Archive for May, 2014

The Return of a Classic Graphic Novel: Jack Katz, “The First Kingdom”

Friday, May 30th, 2014

Guest Author: Jack Katz

jack_katz_2014 By the time I finished high school at the end of WWII, I realized the only way to learn how to draw and to make some kind of money as an artist was the comic book industry. I got jobs immediately but I was very slow, I would emphasize real anatomy and this kept me from becoming more successful, faster.

What had sustained the industry however was the war and by the time it was over in 1945, they were actually publishing mostly for the servicemen. From then on it was a fight for the publishers to survive.

Five years after that, the comic book crisis hit. It came when a psychiatrist claimed comics were making children violent or destructive. I went from company to company, job to job. I was working on and off at Timely, which was later renamed Marvel. But it was a desperate situation with a wife and two children. They all knew I was good but the publishers would only pay ten dollars a page. I was fortunate to have begun doing oils again and was teaching painting. This kept me going.

I didn’t return to comic book publishing until 1969 when the ‘underground’the first kingdom comics appeared. The First Kingdom had been on my mind for years, I had to bring it to life. So I started to put it together, going through innumerable notes. I had seen a lot and I had done an enormous amount of reading, hundreds of thousands of pages and this was all instrumental in creating The First Kingdom.

My wife at the time also had a job, so I actually was one of the first house-husbands, working on the comics and still doing the painting and teaching. I worked very hard and the first books came out in 1974…I was ahead of all the other graphic novelists. There were 24 volumes in the end when the last book of the Kingdom came out in 1986, 24 books like the Iliad.

TITAN’s “The First Kingdom Volume 2, Galaxy Hunters” begins with the original Book Seven and covers the six books that end the first half of the series. The actual story though starts in Book 20, everything else is a prelude. “The Galaxy Hunters” gives a more comprehensive understanding of the characters, the cyborgs and the people as they advanced into different galaxies. At this point in the story, everything changes. Tundran has been born and exiled just as his father, the king, Darkenmoor has been killed as was predicted by the oracle who had actually been an officer aboard a starship. The starship had been caught in the Atomic War and it was like a Rashomon story, everybody on that ship has a book almost devoted to them.

I have a passion for art, for anatomy. My love for the great artists and illustrators, Dean Cornwell, JC Leyendecker, Fernand Cormon in Europe, continues to this day for these giants. I wanted to earn my way at the price of everything else. With the Kingdom, I wanted to honor these great artists.

About Author:

Born in Brooklyn in 1927, Jack Katz is a painter, teacher and author of one of the first, classic examples of the independently produced graphic novel. He is the writer and artist of the “The First Kingdom“, an original set of 24 comic books begun in 1974 that tells the story of a post-apocalyptic earth and its survivors who try to find new planets and rebuilt what had once been. The series is a monumental work that recalls the “Odyssey and the Iliad” in is scope and took twelve years to finish in 1986. Since then, Jack has been working on two graphic novels that make up a sequel to the ‘Kingdom’, “The Space Explorers Club” and “Destiny“. The original 24 issues are being republished in 4 volumes with new captions from new plates by TITAN publishers in the UK. When completed at the end of 2014, TITAN will publish as well Jack’s two sequels which have never in print before. Jack continues to work on graphic material and to teach anatomy classes to this day; his last birthday was his 86th.

Fallen Women

Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Guest Author: Sandra Dallas

SDallas202R1Fifty years ago, when I was first married, I lived in Breckenridge, an old mining town on the verge of becoming a Colorado ski area. Our next door neighbor had been a prostitute, working at the Blue Goose, a Breckenridge brothel, in the 1920s or 1930s. She was a wiry, white-haired lady who wore blue jeans and a jeans jacket and liked to go fishing at dawn. She’d leave fresh fish on our door step for breakfast. And when there was a fire in town late one night, she pounded on our door to make sure we were awake, in case the fire spread.

She lived with her sister, and she was part of the town fabric. 

      In those days, old boys dominated western history writing, and they wrote about the naughty prostitutes who dressed in satins, drank champagne, and lived a high life. I knew different.  Prostitutes were ordinary women who had adapted their profession for a variety of reasons. I suspected our neighbor had “turned out” because she had been fast in her youth. But after researching the subject for nonfiction books I wrote on the West, I knew many women became prostitutes because of poverty, lack of opportunity, incest or rape. While there were indeed stylish women who operated out of elegant brothels, others lived sordid lives in vermin-ridden cribs. They were drug- and afallen 1lcohol-addicted, diseased, and miserable, and their careers lasted barely seven years. And there were those in between, middle class women like my neighbor. In Butte, the widows of miners sometimes worked in cribs in the daytime, when their children were in school.

      The subject of western prostitution has fascinated me ever since I lived in Breckenridge, and so it was only natural, I suppose, that when I decided to write a mystery, I chose to write about soiled doves, as they were called.

      My readers, however, aren’t really into explicit sex, so Fallen Women is no Fifty Shades of Gray.” In fact, Fallen Women may be the only novel about prostitution that doesn’t have a single sex scene. That makes it about two shades of gray. 

      Instead, Fallen Women is a book about a relationship between sisters. Prostitution is the backdrop (in the same way that quilting is the background of many of my other novels).

      In Fallen Women, the two sisters, Beret, a wealthy New York matron who runs a home for abused women and girls, and the much younger and wilder Lillie are estranged. When Beret discovers her sister has been murdered in a brothel in Denver, she is filled with guilt.  She determines to go west not only to identify the killer but to find out why Lillie chose the life she did. It is a story of good and evil and hate, but of love, too. Mostly, it is a story of women.

About Author:

Award-winning author, Sandra Dallas began her writing career as a reporter with Business Week. While a reporter, she began writing the first of ten nonfiction books.  They include , which won the National Cowboy Hall of Fame Western Heritage Wrangler Award, and The Quilt That Walked to Golden, recipient of the Independent Publishers Assn. Benjamin Franklin Award. Turning to fiction in 1990, Sandra has published twelve novels, including her latest, True Sisters and The Quilt Walk (a children’s book).

She was dubbed “a quintessential American voice” by Jane Smiley, in Vogue Magazine.  Sandra’s novels with their themes of loyalty, friendship, and human dignity have been translated into a dozen foreign languages and have been optioned for films. Both Prayers for Sale and True Sisters have been on the New York Times best-seller list. Sandra lives in Denver with her husband, Bob, and two daughters, Dana and Povy.

Beyond The Lines

Monday, May 26th, 2014

Guest Author: Richard Gerver

DSC_3057Do you remember when you were a kid? When the world around you looked huge; adults were giants and the future was; well just not immediate enough to think about? Can you remember the joy of grabbing a crayon, sticking your tongue out and drawing, colouring, creating; people, trees, your house, car and dog? It was at that time precisely that our world would have changed. Here’s a question, who was the first person who told you that you had to colour in between the lines? Do you recall that moment; your latest masterpiece, presented for public scrutiny for the first time and you are asked what it is; or that next time, that you should try colouring inside those lines.

When I started to explore the concept of change for my book and in particular, why we find change so increasingly hard to deal with the older we get, I started to see the narrative. You see, having spent most of my adult life as an elementary school teacher and principal; I began to realise that we are not born adverse to change, in fact the opposite is true; we are born to love it. If you think about it, when we are exposed to the light and air beyond the comfort of the womb, we know nothing; there are no routines to cling to, to reassure us. We don’t know anyone or anything; every moment is new and uncertain; every sound, smell, touch and sight. Yet we thrive; learning more in those first few years of life than in the rest of the time we are here. As young children we are constantly seeking the stimulus of the new.

As we get older we tend to lock down our lives; we try and live within our own routines, systems and structures… What happens? Where does the “magic” go?

When we initially suggest to a child that they colour in between the lines, we are first teaching them that life should be about outcomes not the process or the journey. They gradually start to believe that what they should know and how they should behave will be managed; in some ways, it is the first time we learn about targets!

Much of what I believe in and what I write about, is based on exploring thechange narrative of our lives, particularly our childhoods; I try to help people to understand where the joy went and to work on concepts and ideas that folk can apply in order to rediscover that natural love of change and of all things new and uncertain.

As adults we need to be cognisant of our routines and break them occasionally; meet new people, try new food or to read a book that on the surface, “isn’t my kind of thing.”

What I’ve learnt most over the last few years, since leaving teaching, is that we have more to learn from young kids than ever we have to teach them.

CHANGE is a very personal book for me; I wanted to touch people emotionally and stimulate their thinking. Having read it, what I hope is that readers get their backpack on and go explore what is new and challenging. I hope that you get the chance to read it, but in the meantime…

Go on, grab some paper, draw the outline of a box in thick pen; use a ruler, make it as exact and as perfect as you can and then; grab some crayons, let your tongue feel the breeze and scribble right over those lines! You see? Change really can be child’s play!

About Author:

Richard Gerver is one of the world’s foremost thinkers on education, leadership and change. In 2005, he was judged the best head teacher in the UK, after turning a failing school into a global innovation success story. Since then, he has become one of the world’s most celebrated speakers and a best-selling author, helping governments around the world to shape education policy and major organisations to make the most of their talent. His unique formula is a blend of simple ingredients – communicate with impact and empower those in your charge – but the underlying techniques he has developed are powerful enough to make learners of all ages feel inspired. His is the ultimate insight into mastering change and leading innovation.

Guest Post-Ann Purser: My Writing Journey

Thursday, May 22nd, 2014

Guest Author : Ann Purser

Morris0128I have been in the writing trade for years, and when I began, I never thought I would still be writing crime novels at the same time as having brought up three offspring – two lovely girls and one handsome boy – and two donkeys, numerous kinds of fowl, countless cats, rabbits and guinea pigs, not forgetting a budgerigar named Boggis.

My writing career began with researching families with a disabled child, based on personal experience, and the Spastics Society published a series of leaflets. With all the research at hand, I wrote a book for parents – You and Your Handicapped Child. An article in SHE Magazine about being the parent of a disabled child. Harriet, my first, had been born prematurely with cerebral palsy. The next two were tied in with string!

That first piece for SHE caught the eye of the editor and I was offered a column, chiefly about show biz personalities. My husband was a television critic, and had all the right contacts! I loved that monthly column, being somewhat star struck myself. Almost every actor, singer, dancer – performer – was charming and interesting. What could be nicer? After six years the glamour had worn off a bit, and I decided to write a novel about village life, followed by crime novels. The rest, twenty or so books later, is scandal at sixhistory.

I have worked in a village school, took a six year Arts degree course with the Open University, alongside working in the village school, position dogs body, studying for a six year Open University arts degree, owning an art gallery in a converted barn for ten years, and have now settled down to writing crime novels with my friends, Lois Meade and Ivy Beasley.

My latest book in the crime novel series, Scandal at Six set in small village in the middle of England. Lois Meade runs a house cleaning business, with a team of five, and Lois`s ferretin – her husband Derek`s name for her sleuthing activities – brings her in close association with Detective Chief Inspector Cowgill. He has been her devoted admirer for some years.Creepy crawlies are not Lois`s favourite thing, but when she uncovers an illegal trafficking in rare species of animals, small and large, she sets out to expose the wicked character involved.

This novel has taken some fascinating research, discovering tiny creatures such as elephant shrews and killer bees (murderous, even!) and for animal lovers everywhere this will be a fascinating read.

About Author:

Born in Market Harborough, Leicestershire, UK, Ann Purser is an author of numerous fiction and non-fiction books. Her father was a bank clerk, her mother a teacher of infants. As a result, she was educated from the word go! State educated, Ann did well academically, including an arts BA degree with the Open University. The author did a number of jobs, mostly secretarial, including Inland Revenue, Sectional Building Company on a farm, advertising agency in London, etc. She lives with her writer husband, three children, five grandchildren, chickens and dog in the middle England. View all her books here.

The Mystery of Novel Writing

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

Guest Author: Keith McCafferty

keith 1This afternoon, while sitting on a folding chair on a footbridge along the Drinking Horse Mountain Trail, I wrote “The End” to my fourth novel in the Sean Stranahan detective series.  I’ve not yet settled on a title, though the setting is Montana’s Crazy Mountains and it’s hard to pass up using the word.  Lost in the Crazies, Deep In The Crazies, A Killing In The Crazies, any — the most apt would be the first, for I certainly was lost for a long time writing it. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating, that writing a novel is like setting sail for a distant land. You can see as far as the horizon, and that will get you a few chapters in, and at a certain point you’ll smell land or a shorebird will perch on your mast, and you’ll be able to see the end and work toward it with a sense of excitement — say over the novel’s last four chapters. It’s those 250 or so pages in between when you’re lost at sea, sharks circling, and no stars to take a bearing, that separate those who wish to write novels from those who actually do.  

Sometimes I think a novelist’s greatest gift is not the poetry of language or the facility of narrative, but the stubbornness that keeps him or her at helm. That, and the faith that there’s land on the other side.

The hope is that it gets easier as you gain experience, but I haven’t found that to be the case. I recently had the privilege to share a stage at the Poisoned Pen Bookstore in Phoenix with Nevada Barr, who has been a big promoter of my work and is one of my favorite authors. I asked Nevada, who just published her 18th book in the Anna Pigeon series, “Destroyer Angel,” if it ever got easier, and she said, “Honey, don’t you wish?”  She’s a hoot, that Nevada. If you’d like to see a podcast of our event, I’m the one in the reindeer socks. Go to http://new.livestream.com/poisonedpen/nevadabarr-keithmccafferty.

Now I do think you can get better over time, and that is its own problem, because to get better you have to shoot higher. In this way, your critical eye improves at least apace of your ability, insuring that your goal will always be beyond your grasp. As a novelist, you are constantly failing up.

This begs a question often asked of writers. “What is your bestIMG_4391 book?” Or as some say, “What is your favorite” or “Which was most fun to write?” The standard answer to all of them is the “The one I’m working on now.” I used to think it was a cop out, but that was before I’d written novels. The truth is you say the last book because the ones that came before it are fading memories. The publishing process tends to kill them, or rather kill your ability to take any further joy in them. That’s because it takes so long and the book keeps coming back to haunt you. Now writing isn’t exactly fun at the best of times and I am suspicious, or maybe envious, of those authors who smile secretly as they compose their stories. But it is engaging, interesting and satisfying — that is, during the original composition, during the first rewrite, and even during the second rewrite when you incorporate your editor’s suggestions. But that’s only the beginning, because you have copy editing on a track changes version, you have first pass pages, then second pass pages, you settle on a title, you consult with the art designer on the cover (in my case, I tie the trout flies for the artist to refer to as he designs the jackets), you rewrite the inside flap copy, you send in author photos, you write study questions for the soft cover version — you get my message. By the time the book comes to the door as an advance reader’s copy a couple months before the pub date, you really don’t want to open the package. To say your current work is your best is perhaps only to say that it is the one you haven’t yet got sick of.

But that doesn’t fairly answer these questions, and they are worthy of thoughtful answers. My most fun book was the first, “The Royal Wulff Murders.” That’s because I wanted to create a cast of colorful characters I’d enjoy hanging around with, and bringing them to life was my secret thrill, as well as an escape from my day job as the Survival and Outdoor Skills editor of Field & Stream. Also because there was no pressure. My favorite book is the second, “The Gray Ghost Murders,” for several reasons, not the least of which because writing it was so memorable.  That summer I undertook the rearing of four baby blackbirds and wrote in my backyard under a sun umbrella, having to hop up every fifteen minutes to feed open mouths.  Later, after the birds had become the terror of the neighborhood, they would perch on my hat as I wrote, and when they flew south that fall, I had finished the book. That novel also came closest to fulfilling the vision I had before setting pen to paper. That Oprah’s Book Club chose it as “One of 5 New Mysteries We Can’t Put Down” was the icing on the cake. In my naivety, I thought maybe I’d turned a corner with that book and I’d have the same sure hand with the next one. That didn’t happen.  “Dead Man’s Fancy” was far more complex and difficult to write. I wasn’t even certain who was who for the longest time. Nonetheless, I think it is my best book, and so have many readers and critics. 

As for the novel I just completed, it is the most ambitious to date, but beyond that, I really don’t know. An author is not always the best judge of his work. It’s a mysterious calling, this fiction writing, a risky endeavor with no sure outcome. The only thing I can tell you for a fact is that the sea is wide, and you’re going to want to jump. Good things come to those who don’t.

 Author Bio:

Keith McCafferty is the Outdoor Skills and Survival Editor of Field & Stream, a recipient of the Traver Award for angling literature, and has twice been a finalist for a National Magazine Award. His first novel, “The Royal Wulff Murders,” was a Book of the Month Club and Mystery Guild selection and received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. Keith was one of three finalists for the High Plains Award For the Novel, along with Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Ford and National Book Award recipient Louise Erdrich. Keith’s second novel, “The Gray Ghost Murders,” was selected by the Oprah Winfrey Book Club as one of the “5 Addictive New Mysteries We Can’t Put Down.” His third book in the series featuring Montana artist/fishing guide/private detective Sean Stranahan, is “Dead Man’s Fancy,” released in hardcover by Viking/Penguin Books in January 2014. It also received a red star review from Publisher’s Weekly. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

Keith McCafferty’s Books:

the gray ghost murders the royal wolf murders ff

Top 10 Teen and Young Adult Book Series

Friday, May 16th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

Suffused with love triangles, adventure anger, tragedy, anguish, blood and strong male and female protagonists, this wonderful collection of teen and young adult book series selected by our editorial team will not only appeal to teenagers or young adults but also to those whose ages have already crossed the teen level. For everyone who wishes to jump upon the excited world of teen and YA fantasy, these amazing and adventurous series are worth reading.

Harry Potter Series

harry potter

Named after titular character, Harry Potter, this series of seven fantasy novels, including Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K Rowling have been made into movies by Warner Bros Pictures. Translated into 67 languages, the series chronicles the tale of young wizard, Harry Potter and his expedition through Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Suffused with the elements of suspense, thriller, adventure and mystery, the book has received a host of awards since publication.

Divergent Series

divergent seriesSet in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, this #1New York Times bestseller trilogy by Veronica Roth exposes the secrets of a dystopian world. The author spun a gripping tale of a world, where children are divided into five factions according to their abilities such as Erudite, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity and Candor. Beatrice Prior, the main protagonist and a strong-willed sixteen-year-old girl of the novel, doesn’t fit in the criteria. This fast-paced young adult series encompasses Insurgent, Divergent and Allegiant

Twilight Series

twilight series

American author Stephenie Meyer wrote this wonderful series of four vampire-themed fantasy romance novels. It tells the unusual love story of Isabella Swan, a teenage girl and a 104-year-old vampire named Edward Cullen. The books in order are – Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn.

The Hunger Games Trilogy

The Hunger Games Trilogy

Written by Suzanne Collins all the three titles of this trilogy has been a NY Times bestsellers. This adventurous science fiction series consists of The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, and Mockingjay.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

Percy Jackson and Olympians series

Rick Riordan authored this pentalogy of adventure and sci-fi books. Sold 20m copies in more than 35 countries; this series has been on ”The New York Times” Best Seller list for more than 55 months. Riordan’s YA fantasy series has been released along with four supplementary books and a graphic novel.  The books in order are- The Lightning Thief, The Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, and The Last Olympian.

The Giver series

The Giver Series

Written by Lois Lowry, this is a tale of 12-year old boy named Jonas who receives a life assignment. The boy chose the special way that leads him to a strange unknown man- the man called only the Giver. He knows the truth and memories of the past and tells him the dark secrets that lie beneath the flimsy perfection of his world. Set in the same future era, this series contains three other books named- The novel forms Gathering Blue (2000), Messenger (2004), and Son (2012).

The Mortal Instruments Series

The Mortal Instruments Series

The author Cassandra Clare has written this series of six young adult science fiction and fantasy novels. The series consists of City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, City of Lost Souls and  City of Heavenly Fire. The last novel in the series has not been published yet.

Vampire Academy Series

Vampire Academy series

A series of six YA paranormal romance books by Richelle Mead, Vampire Academy is a story of teen Dhampir girl, Rose Hathaway, who is training to be a bodyguard for her Moroi bestfriend, Vasilisa “Lissa” Dragomir. The books Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound and Last Sacrifice. The first book in the series, Vampire Academy, was being made into a motion picture.

The Maze Runner Trilogy

The maze runner series

Written by James Dashner, this trilogy- The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure, revolves around a teen named Thomas who combats to survive in a post-apocalyptic world. The first book in this YA dystopian sci-fi trilogy has been made into movie in 2014 by Fox.

Delirium Series

Delrium seriesThis wonderful YA Dystopian trilogy,  written by Lauren Oliver, chronicles the story of Lena and Alex, two teens who fall in love with each other in a society where love is considered as a disease. Published in January 2011, this dystopian YA series consists of Delirium, Pandemonium and Requiem.

 

Not Your Granddad’s Western!

Monday, May 12th, 2014

Guest Author: Sherry Monahan

Sherry_CAWineBookMrs. Earp: Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers is a western. It may not be the kind of western you think of and I’m no Louis L’Amour. However, my book is about women who lived in the west with their lawmen and saloon owner husbands!

They were Victorian women who wore nice dresses, sewed, cooked, and cleaned—okay, some did other things, too. Soiled dove is the nicest euphemism I can think of for the wives who earned a living the old-fashioned way. I use the word “wives,” but not all had legal proof of marriage. In their minds, they were Mrs. Earp. They followed their husbands around as the Earps followed the mining and gambling circuits. Some of the women showed up in one townpic only to be gone when the next census was taken.   

This book is the only one that includes all the women who called themselves Mrs. Earp. Sure, Josephine, along with Mattie and Louisa get some attention in the movie Tombstone, but you never know their whole story. In my book, you’ll learn where they were born, who their families were, their birthdays, and so much more. Some were prostitutes, but not all were. The Earp brothers in this book—five in total, had eleven wives collectively!

In Mrs. Earp, you’ll read all of Louis Earp’s letter—published for the first time. There’s also a never-before-seen photo of her—both compliments of her great nephew, Lyman. After reading all her letters I could feel her pain, yet her attitude was always so sweet and selfless. You’ll also get to know Allie, who was a feisty, little Irish lass who spoke her mind and pulled a hip flask for a snort. They’re just two of the Mrs. Earps you’ll get to know.

I didn’t set out to write Mrs. Earp until after I attended a Western Writers of America convention. I sat it on a panel of how to write popular non-fiction. I listened to NY Times best-selling authors Hampton Sides and Chris Enss and James Donovan talking about how they chose their subjects. It was Hampton Sides who fired up my little grey cells. He said, “Pick a famous historical character and tell their story from a new angle.” As I sat there, my mind racing through ideas, the rest of the panel conversation faded into the backdrop. I thought about all the books I’d written and kept coming back to Tombstone. I knew so much about the town, but what about its most famous resident, Wyatt Earp? Nope, didn’t want to do that story again—but wait, what about his wives? What about all the Earp wives? No one had done that story before, and I never looked back. I put my writing and professional genealogy skills to work and dug in and as the French say, “Voila!”    

About Author:

Sherry Monahan is the author of several books on the Victorian West, including Mrs. Earp: The Wives & Lovers of the Earp Brothers, California Vines, Wines & Pioneers, Taste of Tombstone, Pikes Peak, The Wicked West: Boozers, Cruisers, Gamblers, and More, and Tombstone’s Treasure: Silver Mines & Golden SaloonsShe has her own column called Frontier Fare, in and is a contributing editor for True West magazine. In addition to her writing, Sherry works as marketing consultant and professional genealogist.

Sherry has appeared on the History Channel in many shows, including Cowboys and Outlaws: Wyatt Earp, Lost Worlds: Sin City of the West (Deadwood), Investigating History and two of the Wild West Tech shows. She received a Wrangler in the Western Heritage Awards for her performance in the Cowboys and Outlaws show in 2010.

Sherry is the incoming president of Western Writers of America and holds memberships in the following organizations: Women Writing the West, the Author’s Guild, Wild West History Association, Association of Professional Genealogists, The James Beard Foundation, and Westerners International. She is also a charter member of the National Women’s History Museum.

12 Books to Give Mom This Year

Friday, May 9th, 2014

Author: Sherry Helms

It’s again the special time to shower all your love and care to your mom. This mother’s day gift her a beautiful present, which is permanent and worthy, like herself. Generally, mothers don’t wish for gifts but can empty all her coffer to fulfill the wish of her children. This time surprise her as nothing can be more endearing to her than a sweet memorable gift from her daughter or son. If you are still racking your brain thinking of what to gift your mom, bring a smile on her face by gifting a book that she’ll really treasure.

We have compiled here a list of books from cookery, memoirs, romance, and health to business books. You can gift one of these books or wrap up the entire collection for your mom, grandma or wife.

Cookbook

The Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New GenerationThe Heart of the Plate Vegetarian Recipes for A New Generation: If your mom loves cooking, you can give her Mollie Katzen’s, The Heart of the Plate. In this book, the author has revealed a selection of simple, healthy and mouthwatering dishes. Vibrantly illustrated with neat and clear photographs, the book contains the recipes of all savory dishes that can help mom experiment with new ways to make food.

The Kinfolk Table: Recipes for Small Gatherings, The Kinfolk Tableby Nathan  Williams: If your mom is a fan of minimalist aesthetic, The Knifolk Table by Nathan Williams is a perfect gift for her. From the creators of the magazine, this gorgeous coffee-table-style book comprises simple and creative traditional recipes along with beautiful pictures.

Fiction

Still LIfe with Bread CrumbsStill LIfe with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Your mom will love to read #1 New York Times bestselling author Anna Quindlen’s, “Still life with bread crumbs”. This book shows the inner life of a woman photographer, Rebecca Winter, whose best work made her an unlikely heroine for many women, finding her way after her husband betrays her.  

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer: Your mom will love to read thisThe Interestings skillfully written novel, admired by fans and critics. Wide in scope and filled with extremely captivating characters, this book by Meg Wolitzer tells the story of six friends who come together and apart in a changing New York City. The Interestings investigates the nature of envy; meaning of talent; the roles of class, art, money, and power; and how all of it can shift and slope suddenly over the course of a friendship and a life.

History

ZealotZealot The Life And Times of Jesus Of Nazareth by Reza Aslan:

Allow your mother to immerse herself in this charming, provocative, and carefully researched biography of Jesus of Nazareth and the birth of a religion. From the internationally bestselling author of No god but God, this amazingly written book gives a fresh perspective on one of the greatest stories ever told. Also the book sheds light on the sweeping and transformative nature of Jesus of Nazareth’s life and mission.

Health book

How Not to Look Old Fast and Effortless Ways to Look 10How Not to Look Old Fast Years Younger, 10 Pounds Lighter, 10 Times Better by Charla Krupp

Give a gift of good health to your mom! This fantastic book by Krupp, the former beauty director for Glamour and the style expert for Today Show provides the secrets for looking stylish and fabulous. Filled with eye-opening details on hair color, brows, lipstick, etc, this is a perfect treat for all women of a certain age; who cannot spend much money on her looks to high maintenance or women who believe in looking fabulous at any price.

Romance book

The Movement of Stars by Amy BrillThe Movement of Stars by Amy Brill:

Give your mom an escape into the love story of the first professional female astronomer in America, Hannah Gardner and a strange man who understands and tries to fulfill her dreams. Set in 1845 Nantucket Beautifully written and hugely impressive, this Debut novel by Amy Brill contains themes of love, science, motherhood and women’s history.

Business book

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg:

If your mom works in a company, she must aware about the gender Lean In by Sheryl Sandberginequality in the workplace. From the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl comes a book explaining the gender parity faced by women in workplace. She provides practical advice on negotiation techniques to fix things. Written with wisdom and humor, Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg is a perfect read for any working women.   

Short story collection

Dear Life by Alice MunroDear Life by Alice Munro:

Recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize for literature, Dear Life is a short story collection book from the master storyteller, Alice Munro. This book will give your mom emotional narratives-ranging from bittersweet to completely heart-trending. Exalted by Munro’s sharp insight and her matchless gift for storytelling, Dear Life demonstrates how extraordinary and terrifying life can be.

Home Décor book

The Plant Recipe Book: 100 Living Arrangements for AnyThe Plant Recipe Book Home in Any Season, by Baylor Chapman

If your mom has ever mentioned that she wants to learn how to create stunning living plant décor, this is the book for her. The Plant Recipe Book is the follow up to the most popular Flower Recipe Book containing all the basic planting techniques, expert advice, sourcing, plant care and exquisite arrangements that will suit every kind of light and décor.

Memoir

Everybody's Got Something by Robin RobertsEverybody’s Got Something by Robin Roberts

This is a wonderful memoir by Good Morning America anchor, Robin Robert’s in which she tells about her incredible journey that’s been her life so far. Through this book, Robin shares the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned along the way. This is an inspiring story of a woman who with her wisdom, hope and encouragement overcomes breast cancer and the pain and heartbreak she suffered when her mother passed away.  

A House in the Sky A Memoir by  Amanda Lindhout, SaraA house Corbett

This is an impressive and suspenseful memoir of Amanda Lindhout, a lady who embark on a journey to the world’s most attractive, perilous and remote places. Working as a cocktail waitress in Calgary, Alberta, Amanda has a dream to travel the globe. She went to Latin America, Sudan, Syria, Bangladesh, India, Laos, Pakistan, Afghanistan and other countries to understand the sympathy in the face of incredible adversity.

Wishing all the moms out there a very Happy Mother’s Day!

Top 9 Books On Leadership

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

There is a leader in each one of us. Some are born leaders and some have to discover it within. Leadership never means popular faces with lots of followers but definitely it means a name that people look up to in all situations. True leaders are those who help you attain the path of your success and happiness.

We are here compiling a small list of great books written to improve leadership qualities. This list targets professionals, individuals and businesses.

Books That Help You to Build And Improve Your Leadership Skills

Now, Discover Your StrengthsNow, Discover Your Strengths How to Develop Your Talents and Those of the People You Manage

Now, Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O Clifton is a wonderful and unique self-help book helps in identifying the most prevalent human strengths. The authors advocate focusing on enhancing strengths rater than focusing on removing weaknesses. Follow up of coauthors’ popular last book, First, Break All the Rules, it comprises 34 personal character attributes named by authors as “talent themes” and explains how to develop the required skills more easily, improve employee confidence and the company’s overall performance.

Authentic LeadershipAuthentic Leadership

This is a perfect book for the millions of people who wish for authentic, moral, character-driven leaders. Bill George, the former CEO and the chairman of Medtronic, explicitly recounts many of the toughest challenges he came across—from ethical predicaments and battles with the FDA to his own journey to become a successful leader. With his book, Authentic Leadership, the author provides five essential dimensions of authentic leaders-purpose, heart, values, relationships and self-discipline.

 Jack Straight from the Gut

This is a useJack Straight from the Gutful management book by a successful businessman who has often admired for his excellent leadership skills, Jack Welch. It gives a fresh and inspiring look into the qualities of a successful leader. One of the most influential people of 20th century, John demonstrates his childhood days, his college years, his career as the CEO and chairman of GE, his leadership styles, management beliefs, philosophy and secretes of his success. He brings to light the competitive process and the struggle he made to become the CEO of GE. 

Books That Help You to Enhance the Company’s Overall Performance through Your Leadership Expertise

Self Leadership and the One Minute ManagerSelf Leadership and the One Minute Manager: The number one New York Times bestselling author, Ken Blanchard, with coauthors Susan Fowler and Laurence Hawkins, teaches the skills of self-leadership through his captivating business book, The One Minute Manager. By following the techniques mentioned by Ken on his book, millions of managers in Fortune 500 companies and small businesses nationwide increased their efficiency, job satisfaction, and personal prosperity.

In Search of Excellence Lessons from America’s Best-RunIn Search of Excellence Lessons from America's Best-Run Companies Companies

In Search of Excellence’ is Tom Peter’s first book that sold more than 6 million copies and still is one of the most readable books of all time. Co-authored with Bob Waterman, this phenomenal bestseller comprises eight characteristics of excellent companies; namely action-stimulating, customer-oriented, self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship, profit-maximizing practices– that made these companies tick. This is the result of two decades of rigorous researches conducted by these two brilliant authors in forty-three of America’s most successful companies from a diverse array of business sectors.

Execution The DExecution The Discipline of Getting Things Doneiscipline of Getting Things Done

Written by the former chairman and CEO of Honeywell International- Larry Bossidy and the legendary advisor to CEOs and senior executives- Ram Charan, Execution emphasis on the fact that any company does not become successful only through the brilliant strategies they followed but by their relentless focus on implementation. Jam packed with stories from the warfront, this book explains how the leadership is the crucial part to get ongoing financial success.

Good to Great Why Some Companies Make theGood to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't Leap and Others Don’t

Sold over 4 million copies, this massive bestseller by James C. Collins explains how some companies transitioned from being average companies to great companies and why some companies failed to achieve the good-to-great growth.         Filled with innovative thoughts, comprehensive examples, and data to support the conclusions, this nearly 300-page book is a must have for every businessman and aspiring entrepreneur.

Self-Help Books for All Aspiring Leaders

How to Win Friends and Influence PeopleHow to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegies has changed the lives of millions of people around the world through his teachings. With his excellent ability to understand human nature and conversational style, he teaches the important principles of dealing with people so that they feel important and appreciated. Originally published in 1936, this best-selling self-help book by Dale is a must-read for every entrepreneur and communicator. 

The Secret What Great Leaders Know and DoThe Secret What Great Leaders Know and Do

This is an inspiring story of a struggling and a failing leader- Debbie who learns the lessons of management in the training program offered by her company. Incidentally, the president of the company, Jeff Brown happens to be her mentor. He teaches her to be a serving leader rather than a self-serving leader. Based on the legendary bestselling author Ken Blanchard’s personal experience and drawn from examples of best leaders, this book contains five essential concepts to achieve leadership success.

The Gifts of a Character

Monday, May 5th, 2014

Guest Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli

We’ve all heard that gifts come in all shapes and sizes. But I’d never quite received a gift in the form of characters before, until recently, that is. I’ll explain. A beloved editor had sketches of “a little dancing girl” drawn by the superbly gifted Sarah Massini, and knowing my own love of dance, she generously shared the sketches with me. First came the rush of goosebumps covering my arms. Then, a whoosh of love for the not yet named, “Tulip.” I could hear the tone of her voice; I could see the curve of her cheek. I knew the way she would thoughtfully, tenderly, share her joyful passion with the kindred spirit she wishes for over and over again, and finds in a rather large dog named Rex. And while we discover that Tulip may not be quite like other children, and Rex may not be quite like other dogs, this does not become occasion for concern, but rather, a chance to revel in the power of being unique.Tulip demanded that from me and I happily acquiesced! In a spirited romp through tall grass, wide puddles, and smiling daisies, Tulip and Rex celebrate the precious gift of being able to express yourself freely, imaginatively. That Tulip and Rex share a passion for something perhaps a bit out of the ordinary provides the seeds of one of the most important tenets of childhood…friendship. Every child deserves that. Every puppy, too.

There’s an ever-present sense of responsibility I feel writing for young children. In essence, we serve a slice of the world to them, often allowing them to share experiences vicariously. We provide a safe harbor to poke and prod and discover a range of emotions.  In doing so, sometimes our readers, even the youngest find a literary soul mate. And no matter where a story begins, it seems I’m always drawn to the emotional core of the character and how they navigate through the familiar and unfamiliar, the safe and the uncertain, the need to love and be loved — the common threads we all share.

 Looking out at a star filled sky, Tulip hugs Rex proclaiming, “There’s nothing quite like sharing love, is there, Rex?”

 That’s my gift to you, Tulip, I whisper. 

 About Author:

Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the award winning author of Biscuit, the popular best-seller used to launch the My First I Can Read Series from HarperCollins. With over fifty titles in the series as well as over twenty million books in print, Biscuit has been deemed a modern classic and has been translated into numerous languages worldwide.

 She is the recipient of numerous awards including the Washington Irving Award, the Garden State Award, the Bank Street College Best Book Award and the Oppenheim Portfolio Gold Award, and the American Library Association Award.

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