Friday, December 31, 2010


The staff of 
Feathered Quill Book Reviews
would like to wish everyone a 
safe, prosperous and all around GREAT
New Year 
filled with family, friends and LOTS of books!!!

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted

Share With Brother Brother has been waiting to play with his new sibling since the day Mommy and Daddy brought him home. However, his excitement soon wears off when everyone reminds him that he must share. As Brother tosses jacks and plays safari with his friends, his family says, "Share with brother and someday brother will share with you." But he doesn't want to share, and his temper steams until he is sent to his room for his selfish behavior.  Nevertheless, when the baby becomes sick, Brother doesn't hesitate to come to the rescue! He strings lights across his bed, reads him a book, and even shares his ice cream. Although Brother likes taking care of the little tyke, he later discovers that sometimes sharing comes with a catch! This charming tale, complete with illustrations of cuddly bunnies, humorously approaches the subject of jealousy between siblings. Children will laugh at Brother's silly antics as he grows to accept the baby while parents point out the lesson he learns about sharing.

Chronicle of the Ones Patrick, a young man living in the modern world, following the spiritual practices available in off the shelf texts, undergoes a full spiritual awakening. He discovers that the state of peace he has found within himself can actually disable intended attack, and sets out to discover how to implement what he had found in the world around him. Much to his surprise, many people of the world are not ready to just give up misery and attack and just be happy with him and each other. But nothing has any power to touch him at any level, so he continues to teach and demonstrate his new awareness through the healing and 'peacing out' effects it generates - to those who want it - and in spite of those who don't want it to be known and shared. Based in real spiritual principles, this is a lighthearted action-adventure alternative to the usual superheros with just bigger powers to defend and counter-attack. It is the beginning of a world where attack and defense are no longer needed in any form. Peace rules. Only peace creates enduring peace.

Bodie & The Burnt Orange Sunset Bodie may be small, but he believes that one day he will grow into a great longhorn. This rhyming children's book follows Bodie on his adventure across Texas as he attempts to become the strong, brave Bevo that University of Texas at Austin fans look for at football games. Fun facts about the university and longhorns are also included.

Giveaways: An ABC Book of Loanwords from the Americas Did you know that the okra plant and the word okra were introduced to the Americas from Africa? Or that squash was first a word from the language of the Narragansett tribe of New England? According to etymologists people who study words, languages, and word histories many languages grow by adopting words from other languages, or loanwords. American English is a giant stew, simmering with loanwords like okra and squash. In her latest book, Linda Boyden shares an alphabet list of indigenous loanwords from North, South, and Central America that have found their way into common usage either nationally or regionally. From abalone to zopilote, Boyden celebrates the cultural diversity of American English while her brilliantly colored collage illustrations and simple, direct text reveal the flexibility and adaptability of language to young readers.

Cubeology: Are You Brave Enough to Play? Cubeology is an immersive tale of magic, with interactive elements. Section 1 invites you (the reader) to play an ancient game called The Cube. This real-life marvel taps into the subconscious mind and gives each player a different message! Utilizing the imagery of the game, Section 2 presents a fictitious tale in which a group of friends discover the joys of magic and the pitfalls of messing with reality. Magic has never been more chilling. Finally, Section 3 completes the interactive journey by providing a streamlined Interpretation section. The secrets of The Cube are revealed in full, allowing your personalized Cube message to take on new significance. The only question is: Are you brave enough to play?

I Am God I Am God is the non-fiction autobiography of Jesus Christ's Second Coming existence as The Son of Man. The story is set in the present time and Jesus himself is a modern man. The Jesus detailed within this book does not speak Aramaic or walk about wearing an odd assortment of robes. Quite simply the unusual individual the work presents is not an ambulating anachronism incompatible with the complex realities of the world or a depthless caricature who can only fill out a church window pane. Instead the work acutely portrays the process of authentically discovering that you are Jesus Christ and then being forced to painfully learn what that truth means for both yourself and for Mankind. The book is divided into two main sections. The first is a chronological account of the author's life from birth up to the point in time when he came to completely accept his unique identity. The second portion of the book is a seven chapter delineation\dissection of what it is like to truly exist as Jesus Christ.

Ever By My Side: A Memoir of Family, Fatherhood, and the Pets with Me Through It All New York Times bestselling author Nick Trout has captivated readers by taking them behind the scenes into the heartwarming—and sometimes heartrending—world of veterinary medicine. In Ever By My Side, Nick turns the lens inward to offer a funny, moving, and intimate memoir about how the pets he has had throughout his life have shaped him into the son, husband, father, and doctor he is today. Using his relationships with those beloved animals to tell his life story, Nick shares the profound lessons he’s learned about friendship, loyalty, and resilience. The result is a moving story that speaks not just to animal lovers, but to any reader who appreciates the bonds we have with our loved ones, be they animal or human, and the lengths to which we go to nurture those bonds.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Author Interview with Rick King

Today we're talking with Rick King, author of Bodie and The Burnt Orange Sunset

FQ: Was this a personal story for you? (Are you, personally, a UT fan?)

Yes, I am a huge Longhorn fan. My parents met at UT around 1960 and I grew up in burnt orange diapers practically. My dad used to drive us 3 hours to Saturday games, then we'd head back home the same day. I graduated from UT, as did one of my sisters. I'd say we bleed burnt orange.

FQ: Have you ever met one of the real Bevos? If so, can you tell us about that experience?

I've met two Bevos. I met Bevo XIII at a post game photo op around 2003. And just a few weeks ago, Bevo XIV actually came out to help promote the book. Every sale of my book helps the Bevo Endowment, which helps support the care of Bevo and The Neighborhood Longhorns, an education initiative. So, Bevo will make a few appearances with the book. At the last one, you find out really fast who the celebrity is as people almost push you aside to get their photo with Bevo. It was hilarious.

FQ: Is the little longhorn runt who grows up to be the big, tough University of Texas mascot a tale that has been told around UT circles for a long time or is it something that you thought up?

Actually, there are two parts to this answer. The story of how Bodie becomes Bevo was an idea I just woke up with one day. Literally woke up with the thought, "What about a children's story of how a little Longhorn grows up, overcoming the odds, to become Bevo." Kind of a "before the glory" story. However, the title was influenced by an old UT saying, "If God's not a Longhorn, then why is the sunset burnt orange?" So I took that classic phrase and wove it into the story. Additionally, I wove some 20-odd UT references into the story including parts of cheers, songs, traditions, colors and more.

FQ: I liked the way Bodie went and revisited those who had been cruel to him. His payback was fun without being mean-spirited (I loved how he ate the collie's beloved grass - very clever). Was the payback theme something you consciously worked on to give young readers a good laugh without frightening them?

I was always measured with any form of retribution. Let's face it, I had to straddle the line between having genuine, rowdy fun with the mascots, but not taking it too far because it is a children's book. Plus, each encounter was tailored to that mascot...such as a tornado in the high plains, known for tornadic adventures. I always saw it as ...none of the other mascots really get hurt, just tossed about a bit. The best competition is spirited, but everyone shakes hands in the end.

FQ: To me, the daughter of a lifetime librarian, I really feel that children's picture books have disappeared from the shelves in the last decade or so - like they're a dying art form. Are you partial to children's books? Do you have any special favorites like Ferdinand the Bull...Harold & the Purple Crayon, etc.?

My mother was also a librarian in Baytown, Texas! Yes, I love books...but really all books. I can't understand the Kindle, because I love the feel of books, turning the pages, the look of each on the shelf. I'm old school. Some of my favorites tend to be Dr. Seuss, The Little House and Katy And The Big Snow Plow by Virginia Lee Burton, the Clifford series, The Wind In The Willows. As an adult, the Clack Clack, Moo series is brilliant. I spend a lot on books each year.

FQ: The illustrations in your book were fantastic. Did you work closely with the illustrator, Mario Rivera, to come up with a specific look for Bodie?

Very much so. Mario is uniquely talented - a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. And his style shows an amazing range, far beyond this book. I chose Mario for his ability to show emotion in the characters and to make moments come alive...whether it was snarky or cute or triumphant.

However, Mario knew very little about UT or college mascots. So I made folders for every object and character - Bevo, the UT Tower, rival mascots, Bevo's trailer, the football stadium, etc. I would sketch up crummy little thumbnails of how I thought each page would work. Mario would take my sketches and bring them to life... sometimes he drew it exactly in line with my thumbnail, other times he drew his own interpretation of the scene. I was lucky to find someone with his talent.

FQ: I had the luck (as a Yankee from Connecticut) to live in the Lone Star State for about ten years before moving West and absolutely loved it. I travel back once in a while to get that "huge" Texas appeal. Most Texans born and bred would never dream of living anywhere else. Can I assume those are your thoughts, as well?

Definitely. I think Texans are always Texans. We may live in London or LA, but we carry a very steadfast pride and see ourselves as Texans who live elsewhere. I was in France recently and when asked where we were from, we always replied, "Texas," and no matter where they were from, they'd light up a little.

To learn more about Bodie and The Burnt Orange Sunset please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Reviewer's Tip - How NOT to Impress Reviewers, Part 2

Continuing the theme of things reviewers don't like to see (last time we talked about how NOT to impress with emails to review sites), here we go again.  This time, we'd like to tell you some things that reviewers often see in self-published books (and to be fair, some mainstream books too).  These came directly from one of Feathered Quill's reviewers.  I hope to have more tips from other reviewers soon.  

  • I don't like copycat books.  For example, I don't want to see a Harry Potter imitation.  I want to see something unique.  
  • If the book has 1,001 characters, I want a cast list in the front.  
  • Don't give me three names for the same person.  Example:  Daniel, Doctor D., Danny, Doc, Bones, etc.  It makes the story difficult to follow.  
  • If you use sidebars, try to insert them in a logical break in the text.  Sometimes they totally interrupt a reading experience.

And the Winner Is...

Congratulations to Rebecca Revels of Gastonia, NC.  She's the lucky winner of our three book, boxed set of "Blackboard Books."  Thanks to all who entered and we hope you enjoy your books, Rebecca!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Everybody!!!


We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas, spend time with family and friends and that Santa is VERY good to you!   Thanks so much for following our blog this year and we look forward to lots of wonderful, helpful tips next year as well as a whole slew of great giveaways.  Stay tuned...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Book Giveaway Winner

Yes, we have a winner for our three book set of "Blackboard Books" - thanks to everybody for entering!  We had a TON of entries which is always wonderful.  As soon as I get our winner's full name, I'll let you know.  Stay tuned for more giveaways.... we're always getting asked by publishers & publicists to offer their books as giveaways.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

iBook Title Selection

iBooks: No iTunes When It Comes to Dominating the Market 

Reprinted with permission of Publishers Weekly.

Want an e-book version of the nation’s bestselling nonfiction hardcovers? Don’t bother looking on the iBookstore. Apple still hasn’t struck a deal with Random House, publisher of George W. Bush’s Decision Points and Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken.
For now, iPad users who want to get any of Random House’s bestsellers -- which also include John Grisham’s The Confession and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo -- need to visit Apple’s App Store and download the free application for the Kindle or the Nook.
On those e-bookstores, consumers are snapping up the Random House titles that they can’t get on the iBookstore. The bestsellers: Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and John Grisham’s The Confession (on the Nook) and Confession and Unbroken (on the Kindle). On the iBookstore, by contrast, the top two titles are Tom Clancy’s Dead or Alive and Justin Helpern’s Sh*t My Dad Says. (There is no centralized e-book bestsellers list.)
Publishers declined to speak to PW for attribution about their e-book sales, but the Kindle Store appears to be the most popular e-book retailer, followed distantly by Barnes & Noble's Nook storefront and then by the iBookstore. Digital book sales, as quickly as they're rising, also still remain a small percent of publishers’ total revenues.
Apple offers more than 130,000 books in its iBookstore and more than 300,000 applications in its App Store. The store does not break out how many of the 300,000 apps are for books.
Apple still keeps its iBookstore titles and its book apps separate. The iBookstore only exists on mobile devices (such as iPads and iPhones) whereas the App Store is also available on computers. (The iBookstore is contained within iBooks, a book-reader app.)
Apple just added more than 100 illustrated e-books to its iBookstore. On Dec. 15, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing announced that it was offering e-book versions of 17 of its titles, including Ian Falconer’s Olivia picture book series and Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s And Tango Makes Three.
And yesterday Open Road Integrated Media, a digital content company that publishes and markets e-books, announced that it is offering nine illustrated stories -- including Callie Cat and Christmas Kitten -- on Apple’s iBookstore. (This week Open Road also started to sell e-books of the first 19 of the 150 titles in Albert Whitman’s The Boxcar Children Mysteries series.)
Not everyone is embracing the iBookstore, though. At this time Oceanhouse Media -- the leading publisher of children's digital book apps on Apple’s App Store, with the exclusive right to make apps of Dr. Seuss’s work -- is not planning to sell there. “We believe that in order to have an effective digital children’s book you need a level of interactivity that cannot be provided for with iBooks,” says Oceanhouse Media president Michel Kripalani. “Only apps can deliver this high level of interactivity, and much of the work is custom to each specific title.”
Oceanhouse Media has sold more than half a million Dr. Seuss digital book apps since its first release (How the Grinch Stole Christmas!) just one year ago, says Kripalani. With 140 apps on the app store, it sells “many thousands” of apps per day, he says.
One reason: they’re inexpensive compared to iBooks. “Personally, I believe that many of the books on the iBookstore are overpriced,” says Kripalani. “Why spend $14 on a static digital book when you can have a fully interactive Dr. Seuss, Berenstain Bears, or Mercer Mayer book for $1.99 to $3.99?”
Apple lets publishers set prices but requires them to split revenues 70-30. That means that on a $10 e-book or app sale, Apple gets $3 and the publishers and authors split the remaining $7. The author, then, typically gets 25% of that $7, or $1.25.
It’s time-consuming to produce e-books of old titles. Publishers need to establish a royalty addendum to many contracts, and then they need to create the digital versions of the stories.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So You Want To Write A Novel

Very Funny YouTube video.  How many wannabe authors like this do you know???

YouTube Video

Kids Can Publish

Where the authors, journalists, poets, photographers & cartoonists of tomorrow can get published today!
Kids Can Publish is Better than Ever
Learn about our relaunch & how to get listed!
Dec 14, 2010

The History of How Kids Can Publish got Started
By Linda F. Radke and Lynda Exley, co-founders
Dec 14, 2010

Contact: Linda F. Radke
P.O. Box 6698, Chandler, AZ 85246-6698

Kids Can Publish is Better than Ever
Learn about our relaunch & how to get listed!
Dec 17, 2010

For the past few years, we have encouraged students to submit their writing to websites that offer student publishing opportunities and contests when we give classroom workshops, and now we have started to advertise other publishing opportunities and contests for youths on the Kids Can Publish website so there is even MORE opportunity for kids to receive recognition -- and in many cases prizes!

Like other publishing organization, Kids Can Publish wants to imbue students with a love for writing, reward those who do write and encourage students to continuously improve their writing skills, so we reworked our website to include information about as many legitimate writing opportunities and contests for students that we possibly can. The more we can interest youths in being published or winning contests, the more they will want to write, and the better will be their self-esteem.

If you would like us to mention your organization's opportunities for students at our Kids Can Publish Workshops and Teens Can Publish Workshops, and add information about them on our re-launched Kids Can Publish website, just drop us a line via email with your contact info, and complete details on your writing/publishing or contest opportunities. AND, we would be happy to display your logo next to your web link on the website if you send it with your reply.

For more information on Kids Can Publish, peruse this website a bit.

Thanks so much!

Linda Radke
President Five Star Publications, Inc., "Publishing for 25 years!"
Co-founder, Kids Can Publish University
info@kids Can

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Author Interview with Theodore Jerome Cohen

Today we're talking with Theodore Jerome Cohen, author of End Game: Irrational Acts, Tragic Consequences.

FQ: The first book in the Antarctic Murders Trilogy, Frozen in Time: Murder at the Bottom of the World, begins with the 16th Chilean Expedition to the Antarctic and the third book, End Game: Irrational Acts, Tragic Consequences, ends with the 20th. Obviously you, as a participant in the 16th, would be highly interested in these expeditions. Can you tell us what happened during these expeditions and what progress, if any, happened in this time frame?

I only participated in the 16th Chilean Expedition. When I returned to Madison, Wisconsin, I completed my work on the gravity survey we performed in the Antarctic and prepared and published the results in the Journal of Geophysical Research. At that point, I joined Dr. Robert P. Meyer’s UW-Madison team that was performing crustal seismology studies of the North American upper crust and began work on a PhD in seismology. This kept me pretty busy, and I didn’t see much of the others from the Geophysical and Polar Research Center who went with me to Chile in 1961—Drs. Robert Dott, Jr., Martin Halpern, and Kevin Scott. But we remain in contact…often daily, by e-mail. I completed my PhD in 1966 and moved on with my life. What happens in the Antarctic Murders Trilogy after my return to Madison in 1962 is pure fiction. I never did follow the progress made by the Chilean expeditions that followed the one in which we participated.

FQ: Your primary career, aside from authoring and presenting scientific papers, was not a literary one. Many people are sure to be curious about your work in the scientific realm. Perhaps you'd like to share with us what you actually did after you left the Antarctic.

Long story short, as they say, I completed my PhD in 1966, and spent two years as an officer in the US Army—Captain, Corps of Engineers—fulfilling the obligation I incurred under the Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) Program. I then worked in the fields of defense, homeland security, and anti-terrorism, and communications-electronics as a scientist, engineer, corporate officer, and lastly, consultant, for several firms in the greater Washington, DC, area. We left Washington in the spring of 2006, and moved to Bucks County, PA, where we now make our home. Though I’ve been writing all my life, both as a vocation and avocation, the latter primarily focused on articles, columns, and interviews in the field of Amateur Radio, I didn’t start writing novels until 2009, with Full Circle, of course, being my first.

FQ: This trilogy has excited and intrigued many people, including your own family. Naturally family members tend to applaud when a family member is first published, but you have received many outside kudos. Of all the applause, which pair of clapping hands has tickled you the most?

Wow! That’s a difficult question. Thanks for letting me off the hook on family members. But on the outside, I’d have to say Bernard (Bernie) Garfield, former Principal Bassoonist with the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1957 to 2000. He congratulated me on writing the trilogy, which he likened to writing my ‘first concerto’. A concerto, of course, is a musical work in three parts or movements. But here’s what tickled me the most. When he finished reading End Game, he sent me a note: “Ted, in every successful musical composition there is a great start, an interesting and exciting middle, and most importantly, a successful ending. Well, the Epilogue of End Game is very satisfying. The tale is now finally completely over, and I'm at peace with all the characters.”

FQ: Most writers tend to develop idiosyncratic ways of writing. For example, some devote one hour to writing every morning or think writing on yellow tablets is the way to go. Do you have any special habits you've adopted as you've begun to write or are you keeping secrets that only the Chilean Naval Intelligence could crack? Fess up!

Well, I won’t make you wait for Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks to reveal my secrets. When I write, I just sit down at my computer and type. I usually outline the book by putting down chapter headings, though chapters do get added as I go along if it seems appropriate. But basically, I write…and write…and write! Sometimes four hours a day, sometimes eight, sometimes even twelve. I have written as many as 5000 words in one day, and, in the case of my novel Death by Wall Street, for example, which really was my fourth novel, I wrote 80% of the book in two weeks. Then, my efforts focus on editing and refinement, meeting with my developmental editor, discussing edits with a few close friends, and so forth, before I finally submit the manuscript to AuthorHouse for publication. The process is very intense. I simply can’t stretch it out. Frankly, I like to work on one thing, finish it, and move on.

FQ: The thrilling finale of End Game comes immediately after Gustav Mahler's final movement of his Symphony No. 5. Only someone who has a passion for Mahler can describe his work (in particular the pacing of No. 5) only if one is a devout fan. Are you? Pray tell us about your passion for music.

Yes, of course. I do love music. All genres, in fact, but especially classical music. Now, more than ever. One of my greatest regrets in life is that I did not continue playing the violin after I left high school. But as readers of my semi-autobiographical novel “Full Circle” know, life intruded, and my father’s dream that I would be a concert violinist never were realized. Fortunately, life sometimes gives you a second chance, so returning to the violin over four years ago has brought me great joy and fulfillment. Today, I am playing the violin at a level I never dreamed possible, thanks to my teacher, John Aumann. And I was thrilled in 2007, when Maestro Daniel Kujala, Music Director of The Bryn Athyn Orchestra, asked me to join the BAO. Dan is the man who introduced me to the great music of Gustav Mahler, a personal favorite of his. Through the performances of the BAO, I have come to love Mahler, as well as Berlioz, Copland, Dvorak, Moussorgsky, Mozart, Saint-Saens, among many, many others. It seemed only natural to incorporate classical music into my novels, and Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 was ideally suited for “End Game” because of its length and the pacing of its movements. I hope the readers are as antsy as Captain Valderas as waits for the concert to end…a concert he had been waiting for months to attend, but now, can’t enjoy because…well, I’ll let your readers learn why.

FQ: Putting aside your own work for a moment, let's think about other authors. If you were to head to a book store (unnamed of course), which section would you head over to immediately? If you could add just five of your favorite authors' works to your basket, who would they be?

Good question. I tend to read a variety of books and various categories. I love the Aubrey-Maturin series of novels by Patrick O'Brian, set during the Napoleonic Wars, and still have some to read. The writings of Harold Kushner are quite inspirational, and give a person much to think about. I even enjoy reading the classics now and then…things from the pen of Mark Twain and Lewis Carroll. I guess what I find most interesting about them is that they can be read on so many different levels. Frankly, I just select books that pique my interest from time to time. Now I’m reading Sean Carroll’s From Eternity to Here: The Quest for the Ultimate Theory of Time and Robert Spaethling’s Mozart’s Letters, Mozart’s Life.

FQ: You have been a ham radio operator for many years and have also have co-authored a book entitled The NEW Shortwave Propagation Handbook. Just have to ask ... have you Worked All States? Any interesting contacts you'd like to talk about? Did you have to continually shout to get that one last contact you needed? Have you contacted Pitcairn Island by any chance?

I’ve been licensed since November 1952, and currently hold an Extra Class license and the call sign N4XX. Yes, I’ve worked all of the United States and just about every country on Earth. I never did work North Korea, though, but then, I’m sure I’m not the only one. Some of the more interesting contacts I’ve had were with the Kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan. And yes, I’ve made contact with Pitcairn Island on many occasions. Most of those contacts were with a man named Tom Christian, VR6TC, who is a direct descendant of Fletcher Christian of HMS Bounty. I have to laugh…you must know a few Radio Amateurs. There were many times when I was literally shouting into the microphone to get that last watt of power into the antenna so that I could be heard over the other stations calling an operator who was on the air from some godforsaken place I needed to contact for an award. Truth be told, I prefer using the International Morse code over talking into a microphone. Until I went off the air in 2005 because we moved to a community that won’t allow me to put up a tower for my antennas, most of my on-air activities from 1990 to 2005 were in code. I just loved the challenge. Anyone can talk into a microphone, but it takes real skill to communicate in code at speeds of 35 words per minute.

FQ: Back to your own work after a bit of bookstore browsing and shouting at your ham radio contacts. End Game appears to be doing quite well at the moment, a fact that no doubt excites you. Are you hard at work writing again (see question number four) or are you going to sit back and relax a while before you put your pen to the paper so to speak?

I’m taking it easy for now. Five novels in 14 months is rough, both on the mind and the pocketbook. So, I’m going to take a break here, do some reading, play the violin, do a little traveling, and just enjoy life!
In the meantime, please be sure to visit my website at:

To learn more about End Game: Irrational Acts, Tragic Consequences please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted

The Empire With security comes a price. Humanity is in danger of annihilation as a centuries old war with the Andromedans heats up again. The Empire, an increasingly totalitarian society, is the only force that stands in the gap. Thrust into this chaos of alien invasion, rebellion, and political intrigue, Lieutenant Adrian Stannis is caught between the ends and the means. No one knows why this brilliant scientist chooses to hide in the farthest reaches of the galaxy, doing research on an insignificant science vessel. His days of anonymity may soon be coming to an end, whether he wants it to or not. Adrian's freedom, and his very survival, may depend on friends he's afraid of having. Kali, a psi-enabled humanoid who is the only person he gets along with, just barely, and Bryce, his personal assistant and one-time conman and thief, may be his only hope, if he doesn't push them away, not to mention a mystery surrounding him that may explode in their faces. Everyone wants to know the truth, but will it set them free?

Pacman: My Story of Hope, Resilience, and Never-Say-Never Determination Pacman is Manny's miracle story - his autobiography. Born and raised in an impoverished village in the Philippines, Manny began his life on the ropes. He provided for his family of five in his pre-boxing life by selling practically anything and everything on the streets just to help his family survive. The hard work, determination, and sheer grit that would characterize him as a boxer showed through in a big way during these early years. Though he dreamed of being a priest, his mother could not afford the education, so he soon found another way to move heaven and earth: boxing. According to the New York Times, Manny is pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world today. His rags-to-riches story will inspire you.

I See the Sun in Nepal I See the Sun in Nepal depicts one day from dawn until night in one child's life in a small village in Nepal. Waking, eating, doing chores, going to school, playing with friends, all ordinary activities of life, to which we all relate. The story is written in simple prose highlighted with vivid collages of cut paper, drawings and photographs of Nepal. Devanagari script, the Nepali translation of the English, is shown as an introduction to a different language and becomes part of the art work. Children will quickly recognize the similarities to children in another country while at the same time begin to learn and respect the differences between the two cultures. This is one of the books in the I See the Sun series.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Author Interview with C.B. Murphy

Today we're talking with C.B. Murphy, author of Cute Eats Cute

FQ: Were there other novels that inspired the idea for Cute Eats Cute and especially Sam's character?

People have said Sam made them think of Holden Caulfield (The Catcher in the Rye), but I don’t think that was intentional in any way. I do remember being impressed by Holden’s angst when I first read him. He was, as we used to say, “deep.” But he was older and a lot more existential than Sam. I think in many ways Sam was developed from interacting with my own kids and the “youth culture” which can be fun and a bit frightening to adults and parents. I think I was a bit like Sam when I was that age, picking up on every doomsday scenario that presented itself. I wanted to move to an island utopia in the Caribbean when I was in high school. The conviction that adults got it all wrong seems to go with the territory of youthful passion and arrogance.

I am impressed with books that take on complicated cultural issues without clearly making one side good and one side bad. Kem Nunn’s surfer-noir novels are like this (Dogs of Winter) and I’d even put Alice Munro in this category.T. C. Boyle does a nice job of it with the hippies in Alaska in Drop City. Unfortunately, most books that touch on ecological issues are harangues with characters along for the ride.

FQ: Was there a real-life political conflict that inspired you to write the novel?

There is a specific nonfiction book that inspired the story line though not so much the characters. The book is Jan Dizard’s Going Wild. I was fortunate to get Mr. Dizard, a sociology professor at Amherst College, to endorse my book. Going Wild is a cultural study of the controversy over a deer kill in the Quabbin reservoir in Massachusetts. Currently there is a nearly identical issue going on right now in Cayuga Heights, NY. I thought I should go there and do a “peace reading.” Once I tuned into this issue I see it everywhere, not only with deer but conflicts arising out of our paradoxical views of nature. We “love” animals, but we also love our gardens, cars, etc. I knew a PETA spokesperson who was so afraid of ticks she couldn’t walk in the forest. Conflict is inevitable.

FQ: You have a lot of insight and understanding about the lives of teenagers. Did you spend much time with teens before writing the book?

My own children were younger than Sam when I first started writing this book. I was in a writing group at the time, and I’d bring things in which were direct quotes my eight year old said. People said, “Kids don’t talk like that.” I realized it may be intimidating to write from a kid’s point of view, but you have to trust yourself, what you observe and remember then improvise on that. Sometimes advice from outside isn’t helpful. It’s a bit of a cliché to say “inner child” these days, but I like to think mine is pretty strong. I think being creative in other ways helps. I also paint and make mask sculptures. In many ways I’m even wilder there.

FQ: Just as Sam can see merit in both sides of the political scene, you never seem to take sides as the author. Is there one side of the animal-rights debate that you agree with over the other?

I do see merit in different positions, though it’s troubling how much both sides tend to demonize the other. I think that’s a bad habit we pick up from “The Media,” plus our primate love of drama. “If you don’t agree with me you must be morally deficient.” I am surrounded by conflicting opinions. On the dirt road where I live in Minnesota, we have traditional farmers, hobby farmers, ecologically minded artists, and hunters in orange wandering in the brush. It’s easy to “hate” the other side when you don’t know any. My own family is full of conflicting politics representing the whole range. My mother argued with her sister until the day she died.

Beyond the specifics of the deer kill, I like to pay attention to conflicts that arise from our paradoxical views of nature. Recently I blogged about the problem of the lionfish in Hawaii. Its a very beautiful fish that happens to be an invasive, ravenous predator. Cute, but not beloved. Feral pigs in California don’t have many friends but there are a few people rescuing orphaned piglets. I am attracted to these issues not so much politically but because they show how our thinking is so full of paradox, even our most passionate causes. Once you see this, it’s harder to be 100% righteous about your position. The truth tends to be in the grey areas. I think of this as a service fiction can do—help remind us how flawed we are.

FQ: You made all of your characters likable despite their quirkiness. Which of the adults in Sam's life do you like the most?

That’s a tough question. I actually do like a lot of the characters in the book. I think Rosen, the eco-therapist, was especially fun to write about. I am lucky in that when I am writing about a character it’s easy for me to “get inside of” their worldview. Once I’m inside of them, they speak clearly to me. I’ve put my time in with various therapies and cults, and I have a soft spot for wacky theories that will make us better people.

I think the fact that I approach so much of it with humor tempered with compassion makes it easier to write eccentric characters. I can write them and still appreciate their humanity. We are all pretty darn funny.

FQ: How do you think that life is different for teenagers today from the experience of their parents' generation? Do they face different kinds of challenges?

I have to say yes. I have two boys, one in college and one finishing high school. I was recently at a parent’s meeting at the school where they were talking about Facebook, Twitter and texting. The kids are so connected through the Internet. My sister recently reminded me of a prank I used to play on her when we were in high school. I’d answer the phone and it would be a boy suitor asking for her. Failing to cover the receiver on purpose, I’d yell out: “Oh, my god! a boy’s calling you! Hurry!” with a tone like this never happened and she was desperate. She reminded me of that recently. Now as a parent I hardly know who my kids are talking to. It reminds me of that Arthur C. Clarke story Childhood's End where aliens (i.e. the Internet) alter the psychic makeup of children so much that they in effect become a different, more advanced species. My book club recently read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to our Brains and it isn’t pretty. We agreed unanimously that it was happening and there was nothing we could do to stop it. On the other hand, if the whole world is chattering via Tweets and IMs maybe they won’t be demonizing each other quite so much as the deep thinkers from the past were so good at right before they declared war on each other.

FQ: In some ways we all share Sam's dilemma. We want to do what is right, but in a complicated world it is not always easy to tell which is the best choice of action. What insights have you arrived at for addressing this challenge?

First of all, I assume each side is passionate, feels righteous about their cause and is fully prepared to demonize the other. I also assume everyone is a little bit right. But you have to put aside all that and listen to people. People have a right to disagree, even a right to be “crazy” if you will. So I think freedom of thought and expression is very important. We have been gifted by the gods with this thing called humor and we should use it more. Granted we tend to use it to justify our own positions (ala The Daily Show, etc.). We’re all guessing, so we should walk gently into controversy. We’re basically smart monkeys and monkeys are funny.

When I see those bumper stickers that tell you the driver is against war, I think, well, duh. I mean there are dedicated warmongers in every government and liberation movement but it’s not particularly helpful to pretend you’ve risen above it all but placing a bumper sticker on your car. Bumper-sticker people are statistically more likely to be involved in road rage incidents. I made that up. My best advice is what I said to a friend starting the online dating process: Expect little, laugh a lot.

FQ: You use humor to make the book fun to read and to help get your point across to others. Are there writers whose sense of humor particularly inspired your own writing?

I was told in my writing classes that you should never describe your novel as funny, that funny doesn’t sell. I think there’s some truth in that when I read novels who’s main goal is to be funny. I think sharp observers of human nature, even in the context of more serious plots can be funny. I recently laughed out loud more than once reading Denis Johnson’s Already Dead, which many would say was a dark book. I found Carl Haaisen’s work Sick Puppy very funny. I should also mention that in some ways I think filmmakers do a better job than many novelists in mixing humor with drama. The Coen Brothers come to mind, with films like Fargo and The Big Lebowski. They’re dark but hilarious. Even Guy Ritchie’s films like Rocknrolla are hysterical. He has Gerard Butler slow dancing with a fellow hitman as a favor to the guy because he thinks he’s going to prison for life. I mean, that’s funny.

FQ: What are you working on now?

My next novel is about adults, sort of The Banger Sisters meets The Magus. It’s a classic tale about friends who go different ways, one wild, one straight, then meet up again and all end up on an island in the Midterranean. It revolves around the “outsider art” scene and “art films,” both of which are passions of mine. In college I thought I would become what they called an “underground filmmaker”—people who let go of narrative altogether and accost the audience with dreamlike images. Didn’t go very far with that. I like outsider art, the art of the untrained (and the insane). It’s much more fun than what “high art” has become today, an exercise in polemics for the overeducated. I teach art in a high security prison once a week. That’s got to be another book! I also have a draft of a book about people who believe they’ve been abducted by UFOs. Another wacky cultural romp with a touch of historical fiction.

To learn more about Cute Eats Cute please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Missing Dahl Piece Resurfaces

A Forgotten Dahl Piece Resurfaces on eBay

The first two pages of The Eyes of Mr. Croaker, a children’s story written by Roald Dahl in 1982 that he sold to two young American writers with the intention of publishing it in the proposed Do-It-Yourself Children’s Storybook, have resurfaced in Los Angeles after nearly three decades and are being auctioned on eBay.
As young men, Jerry Biederman and Tom Silberkleit conceived the idea of a book containing the openings of short stories by famous writers that children could complete themselves. Besides Dahl, the two also received submissions from Richard Adams, P.L. Travers, Madeleine L’Engle, Joan Aiken and others. Each author agreed to be paid $200 upon publication of the book; only Dahl insisted on being paid at once and, curiously, he had Biederman make the check out to someone named M. Barran. At the time Dahl explained, “I owe the fellow precisely $200 and it would be a nice way to pay him off.”
It was Biederman’s late uncle, the author Irving Wallace, who advised him on how to deal with the question of rights and payment. “We had absolutely no money at the time.” Biederman recalls. “My uncle told me that there was no way we could afford to pay these authors what they deserved, so instead we should offer them a token sum. Clearly the authors were doing this because they loved the concept of ‘story starters.’ It was easy for them to do, and it was a way to stimulate young people to be creative writers.”
Now, as Biederman prepares to submit the book proposal to publishers in January, he is confident that the agreements established with the authors back in 1982 will demonstrate that he owns the copyright to each short piece. Anthony Goff, Dahl’s literary agent in London with the firm of David Higham Associates Ltd., has informed Biederman that the Dahl estate will respect the original agreement providing the writing is used in exactly the way it was intended—as part of a collection of “starter stories”—which was the basis upon which Dahl made his contribution.
“I’ve been advised by top copyright attorneys that all I need to do in order to publish the other story submissions is to fulfill the agreement to pay the authors $200 upon publication,” says Biederman, who is in possession of all the original documents related to the book.
Over time both Biederman and Silberkleit became involved in other book projects and The Do-It-Yourself Children’s Storybook fell by the wayside, with Biederman storing the Dahl pages in a box in his garage. In 1994 the Northridge earthquake seriously damaged his home, and he moved the contents of his garage to his parents’ nearby home, where everything sat untouched for 10 years. In the meantime Biederman forgot exactly where the Dahl story was. After his father died he cleaned out the garage and found The Eyes of Mr. Croaker in a box.
Biederman now hopes to create an interactive version of The Do-It-Yourself Children’s Storybook that will include contributions by contemporary authors; he will approach J.K. Rowling about the possibility of joining the project as well. “The concept is now possible on a massive global scale,” Biederman notes, “thanks to the ability of a publisher to stage an online competition to find the best completed versions of each unfinished story.”
He decided to put the original 300-word Dahl document up for auction on eBay “because of the participatory nature of the book concept. This was the only story Dahl wrote that was to be completed by his fans. It also makes the announcement of this important find more dramatic.” Biederman, who now produces reality TV shows in Los Angeles, intends to donate some of the proceeds of the auction to a charity of the Dahl family’s choosing.
Biederman notes that the 20-year anniversary of Dahl’s death fell a few months ago. “It seemed wrong that Dahl’s wish to have The Eyes of Mr. Croaker finished by his fans had not yet been fulfilled,” he says. “I felt like his legacy would only be complete when his story is complete. I have an overwhelming need to have Dahl’s story finally see the light of day.”

Leads from Linda - 10 Commandments of Book Publishing

The following was sent by Linda Radke of Five Star Publications.  Great advice for authors.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Celebrity Book Tanks

I admit it - probably my biggest pet peeve related to the book world is all the celebrities who think they can write.  There are soooooo many children's books written by wannabe authors whose day job is in the acting world.  True, some of them can write but the majority just don't have the talent for it.  But they have "name recognition" and publishers seem to jump at the chance to publish/promote their books.  Meanwhile, there are soooooo many talented writers who struggle to get any sort of recognition for their wonderful books.  

So, with that background on my views, I confess to reacting with a certain amount of glee when I heard that "The Situation" of Jersey Shore fame had a new book that has tanked.  The book, Here's the Situation: A Guide to Creeping on Chicks, Avoiding Grenades, and Getting in Your GTL on the Jersey Shore has received a fair amount of national publicity.  Still, Life and Style magazine has reported that the book has only sold 4,000 copies.  Ouch!  But fear not, The Situation's publisher has said he's got another book coming out, as do other cast members.  Seriously???

White House Copyright Crackdown

Not really book related, but website related and how many of us have websites????  We've all seen those sites that we know are selling either pirated goods or bogus (as in fake) products.  This may also eventually flow over to small press authors who are seeing copyright protected material stolen.  An interesting article in Politico about the White House Copyright Czar and her efforts to shut down domains that sell stolen/pirated goods.  Here's the story.

Friday Finds

Friday Finds is hosted

Hannah Reborn: Maturing and healing the soul beyond organized religion Hannah was born and raised in Denmark into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (or LDS). Her upbringing was centered around God and she became very dedicated to the LDS faith feeling deeply in her soul that it was the ultimate truth. That was until she had been married for six years.
Ed was born in the US and came from an LDS background like Hannah. Genealogy brought them together as they are ninth cousins. How exactly they met is a rather complicated story and involves an ad in the paper, letters sent across the Atlantic that were lost for six months, meetings with grandparents, pictures and letters between Ed and Hannah, and a telegram.
The book details how Hannah and Ed met across the continents and how they survived the first years of a troubled marriage as they found out how different they were relating to culture, language, and religion. The book then details Ed's confrontation when he reveals his deepest secrets that Hannah never suspected, how she had a breakdown because of the religious controversies, and finally it details her healing and how she was able to restore a faith, which was far more embracing.

Nancy Drew The New Case Files #2: A Vampire's Kiss The Girl Detective has been locked in a large estate with Gregor, the young man whom everyone suspects of being a vampire, only to learn he has a rare disease that won’t allow him to venture outside during the day. While Nancy’s friends George and Bess and boyfriend Ned are locked outside the estate, Nancy and Gregor are trapped inside with a crazed woman who believes Gregor is a real vampire, and that she must destroy him!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Giveaway!

We have an additional (and really nice)  book giveaway this month.  Hurry, this contest will be run for just two weeks.  See contest rules at end of post.

Blackboard Books Boxed Set
i before e (except after c),My Grammar and I . . . Or Should That Be Me?,
I Used to Know That, 
By Caroline Taggart, J.A. Wines, and Judy Parkinson
Published by Readers Digest
October 2010;$35.00US; 978-1606522202

The first three titles in the Blackboard Books series are now available in an attractive box set! Test your knowledge on all subjects, from English Lit to Western Civ, from Grammar to Idioms, from Physics to Math and so much more. Inside you'll find:

i before e (except after c):
old-school ways to remember stuff. In this clever-and often hilarious-collection, you'll find engaging mnemonics, arranged in easy to find categories that include geography, time and the calendar, numbers, and astronomy. Perfect for students of all ages!

My Grammar and I...Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right
Avoid grammatical minefields with this entertaining refresher course for anyone who has ever been stumped by spelling confusion, dangling modifiers, split infinitives, or for those who have no idea what these things even are.

I Used to Know That: Stuff You Forgot from School 
Take a trip down memory lane with this light-hearted and informative reminder of the many things we learned in school that have been forgotten over time, from Shakespeare and diphthongs to quotients, phalanges, and protons. After all, as Santayana reminds us, "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

Author Bio
Judy Parkinson,
 author of i before e (except after c): old-school ways to remember stuff,  is a graduate of Bristol University. She is a producer of documentaries, music videos, and commercials, and won a Clio award for a Greenpeace ad. Parkinson has published four books. She lives in London.
J. A. Wines, author of My Grammar and I...Or Should That Be Me?: How to Speak and Write It Right, is a graduate of Oxford University and the author of several books on grammar and trivia.
Caroline Taggart is the author of the best- selling I Used to Know That, The Classics, and An Apple a Day and coauthor of My Grammar and I . . . Or Should That Be Me? She is also the editor of Writer's Market UK & Ireland, a guide for aspiring writers. She has worked in publishing for more than thirty years, the last twenty in nonfiction.

Contest Rules: Contest rules are quite simple.  Entries will be accepted starting today, Wednesday, December 8th, until noon, est on December 22nd.  The contest is open to those with a US mailing address.  To enter, simply add a comment in the comments section of this post, or if you prefer, send an email to  Want an extra shot at winning?  For every comment you write on another post on Feathered Quill's blog, we'll give you an extra chance at winning.  We're going to draw the name out of a hat (yes, really), so every time you enter/comment, you get another entry.  Note - only one entry for this post but again, comment on other posts and you'll get extra entries.  Good luck!

Author Interview with Anne Calcagno

Today we're delighted to be talking with Anne Calcagno, author of Love Like a Dog

FQ: Any reader who delves beyond the first few chapters in Love Like a Dog, realizes that you have a passion for animal rights, especially those of the pit bull. Can you tell us why you are so enmeshed in this cause?

In truth, happenstance intervened in the form of an animal shelter. My daughter wanted to volunteer and needed an accompanying adult. And so, I discovered dogs (having always had cats). Today an average 67% of shelter dogs are pit bulls or pit bull mixes so you can’t volunteer and ignore them. Our planet has accumulated an overwhelming number injustices – human trafficking, massive starvation, genocides. I did not focus on animal rights because I deem it the most essential of all issues facing humanity. But, in the plight of the pit bull, the door opens onto historical memory loss, illegal underground economies, and cultural prejudice and profiling. This situation became urgent in me, and I plunged headlong into writing. Over 200 counties in The United states have breed specific legislation against the bully breeds, that is, pit bulls are forbidden in these counties, that is they face obliteration, genocide. I believe that, once we decide that “deleting/removing/re-positioning” a group of human or non-human animals is our moral right, we next justify social and judicial constructs to legalize our murders.

FQ: Dirk’s father told him that “Pits’ll do almost anything for their master.” Do you have a special story that has been relayed to you, perhaps one of a pit that has rescued its owner?

Oh, yes Go to my website ( or blogspot ( to read rescue stories or see the YouTube film told in loving memory of pit bull Ace. Debbie Flude’s film story makes me cry every time. In three weeks, it’s had 1,700 hits.

Though it is not true for every bully breed dog, in general I would describe them as tending toward a very determined independence. It is this quality, mixed with devotion and a high tolerance for pain, that enables them to fight to the death for their master. For one, the terrier gene can make them pretty darn insistent. Then, when you consider that they were bred centuries ago to take biting hold of a stag, boar, hog or bull, and cling until that animals’ mad fight for life was over (which is when the hunter/butcher could approach safely), you realize the magnificent tenacity these breeds were called to. They live up to our hardest tasks for them.

It is critical to understand, however, that in contrast, up until recently a human-aggressive bully breed dog was considered unacceptable and unwanted by the best breeders. The human-dog bond was expected to be as strong and tenacious as the working skills of the bully breed. That Helen Keller owner a pit bull evidences how once upon a time in America the perception was that the pit bull was a sublimely trustworthy dog. A U.S. World War I propaganda poster adopted an American Pit Bull Terrier as its symbolic mascot with the logo: “I’m neutral BUT not afraid of any of them.” How precisely to point out the pit bull’s capacity to judge appropriate behavior. Its first choice is dependable alert neutrality.

Ignorant dog fighters seek deranged dog equivalents of Jeffrey Dahmer and Lizzie Borden for special breeding, and deliver dangerous monsters. This incompetent breeding is a total denial of the human-dog bond potential.

FQ: Rescue leagues have a difficult time placing mixed breed pits or pit bulls. Why don’t people want to take them? Are they simply a “misunderstood” breed?

I highly recommend Karen Delise’s book, The Pit Bull Placebo and her site: for a thorough examination of the myths surrounding the bully breeds. Her Facebook page quotes Jonathan Swift:

As the vilest writer has his readers, so the greatest liar has his believers; and it often happens, that if a lie be believed only for an hour, it has done its work, and there is no farther occasion for it.

Falsehood flies, and Truth comes limping after it; so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late, the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect:

In the 19th century we trusted phrenology, that “science” which charted character and human value according to the shape and protuberances of the skull. This allowed us both slavery and colonialism. In the Victorian Age, we corseted women, then theorized that their fainting spells proved of female weakness. And what deranging McCarthyism? It is not a far stretch that we now trust crazy fallacies about pits. We’re a fallen species.

A bully breed puppy is likely to be quite a handful, a real inventive mischief-maker in need of loving firm discipline. Frankly, I would describe my son exactly the same way. Fearless and adventurous. Not for the faint of heart. Plus, when you bring a pit bull into your life, you will deal with judgment and anger from other dog and non-dog owners. Which is disheartening and tiring, and must be considered before adopting a bully breed. But if we increase the number of bully breed stewards, people who raise their pits forging a mutually meaningful human-dog bond, then others will slowly learn; “Hey, this one’s not bad.” Then these two, then one hundred…? My favorite bumper sticker is: Punish the deed not the breed. Which I’d apply to all animals, human or not.

FQ: You briefly mentioned that this book was seven years in the making. It’s a powerful work ... can you briefly tell us how the novel evolved in your mind?

Because most writers support themselves through another job, few books are a start-to-finish continuity. There are many interruptions. In my case, I realized that if I did not leave my tenured professorship, I would not write another book for a long time, at least not until my children were grown. So I resigned. And teach only part-time at the school of the Art Institute.

Then I began researching pit bulls, including getting our beloved Qalilah, who is now almost eight. I found muyself struck by how many children have an immediate rapport with animals. Kids implicitly trust nonhuman animal sentience and share the language and love of play. My son acted braver with a dog curled next to him, protected and protecting. The Texan writer William Goyen described waiting impatiently to receive (from the sky? The muses?) a sufficiently compelling narrator’s voice; it had to compel. A lonely, troubled, but resilient boy, started talking in my head. I wrote the novel to better hear him. I struggled a long time with Dirk’s flawed father, Russ Seward. Because he had to have, like all of us, some redeeming qualities. I sculpted and rebuild him, again and again. I also danced and tripped and lost my step in and around Pheobe. I wanted her to attract Dirk without having to turn LLAD into a traditional love story. Because the dogs are the love story. I attribute these difficulties to my first impulses toward judgmentalism. I had to gain experience and wisdom, which only come with time. Full characters are faceted, complicated and contradictory. Or so I hope.

Of note, I read about an Illinois felony case in which someone working high-up for the Forest Preserves District used his access rights to stage night-time dog fights. I stole that for my plot.

FQ: Michael Vick was convicted for his role in a dog fighting ring. Why aren’t more people convicted of this heinous crime when, as you stated, there are “twenty-five police districts in Chicago [and] dog fighting has been reported in twenty-two of those districts?”

I had nearly completed LLAD when Michael Vick was arrested. He brought a useful spotlight on dog fighting among elite sports professionals (among others). Previously, basketball and football stars had merely been fined for this activity. But it is a testimony to how secure we are in our right to dominance over other species that – now that he is playing again – people get angry that he was ever barred temporarily from playing. If we don’t believe that being a rapper justifies pedophilia, why do we believe that being football excuses animal cruelty? This is an example of how big business takes it upon itself to override justice. Gandhi, who took a vow of poverty, said; The moral progress of a nation can be judged by how it treats is animals.

There is a devoted volunteer court advocacy group in Chicago called D.A.W.G. (Dog Advisory Work Group). They attend animal abuse and dog fighting court cases, creating public visibility for and records of these cases. Cases are routinely delayed or dismissed; witness don’t show up, warrants are rescinded. Though dog fighting is a felony in Illinois, hardly a handful of cases have resulted in incarceration. The police and judicial systems penalize the crime of dog fighting much more lightly than any sale of pot or pills. Dog fighting has thus increased exponentially into a vibrant national underground economy, graced with the extra glamour, spilling top down, from our very well remunerated sports heroes.

FQ: There are other breeds that people seem to be leery of. In your book you recommend several sites for people to explore that are devoted to “bully breeds.” Perhaps you can explain to us what a bully breed is and why they too, they are difficult to place.

I completely defer to the webpage “History of the Pit Bull” on Diane Jessup’s informative website:

You learn how the bully breed has been represented in art and texts since well before the 1700s.

The term “bully breeds” has come about because official dog breeding and conformation registries classify what is colloquially termed “pit bull” as three distinct breeds: 1) the American pit bull terrier, registered by the UKC and the ADBA, 2) the American Staffordshire terrier, registered by the AKC, and 3) the Staffordshire bull terrier, registered by the AKC and the UKC. Sometimes the bull terrier also gets lumped in as a “pit bull.” Because the denomination “pit bull” has been mis-applied to bulldogs, mixed-breeds, presa Canerios, Mastiffs and other dogs, concerned bully breed lovers take care to distinguish their breeds, also to quell mis-identification.

FQ: Many of the scenes in Love Like a Dog are graphic and heartbreaking. Perhaps you can tell us about a scene that was particularly difficult to write about.

I had not realized, until I began to study breed lines, how many dams are force-bred. One imagines a dam in heat and an untouched sire simply go at in a fun rumpus. In fact, females will adamantly reject unwanted male advances. Breeders, for better or worse, become technically invested, and thus forceful, in forwarding desirable physical and/or temperament traits.

In Marc Joseph’s book, the photographic panorama American PitBull, he shows the contraption used for breeding unwilling females. Picture an old-fashioned stock with a hole through which the muzzled bitch’s head is inserted to get the idea. Her head is actually locked into a black metal horseshoe-shaped clamp, while her belly and groin are lifted up by central pole that holds her raised backside for ease of penetration. This breeding scene feels to me like a rape, and was hard to write.

Then I had massive trepidation about writing a dog fight scene because of the awful prurience associated with watching dog fights; people attend for the thrill, the danger, the delicious illegality. If I pandered to that instinct, I would achieve an end opposite to that intended. I struggled with that quandary intensely.

To learn more about Love Like a Dog please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Wizard of Oz Vintage Clothbound Book

(Photo credits - Profiles in History)
The Wizard of Oz vintage clothbound book signed to Jack Haley’s son by virtually entire cast and crew including Judy Garland and Toto ($40,000-$60,000)
The Wizard of Oz vintage clothbound book signed to Jack Haley, Jr. by virtually the entire cast and crew, including Judy Garland and Toto is one of the highlights of Profiles in History's Winter Hollywood Auction, December 17-18. Haley’s father, Jack Haley, who portrayed the Tin Man in the film, brought this copy to the set and had the cast members sign it for his son, who was 5 years old at the time. This would make a great holiday gift for any book collector or fan of The Wizard of Oz. From the estate of Jack Haley, Jr. and never before offered for sale.

Other auction highlights include:· Harrison Ford heavily-annotated complete shooting script for Raiders of the Lost Ark ($50,000-$70,000)· The Wizard of Oz vintage clothbound book signed to Jack Haley’s son by virtually the entire cast and crew, including Judy Garland and Toto! ($40,000-$60,000)· Desi Arnaz “Ricky Ricardo” custom made kimono worn in The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour.($40,000-$60,000)· Michael Jackson’s stage-worn custom jacket from the 1993 American Music Awards ($40,000-$60,000)
· A large panel of Johnny Carson’s memorable monologue curtains from The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson ($40,000-$60,000)
· Screen-used ¼-scale Batmobile filming miniature from Batman Returns.($30,000-$50,000)· Original Martian rocket ship filming miniature from Zombies of the Stratosphere.($20,000-$30,000)
· Carved wood home door knocker from The Munsters ($25,000-$30,000)
· Original “stretch room” painting featured in the Disneyland Haunted Mansion attraction.($30,000-$50,000)· Walter Pidgeon “Dr. Morbius” signature costume from Forbidden Planet ($30,000-$50,000)
· Screen-used “Lex Luthor” rocket filming miniature from Atom Man vs. Superman. ($20,000-$30,000)· Bleeding “Lawgiver” statue from Beneath the Planet of the Apes ($20,000-$30,000)· Michael J. Fox hero hover board with handlebar from Back to the Future II ($20,000-$30,000)· Arnold Schwarzenegger “The Terminator” leather jacket and leather glove from The Terminator ($20,000-$30,000)· Eyvind Earle original concept artwork from Sleeping Beauty ($15,000-$20,000)
· Jimmy Stewart “Charles Lindbergh” leather flight helmet from The Spirit of St. Louis.($8,000-$12,000)· Arnold Schwarzenegger “Conan the Barbarian” Atlantean sword from Conan the Barbarian ($10,000-$12,000)· Bruce Lee signed check payable to “The Green Hornet,” Van Williams! ($12,000-$15,000)· Green Goblin mask worn by Willem Dafoe’s character in Spider-Man ($8,000-$10,000) and...· James Cagney’s “George M. Cohan” tap shoes from Yankee Doodle Dandy.($8,000-$12,000)

*Prices are auction estimates

About Profiles in History:

Founded in 1985 by Joseph Maddalena, Profiles in History is the nation's leading dealer in guaranteed-authentic original historical autographs, letters, documents, vintage signed photographs and manuscripts.  Profiles in History has held some of the most prestigious and successful auctions of Hollywood memorabilia. Their auctions include costumes, props and set pieces from both vintage and contemporary film, television, and rock ‘n roll. Profiles in History’s location in Calabasas Hills, CA– virtually a stone’s throw away from every major Hollywood studio – ensures a constant flow of fantastic and rare collectibles. With an extensive network of dealers, collectors, and institutions, they are proud to play an important role in the preservation of motion picture history.

Prior Profiles in History Hollywood auctions highlights include the "Cowardly Lion" costume from The Wizard of Oz ($805,000); a full-scale model T-800 Endoskeleton from Terminator 2: Judgment Day ($488,750); Marilyn Monroe’s “Diamonds” dress from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ($356,500); a King Kong six-sheet movie poster ($345,000); the Command Chair from the "U.S.S. Enterprise” ($304,750); the original "Robot" from Lost in Space ($264,500); Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber ($240,000); Margaret Hamilton’s “Wicked Witch” hat from The Wizard of Oz ($230,000); the Black Beauty car from The Green Hornet ($192,000); George Reeves’ Superman costume from The Adventures of Superman ($126,500); the H.R. Giger designed Alien creature suit from Alien ($126,500); a full-scale T-Rex head from Jurassic Park ($126,500), the Leaping Alien Warrior figure from Aliens ($126,500), Christopher Reeve’s ‘Superman’ costume from Superman: The Movie ($115,000), C-3PO’s helmet ($120,000), The Wizard of Oz ‘Winkie’ Guard Costume ($115,000); a “Ming the Merciless” cape from Flash Gordon ($115,000) and the Hydraulic screen-used Velociraptor from The Lost World: Jurassic Park II ($115,000).