Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Art Gallery & Local Author Bring the Story of Rwanda Alive in African Exhibi

Emerging Arts Scene in partnership with Miss America 2008 and Local Author Hosts MARKET RWANDA

Kirsten Halgund
Miss America 2008
The story of any culture is found in the artwork of its people. Humanitarian and Author, Linda Cox has partnered with Kirsten Halgund, a humanitarian and media personality also crowned Miss America 2008 to bring the experience of the beautiful culture of Rwanda to Emerging Art Scene Gallery in Castleberry Hill in an exhibit called MARKET RWANDA. Set for Sunday, July 31st from 4pm - 7pm, the market will include a distinctive collection of beautiful handmade jewelry, home décor and a book signing complete with a brief video and storytelling about the author's Rwandan friends, Simon & Kedress Nziramakenga who are also characters in the author's children's book, They Had to Run. Admission is only $5 and can paid in advance or on the day of the event.

Guests will enjoy wine courtesy of Rex-Goliath and light bites while experiencing the latest in distinctive original Rwandan Jewelry and home décor collection and the chance to meet Kirsten Halgund, Miss America 2008, and the author, Linda Cox. Haglund, the National Goodwill Ambassador for the Children's Miracle Network and currently a frequent contributor on "Hannity" on the Fox News Channel and "America's Nightly Scoreboard" on the Fox Business Network will share her own personal journey to Rwanda with a special presentation.

"They Had To Run is a story of deliverance and hope that all children, and their parents, need to hear", shares Halgund. "This incredible book connects children around the globe, and beautifully illustrates the forgiveness and love that defines the heart of the Rwandan people, and ultimately, the heart of God."

The book is based on the real life story of the author's Rwandan friends as two frightened children who ran from Rwanda to escape war and became two strong leaders who returned to build restoration in Rwanda. They Had to Run allows you to follow their journeys from burning villages to lives lived as orphans in the hardwood forests of Uganda. It gives you a chance to experience their joys and sorrows as they grow into adulthood with a deep desire to help others.

Cox explains, "Simon & Kedress have helped hundreds of orphans and refugees create productive lives for nearly 20 years. It's been a miracle providing all the resources - materially, spiritually, physically and mentally to achieve this. It is through the purchase of the beautiful handmade home décor, jewelry and the book that we can continue our work."

All proceeds from the purchase of the book and items from the MARKET go towards the construction of The Good Shepherd Community Hospital for Children in Kigali, Rwanda, part of the mission of One Hundred Days. Dr. Scott Sasser, founder and president of One Hundred Days says, "The health care system is one of the many victims of the genocide." According to the World Health Organization, there are only about 400 doctors in the entire country who serve a population of over eight million people. Hospitals are often overcrowded with overworked staff and outdated equipment. Currently, there is no facility dedicated to serving children in the entire country.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Discovery... Peter David

I've just discovered a new author. He's not new to the rest of the world, just to me. I grabbed a copy of Fall of Knight at the library when I made my last run-through. I wasn't sure about it, but the idea of knights and their ilk in a modern day setting intrigued me.

It was a fun, thought provoking and enchanting tale.

King Arthur, Merlin, Percival and friends are alive and well in our current day. There is magic, a laudable (and credible in the context of the story) attempt to marry up religion with ancient beliefs, and villains who try to destroy humanity. Oh, and humor, excellent threads of humor.

I loved the book and loved the way Peter David told the tale. I started out a little skeptical that I'd finish the book as it didn't quite fit my mood. I couldn't put it down. It was a perfect break from the intense novels I've been reading, and yet it was intense in its probing of human nature, religion, and the state of the world.

After I read the book I read the jacket. I try not to look at pictures of authors or to read about them before reading a book by an author I haven't encountered before. I want to go in fresh to my new story, not knowing what else they've written or anything that might intrude in my perception of the book. Thus, it wasn't until after I read Fall of Knight I discovered that Peter David is a prolific writer, just in genres that I rarely read these days. I love science fiction and fantasy, used to read it almost exclusively. However, I've been glutting myself on mysteries and similar for quite some time so just skated by sections that included David's books!

David has written sci fi scripts for, among others, Babylon 5 and Crusade. He has written some Star Trek books and is "the New York Times bestselling author of more than forty novels". He has written fiction, non-fiction, comic books and more. I will be adding Peter David to my list of authors to keep up with and read in the future. If you'd like to know more about David, here's a Bibliography link: I guarantee that just scanning the list is going to make you tired! How can one person write so well and so much?

After reading Fall of Knight I noticed a list of other books in the front that you may want to read first before picking up Fall. Howling Mad, Knight Life, and One Knight Only are listed as previous ACE titles by David.

Author: Peter David
Title: Fall of Knight
The Berkley Publishing Group
Ace Books
ISBN 0-441-01402-X
First edition: June 2006

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

New author on my list: William G. Tapply

Just finished reading "Outwitting Trolls" by William G. Tapply. Why am I just now discovering this great author? Loved the book. Sadly, Tapply died in 2009 according to the book jacket (which I just read). Outwitting Trolls was the last novel he completed before his death. I finished reading the book anticipating the next in the series which feature Brady Coyne as the main character. Now I'll never know if he makes it in his relationship, a side bar to the storyline, but a thread that would have continued in subsequent novels.

I am consoling myself with the fact that I'll be able to go back to the beginning and read forward to the end again. I'm sure I'll re-read Outwitting Trolls when I roll back around to it in the line.

I grabbed it simply because of the title. I "assumed" it had something to do with the kind of trolls people talk about on Facebook! Trolls on Facebook are typically those who just like to be friends or join groups so they can grouse, be offended or take potshots.

The book has nothing to do with Facebook or other similar trolls. It's a murder mystery with  Boston attorney Brady Coyne as the friendly, brilliant solver of great crimes. It's not a deep novel but it is engaging. It's another quick read, not one that requires a lot of brain power to keep up with. It had just the right smattering of humor, insights into human nature and mini-twists.

An old friend of Coyne's, Ken Nichols, comes into town and wants to meet for drinks. They meet, catch up on life and part. The next night Coyne get's a call from his friend's ex-wife saying she came to meet Nichols in his hotel room and discovered him dead. Life and death, family interactions, love and antagonism follow.

The characters were a little bit more sterile than I normally like. They didn't react emotionally in ways that I could connect with on a personal level, but I still enjoyed the book. I'm having a hard time trying to convey what I mean regarding the characters. It didn't take away from the book. I just found myself thinking off and on that I didn't know anyone who would react to similar situations in the same way. Shoot, you're just going to have to read the book to see what I mean. Let me know. Maybe you'll be able to better.

I will be heading back to the library to pick up past novels by Tapply. He also wrote a number of books on fishing and wildlife. I'll  stick to his fiction novels. According to the jacket he has written 'more than twenty critically acclaimed novels of crime fiction'. As said, I don't know how I missed reading his books. I am an avid crime fiction reader.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Radleys Rimbombo

I just finished reading 'The Radleys' by Matt Haig. It roars. I thought I was picking up a murder mystery given the little bit of blood dripping from the fence post on the front cover. I didn't bother reading the jacket to see if my assumption was correct. I'm glad I didn't.

If I'd realized that it was a vampire story, I might, might have put it back on the shelf. I went through a vampire stage a while back with The Vampire Diary and similar. Vampires dropped back briefly in my reading portfolio with the Twilight series, then dropped off again.

I get tired of vampire stories after taking brief excursions into their dens.

The Radleys was a completely different kind of vampire, more human than not. I loved the book. It is a rimbombo book!

Haig is a British author and as such the book has a slightly different flavor than most American books. I've never put my mind to determining how I realize it's a British author within a few pages, someday I'll put some thought into it. I usually flip to the cover to confirm, then read on using my fake-mental-British accent.

Vampire loving readers will enjoy this one. There's the usual conversions and blood, but it definitely has a twist or two or three.

Underlying all the vampire action The Radleys is a book that explores family and friend relationships, secrets, and, of course, the interaction of humans and vampires. The books delves into the character's darker and better sides. I found it easy to put myself into each of the character's shoes as Haig did an excellent job of dropping me into one character after the others' mind.

I read it in one sitting. It rarely did what I expected it to do, except at the end. However, even then, while I guessed where it might be headed, I wasn't quite sure.

Vampires living next door to you? sitting next to you at school? on the bus? Could your best friend be a vampire? Reading 'The Radleys' might have you wondering about that pale kid down the street.

Copyright 2010
Originally published in Great Britain, Canongate Books Ltd
Free Press (a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.) hardcover edition December 2010
ISBN 978-1-4391-9401-0
ebook available

Other books by Matt Haig:
The Last Family in England
The Dead Fathers Club
The Possession of Mr. Cave

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Canning Memories Writing Workshop with Instructor: Julie L. Cannon at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF)

This workshop is designed as an introduction to memoir writing for those who simply want to record their memories, and as a catalyst for those who desire to use their memories to write autobiographical fiction. The goal of Canning Memories is to develop and refine the essential components of shaping raw personal experiences into a polished story. Class exercises and a short between-class assignment augment the learning curve. Dates: Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, May 21, Time: 9:00 AM to 12:00 Noon, Fees: $50 OCAF Members, $60 Non-members, Location: OCAF, 34 School Street in Watkinsville. For more information and to register (706) 769-4565, or visit the website

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Author Patricia Sprinkle Book Reading and Discussion in Peachtree City

The Friends of the Peachtree City Library association is pleased to present author Patricia Sprinkle. The author of "Daughter of Deceit", "The Remember Box", "Carley's Song", "The Thoroughly Southern Mysteries", and "The Shelia Travis" series, will read from and discuss her books on Saturday, March 12 at 1:00 p.m. in the Peachtree City Council Chambers City Hall at 151 Willowbend Rd. Her latest novel is Friday's Daughter. Following the program, the author will sign copies of her books and refreshments will be served. The public is invited to attend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Terry Kay Offers 'Voice' Workshop

The use of voice in creative writing is the subject of a special workshop to be offered by novelist Terry Kay on March 26 at the Oconee Cultural Arts Foundation (OCAF) in Watkinsville.

A member of the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame and author of such best-selling novels as To Dance with the White Dog, Kay will share with beginning and established writers his experience in identifying, and refining, the "voice" of stories.

"The understanding of voice is perhaps the most difficult aspect of writing, especially in fiction," explained Kay, "because it doesn't really have a single, generally accepted definition. Ask any writer and he, or she, will give you a pretty good opinion of what voice means to him, or to her, yet you will realize that it's more speculation than explanation."

Kay's workshop will include a six-hour session, running from 9 a.m. to noon, and 1:00 to 4 p.m. A no-cost follow-up session will be conducted at a date and place to be determined. Cost for the workshop will be $50.00 for OCAF members and $60.00 for non-members. Attendance will be limited.

"I've long wanted to fashion a workshop on the topic of voice," added Kay. "Concentration will be on the role of the writer, the character, and the reader in creating the aura that is the essence of voice. We'll spend a lot of time on the importance of rhythm and dialogue."

Kay is the author of 10 published novels, a collection of essays, and a children's book. His newest novel, “Bogmeadow’s Wish”, is scheduled for publication in March. Kay has previously conducted workshops in creative writing and screenwriting for OCAF. For a complete review of personal and professional history, Kay's website is: For additional information on this workshop and to register contact OCAF at (706) 769-4565, or visit the website
@softnblue (music & dance)
@RimbomboAAG (books, authors +)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Borders isn't going away

Sadly, due to a combination of factors, Borders is going through Chapter 11. I've always liked Borders, even though there isn't one near my home or business. When I worked downtown I was a regular shopper.

I can understand why bookstores are struggling.

I went into Barnes & Noble a few years back to try and find a book. They were out, but said they could order it for me, they'd call and let me know when it was in and I could trek back down there and pick it up. OR, I could go on-line, order, get a discount, get free shipping and it would be delivered to my door a few days later. Well, gee, guess what I started doing on a regular basis? Ordering on-line of course.

I'm not into Kindle, eBooks and all the electronic readers. I like reading in odd places where electronic stuff just doesn't work. Anyone else have their shower setting set so they can read while showering? When taking a bath the idea of possibly dropping a Kindle into the water isn't relaxing. Standing over the stove cooking while holding a tablet reader doesn't work sometimes either.

I have nothing in the world against all the computerized stuff, I'm a semi-geek and love new technology (even when I don't know the correct terminology). But books are a tactile, touching, experience that I doubt I'll ever be able to give up.

I get my news via computer though. Sorry, newspapers.

I do hate to see Borders going through the reorganization, but am glad they'll still be around. They're not going anywhere. You can still buy on-line, stores are still open (although expect staff to be a little nervous about whether their store and jobs will survive).

To me, Chapter 11 is just a legal way to dump debt, cut staff, ditch buildings. It probably means that the stock holders will get stiffed, too. I owned K-Mart stock when they went through a similar process. Lost it all. Then they came back and didn't do anything for the stock holders. Perfectly legal, they sluffed off all the old, had no obligation, but I haven't walked into a K-Mart since it happened. I'd imagine Borders stock holders, assuming there is such a creature, will not be happy with them, but chances are they figured it was coming if they kept up.

So, shop on at Borders. They're saying all is normal for those of us out here in book-buying land. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to find that Borders is the first in a long row of bookstore dominoes.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Children's Classic Huck Finn Gets Rid of "N"-Word

"It certainly is controversial and it has been for many years," said Barbara Pickell, the Director of the Clearwater Public Library.

Published in 1885, Mark Twain's, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is known as the America's greatest novel.

However, says Pickell, over the years, many educators have opted out of teaching the childrens' classic because of the offensive language. Specifically, the "N"-word used 219 times.

So, Mark Twain scholar, Alan Gribbons, an Auburn University Professor, decided to make a change to the classic novel through publishing company NewSouth. In February, a version of the classic will replace the "N"-word with the word, "slave."

"It enables us to set this inflammatory racial epithet aside and begin to address the greatness of Twain's works," Gribbons told CBS News.

Pickell calls the move censorship. "It does take us away from the true literary work and what the author really meant to say in the words that really represented the time and place that he was covering," said Pickell.

Mother Dayna Saltarelli said, "I'm on the fence about it because that's the way it was... We're at a different time than the original but I still want him to know the history."

Another mom Decynthia Clements said, "I think that's a great idea." She sees both sides too but one outweighs the other. "It is complicated but it is a benefit. So, anything that is a plus I would go for."

Since the director of the Clearwater Library is against censorship, Pickell will offer the new version of this old classic. In fact, she has already ordered her copies.

"We're going to have it because that's what libraries do. We have material on all sides of controversial issues so we give people choices," said Pickell.

Both moms are happy to hear that and choose to read the revised edition with their sons.

Keep in mind, NewSouth is not the only publisher. There are many different companies that publish the classic novel. That means the original version will continue to be published as is.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in New York City in 1961, from 1975 to 1985 columnist and author Erik Rush was a club, stage and studio musician. He's also been involved in biomedical research, sales, marketing and media production.

Rush was the first to break the story of President (then Senator) Barack Obama's ties to militant Chicago preacher Rev. Jeremiah Wright on a national level in February of 2007.

He writes columns of sociopolitical fare for WorldNetDaily as well as dozens of nationally-distributed print and online news sources. He's appeared on Fox News, CNN, and is a veteran of a copious number of radio appearances and speaking engagements.

ABOUT THE BOOK: In 2008, Americans elected Barack Hussein Obama as the 44th president of the United States. Being a black man, of course this was heralded as a monumentally historic event-the first black president in a country that was segregated a scant 50 years ago. A historic event, yes, whether or not one subscribes to theories of underhanded race politics, the evils of affirmative action and the cult of victimization in which many hold that black people still live.

Yet, many were distressed by Obama's election. Little was known about the man and his likely policies despite two published memoirs; his political history- and close circle of influence-evidenced the most far left liberal tendencies. Nevertheless, he campaigned as a centrist. But his appeal also appeared clearly-in black and white.

Negrophilia studies the undue and inordinate affinity for blacks (as opposed to antipathy toward them), that has been promoted by activists, politicians and the establishment press for the past 40 years and which has fostered an erroneous perception of blacks, particularly in America. The book dissects the dynamic of race relations and race politics with an emphasis on same since the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, how these are likely to develop given a Barack Obama presidency, and how conscientious Americans may discern the deeper truths of these matters and thus develop healthier perceptions.

Reprinted with permission

Changes to Classic Novel are Misguided, UWG Scholars Say

Sanitizing the American classic, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” is a disservice to the novel and does nothing to further the discussion of racism, say University of West Georgia scholars.

An edition of Mark Twain’s 19th century novel is set for release by NewSouth Books with the ‘‘n’’ word removed and replaced by the word “slave.” “Injun” is also excised.

“I don’t think there is any way we can deal with the history of racism and the continuing racism in this country without dealing with the ugly language that racism spawns,” said Debra MacComb, an associate professor of English at UWG.

“Huck Finn” is one of the most frequently banned books. The literary surgery comes at the urging of Auburn University professor Alan Gribben, who has said that by removing the racially offensive language he hopes more people will read the book.

MacComb, who teaches a course on Mark Twain and also teaches the novel in her American Literature courses, disagrees.

“My students appreciate talking about the issue,” she said.

David W. Newton, chairman of UWG’s Department of English and Philosophy, concurred.

Although the conversation about racism and racist words is never easy to have, it is often educational, Newton said.

In studying “Huck Finn,” students and teachers “confront offensive words directly, and talk about our responses to them,” Newton said.

MacComb noted that Twain wanted to highlight “the failure of Reconstruction to allow these new black citizens to be part of the culture. They were increasingly disenfranchised. Slavery was over in name only. Slavery was not over.”

“Dr. Gribben suggests that it would be taught more often if not for the use of the racially offensive language. But I think we need to confront it,” she said.

Removing the slur “fails to deal with what Twain was interested in revealing. People believe that Twain was racist. Twain was anything but that. It’s his character Huck who grows up in a bath of racism. This language springs from his lips because he lives in that environment,” MacComb said. “Twain encourages us to see Huck’s racism and how he changes over the course of the book.”

MacComb noted that book was first banned in Boston soon after it was published in the U.S. not for racist language, but for its use of regional dialects.

Newton said that other American classics have also been edited.

A young adult edition of James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans” leaves out a large portion of the original novel, essentially rendering it a different book.

Doing so for younger readers may be appropriate, Newton said, but not for a college classroom.

“Literature is very often offensive and disturbing,” Newton said. “Sometimes it is purposely so. In other instances, like with ‘Huck Finn,’ it reminds us of historical realities from our own past.”