Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Interview: Shawn Smucker, author of THE EDGE OF OVER THERE

THE EDGE
OF OVER THERE
The Day the Angels Fell, Book 2
by
SHAWN SMUCKER

  Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 3, 2018
Number of Pages: 384

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The captivating sequel to the award-winning The Day the Angels Fell

Abra Miller carries a secret and a responsibility she never expected. 

Before the Tree of Life, everything in Abra Miller’s life had been predictable. Safe. Normal. But after the Tree, everything has felt fragile . . . like holding a soap bubble in the palm of her hand. After years of fruitless searching for the next Tree, she begins to wonder if it was nothing more than a vivid dream.

Now sixteen, Abra finds a clue to the whereabouts of the next Tree of Life when an ominous woman—who looks exactly like a ghost from her past—compels her to travel to New Orleans where she’ll find one of seven gateways between this world and Over There. But she’s not the only one interested in finding the gateway. There’s also a young man searching for his father and sister, who escaped through it years before. As Abra enters the Edge of Over There and begins her pursuit of the Tree once more, she doesn’t know whom to fear or whom to trust.

She’s also starting to think that some doorways should never be opened.

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INTERVIEW WITH SHAWN SMUCKER

In The Day the Angels Fell, you introduced readers to a twelve-year-old boy who lost his mother to a tragic accident and is desperately seeking the Tree of Life in order to bring her back. How is the sequel, The Edge of Over There, a continuation of this story?
In the sequel, Abra Miller takes on the role of the angel tasked with finding and destroying the Tree of Life. She and Sam have grown apart, but the ancient struggle around the Tree continues, and Abra is swept up in it.

Abra is the main character in your new book. How has her life changed since the events relayed in The Day the Angels Fell?
She is four years older, and she is lonelier after experiencing the events in book 1. She is also hungry for more of the same adventure, more of the same otherworldly involvement, but four years is a long time, and she begins to doubt if any of it really happened or if she would see anything like it again.

You refer to seven gateways between this world and Over There. Can you provide a brief explanation of what these are?
I scoured the internet after finishing book 1, trying to find out more legends about the Tree of Life, and while I did that I came across this one legend, an ancient belief that there were seven gates between Earth and the afterlife. One gate on each continent. I started playing around with this concept, and that’s what led to The Edge of Over There.

What made you decide to write these books, and where do you come up with your creative plots?
I decided to write the first book after spending time in Istanbul with a very good man who was dying of cancer at the age of forty-nine. His story plunged me into thinking quite a lot about death. I combined that theme with some questions I had about Bible stories I’d heard when I was a child, stories that don’t have much in the way of closure. Asking questions is what leads me into new stories.

What type of research was required for writing The Edge of Over There?
I did a lot of research on New Orleans and especially the cemetery that is featured in the story, as well as the backstory of Marie Laveau.

What is one of the main points you hope readers learn from your book?
I’d like readers to continue to engage with me in considering the question, could it be possible death is a gift? I think The Edge of Over There also explores themes of selfishness and power and control, and I hope it challenges our current cultural obsession with living forever and doing anything to remain young.

What are you working on next?
I have a nonfiction book coming out in the fall of 2018, as well as a contemporary adult novel releasing in 2019. I’m very excited about both of these. 



Praise for The Edge of Over There:
“Blending Biblical elements and urban myths, Smucker creates an enthralling story of supernatural battles between the forces of good and evil.” -- Publishers Weekly


The Edge of Over There is a mesmerizing, menacing fantasy. Shawn Smucker fuses New Orleans lore, Christian themes, and dystopian landscapes in a thorough exploration of love and its unintended results.” -- Foreword Reviews (Starred Review) 


Shawn Smucker is the author of The Day the Angels Fell and The Edge of Over There. He lives with his wife and six children in the city of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You can find him on his website, where you can also sign up for his newsletter in order to find out when and where the Tree of Life will turn up next.


 --------------------------------------- 
GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!  GIVEAWAY!
GRAND PRIZE: Both Books in the The Day the Angels Fell series + Color Changing Tree Mug + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE: Both Books + Tree of Life Journal
3RD PRIZE: Both Books + $10 Starbucks Gift Card
(US ONLY)
  July 17-26, 2018

CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
7/17/18
Author Interview
7/17/18
Book Trailer
7/18/18
Excerpt
7/19/18
Review
7/20/18
Review
7/21/18
Top 10 List
7/22/18
Notable Quotable
7/23/18
Author Interview
7/24/18
Review
7/25/18
Guest Post
7/26/18
Review

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Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Roundup: TEXAS BOOKISH EVENTS July 16-22, 2018

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of July 16-22, 2018: 

Special Events:
33rd Texas Shakespeare Festival, Kilgore, June 28-July 29

Barrio Writers Summer Workshop, Pflugerville, July 16-21

Celebration Magazine's 4th Annual Live, Laugh and Learn, Richardson, July 17

Brave New Voices International Youth Poetry Slam Festival, Houston, July 18-21

Gemini Ink Writers Conference, San Antonio, July 20-22

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, Grapevine, July 20-22

Ongoing Exhibits:
Austin
Deep Vellum Books, Joe Milazzo presents Of All Places In This Place Of All Places, 7PM

Half Price Books Mother Ship, writer, entertainer and internet sensation Melissa Radke will discuss and sign her humorous and inspirational new book, Eat Cake. Be Brave., 7PM [numbered pass required for signing line]

Interabang Books, May Cobb reading and signing BIG WOODS, 7PM

Klyde Warren Park, The Wild Detectives presents the Locals Only Book Club: join author Kathleen Kent to discuss The Dime, 6PM

Murder By the Book, Dan Stuart will sign and discuss The Unfortunate Demise of Marlow Billings, 6:30PM

San Antonio
Avant Garden, Write About Now Youth Poetry Slam, 7:30PM

Houston Public Library, Joe Holley discussing and signing Hurricane Season, 6:30PM

Murder By the Book, David Bell will sign and discuss Somebody's Daughter, 6:30PM

San Antonio
Sabina's Coffee House, Ocotillo Review summer edition reading, 6:30PM
Crooked Tree Coffee Shop, Sara Triana Mitchell presents her new children's book, Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All, 10:30AM

Dallas Museum of Art, Arts & Letters Live presents a Reading and Conversation with Sheila Heti, author of Motherhood, and Sigrid Nunez, author The Friend, 7:30PM


Irving
South Irving Library, Storyteller DeeCee Cornish, 2PM

Midland
George W. Bush Childhood Home, Laura Bush Literacy Program Reading Event, 4:30PM

Friday, July 20:
Austin
BookPeople, KATIE WILLIAMS speaking & signing Tell the Machine Goodnight, 7PM

Malvern Books, Page by Page: On Craft & Other Writerly Pursuits: "The Art of Submitting Work: The Triumphs and Pitfalls of Putting Yourself Out There" with Tatiana Ryckman, 7PM

Canyon
Palo Duro Canyon State Park Gallery & Visitor’s Center, Natalie Bright signing her two newest easy readers + meet the rescue horses and their trainers, 9:30AM

El Paso
Fahrenheit 180, Barbed Wire Open Mic Series, 7:30PM

Houston
Murder By the Book, Ace Atkins will sign and discuss The Sinners, and Megan Abbott will sign and discuss Give Me Your Hand, 6:30PM

San Antonio
B&N - San Pedro, Eat Cake. Be Brave. book signing with Melissa Radke, 7PM

Saturday, July 21:
Blue Baker Arboretum, Austin SCWBI's Author Lunch featuring Jessica Lee Anderson, 11:30AM

BookPeople, DAVID BOWLES speaking & signing Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico (in conversation with Rebecca Gomez, Curator of Exhibitions & Programs at Mexic-Arte Museum), 2PM

BookPeople, MELISSA RADKE speaking & signing Eat Cake. Be Brave., 6PM

Half Price Books - S. Lamar, local author Henry Nash will sell and sign his inspirational book, Integrity Does Matter: Living a Life Above Reproach, 1PM

Malvern Books, celebrate the launch of Keith R. Rees’ new novel, One Night in Bangkok, 7PM

Dallas
Winspear Opera House, AT&T Performing Arts Center presents #hearhere: Ira Glass, 8PM

Denton
B&N - Golden Triangle Mall, Blaise Ramsay signing Blessing Luna, 2PM

El Paso
Memorial Park Public Library, Tumblewords Project workshop: "Assaying the Essay" with Bill Sparks, 12:45PM

Galveston 
Galveston Bookshop, Linda Pirtle signing The Mah Jongg Murders, 2PM

Houston
Half Price Books - Clear Lake, Local Author Saturdays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release, while supplies last

MATCH Houston, Apollo Poetry Showcase, 7:30PM

Murder By the Book, May Cobb will sign and discuss Big Woods, 4:30PM

Port Neches
Fleur Fine Books, Harold Brown signing My Son, To Whom It May Concern, 3PM

Richardson
CityLine DFW, Sara Triana Mitchell presents her new children's book, Love Love Bakery: A Wild Home for All, 9, 10, and 11AM

San Antonio

Murder By the Book, Daniel Silva will sign and discuss his new book, The Other Woman, 4PM [line number required for signing]

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Review: TEN CULTURES, TWENTY LIVES: REFUGEE LIFE STORIES by Daina Jurika-Owen

I reviewed Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives: Refugee Life Stories (Amaya Books) by Abilene's Daina Jurika-Owen for Lone Star Literary Life. It’s a great introduction for the curious or concerned about refugees resettling in the United States.

SOCIAL SCIENCES/IMMIGRATION
Daina Jurika-Owen
Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives: Refugee Life Stories
Paperback, 978-0-9993-9810-4 (also available as an e-book), 320 pgs., $16.89
November 21, 2017
“It is true that America is a land of opportunity.” —Jolie, Democratic Republic of Congo
I volunteered a few years ago as a family mentor with the International Rescue Committee (IRC), which was born in 1933 “at the call of Albert Einstein.” I had returned from a vacation in Jordan, where I had seen the United Nations’ refugee camps for Syrians. Jordan is a tiny country with a total population of fewer than ten million people, yet it hosts three refugee camps and 740,160 refugees, the second largest proportion of refugees to population in the world.

When I returned to Texas, I did some research. At that time the number of displaced people on the planet was estimated to be a staggering sixty-five million. I was horrified by the number. During my poking about the internet for more information, I came across the IRC’s office in Abilene, Texas. I had no idea there was an opportunity so close to my West Texas home where real differences were made in the lives of the world’s most vulnerable populations. After I applied to volunteer and passed the background check, I attended orientation and met my assigned family, refugees from Rwanda.
“What I am seeing in this country is that people take care of themselves; Americans are really independent. The IRC [trains] us in that spirit, too.” —Ellie, Rwanda
Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives: Refugee Life Stories is the first book published in the United States by Daina Jurika-Owen, PhD, a folklorist and former refugee resettlement worker with the IRC’s Abilene office. While not a polished work, Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives is informative and engaging. It’s a great introduction for the curious or concerned about refugees resettling in the United States.

Jurika-Owen joined the IRC as an employment coordinator soon after the Abilene office opened in 2003. In January 2004, two refugees arrived from Liberia. Then they came in ever increasing numbers, from Congo, Burundi, Rwanda, Bhutan and Nepal, Turkey, Iraq, and Cuba. As of mid-2016, more than 2,500 refugees have been resettled by the Abilene office.
“I remember how we were landing in Abilene: it was dark already, and from above, I could see all the lights of the city, and it was beautiful. And I thought: this is America!” —Roji, Bhutan
Older refugees remember life in their homes before civil war or genocide or religious persecution or the murderous reign of countless dictators or, not infrequently, all of the above, simultaneously. Other refugees’ earliest memories are of life in a refugee camp where it’s common for them to live for ten or fifteen years. The youngest refugees were born in those camps. A mere one half of one percent of all refugees are approved for resettlement.

Jurika-Owen provides the legal definition of a refugee and a clear and concise description of the processes set in motion when they apply for refugee status. During my orientation with the IRC, I learned about the rigorous process and how long it can take, often as long as two years. Jurika-Owen’s writing dispels the myths of open borders and lax investigations. The many facts and figures are leavened with first-person remembrances from IRC staff as they worked to arrange social security cards, bank accounts, apartments, jobs, vaccinations, and school registration. That list of tasks is only the beginning.
“I admire [Abilene] because it is unbelievable that a police officer would drop you off at home and wait for you to go through your door to make sure you are safe.”—Nancy, Cuba
Jurika-Owen writes about how the residents of Abilene, wary in the beginning, have come to accept and then embrace the refugees. She reports initial alarm at Muslims being resettled “so close to an Air Force base”; another military man offered whatever help he could for an Iraqi who had saved his life; another woman who volunteered with her church to provide English classes said it’s “like a mission trip, but right here in Abilene.”

The best parts of Ten Cultures, Twenty Lives are, of course, the stories of the refugees in their own words.
“I felt that we were going to start a real life, a life with freedom. We would be like all other people: we could work, go to school, or do whatever our hearts were set on.” —Burundian refugee
Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Roundup: TEXAS LITERARY CALENDAR July 9-15, 2018

Bookish goings-on in Texas for the week of July 9-15, 2018: 

Special Events:
8th Helen Warren DeGolyer Triennial Exhibition & Competition for American Bookbinding, Dallas, June 8-July 13

33rd Texas Shakespeare Festival, Kilgore, June 28-July 29

Girls, Inc. Literacy Camp, Fort Worth, July 9-12

49th Annual Summer Conference of the Poetry Society of Texas, Waco, July 12-14

East Texas Writers Guild 15th Annual Summer Conference, Tyler, July 14

Ongoing Exhibits:
Abilene
Main Library, Young Audiences: Elizabeth Kahura, Storyteller, 10:45AM & 3PM

Austin
Dallas Museum of Art, Arts & Letters Live: Distinguished novelist, literary critic, and essayist Francine Prose discussing What to Read and Why, and the editor of the New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul, discussing My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues, 7:30PM

Hall of State at Fair Park, Dallas Historical Society Brown Bag Lecture: Texas Ladies Who Made Their Cities Proud with author Rosemary Rumbley, 12PM


Katy Budget Books, R.R. Born signing May Day, 6:30PM

Warehouse Live, The Moth StorySLAM, 7:30PM

San Antonio
The Mix, PuroSlam Poetry with DJ Donnie Dee, 9:30PM

Wednesday, July 11:
Avant Garden, Write About Now Youth Poetry Slam, 7:30PM

Brazos Bookstore, Intellect U Well: featuring readings and signings with authors Diana Adesola Mafe, Stanley Corkin and David Peisner, 7PM

River Oaks Bookstore, William C. Martin discussing and signing A Prophet with Honor: The Billy Graham Story, 5PM

Thursday, July 12:

Houston
Five Nine Hookah Lounge, Real Tyme Improv Poetry and Open Mic, 7PM

Murder By the Book, Suzanne Rindell will sign and discuss Eagle & Crane, 6:30PM

Sugar Land
B&N - First Colony, Story time with local author Maria Ashworth, 10AM

Austin
BookWoman, Spike Gillespie reading and signing The Tao of Bob, 6PM

Central Library, Joshua Pollock will discuss his book The Heartfulness Way: Heart-Based Meditations for Spiritual Transformation, 2PM

Sterling Events Austin, NeoSoul Poetry Slam featuring Gawd Slam, 6PM

Dallas
Half Price Books - Clear Lake, Local Author Saturdays: Meet local Indie authors and pick up their latest release, while supplies last

Katy Budget Books, Wendy Zelond signing her book about women in business, We Talk, We Lead, 1PM

River Oaks Bookstore, Obioma Martin discussing and signing B.R.E.A.T.H.E : Empowered to Live a Stress-Free Life, 3PM

Odessa
Ellen Noël Art Museum, Great American Read-In, 10AM

Richardson
San Antonio
B&N - San Pedro, Jason Bond signing Testimony, 2PM
B&N - Baybrook, Gulf Coast Poets meeting featuring Sharon O, 10:30AM

B&N - Baybrook, Meet the Author: Saralyn Richard, 1PM

Sunday, July 15:
B&N - Preston/Royal, Thomas Fellows signs Forget Self-Help: Re-examining the Golden Rule, 2PM

The Foundry Club, Writing Workshops Dallas seminar: "The Ones We Love to Hate: Writing Villains Who Beg Your Readers to Root for Them (and Make Your Heroes Better Too)" with J.R. Forasteros, 3PM

Half Price Books - The Mother Ship, former Dallas Morning News dining critic Dotty Griffith will sell and sign her book, The Ultimate Tortilla Press Cookbook, and local author Aelicia Watson will sell and sign her inspirational book, Anointed Survivor, 1PM

The Wild Detectives, Backyard Story Night: Dallas Edition, 7PM

Houston
Lawndale Art Center, artist Elaine Bradford and poet Sara Cress present a poetry reading and discussion of the exhibition Routine Fables, 2PM

River Oaks Bookstore, Deborah Eden Tull discussing and signing Relational Mindfulness: A Handbook for Deepening Our Connections with Ourselves, Each Other, and the Planet, 2PM

San Antonio
Say Si, Trinity University Press and the Tricentennial Commission invite you to celebrate the publication of 300 Years of San Antonio & Bexar County, 2:30PM

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Review: OLD BUILDINGS IN NORTH TEXAS by Jen Waldo

I reviewed Old Buildings in North Texas (Arcadia Books) by Marble Falls's Jen Waldo for Lone Star Literary Life. Y'all, imagine if your cocaine addiction gave you a heart attack, sent you to rehab, back to your little hometown in the Panhandle, and your court-ordered therapist is a former high school friend from AP English.

CONTEMPORARY FICTION
Jen Waldo
Old Buildings in North TexasArcadia Books Ltd. (London)
Paperback, 978-1-9113-5017-0 (also available in hardcover, as an e-book, an audio book, and on Audible), 215 pgs., $15.95
May 3, 2018

Olivia has returned to Caprock, a small fictional town in the Texas Panhandle. “Before they’d let me out of rehab someone had to agree to act as my legal custodian,” she explains, which is why thirty-two-year-old Olivia is living with her mother who, again, controls Olivia’s life from finances to laundry. “One little cocaine-induced heart attack and it’s back to my childhood to start over.”

Even better, Olivia’s court-ordered therapy is conducted by a former friend with whom she shared AP English classes in high school. Ouch. Olivia, who has an advanced journalism degree from Columbia, is also required by the court to hold down a job, but the only job she can find is behind the counter of a mall jewelry store which is owned by a friend of her mother’s. Olivia is in debt up to her nose in legal bills, medical bills, her Neiman’s card, and money she borrowed from friends to pay the rent and her car note since her salary went up that nose.

Olivia’s mother calls her every twenty minutes to confirm that her wayward daughter is where she’s supposed to be, which is either at home, at work, at her therapist’s office, at her cardiologist’s office, at meetings with her sponsor, or at meetings with her parole officer. Olivia, whose doctor has replaced cocaine with Xanax and Propranolol—both of which leave her detached and exhausted—is bored out of her skull so her therapist suggests she develop a hobby. While surfing the net for inspiration, Olivia discovers urbexing, urban exploration, which sounds a lot like trespassing. For her first expedition, Olivia chooses a long-abandoned mansion and takes a Chatty Cathy doll with her as a souvenir when she leaves. When she discovers how much that doll is worth to collectors, Olivia decides this new hobby could be lucrative enough to launch her into a new life, again independent and free.

Old Buildings in North Texas is the latest novel from Jen Waldo of Marble Falls, Texas. Waldo has created an original concept, entertaining until the end, where she eschews the expected conclusion. Fast-paced and flowing smoothly, these 215 pages pack plot twists aplenty. There’s a lot going on in Old Buildings in North Texas and it works because Waldo’s style is an efficient, evocative economy of words, her characters fleshed-out just enough to intrigue. Olivia’s first-person narration is infused with sardonic humor (her heart now beats “a larcenous rhythm”) and dry wit (“addiction recovery makes me cranky”).

“I viewed myself as smarter, more talented, unique, non-traditional,” Olivia admits. “But these are shallow comparatives; none of them was a bit of help when I stumbled.” Stumbled she did and does, through old buildings—office complex, church, schoolhouse, drive-in theater concession—encountering rattlesnakes, bats, skunks, and other critters in her search for valuables—vintage hardware, Tiffany lamps, gumball machines—others have abandoned.

“Where did my scruples go, and why?” Olivia wonders, but not in depth or often. An adrenaline junkie who overdosed on adrenaline, she’s fast shedding illusions about herself. Olivia knows who she is. And she’s okay with that. So are we.

Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The 4th of July: On Revolution, or A Work in Progress


IN CONGRESS, JULY 4, 1776

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security. — Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their Public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected, whereby the Legislative Powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary Powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation, and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & Perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these united Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States, that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. — And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.