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6:33 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Romance Novels Sweep Readers Off Their Feet With Predictability

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 1:26 pm

Romance novels are a $1.4 billion industry, dwarfing the literary book market by millions.

Last summer, Harper's editor Jesse Barron attended the Romance Novel Convention in Las Vegas. Emceed by a handsome novel-cover model named Jimmy, the event helped professionals and novices alike to pool resources, share ideas and generally have a love fest.

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Author Interviews
5:03 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

With Fearlessness And A 'Code Name,' Iraqi Helped Navy SEALs

Courtesy of HarperCollins

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 6:33 pm

For years, Johnny Walker interpreted for the U.S. Navy SEALs on missions all over his home country of Iraq. He served on over a thousand missions, and stood out as an invaluable part of nearly every team he worked with.

No, Johnny Walker isn't his real name. The SEALs gave him the nickname in honor of his love of Johnnie Walker Whisky — and to protect his identity, a necessary precaution even today.

"Bad guys, if they hear your real name, they can find you," he tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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Business
4:17 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Funeral Home Kiosks Offer Shoppers The Ultimate Deal

Forest Lawn funeral services has a kiosk at the Glendale Galleria mall in Glendale, Calif., to reach potential customers who may not want to visit a funeral home.
Damian Dovarganes AP

Forest Lawn is a big name in the funeral business, and it has funeral homes all across Southern California. Most are stately, sprawling estates. But the Glendale location is a little different.

First off, it's tiny — the size of a typical funeral home bathroom. Second, there aren't any coffins or headstones for sale. There is an attendant, but he can't sell you anything: The urns are only on display. The place feels pretty inconspicuous. It could as easily be marketing homemade pottery as end-of-life planning.

It's also right in the middle of a shopping mall.

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Around the Nation
3:54 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Prospectors See A Golden Lining In California's Drought

A man looks for gold in Woods Creek in Jamestown, Calif., in 2011.
David Paul Morris Getty Images

Originally published on Sun February 9, 2014 6:33 pm

Wayne Warren shakes wet dirt out of a plastic bucket and into a metal chute, tossing aside bigger rocks. For him, California's drought is golden.

Yes, golden. Warren is knee-deep in the San Gabriel River, an hour outside of Los Angeles. That chute next to him is a sluice box. The water washes away the dirt in a muddy cloud, and he leans over the box. Out of the creek, he taps his findings into a green, plastic gold pan and gives it a few swirls. What's left ...

"Sure is pretty in the sun, huh?" he says.

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The Salt
1:21 pm
Sun February 9, 2014

Four-Legged Athletes Compete With Olympic-Sized Heart

Sky, an Australian shepherd, runs the weave poles with the intensity of an Olympian.
John Minchillo AP

Originally published on Mon February 10, 2014 5:19 pm

In Sochi this week, athletes are competing in a display of human grace and skill. Many will win. Many more will lose, and many tears will be shed.

In New York on Saturday night, athletes of a different breed competed in a display of canine finesse and dexterity. Many won. If any lost, none knew it. Not one shed a tear.

At the Westminster Dog Show's Masters Agility Championship, 225 exuberant dogs dove through tunnels, flew through hoops, leaped over hurdles and wove in and out of poles with the focus of the highest-level Olympic champion.

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