Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Anne McCaffrey: The Passing of a Legend

Anne McCaffrey passed away today. I keep searching for ways to express the feelings. I can start with the shock. This is an ending of an era. She created one of the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy worlds. The world of Pern is classic Sci-Fi with dragon riders, harpers, wyrs, and other terms that bring back fond memories. I loved her Crystal Singer and Acorna series. When I listed authors that I enjoy, she is on the list. Always.

I feel so fortunate I got to meet her once. She attended a book signing in the mall where I worked in Sunnyvale, CA. My family waited in line for two hours. I was scheduled to work, but my mom and sister knew how much I loved her books. So they stood in line for me.

Later, I took my lunch off to stand in line with them for another 20 minutes and got to meet her. She signed her current book, The Rowan(1991), and one other book. I brought the first book of the Dragon Rider Series in comic book form. OK, so it was the early 90s. That's what I had at the time.

I remember her being very nice, a bit like anyone's grandmother. In fact, she talked a lot of like "Grandma Kettle". She seemed very down home and country like, and was very easy to talk to.

I read The Crystal Singer while I was going to school in Paris. I paid the $60 tax to get it into the country. All English books have this huge fee. I was desperate for good Sci-Fi. It was 1992, and the internet was not established. I had to get books the old fashioned way, shipped from home by relatives. It was worth it. I followed the rest of the series, and still comment about being "lost in crystal" if I get too absorbed by something.

I read she lived in Ireland and wrote her stories. That would be so fabulous. To live in a castle and write Sci-Fi/Fantasy. So, I strived to be a great creator of worlds. It's the one thing my favorite writers of fantasy would do; create the world you could get lost in.

So, as I wrote my first book, The Lost Secret of Fairies, I tried to create a world my readers could be engrossed by. I worked on my second book, The Lost Secret of the Green Man, while visiting Ireland. In the back of my mind, I would imagine Ms. McCaffrey working away creating her books. I was going to do that too.

I'm working on my third book in my own fantasy world now. It involves crystals too. I hope that this is a fitting tribute. To write as many books as possible, leave a legacy, and become a legend. Isn't this what we all strive to do as a writer? Thank you Anne McCaffrey for your books and inspiration. I want to be like you when I grow up. I'm 43. Still a long way to go. *wink*

Crystal ClusterTiffany Turner is the author of the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Her books can be found at Amazon.com.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tiffany Turner at the Sonoma County Book Festival

Tiffany Turner will be appearing at the Sonoma County Book Festival on Sat. Sept. 24, 2011. She will have both her books, The Lost Secret of Fairies and The Lost Secret of the Green Man available for purchase. All books sold will be personally signed by Mrs. Turner.

Plus, stop by and enter to win an official Crystal Keeper Pendant. Throughout the day, Mrs. Turner will also be playing the Gaelic Harp. Come out and enjoy a day of believing in fairies.

Sonoma County Book Festival 2011
Booth #91 near the Peanuts Pavilion
Sat. Sept. 24 10am-4pm
Old Courthouse Square
in Santa Rosa, CA

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Music To Write By

One thing that writers use is music. In the background either on my IPod earphones or playing on the computer, I’ll listen to several different playlists as I write. For some reason, music seems to keep my train of thought going. The music will lead me to places in my mind that I need to capture. So, I wanted to share some of my favorite songs I use to write my stories.

You might already enjoy listening to them, or maybe they’ll be a new discovery for you. Some artists are well known, and some aren’t. But what can I say. I’m a child of the 1980s. So I listen to a lot of New Wave while I write. But I love a lot of the modern artists such as Adam Lambert, Katy Perry, and Lady GaGa. So here is a sample of my playlist.

1) “Firework” by Katy Perry
2) “If I Had You” by Adam Lambert
3) “Sometimes” by Erasure
4) “Out of Touch” by Hall and Oats
5) “Dog Days Are Over” by Florence and The Machine
6) “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips
7) “Born This Way” by Lady GaGa

I am using this playlist as I write my third book in the Crystal Keeper Chronicles. Out of this current playlist is springing a labyrinth of mines, a dwarf city, a dragon guide, and more adventures for Wanda. Music will guide me to new ideas and directions in the third book, The Lost Secret of Dragonfire. Time to get back to writing. Enjoy!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Writer's Village Summer 2011-Shortlisted Story Winner

I'm happy to announce I've just been awarded a Shortlisted Award for the Writer's Village Writing Contest Summer 2011. I think it's a bit like getting an Honorable Mention. It's a British hosted contest you see.

I don't get to toot my own horn often. So, I'm excited that I've won something with my writing. I found a link through one of my writing groups to a summer writing contest for creative writing. I entered one of the children's picture book stories I've been working on. I've taken it to some writing conferences, gotten feedback from editors. One of the tips an editor gave me was to rewrite into prose what I tried in sing-song poetry. Good tip. The result is listed on the site.

Writer's Village Writing Contest Summer 2011-My Shortlisted Winner Listing

Writer's Village Listing for All Winners Summer 2011

The moral of this, if you don't keep writing, you won't have anything to enter or sell. So, just keep writing!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

J.K. Rowling Is Self-Publishing Through New Website

Amazing as this sounds, it's true. J.K. Rowling announced yesterday in a press release and a YouTube video on her new innovative website to be launched in October 2011. It's called Pottermore.com.

J.K. Rowling has developed an on-line experience to hearld Harry into the digital age. Armed with new writing material, the website will feature a way to interact with the characters/places/objects found in the Harry Potter books. It will soon include an Ebook Store that will sell the series in ebook format. It is in partnership with Sony and her publishing partner, Scholastic.

What makes this such a phenomenal milestone in self-publishing is that Rowling's publishers get a percentage for assisting in marketing and promotions. She's calling the shots now, especially since she owns her digital rights. She is also bypassing big on-line retailers such as Amazon.com, to sell directly from an on-line ebook shop on her website.

What does this all mean? First, I'm stunned. I knew self-publishing was starting a new age, but now that an author as big as J.K. Rowling has started to take advantage of publishing herself, keeping her digital rights, and launching a site like this. There. That stunned moment again.

For children's authors, it might mean a lot. She has changed the face of children's publishing and created a series in which she broke and created rules. Now she's out to create a new publishing platform, shaping a future generation by reaching out through technology. I love the possibilities of what she can do with her site; the building of a Harry Potter world on-line, feedback from her readers, that creative control so often enjoyed in self-publishing and doing things yourself.

I wish her the best, and await to see what will happen next in the publishing world. Look out, it's going to be a bumpy ride.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Free Libraries: A Thing of the Past?

I was reading my local newspaper through its website. I don’t think I’ve actually read the paper in several years. Most of my news comes to me through the Internet, the Daily Show, or the Colbert Report. I found out about Osama bin Laden’s death through the Internet. Facebook seems to have news travel faster than the mass media.

The article I found mentioned my local county libraries charging out of district fees to non-residences. Yes, the library card as a free prospect was going to be turned into an $80 charge if I didn’t live in the right city. I don’t according to the newspaper website.

Luckily, I don’t use the county libraries as much as the city library. Kind to think of it, I’ve been getting most of my books from either Amazon or book exchange websites like Paperbackswap.com. Agreed, I pay for postage, shipping and or the cost of the book. But these all save me time. The library, if it is free, does save money. But I’m sure if the county is starting to charge fees, the similarly broke cities will follow suit. So I began to wonder, is the Free Library System going to be a thing of the past?

I have wonderful memories of my local library. My first lessons of responsibility came from my first library card. If I lost a book, I had to pay for it with my allowance. As I got older, I used the free aspect of the library to get free movie rentals. If you were patient, the library could save you a lot of money if you were on a student budget. I even remember being absolutely devastated when my local library closed after the 1989 California Bay Area Quake. Two weeks without videos and library books, oh the horror.

Now, video stores are empty with lease signs posted on the doors. Of course, I haven’t walked into a video store since 2005. I’ve been using Netflicks or On-Demand movie rental. Or I even go and see the movie when it is first released.

As far as books, I did make a promise to myself this year to go and start using my local library branch more often. I did, for a while. But then Amazon, with it’s tempting “no waiting list” for my favorite authors, links me to click to charge my latest awaited book. It's just too easy and fast. I think my patience is less while I'm older. Or it just goes to other places, and I have less tolerance for waiting for library books to come in. Maybe I just like the convenience of the Internet. I didn't have it in the early 90s when I was a college student.

Then I discovered Paperbackswap.com. Here was a way to get older books from other readers, and send out a lot of my paperbacks from the shelves. I knew they’d get a good home since they were going to people that requested them. Yes, it can take awhile to get a book. But at least you know it’s coming from someone that enjoyed it, and when done, you can pass it along.

So, maybe I have just outgrown the library. If I want a book fast and it’s my favorite author, I’m willing to pay for it and support the author at the same time. Plus, I’ve discovered a lot of Indie Authors that you won’t find in most libraries. Amazon has far more available than most libraries could ever hope to have. And I’ve found that the libraries just don’t take any old books either. Most of my old books end up at Goodwill. But then, that could be just my local system. It may vary in other areas.

Plus, for those hard to find/out of print titles the on-line book exchanges seem to be working. It isn’t free, since you do have to pay postage. But it is more of a recycle program, reusing books and clearing space in your home, so you have more books to read. Plus, a lot of rural areas far from libraries have postal service. This can make it easier than making a trip into the local town library. Or if there is a small town library, the selection isn't as big as on-line.

Lastly, with cities around the country looking for ways to add to their budgets, programs such as libraries will most likely start having fees. Since one library has started in my area, I’m sure more will follow. If you use the library a lot, it will still be worth it. Of course, that's only if the fee is reasonable.

I do hope they allow students to have the free card still. That is when I used the library the most, as a struggling student both in high school and college. Any break at that time in your life is well worth it. And if my fee helps kids and college students to use library services, so be it. But then, I’m already paying income, property, and sales taxes. I already know that nothing is really for free.

**Local Newspaper: San Jose Mercury News article on $80 fee for County Libraries
*More free clip art available at school-clipart.com.