Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Twenty-five Authors to Sign at Chapters November 21

Note: I've updated the author information below to include newly added author John Kalkowski, who will be signing at Chapters from 1:00-2:00 Saturday, November 21.

The holiday season is fast approaching. Thanksgiving is only about two weeks away, and Christmas just a month after that. During this busy season, independent businesses such as Chapters celebrate Small Business Saturday as a time to thank all of our loyal customers, the people who recognize the value of local retailers in keeping their communities strong, vibrant places with much to offer residents and visitors. We appreciate your business year-round, and on Small Business Saturday, November 21 and 28, we're planning many special promotions and events as a way to both showcase what Seward has to offer and to thank our customers for shopping locally.

At Chapters, we're celebrating on Saturday, November 21, with a Local Authors Extravaganza from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. We'll have authors signing at the store all day, most of them from Nebraska or with Nebraska connections. Some big names will be here--Ted Kooser, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Alex Kava--and some who live right here in Seward, including Robert Bimler and Jeanne Wiemer. Some of our featured authors have been to Chapters before for signings or other events. Others we're hosting for the first time. Some write for children and young adults (Lydia Kang, Tonya Kuper, Toni Morehouse, Nancy Sharp Wagner, Tevin and Nichole Hansen). The others write in a variety of genre, including memoir, poetry, short stories, historical fiction, romance, and other forms, for adults. They include Angela Hiskett, Mark Langan, Connie Spittler, Gary Jones, Bill Spradley, Jim Reisdorff, Shawn Farritor, Gina Barlean, Mike Curd, Annette Snyder, Brian Hale, Sharon Raimondo, Bud Phelps, and Scott McPherson.

Read more about these authors below, or visit their individual websites for more information on them and their books. If you can't make it on November 21, stop by the store and browse our Local Authors Section, purchase a book, and leave it to be signed. And thanks again for shopping locally!

Gina Barlean of David City, Nebraska, has published six books under the name G. M. Barlean, including her newest, Thorns of Rosewood, the story of a woman’s search for her birth mother about whom she knows little except that she was accused of murder many years earlier. A member of the Nebraska Writers Guild, Gina will be signing from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Robert Bimler is a Seward resident, author of humorous books such as Do Vegetarians Eat Animal Crackers? He also has t-shirts made from sayings in his books. Join him for an hour and ask him your own silly questions from 10:00-11:00 a.m.  

Michael Curd, formerly a pastor in Milford, returns to Chapters to sign his book Through the Valley, a fictionalized account of a hospital chaplain in a major trauma center. Mike's a great supporter of Chapters, and we're looking forward to his return visit. He’ll be here from 11:00 a.m.-noon.

Shawn Farritor, author of novels about Native Americans in Nebraska territory before the Civil War, is also making a return trip to Chapters. He grew up in Ravenna, Nebraska, and now lives in Grand Island, where he works as a lawyer and author. His newest book is The Pawnee War, and he’ll be here from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Brian Hale, a Colorado native, was injured in a chain saw accident as a youth. After hearing for years how lucky he was to survive the accident, he has written Are You Lucky? in an attempt to understand and clarify what luck is and how it works in our lives. He’ll be returning to Chapters from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Nichole and Tevin Hansen own Handersen Publishing, an independent publisher of books for children and young adults and edit the YA literary magazine Stinkwaves. Together and independently, they write for children, blog, and raise their children in Idaho. They will be at Chapters—though they’re not strictly local—signing from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Angela Hiskett of Beatrice, Nebraska, has written Our Legacy, a Bible study guide for families for studying the Gospels together. She will be available to talk about her book and sign copies from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Gary Jones’s novel, Doc’s Codicil, is the story of a veterinarian teaching his heirs a lesson from the grave. In order to claim their inheritance, they must work together to solve the mysterious puzzle he leaves for them. Jones lives in Omaha and will be signing with us from noon-1:00 p.m.

John Kalkowski, an Omaha author and middle school teacher, is the author of Red Cell and its brand new sequel The Betrayal, about a teenager with a secret life as the government's youngest intelligence operative who helps prevent terrorist attacks, including one at a Husker football game--a timely topic given recent events around the world. Meet him from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Lydia Kang, an Omaha physician and author, has written Control and Catalyst for young adults and those who enjoy YA literature. Set in a futuristic society in what now is known as Nebraska and Iowa, her books combine medical science fiction, romance, and mystery and are thrilling reads for fans of The Hunger Games and other dystopian novels. She's also an incredibly nice person and happy to share her thoughts on ways to incorporate writing into a busy schedule. She’ll be at Chapters from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Alex Kava, originally of Silver Creek, Nebraska, now lives in Omaha and Pensacola, Florida. Her Maggie O'Dell books and other thrillers have been published in over thirty countries and have been on bestseller lists in the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Poland as well as the US. Stranded was a Nebraska Book Award recipient. Silent Creed is the second book in her new series featuring Ryder Creed. Alex will be signing from 11:00 a.m.-noon.

Ted Kooser needs little introduction. He'll be signing his two latest books, Splitting an Order, a poetry collection, and The Wheeling Year, a collection of very short prose which will receive a Nebraska Book Award on November 15. Ted will be signing his books from noon-1:00 p.m.

Tonya Kuper, a YA writer from Omaha, will visit Chapters to promote her book, Anomaly, the story of a girl who can bend reality with her thoughts. Her next book comes out in early 2016. Tonya has an interesting publication story and is a good resource if you’re looking for answers to questions about navigating the publishing process. Meet Tonya from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

Mark Langan, a retired Omaha police officer from the burglary, vice and narcotics units, drew on his work experience to write Busting Bad Guys, true crime stories from the seamier side of life in Omaha. He’ll be sharing stories and signing his book from 11:00 a.m.-noon.

Scott McPherson is a Lincoln, Nebraska, physician and author of a series of mystery/thrillers about a doctor named Jack Sharp, who finds danger and romance in such diverse settings as the Congo and an urban bike path. He’ll be signing from 2:00-3:00 p.m. He and Lydia may have to share stories about dual careers in medicine and writing.

Toni Morehouse, a speech-language pathologist from Lincoln, Nebraska, has written Junie's Unicorn Horn, a picture book of a unicorn's troubles on her first day of school. Happily, in the end, Junie's horn saves the day. Even more happily, you can meet Toni from 11:00 a.m.-noon.

R. G. Bud Phelps, a life-long Nebraskan, lives in Lincoln. After a career in accounting and a stint in the navy, he now concentrates on writing. His books include historical fiction, based on his life’s experiences, and accounting books. You can meet him at Chapters from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Sharon Raimondo grew up listening to stories of the Dust Bowl years and based her debut novel Big Sky, on those accounts of life in the Nebraska Sand Hills during the 1930s. She She currently lives in Columbus and is working on the sequel, and she will be signing at Chapters from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

James Reisdorff of David City has been to Chapters many times to share the stories behind his railroad books. Reisdorff and his wife own South Platte Press and publish many railroad-related titles, some of which he also wrote. He will be signing from 1:00-2:00 p.m.

N. L. Sharp, of Fremont, is a retired teacher and avid writer and organizer of workshops and resources for writers. She writes children’s picture books, including The Flower Girl-The Ring Bear: A Flip Book. Meet her from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Annette Snyder is a prolific writer of historical and contemporary romance novels and lives in Brainard. Her newest book is Arpetta Honor, and you can meet her from 2:00-3:00 p.m.
Connie Spittler’s novel, The Erotic Book Club for Nice Ladies will grab your attention with its title! It’s actually a cozy mystery about women’s friendships and books by Emily Dickinson and Jane Austen. You can meet her and find out more from 11:00 a.m.-noon.

William Spradley, though born and raised in Nebraska, has traveled throughout the world as an engineer with McDonnell Douglas. He now lives and writes in Missouri, and his latest work is a collection of short stories titled Cold Trail. Meet him from noon-1:00 p.m.

Stephanie Grace Whitson, of Lincoln, writes thoroughly researched historical fiction with a Christian touch. Her newest book, a collaboration with Judith McCoy Miller and Nancy Moser, Basket Brigade Christmas, is set in Decatur, Illinois, during the American Civil War. I enjoy Whitson's strong female characters and always learn something of the time period in which she sets her books. Stephanie will sign from noon to 1:00 p.m.

Jeanne Wiemer is a Seward resident and owner of The Red Path Gallery. She is an artist as well as a writer. Her book, My Pleiadian Brother, introduces readers to Pleiadian Theory through the story of Jason, a Pleiadian child with human parents. You can meet her and learn more about this from 10:00-11:00 a.m.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Read for the Record

The tenth annual Read for the Record sponsored by Jumpstart is Thursday, October 22, and Chapters is once again participating in this event to raise awareness of the importance of reading aloud with kids.

To show your support for literacy and be counted toward a world reading record--and have some fun!--just bring your favorite child(ren) to Chapters on October 22 between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm, read the official Read for the Record book Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Kelly Bennett in our big comfy chair (courtesy of Davisson Furniture Center), snack on goldfish crackers (courtesy of St. John's CDC), and take home a certificate and tips for reading aloud together.

Not Norman, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones, is a humorous tale about a child who finds a new friend in an unexpected place. With vivid illustrations and expressive language, the story is sure to engage children and adults of all ages.

Help us break the world's record (again) for the most kids around the world reading the same book on the same day and share some quality time with a child.

For more information on Jumpstart's Read for the Record and other programs, visit https://www.jstart.org/campaigns/read-for-the-record.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ingrid Law Returns to Seward. . . And Some Book Fair News

Booksellers, like teachers, probably aren't supposed to have favorites, but I have to confess, we do. I am very excited that one of my favorite authors will be returning to Chapters on Tuesday, October 20.

Ingrid Law is the Newbery Honor-winning author of Savvy, one of the all-time best middle grade novels. It's a wonderful story about the unique talents each person has, whether they've discovered their abilities yet or not. The book has magic, humor, warmth, and a perfect ending. It's also set in our own part of the country, with action taking place in Bee, Nebraska, and other parts of southeast Nebraska and Kansas. Scumble and the newly-released Switch, companions to Savvy, are charming stories, too.

And, if that's not enough, Ingrid herself is a fabulously nice person. The last time she came to Seward, back before Savvy even won its Newbery Honor, back when my kids were the perfect age to read Savvy, we took her to Bee for fish--because how can you write a book set in Bee and not eat fish there? (If I find the photo of all the kids with Ingrid on the Bee sign, I'll post it.) This time we're taking her to visit area schools instead of to Bee, and at 4:00 that afternoon she'll be at Chapters to sign copies of her books and talk to readers of all ages.

Ingrid's visit coincides with two book fairs we're hosting for area schools, and any of Ingrid's books that you buy will benefit St. Vincent's and St. John's school libraries. St. John's book fair is an in-store event, so a portion of all purchases at Chapters (except Ingrid's books purchased by St. Vincent families) on October 20 and 21 will go to the St. John school library. St. Vincent's book store is at the school/church October 18-25. Your area schools appreciate your support of their book fairs, and autographed books make great gifts!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

October 6 Releases

Today, October 6, is a big day for book releases. Many favorite authors and well-known politicians have books coming out today--for both kids and adults. Here are a few of the most anticipated.

This new edition of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Sorcer's Stone (Scholastic, $39.99), illustrated by Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay, features over 100 full-color illustrations. Dedicated Harry Potter fans will be delighted to receive this--and you'll have holiday gifts for the next seven years, as they plan to continue with illustrated editions of the rest of the series! I can think of several people who'd appreciate it.
Rick Riordan has a new series, eagerly anticipated by fans of his Percy Jackson books. This one features Magnus Chase, a homeless Boston boy who is the son of a Norse god. In The Sword of Summer, the first book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series, Magnus is tracked down by an uncle his mother warned him was dangerous, who tells him that the Viking myths are true, and the Gods of Asgard are preparing for war, a war in which Magnus will soon be involved. (Disney Hyperion, $19.99). 

Pete the Cat and the Bedtime Blues by Kimberly and James Dean (HarperCollins, $17.99) is a fun addition to the series. Pete needs his sleep. His friends aren't ready to settle down--until Pete thinks to read them a bedtime story! I love the messages of the Pete books, and I love the fact that they're conveyed in ways that aren't at all preachy. This is as fun as the others.

Carry On, new from Omaha author Rainbow Rowell (St. Martin's Griffin, $19.99), is the story of Simon and Baz, who were introduced in Fangirl. Baz is a vampire, Simon the worst "chosen one" ever, and they're roommates at a magical school. Sounds vaguely familiar, but with Rainbow's unique twist--plenty of romance, mystery, and monsters for an entertaining read.

Hard as it is to believe, this is the tenth anniversary of Stephanie Meyer's sensation, Twilight. To commemorate the anniversary, Little Brown has released a special edition of Twilight ($21.99) that features the original novel as well as bonus content, which includes a new re-imagining of the story that's upside down and back-to-back with the first novel. It's called Life and Death and is a reworking of the Twilight story in which, "Beaufort Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edythe Cullen." Sound intriguing? It's available today!

We enjoyed a Skype visit with Sheila Turnage when her first book, Three Times Lucky was brand new, even before she won her Newbery Honor. Today, The Odds of Getting Even (Kathy Dawson Books, $16.99), her newest book about Mo and Dale, releases to great reviews. Middle grade fans of mystery and quirky characters and books with a good dose of humor and heart will enjoy all three books in the series. Plus, Sheila's just a nice person, so we should all read her books!

For adults, there's a good variety in today's new releases. One of my all-time favorite authors, Geraldine Brooks, has a new book. The Secret Chord (Viking, $27.95), the story of King David (yes, that King David), in all his glory and remorse, told through the eyes of the people who knew him. The Survivor by Kyle Mills (Atria, $28.00) continues Vince Flynn's thrilling Mitch Rapp series. And finally, Ben Carson has a new book, A More Perfect Union (Sentinel, $26.95), in which he explains the principles of the American Constitution and the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights and how they relate to our daily lives.

These titles--and nearly a million more--are available through our online store, www.sewardchapters.com
Regular shipping is always FREE. Or, stop in and pick them up in store and let us know what you think of them!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Jan Brett is coming to Seward!

Meet Jan Brett!
We are very excited to announce that the beloved children's book creator Jan Brett is coming to Seward as part of her 2015 tour. Her visit is sponsored by the Plum Creek Children's Literacy Festival and Chapters Books & Gifts and will be Tuesday, December 8 at 6:00 p.m. in Weller Hall on the Concordia University Campus.

Chapters will have Jan's books for sale at the event, including her forthcoming book The Turnip, which will be available November 3, 2015. If you purchase a book before the event, please bring it in a bag with your receipt. The number of books Jan will sign per person depends on the number of people attending the event. For those books that she's not able to sign, she will provide free signed bookplates featuring her artwork.
The presentation and signing are open to all ages. Since her books are for kids, we hope to see many children at the event--but we know adults love her, too!

Before the signing, Jan will do a fifteen minute illustration presentation, which will begin at 6:00 p.m. in Weller Hall. In addition, her tour bus, which will be wrapped in scenes from The Turnip, will be parked in front of Weller at 5:00 p.m. and families are welcome to take pictures in front of the bus. Hedgie, the beloved character from The Mitten and The Hat, will also be available for photos and hugs.

Tickets are FREE but required. Participants will go through the signing line based on ticket number, and your ticket will provide for a seat in Weller. Tickets are anticipated to "sell out," and nearly one third are already gone. Tickets are available first come, first serve at Chapters and through Dylan Teut at Concordia. For more information, email chapters@windstream.net or dylan.teut@cune.edu.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wine and Words

What could be better than books and wine and the chance to enjoy both at the same time, in a beautiful setting, with other people who also enjoy books and wine?

All that AND two authors!

New York Times Bestselling author Alex Kava will be in Seward on Friday, August 21, to promote her new book Silent Creed with a book discussion and signing. At the same event, Omaha author Brock Car will be signing copies of her debut thriller, Dead Behind the Eyes.

We'll have two opportunities for you to meet Alex and Brock. The first will be the "Wine and Words" discussion group at Junto Winery from 5:00-6:00 p.m. There, you'll meet Alex and Brock, share your thoughts on the Ryder Creed series, and have them sign books. And, you'll get wine, really good wine (purchase by the glass), at a beautiful venue! Because Alex loves dogs as much as we do, we will also be accepting donations to benefit Blue River Pet Rescue.
Pre-registration is requested for the "Wine and Words." Please call Junto at 402-803-0587 or Chapters at 402-643-2282 to let us know you're coming.
Following the discussion at Junto, we'll be hosting the authors at Chapters for an informal signing from 6:15-7:00 p.m., also on August 21. We'll have all of Alex's books, as well as Brock's debut, available for purchase and signing. No registration is required.

Alex Kava, originally of Silver Creek, Nebraska, now lives in Omaha and Pensacola, Florida. Her Maggie O'Dell books and other thrillers have been published in over thirty countries and have been on bestseller lists in the UK, Australia, Germany, Japan, Italy and Poland as well as the US. Stranded was a Nebraska Book Award recipient. Silent Creed is the second book in her new series featuring Ryder Creed. 
 Brock Car grew up in Omaha. After a long career in corporate communications, she established her own advertising/public relations firm and wrote for magazines and literary journals. Dead Behind the Eyes is her first novel.
To pre-purchase books, register, or if you have questions, contact us at Chapters.

Monday, July 6, 2015

It's All Fun and Games at Chapters

Last week, as I was baking sugar cookies at 10:00 at night, Joel asked me why we host our summer camp at Chapters. That night I told him it was because I like to punish myself, and because I need a good excuse to make cutout cookies in July. 

Of course, those aren't the real reasons. The obvious purpose of camp--to get people into the store and sell more books and toys--is an important benefit, but it's only part of our motivation. The real reason we host our summer camps is to build relationships with the families who participate. Cheryl, Kelley and I are all former teachers, and every year during camp, we're reminded why we decided to become teachers all those years ago.

It's because we love the kids! Every summer we savor the opportunity to read to groups of kids, sharing their enthusiasm for a good story, and we remember how much fun it can be to play a simple game of "Penguin, Penguin, Walrus" or create something unique out of grapes and a tortilla--and then eat it!

Tara and Grace in 2015
Grace and Tara in 2013
Many of our campers have attended our events for several years. As I scroll through photos from previous years, I recognize several who have grown up spending a week at Chapters every summer. Some of them started as preschoolers and now are heading to middle school in the fall. Some have younger brothers or sisters who now attend camp. Some of our teenage volunteers have returned year after year, too. We treasure our ongoing relationships with these families--and, of course, with the families of kids who come for only a year or two as well. It's fun to see "our" kids' photos in the Seward newspaper and run into them at local restaurants, at church, around town, and when they return to the store.

So, thank you for sharing your children with us. We appreciate your trust in us and your support of our programs. We hope your families enjoy attending camp as much as we enjoy hosting you!

And a big thank you to everyone who helped with camp--Cheryl, Kelley, and Amalia; our volunteers Haley, Molly, Zoie and Morgan; our special guests Brian Albright and Holly Schindler; Chris Grabenstein for the author video; and anyone I may have neglected to mention by name. We appreciate you all!

Below are a few photos of this year's camp activities, and even a video made specially for us by author Chris Grabenstein. Many more photos are posted on our Facebook page. Our theme for the week was "It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Lost in a Book." After I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein, a fun middle grade novel about a group of kids locked in a fantastic library to solve puzzles and win prizes, I knew I had to build our camp around the book. The author graciously agreed to make a video, just for us, and we used it to kick off our week. We spent the week making and playing games and getting lost in books (and finding others, including Waldo, a couple of mice, a walrus, a penguin, and a snake, who were themselves lost in books). In case your child came home talking about a book we read that they especially enjoyed, here's a list of the books we read at camp this year:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce (I highly recommend the Oscar-nominated animated film version; find it on YouTube)
Where's Walrus? and Penguin? by Stephen Savage (Available Aug. 25, 2015)
Hide and Snake by Keith Baker
We Are in a Book by Mo Willems
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I Spy! by Jean Marzollo
Where's Waldo by Martin Handford
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
The Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman
The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky by Holly Schindler

A highlight of the week was a SKYPE visit with author Holly Schindler, who wrote The Junction of Sunshine and Lucky, a fabulous book about finding beauty in unlikely places and turning trash into treasures. Holly very graciously answered all our questions, and she loves to hear from readers. Young readers can visit her website, which is designed for kids ages 8-12, at http://hollyschindlermiddles.weebly.com/

And we can't forget to mention that Waldo, of the Where's Waldo books, is hiding all over Seward during July. Find him in 21  businesses in town to earn a chance to win $100 in Chamber Bucks

For details and to download your search list, visit www.sewardchapters.com

Thanks for coming to camp!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Wm. Hovey Smith in Seward

We're pleased to welcome Wm. Hovey Smith to Seward on Saturday, July 4. He'll be signing his books at Chapters from 1-2 p.m., and then he'll perform a series of humorous sketches at 3 p.m. at the Bandshell.

Read on for a press release he provided.

Wm. Hovey Smith

Humorist and International Business Speaker to Have Book Signing at Chapters Books and Appear at Seward’s 4th of July Celebration

Sandersville, GA, June 24. Outdoor humorist and international business speaker Wm. Hovey Smith will sign books at Chapters from 1-2 PM on July 4th and perform in Seward on July 4 at the Band Shell at 3:00 PM. where he will present three comedy sets and discuss how to start million and billion-dollar businesses in small-town America.

The comedy sets will began with “Adventures with Young Blunderbuss” which considers the author’s real adventures with a blunderbuss that he hunted squirrels, geese, swan, black bear, wild hogs, deer and wild turkey with varying degrees of success. “Hunting with the Mighty Duck Foot Pistol” describes conceiving of and completing a successful hunt with a three-barreled smooth bore pistol whose barrels point in different directions. The final set will be “Hunting the World’s Largest Lizard.”  

He will conclude with discussions on starting million or billion-dollar businesses in small-town America, for any who wish to remain prior to the parade at 4:00 PM.   

In April, Smith was in Zhengzhow, China, as an invited guest of the Peoples Government of Henan Province to attend the 3rd World Emerging Industries Summit where he presented to executives of Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies and governmental officials of 30 countries on “Finding the Creatives in your Corporation or Country.” In October he will be in Vienna, Austria, where he will be a member of the World Sustainable Energy Forum which where he will speak on “Salvage Agriculture in Sustainable Cities.”

As a versatile individual with a wide range of life experiences, Smith is the author of 15 books, with subjects ranging from geology, architecture, health issues, guns, crossbows, black-powder firearms, hunting and business. He has also done been the host of prize-winning radio shows, produced more than 425 YouTube videos and does stand-up comedy on outdoor topics. His writings have commonly appeared in newspapers and magazines, and he is a Corresponding Editor for the Gun Digest Annual.

Never content to write about or present about ordinary things in the usual way, Smith is noted for coming up with new methods or presenting time-worn topics and is not afraid of using outrageous approaches of Guerrilla Marketing to present his material, as when he appeared at an international conference in China wearing a cooking smock.

His forthcoming book, Profit, uses his own experiences to explore the concept that, “There is nothing in human experience that cannot be converted into profit by an inventive mind.” A derivation of this book is now available as a soft-cover and E-book under the title of Ideas for New Businesses.”

Limited signed copies of Ideas for New Businesses, as well as his outdoor titles such as Backyard Deer Hunting, Crossbow Hunting, X-Treme Muzzleloading and Practical Bowfishing, will be available from Chapters Books and Gifts in Seward during the book signing, and copies of his books may be ordered from the bookstore after the event.