Closing and Changing

The Borders bookstore near me is closing. It’s across the street from Half Price Books and a block down from Barnes & Noble. The HPB moved down the street last year (maybe half a mile), but otherwise all of them had occupied close quarters for years.

It’s sad to have it close. I love the coupons from Borders Rewards that kept me going in and out of the store more often than I would have. So what is it that’s changed for the rest of the store that means it has to close? Is it just more of the “future” of the publishing industry where we’re moving toward e-books and away from printed paper books? I know Borders isn’t closing everywhere, but it’s more than just here.

And what does this mean for those of us who still want to get those traditional publishing contracts – to be in the brick and mortar stores?

What about the libraries? Do you still go check out enough books for them to keep buying? Are we going to get to a place where you need to read everything online? How will we share that with the kids too small to care for the electronic devices? How will we keep the rich detail from the picture books on such small screens?

Do we expect the toddlers to not dismantle the devices? Just yesterday I found the keys my daughter ripped from my laptop at 6 months of age. Who needs home and control, right? I must admit the iPad is nice for her to play around with, except for the excess of fingerprints and other marks she leaves over the surface.

I suppose one thing to look forward to is the child-centered devices may begin reading the stories to kids. Then there will be studies upon studies about how it isn’t the best way for them to absorb the language (without a native speaker to show how the words are formed with the mouth and to keep the child’s attention focused) until at least the age of 3. We’ll begin the debate of whether it’s better to have the child with books rather than yet another animated movie and point fingers at each other for the digital babysitters. (Really, how else do you manage to shower when you’re alone with a small, mobile, curious child?)

The change also hits the authors in their marketing. Marketing is a struggle no matter how you look. Word of mouth about your words, whether in the bookstore or online or any other manner, doesn’t work the way you intend. Somehow a few of us have recognizable names and the rest of us languish in obscurity.

Do future writers still dream old ideas for success? I’m sure some of us do – just as I’m certain some of us are floundering among the changing landscape, searching for the best path to take. Self-publishing has never been easier, but it’s difficult to stand out from the masses and their largely disappointing reputation.

P.S. I apologize for the extended absence. One of my part-time jobs takes more time than I like to admit. I’m enjoying my break and working on getting organized – which includes more time writing and blogging.

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Meeting the Readers

Okay, not all of them. But I went to a local mother-daughter book club and I had a wonderful time tonight. They read my book!

I think I had as good of a time as they did. They had so many questions about the writing and rewriting and publishing and even the naming of the characters. I loved listening to their discussion of the book and I could even ask my own questions of them. (And did, once or twice.)

I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of their discussion. They were great girls and their moms seemed awesome. The girls yelled ‘Thank you!’ as I left. And I smiled. Very big!

Thank you to Amber, Dahlia, Izzy, Gracie, Kylie, McKenna, and Sophie and to their mothers for letting me join them at their meeting.

The Green Bronze Mirror

Notes from the Author:
I wrote this book when I was 14, when I was a dreamy, bookish
adolescent who could listen to the teacher with half an ear and
write the book at the back of the class. My main reading at the
time was novels set in Roman, Greek or medieval times. A
weekend trip to Anglesey with my Mum gave the backdrop for
the starting point, and traveling back in time was always a
favorite fantasy. I believed my main character, Karen, was fictional, but with hindsight I realize she was me. Once started, the ideas flowed thick and fast and before the end of one chapter, the next would suggest itself. I did some additional research but even so slipped up on a couple of things that the editor later spotted, for instance the Romans had no tomatoes: they were brought to Europe from America centuries later.
I was thrilled when a publisher accepted it, and of course a huge fuss was made about such a young author. However, I spent the rest of my teen years trying to live it down. Boys didn’t go for clever girls and if anyone mentioned it at a party I knew my chances were snookered. The book has been gathering dust in my memory for decades, so I was frankly
astonished to be contacted by a private publisher last year, wanting to re-issue it. However, when I look at it again, I’m surprised how good it is, and friends of mine are now begging for copies and reading it themselves.
These days I’m a Speech and Language Therapist, but I’ve had a variety of jobs, including teaching English to foreigners, working in a bookshop, leading pony treks in the Welsh Mountains and running riding holidays in the Scottish Borders. I’m an outdoor person at heart, love animals, wild places and wine. I have two sons who are the best thing in my life, even though when I was younger I thought I didn’t want children.
If you want to write, just sit down and get on with it. Then go over what you’ve written, reduce and condense by at least a third, delete the word “I” wherever possible, and don’t stick to a strictly chronological order of events.
Review of the Book:
By Geraldine Ahearn,
Inspired by historical novels, which was Lynne Ellison’s favorite reading material for many years, she created a Masterpiece of historical adventure. This novel fills the pages with fantasy as it takes the reader on an amazing journey, after Karen looks into an ancient mirror that she found buried on the beach, and is transported back in time to the Roman Empire. What trials and tribulations must Karen face, during her struggles to return to her own time? I highly recommend this book to all fantasy lovers, children, and young adults. The adventure is breathtaking, the story is spectacular, and the unique characters come to life. The last thing Karen remembered was glancing into the mirror, while daydreaming, what happened to the island, and where did she wind up? How many years did the mirror take her back in time? Who asked Karen if she was a runaway slave, and where did he take her? What was Darvus ordered to do for Karen? Who was Cordella, and what did she give Karen? Where did Karen meet Kleon? Who bought Karen, and where was she going, after the auction? Where did Karen meet Locusta, and how did Locusta hide from the soldiers? Did Locusta’s magic help Karen find her way through the dark passages? Does Karen find her way back to where it all began, and is there a happy ending? Find out the answers in this breathtaking adventure as we follow Karen to see if there will be light at the end of the tunnel. “THE GREEN BRONZE MIRROR” is as mysterious as LEFT BEHIND and as captivating as Steven Spielberg’s, THE GOONIES.

Mozart in the Future

Reviews for the Book:

By: Lady D in San Diego
The book begins in a small village in Vorarlberg where we meet
Max one of the main characters who loves to play the piano,
along with his mom and dad, a sister, too. This family has a
similar lifestyle as mine, the love of gardening, cooking and
preserving food. Right away Tania reveals to us the family
dynamics of a laid-back father, a strict mother who strongly
desires for her two children to be successful in music and a four
year old sister who adores her brother.
The main characters, Max and Mozart meet one another and
develop a beautiful exchange of friendship. Young readers will
stay captivated as the plot flows along in today’s world with TV,
cell phones, elevators and escalators. The boys seem to need
each other and the spirit of music inspires them both. This
wonderful book written by Tania is a powerful love story of
music and a fun adventure filled with imagination and
inspiration for all young musicians and music teachers to read.
I was so impressed with Tania’s detailed descriptions with her
writing skills! Page 44 reads: “Max takes him to a room where the piano is. Mozart runs to it like a person who has not had a drink for days and suddenly sees a jug of water.”
If you are a creative person in need of inspiration to continue
with your composing and practicing of your instrument or if you
find yourself performing in front of crowds of family and friends
with joy and strength from your heart and just need a reminder
of refreshment to keep dreaming, creating and shining brightly
for all to see, then I highly recommend this great book to you. It
is definitely one that I will want my piano students to have in
their library. You will want to find out if Mozart can return to
the past when the future is in his mind! I love music and I love
this book! 5+ *****
There’s a Torte recipe at the end of the book that you will enjoy,
too!

By Glenda A. Bixler

What a wonderfully fun story–Mozart in the Future is not just for children who are interested in music! Written by Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters, with beautiful illustrations by Pedro Caraca, the story can help children and parents realize and finda balance of activities in their lives. I love children’s books that take special care to provide appropriate and complementary covers, artwork and format. Indeed Mozart in the Future does that extremely well. For instance, instead of boring quotation marks for dialog, every line that shows somebody talking begins with a musical note – Isn’tthat Cool? And the young Mozart is simply precious, in my opinion.Then you will meet The Spirit of Music, who comes first to Max, as a beautiful woman dressed in yellow, whose violet eyes and hair match! Max is a young boy who loves learning how to play the piano, but also wants to play with other children. However, his mother believes he is the next Mozart and must constantly practice! Until Max becomes ill and the doctor orders complete rest. It was during this time that The Spirit visited! Because she actually knew Mozart when he was a young boy–and guess what? Mozart had a very strict father who demanded the same thing from him–constant practice! And Mozart had never had an opportunity to have a friend or play, just for the fun of it! Until The Spirit of Music brought Mozart into the future! Can you imagine what two small boys might get into when they meet for the first time, having had no time to play, or have a close friend? Can you imagine what Mozart, especially, must have been thinking when he saw all the magical inventions that were now available? Well, you really don’t have to imagine–Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters, in Mozart in the Future tells us about Mozart watching TV for the first time, about his seeing an escalator, etc. But Mozart has a whole life of creating beautiful, wonderful music! How is he going to get back home, into his own time?You know what? I was having just as much fun reading this book, as you and your children will have! Yes, this is a perfect stocking stuffer for Christmas for any child, from say, 6 to 96! Bring a little music into the lives of your children… You’re going to love this one, just as much as I did! Don’t let this one go without checking it out!
About the Author:

Tânia Maria Rodrigues-Peters was born on a beautiful hot night in the summer time in 1964. She holds a professional teaching qualification in Artistic Education for pre-school children and completed a Media course in Publicity andAdvertising. She worked as a teacher in several schools teaching children from primary to high school level.

She won the first prize in a nation-wide travel diary competition of the Turismo Brasil Service Magazine and got 7th place in a short story competition in Spain.

After spending several years in Brazil, Germany, and Spain, she now lives in Vorarlberg, Austria with her husband and her three children.

Check out more about the book here.

February’s End

And I got another rejection today.

I wasn’t surprised – I expected it. I knew seven other authors who also received rejections for this particular magazine’s round of submissions. It’s part of a group of authors who are trying to help each other get published. It’s an online critique group, but we don’t have a set meeting time.

I’m a recent addition to the group, and I’m not close with many members yet. However, I find the advice fascinating and I’m glad to have a contribution to the group.

One of my favorite things is sharing things I’ve learned. I started this with my mom and other writers when I get the chance. (Yes, my mom is a writer, too, for those of you who didn’t know. One day I hope to be able to point you in the direction of her published work.)

Next month I’ll begin again, sending more things out. I’m signing up for an SCBWI-Iowa conference in April, and I’m going to be working on my submission for the manuscript critique this weekend.

Blogging Stories

Do you wonder about authors that do this? I know putting a story in a blog is self-published and not eligible to post elsewhere, like in e-zines, but what about stories that have been published and the rights have reverted back to the author?

Or, just for amusement on the blog? I read about an author doing that and it makes me want to read his blog for the stories, to see his style, and to read. (I think all writers love to read.)

Blogging is about a platform, and what better than to sporadically season with your own fictional work? Heavily edited, of course, and preferably by someone other than the author.

I’ve noticed as I work in critique groups how many times I can read the same passage and not see the problem with it until someone else says, “Really? I’d fix that.” Of course, I do the same thing right back, so we’re even.

Ideas, Stories, and Submissions

I recently read an article that compared writers to baseball players. Not for much, just talking about a different thought of success.

We write stories and we submit them to magazines. Once we start getting an acceptance or two – we start thinking every idea we have can be turned into a saleable story, especially after completing an MFA program.

The point is that baseball players have a batting average. Some stories are just better than others. What if we did think about it as writing a .200? Of every five ideas, we finish a short story. Of every five finished stories, one is a gem.

It’s definitely an interesting theory. I know some of my stories touch the reader more than others. I also know some stories I read from other writers make me feel more than others.

About Rejections

As writers, if you’ve sent anything out to try to get published it’s much more likely than not that you’ve received a rejection for your work.

I recently saw a discussion online where the editor said she preferred it when writers thanked her for her consideration, even after a form rejection. I’ve never responded to a form rejection. I hate to waste an editor’s time when her inbox is brimming with slushy submissions. I respond to personal rejections, rewrite requests, and -of course- acceptances.

It didn’t occur to me that some of them would want a thank-you no matter what, but is the slight remembrance you get from a returned rejection better than annoyance from others?

Now I’m curious what others have to say on the subject.

Preditors and Editors Reader Poll 2009

The results are in! The Art of Science placed 4th in the reader poll.

I’m really happy my book did so well. Thank you for all the votes! It really makes my day when someone loves my stories, and this even more so since it’s my first novel published.

I’m still working on the next project, and I’m hoping good things come of it.

Nomination!

Preditors and Editors has nominated my book for their reader poll!  Currently I’m tied for fifth place, and I’m so excited about it.

For my dedicated readers, especially those who love my book, I’d appreciate your support in this poll. There are other 4RV publications that could also use support. Last I saw 4RV topped the publishers list.

Poll ends January 14th. I’ll just have to sit on the edge of my chair until then. (Well, more likely chase the baby around the house, but you know what I mean.)

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