Best-selling e-author Amanda Hocking grew up in the small town of Austin, Minn., which, she says, is known for Spam. Spam as in the food, not the e-mail spam.
"We invented Spam," the 27-year-old novelist tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz.
Hocking's dad was a truck driver. Her mom was a waitress. Even as a very young child, she had always been a kind of natural storyteller — especially when it came to fantasy stories. Stories about dragons, unicorns, pirates and more.
During this final sprint toward Tuesday's New Hampshire primary, candidate stops will be full of local diners and doughnut shops where the presidential hopefuls can chat up "real" voters — locals who stop in for a meal or a coffee.
But customers in one New Hampshire restaurant are over it. In response, a Portsmouth breakfast spot has banned candidates completely, reports Seacoast Online:
At last, the rivals who were supposed to savage front-runner Mitt Romney in the final weekend before Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire got down to business.
In the opening minutes of their debate Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, several of those chasing Romney in the polls let fly the roundhouse punches they'd been pulling through weeks and months of TV debates.
When it comes to last words, there's a kind of poetry in even the oddest ones. Oscar Wilde hated the wallpaper in the room where he died: "One of us has to go," he muttered. Salvador Dali: "Where is my clock?" Steve Jobs: "Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow," according to his sister, who was in the room.
(SOUNDBITE OF MONTAGE OF PEOPLE SAYING "DEAR TUCSON")
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
It's been a year since a gunman opened fire at a Tucson grocery store. Six people were killed and 13 injured, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords. NPR's State of the Re:Union asked people who were present that day at the shooting to write letters to Tucson, reflecting on their city and the year since the tragedy.
RON BARBER: Unlike most places, Tucson is green in the dead of winter.
When North Korean President Kim Jong Il died last month, media outlets around the world tried to cover the story with very few facts. That's because there really are no clear facts about North Korea. It's arguably the most closed society in the world — run as a hereditary fiefdom by a family of dictators.
In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is demanding that the United States hand over control of a prison facility that houses about 3,000 inmates. An Afghan commission has alleged abuse of prisoners there, and says that conditions violate the Afghan constitution. The demands may have more to do with a growing animosity between President Karzai and Washington, however, as NPR's Kabul bureau chief Quil Lawrence tells host Rachel Martin.
Two years ago, the U.S. Army launched a program to teach soldiers how to be emotionally and psychologically strong. This week, the Army released a review of the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness program. Host Rachel Martin speaks with the program's director, Brig. Gen. James Pasquarette, and Sgt. 1st Class Michael Ballard, a resiliency trainer in the program, about what it takes to prepare troops mentally for combat.
Pull back U.S. military aid to Egypt. That is the call from some on Capitol Hill these days. Congress is furious about raids last month by Egyptian security forces on pro-democracy groups in Cairo. The nonprofit groups include the National Democratic Institute, Freedom House and the International Republican Institute. All these groups get U.S. funding and they're in the country helping monitor Egypt's parliamentary elections.
One year ago Sunday a gunman opened fire while Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was holding a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a shopping center. She was shot in the head, one of 13 who were wounded. Six others were killed. Tucson is remembering the day with memorials, a candle-light vigil and dozens of other events. Host Rachel Martin talks with NPR's Ted Robbins about the day's services.