Friday, September 24, 2010

BOOK SIGNING at Telling Tales

The last part of a book presentation is the most fun: the book signing. This is especially so when one has very interested and generous fans who are excited about the book and the author.

In 2008, I was the luncheon keynote speaker at the University of Akron, Ohio to a gathering of 500 teachers and teachers in training. I delivered a speech and power point presentation: "The Taste of Words," to an enthusiastic post lunch crowd who immediately afterwards lined up to buy my book: "The Pot of Wisdom: Ananse Stories", and to have them signed.

Wow! In my memory it was a stampede for books. Ah, gross exaggeration, of course, but how good it felt to sit down and sign for a long line of book buyers. May it happen to me again and again. When I sign, I like to exchange a few words with the reader. If they ask me to sign the book to a prticular name, I always ask for the spelling of the name. I like to write at least one word in the book, but sometimes I can barely think of anything to write. I guess sometimes just signing your signature is good enough. My favorite word for signing is ENJOY! But I may write Happy Reading or other (hopefully) witty sayings. I think kids especially need a word or two. I have had one signing event with Between Sisters so far, but there are many more planned along the way. If you buy my book, watchout for where I may be. I would love to sign it for you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reviewing Between Sisters

I don't know if I speak for all writers when I say that I have mixed feelings about professional reviews and reviewers. It is part of the trade in books for one's work to come under literary scrutiny and comment. Of course a positive commentary does wonders for the writer's soul and hopefully, greater wonders for her sales. But reviewers are testy, and more likely than not their comments will mix the good with the bad. The first time I read a not so great review of my work was early in the decade. I was sick for the entire weekend. Until then, I thought all reviews had to be good or else say nothing at all. After I recovered, I resolved never to be that impressed by a good review of my work or get so disconsolate over a bad opinion. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder!
Here is a review by Bronwyn, the manager of WordsWorth, a book shop in Waterloo:

I just finished your book over the weekend while I was up at the cottage. I am really impressed. About half way through I was so concerned with Gloria and what sort of trouble she could get into with Bea and their friends that I couldnt put the book down. I think you have written a universal story of teenage angst, temptation and ultimately redemption that happens around the world to so many youngsters. You did a good job of bringing Ghana alive in a way that teens in Canada will still relate to Gloria, but be intrigued about her life in a different country. Great writing too!
I look forward to promoting Between Sisters when it is published - hopefully we can do an event with you!

If you read my book and would like to send me a review, please send it to

Our book event with WordsWorth is scheduled for: NOVEMBER 13 2010

If you read my book and would like to send me a review please do so at

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Telling Tales 2

I would like to think that Gloria held everyone spellbound, because after the applause, there was silence. Then I asked for questions. And still the silence.

My first question was by a ten year old who wanted to know my Ghanaian hometown. I explained the difference between the concept of hometown here in Canada, and over in Ghana. While hometown in Canada means the place you were born, in Ghana it is the place your ancestors are buried, and where one is most likely to be buried. My young friend Kassia had lived in Tamale for three years and kept her hair in braids, Ghanaian style. She wanted to know If I had been to Tamale. "Yes, a long time ago," I said. I remembered how my dad had taken us on this roadtrip years ago when I was about fourteen, all the way up north to Bolgatanga. I remembered how we had crossed the ferry at Yeji, car and all.

I asked her if she had been to Paga to see the crocodiles. She had. I stopped short of asking if she had fed them day-old chicks. Later on, I took a photograph with her and I signed her book, although she may be too young for some of what happens inside Between Sisters.

A gentleman in a black 'saloon' type hat asked me a question about a weed that I had named and described in the book. Laughter everywhere! There were questions about my journey as an author in Canada. There was also a question about university education in Ghana.

Someone asked a question about what else I had written and so I told them about my work, my themes, my publishers, my readers and those few books in translation. The official festival photographer was in the tent and he asked about my bright soccer shirt.

I stood tall at the mention of the Ghana Black Stars. I admitted my shirt was older, a 2008 souvenir of the African Cup of Nations, I believe. My audience applauded the Black Star effort at the recent FIFA World Cup tournament.

Someone asked about highlife music which I had mentioned in my reading. I told them about Ghanaian contemporary and evolving musical forms. One woman, a fellow Guelphite, made a remark about my performance and teaching arts. She asked me if I would demonstrate a dance. My good excuse was the lack of music, otherwise they may have turned my reading into a dance performance. Eish, I wasn't prepared for that.

Someone asked if I would be signing books. "Yes. It's the best part," I said.
Carol-Leigh Wehking was there and so was Ken Setterington, all the way from Toronto. It was lovely to see familiar faces. Maureen took photographs and kept me company. We shared a strange sandwich of grilled hotdogs in hamburgher buns, which the gentleman gave us for free. Such favour, hmm, and it was tasty too.

On the way back to the Meadows for the car, I saw my very first Canadian snake in the wild, and it was dead--run over by many cars on the green.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Between Sisters at Telling Tales Festival

After a scenic trip through farm country, watching the horses and cows enjoy their Sunday pasture, my friend Maureen and I arrived at Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton Ontario. We made our way to the Summer Stage where the great children's author, Paul Yee, was reading, or more accurately telling stories from his books. I own two books by Paul Yee, "The Ghost Train" and the other one, a collection of stories, which title, I forget. I took two phtographs of Paul Yee, and later on, I went up to say hello and connect as Groundwood authors.

In the few minutes it took for my hostess to fetch my bottle of water, I had strapped on my head mic, found my books and instructed Maureen on taking historic photos of my very first reading of "Between Sisters." After my introduction, I thanked my hostess and launched into my ice breaker: a robust "hello, how are you doing"? I repeated it with a big grin to give my audience a chance to smile and reconnect with their voices. I introduced the book and gave them a very brief summary. Then I explained what I was going to do in my reading: twenty minutes of reading and twenty minutes of questions. Then I introduced my brand new reading glasses which I had purchased in honour of the reading. They couldn't help laughing.

The weather was favourable, sunny and breezy. The audience ranged from young children to probably eighty years old. I took my time and read, finding the appropriate tones and expression. Thank goodness for the reading-aloud, and poetry recitation tests that Miss Quao gave us in Morning Star School.

It was quiet as I read. From time to time I looked up to engage my audience's eyes. Some people looked at me, others looked down, others found imaginary spots upon which to train their gaze. All were attentive. More people found their way to the summer stage, probably following the sound of my amplified voice. They filled the benches and stood around the tent. Every now and then, soft laughter rippled through the group. Inside Gloria's mind we were one. In time, I ended the reading and asked for questions.

Stay tuned for the end of this piece.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Telling Tales Festival: Preparing for my first reading

Today I gave great thought to my first reading, scheduled for Sunday, at The Westfield Heritage Village, Rockton Ontario, on Sunday September 19th 2010. I have half an hour to forty minutes tops. Yesterday I had a chat with Yaba Badoe, sis-in-law and author of True Murder, who told me it was going to be a blast. Her tip was to read for no more than 15-20 minutes because people always wanted to ask questions. Then she said, "Choose those passages with punch."
I did some further research on the world wide web, not because I had no idea of what to expect from a reading, (I have the experience of publishing sixteen books, on three continents) but because this is the first time I will be reading from a long piece. I have a firm plan: Break the Ice, Explain my presentation, launch into it with gusto and then ask for questions. After reading this, I'm sure you would like to be there. The address is The Telling Tales Festival, Westfield Heritage Village, 1049 Kirkland Rd, Rockton, Ontario. See you there.
P.S. I went out and bought new reading glasses for the occasion.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Book Blog

Today, I changed my profile picture on my Blogspot blogs (3) for the book cover "Between Sisters." It is my new face, get used to it. The book cover is also my current profile photo on Facebook. Soon I will figure out how to upload it on to Linked in and Twitter. I am learning to rebrand myself for the sake of marketing. Help me spread the word.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The beginning of book blogging

I just decided to start a blog on my writing because my novel "Between Sisters" has just been released in Canada and the USA. It is my nineteenth published work. I have published on three continents, with trade and educational publishers: Europe, North America and Africa. I have published, picture books, a collection of folktales and a novel. I have authored sixteen books, co-authored two books and published my memoir, Witness in Silk in the Canadian Anthology, "My Wedding Dress." My new novel, "Between Sisters is a BIG event for reasons to be discussed later. Stay tuned!