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Monday, 16 March 2015

Michael Cohen at the Tucson Festival of Books

On a sunny afternoon in Arizona, author Michael Cohen signed copies of his book at the Tucson Festival of Books.

We asked him to blog about the festival, and here are his impressions...

'I signed copies of my essay collection A Place to Read at the Tucson Festival of Books on Sunday, March 15th. This two-day book fair is held on the University of Arizona campus under old palm trees in the warm, dry air of southern Arizona.

Already in just its seventh year, the festival has grown to be the fourth largest in the United States, attracting 130,000 readers, who come to see their favorite authors, 350 of whom give individual talks, workshops, and panel discussions.

Many more authors can be found autographing their books at the authors’ pavilions and the booths of publishers and booksellers. Over three hundred exhibitors show their wares at the festival. Attendance is free for the public, but proceeds from booth rentals and other fees (over a million dollars so far) are donated to local non-profit organizations that promote increased literacy.

This year a visitor could have attended talks by Joyce Carol Oates, Noam Chomsky, Iris Johansen, Dave Barry, Scott Turow, Amy Tan, Jim Harrison, Alice Hoffman and dozens of other best-selling authors. The emphasis was on books, but Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and columnist Katha Pollitt spoke on a panel celebrating the 150th anniversary of the liberal weekly The Nation.

Promoting her memoir and spy fiction was Valerie Plame, the ex-CIA covert operative who was outed by Dick Cheney’s chief-of-staff Scooter Libby (who went to jail for it) after Plame’s journalist husband had published articles critical of the Bush administration.

Genre writing of all kinds was well represented at the festival, and so were children’s and young adult fiction. There was a little something for every reader’s taste. For most of the two-day festival, a stiff breeze shook the white tents of exhibitors up and down the university mall, but the crowds were undeterred.'

To order, Michael's book in either physical format or as an eBook, please link to our online Store.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Dmity Powell reviews James Munkers: Super Freak

We're pleased to see yet another positive review of James Munkers: Super Freak by talented author Lindsey Little, this time from Dmity Powell of Boomerang Books:

"Author, Lindsey Little likes looking at things from great heights. Me too. It is how I choose my rugs, for one. Allowing yourself a chance to gain a different view of a situation or object can afford you a very different perspective of it. And having a different perspective can be very rewarding indeed. As I discovered when reading Little’s, debut YA novel, James Munkers Super Freak.

The slightly ominous cover, whilst indicative of the story, belies a strong and captivating narrative, which happily, I was reluctant to walk away from.

James MunkersJames Munkers is a weedy, non-descript, slightly whiny teenager tumbling along in a large blended family when suddenly out of the blue, he is forced to adapt to a new town, new school, and disturbingly new powers.

Turns out, James is intrinsically entwined in a plot to destroy the world. Desperate to assimilate as inconspicuously as he can into his new surroundings, he is instead thrust head first into a destiny he’d rather forget.

Disappearing fathers, alarming bright blue, havoc-wreaking critters, and inter-dimensional communication conundrums gives James repeated headaches and plenty of reasons to want to run and hide.

Did I mention the local school thug who won’t let up on him and a headmaster who is keen to suck the life power out of him? Instead of cowering, he throws up a lot whilst slowly coming to turns with saving the world. As improbable as all that may sound and in spite of a few convenient plot quick fixes, Little peppers the narrative with plenty of believable sardonic humour and characters as vibrant and varied as those found in a certain school of witchcraft and wizardry.

James’s inherent nerve lies forever just inches beneath a veneer of teen sass and cynicism. Thankfully, Little’s (aka James’s) solid and convincing voice allows us plenty of glimpses at James’s vulnerability so that you really want to rally beside him along with his mate, Jem and an assortment of other all-for-one, one-for-all Guardians.
James Munkers Cover spread
Fast-paced and witty, this punchy fantasy winds up well while leaving several big questions unanswered, thus paving the way for further James Munkers adventures.

Young teens (boys in particular) will have little trouble tuning into James Munkers’s ‘human-dimensional power’ trip."