An Interview with Edward Kelsey Moore on His Debut Novel, “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat”

Guest Author: Edward Kelsey Moore

ed moore by Laura Hamm photo 2 hi res - Copy It’s no wonder that Edward Kelsey’s Moore debut, The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, has been well-received by critics and readers. It’s an extremely terrific and intriguing story of three powerful women and their deep friendship. Published in more than eight languages, this debut novel was also praised by Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and Library Journal. Moreover, the novel has also been optioned for the film adaptation, in association of Fox Searchlight Pictures.

Edward Kelsey Moore resides and writes in Chicago, where he has also enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a cellist. He has contributed to several literary magazines, including African American Review, Indiana Review, and Inkwell. Today, we are pleased to feature an interview with Edward Kelsey Moore. In this interview, we will get behind-the-scenes look at how much work went into making The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat, such an amazing novel and who inspires him to write this book, and many other interesting questions. Here are the excerpts:

First of all, congratulations to you for being in the list of NY Times bestselling authors, and winning the 2014 “First Novelist Award” by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). What does it mean to you?

Thank you. I never imagined that I would have a book on the NYTimes Bestseller list. And I was especially thrilled by the award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.  Like many authors, I spent many hours in libraries during my childhood, and the librarians I met growing up introduced me to books that changed my life. It was a real honor to know that librarians thought highly of my novel. There is really no way for writers to know if their work will be embraced or ignored by readers. So the success of The Supremes At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat has been a wonderful surprise.

Your debut novel, “The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat” embraces the lives of three devoted allies in small-town Indiana. How did you first get the idea for this book? What was the inspiration? Is there anything in your book based on real life experiences, or is it all fiction?

The first idea for the novel came from a conversation I had with a friend a few years ago. While we both had great fathers who provided strong male role models for us, we each felt that the bravest person we knew was a woman. That made me think about how courageous men and courageous women are often judged very differently. The same trait that is praised in a man is often criticized in a woman. I imagined what life might be like for a woman who had no fear at all. What kind of friendships, love relationships, and life would she have? That fearless woman I wondered about became Odette, the main character of the book.

The characters and events in the book are all fictional, but I did draw upon my own life from time to time. The relationships between the women in my novel are based upon my memories of how the women in my family interacted with each other and with their friends. The best storytellers I knew as a child were women and I was definitely influenced by them.

Can you tell us a little about your journey to publication, and perhaps the most memorable part of that journey?

I began writing short stories about twelve years ago. Several of my stories were published in literary magazines and I later put them together in a collection. I quickly learned that agents and publishers were not interested in story collections from unknown writers. The agents who were nice enough to respond to me all said that I should write a novel, so I gave it a try. My first attempt was a terrible mystery novel that no one will ever see. Then I wrote The Supremes

I submitted the novel to several agents and each of them rejected it. After each rejection, I revised the book and tried to make it better.  When my current agent read it, he was very enthusiastic and he found the right publisher for it very quickly.

My favorite moment of my writing career is walking from my home to put zczcmy first completed story in the mailbox. I had spent many years starting writing projects and not finishing them, so I was incredibly proud of myself that day. I think of that moment as the official start of my writing career.  Even with all of the wonderful things that have happened since the publication of The Supremes, that walk to the corner mailbox with my first story in my hand is still the most memorable experience.

How did you come up with such an attention grabbing title?

I borrowed the title from a short story that I wrote about a woman sharing gossip with her friends in a diner. I used some of that story in the novel and the title came along with it. To be honest, when I was writing the book I assumed that the title would change eventually. I always felt that I would find a better title for it one day, but I never thought of one.

What is the central theme of the book?

I think it is a book about friendship and how friendships, especially very long-lasting ones, are as important in shaping our lives as any other relationships we might have. 

The book has been highly successful and released in several other countries. How does it feel to know that your work will be read around the world?

The positive reception to the book outside of the United States has been very exciting. The best part of it has been that people have written me from all around the world telling me that characters from this fictional small-town community are just like members of their families. It is a reminder that people really are the same everywhere.

How has your life changed since the book came out?

My life has changed in so many ways that it’s hard to describe how different my life is now. The main change is that I now see myself as a writer. For many years, I thought of myself as a musician with a writing hobby. After the book came out, I began to see myself as a writer who also happened to be a musician. That was a major psychological shift and I’m still getting used to it. 

Your book came out a couple of months ago and it’s been getting really good reviews. What has been the best criticism given to you as an author?

I have read very few of the reviews. The only reviews I’ve read have been the ones that have been sent directly to me in letters and emails. I listened carefully to criticism during the revision process and I used that criticism to make the work better. But after the writing was finished, I didn’t look at reviews. I feel that if I allow myself to be happy about the good reviews, I also have to feel bad about the negative reviews. So I ignore all of them.

What did you hope to educate readers on or achieve by writing The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat?

My goal is more to entertain than to educate. But I am pleased that many readers have come away from reading the book with images of black people, especially black women, that are different from the very limited and often stereotypical images that are so common in American culture.

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?

Because I am very extroverted and I tend to be the last person to leave a party, people might be surprised to know that I am happiest when I’m alone in my garden. I’m not an especially good gardener, but I love it. Also, I think people might be surprised to learn that, even though I have worked as a classical musician for many years, I always listen to folk music when I am writing, never classical. Folk music is so direct and emotional that it puts me in the perfect frame of mind for writing. 

Do you read in your spare time? What’s your favorite genre to read? 

I read all the time. I don’t really have a favorite genre. What I read depends upon my mood. I enjoy comic writing when I am stressed out. I enjoy mysteries when I’m traveling. When I am writing a lot, I try to read books with denser and more descriptive language because it reminds me of new ways to depict the world.

Can you tell us about what you are working on currently? What books can we look forward to seeing from you in the next year or two?

I am currently writing a book that continues the story of The Supremes At Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat. I hope to finish it within the next few months. After that, I would like to return to working on a play that I began some time ago. I’ve also outlined a novel about two suburban American families—one black, one white—in the 1970s that I’m eager to begin writing.

Any parting words of wisdom for aspiring authors?

Read as many good books as you can. And never give up. If you keep with a project until the end, fantastic things can happen.

Thank you so much for such a wonderful interview.

For more info about Edward Kelsey Moore, Kindly visit his website: http://www.edwardkelseymoore.com/

Dead Man’s Time – Life Doesn’t Come or Go

Guest Author: Peter James

Peter James - black coat - Copy In July 2011, I was having dinner in New York with a detective friend in the NYPD, Pat Lanigan.  He told me that his great-uncle was Dinny Meehan, the feared and ruthless head of the White Hand Gang – the Irish Mafia who controlled the New York and Brooklyn waterfronts, and much else – from the 1850s until the mid 1920s. It was one of the White Hand Gang’s methods of disposing of enemies in the Hudson that led to the expression, taking a long walk down a short pier.

Dinny Meehan was responsible for kicking Al Capone and other lieutenants of the Italian Mafia, the Black Hand Gang, out of New York – which is why Capone fetched up in Chicago.

In 1920 five men broke into Meehan’s home in the Dumbo area of Brooklyn, and in front of his four-year-old son, shot Dinny Meehan and his wife. The wife survived, and the boy went on to become a famous basketball player. The culprits were never identified. There was speculation whether it was a revenge attack organized by Capone, or a power struggle within the White Hand Gang from Meehan’s deputy, “Wild Bill” Lovett. Meehan’s widow had no doubts, confronting Lovett in a crowded bar, and he was eventually murdered, too.

Pat Lanigan volunteered to let me see the archive material. It sparked an idea which grew into Dead Man’s Time, where instead of become a basketball player, the boy ends up in Brighton as a hugely successful antiques dealer and we pick up nine decades later, when he is an old man, with memories and a still unsolved family mystery.

Brighton, which began life as the smuggling village, Brightelmstone, has always been a magnet for criminals. It holds the unique distinction as the only place in the UK where a serving Chief Constable has ever been murdered – Henry Solomon, in 1844.

If you were a villain and wanted to design your perfect criminal environment, you would design Brighton! 

The city has a large, transient population, making it hard for police to keep Dead Mans Time - Copytabs on villains, and making it easy for drug overlords to replace any of their dealer minions who get arrested.  Sited at on the coast, transients who drift down the country reach Brighton and have nowhere left to go, so they stay. It’s main police station, John Street, is the second busiest police station in the UK.

It is hardly surprising that the term “knocker boy” originated in Brighton. Several former knocker boys helped me in my research, telling me their many tricks of the trade.

In 1996 the Independent ran the following damning headline:

If your antiques have been stolen, head for Brighton – The Sussex resort is now a thieves’ kitchen for heirlooms

Many of the seemingly legitimate Brighton antiques dealers were just as bad as the knocker boys, hiding behind a veneer of respectability. Simon Muggleton, formerly Head of the Brighton Police Antiques Squad, told me that although the police were well aware of the activities of the ring they were never able to make any arrests.

One of the most scary moments I’ve ever had was last April, researching Dead Man’s Time in Marbella, the capital of the so-called Costa del Crime. A British bar owner greeted me by saying he was a big fan of my novel, Dead Man’s Grip. ‘I liked the torture in that one.’ He said. ‘Had a bit of a nasty shooting in here,’ he told me. A dispute between two men over a girl, resulted in the boyfriend being shot in each testicle and another six times in the chest.  I asked the bar owner what the price was for getting someone ‘whacked’ in Marbella. ‘You just have to give a Moroccan a Bin Laden,’ he replied. He explained a Bin Laden is a €500.00 note – apparently as scarce as Bin Laden sightings used to be, and a Moroccan would take a day ferry across from Ceuta, do the hit and be back in Morocco the same day – and could live two years on that money. Life doesn’t come – or go – much cheaper.

About Author:

Peter James is the #1 international bestselling author of the Roy Grace series, with more than 14 million copies sold all over the world. His novels have been translated into thirty-six languages; three have been filmed and three are currently in development. All of his novels reflect his deep interest in the world of the police, with whom he does in-depth research. He lives in England. The 10th novel in his Roy Grace series, Want You Dead (Minotaur) will be published in the US November 18, 2014.

The Work of Art in the World: Civic Agency and Public Humanities

Guest Author: Doris Sommer

Doris Gazette-1-1The Work of Art in the World is a celebration of art and interpretation that take on social challenges–a text that I hope will steer the humanities back to a productive engagement with the world. The Work of Art in the World is informed by many writers and theorists. Foremost among them is the eighteenth-century German poet and philosopher Friedrich Schiller, who remains an eloquent defender of art-making and humanistic interpretation in the construction of political freedom. Schiller’s thinking informs my call for citizens to collaborate in the endless co-creation of a more just and beautiful world.

In the book, I focus on reformist projects that de640x170velop momentum and meaning as they circulate through society to inspire faith in the possible. Among the cases that I cover are top-down initiatives of political leaders such as those launched by Antanas Mockus, the former mayor of Bogotá, Colombia, and bottom-up movements like the Theatre of the Oppressed, created by the Brazilian director, writer, and educator Augusto Boal. I also offer an overview of Pre-Texts–an international teacher-training program that I created to honor the bond between creative and critical thinking, translating high literacy theory through popular creative practices. Believing that we are all cultural agents, this approach to teaching fosters high-order literacy, innovation, and citizenship through art-making activities that are used as a means for students to gain ownership of classic literature.

About the Author:

Doris Sommer is the Ira and Jewell Williams Jr. Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, where she is Founder and Director of Cultural Agents: Arts and Humanities in Civic Engagement. She is the author of Bilingual Aesthetics: A New Sentimental Education and editor of Cultural Agency in the Americas, both also published by Duke University Press.

The Birth of: Yoga for Runners (The Book) by Christine Felstead

Guest Author: Christine Felstead

IMG_3400 - CopyIn 2000, my interest in yoga overshadowed my identity as a 20 year running veteran. It felt like divorcing one partner in favour of a healthier relationship. This led to exiting the corporate world to become a dedicated yoga practitioner and instructor. Going on a hunch that yoga could help other runners as it had relieved many of my chronic aches and pains, yoga for runners was born. Endless talks at running clubs led to the popularity of yoga classes created specifically for the needs of runners. The results were more impressive than I had even imagined: reduced incidents of injury; elimination of nagging aches and pains, stronger bodies, stronger running and faster race times.

A non-tiring devotion to my passion of making runners healthier in order that they can keep running was continuously fueled by student experience and feedback. 2007 saw the release of my first DVD, the Beginner Program. Circumstances led to a discussion with Human Kinetics, the leading publisher in health and physical education, resulting in putting forth a book proposal.  The acquisitions team declined the proposal citing a few reasons, namely that the market was not strong enough to support sufficient sales and my brand identity was too weak.  I took this in stride, if not a bit relieved at not having to undertake such a mammoth project. 

Timing is everything. I continued to develop and grow my brand – teach,sfsfs spread the Yoga for Runners gospel, train other instructors to teach my method and created an Intermediate Level DVD. The marketplace did its thing – growing the popularity of yoga and running to unprecedented growth levels. To my surprise in 2011, the publisher expressed an interest in revisiting Yoga for Runners.  After months of tweaking the Table of Contents and much work by the acquisitions editor to usher the title through the approvals process, the deal was sealed. I was to write a book and become a published author.  Now I wish I could say that writing a book was something I had always wanted to accomplish – it wasn’t.  However, writing about something that I was passionate about and had become an authority on seemed like a very natural extension.  Nineteen months of pulling hair out to meet writing deadlines, research, organizing photo shoot, documenting and testing many detailed yoga sequences, followed by an intense and yet satisfying editing process finally gave way to the birth of: Yoga for Runners by Christine Felstead. 

Writing this book was one of the scariest and most rewarding experiences of my life. It is daunting to put yourself out there, subject to critique and questioning. Yet the fears have proven to be that voice of self doubt that likes to undermine us at times. Having had the opportunity to fulfill a passion through something that has been my spiritual purpose is a limitless reward. The knowledge that I made the right choice to follow my heart when I gave up by high paying corporate career to embark on teaching yoga is in itself the highest reward. Moreover, there is satisfaction in further spreading the yoga for runners message in the printed medium reaching a broader and more diverse target market. 

Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About Author:

Christine Felstead has successfully married her twin passions for yoga and running to develop something unique, tested and effective: a yoga program designed specifically for runners. Christine pioneered the development of Yoga for Runners and today is the leading authority on the practice. She presents at international conferences and has appeared in numerous publications. Through her best-selling DVDs, The Essentials:  Beginner Program and Intermediate Program, and her teacher training program her work has spread globally. Her much anticipated book, Yoga for Runners was released in Fall 2013.  For further information:  http://www.yogaforrunners.com  

11 Things You Might Not Know About Barack Obama

nn Today is the 53rd birthday of the 44th and the first African American President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama. Even though people may know much about President Barack Obama, but there are still many things about this charismatic personality that you might be unaware of. On his birthday, we would like our readers to know a few more interesting things about the most popular world leader.  

 Nickname Is “Barry”: Barack Obama was known by his classmates as “Barry” when he was growing up in Hawaii, but preferred to be called Barack when he reached University.

Obama Is Bi-Racial. Barack Obama is a first bi-racial president of United States of America. He inherited equally from his father and mother. He inherited his skin-tone from his Kenyan Father, Barack Obama Sr. whereas his eyes and facial shape from his mother Ann Dunham, a white woman from Wichita, Kansas. “My father was black as pitch, my mother white as milk” – Barack Obama.

Obama Loves Playing Basketball: President’s favorite sport is basketball and he has a powerful force on the basket ball court. Even because of his famous double pump, left-handed shot at basketball, he was named as ‘O’Bomber’ at high school. Luol Deng was his favorite British professional basket player.

He’s Read Every Single Book In Harry Potter Series:  Barack parting the watersObama has almost read all seven books of the most popular J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter Book Series. He read these books to his daughters, Malia and Sasha, who are the fans of the magical series.

His Inspirations: The three men who inspired him the most were Abraham Lincoln, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch- a Pulitzer Prize- winning book about Martin Luther King is one of his favorite books. Besides this, his  other favorite books including  Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, Moby Dick by Herman Melville, Shakespeare’s Tragedies, Gilead by Marilynne Robinson, Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lincoln’s Collected Writings and The Bible. These books are also listed on his Facebook page.

He Is Left-Handed: Barack is the sixth post-war President who uses left hand to write. The President recounts that he was often punished with a ruler for writing with his left hand.

640x170He Cannot Stand The Taste Of Ice Cream: According to a survey, ice cream and frozen novelty treats business alone generated more than $11 billion sales in 2012 in US. And every year 15 quarts of ice cream is consumed by average Americans. But the current president of America has a great distaste for all types of ice creams. His disliking for ice creams started during his childhood when he once employed in a famous Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop in Honolulu, Hawaii

Favorite Movie: In an interview, the President of United States revealed “Casablanca” as his favorite movie. He also stated that he is also the biggest fan of 1975 Academy-Award-winning Jack Nicholson hit, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest. His other favorite movies are: The Godfather (1972), and The Godfather: Part II (1974).

He Experimented With Drugs As A Teenager: In Obama’s firstbarack book, “Dreams From My Father“, he had confessed that he experimented with marijuana and cocaine as a teenager. He did not try the Heroin as he did not like the supplier. Now he considers it was a fault and says that he is not proud of it.

Obama Is Addicted To Blackberry: The most powerful Man of USA is addicted to Blackberry. He has habit of constantly checking his BlackBerry. He is so addicted that he has been forced to hand it over for security reasons.

Obama Won Two Grammy Awards: US first African American president, Barack achieved not one-but two- Grammy awards for the audio version of his bestselling memoir, “Dreams from My Father,” and his book, “The Audacity Of Hope”.

So these were the list of fascinating facts on Barack Obama. Please share your thoughts and let us know whether you liked the article in the comments below.

Sources:

  • Chicago Tribune
  • usnews.com
  • Wikipedia
  • telegraph.co.uk

Author Interview: Cynthia Leitich Smith On Her “Tantalize and Feral Series”

cynthiaToday we are honored to have Cynthia Leitich Smith, a New York Times and Publishers Weekly bestselling author of the “Tantalize and Feral series at printsasia. Cynthia has authored several books for Children and YA readers, including, the latest Feral Trilogy, a spin-off of her Tantalize series. Her award-winning children books are ‘Jingle Dancer’, ‘Indian Shoes, and ‘Rain Is Not My Indian Name. Writer’s Digest named her website as one of the top 10 Writer Sites on the Internet. Moreover, her fabulous website was listed as an ALA Great Website for kids. 

Cynthia currently resides in Austin, Texas with her writer husband Greg Leitich Smith, and four cats. During the interview we discussed about Tantalize series and its follow-up Feral trilogy, why she was inspired to write this follow-up, why she chose fantasy genre, challenges she faced in writing, and a few fun questions. Have a look:

Cynthia! We’re very excited to interview you today. How about you start things off by telling us a bit about yourself?

Thank you! I’m excited to talk to y’all, too!

Me? I’m a realistic and fantastical children’s-YA writer, a sometimes writing teacher, a treadmill desk writer, a Wonder Woman and classic “Star Wars” fan, a devotee of iced tea, a recovering legal scholar, a kidlitosphere blogger, a journalist longing for happy news, and a proud Austinite often in the company of playful tabby cats.

Why write fiction? Did you read fiction as you were growing up? Also, did you ever attempt any other genres?

My real preoccupation is Story. I love how it connects, defines and redefines us. I’m fascinated by how we’re each the heroes of our own lives and well aware of how easy that is to forget.

Growing up, I was an avid reader. My favorite novel from childhood was The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare, but I largely exhausted the children’s section of my local public library. I also read superhero and horror comics, my dad’s James Bond and Tarzan novels, my mom’s paperback romances, the dictionary, and every volume of the Britannica Junior Encyclopedia.

Tantalize series is your first upper YA gothic fiction. What  inspired you to write this? And how did you come up with the title of your series?

The Tantalize series is largely set around a fictional Italian cosplay restaurant named Sanguini’s. The idea is that the staff and customers dress up as fantastical creatures-all pretend, just in fun. But occasionally the “real” fantastical wanders into the kitchen or dining room.

As a teen, I worked as a waitress for a Mexican restaurant and then the restaurant of an athletic club, so I had that real-life experience to bring to the stories. Moreover, it’s always fascinated me how restaurants are like other worlds within this one. Think about it: You have thematic menus, décor, costuming. Occasionally, someone bursts into song. There’s magic in that.

The series name is taken from a quote in book one and harkens to both the sensual allure of the Gothic and the offerings described on the menu.

Feral Trilogy is a spin-off, or companion piece, to your earlier The Tantalize series. Why did you decide to write this Sequel? Would you recommend your audience to read the books in order?

Reader mail largely inspired the spin-off Feral trilogy. The Tantalize series had featured a smart, dashing hero named Kieren Morales (a hybrid werewolf) as well as a couple of his shifter buddies (a wereopossum named Clyde and werearmadillo named Travis) who became quirky fan favorites.

My audience became intrigued by the hints of a multi-species, naturally born shape-shifter community and wanted more, more, more exploration of their lives.

Which of the characters from, “The Tantalize series” was your favorite to write?

I’m a sucker for secondary characters, comic relief characters. I love my protagonists, and there’s a lot of me in them. But it’s fun to stretch, too. I greatly enjoyed writing Chef Nora, who’s sort of a combination of various self-possessed elder women I’ve known. I’ve already mentioned Clyde and Travis, but definitely Aimee-a Geek girl/Goth girl/hippie girl-was charming enough that she was promoted to protagonist in the Feral books.

Is there anything you find particularly challenging in writing? What comes easily? Do you feel like there are any unique challenges in writing for a young adult audience?

I’m tempted to say continuity, but it’s not typical to write nine books set in the same universe. That would strain anyone’s brain.

It’s sometimes hard for me to focus in such a way that it all translates on the page. I tend toward huge casts and complex plots-ambitious stories. Then again, that works really well for a certain kind of reader who may be underserved.

The biggest challenge in writing for YAs is circumventing (some of) the grown-ups.

Feral Nights

Did you face any rejection before getting your first novel published and if so, how you dealt with it?

Yes, but truthfully, my path to publication was a short one. The projects that weren’t strong enough didn’t sell (thank heavens), and those that were did. But basically, what I want is an editor with a passion, a vision, and the willingness to push me until I’ve exhausted every last drop of blood.

Are there any hidden message in the both series that you want the reader to know about?

There’s a nod to a previous realistic short story I published, “A Real Live Blond Cherokee and His Equally Annoyed Soul Mate.” It revolves around a fictional costume store called “All the World’s a Stage” and in the Tantalize-Feral universe, I placed it just a few storefronts north of Sanguini’s.

You are a writer, teacher and speaker. You must have a manic schedule, how do you organize your time? Also, do you set yourself a word limit for each book?

Yes, I do. My typical (non-travel) day involves hitting the computer, first thing, to handle business correspondence, blogging, and social networking. The business of being an author.

Then I wheel away the desk, speed up the treadmill, and crank the incline for an hour while listening mostly to 1980s power ballads and YouTube performances by the cast of “Glee.” Two-to-three days a week, I also lift weights-using dumb bells and an exercise ball while watching re-runs of “What Not to Wear.”

The afternoon is for creative or teaching time, depending on what’s on the agenda (or due or overdue).

In the early evening, I sometimes continue working, juggling as needed, but I’m trying to play more-spending quality time with my friends. We’re fond of talking shop, craft and the writer’s life at local restaurants, mostly Tex-Mex.

9 Jan 2014How much background detail do you generate for the world in which you write, and how much did you fabricate for your own story purpose.

It’s more of a universe than a world, as scenes also take place in heaven and hell. I put a great deal of thought into the social-political-cultural underpinnings on all fronts, taking a long view (back to the Ice Age) and a fairly international approach. Not all of that appears on the page. Some of it is only hinted at-a brushstroke here or there-but it all adds depth and texture.

Diabolical is the fourth and final installment of The Tantalize Series. Did the series turn out the way that you expected or did the narrative surprise you along the way?

A fire breathing dragon, chariots of sword-wielding arch angels, infanticide by Lucifer himself?

Um, it may have taken a life of its own.

Can you share any information with us about your next and final installment in Feral Trilogy?

Feral Pride will bring to a head the tensions between shifters and humans, even as the greedy, media-savvy yet secretive yeti-like species manipulating them both comes closer than ever to public exposure. Also, there’s a giant, egomaniacal snake, cool classic cars, and prom.

Now, some fun questions –

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to walk in platform wedges.

As a child, were you a dreamer?

Still am.

What distracts you easily when you’re writing?

Interview queries.

Favorite time of day?

It used to be between midnight and four a.m. Now, I’m not sure. I’m evolving.

Favorite food?

No-sugar-added frozen fudge pops. And kung pao shrimp over brown rice. And cheese.

Thank you so much for this interview! Do you have any final words?

Thank YOU!

To know more about Cynthia, please visit her website: http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/

The Gulf Oil Spill: Capturing the Passion

Guest Author: Linda Crotta Brennan

fsfsdfMany people think nonfiction is dry and boring. Not so! When I write nonfiction, I don’t just want to make readers think, I want to make them feel. Like when I wrote a scene describing the first time Dian Fossey’s beloved gorilla Peanuts reached out to touch her, or when I described Mother Bickerdyke telling the Civil War doctor that she was going into that tent to treat her “boys” whether he gave her permission or not. If he threw her out one door, she’d come in another…

But before I can hook into the emotions of my readers, I have to connect with my material as a writer. When I first got the assignment for History’s Greatest Disasters: The Gulf Oil Spill, I wasn’t sure how to approach it. The environment is something I’m passionate about, but how could I share that passion in a book about drilling and oil?

I try to be diligent in my accuracy, kids deserve no less. So before I started nnnto write, I slogged through technical books, struggling to understand exactly how to drill a well into a sea bed two miles below the surface. I waded through the government investigation into what caused the blowout of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Rig on April 22, 2010 (which ironically was the 40th anniversary of Earth Day).

As I was reading the transcripts from the inquiry, I came upon testimony from supervisor Randy Ezell describing the events leading up to the blowout. One of his most trusted men, Jason Andersen, had told him to go take a break and sent him off to eat. A little while later, Randy Ezell got a frantic call from another man on the drill floor, Steve Curtis, telling him that the well had blown out. Ezell was horrified. “Do y’all have it shut in?” he asked. “Jason is shutting it in now,” Curtis replied. “Randy, we need your help.”

Suddenly it hit me. Jason Andersen and Steve Curtis were two of the eleven men who never made it out. I sat at my computer and sobbed, knowing somehow I had to do justice to those hardworking men, and to the ecological disaster they tried to stop at the cost of their lives.

About Author:

Linda Crotta Brennan is the author of over twenty books for young readers, including History’s Greatest Disasters: The Gulf Oil Spill. Some of her other award-winning titles are When Rivers Burned: The Earth Day Story and The Black Regiment of the American Revolution. She’s also a contributor to the American Notable Women series. To find out more about Linda and her books, visit her website at www.lindacrottabrennan.com and her blog at http://lcbrennan.blogspot.com/.

10 Books That Will Make You Laugh Out Loud

Author: Sherry Helms

They say laughter is the best medicine. It is scientifically proven that laughing not only relieves physical tension and stress but also boost our immune system. So, in order to give you good and hearty chuckle, we scanned our bookstore and came across with these 10 book titles. Some of these books are old, some new – some are for young readers and some for slightly older- but all humorous reads and will surely make you laugh out loud.

Just Enough Jeeves Right Ho, Jeeves; Joy in the Morning; Very Good, Jeeves by  P.G. Wodehouse

Just Enough Jeeves Right Ho, Jeeves; Joy in the Morning; Very Good, Jeeves by  P.G. Wodehouse

The obscenely hilarious comedy stories in P.G. Wodehouse book, Just Enough Jeeves Right Ho, Jeeves; Joy in the Morning; Very Good, Jeeves by P.G. will give you many uncontrollable belly laughs. It contains two novels and a set of short stories each starts out with dim young aristocrat Bertie and his omniscient manservant, Jeeves. If you are still unfamiliar with P.G. Wodehouse work and want to read something that will make you laugh out loud, this is a brilliant place to start.

Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

Catch-22

Considered as one of the most celebrated and funniest novels of all time, Catch-22 is the story of the unparalleled, U.S. Army Air Force B-25 bombardier John Yossarian, who along with his fellow airmen in the camp attempted to keep their sanity with the intention of fulfilling their service requirements so that they may go back home. However, this satirical book by the American author Joseph Heller received no awards upon release, it has named as the best American novel written in the 20th century.

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened A Mostly True Memoir by  Jenny Lawson

Let's Pretend This Never Happened A Mostly True Memoir by  Jenny LawsonYou’ll perhaps want to read this book in private as multiple parts of this book will give you impulsive maniacal laughter. The book skims through a series of humorous scenes, giving an intimate view of Lawson’s most terribly and remarkably human moments, causing readers to chuckle and cringe at the same moment.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

A book like no other, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy shows always to look on the bright side of life. It teaches how you can laugh even in the face of death and destruction. The story revolves around Arthur Dent, totally normal English guy, who is thrust into a seriously gigantic situation that he’s totally unprepared for. This sci-fi book, packed full of adventure and humor, helps the hero and us to learn that no matter how bad or absurd things or conditions get, you can always laugh.

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy Toole

A Confederacy of Dunces, John Kennedy TooleWritten in the 1960s, but published in 1980 by Louisiana State University Press, A Confederacy of Dunces is an American comic masterpiece chronicles the story of Ignatius J. Reilly, a lazy 30-year-old man who lives with his mother in New Orleans. The novel earned a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for fiction in the year 1981 and sold more than 1.5m copies in print all over the world and has been published in 18 languages. 

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Bestselling author of “Naked”, David Sedaris again with his witty writing proves that he is probably the funniest writer in America. In his fourth book, Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris, humorist and essayist, Sedaris talks about the loss of language and recommends that the inability to express oneself articulately is equivalent to absurdity. The book contains a number of humorous stories that guaranteed to make you laugh so hard for so long.

Wilt by Tom Sharpe

Wilt by Tom Sharpe

First published in 1976 by Secker and Warburg, Wilt is a humorous novel by author Tom Sharpe revolving around the titular character, Henry Wilt. Wilt us an unfortunate assistant lecturer at Fenland College of Arts & Technology who is physically tortured and mentally harassed by his emotionally immature but physically powerful wife, Eva. And to get rid of her wife, he plans to kill her. Throughout the story, Wilt finds embarrassment and chaos, which at last lead him to find and understand his own power. Rich in humor and filled with hilarious twists, this funny novel will never let you to put down the book for a second.

Company by Max Barry

Company by Max Barry

Company is a fast-paced rough black comedy about the corporate management and office politics. The novel starts with a new employee, Stephen Jones, who enters into the corporate world after finishing his graduation. He meets there with co-workers and after a few days of his joining realize that he has no idea who its customers really are. All the characters are extremely funny that will give you a belly laugh for sure.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

In a Sunburned Country

Best known writer of humorous books, Bill Bryson will never disappoint you through his writing. You will enjoy his adventures in the land of extremes, i.e. Australia and his wonderful and comic descriptions of his views on Canberra, his representation of a cricket match and the trouble he faced in a hotel in Darwin. He not only makes you laugh-out-loud with his fantastic and amusing descriptions but also amazes you with loads of interesting information he presented about the geology, ecology, history and folklore of Australia, and several unknown aspects of Australian life.

The Eyre Affair: A Thursday Next Novel by Jasper FfordeThe Eyre Affair A Thursday Next Novel

Packed with literary references, The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde is a funny, freaking hysterical tale set in an alternate universe, a place where books are living things. The author has marvelously and creatively put the name of his characters and situations. Published in 2000, this playfully irreverent, childishly sensational and extremely imaginative was Fforde’s first novel.

If you have any other book/s to add to the list, or if you’ve enjoyed any of the above mentioned books, share them in the comments.

The Industrial Diet: The Degradation of Food and the Struggle for Healthy Eating

Guest author:  Anthony Winson

 Winson twitter imageIf you are like me, you have spent plenty of time in supermarkets and other food environments surrounded by edible products and tremendously frustrated that few of them were the least bit healthy to eat. And the more you know about the link between nutrition and your health the more frustrated you are likely to be. It’s not surprising if you have wondered how food environments came to be contaminated (an appropriate word I believe) with so many edible products that basically undermine our health, even if they might provide momentary sensory satisfaction. The world has become flooded with these poor nutrition pseudo foods, whether you live in Minneapolis, Montreal, Mexico City or Mumbai. My book The Industrial Diet seeks to help us understand how this came about, the forces promoting the proliferation of pseudo foods across the globe and the enormous health implications of this. The book also explores the emergent struggles to counter this expanding nutritional disaster and promote healthy and sustainable eating.

Writing this book was a real learning experience for me, even though new industrialI thought I already knew a lot about food. After all, I had been writing about agriculture, agribusiness and food for quite a few years. But food is one of the most complex topics imaginable and writing The Industrial Diet required an in-depth mining of the literature of a variety of disciplines. It also required thinking of new ways of conceptualizing what is happening to food. Food for a long time now has been a commodity, to be bought and sold for profit, but it is also what I have called “The Intimate Commodity”, so essential is it for our very existence. But with country after country now experiencing the enormous health impacts of population-wide weight gain and obesity, its necessary to take a hard look at mass diets and how they have been shaped and degraded by the industrialization of whole foods over the last century or so. The production of food products has been “sped up” in the interest of increasing monetary returns to processors, while at the same time whole foods have been simplified by the food industry in ways that are likely having serious implications for our health. And then there is adulteration. Whole foods have been massively adulterated in the industrial diet, and we now increasingly speak of “addictive” food products. 

Food does not have to be degraded in the ways it has, but it’s going to take a much better understanding of the state of our food system and a massive concerted effort to turn things around. Fortunately there are some very hopeful signs that dedicated food activists are having some success in doing just that.

About Author:

Anthony Winson’s research and publications have focused on agriculture, agrarian development, and food and health issues related to Canada and the Third World.  In addition to The Industrial Diet, he is the author of the following books: Coffee and Democracy in Modern Costa Rica (1989); The Intimate Commodity: Food and the Development of the Agro-Industrial Complex in Canada (1993); and more recently  Contingent Work, Disrupted Lives: Labour and Community in the New Rural Economy, (2002, with Belinda Leach). You can learn more about his work by visiting theindustrialdiet.com

The Red Canary

Guest Author: Tim Birkhead

Tim Birkhead Portrait-34, credit Ben CherryI am a scientist and I love birds. I have spent my career studying birds in various parts of the world. As a boy, I had an aviary full of birds but I also watched wild birds. Those two strands one captive, one wild, were my ornithological apprenticeship. Keeping birds gets you close to them and helps you understand the way they work.

Keeping birds is no longer really pc, but just over a century ago every other house in Britain and much of the continent would have contained one or more cage birds. Bird keepers were (and still are) men in sheds. Working class men usually, who because they spend a lot of time with their birds often know more than professional ornithologists about certain aspects of bird biology.

The Red Canary is the story of how in the 1920s a scientist school-The Red Canaryteacher, Hans Dunker, teamed up with Karl Reich a shop-keeper who kept and bred birds as a hobby, to create a brand new bird, a red canary. I loved the idea of these two men from such different backgrounds combining their knowledge and enthusiasm to generate something utterly novel.

Their meeting was extraordinary. Walking through the streets of Bremen, Germany one late summer day in 1921 Hans Dunker hears the song of a nightingale. He’s mystified: a nightingale, in town? And in late summer? This is weird for nightingales are woodland birds that sing only in spring.

He investigates and discovers that it is a canary singing a nightingale song – a nightingale-canary created by bird-breeder Karl Reich. It is the start of a wonderful collaboration and a long hard slog to create what in the early 20th century many considered impossible: a red canary. This is the story of how they created what is essentially the first genetically modified organism, using the most basic technologies.

About Author:

Tim has written thirteen books, some academic, some popular science. The Red Canary was awarded The Consul Cremer Prize. His most recent popular science books include Bird Sense: What it’s like to be a Bird (Bloomsbury 2012): http://bird-sense.com/tag/tim-birkhead/ and Ten Thousand Birds: Ornithology since Darwin (Princeton 2014): see Myriadbirds.com. He is currently editing a book on the pioneering seventeenth-century naturalist, Francis Willughby.

To read more about Tim visit his web site: https://www.shef.ac.uk/aps/staff-and-students/acadstaff/birkhead

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