggest a few ways that you can expand that experience, so that when you finish the last page and close the covers of the book, it feels less abrupt and leaves you with a fun sense of anticipation.

When you realize, in the course of your journey through the book, that the story is speaking to you and pulling you in, decide at that point that you will visit the author's blog or website once you finish the book. It's a simple process in this day and age to contact an author, and while I'm certainly not condoning author-stalking, authors love reader feedback. A comment on a blog post or a sincere email, letting the author know how moved you were by his or her story, will not only provide affirmation to the author, but it also expands the reader's experience, allowing you a "positive closure" for an enjoyable reading experience.

Next, consider reviewing the book. This is yet another way to let the author know - as well as other enthusiastic readers - that this is a book worth investing in. Readers value the opinion of other readers, so reviewing the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or other retailers will help others find and choose the book that you enjoyed so much. It also allows you a way to process your feelings about a good book, a way to extend the experience in a way that expresses your thoughts and enthusiasm for the story you loved.

Finally, check out the author's other titles, if you haven't already. Many times the style of writing that you loved in one story will also be present in other books by the same author. While it's true that particular character types and story lines appeal to you, you may find that the author's particular style appeals to you. So, it's worth your time to take a look at an author's back list, or watch his or her website for news of upcoming releases.

Rather than bottling up your enthusiasm when you finish a great book, try these suggestions! They will expand your reading experience, offering ways to "close out" the experience of reading a book you loved by giving the author feedback, telling other readers how much you loved the book, and giving you a sense of anticipation for other books you might love even more!