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Charlaine Harris tries hand at comics 

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Magnolia's Charlaine Harris — author of the wildly successful Sookie Stackhouse novels (which were turned into the equally successful "True Blood" series from HBO) — is branching out into the world of graphic novels, the visual, book-length, often more-literary cousins to comic books. Harris recently inked a deal with Penguin's Ace Books to help conceive and write a three-volume graphic novel series called "Cemetery Girl," with the first volume set for release in 2013. Details are sketchy at this point, but word is that "Cemetery Girl" is a fantasy piece that revolves around a teen-age amnesiac who grew up in a cemetery, with the plot curving toward revelations about her past. Harris will work with writer Christopher Golden and veteran comics artist Don Kramer to develop the titles.

Blackbird Academy of the Arts, a nonprofit arts education program based in Conway, will be accepting until Nov. 15 submissions for the Alchemy Songwriting Competition and Showcase. Songs in any genre will be judged and placed into two age groups (13 to 17, 18 and up), and a showcase concert will be held Dec. 3 at Hendrix College, where finalists will be invited to perform their song. Among the showcase judges will be Kris Allen, whose name might ring a bell — he was the winner of American Idol a couple years ago, and remains one of Conway's hometown heroes.

The showcase grand prize is a trip to Los Angeles, expenses paid, to record the winning song in studio with award-winning producers Ryan Peterson and Nolan Sipe. Proceeds from the competition, including entry fees, sponsorships, and showcase tickets will benefit Blackbird Academy. Entry form, rules, and other information is available and www.thealchemycompetition.org.

Country pop standouts Rascal Flatts are bringing their "Thaw Out 2012" tour to Verizon Arena on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

Tickets, which range from $25.50 to $60.25, go on sale Oct. 28 via the Verizon Box Office and Ticketmaster outlets.

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