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1. Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light

I wish that I could have found more images to share with you from Have You Seen My Dragon, the superb new picture book from Steve Light, but you should really buy it and see for yourself anyway! As you can tell by what I do have to share of Light's artwork, he has a style that is reminiscent of another time, specifically the late 1960s and early 1970s. Read my review of Light's last picture

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2. Billy and the Monster Book Blast with David Chuka – Chance to Win $50 Amazon GC or PayPal Cash

Billy and the monster who ate all the Easter eggs

About the Book

Title: Billy and The Monster Who Ate All The Easter Eggs | Author: David Chuka | Publication Date: March 23, 2013 | Publisher: Pen-n-a-Pad Publishing | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8

Summary: Join Billy and Monster in this third episode of the series titled Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs. Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE! This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta. This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday. What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

Get your copy of this funny book for kids of all ages that is not only full of laughs but also has a lesson weaved in that you’ll love sharing with your loved ones.

 

Book Trailer

Purchase

* Print copy includes FREE coloring book inside *

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle)

 

The Buzz

“Experience is the best teacher as Billy and his “purple shadow” learn a sweet lesson in Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs. Beautifully illustrated, nicely formatted, this quick, easy story will be read over and over again.” ~ 5 Star Review, Julia B., Amazon

“My daughter has really been enjoying David Chuka’s Billy and Monster books. This is another fun addition to the “family.” As always, the story has a lovely moral (this time teaching the value of moderation – definitely the biggest word in the book)! It’s based on the very realistic theme of overindulging in chocolate/sweets, which virtually anyone can relate to and which kids find a lot of fun. And, awesome pictures as always. Definitely recommend it.” ~ 5 Star Review, Renee B., Amazon

“I really like the little monster in this book and how they get into trouble together. What child hasn’t snuck into the cache of candies that their parents have hidden? Cute story with a lesson for the little ones in your family!” ~ 5 Star Review, Patricia T., Amazon

“This is a cute story about a little boy Billy and his funny friend Monster. They love chocolate so much that they forget about obeying to older. At night, they sneaked to the chocolate egg pyramid, started eating the chocolate eggs and made a big mess. On the morning, they not only got in a big trouble, but they also got a bad stomach pain. They both had to learn a lessons about MODERATION. Nice illustrations, book well written.” ~ 5 Star Review, OPV, Amazon

“Billy and his monster friend enjoy lots of fun in this book, filled with great pictures and a cute story. It shares a lot about celebrating holidays, and intertwines humor and family love throughout the story. Hidden in the story is a nice message about eating in moderation, a well needed lesson in our culture of over-eating. Billy ends up being proud of himself and makes good decisions by the end of the book, while all the while sharing some adventures with his cute monster friend. Great read to share with your children or grandchildren year round, not just for the Easter holiday.” ~ 5 Star Review, Katie W., Amazon

 

About the Author: David Chuka

David ChukaDavid Chuka lives in London with his lovely wife and two adorable children. His family are usually the first people to hear his funny and quirky tales. He was inspired to write his first book, ‘If You See a Doctor‘ after he struggled to find a book for his daughter who was a beginner reader.

He’s gone on to write more books including the popular ‘Billy and Monster‘ series, a funny set of books about a little boy and his Monster who get into all sorts of funny situations and learn about moderation, friendship, self control, bravery etc. Young children can relate to Billy and you’ll love sharing his adventures with your children, grandchildren and loved ones.

As a father himself, he has parents at heart when he writes. He recognizes that bedtime has to be one of the best parts of the day for parents and grandparents as it gives them the opportunity to bond with their little ones. He believes you’ll enjoy sharing his stories with your loved ones at bedtime.

In David Chuka’s books, you can stay rest assured that quality and captivating images will always complement the story to ensure your loved ones are spell-bound as you read to them. Beginner readers will also enjoy discovering new words as they read his books.

He has so many stories to tell and can’t wait to share them with you and your loved ones.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Google+ | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

 

Want to win a copy of Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs?

Enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 print copies of Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka in a Goodreads giveaway (Open U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia; Ends April 17, 2014).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 17, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: May 13, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, David Chuka and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services
Billy and the monster who ate all the Easter eggs

About the Book

Title: Billy and The Monster Who Ate All The Easter Eggs | Author: David Chuka | Publication Date: March 23, 2013 | Publisher: Pen-n-a-Pad Publishing | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8

Summary: Join Billy and Monster in this third episode of the series titled Billy and the Monster who Ate All the Easter Eggs. Billy and Monster love all the holidays as they get to spend quality time together. However, their best holiday is Easter as they get to eat their favorite food…CHOCOLATE! This year, they’re spending Easter with Grandma Chocalicious who loves Chocolate even more than Billy. She’s an expert at making chocolate cake, chocolate waffles and even chocolate pasta. This year Grandma Chocalicious has made a pyramid of Easter eggs for her party on Easter Sunday. Billy and Monster want one of the Easter eggs but Grandma says they have to wait till Easter Sunday. What happens when Billy and Monster tip toe downstairs and the pyramid of Easter eggs comes falling down?

Get your copy of this funny book for kids of all ages that is not only full of laughs but also has a lesson weaved in that you’ll love sharing with your loved ones.

 

Book Trailer

Purchase

* Print copy includes FREE coloring book inside *

Amazon (Print) | Amazon (Kindle)

 

The Buzz

“Experience is the best teacher as Billy and his “purple shadow” learn a sweet lesson in Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs. Beautifully illustrated, nicely formatted, this quick, easy story will be read over and over again.” ~ 5 Star Review, Julia B., Amazon

“My daughter has really been enjoying David Chuka’s Billy and Monster books. This is another fun addition to the “family.” As always, the story has a lovely moral (this time teaching the value of moderation – definitely the biggest word in the book)! It’s based on the very realistic theme of overindulging in chocolate/sweets, which virtually anyone can relate to and which kids find a lot of fun. And, awesome pictures as always. Definitely recommend it.” ~ 5 Star Review, Renee B., Amazon

“I really like the little monster in this book and how they get into trouble together. What child hasn’t snuck into the cache of candies that their parents have hidden? Cute story with a lesson for the little ones in your family!” ~ 5 Star Review, Patricia T., Amazon

“This is a cute story about a little boy Billy and his funny friend Monster. They love chocolate so much that they forget about obeying to older. At night, they sneaked to the chocolate egg pyramid, started eating the chocolate eggs and made a big mess. On the morning, they not only got in a big trouble, but they also got a bad stomach pain. They both had to learn a lessons about MODERATION. Nice illustrations, book well written.” ~ 5 Star Review, OPV, Amazon

“Billy and his monster friend enjoy lots of fun in this book, filled with great pictures and a cute story. It shares a lot about celebrating holidays, and intertwines humor and family love throughout the story. Hidden in the story is a nice message about eating in moderation, a well needed lesson in our culture of over-eating. Billy ends up being proud of himself and makes good decisions by the end of the book, while all the while sharing some adventures with his cute monster friend. Great read to share with your children or grandchildren year round, not just for the Easter holiday.” ~ 5 Star Review, Katie W., Amazon

 

About the Author: David Chuka

David ChukaDavid Chuka lives in London with his lovely wife and two adorable children. His family are usually the first people to hear his funny and quirky tales. He was inspired to write his first book, ‘If You See a Doctor‘ after he struggled to find a book for his daughter who was a beginner reader.

He’s gone on to write more books including the popular ‘Billy and Monster‘ series, a funny set of books about a little boy and his Monster who get into all sorts of funny situations and learn about moderation, friendship, self control, bravery etc. Young children can relate to Billy and you’ll love sharing his adventures with your children, grandchildren and loved ones.

As a father himself, he has parents at heart when he writes. He recognizes that bedtime has to be one of the best parts of the day for parents and grandparents as it gives them the opportunity to bond with their little ones. He believes you’ll enjoy sharing his stories with your loved ones at bedtime.

In David Chuka’s books, you can stay rest assured that quality and captivating images will always complement the story to ensure your loved ones are spell-bound as you read to them. Beginner readers will also enjoy discovering new words as they read his books.

He has so many stories to tell and can’t wait to share them with you and your loved ones.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Google+ | Pinterest | Amazon Author Page

 

Want to win a copy of Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs?

Enter for your chance to win 1 of 2 print copies of Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka in a Goodreads giveaway (Open U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia; Ends April 17, 2014).

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs by David Chuka

Billy and the Monster Who Ate All the Easter Eggs

by David Chuka

Giveaway ends April 17, 2014.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

* $50 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon $50 Gift Card Prize: One winner will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice) Contest ends: May 13, 11:59 pm, 2014 Open: Internationally How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, David Chuka and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com. a Rafflecopter giveaway

MDBR Book Promotion Services


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3. Very short talks

vsi banner

By Chloe Foster


We have seen an abundance of Very Short Introductions (VSI) authors appearing at UK festivals this year. Appearances so far have included at Words by the Water festival in Keswick, Oxford Literary Festival, and Edinburgh Science festival. The versitility of the series and its subjects means our author talks are popular at a variety of different types of festivals. First up, Words by the Water:



Later this month, we’ll have talks from VSI authors at Chipping Norton Literary Festival on the 26th and 27th April. This is followed by a series of talks at Ways with Words festival in Devon on the 12th July, Kings Place festival in London on the 14th September, and Cheltenham Literature festival from 3rd -12th October.

The Very Short Introductions (VSI) series combines a small format with authoritative analysis and big ideas for hundreds of topic areas. Written by our expert authors, these books can change the way you think about the things that interest you and are the perfect introduction to subjects you previously knew nothing about. Grow your knowledge with OUPblog and the VSI series every Friday, subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS., and like Very Short Introductions on Facebook.

Subscribe to the OUPblog via email or RSS
Subscribe to Very Short Introductions articles on the OUPblog via email or RSS.

The post Very short talks appeared first on OUPblog.

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4. Science/English Poetry Pairings - Animal Collectives

I fell in love with words at a young age. Coupled with my love for science, I became enamored of the words to describe groups of animals and spent hours researching and memorizing the names.  When I turned turned twelve and my mother took me shopping for my birthday, I used money I'd saved to buy The Stranger by Billy Joel (vinyl!) and the book An Exaltation of Larks or The Venereal Game by James Lipton (yes, THAT James Lipton). I carried that book around for years, always entertained and intrigued by the contents.
While this topic may be more about etymology than science, young people are still interested in learning about the names given to animal groups. Today's book pairing can easily enhance and extend any study of the animal kingdom. 

Poetry Book
A Crossing of Zebras: Animal Packs in Poetry, written by Marjorie Maddox and illustrated by Philip Huber, is a collection of 14 poems that consider animal groups and how, perhaps, they came by those names. Why, for example, is a group of rattlesnakes called a rhumba? Here's Marjorie's poetic answer.
A Rhumba of Rattlesnakes

A rhumba of rattlesnakes knows how to shake
their long, slinky bodies and twist till daybreak.
They wobble their heads, give their hips a quick quake.
They jitterbug tails till their skeletons ache.

The rattle maracas and rat-tat on drums,
blow in tin trumpets, uncurl their tongues
to hiss a sweet song that invites you to come
a little bit closer. But you know to run

way over here and avoid the mistake
of dancing the rhumba with ten rattlesnakes.
While many of the poems in the collection rhyme, readers will also find free verse and poem for two voices. Here's my favorite of the lot. It is accompanied by an illustration of a rather alarmed scarecrow.
A Murder of Crows
Oh no, there they go, a murder of crows
throwing corncobs at the tattered scarecrow.
Though they never quite hit her, they flap to and fro,
cawing and jawing out names as they go.
They eat what's not theirs, then rush back for more,
ignoring her warnings, her pleas for reform.
No polite songsters here, well mannered with charm,
just fast flying hoodlums unfit for a farm.
Poems © Marjorie Maddox. All rights reserved.

The book features Philip’s lovely scratchboard illustrations with colored ink, depicting various animal packs. Back matter includes a note from the author explaining collective nouns and offering a list of books providing further information on the subject.

Nonfiction Picture Book
A Zeal of Zebras: An Alphabet of Collective Nouns, by Woop Studios, is a handsomely designed alphabet book that begins with "An Aurora of Polar Bears" and ends with the title collective, "A Zeal of Zebras." The folks at Woop Studios with responsibility for this project have impressive credentials. Two of the founders, Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima, spent a decade working as graphic designers on the Harry Potter franchise. In describing themselves they write, "United by a love of graphic design, words and images they founded Woop to bring a unique and exciting angle to the fascinating world of collective nouns." Unique, exciting, fascinating—their words pretty much sum up this book. The text is engaging and Woop's graphic designs are vibrant and fun, resembling in many ways vintage travel posters.

Each letter of the alphabet receives a double-page spread with a bit of informational text about the animal on the left side, with a gorgeous, full page graphically designed illustration on the right. Here's the text that accompanies one of my favorite entries.
A Galaxy of Starfish
Starfish, also known as sea
stars, are usually seen in
large numbers only when they
are washed up on beaches
after a storm. 
However, some starfish may
gather together when they
are ready to reproduce, using
environmental or chemical
signals to coordinate with
one another.
Text © Woop Studios. All rights reserved.

On their web site you can find many examples of the artwork, including more pieces than occur in the book. Stunning illustrations paired with interesting tidbits of information make this an unusual and outstanding entry in the alphabet book genre.

Perfect Together
During your next unit on animal study, consider extending it to include animal groups. Using Maddox's poems and Woop Studios illustrations and snippets of information as models, encourage students to create their own books or a class book on animal collectives. For example, while studying reptiles they can design pages for collectives of snakes, turtles, lizards, crocodiles, and more. Students can then create their own illustrations and write about the characteristics that are common to reptiles and unique to each order.

For additional resources, consider these sites.

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5. Alaska's Dog Heroes by Shelley Gill

Alaska's Dog Heroes: true stories of remarkable canines by Shelley Gill; Illustrated by Robin James Sasquatch Books. 2014 ISBN: 9781570619472 Grades 2-5 I borrowed a copy of this book from my local public library. <!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4

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6. My friend's son is in jail

My friend’s son is in jail. These aren’t words I ever thought I’d write; they’re not words my friend would have ever thought I’d write. And at first glance, they’re not words about books and writing, which is what this blog is about.
But writing comes from life, and our characters’ thoughts and deeds spring from our own reflections, no matter how deeply buried the source sometimes seems to be. We’ll never grow as writers without reflecting on the harsh times of life: even the cheeriest story has at least the threat of some misery, or there’d be no plot at all.
Writing can sometimes seem cannibalistic, gobbling up other people’s traumas for story fodder.  I can’t imagine that I would ever write a story based on this particular tragedy, but anything that I care deeply about it is likely to inform some story in some way. It’s not a simple matter of being grateful for the roads my own children have chosen or pitying my friend’s family. It’s not even my respect for the extraordinary wisdom that she has grown into. It’s just sitting and reflecting on the feelings of all those concerned; of truly imagining what it would be like to know that you will not be leaving this room for another twelve hours, or leaving this building for another six months. Of imagining the complex web of emotions for the family on the other side of the walls. And it is complex, more than I’d ever considered before.
Whether I ever use any of these complexities in a book is irrelevant. Allowing myself to contemplate the issue from all its different angles can only help me grow as a human being, which is, ironically, not only more important than any writing skill, but basic to it.
I hadn't intended this as a Good Friday reflection, though perhaps it's appropriate. So, whatever your religion or beliefs, why not take a moment out of your day to imagine someone else's suffering, and their road through it. It won't hurt - you have the choice of stopping whenever you like - and it just might lead you into new understanding and stories. 

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7. Interview with Zoey Derrick, Author of The Reason Series and Giveaway!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Good morning, Zoey!  Describe yourself in five words or less.

[Zoey Derrick] Mother, lover, fighter, crazy, romantic, bibliophile

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about your Reason series?

[Zoey Derrick] The Reason Series is an Omnibus of 4 novellas – Give Me Reason, Give Me Hope, Give Me Desire and Give Me Love and is an Angel Paranormal Romance.

Vivienne Callahan – my heroine is a feisty tiger, who is strong willed and determined, to a fault. Her determination hinders her from seeing some of the dangers in front of her.

Mikah Blake – an angelic hero (literally and figuratively) meets Vivienne and sees a beautiful, strong, and amazing woman who needs help. When they finally come together, the way they should have in the beginning, things are set in motion that one never saw coming.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share your favorite scene?

[Zoey Derrick] From Give Me Desire – Book 3

I walk quietly toward him. I can’t tell if he’s awake or sleeping. He’s not looking at me, but down toward the floor. As I get closer I see his wings flare and twitch slightly.

When I’m about five steps away from him, I shed my shirt so that I’m down to my bra and lacy boy shorts. I don’t want to destroy his shirt.

I concentrate extra hard and, after a beat, I feel them pushing out, spreading outward. The sensation is strange, almost like arms emerging from my body. I smile at the fact that I was able to bring them out on my own.

Once I feel as though they are fully extended, I open my eyes and peer over my shoulder. They are as brilliant as they were this morning, but bigger, and I gasp as I watch them shimmer in the faint light of the kitchen.

I test the muscles in my back, flexing them. My wings move slightly and a thrill of excitement washes over me.

I turn back toward Mikah. He hasn’t moved, but his breathing has grown strained, ragged like in the dream.

I take the five small steps I need to reach him and stop.

I reach down and gently stroke the stubble along his jaw. He leans into my touch. I lower myself to my knees; they slide along his as they come to rest on the floor.

“Keep your eyes closed,” I whisper.

He nuzzles into my touch a shade more, and with my other hand, eager to see if the sensation is the same, I reach for his wing. When I make contact, his mouth goes slack, his breathing stops momentarily, and the feathers of his wings flare. He moans: a warm, sensual sound.

I pull my hand back and cup the other side of his face. He does the same with my face.

“Kiss me,” I breathe, and he rises up, bringing me with him.

I’m looking up at him, and slowly, even more slowly than in the dream, he lowers his kiss to mine. I stretch, hoping to meet his mouth faster, and he smiles.

The next thing I know, his lips are on mine, soft and warm, hot and needy. The moment we make contact, satisfaction and desire sweep through me. I can feel his need in the touch of his lips, in the trembling of his fingers against my face, a need that matches my own.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What gave you the most trouble with the series?

[Zoey Derrick] Mixing Fantasy and Reality. The Reason Series is a human love story with a paranormal twist and while I adore paranormals, especially of the romance kind, I found it harder than I would of thought to incorporate the two together in a way that was believable yet a fantasy.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had a theme song, what would it be?

[Zoey Derrick] That would bed more like a playlist verses one song.. Thought the two that come to mind right away are P!nk’s Bad Influence and Scott Stapp’s The Great Divide.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What’s one thing you won’t leave home without?

[Zoey Derrick] Besides clothes…my cell phone – it is my gateway to all things, reading, writing, and surfing the internet, not while driving of course.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Name three things on your desk right now.

[Zoey Derrick] Monster (energy drink), Mini Babybel Cheese’s x2 (serious addiction) and ibuprofen – a must have on any writers desk…okay maybe just mine.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you could trade places with anyone for just one day, who would you be?

[Zoey Derrick] Eva Tramell from Sylvia Day’s Crossfire Series.. **swoon** Gideon!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are some books that you enjoyed recently?

[Zoey Derrick] Interview With A Master by Jason Luke, The Beauty Series by Georgia Cates (Beauty from Pain/Surrender/Love) are from my recently read list.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Zoey Derrick] I’m everywhere…

Facebook – www.facebook.com/zoey.derrick

Twitter – www.twitter.com/zoeyderrick

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/zoeyderrick/

Goodreads – www.goodreads.com/ZoeyDerrick

Website – www.zoeyderrick.net

Email – Zoey@Zoeyderrick.net

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

The Complete Collection

All four books in Zoey Derrick’s Best-Selling Paranormal Romance

Give Me Reason

Give Me Hope

Give Me Desire

Give Me Love

Vivienne Callahan has known only hardship. As if growing up with an alcoholic, drug addicted mother wasn’t traumatic enough, she’s escaped from her physically and verbally abusive boyfriend only to struggle every day to make ends meet as a waitress in a Minneapolis diner.

Along comes Mikah Blake…

—-
Find out more about Zoey Derrick and The Reason Series here:
Amazon  – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IKZUE5S
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20877403-the-reason-series-complete-collection
Author Web – http://zoeyderrick.net
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/zoeyderrick

 

About Zoey:

It is from Glendale, Arizona that Zoey Derrick, a mortgage underwriter by day and romance and erotica novelist by night, writes stories as hot as the desert sun itself. It is this passion that drips off of her work, bringing excitement to anyone who enjoys a good and sensual love story.

Not only does she aim to take her readers on an erotic dance that lasts the night, it allows her to empty her mind of stories we all wish were true.

Her stories are hopeful yet true to life, skillfully avoiding melodrama and the unrealistic, bringing her gripping Erotica only closer to the heart of those that dare dipping into it.

The intimacy of her fantasies that she shares with her readers is thrilling and encouraging, climactic yet full of suspense. She is a loving mistress, up for anything, of which any reader is doomed to return to again and again.

About Zoey | Goodreads | Amazon | Zoey on Twitter | Zoey on FB

Follow the Tour:

4/7 – Parajunkee.com

4/8 – shaynareneesspicyreads.com

4/9 – bookbriefs.blogspot.com
parayournormal.wordpress.com

4/10 – cbybookclub.blogspot.co.uk

4/11 – ljsecretaddiction.blogspot.ca

4/13 – www.cocktailsandbooks.com

4/14 – www.aliisbookjungle.com
lynnareynolds.wordpress.com
www.stephaniekeyes.com

4/15 – breatheinbooks.blogspot.com
ambersupernaturalandya.blogspot.com

4/16 – saaratis.wordpress.com
www.librarymistress.com

4/17 – www.paranormal-bookclub.com

4/18 – shaynavaradeauxbooks.blogspot.com
www.mangamaniaccafe.com

Giveaway

Comment to win The Reason Series Complete Collection!

Giveaway Information:
10 eBook Copies of the Complete Collection for each tour host
2 Swag Packs that include:
The Reason Series Posters
The Reason Series Notebooks
Swag Fun!
Full Collection, Signed Print Copies
2 Full Collections, Signed Print Copies

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The post Interview with Zoey Derrick, Author of The Reason Series and Giveaway! appeared first on Manga Maniac Cafe.

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8. "I still see her standing by the water"

From Billboard magazine, yesterday:

Glen Campbell has been moved into a care facility three years after being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, People.com reports.

"He was moved to an Alzheimer's facility last week," a family friend told the title. "I'm not sure what the permanent plan is for him yet. We'll know more next week."

The singer, whose "Rhinestone Cowboy" topped the charts in 1975, had been suffering from short-term memory loss in recent years. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2011.

His voice, and the songs he made famous, are as much a part of America to me as the documents we hold so dear and the land we love so much. I never get tired of hearing him sing. I hope he has peace in his life in times ahead.

[Video from 2001 - it provides not only Glen singing "Galveston" but the brief story of the song, which was significantly linked to the Vietnam War. "Galveston" was written by Jimmy Webb.]

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9. Our Wonderful World.18

Details of my Poetry Month Project can be found here.





HOW?

No wheel for rolling,
or draft horse for pulling,
and hills too steep,
with trees thick and deep.

So how to move countless
stone blocks up a mountain?
A hundred-man force
up an inclined plane course.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2014


After a week that featured wonders of the modern world chosen by The American Society of Civil Engineers -- the Empire State Building (my favorite of my poems this week), the Golden Gate Bridge, the Itaipu Dam, the Delta Works, and the Panama Canal (I cheated and wrote a non-wonder poem that day) -- it's been nice to return to some ancient wonders: Petra yesterday and Machu Picchu today.

What fun it's been to learn about unknown or little-known places around the world, and to marvel, day after day, at the ingenuity of the human race!

Robyn has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Life on the Deckle Edge, and the Kidlitosphere Progressive Poem comes home to Irene at Live Your Poem.

Carol Varselona at BeyondLiteracyLink wrote a poem for the Panama Canal.




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10. PFAS: “Dinos in the Laboratory” by Kristy Dempsey

Sarah S. uses story-like LEGO images and fun dino “roar” sound effects to dramatize Kristy Dempsey’s clever poem, “Dinos in the Laboratory.” 

Check it out here.


You’ll find this clever poem in the 4th grade section of The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science in Week 2: Lab Safety.


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11. Tap Tap Boom Boom by Elizabeth Bluemle, illustrated by G. Brian Karas

<!-- START INTERCHANGE - TAP TAP BOOM BOOM -->if(!window.igic__){window.igic__={};var d=document;var s=d.createElement("script");s.src="http://iangilman.com/interchange/js/widget.js";d.body.appendChild(s);} In Tap Tap BOOM BOOM, Elizabeth Bluemle's jazzy, jangly text is matched perfectly with  G. Brian Karas's exuberant illustrations. A combination of gouache and pencil drawings and

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12. 2014 April PAD Challenge: Day 18

One of the cool things I was asked to do already this year is to be a guest judge at the InterBoard Poetry Community for the first three months of the year. It was fun reading through the submissions each month, and my last round of judging recently went live on the site. Click here to read the winners

–and to check out the various forums/communities.

For today’s prompt, write a weather poem. A weather poem can be a poem about a hurricane or tornado; it can be a poem about the weatherperson; it can be a poem about forgetting an umbrella on a rainy day; it can be big; it can be small; etc.

*****

2014_poets_market

Get published!

Learn how to get your poetry published with the 2014 Poet’s Market. This essential guide to publishing poetry is filled with articles on the craft of poetry, business of poetry, and promotion of poetry. It includes poetic forms, poet interviews, and new poetry. But most importantly, it includes listings to poetry publishers, including book publishers, magazines, contests, and more!

Click to continue

.

*****

Here’s my attempt at a Weather Poem:

“my brother, the storm chaser”

my brother is a storm chaser
i am a storm racer my brother
chases after storms i race from them

my brother looks at online data
& knows where tornadoes will drop
i just see a big red & green blob

of potential destruction my
brother is the guy everyone
in my family wants to discuss

i am happy to fly under
the radar & stay out of harm’s way
& pray for my baby brother’s health

*****

Today’s guest judge is…

Nin Andrews

Nin Andrews

Nin Andrews

Nin’s poems and stories have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, The Paris Review, Best American Poetry (1997, 2001, 2003, 2013), and Great American Prose Poems.

She won an individual artist grant from the Ohio Arts Council in 1997 and again in 2003 and is the author of several books including six chapbooks and five full-length collections.

Her next book, Why God Is a Woman, is due out from BOA Editions in 2015.

Learn more here: http://www.amazon.com/Nin-Andrews/e/B001JOVUG.

*****

PYHO_Small_200x200

Poem Your Heart Out

Poems, Prompts & Room to Add Your Own for the 2014 April PAD Challenge!

Words Dance Publishing is offering 20% off pre-orders for the Poem Your Heart Out anthology until May 1st! If you’d like to learn a bit more about our vision for the book, when it will be published, among other details.

Click to continue

.

*****

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems

. He really does have a storm chasing brother named Simon Brewer (click here to learn more about him). Learn more about Robert here: http://www.robertleebrewer.com/.

*****

Weather the day with these poetic posts:

.
  • Tracy Davidson: Poet Interview
  • .
  • Sijo: Poetic Form
  • .

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    13. Göran Malmqvist profile

           In the South China Morning Post Janice Leung invites readers to Meet Göran Malmqvist, Nobel Prize member and champion of Chinese literature -- the Chinese-speaking member of the Swedish Academy.

           The big news here is Malmqvist claiming of Border Town-author Shen Congwen that:

    If he hadn't passed away, he would have got the Nobel Prize in 1988
           Stop the presses ?!??
           Was the 1988 laureate -- Naguib Mahfouz -- really second choice ?
           Well, not so fast -- Shen passed away in May of 1988; he may well have been one of the (usually five) finalists by then, but they don't settle on a winner until the fall, so there's no way of telling whether he would have prevailed over Mahfouz. Still, interesting to hear he was so close.

           Also of interest: Malmqvist's complaints:
    Unfortunately, he says, there are as many poor translators as there are good writers in China.

    "What makes me angry, really angry," he cries, eyes blazing, "is when an excellent piece of Chinese literature is badly translated. It's better not to translate it than have it badly translated. That is an unforgivable offence to any author. It should be stopped.

    "Often translations are done by incompetent translators who happen to know English, or German, or French. But a lot of them have no interest and no competence in literature. That is a great pity."
           One exception:
    David Hawkes' rendition of Cao Xueqin's epic novel The Story of the Stone, which he regards as a rare gem of translated Chinese literature.

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    14. Celebrity Earth Day!

    Earth from space photo

    How celebrities observe Earth Day

    Earth Day is on its way! Are you ready? What are YOU doing for Earth Day on April 22? We asked Disney stars like Ross Lynch, Olivia Holt, and a bunch of others what they did last Earth Day (and every day) to stay green. You might be inspired!

    ROSS LYNCHAUSTIN & ALLYTEEN BEACH MOVIEMAIA MITCHELLBLAKE MICHAELDOG WITH A BLOGCHLOE AND HALLE BAILEYCAMERON BOYCEJESSIECALUM WORTHYKICKIN’ ITA.N.T. FARMLAB RATSGOOD LUCK CHARLIESHAKE IT UPlove our planet EVERY DAY!

    image from kids.scholastic.com— En-Szu, STACKS Staffer

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    15. Gabriel García Márquez (1927-2014)

           The 1982 Nobel laureate, Gabriel García Márquez, has passed away.
           Only two of his titles are under review at the complete review (I read pretty much all the rest before I started the site):

           One Hundred Years of Solitude still seems to me the most significant novel of the past fifty years; get your copy -- if, incomprehensibly, you don't have one -- at Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk.

           There has been extensive coverage (and much, much more will follow, no doubt); see, for example:        But there's tons more -- especially in the Spanish-language press.

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    16. For a Socialism of the Skin


    Richard Kim at The Nation points to one of the central problems of the big Gay Inc. organizations, especially HRC:
    In 2012, the Human Rights Campaign honored Goldman Sachs with an award at its annual dinner, while naming Lloyd Blankfein as its national corporate spokesman for same-sex marriage. In an obscene form of pink-washing in which every banker, sweatshop overlord and oil baron gets a gay star, HRC’s most recent report on “corporate equality” proudly concludes that a record 304 of the nation’s largest businesses—including Chevron, Bank of America, Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Comcast, Google, Monsanto, Nike, Raytheon, Boeing, Target and General Electric—have a perfect rating on LGBT issues.
    Kim also notes that Tony Kushner predicted this in his 1994 Nation essay, "A Socialism of the Skin", an essay I read when it was first published and that has stuck with me ever since:
    [I]t’s entirely conceivable that we will one day live miserably in a thoroughly ravaged world in which lesbians and gay men can marry and serve openly in the Army and that's it. Capitalism, after all, can absorb a lot. Poverty, war, alienation, environmental destruction, colonialism, unequal development, boom/bust cycles, private property, individualism, commodity fetishism, the fetishization of the body, the fetishization of violence, guns, drugs, child abuse, underfunded and bad education (itself a form of child abuse)—these things are key to the successful functioning of the free market. Homophobia is not; the system could certainly accommodate demands for equal rights for homosexuals without danger to itself.
    The Nation has made "A Socialism of the Skin" available for free as a PDF. It's 20 years old this year, and more true than ever. Gay Inc. won.

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    17. Book Blogger Hop - 4/18 - 4/24


     Question of the Week:

    Are your reviews more of a rehash of the story or do you comment on writing style, characters, and reflection?
    My Answer:

    My reviews usually begin with a quick interest statement that sums up the basic idea of the book.

    I give a general "rehash" of the story, but my reviews mainly consist of focusing on the author's writing style, the characters, and a reflection of my opinion.

    To me a review that has depth is more important than a "rehash." 

    The reader of the review can always read the back cover to get a basic review so going into detail about the characters and writing style helps more in my opinion.

    Looking forward to these answers. 




     

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    18. Self Portrait Project

    Suddenly, I got myself into a Project, even though I wasn't aware of it in the first place.
    I finished my last art journal, and opened a new one. I chose a Moleskine Sketchbook this time, instead of the watercolor version, because I felt like I could use a bit of change. A different type of paper, and a different format than what I got used to with the last few sketchbooks would bring some nice variety.

    Yikes, that first page was kind of awful.

    I had to get used to the smooth paper again, and I chose to draw myself in the reflection of the open window, which wasn't easy at all... but hey, the book has a lot of new pages, so onto the next drawing! and at least I enjoyed the process, while sitting in the spring sun for the first time this year.

    The next day, I took some more time and chose a familiar tool: I have been drawing with ballpoint pen a lot on this type of paper.
    I sat in the kitchen, on the kitchen table in fact, and chose another challenge: my own reflection in the lamp above the table. Wow that certainly was interesting! Not just my own distorted reflection in the round lamp, but all the details I discovered.
    A fun drawing, and a fun hour of drawing.

    I had such busy days with the very first semester of Sketchbook Skool coming up, and a lot of ropes to tie together still... So I didn't take the time to sit down and draw something around me, like I'm used to do in my daily drawing journals. but what I did do, was snap a picture of myself and use it as a reference to draw just before going to sleep, a few days in a row.

    So yeah, The Project was born. Why don't I do A Selfie A Day? I have this ongoing self portrait project, on which I work on and off, but wouldn't it be interesting to see how I draw a self portrait each day? Will they be reflecting my moods? Will I get better at drawing my own face and its features?
    We'll see. I don't plan to fill this journal with self portraits only. because I want to keep journaling too. Just drawing my face won't do. And it won't be satisfying every day either. As sometimes, it just doesn't work out well. Like the one below.
    Now that is just insulting towards my husband, whom I tried to draw from, admitted, a bad photo.
    If I can I will do a portrait and drawing of my surroundings. we'll see how it goes!

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    19. Free Fall Friday

    CALL FOR ILLUSTRATIONS: Still need illustrations for the month of April/May. Would love to show off your illustrations during one of my daily posts. So please submit your illustrations: To kathy (dot) temean (at) gmail (dot) com. Illustrations must be at least 500 pixels wide and include a blurb about you that I can use. 

    ANYONE HAVE AN EASTER ILLUSTRATION? Would love to use it for Easter.

    GUEST CRITIQUER’S for APRIL 2014 – Jenna Pocius and Samantha Bremekamp

    Jenna PociusJENNA POCIUS, Assistant Editor, Bloomsbury

    Jenna Pocius is an Assistant Editor at Bloomsbury who works on everything from picture books to YA. Before joining Bloomsbury, she worked for Abrams BFYR. She has edited numerous books including Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg by Debi Gliori, A Soldier’s Secret by Marissa Moss, and the upcoming Mad Scientist Academy series by Matthew McElligott. She’s most interested in YA with strong voice and emotional depth, and she is particularly interested in contemporary realistic fiction, magic realism, and well-crafted fantasy and science fiction with a contemporary voice. She’s interested in middle grade that is quirky and character-driven, particularly girl-centered stories. And she loves picture books that are poignant and sweet or humorously clever. She is also a sucker for dog stories.

    samanthafor litagency bioSamantha Bremekamp is starting out as an agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency. She started her career in publishing in 2008, and quickly realized that she preferred working directly with authors from the other side of the industry. She runs critique groups and writing groups for fun, as she also loves to write and help others to fulfill their writing ambitions. She is fully aware of how hard of an industry it really is in this day and age.

    Her favorite writing is children’s, middle grade, young adult, and new adult. There is something so pure about each building block of life these book groups represent. Although there may be a difference between a three year old and a 33 year old, maybe, Samantha finds that all of life’s challenges in these age groups really show the potential for amazing growth in a character.

    Samantha’s background is in English literature, communications, and Spanish. She really thinks that if a writer is confident and believes in their work, their work will show that without having to showboat to prove it via a pitch.

    Follow Samantha on Twitter at @LiterallySmash

    Samantha loves reading Children’s, MG, YA, and NA fiction. She is open to any genre within those age groups, but prefers speculative fiction, mystery, and quirky romance.

    Below is the April picture prompt for anyone who would like to use it. 

    albaas-chapter1-b

    The above illustration was done by Elizabeth Alba. She works in watercolor and gouche. Elizabeth was featured on Illustrator Saturday in March. Here is the link: http://kathytemean.wordpress.com/2014/03/08/illustrator-saturday-elisabeth-alba/

    Here are the submission guidelines for submitting a First Page in April: Please “April First Page Critique” or “April First Page Picture Prompt Critique” in the subject line. Please make sure you include your name, the title of the piece, and whether it is as picture book, middle grade, or young adult, etc. at the top.

    Please attach your first page submission using one inch margins and 12 point font – double spaced, no more than 23 lines to an e-mail and send it to: kathy(dot)temean(at)gmail(dot)com. Also cut and paste it into the body of the e-mail and then also attach it in a Word document to the email.

    DEADLINE: April 24th.

    RESULTS: May 2nd.

    Use inch margins – double space your text – 12 pt. New Times Roman font – no more than 23 lines – paste into body of the email

    You can only send in one first page each month. It can be the same first page each month or a different one, but if you sent it to me last month and it didn’t get chosen, you need to send it again using the April’s directions. Of course, it doesn’t have to be the same submission. It can be a first page from a work in process or you can use the picture prompt above.

    Talk tomorrow,


    Filed under: opportunity, submissions, Writer's Prompt Tagged: Bloomsbury Children's Books, Corvisiero Literary Agency, Elizabeth Alba, First Page Critique, Free Fall Friday, Jenna Pocius, Samantha Bremekamp

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    20. Perfect Picture Book Friday - E-I-E-I-O How Old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]

    Happy Friday, Folks!

    While I was writing up this post, my ever-vigilant dogs suddenly roused themselves from a sound sleep to bark and snarl and hurl themselves at the french doors that look out on the back yard.  Assuming such behavior could only mean an invasion of some type, I went to investigate.  Was the bear up from his long winter's nap?  Had a pack of hungry coyotes dared to breech The Perimeter?  Were we being attacked by giant meatball-headed spaghetti people from Mars?

    Shockingly, no!

    Here was the cause of the alarm:

    One of last year's babies, looking a little scruffy in between
    winter and spring coats
    My dogs take their duty as Protectresses of the Family Homestead a little too seriously sometimes :)

    I did not let them out.  I figured this little miss could use some green grass after the long winter.  So she snacked and the Protectresses sulked and I went back to writing this post.

    This is just a little sample of the kind of action-packed, emotionally-charged, wild and crazy life we live up here on Blueberry Hill :)

    Although Tuesday night's snow is still melting, I insist on believing it is spring and I have a fun, spring-appropriate title to share with you all today which is especially fitting in view of the wildlife on my lawn that makes this place feel like a farm (of sorts :))!  (And no jokes about the funny farm! :))

    Title: E-I-E-I-O How old MacDonald Got His Farm [with a Little Help from a Hen]
    Written By: Judy Sierra
    Illustrated By: Matthew Myers
    Candlewick, February 2014, Fiction

    Suitable For Ages: 4-8

    Themes/Topics: composting, gardening, perseverance, innovation

    Opening: "Old MacDonald had a house E-I-E-I-O!  Around that house there was a yard MOW MOW MOW MOW MOW!  MacDonald said, "I love my yard, but mowing grass is mighty hard."  So off he went to get a goat E-I-E-I-O!"

    Brief Synopsis: In case anyone was wondering how Old MacDonald got his farm, it all started with too much mowing.  Old MacDonald's solution? Get a goat.  But the goat only ate the edges and then chewed a hole in MacDonald's hedges.  Luckily, a smart little red hen came along and taught Old MacDonald a thing or two about sustainable farming :)


    Links To Resources: Do The Rot Thing: A Teacher's Guide To Compost Activities, all about Worms, Recycling and Composting, How To Plant Seeds With Kids

    Why I Like This Book:  I always love new twists on familiar stories.  Judy Sierra has taken Old MacDonald to a whole new level.  The story is humorous (and so is the art - be sure to read the hen's diplomas and all the picket signs :)) and young readers will learn about composting and growing a garden right along with Old MacDonald.  This is a great story for spring, and a wonderfully fun way to introduce kids to the concept of green farming.

    For the complete list of books with resources, please visit Perfect Picture Books.

    PPBF peeps, please leave your post-specific links in the list below so we can all come see what fabulous books you've chosen this week!  And to all who celebrate, Happy Easter and a belated Happy Passover.

    Have a great weekend, everyone!!! :)


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    21. EASTER 2014 - victoria johnson

    These beautiful Easter style illustrations are available for licensing from Victoria Johnson and I thought they would be a great way to round off our Print & Pattern Easter Design week . Victoria is a British designer based in Rome and you can see more of her work online here and at Surtex in New York next month. Print & Pattern is off for a short Easter break and will return on Monday 28th

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    22. SURTEX 2014 - call for flyers

    When Print & Pattern returns after the Easter break we will start posting our annual round-up of Surtex flyers in the build up to the show. If you would like to be included simply email your flyers and any image examples to bowiestyle@hotmail.co.uk. Flyers have already started coming in and i would love to see yours and give everyone a chance of shout out in time for the show.

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    23. EASTER 2014 - liz & pip

    And as an Easter Finale we have a lovely selection of cards from Brighton based publishers Liz & Pip. The design duo are known for their cards which are colourful and fun but still very stylish. You can find them in stockists or buy online here along with notepads, gift wrap, and prints.

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    24. The Tony Garcia Interview

    Anthony J. "Tony" Garcia
    Today we hear from Anthony "Tony" Garcia, long-time Artistic Director at the world-famous El Centro Su Teatro. Tony is the driving force behind many of Denver's cultural highlights, recognized and honored by the local, national, and international cultural elite, as well as respected and loved by the community he so ably represents with his hard-work and intense commitment. Tony recently managed to squeeze in a few minutes for La Bloga -  and we are grateful;  he's a busy guy. Tony offers his opinion about a wide range of subjects including the current state of Chicano theater, Su Teatro's plans for the immediate future, what Su Teatro offers in the way of opportunities for writers, and key lessons taught to all of us by César Chávez.

    [from Su Teatro's website]
    Tony Garcia, Executive Artistic Director: Tony has been the Executive Artistic Director of El Centro Su Teatro since 1989 and has been a member of Su Teatro since 1972. He received his BA in Theater from the University of Colorado at Denver. Tony has received numerous awards and accolades for his artistic vision, including the 1989 University of California, Irvine Chicano Literary Award, a 2006 United States Artists Fellowship, an artist residency at the Island Institute in Sitka, Alaska, and was named the Denver Post 2010 Theater Person of the Year. Most recently, he received the prestigious Livingston Fellowship from the Bonfils Stanton Foundation. Tony is a past faculty member for the National Association of Latino Art and Culture (NALAC) Leadership Institute as well as a past board member, he is a peer trainer for the Colorado Creative Industries’ Peer Assistance Network, and a member of the Western State Arts Federation’s (WESTAF) Board of Trustees. Tony also is an adjunct professor at Metro State University in Denver.

    La Carpa de los Rasquachis, written by Luis Valdez, directed by Anthony J. Garcia

    And a little bit about Su Teatro, also from Su Teatro's website:
    Su Teatro began in 1971 as a student-organized theater group at the University of Colorado at Denver. In 1989, Su Teatro purchased the old Elyria School in Northeast Denver and became El Centro Su Teatro, a multidisciplinary cultural arts center. 


    Twenty-one years later in September, 2010 Su Teatro purchased The Denver Civic Theater at 721 Santa Fe Dr.

    Over 40 years, Su Teatro has established a national reputation for homegrown productions that speak to the history and experience of Chicanos. Su Teatro has created more than 15 original full length productions that have toured widely to venues such as New York’s Public Theater, The Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, TX and Plaza de la Raza, Los Angeles, CA. 


    The artistic excellence of our programs and our relevance to the field has been recognized nationally through funding from The Shubert Foundation, Theatre Communications Group, the National Performance Network, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Kresge Foundation, and the American Composers Forum.


    _____________________________________________________________________________

    Manuel Ramos:     At one time there were Chicano teatros all over the place. What's the state of this type of theater today?  How big is this club?

    Tony Garcia:  In the mid-70s there were as many as ten teatros in Colorado alone. In 1976 we brought them together in a festival. There were probably 50-70 and many would participate in national and international festivals, often hosted by a group called TENAZ ( Teatros Nacionales de Aztlan. ) Just recently there was a call for entries for a national gathering of Latino theater ensembles and more than 70 groups responded. This does not include the individual artists and spoken word performers. The Latino Commons was a gathering of individual Latino theater artists in Boston and an invited list of 67 showed up. The variety is great, we created a circle of our experience as teatristas, and we ran from Luis Valdez of El Teatro Campesino, whose company was formed in 1965, to college performers with less than two years in the field. I would say we are as healthy as we can be for artists. The work is less politically and socially driven then it was when we began. It is, though, no less important. We are still working our way through identity issues as our identities evolve. We are no longer just telling stories about Chicanos, because we are no longer just Mexican-Americans. We are Mexican-African-Americans, Mexican-Japanese-Pilipino-Americans. We are Puerto Rican-Cuban-Irish-Americans, so all of those elements are getting mixed into the stew. What we have in common is a real claim to the Americas. We see ourselves as in our native country, although we preserve the memory of another country. Of course the twist is that we are connected to a subculture of hybridity, which is second nature to us. Because that is what being a Chicano was all about.

    MR:  Why has Su Teatro survived?  How would you describe the evolution of Su Teatro?

    TG:  Su Teatro has survived because we know what we are, and there is a need for what we are. If our community did not need us then we would be gone very shortly. Very few artists and artistic organizations have been embraced as firmly as has Su Teatro and yours truly. Our community has watched us grow and our growth and successes are successes of our community. We are the conveyors of our community’s history, but not just in a sense that we regurgitate what the community wants to hear, we are fortunate to be in a position to challenge and inspire. So people don’t always hear what they want, but we work hard to engage them, to provoke them and to reflect well on them. We have been at this for a long time, and we have gotten better at telling stories. We have more tools than we had in the past. Our new space rivals many facilities in larger cities. People can come here and see a show that has solid acting, good production values and yet has an environment that feels like you are visiting family. The facility is very welcoming, we serve among other things tamales that people can take into the theater with them. It adds to the comfort level. We really want to challenge the idea that art is something that is out of the reach of most people. We call ourselves community theater, and some people in the arts community look down upon this, as somehow that means a diminished quality. But what we mean is that it is a community space, it is a space that is about giving access to our community. It is not easy to get on our main stage, only one or two new actors make it in those shows each year. That speaks to the quality of the actors in our shows. We do, though, offer a number of other opportunities in smaller and touring shows to help get you to the level of our main stage.

     As for our own evolution, we have really grown with our community. We have also been fortunate enough to have interacted on an international and national level with other groups; we have been exposed to models that work and models that may not work as well. This has helped a lot. We have also been exposed to the work on these levels and been able to gauge ourselves, get inspired by the others and be challenged as well. This has helped us to grow as artists, which is really important in being able to carry out your work. I get inspired from above, artists I feel are doing great work, and I also get inspired from below, people who are just starting out and growing. Bobby LeFebre and Jose Guerrero inspire me, two young spoken word artists in the company. Rudy Anaya inspires me as does Luis Valdez.  And Debra Gallegos and Yolanda Ortega ( two veteranas from our company) caused me to rewrite their characters based on the great elements they brought to the parts. 

    MR:  How many plays have you written or co-written?  Where can our audience find these plays to read them? Anyone more special than the others?

    Daniel Valdez
    TG:  I have probably written around 20-25, I have tried to count them a number of times but I always end up getting distracted and don’t finish. The problem is that I am in a highly productive period, a lot because of my collaboration with Daniel Valdez (composer/musician director/actor) and it seems like every conversation becomes a new play that we begin building.  Danny has pushed me to write more music as well. I always wrote songs but I never really felt I had the skills or talent to polish them. So I left them to others to do that. But I know now that if it is good Danny will use it in the play. If it isn’t, meaning if I haven’t polished it, he won’t. If he uses the music, it usually sounds very good. That is motivation. So that output has grown. I am used to walking around with characters and dialogue occupying my brain; now I have melodies, harmonies, bridges and segues that run together and sound like every song I have ever heard. It is really torturous to have that much activity going on in your brain. I have to be careful when I drive.

    I have published a first Anthology, it has four plays and a short film script. One of the projects I was supposed to do when I received the United States Artist Felllowship was to publish the completed collections. But I ended up writing much since that time.  We have talked about making them available on line. But in the meantime I have a full length script due by May 1st, a four part telenovela by the end of June, and the second story in a children’s trilogy called El Espiritu Natural. The first story, El Rio: Las Lagrimas de la Llorona, we ran in February and will tour in the fall. The second story is La Tierra. Artists, like parents, love all their children equally. There is something that we find endearing in all of them. I like Ludlow: El Grito de las Minas, because I like the story and the lead character reminds me of my mother. I like When Pigs Fly and Men Have Babies because it is so obnoxious. I like El Sol Que Tu Eres because it really was a beautiful production.  And of course we are always in love with the next one. And if people have an interest I will be glad to send someone a script

    MR:  I heard you speak at the recent César Chávez celebration here in Denver. You made some excellent points about what Chávez should mean to us. And I know that working with youth is one focus of the work that Su Teatro undertakes. Is Chávez someone that today's Chicano or Mexicano youth cares about, or even knows? I worry about our lost history and am curious about what you see happening today with Latino youth in terms of cultural and political history, as well as changing the future.

     TG:  I wrote Papi, Me and Cesar Chavez because I was concerned that young people knew the latest reality show stars more than they knew César. I wanted people to understand the story. Being asked to speak put me in a position to think about the values and lessons that I learned from César Chávez. For the first time in my life I placed them in categories. Sacrifice:  César taught that we should be willing to sacrifice everything to achieve our goals. It is pretty hard to hear this when you have nothing. But the idea of sacrifice forces you to think about what has value. And we learn it is not the monetary things that make or change us. Discipline:  The discipline that was necessary to resist violence. As strange as it sounds, it is much more difficult to refrain from harming someone who harmed you. We learned that discipline is the value that will make the change needed in our lives. Discipline is what makes us better artists. If it was so easy everyone would do it. Memory:  César taught us to preserve memory. History is memory preserved. Memory is what connects us to our ancestors and our descendants. That connection is what allows us to outlive our lifetimes. Teach: César taught us to teach. The moment we learn something, we are responsible to teach it. This is how we move the next generation forward. I had an actor tell me,  "I don’t want to be a mentor." My response was that perhaps this was not the place for him. Someone who can not teach is probably someone who will never know. The last is to Honor: Although I really have built my career on sarcasm, we need to always remember to honor the gifts that we have been given. Whether it is an art, a skill, or an emotion, some people have a tremendous capacity to care, to be empathetic. Some people can love deeply or are eternally hopeful. Those are gifts that we may have received genetically, but they were given to us. We also must honor the sacrifices, the lessons, the discipline, and the history that brought us to this place. In our work with young people in addition to telling them about César Chávez, we teach them that the sacrifice was for them to have opportunity, and that their payback was to take advantage of those opportunities. Telling our stories is one of the greatest ways of preserving memory. I was fortunate that my mother was such a great story teller. But now more than ever we have so many great storytellers out there. We also need to teach our children to tell their stories, because in the end their stories will connect with ours.

    MR:  What does Su Teatro have planned for this year?

    TG:  Actually our season is winding down, but we will finish strong and then start off with a lot of momentum. In June we will stage Cuarenta y Ocho, a fictional telling of the 48 hours between the two explosions in Boulder in 1974 that left six people dead. It begins with an explosion and ends with an explosion that we all know is coming. We will remount Enrique’s Journey, my adaptation of the Sonia Nazario Pulitzer Prize winning story of a young boy who rides the top of the trains from Honduras to the United States to reunite with his mother. We are anticipating that the show will run in Denver for three weeks and then move on to Los Angeles for another three weeks, with a possibility of continuing into Seattle and then returning through Albuquerque. We will remount The Westside Oratorio, the musical retelling of the seven generations that inhabited Denver’s Westside neighborhood, before they were forced to move in order to build the Auraria Campus. We have a great opportunity to stage Real Women Have Curves by Josefina López, and then we will finish off the season with a gift to our audiences and we will once again present Chicanos Sing the Blues. It is a season of revivals, but every one of the shows will have a very different look than previously presented.

    MR:  Many writers, hundreds actually, established and upcoming, read La Bloga. Are there opportunities for writers with your company? Any advice for aspiring playwrights?

    TG:   We accept submissions all the time, but frankly many are not ready for production. And we don’t always have the resources to invest in the development. We receive a lot of plays that have significantly large casts ( six to eight is a good size. ) We are interested in plays about Latinos; we often get plays by non-Latinos that are really about how non-Latinos see us. I am not big on Latino adaptations of a Shakespeare, Chekov or that sort. We have done adaptations of the Greeks which we like, going back to the root. We have done bilingual versions of Spanish and Latin American writers.  Mostly though we are a company that develops its own work, that is primarily what we do. But we are into relationships as it is through relationships that we find out if there is a fit. These interactions take time. So I would say send me a script, keep in contact, keep me up to date on your activities. Come to a show if you are in town. See what it is we do. And most of all don’t take it personally. I also would suggest that you get your script read aloud, do this before you send it in. Get some friends - they don’t have to be actors. Plays are meant to be heard (not just in your head),  it will really affect the dynamic of what you write.

    Tony Garcia Brings Theater to the People


    MR:  Thank you, Tony. It's been a pleasure and all of us here at La Bloga appreciate your willingness to speak to our readers. People in Denver know that a night at Su Teatro is guaranteed to be an evening well-spent. Your work is always enlightening, entertaining, and passionate. And often belly-shaking funny. I encourage anyone who has a chance to watch a Su Teatro production to seize the opportunity. You won't regret it.

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Later.

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    25. Eight Ways to a Happy Earth Day – Part 1

    Earth Day helps us focus on being kind to our planet.  We often take for granted all the wonders this beautiful place we call home provides.  To honor the earth, on Earth Day, and every day, here are some things you can do:

    1.  Recycle EVERYTHING you can.  Find a list at http://www.recyclingcenters.org

    2.  Repurpose and find other uses for objects you  used to throw away. One example is to use empty tin cans and jars for pencils or flower vases.  Visit  http://www.creatingreallyawesomefreethings.com   to find some great “tin can crafts”.

    3.  Instead of the cardboard coffee cup sleeve, check ebay.com for unique and clever cotton and knitted reusable coffee cup sleeves.

    4.  Learn how to make yarn from plastic bags (plarn)  at: http://www.wikihow.com

    5.  Donate your old electronics by visiting: http://www.pickupplease.org  for details.

    6.  When shipping items, use old newspapers for packing instead of Styrofoam peanuts.

    7.  Catch rain in buckets to water the garden.

    8.  Use bar soap instead of liquid in plastic bottles.

    If you’re wondering where you can go to take part in Earth Day events, visit http://www.earthday.org  to find local events in your area as well as volunteer opportunities.  Being a good steward of the earth is important, and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t also be fun.  I’ll post more ways to be a friend to the earth on Monday as well as tell you how to get free seeds for plants that attract butterflies to your garden.  Stay tuned.

     

     


    0 Comments on Eight Ways to a Happy Earth Day – Part 1 as of 4/18/2014 3:09:00 AM
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