Sunday, September 30, 2012

Banned Book Week

It’s Banned Book Week - September 30th through Oct 6th
First published on 28 Sep 2012 by The Muffin - Friday Speak Out
It’s Banned Book Week - September 30th through Oct 6th!
by Amber Polo

Why should you as an author care? Your books probably will never be banned. Right?
The freedom to write and publish without censure is a gift to you from those who have worked hard to protect the rights of all writers. The authors of the Bill of Rights. The ACLU. And, yes, librarians. Those be-bunned creatures have protected your rights for decades. They didn’t have to love your work or even want to read it, but they understood that if censors were able to ban one book, all were in danger. They stood up in their libraries and in courtrooms.

As I wrote The Shapeshifters’ Library I reflected upon the freedom to read and the freedom to publish and what I, as a librarian, always took for granted. I incorporated the problems of libraries into a fantasy where noble dog-shifters protect knowledge from book-burning werewolves in a small Ohio town. I speculated on the many ways the werewolves among us have tried to curtail our knowledge. It became clear that banning and burning are pretty much the same thing. If a book is unavailable, it’s ideas are gone. If it never gets published, it’s unavailable.

Enter “Fifty Shades of Grey” into this year’s censorship discussions of what should be ripped from shelves and chained in the library’s basement. In a small library bookclub I facilitate, I asked a group of senior citizen-readers if they planned to read the book. We had a great discussion. One of the best comments was from a woman who said she would read it because she wanted to be able to discuss it with her grandchildren. 

Recently the San Francisco Public Library installed 18 privacy screens on computer terminals to shield from others what one person sees on the internet, be it porn or someone’s idea of porn.

Librarians don’t judge the reason you want to read. But they do have policies detailing their individual library book selection policy. Public money can’t be stretched to buy everything published. (Remember that when you expect a library to buy your book or accept a donated copy.) 

Celebrate Banned Book Week by reading a banned book. Check out these lists of the Top Ten Challenged Books for the years 2001 through 2011. I bet you find a couple of your favorites.

Visit your local public library and see what’s changed. Support your local library. And love your librarian.

Full disclosure: I have an MLS and have selected books for a public library. And I’ve listened to the first third of “Fifty Shades of Grey” in audiobook.


More Thoughts -

Sometimes it's easy to imagine that the censorship of books like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Leaves of Grass" are in the past. Have you seen the Idaho story of "Like Water for Chocolate"? These parents who described the book as filled with porn might be surprised at the books on their teenagers' cell phones.

Since I write about dog-shifter librarians who protect books fighting Book burning werewolves I found it interesting that National Dog Week preceded Banned Book Week. 
And you thought my stories are fantasy! :)  Amber Polo

So Celebrate!

Read a Banned Book!

Take a Treat to Your Librarian!

And Read to Your Dog!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Greyhound Rescue

I recently talked to Monica Davis, Adoption coordinator for Greyhounds of the Verde Valley. For the last 6 years her organization has found forever homes for 50 greathounds every year.

Dogs come from a dog track in Tucson where dogs race in14,000 races a year sometimes in 112 degree heat. These dogs have never had a toy, a treat, or learned their names. The ones I’ve met somehow seem grateful to have found a new life and quiet, docile, affectionate pets for that lucky owner.

These “40 mile an hour couch potatoes” ready to cozy up to their owner and a good book after. mandatory retirement.  

Although dog racing is illegal in 34 states there are approximately 1,500 breeding farms in 43 states and 46 racing tracks. 26,464 pups were registered with the NGA in 2000. (Greyhounds must be registered with the NGA to race at any U.S. track.)

Doris McFadden & a ready-to adopt Greyhound
These noble animals, once prized by pharaohs above human servants, where imported to the U.S. to help control the jack rabbit that threatened crops. (Looking at my yard they’ve been doing more racing than jack rabbit control.)

After adoptions the group, like others, continue to offer support, education, and play dates as well as information and tips.

“The best off track bet you’ll ever make.”

Like other groups they are always looking for foster and forever homes.

Books recommended to help you learn about greyhounds
"Adopting the Racing Greyhound" by Cynthia Branigan
"Greyhounds, a Complete Pet Owners Manual" by C. Caroline Coile
"Retired Racing Greyhounds for Dummies" by Lee Livingood
"Greyhound Guide" by Claudia Presto

Find a Greyhound Adoption Agency Near You

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Taxi - Character Interview

Taxicharchai Angus Xenophon McCasson
(PhD candidate in Classical Languages, Head of Circulation, Shipsfeather Public Library)

I run the front desk at the Shipsfeather Public Library. I’m also in charge of the computers and take all the complaints. My job sounds boring but it’s the most important job in the library. I meet everyone in town (who reads) and keep all the books in order. I supervise the pages (Heidi, Emma, Bambi, Rebecca and Carrie) who are all named for books.

I finished my Masters in Classical Languages and needed a break from academic life. Working in this small town library is a hoot. I love the library patrons though they can be exasperating at time – like every day. Working for Library Cutter is great. She really cares about the patrons and the books. Sometimes I think she works too hard and doesn’t have a life outside this building. 

In my spare time I help at the local homeless shelter and belong to a motorcycle club. I love riding my bike with the wind whistling past my ears. I collect vintage bowling shirts and spend more time than I’d admit to  choosing the right shirt everyday. 

I confess I’ve never met anyone like Julianna Eisenberg von Noir, the Young Adult Librarian. She’s so beautiful and teens love her. Secretly, I think they are attracted to her looks. She reminds them of a vampire right out of the Twilight series. One of these days I’ll get her to laugh at one of shirts and then I’ll ask her out on a date. I’m making an impression. Yesterday she told me she thought I looked like Ron Weasley. I think that’s a compliment. 

Soon I’ll go back to grad school for my PhD or maybe get a Master’s in Library Science and run my own library -- or maybe both.  I guess it’s up to Amber.

Favorite Reading: Aristophanes in the Greek and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles.

The Shapeshifters' Library Series


to learn more about Taxi's library, the dog-shifters, and the werewolf book-burners.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Wolves of Medicine Wheel Lodge

To visit and commune with wolves is a memorable experience! I’ve been fortunate to be able to visit an amazing place called Medicine Wheel Ranch.
I was able to go into a large habitat with Tundra wolves and receiving many sweet kisses and feel their powerful energy. The wolves stole my hat and they played with it like puppies until dog biscuits convinced them that they should return in unharmed.  

Healingwolf, the ranch’s owner, has a mystical calling to help us all understand these creatures. She was given her name by her father when she was found healing a wolf. Another wolf, knowing she was dying brought her young one for her. She has raised Gray wolves, Arctic wolves, Timber wolves, and now Tundra wolves. She has kept each one until they naturally crossed over to spirit.

Two grandfathers adopted her over 10 years ago, one 100 year old Oglala Sioux Shaman, and his 110 year old friend, a Shoshone Shaman. They have made her gifts, items that have been with their tribes for generations, and passed on the old wisdom that she shares with others. Healingwolf gives respect to the Ancient Ones, and honors all tribes, all traditions, and all relations.

Healing Wolf believes that the wolves are teachers and says the get particularly excited when children visit. “The children learn respect for all animals and creations, respect for themselves, one another, their siblings, their parents, their teachers, their classmates, Mother Earth and all elements. The wolves are leaders, teachers, and protectors.”

The Medicine Wheel Lodge invites you to go back in time listening to the stories passed down from the Shamans while reconnecting with the Earth Mother and experiencing Harmony and Balance amidst a private ancient oasis. The Peace you will experience is the presence of those who have gone before, and those who are still present. It is their connection and reverence to the land that gifts all who visit, such tranquility. If you are very perceptive, you may see them or watch them dance or feel their energy.

The site and building are also the site of a stagecoach stop when Arizona was young.

Learn more about Medicine Wheel Ranch

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Marishka - Character Interview

Marishka Petrova
Head of Security - Shapeshifters Academy
Acquisitions Librarian (Borzoi)

Sybilla is such a bitch. I hate it when readers compare us. She’s just a city wolf who wears expensive shoes while I’m trained in special techniques to combat werewolf attacks. I’m certified in commando assault rifle, field and survival skills. My hobbies include orienteering, scuba, explosives and camouflage. I’ve climbed Everest, twice.

I’m proud to be an instructor of Krav Maga, a form known for its focus on real-world situations and extremely efficient and brutal counter-attacks. I worked for ten years with the Mossad in Research, Collections, and Special Operations to gain experience to intensify our international covert operations. I achieved the rank of – can’t talk about that – but they all remember me. 

I came to Shipsfeather to train the Academy staff in self-defense and then the curse came down. I became Head of Academy Security, responsible for keeping one hundred plus locked-up dog-shifters secure. Non-violence is a dog-shifter credo but with wolves howling at our doors, get real.

I’m also the Academy Acquisitions Librarian and Slavic Languages Specialist. In my spare time I jog and course. When I can find a sparring partner I box and wrestle. And I practice yoga to slow down my super-achiever mind and to keep me focused.

Before this curse thing Dr. Thaddeus Perrot and I were engaged. But all that’s on hold. 

It’s confining locked inside, but in a way I like the discipline. I eat, I exercise, and I work. I’m a born leader and it really torques my tail when Headmaster Chronus ignores my advice. But I’m his second in command in case of breach of perimeter and I follow orders. 

I definitely should be the heroine of my own book. If Amber wants a kick-ass librarian heroine, I am ready.

Favorite Reading: Chekhov, Tolstoy, and anything by Tom Clancy.

The Shapeshifters' Library Series


to learn more about Marishka's library, the dog-shifters, and the werewolf book-burners.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Wolf Rescue

 Bill Chamberlain, Director of the United States Wolf Refuge

 Bill Chamberlain has over twenty-seven years of experience dealing with wolves and wolf hybrids on a daily basis. He is certified in assessing and evaluating animal behavior and has done extensive studies and research into wolf and wolf-hybrid behavior.
I met Bill at a presentation in Arizona. Not only did he talk about the work he's doing with wolves and wolf-dogs but he explained the history and evolution of wolves, wolf behavior, recovery programs, and the reintroduction of the Mexican gray wolf into the wilds of the Southwest. The U.S. Wolf Refuge  facility in Nevada presently has 16 wolves and hybrids, some for possible adoption and others are there in their forever home.

United States Wolf Refuge
The U.S. Wolf Refuge is in existence to promote and protect the welfare of all wolves and wolf dogs throughout North America. Their overall goals are to return the wolf to its rightful place within our ecology and to promote healthy and harmonious relations between man and wolf dogs.

They believe virtually all recent tragic incidents involving wolves and wolf dogs have been a direct result of humans
dealing ineffectively with the wolves. If wolf and wolf dog behavior is understood and properly dealt with, man's relationship with them will be happy and harmonious. The U.S. Wolf Refuge is dedicated to this belief.

It is the belief of the
U.S. Wolf Refuge that wolves are wildlife and belong in the wild as is naturally intended. Those who oppose the mere existence of the wolf must understand that the wolf is an absolute necessity to the natural balance of any ecosystem. Those who revere the wolf and make it out to be something greater than it is must understand the same thing. The wolf is simply a piece in Mother Nature's delicate and complicated puzzle.

Bill was accompanied by Kasa (Hopi Indian for "dressed in furs"), a 3 year old Wolf-Dog that was rescued from a California animal shelter after her owners lost their home to foreclosure. In most California cities any dog that is suspected of being a wolf mix is not eligible for adoption and either must be pulled out by an authorized rescue organization or is automatically euthanized. When her owners surrendered her they classified her as a Wolf-Dog. A volunteer from the U.S. Wolf Refuge was fortunate to have received a call from the animal shelter and was able to "rescue" her before she was euthanized.

Kasa has a wonderfully friendly disposition due to being raised with children and other animals. She has become an Ambassador Animal and goes to many public events. 

Wolf & Wolf-Hybrids

Besides the plight of wolves, Bill is an expert on wolf-dogs. He says, "wolves and wolf-hybrids are magnificent animals that many see as a status symbol."

Bill's organization takes in and finds homes for wolves and wolf dogs that are socialized enough to adjust to a new pack/family without significant trauma. This is a complicated and delicate process in that it requires an in-depth assessment of the animal as well as the people who are willing to bring such an animal into their home and into their lives. Bill has written a Placement Guide. He told me the his Adoption Questionnaire is exceptionally thorough. When I asked him about the success rate of wolf-hybrid adoptions from the U.S. Wolf Refuge he said only one had been removed from a home. He felt this was because the placement process was tough.  

I also asked Bill about DNA testing to determine if an animal was pure wolf or wolf hybrid. He said that at this time that is not possible.

Learn more & gain more insight by reading "Find Your Wolf a New Home" by Bill Chamberlain. And Download the Adoption Questionnaire and / or the the Adoption Agreement.

and wolves and wolf-hybrids
and assist their work.

Choose a wolf or wolf-dog to
sponsor for one year 
in their "Adopt-A-Wolf" Program.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Love Blog Tours? Prizes?

To Celebrate the print release of "Released"
(Book 1 of The Shapeshifters' Library) 
I'm setting out on my first ever
back-to-back blog tours.
Join me and take a chance on winning
great prizes (including genuine Arctic wolf fur)

Print and Kindle  and Nook now available

Follow along with me for 
Reviews, Excerpts, Guest Posts, & Interviews! 

14 stops in 9 Days!

Big Blog Tour Sept 10-17th
Sept 10 Hezzi D's Books & Cooks Review 
Sept 11 Bound To Astound Guest Post 
Sept 12 Aria's Dark Muse  Review
Sept 13
Nette's Bookshelf Excerpt
Sept 14 Nezzi D's Books & Cooks  Guest Post 
Sept 15 Books, Etc. Review
            The Wormhole Review/Author Interview
Sept 16 Hanging with Bells
Sept 17 A Simple Love of Reading  Guest Post 

Big Blog Tour Prize
Large canvas Shipsfeather Library book bag,4 signed books by Amber Polo including The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 1: Released, Amber's relaxation CD, 2 collectible dogs, a tuft of Arctic wolf fur,
And more…

One Day Excerpt Blitz - Sept 18th
Sept 18 Crossroads 

One Day Excerpt Blitz Prize
3 signed books by Amber Polo including The Shapeshifters’ Library Book 1: Released, a tuft of Arctic wolf fur, and more...

Lots of chances to win

Thanks, Collette, from
for setting me up with these wonderful bloggers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway