Friday, November 21, 2014

Introducing The Attic of Sand and Secrets by Medeia Sharif

Today I'm proud to be participating in Medeia Sharif's blog tour for The Attic of Sand and Secrets. I'm currently reading this book and it's awesome! I'll tell you all about it on November 28 as part of my "Best Books of November" post!


THE ATTIC OF SAND AND SECRETS 
by Medeia Sharif


Vendor links will be updated on Medeia’s site.

Middle Grade Historical and Fantasy, Featherweight Press, November 2014

Lily, a learning disabled girl, attempts to unravel the mystery of her abducted mother using supernatural clues from an ancient stranger, even when it means posing a danger to herself.

Learning-disabled Lily desires to prove herself, although her mind freezes when presented with big problems - such as her mother's abduction. With a French father and Egyptian mother, Lily worries that her mother hid her ethnicity from her French in-laws. However, there's something deeper going on. Lily finds a way into an attic that's normally locked and encounters a mysterious, moonlit Egyptian night world. There she finds Khadijah, an ancient stranger who guides her to finding clues about her mother's whereabouts. Lily becomes a sleuth in both the real world and magical desert, endangering herself as she gets closer to the kidnapper.

The book takes place in 1976. Every host for this book blast is going to post one fun fact for that year. For some of you, this will bring back memories. For younger blog readers, you'll learn something new.

Chicago had a hit with their romantic ballad If You Leave Me Now.

Find Medeia – Multi-published YA and MG Author

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Post Office: Where People are Paid Well to Be Rude to You

Around a book release, an author spends a great deal of time at the post office, mailing promotional materials, books for giveaways, etc. I've visited almost every post office in the Middle Tennessee area and have found some similarities. One:





Every post office has an old copier with an "Out of Order" sign. Is this the USPS version of a museum? Speaking of museums, there's also the system of swiping your card on a card swiper, only to have to sign a paper receipt instead of signing on the screen.



Then, of course, there are the postal employees who absolutely love their jobs so much they don't want anyone to know about it. So they work hard at making sure they never crack a smile, even as they're handing you a receipt that asks you to give feedback about your visit today.



As the post office continues to decline in service, competition is heating up. In fact, did you know you can already mail USPS packages at Office Depot? Staples also offers USPS services, but only in select locations. All of this is good news for us. It means during the holiday season, we may be able to mail our packages without waiting in line for an hour. Because funds are low. And they can only afford to pay so many $25 per hour postal clerks to man the counter.



Here's where it REALLY gets interesting, though. You see the post office is protesting the whole Staples thing, stating that Staples will pay workers $9 an hour to do the work it pays people $25 an hour to do. Oh, they also feel that Staples workers are "poorly trained" and that the environment lacks the ironclad security we all know every post office has.



So let me get this straight. I can take my package to a new-ish, nice-smelling building where a smiling, $9-per-hour employee will be more than happy to help me? 




Or I can pay taxes for the privilege of taking the same package to an old, smelly building where the $25 per hour employee will act annoyed that I even walked through the door, then put up a sign saying "LANE CLOSED" the second break time arrives?



How do you feel about the post office's possible demise? Do you know of any other post office alternatives?

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Foaming Fountain

Last week on the way to work, someone snapped a picture of a foaming fountain and posted it on Facebook. I felt a little out of it that I had no idea what a "foaming fountain" was...especially when comments started pouring in, showing everyone else knew exactly what it was.

A foaming fountain looks like this:



Or, if its owner is really unfortunate, this:



Apparently it's a popular prank. It happens when someone pours this:


Into this:


Under the Facebook post about the foaming fountain, there were posts laughing about the prank, along with a few posts about how damaging such a prank can be. I decided to research it. Does laundry detergent damage fountains? What about soap, bubble bath, and shampoo--also popular fountain saboteurs?  How could something so fun be bad?


First there's the fact that someone has to clean the mess up. I drove by our local foaming fountain two days later and the whole thing was completely shut down, so obviously that cleanup effort takes a while.


Then there's the danger to public safety if the foam spreads into an area where people walk and drive. This is especially significant since people tend to like to play in the overflow.


Worst of all, it can permanently damage the fountain, leading it to look like this for years...maybe forever:


What's the funniest prank you've ever seen?