Friday, April 24, 2015

The Final Few Author Biographies

In posts over the past week or so I've profiled almost all of the authors who will be at Chapters for Independent Bookstore Day on Saturday, May 2. In addition to meeting these talented authors, you'll also be able to purchase special merchandise that's only available for one day. This includes a signed Captain Underpants print, a stencil of a poem by Margaret Atwood, and a baby onesie that bears the artwork of Guess How Much I Love You. Also, for one day only, you might win a FREE copy of one of our 100 favorite books. Even the staff won't know which ones, but several of those books will ring up 100% off their cover price when you purchase them. Choose the right book, and it's yours, FREE!

Now, here are the final few authors, the ones signing from 1-2 p.m.

Stephanie Grace Whitson, who has signed at Chapters twice before and who we're excited to welcome back, has a new historical-inspirational book. Daughter of the Regiment is set in Missouri during the American Civil War and, like her other books, features a strong, upstanding female main character and in-depth research. I look forward to hearing about the research that went into this book.

Karen Shoemaker, who lives and writes in Lincoln, will be signing The Meaning of Names, this year's "Omaha Reads" title. The Meaning of Names is set in western Nebraska in 1918 and is about a woman of German descent struggling to raise her family amidst prejudice, a flu epidemic, and other hardships.

Greg Kuzma is a Nebraska poet and scholar, who taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for many years. Now that he's retired, he hosts poetry workshops, writes poetry, and provides feedback to writers' groups.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

More author biographies for Independent Bookstore Day

Yesterday I promised to profile all of the authors who will be signing at Chapters on May 2, so here is a little information on each of the authors who will be here that morning.

Signing from 10 a.m.-11 a.m. (in no particular order):
Sydney Olson, who is a Concordia student from rural Nebraska. Sydney has written a picture book titled Curse of the Fates, which is about facing the psychological and social effects of living with alopecia, effects with which she is personally all-too familiar.

Jeff McArthur, a native Nebraskan, worked in the movie industry for fifteen years before returning to his Nebraska roots to write The Great Heist, the story of a 1930 bank robbery in Lincoln, and the nationwide search that led to the heart of Capone's organization and the return of $2.7 million.

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.

Shawn Farritor, author of novels about Native Americans in Nebraska territory before the Civil War, will make his first visit to Chapters for Independent Bookstore Day. 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.

Authors signing from 11 a.m.-noon on May 2 are:
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!

Les Williams, also of Lincoln, retired from his government job in 2006 and began writing short stories and newspaper columns. His collection of crime-mystery short stories is titled Justice Seekers, and he'll be signing for the first time at Chapters.

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.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day (and a shout out for Wine and Words)

 First, the "Shout Out."

Join us at Junto Winery on Thursday, April 30 at 7 p.m., for our very first Wine and Words event. Pre-register by calling or stopping by Chapters to pay and pick up your book, Wit and Wisdom from Poor Richard's Almanack, which we've chosen as our first book to discuss over wine at Junto for a very specific reason. . . . You'll have to come to the event to find out why! Join us for fellowship, wine, and fun talk about books. Cost is $25 (book and a glass of wine) or $7 (glass of wine). Your contribution includes a donation to the Seward Read to Me Program, which gives books to local children and encourages parents to read aloud with their children. Hope to see you there!

 Now, on to Independent Bookstore Day. . .
Saturday, May 2 is Seward's Prom. Almost as exciting, though, is that it's the first-ever National Independent Bookstore Day! To celebrate, Chapters will be hosting fifteen local authors for signings, as well as promoting merchandise from well-known authors that will be available ONLY on that day. We're also putting together a display of the staff's 100 favorite books of all time, and for one day only, a random selection of those books will be FREE. All you have to do is choose the correct book, and when you try to pay for it, our computer will give you a 100% discount!

While we're glad to have every single one of the authors who will be here, we're especially excited to welcome back Ted Kooser, Stephanie Grace Whitson, and Lydia Kang to sign their new books. Ted and Lydia will be here from noon-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 2, and Stephanie will be here from 1-2 p.m.

Over the next few days, I'll be providing a bit of background on each of the authors who is coming for Independent Bookstore Day, starting with those who will be signing from noon-1 p.m. The complete schedule of authors is available at and at the end of this post.

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 (personally, this is one of my favorites of all of his books).

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.

Tonya Kuper, also a YA writer from Omaha, will make her first visit to Chapters to promote her book, Anomaly, the story of a girl who can bend reality with her thoughts. I love the cover and will let you know how wonderful this book is when I've had a chance to read it. Lydia speaks highly of both Tonya and her book, so I look forward to meeting her.

Lucy Adkins, poet, teacher, blogger, and author of Writing in Community, will be here to encourage any aspiring writers. We've used her book, which she co-wrote with Becky Breed, to form and guide our writers' group. I find it very inspiring, helpful, and comforting. The book--and Lucy--are just what you need if you're ready to take a leap of faith and start writing.

Anita Stohs lives in Kansas City, but she has relatives in the Seward area and visits frequently. Her children's books are mostly craft and activity books for Sunday school and Bible school groups, but her  Hush, Little One is a sweet board book for babies, perfect for a baptism gift or just to read with a special baby.

Stephanie Grace Whitson, of Lincoln, writes thoroughly researched historical fiction with a Christian touch. Her newest book, Daughter of the Regiment, came out in late March and is set on a Missouri plantation 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. Her books make great Mother's Day gifts, too, especially when signed! Stephanie will sign from 1-2 p.m.


Friday, April 3, 2015

Week of the Young Child Celebrations

You may know that in our previous lives, Cheryl and I were both teachers of young children. We still have a soft spot in our hearts for these emerging readers. When I taught kindergarten and first grade, I was awed by the growth the kids demonstrated over just a few months. I still find it amazing how much those little bodies and brains can do, how they absorb and respond to the world and people around them. Reading with children is one of the most important things we can do with young children to give them a good start on their journey of growth and learning.

The Week of the Young Child is an annual event sponsored by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) celebrating early learning, young children, their teachers and families. This year, Chapters Books & Gifts and the Seward County Head Start program are partnering to celebrate Week of the Young Child. On Thursday, April 16, kids ages 3-6 are invited to join us at Chapters at 10:30 a.m. for storytime with Miss Cheryl. She’ll be reading the very fun Pete the Cat books, and special guests at storytime will be the kids from the Head Start program. Everyone else is invited, too. We’ll also be hosting an in-store book fair for Seward County Head Start all day Thursday, April 16. A portion of all purchases in the store that day will benefit Head Start programming. Please shop at Chapters that day and support a program that helps gives area kids a healthy start in life and learning. Stop by anytime during the Week of the Young Child, April 12-18, to see the artwork in our windows provided by the Head Start kids or for information about Head Start programs.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Independent Bookstore Day 2015

May 2, 2015, is the first-ever National Independent Bookstore Day (Think National Record Store Day, only better!). I hope you’ll join Chapters and independent bookstores across the country on that day for parties, author readings, in-store events, and exclusive one-day merchandise.

Chapters will be celebrating Independent Bookstore Day by spotlighting local authors. Ted Kooser, Stephanie Grace Whitson, Karen Shoemaker, and Lydia Kang will be here, as will Lucy Adkins, Sumerlyn Daywitt (writing as Echo Ardour), Sydney Olson, Jeff McArthur, Michael Curd, Shawn Farritor, Toni Morehouse, Les Williams, Brian Hale, and Greg Kuzma. If we’re lucky, Al Capone’s nephew may make an appearance as well.
We’ll also offer some of the exclusive books and art pieces which have been commissioned specifically for Independent Bookstore Day. Items include a signed, original Chris Ware print, a Margaret Atwood stencil, a color broadside from Stephen King’s forthcoming novel Finders Keepers, a signed Captain Underpants print, a “Guess How Much I Love to Read” onesie, and more. The items are all limited editions, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.
Another highlight of the day will be a display of our 100 favorite books of all time, chosen by the Chapters staff. The books in our display will each be 20 % off on Independent Bookstore Day only. I’ve just started compiling the list, and there will be something for everyone on it.
The first National Independent Bookstore Day is sponsored in part by Penguin Random House and The American Booksellers Association.
“The entire purpose of Bookstore Day is to celebrate our collective success and thank our customers and the community of readers,” says IBD Program Director, Samantha Schoech. We at Chapters also want to thank our customers and celebrate readers, and we're excited to be participating in this event.