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MUSINGS OF A STORY MERCHANT
For Every Author Who Wants To Make Their Dreams Come True And Finish Writing Their Book! ...
Monday, February 28, 2011
Sunday, February 27, 2011
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From Publishers WeeklyThe titular footwear connects these overtly inspiring tales of African-American women recovering from domestic violence in the latest effort from Price-Thompson. Desiree Cooper's opener, "Breakin' It Down," features a pair of blue suede tennis shoes that help TV host "CC" Smart, a Norfolk, Va. single mom, face the consequences of putting her career over the needs of her daughter. In Price-Thompson's "Brotherly Love," a social worker gives a pair of slingbacks to an abused teen who has aborted her baby. Stilettos become a good luck charm for an Atlanta TV news anchor accused of trying to kill her husband and his pregnant girlfriend in Stovall's "Breakin' Dishes." And Elizabeth Atkins's "The Wrong Side of Mr. Right" hits a profound closing note when a pair of old Jamaican wedding slippers inspire a woman to face the reality of her abusive Prince Charming...their accumulated efforts and shared subjects matter makes for a moving collection. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Friday, February 25, 2011
By Clarence B. Jones and Stuart Connelly
Published by Palgrave Macmillan, 204 pages, $22
By Steve Weinberg • Special to the Post-Dispatch
As a Southern Baptist preacher, Martin Luther King Jr. developed a talent for presenting sermons that came from the heart as well as the intellect. His ability to speak extemporaneously served King well many times, but none better than on Aug. 28, 1963. On that day, the controversial, charismatic civil rights leader spoke to about 250,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington.
King's speech has since become known as the "I Have a Dream" speech. In "Behind the Dream," one of King's closest advisers reveals that the phrase "I have a dream" never appeared in the prepared text, and neither did some of the sentiments ad libbed by King to the multiracial throng mashed together in the nation's capital.
The ad libbing began after King had presented a more-or-less set speech (reprinted starting on page 105 of the book). At a point when King paused, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, sitting near him, said to him, "Tell 'em about the Dream, Martin…" Amid the din of the crowd, not many heard Jackson's suggestion. But Clarence B. Jones did, and so did King.
Jones could see King turn over the prepared text and "begin riffing on a theme that he had used on more than one occasion, without previously generating much of an enthusiastic reaction."
This time, though, King's instinct told him enthusiasm would reign. The new direction of the speech sounded practiced just for that occasion, although it was not. King's "dexterity with memory and words ran along the lines of the cut-and-paste function in today's computer programs," Jones reveals.
Jones understood that King had delivered a pitch-perfect sermon to the masses: "The effect was nothing short of soul-stirring."
How Jones became a King adviser is an interesting part of the book. Jones, an African-American, had paid little attention to the civil rights movement, organized religion or King until 1960. Before that, the young lawyer was focused on making money, providing material possessions and comfort for his family. When the government appeared to be saddling King with a questionable tax-evasion charge, one of the minister's high-level counselors asked Jones for legal assistance. Jones said no, thinking to himself — uncharitably and unlawyerly: "Just because some Negro preacher got his hand caught in the cookie jar, that is not my problem."
King did not express dismay openly, but Jones' wife, Anne, did express dismay. So he reluctantly accepted King's invitation to attend a guest sermon at a Los Angeles church, which was near Jones' home at the time. Attending the powerful sermon altered Jones' life course. He became a King disciple.
Stuart Connelly is a professional writer and filmmaker who helped Jones write the book, but the sentiments are those of Jones, a lesser-known yet knowledgeable King aide. Jones' role in conceiving and drafting what morphed into the "dream" speech gave him satisfaction then and now.
Jones understands that the achievement of unadulterated civil rights remains a goal, not a reality. A post-racial United States is not even close to being achieved, he says, despite the election of President Barack Obama:
"Racism continues to fester in every city, town and village of this country."
Steve Weinberg of Columbia, Mo., reviews books regularly for the Post-Dispatch.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Dennis Palumbo's Mirror Image has been selected by the Sons of Italy National Book Club for its Winter 2011 selections.
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This debut novel from psychotherapist Palumbo features a psychologist, Daniel Rinaldi, whose client, a college student, is murdered. But here’s the twist: the victim, for therapeutic reasons, had lately been imitating Rinaldi’s appearance and manner of dress. So, naturally, Rinaldi believes that he—not his client—was the intended victim. Wracked with guilt over the incident—he believes his encouragement of the victim’s behavior got him killed—Rinaldi sets out to find the killer. Palumbo, a screenwriter with credits as varied as Welcome Back, Kotter, and the classic film My Favorite Year, does an excellent job of building suspense; and Rinaldi, who comes off as likable if a bit self-absorbed, makes a complex protagonist. A solid first novel, especially recommendable to fans of Jonathan Kellerman, Keith Ablow, and Meg Gardiner. --David Pitt --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Monday, February 21, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
New Children's Thriller "The Dead Boys" Focuses On Hanford
by Anna King
RICHLAND, Wash. - Radioactive waste doesn't seem like obvious inspiration for a children's story. But in fact, comic books are full of tales that involve radiation. Think Spider-Man.
Now a Northwest author (Royce Buckingham) has written a new children's thriller (The Dead Boys) about a radioactive-waste-slurping sycamore tree. It's set near the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in southeast Washington.
Thursday, February 17, 2011
Review: Around the World in 80 Ways
It not only promotes travelling with kids, it helps to make it more accessible to those who are either convinced it can't be done, or just a little nervous about it.
There are so many excuses around, ranging from 'It's too hard' to 'The kids will be bored' and 'You still have to do all the day-to-day stuff so why not just stay home?' (I have a toddler and so I hear this last question more often than I'd care to count.)
Why not stay at home? Well, as Ariel Feet (see Itchee Feet's website to find out about Ariel) says, "Toddlers are a handful anywhere. If my kid is going to be difficult, then it might as well be when I'm on my way to Paris."
The biggest concern parents tend to have about travel is keeping their children occupied and entertained, especially whilst travelling. Once at your destination, there are always things to do, but on the way there? On that long flight or drive with a noisy child or two? Most parents would agree, that can be hard work. Let me tell you, even those of us who love to take our children on travelling adventures find it hard. (Author Jane Tara says there have been flights "where I felt like beating my head with a wooden spoon". Those times were the inspiration for this book.)
Around the World in 80 Ways is the solution. Take away some of the difficulty with fun and age-appropriate games, and the flight will be over before you know it.
Practical in size (small and lightweight so it won't weigh your baggage down) and layout (with lots of dot points and pictures to make it easy to read), this will become your newest must-have travel companion in no time.
The book covers a range of ideas to keep your children entertained - none of which require any props, so you don't have to worry about having forgotten the crayons or playing cards. Broken down into categories of activity (for example, 'Travel Chitchat', 'The Art of Travel' and 'Get Moving!'), the book leaves it up to you - and your kids - to decide which games are appropriate for the ages of your children. Except toddlers, that is. They deserve their own dedicated section, so that they shall have.
Ideas include how to keep your child's patience at a maximum for as long as possible, ways to help them understand how much longer until you reach your destination, games to play, cool facts to talk about, and more. The kids will find these activities fun, you'll be happy because they're educational (and anything but monotonous), and you'll all love that it helps to not only pass the time but make that time part of the swag of wonderful memories you'll be left with long after that plane lands.
I'm inspired and ready to go. Are you?
Title: Around the World in 80 Ways
Author: Jane Tara
Publisher: Itchee Feet, $14.95 RRP
Publication Date: December 2010
For ages: Parents
This book is available online
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
AEI Client Nick Redfern's The NASA Conspiracies: The Truth Behind the Moon Landings, Censored Photos, and the Face on Mars Out from New Page Books
NASA’s Secret World of UFOs, Cosmic Cover-Ups, and Alien Life
On October 4, 1957, the Western world was shocked to its core when the former Soviet Union launched into Earth-orbit the Sputnik 1 satellite, which succeeded in traversing the globe at a stunning 18,000 miles-per-hour and emitted radio-signals for a full twenty-two days. And although the life of Sputnik 1 was destined to be a short one – while falling from orbit on January 4, 1958, it burned up in the Earth’s atmosphere – the propaganda value of its launch alone, at the height of the tension-filled Cold War, was near-incalculable. The U.S. Government, in particular, feeling both panicked and highly vulnerable by the fact that the Russians had overwhelmingly trumped them in the race for outer-space, quickly recognized the dire need – scientifically, psychologically and defense-wise – to catch up with what, at the time, was most certainly the biggest and largely unforeseen and unanticipated development within the Communist world.
The U.S. Congress, which was overwhelmingly alarmed and utterly appalled by what became known as the “Sputnik Crisis,” demanded rapid and concerted action on the part of the government as a whole. Under no circumstances at all, it was forcefully argued, could the Soviet Union be allowed to gain a significant foothold in the previously-uncharted domain of outer-space; and particularly so if that same domain was ever to become significantly militarized. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers, recognizing that the world around them was changing rapidly, drastically and in largely unanticipated ways, took quick and deliberate steps to try and rectify the situation and to redress the delicate balance of power that existed at the time. The dire need for a new agency to deal with an equally new realm, namely that of outer-space was clearly realized and was eagerly beckoning.
Notably, following the launch of Sputnik 1, there was a sudden and intriguing increase in the number of UFO sightings reported from within the confines of the United States of America. While those of a distinctly skeptical nature might give much consideration to the possibility that many such reports were merely due to over-excitement, Cold War nerves, hysteria and concern over the surprise Russian launch, other events could not be dismissed quite so easily. An FBI report on UFOs of November 12, 1957 made that more than abundantly clear:
“Within the past two weeks reports have increased tremendously and some of the more serious have been described as follows: An object had landed in Nebraska with six people aboard, the persons had talked to a Nebraska farmer and then sped off into space; a fiery object was seen flashing across the southern skies from Albany, Georgia, to Miami, Florida; a Coast Guard cutter had sighted a huge object flying over the Gulf of Mexico; and persons in the Southwestern states while driving their cars have allegedly seen UFOs that caused the engines in their automobiles to stop.”
From the latter part of 1957 through the early months of 1958, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) initiated a careful study to determine precisely what the creation of a new non-military space agency might very well involve, how that same agency might successfully liaise with the U.S. military, and the potential nature and scope of its overall functions and goals. On January 14, 1958, NACA prepared a document titled A National Research Program for Space Technology that, in part, stated: “It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space. It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency. NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.”
And the plans of NACA most certainly did not disappoint those within officialdom who had been caught totally off-guard by the Soviet development. Spurred on by the controversies surrounding the Sputnik affair, the agency launched into space the United States’ first artificial satellite, Explorer 1, on January 31, 1958, at 10:48 p.m., Eastern Standard Time. A little more than a month later, specifically on March 5, James Killian, at the time the Chairman of the President’s Science Advisory Committee, prepared a memorandum for the attention of President Eisenhower titled Organization for Civil Space Programs. It was a document designed to decisively encourage the rapid establishment of a civilian space program based upon a strengthened and re-designated NACA. Eisenhower and his presidential advisors were highly impressed.
In April 1958, and as a direct result of NACA’s growing vision, Eisenhower proudly stood before Congress and delivered a formal, executive address that detailed the plans for the creation of just such an agency – an agency that was originally going to be called the National Aeronautical and Space Agency. Congress swiftly passed the bill on July 16; albeit somewhat rewritten, as the National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958. Thirteen days later, Eisenhower formally signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, thus establishing the renamed National Aeronautics and Space Administration: NASA.
Even its very earliest years, NASA found its path crossing with that concerning life on other worlds: at the dawning of the 1960s, when NASA’s plans for outer-space activity reached stratospheric levels, Donald N. Michael, of the prestigious Brookings Institution, prepared a document for NASA’s Committee on Long Range Studies titled Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs, and which was submitted to the House of Representatives in the 87th United States Congress on April 18, 1961. It proved to be a pivotal moment in the long and winding history of NASA. And in relation to the possibility that the Human Race would one day encounter beings from other star-systems and galaxies, the author of the report wrote:
“Recent publicity given to efforts to detect extraterrestrial messages via radio telescope has popularized - and legitimized - speculations about the impact of such a discovery on human values. It is conceivable that there is semi intelligent life in some part of our solar system or highly intelligent life which is not technologically oriented, and many cosmologists and astronomers think it very likely that there is intelligent life in many other solar systems. While face-to-face meetings with it will not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus. If there is any contact to be made during the next twenty years it would most likely be by radio - which would indicate that these beings had at least equaled our own technological level.
“The knowledge that life existed in other parts of the universe might lead to a greater unity of men on earth, based on the oneness of man or on the age-old assumption that any stranger is threatening. Much would depend on what, if anything, was communicated between man and the other beings: since after the discovery there will be years of silence (because even the closest stars are several light years away, an exchange of radio communication would take twice-the number of light years separating our sun from theirs), the fact that such beings existed might become simply one of the facts of life but probably not one calling for action. Whether earthmen would be inspired to all-out space efforts by such a discovery is a moot question. Anthropological files contain many examples of societies, sure of their place in the universe, which have disintegrated when they have had to associate with previously unfamiliar societies espousing different ideas and different life ways; others that survived such an experience usually did so by paying the price of changes in values and attitudes and behavior.”
Since that historic date, NASA has placed satellites into Earth orbit; blasted men and women into space; put a handful of brave astronauts onto the surface of the Moon; revamped and revolutionized space-travel with the Space Shuttle; sent unmanned probes to such planets as Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, and Venus; and ensured that humankind is no longer tethered to planet Earth.
But that is not all: behind the scenes, there is a very different NASA; a darker and shadowy NASA. It is a NASA that is seemingly populated to near-bursting point by stories of high-level cover-ups and secrets relative to UFOs, flying saucers, alien-life-forms from far-off worlds, crashed extraterrestrial spacecraft, dead aliens held in cryogenic storage, the notorious Face on Mars that many researchers of the puzzle believe was built millennia ago by a race of now-long-extinct Martians, the issue of whether or not the historic Apollo Moon-landings of 1969-72 were faked, classified photographs of alien spaceships, and shocking and sensational testimony from NASA’s very own astronauts on their beliefs, and sightings, of a definitively UFO and alien nature.
In the world of NASA, nothing is quite as it seems!
Monday, February 14, 2011
Saturday, February 12, 2011
Friday, February 11, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
POSTER GIRL (Directed by: Sara Nesson) is the story of Robynn Murray, an all-American high-school cheerleader turned “poster girl” for women in combat, distinguished by Army Magazine’s cover shot. Now home from Iraq, her tough-as-nails exterior begins to crack, leaving Robynn struggling with the debilitating effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Shot and directed by first-time filmmaker Sara Nesson, POSTER GIRL is an emotionally raw documentary that follows Robynn over the course of two years as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption, using art and poetry to redefine her life.
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Westin LAX - Los Angeles, CA
Additional bonus after hours cocktail party where you'll have the opportunity to network with the following speakers from the day, industry experts and other attendees.
Saturday, February 5, 2011
- New York's "As the World Turns " alum in "The Lost Valentine"
- This special Hallmark movie is a homage to the upcoming Valentines Day and should start hearts racing for that very special day where lovers unite or ...
- Love triumphant in new TV film 'The Lost Valentine'
- By Greg Goodsell TV icon Betty White, at 89 years young is starring in the latest Hallmark Hall of Fame TV film, "The Lost Valentine. ...
- Happy Birthday, Betty White! Beloved star celebrates in KC
- 20, after the screening of her upcoming Hallmark Hall of Fame movie "The Lost Valentine." Next to White is Brad Moore, president of Hallmark Hall of Fame ...
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Has Martin Luther King's dream come true?
When I helped draft that 1963 speech, none of us imagined an African American president. But US society is far from post-racial.
By Clarence Jones
In 1963, I had a contentious meeting with Robert Kennedy. In defending the civil rights achievements of his brother John and the Justice Department during his tenure as attorney general, RFK predicted that, "in 40 years", a negro might be president of the United States. Those of us who worked closely with Martin Luther King Jr never contemplated the possibility of a black president in our lifetimes. Kennedy turned out to be off by only five years.
In 2008, I travelled to France as the guest of SOS Racisme and the mayor of Paris. My invitation was part of the city's celebration of the 60th anniversary of the UN's Declaration of Human Rights and commemoration of the legacy of Dr King, 40 years after his death. One question asked of me, again and again there, was: Does the election of Obama as president of the United States mean that Dr King's dream has been fulfilled?
This is posed as a yes-or-no question, and I find that troubling. Because the situation is one of degrees. The problems of prejudice exist on a continuum. A better question might be: have we even come close?
Much progress has indeed been made. As a participant in the civil rights movement, I'm proud of that progress. But as long as there is necessity for such a legal category as hate crime, the "Dream" remains unfulfilled. As long as DWB ("Driving While Black") in the presence of police remains a perilous activity for many African Americans throughout our nation, the Dream remains diluted. As long as unemployment among African Americans keeps repeating the historic ratio of double the rate of unemployment among white people, the Dream remains unfulfilled. As long as polarisation of wealth and absence of equal access to economic opportunity continue to escalate and disproportionately affect African Americans, the Dream remains unfulfilled.
These are not anomalies; they are realities in America. As such, the Dream that Martin Luther King Jr brought to us remains out of reach.
Those who argue that our election of an African American president proves that racism is a thing of the past are not looking closely at the subtleties of racism. Of course, Barack Obama is living proof that progress has been made towards respect for African Americans, but consider the hatred that bubbled up as he gained momentum in the primaries.
Even Obama's eventual running mate, Joe Biden, was scrutinised by the media over a possibly racist comment. Among the adjectives he used to describe his then opponent, Biden offered "African American" and then the word "clean". And while he kept backpedalling, saying he meant the phrase to invoke the idea there were no skeletons in Obama's closet, one cannot help but wonder. Would Biden or any other public servant ever describe someone like John Kerry as "white and clean?" It is doubtful.
The post-racial America it's been suggested we achieved by Obama's election is nowhere in sight. The truth may be that we don't want to admit to ourselves that an African American president does not mean a society wholly accepting of all African Americans. Indeed, racism continues to fester in every American city and town. We can safely, if sadly, say that we have not fully achieved the Dream.
Those who say otherwise simply have not taken the requisite look at the underlying political ideology that powered the philosophical engine of Martin Luther King Jr. The essence of his dream for African Americans after the March on Washington was this: a United States where every person has the equal opportunity – educationally, economically, culturally and politically – to participate in our society and develop themselves to the maximum of their abilities, irrespective of the colour of their skin or ethnicity. This concept assumes that, all other things being equal, African Americans should have access to the same opportunities as whites.
But this "all other things being equal" is the lie of race relations in America. Because our country has not levelled the playing field at all. Various civil rights bills, constitutional amendments and supreme court decisions aimed at dismantling segregation in education, transportation and rental housing, have not constituted "all other things being equal". Ours is a capitalist society, and each individual's market power is key to how he is treated. There remains an enormous division between the races when it comes to median income, home ownership, education, life expectancy, the incarceration rate, drug use and mortality rate.
The issue at the heart of all these problems is the idea that freedom and economic opportunity are interchangeable; that freedom is economic opportunity. This is false logic. Freedom without economic opportunity is just a variant form of oppression. Further, this thinking is dangerous because it obscures the definitive criterion necessary in evaluating the realisation of Martin's Dream for African Americans in the 21st century and beyond: wealth.
• This article is adapted from Clarence B Jones' new book, co-authored with Stuart Connelly, Behind the Dream: The Making of the Speech That Transformed a Nation, published by Palgrave Macmillan
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
To whet your appetite, I should tell you that you can expect to see an allegorical figure in Betty Shelton's "Remembrance," a saint in Cynthia Sitton's "St. Dyphna," and in Margaret McCann's stunning painting "Rotary" you will see a giantess reclining on a traffic circle. Add a passive aggressive mother, a diva, a muse and a Hollywood stylist, and you get some idea of the range you can expect.
Each of this week's diverse paintings is accompanied by a studio photo: in some cases it is the artist's palette along with some technical information, and in some cases the artists have provided studio views. There are also informative commentaries with many of paintings, meant to help all of us understand the ideas behind each image.
To each of the artists who provided images and text I say "Thank You."
If you are an artist -- or if you know of an artist -- who would like to be featured in a future slideshow, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn Jacobi: "My palette is glass taped over a white board. I use a relatively simple cast of colors, most of which get mixed with the basic flesh tones I prepare every week or so. The arrangement is a fairly traditional portrait palette: cremnitz or titanium white, jaune brilliant #2-4, naples yellow; then earth tones -- mars violet, indian red, umbers, ochres, mars yellow; then reds: alizerine and cadmium, cobalt violet, alizarin purple; blues -- permanent, cerulean; greens-- terre verte and pthalo. I mix my own black with alizarin crimson and pthalo green, so that I have control of the warmth or coolness of my darks and greys. Occasionally I'll put out other colors as needed. Usually I use Liquin (by Windsor & Newton) as a medium. Working on panel, I prefer working with sable or synthetic soft, fairly small brushes."
Kathryn Jacobi: "Diva #3" is one of a series of 15 paintings of mezzosoprano Geeta Novotny singing arias from the opera Carmen, by Bizet. She is a perfect Carmen, passionate and strong, with a beautiful and powerful voice. While these paintings are not faithful portraits, they attempt to capture the inspiring qualities of her infinitely nuanced performance."
"Diva 3," 2011
18" x 12"
Oil on panel