Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Author Interview with John Dahlgren

Today Feathered Quill reviewer Cory Bickel is talking with John Dahlgren, author of The Tides of Avarice: A Sagaria Legend

FQ: Your biography says that you were inspired to write by the Nordic sagas and mythologies you heard as a child. Are there any other authors in particular who have influenced your writing or ideals?
DAHLGREN: Well, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S Lewis, Lewis Carroll, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack London and P.G. Wodehouse were among my favorite authors when I was younger and they still are today. So, I guess they may have influenced me in one way or another. My favorite book as a child was The Wind in the Willows.
FQ: Did you find the transition from psychology and the pharmaceutical industry to writing fiction to be a difficult one? Do you have any advice for people interested in making a similar transition in their lives?
DAHLGREN: Don’t give up the day job! No, but seriously, if a person really wants to be a writer then they should not let anything or anybody stop them. I wouldn’t let the “not having the time” issue discourage you either. The regular jobs we do, we need it to pay the mortgage, food etc. First make sure that you can make a living on your writing before switching over to it completely. For me the transition was more of an issue of finding the time to be able to write and my regular work and I discovered something: If you really love to do something, you’ll always find the time. Psychologists deal quite often with the subconscious and dreams of the normal functioning brain. I’m in the marketing division of a pharmaceutical company, so there’s a lot of fantasizing (or inventing) going on there as well. Perhaps not including pirates and talking rodents but...
FQ: I really want to ask if Mrs. Pickleberry was based on your own mother-in-law, but I’m not sure you want to answer that, lest you be hit with a rolling pin. So I’ll just ask, are there any characters in the book that are based on people that you know? 

DAHLGREN: Well, my single mother and my wife both resemble the character, Viola Pickleberry and also, wait for it…my mother in-law (don’t tell her that and she really does have a rolling pin). They all have displayed the strong side, perseverance and courage of women who during difficult times conquered the problems without succumbing to them. They are the real heroes of this book.
FQ: I loved how you used the different types of animals for characters. Were the animals meant to represent different races, different stereotypes in general, or were they just for fun?
DAHLGREN: Writing an anthropomorphic story like this is very rewarding. There’s a limitless or boundless feeling to it and one also gets to see our world from a different viewpoint. Of course, there are certain rules even for fantasy books which I learned during my years at Oxford i.e. it has to make sense. The use of different animals was necessary in order to show their distinctive mentalities, habits and also to have a necessary diversity.
FQ: The lemmings were a great choice of animal for the type of people you depict the citizens of Foxglove to be - bound by religious doctrine, totally unwilling to question it or to think for themselves. Have you lived among people with this kind of mindset in your own life?
DAHLGREN: Thank you for your kind words. I was wondering what creature would suit this story best and be the protagonist or hero. Lemmings have been a bit underused and I wanted to play about the general opinion that they are sort of a mindless living herd of rodents, jumping into a river or ocean and just keep on going without really thinking first and see where they are going or what the consequences will be. This is not necessarily true in real life about lemmings but I’ve used it as a base for this story. I also went quite a lot to the natural history museum and compared stuffed animals like foxes and lemmings, badgers, mice, ocelots etc. in order to see their correct size. But as this is a fantasy story, I’ve not been one hundred percent accurate to the sizing of everything. But I don’t think this book would’ve worked so well if the villain was a wolf for example. I also had to dwell into marine topics and went to Stockholm to study a very well preserved ship from the 17th century. I wrote down what I saw and annoyed the guide with too many questions. So there was a fair amount of research. Of course you can scoop many things out from the internet, which I also did, but some things you have to see, smell and touch for yourself. I’ve also tried to re-introduce the Victorian fairy tale writing style slightly. I think it was suitable to do so. Victorian novels tend to be idealized portraits of difficult lives in which hard work, perseverance, love and courage win out in the end, virtue would be rewarded and evil-doers are suitably punished. When you live in a world where criminals and corrupted politicians get away with anything and even get rewarded and the people of good will, compassion and decency receives no recognition or sometimes gets punished when they speak out, I wanted to show that it doesn’t have to be that way. At least not in Sagaria. And if it can happen there, maybe it can happen here as well. I think in this particular case, I was influenced by reading and hearing about how greed rules the earth. The greed for power and money. I’m not talking about what we need to have for a comfortable lifestyle but something beyond that: when everything is never enough. I think that was the main spark to write this novel. And also the question: are we living in a lemming society (metaphorically speaking)? Where we blindly follow what our leaders are telling us or what the media says? Or do we sometimes stop and think for ourselves?
FQ: As a scientist, have you had the same difficulties as Sylvester, such as being discouraged from thinking for yourself or expressing individuality?
DAHLGREN: No, not really. My father who was a biochemist strongly encouraged fiction or fantasy reading. He once met Albert Einstein at a seminar. Einstein told the famous phrase “If you want your child to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent read them more fairy tales.” And he was as we know, relatively intelligent. But I have encountered parents that strongly disapprove of fantasy books thinking they’re having some destroying impact on real life and that one should not escape from reality. It’s very sad to see that in this age. Fantasy doesn’t distort reality but rather enriches our experience of it. Jules Verne, the French Author, wrote a fantasy book about traveling to the moon in 1865 and we all know what happened in 1969. So we have conquered outer space but not until those visionaries or “daydreamers” had conquered inner pace and that’s where the true blue prints of future existences are born : in our minds and through fantasy.
FQ: Captain Rustbane is one of the best villains I’ve come across in a long time. I loved his transition from a heartless murderer to the victim of an indifferent society, and was surprised by how much I liked and sympathized with him by the end of the story. Did your background in psychology help you in writing him?
DAHLGREN: Again, thank you for your kind words. I have to confess that he’s one of my favorites too and one of the most challenging characters I’ve ever written. Yes, my training did help me to some extent. The shifts of mood and the complexity of his character might be considered as signs of schizophrenia and paranoia. But that’s not entirely true. He is an example of what a neglected and abused child can grow up to be. Hence, the little fox cub at the end with the same background as Rustbane but instead of abuse he receives love instead. I’ve left the ending open for the reader to decide who that fox really is. I’ve tried to emphasize the more interesting grey area instead of the black and white which is so common in the fantasy stories of old.
FQ: Your book is dedicated in part to your son. Were there lessons and ideas in the book that you particularly wanted to express to him or to children and young adults in general?
DAHLGREN: Yes, it’s dedicated to my son William and also to my godson. It will take a couple of years before they are ready to read it. I hope by then, that they’ll learn a little about courage, integrity, decency and of course putting the video games aside for a moment and pick up a fantasy book and read happily ever after...

Book Giveaway - Last Chance!

Today is the last chance you have to try your luck at winning our monthly book giveaway.  Win a copy of Rainforest Animals by visiting our Book Giveaway page on our website, Feathered Quill Book Reviews.  Good luck!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday Morning Introductions

Check out the books that came in this week for review.  Reviews will be posted soon to our review site, Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Helen of Troy by Tess Collins Helen of Troy is a quirky and lively retelling of the classic Greek legend in small-town America. Helen Ramsey and her good-old-boy husband, Rudy, fight like caged roosters. When their bachelor neighbor becomes Helen's confidant, rumors spread and sides square off until the entire town joins the ruckus. After Helen is kidnapped by her would-be lover, Rudy resorts to a clever Trojan Horse stratagem, and Helen wages a war worthy of a goddess. But will even that be enough to triumph over the gossip of a small-town Cassandra?

International Affairs by Davis Thanjan

The Persian Room Presents: An Oral History of New York's Most Magical Night Spot by Patty Farmer Ever since Patty Farmer was a little girl, she dreamed of living at the Plaza—just like Eloise of storybook fame. Decades later, she realized that dream when she moved into an apartment on the eighth floor of the famed hotel and became more passionate than ever about immersing herself in its history. She soon discovered that one of the most magical places within the Plaza now exists only in memory: the nightclub known as the Persian Room. For more than forty years, from 1934 to 1975, the Persian Room was the place to be in New York City. An unparalleled array of performers graced its stage—everyone from the incomparable Hildegarde and Kay Thompson to Julie Wilson, Andy Williams, Lainie Kazan, and Michelle Lee. And, though more than three decades have passed since the final ovation, there are many from both sides of the footlights who remember this extravagant nightclub with great fondness.

Twice as Good: The story of William Powell and Clearview, the only golf course designed, built, and owned by an African-American by Richard Michelson To nine-year-old Willie Powell, there was no prettier sight than the smooth grass lawns of Edgewater Golf Cource. He had been so eager to see them that he'd run seven miles to where the course was situated outside of town. But his elation didn't last. When he asked two golfers if they'd teach him the game, one man responded by saying, 'Son, didn't anyone ever tell you that your kind is not welcome here? In the 1920's there was no place for Willie, or any black person, on a golf cource. It was a game for white people only, at least in America. But his enthusiasm for golf and his belief in what he knew to be right drove Willie Powell to change that, and to change minds.

The Apple Tree's Discovery by Peninnah Schram and Rachayl Eckstein Davis A little apple tree in a forest of oaks begs God for stars like those glimmering on the branches of the great oak trees beside her. As the seasons pass, she learns to appreciate her own gifts and realizes that it’s possible to find a star in each of us.

Barnyard Purim by Kelly Terwilliger Purim is a topsy-turvy time, even on the farm. The animals decide to stage a Purim play, and Chicken assigns the parts. Blushing Duck is Queen Esther, Silly Horse is Ahashuerus, and Bearded Goat is Mordechai. But when they try to transform Shy Little Sheep into mean-looking Haman, something unexpected happens.

The Survivors: Point of Origin by Amanda Havard The winter is upon us. The Survivors are in chaos. The war is coming. One year ago, Sadie Matthau was living among humans, existing as one of them. But now she wakes each morning in a house in the Survivors City, listening to the invocations and insults of her family members as they cope with their new future. A war. Rogue abandoners turned monsters. Sadie and the icy Winters living in their midst, bringing the outside world in. The Survivors: Point of Origin is Sadie s quest to save her family. But can she find what she is looking for when she can barely stomach the Winters wintry demeanor and finds herself distracted by Cole Hardwick s warm heart? Will she be able to uncover her family s history even as the elders grip tightens around her throat? In an action packed ride full of magic and misery, terror and triumph, Sadie Matthau seeks the Survivors beginning just in time to face her end.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Christmas Kindles Not Getting Used

While it was apparently one of the most popular Christmas presents of 2011, a recent survey found that roughly 1 in 5 who received a Kindle for Christmas still hasn't used it.  Those who received an iPad however, which by the way, retails for more, were far more likely to have uploaded books and used the device. More details = The Telegraph.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Just Not A Good Day for Amazon

Fresh on the heels of the NPR article on Amazon's predatory practices, is one from the NYTimes about all the bogus reviews posted to Amazon.  If you have time, read some of the comments, it's pretty interesting.

For $2 a Star, an Online Retailer Gets 5-Star Product Reviews

Amazon Making More Fans - NOT

If you're a regular reader of this blog, you know I'm no fan of Amazon.  I've posted numerous articles, links, etc., showing just how horrible they are to deal with - from a publisher's, bookseller's, or librarian's, point of view.  Customers luv 'um so until that changes, Amazon will flourish.  Now, tho, even NPR has gotten into the action with a new article on Amazon's predatory practices.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Ellen Feld – Niche Marketing Your Children’s Book

On January 19th, 2012 Susan Violante and Victor R. Volkman spoke with award-winning children’s author, marketing expert, and entrepreneur Ellen Feld about how to target-market your children”s books. Her first book, Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse, went on to win a coveted “Children’s Choices” award, co-sponsored by The International Reading Association and The Children’s Book Council.  The book was then picked up by an international toy company and packaged with a toy horse made to resemble Blackjack, the star of the series.  Blackjack continues to sell well and to date has sold over 30,000 copies.  Ellen shared her lessons learned and hard won experience with us on a variety of topics including:
  • on-line advertising: where/when it works/doesn’t work
  • Selling at regional events, shows, and other public venues outside the bookstore
  • Why you need to think in terms of a series
  • Importance of author selling/marketing, the personal touch
  • Book signings – what works, what to have at your booth
  • Finding and keeping an illustrator
  • Cultivating your reputation as an expert
  • The importance of professional help with your project.
Ellen Feld with Annie
Ellen Feld with Annie
Award-winning author Ellen Feld began writing about horses more than twenty years ago. Her first writing jobs were for horse magazines.  At first, she wrote for small, regional publications, but within a few short years her work began to appear regularly in large, national publications. Her articles have appeared in publications such as The Morgan Horse, Stable Management, Equestrian, Young Rider, Just About Horses, Horsemen’s Yankee Pedlar, Tri-State Horse, and The Appaloosa Journal.One day, back in 2001, while waiting for her next assignment to come in, Ellen wrote a short story about a Morgan Horse.  Several of her friends encouraged her to expand on the story and try writing a book.  That short story became the first chapter of “Blackjack: Dreaming of a Morgan Horse.”

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There's Still Time!

What are ya waiting for???!!!  There's still time to enter our Monthly book contest.  You could win - no obligation, no hidden shipping fees, no nothing, nada, nope - a brand new copy of Rainforest Animals.  You can read a review on our site and it only takes a few seconds to enter.  Can you type your name, email and mailing address?  Then you can enter.  Just go to our Win A Book! page and come on, enter!

No, he's not a rainforest animal, but I just luv the duck!

Social Media – a Marketing Tool to be Taken Seriously

Expert Shares Tips to Gauge Whether
Your Business is Taking the Wrong Approach

 By: Marsha Freidman
I remember when the Internet first gained prominence and it became apparent that having a website was essential for any commercial enterprise.

Back then, web designers were not plentiful and few people thought to hire a professional to create a site. They felt that ANY web presence was better than none at all and they found people they knew who were “into the whole Internet thing”to help them.

As a PR professional, when I saw a website that didn’t represent people well or looked amateurish, I’d ask who created it. Invariably, I’d get answers like, “My nephew did it,” or “I bought Web Design for Dummies and did it myself,” or “My son has a friend who just graduated with a degree in computer science.”  While those days have passed for Web sites, I’m afraid I am seeing the same thing happen with regard to social media.

As social media has become an integral element of all mainstream media,some people regard it the same way they used to regard websites – as a good addition to their marketing tactics, but not so essential that they need to approach it with a professional sensibility. As with any marketing outreach, social media done badly will actually set a person back rather than move him forward.

Here are some tips for people to gauge whether they’re taking the right approach or heading down the wrong path:
• My Daughter Does That For Me – If your daughter is a college graduate with a broad-based education that includes a degree in mass communications, I’d say you may be on the right track. However, if she’s 18 and her primary qualification is that she has Twitter and Facebook accounts, I’d say you need to reevaluate your choice of marketing personnel here. Just because she’s your daughter and can use Facebook and Twitter, doesn’t mean she has the skills necessary to market a business using social media.

• I Hired a College Intern – While college students may be part of the social media generation, it doesn’t automatically qualify them to do social media for you. Unlike traditional media, which is a communication to a broad audience, social media is one-to-one marketing outreach. You are communicating directly to individuals and anyone who has ever posted an opinion in an Internet forum knows the online audience is not to be trifled with. Understand that your reputation is on the line. With the variety of questions and comments you will receive, it is critical that they’re handled with care and professionalism to avoid any repercussions to your name and brand. A social media marketing professional is an astute communicator who ensures each time the right tone, caring and message is delivered for maximum return and keeps your audience engaged. This dynamic is crucial for the success of the program.

• I Got 11 New Followers on Twitter This Week – Of course, building followers is important, but you’ll never make a social media campaign work with the onesy-twosy approach.
For myself, my company and our social media clients, we have a monthly benchmark for building followers. Now, this benchmark is not a gross number, but a net figure after we have weeded out spammers, chronic friend adders, and marriage proposals from men in foreign countries, and yes, I’ve gotten a few of those.
At the end of the day, social media is serious business.  Done right, it can create a base of thousands of followers.  Done wrong, it wastes time and energy and, most important, gives people the impression that social media marketing isn’t important. In fact, it has become one of the most critical and fundamental components for any marketing strategy, which every company needs to put in place.
About Marsha Friedman
Marsha Friedman is a 21-year veteran of the public relations industry and a sought after national public speaker on the power of publicity. She is the founder and CEO of EMSI Public Relations (www.GuaranteedNationalPR.com), a national firm that provides PR strategy, promotion and publicity services to corporations, entertainers, authors and professional firms. Marsha is also the author of the book, Celebritize Yourself: The 3-Step Method to Increase Your Visibility and Explode Your Business. When she is not running her business, she has Cherish the Children, a non-profit foundation that helps under-privileged local foster children.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Monday Morning Introductions

Here's a sample of the books that came in for review this week.  Check them out and then stop by our review site in a few weeks to read the reviews.  Not sure about that site?  It's Feathered Quill Book Reviews!

Dark is the Sky by Jessica Chambers
It's been twelve years since Olivia and Joel Cameron last invited the family to spend the weekend at their country home; a visit that ended in tragedy. Scott, Joel's outrageously sexy youngest brother, was found dead. The repercussions have torn the family apart. Olivia's sister Violet has persuaded her to host a reunion so that they can finally lay their ghosts to rest. However, there are some secrets too destructive to remain hidden, and Violet, still grieving for the man she loved, is determined to uncover the truth. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, family ties are tested to the limit.

Kings of Colorado by David Hilton William Sheppard had never ventured beyond his Chicago neighborhood until, at thirteen, he was sent away to the Swope Ranch Boys’ Reformatory, hundreds of miles from home, for stabbing his abusive father in the chest with a pocketknife. Buried deep in the Colorado mountains, Swope is shrouded in legend and defined by one prevailing rumor: that the boys who go in never come out the same. Despite the lack of fences or gates, the boundaries are clear: prisoners are days from civilization, there exists only one accessible road—except in the wintertime, when it’s buried under feet upon feet of snow, and anyone attempting escape will be shot down without hesitation in the shadow of the peaks. At 13,000 feet above sea level, the mountains aren’t forgiving, and neither are the guards. 

  I Just Can't Take It Anymore!: Encouragement When Life Gets You Down by Anthony DeStefano By pairing a thoughtful story line with amusing full-color photographs of children, bestselling author Anthony DeStefano succeeds in delivering a lighthearted look at the age-old question, “why me?” Through photos, especially chosen to bring out a smile, and carefully crafted sentiment, Anthony shares his delightful sense of humor, lifts the reader’s spirit, and plants a firm message of hope and encouragement. 

The Donkey That No One Could Ride by Anthony DeStefano Bestselling author Anthony DeStefano begins his creative telling of the beloved Bible story of Christ’s triumphant entry by introducing the young donkey who has yet to realize his important mission. The lowly creature believes he can do nothing noble, but that’s before he meets the Master... Then Jesus said to the donkey, “It’s time that you knew About the great thing That you’re destined to do...” He hears the sad donkey cry, “Just leave me alone and cast me aside. I’m just a poor donkey that no one can ride.” Richard Cowdrey’s colorful illustrations pair beautifully with Anthony’s charming rhymes. Together, they bring this timeless story of the donkey who carries Jesus into Jerusalem to a joyful finish. While especially appropriate as an Easter gift, this year-round story is for all time and for young and old alike.

Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee Graciela "Ace" Jones is mad-mad at her best friend Lilly who cancels their annual trip to Panama City for mysterious reasons; at her boss Catherine for "riding her ass like a fat lady on a Rascal scooter;" at her friend Chloe's abusive husband; and especially at Mason McKenzie, the love of her life, who has shown up with a marriage proposal three years too late. Ace is never mad, though, at her near-constant companion, an adorable chiweenie dog named Buster Loo. Ace's anger begins to dissipate as she takes matters into her own hands to take down Chloe's philandering husband-and to get to the bottom of a multitude of other scandals plaguing Bugtussle, Mississippi. Then, she starts to realize that maybe Mason deserves a second chance after all.

The Golden Hour by Margaret Wurtele In this stunning debut set in the summer of 1944 in Tuscany, Giovanna Bellini, the daughter of a wealthy aristocrat and vineyard owner, has just turned seventeen and is on the cusp of adulthood. War bears down on her peaceful little village after the Italians sign a separate peace with the Allies-transforming the Germans into an occupying army. But when her brother joins the Resistance, he asks Giovanna to hide a badly wounded fighter who is Jewish. As she nurses him back to health, she falls helplessly in love with the brave and humble Marco, who comes from as ancient and noble an Italian family as she does. They pledge their love, and then must fight a real battle against the Nazis who become more desperate and cruel as the Allies close in on them...

Cat Calls by Jeanne Adlon Thirty-five years ago, Jeanne Adlon became New York City s first full-time cat sitter, and since then, she has done it all. Jeanne has dodged tarantulas, served up kosher cat meals, and fed pampered felines in Waterford crystal goblets. Cat Calls recounts Jeanne s experiences, from adventures with quirky cats to the challenges faced by a woman who s determined to reach her clients despite blinding winter storms. But since Jeanne Adlon is no ordinary cat sitter, Cat Calls offers far more than tales of the cat. Over years of devoting herself to feline needs, Jeanne has become a recognized expert on cat care, so along with coauthor Susan Logan, Cat Fancy editor and fellow cat expert, Jeanne designed each of Cat Calls chapters to focus on important issues for cat owners, including adopting new pets, feeding your cat, coping with litter box problems, and much more. Charming anecdotes about Jeanne s furry clients add examples of cat-care strategies that work.

Morgan Horses are My Favorite by Elaine Landau Do you like horses? Then you'll love learning all about the Morgan horse. Morgan horses are fast and strong, and they have a rich and captivating history. Did you know that the breed was named after a schoolteacher? Or that Morgan horses helped to settle the West? Learn more about Morgans in this fun and fascinating book!

Quarter Horses are My Favorite! by Elaine Landau Do you like horses? Then you'll love learning all about the American quarter horse. American quarter horses are nimble and well-built. Did you know that these horses are famous for their calm and gentle natures? Or that police officers who work on horseback often choose American quarter horses? Learn more about Quarter horses in this fun and fascinating book!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Illegal Books Available For Free

This is rather scary - authors/publishers - be careful and be diligent - you never know where your book(s) might end up! 

Illegal Books Available For Free On Google’s Android Market

Dozens of commercial book collections, including the entire Harry Potter series, have been downloaded for free from Google’s official Android Market after being uploaded by an unauthorized publisher. Read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Author Interview with Fadi Hattendorf

Today we're talking with Fadi Hattendorf, author of What is Love? Perspectives on Love

FQ: What are your feelings about the ever-growing popularity of internet dating?

The ever-growing popularity of internet dating shows how far we have come, although we still have a long way to go. It shows how independent we are at the same time dependent on the internet. I think online dating can be fun but I don’t know how serious it can be and how long it can last. Online dating can an easy way to find someone worldwide and chat with so many singles. Those singles may not be singles after all and/or may be in complete different profiles. The best impression someone can get may be an unrealistic opinion of the other.

FQ: Do you think relationships are based on “doing what you’ve seen?” (i.e., if a person comes from a loving household that had grandparents, parents, even siblings with happy marriages - do you have more of a shot at having one of your own?)

Generally speaking, if a person comes from a loving household that had grandparents, parents, even siblings with happy marriages that person can be in a similar household and happiness. It can be contagious just like smile. For example, if parents use bad words around a child, that child may use them without knowing the meaning and believes it is okay to use those words when it is not.

FQ: Single parenting is very real in this country and has been since the 1980’s. In many ways, it is the “chosen” method for some women who don’t want a man in their lives. Do you have any feelings about this particular issue? Such as, should all women get married, or stay in a ‘bad’ situation in order to raise children?

Marriage is not necessary for everyone. I don’t think anyone should be forced to stay married or marry for the sake of someone or something. Though, the reality can be different. Sometimes you are better off alone than living with someone who continuously hurts you, uses you and disrespects you. Each of us is a precious human being. There is a better person waiting for you at the next corner.

While it is good to have both parents to raise a child, a single parent can do a wonderful job as well. If one parent is abusive or careless, the child may be in better hands with one parent.

FQ: Is it truly possible to rebuild trust once someone has proven themselves to be a liar or manipulator, as some of your stories show?

It really depends on many factors such as the behind the scene of the action that lead to the person to become a liar or manipulator. On the one hand, if it is becoming a habit, then it is difficult to rebuilt trust. We shouldn’t be taken for granted. On the other hand, someone can try to rebuild the trust but ultimately is depends on the people involved and the level of the damage. It should be possible to have faith and hope in each other again.

FQ: The top cause of divorce (stats given by Divorce Solutions as well as the ABA) is money. Do you believe that there is a way to work around finances destroying a marriage that is, otherwise, just fine?

I believe two people can work around finances unless they have married for the money. Money is not everything in live. Money alone won’t buy you happiness. However, if one person is spending and the other is saving or if one person is working and the other is spending then this can be a source of dissatisfaction and frustration.

FQ: In your opinion, why is it that such a large percentage of women feel they have to (not need to, or want to) get married? Are we, as a people, just too in love with love?

I think it is a natural instinct in women. How many girls do you see playing with dolls versus cars? We are pressured by family members, relatives and even the society. A wedding is a dream of many girls. Women tend to have the need of wanting a solid family. Some women feel incomplete without marriage, others feel validated by it. We see marriage as a mean of sharing, loving and a wonderful companionship. We want some assurance of a future with someone. We still believe that we have to marry first and then have a child.

FQ: The section on cultural love was extremely interesting. With the prejudices that still exist in this world, is it even possible to overlook a factor that is as big as religion when picking a mate?

I would hope so because we are getting more tolerant. But I don’t know if religion can be completely overlook when picking a mate. There are various reasons. We want to avoid conflicts such as: I’m going to this church, you are going to a different one. I pray to God this way, you the other way. While I’m fasting, you are eating all day long. How about the kids? Which way should they choose? However, this depends on the religion and the part of the world the we live in.

Thank you for your wonderful questions and your interest in reading the book.

Fadi Hattendorf

To learn more about What is Love? Perspectives on Love please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Monday Morning Introductions

Check out the books that came in this week for review.  Stop by our review site, Feathered Quill Book Reviews, in a few weeks to read the reviews.

The Kingdom of Mine by Gary Edwards In this timeless and delightfully illustrated tale, a young king—thinking he owns everything in his kingdom, including the wild animals, birds, and clouds—means well but acts impulsively, nearly destroying the land he loves. The story imparts lessons ranging from the importance of sharing to the dangers of the uncontrolled exercise of power, portraying how a king’s plans to accomplish his short-term goals cause damage he never anticipated.
The Armadillo Book by Bill Bryant The armadillo, a slow, dull-witted, dirt-eating creature resembling a prehistoric rodent, has firmly established itself in the folklore of the South and Southwest. Despite its lemming-like compulsion for self-destruction, the armadillo survives in large numbers and, as this volume duly records, continues to impose its presence on modern society.
Left for Dead by J.A. Jance Ali Reynolds investigates two shocking cases of victims brutally left for dead in New York Times bestselling J.A. Jance’s latest mystery-thriller. When Santa Cruz County deputy sheriff Jose Reyes, Ali’s classmate from the Arizona Police Academy, is gunned down and left to die, he is at first assumed to be an innocent victim of the drug wars escalating across the border. But the crime scene investigation shows there’s much more to it than that, and soon he and his pregnant wife, Teresa, both fall under suspicion of wrongdoing.Ali owes Reyes a debt of gratitude for the help he gave her years earlier when she was dealing with a troubled friend. When she’s summoned to his bedside at Physicians Medical Center in Tucson, it’s impossible for her to turn away. And knowing Reyes as well as she does, Ali finds it hard to believe that he’s become mixed up in the drug trade, despite evidence to the contrary. Upon arriving at the hospital, Ali finds that her good friend, Sister Anselm, is there, too—working as a patient advocate on behalf of another seriously injured victim, an unidentified young woman presumed to be an illegal border crosser, who was raped and savagely beaten.Ali becomes determined to seek justice in both cases and secure safety for both victims. Together with Sister Anselm and a conscientious officer who won’t let the case drop despite pressure from above, Ali digs for clues to find the true culprits.

The Rebel Wife by Taylor Polities Augusta Branson was born into antebellum Southern nobility during a time of wealth and prosperity, but now all that is gone, and she is left standing in the ashes of a broken civilization. When her scalawag husband dies suddenly of a mysterious blood plague, she must fend for herself and her young son. Slowly she begins to wake to the reality of her new life: her social standing is stained by her marriage; she is alone and unprotected in a community that is being destroyed by racial prejudice and violence; the fortune she thought she would inherit does not exist; and the deadly blood fever is spreading fast. Nothing is as she believed, everyone she knows is hiding something, and Augusta needs someone to trust. Somehow she must find the truth amid her own illusions about the past and the courage to cross the boundaries of hate, so strong, dangerous, and very close to home.

Secrets of the Lost Summer by Carla Neggers A wave of hope carries Olivia Frost back to her small New England hometown nestled in the beautiful Swift River Valley. She's transforming a historic home into an idyllic getaway. Picturesque and perfect, if only the absentee owner will fix up the eyesore next door. Dylan McCaffrey's ramshackle house is an inheritance he never counted on. It also holds the key to a generations-old lost treasure he can't resist…any more than he can resist his new neighbor. Against this breathtaking landscape, Dylan and Olivia pursue long-buried secrets and discover a mystery wrapped in a love story…past and present.

Gopher to the Rescue by Terry Jennings The animals living in the forest are surprised when a mountain suddenly explodes, covering the land in gritty warm ash and rocks that make it unlivable for many plants and animals. Gopher survives in his underground burrow and gets to work, digging through the ash, and mixing it into the soil below. He works hard every day, and slowly some of the plants and animals return to the area. Will the forest ever be the same? Scientists spent years observing how life returned to the mountain following the eruption of Mount St. Helens on May 18, 1980.

The Great Divide by Suzanne Slade Animals, like people, enjoy spending time with their friends and family. Many groups of animals have their own unique names. Did you know group of gorillas is a called a band? And a bunch of billy goats is a tribe? Following in the footsteps of Multiply on the Fly (multiplication), the award-winning What s New at the Zoo? (addition) and What s the Difference? (subtraction), this rhythmic, fun-to-read-aloud book introduces children to division as they conquer bands, tribes, mobs and more.

Home in the Cave by Janet Halfmann Baby Bat loves his cave home and never wants to leave it. While practicing flapping his wings one night, he falls, and Pluribus Packrat rescues him. They then explore the deepest, darkest corners of the cave where they meet amazing animals animals that don t need eyes to see or colors to hide from enemies. Baby Bat learns how important bats are to the cave habitat and how other cave-living critters rely on them for food. Will Baby Bat finally venture out of the cave to help the other animals?

The Penguin Lady by Carol Cole Penelope Parker lives with penguins! Short ones, tall ones; young and old the penguins are from all over the Southern Hemisphere including some that live near the equator! Do the penguin antics prove too much for her to handle? Children count and then compare and contrast the different penguin species as they learn geography.

Three Little Beavers by Jean Diehl Beatrix the beaver longs to be good at something. Her brother Bevan is an expert at repairing the lodge with mud and twigs. Her sister Beverly is a superb swimmer and underwater gymnast. What makes Beatrix stand out? One day, she runs away by swimming up the creek and finds some fresh garden plants to eat, and yummy trees to gnaw. When her siblings set off to find her, all Three Little Beavers wind up trapped! It takes some simple engineering on the part of the humans who set the traps, and Beatrix s discovery of her special talents, for the people and beavers to finally find a way to live in harmony.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Author Interview with Bill Raney

Today we're talking with Bill Raney, author of Letters to Zerky: A Father’s Legacy to a Lost Son…and a Road Trip Around the World

FQ: I would like to say that I was beyond ecstatic to read this book. My young daughter and I took our own journey when she was very young, and although it was only through the U.S., the deep meaning and beautiful words you offer in this novel brought back many amazing memories.

When my wife and I returned from our VW bus trip around the world, we would tell people about our marvelous adventure, much of which had been in the Middle East, For example, we would tell them about the time we were surrounded by soldiers with guns, near Mt. Ararat in Anatolia, and about the time Zerky almost got kidnapped in Iran, and about what Iran's Capitol, Tehran, was like. Most of our friends had no idea where these places were. Nor did they know the difference between Iran and Tehran, Iran and Iraq, or between Pakistan and Afghanistan, let alone Baluchistan. But by 1987, when I came across my old letters, I realized our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had changed all that. People had a hunger to learn something about these places. So I started thinking about turning these letters into a book. And then in 2009, they finally were a book.

FQ: I must say that I love JoAnne. From her love of animals to her way of “heading toward the oldest part of the city” wherever you went she was fascinating. Could you expand on what the most amazing site was to explore, as far as historical significance?

Probably Ghazni in Afghanistan, once the seat of an empire where Mahamud of Ghazni's hoards of horsemen had come thundering over the Khyber Pass and down into India to lay waste to the cities below. The medieval European history of Andorra was also fascinating.

FQ: I am a huge lover of the history of Greece. I know that this was not one of the places you found very interesting, so I was wondering if you ever did return and ‘take another look?”

No, our problem there was that Greece was where we made our decision to cross over the Bosporus and go to Iran, which made us impatient to get on our way and out of Greece. Greece is country to travel around leisurely, with plenty of time to investigate its many nooks, crannies and marvelous history.

FQ: When you speak about the Middle Eastern nations back in the 1960’s, there is so much happiness and light. Considering how the world has changed, would you want to return to places such as Afghanistan or Iran, or to remember them as they were when you were there?

I would love to return to Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Unfortunately, the latter two are now war zones, and Iran may be soon becoming one too.

FQ: Are there other “Bill Raney” works that readers should be aware of? I know you have a great deal of information at your site waltzingaroundtheworld.com. Is this where all readers should go to know more?

On my website at www.letterstozerky.com, under Other Writings I have posted a few snatches from the new book I am now working on, In Search of a Lost Penny, the story of my little sister who disappeared into the night when I was a child, No one would ever tell me what had happened to her. Until she tracked me down.

FQ: Do you have a ‘favorite’ place? I know that may be an impossible question to answer, but you speak about Andorra so vividly that I wondered if that was the village you most remember?

Andorra is an actual country, one steeped in a history of border wars between Spain and France. Joanne and I had once talked about going there to retire someday, but this could never happen because of her untimely death. However the urge to retire there someday had never left me, so in 1994, when I sold the Nickelodeon, I took my new wife Nancy there to retire. We were shocked at how commercial it had become, and how much its beautiful little Capitol had changed for the worse. So we quickly headed for the Picos of Europa in the gorgeous Liebana region in Northern Spain, where we lived for six months in the village of Potes.

FQ: JoAnne loved her movies. I know you are an art theatre aficionado. Could you speak a bit about that and The Nickelodeon?

JoAnne and I had to finally terminate our thirteen-month long trip around the world for two reasons: because Zerky was growing up and needed a more stable environment, and because our money was running out and I needed a job. The solution to both these problems was for us to go back to California, where I soon came across a business opportunity in Santa Cruz, where I started the Nickelodeon Theatre, which is still going strong today. Like JoAnne's little "THE MOVIE" had been in San Francisco, the Nickelodeon was and still is an art theatre which back then meant mostly foreign language subtitled films. That way we got to go traveling all over the world again.

FQ: On a personal note, I must ask, what was Spielberg Castle like, or even Dachau? Places that once held so much pain? Were they more touristy, or still representative of the past?

Spielberg Castle, with all its dungeons and torture devices, was being used by the Communist government back then as a tourist attraction to make money, and also as a propaganda device to help along its puppet government, which the Russians had set up in Czechoslovakia shortly after World War II. Dachau, on the other hand had been truly a horror chamber during World War II when the Nazis were exterminating the Jews and the gypsies. Interestingly, most of the tourists Joanne and I and Zerky found there (Tarzan had to wait out in the car) were Jews, some of whom and some of their families had once been slated to be burned in the ovens there. It seems like to revisit your past is sometimes the best way to get away from it.

FQ: What is one place you never saw that you wish you would have seen? Is Mount Ararat still the one?

Well, we did see plenty of Mt. Ararat, from down below, but we truly wanted to transit the legendary Burma Road into China. Unfortunately the Assam link to it had been taken over by the jungle, so we had to settle for shipping our WB bus back to San Francisco and taking an airplane to Thailand and Hong Kong, from where we too a ship back to the real world of San Francisco. Tibet and Papua New Guinea and Africa had to wait.

To learn more about Letters to Zerky: A Father’s Legacy to a Lost Son…and a Road Trip Around the World please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Know Your Award Programs

There are oodles of award programs today, offering all sorts of "national" awards to help promote your book.  I've mentioned before that it's worth looking into nominating your book for several awards.  BUT, and it's a BIG BUT, know the program/research the program before sending along your hard earned money.  And yes, most of these awards require a "nominating fee."  Paying a fee does not mean the program is bogus, indeed, many well-known programs charge hefty fees.  For example, the very prestigious 'Children's Choices' Awards, co-sponsored by The International Reading Association and The Children's Book Council was charging $300/book for nominations from publishers who were not members a few years back (I don't know what they charge now).  But I can tell you from personal experience that that $300 was worth every penny when I won as the sales that came after winning were substantial.

What prompted me to write this post?  I just received an email from a relatively new award program (I think this is the second year it's been offered).  I'd already received a "Nominate Your Book Now!" email.  This email was actually looking for judges.  Huh?  You mean you've got an award program, are soliciting submissions (and money!) and don't have enough judges???  Apparently, if you can read, you're qualified to judge.  The instructions said, in part, "Just select your favorite category and you will get XXX to read and evaluate" (I removed the text that would identify this program.)  Do you really want to send your hard earned money, and your book, to Bubba Smith, who may have never reviewed/judged a book before in his life?  Not me.  I've seen too many of these contests where the placings are bizarre to say the least.  I've also reviewed quite a few books that won Bubba's Award - or one similar - and have to wonder how that book ever won an award.

So, nominate your book, but before you nominate, research!!!  See what others have to say.  Ask about such awards, search out the winners and get a feel for the sort of books that win.  You can also check out the websites of the award programs.  No website?  No way, run away!  I know one well-known award, but NOT well-respected, that gives EVERY book an award.  Check their website and you'll catch on quickly.  Lots and lots of winners, and hey, they match all the books that were nominated.  Wow, that's something to be proud of, huh?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Author Interview with Oleg Novinkov

Today we're talking with Oleg Novinkov, author of Afghan Boomerang

FQ: The fact that you were a Surgeon working in the combat zone of the Soviet-Afghan war put you on the front lines where you saw much suffering. How were you able to separate your work and the feelings that you had for these brave souls who you saved with your skills and, on the other hand, the enemy who inflicted the pain that they were going through?

We had to deal with the wounded and dead almost every day. Probably that is why my heart became somehow callous from the vast range of normal human emotions; I had only duty left.

FQ: I can see that you are extremely interested in comparing the two wars: Soviet-Afghan and United States-Afghan. Can you elaborate on some of the differences and also the things that were similar?

Some of similarities: Afghan terrain is still the same – harsh; lack of knowledge about Afghanistan history, people, religion, and rules; the Durand Line – a source of tribal territory conflicts; Afghani’s reaction to any occupier of their land – no tolerance of any invader; Afghanistan always was a historical cemetery for empires – and still open for the next empire; and finally the negative role of Pakistan for countries occupying Afghanistan.

Some of differences: USSR was invited by the Afghan Government to help Afghans to stabilize the internal situation; the USA invaded Afghanistan because of some terrorists – bad people in the eyes of the US – were hiding in Afghanistan; the USSR fought in Afghanistan against militants who were supported, trained, and financed by developed, wealthy countries; USA fights in Afghanistan as a part of the international coalition against the talibs who are fighting the occupiers for freedom of their country; during the Soviet stay in Afghanistan, the narcotraffic was minimal, during US presence in Afghanistan – skyrocketing narcotraffic; the Soviets provided huge – free of charge – help to Afghans, the USA provides help to Afghans based on pragmatic and geopolitical interests.

FQ: It is obvious that Afghanistan does not believe in Democracy and that apparently has not changed. Do you feel that no matter who comes into conflict with their government, they cannot change their attitude?

The long history of Afghanistan shows that it has been impossible to implant alternative ideologies in the Afghan culture such as previously attempted by the British and Soviets when they were in Afghanistan. Democracy, as understood in western countries, has been unacceptable to the Afghans.

FQ: You mentioned the film Charlie Wilson’s War many times in your book. It wasn’t a very sought after film in the United States if I recall. Do you feel that no matter what the media puts out there, that it is largely fiction instead of fact?

There is always another point of view available about the Soviet-Afghan War, which may be not as nice and neat as one told in Charlie Wilson’s War. Many stories distributed by western mass media attempt to neatly package the news, ignoring the horrors of war. It is a pity that not all people educate themselves on the facts and analyze events. Politics dictates its own terms but the results often breed ludicrous double standards in media. The movie appealed to the people who choose to believe that this womanizing, alcoholic congressman could initiate and lead an effort that would easily defeat a tremendous, slow-moving superpower – the USSR and its well trained and equipped military.

FQ: You mentioned that the United States took many actions to harm the USSR in the Soviet-Afghan war. Do you believe that there are really “innocents” when it comes to war?

No. In war, especially during combat, all the participants discard their cultural, civilized characteristics; they forget about good manners, courtesy, and respect. Life for them turns into a constant barrage of moments of survival in inhuman conditions. The ethics of a wolf pack dominate. There is one simple choice either they kill us or we kill them.

FQ: Speaking of films...have you ever seen or heard of the film Wag the Dog? That was an old movie that said and did the same things that were done in Charlie Wilson’s War but, was much more entertaining and entirely a work of fiction. Unlike Charlie Wilson's War, it was quite popular at the time. Do you feel that Americans only want to see such fictionalized entertainment?

I have heard about this 1997 movie, but did not watch it. In that movie, the war in Albania occurred, but in real life – perhaps, due to B. Clinton’s sexual scandal – the bombing of Yugoslavia happened – why not switch gears from a shameful subject to something what can be breaking news for a while – like war in Europe? Due to the new era in information technology, people want everything and now. Lev Tolstoy’s type of literature is already a history for the majority of people, including Americans. Nowadays people need more entertainment and movies deliver that, rather than deep thinking about the subject.

To learn more about Afghan Boomerang please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Happy Meals and Books

I think this is so cool - not sure why, really, but still....  McDonalds is going to be giving away millions of copies of the book "War Horse" in their happy meals.  Let's get those kids reading!  Here's the full story.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Morning Introductions

Welcome to the New Year and welcome to the first of 2012's "Monday Morning Introductions"!   Here's a sampling of the books that came in for review over the last week.  Check them out and then stop by Feathered Quill Book Reviews in a few weeks to read the reviews...

Promised Valley Rebellion by Ron Fritsch Prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them. When the farmers’ king refuses to allow the marriage of the coming-of-age prince to the daughter of the farmer who saved the king’s life in the last war with the hunters, her brother decides he has to help his sister and the prince, his boyhood friend, correct the flagrant injustice. That decision leads them and their youthful allies into a rebellion against the king and his officials, who rule the kingdom from their bluff-top town. Promised Valley Rebellion is the first of four Promised Valley novels asking whether civilization and history, with their countless heaven-sanctioned wars and genocides, could’ve begun differently.

Promised Valley War by Ron Fritsch In Promised Valley War, the individuals among two prehistoric peoples most curious about their “eternal” enemies, and most willing to treat them as their equals, nevertheless set the stage for what they’ve feared more than anything else: another horrifying war. Promised Valley War is the second in Ron Fritsch’s Promised Valley four-novel series, in which prehistoric farmers inhabit a fertile river valley they believe their gods promised them in return for their good behavior and obedience. Their enemies, hunters roaming the mostly barren hills beyond the mountains enclosing the valley, believe their gods gave it to them.

The Tides of Avarice by John Dahlgren Sylvester Lemmington used to read about cannibals, impenetrable jungles, lethal carnivores, mysterious fortune-tellers, voodoo magic, cutthroat pirates, shipwrecks, mutinies, spaceships and much else in his books, but he never thought he'd encounter them for real. Can Sylvester save his sweetheart, Viola, her tough-as-nails mom, and the other friends he's acquired along the way? Can he find his long-lost father, rescue his hometown of Foxglove from the murderous rule of its ruthless mayor, and discover true happiness? Oh, did we mention that Sylvester has mistakenly received the most sought after treasure map ever? This means he also has to escape from the cruelest and craziest pirate captain who ever sailed the seas of Sagaria--the horrifying Cap'n Terrigan Rustbane who will stop at nothing to get his map back. A map that leads to a treasure beyond the wildest dreams of avarice...It's kind of a tall order. But then, Sylvester is a librarian...and a lemming.

The Rocky Road to Romance by Janet Evanovich When the delightful, daffy Dog Lady of station WZZZ offered to take on the temporary job of traffic reporter, Steve Crow tried to think of reasons to turn Daisy Adams down! Perhaps he knew that sharing the close quarters of a car with her for hours would give the handsome program director no room to resist her quirky charms. He always favored low slung sports cars and high heeled women, but that was before he fell for a free spirit who caught crooks by accident, loved old people and pets, and had just too many jobs! Loving Daisy turned Steve's life upside down, especially once he adopted Bob, a huge dog masquerading as a couch potato...

Rainforest Animals Slithering snakes, exotic birds, playful monkeys, fierce tigers -- all of these animals call the rainforest home. Get ready for an up-close visit with some of the world's most amazing and rare creatures, as this colorful collection of photos takes you on a tour of the world's lush rainforests teeming with life. Animals from all over the world star in the bright and irresistable Snapshot Picture Library series. Gorgeous photography, ranging from dramatic to laugh-out-loud funny, will engage readers of any age, while young readers will particularly delight in the lively, easy-to-read, playful text.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Author Interview with Richard A. Johnson

Today we're talking with Richard A. Johnson, author of Field of Our Fathers: An Illustrated History of Fenway Park 

FQ: First, can you tell us a little about the title, Field of Our Fathers? The significance and why you chose that as your book's title.

I figured that most of the competing titles would be something like, Fenway 100, or A Centennial History of Fenway Park, etc. and I wanted a title that would both give the book shelf life beyond the centennial and convey the nostalgic nature of the park. I also wanted to make sure readers knew this was not just another history of the Red Sox.

FQ: There's a tremendous amount of research that has gone into this book. How long did you work on this project and where did you do find so many nuggets of history related to Fenway?

From the time I signed a contract it was roughly a year and a half of work but honestly it drew upon my nearly four decades as a writer and historian as well as my hundreds of trips to Fenway as a fan.
I have also been a collector of baseball publications and Fenway related artifacts for many years. It was nice to finally have a platform from which I could share them with readers.

Most of the research for this book was done in the micro-text department of the main branch of the Boston Public Library at Copley Square. That facility is nothing less than an "Alladin's Cave" of primary source material drawn from Boston's many daily newspapers. Three generations ago Boston boasted of seven daily papers as well as niche publications like the Afro-American Boston Guardian. All of these as well as newspapers and publications I discovered online were of help to me.
However, sometimes you simply get lucky and such was the case roughly a year ago when an old neighbor from my childhood home of Worcester, Mass called me at my office and wanted me to see some scrapbooks he acquired at an estate sale.

These turned out to be the scrapbooks and financial records of the famed Pare Marquette sports teams affiliated with a Knight of Columbus lodge in South Boston. Not only did Babe Ruth remain a director of the Pere Marquettes long after his sale to the NY Yankees but the team divided it's football games between Braves Field and Fenway Park.

Their story represented one of the breakthroughs for my book as I found evidence the team not only was a major financial supporter of local church related charities such as the Columbus Day Nursery but also was the bellewether for the NFL's arrival in Boston as they played the NFL Champion New York Giants at Fenway in November 1927. The Pere Marquette charitable efforts came more than a decade before the Catholic Worker Movement supported similar endeavors and their game with the Giants would form the basis of a nice Hollywood script.

I am great believer of the old adage that hard work begets luck and such was the case with the appearance of these invaluble scrapbooks from my buddy Moose Savage. I also had several similar experiences with locating items on EBay that helped me tell the story of America's oldest big league ballpark.

FQ: Was it hard deciding what to include/what not to include? Were there things you had to leave out due to space considerations?

Oh yes, there were several events that could have received more space such as FDR's final campaign speech in November 1944. I'd have loved to include the entire speech but I ran out of room. I tried to focus on the history most folks didn't know (including me until I began work in earnest) about Fenway such as the many boxing & wrestling, matches, collegiate & high school football, concerts and the like.

FQ: Would you give our readers a sneak peak at some of your favorite, lesser known tidbits about Fenway?

Here are a few...
*The national high school football championship games played between Everett (Ma) High School and Oak Park (Il) High School in 1912 and 1914. The '12 game was the first significant non-baseball event held at Fenway and the '14 game was an 80-0 win by Everett in a season in which they outscored their opponent's by an aggregate score of 600-0.
*The arrival of the three circus elephants purchased by the children of Boston for $6,700 comprised of contributions of nickels and dimes from 70,000 kids. Fenway was the venue where an overflow crowd of 50,000 kids and their parents welcomed the elephants to Boston amidst marching bands, politicians, jugglers, and clowns.
*The June 5, 1915 baseball/lacrosse doubleheader featuring the Red Sox versus the White Sox and the Boston Lacrosse Club versus the New York Lacrosse A.A. in the nightcap. The Red Sox won 4-2 and the Boston Lacrosse Club won by a score of 9-2.
*The Pere Marquette vs New York Giants football game in November 1927 that served as an "audition" for Boston's entry to the NFL.
*Glasgow Rangers 2-2 draw with the Boston Wonder Workers of the American Soccer league before a crowd of 10,000.
*On September 6, 1932 World Lightweight Champion Kid Chocolate defeats Steve Smith in a 10 round decision in one of the many bouts fought by black boxers at Fenway during the 20's and 30's.
*In 1932 alone there were 47 high school football games played at the park.
*The park was home to pro football's Redskins (NFL, 33-36), Shamrocks (original AFL,36-37), minor league Bears ('40), Yanks (NFL, 44-48) as well as the Patriots (Afl 63-68). Among the collegiate football teams that played "home" games at Fenway were Dartmouth, Tufts, Boston College, and Boston University.
*The Harlem Globetrotters played at Fenway in 1954 and 1955.
*The Boston Jazz Festival showcased such greats as Dizzy Gillispie and Ray Charles in 1959 and the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival was moved to Fenway where such stars as Stevie Wonder performed.
*Presidential candidates Barry Goldwater and Eugene McCarthy spoke to large crowds in 1964 and 1968 respectively.
*Soccer icon Pele and his club team, Santos FC, dazzle Boston fans as they score a 7-1 win over the hometown Boston Beacons in the lone season at Fenway Park.
*The park's centennial celebration begins with a series of high school and collegiate hockey games featuring men's and women's teams from across New England.

FQ: Okay, you talk about both Boston University and Boston College in your book so I have to ask, BU or BC? (This is a trick question - I have a child attending one of these schools).

BU..Several relatives are proud Terriers. No Eagles as yet.

FQ: On a related, but more serious note, there's chatter on the internet about having the 2012 Beanpot Tournament held at Fenway to commemorate the Park's anniversary. Any chance of this, or is it too late? What about 2013?

I think both are complete non-starters as the Beanpot is a Garden treasure.

FQ: I absolutely love the reproduced ticket stubs that are included in the book. Where did you find the originals?

Many I collected over the years and a couple were from The Sports Museum.

FQ: Fenway is not just another ball park for those of us living in New England. Is it the history behind the park that attracts us and makes us such obsessive supporters of the park or is there something more magical about those "eight acres of...centrally located but soggy land"?

Fenway is the field and park, not just of our fathers but of our mothers, brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandparents and friends. It binds us with our childhood and the precious history of the many teams and performers who've called it home. It has to be the most beloved piece of real estate in New England and the oldest and most storied ballpark in America.

To learn more about Field of Our Fathers: An Illustrated History of Fenway Park please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Author Interview with Brenda Faye Collie

Today we're talking with Brenda Faye Collie, author of Almost A Senior

FQ: While some might find the setting and family circumstances for Almost A Senior not very “happy,” it was, however, very realistic and surprisingly quite upbeat. Was this intentional?

Yes, it was intentional. I wanted to write a realistic story about a loving family.

FQ: Loresha is a very strong young woman, providing a good role model for teens trying to find their way. Is the character of Loresha based on anybody?

Loresha is a fictitious character, but some of the things that happen to her are taken from bits and pieces of real people in my life.

FQ: The relationship Loresha had with her brother Jason was very touching. They fought but they obviously loved each other. So often books just give us siblings who fight and don’t seem to care for each other. Do you feel this relationship was important to Loresha as she found her way in the world?

The relationship between Loresha and her brother I hoped would be seen as loving and positive. Despite being on probation he is the oldest and a role model for Loresha. He is also a high school graduate.

FQ: Loresha does make some bad decisions. Do you think readers will relate to what she’s going through, with friends, drugs, pushy boyfriends?

I hope readers will relate. I feel many young people face these choices. Perhaps in some way Loresha will help them make the right decisions.

FQ: What do you hope teens reading this story will walk away with? What message do you want to bring to your readers?

The message I want to bring to young readers is “reach for the stars.” They can become whatever they want to in life. I hope Loresha is an inspiration to young readers.

FQ: Jason’s final career choice was a bit surprising. Was this to show that it’s okay to be different?

Yes I hope the young reader through Jason and even Loresha learns to be proud of who you are. It’s alright to be different.

FQ: Any chance we’ll see a follow-up book with Loresha in her senior year in high school? Or perhaps heading off to college?

Yes, Almost a Senior is the first installment of a trilogy. In the second novel, College Freshman 101, we find Loresha in her first semester of college and the third novel, Look Out World, Here I Come, follows Loresha after college graduation.

Thank you Ellen for some great questions and your interest in our books. Brenda Collie, Scott Martin.
If anyone wants to buy a copy of this book now we have a few left from our marketing press run at $7.99 plus $2.39 for shipping and handling. Send correspondence to: Scott Martin, Daylight Books, 671 W. 193rd St. #4J, New York, NY 10040

To learn more about Almost A Senior please read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do You Hash???

If you have a Twitter account, do you use (or even know about) "hashtags"?  A hashtag (the pound sign #) is used in Twitter to mark popular words, or keywords, in your "tweet."  That way, if somebody is searching for that topic, your hashtag will lead the way.  It'll help followers find you/your Twitter account.  Here's a helpful article about the process:  What Are Hashtags?

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year - New Look

Thought I'd freshen up the site for the new year.  How do you like it?  Now I've just gotta get used to the new page/editing templates that "Blogger" made recently.  Why do I always click "update" and then regret the changes???  Argh!!!!

Hope you had an awesome New Year celebration!!!