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Thursday

September 20

7PM

Mary Jo McConahay

The Tango War

The gripping and little known story of the fight for the allegiance of Latin America during World War II

The Tango War by Mary Jo McConahay fills an important gap in WWII history. Beginning in the thirties, both sides were well aware of the need to control not just the hearts and minds but also the resources of Latin America. The fight was often dirty: residents were captured to exchange for U.S. prisoners of war and rival spy networks shadowed each other across the continent. At all times it was a Tango War, in which each side closely shadowed the other's steps.

Though the Allies triumphed, at the war's inception it looked like the Axis would win. A flow of raw materials in the Southern Hemisphere, at a high cost in lives, was key to ensuring Allied victory, as were military bases supporting the North African campaign, the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, and fending off attacks on the Panama Canal. Allies secured loyalty through espionage and diplomacy--including help from Hollywood and Mickey Mouse--while Jews and innocents among ethnic groups --Japanese, Germans--paid an unconscionable price. Mexican pilots flew in the Philippines and twenty-five thousand Brazilians breached the Gothic Line in Italy. The Tango War also describes the machinations behind the greatest mass flight of criminals of the century, fascists with blood on their hands who escaped to the Americas.

A true, shocking account that reads like a thriller, The Tango War shows in a new way how WWII was truly a global war.

Born in Chicago, MARY JO MCCONAHAY is an award-winning reporter who covered the wars in Central America and economics in the Middle East. She has traveled in seventy countries and has been fascinated by the history of World War II since childhood, when she listened to the stories of her father, a veteran U.S. Navy officer. A graduate of the University of California in Berkeley, she covers Latin America as an independent journalist. Her previous books include Maya Road and Ricochet. She lives in San Francisco.

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Thursday

September 27

7 PM

Joan Gelfand

You Can Be A Winning Writer

Joan Gelfand, author of You Can Be A Winning Writer, has been teaching the 4 C's to aspiring authors at book festivals and writer's conferences for the past ten years, and helping writers around the country realize their dreams of becoming successfully published. Joan has taught her 4 C's method for becoming a successful author to college professors, CEO's, doctors, ghostwriters, poets, and playwrights.

On writing well: From first draft to building a reputation, the 4 C's discusses craft, commitment and gives solid tips on how to build a literary community and a fan base. Unfortunately, becoming a successfully published author does not stop with mastering craft, commitment and even building a community. Confidence is key, and Joan tackles this sensitive subject that keeps writers unpublished and manuscripts in the drawer. With the help of Renate Stendhal, Ph.D., Joan defines clear steps writers can take to overcome the demon of lack of confidence.

Writing strategies book filled with authorship and publishing tips: With a splash of humor, a dose of empathy and a volume of support, mastering the 4 C's includes real life anecdotes from famous and not so famous ─ but successful authors. You Can Be A Winning Writer is the go-to book for writers just starting out, to writers stalled after their first or second book, and for students. The 4 C's wisdom and stories will inspire and encourage.

You Can Be A Winning Writer includes:

  • Post-publication strategies
  • The mistakes that even the most talented prize-winning authors have made
  • How, with the help of the 4 C's, those same authors could have enjoyed greater success
  • What it means to 'fire on all burners" and work to develop each of the 4 C's simultaneously

Maybe you've read Stephen King's On Writing, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, Annie Lamott's Bird by Bird, or William Zinsser's On Writing Well ─ Now you need to read You Can Be A Winning Writer.

Joan Gelfand The author of three acclaimed volumes of poetry, an award-winning chapbook of short fiction and a forthcoming novel set in a Silicon Valley startup, Joan is the recipient of numerous writing awards, commendations, nominations and honors. Her reviews, stories and poetry have appeared in national and international literary journals and magazines including Rattle, Prairie Schooner, Kalliope, The Meridian Anthology of Contemporary Poetry, the Toronto Review, Marsh Hawk Review, Levure Litteraire and Chicken Soup for the Soul. For over ten years, Joan has lectured on the 4 C's System and has coached writers to great success. An MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA, Joan is a past President of the Women's National Book Association and the founder of the WNBA National Writing Contest. Editor of the newly published anthology of winning contest writers, Joan is also a member of the National Book Critics Circle and a juror for the Northern California Book Awards. She blogs regularly for the Huffington Post on books, travel and movies. "The Ferlinghetti School of Poetics," a poetry film based on Joan's poem was featured at the 4th Annual Video Poetry Festival in Athens, Greece and won Certificate of Merit in a juried art show at the International Association for the Study of Dreams. She lives in San Francisco with her husband, Adam Hertz and two beatnik kitties - Jack Kerouac and Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

 

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Wednesday

October 24

7 PM

Joe Ide

Wrecked

Isaiah Quintabe--IQ for short--has never been more successful, or felt more alone. A series of high-profile wins in his hometown of East Long Beach have made him so notorious that he can hardly go to the corner store without being recognized. Dodson, once his sidekick, is now his full-fledged partner, hell-bent on giving IQ's PI business some real legitimacy: a Facebook page, and IQ's promise to stop accepting Christmas sweaters and carpet cleanings in exchange for PI services. 
So when a young painter approaches IQ for help tracking down her missing mother, it's not just the case Isaiah's looking for, but the human connection. And when his new confidant turns out to be connected to a dangerous paramilitary operation, IQ falls victim to a threat even a genius can't see coming. 
Waiting for Isaiah around every corner is Seb, the Oxford-educated African gangster who was responsible for the death of his brother, Marcus. Only, this time, Isaiah's not alone. Joined by a new love interest and his familiar band of accomplices, IQ is back--and the adventures are better than ever.

Joe Ide grew up in South Central Los Angeles. Joe's favorite books were the Conan Doyle Sherlock Holmes stories. He held a variety of different jobs--including Hollywood screenwriter--before writing IQ, which went onto win the Anthony, Macavity, and Shamus awards for Best Debut Novel. Joe lives in Santa Monica, California. Visit his website at www.joeide.com 

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Saturday

November 3

11:00 AM

West Portal Branch Public Library

Marcus Ewert

Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That

Mr. Pack Rat is a particularly acquisitive small mammal with a hoarding problem (sound like someone you know?). Through trial and error, he begins to question whether having more things is really the secret to happiness.

Although real life pack rats (genus Neotoma) build large piles of debris to nest in, Mr. Pack Rat isn't satisfied with plain old sticks and leaves. He wants novelty and variety, and--unfortunately for him!--he owns a magical magnet that can summon anything he desires.

Mr. Pack Rat is always on to the next thing. Lovely flowers will brighten up his sticks and leaves... until they wilt. Colorful seashells won't wilt, but they aren't much fun. Games and toys are fun, but only if you have enough room to play with them.

This wry, witty fable from Marcus Ewert, author of 10,000 Dresses, will have the whole family laughing, and, perhaps, learning along the way.

In addition to other writing, Marcus Ewert has worked on children's books since his teens, achieving acclaim with his award-winning books 10,000 Dresses (2008) and Mummy Cat (2015). 10,000 Dresses has been used in schools, churches, and youth groups around the world, as the first children's book featuring a transgender character. A hoarder himself, Marcus wrote his most recent book, Mr. Pack Rat Really Wants That, to puzzle out a resolution to his personal hoarding dilemma. Marcus lives in San Francisco, in a beautiful--and de-cluttered--apartment.

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