It seems there is a special day for just about everything. In May there’s Lumpy Rug Day, No Pants (or Socks, or Lost Sock) Day, Sea Monkey Day, and Odometer Day, to name a few oddities.  May also hosts several days related to Space—Intergalactic Star Wars Day (May the Fourth be with you), International Space Day (and, redundantly, Space Day)—and the Unexplained—Paranormal Day and Twilight Zone Day. Batman, Bats, and Hug Your Cats also have their day, along with Rhinos, Chickens, Frogs, Turtles, Escargot, Pack Rats, and Legs of Lamb. Who can keep up?

Star Wars Rebel Rising (Disney Lucasfilm Press, May 2) by Beth Revis tells the story of Jyn Erso as she is rescued by Saw Gerrera and learns to fight with the rebels opposing the imperial tyranny. An act of betrayal shatters her trust and causes her to question her own values.

Waking Gods (Del Rey Publishing, April 4) by Sylvain Neuvel is the sequel to Sleeping Giants. Rose Franklin found the buried hand of a massive robot when she was a child. Later, as a scientist, she investigates the mystery as more pieces are found around the world. Then, alien robots threaten the earth and her task becomes finding the key to the survival of humanity.

For some weird scientific facts, in a book that is humorous and educational while describing itself as “Stephen King meets Stephen Hawking,” go to And Then You’re Dead: What Really Happens if You Get Swallowed by a Whale, Are Shot from a Cannon, or Go Barreling over Niagara (Penguin, April 4) by Cody Cassidy and Paul Doherty, PhD.

VALLEY WRITERS
The Respite by the River on June 21 will be a tribute to Jon Veinberg, one of the many poets mentored by Phillip Levine and Peter Everwine at Fresno State in the 1960s and 1970s. Jon passed away on Jan. 8, but his poetry published in his four books and one anthology of valley poets will keep his memory alive. His latest book is The Speed Limit of Clouds. His website still provides information about his life and his works. The evening by the river will begin with music by Lance Canales at 6 p.m. The tribute is at 7 p.m. with local poets reading Jon’s poems and recalling stories about him. Go to riverparkway.org for details.

Sam Pereira is another Fresno State alumnus from the same era of prolific poetic production. He has published five books of poetry and is included in several anthologies. His poems have been featured in prestigious magazines such as The Missouri Review. Sam’s latest book of poems is Bad Angels from Nine Mile Press. He teaches Language Arts at Los Banos Junior High School.

STORY SUBMISSIONS
The Killer Wore Cranberry submissions close on May 31. This opportunity for publication in an anthology from Untreed Reads features stories of murder and mayhem at Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving dishes must be a vital part of the story and the story must contain humor. Length must be from 1,500 to 5,000 words. Authors will receive royalties. Details at: slonightwriters.org/Upcoming-Events-Contests-Seminars-For-Members-Information.

WRITING CONTESTS
The North Street Book Prize will accept submissions of self-published books until June 30. Categories are General Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction & Memoir. A collection of short stories or essays is also eligible. Length can be up to 150,000. All entrants receive a PDF on how to get great book reviews. Winners will receive $1,500, a consultation call, BookBaby credit, and free ads. Details at: winningwriters.com/our-contests/north-street-book-prize.

WRITERS’ CONFERENCES
The Young Adult & Middle Grade Book Writers Weekend will be July 21-23 in Corte Madera. The event, sponsored by Book Passage, features editors, agents, and authors in the genre. These include Michael Grant, Jennifer Soloway, and Mina Witteman.

The Book Passage Children’s Picture Book Writers & Illustrators Weekend in Corte Madera will take place from July 28-30. Faculty includes author of 25 books, Mac Barnett; editor at Chronicle Books, Melissa Manlove; and agent Lara Perkins.

Registration for each conference is $425. Private consultation for written, illustrative, or online work is an additional $95. Details for both at: bookpassage.com/conferences.

THE LAST WORD
“There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth. We are all crew.” — Marshall McLuhan, 1911-1980.