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This is a feed for the Open Road Integrated Media Blog

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     In honor of Women's History Month, we are celebrating powerful voices in science fiction.

    “I got a letter that said, ‘We would like to invite you to give the Andrew Lang Lecture,’ and then the kicker came: ‘You would be the first woman to give the lecture,’ ” a surprised Jane Yolen says in this new video featuring female science fiction and fantasy authors. In celebration of Women’s History Month, Yolen joins other prominent authors in the field, such as Ellen Datlow, Elizabeth Hand, Kate Elliott, and N. K. Jemisin, to speak about being women writers, writing female characters, and the role models they look up to. 


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    “In space, no one can hear you scream” was the tagline of the epic Sigourney Weaver flick Alien. Well, they might have been able to hear the poor, tortured, isolated crew of the Nostromo if they had our alien abduction survival tips. Whether you find yourself in foreign territory that may as well be “alien” or with our sci-fi collection of ebooks, you will be ready when “they” come for you.  We present to you the survival guide for extraterrestrial abduction.

     

    1. Know what you are up against. Most alien abductions or foreign encounters aren’t random. In Tim Powers’s Dinner at Deviant’s Palace, a humble musician sets out on a dangerous quest to rescue his lost love from the clutches of a soul-devouring religious cult. How exactly does he come out with his face still attached while rescuing the girl, you ask? He is a former member of this  “alien” cult himself. Survival is contingent upon knowing the inside scoop, so study up!


    2. Exploit your special talents. FYI: Aliens love strange and supernatural abilities. If aliens abducted you, it would probably be for a reason that you would want to capitalize on and then use to get the heck out of Dodge. In Sarah Zettel’s Reclamation, Eric Born is a telekinetic member of the human race, which has scattered across the universe, powerless and oppressed. Eric survives by selling his talents to the mysterious galactic tyrants known as the Rhudolant Vitae, but he has never forgotten he belongs to the human race.

      3. Moan and whine. Whining is the new humming when you are nervous and up against the “Fish” alien invaders. Nicholas Seafort, the protagonist of David Feintuch’sSeafort Saga novels, can be a self-loathing, “I hate my life” louse of a man. All this mumbling and grumbling eventually gave him the power to try to take on his extraterrestrial foes and restore his life with the joy he once took for granted.

    4. Trim the fat. In order to survive an alien abduction, you will need to take precautions, and those precautions include looking out for you and you alone—even before the aliens descend upon you. In Allen Steele’sAngel of Europa, a space expedition exploring Jupiter’s moons has gone awry. The lone survivor is the beautiful, fiery Evangeline Chatelain. She claims that a terrifying space monster attacked the ship; however, the astronaut sent to investigate thinks he might have a crazed killer on his hands. We do, too, because in space, the only person you should be worrying about is you—let everyone else get eaten by aliens.

    5. Be open minded. If you get to know your captors and their interests, there is a chance you can be the mediator between Earth and your newfound alien species. If you get to know them well enough, you might never want to return to Earth! In Timothy Zahn’sWarhorse,the space horses are among the most coveted of species. The Tampy aliens don’t really want to share their understanding of these special creatures with humans, but with a tenuous peace treaty in place between the species, the first jointly helmed space horse will undertake its first mission. The Warhorse could become a beacon of peace.

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    Th Kiss

    British author Patricia Wentworth is best known for creating the iconic governess-turned-sleuth Miss Maud Silver, who featured in thirty-two novels published between 1928 and 1961. But before Patricia Wentworth, grande dame of British crime, entered the scene, there was Patricia Wentworth, romance novelist. The masterful prose that would later infuse her page-turning whodunits was first used to unfurl spellbinding tales of love. Going back into the archives, we present two of Wentworth’s earliest works, through which readers can experience the first literary forays of a distinguished storyteller.

    A Marriage Under TerrorA Marriage Under the Terror

    Set during the French Revolution, A Marriage Under the Terror is the story of nineteen-year-old orphan Aline de Rochambeau, who is unhappily engaged to the foppish Vicomte Selincourt. But when Aline’s married aunt and Selincourt are unmasked as lovers and arrested for treason, the young noblewoman’s situation grows even more desperate. Alone in a Paris engulfed in revolt, Aline has no hope—until she meets the dashing freedom fighter Jacques Dangeau. But can an aristocrat and a revolutionary survive long enough to love?

    The Fire WithinThe Fire Within

    In this tale of the heart, a passionate young woman and her married sister compete for the affections of a handsome doctor. With a dash of mysticism and a hint of murder, The Fire Within is a compelling love story in its own right and a revealing glimpse into the genesis of the indomitable Miss Silver.


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    In 2012, President Obama marked the fiftieth anniversary of the beginning of America’s involvement in the Vietnam War by declaring March 29 Vietnam Veterans Day. The purpose was to “honor the more than 3 million Americans who served,” “pay tribute to those we have laid to rest,” and “reaffirm our dedication to showing a generation of veterans the respect and support of a grateful nation.” Unlike World War II veterans, who came home as heroes, many of those who returned from Vietnam received a hostile response stateside. As Alan Cutter wrote in the Guardian: “My tour of duty in Vietnam ended in August of 1972. I flew back to my family in Maine; they were glad to see me, but not even they said ‘thank you’ or ‘welcome home.’ Even if they had, I wouldn’t have known how to respond.” This attitude of hostility has meant that many Vietnam veterans feel that their service was not recognized. Although Obama’s proclamation only applied to March 29, 2012, more and more states are recognizing March 29 as a day of remembrance for their servicemen who fought in Vietnam. To honor these brave Americans, here are five books that examine the role of the military in Vietnam, and the veterans who emerged from the war.

    Just $1.99 in March!Follow @WarriorsPublish for a giveaway on Friday

    Goodbye Vietnam by William Broyles
    At the dedication of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in 1982, former marine William Broyles was flooded with emotion. He realized he needed to return to Vietnam and confront what he had been through. The result is Goodbye Vietnam, a haunting memoir of Broyles’s journey to understand who he had fought against. Broyles interviews dozens of Vietnamese nationals, from the generals who ran the war to the men and women who fought it.

    Valor in Vietnam by Allen B. Clark
    Who better to tell the story of Vietnam than the people who lived it? Valor in Vietnam focuses on nineteen stories of Vietnam—tales of celebrated figures in the veteran community, compelling war narratives, vignettes of battle, and insight into the emotional impact on the combatants.

    Carry Me Home by John M. Del Vecchio
    For those returning from Vietnam, there is a final battle to be fought on the home front. In Carry Me Home, John M. Del Vecchio, author of the Vietnam classic The 13th Valley, examines the lives of a group of soldiers returning to America and the battles they face.

    Take Back the Night by Dennis Foley
    Take Back the Night is the final book in the Jim Hollister series, a trilogy of Vietnam War novels by Dennis Foley, who served in Vietnam. The novel examines the end of the war and captures the sense of disillusionment that set the tone for withdrawal and for the retreat of Vietnam veterans ever since.

    Born on the Fourth of July by Ron Kovic
    Robert Scheer of the Los Angeles Times says it best: “There is no book more relevant in the 21st century to healing the wound of Vietnam."


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  • 03/25/14--06:42: IDW: No Man's Land
  •  

    Introduction by Jonathan Maberry

    So… ZOMBIES VS. ROBOTS.
         I’m a guy.
         I’m a pop-culture geek going back to when I snuck into the movies at age ten to see the world premiere of Night of the Living Dead back in 1968. The original Star Trek was still on TV. So was Lost in Space.
         Zombies.
         Robots.
         Seriously?
         I’m not sure if there was anything more solidly designed to hit all of my fanboy buttons than a book that combines these two things.
         Nowadays I write novels about zombies. And I write novels about robots.
         And I’ve been reading the Zombies vs Robots comic since 2005 when I saw the first issue on the rack at my local comic book shop. I grabbed it, read it, loved it, and added it to my pull list.
         Now we roll forward almost a decade and IDW has tapped some of my favorite writers—including several who are close friends and occasional creative partners of mine—for a prose anthology of brand new stories.
        ZOMBIES VS ROBOTS: NO MAN’S LAND.
         Kid in a candy shop moment.
         Dig the lineup. ZVR co-creator Chris Ryall is joined by Jon McGoran, Hank Schwaeble, John Skipp & Cody Goodfellow, Bobby Nash, Mark Morris, Stephen Graham Jones and Stephen Dedman.
         Then consider the content. These stories delve into the backstory of the global conflict and then dig deep wells into the implications of this dysfunctional world of bloodshed and turmoil. Each story comes at it from a totally different perspective while still honoring the sensibilities and structure of the ZVR world. That’s a tough circus to pull off. I’ve been in themed anthos before, and I’ve edited several. This is easier to get wrong than right, and I have to admit I had some doubts as to how well the visually compelling ZVR stories would translate to prose.
         The good news is actually great news. The stories are killer.
         Absolutely killer.
         And that’s not just the writer-editor in me talking. That’s the fanboy. That’s the geek part of me who sets a very high standard for pop culture entertainment.
         Chris Ryall kicks it off with “Meaner Than a Junkyard Dog,” which peels back the layers of secrecy about military science in the early days of the Z-virus outbreak. Jonathan McGoran dishes out a pair of related tales about the consequences of using a discarded anti-zombie “battlesuit.” Mark Morris spins a very weird futurist Robinson Crusoe yarn with a tale about a castaway and an overzealous robot. Hank Schwaeble takes us below the waves to add a wild new chapter to the Zombies vs. Robots vs. Amazons storyline from the later comics. Bobby Nash lets us follow a band of teenagers fighting for survival in a ruined world.
         Stephen Graham Jones gives us an impressionist meditation on zombie existence. Stephen Dedman spins a tale of dangerous elitism and mad science. And John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow team up for a gut-wrenching tale of survival that questions the nature of what it means to be human during an apocalypse.
         Each story is juicy and delicious, but these aren’t low-hanging fruit. Each story is a stretch, both in structure and subject. These are tales strong enough to stand alone, apart from the umbrella of a popular series of comics or the company of other good stories. Each one is A-game material.
         Again, not always the case with anthologies.
         Absolutely the case here.
         So, the writer in me is well-pleased.
         The editor in me is deeply impressed.
         But the fanboy …?
         Damn, the fanboy in me is delighted and thoroughly satisfied.
         Zombies vs. Robots.
         Oh, hell yes.

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    A man may work from sun to sun, but women’s work is never done!

    Knitting has been an ideal handwork for women over the past centuries. Knitting is portable, can easily be put down to rock the cradle or stir the porridge. Unlike weaving or blacksmithing, knitting does not require a woman to be stationary or strapped in to her work. True, it is inconvenient to interrupt a row or have to drop one’s work while turning a heel, but it can be done without much fuss.

    The other side of the coin is that because of its portability and locking stitch structure, knitting can be done while doing other things. The historical record brings us pictures of women with loads of firewood tied to their backs, and women under the yoke of milk pails, knitting as they go. It is easy to see where a woman’s attention could be divided by competing needs: to see that her children’s feet were warm and that the milk was collected from the cows in the pasture; why not do both? Maybe they had to in order to keep up.

    knitspeak 

     

    We might wonder, then, about the male shepherds of the late eighteen hundreds in France, knitting while on stilts, or Sarah Orne Jewett’s lonely old sailor in The Country of the Pointed Firs, knitting in his ship-shape cottage in Maine around the same time.

    I would venture to say, and could be argued out of it, that it has been acceptable to society for men to do one thing at a time. In most of Judeo-Christiandom, social validation was won just by dint of birth as a male. With the inborn curse of original sin, Judeo-Christian women had to run to catch up.

    As long ago as the first century, a virtuous Roman noblewoman was one who spun her own thread, even if she had slaves to do it. This connotation of virtue has come down to us over time. Women’s hands are not to be idle; even while sitting by the fire after a long day of tending to the domestic side of the economy, a woman had to be seen to make herself useful. For many (but not all) women, knitting has been a relaxing task and a calming respite from other labors.

    Happy Women’s History Month!

    Andrea Berman Price is the author of Knitspeak


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    Image Map

    Get ready for weekends at the ball park with baseball-centric children’s and young adult ebooks from our starting lineup of authors: John R. Tunis, Fred Bowen, Chris Lynch, Dori Hillestad Butler, Gertrude Chandler Warner, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder. With a special price of $2.99 each, these reads make it hard not to hit a home run. So batter up! This sale ends March 31.

    From Fred Bowen:

    Dugout Rivals: Jake Daley loves playing shortstop for the Red Sox in the Woodside Baseball League. Most of all, he loves to win. But Jake’s excitement begins to fade when new kid Adam Hull joins the team and dominates every game. Jake can’t help but wonder: Do he and the other players even matter now? fred bowen ebooks

    The Golden Glove: Jamie has the perfect glove. No matter the play, he can make the catch. But when the golden glove mysteriously disappears, so do Jamie’s confidence and his baseball skills. Was the glove really the secret of his success?

    Playoff Dreams: Brendan is a star player on a team going nowhere. But when his uncle takes him to a game at Wrigley Field, an unexpected event makes Brendan see his team in a new light. Could his playoff dreams come true?

    Throwing Heat: Jack throws the fastest pitches in the league, but lately his blazing fastballs haven’t been enough to stay ahead of the batters. His coach wants him to slow down and learn new pitches to throw strikes, but can Jack resist bringing the heat?

    T. J.’s Secret Pitch: When T. J. learns about one of baseball’s early heroes, Pittsburgh Pirate Rip Sewell, he decides to try Sewell’s secret weapon. But will T. J.’s teammates give him the chance to prove that he can be a pitcher? And will T. J.’s secret pitch help lead his team to victory?

    Perfect Game: Isaac learns the true meaning of a perfect game when he volunteers with a team of developmentally disabled players. 

    dori butlerFrom Dori Hillestad Butler:

    Sliding into Home: An adolescent girl learns that realizing a dream requires a good deal more than stubborn, steely resolve as she risks everything to follow her heart.

    From John R. Tunis:

    The Kid from Tomkinsville: Rookie pitcher Roy Tucker is full of hope for his first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers—and hope might be what the team needs most.

    john r. tunisThe Kid Comes Back: Roy Tucker left the Dodgers to become a war hero—and now he’s fighting to get back onto the baseball diamond. 

    World Series: In only his second year in the major leagues, Roy Tucker is thrilled to be playing in a World Series—but with the Brooklyn Dodgers, victory is never certain. 

    Rookie of the Year: The Brooklyn Dodgers finally have a shot at the pennant—if they can stay together as a team.

    Highpockets: Cecil “Highpockets” McDade is known for his ego, his ambition, and his batting average—but a freak accident may help him discover what’s really important.

    chris lynchFrom Chris Lynch:

    Gold Dust: Baseball-loving seventh grader Richard has hopes of turning himself and the new kid, Napoleon, into the best baseball players Boston has seen since the Gold Dust Twins.

    From Gertrude Chandler Warner: boxcar

    The Mystery at the Ball Park: A Boxcar Children Special: Jesse and Violet are selected to play on the local baseball team; Henry gets a job helping the coach; and Benny becomes a batboy. But when a special bat is stolen and Jesse’s favorite glove disappears, it’s up to the Boxcar Children to solve the mystery and save the team.

    snyderFrom Zilpha Keatley Snyder:

    The Diamond War: It’s the girls against the boys when the fight for a baseball diamond at Castle Court erupts into an all-out war.


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    It was the little girl in her miniature hospital bed who turned my focus away from the story I was reading to knitting. An ancient-faced toddler. Her hair brittle. Her pale skin papery thin.

    November 14, 2007. University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinic’s library. I had been invited there to do a reading and an activity for Children’s Book Week. For the hospital’s youngest patients.

    Readings and visits to schools, libraries, or anywhere kids are, is what children’s book authors do. It’s what I do. What I have done for over twenty years. But never before at a hospital. And never with really sick children. 

    We stalled a bit in the hallway. First carefully examining an exhibit of butterflies executed in a variety of media. Then checking out a legion of highly individualistic sock monkeys on view in the glass windows of the offices lining the opposite wall. A hospital fundraising effort.

    Winding our way into the library, my arms laden with books, and Peggy lugging a huge plastic container filled with supplies, we were greeted by the librarian. I scoped out a reading spot, and organized a display of my books. Peggy found the worktables and unloaded materials.

    Eve and Smithy: An Iowa Tale. One of my early picture books.

    “On the corner of Dodge and Dubuque, past four cornfields, seventeen pigs, and a university, is Eve’s house,” I began, opening the book so all could see the pictures.

     knitting

    Maybe it was a squeaky wheel. Or the slight flutter of the page that caused me to look up. To see the little girl in her miniature hospital bed. Her young aide wheeled her closer in. Neatly covering her bed was a small afghan. Knit in baby pinks and blues, variegated with white, green, and yellow. Colors that make me think about babies and the joy that always surrounds their presence.

    I kept on reading. Showing the pictures, turning the pages. But my mind was on that afghan, knowing scattered among the beds and wards and clinics of the vast University of Iowa Hospital complex were more afghans, and preemie hats, and chemo hats and healing shawls and mounds of items crafted by scores of capable hands. Years of reading and writing about knitting has given me a peek at the edges of the enormous expanse of these kindhearted labors.

    The pastel hand-knit afghan on a very sick child’s bed started me thinking if a pattern for healing and for hope and for peace could be written, and sent out to the universe of those generous folks who ply their needles to aid unknown souls, baskets and trunks, cars and trucks would soon be filled. With healing and hope and peace. In a room of sick children, on a gray November day, that image filled me with a great sense of joy. In the presence of such a spirit of giving, the world is indeed a beautiful place.

    When Barbara Cooney’s legendary character Miss Rumphuis is a small child, she tells her grandfather, “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live by the sea.”

    Her grandfather reminds her of the third thing she must do. Something to make the world more beautiful. Like bringing comfort to the sick. Stitch by stitch.

     

    Make a difference. Looking for an organization to donate your handicrafts to? Here are a few:

    • The Preemie Project. This charity donates baby items to families at the University of Iowa Hospital.
    • The Red Scarf Project. The Orphan Foundation of America sends care packages to foster teens all over America. Show them you care by sending a scarf.
    • Warm Up America! Foundation. Knit or crochet squares, sew them up with some friends, and donate them locally. 

    Michelle Edwards is the author of A Knitter's Home Companion.


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    Colosseum 

    Italian author Simone Sarasso has written Colosseum, an exciting novel about Roman gladiators in the first century.

    Why the hell write a book about gladiators now, in the twenty-first century? That’s what I call a question.

    ’Cause I’m Italian, folks. And ever since I started writing novels ten years ago, I wrote about the contradictions that have torn my country apart, from the age of Domitian ’till the present day.

    Power and loss of power. Privileges that come from gold. Innocence and slavery.

    From the dawn of the empire, Rome was the center of the world, a symbol of magnificence and corruption, morality and paradox.

    Just like it is today.

    The only difference between the past and the present day is the game that powerful people use to entertain the masses to keep ’em quiet while they play another game.

    The big one.

    Nowadays, social networks, TV, and celebrity scandals keep the audience busy enough not to watch what’s going on in the control center.

    Two thousand years ago, another formula did the same job: panem et circenses.

    Bread and games: two men in the arena, struggling for their own lives.

    Hundreds of people watching, shouting, forgetting everything but their thirst for blood.

    With their mouths full of free bread, a lovely present from you know who.

    If death turns into a sport, if your national pastime is slaughter and not baseball, if you are hungry enough . . . why should you worry about anything else? Why should you worry, dude?

    The desire to answer this question was why, in the early twenty-first century, I decided to write about ancient gladiators. Reading Colosseum, the story of two slaves turned into gods of the arena, you’ll discover that the answer is not as simple as you thought, people . . .

    I hope, from the bottom of my heart, you enjoy every single page.

     -- Simone Sarasso

     


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    Jeremy Renner may have replaced Matt Damon in the latest installment of the Robert Ludlum's™ Bourne series, but that doesn’t mean Jason Bourne has stepped out of the picture. Did you know that there are nine (count ’em) Bourne novels beyond the trilogy? They were all written by this man:

    Eric Van Lustbader 

    Eric Van Lustbader inherited the Bourne legacy (get it?) after Robert Ludlum’s death in 2001. But Lustbader is no ghostwriter; he is an immensely successful novelist in his own right, and the first three tales in his beloved Nicholas Linnear series are now available as ebooks!

    The Ninja by Eric Van LustbaderThe Ninja introduces us to our hero. Born to a British father and a Chinese mother, Linnear was raised in Japan, where he mastered ninjutsuthe ancient art of the ninja. Years later, he has found success in the advertising business, as well as love with a beautiful woman, when a coworker is found murdered by Japanese throwing star. There is a ninja on the loose in New York City, and as the body count rises, Linnear must revisit the darkness of his past to triumph over a present-day vendetta. The Miko by Eric Van Lustbader

    Linnear returns in The Miko.The suspicious death of his best friend brings him to Tokyo on a path to revenge. He sets his trap, taking a job for the billionaire industrialist who ordered the murder. But Linnear finds far more to worry about than the intricacies of Japanese business; he is being pursued by a miko—a female assassin whose beauty is matched only by her skill in combat. In this tangle of corporate intrigue, international espionage, and hedonistic sex, Linnear might have to put revenge on hold if he is to leave Japan alive.

    White Ninja by Eric Van LustbaderIn White Ninja, the series’ third entry, a sadistic killer is mutilating women, leaving their bodies in Tokyo’s back alleys and sex clubs—and Linnear is the only man who can stop him. But Linnear is battling an illness that has left him Shiro Ninja—stripped of his power and discipline—and he fears he may not be able to summon the strength required to keep his family from becoming the murderer’s next target. 

    Commended for its enthralling combination of crime, suspense, and Japanese mysticism, Lustbader’s Nicholas Linnear series is sure to be a cross-cultural thrill ride.


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    Open Road Media has just released four Vietnam War novels by Dennis Foley as ebooks. We spoke to him about how he became a writer and his experiences during the Vietnam War.

    How did you become a novelist? Was writing something you always wanted to do?

    No, writing was the last thing on my mind in grade school, high school, college, and graduate school. After I got out of the army I found myself working in Hollywood wearing several hats, from producer to technical advisor. One day I found myself in a position where a script was needed in a hurry and I was the only one around who could write it. So at thirty-eight I discovered writing. I didn’t start working on novels until my union, the Writers Guild of America, went on strike. Prohibited by union rules from writing screenplays and teleplays during the strike, I tried my hand at a novel. And that was half a dozen novels ago.

    How did you become involved in the Vietnam War? Did you join the army or were you drafted?

    I was drafted right out of high school. This was a couple years before Vietnam really heated up. And when it came time for me to get out of the army, I had no money to go to college. So I applied for infantry officer candidate school and was accepted. My thinking was that I could put away some money while going to OCS, and even more during the six months after graduation that I was obligated to spend on active duty.

    That was the plan. But just a few weeks after entering OCS, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident occurred and all of our obligations were extended from six months to indefinite. So a year after graduating, I found myself as a recon platoon leader in the 101st Airborne in Vietnam. And I spent the better part of the next ten years shuttling back and forth to Southeast Asia until the war’s end.

    Is there something about the Vietnam War, or the military in general, you think people don’t understand or grasp or appreciate as much as they should?

    Since going to an all-volunteer army in 1972, fewer and fewer Americans have members of their families who served in war- or peacetime. So their understanding of soldiers diminishes each year we have a volunteer force.

    Where did the idea for the character of Jim Hollister come from? Are there autobiographical elements?

    I held all of the same jobs that Hollister does and knew well the officers I replaced and those who replaced me. As such, the Jim Hollister character is a collection of fictionalized personal experiences and those of other officers who held the same jobs.

    What is the most important thing you want your readers to get out of reading your books?

    Since my main focus is fiction, what I most want to do is provide escape and entertainment for the reader. That’s it.


    Find out more about Dennis Foley here


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    Scoop up the ebooks below, on sale from $1.99 from participating retailers during April. Click on each cover to learn more.

     

    Upstairs at the White House: My Life with the First Ladiesby J. B. West

    In Upstairs at the White House, chief usher J. B. West offers an absorbing and novel glimpse at America’s first families, from the Roosevelts to the Kennedys and the Nixons. Alive with anecdotes ranging from the quotidian (Lyndon B. Johnson’s showerheads) to the tragic (the aftermath of John F. Kennedy’s assassination), West’s book is an enlightening and rich account of the American history that took place just behind the Palladian doors of the North Portico. Buy Upstairs at the Whitehouse from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    The Group by Mary McCarthy

    A novel that stunned the world when it was first published in 1963, Mary McCarthy’s The Group found acclaim, controversy, and a place atop the New York Times bestseller list for nearly two years for its frank and controversial exploration of women’s issues, social concerns, and sexuality. A blistering satire of the mores of an emergent generation of women, The Group is McCarthy’s enduring masterpiece, still as relevant, powerful, and wonderfully entertaining fifty years on. Buy The Group from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    To Die Forby Joyce Maynard

    A local weather reporter will do anything to become famousshe will even murder her own husband. Told through a series of recollections by twenty-four characters, To Die For, which inspired a movie of the same name starring Nicole Kidman and directed by Gus Van Sant, is a razor-sharp satire of a celebrity-obsessed culture, and the story of one woman’s all-consuming pursuit of fame. Buy To Die For from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    Secrets of Power Negotiating: Inside Secrets From a Master Negotiator (15th Anniversary Edition) by Roger Dawson 

    Power Negotiating teaches that the way you negotiate can get you everything you want and still convince the other side that they also won. Secrets of Power Negotiating covers every aspect of the negotiating process with practical, proven advice, from beginning steps to critical final moves: how to recognize unethical tactics, key principles of the Power Negotiating strategy, why money is not as important as everyone thinks, negotiating pressure points, understanding the other party and gaining the upper hand, and analyses of different negotiating styles. Buy Secrets of Power Negotiating from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    The Young Lionsby Irwin Shaw

    The Young Lions describes the experiences of soldiers fighting in World War II from the perspectives of a Nazi, an American film producer, and a Jewish boy. The inspiration for the famous film starring Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, and Dean Martin, Irwin Shaw’s classic novel stands among the best fictional depictions of World War II. Buy The Young Lions from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.com, Google Play, or Kobo.

     

     The Greek Coffin Mysteryby Ellery Queen

    America’s master of deduction, Ellery Queen, has made his name by combining dazzling feats of pure reason with the old-fashioned legwork that comes with being the son of a New York cop. In The Greek Coffin Mystery, Queen tracks down the missing will of a famous deceased art dealer.Buy The Greek Coffin Mystery from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     Saigonby Anthony Grey

    Joseph Sherman first visits Saigon, the capital of French colonial Cochin-China, in 1925 on a hunting expedition with his father, a US senator. He is lured back again and again as a traveler, a soldier, and then as a reporter by his fascination for the exotic land and for Lan, a mandarin’s daughter he cannot forget. At once a story of adventure, love, war, and political power, Saigon presents an enthralling and enlightening depiction of twentieth-century Vietnam. Buy Saigonfrom Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     Binary by Michael Crichton writing as John Lange

    State Department intelligence agent John Graves is tracking John Wright—a crazed millionaire who is about to unleash the greatest domestic threat Graves’s agency has ever faced. Can Graves stop Wright before he detonates a nerve gas weapon at the Republican National Convention, potentially killing one million Americans—including the president? Buy Binary from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

     Canal House Cooking Volume N˚ 3by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton

    Canal House Cooking Volume N° 3: Winter & Spring contains the perfect recipes to share with your friends and family as you welcome warmer weather. Recipes for favorites like marmalade, cannelloni, and lamb will make you want to run into the kitchen and start cooking. Buy Canal House Cooking Volume N° 3 from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    The Man in the Woodsby Rosemary Wells

    As if her first day at a new high school isn’t overwhelming enough, Helen witnesses a car crash after school, caused by a rock thrown through the window. She sees a man in the woods by the crash, and when the police arrest one of her classmates, she is sure they have the wrong person. Will she be able to find the true identity of the man in the woods before it’s too late? Buy The Man in the Woods from Amazon.com, the Apple iBookstore, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     

    My Nature Is Hunger: New and Selected Poems, 1989-2004by Luis J. Rodríguez

    Over his three-decade career as a poet, novelist, and memoirist, Luis J. Rodríguez has earned acclaim for his remarkable ear for the voices of the city. For Rodríguez’s subjects, the city is all-consuming, devouring lives, hopes, and the dreams of its citizens even as it flourishes with possibility. “Out of my severed body / the world has bloomed,” and out of Rodríguez’s stirring vision, so has beauty. Buy My Nature Is Hunger from Amazon.com, Barnesandnoble.comGoogle Play, or Kobo.

     


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    Mysteries are often full of cons, criminals, and villains trying to pull the wool over your eyes, but you’ll be no one’s April fool when you curl up with the hilarious reads in our collection of funny detective stories below.

    ls msMcNally’s Secret by Lawrence Sanders

    Inveterate playboy Archy McNally gets paid to make discreet inquiries for Palm Beach’s power elite. Today’s client is Lady Cynthia Horowitz, a nasty piece of work who, six husbands later, lives in a mansion that looks like Gone With the Wind’s Tara transplanted to southern Florida. A block of priceless 1918 US airmail stamps has gone missing from her wall safe, and McNally will have to do some fancy footwork to navigate a thickening maze of sex, lies, scandal, and blackmail while hiding his own family’s skeletons.

    Drawing Dead by Pete HautmanPH DD

    Joe Crow, former husband, police officer, and coke addict, has only one vice remaining: poker. One night he gets into trouble and winds up in debt to the drug-addled slimeball Dickie Wicky. As repayment, Crow agrees to find out whether Dickie’s wife, Catfish, is running around on him. But Catfish has troubles of her own, and Crow finds himself drawn into the dangerous Minnesota underworld of murder and counterfeit comic books. Maybe Crow should have thrown this catfish back.

    PB YKYellowstone Kelly by Peter Bowen

    Historically, Luther “Yellowstone” Kelly had one of the longest and strangest careers in the Old West. In Yellowstone Kelly: Gentleman and Scout, Peter Bowen takes an already outsize personality and makes it larger than life. Kelly is tracking wolves with the Nez Percé while trying actively to avoid contact with just about everyone else, but his plan fails when he is hired as a guide for a buffalo hunt. The Indian and Zulu Wars that follow were definitely not in the contract.

    The Pot Thief Mysteries by J. Michael Orenduff Pot Thief

    Hubie Schuze is a pottery geek. He finds, digs up, and deals ancient Native American pottery with his partner in sleuthing, Susannah Inchaustigui, who shares his penchant for margaritas and old movies—and who has similar relationship issues. When their involvement with ancient ceramics invariably connects them to a host of crimes, Hubie and Susannah call on esoteric texts to get out of hilariously uncomfortable situations.

    DuffyDuffy by Dan Kavanaugh

    Duffy is not your ordinary hard-boiled private eye. He’s a bisexual ex–police officer with an unerring knack for finding himself in London’s strangest, seediest mysteries. Duffy, the series’ first installment, finds him in Soho, his old beat, avenging a murdered housecat. The feline was involved in an extortion case between a businessman and London’s underworld kingpin. Really. Comfort Station

    Comfort Station by Donald E. Westlake

    Look past the grandeur of the famous New York Public Library and you will see the true architectural marvel of Forty-Second Street: the comfort station. A small, modest building, its toilets and urinals provide a haven for rich and poor alike. The restroom’s keeper is the meek Mo Mowgli, whose only trouble is chronic tardiness, but when a cop, a mobster, a countess, and a dictator descend on Mo’s territory, no stall is too small for adventure.

    The Grub-and-StakersThe Grub-and-Stakers House a Haunt by Charlotte MacLeod writing as Alisa Craig

    Zilla Trott, a widow living in the pleasant town of Lobelia Falls, is pouring her cat some tea when she is rudely interrupted by the appearance of a drifter in her kitchen. His name is Hiram Jellyby and he was once the best mule driver in town—until he was killed nearly a century ago. Now he’s back and looking for a proper burial, and who better to turn the soil than Lobelia Falls’ finest: Zilla and the rest of Dittany Monk’s fearless Grub-and-Stake Gardening and Roving Club.


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     science-ficiton-and-fantasy-banner

    In honor of National Poetry Month, please enjoy a story in six sonnets by our very own acclaimed science fiction author Tim Powers.

    Sonnets

    by Tim Powers

     

    I

     

    The nuns had mentioned it, in school. They said,

    In more or less these words, “You’re better off

    Taking up drink, or even dope, instead.”

    Being a kid, and never one to scoff

    (At least not openly) at their advice,

    I made a show of humoring the Lord

    While secretly indulging in the vice

    They warned againstid est, the Ouija board.

     

    I’d heard that you could talk to folks who’d died,

    By sliding this device from letter to letter.

    You couldn’t see them, but they couldn’t hide

    All mute beneath their gravestones. It worked better,

    I found, to do the thing by candle-light,

    In the dead-silent middle of the night.

     ouija-board

    II

     

    And did I hear from ghosts? Well, not at first.

    The “planchette” (that’s the gadget that you slide)

    Is for the ghosts to move, not you. The worst

    Mistake beginners make is to decide

    The message halfway through, andlike someone

    Impatient with a stuttererpresume

    To end the sentence for him, jump the gun:

    You’ve blown it then, the message won’t resume.

     

    Passivity’s the keybut not a key

    For you to open anything they’d hide.

    It's in the “hands” of someone else, and he

    (or she, or it), who has already died,

    Is now awake againa “person” who

    Is holding now the key that unlocks you.

    [Has got hold of?]

      

    III

     

    But no one told me that part. That I found,

    One night, when I relaxed and let the ghost

    Just push the thing whichever way around

    The board it pleased, and I was more engrossed

    With watching the planchette swing to and fro

    Than reading what it spelled. It made my eyes

    Grow blurrythere I sat, too tired to know

    That really this was meant to hypnotize.

     

    I heard my fingers snap, and sat upright;

    Some hours had passedI couldn’t now recall

    A word the thing had spelled. The cold daylight

    Showed me a paper covered with my scrawl

    The lines in columns there were all the same:

    A hundred times I’d written out my name.

     

    IV

     

    That was obscurely frightening, and I threw

    The board straight in the trash; but late that night

    (Early next morning, really), damp with dew

    And blinking in a streetlamp’s lunar light,

    I woke up in the alley, pawing through

    The garbage till I found the thing again.

    And something was elated to renew

    Our link, across the gulfs of where and when.

     

    What could I do? I brought it back inside.

    There the planchette was, but it couldn’t wait

    For thatinstead I watched my fingers slide

    And tap across the board; I’d hesitate,

    Only to be yanked backand so I read

    Its message: IAMYOUANDIAMDEAD.

     candle-light

    V

     

    My voice was still my ownI firmly told

    (Then begged) the entity to let me go;

    That was a laugh. By then the thing controlled

    My arms and legs, and now it could forgo

    The board entirely. Snatching up a pen,

    It scribbled on the wall: We aged and died,

    But I’ve come back to have our life again,

    Over and over, pushing you aside.

     

    I struggled, or I tried to, anyway.

    But heor older me whom I’d called back,

    Whose fare I evidently had to pay

    Was crowding me and taking up the slack

    So quickly that in moments it was done:

    He had a body now, and I had none.

     

    VI

     

    Eventually he’ll grow old and die

    Again, and then again, and every time

    He’ll find the youthful me eager to try

    The game the nuns considered such a crime.

    Sometimes I hope to serve him tit-for-tat

    And work the gambit back on him; but then

    Remind myself that he’s too smart for that

    He’ll never touch a Ouija board again.

     

    But maybe, in those years he stole from me,

    He’ll marry, as I never got to do;

    I’ll watch from this dark Limbo, and if he

    Should (not unlikely) have a child or two,

    And one of them should see a board somewhere

    And touch it, even brieflyI’ll be there.

     

    creepy-shadow-sonnets

     


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    Image Map

    With Passover fast approaching, children may have a lot of questions: “Why do we celebrate it?” “What do the traditions represent?” “What happens at the seder?” “Why do we ask the Four Questions?” And most importantly, “Where is the afikomen?!”  Luckily, we have the perfect source to help with these questions. With colorful art, rhyming text, and read-aloud narration, these picture books explain Passover in a fun and engaging way for young readers.

    Introduction to the Seder and the Four Questions

    passover books

    Stone Soup with Matzoh Balls: A Passover Tale in Chelm by Linda Glaser: One man brings a town together as he creates a delicious pot of matzo ball soup, making a seder feast for all to share!

    Sammy Spider’s First Haggadah by Sylvia A. Rouss: Sammy leads young children through the steps of the Passover seder, telling the story of the Exodus, asking and answering the Four Questions, and sampling the traditional foods. Includes creative readings and songs, as well as colorful paper collage art by Katherine Janus Kahn.

    Only Nine Chairs by Deborah Uchill Miller: This whimsical rhyming story presents a new solution to an old problem—the overcrowded seder.

    Dinosaur on Passover by Diane Levin Rauchwerger: An eager, playful dinosaur causes havoc at the seder when he arrives at a young boy’s house to join him in celebrating Passover.

    The Passover Parrot by Evelyn Zusman: Leba’s parrot is the only member of the family who will listen to her practice the Four Questions, but when the parrot joins the seder, even Leba is amazed at the unforgettable evening that unfolds.

    It’s Seder Time! by Latifa Berry Kropf: Watch as a preschool class demonstrates getting ready for Passover as they prepare matzo and charoset, the table and seder plate. Then they participate in the seder with the Four Questions and afikomen.

    Seder in the Desert by Jamie Korngold: Join a group of families as they follow Rabbi Jamie into Moav, Utah, to celebrate a most unusual Passover seder in the desert.

    The Littlest Levine by Sandy Lanton: Hannah doesn’t like being the littlest Levine. She’s too short to hang fruit from the sukkah and too young to light the Hanukkah candles by herself. But when Passover comes, the littlest Levine gets a chance to shine in a big way.

    A Tale of Two Seders by Mindy Avra Portnoy: When her parents get divorced, a little girl is worried about many things, including how she will celebrate the Jewish holidays in two different households. The holiday of Passover gives her a chance to celebrate separately with each parent. Over the course of three years and six seders, she and her family work to adjust to this new world, creating happy new lives and family traditions.

    Recipes for the Passover Meal

    passover books 2

    Too Many Cooks by Edie Stoltz Zolkower: Bubbe is interrupted while she is making charoses for the Passover seder. While she chats on the phone, family members wander into the kitchen and add their own “special ingredients” to spice up the mixture. As a result of too many cooks, the “charoses is atrocious!” An amusing introduction to the festive Passover meal.

    Matzah Meals: A Passover Cookbook for Kids by Judy Tabs and Barbara Steinberg: This simple cookbook includes lots of great recipes for the young Passover cook. You’ll also find instructions for preparing the seder and craft ideas for decorating the seder table.

    Heirloom Cookbook by Miriam Lerner Satz: Enjoy over four hundred seventy-five time-honored family recipes from traditional Passover dishes like Best Matzo Balls, to creative casseroles, soups, desserts, and more. 

    Afikomen Gifts

    passover books 3

    Sammy Spider’s First Passover by Sylvia A. Rouss: Sammy Spider presents Passover through rhymes, mazes, puzzles, and more. A great afikomen gift for kids.

    Grover and Big Bird’s Passover Celebration by Tilda Balsley and Ellen Fischer: Grover and Big Bird are in a hurry to get to the Passover seder, but—uh oh!—there are many delays. Moishe Oofnik comes to the rescue in his tumbledown truck, but will they arrive in time to ask the Four Questions?

    Afikomen Mambo by Joe Black: Popular children’s songster and author of Boker Tov! Rabbi Joe Black returns with a catchy rhyme to enliven the afikomen hunt at your seder.

    History

    passover books 4

    Miriam in the Desert by Jacqueline Jules: Miriam’s grandson Bezalel draws pictures in the sand as he dreams of the future. When his great-uncle Moses climbs the mountain to receive God’s laws, Bezalel learns he is the chosen artist who will craft the Holy Ark.

    Jodie’s Passover Adventure by Anna Levine: Young amateur archeologist Jodie invites her cousin Zach on a Passover adventure to explore a famous secret water tunnel in Jerusalem. While sloshing through the creepy, dark, wet passage, they solve “the riddle in the middle” and find a shiny treasure!

    All About Passover by Judyth Groner and Madeline Wikler: Features the history and customs of Passover, including the story of the Exodus and an introduction to the seder. Includes favorite recipes.

    Private Joel and the Sewell Mountain Seder by Bryna J. Fireside: With permission from their commander and matzo brought in on a train from Cincinnati, Jewish members of a Civil War regiment improvise a seder to remember. The participation of three former slaves, now members of their company, lends a special meaning to this celebration of freedom.

    Let My People Go! by Tilda Balsley: This creative rendition of the Ten Plagues enlivens the Passover story. Everyone can take part as Moses implores Pharaoh to “Let My People Go!” This light-hearted rhyming tale can be read alone or with a cast of characters as a “Reader’s Theater.”

    Nachshon, Who Was Afraid to Swim by Deborah Bodin Cohen: For generations, Nachshon’s family has been enslaved by the Egyptian pharaoh. Nachshon is afraid it will be his destiny too. Then Moses confronts the fearsome pharaoh, and Nachshon’s dream of freedom begins to come true. But soon he has to overcome his own special fear. The story of the brave boy who was the first to jump into the sea will inspire young and old alike.

    Celebrating Traditions

    passover books 5

    Izzy the Whiz and Passover McClean by Yael Mermelstein: A fun, crazy rhyming tale à la Dr. Seuss about Izzy the Whiz, an amateur inventor, who, right before Passover, creates a super-duper machine that whirs and purrs and munches and crunches and miraculously cleans the entire house just in time for the holiday—but not without creating havoc along the way.

    Passover Around the World by Tami Lehman-Wilzig: Introduces children to the many different ways of celebrating Passover around the world, including customs that can be adopted for use in the child’s own family seder.


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    By Alison of Kata Golda Designs

    A Dozen Chicks

    I have been making a similar version of these for a while. These differ in that they are tiny and fit in an egg crate, and the color palette is neutral.

    I think eggs are such a lovely shape and their packaging suits them just perfectly—each has its own protected little space.

    felted chicks

    I really like multiples of things. I came into all of this felt stuff through bookbinding, and I have always loved the process of creating editions. I take great comfort and develop my skills by making many of the same thing. I think this method comes from a Japanese tradition in which becoming a truly proficient potter means making hundreds of the same thing in order to really acquire the skill.

     easter crafts

    So one early morning while sitting at my desk and noticing that the light was creeping in a little more than it does in the dead of winter, I reduced my egg chick pattern, grabbed an egg carton from the stack I need to bring back to my farmer friend, and made these twelve little chicks.

    Inspired by Children’s Art

    I have a friend who is now eight, and ever since she and her older brother were little, I have been amazed at the way they draw. I asked her for some of her drawings from when she was six and younger. She delivered a stack and said that she could do a lot better now; these are from when she was little. Well, I wish I could draw like her . . . the little extra details, the added line marks to create texture, etc. This little rabbit pillow is based on one of my favorite line drawings. It sits on my inspiration shelf and says good morning to me every day.

     easter rabbit

     rabbit

     Learn how to make more of Alison's crafts in Kata Golda's Hand-Stitched Felt

    felt


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    To mark the anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination, here is Open Road author Gerald Posner's author note included in his updated edition of Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Posner's book examines the case of James Earl Ray, and his attempt to “mock the great memory of Dr. King.” The New York Times called it “the most comprehensive and definitive study of the King assassination.”

    Martin Luther King, Jr., and Ralph Abernathy (right) begin a march through Memphis on March 28, 1968. Young agitators in the crowd started breaking windows, and the protest soon turned violent, prompting the Tennessee governor to send in 4,000 National Guardsmen. King, sickened by the violence, vowed to return quickly to Memphis for another demonstration. (Mississippi Valley Collection, University of Memphis)

    On April 23, 1998, three weeks after the publication of the hardcover of Killing the Dream, James Earl Ray died in a Tennessee prison of liver failure at the age of 70. There was no death bed confession, no indication he was burdened by his conscience and had decided to free the King family and many concerned Americans from the web of deceit he had spun over the decades. Rather, Ray passed defiantly, protesting to the very end that he was merely a patsy in a convoluted conspiracy led by someone he knew only by the name Raoul. Ray also died with the satisfaction that during the last year of his life he had pulled one of the grandest cons of his long criminal career—he had duped the King family into publicly endorsing his innocence.

    There was never any question that the Kings had their hearts in the right place as they searched for absolute answers in the assassination. In the years following the murder, they had learned the shocking details of J. Edgar Hoover’s obsessive war against Dr. King and were therefore legitimately suspicious that the government might have been involved in the killing. Into this setting entered Ray and his last lawyer, William Pepper, who presented the Kings with purported new witnesses and evidence, persuading them that the assassination was a massive plot that ran all the way up to Lyndon Johnson. This was a tragic turn of events since the Kings accepted the Ray team’s evidence without aggressively investigating it.

    Once convinced of a gigantic conspiracy, they dug in their heels, and did not want to consider other answers. Although I sent copies of this book to several family members, they refused to read it. They boycotted shows on which I appeared. King family associates attacked me publicly while also refusing to read the book. While this book covers most of Ray’s “new” evidence in detail—and reveals it to be bogus—Coretta Scott King and her son, Dexter, instead asked President Clinton to establish a new, full inquiry into the case. To their disappointment, the Justice Department finally agreed to only a limited investigation.

    While Ray’s death prompted the Kings to accelerate their effort at obtaining a new murder inquiry, the Ray brothers—Jerry and John—fell back to old habits and started to think of ways to profit from the turn of events. Jerry (who alternately referred to me in widely distributed letters as an “FBI pimp” or a “slimeball,” and once caused the police to be called at one of my book signings he disrupted in Memphis) bragged about an “explosive” book he intended to write. He also unsuccessfully lobbied the District Attorney General in Memphis to release to him the murder weapon and other personal items belonging to James, all of which could fetch high prices on the auction block. Although Jerry had spent some ten years working with the arch-racist and convicted church bomber, J.B. Stoner, and himself had written heatedly about “Nigger beasts,” he continued his calculated campaign to become an ally of the Kings. Not only did he brag about Dexter King’s embrace of him before James’s death, but at the memorial service for James, Jerry sat next to Isaac Farris, Jr., a nephew of Dr. King who represented the King family. “They are not a dumb family,” Jerry Ray told me. “They know what really happened.”

    As for John Ray, who had remained silent for years about the assassination, he announced four months after James’s death that he would “solve the whole case” if the government gave him a “six-figure” payoff. Nobody took up his offer. Two separate events took place in the late 1960s. On the one hand, the government waged an illegal war against Dr. King. Its purpose was to ruin his reputation and career and leave him without honor in his own community. At the same time, a racist named James Earl Ray, almost certainly motivated by the lure of big money, and possibly helped by a small conspiracy of like-minded bigots, moved toward killing King. I have little doubt that some government officials celebrated King’s death and would have pinned a medal on Ray. But my investigation shows the government was not behind Ray.

    While it may not have pulled the trigger, the government did however, by such outrageous conduct, create an atmosphere where racists thought it was safe to shoot a black leader in the South and think they could get away with it. To that extent, the government bears moral responsibility for the death of Dr. King. But the ultimate responsibility—for the sake of justice and history—must be placed squarely on the man with blood on his hands, James Earl Ray. To say otherwise, in light of the overwhelming evidence of his guilt, is to let Ray have the final laugh, and to mock the great memory of Dr. King.


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    Our partner Casemate Publishers has just released Second Front: The Allied Invasion of France, 1942-1943. This alternative history explores the question of one of the great arguments of World War II that took place among Allied military leaders over when and where to launch a second front against Germany in Europe. What would have happened had Churchill been overruled, and that rather than invading North Africa in the fall of 1942, then Sicily and Italy, the Allies had hit the coast of southern France instead? Casemate Publishers recently spoke to author Alexander Grace about his new book and what inspired him to write it. 

    Second FrontWhy did you decide to write this book? What prompted you to put this story down on paper?

    The inspiration for this book came from watching the opening scenes of “Saving Private Ryan,” with the bloody landings on Omaha Beach. It occurred to me that the sacrifices made there might not have really been necessary, and I began research into why that road was chosen and whether other options might have been available.

    How long did it take you to write it?

    The actual writing process probably took a couple of months. Of course, I have a “day job” and a family, but I tend to write pretty fast and only having an hour or two a day tends to force me to have my ideas in order for the precious time when I can actually sit down to work.

    What do you like most about your book? Why should we read it?

    I like to think that I present a plausible scenario for how a key event in history did not have to work out the way it did. Hopefully this will open readers’ minds to the possibility that this is true in other situations as well.

    How much research did you do for the book? Can you give us some tips on this?

    I have been a student of World War II for many years and have a rather extensive library of my own on the subject. Since this is an alternative history, the focus was on the factual data related to the starting point of my divergence, and a study of the capabilities of the contending sides to help determine plausible outcomes. As a long time wargamer, I was able to set up the simulation and actually game it out to check the validity of my premises.

    What fascinates you about revisiting the past and bringing it to life in a book? Have you always been interested in history?

    History has always been my passion. Fiction can be entertaining and even thought-provoking, but history really happened. In fiction, the challenge is to make the events believable. With history, the more spectacular and unlikely the event the better, as long as you can document it. I was addicted in my youth to historical wargames, fascinated with the idea of changing history. I played them, reviewed them, and even designed some. This book is an outgrowth of that thought process.

    Have you read anything lately that you’d like to recommend to our readers?

    On World War II I recommend Gregor Dallas, John Erickson, and Norman Davies. I have been doing research on the Cold War and recommend Adam Ulam, Roy Medvedev, and Orlando Figes.

    Click here to find out more about Second Front: The Allied Invasion of France, 1942-1943


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    Vintage Black Mask 

    On this day in 1920, H. L. Mencken and George Jean Nathan launched The Black Mask, a pulp magazine offering “the best stories available of adventure, the best mystery and detective stories, the best romances, the best love stories, and the best stories of the occult.” But Black Mask as history remembers it can largely be credited to “Cap” Joseph Shaw, appointed editor in 1926. Shaw promptly dropped the The from the magazine’s title and most non-detective writers from its roster, turning it instead into a pioneering publisher of hard-boiled crime fiction. Authors published by Black Mask include Dashiell Hammett of The Maltese Falcon fame, Raymond Chandler, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Carroll John Daly, writer of “Three Gun Terry,” which is considered the very first hard-boiled PI story.

    Black Mast covers 

    Black Mask folded after thirty-one years in July 1951 due to competition from mass-market paperbacks and other pulp magazines, as well as the rise of radio. However, contemporary readers can still experience Black Mask’s indelible influence on mystery writing: Individual stories and collections from its pages are being republished as ebooks through a partnership with MysteriousPress.com and Open Road Integrated Media. Fourteen Black Mask titles are already available, with more on the way. Celebrate the anniversary of this seminal magazine and join the pulp revival today!

    For more on Black Mask’s contributions to the genre, watch this video narrated by MysteriousPress.com publisher Otto Penzler.


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  • 04/08/14--11:14: March Retro Reads Roundup
  • They say March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb. With the winter winds still whipping our faces and the first hints of spring seemingly ages away, there was a brightor shall we say, green—spot last month: That’s right, we’re talking about St. Patrick’s Day! So in March, we bid farewell to winter with Dorothy Eden’s atmospheric (and Irish!) Whistle for the Crows.

    Whistle For The Crows

    A decidedly retro pick (it was first published in 1962!), Whistle for the Crows is an evocative Gothic romance set against the backdrop of an Irish castle. Did it pass muster with our faithful Retro Readers? Lila foundthe novel witty, creepy, and full of delightful characters, including strong female protagonists, but felt Whistle for the Crows suffered from a fatal lack of romance. Julie noted that Eden was one of her all-time favorite Gothic authors, and although she agreed with Lila that the book could have been steamier, she appreciated that the heroine, Cathleen, “has a backbone and stands up to these intimidating people she finds herself surrounded by,” and gave the title a solid A.

    Check out our Retro Reads Goodreads groupto see these reviews, related videos, and our ongoing discussion.

    Out with the old, in with the new! We’ve got an exciting announcement about our Retro Reads program: Going forward, rather than monthly picks, we've decided to go bimonthly—we’ll be featuring a new book every other month. Keep an eye out for our next Retro Reads pick, to be announced on May 1! 


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