Library_of_Alexandria_(sepia) Author Wikimedia License CCA-SA 4.0

 Courtesy Wikimedia, license CCA-SA 4.0.

In preparing my marketing library email list platform, I am seeing library website after website, and they are communicating to me. It makes me reflect on two lines in Robert Burns’ poem from 1786 “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” I’ll leave the title alone.

Some libraries present surprises.  They’re delightful to encounter when your work involves repetitive hunting for appropriate email addresses. The Desert Foothills Library in Arizona at http://www.desertfoothillslibrary.org/.  Look for the Get Involved tab on the yellow banner at the top of the page. Click on pale blue line that says Homebound Delivery Volunteer Information.  Read about their Book Buddy Service. What a lovely service, and they screen the volunteers.

The image of the Library at Alexandria that follows is available courtesy Wikimedia Commons and is Authored by Wikimedia and licensed by CCA-SA 4.0. The Library at Alexandria is probably the most famous library in the world. The Library was founded by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. How the Library came to its end is actually uncertain. There is the story that Caesar’s troops accidentally burned it to the ground in 48 BC, but that is unproven. It may have fallen to disuse as the Ptolemy line drew to a close. Odd that the most famous library met its end and no one knows for a certainty how or why. It is my hope that libraries across the USA will continue to flourish for another couple of thousand years and another couple after that and . . .

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1280px-Female_human_head_louseIn preparing my marketing library email list platform, I am seeing library website after website, and they are communicating to me. It makes me reflect on two lines in Robert Burns’ poem from 1786 “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” I’ll leave the title alone.

In any study I look first for the overall design. That way I know how to organize the data found there. Some library websites are a single page; others vary from a few to many pages. I found the Sublette County Libraries website organized well for patron and other use. You can find it at http://sublettecountylibrary.org/index.htm. The initial home page is not remarkable but it launches you to a well-designed site. I suggest you go through the site using the pale yellow banner at the top. Click on the tabs and examine the pages. On the Location and Contact Us tab, there is a unique Little Library. Other tabs have well organized information and images of people using the library. It may be easier to do a photoshoot during off hours, but to invite people to look at your library in the absence of people can broadcast the wrong message. If you scroll to the bottom of the kids page, there are a couple of images that may linger with you for a while/

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1280px-Female_human_head_louse_(4900866320)Gilles San Martin CC by SA 2.0

(Courtesy, Gilles San Martin CC by-SA 2.0, Pediculus humanua capitis)

 

In preparing my marketing library email list platform, I am seeing library website after website, and they are communicating to me. It makes me reflect on two lines in Robert Burns’ poem from 1786 “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” I’ll leave the title alone.

Contact pages or boxes containing contact information communicate a lot. There are two major types of presentation as I see it. This is true of websites in general, not just library websites. There are sites that try to make it as easy as possible to communicate with those who arrive at the website, and there are others who underplay communicate to the point of appearing virtually shy or disinterested when it comes to two-way communication.  The latter is clear when it comes to placing Contact Us buttons in tiny type and in locations where the website viewer would not necessarily look for it. At http://www.durangopubliclibrary.org/ the Durango Public Library in Arizona has a good model for a serious Contact Us page. Click the link, click About, scroll down to click on Contact Us. The contact type size is large enough not to challenge older people and it provides both phone for local access and email addresses for those for whom phone access is not the best choice. No question, it’s welcoming to patrons, potential patrons, and others.

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1280px-Male_human_head_louse

Courtesy Gilles San Martin, CC by SA 2.0, Pediculus humanus capitis

In preparing my marketing library email list platform, I am seeing library website after website and they are communicating to me. It makes me reflect on two lines in Robert Burns’ poem from 1786 “O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!” I’ll leave the title alone.

Interestingly, libraries no doubt initially had website design focused on the physical boundaries where they serve. Likely, website development funding was from the government with the expectation of covering that same geographic area. Reality is, however, that once a website goes live, it’s a global entity, not local or provincial.  If I live in Boston and plan to move to Seattle, one of the issues I’ll examine before I move is the local library options. Who would think that a library website could make a difference in one’s community choice? Yet, it can.

Let’s see how a home page can make a difference. Take a look at the home page for Richmond Public Library in Virginia. You can go from this link http://rvalibrary.org/. The page is filled with people, people engaged in use of the library. It’s inviting. The big picture changes images, showing an even wider view of the opportunities at the library. To move through the big picture quicker, click on the little circle buttons at the bottom of the big picture. The page encourages the viewer to linger on the page to get the flavor of the library. No matter who you are, the images welcome you. The viewer gets the immediate feel that the library is about the patrons, not the building or wealth of information it contains.

Some library home pages will provide a picture of the library building, especially if the building is new and unique. It may look like a page from an architectural magazine. Some will provide a history of the library. If I’m looking for a good community library, I’m not sure that would appeal to me as the welcome I expect. Others will provide activities in boxes or lists to let patrons and others know what’s available or upcoming. Although the information may be interesting to some, and knowing what the library looks like may help people find it, it is not the best choice for drawing people to the library. Other pages may show no images at all but use color and design to draw the viewer to their posted information. Color and design may be appealing, but it makes the website look like a bulletin board rather than a visually literate draw to the patron or potential patron. Neither of those views will communicate a patron-focused library. One of the primary goals of a library website should be to design a patron-focused, people-to-people welcome to draw the viewer to the home page and encourage exploration of other pages, resulting in patron draw to the library.

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freedom

 

I just heard the first 15 minutes of Freedom, 250,000 BC as it will be produced in audio book form. I had to shut my eyes to listen, since I never listened to a book read like that since too far back for me to remember. It was an amazing experience! Below you can see the new cover designed to remain in keeping with the book. This is terribly exciting!

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Freedom as sample authorgraphAre you an e-book reader who wishes you could have e-book signings?  Well, you can now!  What fun!  Go to www.authorgraph.com to find the site where you can request an author to sign an e-book and sign up.  It takes a twitter account to connect.  Once you’re a member, simply search the author’s name and the e-books will pop up.  Request the autograph and an email will tell you when it’s ready.  You can collect these on your digital device or print it out for a collection file.

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Iliad

 

This link, http://kottke.org/17/02/map-showing-the-homeland-of-every-character-in-homers-iliad, takes you to a map showing the home of each character in the Iliad.  I can remember teaching the Iliad and Odyssey way back in the 1960s.  It wasn’t part of the curriculum, but I added it so students got some real literature.  These stories captured their imaginations as nothing else did.  How delightful it would have been to have this map back then!

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Mammoth-Gomphothere

Mammoth (left) Gomphothere (right)

Facts can be so simple. 250,000 years ago a mammoth died in Mexico.  While the bones were still green, someone carved a gomphothere into the pelvis bone of the mammoth.  A gomphothere is a four-tusked extinct elephant.  Another carving in the bone illustrated a speared cat.  It was all very exciting.  The Smithsonian featured it and LIFE Magazine did an article on the find with the expectation that the carving dated to 30,000 BC.

From the same site in the late 1800s a skull was found that had attributes of brow ridges.  A German carried the skull to Leipzig where it was featured in a museum until it was lost in World War II bombing.  The skull did contain diatoms from having been submerged for some time.  The diatoms were classified as antediluvian.  Sam VanLandingham dated a reference scraping of the diatoms and dated the diatoms at 80,000 to 220,000 years ago.  Diatoms found at the Valsequillo site are consistent with those of the scraping.

The mammoth bone was tested sometime after the LIFE Magazine article and Smithsonian feature.  The carved mammoth bone dated to 250,000 BC.  Suddenly the find was viewed as a hoax, because of the belief that people weren’t supposed to be in the Americas in 250,000 BC.  The people who were studying the site were accused of fraud, though fraud was unproven.

In a different scientific field, Albert Einstein stated the solution simplistically:  “If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the theory.”  Unfortunately, this scientific principle was ignored regarding Valsequillo.  Even today people choose to believe that no people were in the Americas in 250,000 BC.  Imagine how exciting it would be to be free to follow the facts.  Imagine the finds there might be if the theory changed and people could search for the potential of people throughout the Americas as far back as 250,000 years ago or longer.  To follow the facts without fear of ridicule or accusation of fraud.  To me that’s what science is.

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The second book in the Pre-Clovis Archaeological Sites in the Americas Series, Toca do Boqueirão da Pedra Furada, Parque Nacional Serra da Capivara in Brazil, is associated with phenomenal cave art. It depicts a vital community living in the middle of nowhere. I was entranced when I saw the first images of the cave art. I wondered why the people were there, what possessed them to create the cave art, why they painted what they did, why they chose the variety of media, what the tree ritual might be about, and so on. This is the place where the writer of fiction has a license that scientists are not supposed to have, the opportunity to answer the questions in a logical but creative fashion. Frankly, the cave art is the inspiration for the story. The images speak to me. I love their connectivity among the people and with the wildlife. There is a touch of joy to me exhibited in the cave art.

I intend to share with you images that I took from my research and from the cave art to weave this story. The reason for sharing is that when these images are printed they’ll be in black and white. You can see the full color images here. The other element in story development is in the Exordium in each of the novellas. It adds another level of transparency into the author process.

First, here are images of the elements intended for the cover. These will be transmitted to the publisher’s design team, and they’ll pull the images together into a whole. First, is the young girl, Maru. The image is from Pedro França/MinC (CCA 2.0). The second image is the crocodile. The image is from Tomás Castelazo, (CCA-SA 2.5). The background is the mimosa tree image, available in the public domain.

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This is the geographic location of the Serra da Capivara National Park in Brazil.

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My illustration.

The amazing picture here is Pedra Furada.

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Pedra Furada, Serra da Capivara National Park (Artur Warchavchik CCA-SA 3.0)

This gives an impression of the land forms, sandstone from the bottom of a warm sea long, long ago.

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The image is courtesy of Diego Rego Monteiro (CCA-SA 3.0)

This image is a distant shot of the cave art at Toca da Boqueirão.

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Courtesy Diego Rego Monteiro, (CCA-SA 4.0)

Here is a close up of the same image.  I had to magnify this shot 400 times normal to learn the secrets of the paint application and in some cases what the artist did.  Today’s technology is phenomenal!

9-15-8This image is courtesy Artur Warchavchik (CCA-SA 3.0)

This image is fun!  Must have been quite a dash!

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Serra da Capivara National Park Cave Art (B4unorocha CCA-SA 3.0)

Here are some random images.  I wanted to show a rhea, the large bird that is a bit like an ostrich.

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Courtesy Artur Warchavchik (CCS-SA 3.0)

This image shows what people today call the tree ritual.

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It is shown courtesy Vitor 1234 (CCA-SA 3.0)

Here’s another active scene.  The great white gash is where some of the cave wall fell off.

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Courtesy Augusto Pessos (CCA-SA 3.0)

This image totally fascinates me.  There is a giant cat overshadowing the whole image.  It’s comparatively huge.  I did not address this but find the artwork arresting.

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Courtesy Diego Rego Monteiro (CCA-SA 3.0)

Finally, a little romance, though there is no romance in the novella.

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Courtesy Willame carvalho e silva (CCA-SA 3.0)

Now, if you read the book you’ll know the bases for what threads were woven into the story from what the ancients left behind.

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8-17-2I hear authors talk a lot. Most want to communicate something to some group of readers. Some want fame, fortune, esteem, or any of a number of accoutrements that accrue to the few. There are awards, reviews, book signings, great sales, speaking events, and teaching options. What is it that writers would answer to the question, “What would you prefer to see above all return for your writing?”

I’ve thought about that. I’ve been among the fortunate. I’ve had numbers of awards, a few reviews to die for, plenty of book signings, and speaking events. Sales don’t hit the great category, but my genre isn’t something that the general population craves like they do mystery, thriller, and romance novels.

And then I get blindsided. When The SealEaters, 20,000 BC award comments from Grace Cavalieri were read, I heard the line, “America’s preeminent writer of prehistoric history,” and I didn’t hear anything but a great thought in my mind, “What? Surely, I didn’t hear what I thought I heard.” When the review from Midwest Book Review gave my novel series such an awesome, glowing review, I was speechless. Those things carried great meaning to me.

Little did I know that there would be something to top those comments. Something that came out of the blue following a post I wrote letting people know that I’d reached the proofing stage of the novella, Freedom, 250,000 BC: Out From the Shadow of Popocatépetl. Just a routine post. Then a response came that tore my heart out, laid it on the table before me so I could see it falter at the words. I fought to hold back tears. They came anyway. Here’s the comment:

Bonnye Matthewes . what you write is amazing and beautiful, it is the ability of men with a life on our continent unsuspected by millions of people thank you for enriching our human history . I look forward to buy your book when on sale . i can writte a litte english!

—Jonathan Melendez, Valued Reader from Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico

That is the whole purpose of writing to me. A writer communicates something to a reader through the written word. It’s such a simple thing. Yet, when confronted with such beautiful communication, I was humbled utterly. “Writte a litte English!” Jonathan Melendez communicated volumes to me in English. I understood in crystal clarity.

Writers are so very responsible for our communication. We do communicate to others. We can affect others in positives or negatives. I had thought that I communicated a story as I write. I also wanted people to realize the wonderful prehistory we have under our feet, but I felt that beyond me. To have it come back so eloquently and concisely touched me at the very pit of my soul. It affected my spirit. It deepened my commitment to realizing with each story I write, I want my words to reach people for the positives. It’s always a stretch. But that will no longer be a hope but will attain goal status before I approve the final for my books. I’ll send the proofed copy of Freedom, 250,000 BC back to the publisher either tonight or tomorrow. I feel it meets the goal I’ve set.

To answer my own question as to what I’d want to see most from my writing, I’d have to say that Jonathan Melendez’s words are the answer. An honest comment from a reader that shows that not only did my writing communicate at the superficial level but also at a deeper lever coupled with the positives. That’s what I most want. It’s not very entrepreneurial, but it’s true. Jonathan Melendez’s words will appear on the back of Freedom, 250,000 BC: Out From the Shadow of Popocatépetl along with the words from Cavalieri and Midwest Book Review. His words complete the awards comments, book review, and reader comment on my writing that I hoped to place on the back cover to help the reader decide whether to consider the book to read.

His words and permission to use the quote arrived less than 24 hours before the final proof goes to the publisher. What timing!

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